Z*Net: 11-May-90 #519

From: Kevin Steele (aj205@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 06/10/90-09:35:32 PM Z

From: aj205@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Kevin Steele)
Subject: Z*Net: 11-May-90  #519
Date: Sun Jun 10 21:35:32 1990

     //////       //    //  //////  //////   Z*Net Atari Online Magazine
        //   /   ///   //  //        //      ---------------------------
     //    ///  // // //  //////    //                MAY 11, 1990
  //       /   //   ///  //        //        ---------------------------
 //////       //    //  ///////   //                  Issue #519
                    (=) 1990 by Rovac Industries, Inc.
                            Post Office Box 59
                       Middlesex, New Jersey 08846
                     Z*Net Online BBS: (201) 968-8148
          Celebrating "5 Years" of Weekly Atari Online Reporting

                            TABLE OF CONTENTS
     5 years and commentary.......................Ron Kovacs/John Nagy
     Expanded coverage and Hot Atari News!............................
     Support??..............................................Jon Clarke
     Part 2..............................................Press Release
     New products from IC................................Press Release
     .......................................................Mark Quinn
     ......................................................Alice Amore
     ....................................................Marion Carter
                       EDITORS COMMENTARY/THIS WEEK
                       by Ron Kovacs and John Nagy
 This week marks the 5th year of publishing an Atari online magazine.  It
 has been an interesting 5 years and may things have changed within the
 community and personally.  Numerous Atari products which most should
 know about by now, Atari employees also too numerous to mention, and
 online magazines have come and gone.
 ZMagazine, our original online has stopped production, ST-ZMagazine has
 been renamed to Z*Net and our other magazine ST-REPORT is now under the
 wings of another editor.  John Nagy and Alice Amore have been around
 for a few years covering the Atari arena, John Nagy has left Michigan
 and moved to California, Michigan Atari Magazine has been replaced by
 AIM, numerous Atari publications have ceased production including,
 ST-Applications, ST-Xpress, Compute, Family Computing, and Analog to
 name a few.
 I have two children who are younger then ZMag and who have grown without
 knowing what life would be without online magazines and Atari in it.  I
 have changed jobs, sold my 8-bit systems, sold a car and continue 
 performing this task of weekly and monthly publishing.  I can only hope
 that someone has received something from all the work we have all put
 into producing the 300 plus issues released.
 The staff and I thank you for your support and look forward to 
 celebrating our 6th anniversary next year.

 Notice: Numbers CAN lie.  It isn't a pretty thing to have to bring up,
 but it seems that the people inside all agree - the total download
 numbers you see next to the online magazine on the major
 telecommunications services are being tinkered with.
 Before we go any further, let us state that this is NOT in any way
 intended to be an attack or an accusation of any specific person or
 publication.  We are certain that the observations and concerns we will
 present here are just as aggravating and frustrating for the other
 parties involved.
 For some (and formerly to us, too), the download numbers reported on the
 major telecom services represent a kind of weekly popularity poll or
 election results, and we used to track the hourly accumulation of
 "counts" with eager anticipation.  Lets face it, in this "business" of
 online magazines, the only "profit" is had by the networks that collect
 by the minute.  Z*Net and the other magazines get no share of it, so
 "winning" in the weekend numbers is about as good as it gets.
 But almost a year ago, we noted oddities in the accumulation of download
 numbers on the GEnie system.  It seemed that somehow, regardless of the
 popularity, content, or quality of the ST*ZMAG of the week, it was
 literally impossible to ever pass the counts of "the competition".
 (Since he gets mad when we use his magazine's name, so we won't refer to
 it directly - not that there could be any mystery!)  We began to suspect
 that someone took it upon themselves to adjust the numbers.  It turns
 out that it is a simple matter that any GEnie user could do at home.
 Since GEnie counts a download as soon as a listing or xmodem transfer
 begins, anyone can ask for a list, break, repeat, and knock in numbers
 at the rate of up to six a minute.

