Z*Magazine: 9-Feb-92 #203From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
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From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG) Subject: Z*Magazine: 9-Feb-92 #203 Date: Sat Oct 9 16:23:20 1993 | (((((((( | Z*Magazine International Atari 8-Bit Magazine | (( | --------------------------------------------- | (( | February 9, 1992 Issue #203 | (( | --------------------------------------------- | (((((((( | Copyright (c)1992, Rovac Industries, Inc. | | Post Office Box 59, Middlesex, NJ 08846 | (( | | (((((( | CONTENTS | (( | | | * The Editors Desk..........................Ron Kovacs | ((( ((( | * Z*Net Newswire...................................... | (((( (((( | * 30 Secrets Of Atari......................Steve Bloom | (( (( (( (( | * 8-Bit Owners Update...............AtariUser Magazine | (( (( (( | * FoReM XE-Professional....................Stan Lowell | (( (( | * Z*Magazine Archives - 1984.......................... | | * Structured Programming - Part 4........Michael Stomp | (( | * Software Abuses...........................John Navas | (( (( | * Drive Tests..............................Mark Elliot | (((((((( | | (( (( | | (( (( | ~ Publisher/Editor..........................Ron Kovacs | | ~ Contributing Editor........................John Nagy | (((((((((( | ~ Contributing Editor......................Stan Lowell | (( | ~ Contributing Editor........................Bob Smith | (( ((((( | ~ Newswire Staff...................................... | (( (( | ~ Z*Net New Zealand.........................Jon Clarke | (((((((((( | ~ Z*Net Canada.........................Terry Schreiber | | |-------------| $ GEnie Address..................................Z-NET | ONLINE | $ CompuServe Address........................75300,1642 | AREAS | $ Delphi Address..................................ZNET | | $ Internet/Usenet Address................status.gen.nz |-------------| $ America Online Address......................ZNET1991 | | | Z*NET | * Z*Net:USA New Jersey...(FNET 593).....(908) 968-8148 | SUPPORT | * Z*Net:Golden Gate......(FNET 706).....(510) 373-6792 | SYSTEMS | * Blank Page.........(8-Bit FNET 9002)..(908) 805-3967 ======================================================================= * THE EDITORS DESK by Ron Kovacs ======================================================================= This edition includes a full review of FoReM XE-Professional, a BBS program for those who don't know. For an effort of fair-play, I am officially requesting from someone out there, a review of other 8-bit BBS programs. So, if you own one or know someone who does, please pass along our request and let's see a review of other programs! See you in two weeks.... ======================================================================= * Z*NET NEWSWIRE ======================================================================= ATARI PRODUCT ANNOUNCEMENT AT BCS The Boston Computer Society meeting of April 22, 1992, will feature a special presentation and announcement of new hardware from Atari Corporation. Although the world will see Atari's new hardware first at the CeBIT show in Hannover, Germany, March 10-16, the BCS appearance will be the first US showing of what may or may NOT be the much rumored "Falcon" 68040 computer. According to Atari officials, a series of new computers will be introduced, one at a time, at computer events throughout 1992. The plan is NOT to use Atari-specific shows as a venue, as much more overall industry expose will result in making the announcements at multi-brand events. The Boston Computer Society is a large and prestigious club with an active Atari contingent, and has been the venue for major product announcements by IBM and NeXT computer companies in the past. Atari made its own premier of the ST computer at a BCS meeting in 1985, and expects its new computers to cause as much of an industry stir as the revolutionary ST did seven years ago. Z*Net will offer more details of the meeting date and location in the coming weeks. ST INFORMER PUBLISHES, NEW FORMAT Late last week, the January issue of the troubled ST INFORMER magazine began arriving at dealers and subscribers. Now in a newsprint-with- color book format similar to AtariUser magazine, publisher and now editor Rod Macdonald has enlisted the aid of Brian Gockley on the East coast, Donovan Vicha covering the central USA, and Robert Goff in the West, as principal contributors. The January ST Informer issue was delayed due to the departure of the editor and key staff people some weeks ago, and the new issue shows signs of hasty assembly. In his "Potpourri" editor's page, Macdonald pledges no ad rate increases for 1992, and promises expanded news and European coverage. Meanwhile, splinter magazine ATARI ADVANTAGE is readying for a premier, perhaps in March, and AtariUser magazine is preparing for the added competition in the Atari magazine marketplace with plans for aggressive sales under a new rate structure. ATARI EXPLORER FEB AND JANUARY ISSUES RELEASED In a surprise move, Atari Corporation's own magazine, Atari Explorer, actually released copies of their February 1992 issues BEFORE the January 1992 issue. The February issue was a special MIDI issue, including a mini-magazine inside called ATARI ARTIST. Since the National Association of Music Merchants' show came at the end of January, and the MIDI and musician coverage was to have been timed for release to the crowds at NAMM, the February issue was pushed out in front of the delayed January issue. Confused yet? Explorer editor John Jainschigg was heard talking about coverage in the January issue and the publication schedule during the NAMM show: "We will soon be including that in our previous issue... our NEW issue will be LAST month's issue, so our NEXT issue will be the one AFTER this one..." Atari Explorer is officially a bi-monthly publication, but has recently had monthly issues in order to catch up after major delays in production during 1991. ======================================================================= * 30 SECRETS OF ATARI by Steve Bloom ======================================================================= (c)1983 Carnegie Publications Corp. (c)1987, 1989 Public Domain media [Author's note: Here presents information I had compiled through research and interviews with people from Atari, Inc. (a.k.a. the "old" Atari)] While I wrote this article back in 1983, I felt that much of the information would be still interesting today. What is presented here is not an exhaustive list. I used only the information I felt was not common knowledge and some insight on others. Because the magazine that originally published this, Computer Games, (February 1984) is no longer in circulation, I felt that in the best interest of all that I re- acquire publication rights. This is why I have placed this in the public domain for everyone to enjoy. The entire article is unabridged and unchanged from the original published format. Steve Bloom, May 29, 1989. 30 SECRETS OF ATARI: The real story of Asteroids, Space Invaders, Pac-Man, Pong, and Pole Position. FORWARD In its 11-year history, Atari has become one of the biggest, flashiest, most influential companies in history. They have had their share of incredible successes and embarrassing failures. Perhaps more than anything else, they have had their secrets. Atari is very tight-lipped. At one point employees were asked to sign confidentiality agreements and use magnetic ID cards to walk through the company's corridors. Aside from the actual cartridges, the public learns little about Atari's games and the people who created them. Until now. We have interviewed dozens of employees of the company, past and present. We have guaranteed them complete anonymity in exchange for a tip, an insight, a never-before-heard anecdote. From these interviews, we have compiled the following secrets of Atari, which are published here for the first time. 1. Nolan Bushnell, Atari's founding father, originally named the company Syzygy (the sun, moon, and earth in total eclipse). He renamed it to Atari because another company already owned the name Syzygy. 2. Bushnell is generally believed to be the author of Pong, Atari's first game. Actually, Magnavox released the Odyssey 100, the first home video game system, which included a game remarkably similar to Pong, several months before Pong's debut in the arcades in 1972. Years later, Bushnell admitted in court that he had seen an Odyssey prototype on display earlier in 1972. The Odyssey 100 was designed by Ralph Baer. 3. Bally/Midway rejected Bushnell's Pong when he demonstrated the game in its Chicago offices in 1972. Bushnell went back to California and started Atari. 