Z*Net: 2-Jan-93 #9301

From: Bruce D. Nelson (aa789@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 01/03/93-04:32:54 PM Z

From: aa789@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Bruce D. Nelson)
Subject: Z*Net: 2-Jan-93 #9301
Date: Sun Jan  3 16:32:54 1993

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 Z*NET: ATARI ONLINE MAGAZINE  Copyright (c)1993, Syndicate Publishing
   Volume 8, Number 1     Issue #485     January 2, 1993    File:93-01
  Publisher/Editor..........................................Ron Kovacs
  Assistant Editor...........................................Ed Krimen
  Writer............................................Michael R. Burkley
  Z*Net News International Gateway..........................Jon Clarke
  Z*Net News Service.........................................John Nagy
 GEnie..............Z-NET  CompuServe....75300,1642  Delphi.........ZNET
 Internet...status.gen.nz  America Online..ZNET1991  AtariNet..51:1/13.0
         # The Editors Desk...........................Ron Kovacs
         # GEnie Top 100 Downloads of 1992............Ron Kovacs
         # Blackmail For Falcon.................................
         # CompuServe Expands To Hong Kong......................
         # Optical Publishing Association.......................
         # Reader Commentary......................Richard Sitbon
         # CMC Expands.............................Press Release
         # Z*Net Calender.......................................
         # AtariUser Reviews....................................
 ######  By Ron Kovacs
 ######  ---------------------------------------------------------------
 Happy New Year!  Before we get into this special vacation edition of
 Z*Net, here is Jon Clarke's Xmas/New Year Greeting.

                    Seasons Greetings from the Gateway
                      Ron (The Boss) Kovacs           (       )
                       Z*NET International          (         )
                               -^x^-               (          )
                             /~     ~\           (           ) John Nagy
                            |         |         (           )  The other
       From the             |         |        (           )     BOSS
 Z*NET INTERNATIONAL CREW   |     __ _,       (~~~~-(     )
      HAPPY 1993           /\/\  (. ).)       `_'_', (   )
   SEASONS GREETINGS        C       __)       (.( .)-(  )
                            |   /~~~  \      (_      ( )
                            /   \ ~===='    /_____/` D)
                          /`-_   `---'         \     |
                     .__|~-/^\-~|_/_   |^^^^^^^||    |
                    __.         ||/.\  |       |OooooO
                    \           ---. \ |       |      \ _
                   _-    ,`_'_'  .~\  \|__   __|-____  / )
                  <     -(. ).)   > \  ( .\ (. )     \(_/ )
                   ~-       _) \_- ooo @  (_)  @      \(_//.
                  / /_C (-.____)  /((O)/       \     ._/\~_.
                 /   |_\     /   / /\\\\`-----''    _|>o<  |__
                 |     \ooooO   (  \ \\ \\___/     \ `_'_',  /
                  \     \__-|    \  `)\\-^\\ ^--.  /_(.(.)- _\
                   \   \ )  |-`--.`--=\-\ /-//_  '  ( c     D\
                    \_\_)   |-___/   / \ V /.~ \/\\\ (@)___/ ~|
                   /        |       /   | |.  /`\\_/\/   /   /
                  /         |      (   C`-'` /  |  \/   (/  /
                 /_________-        \  `C__-~   |  /    (/ /
                      | | |          \__________|  \     (/

                 The Editor         Z*NET PACIFIC    Z*NET South
                  Ed Krimen          Jon Clarke      Chris Thorpe
 Thanks Jon!
 This is our first edition of the new year and we start it off by having
 the ENTIRE staff on vacation.  It turns out that I am the ONLY person
 working during this holiday. :-)
 Missing from this issue are:  The Z*Net Newswire, The Unabashed 
 Atariophile and the Perusing GEnie column.  They will be back next week.
 If you are up to date on community news, you should know by now that 
 there are a number of comments and allocations being made against the
 mail order company, ABCO.  This is the same company that advertises in
 ST Report Online Magazine each week.
 In our last few editions of the 1992, we told you about some of the
 things taking place and also published an article written by one of 
 their unhappy customers.  In the last three weeks, more people are
 surfacing with problems, specific to ABCO Computer.
 In our own investigation, if you want to call it that, we have validated
 the Better Business Bureau's label of unsatisfied rating, and spoke 
 breifly with Ralph Mariano, the owner.  He commented, "ABCO will satisfy
 all of it's customers.", Mariano went on to state that he had over 2800
 customers.  Mariano has not commented publically about the situation nor
 of the lawsuit filed by one of his unhappy customers.
 For futher information about ABCO, read the next edition of Atari 
 Explorer Online magazine, due January 2, 1993.

 ######  Compiled by Ron Kovacs
 ######  ---------------------------------------------------------------
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 ######  New Product Coming Soon
 ######  ---------------------------------------------------------------
 Note:  I obtained the following information from Digital-Optical-Analog,
 Inc regarding BlackMail for the Atari Falcon030.  I have obtained
 permission to repost this information on GEnie, but PLEASE note the
 * This is not a product announcement.  BlackMail hardware, software, and
 FCC approval are expected to be completed in the first quarter of 1993.
 * For futher information contact: info@doa.com
 Please do not remove this notice from the text.
 Gordon R. Meyer (GRMEYER)
 ST RT Librarian
 ======== >8 cut here ===========
 BlackMail allows the design of an automated single or multi-user voice
 mail system which can disperse prerecorded information to a caller,
 store the caller's message, and forward it upon request.  Callers access
 BlackMail using their touch tone telephone to navigate the system's
 hierarchical voice mail menus, leaving or retrieving messages as
 determined by the user.
 BlackMail provides a powerful caller-specific telephone answering system
 capable of selectively forwarding audio messages to another phone,
 recording them for later retrieval, or archiving messages for future
 BlackMail can also function as an information clearinghouse able to
 deliver specific product or other information to customers twenty-four
 hours a day.  BlackMail may be operated as a stand-alone application or
 as a background task in conjunction with multitasking operating systems.
 The system features flexibility...
 - major functions are user configurable
 - user may update many functions remotely
 - full archiving of messages
 - selective message forwarding
 - automatic paging
 - time stamping of messages
 - adjustble message compression (1.5:1 - 6:1)
 - hardware module can be utilized as a generic telephone interface for
   software and hardware developers
 Theory of Operation
 The BlackMail hardware module provides a software-controllable
 connection to the user's telephone network.  The module is designed to
 detect the presence of an incoming call, notify the BlackMail software
 core, and then take the telephone line off-hook.  Once off-hook, the
 BlackMail hardware translates incoming touch tones (DTMF) and transmits
 their equivalents through the module's serial port to the BlackMail
 software.  Using touch tones, callers may request specific information
 previously uploaded by the system user, leave audio messages for
 specific users, as applicable, and retrieve messages which have been
 left for them.  All of these functions are controlled by the caller
 using the appropriate numbers on their touch tone keypads.
 Audio information is transferred between the telephone line and the host
 computer via connections in BlackMail's hardware module.  Full duplex
 audio information is transferred between the BlackMail hardware and the
 host system's audio input/output jacks via a simple cable.  The
 BlackMail software handles automatic audio time stamping of incoming
 messages, message forwarding, message archiving, automatic paging, and
 provides an easy-to-use graphical interface for BlackMail system setup
 and message recording.
 BlackMail Technical Details
 Audio sampling:                   8-bit mu-law quantization
 Audio sampling frequency:         8KHz 
 Maximum Compression Ratios:       6:1 (platform dependent)
 Telephone Interface Bandpass:     320-3700 Hz
 Audio Jacks on the Module:        Standard RCA Phono
 Weight:                           300 grams (0.66 lb)
   Height:                         2.9 cm (1.125 in.)
   Width:                          7.0 cm (2.75 in.)
   Length:                         12.1 cm (4.75 in.)
 Telephone Interface Bandpass:     320-3700 Hz
 Telephone Interface Overvoltage Protection:  1500V
 Power Supply
  U.S.:      External UL approved power supply, AC-DC converter
    Input:   120 V AC, 60Hz
    output:  9V DC, 1.5A
  Europe:    External VDE approved power supply, AC-DC converter  
    Input:   230 AC, 50 Hz
    Output:  9V DC, 1.5A   
 Operating Environment:  0 to 40 degress C (32-105 degrees F)
 Enclosure:   Plastic exterior with non-skid rubber feet
 Warranty:    6 month limited warranty on parts and labor
 Minimum Hardware Requirements:
  Atari Falcon030 with 30 MB HD
  NeXT workstation with 105 MB HD
  Apple Macintosh with 40 MB HD and integrated audio I/O
 All product or brandnames are trademarks or registered trademarks of
 their respective companies.