 In September '89, Z*Mag's staff decided to press the issue.  In a single
 week's issue, we "pumped" the ST*ZMAG numbers all weekend.  We also let
 GEnie's manager, Neil Harris, know what we had done.  At the time, a
 "normal" week count might have ST*ZMAG at 350-400, and the competition a
 comfortable 60 or so ahead.  The week in question, we pressed ST*ZMAG to
 an absurd 700 plus.  And guess what?  The "other" magazine stayed... 60
 What followed were a set of accusations and repercussions that have not
 yet been settled.  Rather than GEnie dealing with the obvious problem
 that was demonstrated by our action, ZMAG was instead "gently
 threatened" with removal from the GEnie system if we continued to
 "falsify" our download counts.
 Point made, we stopped.  But it then looked like someone else was doing
 it... to both magazines.  Some weeks the totals have been out of line
 with reasonable expectation.  Sometimes, impossible leads are garnered
 in minutes or in spurts.  And the only thing that everyone, including
 Z*NET, GEnie sysops, and R... (oops!) can agree on is that it is
 happening, and none of them know anything about who is doing it.  And
 this might be true all around.  There may even be several people out
 there thinking that they are "helping".
 They aren't.  At best, the fake numbers mislead the public as to the
 actual popularity of a file.  At worst, they are the basis of deep
 seated anger and frustration that erupts in needless cross-magazine
 bashing and competitiveness that crosses over into grudge matches and
 Two weeks ago, Saturday logged the performance of both magazines in
 virtual lock-step, counts within 5 of each other and bobbling back and
 forth, increasing by counts of 2 to 15 an hour.  Then, one magazine
 logged a mid-Sunday spurt, distancing itself by 120 counts in exactly 21
 minutes.  The rest of Sunday was as before... 2 to 10 downloads for BOTH
 each hour.  By the end of the week, the numbers remained about 100
 Last weekend, the scene was repeated, but the lump-lead of about 80 came
 on Saturday night in about 20 minutes.
 And yes, on occasion we have watched while nearly as absurd performances
 have been executed upon the OTHER magazine.  And we truly don't know who
 is doing it or why.  We DO have user logs showing who was present and in
 download position during the "lumps", which also demonstrate that
 numbers are being accumulated at a rate far faster than legitimately
 possible.  How do 120 downloads divide legitimately into 26 people?
 Getting the log is easy enough for anyone.  Just type "u" at the GEnie
 page prompt.  You will see who is in the ST area.  Do a locate ("L
 Username") and find what page they are at.  The library is 476.
 Messages and the RTC are 475.  While we have the logs, we won't print
 them here because most of the users on the lists are minding their own
 business and should not be singled out.
 GEnie Sysops are at a loss as to what, if anything, to do.  Darlah Pine
 has said that this situation does not occur in any other RT.  She has
 told us that it is not her concern, but that it may be resolved somewhat
 by the end of the year, when software changes that both magazines have
 lobbied for will be made.  That might include a count only of COMPLETED
 downloads.  While falsification by extra download cycles would still be
 possible, it would be much more time consuming, more expensive to do,
 and probably not as much fun.  But a few recent episodes on CompuServe
 (where a DL has to be complete AND can't be by the uploader account)
 show that it even might happen to some degree under the new software.
 So the "popularity piracy", if you will excuse the term, may for now,
 continue unchecked.  Part of the fun of producing a free magazine has
 been drained away by the bickering and accusations, and more has been
 lost to the frustration of not having a reliable measure of our
 Fortunately, in our more lucid moments, we remind ourselves that GEnie
 and CIS are just the tip of both magazine's icebergs.  We both have BBS
 networks with 500 to 1,000 systems carrying one, the other, or both
 mags.  But we can't really catch the pulse of that network and get a
 feel for actual "ratings".  And now we know we can't use the GEnie
 numbers either.
 What does this all mean?  we're not sure.  But we can ask our readers
 for three things:
 1.  Don't believe the numbers.  Download on your own judgement.
 2.  Don't try to "help" the numbers.  It's not a "900" number poll!
 3.  DO take note of oddities you might spot in the progress of the
     counts.  Maybe even check to see who is online.  And let us know
     what you find.
 We personally do not believe that either magazine staff (or sysop for
 that matter) has direct knowledge of who is doing the tweaking.  This is
 NOT an accusation of anyone.  It is an acknowledgement of SOMEONE.
 Thanks for your patience and cooperation.  If the "helpers" were to quit
 their activities, it might even reduce tensions between the magazines.
 And we'd like that.  And probably so would R... Oops!

 This week, Z*Net is pleased to present a reprint from the brand new ST-
 JOURNAL magazine.  SEX, MURDER, MINITEL is a feature article by ST-
 JOURNAL Senior Editor Marian Carter, and is a chilling forecast of what
 the USA might be moving towards as telecommunication becomes universal.
 It is about the free government supplied video terminal system in France
 that brings both convenience and corruption into every French home.  See
 the ST-JOURNAL Magazine offer in our NEWSWIRE this week as well.

                              Z*NET NEWSWIRE
 Atari reported net income of $1.5 million or $.03 per share on sales of
 $85.5 million for the quarter ended Mar. 31, 1990.  This compares with
 net income of $3.3 million or $.06 per share on sales of $88.8 million
 for the first quarter ended Mar. 31, 1989.  The results for the quarter
 reflect continued revenue growth for the Atari ST and Atari PC
 compatible product line, and the new Lynx video game machine.  The
 decline in revenue from last year is attributable to the impact of
 intense competition in the company's traditional 2600 and 7800 video
 game market in the United States. 
                           ATARI CORPORATION 
              Condensed Consolidated Statements of Operations 
                    (in thousands, except per share data) 
                                           Quarter ended 
                                     Mar. 31,        Mar. 31, 
                                       1990             1989 
 Net Sales                           $85,547          $88,776 
 Income (loss) from continuing 
 operations before income tax          1,377            3,411 
 Provision (credit) for income taxes    (171)             123 
 Income (loss) from cont'g operations  1,548            3,288 
 Discontinued operations(i)              ---              --- 
 Net income (loss)                   $ 1,548          $ 3,288 
 Earnings per common and equivalent share: 
 Continuing operations               $   .03          $   .06 
 Net income (loss)                   $   .03          $   .06 
 Number of shares used in 
 computation                          57,987           57,781 

 (i) -- Represents operations of the Federated Group.  In Mar. 1989, the
 company decided to discontinue its operation of Federated and reflected
 this decision in by writing off its remaining investment in Federated
 and providing for anticipated financial obligations and losses arising
 from this investment. 

 Reports and rumors of COMPUTER SHOPPER magazine's plans to drop ATARI ST
 coverage are false, says CS Editor Bob Lindstrom.  "It's just crazy.
 Why would anyone start that kind of story?  We have 13 editorial items
 in que right now for the ST."  Lindstrom was obviously angered by the
 rumors, which may be leftovers from the 1989 decision to eliminate 8-bit
 Atari and other "classic computers" from the CS coverage lineup.  He
 assured Z*Net that ST coverage is not to be curtailed in the foreseeable
 future.  Computer Shopper is an 800 page oversize format monthly
 magazine that features an amazing array of computer advertising as well
 as excellent reporting on IBM, MAC, AMIGA, and ATARI ST products.
 Regular Atari writers include John Nagy, Ron Luks, D.F. Scott, and Gary

 "Enthusiast" is a soon to be released Atari magazine covering support
 for the ST, 8-Bit, Portfolio and Lynx computer systems.  Each issue will
 provide support in telecommunications, desktop publishing, word 
 processing and entertainment.  Free trial subscriptions are available and
 one year subscriptions cost only $6.00 or .50 cents per issue.  For more
 information contact: Enthusiast, PO Box 33411, Raleigh, NC 27636.  (919)

 A group of local Atari activists and user group members, under the
 auspices and with the support of the Boston Computer Society, have begun
 to organize New England Atarifest '90.  The show is planned for October
 27, and will be held at the Harbor Campus of the University of 
 Massachusetts in Boston.  The New England AtariFest '90 is planned to
 coincide with the scheduled visit by Bob Brodie, Atari's Manager of
 User Group Services.  Bob is currently travelling around the nation 
 visiting Atari user groups and this will be his first visit to the 
 Boston area.  This is the first time an Atari show has been planned for 
 the Boston area since the BCS-sponsored AtariFest held in 1987.  
 Tentative plans for New England AtariFest '90 include invitations to 
 area Atari dealers, software dealers/distributors, vendors, user groups 
 and other interested participants.  Although details are indeterminate
 at present, those interested in reserving booth(s) should contact
 Harry Steele at the Boston Computer Society's main office as soon as
 possible.  All correspondence should be sent to:  The Boston Computer
 Society, New England AtariFest '90, One Center Plaza, Boston, MA 02108.

