Z*Magazine: 27-Apr-87 #49From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
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From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG) Subject: Z*Magazine: 27-Apr-87 #49 Date: Fri Jul 9 11:31:31 1993 _____________________________________ ZMAGAZINE APRIL HOT ATARI NEWS AND REVIEWS ISSUE 49 _____________________________________ April 27, 1987 _____________________________________ Zmag Staff: Publisher/Editor in Chief: Ron Kovacs Managing Editor: Alan Kloza Special Correspondent: Steve Godun Columnist: Eric Plent Asst Publisher: Ken Kirchner Zmag Headquarters:(201) 968-8148 300/1200 Baud _____________________________________ This week in Zmagazine New Jersey <*> Apple Mac vs. The ST-- The Price You Pay <*> XM 301 Modem Owners Beware! Check Under the 'Hood' <*> Star Raiders to Sundog-- Evolution of the Space Games <*> ACTION! Programming Tips <*> Zmag Notes <*> New ST Products--WordPerfect and Monitor Master ------------------------------------ ZMAG COMPUTER NEWSWIRE ....New Macs vs. Atari ST's......... ------------------------------------ ATARI SCUTTLEBITS Bob Kelly In this month's column I'd like to discuss the new MacIntosh computers (SE and Mac II) and a "letter to the editor" I read in an Atari magazine. The correspondence represents an illustration of how NOT to explain establishing a price for software. I. The New Mac's MACINTOSH SE The Mac SE should be on the shelf by the time you read this column. It will, however, be in limited supply for the next couple of months, according to Apple. The Mac SE is an enhancement of the Mac Plus and is slightly faster (15% to 20%). The Mac Plus cannot be upgraded to an SE since the hardware changes are extensive. Apple has stated that new software eventually designed to take advantage of the special features of the SE and MacIntosh II might not work on Mac Plus and older machines. The 9 inch monitor for the SE is built-in as is on the Mac Plus. The SE has two desktop bus ports to connect input devices such as a keyboard, mouse and graphics tablet. It comes with 1 megabyte of RAM as standard expandable to 4 MB. For some of us who are familiar with the Atari 1040ST, this machine sounds suspiciously similar. However, when you compare price, any reasonable comparison ends. The SE with two drives, IBM style keyboard with function keys, and standard configuration of 1 megabyte retails for $3,130. Assuming that in 6 months or so you will be able to get 20% discount, the SE will cost $2,500. An Atari 1040ST with 2 drives, 1 megabyte and a 12 inch monitor costs less than $1,000 today. MACINTOSH II The MacIntosh II is the long-awaited open architecture 32 bit machine. The machine operates at nearly 4 times the speed of the Mac Plus, according to Apple. Its configuration is much like an IBM in that it has a separate keyboard, CRT display, and computer/disk drive box. It also comes with the same standard equipment such as input bus connectors, 1 MB of memory, etc. found on the SE. The Mac II is designed for the business market and as such has 6 built-in expansion slots. When it comes to price, the MacIntosh II is certainly going to be no slouch. The suggested retail prices for the main components are: Base price: $3,900 (computer/1 drive); Disk Drive: $300; Video/display card: $500; 12 inch monochrome monitor: $400; 13 inch color monitor (16 colors): $1,000; Color card upgrade: $150 When you purchase the Mac II, the monitor is a separate item as is the video display card. For a monochrome or color system, a 640 x 480 pixels display is generated. The color card upgrade for $150 allows you to display 256 colors rather than 16 colors. In sum, a 2 drive monochrome system costs $5,100. For a color system, it costs $5,850. I have not mentioned hard disks but they start at $999 for a 20 megabyte drive or a net of + $700 to the total system cost shown above. Apple has announced that 90 to 95% of the programs that currently run on the Mac Plus will also work on the Mac II. This may or may not be an accurate statement as it applies to commercial/business programs. However, as far as public domain or home entertainment programs, it will be a different ball game for Apple users. Initial reaction to the new computers has ranged from full blown enthusiasm to extreme skepticism (what's new!). In any event, the skeptics center their criticism on past Apple performance of failing to get new software on the market in a timely basis. Already, Apple has announced that the Mac II would not be available in any quantities prior to the end of this summer. InfoWorld's Robert X. Cringely had an interesting comment providing one reason for the delayed introduction: "It's new, four-voiced stereo sound chip doesn't work: It was so flaky that when Apple tried to show it off to the assembled press, it crashed the prototype Macintosh II. The crash was so catastrophic that product manager Didier Diaz, apologizing that the chip wasn't finished, had to pull the plug out of the wall because even the reset button was frozen out." One thing for sure, for Apple to change corporate image, it will require more than a slick public relations effort. II. Letter to Editor A recent letter to the editor by a software producer is a classic in how not to set a price. To quote the relevant portion of the letter: "The price was incorrectly printed as $179.95. It's actually $79.95. This will