ST Report: 14-Dec-90 #650From: Bruce D. Nelson (aj434@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 01/17/91-12:24:03 AM Z
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From: aj434@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Bruce D. Nelson) Subject: ST Report: 14-Dec-90 #650 Date: Thu Jan 17 00:24:03 1991 *---== ST REPORT ONLINE MAGAZINE ==---* """"""""""""""""""""""""" "The Original 16/32bit Online Magazine" _____________________________________ from STR Publishing Inc. """""""""""""""""" December 14, 1990 No.6.50 ========================================================================== STReport Online Magazine? Post Office Box 6672 Jacksonville, Florida 32205 ~ 6672 R.F. Mariano Publisher - Editor _________________________________________ Voice: 904-783-3319 10 AM - 4 PM EST BBS: 904-786-4176 USR/HST DUAL STANDARD FAX: 904-783-3319 12 AM - 6 AM EST _________________________________________ ** Fnet Node 350 * FidoNet Node 1:112/35 * NeST Node 90:03/0 ** STR'S privately owned & operated support BBS carries ALL issues of STReport Online Magazine and AN INTERNATIONAL LIST OF PRIVATE BBS SYSTEMS carrying STReport Online Magazine for their user's enjoyment __________________________________________________________________ > 12/14/90: STReport? #6.50 The Original 16/32 bit Online Magazine! ------------------------- - The Editor's Desk - CPU REPORT - GERMANY CALLING - THE FLIP SIDE - TT & UNIX?? - IMMORTAL a Review - TT vs IBM Essay - STR Mail Call - Life After the ST - PORTFOLIO NEWS - SAFEKEY Debut - STR Confidential * ANTONIO SALERNO RESIGNS! * * PORTFOLIO DIRECT CONNECTS WITH ST! * * TURBOST 1.84 RELEASED! * ========================================================================== ST REPORT ONLINE MAGAZINE? The _Number One_ Online Magazine -* FEATURING *- "Accurate UP-TO-DATE News and Information" Current Events, Original Articles, Hot Tips, and Information Hardware - Software - Corporate - R & D - Imports ========================================================================== STReport's support BBS, NODE # 350 invites systems using Forem ST and Turbo Board BBS to participate in the Fido/F-Net Mail Network. Or, call Node 350 direct at 904-786-4176, and enjoy the excitement of exchanging information relative to the Atari ST computer arena through an excellent International ST Mail Network. All registered F-NET - Crossnet SysOps are welcome to join the STReport Crossnet Conference. The Crossnet Conference Code is #34813, and the "Lead Node" is # 350. All systems are most welcome to actively participate. Support Atari Computers; Join Today! ========================================================================== AVAILABLE EXCLUSIVELY ON: GENIE ~ CIS ~ DELPHI ~ BIX ~ FIDO ~ F-NET ========================================================================== > The Editor's Podium? The Holidays, they bring thoughts of joy, happiness and gleeful children opening gifts. Is that all there really is to the Holiday Sea- son? Of course not. The folks who maintain outlets for Atari products look forward to the holiday season on an annual basis. Why? Because they know that traditionally, it the time of the year when their sales are expected to be brisk. For the last three years, the faithful, loyal dealers have had to 'make do' to a large extent because of one delay, excuse or whatever.. Now, to top it off, some braintrust at Sunnyvale has decided to begin spewing forth the non-sense that the real computer sales time is "the Back-to School" time Aug-Sept. What a joke! I have been that route myself, and when I had four sons in college, the tuition, clothing and travel etc.. expenses took the major priority. I bought the computers during yuletide time. The holiday season is where its at! Don't let any mickey mouse demographic study fool you. Please bear in mind that 32% of all these type studies are totally flawed. Wonderful, now we are told that the TT has not attained the much coveted, at least for Atari, FCC CLASS B CERTIFICATION. One can't help but wonder why these very same things happen year after year. When was the TT FIRST announced?? Where?? And when will it be available in full distribution in the United States?? All very good questions.. wouldn't you agree? I'll bet we will wait for some time to come before we get straight, to the point, answers. Then comes the Mega STe, known about for about a year, rumors persist that it will be in distribution in Canada by mid-January. That's nice, but it also sez the thing is not fully accepted by the FCC.. if at all! Although the company's products (those that get to the US market) are well made and are extremely user friendly, one would think the leadership of the company would do its best to deliver everything on time and most of all, to keep their word. There are many other great products available from Atari through its dealers and mailorder that can more than makeup for the lack of the very latest goodies. For example, the Portfolio, it never ceases to amaze me on how this computer can enjoy such success and support from the very same company that seems to be having soooooo much trouble with the ST market. The Portfolio and the Lynx are fine examples of first rate products that are enjoying the full support of Atari Corp. And.. they are in good sup- ply. Sure, we will most certainly have to wait for the Mega STe and the TT, but that only makes for a lively market for the developers who support this platform. The accelerators, memory upgrades and of course, the 1.44mb floppy drive upgrades. There is no reason why, for those of us who care to, cannot bring our existing equipment to new heights of perfor- mance that can, in some cases, exceed those of the "RSN" products that have yet to arrive. There are even rumors that this stuff may not hit the US market until early spring of next year. Could it possibly be Atari is 'buying time' to see how the US economy fares before investing heavily in new product inventory? Only time will tell. In another vein, the strain on the US workforce is already being felt by major transhippers, it seems many of the young men who were employed by these companies are now overseas with "Desert Shield". The problems of the holiday rush have been compounded greatly now with all the new, temporary help taken on by these companies. Delays are not uncommon so, if at all possible ship early and insure well. As is always the case thank you for your solid support. Ralph........ ps; support your Atari third party developers, upgrade & enhance now. *********************************************************************** NOTICE NOTICE NOTICE NOTICE NOTICE NOTICE NOTICE NOTICE NOTICE NOTICE FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY COMPUSERVE WILL PRESENT $15.00 WORTH OF COMPLIMENTARY ONLINE TIME to the Readers of; STREPORT ONLINE MAGAZINE? """""""""""""""""""""""" "The Original 16/32bit Online Magazine" NEW USERS; SIGN UP TODAY! CALL: 1-800-848-8199 .. Ask for operator 198 You will receive your complimentary time and be online in no time at all! WHAT'S NEW IN THE ATARI FORUMS (Dec. 15) NEW USER ID NUMBER Bill and Pattie Rayl and the Atari Interface magazine can now be reached on CompuServe by writing to User ID number 70007,4640. SOFTWARE PROTECTION FROM PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS Practical Solutions announces a new, innovative software security device for software developers. Please read SAFEKY.TXT in LIBRARY 12 of the Atari Vendors Forum (GO ATARIVEN) for information. PORTFOLIO CONTEST REMINDER If you haven't heard about the Atari Portfolio Forum contestn, please read CONTST.TXT in LIBRARY 1 (NEW UPLOADS) of the Atari Portfolio Forum (GO APORTFOLIO) for a description of the contest, the rules, and of course the prizes! DEMO OF NEW VERSION OF CODEKEYS A demonstration version of the latest revision of CodeKeys, the Macro Tool from CodeHead Software, is available in LIBRARY 16 of the Atari Vendors Forum (GO ATARIVEN) under the filename CKDEM1.ARC. New features include: "force" the current time/date into a document (in any program!), schedule macros, individual lock, bell, and "mouse return" flags, more editing capabilities, and more. NOTICE NOTICE NOTICE NOTICE NOTICE NOTICE NOTICE NOTICE NOTICE NOTICE *********************************************************************** > CPU REPORT? Issue # 95 ---------- by Michael Arthur CPU INSIGHTS? ============= OS/2, DESQVIEW, AND THE FUTURE OF THE IBM STANDARD ================================================== When Microsoft introduced MS-DOS in 1981, one of its greatest virtues was its support for an incredible (at that time) 640K of memory, which was more than enough for any reasonable task. At that time, though, Digital Research was offering M/PM, a multitasking version of C/PM, and although it did not catch on, it caused many PC owners to desire that DOS multitasked. And while rumors of a multitasking DOS persisted (often when IBM/Microsoft was about to announce a new version of MS-DOS), nothing became of them. In 1984, these rumors surfaced yet again, when IBM was introducing the IBM PC AT. By this time, as DOS programs had gotten larger and more powerful, 640K of RAM was no longer the large amount of memory it used to be, and PC users began to want support for more memory. This time, IBM fueled the rumors by saying it was developing a new DOS that would fully use the AT's abilities, foremost among which was the new 80286 chip. At that time, QuarterDeck had come out with a program switcher called Desq, and Digital Research was making Concurrent DOS, a program that could multitask DOS programs. Although both programs used a win- dowing scheme, neither became that popular, since Concurrent DOS lacked essential features and Desq didn't really multitask. So as time passed on the "multitasking DOS", rumors were not fulfil- led. Then, in 1986, Intel developed the 80386 chip, which featured both an MMU chip and a "virtual 8086 chip" mode that allowed it to multitask 8086-based programs. Seeing that the hardware was in place, many began to demand that IBM/Microsoft provide the software to allow PC's to multitask. Thus it was cause for celebration when IBM announced OS/2 along with the PS/2 and MicroChannel in April 2, 1987. Just as hoped, it used the 80286 chip's capabilities, supported up to 16 Megabytes of RAM, and most importantly, multitasked. And though it didn't multitask DOS programs, it did have a compatibility box to run them. But after the fanfare, some flaws about OS/2 began to emerge that spoiled the good news. OS/2: TROUBLE IN PARADISE -------------------------- These flaws weren't bugs or inadequate implementation of its featu- res, but design flaws that crippled OS/2's usefulness. Although OS/2 is a very powerful operating system, with a task-switching/priority scheme that is arguably more sophisticated than Unix's, a vast array of facilit- ies for InterProcess Communications (or IPC's, which allow tasks to com- municate with each other), and is (like IBM's MicroChannel Bus Architec- ture) based on minicomputer technology, the fatal reality was that OS/2's foundation itself wasn't as sound as its many capabilities. Foremost among these design flaws was the decision to support the 80286 chip instead of the superior 80386 chip. The most obvious reason for 80386 support is that the Virtual 8086 mode would allow a 386-specific OS/2 to multitask both OS/2 and DOS programs at the same time. To support DOS programs, OS/2 used a "DOS Compatibility Box" that could only run one DOS program at a time. As it stopped all OS/2 multitasking operations while in operation, this feature became a hindrance to OS/2 users. Another way that OS/2's use of the 80286 chip hurt its popularity is in program development. The 80286 chip can only address 16-bit data segments that are 64K in size. This is often a hindrance to programmers, especially when writing large applications. In comparison, the 80386 chip supports 32-bit data segments that can be 4 Gigabytes in size. One of the most heralded attractions of OS/2 was the potential to use it in porting minicomputer applications over to it so they could be run with microcom- puters. However, minicomputer programs definitely need data segments larger than 64K, and this deficiency further slowed the acceptance of OS/2. Another problem with OS/2 is that it was far too large. OS/2 (with the Presentation Manager user interface) required 2.5 Megs of RAM just for itself, and since OS/2 programs are typically larger and more powerful than DOS programs, an OS/2 system would have required around 4-5 Megs of RAM for normal use. One corollary to this problem is that as OS/2 itself was large, it was also very slow. Disk access was 50 percent slower in OS/2 than with DOS, and it was apparent that an OS/2 version of a program would tend to be slower than a DOS version of the same program. Given the fact that versions of Unix for the 80386 weren't as slow as OS/2, many users began looking at Unix (and the 80386 chip) as a better alternative than OS/2 with the 80286 chip. As OS/2's inadequacies became more clear, a few began seeking other ways to obtain a windowing multitasking operating system that wouldn't have OS/2's handicaps. OS/2 AND DESQVIEW While IBM/Microsoft were developing OS/2, and the IBM Industry waited for a multitasking system, a company called Quarterdeck Office Systems continued to improve and modify Desq, their old program switcher, to