 The STE computer from Atari was approved by the FCC for US distribution
 some weeks back, but may not see availability in the US for at least
 another month.  The substantial internal shields required to pass FCC
 rules are said to have been causing production delays, adding to the
 frustration of the Atari product-starved US dealers who see the STE in
 full flower on all other shores.
 Warning: Stories circulating through the Atari dealer network are
 sometimes more reflective of frustration than of fact.  Currently, the
 "story" in progress says that the Atari TT 68030 computer will never see
 sales in the USA under the Atari nameplate, nor will it be available to
 current dealers.  Although there is not an accompanying rumor as to what
 the nameplate might become, dealers we talked to cited what they saw as
 a trend:  Portfolio- direct sales through Atari; LYNX- upscale
 department stores; Stacy- unavailable, but sold only by music stores;
 Atari Advantage (forthcoming 520ST bundle)- downscale department stores;
 STE- unavailable; 1040ST- obsoleted by the STE and out of stock anyway;
 MEGA 2- pre-obsoleted by VME-equipped MEGA STE concept, but out of stock
 anyway; MEGA 4- same as MEGA 2 but available for dealers.  Will the TT
 be a "real computer store computer" and bear a non-Atari name?  We don't
 know, but dealers aren't holding their breath.  They do appear to worry
 that they are being phased out.

 Atari stockholders will gather next Tuesday, May 15, in Sunnyvale
 California.  It will be the 1990 annual shareholders meeting, and
 although we don't know if there will be any surprise announcements,
 Atari will certainly have to do some explaining of their current
 situation.  All shareholders are invited to the 2PM meeting in the Atari
 headquarters General Meeting Room, 390 Caribbean Drive.  The proxy forms
 that were sent to all stock holders include the following agenda items:
 Election of the Board of Directors (a slate renewing the current members
 is proposed); ratification of the appointment of the independent
 auditors; and "other business".  Information provided to shareholders
 included some interesting ownership and control statistics.  Jack
 Tramiel now owns 43.8% of Atari stock, while Warner Communications holds
 24.6%.  The 16-member group including all directors and executives of
 Atari Corp hold an aggregate of 51% of all stock. 
 The Codeheads, John Eidsvoog and Charles Johnson, have opened a multi-
 line BBS in Los Angeles, California.  It is a general access and wide-
 interest system that will also serve as the main telecommunication
 depository of information and discussion of the many Codehead products,
 including Maxifile, Multidesk, Codehead Utilities, MIDIMAX, and more.
 Charles's line of shareware titles under the Little Green Footballs
 label will also be available.  CODEHEADQUARTERS invites your calls at
 213-461-2095, 24 hours a day.  CODEHEADQUARTERS carries Z*Net Online
 Magazine each week. 
 The first issue of ST-JOURNAL is in distribution now, but publisher
 Steve Lesh reports that most are selling out as soon as they reach the
 stands.  Z*Net pointed out to Steve that many of our readers may not
 even be near a dealer, but will probably want access to the new
 magazine.  So, as a favor to Z*Net readers, Steve will first-class mail
 a copy of the introductory ST-JOURNAL to anyone mentioning this offer
 for just the cover price of $4.50.  You will be assured quick and
 certain home delivery of the issue for exactly what you would pay in a
 store.  This issue features 74 slick and two-color pages of news,
 reviews, opinion, and comparisons.  Features include: 
 > OVER THE WALL, the joys and pitfalls of working at home 
 > SEX, MURDER, MINITEL, national free telecom in France 
 > 1990 NAMM REPORT, by MIDI master Robert Higgins 
 > TAMING THE CREATIVE PROCESS, hints on writing a masterpiece 
 > FINDING THE RIGHT WORD, a nine page comprehensive cross-comparison of
   nine of the best known Atari word processors 
 > INTERVIEW WITH BOB BRODIE, done by Tim Lewis 
 > MOONLIGHTING, a review of the movie-takeoff game genre 
 > IS THERE LIFE AFTER ATARI, by Andy Reese, former START editor 
 ...plus continuing personal journals from John Nagy, Jim Allen, John
 King Tarpinian, and Norm Weinress, an 18 page news section, a reader
 service section, and more.  To get this issue of ST-JOURNAL, see your
 113 West College Street, Covina, CA 91723.  Or, subscribe for $29.95 a
 year.  Make checks payable to QUILL PUBLICATIONS.  Advertising and
 contributor information can be had by phone at 818-332-0372. 
 Although no formal announcements have been made by WordPerfect, it is
 being treated as common knowledge that the premier word processor will
 be upgraded "on all platforms" to the 5-point-something level this
 summer.  A major selling point of the Amiga and Atari versions of WP
 included the portability of files between IBM and other platforms, but
 with the IBM currently at 5.1 and the Atari and Amiga at 4.1, that
 compatibility is gone, or at least limited.  Z*Net will continue to
 follow the story.

 Commodore has named Nolan K. Bushnell to head a team to develop and
 coordinate Amiga products.  As general manager of the Consumer
 Interactive Products, Bushnell and team will provide direction
 concerning these products to the consumer sales and marketing of
 Commodore.  Bushnell's achievements include the founding of Atari, Inc.
 and the introduction of Pong, the first video game system.  Recently,
 Bushnell founded Vent Inc. to develop multimedia products.