increase to $149.94 as of January 1, 1987. There will be a more extensive manual and several new features added, most notably a complete payroll program. There has been a lot of confusion concerning the price. ANTIC reported it as $19.95 at one point, overlooking information about an increase and using the price in the original submission six months earlier." Now, let's review the bidding. It was originally erroneously reported that the price was $180. The developers marketing the program stated the initial price was only $20. But six months later, the price increased by "400%" to $80 up until January 1, 1987. Then, a decent manual was written (boy, am I glad I didn't buy the old one) plus the addition of a payroll module and the retail climbed to $150. This represents a 750% increase over the original $20 price in less than a year! If I figured this wrong, write. ------------------------------------- ZMAG ATARI NEWSWIRE ...XM 301 Modem Owners Beware!....... ------------------------------------- XM301 WARNING FROM THE POKEY PRESS! 1987 BY PAUL ALHART If you own an XM301 modem, you may own an electronic "Time Bomb". After a rash of hardware failures last month, which included smoking a disk drive and two printer interfaces, I found the cause of my problem to be my XM301. The modem worked fine, but was killing off my system piece by piece. The reason has to do with the thirteen wires coming from the serial I/O plug, although only nine wires are actually used by the modem. The other four wires have about 1/8 inch bare wire showing, and are just hanging around, unterminated, waiting to touch something they shouldn't. I have checked other XM301 modems and this condition existed in them too. Here is what to do IMMEDIATELY: With all power OFF, remove the two screws from the bottom of the modem and lift off the plastic case. Inspect the wires where they enter the modem. You will find that four of the wires are not connected to anything. If these wires have ANY bare metal showing, cut it off. Be careful to keep the cut-off pieces from falling into the modem. Next, tape each wire individually, so that it cannot possibly touch any other wires or parts in the modem. Put the modem back in its case, replace the screws, and you are done. I have written to ATARI regarding this problem, but have not received a reply as yet. Note: This may be an isolated problem, but when I checked my modem I found bare wires looking for trouble. I found heat shrink tubing worked best. If you own an XM301, I highly recommend checking for this potential disaster NOW! ------------------------------------- ZMAG ST NEWSWIRE ....New Products For The ST.......... ------------------------------------- WORDPERFECT FOR THE ATARI ST WordPerfect Corporation introduces WordPerfect for the Atari ST. The following is a brief list of features for this professional word processor: Compatibility - File compatible with WordPerfect 4.1 for the IBM PC and other computers, allowing for direct document transfer to and from the ST without losing document format. Function keys are defined the same between versions, for increased ease of learning. Footnotes/Endnotes - Footnotes and endnotes are automatically numbered and renumbered as you edit. Footnotes are properly placed at the bottom of the page, and endnotes are compiled at the end of the document. There is no limit to length, as all notes can overflow the current page if you designate. GEM Interface - WordPerfect fully supports the GEM interface. Virtually all functions may be easily accessed with either the mouse or the keyboard. Desk accessories are fully accessible from inside WordPerfect. List Files - A complete set of disk utilities is included, for total file maintanance. Macros - Record any series of keystrokes or mouse actions and recall them with a single keystroke. Macros can be chained or conditional, as well as delayed. Math - Math mode allows creation of numeric tables in your document, with automatic calculation of subtotals, totals, grand totals, or your own custom math functions. Merge - Merge can be used to automate many office proceedures, including forms, labels, contracts, and other time-consuming tasks. The Merge feature may also be combined with macros to create powerful user-defined functions. Paragraph/Outline Numbering - Paragraphs can be automatically numbered in several different styles. Or, use the outline feature to simply organize your documents. Printer Support - WordPerfect supports over 200 printers, including most laser printers. Documents can be printed using true proportional spacing, font downloading, or virtually anything else your printer is capable of. Speller - A fast 115,000-word dictionary with phonetic and word- template look-up is included. Fully expandable, with legal and medical terms already included. Table of Contents/Index Generation - Create a table of contents or index for your document, consisting of up to five levels. Text Columns - Up to five newspaper-style or static text columns may be displayed and edited on-screen. Thesaurus - Synonyms and antonyms may be displayed for up to three different words at the same time. Undelete - The last three deletions or series of deletions can be restored at will, at any location you choose. Virtual Memory - Data can flow onto disk when computer memory is full. No longer are your documents limited by available memory, but only by disk