remedy its deficiencies. When the 80386 chip was introduced in 1986, Quarterdeck began development on a new version of Desq, which would not only multitask DOS programs but become almost an operating system unto itself. Ironically, this product became available just a few months before IBM had started shipping OS/2 1.0. The product that emerged, renamed DESQview, was now capable of much more than its predecessor. Not only did it utilize the 80386's virtual mode to support multitasking, but Quarterdeck was even able to implement a measure of DOS multitasking on systems based on the 80286, 8086, and 8088 chips. In addition to this, DESQview only had about 1% of overhead, meaning that it could run DOS programs about as fast as DOS itself. DESQview also had support for the Lotus/Intel/Microsoft Expanded Memory Specification (or LIM EMS 4.0), so that it could handle up to 32 Megs of RAM. And when used with a 80386, DESQview used the 386's MMU (memory management unit) to provide memory protection, so an "ill-behaved" program wouldn't crash or interfere with the system. Seeing that any operating environment, even a DOS multitasker, needed to have third-party support, Quarterdeck designed a series of API (Application Program Interface) Toolkits, allowing programmers to directly use DESQview's multitasking capabilities, as well as other things found in a true operating system. The API let applications use DESQview's IPC facilities to exchange data between its own tasks and other DESQview-based programs, and access its menuing and windowing routines to design Macintosh-like features into DESQview-specific programs. Also, DESQview's support of PharLap's DOS Extender allowed it to run 386-specific DOS programs that could take full advantage of the 80386 chip's 32-bit data segments, be larger than 640K, and multitask along with normal DOS programs. DESQview became an extremely popular alternative to OS/2, and Quarterdeck sold several million copies of the program. However, when Microsoft Windows 3.0 was introduced, it eroded the industry support for both OS/2 and DESQview. In addition to having an attractive graphical user interface with API facilities just as functional as DESQview's, it also used the 80386 to multitask DOS programs. Combined with Microsoft's major marketing efforts, Windows 3.0 has now eclipsed DESQview as a major DOS multitasking standard. But even though Desqview and Windows 3.0 have so much going for them, there are several factors that give OS/2 a great advantage as an operating system in the long run. One is that even though DESQview and Windows both multitask DOS programs and have Toolkits to make future DOS programs more powerful, they are using the DOS standard (now more than a decade old) as their foundation. In comparison, OS/2 provides a newer, more sophisticated standard designed with multitasking operations in mind. Another advantage of OS/2 lies in SAA, a new strategy that IBM has implemented around OS/2 Extended Edition, a version of OS/2 with Database Manager, an integrated SQL Database system that is compatible with IBM's DB2, a mainframe database standard, and Communications Manager, which has utilities to allow communications between separate IBM computers and terminals. Systems Application Architecture, or SAA, is a common set of guidelines that will allow users to learn and use applications on any IBM system, from IBM Mainframes to the PS/2, more quickly, and for programmers to port applications running on one IBM computer to another IBM system more easily. SAA consists of three components: CUA (Common User Access), which defines Presentation Manager as the standard graphical user interface for IBM applications, CPI (Common Programming Interface), which is a standard set of operating system calls allowing IBM applications to be ported among OS/2, OS/400, MVS, and VM, the Operating Systems used in IBM's PS/2, workstation, and mainframe systems. CCS (Common Communications Support) standardizes the various terminal emulations and protocols used for LAN, modem/terminal communications in IBM systems. This unified approach to computing could allow IBM Mainframe Users to integrate AT Clones and PS/2s into their businesses, and would make the power of mainframe applications available to OS/2 Users. However, since OS/2 Extended Edition will be the VERY first application to support IBM's SAA, the success of SAA depends solely on OS/2. In addition to this, IBM and Microsoft have also removed many of the deficiencies that plagued OS/2 in the past. IBM recently introduced OS/2 1.3, which can effectively run with only 2 Megs of RAM, and Microsoft is preparing to introduce a 386-specific version of OS/2 (Version 2.0) that will take advantage of the 80386's capabilities. These include 32-bit data segments, being able to multitask both OS/2 and DOS programs simultaneously, and using the 80386's special features for faster, more secure multitasking. Also, Citrix Inc. is now shipping a multiuser version of OS/2 that will help its acceptance in the PC workstation market that is now dominated by the Unix operating system. *********************************************************************** :HOW TO GET YOUR OWN GENIE ACCOUNT: _________________________________ To sign up for GEnie service: Call: (with modem) 800-638-8369. Upon connection type HHH (RETURN after that). Wait for the U#= prompt. Type: XTX99587,CPUREPT then, hit RETURN. **** SIGN UP FEE WAIVED **** The system will now prompt you for your information. -> NOW! GENIE STAR SERVICE IS IN EFFECT!! <- *********************************************************************** > GERMANY CALLING!! STR INTERNATIONAL HOTLINE? =========================================== Conf : Fido Support Msg# : 39 Lines: Extended Read: 1 Sent : Dec 10, 1990 at 11:46 AM To : Peter Segerdahl From : Singh Khanna at AutoBoss/Bunola,Pa/Fido129-96 Subj : @FIDO 2:249/8 I'll be watching the mailbox with baited breath! ?;-> Well, to be honest with you, I really don't want a '486 machine, a '386DX would be much much better, and those prices are going down even faster than the '486 prices! The advert said that the TURBO030 came in speeds up to 33MHz (I don't know if that's cached or not...), upgradable. And potentially ("potential- ly, that's how *I* interpret it!) "user-upgradable" (why does that part bother me so much... :-( ) to 50MHz. So it kinda looks good. Of course, Atari said that the TT was similarly upgradable to either a faster 68030 (they proved that one!) or a 68040 CPU, so who knows? As they say, "seeing is believing!" Sorry, I don't have any more info, just what I read in that advert that was posted here, and some conjecture. I do know that if I were to purchase this TURBO030 upgrade, I would want not only much better resolu- tion/color capability as well, but also the TT TOS in ROM, suitably ada- pted thru perhaps a second ROM set to run inside my ST. In short, an upgrade from ST to TT. I mean, we're talking about a rather fairly ac- celerator here, and even if you had this board cranking along at it's top speed of 50MHz, you're still slowed down away from the CPU by the ST's architecture! I would Imagine that for compiling programs, ray tracing, huge database/spreadsheet sorting, massive document formatting and spell checking, and lots of file compressing, this would be really great. But I'm not certain I need all of that.... HAH! I don't care! <grin> That is, until the price drops and it be- comes affordable to those in my level of poverty! Ooops! 'Scuse me, I should have said "MUSIC", not "MIDI". I don't know if there's any specific magazine for MIDI. However, I'd be willing to bet as large a sum of money as I can muster that if I were in the USA, I could find at least 1, perhaps more. By the way, when I left a year or so ago, the MUSIC magazines were the only places where regular Atari adverts could be found.... Can't help there either. I purchased a small Yamaha synth about 3 weeks before Saddam's-Fun-in-the-Desert-Vacation began, since I'm in the military, I haven't had the time to really learn to use it. Beyond hooking up a cable to the MIDI OUT for stereo sound (where available), I really haven't been able to get into MIDI yet. I've heard lots of good thing about CuBase, and Avalon, but don't know enough to use this STuff... I would think that if someone who could easily afford to spend 10,000-20,000 on a dedicated MIDI computer instead *chose* to buy an ST, perhaps there's a number of compelling reasons for it.... I mean, beyond personal bias and love for Atari Corp! ?;-> I wouldn't know, having my old 1040STfm... too bad about that. My keyboard doesn't bother me at all, is the STE's different? Granted, the standard ST mouse is a pitiful creature.... I tried out a new one (can't recall the name), it had a *very* nice action to it, sim- ilar to the Logitech high-end feel. However, the shape of this mouse was horrible, sort of a hump-shape, when holding it the lay of my fingers placed the finger-tips about .5" beyond the mouse and onto the mat! I had to sort of bend my fingers to use it, very uncomfortable... Too bad the mouse shell was like that, I really did like the action of the buttons... I also tried the BEST Mouse. Also a far superior product to the standard ST Mouse, in terms of button action, and overall shape. The only thing I wasn't thrilled with was the shape of the buttons, they're sort of trian- gular, which means that you can't lay your fingers flat and click comfor- tably. However, this time only a slight crook of the fingers were neces- sary, so I'll probably go with this one as my next mouse. I've heard that somewhere there's a file kicking around on the BBS's in the USA on how to modify a Logictech Mouse to be used on the ST! If you ever see such an article, please post it to me, it would be great to use those mice! Here in Germany, I've come to appreciate the SM124. Seems that the mono monitors are the most popular (while in the USA, the SC1224 was the most popular), and so most software runs on it. At a computer store last week I saw a terrible thing... It was called The TOWER ST, a Mega2 in a tower case, with 3.5" and a 5.25" floppies, static HD's inside, and a Syquest 44MB removable cartridge. Also, drive activity lites, and a CPU speed indicator which read 16MHz since the monster had a 68020 accelerator card installed... The Damned Thing also had a 20" Eizo monitor hooked up, with what looked to me like SuperVGA video, along with ATSpeed (I think) installed in the tower... It goes without saying, I was extremely displea- sed by this shameless display of ST modification! ?;-> Oh yeah, and I was green with jealousy too! It also had a *very* nice mouseball, high qual- ity, hooked up.... Very ugly, all of it. They had the Atari CD-ROM drive with CDs of PD soft- ware in the store, I suppose they could have driven me insane by hooking that up too, but out of kindness, they didn't... YEP! I sure have! On a Tandy TRS-80 Model III, and on an Apple. Oh, and on an Atari 800, and on a C-64. However, I grant you that these machines are hardly in the same class as the ST, and a bit old, and that I have 2 programs that I always use to speed up disc access anyway (DIS- KIO.ACC or SpeedTOS, and L-CACHE.PRG AutoFolder program), so perhaps that doesn't count..... <grin> Well, you forgot the SC1224, which is a very nice color moniter, far superior to the standard color moniter offered by Commodore for the Amigas! The Atari external floppy drives are a bit of a joke, and Atari's HD's are not to be admitted to being owned.... The El Cheapo plastic used in the 1040STfm case is shameful. Oh, one other thing... All in all, especially for what I paid for my ST 2.5 years ago... It's a damn fine machine! Performs quite adequately for 90% of all home uses straight out of the box, and is more flexible than any other machine on the market (in that it can run ST software and [with emulation/alternate OS software] IBM/ Macintosh/C-64/Atari 800/Apple ][g/Z-80 CPM/MINIX/OS-9/RTX/MiNT and I'm sure I've missed others. That's more software than *any* other computer in the entire world. Of course, one might wonder why it is that such extensive emulation and alternate OS's are necessary...) bar none. And it holds the lion's share of the USA market of MIDI computers. Not too shabby for a machine that's over 6 years old, and has seen so little upgradability/changes from the original, eh!? Qualms, qualifications, and agreements posted above... ?;-> So, like, do you so dislike your ST? Have you had it long? What made you decide to purchase it in the first place? Ah, so, STE! Well, there's the first substantial upgrade to the ST line, and by everything I've read, a bit buggy yet... I don't think I could recommend an STE to anyone until it's a bit more solid, and has more specific software (STE-only software). I just don't see any reason to buy one. The extra colors are nice, as is the SIMM RAM upgradability, but I don't think it justifies itself too well yet. I like the compatibility I have with a straight ST over the STE. That is to say, 100%, since the vast majority of the software base was written expressly for it. Well, of course it is!!!! As they say, "you get what you pay for", and Atari's motto of "POWER WITHOUT PRICE" means that some corners had to be cut somewhere! 