 NeXT announced plans this week to offer a version of its computer based
 on the Motorola 68040 microprocessor in late 1990.  NeXTs current
 customers will be able to purchase an upgrade to the 68040 for a retail
 price of $1,495.  All of the current NeXT computers use the 68030, the
 most powerful member of the 68000 family.  The 68040 is Motorola's
 fourth generation of the 68000 family and is binary-compatible with its
 predecessors, providing a smooth upgrade path for existing software. 
 Motorola claims that the 68040 significantly outperforms all other CISC
 microprocessors on the market (including the Intel 80486) as well as
 many of the RISC offerings currently available at similar clock speeds.

 Two dozen search warrants have been served in 15 cities across the
 country in a probe of computer hackers who are responsible for white-
 collar crime wave of the 1990s, federal and Arizona authorities
 announced earlier this week.  Agents from the U.S. Secret Service and
 the Arizona attorney general's office served 28 search warrants and told
 a news conference that 42 computer systems were seized along with
 thousands of computer disks that will have to be analyzed for possible
 criminal wrong doing.  The warrants were served in San Francisco; Los
 Angeles; San Diego; Phoenix Ariz.; Tucson, Ariz.; Plano, Texas; Miami;
 Saginaw, Mich.; Chicago, Detroit, Cincinnati; Richmond, Va.; Newark;
 Pittsburgh and New York City. 

 Sega has signed the first-ever licensing deal with boxing heavyweight
 champion James "Buster" Douglas to create a new state of the art boxing
 video game.  This multi-million dollar agreement follows Sega's recently
 announced licensing agreements with Joe Montana and Michael Jackson.
 The agreement gives Sega exclusive worldwide rights to Douglas for all
 home video game systems, arcade games, portable games and computer

 Lotus this week announced 1-2-3 Release 3.1, an enhanced version of
 1-2-3 that combines the power of 1-2-3 Release 3's advanced spreadsheet
 technologies with the ease of use of an interactive graphical
 environment, improved memory management, and support for native DOS,
 OS/2, and the upcoming version of Windows.  The product incorporates the
 Impress technology obtained by Lotus through the acquisition of Aleph 2,
 a software application development firm based in Paris.  1-2-3 Release
 3.1 is scheduled to begin beta testing later this month and to ship
 later this year.  New features include: WYSIWYG display and printing;
 mouse support; advanced worksheet formatting; text editing and graphic
 drawing tools; business graphics (.CGM) support; page layout and preview
 facilities; and publishing-quality output. 

 The William Morris Agency announced it has developed and put into
 operation a computer-based executive communication and information
 network that is a first for the entertainment industry.  When fully
 operational by year end, the 250-computer network will offer all agents
 real-time access to its totally integrated database.  It already is in
 use, with nearly 80 computers installed.  William Morris selected the
 advanced NeXT Inc. computer as the key element for its network after an
 evaluation of all available standard computers against agency

 WordPerfect is working on a version of WordPerfect for Microsoft's
 Windows 3.  WordPerfect for Windows will be released as version 5.1, the
 latest version currently available for PC/MS-DOS.  Windows documents
 will be compatible with the most recent DOS and OS/2 versions of
 WordPerfect.  The feature list is expected to be nearly identical with
 those versions.
 Mediagenic, formerly Activision, is predicting a loss for its fiscal
 year of $19 million on sales of $65 million.  The loss is attributable
 to "discontinuing unprofitable product lines in a stagnant US market for
 games software and strong competition."  Mediagenic also has to pay $6.4
 million in damages, as a result of a 1986 patent infringement suit
 brought by Magnavox Co.

 Beginning May 12, both computer buffs can get a hands-on look at the
 newest, most innovative and useful software and hardware available for
 personal computer users during "Futurebytes," a new feature of CNN's
 weekly program FUTURE WATCH.  The program airs Saturdays at 4:30 p.m.
 and again late Sunday evenings at 3:30 a.m., presenting viewers with the
 compelling issues and major challenges of the 21st century.  The first
 feature takes a look at "Eye Relief," a word processing program for
 people who are visually impaired or tired of the eye strain from working
 behind a computer.  The second, on May 19, features "PC Globe" and "PC
 Nation," two database programs that house a wealth of information on 177
 countries, including maps of each country.

 Kick the Habit(TM), a highly successful new smoking withdrawal product,
 is being introduced to consumers by Vipont Pharmaceutical.  The quit
 smoking system is based on "nicotine fading."  The fading method is
 recognized as an effective stop-smoking technique by the U.S. Surgeon
 General.  Kick The Habit includes a three-week supply of disposable
 nicotine-fading filters and psychological support aids.  Now available
 at leading drug chain stores across the US.  Its retail price is $29.95.

 In a strategic move designed to intensify efforts in the home
 entertainment category, NEC Corporation announced plans to shift
 resources in the U.S. from conventional audio/video products to the
 TurboGrafx-16 family of home entertainment products, professional and
 home information systems, and its full line of personal computer
 products.  In the nine years since NEC entered the U.S. conventional
 audio/video market, the company has lead the industry by providing
 innovative technologies to consumers including component television
 receiver/monitors, Dolby Pro-Logic, and digital noise reduction.  NEC
 successfully entered the home entertainment market last year with the
 introduction of the TurboGrafx-16 family of products and has continued
 to aggressively develop the product line.  As NEC refocuses on high
 growth opportunities, it will continue to provide dealers and end-users
 with a high level of service support for all NEC audio/video products.

 EDITOR's NOTE: NEC has been known to be "shopping" for companies in the
 computer marketplace for several years.  Although their acquisition of
 PROTON as their PC-CLONE manufacturer has resulted in great success in
 Japan, it has sold slowly in the USA and terribly in Europe.  NEC has
 been also searching for a product or company to enhance their European
 image, and is particularly interested in a means of getting attention,
 respect, and market share in Germany.


                             Z*NET DOWN-UNDER
                              by Jon Clarke
 Support, What Support?
 What a neat word "support" is.  Lets think about that for a few moments
 shall we.  "Ah a Sunday sermon" did someone say?  Well not quite, but
 food for thought.
 "Support": Carry (part of) weight of, hold up, keep from falling or
            sinking, enable to last out, give strength to, to encourage,
            lend ASSISTANCE.

