Z*Net: 01-Jun-90 #522

From: Kevin Steele (aj205@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 06/11/90-12:58:12 AM Z

From: aj205@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Kevin Steele)
Subject: Z*Net: 01-Jun-90  #522
Date: Mon Jun 11 00:58:12 1990

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                    Z*Net Atari Online Magazine
                 (=) 1990 by Rovac Industries, Inc.

 Issue #522                                                 June 1, 1990
                       Publisher/Editor: Ron Kovacs
                            Editor - John Nagy

 - Z*NET ATARI NEWSWIRE.................................................
 - Z*NET NEWSWIRE.......................................................
 - Z*NET DOWN-UNDER...........................................Jon Clarke
 - PD/SHAREWARE STOP..........................................Mark Quinn
 - PORTFOLIO PUBLIC DOMAIN SHELF..............................Ron Kovacs
 - LETTERS TO Z*NET........................................Grady Johnson
 - SO, YOU WANT TO BE AN ST HARDWARE DEVELOPER.................Jim Allen
 - USING TOS 1.4 AND NEODESK 2.05..............................Tom Blair

                           Z*NET ATARI NEWSWIRE
 Last week, Z*Net reported that Los Angeles Atari dealers received STACY
 portable computers.  Within that story, we reported that the machines
 did not all seem to be alike, and that one store had TOS 1.6 in their
 machine.  This is apparently not so, as it has been pointed out to us
 (abundantly!!) by programmers and developers that 1.6 cannot operate in
 a Stacy.  The story originated directly from an ATARI employee who was
 on hand for extended attempts to set up the machine in question at one
 of the dealers, and it was his insistence that the Stacy "showed" that
 it had TOS 1.6.  Bob Brodie of Atari has assured us that all STACY
 computers, whether prototype or production, have TOS 1.4.

 At least one vendor who had a booth at the latest World of Atari show
 was recently surprised by unexpected bills.  MID CITIES COMP/SOFT from
 the Los Angeles area, received a bill of $800 from Greyhound Exposition
 Services, supposedly to pay for services of union workers at the show.
 Manger Jane Hughes says that workers appeared at the dock when Mid
 Cities was unloading on Friday afternoon before the Anaheim WOA, and she
 was told that they were to move the equipment and stock.  After waiting
 more than an hour for a positive answer as to whether they were required
 to use this service, she allowed them to do so, as did the other vendors
 she saw.  Jane said that in the end, they were not given a choice, and
 that it was quite different than the previous year when they carried
 their own stock.  She recalls no mention in any WOA show materials about
 extra charges for union workers, and she did not agree to any charges
 with anyone on the show site, so the bill was completely unanticipated
 when it arrived a month later.  As the charges would wipe out much of
 what had been expected to be her company's profit from the show, she
 protested to Greyhound.  They told her that all the dealers had to use
 their services, and that many of them have received their bills by now.
 Jane says that she has sent the bill and a letter of protest to Richard
 Tsukiji, promoter of the WOA shows.  A few vendors got away without the
 union help.  At least one dealer, SAN JOSE COMPUTER, is said to have
 gotten special permission from WOA management to move their stock in
 late on Friday night, and COMPUTER GAMES PLUS of Orange, California,
 arrived too late to unload Friday... but they were allowed to anyway,
 after the union workers had left for the day.  Word from ATARI is that
 they paid over $3,000 to Greyhound for loading and unloading, despite
 volunteer workers from Southern California user groups doing 100% of the
 packing and setup/breakdown of their area.

 Richard Tsukiji has not made a public statement referring to his
 recently announced World of Atari show in August in San Jose,
 California, since being notified by Atari that they had major concerns
 about scheduling.  However, we have reports that vendors have continued
 to be contacted by Tsukiji, who is still selling the show hard.  When
 they asked him if Atari had committed to appear or to support the show,
 he is reported to have only said that Atari would be crazy not to
 support a show in their own backyard.  Atari has provided all of the
 vendor equipment and advertising money for WOA shows to date.  However,
 Atari has announced their commitment to support the user-group sponsored
 GLENDALE show in early September, as well as several industry shows in
 June, July, and August.  There has been some talk of vender
 dissatisfaction with what they see as Tsukiji's indifference to concerns
 that his schedule will damage the Glendale show, and several have said
 privately that they will not attend further WOA shows as a consequence.