1.5 years ago, I'd have said that you were getting an incredible deal on the ST, with it's capabilities vs. it's price. Now tho... now I think you're simply getting what you pay for, nothing extra. By this time next year, if the ST's prices hold where they are, I think you'd be getting ripped off. I say this because of a simple comparison with other systems (not Amigas or Macs, I'm not impressed overmuch with either of those! with IBM compatibles mainly) and price vs. power and capability. Only if you want to! Remember that often what a student uses in school is the machine they use at home, and if they like it, they're likely to become long-time customers of the company. This was Apple's strategy. It worked. Also, most of these schools aren't cheap, and they aren't public. They're private/commercial, and they could afford different machines.... But again, they choose ST for MIDI... Absolutely! ?;-> Nope, actually it makes me kinda sad to know how true it's been over the years. Now I understand Atari has a whole new line of products. Unfor- tunately, while I love the computer, I have no more trust in the company. I have no wish to have my computer to become an orphan (either thru bankr- uptcy or Atari's pulling out of the USA- neither would surprise me at all) and the idea of support for my machine is starting to appeal to me. I mean, when I look at all the support that the C64 *still* gets both from the Commodore and from third parties, it really bothers me to compare it to Atari and my ST. And when I look at all the ST magazines that have shutdown for lack of readership in the US, or other problems (for the last 6 months, the ST section in Computer Shopper has moved further and further towards the back of the magazine, while coverage for the ST has gotten smaller and smaller... This month, the ST section has now completely disappeared, a bad sign....). COMPUTE magazine used to put out an ST issue, then they quit. Now they're back, and they're covering IBM compats, C64's, Macs, Amigas, but no ST. And it's odd, because the games advertised in the mag often mention an ST version, but as far as the articles go, the ST might as well not exist. No, I don't feel confident on this subject at all. I'm just glad that I have lots of software, just in case... Hence, my next computer is almost certain to be a '386, running either Windows 3.0 or X/GEM, or UNIX/MOTIF, or some combination thereof. The critical thing will be to LAN the ST to the '386, then I'll be a happy man! --- D'Bridge B1046/0a4 * Origin: Panther BBS (2:249/8) ___________________________________________________________ > THE FLIP SIDE STR Feature? ...A different viewpoint ========================= A LITTLE OF THIS, A LITTLE OF THAT ================================== by Michael Lee It seemed time to pop back into the Gadgets by Small Roundtable on Genie and see what was happening with Spectre 3.0 and his new '030 board. Let's see what Dave Small has to say about these two matters... Hooray! After a number of minor, fiddly, and thoroughly annoying bugs, Spectre 3.0 is FINALLY ready for Gamma test. It literally went through 20 Beta versions until it solidified. But it passed Beta Test, where a group of Spectre experts have gone over it with fine toothed combs, finding bugs. I'm sorry 3.0 has taken so long. We'd planned on more like an Sept. or Oct. announcement, but with the TT release ("Gee, the floppies stopped working...and the hard disk...and and and ") tripped us up...It seems solid enough now. There were also bugs relating to entirely new features that had to be unsnaggled, bugs relating to 68030, MegaTalk, and the phase of the moon. (We ALREADY had reserved time for unexpected bugs. But we didn't reserve time for unexpected unexpected bugs.) Anywho, I wanted to pass along word of this progress, because if Gamma test goes well (knock wood, but it usually does), Spectre 3.0 will be out pretty quickly. The 030 board will be ready when all the final snags are worked out. We are taking the time to do our best to make sure it works out of the box in real world ST's as opposed to (say) one ST in the lab with ideal timing, chip driving, and so forth. ...the onboard RAM is the key to this thing. And look, RAM is *cheap*. Price some 1 meg SIMMs. Around $30...you need 4 of them. ...When the Benchmark Wars erupt, you'll see what I mean. We've al- ready seen numbers that make us wonder if the benchmarker has been overloaded and gone whacko. We simply feel we have a clean design that will greatly expand the ST's performance and lifetime. 12 megs of memory matched with a high Mhz 68030 is nothing to sneeze at by anyone's standards, unless you're Seymour Cray. Much, much work is going on in the 68030 project. We still hope to have it all finalized by year's end, and maybe even start beta testing a few...but I have a healthy respect for Murphy's Laws. ---------------- From Mark Reardon on Genie: I bought a "Forget Me Clock II" by Frontier (UK Import) about a month ago and it works great on my STe. Though its using the cartridge port its got a pass through so you can still use the Spectre GCR. No need to open up the computer and it cost less than $30.00 ---------------- Question from Mel Motogawa on Genie: I was at my Atari dealer Tuesday and saw a new monitor with the Atari label on it. I believe it was the one for the TT because it had the green screen switch on it. I can't remember the name for it, but it was a color monitor and it did look like it was 14". Answer from Bob Brodie (Atari User Group Coordinator) on Genie: The new monitor is the SC1435. It is indeed produced by Phillips, and comes with a detachable tilt swivel base. It does have stereo speakers, a 14" screen, and a green switch that allows the user to emulate a mono screen. The resolution doesn't change, though. It's still medium rez and low rez only. Suggested retail price is $399.95 PS - you should see the 4096 color pics from Deluxe Paint on this! They really look great!!! Answer from Alan Hamilton on Genie: The "green" switch makes your monitor display green only, so it looks like a monochrome with a green tube. (It still only supports low and medium rez, though.) ---------------- From Harry Wootan on Genie: I got upgrade info for Thunder today. Send $13 ($10 + $3 s/h) along with original disk to: Electronic Arts ATTN: Mary P.O.Box 7530 San Mateo, CA 94403 The number for direct sales is 1-800-245-4525 OR 415-571-7171, ext 555. Expect to wait on the line a while before you speak to a human. The tech support number is 415-572-2787. I have't spoken to anyone there. They might be able to tell you the differencees between the versions. (But I wouldn't bank on it.) I don't know the specific current version. (I'm way behind with 1.0x.) I was just pleased to be able to talk to someone (finally) who could find out the upgrade policy. Mary is the person I talked to. She suggested the "ATTN: Mary". I didn't think to ask whether others should do the same. But I'd guess it wouldn't hurt to direct it to someone who may actually be aware of the ST upgrade for Thunder! <It's NOT common knowledge among the EA folks!> ---------------- Here's some information that might help keep the rumors down: From Bob Brodie (Atari User Group Coordinator) on Genie: ...The Stacy is still not FCC Class B approved. The Stacy is FCC Type A, which means it can only be sold into non-residential uses. I am not aware of any mods relating to the power connector. What has happened is that dealers that we sold this class A device to have sold the Stacy to anyone that wanted to buy them, with no regard for what the sales might be for. So, they have ended up in places (like the home) where they are expressly prohibited from being. In order to correct that, our VP of sales is now requiring a written statement from the dealers saying that they will not sell the Stacy for home use. The net effect of this is that the Stacy is "pulled" for the home market until it gets FCC Class B. That's the way it was really supposed to be all along....We are still shipping Stacys, we're just covering our bases while we do it! ---------------- Until next week.... _____________________________________________________________ > THE TT AND UNIX STR FOCUS? TT - ONLY ONE PER DEALER? ========================= IS THE TT/030 TO LATE FOR IT'S OWN GOOD? ======================================== by Brad Martin and Joe Cross Weeks before Atari's introduction of the TT/030 at the Fall Comdex last month Atari was telling it's few remaining dealers that the TT/030 would be shipping to them at the same time that they were introduced. Well, as fate would have it, Atari had not yet received the necessary FCC class B sticker that is required to sell electronics to consumers here in the United States. Atari promised at that time that FCC certification was only two weeks away, and that Atari had a warehouse full of TT/030's ready to ship. Well, one month has gone by since the TT/030's, and according to Atari the TT/030 has not yet received FCC certification yet. And the expected shipping date has now been pushed back to late January. Worst still is the news that Atari might not have enough TT/030's to ship more then one to each dealer, and that they will not have enough to ship in quantity until late summer. This just reflects Atari's past shipping history, and upsets and alienates both dealers, developers and users alike. The most damage that this does is that it causes new people, who were perhaps seriously looking at the TT/030 as a new computer, to con- sider something else. One dealer, when asked about this, said that he has had a lot of inquires from non ST owners about the TT/030 as a low cost UNIX platform, but because of lack of shipping people have stopped asking about the TT/030, and started asking about the Commodore Amiga 3000. Why the Amiga 3000? Well the following article by Joe Cross should explain to you why. OF SPECIAL NOTE: ---------------- Several vendors have released micro-computers with AT&T's Unix System V. release 4. this version is often referred to as SVR 4. UHC of Houston Texas claims to be the first vendor to ship SVR 4, with Dell Computer of Austin Texas right on their heels. At the last Fall Comdex, Commodore Business Machines took the wraps off of their SVR 4 implementation for the Amiga 3000. This version has been in beta testing in 21 universities throughout the world. Including the Univer- sity of Virginia, which replaced the Apple Macintosh version exclusiv- ely with Commodore 3000. Commodore expects to start shipping their Unix computers early in 1991. Commodore has in fact been written up in such industry magazines as Unix Today, while Atari hasn't even been mentioned. In fact, Atari only recently began work on a SVR 4 version of Unix. They had been working for many months on an older version of Unix, but they com- pletely scrapped all that work a few months ago in favor of releasing a SVR 4 version, which will now be very late, perhaps too late. ______________________________________________________________ > THE IMMORTAL STR Review? "....The game has many nice subtle touches" ======================= THE IMMORTAL ============ by Oscar Steele Electronic Arts (EA) and the ST have a special relationship in Europe EA produces top quality games and advertises heavily in that market. The Immortal is the product of that environment, and users in the US are the ones who benefit indirectly. The game is unique in several aspects. It offers a rather unusual 3D effect by showing an angle view of the screen (as previously done with Airball). It takes a short while to get used to, but once you do, it becomes quite natural. You are a wizard who's mission is to find your mentor help up some- where in a dungeon. The audience is clear, people who were entranced by Dungeon Master. Immortal is similar to DM and at the same time different. The angle of perspective adds a very unique aspect to the game. And while Dungeon Master uses magic in an intensive manner, casting spells requires putting together two parts in a variety of ways. Immortal makes the spell-making process simple, a push of a button is all it takes. Rather, it concentrates on using it more as an imaginative ingredient. For ex- ample, Fireballs may be used to kill creatures. But it takes imagination to come up with the idea that you can light the torches in an unlighted room in order to see the Shadow creatures (and that's only after you figure out that the room's torches AREN'T lit since the room is the same brightness as others). There are things you must watch for very carefully on the screen and things you must discover on your own - or die. Case in point, is the scene in which you must refract light to another point. What do you use to do it... The game has many nice subtle touches. When words are typed on the screen, pushing the joystick button makes them print much faster. This is very helpful when replaying scenes that you'd like to pass quickly. A GEM-like system of dialog boxes with yes/no answers is implemented. A mouse is not even necessary since the joystick controls all questions quite well, a very well thought-out interaction element when it comes to games. The only detraction is having to push the space bar for a inven- tory menu. This should have been implemented for joystick use as well. I think that even game players who aren't D & D nuts will get a big kick out of the graphics; in short it's a fun game. The graphics are excellent and the creatures are animated. For example, when you fight the demons, all participants