 It is all to often these days when speaking of Atari computers that we
 hear the old adage "NO Support", and "We want more!"  More of what?
 What do we want when we say we want MORE support?
 I think the beST comment I have seen any where is a VT52 cartoon by "Tim
 productions" called 'Commando'.

 As the story goes in the cartoon.  This little chap back from 'Nam' and
 watching TV, he spies an add for a brand of computer.  To say the least
 it got to him.  So off commando went, as a one man fighting machine.  To
 ensure that Atari was still #1 in the market place even if he did have
 to blow up the other computers Head Quarters.  This may sound fun, and
 watching it in colour is indeed fun.  If you have not seen this program
 I suggest you look on a BBS or on-line service near you, we have it
 running live on our BBS and the response has been brilliant.

 You see this little program seems to generate alot of questions and soul
 searching in many users.  So what can you do to support Atari computers?
 Let me count the ways.....

 [1] Support your local user group.
 [2] If you do not have a local user group get the support of other Atari
     users near by and STart one.
 [3] If there is only a handful of users near you and a user group is not
     your answer, try meeting in an informal basis together.  There will
     be others with Atari computers following after you.  You never know
     what could STart up.
 [4] Never be afraid to ask or answer questions. By asking a question
     about your computer you are seeking the support of another person.
     Treat this like the "Domino Theory", you ask and get the answer, you
     get asked and give an answer, and so on and so on.
 [5] If you are an ex-8 bit owner and some one with an 8 bit asks you
     something.  Do not look down on them as 'poor cousins' and help
     where you can.  I have found that in most user groups I have visited
     there seems to be this 'them and us' scenario between the ST and
     8bit users.  Support each other and support the 'user group' as a
 [6] If you have a local BBS with an Atari section or a BBS for the Atari
     computers support the BBS.  Put as twice as much as you take out of
     it, in the message bases, files sections and the likes.  Remember
     an Atari voice on an IBM BBS can be heard.
 [7] If you are lucky enough to have a local dealership in your area,
     lend them your support by buying from the dealer.  By telling others
     about the goodies they have in stock.
 [8] Get your local dealer(s) to support your user group, or BBS.  This
     does not have to be in monetary terms, get them to demo products,
     sponsor a door prize or raffle and the list goes on.  This gets the
     support working both ways.
 [9] On a 'one on one' basis help each other by swapping the latest
     Public Domain files, programming ideas, hints and tips about your
     favourite programs.  There is a lot you can do.
 [0] The bottom line is you can do anything you wish to support other
     users.  All you have to do is WANT too.

 On the other side of the coin are the people who 'take, take, take' and
 do not give.  Met any of these people lately:

 [1] "All information is or should be free!" Sounds good, but how often
     have you had to pay for some knowledge that is free, or pay for a PD
     program and find out later it is free.  I don't necessarily mean in
     the dollars sense either.  How often have you had to do a 'BIG'
     favour to get that information.  So who is supporting who here?
 [2] "I am the BOSS".  Yes, well sure if I was at work and told that I
     could understand.  But at a user group meeting, "where we elected
     you?"  This does not go down well at all.  In this area you will
     find all the traits of the proverbial 'Empire Builder'.  So is the
     User Group getting his/her support or are you supporting their
 [3] "But they said it can not be done", or " the local tech at ABCDE
     company said I could not do it, so why should I tell you?" or "We
     told them that" and all of a sudden you are them.  Who is them and
     why do I get placed in a pigeon hole over something not relating to
     me?  Well we all get like this when we fall out of bed on the wrong
     side some times.  But to the person who does act like this all the
     time who are they supporting?  They fall into a combination of all
     the above.

 Get the idea, is it specific help or support we need from each other or
 is it from the guys who made the machine?

 Support, lets all support each other.  One comment thrown at me today
 was a bit over the top but he had just seen the "Commando" cartoon, so
 we can forgive him for it <grin>
 -Support a National Hate A_i_a Week-


                        Sprokits Computer Products
                      417B Foothill Blvd., Suite 381
                           Glendora, CA  91740
                              (818) 914-2400
 Sprokits Megamater Cable
 Sprokits Computer Products is proud to introduce the Sprokits Megamater
 Cable for the Atari 520ST/520STFM/1040ST/STE computers.  The Megamater
 Cable is priced at $19.95 and is offered in two models: Model 18 - for
 the Atari 520ST, and Model 8 - for the Atari 520STFM/1040ST/STE.  The
 only difference is that the original 520ST has an eighteen-pin
 connector, where the 520STFM, 1040ST, and STE have an eight-pin

 The Megamater Cable allows you to plug a Mega ST keyboard into the
 520ST, 520STFM, 1040ST, and STE as a replacement for the built-in
 keyboard.  Installation is simple, and there is no soldering required.
 Mega ST keyboards can be purchased from any authorized Atari dealer.

 Look for Sprokits Computer Products at your favorite dealer or order
 direct if you don't have a local dealer in your area.  Sprokits Computer
 Products distributes its products directly to dealers.  Call or write if
 you would like to become a Sprokits dealer.
 Sprokits Distributes GE-SOFT Products in the U.S
 Sprokits Computer Products is proud to announce that we have become the
 exclusive American distributors for GE-SOFT products.  GE-SOFT is a West
 German company that specializes in mass storage products for the Atari
 The foundation of the GE-SOFT products line is the Megadrive SCSI host
 adapter.  The Megadrive SCSI host adapter is priced at $149.95,
 including the adapter card, software and manual, and a two-meter DMA
 cable.  The Megadrive measures ten centimeters by eight centimeters and
 draws all of its required power from the hard drive itself so there are
 no external power connections on the adapter.  The Megadrive features
 onboard DMA IN and DMA OUT connectors, and can be modified to work with
 the internal DMA connector on the Mega ST motherboard.  Up to 8 SCSI
 devices can be connected to the Megadrive adapter, and the DMA cable can
 be up to two meters in length.  If longer DMA cable lengths are
 required, a different chip set can support cable lengths of up to six
 meters, and can be provided at a nominal upgrade cost.