size. A complete manual, including graduated lessons, a thorough reference section, and a color-coded keyboard template, provides ease of operation for both new and experienced WordPerfect users. WordPerfect is scheduled for release this summer. Watch for world- class word processing at your local Atari dealer. Questions can be directed to Jeff Wilson, Manager of Atari Development for WordPerfect Corporation, at CIS: 72447,3427. Or write: WordPerfect Corp. 288 West Center Orem, UT 84057 MONITOR MASTER FOR THE ST Monitor Master is a monitor switchbox allowing you to easily switch between your monochrome and color monitors. It also helps prevent damage to your cables and computer by omitting the need to plug and unplug your monitors. If you use a monochrome monitor and a TV for color, you will no longer need to unplug the monochrome monitor to use the TV for low or medium resolution. Monitor Master provides a standard RCA jack for composite video so use with a regular composite monitor is possible. However, your ST needs an RF modulator for this to function. An RCA jack is also provided for audio out that allows you to feed the ST's sound into your stereo system or your composite monitor. Monitor Master will work with any Atari ST compatible monitors. Approximate case measurements are 1 1/2" H x 4 1/4" L x 3" W. Monitor Master features a 24 inch molded cable. Suggested retail is $49.99, and is shipping now. Also available are high quality composite and RGB cables, and the hard to find male and female 13 pin DIN connectors. Practical Solutions 1930 E Grant Rd Tucson Az 86719 (602) 884-9612 ------------------------------------ ZMAG PANORAMA ...Space--The Final Frontier........ ------------------------------------ by Bill Silverman Atari folklore tells us that the world started with PONG, reached superlative heights with STAR RAIDERS and has been waiting for the next great step ever since. Having recently tinkered with the ST basic version of Star Trek from Antic I have found myself reflecting on the genealogy of Space games for Atari computers. My favorite space games have been those that have emphasized strategy over brute arcade action. The original STAR RAIDERS is still the finest arcade action available and also incorporates strategy. The game, however, while truly superlative lacks depth, that is to say it is essentially one dimensional - find and destroy ZYLONS!!! On other hand, no one has has used an 8K cartridge as well before or since STAR RAIDERS and many purely arcade games using 48 or 64K do not measure up to it's standards of 3-D action. My next game purchase was Star Trek version 2.0 on a 32K tape written in basic - yes that was a long time ago (early 1982). The graphics had color and a big blocky Enterprise that sped at basic slow speed over a graphics 7 playfield with a standard text window at the bottom of the screen. Photon torpedoes plodded along towards stationary Klingon ships, phaser beams were plodding straight red lines drawn across the screen. This was a text game with limited graphics to brighten things up. But way back then it was great - strategy was delightful and real time tactical thought had to be made to successfully discover planets, destroy Klingons, repair your ship, defend star bases all within the time limit of your mission. By the way when this program is run in the fast mode with BASIC XE everything seems to fly. Next came a Scot Adams space adventure called Galactic Trader that was ported over from an Apple II. Graphically it had nothing (Apple translation!), sound was nothing (Apple translation!) but it had more rules than any space game I had played and it made things difficult. You had to plan, take risks, make a fortune or die young. It made the double secret probation of Animal House a small test. To figure this game out made my day. Well, there I am, it's late 1982 I have the Star Raiders cartridge and two 32Ktapes. Collectively they were the perfect program. In the next couple of years two other programs came by that had fleeting moments - INVASION ORION another Apple retread with bad Apple graphics and sound matched with Atari's floating point routines made a missile shot a two minute math drill. But at least you now had to deal with a thinking computer opponent. Then came GALACTIC QUEST which was the first program to try and put all these things together in one program - some of it worked, the graphics were good, the sound effects used some of the machines capabilities, you traded, stole, connived, bought and sold commodities, pirates attacked your ship, you fought back, repaired your ship. Conceptually the program was great, operationally, well the company soon went out of business. So the GREAT SPACE GAME remained to be written, produced, distributed. The years went by and Atari was Trameilized, the ST was born and this time a friendly little program - SUNDOG - wants to claim GREAT SPACE GAME title. SUNDOG provides the player with a small galaxy with a host of planets that rely on traders to ferry goods between star systems. There are bad guys with varying egrees of bravery, armament and ability, commodity exchanges on every planet that rise and fall based on your deliveries and the passage of time, and a bank that is hoping you'll fail so it can get your ship to sell for a big fat profit. What makes this game intriguing is the process of discovery that you experience the first two or