move, slash, and blood spurts. When your wizard dies he melts into a pool of goo. Immortal is certainly not lacking in the graphics and imagination departments. The manual is superb. It does not mention certain details, which keeps game play interesting. It does a fine job of teaching you the moves by guiding the player through the first level of play. The tour clearly explains what to do and when to do it. It does an excellent job of ex- plaining the functions and delves into building up your reasoning skills. The booklet is full of graphics placed. Software manuals are a dime a dozen, but luckily we get to run into some that are fun to read once in a while, and this is certainly one of those. The only major detraction I found was the lack of a save feature, which will undoubtedly turn off many would-be adventurers after the first couple of dozen tries. There are puzzles to be solved here. Failing a tough one, only to go through the motions that you already know is a stiff penalty to pay, and becomes boring the sixth or seventh time around. If you can live with this, there's no problem. Completing a level will give you a certificate number to the next level. You can use this number to start on future levels. But this does not make up for a save-game feature. It works nicely for Rick Dangerous, an action game, but it is extremely lacking in this game. A save game, as in Dungeon Master is mandatory. Without it the game is intimidating, in fact, if I wasn't reviewing it, I would have stopped playing after my wizard died right before the end of the first screen level (this after playing a dozen times straight in a row). So to sum up, the graphics are dazzling, the game play is great, and the animation is fluid. If you can play around the drawbacks of the space bar annoyance and lack of a save game feature, then there's no problem, the game's a winner. The Immortal will definitely challenge, but it's not for those seeking action shoot 'em ups, unless you have the patience and stamina to crack the puzzles and solve the adventures. The Immortal: $44.95 Type: Animated action/adventure Requirements: Double Sided Drive 1 Megabyte Company: Electronic Arts 1810 Gateway Dr. San Mateo, CA 94404 (415) 571-7171 _______________________________________________________________ > TT vs IBM STR SOUND OFF? "Now some may say that I haven't been fair.." ====================== TT030 vs IBM ============ by C.EISENSCHMIDT I read the other day in an online mag about a person who bought an IBM. He made some comparisons to the TT. He bought a 386. Great! He paid only $2100 (US I presume) for his 25mhz system. That includes a mouse, HD, 2 serial ports, a parallel port, and VGA. Did I miss anything? Oh yea, that includes an operating system. He also bought (for $100) Windows. OK, lets compare. The TT lists for around $3200 US for a 4 meg model. Perhaps street price will go as low as $2800 (its anyone's guess) and a monitor for $600. Now just what does that include. A 68030 processor running at 32mhz. Now to be fair, that is only the processor speed, all the other I.O. is lim- ited to 16mhz, however, you still get 32mhz through the processor. Also, the Motorola chip is a bit more efficient than an Intel chip *(see below)- ... check it out for yourself, don't take my word for it. So in all reason, we can say the TT is 7mhz faster than the 386. OK, lets add 2 serial ports, a mouse (lets see is that a serial mouse or a bus mouse?), VGA color, a HD, a parallel port, and an operating system. How much does that add to the price? WHAT you mean its included? And you don't have to guess what type of mouse? KOOL! Ok, but I'm a musician so I will need to add Midi to my system, and yea lets add a game port, you know, for joysticks. And, by the way, how about stereo sound? And maybe I will need to hook up to a LAN. So how much extra will that cost? WHAT!!!! THAT'S INCLUDED TOO!!!!! Gee on my IBM, it would have now cost me at least an additional $800 (game port 25, midi 200, stereo sound 175, Apple Talk [if you can get it] 400). GREAT! Now lets add the math co-processor (the 386 didn't have one). What does that add? INCLUDED?!!! WOW, on the IBM it costs $550 for a 25mhz math co- processor! Ok, now I want that new operating interface, yea Windows. How much now? FREE! ITS BUILT IN! ALL PROGRAMS RUN WITH IT? But that's not like the IBM. Windows doesn't work with lots of programs. And even if the programs runs within Windows many don't use the windows interface, they will only run with windows is loaded. KOOL, and most Atari software is written already to work with the "windows" interface. OK, enough of the drama...the TT also has a VME bus and a SCSI port and that's all included. IS there a VME available for IBM? The SCSI will cost around 200 (subtract the floppy/hard controller -70) so its cost is actually 130. And lets add a cartridge port for some spectacular programing feats like Spectre GCR not to mention the speed of the Migraph hand scanner. The IBM? No cartridge port. So it doesn't matter how much you spend...you can't get it. Oh, but there is a problem! Aha! Most of the programs that run on the ST haven't be recompiled for a TT version so they only run about 4-8 times faster. (An actual test using a 16mzh TT ran 4 times faster than the ST: This was a print test using Calamus to print to a Linotronic Imagesetter at 1270 dpi. The page was 20 inches wide so it had to be rotated then printed. On the ST it took a little over an hour, on a 16mhz TT without the new OS it took 16 minutes). BUT, soon the recompiled versions will be out allowing for faster operation. The 386 doesn't have a onboard instruction cache, the TT does. So a 486 (which does have an onboard instruction cache) will run you about $3600 for a clone, plus add all the extras will put you over $4500. OK...The 386 (clone) costs $3700 and the Atari costs $3400 (remember its a guess). AND the Atari is still faster. As a matter of fact I soon hope to have bench marks available comparing it to a 33mhz 386 and 486. Compatibilities: Most applications, and about 1/2 the game software (including Time Bandits, Pac Man, Kid Glove, The Spy Who Loved Me). Availabilities: Check with Atari. Now some may say that I haven't been fair. The 386 has a monitor that is 800+ by 600+ resolution with 256 colors. OK, the TT only has 320 x 480. That resolution is not available, YET. Wait for some of the VME cards to come out allowing these increased resolutions. I have no idea what the cost will be. * A test performed by a local dealer used a 33mhz 386 and a regular Mega ST to print the test document from Ultrascript. Both machines used the same printer for fairness (when using the SLM 804 instead the Atari beat the IBM by almost half). On the 386 it took 5 minutes, on the ST it took 5 1/2 minutes. AND that's a 8mhz ST against a 33mhz IBM. Talk about processor efficiency. I support the revolution! ____________________________________________________________ > STR Mail Call? Letters to the Editor ============= CTSY CIS : 24394 S14/ST REPORT 10-Dec-90 00:30:53 Sb: #new article Fm: Pat Augustine 73670,2200 To: ST Report Isn't it counterproductive for an ST support magazine to carry an article encouraging ST users to leave the ST computer for 386 clones? Darek Mihocka certainly has a point, but I don't think there are any ST users left who are unaware of the change the computer industry has taken in the last 5 years. The simple effort involved to find an ST dealer (vs finding a clone dealer) is enough to explain to anyone where Atari stands in the market. I just don't think it is right for an ST mag to begin carrying a series of articles that basically says "Hey, ST users, you lost, it's time to cut your losses and run!" One man's opinion. : 24405 S14/ST REPORT 10-Dec-90 12:10:55 Sb: #24394-new article Fm: Jim Ness 74415,1727 To: Pat Augustine 73670,2200 (X) Pat - I think that those ST users who are considering buying other machines are looking for info on 386 clones, in any case. Whether they get that info from someone whose reputation they know and trust, or from some MSDOS magazine ad, they DO want that info. It is unfortunate that this situa- tion exists, but I did enjoy the article, and Darek did present his info in a mostly positive manner. -JN : 24411 S14/ST REPORT 10-Dec-90 20:29:10 Sb: #24394-#new article Fm: Atari Interface 70007,4640 To: Pat Augustine 73670,2200 (X) Pat, What do you think is right for a magazine to carry a series of articles on in this changed computer industry? I didn't find Darek's article offen- sive, but I can understand your initial question. I'm sure you'd agree that Darek can share his viewpoint, as you've shared yours. Pattie Rayl (Atari Interface) : 24419 S14/ST REPORT 10-Dec-90 22:22:59 Sb: #24411-new article Fm: Pat Augustine 73670,2200 To: Atari Interface 70007,4640 Absolutely, Darek is more than entitled to share his opinion, and, to be honest, on many points I agree with him. However, there are a dearth of IBM magazines on the market, and only a handful of ST magazines. None of those IBM magazines ever felt it was necessary to point out that (at least in the early days) Atari was a viable alternative to the machines those magazines purported to support. Darek is absolutely right that the price/performance ratio has changed in the 5 years since the ST was introduced and that now, clones are more powerful, have better graphics, get more support and are priced more reasonably than they were then. I don't think any of us are unaware of that fact (although I could be wrong there). I guess I was thinking that in a limited support market (as the ST is in), an article that says, "MS DOS is an alternative, the market has changed, here is a source for good information, if you want it", may have been better received (by me, anyway) than the majority of the issue being taken up with "Here's what you should buy, and it ain't Atari", which is how the article came across to me. I have heard several people, after seeing Darek's posts on the same subject on the national services, state that they are convinced Darek will be leaving us soon for the more lucrative DOS market, and that, therefore, buying any of his software would be a foolish investment. Darek denies that is true, but given the tone of the posts, and the article, I am sure you (and he) can see how people could come to that conclusion. Don't get me wrong. My JOB is computers, and I use DOS boxes, and adminis- ter UNIX boxes for a living. I am fully aware of the revolution in com- puting going on around us. I am also aware of the "down side" of the "standard" peripherals mess that generates standard hardware that con- flicts with each other and causes just as much problem as proprietary stuff, an aspect which tends to be glossed over when selling the market. What it boils down to, in my mind, is "Is this article helping, or simply adding another nail to the coffin?". I think it falls in the latter category. From: P.MCCULLOUGH To: ST.REPORT Sub: Darek Mihoka Article Dear Ralph, Thanks for including Mr. Mihoka's article re: his changing attitude with Atari Corp. I, too, have given up on Atari Corp. I think the TT offers too little, too late for WAY too much. If anything, it'll only accelerate Atari's death. I wish the best for Atari, but its time to wake up and smell the coffee. I'll probably be buying a 80386SX clone this X-mas due in part to Atari's bungling complacency, and due to the software dry-up in the Atari market. I look forward to being able to go to the nearest mall for the newest software, and to look no further than my copy of "Computer Shopper" for the latest hardware. I'll know that my purchase won't be at the hands of a few guys who inherited Daddy's business. I think Jack Tramiel had the right ideas to make Atari succeed at one time. I think his sons are surprisingly behind the times. And, although I'll regret the fetters of the 640K MS-DOS world, its only a matter of time before that wall will be knocked down... and when that time comes, I doubt even mighty Apple Corporation will find life easy. I'll hold onto my Mega ST2, at least for the next few months. I still think its a very powerful, though very dated tool. And I still have a Cyber animation in my continuing TREK series to complete and upload to GEnie. I hope to transfer these to Autodesk Animator, too, someday. (Some already have been!) I'll still continue to download ST-REPORT for as long as you put it together. As for the Atari boys, its a shame that French fellow didn't stay and take over the reigns of power. He could have learned the lesson that John Sculley of Apple taught the world: move in, and fire the guys who don't deliver - yes, many thought it was sacrilegious to fire Steven Jobs, but I wonder if any would feel the same of the Tramiels? Thanks for the reports, and keep them coming! Paul McCullough PS- Please forward this to Darek Mihoka, thought he might like to hear at least some support for his position. ____________________________________________________________ > The Future of the ST STR Feature? "....one man's opinion" ================================ LIFE AFTER THE ATARI ST ======================= Part 2 by Darek Mihocka, President, Branch Always Software This week, I will switch my focus from hardware to a discussion of operating systems, and I will explain briefly some of the internals of GEM and Windows. I have include some comments I received from readers about last week's article. Everybody has heard of operating systems, but how many of you really know what an operating system is or does? Understanding operating systems concepts (in not too gory detail) is important to understanding GEM and Windows and important in understanding how software written for these environments works. Software is probably the last thing most people think about when getting a computer system. Everyone seems to be interested in MIPS, clock speed, and megabytes of memory. Many people will buy a computer and only then start to shop around for software. But hardware and software go hand in hand. Software is shaped and molded by the capabilities of the hardw- are, and hardware is likewise being changed to meet the needs of software as software demands faster and more powerful hardware. A very important piece of software in any computer system is the operating system. 