 The installation software that comes with the Megadrive adapter is very
 easy to use, and provides all the pertinent information on the screen at
 the same time.  The software also reads the drive configuration from the
 drive itself, making it even easier to use than software that requires
 knowing the specific hard drive parameters and then manually typing them

 The driver software offers several unique features.   The driver
 supports GEM partitions larger than 16 megabytes and up to 1 Gigabyte.
 This means that almost any hard drive can completely reside on one
 partition.  This makes using Syquest cartridges as simple as inserting a
 floppy disk.  The driver provides for a selectable software delay to
 allow the hard drive to come up to speed before the computer boots.  The
 driver provides for virus protection on the hard drive and write
 protection on the hard drive.  At bootup, by holding down the left and
 right shift keys simultaneously, the end-user may select what partition
 to boot from, what auto programs to execute on the selected partition,
 and what accessories to execute on the selected partition.

 The GE-SOFT hard drive software disk also includes a hard drive backup
 program for keeping data secure.

 The Megadrive Case is priced at $399.00 and features a built-in
 Megadrive adapter, built-power supply with connections for two drives,
 illuminated front power switch and hard drive access L.E.D., side and
 bottom ventilation, mounting holes for two drives and a direct current
 cooling fan, and all cabling.  The Megadrive Case is the same width and
 depth as a Mega ST, is just tall enough for a half-height device, and
 stacks nicely under a monitor or above or below a Mega ST.  This
 configuration is perfect for people who want to build their own hard
 drives.  Completely assembled hard drives and tape drives will also be
 available soon.

 Look for Sprokits Computer Products at your favorite dealer or order
 direct if you don't have a local dealer in your area.  Sprokits Computer
 Products distributes its products directly to dealers.  Call or write if
 you would like to become a Sprokits dealer.

                            ARCIT/ARCIT SHELL
                              Press Release
                        Innovative Concepts (I.C.)
                            31172 Shawn Drive
                           Warren, MI 48093 USA
                          Phone: (313) 293-0730
                           BBS: (313) 978-1685
                  GEnie: I.C.    CompuServe: 76004,1764

 We at I.C. are pleased to announce the release of the Commercial Version
 For those unfamiliar with the previous versions of ARCIT/ARCIT SHELL;
 It is a utility for handling all those compressed files you see on -
 BBS's, PD disks, CompuServe, GEnie, and other data base services, using
 the extenders "ARC", "LZH", "ZIP", and "ZOO".  The corresponding
 compression programs are made to save upload & download time, as well as
 space on disks.
 What does ARCIT & ARCIT SHELL do for me, you may ask.  IT SAVES TIME!
 It allows you to call up all the popular compression programs, from one,
 EASY-TO-USE program!  The following compression/decompression programs
 are supported with this commercial version:  ARC (5.12), ARC 5.21 (5.21
 A, B, or C), ARC 6.02, Turbo ARC, DCOPY (any version), LHARC (any
 version), FASTLZH, ZIP, UNZIP, and ZOO (any version).
 What's the difference between ARCIT and ARCIT Shell, you may ask.  Well,
 ARCIT is the Command Line type of program, whereis ARCIT SHELL is a GEM
 based point-and-click type of menu system, for even easier use!  Also
 included is an ACCessory version of ARCIT SHELL, for the ultimate in
 The ShareWare story:  ARCIT & ARCIT SHELL (ALL versions) was written by
 G.A. Szekely.  Previous versions of these programs were released as
 shareware.  ShareWare, in it's concept, is a neat idea, when it works.
 An author provides quality software to the public, free to TRY-OUT.  If
 you like the software and continue to use it, you are supposed to send
 in a registration fee or "donation".  Enough contributions will keep
 updates and new programs flowing to the community, at really great
 prices!  (Most authors only ask for $15 or $20)  However, many people
 take advantage of this concept, and don't send any money!

 Well, to make a long story short, we at I.C. contacted Mr. Szekely
 (turns out he was local, living just a few miles away!), and asked him
 if he would be interested in updating his programs, and then we would
 market them.  Here they are!

 However, rather than being shareware, ARCIT & ARCIT SHELL (starting with
 version 1.20) is now a COMMERCIAL product, of what I'd like to term as
 FairWare.  You get a GREAT DEAL, on a GREAT set of programs!  And,
 rather than reading "DOC" files on a disk (now reserved for update
 info), you get a nice little printed manual, for easy reference!

 Main Features

 * ADD - For adding files to an existing compressed file.
 * EXTRACT - For extracting and decompressing files.
 * MOVE - Similar to ADD, except source file is deleted.
 * EXT & DEL - Similar to EXTRACT, except source compressed file is
 * UPDATE - Adds to a compressed file, if the file is new or revised.
 * VERBOSE - Similar to LIST, with added file and compression info.
 * FRESHEN - Adds newer versions of existing files to a compressed file.
 * LIST - Shows filenames, their original sizes, and date of compression.
 * DELETE - For deleting files in a compressed file.
 * TEST - For checking integrity of compressed file (CRC checks).
 * TO STD OUT - Similar to EXTRACT, except results are to screen or
 * CONVERT - For converting from one compressed form, to another.

 Secondary Features     (These can be combined for desired results)

 * HOLD SCREEN - For pausing in-between operations.
 * NO COMPRESION - Does not allow any compression routines on archives.
 * NO WARNING MSGS - Does not print warning messages <use sparingly!>.
 * NO COMMENTS - Suppresses comments/messages to a compressed file.
 * ENCRYPT PASSWORD - For encoding a password in a compressed file.

 Other features

 In addition to minor bug fixes (from the shareware versions), additional
 support for newer compression programs, ARCIT SHELL also has a NEW save
 configuration option!  Allows you to save your most-used options as
 defaults, each time you use ARCIT SHELL!  Supports: Ramdisks and Hard
 Drives, as well as acclerater boards, for LIGHTNING FAST compressions/
 decompressions!  Want more?  Well, let us here from you!  If there is
 some neat/useful feature you would like to see added to the next update,
 let us know!