 Digital-Optical-Analog, Inc. reserves the right to change its product
 specifications without notice as we continue to make product
 modifications and improvements.  BlackMail is to be submitted for
 requisite FCC approval before the end of 1992.  Final FCC approval is
 required before sale or distribution of this product.

 ######  Press Release
 ######  ---------------------------------------------------------------
 COLUMBUS, Ohio, Dec. 21, 1992 -- CompuServe Incorporated has extended
 high-quality network access to the Pacific Rim with the installation of
 a local access point in Hong Kong.
 The Hong Kong node will be utilized by corporate customers of
 CompuServe's value-added network services and members of the company's
 online information service.
 The newly-installed point of presence, CompuServe's first in the Pacific
 Rim, will support asynchronous dial access up to 9,600 bits per second,
 and X.25 service for CompuServe network customers.
 "Installation of the node in Hong Kong complements our goal of providing
 easy, economical access for our customers from a variety of locations
 worldwide," said Greg Moore, CompuServe director of network marketing.
 CompuServe has installed local access points in 16 major cities in
 Europe, Asia and Canada.  Overall, the CompuServe network is accessible
 from more than 90 countries via CompuServe-installed points-of-presence
 or gateway networks.
 CompuServe Incorporated provides frame relay, wide and local area
 networking services, business information services and software to major
 corporations and government agencies worldwide.
 CompuServe also provides databases and services to meet both business
 and personal interests to more than 1.1 million personal computer owners
 worldwide through the CompuServe Information Service.  CompuServe is an
 H&R Block company.

 ######  Membership Application/Information
 ######  ---------------------------------------------------------------
 OPA: Linking markets and technology for a new era of publishing
 Your new career in optical publishing
 Whether you know it now or not, your involvement in CDROM - and its
 myriad implications - is changing your job description and your career
 path.  The OPA will help provide the basic background you need to apply
 new media to your problem.  From SGML to new distribution channels, from
 writing the business plan to data conversion, OPA gives you the data you
 need to be successful in your project and product development.
 Can you keep up on your own?
 The Optical Publishing Association is the only professional and trade
 association dedicated to keeping its members informed about all the
 factors that constitute the emerging optical and digital publishing
 CDROM and multimedia integrate elements of the three most influential
 businesses in the communication economy: publishing, computing and
 entertainment.  OPA's primary goal is to provide a forum where these
 disparate interests come together to form the heart of a dynamic new
 With news and developments coming from many directions, it is
 exceedingly difficult for any individual to follow all the events that
 will impact the ultimate success of your business.  OPA keeps tabs on
 the industry and maintains a number of programs to keep its membership
 informed and involved, and ready to meet the challenges of new media.
 Publishing: communicating complex ideas at a distance
 At its heart, the publishing enterprise is the business of recording
 ideas for access by many potential customers.  Multimedia and database
 publishing on CDROM combines the power of computing with traditional
 publishing models and techniques from a variety of communications and
 entertainment activities to deliver a vast spectrum of information: from
 basic text to motion video to new categories that integrate data in
 fascinating new ways.
 Corporate publishers
 OPA keeps you current on techniques and technology.  If your job is
 capturing and delivering corporate documents to employees, or technical
 documentation to customers; or if your application for new media is
 sales support, training, or other innovative uses, OPA can give you the
 background to build cost-effective alternatives to your existing
 programs, and can even show you how to make new revenues from your
 information inventories.
 Commercial publishers
 OPA wants to help you create successful new products, for both existing
 customers and new markets.  Effective business planning, marketing,
 team-building, the changing distribution landscape and other issues are
 equally as important as the technology and new delivery platforms.  OPA
 programs are intended to help you evaluate new opportunities, and
 provide solid background on the technical choices that can turn those
 opportunities to profits.
 - "Digital Publishing Business," the membership newsletter which
   presents new publishing technology in the context of successful
   business enterprise.  "DPB" integrates the news of the many diverse
   players in an evolving enterprise.  "Linking markets and technology in
   a new era of publishing."
 - OPA publishes and re-sells publications relevant to the broad spectrum
   of digital production and marketing.  Members receive some free, like
   the semi-annual industry Executive Summary Report, and discounts on
 - OPA Executive Director Rich Bowers is a sysop on CompuServe's CDROM
   Forum, providing up-to-the-minute expert answers to both developer and
   consumer questions.  A number of OPA lists and publications are also
   available for down-loading, some exclusively for OPA members.
 - The Technical Forum is OPA's interface to the standards development
   process.  OPA has been directly responsible for two standards that
   relate directly to CDROM production and interface design.
 - OPA will produce a number of seminars during the year, with focuses on
   business issues, product design, and technical development.  Members
   get discounts on attendance.
 - Special interest groups will emerge from the interests of the
   membership, with focuses on both corporate and commercial publishing
 - OPA members will receive periodic special offers and discounts on
   relevant products and services.
 Join OPA Today!
 In a rapidly changing industry, you have to know not only the latest
 news, but also how that news will impact your plans or current projects.
 Join with professionals who share similar challenges, and support the
 OPA in its efforts to provide the information you need!  As an
 individual or corporate sponsor, your dues return real value throughout
 the year.
 OPA member benefits
 OPA promotes and encourages the development of optical publishing;
 educates the public about the benefits and applications of optical
 publishing technology; and serves as a conduit for the exchange of
 information, opinions and analysis within the optical publishing
 industry.  To accomplish these goals, the OPA offers the following
 services to its members:
 Professional members
 Professional membership is open to any individual with interests in
 optical publishing technology, production and/or market development
 - One year subscription to "Digital Publishing Business," the OPA's
   newsletter dedicated to the business of CDROM and new media publishing
 - A membership package including:
 - A Nautilus intro CDROM
 - A starter kit for CompuServe (to access the CDROM Forum and other
 - A $50 discount coupon for a disc from One-Off CD Shops Inc.
 - Semi-annual "Executive Summary" of the commercial and corporate CDROM
   publishing enterprise
 - Participation in OPA Special Interest Groups
 - A membership certificate
 - Discounts for OPA and other related publications
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 - Other discounts and special offers for OPA members to be offered from
   time to time
 Corporate Sponsors
 Corporate sponsorship/membership is open to any organization actively
 involved, or planning to be actively involved, in publishing using
 optical media, distribution or sales, and/or hardware or software
 technology development for CDROM/multimedia products.
 - Call for benefits and opportunities
 Planned OPA Programs
 OPA plans to offer the following activities, based on interest and
 volunteer participation.
 - Seminar series
 - Organization of local/regional chapters
 - Market research programs for specific market segments and technologies
 - Special newsletters for OPA SIGS
 Save $40  Join OPA NOW and receive a free copy of:
 The CDROM Publishing Enterprise
 Executive Summary Report:  1992 Mid-Year
 - What is the installed base of CDROM drives, and how fast are they
 - What is the penetration of CDROM in corporate publishing?
 - What are the CDROM platform alternatives and how do they impact the
 - How can you project sales for 1993 and beyond?
 - What products and issues impact your planning?
 - How can you evaluate market studies and reports?
 - What are the essential issues for publishers?
 - How is the distribution landscape changing?
 The answers to these questions and more appear in this first semi-annual
 report compiled by the Optical Publishing Association.  If your job and/
 or your company or project depend on solid information about publishing
 on new media, you need this report.  This publication is priced at $40,
 but you get it FREE with your membership in OPA.
 Complete the application and return to OPA.  Don't get caught short,
 join OPA today!
 Become a member of the OPA today!
 Membership dues schedule (please check one)
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 Please note any special areas of interest in which you wish to
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 Return to:
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 or call 614/442-8805, 614/442-8815 (fax).
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 ######  By Richard Sitbon
 ######  ---------------------------------------------------------------
 I'm not a professional writer and I don't even write any "letters to the
 editor."  But I have been a devoted Atari ST fan since 1985 and would
 like to see others find the value in the computers such as I have.  It
 is for that reason I've taken the time write about the new ATARI
 INTERNATIONAL CATALOG (which is in book format) and share some of my
 First let me introduce myself.  I own a business consultation and
 educational resource company here in Kenai Alaska.  I am also a full-
 time Correctional Officer at a State Prison.  Both aspects of my working
 life require that I use a computer on a daily basis.  My computer of
 choice has been the Mega STe and 1040STe because I can easily teach
 others to do my work. :-)
 In keeping up with the Atari computer market via BBSs and magazines I've
 often heard how disappointed users have been with the marketing skills
 of ATARI.  My perception of Atari computers has been and will continue
 to be that, the users like me and you, sell these computers.  It's
 obvious there are not enough dealers to make an impact needed to keep
 this company alive - so it must be the songs of praise from end users
 and user groups that get people to buy the computer.  In most cases to
 buy an Atari computer you have to know an Atari user to find a mail
 order house or local store.  What does that have to do with my review of
 the Catalog?  Since we don't have many dealers and since the end user is
 the best salesperson for Atari I thought this Catalog would be a great
 asset to use when we introduce our computers to potential customers.