 DIP, the UK company that designed the PORTFOLIO computer for Atari, is
 reported to claim that Atari has defaulted on their royalty payments for
 the units.  Some $4 per unit sold was to have been paid to DIP for the
 continued use of their operating system.  DIP is said to have cut off
 support for Atari regarding the Portfolio, pending resolution of the
 delinquent payments.  A newer revision of DIP's operating system (2.11,
 version 1.1) is available now only in the machines sold under DIP's own
 brand, which are not available in the USA.  It has been reported that
 Atari has similarly not paid CONNER, the hard drive manufacturer, for
 their drives being used in the STACY computer.  This may be due to the
 design problems that may or may not have been completely resolved and
 that required many Stacy computers to be refitted with new drives.
 Industry observers are not surprised by the payment stalling, and say
 that this is fairly normal procedure for large companies who are trying
 to force a renegotiation of terms or to break a contract in order to
 deal with a new supplier.  We all recall that it is the Tramiels who
 promote the saying, "Business is War".

 Bill Rehbock posted a copyright message in the ST RT Bulletin Board 
 earlier today stating that a new and improved customer support and new
 and improved versions of GFA Basic would be coming soon.  The US office
 for GFA Datamedia UK will be opening soon and Antic Publishing would no
 longer be distributing GFA Basic as of June 1, 1990.  Along with the
 updated GFA Basic, other new utilities include GFA GEM Utilities, a
 collection of source code and bindings to make life with GEM much
 easier, and a new and improved shell to replace MENUX.

                              Z*NET NEWSWIRE

 Western Union and MCI have agreed to interconnect their public
 electronic mail services, which will allow the exchange of messages.
 Western Union 400 service will be interconnected with MCI Mail's
 XChange 400 service, using the international X.400 company's EasyLink
 public messaging service.  Western Union announced previously that X.400
 interconnections with AT&T Mail, SprintMail, General Electric
 Information Services and the IBM Information Network.
 John Dickinson, former executive editor of west coast operations for PC
 Magazine, has been hired as the monthly's editor, reporting to Editor-
 in-Chief Michael Edelhart.  Preston Gralla has been named editorial
 director, responsible for designing new sections.
 PC World and InfoWorld readers will be offered a "test drive" of
 Microsoft's new Windows Version 3.0.  Disks containing a working copy of
 the software and a tutorial will be available to readers who return a
 postage-paid card.  The card will be inserted in the July issue of PC
 World, which will be mailed to subscribers June 8 and will be on the
 newsstands starting June 19.  The July issue also features a preview of
 Windows 3.0.  Readers of the May 21 issue of InfoWorld also will have an
 opportunity to get the disk by completing a one-time-only postage-paid
 order card.
 The SPA announced last week that its court ordered raids earlier this
 month in LA at the National Business Academy resulted in seizures of
 more than 600 copies of allegedly illegal software valued at more than
 $250,000.  Marshals acting on behalf of Lotus, Microsoft and WordPerfect
 in its May 8 raids on the Van Nuys, Inglewood and Glendale, Calif.,
 locations.  NBA is an adult vocational school that trains individuals in
 word processing and spreadsheet programs.  The school is alleged to have
 illegally used, duplicated and distributed software produced by the
 three publishers.

 Apple announced it has settled two class action lawsuits filed against
 the company in 1989.  The suits, Hussey vs. Apple Computer, and Zeid vs.
 Apple Computer, both alleged damages to persons who purchased Apple
 stock from Jan. 17 through Jan. 27, 1989, resulting from events
 occurring during January 1989.  The settlement calls for Apple and its
 insurance company to pay a total of $5.65 million.

 National Semiconductor unveiled some new chips that are geared toward
 specific applications rather than general purpose functions.  Two of the
 microprocessors are the first 32-bit processors that incorporate
 software-programmable digital signal processing and are designed for
 products such as laser-beam printers and fax machines.  The NS32CG160
 integrated system processor is geared for use in mid-range office
 peripherals including monochrome and color page printers and document

 Exide Electronics announced uninterruptible power supplies for office
 environments.  The Powerware Plus 5 is the first UPS system to provide
 customer configurable input/output voltage, phase and frequency with
 function key control and ease.   It supports the power protection
 requirements of data processing, telecommunication, and process control
 applications.  The Powerware Plus 5 is currently available through
 authorized distributors and manufacturing representatives.  List price
 begins at $4,730. 
 Hayes announced immediate North American availability of Hayes V-series
 ULTRA Smartmodem 9600 (ULTRA 96).  ULTRA 96 provides CCITT V.32 for 9600
 bps modulation enhanced with CCITT V.42bis error-control and data
 compression for data throughput up to 38.4 Kbps.