 Compression Programs Supported    (As mentioned earlier)

 ARC 5.12, ARC 5.21 (A, B, or C), Turbo ARC, DCOPY (any version), LHARC
 (any version), FASTLZH, ZIP, UNZIP, and ZOO (any version).  And, if any
 other new or revised compression program comes along, we will do our
 best to support it as well!

 Suggested Retail Price: Only $14.95

 SPECIAL!  From now, until May 31st 1990, our SALE price is ONLY $9.95 !
 SAVE $5! <That's a dollar for each exclamation point above -  grin>

 BONUSES:  Also included at no extra charge, are a collection of the
 compression programs (with docs), on a separate disk!  And, if that were
 not enough, we also include other bonus programs as well!  However, to
 find out what they are, you will have to order ARCIT & ARCIT SHELL!
 Ordering Information:  <Address & Phone at top> $4.00 S&H for USA and
 APO/FPO addresses.  COD is available (USA only) for $3.50 extra.  Canada
 and MEXICO add $7 S&H.  All other countries add $10 S&H.  Sorry, but to
 keep our prices low, we do not accept charge card orders at this time.

 Catalog requests:  We make several other products for the ST/Mega, as
 well as MANY products for the Atari 8-bit lines.  Our Catalog is
 included FREE with each order.  If you would like one before a purchase,
 just send us a S.A.S.E. (self addressed stamped envelope - business
 size), with sufficient postage for a 1 ounce mailing (25 cents in USA,
 30 cents in Canada, etc.).  OR, you can download our Catalog Files
 (ASCII text form), from CompuServe, GEnie, or our own BBS (phone # at

 Dealer, Distributor, and User Group Inquiries Welcome!

                           SEX, MURDER, MINITEL
                             by Marian Carter
 This feature is a reprint from the April/May ST-JOURNAL MAGAZINE,
 presented here by permission.  THIS ARTICLE MAY NOT BE REPRINTED IN ANY
 JOURNAL, 113 West College Street, Covina, CA 91723, 818-332-0372.  Also
 see the ST-JOURNAL order information, elsewhere in this issue of Z*Net.
 Less than a decade ago, the phone company, France Telecom, a utility
 owned by the French government, launched its new phone system,
 "'Minitel", and gave its citizens wonderful magic gadgets - video
 display terminals.  This was so they could summon all kinds of services
 from the comfort of their homes merely by pushing a button-something
 like commanding Aladdin's genie.

 The citizens loved the free terminals: They could buy new shoes for the
 baby, order groceries, bet the horses, book train reservations, pay
 bills, and do all kinds of things. As time went by and the system became
 more successful, they found they could use it for even more
 sophisticated services such as obtaining horoscope readings, baseball
 scores, and other, less innocent, functions.

 By the time 1989 had rolled around, Minitel wasn't so mini; it had a
 videotext (electronic phone book) numbering 25 million entries, offered
 more than 8,000 services, and had something like 5 million terminals
 scattered throughout the nation and its territories. As of this writing,
 the Minitel videotext system is the biggest network of telephone-linked
 home computers in the world. It may also be one of the world's biggest
 networks of pornographic services.


 The French, always innovative when it comes to affairs of the heart,
 have found numerous ways to employ Minitel in creating any number of
 erotic services.  All this, to the chagrin of the government, which,
 because of the anonymity Minitel provides, has found itself sheltering
 a whole spectrum of per-versions called "pink services."  These
 services, aside from more innocent diversions - video games and
 horoscope features - range from explicit graphics that go way beyond the
 fabled French post card to prostitution, and much more, including
 murder, and are a part of that notorious segment of Minitel called "Pink

 Had the Pink Minitel bunch confined themselves to the kind of 976 party
 line services offered in the United States or, at least, stopped with
 the trollop trade, the French government very likely would have shrugged
 its collective shoulders and dismissed the whole thing as none of its
 concern.  After all, considering the money these services have earned
 them (millions of dollars in revenue), questioning the source might be
 somewhat ungracious, if not, unprofitable.

 Unfortunately for both the government and its law abiding citizens, the
 Pink Minitel has also given birth to a host of criminal activities of a
 much darker nature; various elements of society have crawled out from
 under their rocks to spawn robbery and extortion rings, deal drugs, and
 sell the sexual favors of children. All kinds of perversions and
 criminal activities have flourished under Minitel's umbrella, including
 that of murder.


 Meanwhile, the government is still denying responsibility by arguing
 that Minitel is simply a medium provided as a service to the public,
 that it should not be held responsible for the way the system is used or
 abused, nor should it be put in the position of having to dictate
 morality.  But, shrugging its shoulders, it's not.  Because of its
 unwitting link to these elements and the position it has taken, i.e.,
 non-involvement, France Telecom now finds itself in the hotseat.  It's
 going to have to defend itself against lawsuits filed by a couple of
 family organizations: the National Confederation of Catholic Family
 Associations, and the Federation of French Families.  Charges include
 child prostitution and range from extortion to murder.

 Prompting the lawsuits was the discovery that adults are using the
 Minitel services to hire out children for sexual purposes.  According to
 a recent article in the Los Angeles Times, a 40 year old man in the
 region of Bordeaux was using Minitel to lease out the 6-year-old son of
 his common-law wife for sexual purposes.  However horrifying this may
 be, it's only one of the cases that have come to public attention.
 Because of the large and growing number of users of the service and the
 cloak of anonymity provided by the French government, it's anyone's
 guess as to how many children have been abused in a similar manner.

 A national scandal involving the death of a 24 year old call girl also
 played its part.  Anne Trinh, tortured and killed, had been contacted by
 her sado-masochist killer through a Pink Minitel message service.  The
 Trinh case, ironically enough, was also partly solved through the use of
 the Minitel electronic telephone directory.  Trinh's dentist, located
 through the directory, was able to aid police in identifying her badly
 burned body.  Again, as with the case of the sexually abused 6-year-old,
 French authorities have no way of knowing how many murders, directly or
 indirectly caused through misuse of Minitel, have come about.