4. Given a choice between Mappy and Pole Position, two arcade creations by the Japanese firm Namco, Bally/Midway amazingly opted for Mappy. Atari had to settle for Pole Position, which went on to become the biggest game of 1983. 5. Gravitar was one of Atari's worst-selling arcade games. So they took the game out of the cabinets and converted them all to Black Widow. 6. Mike Hally designed Gravitar. He recently redeemed himself as the project leader for Atari's spectacular Star Wars game. 7. Rick Mauer never programmed another game for Atari after he did Space Invaders for the VCS. He is said to have earned only $11,000 for a game that grossed more than $100 million. 8. Todd Fry, on the other hand, has collected close to $1 million in royalties for his widely criticized VCS Pac-Man. 9. The man for bringing Pac-Man home to Atari- Joe Robbins, former president of coin-op- was severely reprimanded by the chairman of the board Ray Kassar for making the deal with Namco without consulting him. It seems Robbins was in Japan negotiating a legal matter with Namco at the time, and Namco demanded that Atari buy the home rights to Pac-Man as part of the settlement. Pac-Man had yet to take off, but when it did, Robbin's gutsy decision paid off as Pac-Man went on to become the company's best-selling cartridge ever. 10. The man for bringing E.T. to Atari? None other than Warner Communications chairman, Steve Ross. So convinced was he that E.T. possessed video game star quality, Ross paid Steven Spielberg an enormous sum (did I hear $21 million?) for the rights to the little extraterrestrial bugger. Designer Howie Warshaw spun the game out in four months, only three million cartridges were sold and Atari began to announce million dollar losses. E.T. is now selling for as little as $5 in some stores. 11. Warshaw also designed Raiders of the Lost Ark cartridge, and Yar's Revenge, which started out as a licensed version of the arcade game, Star Castle. "Yar" is "Ray" Kassar backwards. 12. One of Atari's most popular early arcade game was Tank, only it didn't say Atari anywhere on the cabinet or screen. Instead, it said "Kee Games," which was another name for Atari from 1973-78. Atari and Kee (named after Joe Keenan, Bushnell's longtime partner) put out identical games in order to create more business for Atari. For instance, Spike (Kee) and Rebound (Atari) were volleyball games that came out a month apart in 1974. 13. Tank was designed by Steve Bristow, who is still with the company after all these years. Most recently, he has been in charge of Ataritel, Atari's telecommunications project which had been codenamed, "Falcon." 14. Code-names have always been popular at Atari. The VCS was "Stella," the 400 computer was "Candy," the 800 was "Colleen," the 5200 was "Pam." All were named after well-endowed female employees working at Atari (except for Stella, which was a bicycle trade name). 15. And there was "Sylvia," the 5200 that never was. Pam, as everyone by now knows, was a stripped down 400 computer for the sole purpose of game playing. Sylvia was intended to be Atari's answer to Intellivision and was in the works long before Pam was born. But problems developed largely because the 5200 was projected to be compatible with VCS software, which limited the design of the hardware. When push finally came to shove, Sylvia went out the window, and Pam walked in the door. 16. Cosmos, Atari's experiment with holography, was a battery-operated game system that was introduced at a New York press conference in the spring of 1980. Created by Al Alcorn, Cosmos was never to be seen again. 17. Alcorn was the first engineer hired by Nolan Bushnell. His first project was Pong. His second project was Space Race, the forerunner to Frogger. 18. Another project announced was a remote-control VCS. Since it was wireless, you could play games at 30 feet without having to hassle with the console. It too mysteriously disappeared from Atari's catalogue. (Note: it looked almost exactly like the 5200). 19. Nobody in Atari coin-op liked Dig-Dug, the company's first Japanese import, except for Brian McGhie, now with Starpath. It was McGhie who added the finishing touches to Dig Dug. His latest game is Rabbit Transit. 20. Quantum and Food Fight were not designed by Atari. They were the work of General Computer Corp. of Cambridge, Massachusetts. GCC broke into the business selling kits that would speed-up Missile Command. Atari sued and settled with GCC for the above mentioned games. 21. Tempest was originally intended to be a first-person Space Invaders -type game. Then Dave Theurer came up with idea for tubes on the screen. Theurer also designed Missile Command. 22. The first 200 Asteroid machines were actually Lunar Landers. Atari was so hot on Asteroids, that it cut short the production run on Lunar Lander- Atari's first vector game- and released the 200 complete with Lunar Lander art. 23. Asteroids had two incarnations before it achieved its spectacular success. The first, Planet Grab, simply required you to claim planets by touching them with your spaceship. The second version, allowed you to blow up the planets and duel with another ship, Space-Wars style. Only in Asteroids, which came along two years later, did Atari engineer Lyle Rains introduce the concept of floating rocks. 24. Many at Atari, past and present, dispute Rains' claim that he was solely responsible for Asteroids. Ed Logg, who programmed it, and who also had his hand at the design of Centipede and Millipede, is said to be the true mastermind behind Asteroids. 25. One of Ed Logg's game that has never been released in the arcades is called Maze Invaders. 26. Battlezone Ed Rotberg left Atari after he was forced to convert his favorite game to Army specifications. Dubbed the MK-60 by the Army, it included 30 game variations, improved steering and magnification, and simulations of Russian and American tanks. It sold for $30,000. 27. Rotberg joined two other Atari engineers, Howard Delman and Roger Hector, and formed Videa, which not too long ago was bought by Nolan Bushnell for more than $1 million amd renamed Sente Technologies. 28. President of Apple Computers Steve Jobs began his high-tech career at Atari. He was known to walk around barefoot, kick up his dirty feet on executives' desks, and talked continuously of going to India to meet a guru. Not only did he do the latter, he designed Breakout before leaving Atari for good. 29. Before they left Atari, designers Al Miller, David Crane, Larry Kaplan, and Bob Whitehead were working on games that would later become Activision cartridges. Crane's Dragster was a spin-off of the Atari coin-up Drag Race and Kaplan's Kaboom was based on the Atari coin-op Avalanche. 30. Warren Robinett, tired of Atari's policy of no author credit for game designers, decided to sign his game, Adventure, in an obscure secret room in the program. He never told his fellow designers about this for fear of word getting out and he being reprimanded. Ultimately, a 12 year-old in Salt Lake City discovered the room where it was written: "Created by Warren Robinett." To his surprise, Robinett was never punished. He too left Atari shortly thereafter. ======================================================================= * 8-BIT OWNERS UPDATE ======================================================================= The following article is reprinted in Z*Net by permission of AtariUser magazine and Quill Publishing. It MAY NOT be further reprinted without specific permission of Quill. AtariUser is a monthly Atari magazine, available by subscription for $18 a year. 8-BIT ALERT: Chuck Steinman has recently been promoted on GEnie as a CoSysOp, sharing duties with Craig Thom. If you are a GEnie subscriber, feel free to drop into the Atari 8-bit Bulletin Board, Software Libraries, or Real- Time Conference. The Atari 8-bit RTC is held from 10:00 pm to 11:00 pm each Thursday. Please drop in! OOPS! We printed the wrong phone number in the October AtariUser 8-Bit Alert. Let's try it again! Wanted: 8-bit Atari's! Dr. James Hooper is Director of Medical Services for an Alabama hospital for mentally ill offenders. He's given his own 800XL to the hospital, and patients are eagerly lining up to learn reading, typing, and computer literacy. Funds are