 This Catalog is packed with programs descriptions, prices, distributor
 addresses and the configurations required for the programs.  It does not
 contain all the programs and most of them seem non-USA available.
 Certainly useful to some degree but yet it lacks a sales punch that
 Atari could use in any literature it produces.  For example, the Catalog
 has a block indicating that it is produced on an Atari TT030 and using
 Atari programs/printer etc... a great promotional mark.  But that's on
 the back inside cover.  Nowhere in the book could I find descriptions of
 the Atari computers or TOS versions!  No list of dealers, publications
 or even a small note proclaiming the Catalog as proof Atari produces
 fine useful computers with excellent programs.  As soon as you open it
 up you're looking at the first listings (complete with screen shots I
 might add) but not even an introduction to the reader from Atari the
 company.  There are blank pages marked "NOTES" which I find a total
 waste of potential advertising space.
 If I worked for Atari I'd ask the boss why we put out a Catalog that
 didn't take advantage of all the blank "NOTES" space to promote the
 company that makes the computers that drive programs?  Why not design
 the Catalog with non-users in mind so that if one of our salespeople
 (read: end user) wanted to pass it on to others they would know what the
 computers look like, act like and where they could find authorized
 I suppose he would say "Hey, this is an international Catalog we can't
 go listing every dealer in the world!"  Then I'd say "Hey boss.  We
 don't have that many dealers and that's the problem.  We can and should
 fit all the dealers in the book complete with pictures of our computers.
 If we can grow by using these methods maybe next year we'll need
 Catalogs for various continents.  As it is now we can and should help
 every reader of this Catalog find, buy and use the Atari computer!"  I'd
 also suggest the "boss" write a brief introduction for the book to give
 the readers an impression of our company as not too big to reach out and
 share our great products.  If the executives at Atari want that advice
 I'm offering it free.
 Another problem with the Catalog I have is the way Atari ships them out.
 I got mine by mail and it was packed in styrofoam peanuts within a
 larger cardboard box.  If I owned Atari I'd want to know who's idea it
 was to waste so much money?  These Catalogs could have been shipped
 cheaper and just as well in a blister pack envelope.  I want Atari to
 make profits!
 Aside from being a limited reference for programs, I find this Catalog
 an utter waste of a potentially good introduction to the non-Atari user.
 As I've said before; end users are the Atari sales team that sell the
 most computers for Atari.  We need all the materials we can get our
 hands on to make our job a little easier.  The Catalog costs $12.00 plus
 $5.00 for shipping.  I don't mind paying the $17.00 to get this but I
 was very disappointed that it's not the "sales tool" I hoped it would
 (c) Richard Sitbon, PDI Enterprises PO Box 677  Kenai Alaska 99611-0677
 The author authorizes the reproduction of this text only if used in full
 and that the author be identified as such.
 You can contact me on GEnie: R.SITBON

 ######  CMC EXPANDS
 ######  Press Release
 ######  ---------------------------------------------------------------
 January 1, 1993
 The Computer Musician Coalition (CMC), an international, artist-driven
 collaboration, dedicated to the success of electronic musicians world-
 wide, announces the formation of a new division, the Creative Musicians
 Coalition (CMC), dedicated to the success of all independent musicians
 including the non-electronic bread.
 CMC's success in the electronic arena has proved that there is a
 waiting, desiring, and enthusiastic audience for new music world-wide.
 CMC, because of its successes, is now able and capable to expand its
 offerings to include both electronic and non-electronic music.
 Therefore, effective immediately, CMC will accept original music
 submissions from all independent musicians including music solely
 acoustic, solely electronic, electronic/acoustic mixes, vocals,
 meditation, and the spoken word.
 CMC's magazine AFTERTOUCH - New Music Discoveries, also originally
 electronic music based, will broaden to include new music from
 independent artists in both arenas.  Additionally, all CMC memberships
 including: Connoisseur, Artist, Dealer, Radio Station, and Vendor will
 expand to accommodate both categories.
 Ron Wallace, president of CMC, states, "I am amazed at the enormous
 acceptance by the general public for new music.  It has always been my
 dream for the success of the independent musician, and I feel now the
 window of opportunity is wide open.  It's time for all independent
 musicians to unite and get out of their basements for the world to
 enjoy.  I offer each of them a dream-come-true and encourage their
 support in all CMC endeavors."
 For more information about CMC memberships, music submission procedures,
 and a free copy of AFTERTOUCH - New Music Discoveries write or call:
 Ron Wallace
 Creative Musicians Coalition
 Computer Musician Coalition
 1024 W. Willcox Ave.
 Peoria, IL 61604
 Phone: (309) 685-4843
 FAX: (309) 685-4878
 Or Email: S.GARRIGUS (On GEnie)

 ###### Schedule of Shows, Events and Online Conferences
 ###### ----------------------------------------------------------------
 ### January 6-9, 1993
 MacWorld Expo in San Fransisco California, Sponsored by MacWorld
 Magazine.  Titled San Fransisco '93 at the Moscone Center.  Mitch Hall
 Associates, PO Box 4010, Dedham  MA 02026; (617)361-0817, (617)361-3389
 ### January 7-10, 1993
 The Winter Consumer Electronics Show comes to Las Vegas, Nevada.  CES is
 an electronic playground, with everything in the way of high tech toys
 for kids and adults.  Game consoles and hand-held entertainment items
 like the Atari Lynx are big here, and Atari will attend with a hotel
 suite showroom.  Contact Atari Corp for more information on seeing their
 display at 408-745-2000.
 ### January 8, 1993
 Dateline Atari! with Bob Brodie.  This is a monthly RT conference on
 GEnie.  CO begins promptly at 10pm eastern time.  Type M475 2 at any
 GEnie prompt.
 ### January 12-14, 1993
 Networld '93 in Boston, Massachusettes
 ### January 13, 1993
 The Atari ST RoundTable proudly presents The Independent Association of
 Atari Developers (IAAD) RTC, Wednesday, January 13, 10pm EST.  The IAAD
 Board and many of its members will be on hand to share their experiences
 in the marketplace.  Find out about the trials, tribulations, and joys
 of developing for your favorite computer! Ask about current and future
 products!  Meet the folks who bring your computer to life with software
 and hardware enhancements!  Attending for the IAAD: Dorothy Brumleve of
 D.A. Brumleve, President of the IAAD, Nathan Potechin of DMC Publishing,
 Chet Walters, WizWorks!, Jim Allen of FAST Technology, Nevin Shalit of
 Step Ahead Software Inc., Doug Wheeler of ICD Inc., John Eidsvoog of
 CodeHead Technologies, Chris Roberts of Dragonware, John Trautschold of
 Missionware, David Fletcher of Ditek, Craig Harvey of Clear Thinking,
 Bob Luneski of Oregon Research Associates, John Cole and Lee Seiler of
 Lexicor, David Beckemeyer of Beckemeyer Development Tools, Mark O'Bryan
 of Paradigm Software Products, John 'Hutch' Hutchinson of Fair Dinkum
 Technologies, Greg Kopchak of It's All Relative and more.
 ### January 15-18, 1993
 NAMM is the largest conclave of musicians each year.  Held in Los
 Angeles at the Anaheim Convention Center, the variety of sights at the
 National Association of Music Merchandisers is wilder than at
 Disneyland, just next door.  Atari was the first computer manufacturer
 to ever display at NAMM in 1987, and has become a standard at the shows.
 A trade show for music stores, distributors, and professionals of every
 strata, entertainers are seen everywhere at NAMM.  Contact James Grunke
 at Atari Corp for more information at 408-745-2000.
 ### January 19-22, 1993
 CD-ROM Development Workshop from Multimedia Publishing to Data Archival.
 UCLA Extension Bldg, Los Angeles CA.  (310)825-3344, (310)206-2815 (fax)
 ### February 2-4, 1993
 ComNet '93 in Washington, DC.
 ### March 1993
 CeBIT, the world's largest computer show with 5,000 exhibitors in 20
 halls, is held annually in Hannover, Germany.  Atari traditionally
 struts its newest wares there, usually before it's seen in the USA or
 anywhere else.  In '93, the Atari 040 machines should be premiering, and
 this is the likely venue.  Third party developers also use this show to
 introduce new hardware and software, so expect a wave of news from CeBIT
 every year.  Atari Corp and the IAAD coordinate cross-oceanic contacts
 to promote worldwide marketing of Atari products, and this show is an
 annual touchstone of that effort.  Contact Bill Rehbock at Atari Corp
 for information at 408-745-2000.
