Z*Magazine: 30-May-89 #159From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 09/25/93-04:12:27 PM Z
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From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG) Subject: Z*Magazine: 30-May-89 #159 Date: Sat Sep 25 16:12:27 1993 | ROVAC ZMAGAZINE | | Issue #159 | | May 30, 1989 | |Copyright 1989, RII| |This week in ZMagazine| Editor's Monitor Harold Brewer Hard Disk Hints W.K. Whitton Crazy-Eights #5 Robert Buman Interlude 1 Kennedy Approach Dennis Pitman Guest Commentary Leo Sell Interlude 2 Z*Net Newswire 8-bit Edition Harold Brewer |EDITOR'S MONITOR| |by Harold Brewer| My sincere apologies for the extreme lateness of this issue of ZMagazine. The day after ZMagazine #158 was produced, my family and I were given the unforseen opportunity to move into a larger apartment for the same rent. The next day, I found I had been accepted into a new job, with training to begin immediately. When it rains, it pours... So between the longer hours at the new job and the non-stop cleaning, painting, tearing-down, packing, moving, unpacking, and reassembling at home, the Atari goodies took a back seat. A common conversation between my wife and I went something like this: She--"Don't even look in the direction of that pile of computer parts!" Me---"But..." She--"The phone service isn't even transferred here yet, so you'd just be spinning your wheels!" Me---"But..." She--"But me no buts, and get up on that ladder!" Me---"But..." The new job is well in hand, and the home front is shaping up quite nicely. The two kids are happy--they each have their own room. The wife is happy--she has more wall space for her needlepoint. I'm happy--more room for more computer goodies! |HARD DISK HINTS| |by W.K. Whitton| Reprinted from ST-ZMagazine #22 Several major drive manufacturers recommend doing a low-level format on your drive every 3 months or so. The "simple" passing of the head over the drive media (at roughly 3600 rpm) causes the integrity and strength of the magnetically stored information to deteriorate. You should backup your data and reformat several times a year to insure top notch data integrity. Always make sure the placement of your hard drive is such that it is in the least likely place to get bumped. Placing the hard drive on its side is perfectly acceptable and will cause you no problems, while at the same time may save some space on your desk. Hard drive crashes are the owners worst nightmare, yet only 2 or 3 hard drive failures out of a hundred are due to a legitimate crash (head hitting the media surface). The other 98% are merely failures and are due in large part to breakdown of the controlling electronics or power supply. "Bigger" is not always "better". Another study has shown that MFM drives hold up much better than their RLL compatriots. The data on an RLL drive has a nasty habit of deteriorating. Case in point: hard drive producers use basically the same mechanism for both types of drives. Seagate has the ST225 and the ST238 (20Meg MFM and 30Meg RLL), while Miniscribe has the 8425 and the 8438, and also the 3650 and 3675. The rated life of a 3650 is 35,000 hrs. while the 3675 is only rated at 20,000 hrs. Quite a significant drop isn't it? Although the mechanism is almost the same, you should avoid using an RLL controller on a drive unless it is specifically rated for that purpose. These facts and the many to follow in the coming weeks we help you keep your system going longer and give you insights on purchasing hardware from the many hard disk manufacturers. Know what you are purchasing before you pass the green along. |CRAZY-EIGHTS #5: THE CAT INTERFACE| |by Robert Buman| 8-bit librarian for SAGE Spectrum Atari Group of Erie I probably talk too much about computers, especially when my nieces are visiting. This is not good. These girls are four and six years old and are quite amazing when it comes to learning. Angel loves my computer, almost as much as she loves me. Jessica, the four-year-old, loves me too, and loves to play with anything that can be thrown or dressed. When they come over their first two questions to me are "Can we play with your computer?" and "Why not?". I'm usually copying disks or doing some other club drudgery when they come over. During one of their visits I was busy (again) so they asked to play with my cats. I thought "What a great idea!". Angel grabbed Shadow and Jessica dragged Sonya into the living room. "Not by the tail, please" I moaned. I was wrapped up in whatever it was I was doing and lost track of time. Pretty soon I heard some angry cat-language that I understand but cannot translate for you here. That was the first time I ever saw my cats wearing clothes. Not a pretty sight. The girls did not realize that Shadow should have been Ken and Sonya, Barbie. By the following weekend I had assembled a second Atari system and set it up in the living room. The kids now had their own computer and my cats had their bare-fur again. This worked out well for a while. Then somewhere along the way my unintentional influence began setting in. As I stated earlier, I probably talk too much about computers. Someone in the club will call and we'll get deep into a discussion. For example, I've had this longtime fascination with computerized control of things. Just about any thing: remote controls, train sets, air conditioning, home security and so on. I talk a lot about what can be done with a computer with the hope that someday this sort of stuff will get more common on Ataris. I can only assume that I was into one of these phone-discussions when the girls were over and they must have been in INPUT MODE big-time. One Saturday afternoon the girls had a box with them. "Can we play with the computer Uncle Bob?" "Sure--just don't get too loud." They actually managed to keep the