not available for buying more, and Dr. Hooper asked AtariUser to solicit fully tax-deductible donations of Atari 8-bit equipment to expand his program. Individuals or vendors: contact Dr. Hooper at Taylor Hardin Secure Medical Facility, 1301 River Road Northeast, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 35404, 205-556-7060. Yes, this is the REAL number. THE 8-BIT STATE: Taking advantage of system upgrades. While the stock Atari 8-bit system provides the features needed for many applications, expansion options (especially of the XL/XE series) allow a system to become more powerful and easier to use. One of the most popular upgrades for the 800XL and 130XE is a memory or RAM upgrade. While plans for do-it-yourself RAM expansion are readily available in club and BBS libraries, it's nearly as cheap and much easier to buy a kit. The Newell 1 megabyte upgrade has recently been released for under $50, excluding DRAM. Newell also offers a 256K version for the XL at under $30 (excluding DRAM). While there are few applications which directly support these type of upgrades, most applications allow them to be used as large RAM Disks. Newell upgrades are distributed by American Techna-Vision, 15338 Inverness St., San Leandro, CA 94579, 800-551-9995. B&C ComputerVisions at 3257 Kifer Road, Santa Clara, CA, 95051, 408-749-1003, also carries Newell and other similar RAM upgrades. If you own an XF-551 drive, Computer Software Services (CSS) has two upgrades for you. The single-drive upgrade will allow you to replace the 5-1/4" drive with a 3.5" drive. With the new drive mechanism and a compatible DOS (SpartaDOS or MyDOS for example) you will be able to format 720K bytes per double-sided diskette. A utility is included which will allow you to read IBM or ST diskettes. This upgrade is available with a Sony mechanism for $99.95 (plus $8 S&H), or without for $59.95 (plus $5 S&H). The CSS double-drive upgrade is similar to the single-drive, except the 3.5" drive is connected in addition to your existing 5-1/4" drive. This will allow you to use both types of diskettes for only a small additional hardware cost. The basic upgrade package with a Sony mechanism costs $139.95 (plus $8 S&H), or without for $79.95 (plus $5 S&H). Another version is available for an additional $20 which allows use of two 3.5" drives, providing total storage of 1440K bytes. CSS, P.O. Box 17660, Rochester, NY 14617, 716-429-5639. TransKey (TK1), a small microprocessor based keyboard interface board, connects an IBM type keyboard to your Atari 8-bit system. TK is mounted inside your 400/800/XL/XE computer and the original keyboard retains full functionality whether the IBM keyboard is connected or not. With the recent 2.4 upgrade ROM, you can now enter macros (key sequences) from the keyboard. The ZRAM option ($13 extra) will retain those macros in memory even while your system is not powered. The basic solder-in (14 total solder connections) version of TK is $47.00, while a version with a PoKey piggy-back board is $10.00 more and reduces your work to four solder connections. TK is manufactured by DataQue Products, Post Office Box 134, Ontario, OH 44862 (USA). Another popular product from CSS is the Black Box (BB) interface. This upgrade for 600XL/800XL/130XE provides a myriad of peripheral interfaces, and a few tricks. Not only does the BB provide a parallel printer port and an RS232 serial port capable of 19.2K baud, it also is a hard drive host adapter. By adding a power supply, controller, and hard drive, you can have a complete drive system with exceptional speed. The BB also has built-in screen dump and mini-debugger software. The BB is $199.95, and there's several options. One of the more popular offerings from DataQue Products is the Turbo-816 upgrade. Similar to an upgrade which was offered for the Apple ][ (prior to the introduction of the Apple //gs), this upgrade adds 16-bit processing power, while still maintaining compatibility with current software. Turbo-816 is $104, which includes the adapter board, connecting cable, replacement OS ROM, and user diskette, and can be used with Atari 600XL/800XL/1200XL systems. SRAM cards are available in 64K byte ($53) or 256K byte ($104) sizes, or a real-time clock version including 32K bytes of battery backed SRAM ($73) and drivers in ROM (prices include S&H). There are too many upgrades available for the 8-bit Atari systems to list here. While some popular items may be out of production, they're often still available from distributors like American Techna-Vision, B&C ComputerVisions, and Best Electronics. Atari and ICD Inc. still have limited supplies of 8-bit stock on hand as of this writing, and should be contacted for more information. - Chuck Steinman BIO: Chuck Steinman, your 8-bit representative here at AtariUser, would like to hear from you! He can be contacted on GEnie at username DATAQUE, or Compuserve PPN: 71777,3223. He is also available at his recently opened Audio/Video/Computer sales and service store called Lex-Tronics, now the exclusive distributor of DataQue products, from 1pm-5:30pm ET at 419-529-9797. CSS offers an operating system (OS) upgrade which not only adds advanced features, but also contains a 400/800 compatibility mode. The UltraSpeed+ OS allows you to communicate with high speed floppy drives in their high speed mode, with any disk operating system (DOS). It also lets you reboot from any drive, including a RAMdisk. There's a built-in RAMdisk handler, which emulates a real disk without additional drivers. The UltraSpeed+ OS is $69.96 (plus $5 S&H), available from Computer Software Services. ======================================================================= * FOREM-XE PROFESSIONAL by Stan Lowell ======================================================================= History ------- One of the Atari 8-bit Bulletin Board Systems in existence is the FoReM- XE Professional program, which I just happen to run <Grin>. Ron has asked me to write a little something up about it, so...here it comes! FoReM-XE Professional(XEP or FXEP) has its roots in FoReM. When Matt Singer released FoReM to the public domain, Bob Nabour of Bob's Binary Shop in Saint Louis, MO. rewrote much of the code. Over time, Bob removed things like Anonymous messages, E-Mail to User level, etc. He added much on the other hand. Things like larger messages, Y-Batch downloading, message networking with threading, and MOST of all, it became less prone to crashes than were its ancestors! If you ever ran a FoReM, then you understand of what I speak! Around July, the SysOps of The Final Frontier in Philadelphia, Bonnie and Clyde (Donna and Bob) released the File Module they had been working on which allowed Y-Batch uploading. Binary Bob took his board off line in October of 1990. The ability to view ARC files was added by a Sysop and user of a BBS in Houston. This was expanded by Len Spencer(Moonbase Alpha in Orlando, Florida) to include viewing of ZIP, ALF, and LZH files. Len has reworked the AMP(Automatic Modem Processor) to speed it up. He is currently developing numerous other improvements to XEP, including a 9600 bps version of AMP(released a few days ago for Beta testing). All parts of the FXEP package itself have not been modified for 9600, as Len doesn't have a 9600 modem yet. Testing was done using a null modem. Marco Molison Sr.