 Computer Reseller News announced that a single advertiser, AT&T Computer
 Systems, is the sole sponsor of its issue published June 1, 1990.  AT&T
 purchased all available 24 pages of the 48-page publication for use by
 itself and its resellers.   The CRN midweek issue is timed for
 distribution at COMDEX.  CRN, recently honored by the Computer Press
 Association as the best newspaper in the industry, will distribute the
 issue to its 64,000 weekly subscribers, as well as the COMDEX 10,000
 Mediagenic announced that they have reached an agreement with Magnavox
 for long term payment of the patent infringement damages awarded to
 Magnavox earlier this year.  The agreement provides for monthly payments
 of $150,000 from July 1990 to Dec. 1993, with a balloon payment at Dec.
 31, 1993.  The agreement covers the $6.6 million in damages awarded in
 the previously announced decision in a patent infringement suit brought
 by Magnavox against Mediagenic (then Activision) in 1982.
 Nintendo filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in San Francisco against
 Lewis Galoob Toys for copyright infringement.  The suit claims a new
 Galoob product called Game Genie, which is designed for play with a
 Nintendo home video game system, creates "derivative" works of Nintendo
 copyrighted video games, in violation of U.S. law.  Galoob's Game Genie
 is connected to a Nintendo video game cartridge and inserted into a
 Nintendo home video game hardware unit.  When operated, Game Genie
 changes certain essential features of a Nintendo video game.  An example
 of the changes, in Nintendo's Super Mario Bros video game, Game Genie
 can be used to alter the main character's speed or cause him to float
 through the air to avoid obstacles originally programmed into the game.
 The number of lives a player can lose before the game ends can be made
 indefinite and the player can skip entire levels of game play and take
 shortcuts to progressively more difficult worlds, or game levels, which
 a player must enter in order to complete the game.
 Electronic Arts announced it has signed a contract with Chicago Bulls
 Michael Jordan to help co-design multiple video and computer games.
 Electronic Arts plans for these products to be available for play on the
 Nintendo Entertainment System, in addition to other systems.

     []    _                     []
     []  o(_)  Z*Net Down Under  []
     [] /  /\  Z*Net Down Under  [][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]
     []                          [] Communications           []
     [][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]    A NEW Breed of User   []
       by                      []                THE WALLIES []
          Jon Clarke           [][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]
  **-> Wallies Take your generosity and eat it for Lunch. <-**
 There is a new breed of modem user out there in modemland, worldwide.
 We have nick-named them "Wallies" or "Wally" for short.  'Wallies' are
 the users who call their local BBS and demand to have full access to all
 parts of the BBS after defaming your name and leaving messages that a
 policeman would cringe at.  'Wallies' are a strange breed of people.
 **-> If Wallies had their way they would download at 19200 baud <-**
 The 'Wallies' are the users who if they had their way would design a
 modem that uploads in 100 baud and downloads in 19200 baud.  The fact
 that you have a upload/download ratio only serves to feed their need
 "to catch the SYSOP out".  "Why upload new software to this BBS?  We
 have a better idea.  Lets upload a small text file we dloaded from here"
 Now that the 'Wallies' have split up an archive and resent the files,
 their upload/download ratio is set for a further download frenzie.
 There is a new cry among "Wallies", 'We want a comms program that will
 allow 10 megabytes of files to be downloaded in one session, and fool
 the upload/download ratios'.
 **-> It is Un-cool for a 'Wally' to logoff a BBS the normal way <-**
 The 'Wallies' will logon to the the BBS with the "Control C" key at the
 ready.  Then when the system has been changed they will hail abuse in
 the message section at you for not telling them.  It is not deemed
 "COOL" for a 'Wally" to check if there is any new system messages at
 logon.  The BBS menu is the second biggest source of amusement to the
 "Wallies".  They will win the "Wally of the week award" if they find
 some hidden menu option.  Or get second place in this weeks awards if
 they find a series of keystrokes that will cause the BBS to 'CRASH'.
 **-> Wallies are in constant search for the thing called "TOS" <-**
 To win the 'Wally of the month award' a 'Wally' must not only crash a
 BBS, but also it appears find his or her way to the thing called "TOS".
 You can see them striving for this goal in many ways.  By continual
 "hacks" at the menu prompts, allowing time outs in the "Doors" area, or
 the most common approach is to badger the SYSOP with messages or chats,
 demanding they be given "SYSOP status" so they can look at your system
 in depth.  The later of these is by far the easiest way to spot a
 'Wally'.  After months of defamation of your BBS in the message base or
 in Email they will demand that you either give them access as a "SYSOP"
 or they will crash your BBS.  I might point here if they do not make
 this demand at least once a month they will be deemed a 'useless Wally'
 by their peers.
 **-> A 'Wallies' sport is to see if the Sysop can catch them <-**
 To enhance the kudo's the 'Wallies' will receive from their peers they
 decide to logon to a BBS under many names.  When they logon to the BBS
 they will page the "SYSOP" to see if he is around and if as expected by
 the 'Wally' he is not around he/she will continue their acts of
 terrorism against the innocent BBS.
 **-> Being caught by the SYSOP is part of the FUN <-**
 The 'Wallies' bask in glory the day the SYSOP nearly caught them.  Tales
 of 'horror' and how they escaped detection from a SYSOP gives them a lot
 of mileage amongst their "Wally" friends.  "Ah the SYSOP of a BBS
 deleted my USER id/ but he did not know I had 3 others.  Now I will
 kill his BBS!!"  The 'Wallies' see this as open season on a BBS when the
 SYSOP deletes one of their User numbers.
 How to spot a WALLY
 1/ Multiple User numbers.
 2/ Constant message abuse, ie foul language in the message base.
 3/ Stories of "HACKING a BBS", real hackers stay quite.
 4/ Constant uploads of the same small unarchived, duplicated files.
 5/ The next sequential file downloaded from the files section by another
 6/ When you ring the user that is on-line and they say "WHAT IS A BBS?"
 7/ Intimidation while on-line, or on the phone by a 'Wally'
 8/ The guy who has a 60000 baud modem on his ST he dials the moon with.
 9/ The people who will NOT read system messages/notices.
10/ The people how know it all and will NOT be TOLD, as they know best!