10 years ago, the operating system had little importance in personal computers. For example, on the Atari 800, to run some software you simply plugged in a cartridge and turned on the computer. Most of the games made very little use of the built-in operating system and simply did everything using the code on the cartridge. Software has radically changed since then. Gone are the days when you plug in one cartridge to run one piece of software, then turn off the computer and plug in another cartridge to run another piece of software. One of the reasons for this is that the operating systems of today are far more powerful. What exactly is an operating system? The operating system (or OS for short) was originally designed to take care of input and output functions of the computer. For example, let's say you were writing a word processor. Rather than write code to read keystrokes from the keyboard and code to output characters of text to the screen, the OS provides functions to do this. For those of you who just got blown away by the last sentence, let me explain some terms. "Code" is another word for a computer program, or parts of a computer program that contain instructions. For example, in a typical .PRG file you might run on your ST, part of that .PRG file con- tains code (the instructions that the 68000 chip knows how to use), and the remainder contains "data" (the stuff that the code manipulates). When you run, say, Quick Index, the code contains instructions for the 68000 to tell GEM put up a dialog box and perform some benchmarks. The data portion contains such things as the text used in the dialog box, the reference timings, and a resource tree that defines the dialog box. A microprocessor executes code, and code manipulates data. Data can also be generated when the program is running. For example, in a word processor, when you type in text, that adds to the data that the code has to deal with. When you cut or paste, you are merely rearranging the data. Getting back to operating systems, the "functions" that an OS provides are merely pieces of code that were written ahead of time and put into the computer so that every other piece of software doesn't need to duplicate this code. Two of the most common functions of the OS are to read keys from the keyboard and to print characters of text to the screen. The functions are usually burned in ROM and come built into the computer. This is known as the "built-in operating system" or BIOS for short. There is a major advantage to having a BIOS. What if the screen chan- ges? For example, using a large Moniterm monitor instead of the regular Atari monochrome monitor. One of many program that will not run properly on the Moniterm is Tempus, because it was written to print characters directly to the screen without using the BIOS. The code only supports 640x400 pixel screens and nothing else. Programmers on all computers get burned one time or another, because they wrote code that by-passed the BIOS. Remember when Atari 800 software would not run on the 800XL? Or when 520ST software would not run on the Mega ST? Or when Lotus 1-2-3 didn't run on some PC clones because they had different video cards? All caused by programmers writing what in computer terms is called "illegal code" By today, most programmers have learned to follow the rules and use the BIOS. No one could predict back in 1985 that programs written for the 520ST would one day be running on the TT, a machine with very different hardware and a different microprocessor. There are other components of an operating system. Computers that use floppy disks or hard disks need some way to manage the data stored on the disks. In one scenario, we could just force each programmer to put code into each piece of software to manipulate the disk directly. That means that a disk used with, say, Atari BASIC would be unusable with Atari Writer. This makes transferring of data between different pieces of soft- ware almost impossible. So what people did was to expand the operating system to include a new module called DOS, or Disk Operating System. There is Atari DOS on the 8-bit, MS-DOS on the PC, GEMDOS on the ST, and others. The DOS provides some functions, just like the BIOS, for reading and writing text and other data to the disk in a standard way so that any piece of software can access data on a given disk. CP/M was a popular operating system on Z80 based machines way back in the dark ages. Any computer with a Z80 microprocessor could run any piece of CP/M compatible software without modification. Later on, MS-DOS became popular on IBM PCs and clones, and software that uses MS-DOS and BIOS functions will run on any of them, whether a 1982 IBM PC or a 1990 Compaq 486. The DOS also allowed personal computers to take a major leap forward. Gone were the days of rebooting the computer to change the software. Now, several pieces of software could be stored on one floppy disk and the user could run a different piece of software by exiting the current program (which takes them back to DOS) and typing in the name of the new program. It also allowed the transfer of data (for example, text) between different pieces of software such as word processor or telecommunications packages. Without an operating system to tie this all together, we'd still be plug- ging cartridges in and out today. Another major event in operating system history was the introduction of the graphical user interface, or GUI. In the 6 years between the release of the Apple Macintosh and the release of Windows 3.0, there has been a revolution going on. "User friendly" was the buzzword of the 80's (at least in computer circles). Prior to the release of the Mac, the only way for a user to enter new information into a computer was through the keyboard, and usually using a monitor that displayed only text. To use DOS, you needed to type on the keyboard. Joysticks provided a bit of a solution, but usually with paint programs. A GUI allowed users to see the information on the screen more like the actual information it represented. Word processors could now show bold or italic text, and spreadsheets could now plot graphs of the data in their cells. Sure, some programs could already do that with just DOS, provided you had a graphics card, but as with my example above with disks, it was every program for itself. The reason GUIs weren't there from the beginning is that in the early days memory was not cheap like it is today. The original Apple II and Atari 800 used about 1000 bytes of memory for displaying the screen (one byte per character in text mode). Today, the Moniterm monitor or typical VGA cards require over 100,000 (and some even more than 500,000) bytes of memory to display the screen. 100K was not an option 10 years ago. A related problem was that as the screen memory became larger, the micropro- cessor (or "CPU") had to become proportionally faster or else screen updates would be slower. But CPUs have not quite kept up the pace. That is why the Apple II can beat almost any computer when it comes to screen scrolling or outputting text. Before screens could get bigger, CPUs would have to get faster. In 1984, Apple released the Mac, which used a 68000 chip instead of the popular 6502 or 8088 chips. The 68000 is about 5 to 10 times faster than the earlier chips, and so the Mac's screen was entirely graphic based instead of text based. To print a character to the screen, you couldn't simply update one byte in screen memory. But now you had to update several bytes of memory because one byte of screen memory now only contained 8 pixels of the screen instead of an entire character. A year later, Atari introduced the 520ST, also using the 68000, and with an even bigger scr- een. Instead of using text, programs now used the graphics screen and ran inside windows and used icons to represent in pictures what before could only be expressed in text. A related breakthrough came with the mouse. The mouse allowed people to point and click, instead of repeatedly typing in data. Although a mouse is usually associated with a GUI, that is not always the case. You can use GEM on the ST without a mouse, and Windows on a PC without a mouse. And many text based programs support the mouse. I won't spent too much time discussing the mouse, since it is only one of many input devices (such as keyboards, light pens, joysticks, trackballs, etc) and may even shortly be made obsolete by newer input devices that now exist. What makes up a GUI? There are two major parts. One is the graphics code itself which is what draws the lines, circles, rectangles, and text to the graphics screen. On GEM this is known as the VDI (or virtual device interface). On Windows, it is called GDI (Graphical Device Interface). The second part of a GUI is the window manager. This code also manages menu bars and dialog boxes and icons and other "objects" on the screen. On GEM, this is known as the AES (Application Environment Services) and on Windows it is called the USER module. On the Atari ST, AES and VDI (and some other modules) together make up what is known as GEM. On the PC, GDI and USER and another module called KERNEL make up what is known as Windows. To draw a dialog box, a program simply calls the AES function to display a dialog box (which has been previously created using a dialog editor). The AES then takes care of drawing the box, filling in the text and buttons (by calling VDI), and waiting for user input. If the AES and VDI did not exist, every programmer would be forced to write his or her own equivalents of the AES and VDI. Another advantage of this is common look and feel. If everyone wrote their own AES, then everyone's dialog boxes would look different and act different. By looking and acting the same, a user can use different pieces of software in a similar manner, which is the philosophy behind the Mac and Windows. For example, today almost all word processors have a similar user interface. There is a menu bar at the top which contains all of the commands, there are one or more windows containing text (with each window displaying a portion of a text file) with slider bars on each window to scroll through the text, and buttons or icons along the bottom to perform some shortcuts. Cursor keys navigate through text. The mouse switches between different windows or selects menu items. This is not like 5 years ago when word processor and text editors had a different set of control key sequences to perform various functions. So what came next? Although it was around before GUIs, multitasking is something that has become popular recently with GUIs. Multitasking simply means that you can run more than one program, or "task", at one time. This is useful for sharing data between different programs, or for simply doing two things at the same time. Many people are still completely clued out as to what multitasking can do for them. It is one of the reasons that in my article last week I recommended that ST users purchase a 386 machine. Multitasking is something you can't appreciate until you try it, and then you can't live without it. Multitasking is to computers what stereo is to audio or color is to video. It is something that strictly speaking is not absolutely necessary, but it makes life a whole lot nicer. There are various forms of multitasking. Most personal computers do a bit of multitasking. I tend to think of it in 4 categories: interrupts, task switching, non-pre-emptive multitasking and pre-emptive multitasking. An interrupt is when the CPU suddenly drops everything it's doing and goes and executes a different piece of code and then later comes back to the original code. For example, when the mouse is moved on the ST, an interrupt causes the 68000 chip to stop doing whatever it is doing (for example, recalculating a spreadsheet or drawing an icon) and to go and process the mouse interrupt. This allows the ST to keep track of the mouse position at all times since the mouse only provides pixel-by-pixel move- ment information. Another common interrupt is the vertical blank interrupt (VBI). It happens a fixed number of times per second, usually 60, and is usually used to update a clock, redraw the mouse, change screen colors or some- thing routine like that. Well, a few years ago, somebody figured out that they could run entire programs during an interrupt. The popular Sidekick program from Borland did this. Simply press Alt and Control at the same time and up pops this little menu of various sub-programs. This kind of program is knows as a