 ### March 13-14, 1993
 The Sacramento Atari Computer Exposition is to be sponsored by the
 Sacramento Atari ST Users Group (SST) at the Towe Ford Museum in
 Sacramento, California.  This show replaces the earlier scheduled, then
 cancelled Northern California Atari Fest for the Bay Area, to have been
 held in December 1992.  A major two day effort, the SAC show is being
 held in the special events area of the Towe Ford Museum, home of the
 worlds most complete antique Ford automobile collection.  As an added
 bonus, admission to the museum is free when you attend the Expo.  The
 museum is located at the intersection of Interstates 5 and 80, just 15
 minutes from the Sacramento Metropolitan Airport.  Contact Nick Langdon
 (Vendor Coordinator) C/O SST, P.O. Box 214892, Sacramento, CA 95821-
 0892, phone 916-723-6425, GEnie: M.WARNER8, ST-Keep BBS (SST) 916-729-
 ### March 16-19, 1993
 Image World - Washington DC at the Sheraton Washington.
 ### March 20, 1993
 Philadelphia, PA area group PACS is holding their 16th annual Computer
 Festival from 9 AM til 4 PM.  It will be a multi-computer show with
 Atari showings by the PACS Atari SIG's, NEAT, CDACC, and JACS clubs.
 The Fest is to be at the Drexel University Main Building, 32nd and
 Chestnut Streets in Pennsylvania.  Contact for Atari display: Alice P.
 Christie, 207 Pontiac Street, Lester, PA 19029, 215-521-2569, or 215-
 951-1255 for general info.
 ### March 21-24, 1993
 Interop Spring '93 in Washington DC.
 ### March 30 - April 1, 1993
 Intermedia 93 at the San Jose Convention Center, San Jose CA.
 ### May 3-5, 1993
 Digital Video New York/MultiMedia Exposition at the New York Sheraton 
 in New York City.
 ### August 3-6, 1993
 MacWorld Expo at the Boston World Trade Center, Bayside Exposition
 Center and sponsored by MacWorld Magazine.  This event is titled Boston
 ### September 18-19, 1993
 The Glendale Show returns with the Southern California Atari Computer
 Faire, V.7.0, in suburban Los Angeles, California.  This has been the
 year's largest domestic Atari event, year after year.  Contact John King
 Tarpinian at the user group HACKS at 818-246-7286 for information.
 ### September 20-22, 1993
 The third MacWorld Expo, titled Canada '93 at the Metro Toronto
 Convention Centre, sponsored by MacWorld Magazine.

 ### September 21-23, 1993
 Unix Expo '93 in New York City, New York.
 ### October 27-29, 1993
 CDROM Exposition at the World Trade Center, Boston MA.
 ### November 15-19, 1993
 COMDEX Fall '93. Las Vegas Nevada.

 If you have an event you would like to include on the Z*Net Calender,
 please send email via GEnie to Z-NET, CompuServe 75300,1642, or via
 FNET to node 593 or AtariNet node 51:1/13.0

 ######  Reprinted from the November Edition
 ######  ---------------------------------------------------------------
 The article MAY NOT be reprinted without the written permission of
 Quill Publishing.  See reprint statement at the bottom of this edition.
 The new hardware and software for Atari products continues unabated by
 adverse economy or market conditions.  So much has come out in the last
 months that we've accumulated a backlog of reviews--there's been too
 much to say and not enough room to say it.  So this month, AtariUser is
 catching up, presenting reviews of more than 20 new products including
 hardware, software, games, applications, even books.  Don't look back,
 because here comes the AtariUser Holiday Atari Feast of Products!
 Gemulater ST on a PC
 Emulation Hardware/Software; PC
 Calamus on an IBM?  Yes.  One of the most interesting new developments
 for the Atari user is Gemulater, introduced at the recent Southern
 California Atari Faire by its inventor, Darek Mihocka.  This system, a
 combination of software and hardware, allows you to run your Atari
 programs on IBM PC's and clones!
 Darek is well known for developing software in 1987 that let an ST
 emulate an 8-bit Atari computer.  Since then, he's been talking about
 doing an ST emulation on a PC, and now he's made good on his boast.
 This thing actually works, although with some limitations and some
 substantial machine requirements.
 Some people ask why you would want to do this, run Atari software on a
 PC.  The most common buyers (other than the super-user who is really a
 hardware collector) are going to be Atari fans who are stuck using a PC
 at work, and who want to use some of their familiar programs at the
 office.  For those who have both types of machine at home, they can now
 have a backup ST for emergencies.  And those loyal Atari fans who have
 been bragging about the programs we can use, can now talk their PC using
 friends into enjoying our luck.  Yes, Gemulater might actually increase
 the number of people buying Atari software, as well as extending the
 Atari life of users who have switched computers for whatever their
 The requirements to use this system are severe.  A minimum of a '386 PC
 with at least six megabytes of RAM are needed to run the Atari
 emulation.  In fact, anything less than a '486 system running at 33 MHz
 will give results too slow to be satisfying.  However, such systems are
 becoming common, especially in office and business situations.
 This conversion is accomplished by a combination of software and
 hardware.  The software does a full emulation of the 68000 instruction
 set, rather than trying to insert a Motorola microprocessor into the PC.
 The hardware is an accessory board which is placed in an empty slot on
 the PC motherboard and contains one or more sets of Atari TOS ROMs.
 Although it sounds a little unusual, the two pieces are sold separately,
 by two different companies.  The plug-in board is being sold, with a ROM
 set installed, by Purple Mountain Computers.  The software is provided
 as shareware, by the author's company, Branch Always Software.  Version
 1.00 is being distributed by all the usual means for public domain
 programs, and the author requests that the user pay a $59.95 shareware
 fee.  Registered users will receive printed documentation, a newsletter
 and an upgraded version (presently version 2.0) that's up to 30% faster,
 uses less memory, and has more features.
 In operation, the ST software is loaded into PC RAM, and is read by the
 Gemulater program.  If the instruction to be executed is located in TOS,
 the ROM set is read from the card in the PC.  In any case, the 68000
 operation code is used to call an appropriate routine to emulate it in
 Intel (PC) code.  Naturally, this takes a great deal of time, so the
 emulation will seem very slow except on the fastest of PC's.
 The size of the program to do the emulation is about three and a half
 megabytes.  This is because the 68000 instruction set can have some
 50,000 possible instructions, counting all addressing modes.  Each one
 of these has a corresponding routine in the emulator.
 One of the failings of PC computers is segmented address space.  This
 was a limitation of earlier Intel microprocessors and is the source of
 the often cursed "640K" limit that PC'ers are faced with.  Newer Intel
 processors are not limited in this respect (our Motorola processors
 never were), but PC's are still configured in the old manner to permit
 using old software.
 Because the Gemulater program is so large, and because Atari programs
 expect a linear address space, this system must be run on one of the
 newer machines, using an Intel 80386 or 80486.  The computer should have
 at least five and a half megabytes of available RAM.  That is three and
 a half for the program and two megabytes of memory for the Atari
 programs, emulating an ST with 2 meg of RAM.

 If you don't have enough memory, the Gemulater can use virtual memory.
 That is, it will keep part of itself in a temporary file on your hard
 disk, and swap sections between RAM and hard disk as needed.  Of course,
 this will slow operations even further, so it is best to run the
 emulator from RAM only.
 The registered version of Gemulater (now at V.2.0), the one sent to
 people who pay the shareware fee, permits using one to eight megabytes
 of memory as Atari RAM, in one megabyte increments, and it has been made
 a bit smaller, about three megabytes.  Also the execution time has been
 Pluses and Minuses
 Gemulater has some flaws which may be overcome in time.  It also has
 some advantages.  The first thing that should be mentioned is that there
 is no emulation of the cartridge port, MIDI, sound, or of the Blitter
 chip.  This means it is not suitable for many Atari games.  There will
 also be problems running programs that use copy protection, particularly
 those that use a hardware device for protection, mostly expensive music
 programs.  The shareware version does not support the serial (modem)
 port, although printers plugged into the PC parallel port should work
 Another major point is the use of hard disks.  Atari and the Dos world
 used identical hard drive formats--until they were faced with the need
 to use partitions larger than 32 megabytes.  There, they diverged, using
 non-compatible designs.  The result is that for partitions smaller than
 32 megabytes, the Gemulater is happy.  But it can and will write beyond
 32 meg and damage the data there by using the wrong method of addressing
 the drive.
 In the first released version of the program, writing to the hard drive
 is disabled.  The registered version of the program allows writing to
 the hard disk, but with strong warnings about using partitions larger
 than 32 megabytes.  The author of Gemulater plans to write a new hard
 disk driver that will eliminate this difficulty.