 Complaints and legal problems involving Minitel and its operators are
 nothing new.  In 1987, the government created an advisory commission to
 hear and respond to charges made against it.  France Telecom then drew
 up a new contract with Minitel that requires all of the operators to
 identify themselves by name and address.  A lawsuit against five
 operators employing Minitel's services was previously filed but
 dismissed on the basis that the legal grounds to which the complaint
 referred, employing literature that incited the corruption of morals,
 could not be invoked since it had been many years since that statute
 had been enforced.

 The government can't say that it hasn't been warned.  Its prestigious
 budgetary agency, The Court of Accounts, has cautioned the
 administration against compromising itself by (in the agency's words)
 "furnishing the means for activities that might be declared illegal by a
 criminal judge, for which the Minitel network forms the base."  The
 agency has also recommended legislation governing Minitel and advised
 that France Telecom cease distribution of the free terminals which, it
 stated, has created an "artificial demand' for Minitel's services.


 In spite of all of these problems, France Telecom has done very little
 to clean house or enforce the new regulations, All a user has to do is
 choose his perversion and punch a button.  An operator answers the
 summons; no name or address is given, and no questions are asked.  As of
 late 1989, not a single one of the controversial services offered on the
 Pink Minitel network had been terminated.

 The agency will probably begin charging for the terminals sometime this
 year; whether it will do much, voluntarily, in the way of regulating
 Minitel's pink services is another matter.  When Minitel first came out,
 the government had expected to cover the cost incurred from distributing
 free terminals by the savings realized in lower printing costs.
 (Minitel's subscribers receive an electronic phone book in place of the
 regular book along with a paper directory of business listings.)  It was
 also relying on service charges to help cover costs.


 Apparently, however, someone didn't do his math (maybe he didn't know
 how to use a spreadsheet), because the gap between expectations and
 actuality is big enough to bury the Louvre; savings have been so far
 below costs that recent budget figures projected to 1995 indicate a
 potential deficit of about 1.3 billion dollars.  Without the revenues
 from the Pink Minitel services, the projected deficit would have been
 even more horrifying.  According to some critics, revenues from the sex
 services alone bring in around 100 million per year.  Pink Minitel might
 be a festering thorn in the side of France Telecom, but it's an
 extremely profitable thorn.  According to the smart money, the agency
 isn't going to be in any hurry to pull it out.  So what are a few dead
 prostitutes, anyway?

 A central issue, however, is neither financial nor moral, but involves
 the problem as to whether or not the state should be involved in the
 business of determining a nation's morality.  Mention government control
 and immediately that old hydra-headed monster, censorship, jumps out of
 the bag.  Ugly pictures of bureaucratic eavesdropping and surveillance
 come to mind.


 Complicating the matter further is the lack of a definition as to what
 pornography is, and isn't.  There exist no precedent legal decisions for
 France to follow, no firm guidelines to support judicial opinion.  Such
 opinion, once it is rendered in the cases now pending against France
 Telecom, will most likely constitute a landmark decision.  Because of
 this judicial wasteland, litigation, if allowed to proceed to a legal
 conclusion, will probably be lengthy, extensive, and costly to all
 parties involved.


 Whatever the course of the actions, whether settled out of court, or by
 legal findings, France Telecom will almost certainly be forced to
 undertake a restructuring of the Minitel services.  It can't very well
 kill off Minitel - that agency has become too dear to the hearts of the
 French people - but it created the monster and it's going to have to
 take some responsibility for making it a more socially acceptable
 creature.  But how can that be done?


 There are, however, other issues to consider; ones directly pertinent to
 the citizens of this country.  At this writing, there is no clear
 indication of a criminal element being linked to the 976 services being
 offered here.  But there has been a lot of controversy concerning those
 so-called party-line and sex services.  And, like Minitel, phone
 companies in this country have been shying away from imposing any kind
 of regulation.  Again, like Minitel, they argue that they're only the
 medium, not the message, and they shouldn't be put in the position of
 having to censor and regulate that message.

 Bulletin boards are another field ripe for the peddling of sex related
 services.  In fact, a logon now to some of those boards can provide a
 user all kinds of titillating information.  Some of it leaves little to
 the imagination, Like our phone companies and Minitel, most SysOps will
 probably have the same defense.  They're not the message; they're only
 providing the medium for that message.  But there is a primary
 difference between the French phone company and the American phone and
 bulletin board services.  It's that cloak of anonymity as shield that's
 not nearly as available to the American user as it is to the French.
 Just try logging on to a bulletin board in this country without leaving
 some kind of a record of your communication!

 So what are the issues here?  Simply these: Minitel's problems may
 become ours, and, if that happens, we're going to have to decide what to
 do about them.

 The French company's problems, as they stand now, may be representative
 of some of the major thorns that will be plaguing the future of our own
 communications systems. Minitel, minus the protective cloak, could be us
 a few years from now.  There's already been controversy over some of 
 those 976 services, and we may, even now, have more serious problems of
 which we're unaware.  Eventually, we're going to have to face them-and
 when we do, we may also have to face the problem of agency censorship.
 Most people don't like that idea; it smacks of government snooping, book
 burning, and the heavy hand of bureaucratic control.  But if lives
 become an issue, as they have with French Minitel, then the American
 people may have no other choice than to employ and accept such control.

 In other words, if our public sector agencies-telephone companies,
 bulletin boards-can't find some way of regulating themselves, it may
 have to be done for them, and nobody's gonna like that.

 - Marian Carter

 PLEASE NOTE that this article was reprinted in Z*Net Atari Online by
 permission of ST-JOURNAL Magazine and MAY NOT be reprinted elsewhere
 except by permission of ST-JOURNAL.

 Z*Net  Online  Magazine  is  a weekly released publication covering the
 Atari community.  Opinions  and  commentary  presented are those of the
 individual authors and do not reflect those of Rovac Industries.  Z*NET
 and  Z*NET  ONLINE  are  copyright  1990  by Rovac Industries.  Reprint
 permission is granted as long as Z*NET ONLINE, Issue  Number and author
 is included at the top of the article. Reprinted articles are not to be
 edited without permission.
 ZNET ONLINE                                           Atari News FIRST!
                Copyright (c)1990 Rovac Industries, Inc..

Kevin Steele (aj205.Cleveland.Freenet.Edu)


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