        // Gentlemen, Ten things not to do to your Girlfriend //
 [1] Tell your girlfriend you have a computer
 [2] Admit to your girlfriend that your computer is your mistress
 [3] Use your computer when your girlfriend is at your house
 [4] Leave the modem on the line and blow your girlfriend's ear off
 [5] Propose to your ST instead of your girlfriend
 [6] Propose to your Girlfriend and when she says "no", say "Operator
 [7] Confuse your girlfriend voice with that of the computers
 [8] Call your girlfriend "Atari" instead of 'Honey'
 [9] Tell her "Just a minute, I'll finish this", and arrive 3 days later
 [10] Tell her that you will fix the garden, the day you brought a new

                   [Caution "ST's" are jealous things]
 The End... Finish... End of File... EOF... Terminated at request


                             PD/SHAREWARE STop
                              by Mark Quinn

    File name:  DBIIDEMO.LZH                    Author:  Robert Luneski
 Program name:  Diamond Back II demo         File type:  Utility
 I am one of the few hard drive owners who takes the "make frequent
 backups" rule seriously.  Even before I was initiated into hard diskdom
 by the purchase of a used Supra, I backed up EVERYTHING I deemed worthy
 of keeping.  This policy has failed me only once.  Both copies of a text
 file died one day.  It took enough time to reconstruct the file to drive
 home the necessity of making frequent backups.  A one-dollar investment
 in another floppy is certainly preferable to the alternative:  the loss
 of the time you've invested in the data on your hard drive.

 Diamond Back II is a means to the end of protecting your investment.  It
 has the following features.  (From the docs and help files.)

  - 100 percent GEM user interface
  - Extensive online help
  - Full or partial backup/restore of any number of drive partitions,
    directory paths, single directories, or specific files in a single
  - Flexible creation of backup sets from different paths or partitions
  - Wildcard masks to include or exclude files may be different for each
  - Incremental backups by date/time or archive bit (TOS 1.4)
  - Load/save custom backup configurations
  - Automatic drive switching
  - Full or partial restore
  - Recreate original directory tree or specify new structure during
  - Flexible disk formatting options
  - Preformatted disks do not have to be the same type
  - Intelligent Image backup option
  - File compression and encryption available
  - Backup to floppies of other partitions
  - Create CRC validation logs from hard disk or floppy files
  - Backup and restore Spectre partitions
  - Create file listings during the backup or from floppy disks or
    selected paths
  - Turn verify on and off

 We bought a copy of this program several weeks ago, so I speak from
 experience.  I had no problem backing up both partitions on my hard
 drive with D.B. II.  I simply fed my GTS-100 unformatted disks, and the
 program filled them readily enough.  Diamond Back II is a very well
 thought out program.  This is the first and the last backup utility for
 the ST we'll have to buy.

                             Quinn's Quickies
  Update.  Demo of "Dr. Bob's MultiViewer Graphica", which allows
  editing, printing, etc., of monochrome format files (IMG included).
  Many new features.

  Update.  Demo version of Kidpublisher Professional, version 6.2.