(the Doggie Diner in Sacramento, CA) recently modified the File Sig Module. With his version, you can have up to 19 Sub-sigs in each of the Main sigs. What this does is let you put all types of files relating to a platform in one sig with up to 19 types of files as its "sub-sigs!" I am VERY anxious to get this 'mod' on my BBS, but with over a thousand files to move around...oh well. Throughout the years the "FoReM" 'flavor' has been carried over. But because it is written in BasicXE, you can dress it up, and make it your own! XEP does *require* a 130XE(or upgraded XL), BasicXE, an RS232 interface for the Hayes compatible modem, and SpartaDos. Pains have been taken to try and keep it 'runnable' on a minimum of two double density drives. But realistically, these two drives hold the system. For messages and files you would need more drives. However, a hard drive is recommended. As a SysOp ---------- Numerous users in various places have written or modified games for FXEP's online games section. Two of the more prolific of these are Jerry T. Gordon and Darrel Schartman in St. Louis. I don't think there is an XEP BBS that doesn't have at least one game by each of them! There are even Docs for writing modules and games for FXEP! Virtually any game in Basic can be modified to run with FXEP. As you can tell from the above, XEP is SysOp and user supported. To help each other, a SysOp base is networked by all boards across the country. In it, we discuss new ideas, mods, problems, fixes, you name it, we have probably discussed it. There is a helpful attitude among us. Changes are shared freely. From the SysOps point of view, once running, the BBS can run error free for weeks on end. The only catch-up maintenance required would be validation of new users and uploads. Everything else is automated. The only thing that could blow you out of the water would be either a hardware error or a power hit. Several SysOps have gone away on business or vacation for several weeks and returned to find their boards humming right along. Number of messages per base is basically determined by the size of each message. When you initialize the BBS, you specify the number of bytes which each message base is allocated. There is a maximum of 999 messages per base. I have most of my Networked message bases set for 200,000 bytes. This usually means that I have anywhere between 200+ and 600 messages in most bases at any given time. I like messages with threads, and this allows me to be able to see threads backwards in case there has been a week or two between responses. All threading is automatic throughout the network even though the message numbers on each BBS will of course vary according to the local activity. The maximum FXEP message size is around 3200 bytes. There are those who prefer to have a set message size for each message so that if you have 50 messages and your maximum message size is 2k, you know that you will always have a base size of 100K-forever! With FXEP's setup, the maximum any base will grow is usually only 2-3K. At that point, it will usually compress down to its compression size. The SysOp determines this when he initializes each base size and number of messages to delete when it reaches the maximum size. My 200k bases compress to between 193 & 196K, depending upon the size of the deleted messages. One of the things which XEP does not have is read messages To/From a user. This used to be in FoReM but was removed to encourage message reading/replying and sending. There are at least two ways around it. The first is to write down any message numbers that you send and read those messages when you go to a base. The other way is to do a "R N" when you enter the base and then after reading the first message do a "B" for backwards. The last message that you read should have been yours. This only works on your very next call though. FXEP *can be* a bear to setup, especially if you have never run a BBS before. It is VERY IMPORTANT that you read ALL documentation before you do *anything!* Several SysOps have set it up without any problems whatsoever, but they were quite familiar with SpartaDos 3.2, Basic, and running a BBS. Patience is the operative word here! <Grin> It has been successfully setup and run by first-timers too! As with most complicated things, you should understand what it is you are doing and think about it *before* you do it! From the users point of view ---------------------------- FXEP can have up to 20 message bases. Most boards have local and networked message bases. For anyone who is not familiar with 'what' a networked message base is, let me explain. When you enter(post) a message to someone in a message base, that message is not only read by everyone local, but at a predetermined time, it is sent to all other bulletin boards in the network who share that base. This is of particular advantage when you have a question or problem. Your message goes out to other parts of the country and is seen by many, MANY more people. You could get an answer from a 'local' user, or you could get several answers from 'remote'(to you anyway) users. This is what makes networking so great! The people in the FXEP network are some of the friendliest, most helpful around! Some of the options concerning networking being investigated and discussed at this time are inter-Atari 8-bit networking, Forem-ST networking, and networking with a PC based network. FXEP tries to be user friendly. That is, most of the commands are logical extensions of what they do. In most places a "?" will bring up a menu of commands valid at that point and what they do. The only confusion might be in cases where you are 'used' to hitting an "E" to enter a message. In a FXEP message base "E" will let you send an E-mail message to another user. You would press "S" in a FXEP BBS message base to <S>end a message to another user. If you are in the process of reading messages and you pressed "R", you would <R>eply to the current message. When reading messages, pressing the "<" will show you the 'originating' message that generated the reply which you just read. Pressing ">" will show you any replies to the message which you are reading. There are a plethora of online games available for the program. This is a very popular feature for those boards which have lots of local callers who enjoy them. Other features available on FXEP are the online survey where users can answer a variety of questions and see the answers, the Database area where just about any text file you wish can be offered for online reading/capture. Another feature is the "Birthday Module" where users enter their birthday. When anyone logs on, the list is checked to see if anyone has a birthday on that day. If there is someone, a message tells everyone that it is your birthday! Each user has a 'Profile'. It contains personal information about the user as well as some of his preferences: page width, length, message bases he wishes to scan on each call. If there are new messages in any of them, he is taken to each base in turn to read them. These can be accessed from the main menu by pressing the letter "Q" for Quikscan. Of course, ANY base can be accessed by "Z"ipping to it from the main menu prompt or at the end of a message base. Pressing the <F>iles from the Main Prompt will load the File Sig Module where uploads/downloads are done. Once there, you pick the File Sig area you wish and then do a browse of: all files, from a file number, or from a particular date or the date of your last logon. You can also search for part of a filename(sans extender). Or just look at new files since your last call. If you see something you want you can either "Flag" several files for Y-Batch download, or download them one at a time. As for protocols. you have X-modem, 1K-Xmodem(aka. Y-Modem), Ascii, and Y-Batch for either Uploading or Downloading. Unfortunately, one of the warts of FXEP is the skimpy file descriptions possible. Only 40 chars are there for you to describe a file. Some SysOps have an Upload Message base for more detailed descriptions. On my board, I have a Message File Base for all three Systems which I support. Of course, users must actually GO there and send a message about their uploads! I am probably as bad as many others when it comes to this. Where can you get it? --------------------- Where can you get a copy? All FoReM-XEP boards have the Basic program available for download as 3 Discomm'ed double density disks. Most of us also have an assortment of games, mods, etc. The latest version as I write this is version 5.0 for FoReM-XEP and 3.1 for the File Module. None of us(we SysOps) know why FXEP isn't on CIS or GEnie?? It will be uploaded there one day, but is not there at present. When it does make it onto the service(s), the SysOps who have accounts on the service will check for any questions about the program. We have recently gone through a "shrinkage" when we lost both the Final Frontier in Philly and the Atarian Domain in Orlando to PC platforms/ BBSs. Numerous mods were written by these two boards. Both SysOps have sold their hardware, but as far as we know, only the "Atarian Domain" hardware will re-surface as an FXEP BBS at this time. We also have two other boards 'pending' on the network. For now, the FoReM-XE Professional Bulletin Boards which are in the network are: *Blank Page BBS - S. Bound Brook, NJ (My Board) 908-805-3967 *Gateway City - St.Louis, MO (Support Board) 314-647-3290 *Moonbase Alpha - Orlando, FL 407-578-2811 The Outhouse BBS - Belleville, IL 618-398-0335 *The Doggie Diner -Sacramento, CA 916-921-1935 The Graveyard BBS - Sacramento, CA 916-568-1712 * - Carries Znet Pubs Networked message