noise down to a few giggles. Minutes later Jessica walked by, cat in hand. I didn't notice which one at the time, I was too busy, as usual. Besides I figured if I don't hear any howling, everything should be alright. Then, it happened. There was some clicking sounds and the intro music to some game. Then a shooshing sound--the kind you hear from a walkie talkie. Some more shooshing sounds followed and then a SWOOSH sound. You know--the kind that comes from a small animal darting past you from behind. Oh yes, and this rushing-wind sensation on the back of my neck. And a small black fur-ball floating down in front of my face and onto the keyboard. So I ask a stupid question. "What was that?" Jessica just looked at me with her hands over her mouth trying to conceal a big grin beneath. Angel came darting in from the living room. "Where did Shadow go Uncle Bob?" I jumped out of my chair and stepped into the living room where I saw this mess created by two tiny masterminds. I decided not to let my inner panic upset the kids so I stood there for a second with my hands in my pockets trying to look as cool and collected as I could. "Uh...what are you doing in here?" "We hooked Shadow up to the computer!" squeaked Angel. No, not physically, as my other 130XE was still sitting on the little desk where I had set it. But judging from the looks of things on and around the play-area I was prepared to believe them. There were long pieces of masking tape and bits of construction paper. There was a half-empty jar of paste and a single walkie-talkie that meowed like a cat. I would have laughed about it on the spot, had I not been thinking of all the horrible things two little girls--armed with paste and a computer--could do to a cat! I hurried to the basement, hoping to find Shadow in one piece. A couple of minutes and ten thousand cobwebs later I found him hiding in an old rolled-up carpet. I almost had to unroll the rug completely to get him, but he finally came out, looking frightened and confused. Shadow was dressed up again, only this time he was covered from nose to tail with colorful bits of construction paper. There was a large bulky box underneath, taped to his fur. It was the other walkie-talkie. The girls had turned Shadow into a computer controlled cat! If there's a bright side here, it's this: he could have been hard-wired! I could just imagine shadow zipping through the house and down the cellar stairs with a computer flopping behind him. And a disk drive. And two power supplies. Moving like an out-of-control train, with Shadow being "the little engine that could!" Then these dear sweet little fireballs known better as Angel and Jessica each grab an arm and look up an me with big eyes and pouting lips and say... "Uncle Bobby, we're thirsty!" You were expecting something else? Goodbye 'till next month! *** BOB *** |"CAT"| _______ _______ ______ ______ |"This darn ZMag is gettin' more| | attention than I am!" | |KENNEDY APPROACH| |by Dennis Pitman| MVACE It's 11:13 a.m. You're in the midst of your second shift as an air traffic controller. Six flights await your clearance for takeoff. Five more are waiting to land. Compounding your headache are a thunderstorm approaching from the west and the Concorde approaching from the east. Suddenly you hear, "This is United 101. Emergency! Eight minutes fuel!" The Concorde moves at eight miles every minute. Within two minutes the planes will be at a point of intersection. Unless United 101 gets on the ground fast, lives will be lost. Your palms begin to sweat. "United 101. Turn left, heading 90 degrees. Descent to 3,000 feet. Air France 314. Hold right at VDR at 5000 feet." Oh no! you think, staring at the screen. I forgot Delta 626 coming in at the same altitude! The conflict buzzer sounds. Your spouse looks up from the couch. "Could you please turn that thing down?" This is Kennedy Approach, an air traffic control simulation from Micro Prose. It puts you in the seat of an air traffic controller in one of five U.S. cities. Each airport presents you with skill levels ranging from 1 (Atlanta--a challenging beginning) to 5 (New York City--no margin for error). In Kennedy Approach, you work a shift of approximately ten minutes real-time, longer at the higher levels. At the end of your shift, your performance is evaluated and you're promoted, given a bonus, or fired. Additional options let you continue your career, see an instant replay, save your shift to resume playing later, or return to the main screen. It's only a simulation, a game, you tell yourself between shifts--but the sweat on your palms when you play Kennedy Approach is quite real. Keyboard or joystick controls are used to establish contact with a plane. Then the joystick is used to change its heading and/or altitude. A push of the fire button prompts an exchange of dialog between you and the pilot. Probably the most delightful feature of the program is the use of digitized voices for this exchange. This is software-driven speech synthesis from Electronics Speech Systems. The dialogs have the quality of genuine "black box" air traffic recordings. The graphics overall are very good, particularly the thunderstorms, but a few effects require getting used to. The one representing a plane's location is somewhat confusing, and it's difficult at first to decipher the display of flight plans. Both these problems are conquered by familiarity. There are a few quirks in Kennedy Approach. Planes start to wrap around the screen, a sight which can be disconcerting to the newly hired controller. Routing flights into a holding pattern is a lip-biting maneuver, as this requires you to press the fire button at the right moment while commands are sequentially displayed in the command line. This is the most difficult task in the program, and it seems that it could be accomplished