  Update of HyperScreen.  Requires 1 megabyte to run.

  Game.  Blast your opponent silly in this simple game which pits two
  space ships against each other.

  Sorts file directories.  Sorts folders, too.

  Shareware by Albert Baggetta.  Put a synthesized voice on your
  answering machine.  Also has sound effects.

  Backup utility.  Backup your hard disk files for safety's sake.

  Shareware.  Emulates monochrome on the SC1224 monitor.

  Demo of a level editor for Dungeon Master and Chaos Strikes Back.

  Cost of Living Adjustment Calculator.  Figures the value of commodoties
  through the years, taking inflation into account.

  Keep your ship in orbit in the gravity well of a star while trying to
  defeat your opponent.

  Shareware, utility.  Performs date-stamped, incremental backup of
  files.  Good for programmers, or anyone else who must make frequent

  Utility.  German copy program.  Produces Spectre and MS-DOS formats.
  Contains English manual.

  Loads D.E.G.A.S. Elite (.PC1 or .PC3) pics.

  Game.  Shareware by Albert Baggetta.  Find out which one of a group of
  unsavory characters stole the peanut butter.

  Educational game.  Put the drawings in the proper sequence.
  Reminiscent of many an IQ test.

                              by Ron Kovacs
 The following files are now available in CompuServe's APORTFOLIO Forum.
 PARSE.ZIP    Title   : text file analyzer
  New version of parse, to eliminate the divide by zero error in certain
  cases.  This program will display a count of characters, word,
  sentences, as well as a reading level. Modified for the Atari Screen.
 TIMEZN.ZIP   Title   : timezone
  This is a program to set the clock as you pass thur different time
 TONE.ZIP     Title   : manual touch tone dialer
  This is a little manual dialer for the portfoilo.
 AAF.ARC      Title   : "Advance Australia Fair"
  AAF.ARC contains a batch file which will play the Australian national
  anthem through the Portfolio's tone generator while displaying the
  words to the first stanza.  In order to use this file you must have an
  ANSI driver installed and you must have BEEP.COM by Bruce Coleman, both
  of which are available in the file YANKEE.ARC.
 DIAL.COM     Title   : Alphanumeric dial program.
  Small manual dialing program. Use numbers or letters, like normal
  touch-tone keypad.  What should I do with Q & Z? Esc to exit.
 PC.ARC       Title   : Programmer's Calculator
  Programmer's Calculator manipulates and converts integers in hex,
  octal, binary, or decimal.  ARC file contains .COM as well as user's
  guide document.  Programmer's Calculator runs only on the Atari
 BATCH.ARC    Title   : Usefull batch files
  Very usefull batch files, they control the keyboard buffer and can be
  used for jobs like putting the portfolio into server mode, call
  somebody etc.
 FUNCTI.ARC   Title   : function analysis
  FUNCTIO.EXE is a program that uses the graphic capabilities of the
  ATARI Portfolio.  The program plots X-Y diagrams from any equation
  the user supplies, where Y is a function of X.
 TODAY        Title   : TODAY lists your appointements for today.
  Today!  Version 2.0, need 500 Bytes less.  Make your daily use of your
  Diary much faster and easier. It lists your appointements for today.
 COPY1.ZIP    Title   : copy files from one CCM to another CCM
  A simple copy program to tranfer files ( 63k or less) from one memory
  card to another.
 PORT2W.ZIP   Title   : unwrap wordwrapped files
  A simple program to "unwrap" the portfoilo's editor files.
 PSTAT.ZIP    Title   : status display program
  A program to display the various setting on the portfolio.
 PTOOL.ARC    Title   : PORTOOLS.ARC - Portfolio Tool Kit  Version 1.0
  A set of useful utilities for the Atari Porfolio.  Includes full
  documentation.  Utilities include option setter, tone generator, file
  finder, disk information, system information routines.

                             LETTERS TO Z*NET

 The following is a letter lost and later found that we failed to include 
 a few weeks ago.  Although it is late, I feel it is important to pass 
 the word. - Ed.