 Before you think everything is bad news, there are some things the
 Gemulater can do that the ST does not do.  One of these is the use of
 1.44 Megabyte floppy disks.  Most PC's these days use high density
 floppy drives.  The emulator board comes supplied with TOS V.2.06, so it
 will read and write high density floppies.  Floppy disk formatting is
 not enabled, but you can easily format them under DOS.
 It should be mentioned that the ROM reader board has sockets for eight
 ROM chips.  It comes with TOS in a two chip set, installed.  The user
 may insert other versions of TOS into the remaining six sockets; one 6
 chip set, or up to three more 2 chip sets.  When starting the emulation,
 you select the TOS you want at the moment.  All versions below 3.0 are
 supported, although reports of some problems when using the briefly used
 2.05 version, and with a two chip set (as opposed to the more common 6-
 chip set) of TOS 1-point-anything, you'll have to add a simple pair of
 jumper wires to an empty spot in the Gemulater board.  Darek is updating
 his docs to cover this.
 Another feature which is available in the registered version is the
 ability to use the PC's VGA screen to emulate the Atari TT's medium
 resolution, 640 x 480 with 16 colors on screen.  It looks like an
 extended graphics card mode to any ST software.  Calamus SL and other
 applications can use this mode and operate in color!  A simple AUTO
 program called VGA.PRG enables it.
 How To Use It
 With the Gemulater board and software installed in the PC, the program
 can be executed from the DOS prompt.  In order to use the PC's memory in
 a linearly addressed manner, it must be run in Intel's protected mode.
 A utility that will reconfigure the PC is provided, and is run
 automatically when Gemulater is invoked.  The program takes some time to
 load (it is very big!), and will then display a prompt for the user to
 type in his commands, including choice of color or monochrome operation,
 and choice of which PC floppy drives to use.
 After you tell it to install your chosen TOS, the next thing you see is
 the usual Atari startup display.  In the case of TOS 2.06, you see the
 Fuji logo.  Even though you are expecting this, it will knock your socks
 off, the first time you see it on a PC.  If you have placed a floppy
 disk in drive A, it will read your desktop information, AUTO folder
 programs and accessories to be installed.  You are, in fact, now
 operating an ST.
 This procedure can be done under Microsoft Windows.  A batch program,
 GEMULWIN.BAT, is provided to assist in this.  From Windows, call the DOS
 prompt, and then run the batch program.  The procedure is then the same.
 You can suspend the emulation, like any other PC program, and return to
 Windows, run other programs and then return to the emulation.  The
 pictures shown with this article were made in exactly that way.
 If you have enough memory, you can even install two copies of Gemulater,
 in different windows, and be running two Atari applications
 simultaneously.  In other words, multitask!
 In color operation, when the Emulator's window is made inactive, the
 palette changes.  This is a function of Windows, and cannot be adjusted.
 However, the colors will be correct when the emulation is made active
 again.  Monochrome doesn't show any difference.
 How Fast is Slow?
 It's ironic that the most used measure of Atari computer speed, quick
 Index, is another product of Darek Mihocka.  Most measures of the speed
 of Darek's Gemulater are done using Darek's own yardstick, and while
 some users and developers have complained that Quick Index is to
 simplistic, it remains popular.  Tests on a '386 33MHz PC indicate the
 reasons you need more: CPU Memory is only 53% of that of a stock ST,
 even while shifts and divides are more than double that of an ST.
 Screen output is almost normal for text, two-thirds normal dialog boxes,
 and scrolling is less than half the speed of a "normal" ST, let alone an
 Move up (waaaay up!) to a '486/DX/50 plus a fast video card, and things
 improve a lot.  Fully tweaked for performance (and using a software
 screen speeder), CPU goes to 192%, bringing 16 MHz accelerated MegaSTe
 performance to the PC.  Disk operations go from half speed on the '386
 to well over full speed.  Text output hits nearly five times ST speed,
 while scroll and dialogs are near 200% each.
 In operation, even the fast PC's give the user a sense that things are
 moving a bit behind time.  The operations are mostly fast enough, but
 they happen perceptibly after they are asked for.  Mouse clicks are the
 most obvious of these, as you double click, and as your brain decides it
 must not have "taken", the function executes.  It takes only a little
 use to adjust, and in fact gives overall responsiveness nearly exactly
 like that take as "normal" in Windows.
 What Works
 The system has been shown to work with many popular Atari programs.
 These include the DTP programs Calamus SL, Pagestream and Publishing
 Partner; word processors such as WordWriter and 1st Word Plus; painting
 programs Prism Paint and Degas Elite; business programs LDW Power and
 Pha$ar; and many others, like Hotwire, MultiDesk, MaxiFile and, very
 importantly, the screen accelerator, Warp 9.  Using Warp 9 will speed up
 the screen redraws on the PC/ST just like on a real ST, and is really
 needed to help the emulation.
 Other applications and such that have been reported to work fine under
 Gemulater include NeoDesk (all versions), Laser C, ARCSHELL, the Control
 Panel, Universal Item Selector.  Atari's MACCEL3 crashes, but SilkMouse
 and the Warp 9 mouse accelerators work.
 Conclusions and Speculation
 Gemulater, like any new product, will be found to have some faults that
 require correction, but it is clear that these can be overcome.  The
 important fact is that it works with a large number of programs and
 proves that TOS can be run on a foreign system.  It is slow, unless a
 very powerful PC is used.  However, PC speeds are increasing, and prices
 are falling, so, it is possible to run at a usable rate now, and it
 should be possible to improve this in future.
 Sure, there are problems left.  Communication to the storage media needs
 more work, as discussed above.  Realistically, the shareware version
 without hard drive access will be more annoyance that it is worth, as
 you can't so much as write a config file to your drive.  There are some
 minimal mouse problems--the image lags due to fewer redraws, causing the
 user to overshoot.  It will be a while before the serial port works.  If
 the Gemulater crashes, it takes a complete reboot of the PC to reclaim
 the memory if running in Windows.
 But it should be emphasized that the emulator is software.
 Difficulties, as they are discovered, can be fixed without buying new
 hardware.  Aa an example, a last-minute fix to version 1 allows GFA
 BASIC to operate properly.  Some things, like sound control and MIDI
 ports, would require additional hardware in the PC and software to
 interface to it.
 The author, Darek Mihocka, is a longtime Atari developer, who now works
 for Microsoft Corp.  He is in a unique position, being thoroughly
 familiar with programming the ST and being in a position to understand
 the internal operation of Microsoft Windows and other PC software.  This
 has allowed him to marry the two computers, and he has already shown his
 intention and willingness to support this product, and continue
 improving it.
 Longer term, Darek has said that he'll be considering using the same ROM
 board for other emulators he's planning for the PC, including the Atari
 8-bit computer.  This one should be easy now, as Darek showed a nearly
 finished (and full speed) version of the PC-XFORMER over a year ago at
 the Glendale show.  And even MAC emulation on the PC is in Darek's plan,
 with MAC ROMs used on the same board, while Darek's own future MAC
 emulation software would reside in the PC.
 Gemulater cannot replace the Atari computer.  Falcon or TT 68030
 emulation is at best a glimmer in Darek's eye today.  Gemulater cannot
 be made to work with all Atari software, especially those with hardware
 copy protection devices.  But it can make a very satisfactory second
 machine, for most uses.  And it might expand the market for ST software,
 which will benefit everyone who uses Atari computers.
 The Gemulater ROM Reader Board with TOS 2.06 sells for $299.95 from
 Purple Mountain Computers, 15600 N.E.  8th Street Suite A3-412,
 Bellevue, WA 98008.  The Gemulater software, version 1.00 is in the
 public domain.  To register and get updated versions, send $59.95 US to
 Branch Always Software, 14150 N.E.  20th Street Suite 302, Bellevue, WA
 98007.  -- Reviewed by Norm Weinress, who assisted Darek as a Beta
 tester during development of the Gemulater.
 Migraph Wand - Full Page Scanner
 Hardware; ST, STe, TT, Falcon
 Migraph brought the ST the first quality hand scanner some years back.
 With the advent of their new and competent Optical Character Recognition
 software as well as other company's FAX software, there's a need for
 affordable full-page scanning.  Migraph has answered with THE WAND.
 A full 8.5" wide scanning area in what could be seen as a "two-hand-
 scanner" can scan a page in seconds.  With the optional sheet feeder, it
 can do it better, faster, and far straighter than by hand.  And the
 sheet feeder will hold 10 sheets in que for scanning.  The full unit
 becomes a wringer-washer setup, with a tray above and behind to feed
 sheets out the front.