TSR (Terminate and Stay Resident) because it loads into memory and only executes when a special key is pressed. Pressing keys on the keyboard generates interrupts, and so they can pop up like that. There are many TSRs in both the PC and ST worlds. TSRs are usually written to offer some feature that is normally not available in most software (such as a notepad or telephone dialer). On the ST, we have tons of TSRs available which usually load from the AUTO folder. Quick ST is a TSR that runs whenever a VDI function is called. Quick ST then executes its own fast drawing code and returns back to the program that made the VDI call. Another TSR is Universal Item Selector, which executes whenever a file selector is called (which is a function of AES) and gives the user access to file copying functions. However, TSRs are not a good way to implement multitasking and are far from it. For one thing, they eat up memory. Too many TSRs at once will eat up all your memory leaving no room for real programs. Also, TSRs tend to conflict with each other a lot or with newer versions of the BIOS or DOS. Therefore, another method to achieve multitasking is what is called task switching. Since a program resides in the computer's memory, by changing the memory you can change the program. This is sort of a brute force approach, but it does work. The program Revolver by Intersect does exactly this on the ST. If you have 2 megabytes of memory in your ST, Revolver breaks that up into two chunks of about 1 megabyte each. When the computer boots up, it thinks that it only has 1 megabyte of memory instead of two. When you press a certain key, it swaps the two blocks of memory and reboots a second time! Then each time you press the magic keystroke, the blocks are swapped, and it is like having two computers in one. Task switching was even available on the Apple IIe in the form of a program called K-Switch by Beagle Brothers. Using a 128K Apple IIe, it was possible to make it act as two 64K Apples. More advance task switchers, such as some DOSes on the PC, use disk space to swap out tasks. This way you can use all of your computer's memory for each task. The main problems with task switching are that it uses an incredible amount of memory, and that two tasks running on the same machine do not know about each other and can't exchange data. So we come to non-pre-emptive multitasking. This is the category where GEM and Windows mainly fall into. This is a form of multitasking where the software is written with the knowledge that it is sharing memory with other tasks. Programs written for these environments have to be careful about what they do to make sure that they do not accidentally or inten- tionally destroy another task in memory. If there is only one task in memory and it writes some bogus data to an unused portion of memory, then who cares, because there is nothing there to corrupt. But if that "unused" portion of memory has code or data from another task, then switching to that other task could crash the computer! GEM programs for example, cannot use any memory unless they make a GEMDOS call to ask for some memory. GEMDOS then returns the location of a block of memory that it can use. Trying to access other memory usually results in two or more bombs on the screen or strange behavior. Another no-no in GEM is to output to the screen directly without going through AES or VDI. This is because a task only owns the part of the screen associated with its window. Going outside of that window could write over some other window's display area. Non-pre-emptive tasks have to voluntarily allow themselves to switch to another task. This is done by using what is called "message passing". The task makes an OS call to read a message. The OS then returns a block of memory containing data for that task (the message). Every once in a while (several times a second is good) the task looks into this memory and sees what sort of messages it is getting. For example, a message might be something simple, like telling the task that a key was pressed or that the mouse moved, or something major, like a window being dragged or redrawn. It is during this time that the task is checking its messages that the operating system can decide to switch to another task (for example, the user selected a desk accessory). If the task never checks its messages, pre-emptive-multitasking doesn't work. A sloppily written program will do this. The operating system can be thought of as the glue that keeps all these programs running together. For as long as all the programs co-opera- te, the operating system can do its job of keeping windows and memory and the mouse in order. If some program screws up, BOOM! So, this need of software to behave caused another improvement in hardware. Intel introduced the 80286 microprocessor, which was fully compatible with the earlier 8088 and 8086 chips, but added a new feature called "protect mode". When running in protect mode, the 286 itself keeps track of what each task is allowed to do. This means keeping track of what memory blocks belong to each task. When a task tries to, for example, write a byte to a memory block it does not own, the 286 stops this and transfers control to the operating system. The operating system then deletes the task from memory so that other tasks can continue running. This way, no damage is ever done by buggy code. Windows 3.0 and OS/2 support protect mode, and their tasks run in protect mode. Unfortunately, the 68000 chip has nothing like protect mode. It checks certain things, like that the memory you are trying to access does exist, and a few other things, and the best it can do it put bombs on the screen and exit back to the desktop. GEM also doesn't really support multitasking like it should. There is really only one task running at a time, such as the desktop, or a word processor. Desk accessories are more like TSRs than real programs, since they are limited in what they can do. I'll explain this more next week when I discuss Windows in more detail. The final form of multitasking is pre-emptive multitasking, also known by other terms such as "time slicing". This means that the operating system switches tasks when it wants to, and not when the tasks decide they want to. This kind of multitasking is usually implemented using inter- rupts, and it is during the interrupts that the operating system decides which task will run and for how long. The interrupts occur frequently, say, 20 times a second. The time between interrupts is called the "time slice", which is where the term time slicing comes from. Each task is given a slice of time to run in. Pre-emptive multitasking is the most powerful form of multitasking. Any microprocessor that supports interrupts can support such multitasking, even the 6502. Operating systems such as OS/2 and UNIX and Windows 3.0 (in 386 mode) are pre-emptive and are thus the most powerful and popular. Pre-emptive multitasking does not require a microprocessor with protect mode, but it does mean that a buggy piece of code can crash the whole system if it is not protected. Well, that's about all the space I have for this week. I didn't have the room to start discussing Windows 3.0 in detail like I planned, so I'll leave that for next week. It was important to lay the groundwork down about operating systems so that readers will not get lost when I start rambling on about Windows. I'd like to thank all the people who sent email about last week's article. Surprisingly, not one person wrote to disagree. There were some mixed opinions, but it was mostly in agreement. I know that there are people who disagree, and I'd like to hear from you to better understand your position and address your concerns. To encourage you, here are 4 of my favorite ones received. Think about them RESPONSE MAIL.... I couldn't agree more with your article, but I wonder how many folks are in the same boat I am. Alot of money tied up in a system and MAY like to think about an IBM/MAC/AMIGA platform, but would have a difficult time (at best) selling what they have in order to get into one of the above mentioned systems. At times I have been so frustrated with what you are describing (and I'm not even a developer!! ... I feel for you %^) ) I've been tempted to say the heck with it and turn my 65 megger into 100% Mac. Only problem is it's STILL an Atari machine. The ST users truly depend on 3rd party developers such as yourself and it just seems that there are literally a handful left. Atari dealers and user groups? ? I used to have 7 dealers in the state of Florida - now there are 2 and one is basically a music store with a couple of 1040's hooked up to synth's and maybe 50 pieces of software. Depressing to say the least. THANK YOU! At last someone had the b****, the _vision_, to reflect the current shared REALITY of ST owners! At one time "power without the price" was the cutting edge of the Atari computer experience, NOW it seems, "you got what you paid for" is the operating principle. Please...don't misun- derstand me, I WANT Atari to be the computer that everyone wants. I have substantial investments in hardware & soft- ware. I have a DTP business that supported me for 3 years. I know that the Atari CAN work as a fun _and_ practical machine. But.....I think the best one-word description that fits Atari Corp. today is STATIC! That is, unchanging. I have a computer not only for the "normal" reasons (ie. a tool), but also I need a machine to take me into MY vision of the future. The ST did this in '85 but not anymore. It would seem to me that other users like myself are techno-freaks and bought their 400-800-xl-ST-STE for the technological "high" that the various models gave them. Now, Atari has "decided" to "just say no". While you have opted for the IBM world, I find myself drawn to the Apple domain....However prices being what they are, I could switch to your way of thinking quickly.... NO, you have NOT offended THIS ST user....just reconfirmed the nagging gut feeling that the limb I'm on is growing farther and farther from the computing "tree". Listen, is that the sound of cracking wood?.... Well, I have mixed thoughts, as I'm sure most people who read your article did...I work with both Macs and PCs (Compaqs), and I have strong feelings about both....I place Windows 3 a strong third when comparing it to Mac or ST (BTW, Mac comes in first). I held off buying a STe just because I didn't know what Atari was going to do....and why do I cling so strong to my ST..IT'S FUN!!!....PCs are NOT FUN!!!.... Macs used to be that way...but they are now in the same boat as the PCs...a business solution....but there is hope...the MAC LC may bring the hackers back to light....as for my ST, I will still fight to keep it alive because it's FUN!!!...and thanks for keeping with it...we can't afford to lose any more developers.. _______________________________________________________________ > STR Portfolio News & Information? Keeping up to date... ================================ THE ATARI PORTFOLIO FORUM ========================= On CompuServe by Walter Daniel 75066,164 Another forum contest is under way. While the previous contest was for programming, this one is for hints, tips, tricks, and help files. For details, see the text file CONTES.TXT in library 1. An example of a help file is DOSCMD.ADR (library 1). It is actually a Portfolio Address Book file, but it contains help for all the DOS commands. Most Portfolio users bought their machines for use when they travel. Some recent messages dealt with this topic: taking your Portfolio over- seas and using CompuServe to move files. If you are going to Europe, for example, you can purchase a set of adaptors and step-down transformers at your local electronics store that will enable you to use AC power in most countries. If you want to get a file from your Portfolio to someone while you are travelling, you can send it via CompuServe Electronic Mail. If you are running short of space on your RAM card, you can email files to yourself! Not only will those files be waiting for you when you return from your trip, you can still access those files from your Portfolio where you are. Files will remain in email for 90 days unless deleted; each user has something like 128k of personal storage space, but this shouldn't be a problem since Portfolio files are small. A recent message thread with a lot of activity has to do with the Poqet PC, a palmtop computer like the Portfolio with much more capability (larger screen, more memory, full MS-DOS), but at a higher price. The Poqet has been discounted as deeply as $1400 while the Portfolio is as low as $250. Other message news: a new developer of Portfolio software and peripherals, Xoterix, frequents the forum and replies to product inquir- ies. The support manager for Distributed Information Processing, the British firm that designed the Portfolio, has joined the forum and will visit every few days. BJ Gleason, programmer of PBASIC, may be adding a C library for Portfolio functions to his Pascal unit already in library 8. Two new uploads of interest (both in library 1): QUICK.ZIP and SKETCH.ZIP. The first file is a Portfolio program that you use to track expenses, then import files containing those records to Quicken running on your desktop machine. The second is similar to an electronic Etch-A-Sk- etch that uses the cursor keys and the Portfolio screen. The Portfolio uses RAM memory