 Ron, I am in a bad situation here and was wondering if perhaps you and
 Z*Net may be able to help me out?
 On 10/22/87, I bought a 2400 bps modem from Communications Electronics,
 Inc.  The price of the modem was $200 and came with a 5 yr limited
 warranty. The modem did eventually go on the blink, so I called CEI and
 they gave me the number for the manufacturer of the modem and also the
 warranty holder, InComm Data Systems, Inc., located in Wheeling,
 Illinois.  I called InComm Data and told them the modem was in need of
 repair, so they gave me an RMA number (Returned Merchandise
 Authorization) #900-180.  I sent them the modem and a letter describing
 the problems I was having with it on Feb-13-90, by UPS, 2nd day air.
 They told me on the phone that it generally took 3-5 days for all modem
 repairs.  As of March-15-90, I still had not received the modem, so I
 called them and they verified that they had received the modem on
 Feb-15-90, but it had not been repaired as of that date.  As a matter of
 fact, the box had not even been opened.
 I spoke to service manager Brad Grinstead, told him of the problem and
 gave him my voice number.  He said he would check it out and get back
 with me, which he never did.  As of Apr-10-90, I still had not received
 any word of my modem, so I called InComm Data once again.  I asked for
 Brad Grimstead, service manger and also Vice President of the company.
 Well, Brad Grimstead was busy, so I left him my voice number once again
 so he could return my call.  As a matter of fact, I called InComm Data 4
 times that day, on Apr-10-90, getting absolutely no response from Brad
 Grimstead whatsoever.  The only help I did receive was from whomever
 happened to answer the phone.  I also called an attorney that same day
 and he informed me that there really aren't ANY laws to protect
 consumers in a situation like this.  Court costs, etc., would make
 almost any action against InComm Data impractical.
 So, as to this date, I really don't think InComm Data even intends to
 return my modem.  I have been running my BBS on a modem loaned to me by
 a good friend and it looks like I will have to go buy a new modem to run
 my BBS on and forget about the $200 I invested in my original modem from
 InComm Data Systems. The only re-course I have is in messages such as
 this one to advise other potential modem buyers/users to avoid
 purchasing a modem manufactured by InComm Data Systems.  One would think
 the Federal Government would have laws protecting consumers against
 warranty fraud but I have now talked to 2 attorneys and they both inform
 me there is nothing to be done.
 So, to others, PLEASE check the manufacturer of the modem if you intend
 to purchase a new modem or add one to your existing equipment.  My story
 I have presented to you is 100% true and pure fact...I have all
 receipts, warranty slips, etc., to prove this to anyone who is a
 dis-believer.  Please don't make the same mistake I did.  You will be
 sorry if your modem ever needs to be repaired.  It has been 55+ days and
 my modem still has not been returned and I get no response at all from
 InComm Data Systems.
 Grady Johnson 
 Sysop of Fantasy Island BBS
 419-691-6459 Oregon, Ohio


                         SO, YOU WANT TO BE AN ST
                            HARDWARE DEVELOPER
                               by Jim Allen
              Reprinted by permission from the April/May 1990
              Issue of ST Journal Magazine Volume 1, Issue 1.
 ST hardware developer - sounds like a glamorous and exciting occupation,
 but the truth is, I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy - well, maybe I

 The first thing you need to know about the ST is that it is a very
 simple computer.  The design is straight-forward. (The block diagram
 would be as busy as a Death Valley roadmap.)  Motorola 68000 based
 computer designs are very sensible; no funny timing relationships, no
 esoteric circuits.  All you really need is the databook, available from
 Motorola for the asking.  Think of the 68000 as, not the "Model T," but
 the "Model A" of computer chips; not the first chip, but just as
 utilitarian and replete with optional extras as the original.

 The second thing you need to *know about the ST is that it is also a
 very complicated computer and has been very carefully designed.  Atari
 built it as both a 68000 (simple) computer, and a DMA equipped (complex)
 computer.  The element that sets the ST apart from other computers is
 the DMA feature.  This same feature also makes the ST significantly
 faster than the Mac Plus.  The ST also has a complex video design.  Its
 video system (invisible to the 68000) is a special kind of DMA where
 memory information is sent to the screen without interfering with the
 68000 and its duties.  This requires a memory that is twice as fast as
 would normally be needed.  And, since it is twice as fast, the memory
 meets the information needs of both the 68000 and video circuit without
 interference to either.

 The reason I am so negative about being a hardware developer for the ST
 is that this complication has led Atari to take some shortcuts.  The
 video circuit, and, indeed, all the ST circuits, make assumptions about
 the type and speed of the processor with which the system is equipped.
 Flexibility has been omitted in order to achieve the high degree of
 integration the ST represents.  This leaves hardware designers in a
 tough position.  There is no formal documentation on the circuits; no
 theory of operation manuals to ease the task of providing enhancements
 to the basic ST design.  Each developer is on his/her own to reverse
 engineer the ST circuits in order to come to an understanding of the ST.
 In the case I am most familiar with, that of Fast Technology, it took
 months behind an oscilloscope and logic analyzer before we fully
 understood the design.  For us, this has paid off; for others, it has
 led only to failure.