 The Wand (manufactured by OMRON) does resolutions up to 400 DPI in 10-
 DPI increments via an electronic selector pad on the unit when using the
 revised Touch-Up software (V.1.84), included.  I found the setting
 process to be annoying, as you must set the software resolution first,
 then dismount the scanner from the sheet feeder, click it to the chosen
 resolution, then hold the SCAN button and move the scanner to make the
 setting "take", and finally return the Wand to the feeder, ready to
 begin.  I wish the software could program the scanner, like the units
 that cost far more than the Migraph unit.
 Anyway, once you have a resolution set, you can scan all day using the
 software to start the scans.  You might scan graphics, particularly
 photographs, a number of times before you have exactly what you want, as
 the contrast knob is quite touchy--a little adjustment goes a long way.
 And unlike the "light/dark" adjustments on most (all?) other scanners,
 the Wand's control actually changes the CONTRAST.  Wow!
 And how are the scans?  The Wand makes flawless IMG and other monochrome
 format images, with four adjustable dither patterns or line art
 settings.  The Wand has a higher actual resolution than the Migraph Hand
 Scanner, upping the number of grayscale equivalents to 256 when saving
 files in a TIFF format.  Grayscale images have the advantage of being
 able to be resized without degradation.  Unfortunately, a mono
 conversion to grey TIFF must use pixel area averaging, losing detail in
 the final grayscale image.  Photographs scanned on the Wand and saved as
 grayscale TIFF files are, in my opinion, unacceptably "soft" for use in
 publishing except at small sizes.  Migraph is looking into ways to
 sharpen them.  Saved as dithered PCX or IMG mono files, the detail is
 impeccable, but at the cost of non-scalability without unsightly
 patterning in the image.
 For creating page images for FAXes, the Wand is perfect.  For OCR, doing
 a full page at a time will cut your work in half or more over hand
 scanning.  Migraph has upgraded their OCR software to take advantage of
 the Wand as well, although automated multi-page operation is still not
 available (but coming, says Kevin Mitchell of Migraph).  The new (and
 otherwise fast and wonderful) Touch-Up is updated for full page scans,
 but lacks a low-res prescan and area selection for re-scan, a feature of
 most high-buck flatbed software.  As it is, you need a lot of memory
 available even if you want to save only part of a full page.  You'll
 have to have room for the full page at full resolution, then clip what
 you want.
 You won't find a better full-page scanner at the price of the Wand.  If
 you need more that the Wand can do, buckle down and save for a three-
 pass color scanner--of course, there's no domestic color scanner
 software for the Atari yet, either, so take your time.  The Wand's
 suggested dealer retail price is $899, and includes the $299 OCR and
 $199 Touch-Up software.  Owners of the Hand Scanner from Migraph can buy
 the upgrade to the Wand (re-use your interface/power supply) for $349.
 Either way, you'll probably want to add the sheet feeder (another $249).
 Other combinations and configurations are available through Migraph
 directly, 32799 Pacific Highway S., Federal Way, WA 98003, phone (206)
 838-4677.  -- John Nagy
 The LINK Host-in-a-Dongle
 Hardware; ST, STe, TT
 You want to use industry standard SCSI devices on your Atari.  Atari has
 a DMA/ACSI output.  What to do?  LINK it.
 ICD Inc.  has offered a top notch line of host adapters for installing
 in a hard drive case for some years now.  More recently, they offered a
 Micro host adapter that mounted right on a SCSI hard drive and was
 barely bigger than the end of the cable.  That technology has now
 evolved into the Link, the newest product of ICD.
 There's not too much to say; the Link is self contained and powered off
 the system you are using.  It has a large-standard SCSI socket on one
 end and an Atari ACSI socket on the other.  Attach it directly to a SCSI
 external device (hard drive, CD-ROM, Floptical, even printer) and your
 Atari ST series will talk Atari, the drive will talk SCSI, and
 everyone's happy.  Fortunately, it's nearly that simple.  The only
 glitches in this easy solution come from occasional unexpected
 interactions between other ACSI and SCSI devices.  Some configurations
 of mixed equipment may balk with a Link in line, but it's generally
 resolvable with a swap of positions in the data chain or with
 termination changes.
 The Link comes in a pegboard-baggie with a DMA cable and the latest
 driver software from ICD.  Shipped with the unit I received was V.6.0.2,
 which supports removable media including CD ROMS (!) and Floptical
 disks.  The software will fine operate without the Link, but the
 installation, advanced caching, and formatting features won't work until
 it is returned to the chain.
 No, you can't use a Link backwards to convert the Falcon or TT SCSI port
 to DMA for use with older internal-host devices like the SLM804 laser
 printer.  That'll take another, currently missing Link.
 If you need a Link, you need it.  There's no other practical answer.
 Thanks, ICD, for making it a good answer.  The Link, $99.96, from ICD
 Inc, 1220 Rock Street, Rockford, IL 61101, phone (815) 968-2228.
 -- John Nagy
 PMC Freedom Floptical Drive - Big Bytes at Fast-food Prices
 Hardware; ST, STe, TT, Falcon
 Purple Mountain Computers broke the $400 price barrier with their
 introductory offering of the Freedom Floptical Disk Drive.  This is an
 unassuming looking external 3.5" floppy drive unit that can take single
 sided, double sided, 1.44 meg, and 21 megabyte disks.  It attaches at
 the SCSI port of a TT or via an ICD Link (included at the price!) to the
 ACSI/DMA port of an ST/STe/STacy/TT.
 What's a Floptical disk?  It looks like a standard 3.5" floppy until you
 slide open the metal door.  You can see through the disk itself, and in
 the right light you can see the rainbow of CD tracks printed onto the
 upper surface of the disk.  An infrared beam tracks on these guides like
 a CD player, allowing ultra precise head placement and very dense data
 packing.  Hence, 21 megabytes on a single disk.
 Performance: A Floptical mechanism can read and write "normal" disks at
 twice the rate your old drive "A" can.  And the special 21 meg disks
 read and write at 4 times the speed of a standard floppy, and about 1/4
 the speed of a standard hard drive.  That's not shabby, and near the
 rate of the first Atari hard drives that were dazzling in their day.
 Disks are presently about $25 each, but prices should drop steadily in
 the coming year, to as low as $5 according to some industry officials.
 These little marvels are the way of the future.  Like all Flopticals,
 PMC's drive uses the InSite drive mechanism, so PMC's unit will perform
 exactly like any other Floptical.  Buy on features, appearance, and
 price.  I found the Freedom to operate flawlessly with the highly
 considered ICD software, included.  However, you won't be able to fully
 use the drive with older computers, as TOS 1 and 1.2 can't handle the
 4-sector-per-cluster arrangement that the Floptical automatically uses.
 With 1.4 and newer, you're golden.
 Features: almost none are available, but one I'd like is a SCSI ID
 reassignment switch available externally.  PMC hasn't got one--you need
 to open the unit and move jumpers on the drive itself to select a
 compatible ID if you need it to be other than #2, as it arrives.
 Appearance: the PMC Freedom is as plain as allowed by law.  In a word,
 beige.  A ribbon cable exits the back of the unit, terminating in a
 clamp-on SCSI connector.  A pair of unlabeled (and disconnected inside)
 connectors languish on the back panel, left over from some earlier
 intention for this particular case.  The metal rear plate of the case
 gets quite (but not alarmingly) hot, as the power supply heat sink is
 attached to it.  I noted some minimal RF interference on my mono monitor
 when accessing the PMC Floptical.  Price: PMC has the best price yet, by
 a considerable margin, at the $399 introductory level.  Even when/if
 PMC's price goes up, they'll be below the present competition.
 I'm hooked.  I have a SyQuest 44 meg removable drive, but the
 versatility of the Floptical convinces me that it's the way to go today
 except for high-speed applications like direct-to-disk audio.  Access
 speeds aren't critical if you have a hard drive already, and even if you
 are using the Floptical instead of a hard drive, it's not going to keep
 you waiting.  In fact, I'd recommend new owners to consider a Floptical
 even BEFORE a hard drive, to get the best of versatile storage and
 portability up front.
 Someday all computers will have a Floptical drive instead of the
 suddenly meager 1.44 standard of today.  Until then, do it yourself.
 The econobox of drives, the PMC Freedom is today's best buy.  The $399
 introductory price is still in effect, and includes one 21 meg disk,
 drive, case, power supply, ICD Link, DMA cable, and ICD driver software.
 More disks are $19.95 each in 4-packs.  Purple Mountain Computers Inc.,
 15600 NE 8th Street Suite A3-412, Bellevue, WA 98008, phone (206) 747-
 1519.  -- John Nagy
 Cyberdrome - Virtual Reality Simulator
 Game; ST, STe, TT
 This new game is a little strange.  If you're looking for a quick 3-D
 shootemup, Cyberdrome isn't it, despite having 3-D vector graphics and
 shootemup elements.  It's a little more on the cerebral and simulation
 side, designed with multiple remote players in mind.