cards for data storage. While RAM cards are small and lightweight, most users find them expensive: at least $100 for 64k and at least $150 for 128k versions. Why are they so costly? Ap- parently, the type of RAM cards used by the Portfolio are produced only by Mitsubishi Plastics. In turn, Mitsubishi licenses the design from another company that holds a pertinent patent. No competition generally means higher prices. The computer industry recently developed a standard for RAM cards for data storage, but the standard came too late for Atari. The design for the Portfolio was frozen for production before this standard was approved and Portfolio RAM cards do not use it. Xoterix is introducing RAM cards, but they are probably made by the same vendor that Atari uses. For the immediate future, it looks as if RAM card prices will not drop and storage capacities will not increase. I have read about some German RAM cards with higher capacity, but they use chips that cannot fit in the Portfolio slot. These cards have a bulge outside the slot to hold the memory chips, meaning that radio frequency interference (RFI) could be a problem. The FCC is relatively picky about these things since RFI affects more than just TVs and radios: computer networks, cellular telephones, and even individual satellite links could be disrupted by inadequately shielded computer gear. Still, if these products can be developed and approved for sale in the U.S., I think many Portfolio users (myself included) will gladly purchase RAM cards with more storage. ______________________________________________________ > TransporT STR InfoFile? data xfer: Portfolio <-> the ST, STE and MEGA ====================== NEW SOFTWARE LINKS ATARI ST and MEGA ST to the PORTFOLIO COMPUTER Artisan Software has just released a software system which unleashes the data transfer power between the Atari ST, STE and MEGA computers and the Atari Portfolio computer. Portfolio is the innovative palmtop MS-DOS command compatible computer. The new package by Artisan Software entitled TransporT is compatible on color or monochrome systems and is specifically written to be fast, easy and efficient. The program offers two levels of interaction with the user. The ini- tial menu appears on boot-up and permits efficient ASCII file transfers back and forth to the Portfolio WITHOUT SPECIAL SOFTWARE ON THE PORTFOLIO. The system prompts the user with the few exact entries required on the Portfolio to accomplish the transfer. More advance users will be able to enter two extended menu systems which support Xmodem, non-ASCII character stripping, on-line help and file viewing and more. A separate text file is included which offers constructive tips on using the Portfolio produc- tively. A serial interface and null-modem serial cable is required at an nominal charge from Atari computer dealers. TransporT is Artisan Software's fifth software release. Their titles include the Word Quest series of word search and crossword puzzle con- struction systems and Graph Maker. TransporT retails for $24.95 and may be purchased from better Atari computer stores or from Artisan Software directly. Direct orders should include $1.50 shipping and handling. California, add 6.25% tax. For more information or to place an order, write: ARTISAN SOFTWARE P.O. Box 849 Manteca, CA 95336. _________________________________________________________ > SLIME WORLD CODES STR InfoFile? Slime World Help.... ============================== TODD'S ADVENTURES IN SLIME WORLD CODES ====================================== The codes found in this text file were compiled by Mr. Kale Swindell of La Canada, CA. He indicates that these codes will place your character (TODD) at one of the restart stations located in the game. The further along the code is in the list, the further into the level your character will be restarted. As of 11/12/90, Mr. Swindell's high score was 15,176,400 points. He does not indicate which level this score was obtained in, nor can we guarantee that this list includes all possible codes for the game. Adventure 1: EASY ----------------- 24CAA1 E8CA6C EC8AA9 118AEA 6FCBE9 919073 E70926 A809E3 6B4B6C 66CBE0 25CBA7 114928 12C9AA 550894 D7C956 19CB93 198AD2 9D0AD9 45C9C5 5DC9DD 070946 CA090D CCC94F 30C988 4F8B09 0B8BCD 098BC3 078BC1 C28A87 870AC3 8A0ACE 8F0BC8 Adventure 2: EXPLORATION ------------------------ 269AF3 ED9ABE ECDA78 ED9BBF E4DB71 259BF7 EA193D EF58F9 D199B9 E79EB4 EDDE7D EE9EBF D29EBB E79FB5 2F9CF2 6CDCE3 AC5CB2 139CFE 159DF9 D01A24 559925 5A9E23 43DFE9 1E1969 1DDCA0 1899E0 1CD8AF 0399EB 865591 465F57 4EDFDD 75DFD8 245947 085F11 4C5C52 070997 4FDFDD 089ADD 70DCDF 75DCD8 F1181B B51FDA 711B9B 8EDA1A F1DA45 745947 749807 F659C1 B85D87 BD1DC0 B79B40 3DDC80 B79B40 7E5D4D 205F09 7F9E0C 60DEC9 20D988 205F09 Adventure 3: ACTION ------------------- 9157B6 AB9277 2F1176 919073 198AD2 5DC9DD 15563D 569039 98D638 1796FC 111671 5417B2 1DD7BB 1993FB D052FC 1492F9 D91225 5CD1E4 5CD6E5 011766 DC93A6 1E1262 43536C 42506C 47972D 0D97EB 77D1DF B816D8 7A575B B610D8 72139C 0C1654 8916E9 4D9115 F150D3 CA9095 0892D5 8F9350 B69358 391245 FF9086 BC12C0 BD11C4 3C5604 215601 211746 67970D EAD74B 6B910B 62920F A610C8 Adventure 4: SUSPENSE --------------------- DD0114 DDC154 9D8154 5DC0D4 5C8114 5C4157 1C4117 DC0117 DCC157 DF8197 9C01D7 9C4197 5D8014 9CC117 5C0097 5CC0D7 DCC0D7 C641D9 C941D8 494158 C9C659 464159 474059 46C0D9 464058 884284 0B82C4 0DC286 8C4280 8E4282 B0824C 34004E C7071C 1A472B 1A076B 1DC7AB 5DC7EB 5D872B 5D476A 5C07AA 9702EB 10C3A2 110362 114322 918362 2E81E6 9146A1 9106E1 EEC666 114621 110661 11C6A6 2E0666 2E4626 2E86E7 2EC6A7 2B413A 2B81FB 2BC1BB 28413B 2881F8 28C1B8 294138 2981F9 29C1B9 24413F 2387F1 200771 E00731 A007F1 6006B1 210671 E10631 A106F1 6101B1 3E0272 FEC171 BEC131 7EC0F1 3EC0B1 FFC071 BF00F1 7F03B1 3C0371 FC0331 BC03F1 7C02B1 3D0271 7C4371 3A0276 FA42F6 BA42B6 FAC276 BA8176 BD42B1 BD02F1 BDC231 A48278 Adventure 5: LOGIC ------------------ D9E275 9C26F4 9B62B7 02A2FF 9F63B0 C02032 C4E17F C2A1B2 032770 DF67F4 022470 05E7B3 47667F 4621BE 8522F9 06E3B8 8921F8 C966F9 8C65BB CDE665 71E1E1 4C21A4 0EE3A0 CAA3A5 8D62A1 8F22E3 7527A3 336720 CEE565 F52520 39652C 3CA4EB B7E42D B2A662 BA64A8 F162ED 77E3E9 796168 BBA66B 3BE0AA FF61D6 60A417 236516 E02711 A12601 652692 E8E55F A6E61E 6A2798 AD25D8 27A1DF A7A358 7CE251 Adventure 6: ARCADE ------------------- 012D7C 016E39 016938 00EAA5 002A64 _______________________________________________________ > SAFEKEY STR InfoFile? Practical Solutions, Inc. announces SAFEKEY ==================== NEW SOFTWARE SECURITY DEVICE ============================ For Immediate Release December 1990-Tucson, AZ. Practical Solutions, Inc. announces the development and release of Safekey(TM), an exciting innovation in copy- protection technology. Compatible with all computers using a standard RS232 port, including the Atari ST/STE/TT, Safekey is the first software protection device commercially available to implement an advanced command set, enabling more sophisticated encoding to provide a much higher level of security than ever previously available. According to company presi- dent Mark Sloatman, "Safekey is truly the next generation in copy-protec- tion, and is totally transparent to normal computer operations. It can be plugged in and forgotten by the user." Each year, millions of dollars in potential software sales are lost because of the unauthorized duplication of copyrighted applications. Copy-protection has long been attempted but is often unreliable for gen- eral use. Other hardware "keys" can interfere with the port they are connected to or employ simple logic circuitry that can be easily defeated, while disk-based protection is generally too inconvenient for use by consumers. Safekey provides the convenience of a hardware key in conjunc- tion with the state-of-the-art CMOS microprocessor that allows the adap- tability of complex functions, such as math and memory operations, and therein lies the real power. Essentially functioning as a microcomputer, Safekey can be completely customized by Practical Solutions for a par- ticular application. This gives software developers the flexibility to adapt protection for either entire production runs or for each individual package. According to Sloatman, "Safekey's design makes it very difficult to defeat and provides a maximum level of protection." Because it connects to a standard RS232 port and uses standard RS232 protocol in its communications, Safekey is compatible with any operating system driving an RS232 port. In this way, all communications are handled by the operating system (eliminating the need for specialized drivers), making hardware differences between host systems inconsequential. Its size is unobtrusive, being similar to a null-modem connector, and connects easily to the serial port of the host computer. Safekey allows other serial devices to connect via its pass-through port, and will not inter- fere with the user's ability to make backups or a hard drive installation. Software developers can obtain any of three standard models of Safekey depending on the level of sophistication required. The copy-protection features can then be implemented by designing an application so it will only execute properly with a Safekey connected. A Safekey is then prov- ided with each authorized copy sold. Information or a Developer's Kit may be obtained from Practical Solutions at the address and phone listed above. Depending on the model, Safekey will sell for $29-$49. Future versions are planned for Macintosh and NeXT computers. Practical Solutions, Inc. 1135 N. Jones Blvd. Tucson, AZ 85716 Phone: (602) 322-6100 FAX: (602) 322-9271 ___________________________________________________________ > TURBOST 1.84 STR InfoFile? STocking STuffers..... ========================= Turbo ST Copyright 1988-90 SofTrek Version 1.84 December 11, 1990 =============================== Many of you have now been E-mailed version 1.84 of Turbo ST. This is what will be shipped tomorrow, so if you find any problems, please give me a call at (407) 657-4611 "anytime" in the next 24 hours. The problem that Lloyd Pulley reported in the 1.83 beta test version was fixed (thanks for checking for it so promptly Lloyd!). For those of you that have already paid $5 to update to version 1.8 of Turbo ST, you can get the latest 1.84 maintenance update of Turbo ST free of charge by E-mail, provided you are a registered user. Simply send your request along with your Turbo ST disk serial number to W.BUCKHOLDT on GEnie. This offer will expire on December 20, 1990. the "readme" file for version 1.84 follows, so that you can decide if it's worth your time to get it. IMPROVEMENTS: ============= 1. Turbo ST will now run on STs equipped with 68010, 68020, or 68030 CPUs. 2. The output of non-byte aligned text is now much faster in color and slightly faster in monochrome. 3. To reduce memory requirements, the auto folder versions of Turbo ST now release the memory that is used by the installation code back to the system. CORRECTIONS: ============ 1. The HiSoft editors that allow you to use the 8x8 or 6x6 fonts in monochrome will now scroll properly with Turbo ST installed. 2. The "Thunder!" spelling checker is now completely compatible with Turbo ST. 3. The code to speed up WordPerfect and Dyna Cadd, that was accidently left out of the version 1.82 monochrome desk accessory dated July 4, 1990, has now been included. 4. Other internal changes were made to improve maintainability and to reduce the possibility of any error. Wayne at SofTrek _________________________________________________________ > SALERNO RESIGNS! STR FOCUS? The benevolent Revolving Door? ========================== ANTONIO SALERNO RESIGNS! ======================== by R.F Mariano Antonio Salerno, the man who was to bring Atari to "new and exciting heights" has resigned. Salerno was in charge of developer support and had, at one time in the past uttered the now famous quote of the Atari Aircraft Carrier now being "ready to launch its planes and was now turning into the wind to commence the launch". This was made known before Com- dex/fall 1989. While there is absolutely 'no love lost' between this author and Salerno, I feel its quite appropriate to wish him the very best in his future. CHAO ANTONIO! ____________________________________________________ > STReport CONFIDENTIAL? "ATARI LATE BREAKING NEWS" ===================== - New York City, N.Y. THE TT030 & MEGA STE; YOU WANT 'EM WHEN??!! ------------------- Amazingly, once again, the FCC takes the heat for the problems that occur in Sunnyvale! The FCC process normally takes 90-120 days.. When was the TT first announced?? (Fall 1989!) The TT and the Mega STe are both slated for an early 1991 release in the USA, (recently revised from "right after Comdex"), but the 'smart money' on the "Street" is already betting we'd be real lucky if they are in full distribution by COMDEX/FALL'91. As an aside, it was overheard that the profit line would definately be in upgrades and enhancements. The reason given is simple economics, "its less expensive to repair, upgrade and enhance an existing piece of gear than to replace it." Further, "it would appear that the service and upgrade market is going to go straight through the roof over the next few months. 