base. I have only touched on a few points of FXEP. For more information, call one of the BBSs listed above. ======================================================================= * Z*MAGAZINE ARCHIVES - 1984 ======================================================================= Commodore 1702 Monitor Cable It's no secret that the 1702 is about the best thing that's happened to Atari computers since their birth. However, in keeping with the Commodore tradition, a few tips will help those who use or plan to purchase this product. First, as with any color TV it needs a few days to "burn-in". Second the unit I purchased was way out of alignment. Get a "techie" to open the back and tweak the centering, sub contrast, screen, and focus controls. Do this with the front controls set at their detent position. Have someone make you a cable to enter the monitor through the back door. Forget the composite, go for the chroma and luma ports. Lastly, the product is made by JVC for Commodore, uses a high quality Hitachi tube and does a damned fine job with a VCR or VDP as well. At $225.00, its street price, it can't be touched. That said, look for more details when I Test LAB the unit in Electronic Games Magazine. I may even do a show and tell on making the cable, but for now suggest those in the know go to Radio Shack for the requisite parts. Total cost is under $10.00 if you can strip leads and solder. Go to a Radio Shack and purchase a five-pin DIN Male connector. Also get hold of their 3 or 6 foot audio cable terminating with in four RCA (phono) plugs. Next clip off all the plugs at one end and strip wires. The center of each of the four cables goes to pins 1, 3,4, and 5 of the DIN plug. The shields connect together and go to pin 2. Three of the four connections will be used. Depending on color you can experiment safely until you find the right connections. Sorry but I can't locate the pin out chart or I'd be more specific. Anyway mis plugging them won't do any harm and if you can solder professionally, you needn't worry about shorts. The results will astound you. And if you can't handle an iron, have a "techie whip it up for you. Shouldn't cost more than $25.00. The parts cost furnished is under $10.00. ************************************************** ***** ATTENTION ATARI DEALERS and DEVELOPERS ***** ************************************************** We at Atari Advantage Magazine have an offer you just can't pass up... A FREE AD! Here's the deal. If you are going to advertise with us in our first few issues, with at least a 3 time contract, we will run your ad for free in our first issue. If you decide not to sign a contract with us, we'll only charge half price for the ad. Also, we're asking that you submit an ad similar in size to what you are going to be running in the future. We've spent the last couple days trying to call everyone with this offer, but we're not reaching everyone fast enough. We want to give anyone interested in advertising with us a chance to take advantage of this offer. If this sounds like the deal for you, call and let us know what size you are going to send in, and then get your ad in the mail to us! We are trying to put our first issue out by February 19-21, so we need to know RIGHT NOW if you are interested in this offer! We only have so much space to give away, so ads will be placed on a first come first serve basis--don't be the last one in! Atari Advantage can be reached in the following ways: Phone: (503) 476-3578 FAX : (503) 476-0719 GEnie: AT-VANTAGE CIS : 70007,3615 U.S. Mail: Atari Advantage Magazine P.O. Box 803 Merlin, OR 97532 UPS, FedEx: Atari Advantage Magazine 400 Galice Rd. Merlin, OR 97532 ======================================================================= * ADVENTURES IN STRUCTURED PROGRAMMING - Part 4 by Michael Stomp ======================================================================= IV. ANOTHER DIRECTION (Continuing a sketch of different methods of structured programming, which follows a characterization of methods by P.J. Plauger in a series of articles in Computer Language magazine.) OUTSIDE-IN DESIGN The method is applicable when both input and output data structures are non-trivial, and they clash, so that neither right-to-left or left-to- right designs fit. You must approach the center from all directions at once, hence the name of this method. One approach is to try to 'marry' the two conflicting data structures into a program structure that accommodates both; a program that is neither a 'parser of input' nor a 'report generator', but combines the logic of both. Depending upon the details of the structures involved, the final product might look more like one or the other, but by considering both structures in the design you can be relatively sure that you will accommodate both. Sometimes such a 'marriage' just won't work; the alternative then is a 'divorce'. That is, break up a difficult problem into two or more simpler problems. Break the original module into two, a 'front end' to process the input, and a 'back end' to handle the output, and connect the two with a data stream whose structure is a simple repetition of the common atomic structure. Now you have two simpler problems. The front end is a classic input driven form, reducible by left-to-right design. This module unpacks the input into the simpler intermediate data form. The back end is a classic output driven form, reducible by right-to-left design, which composes the more complex output structure from these. (It may be convenient to include additional data transformers in the middle.) A couple of examples: Consider the reading of data from disk files. The input structure is zero or more fixed length blocks (sectors), with the last block possibly shorter than the rest. The output structure is either (1) a repetition of single bytes, or (2) a repetition of records (zero or more bytes followed by an End-Of-Line character). You don't generally write such a program; it is DOS, which reads each sector into a buffer and then unpacks it as needed. The second example is one you might consider writing yourself; a text formatter. The input data structure is zero or more records of indeterminate length, while the output may be more complex, such as: one or more pages, each consisting of 1) a header, 2) from zero to MAXLINES lines, each less than WIDTH in length, and followed by an EOL, 3) a footer. The structure clash is pretty obvious; there is no relationship between the words in any one input record and the output lines they generate. Resolving this clash is equally obvious. You want an input module that reads input records and delivers separate words. You also want an output module that eats words one at a time and produces lines to be written out. The intermediate data stream you introduce is a sequence of zero or more words. With more complex structures to resolve, or in cases with multiple inputs or outputs, you may need additional intermediate data streams and more modules. In the example of the text formatter, one might want the output lines to be right-justified and word-wrapped, additional complications. Then it would be advantageous to introduce a third module which would take words as input and produce the desired lines as another intermediate data stream. The lines, in turn, would be the input to the final module which would format the entire page. But the idea is the same; break up complex modules into simpler modules so that each module is easier to implement. Then the individual modules are organized by top-down design into a single program, a 'tree' of modules with the controlling module at the top. But which module is to be the one at the top, the 'boss module' which calls the others? The answer is: any one can be the boss. However, the form in which a module is written depends upon where in the tree it is. To illustrate this, let's consider a case for which the data flow diagram is: =>[A] -> [B] -> [C]=> Each  is a data transform module which consumes input and produces output. From this, one could make three different program structures, depending upon whether [A], [B], or [C] is to be the main (controlling) module. Let's consider the effect on the form of [B] for each case. 1) [B] is the main module. It is built around a loop which calls [A] when it needs data to process, and calls [C] when it has put together a record to pass along for disposal. In an ACTION!