more easily. Another oversight is that Kennedy Approach lacks a disk directory function for selecting which shift to retrieve. The instruction manual is superb in providing information about the air traffic control aspects of the simulation. This technical information allows even the beginner to feel familiar with the new environment. One small flaw, though: at one point the manual directs you to a nonexistent Section VI, leaving you to your ingenuity and experience to discover how to instruct the pilot to climb to the desired altitude at takeoff. (This is corrected in later editions of the manual. Users with early manuals should refer to B-3 instead of Section VI.) Despite these small problems--they're the only ones I found and are minor compared to the whole package--Kennedy Approach is a fascinating, well-designed simulation for someone who wants to get a taste of what air traffic controllers do all day and night. More simulation than game, it still elicits game-type responses. If you judge a game by how it affects your psyche, by how excited you get, and by how nervous it makes you, Kennedy Approach gets a clammy hands rating of 9 out of a possible 10. You can order Kennedy Approach through: Micro Prose Software 120 Lakefront Drive Hunt Valley, MD 21030. It retails for around $25.00. |GUEST COMMENTARY| |by Leo Sell| Reprinted from ST-ZMagazine #22 WRITE A MAGAZINE No, I don't mean publish your own, I mean write TO a magazine. Have you ever stopped to think how few general interest computer magazines cover the Atari, ST or 8-bit?? Once upon a time, Creative Computing, Compute!, Family Computing, and the like, all had at least something about Atari in each issue. Now the only ones that publish anything are Computer Shopper (every month), and Byte (occasionally). I can't find any other GENERAL computing magazine that says anything at all about the Atari products. Pretty sad commentary on the state of things in Ataridom. I think it's time to stop taking for granted what we do have and do something to try to preserve what's left. Why not write to Computer Shopper and tell them how much you appreciate their continued coverage of the Atari computer. As it is, the 8-bit computer is covered under "classic computers". That's where they've put the coverage of computers that now have a limited audience (Atari 8-bit, Texas Instruments, CP/M and the like). And, with such a limited audience I'll bet they could drop them at any time. If you want to help make sure that the coverage continues, write and express your appreciation and encourage Computer Shopper to continue their coverage. ST owners should also write. When you stop and think about it, if Computer Shopper were to drop coverage, there would be no coverage outside of Atari-specific magazines. Then how would the rest of the world hear about our favorite machine? ST owners have an advantage, since Atari has announced such exciting new products as the STACY, Portfolio, and TT. The "Power without the Price" keeps getting better. It wouldn't hurt to tell Computer Shopper, and others, that Atari is BACK!! Let them know how exciting the new products are and how great a value they are. A magazine like Personal Computing wouldn't have to hear about the power in the Portfolio for the price, or the ST/MAC/IBM clone you can have for less than $2500 before they pricked up their ears. Let some of these magazines know that the Atari market is going to grow by leaps and bounds and tell them they shouldn't wait and be left out in the cold. Here are the addresses for several general interest computer magazines that I encourage you to write to. Every one of them COULD cover the Atari if they thought the interest and market was there. Let them know that it IS there and will be getting bigger. Computer Shopper 5211 S. Washington PO Box F Titusville, FL 32781 Byte One Phoenix Mill Lane Petersborough, NH 03458 Home Office Computing (formerly Family Computing) 730 Broadway New York, NY 10003 Compute! 324 West Wendover Ave Greensboro, NC 27408 Personal Computing Ten Holland Drive Hasbrouck Heights, NJ 07604 Go ahead, sit down to your word processor and fire off an excited letter to these magazines. It just might help extend the life of your computer. PussyCat PortaPotty |Sez a SysOp's Cat: "That guy had| | better clean this box or his | |floppy disks will get a surprize!| |Z*NET NEWSWIRE 8-BIT EDITION| |by Harold Brewer| In ZMagazine #158, an order form and accompanying information about the Turbo-816 from DataQue appeared. The stated offer should have had the expiration date of June 15, 1989 listed. Our apologies for anyone's inconvenience. From issue #22 of St-ZMagazine comes this, a partial Editor's Desk by Ron Kovacs: "The Dearborn World of Atari Show is June 24, 25th and ST*ZMAG/Z*NET will be there. If you are planning to attend, be sure to stop by our mini-booth and meet us. On hand (so far) will be most of our staff of both publications. Next week, we will update the status of the show and include the hotel and current flight discounts being offered." Dan McNamee from Atari Technical Support says the long-awaited AtariWriter 80 is available. This 80 column word processor, to be used with the XEP-80 (the Atari 80 column adapter and printer port), is said to cost $49.95 through Atari and its dealers. Look for more specifics on this release in the near future (like which computers will it work with?). | Rovac Industries, Incorporated | | P.O. Box 74, Middlesex, NJ 08846 | | (201) 968-8148 | |Copyright 1989 All Rights Reserved| CompuServe: 71777,2140 GEnie: ZMAGAZINE Source: BDG793 ZMagazine Headquarters BBSes: Centurian BBS--(314)621-5046 (618)451-0165 Chaos BBS--(517)371-1106 Shadow Haven--(916)962-2566 Stairway to Heaven--(216)784-0574 The Pub--(716)826-5733
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