68030 upgrades will be very much in demand as they will be deliv- erable well before the TT." - Atlanta, GA ANOTHER NEW RECRUIT SLATED TO "LEAVE" ----------- The fine line of communications persists in spite of the toll checks and the mindless threats (part of Salerno's legacy). It seems a new recruit to Atari is not winning friends and influencing people throughout the USA and... as a result the wave of animosity is becoming a full Tsu- nami that many observers feel Atari must by all means sidestep. As out little birdies told us of the departure of the Aircraft Carrier Commander, thye have also indicated that this person is fast on his way out. The major complaint is that his position and title has "gone to his head". Amazing, since this guy is not a wig at all. - Manchester, CT. C-MANSHIP COMPLETE by CLAYTON WALNUM! --------------- C-MANSHIP COMPLETE sells for $19.95 plus $3 postage and handling from Taylor Ridge Books, P.O. Box 48, Manchester, CT 06040. You may also call (203) 643-9673 with a Visa or MasterCard. The book is organized as a series of experiments, each of which shows you how to program something on the ST. Almost every chapter has a sample program (some of them quite lengthy) that illustrates that chapter's topic. The first 1/4 of the book deals with basic C programming. The last 300 pages covers AES and VDI and the rest of GEM in detail. All the programs listed in the book are available on two disks for an extra $10. - Los Angeles, CA. CODEHEAD SOFTWARE SPECIAL HOLIDAY OFFER! ---------------- CodeHead Software is pleased to announce a special Holiday offer. Throughout the holiday season, you may now purchase any products or com- bination of products, in any quantities, directly from us at an incredible 30% discount! And as our gift to you, we'll pay the shipping charges for any orders you place within the holiday season! Our holiday price list, which includes your special GEnie discount, is: PRODUCT RETAIL PRICE GENIE PRICE HotWire $39.95 $27.97 MaxiFile $34.95 $24.47 HotWire Plus (includes Maxifile) $59.95 $41.97 LookIt! & PopIt! $39.95 $27.97 G+plus $34.95 $24.47 CodeHead Utilities 3 $34.95 $24.47 MultiDesk $29.95 $20.97 MidiMax $49.95 $34.97 CodeKeys (NEW!) $39.95 $27.97 CodeHead T-Shirt $10.00 $ 7.00 If you'd like to examine any of our products before buying, we've posted demonstration versions of almost all of them here on GEnie. The file numbers are: FILENAME FILE # DESCRIPTION ----------------------------------------------- GPLSDEMO.ARC 7861 Demo version of G+PLUS HOTDEMO2.ARC 15598 Demo version of HotWire 2.x LP_DEMO.ARC 15719 Demos of LookIt! & PopIt! MAXIDEMO.ARC 12965 Demo version of MaxiFile MIDIMAX.ARC 12594 Demo of CodeHead's MIDIMax MULTDEMO.ARC 8215 Demo of MultiDesk CKEYDEM2.ARC 17508 Demo of CodeKeys 1.2 The easiest and fastest way for you to take advantage of our special offer is to leave Email with your order to J.EIDSVOOG1, including a credit card number and expiration date, your mailing address and phone number. Or you can call us at the numbers listed below. Act now and have a CodeHead Christmas! May you and your families have a healthy, happy, and safe holiday season! Sincerely, Charles F. Johnson John Eidsvoog CodeHead Software P.O. Box 74090 Los Angeles, CA 90004 Tel: (213) 386-5735 Fax: (213) 386-5789 - Alameda, CA. SPECTRUM HOLOBYTE & MIRRORSOFT -> SNEAK PREVIEW ----------- Spectrum HoloByte and its sister company Mirrorsoft, located in the U. K. are joining forces to introduce an innovative new line of software. You won't want to miss the sneak preview of the first three top-notch games to emerge from the synergy between the two companies. Also previ- ewed will be Spectrum HoloByte's premium Falcon 3.0 fighter simulation. Please save the date, January 12, for the launching which will be at the Dunes Hotel, Top of the Dunes room, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. The un- veiling will take place at 7:30 p.m. sharp. If you are unable to attend, please visit us on the CES show floor during show hours. We will be located in the SPA's booth #12123 in Pavilion C. Come help us celebrate the launch with plenty of food, drink, good cheer and most importantly... superior computer games. You'll be recei- ving an invitation in the mail soon. Please call if you have any ques- tions. ______________________________________________________ > CHRISTMAS IS COMING! STR InfoFile? .....Santa's Helpers ================================= PRODUCT SOURCES FOR CHRISTMAS SHOPPERS 1990 =========================================== ABCO Computer Electronics Gribnif Software P.O. Box 6672 P.O. Box 350 Jacksonville, FL. 32221 Hadley, MA 01035 (800) 562-4037 (413) 584-7887 Hard Disks & Supplies NeoDesk & Turbo C A & D Software ISD Marketing Inc. 226 NW 'F' Street 2651 John St., Unit #3 Grants Pass, OR 97526 Markham, Ontario, CA *L3R 2W5 (503) 476-0071 (416) 479-1880 Universal Item Selector Calamus, DynaCadd etc... Alpha Systems L & Y Computers 1012 Skyland 13644c Jefferson Davis H'wy. Macedonia, OH 44056 Woodbridge, Va. 22191 (216) 467-5665 (703) 494-3444 16 and 8 bit Support Atari products and Software Atari Interface Magazine Step Ahead Software Inc. 3487 Braeburn Circle 496-A Hudson Street Suite F39 Ann Arbor, MI 48108 New York City, N.Y. 10014 (313) 973-8825 (212) 627-5830 Atari Magazine and Monthly Disk Tracker ST mailing/tracking system B&C ComputerVisions Mars Merchandising 3257 Kifer Road 1041b St. Charles Rd. Santa Clara, CA 95051 Lombard Il. (408) 749-1003 (817) 589-2950 Atari Products & Supplies Atari Products & Accs. Branch Always Software Lantech 14150 N.E. 20th St. PO Box R Bellevue, WA 98007 Billerica, MA 01821 (206) 643-9697 (508) 667-9191 Quick ST, Software 10 Megabit Local Area Network Best Electronics Migraph Inc. 2021 The Alameda Suite 290 200 S. 333rd St. San Jose, CA 95126 Federal Way, WA 98003 (408) 243-6950 (206) 838-4677 THE Atari parts source & Supplies Top Notch Graphical Products Carter Graphics & Computers Practical Solutions Inc. 914 W. Sunset Blvd. 1135 N. Jones Blvd. St. George, UT 84770 Tucson, AZ 85716 (801) 628-6111 (602) 322-6100 Atari Products Atari support products CodeHead Software Prospero Software P.O. Box 74090 100 Commercial St. Los Angeles, CA 90004 Suite 306 Portland, ME 04101 (213) 386-5735 (207) 874-0382 Software Products "Codekeys" Software Products Comput-Ability Rio Datel Computers P.O. Box 17882 3430 E. Tropicana Ave., #65 Milwaukee, WI 53217 Las Vegas, NE 89121 (414) 357-8181 (800) 782-9110 Atari Products & Distributor International Products CompuServe Information Service San Jose Computers P. O. Box 20212 640 Blossom Hill Road Columbus, OH 43220-0212 San Jose, CA 95123 (614) 457-0802 (408) 224-8575 Online Services Atari Products Debonair Software Sideline Software P.O. Box 521166 840 NW 57th Court Salt Lake City, UT 84152 Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309 EL CAL The Math Machine (305) 771-9035 Atari Support Products International Software Source D & P Computer SofTrek P.O. Box 811 P.O. Box 5257 Elyria, Ohio 44036 Winter Park, FL 32793 (800) 535-4290 (407) 657-4611 Atari Support Products TurboST "The Software Blitter" Double Click Software ST Informer P.O. Box 741206 909 NW Starlite Place Houston, TX 77274 Grants Pass OR 97526 (712) 977-6520 (503) 476-0071 Software Developer Monthly Newspaper Fast Technology Talon Technology P.O. Box 578 243 N. Hwy. 101, Ste 11 Amdover, MA 01810 Solana Beach, CA 92075 (508) 475-3810 (619) 792-6511 16Mhz 68000 Accelerator Supercharger IBM Emulator Gadgets by Small Toad Computers 40 W. Littleton Blvd. 556 Baltimore Annapolis Blvd. #210-211, Littleton, CO 80120 Severna Park, MD 21146 (303) 791-6098 (301) 544-6943 Spectre GCR MAC Emulator Mass Storage devices & Atari Prod. Goldleaf Publishing, Inc. WuzTEK Omnimon Peripherals 700 Larkspur Landing Circle, One Technology Dr. Bldg. 1E, #301 Suite 199 Larkspur, CA 94939 Irvine, CA 92718 (415) 461-5703 (714) 753-9253 WordFlair Document Processor Atari support products Dr. Bobware Wiz Works! 180 N. Hazeltine Avenue P.O. Box 45 Campbell, OH. 44405-1024 Girard, OH. 44420 (216) 539-5623 MVG & Modules Graphics Image Cat - MugShot! GEnie Information Services Taylor Ridge Books 401 N. Washington Street P.O. Box 48 Rockville, MD 20850-1785 Manchester, Ct. 06040 (800) 638-9636 (203) 643-9673 Online Services Cmanship Complete 'C' programming ICD Inc. Soft Logik 1220 Rock St. 11131F S. Towne Sq. Rockford, Il. 61101-1437 St Louis, MO 63123 (815) 968-2228 (314) 894-8608 Hardware Peripherals PageStream DTP Software __________________________________________________ > Hard Disks STR InfoFile? Affordable Mass Storage.... ======================= NEW LOW PRICES! & MORE MODELS!! =============================== HOLIDAY SPECIALS! ** EFFECTIVE -> NOW! ** ABCO COMPUTER ELECTRONICS INC. P.O. Box 6672 Jacksonville, Florida 32236-6672 Est. 1985 _________________________________________ Voice: 904-783-3319 10 AM - 4 PM EDT BBS: 904-786-4176 12-24-96 HST FAX: 904-783-3319 12 PM - 6 AM EDT _________________________________________ HARD DISK SYSTEMS TO FIT EVERY BUDGET _____________________________________ All systems are complete and ready to use, included at NO EXTRA COST are clock/calendar and cooling blower(s). *-ALL ABCO HARD DISK SYSTEMS ARE FULLY EXPANDABLE-* (you are NOT limited to two drives ONLY!) (all cables and connectors installed) * ICD HOST ADAPTERS USED EXCLUSIVELY * OMTI HIGH SPEED CONTROLLERS * * ICD ADVANTAGE+ HOST ADAPTERS * FULL SCSI COMMAND SET SUPPORTED * * SCSI EMBEDDED CONTROLLER MECHANISMS * Conventional Shoe Box Model Description Autopark Price ================================================== SGN3038 31Mb 28ms 3.5" Y 419.00 SGN4951 51Mb 28ms 3.5" Y 519.00 SGN6177 62Mb 24ms 3.5" Y 619.00 SGN1096 85Mb 24ms 3.5" Y 649.00 SGN6277 120Mb 24ms 3.5" Y 889.00 SGN1296 168Mb 24ms 3.5" Y 1069.00 SGN4077 230Mb 24ms 3.5" Y 1669.00 ================================================== WE HAVE A COMPLETE LINE OF 3.5 LOW PROFILE HARD DRIVES for USE IN MEGA ST COMPUTERS AND RELATED CONFIGURATIONS. 20mb #AI020SC 379.95 30mb #AIO3OSC 419.95 50mb #AI050SC 449.95 65mb #AI065SC 499.95 85mb #AI085SC $559.95 MEGA ST Internal Hard Drives CONNOR HIGH PERFORMANCE MECHANISMS >>> ALL ABCO DRIVES ARE HIGH SPEED UNITS <<< (500 - 600k per sec @ 23 -33ms) CALL FOR SUPER SAVINGS ON ALL OUR OTHER CUSTOM UNITS FROM 30mb 28MS @ $419.00! Ask about our "REBATE SPECIALS" --==*==-- SHIPPING AND INSURANCE INCLUDED IN COMPLETE UNIT PRICE! ============================================ * SYQUEST 44MB (#555)>> ABCO "44" << REMOVABLE MEDIA DRIVE * - SYQUEST 44 MB DRIVE - ICD ST ADVANTAGE PLUS H/A - ICD Utility Software - 3' DMA Cable - Fan & Clock - Multi-Unit Power Supply (1) 44 MB Syquest Cart. COMPLETELY ASSEMBLED AND READY TO RUN! --->> SPECIAL NOW ONLY __$ 719.00__ <<--- EXTRA CARTS: $ 79.50 DRIVE MECH ONLY: $ 439.95 *** SPECIAL SYQUEST OFFER!! BUY WITH A FRIEND! *** ORDER YOUR CUSTOM SYQUEST UNIT NOW AND GET A SECOND COMPLETE UNIT! ***** for $75.00 LESS! ***** * TWIN SYQUEST 44MB REMOVABLE MEDIA DRIVES ... PROGRAMMER'S DELIGHT * SPECIALLY PRICED ** $1329.00 ** * SYQUEST 44MB REMOVABLE MEDIA DRIVE AND HARD DRIVE COMBINATIONS * - Syquest 44 Model  and the following hard drives - 50mb SQG51 $ 939.00 30mb SQG38 $ 819.00 65mb SQG09 $ 969.00 85mb SQG96 $1059.00 LOWBOY - STANDARD - DUAL BLOWER CABINETS CUSTOM CONFIGURATIONS AVAILABLE Listed above are a sampling of the systems available. Prices also reflect various cabinet/power supply configurations (over sixty configurations are available, flexibility is unlimited) *** ALL Units: Average Access Time: 24ms - 34ms *** ALL UNITS COMPATIBLE WITH --> SUPERCHARGER - AT/PC SPEED - SPECTRE/GCR LARGER units are available - (special order only) *>> NO REPACKS OR REFURBS USED! <<* - Custom Walnut WOODEN Cabinets - TOWER - AT - XT Cabinets - * SLM 804 Replacement Toner Cartridge Kits $42.95 * Replacement Drums; CALL Keyboard Custom Cables Call for Info ALL POWER SUPPLIES UL APPROVED -* 12 month FULL Guarantee *- (A FULL YEAR of COVERAGE) QUANTITY & USERGROUP DISCOUNTS AVAILABLE! _________________________________________ DEALERS and DISTRIBUTORS WANTED! please, call for details Personal and Company Checks are accepted. ORDER YOUR NEW UNIT TODAY! CALL: 1-800-562-4037 -=**=- CALL: 1-904-783-3319 Customer Orders ONLY Customer Service 9am - 8pm EDT Tues thru Sat ____________________________________________________________ > A "Quotable Quote"? ================= Support your developers,,, And they'll support you! The "Ole Perfessor" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" STReport Online Magazine? Available through more than 10,000 Private BBS systems WorldWide! """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" STReport? "YOUR INDEPENDENT NEWS SOURCE" December 14, 1990 16/32bit Magazine copyright = 1990 No.6.50 """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" Views, Opinions and Articles Presented herein are not necessarily those of the editors, staff, STReport? CPU/STR? or ST Report?. Permission to reprint articles is hereby granted, unless otherwise noted. Each reprint must include the name of the publication, date, issue # and the author's name. The entire publication and/or portions therein may not be edited in any way without prior written permission. The contents, at the time of publication, are believed to be reasonably accurate. The editors, contributors and/or staff are not responsible for either the use/misuse of information contained herein or the results obtained therefrom. """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""
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