 Cyberdrome's storyline is reminiscent of the movie Tron.  A big nasty
 program named CJER (cee-jer) has taken over part of a crystal mainframe
 computer and wants to eventually rule the whole virtual-thing.  CJER has
 created an army of mutant combat programs to aid in its conquest.
 That's where you come in.  At the helm of your virtual-reality hoverjet
 program, you must curb CJER's delusions of grandeur by deleting his
 minions into data oblivion.
 The game operates on a charge/attack cycle.  In the charge cycle, you
 look for a memory mine, which is an "underground" (sub-grid) maze of
 tunnels containing many defense systems and the all-important
 transmitter.  Key-cubes must be collected to unlock security gates,
 allowing you to reach the transmitter.  Deleting it provides you with
 the access code to the next memory mine, but also sets the current mine
 to overload and self-deletion.  You only have a few seconds to exit the
 mine before it goes.
 During the attack cycle, a Predator program (looking spider/mantis-like
 in the virtual reality of the Cyberdrome) is released and heads for your
 comm-port, your link into the computer.  You can destroy the Predator
 program (not easy) but another one will be launched in its place.  This
 will go on for the duration of the attack cycle.  Once the Predator
 reaches your comm-port, it unleashes a Mole Tunneling Program which
 starts eating its way through your comm-port, looking for your
 transmitter.  If it get it, you're toast (er, disconnected)!
 The hoverjet moves in strange ways.  It makes right angle turns, can go
 forward and back, can slide left and right, and also goes up and down.
 Everything is done with the keyboard.  The mouse and joystick are not
 supported at all, and considering how the hoverjet moves, it makes
 sense.  The numeric keypad is used for all movement-related functions as
 well as shield activation and weapon firing, while the leftmost keys of
 the main keyboard are used for all other functions.
 Cyberdrome's graphics are nothing spectacular, but there are some neat
 touches, like the way your partner's hoverjet fades to invisibility when
 he/she turns on the negative shields.  The sounds consist mainly of
 functional beeps, pings, and the whoosh of your hoverjet.
 You can play this game by yourself, but Cyberdrome was really designed
 to be played by a two-player team with two machines hooked up together
 via modem or null-modem cable.  This is definitely a game where the
 gameplay transcends the graphics.  It's not for everybody, but is a
 welcome addition to the limited realm of multiplayer/multiCPU
 interactive games.
 Rhea-FX is planning on releasing some mission disks in the future. 
 Cyberdrome comes on one double-sided disk with manual-word-lookup copy
 protection, 1 meg required, runs in color only, modem and data link
 support, $39.95 from Fair Dinkum.  -- Eric Bitton
 Ork - Alien Adventure
 Game; ST, STe, TT
 "The Killing Game Show meets Shadow Of The Beast with slightly insane
 puzzles." That's a fairly accurate description of ORK.  It's a sideview
 omni-scrolling platform shootemup with some seriously weird aliens and
 landscapes.  Some of the puzzles (especially in the later levels) are in
 the old Infocom text adventure style of obscurity.  I mean, how many of
 you would have guessed that you needed a rocket to dislodge a key from a
 platform you can't reach?  Never mind that you had to get the rocket
 from a jar that you had to place on an arrow and break by shooting a
 rock and letting the pieces fall on it...  I guess that's why Psygnosis
 threw in a booklet with a complete walk-through (in four languages) free
 of charge.
 OK, in Ork, you're are an aspiring alien space captain, a member of a
 race of really-really-really tough customers.  You're about to face your
 final exam, and if you make it through alive, you'll be rewarded with a
 star cruiser.  If you don't make it through alive, you're quite
 obviously dead.  There are only 6 levels, but they're plenty tough.
 You can save one game position to a disk, but only from one of the many
 neat little data terminals scattered throughout a level.  Those
 terminals also provide you with object information, a map of the
 surrounding area (if you picked up the scanner module), the status of
 your character, and an indicator showing how much of the game you have
 completed so far.
 This particular Psygnosis title doesn't have the expected animated intro
 sequence that usually takes up all of disk 1, and it's not really
 missed.  Ork's game graphics are very colorful.  Your on-screen
 character is a little on the strange side, but then again, he IS an
 alien!  He looks like an organic walker machine with cement mixers
 strapped to his back (they're jet engines for flying, of course).  The
 digitized sound is nicely implemented, with a constant background
 thrumming, explosions and alien animal noises.
 If you like platform games and hard puzzles, check out Ork.  It comes on
 2 disks, from Psygnosis US/UK.  -- Eric Bitton
 Mah-Jong Solitaire 3.0 - Now Much More than Drachen
 Game; ST, STe, TT, Falcon
 Times change.  It was nearly two years ago that I saw Cali-Co's Mah-
 Jong.  Then, I was unimpressed, not by Cali-Co's execution of the
 classic Shanghai/Ma-Jong tile match game, but by how little it
 distinguished itself above the free public domain title DRACHEN.
 The new 3.0 release of Mah-Jong is a different animal (a cat,
 specifically).  With modest expectations of the $40 retail game, I
 booted and installed Mah-Jong on my hard drive.  I was more than
 pleasantly surprised by colorful screens, dozens of choices of play area
 "tablecloths", a variety of tile designs, and a choice of many starting
 patterns.  From out of the blackness above the menu bar, a pair of green
 cat eyes follow your every move.  This is "Shadow Bouncer", and you can
 turn her off if she makes you nervous.
 All this color and design does more to the gameplay than you might
 imagine.  The game itself has been a sure winner in every incarnation to
 date.  The tile recognition and matching/removal rules are standard in
 Cali-Co's version, but the challenge varies radically depending on the
 combination of tiles and backgrounds.  A traditional game is available,
 or for a maddening but compelling game, try dominos for tiles on the
 black neon background.  Or use the Navy Flag tiles on the blue wave
 tablecloth.  Or the animal tiles, or the little people, the Morse code
 or alphabet or Rune blocks...  you get the idea.  Not only are the games
 given a whole new effect, they are educational, capable of aiding
 recognition of letters, codes, or, um, cats.  There's lots of cats here.
 Mah-Jong V.3.0 requires a color monitor in low resolution (fine on a
 TV), and any ST ever built will run it.  Really nice touches throughout
 include switches for every conceivable option, including keyboard
 equivalents, show removed pieces, help, undo, random or selected game
 setups, and a game pause with a colorful scribbling screensaver.
 There's no music or sounds other than a wisking effect as tiles are
 Cali-Co puts Mah-Jong 3.0 in an unassuming bag-pack, using minimal and
 environmentally sane recycled paper.  At $40, it's challenge is to be
 worth at least $40 more than the very good free versions that populate
 the BBS libraries.  It succeeds, and will be a lasting joy for kids and
 adults.  Cali-Co Superior Software, P.O.  Box 9873, Madison, WI 53715,
 (608) 255-6523.  -- Dr. Paul Keith
 Tracker/ST - Mailing List and More
 Application; ST, STe, TT, Falcon
 Tracker/ST, from Step Ahead Software, has grown steadily from its
 beginnings as a mailing address database.  Now, it's a unique
 productivity tool.
 I work for myself, which means that I work all the time.  I have a need
 to keep track of the people I come in contact with, and to keep notes on
 these elusive entities that I call my contacts.  When I call them after
 a few weeks or months, it's nice to remember what I've said to them.  I
 want to segregate the people in my list so that I give myself an idea
 what they're about.  I might even want to call them with a single flick
 of my finger, then type up the facts our conversations and know that my
 note will stay with the person's file.  In the end, I'd probably like to
 send them a quick letter, or include some of them in a mass mailing with
 a personal touch, possibly a form letter customized with a their name
 and address and a few personalized comments.
 Tracker/ST is artfully crafted to do all this and more with one program
 on my computer, and avoid the paper, files, and confusion of office
 life.  Tracker is divided into three sections, the ENTRY screen where
 you enter your information, the POWER section that lets you sort your
 information in a variety of different ways, and the QUICK LETTER section
 that formats and prints your letters.
 From the ENTRY screen, a one-key command lets you search for one of your
 records.  And it happens real fast, especially handy when you're on the
 phone with someone on your list and you want to know their history.
 You'll have their whole address listing, plus an area for short notes,
 and entry fields that allow you to place words and symbols that can be
 sorted in a variety of ways when in the POWER section of the program.
 Tracker/ST lets you pull up a record, put on your telephone headset and
 dial a number of clients in quick succession.  A LONG NOTES feature lets
 you get really detailed in your attached information.