 Atari didn't really want the ST to be upgraded.  They, didn't
 incorporate any means for the customer to expand memory or enhance
 performance.  It is this difficulty of wedging into a fixed design that
 has made so many companies come and go in the ST market.  There have
 been at least 30 memory-upgrade board manufacturers; some great, some
 terrible.  But all faced the incredible challenge of going where no man
 has ever been before, or has even been wanted.

 If you can get past this obstacle and come to understand the ST well
 enough to alter it, then you may have the right stuff.  As long as you
 know, going in, that there are 9 revisions of the ST motherboard
 (there's at least one I haven't seen); as long as you know the only
 place to get schematics is from an Atari dealer; as long as you know
 that there are many versions and revisions of the custom chips, some of
 which don't work too well; and, as long as you've been warned, you'll be
 ok.  Once past the obstacles, you will be faced with a sometimes hostile
 developer community.  Some members of this community, especially the
 'importers', will do anything they can to stop you.  Importers,
 typically, don't develop products; they just package and sell them.
 Therefore, they have no respect for the work you have done.  Always
 expect to be bushwhacked early and often.  If you have a competitive
 product and go up against the "big" guys, you will have a rough journey.
 Success takes more than just a superior product and you must work just
 as hard as you would if you were in the Mac or PC market.  While there
 are fewer competitors in the ST market, there are also fewer customers
 and those customers are much more careful with their money.  There may
 be 80,000 STs in North America, but I suspect most are buried in closets
 across the continent.  Expect to reach only a few thousand people with
 your product.  So far, the most successful single product in the Atari
 field is the Mac emulator, Spectre, by Gadgets by Small.  Gadgets has an
 extremely unique and complicated product that addresses a real need...
 want.  Other, more specialized, devices sell in only a few dozen units
 rather than thousands.


 Rule #1:  Make sure the price is right.  Always price your product so
           you will definitely make money.  You must at least make back
           your investment in R&D or all you'll have is a hobby.  Don't
           think that lowballing the price will bring the flocks to your
           door; people will pay for a product that is well executed and
           solves a problem.  Charge what the product is worth, not what
           some people tell you they would pay.

 Rule #2:  Do your market research.  You need to understand the problem
           before you can administer the cure.  Never take on a product
           that "sounds' as if it will be a winner.  Everyone will tell
           you that they want to put blitter chips in their 520/1040 STs.
           It sounds simple, right?  Wrong!  The cost of the chip is so
           high that no one would actually pay what it's worth.  The
           blitter doesn't provide $150 worth of speed-improvement, so,
           no one will pay for it.  But, everyone will tell you that it
           would make a great product.  Market research doesn't mean
           going out and asking people what they want (they'll tell you
           they want the moon and the stars... free!); it means asking
           them what "problems" they are having.  You need to find the
           root motivations behind the desire.  People want the blitter
           chip because they think it will speed up their computers.
           They wanted speed not the blitter, specifically.

           So, go further and analyze this need for speed.  This analysis
           is what led us at Fast Technology to build the Turbo16.  We
           realized that the need for speed went way beyond drawing
           lines.  It was obvious that people wanted a faster computer
           and were willing to pay the price.  The blitter chip was
           merely the device they thought would get speed for them.  In
           your product area, you must know what will get the best
           results.  You must develop the solution that makes the
           customer happy and makes you money.

 Rule #3:  Know your pundits.  There are a few well-respected individuals
           in every market who can help you get your foot in the door.
           These are the same people you have listened to in the past.
           Dave Small is one example; he always tells it like it is.
           When it comes to your product, both you and your customers-to-
           be can count on him.

           It is especially important with hardware that you get the word
           out right away.  You can circulate prototypes among the
           pundits and let them get the feel of your product.  This can
           go a long way in establishing a high level of anticipation for
           your product.
 Rule #4:  Contact all developers whom your product might affect.  Let
           them have access to it as soon as possible so that they can
           address any incompatibilities in advance.  You will quickly
           learn whom you can rely on for help and whom you cannot.  Most
           developers are very helpful and friendly and will bend over
           backwards to help you.  Some names that come to mind: Gadgets
           by Small, ISD; Avant Garde; Codehead; Gribnif, ICD; Practical
           Solutions; and a few others.  These people have been there;
           they know what you face and will ease your entry into a tough

 Rule #5:  Contact *Atari and let them know what you are doing.  Become a
           registered developer and ask for all the help you need.  Don't
           expect to get it, but ask.  Actually, Atari is changing and
           trying to be very helpful.  They don't have tremendous
           resources, and some things just aren't documented, but most of
           their engineering staff, although they can't be of much help,
           will be glad to offer what information and advice they can.
           Atari can help you with sales leads and other matters and will
           help support you at trade shows.  Get to know who's who so you
           can ask the appropriate person for help.