three times you play the game. The instructions are clear enough so that you know how operate your ship and land rover but leaves all the finesse and decision making up to you. The mission in Sundog is simple, complete a contract with a utopian group to stock their new colony with supplies and colonists and the ship is yours. Along the way make as much money for yourself as you can. But you have very limited resources at the beginning of the game and in your first game you have no idea what you should do. You have to solve all those keys yourself. If you like space simulations, like to spend hours solving puzzles, get into occasional space duels, and also commodities market trading on a galactic scale check this game out. Sundog's graphics are quite stunning using the low resolution mode to get 16 bright well defined colors on the screen. There are a few types of cities in the galaxy - urban, agrarian, mining, and utopian. Each community type has it's own unique set of buildings. The arcade combat in space is well done using the mouse for all control, in fact game is 100% mouse driven. Sundog is on a copy protected disk with a suggested retail price of $39.95 (plus a secret $10.00 charge for a backup disk) and is available mail order for around $25.00. ------------------------------------- ZMAG PROGRAMMING CAPSULE ....Action! Tips and Tricks.......... ------------------------------------- 04-Apr-87 Action Goodies Fm: Bill Wilkinson [OSS] 73177,2714 To: All Action Freaks Well, I got a piece of code from Keith Ledbetter today, and it taught me a lesson about Action that I wouldn't have believed if I hadn't seen it. Question: What will "Q" be equal to after the following piece of code is executed? BYTE Q,X ... .... X=1 Q=7 Q ==- X+1 If you said "7", give yourself a cigar!!! Personally, I would have said 5. I though Action would see Q ==- X+1 as being the same as Q ==- (X+1) No such thing! Action sees that as being the same as Q ==- X : Q==+ 1 Now, this particular set of operators (-, +) is handy, though I could have gotten the same results by coding Q ==- (X-1) But how about this one: Q == +X & $7F How neat!!! With this simple little piece of code, we can increment Q by X and THEN be sure that the result is limited to 7 bits (0 to 127). How many times have I had counters that worked like this: Q == +1 Q ==& 7 (to make sure the counter went from 0 to 7 and then back to 0). Now I can do it all in one operation: Q == +1 &7 Thanks, Keith! 04-Apr-87 Sb: More Action Goodies Fm: Bill Wilkinson [OSS] 73177,2714 To: Action Freaks Okay, now that Keith taught me a trick, here is one for him: Keith has many places in his code that look similar to this: BYTE ARRAY buffer1(100), buffer2(100) BYTE ARRAY ext(0)=".DAT" ... InputSD( disk, buffer2 ) ; get basic filename into buffer2 SCopy( buffer1, "D2:" ) Sassign( buffer1, buffer2, 4, 4+buffer2(0) ) Sassign( buffer1, ext, buffer1(0), buffer1(0)+4 ) The result is that "buffer1" holds something like "D2:myfile.DAT" Come on folks!!! Let's invent a new, handy PROC! PROC Apd( BYTE ARRAY A,B ) ; append string B to string A BYTE AL,BL,I AL=A(0) BL=B(0) ; makes coding prettier FOR I=1 TO BL DO A(AL+I) = B(I) OD A(0)==+ BL RETURN PROC MakeStr( CARD A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H ) SCopy( A, B ) ; initial part of string IF C THEN Apd( A,C ) IF D THEN Apd( A,D ) IF E THEN Apd( A,E ) IF F THEN Apd( A,F ) IF G THEN Apd( A,G ) IF H THEN Apd( A,H ) FI FI FI FI FI FI RETURN PROC Main() Byte Array buf1(100),buf2(40) InputSD( file, buf2 ) MakeStr( buf1,"D2:",buf2,".DAT",0 ) ... Get the idea??? The first nul pointer (the "0" in the call to MakeStr in last pgm line above) tells MakeStr to quit adding things on to the first string! This works because ACTION allows you to pass FEWER (never MORE!) parameters than are declared by a given PROC or FUNC. It DOES work. I tried it. (Barring a typo or two putting it in on-line here...sigh...hope I didn't blow it, but...) Try it. Let me know. _This_ is what ACTION is for!!!! Exploring neat alternatives to doing mundane things. Bill Wilkinson _____________________________________ Xx Zmag Notes ....80 Columns...... _____________________________________ As you may have noticed in this edition we are going to a complete 80 column format. Please let us know your comments on the change. Due to a few demands for 80 column requests, we have decided to venture into publishing this way. The ACTION notes have been reprinted by request. **ZMAG ANNIVERSARY** In May we will be celebrating our first year. We will produce 2 special editions along with our regular weekly editions. These issues will contain the best of Zmag from May 1986 through April 1987. Look for reprints of the BBS that was closed down by a local police department. CES stories, true or false predictions. Atari enters the Stock Exchange and much more. Look for details in next weeks edition. Zmag is available on CompuServe Atari 8 bit, Data Library 7. GEnie Atari 8 bit Roundtable. Delphi, The Source and on over 125 BBS systems across the US and Sweden. If your system carries ZMAG on a weekly basis, Please let us know and we will add your name to the growing systems list. Thanks for reading ZMAG! _____________________________________ Zmagazine April 27, 1987 Issue 49 Please contribute!! _____________________________________ (c)Syndicate Services 1987
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