 Once you've made your calls and entered any changes, you can run a
 report selected groups of people in your list to help you decide who you
 need to call next time, and what kind of action is needed in your follow
 up.  This makes the work you do in the future easier and a lot more
 complete and accurate.  Tracker doesn't make decisions for you, but it
 sorts your information in an effort to help you make those decisions.
 I rely on Tracker/ST as a very solid program.  It's actively supported
 on the Genie information service by the author, Nevin Shalit, and is
 also designed to integrate with an advanced envelope/label program 
 called GEMvelope, sold separately.
 Tracker/ST increases the effectiveness of your efforts.  It provides me
 with the tools that I use a that a normal database just doesn't have.
 Tracker/ST V.3.04, $99.95, from Step Ahead Software, 496-A Hudson Street
 #F39, New York, NY 10014, (212) 627-5830.  -- Steve Blackburn
 HyperLINK - Relational Interactive Database
 Application; ST, STe, TT
 HyperLINK can't really be compared with any other program on the Atari
 platform.  Like HyperCard on the Mac, it's a database program that can
 show related graphic images, animation, sounds, and text, all at the
 same time in up to seven different windows on your color or monochrome
 monitor.  It requires at least one meg of ram, a double sided disk
 drive, a hard drive is highly recommended.  The disparate output formats
 can be linked together with buttons that you create through the use of
 what is called the Application Builder, a tool to create your own
 personalized applications.  Multiple applications can run at the same
 time and reports can be generated for output to your printer.
 HyperLINK can link a number of different database functions and multiple
 media into one process, application, or display.  The possibilities are
 limited only by your imagination and ambition.  But HyperLINK is just a
 tool, you have to create the functions you want to use, something that
 can be fairly difficult to master, and lots of work to fulfill.
 Fortunately, developers at JMG have gone out of their way to make their
 system accept and direct data files prepared with other commercial
 databases like DBase, and its own data can even be edited and
 manipulated via DBase tools.
 Applications can be built to track products in your inventory,
 collections of coins, records, people or anything you may need to keep
 track of in a database.  Or, consider the educational possibilities of
 interactive displays.  Business people can train their employees on the
 varied aspects of their jobs, and schools can generate applications to
 help understand difficult subjects.
 HyperLINK Version 2.0 has just been released which adds features,
 finally offers a usable manual, and fixes problems with the report
 generator.  JMG continues to demonstrate that they and their program are
 here to stay.
 Simple database needs don't require the power and the freedom of
 HyperLINK.  But if you want to do something that will provide you with
 an expanded view of your database with links to multimedia sub-
 processes, check it out.  A free "run time only" version of HyperLINK
 (available on GEnie and local bulletin boards) will let you see for
 yourself what it can do.  Sample HAP files (applications) are also
 available that will give you ideas, like a map of Canada that lets you
 click on areas to get close-up views and data about the Provinces.
 HyperLINK, $149, from JMG Software, 892 Upper James Street, Hamilton,
 Ontario L9C 3A5, (416) 575-3201.  -- Steve Blackburn
 The ST Assembly Language Workshop Volume 1
 Book; ST, STe
 Clayton Walnum, author of the highly acclaimed "C-Manship Complete" now
 breaks the assembly language coding conundrum.  Designed to be a
 tutorial, this first volume of a three volume series teaches the basics
 of 68000 assembly language programming on the Atari ST to those already
 familiar with computer programming in high level languages like C or
 even BASIC.  The advantages in learning assembler is that a high level
 language programmer can integrate assembly routines inside of existing
 programs for maximum efficiency.
 The $24.95 price includes a 260 page book and a disk.  The step by step
 tutorial covers in eleven chapters an overview of assembly language, an
 explanation of the binary and hexadecimal numbering system, the ST's
 stacks, registers and 13 addressing modes, branching and sub-routines,
 and a 68000 Instruction reference by Bryan Schappel.  By the end of the
 tutorial the reader will be able to comfortably convert numbers, call
 the numerous O.S.  functions in GEM, and handle disk files in assembler.
 The accompanying disk contains the ASCII listings of the example
 programs, the executable versions of these programs and the public
 domain program "The Take Note Calculator," which can be installed as a
 desk accessory.  The tutorial does not include an assembler, so the user
 must provide his own to assemble finished code.  The programs in the
 tutorial were designed using Devpac 2, and are also supported by The Mad
 Mac Assembler.
 With the ST Assembly Language Workshop, learning 68000 Assembly is easy
 and straightforward for the beginner.  This manual is a well organized
 work and a fun way to learn a potentially confusing and frustrating
 language.  Volume 2 will expand on what is learned in Volume 1 by
 applying those assembly skills to GEM programming by covering file
 sectors, alert boxes, menus and windows.  Volume 3 will cover advanced
 GEM programming.  I look forward in continuing the workshop in volumes 2
 and 3.
 The ST Assembly Language Workshop Volume 1, by Clayton Walnum, $24.95
 with disk from Taylor Ridge Books.  -- Kevin Festner
 The A.E.S.  Quick Reference
 Book; ST, STe, TT
 The A.E.S.  is the Application Environment Services that provides the
 Atari ST/TT high level functions.  It creates and maintains the desktop
 environment with its drop down menus, dialog boxes, icons and windows.
 The A.E.S.  Quick Reference is the first volume in a planned three
 volume reference series providing the experienced Atari programmer or
 developer a complete guide to the A.E.S.  Library of Functions.  It is
 not a tutorial, but rather a catalog of pre-existing assembly language
 function calls that can be integrated into existing programs.
 The $11.95 price includes a 92 page book and an accompanying diskette
 and is well worth the price for those already experienced in GEM
 programming.  For the novice, this quick reference will only serve to
 confuse and frustrate.  Each of the 68 AES functions is alphabetically
 ordered by function name and thoroughly explained.  The assembly source
 code is included as well as examples of each function call in C.
 Assembly language or C programmers can make use of the included complete
 program shells as templates for their own programs.  The AES libraries
 range from GEM interface functions, keyboard, mouse, screen and window
 display functions to memory and file applications, as well as AES
 message words.
 Volume two of the Quick Reference series will cover the VDI, the Virtual
 Device Interface, and volume three will cover the lower level OS
 functions found in the BIOS, XBIOS, and GEMDOS.  Programmers will
 welcome the books, but if this all is alphabet soup to you instead of
 exciting news, skip this series.
 The A.E.S.  Quick Reference is by Clayton Walnum, $11.95 including disk
 and bibliography, from Taylor Ridge Books.  -- Kevin Festner
 Cubeat - MIDI Power, Low Price
 Cubeat is one of the baby brothers to Steinberg's Cubase, a program that
 provides a modular package for sequencing, scoring, and control over
 both keyboards and recording equipment.  The contention is that Cubeat
 lacks only Cubase's notation features, and is otherwise more or less the
 same.  But it's not quite true.  On the practical side, the program will
 not run on the TT -- Cubase was updated, cartridge key and all, to work
 on the TT.  Examination of the sequencer side of Cubase also indicates
 that Cubeat doesn't completely share its big brother's features.
 On the positive side, Cubeat is a lot of bang for the buck.  The
 sequencer relies on extensive graphics in its interface, from displaying
 parts within tracks by event (this can be turned off) to the way editing
 is depicted.  For example, you can make small adjustments in event
 placement by using a boot-shaped mouse icon to kick the chosen event
 into the next slot.
 The extensive use of graphics, even when they appear insufferably cute,
 makes Cubeat exceptionally easy to use even on a surface level.  You can
 operate on the parts that make up a track represented as pieces of tape,
 edit them with a scissors icon and assemble them at will by using a glue
 tube icon.  Once you start diving below the surface, the power of the
 program becomes very evident--you can manipulate MIDI data in a variety
 of ways, right down to the choice of file types, and you can sync the
 computer to outside devices via a number of options.  Cubeat works very
 handily with the Fostex R8/MTC-1 multitrack tape recorder and MIDI
 synchronizer combination, which relies on a combination of MIDI Time
 Code and MIDI Machine Control.
 It's this power that makes Cubeat worthwhile despite the difficulties (a
 tendency to lock up periodically, an occasional failure to notice the
 copy-protection key, and disagreements with most all standard
 accessories and auto programs).  Steinberg provides extensive support 
 for the program via numerous accessories, available on GEnie, as well as
 by mail from Steinberg-Jones.
 If you don't need direct program access to notation, Cubeat is well
 worth a serious look as a powerful and easy to use MIDI sequencer and
 system control.  Cubeat, $329, from Steinberg/Jones, 17700 Raymer Street
 #1001, Northridge, CA 91325, (818) 993-4091.  -- Steve McDonald
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