 Rule #6:  Get to know the press... both printed magazines and online
           services magazines.  They'll help you reach your market
           through advertising.  Get all the free publicity you can;
           there's no such thing as too much.  Persuade the press to do
           reviews - a "preview' review at first, then an in-depth review
           once the market is aware of your existence.  Have press
           releases and good, catchy brochures printed, and hand them out

 Rule #7:  Rely on local user groups.  Visit them early on and use them
           to judge acceptance of your product and marketing methods.
           Drum up business locally as early as possible so you can find
           and solve any problems within driving distance.  Use a limited
           -beta tester... someone who will use your product to death in
           return for getting a price break.  I can't tell you how
           valuable such a person can be, especially if, as a "special'
           customer, he has money invested in your product.


 Those are the rules for now.  Knowing all this, if you still want to be
 a developer, then you might just have the right stuff. Next time, I'll
 tell you about all the business pitfalls to avoid.

                      USING TOS 1.4 AND NEODESK 2.05
                               by Tom Blair
                       Reprinted from the May 1990
                   Issue of the Puget Sound Atari News
 Well I just installed the TOS 1.4 chips in my old 520ST and the
 experience was both good and bad.  I really like the new TOS (too bad it
 took so long to get and it costs so much).  I did spend a GREAT DEAL OF
 TIME getting everything to work properly.  Here is the key...  If you
 use TOS 1.4 and run Neodesk then you should put SHEL_FIX.PRG in your
 auto folder, AS THE LAST PROGRAM TO RUN.  SHEL_FIX.PRG comes with
 NEODESK but Gribnif Software never mentioned that it should be run last.
 I was running Mouse Doubler and the ICD Timeset program after it and
 nothing seemed to work.  I have had no trouble since I reordered the
 programs in my AUTO folder.
 I won't repeat the explanation that Gribnif gives for needing
 SHEL_FIX.PRG but suffice to say that I did not need it under TOS 1.0.
 After installing the new TOS and using Neodesk, I found that Flash would
 crash when I hit the right mouse button.  Phasar 3.0 also crashed.  I
 was beginning to think that I was not going to be able to use Neodesk,
 which I really like.  Anyway, I hope this saves somebody from the
 aggravation that I experienced.
 The improvements in TOS 1.4 have been mentioned several places (i.e.,
 START, Jan. 1990).  In my opinion, Atari should have come out with it
 much earlier.  Secondly, since it fixes a number of bugs in the old TOS,
 the user shouldn't have to pay ~$125.00 to have it installed.  OK, the
 new TOS contains several "enhancements" as well as "fixes."  This is
 really a matter of your perspective.  I consider TOS 1.4 the operating
 system that Atari should have had from the very beginning.  It is clear
 that TOS 1.0 was a rushed job.  It contained several bugs and did many
 things very inefficiently.  I realize that any design can be improved
 but TOS 1.0 simply left too much room for improvement.  I think that
 Atari should be willing to just cover costs in supporting good customers
 who want to upgrade.  I know, everybody has lots of free advice for
 Atari Corp.

 The most noticeable feature of TOS 1.4 is the disk read/write speed
 improvement.  Based upon my simple test of saving a Word Writer file to
 my hard disk, it is faster by a factor of 3.  Since I no longer need
 (nor can use) TURBODOS.PRG, I have gained over 100k of memory and still
 have the same speed.  I also gained same memory by eliminating several
 TOS 1.0 patches from my AUTO folder.  After all, the name of the game is
 speed and memory, right?  That's what most computer improvements boil
 down to.

 To summarize, I am very glad I installed TOS 1.4 even though I was
 unsure at times.  I would strongly recommend it if its cost was $50.00.
 At the current price, I still think it's worth it but it makes the
 decision a little tougher.  I feel much better about it - having thrown
 a few stones at Atari.  Thanks for reading.

 Z*Net  Atari 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, PO Box 59
 Middlesex, New Jersey  08846.  Reprint permission is granted as long as
 Z*NET ATARI ONLINE,  Issue  Number and author is included at the top of
 the article.  Reprinted  articles  not to be edited without permission.
 ZNET ATARI ONLINE MAGAZINE                            Atari News FIRST!
                Copyright (c)1990 Rovac Industries, Inc..

Kevin Steele (aj205.Cleveland.Freenet.Edu)


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