-like pseudo-code it would look like: WHILE (more_input) DO input=CallA() transform(input, output) CallC(output) OD Note that [B] must 'look ahead' via the condition more_input to check when [A] has reached the end of its input data in order to know when to terminate its loop. 2) [C] is the main module. [B] is now an input module called by [C] whenever it needs another record. In turn, [B] repeatedly calls upon [A] until it has assembled a complete record. [B] then returns control to [C] with the record as the function return value. Thus, [B] is now written as a function, such as: FUNCT Get_Transformed() input=CallA() transform(input,output) RETURN (output) In addition, [B] must be able to detect when [A] has reached the end of the data and pass that information along to [C]. 3) [A] is the main module. [B] is now an output module called by [A] whenever it has data ready. [B] must maintain enough private memory (like the disk buffer in the DOS example above) to hold a complete record, along with information about the current state of that record. [B] adds the newest data to the record, calls [C] for output if the record is complete, and then updates its private memory so that it knows where to start the next time it is called. [B] then returns control to [A]. The pseudo-code looks like: PROC Put_Transformed(input) transform(input, output) CallC(output) RETURN In this case, [B] need not worry about looking ahead, since [A] is in control, and knows when the input data is exhausted. A similar analysis can be done for each of the other modules for the three cases. The form for any module is given in the following table: ('Position' is relative to the main module.) Position Form -------- -------------------------- main Loop structure input Function that returns value output Procedure with input value In general, any module is simplest to write as a main module. In addition, an output module will need private memory (unless it is the last in the chain), and main and input modules will need to look ahead for the end of the data (unless the first in the chain). All these are factors which one should weigh when deciding which module to make the main one. Splitting modules this way is an application of the principle of information hiding. Each module is responsible for the detailed knowledge of one, and preferably just one, data stream. Ideally, everyone else calls upon one module to generate data for that stream and upon a companion module to consume it. Information about the structure of the stream is shared between these two modules but hidden from the rest of the universe. That way, changes in the structure of the stream can safely be made by changing just the producer and consumer modules -- nothing else should be perturbed by the change. That's structured programming at its best. An interesting exercise is to consider the effect on such a structure for a text formatter when an additional input data stream is introduced. To be specific, if the output is paused at the end of each page awaiting user response before proceeding, or (in the case of a BBS program) checked for a user command to pause, resume, or abort the output. How does that affect the choice of which module should be the main module? What additional data must be passed around for each case? Does it make a difference if a pause is allowed at the end of each line? Each word? Each byte? Outside-in design is sometimes referred to in the literature as the Jackson design method, after Michael Jackson (not the singer), who has written quite a bit on the subject. I see that I have filled my allotted space and only covered one method this time. With any luck I will be able to finish up in one more installment. See you, same place, next month. ======================================================================= * SOFTWARE ABUSES by John Navas ======================================================================= Some industry figures have argued that public education and support are important steps in controlling software piracy. However, as the debate over piracy continues, I am reminded that there is a powerful force at work which undoubtedly erodes sympathy with the plight of software publishers. That force is public anger, anger which is fueled by the practices of many software publishers. Here are some of these practices: 1. NO SOFTWARE WARRANTIES To quote from a typical software agreement: "User acknowledges that user accepts this package AS DELIVERED, AS-IS, WITH ALL FAULTS WHETHER KNOWN OR YET TO BE DISCOVERED, VOID OF ANY WARRANTY WHATSOEVER AS TO PACKAGES'S QUALITY, PERFORMANCE, MERCHANTABILITY, [OR] FITNESS FOR ANY PARTICULAR USE...." [emphasis added] Consider that wording carefully; it's NOT just legal jargon! The vendor is clearly refusing to stand behind its product in any way. If the product doesn't work, no matter how bad it is, you're out of luck, you can't even get your money back (unless the retailer does it voluntarily). As a practical matter, how can you even find out if most software works without buying it and trying it? (Any time that you hear a software vendor complaining about the cost of support, just take a look at the warranty.) I submit that this "wash our hands of it" attitude inevitably erodes customer respect for the rights of the vendor. Is there any legitimate reason for such a TOTAL warranty disclaimer? Some vendors argue that it's needed to protect them from lawsuits demanding damages far in excess of the value of the software (or a vendor's ability to pay). Such lawsuits ARE a legitimate business concern, but a complete warranty disclaimer is NOT the right way to solve the problem! Rather the vendor should simply limit liability to the value of the software and disclaim any liability for consequential damages. (A further source of customer anger is that this agreement is extremely one-sided. Liability limits are NOT applied to the customer. Instead, elsewhere in this same agreement it says: "User acknowledges that violations of the provisions herein may cause damage ... WHICH MAY GREATLY EXCEED THE LICENSE FEE PAID AND THAT ... PUNITIVE RELIEF MAY BE APPROPRIATE...." [emphasis added]) Whatever happened to "satisfaction or your money back"? I do my best to avoid software distributed without a reasonable warranty. 2. POOR QUALITY A less charitable reason for warranty disclaimers is poor software quality. Our industry has an appalling record of releasing software which is poorly designed, poorly documented, and, worst of all, inadequately tested. Users are expected to find the bugs the hard way. And when they inevitably find those bugs, the warranty makes it clear that they are on their own. Of course, ignorance of any problems might be an excuse for defective software, but all too often, software is distributed with KNOWN PROBLEMS. At least problems are known to the vendor: rarely are known problems disclosed to a customer after purchase. Even more rarely is a prospective purchaser warned of known problems before purchase. What excuse can there possibly be for this practice? 3. FRAGILE PROTECTION SCHEMES Protection schemes are a major source of bugs. The worst examples are programs that load correctly on an old, unmodified Atari, but fail to load from an otherwise plug-compatible disk drive (or even a different model Atari disk drive), or with a different version of the operating system or floating point ROMs. Protection schemes also are a major source of frustration. They usually make it difficult or impossible to do such important things as to make legitimate backups, modify the software, store programs on a hard disk, use a different DOS or a RamDisk, or add in non-standard device handlers. If protection schemes did not get in the way of legitimate uses, there would be much less incentive to crack them. But they do and so they inevitably create a negative, contentious relationship between the vendor and the customer. (Remember how people overwhelmingly rejected seat belt interlocks on cars?) As a result, a hacker who breaks protection schemes has become a kind of folk hero. Since this kind of person enjoys the challenge of an elaborate protection scheme, I believe that such schemes are actually counterproductive. 4. UNFAIR UPDATE POLICIES Software bugs are often fixed sooner or later in a "new release". In the best of all possible worlds, the vendor would promptly notify existing customers and supply the update at little or NO cost. Unfortunately, this is the exception and not the rule. All too often the update charge is a substantial fraction of the original cost. (I think a "little" charge is something like $5.) Worse, often the update is characterized as a "new product" and only a modest trade-in credit (if any) is allowed. And of course it's the lack of any warranty that allows the vendor to get away with this practice. This doesn't seem fair to MANY customers! 5. RESTRICTIVE LICENSE AGREEMENTS Let's go back again to the typical license agreement: "All ... packages are licensed for use on a SINGLE COMPUTER SYSTEM ONLY. The licensee (user) has not purchased any rights to copy, distribute, LEND, SELL, OR OTHERWISE USE [THE] ... PACKAGE ON ANY SYSTEM OTHER THAN THE ONE SPECIFIED BY THIS AGREEMENT." [emphasis added] The single system is to be designated by SERIAL NUMBER. Now wait just a minute! Even if I don't copy the program, you mean I can't LOAN the program to a friend who wants to try it? You mean if I buy a second Atari computer I can't use the program on both machines at different times? You mean if I sell my old Atari I still can't use the program on the new one? And I can't even SELL it with the old system? In my opinion, these provisions are simply OUTRAGEOUS! Is it any wonder that reasonable restrictions get ignored along with the unreasonable ones? 6. UNREALISTIC PRICING The computer industry has a long history of declining prices. As technology has improved and production costs have come down through economies of scale, prices have followed. Except for software. Consider the example of VisiCalc. Even though it was one of the biggest selling (most profitable) packages of all time, VisiCorp treated us to a significant price INCREASE when the new company name was adopted. Other successful packages have either held or increased prices; few have gone down. Since the economies of scale in software are MUCH greater than those in hardware, this is hard for many people to understand or accept. On the other hand, we see software given away (bundled) with hardware, either as a promotion or as a standard practice. This is in sharp contrast to the retail pricing of the same software and it wrongly communicates to customers that software doesn't really have much value no matter how it is priced. The obvious conclusion is that much software is overpriced. It probably is! Another problem is the hidden extra charge. Only after the customer purchases a presumably complete package is it discovered that something else must be purchased. Like an expensive "warranty registration" and/ or a backup copy. Like a printer driver for a word processing program. Like a run-time package for a compiler. Or a substantial extra charge for "commercial use". Is it any wonder that many customers feel more like victims? Many software vendors are also insensitive to the needs of multiple users, especially educational institutions and businesses. If a business buys a program for a multi-user system, the program can be made available to all users at the same time for a single charge. The cost per user can be quite low. On the other hand, if the business installs individual workstations, the software vendor expects the business to buy a copy for EVERY work station. (They don't even want them to be traded around.) Some vendors offer an appropriate volume discount, but many do not; one suspects that greed gets in the way. The potential problem becomes even worse if the workstations are networked with programs stored in a single file server. If a program is downloaded to individual workstations on demand, should the charge be more like the multi-user system example or more like the individual workstations example? Until there are fair and reasonable answers to these questions, customers will continue to be frustrated. Of course, not all software publishers are guilty of these abuses. In fact, a few are remarkable by their enlightened approach to the market. And, in the long run, the competitive process will tend to weed out the worst ones. Unfortunately, in the meantime we all suffer from these widespread vendor abuses. Perhaps it's time for responsible software publishers to get together to establish a (voluntary) code of conduct for the industry. Personally, I think some self-policing is LONG OVERDUE: if we don't do it, the government may wind up doing it for (to) us! I want to make it clear that I do NOT believe that these vendor abuses justify customer abuses (piracy)! But, to the software publishers crying about piracy, I say "clean up your act". Only then will you build the public support you need. ======================================================================= * DRIVE TESTS by Mark D. Elliott ======================================================================= Contrary to rumors I heard on CompuServe, about the XF551 (and XF35 Kit) as being only half as fast as the Happy or Doubler equipped 1050, I decided to do a little bench testing myself, just to get an idea of just "how fast" these drives really are. Since I just "happened" to have all the drives below, just laying around, here's what I found: Test#1 Test#2 Test#3 Disk Drive (Read) (Write) (Format) ----------------- ------ ------- -------- Atari 1050 (SD) 88 100 35 Atari 1050 (ED) 84 95 36 Doubler 1050 (SD) 50 64 22* Doubler 1050 (ED) 47 58 22* Doubler 1050 (DD) 37 44 22* Happy 1050 (SD) 42(50) 83(63) 23(22*) Happy 1050 (ED) 39(47) 73(58) 25(22*) Happy 1050 (DD) 35(36) 54(43) 25(22*) Atari XF551 (SD) 70 75 26 Atari XF551 (ED) 80 85 26 Atari XF551 (DD) 45 50 50* Atari XF551 (DSDD) 45 50 50* XF35-XF551 (SD) 85 90 67 XF35-XF551 (ED) 80 85 52 XF35-XF551 (DD) 45 50 67* XF35-XF551 (DSDD) 45 50 130* XF35-XF551 (DSQD) 45 50 130* * = High Speed Skew was available and used for that set of tests. Density: SD = 90K, ED = 127K, DD = 180K, DSDD = 360K, and DSQD = 720K. Notes: All times above are given in seconds, and are accurate to within 1 second. All disks used were formatted in the SpartaDOS mode. The Happy 1050 cannot format disks in the U.S Sector Skew (Standard format time given). However, with the help of our Happy Doubler program, the Happy 1050 can be be programmed to fully emulate the U.S. Doubler, including formatting in the U.S. Skew. The times for the Happy Doubler programmed 1050, are shown in parenthesis. For the normal read/write tests on the Happy 1050, a disk formatted under the Happy Doubler program was used. Skewing was used (where applicable), to show the fastest times, under these test conditions. Test Equipment Used: A 576K-130XE with SpartaDOS X (4.20), the Happy Doubler program, standard 1050, Doubler 1050, Happy 1050, XF551, and XF35-XF551 drives. Test # 1: Read a file that is 85,750 bytes, copied from the specific drive to a SpartaDOS X RAMdisk. Test # 2: Write a file that is 85,750 bytes, copied from the SpartaDOS X RAMdisk to the specified drive. Test # 3: Format a disk, in the specified density. Obviously, the read and write times, for the XF551 or XF35'ed drive is NOT half this speed of the Happy or Doubler! In fact, they are pretty darn close! (Don't want to mention any names, (like Bob Puff, or Tim Patrick! - <just kidding>). I would have tested the Super Archiver as well this time, but one was not handy at this time. However, tests I performed on it earlier this year, showed it being just a tad slower than the U.S. Doubler. The only "slow" time I see, is when formatting the 3.5" XF35 drive. But, there is soooo much storage there (720K), that you will hardly be formatting disks that often, to begin with! Even when backing up hard drives, the amount of disks required would be a real time saver! And, those 3.5" disk are soooo neat! You Never have to worry about finding a disk sleeve. So, what do all these tests mean? Obviously, this is by NO MEANS as complete as possible! Other factors, such as; DOS used and the size of it's copy buffer, sector copying, copying small files, and your other peripherals, will have an effect on the outcomes. However, these should at least give you an idea, of just how fast these drives are (especially when compared to a standard 1050, or even an old 810 drive, which is so sloooooow!) Other things to consider - Up until this year, the price of the 5.25" blank disks were much cheaper to buy than the newer 3.5" disks. Until this year, the 3.5" disks cost about $1 each. Currently, you can usually find decent bulk 5.25" disks, for about 40 cents or less each. However, since more and more IBMs nowadays, are sold with the 3.5" drives (in addition to the Atari ST, Amiga, and Macintosh), the price has come down to reasonable levels. Careful shopping can get you the 3.5" disks, for as little as 70 cents (or less) each. As far as using this guide to purchase a new drive or add-on for your system, these are my personal recommendations: 1) For a casual user, a U.S. Doubler 1050 is fine. 2) For routine disk maintenance and sector copying, 2 - U.S. Doubler 1050s should fill the bill. 3) For a person who wants to back-up their commercial software, a Happy 1050 will work. Our Happy Doubler is also highly recommended. 4) For a person that does a lot of disk copies, a Happy 1050 (as D1:), and a U.S. Doubler 1050 will work great. 5) For someone that wants the ULTIMATE in disk copying, then 3 or 4 Happy 1050s cannot be beat! 6) For someone that wants a low-cost add-on drive, that offers a lot of storage, the XF551 is a great buy! 7) For someone that wants the ULTIMATE in storage capability per drive, or for backing up a hard drive, then a XF35-XF551 will do well. 8) For someone that runs a BBS, a couple of XF35-XF551s should do just fine. 9) For a power-user that wants the most storage and the fastest read/ write times, then you should consider a hard drive, as well. Notes: The XF551 or XF35-XF551 is not recommended to be used as D1: with commercial software, especially protected ones. (because they spin at 300 RPM compared to 288 for most other drives, among other things) Costs per Drive --------------- Atari 1050 - $179.95 (hard to find these days!) U.S. Doubler 1050 - $39.95 + $179.95 for the 1050 = $219.90 Happy 1050 - $149.95 + $179.95 = $329.90 (Happy board is no longer made!) Atari XF551 - $199.95 (great buy!) XF35-XF551 - $34.95 + $100 (3.5" w/cage) + $179.95 = $334.90 Note: The above are the suggested retail prices. Careful shopping can get you an even better deal! So, upon closer look, the XF35-XF551 is not really as expensive (compared to the others), as one might think! And, it offers the MOST storage per dollar! Hmmmm, I started out just testing the speeds of the drives, and here I am, writing a review of them! It may seem I am a little biased towards our products, however, I am only human! <grin> Oh-well..... Features/Conclusions -------------------- Atari 1050 - Single or Enhanced Density. Maximum storage = 127K. Well- built and very dependable. Uses industry standard ICs on it's circuit board (except for ROM), meaning replacement parts are easy to find. However, the drive mechanism is NOT a typical IBM type part, and can only be found at Atari-type stores. The 1050 is getting harder and harder to find these days! Atari 1050 w/U.S. Doubler - Single, Enhanced, or Double Density. Capable of formatting disks in U.S. Sector Skew, for added speed. Maximum storage = 180K. Easy to install. Excellent capabilities, at a low price. Atari 1050 w/Happy - Single, Enhanced, or Double Density. Capable of backing up commercially protected disks. Maximum storage = 180K. Easy to install. Getting harder and harder to find! Happy Computers stopped making them awhile back, and the ones they do have, were raised in price, back to $149.95! Atari XF551 - Single, Enhanced, Double Density, or Double Sided Double Density. Capable of formatting disks in a special skew (similar to the U.S. Doubler). Maximum storage = 360K. Very easy to service (if required), since it's circuit board is small an easy to follow. Uses industry standard ICs (except ROM). Also uses an industry standard drive mechanism (finally!). Atari XF551 w/XF35 Kit - Single, Enhanced, Double, Double Sided Double Density, or Double Sided Quad Density. Capable of formatting disks in the skew also. Maximum storage = 720K. Uses a industry standard 3.5" drive mechanism. Copyrights: Atari, 410, XM301, 130XE, 1050, and XF551 are trademarks of Atari Corp. ICD, P:R Connection, U.S. Doubler, and the U.S. Sector Skew are trademarks of ICD Inc. Happy is a trademark of Happy Computers. Super Archiver, and Bob Puff <grin>, are trademarks of Computer Software Services (C.S.S.). I.C., Happy Doubler, Immitator Controller, IC1050 Controller, SIO Port Box, SIO Switch Box, and XF35 Kit are trademarks of Innovative Concepts. While I got your attention, I might as well plug some of products that are related to this article: XF35 Kit - Contains Upgrade ROM and adapting cables, for converting the Atari XF551 to the newer 3.5" - 720K format. (3.5" drive and mounting cage optional). Supports high speed skew, and works in 720K format with; MYDOS, SpartaDOS, and the SpartaDOS X cartridge. Also works with all other DOSes in lesser formats. Some soldering and desoldering required. Sale Price (until 8/31/89): $29.95 (+ S&H). Happy Doubler - Allows you to program your Happy 1050 drives to fully emulate ICD's U.S. Doubler, including formatting disks in the U.S. sector skew (which is not normally possible!). Also allows you to re- program your drive numbers up to D8:, without touching the switches in back! This way, up to 8 - Happy 1050s can be used at once! (4 - programmed as Doublers 5-8 and another 4 - as normal). Completely software based, no installation required! Price: $19.95 (+ S&H). IC1050 Controller - Write protect module for the Atari 1050 drive (including those equipped with the U.S. Doubler, Happy clone, or Super Archiver). No more notching disks! Has a 3 - position switch for write protect mode; 1) As normal, 2) Do not write, and 3) Will write to any disk. Also has a two color LED, for monitoring the write protect status. Easy to install, no soldering required. Price: $29.95 (+ S&H). Immitator Controller - For Genuine Happy 1050 drives; All the features of our IC1050 Controller, plus; An extra 2 position switch, for fast/ slow modes. Price: $39.95 (+ S&H). SIO Port Box - Solves the problem of "dead end" peripherals, like the; 410 Recorder, XM301, and most printer interfaces. Also solves weak signal problems, by allowing you to distribute your system better. Easy to use, just plug-in! No power required. Price: $34.95 SIO Switch Box - Allows you to switch between either; two computers and one peripheral set-up, OR one computer between two peripheral setups (example: two drives set to D1:). Also solves the problem of using two devices that draw their power from the computer, like the; XM301, P:R Connection, and most printer interfaces. Easy to use, just plug-in! No power required. price: $49.95 (+ S&H). For more information on the XF35 Kit, please see the article by Matthew Ratcliff, in the September 1989 issue of Antic. Or, you can call or write (we have many other products): Innovative Concepts (I.C.) 31172 Shawn Drive Warren, MI 48093 USA Phone: (313) 293-0730 CompuServe: 76004,1764 Final Note: This article on drives first appeared in the 8-bit section of CompuServe. It may be freely distributed to BBS's or other informational services, as long as it remains intact and unchanged. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ To sign up for DELPHI service, call (with modem) (800) 695-4002. Upon connection, hit <return> once or twice. At Password: type ZNET and hit <return>. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ To sign up for GEnie service call (with modem) (800) 638-8369. Upon connection type HHH and hit <return>. Wait for the U#= prompt and type XTX99436,GEnie and hit <return>. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ To sign up for CompuServe service call (with phone) (800) 848-8199. Ask for operator #198. You will be promptly sent a $15.00 free membership kit. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Z*Net International Atari Online Magazine is a weekly publication covering the Atari and related computer community. Material published in this edition may be reprinted under the following terms only. All articles must remain unedited and include the issue number and author at the top of each article reprinted. Reprint permission granted, unless otherwise noted, to registered Atari user groups and not for profit publications. Opinions present herein are those of the individual authors and does not necessarily reflect those of the staff. This publication is not affiliated with the Atari Corporation. Z*Net, Z*Net News Service, Z*Net International, Rovac, Z*Net Atari Online and Z*Net Publishing are copyright (c)1985-1992, Syndicate Publishing, Rovac Industries Incorporated, Post Office Box 59, Middlesex, New Jersey, 08846-0059, Voice: (908) 968-2024, BBS: (908) 968-8148, (510) 373-6792. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Z*Magazine Copyright (c)1992, Rovac Industries, Inc... ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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