Z*Net: 03-Aug-90 #531

From: Kevin Steele (aj205@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 08/25/90-10:27:57 AM Z

From: aj205@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Kevin Steele)
Subject: Z*Net: 03-Aug-90  #531
Date: Sat Aug 25 10:27:57 1990

     //////       //    //  //////  //////   Z*Net Atari Online Magazine
        //   /   ///   //  //        //      ---------------------------
     //    ///  // // //  //////    //              AUGUST 3, 1990
  //       /   //   ///  //        //        ---------------------------
 //////       //    //  ///////   //                  Issue #531
                    (=) 1990 by Rovac Industries, Inc.
                            Post Office Box 59
                       Middlesex, New Jersey 08846
                     Z*Net Online BBS: (201) 968-8148
 Publisher-Editor: Ron Kovacs                Associate Editor: John Nagy
 Distribution: Bruce Hansford                UG Coordinator: Robert Ford
 Z*Net New Zealand Editor: Jon Clarke        Contributor: Mark Quinn
 Z*Net Canada Reporter: Terry Schreiber      Contributor: Alice Amore
 Z*Net Germany Reporter: Michael Shutz       Advertising: John Tarpinian
         CompuServe 71777,2140 * GEnie Z-NET * Cleveland Free-Net

                               EDITORS DESK
                                Ron Kovacs
 Hope your enjoying your summer.....
 Next week a report from a Fleetwood Mac concert I recently attended
 courtesy of Atari and first impressions with SuperCharger.
 Thanking you for your support  <grin>...........
 - Z*NET NEWSWIRE.......................................................
 - GRIBNIF ANNOUNCES NEODESK 3.............................Press Release
 - PILOT AUTHORING LANGUAGE................................Press Release
 - REVIEW: THE GAME OF HARMONY..................................Tim Holt
 - Z*NET DOWN-UNDER...........................................Jon Clarke
 - Z*NET ECHOS...........................................Terry Schreiber

            **************    Z * N E  T     ***************
            **************                   ***************
            **************  N E W S W I R E  ***************
 B. N. GENIUS, a national chain of specialty store similar to SHARPER
 IMAGE, has featured the Atari Portfolio palmtop computer on the cover
 and double inside front spread in their latest catalog.  The Washington,
 D.C. based company has stores in many cities but does the bulk of their
 national business via the popular glossy mail order catalog.  Only
 months ago, the competing SHARPER IMAGE company was rebuffed by Atari
 for mail order sales, although the Portfolio was approved for showroom
 sales.  While the additional exposure and sales of the Portfolio will
 undoubtedly help Atari overall, some Atari dealers are concerned to see
 their formerly exclusive sales territories invaded by mail order...
 something that Atari had at least implicitly promised would not happen.
 Atari has negotiated with a number of television and media sources to
 provide Atari computers for "product placement", the latested rage in
 advertising.  On of many "appearances" will be on the "FLASH" television
 series slated for this fall.  FLASH is based on the comic book super
 hero who could move so fast as to be invisible.  Atari computers will be
 used in all of the office and laboratory scenes, with suitably high-tech
 screen representations running on each to accent the science fiction/
 fantasy premise of the youth-appeal action series.  This is part of an
 active advertising and promotion plan scheduled for a fall launch.
 A new maintenance update of WordPerfect 4.1 for the Atari ST includes
 several feature enhancements and support for large screen monitors.
 Improved features include auto-hyphenation, "Look" using regular GEM
 windows with scroll bars, direct import/export between the ST 4.1 and
 the IBM 4.2 versions of WordPerfect, and support for several new
 printers.  Also available is an additional print disk, providing
 improved support for PostScript printing.  The Post Script printer
 drivers offer several point sizes of Times Roman, Helvetica, Helvetica
 Narrow, Avant Garde, Bookman, Zapf Chancery, New Century Schoolbook,
 Palatino, and Courier.  Registered WordPerfect users can get the
 maintenance update for $12.50.  The additional PostScript print disk is
 available for $10 by itself or only $2.50 if ordered WITH the
 maintenance update.  Call (800) 222-9409, or write to WordPerfect
 Corporation, Atari Products Division, P.O. Box 731, Orem, Utah 84059-

 Z*Net will have reporters at the San Jose World of Atari show, taking 
 place this Saturday and Sunday August 4 and 5th in northern California.
 Atleast 22 vendors have been reported to be appearing.  Look for a 
 complete report in the next edition of Z*Net Online.
 Hitachi announced this week that it will market a new magnetic disk
 storage subsystem with the world's largest storage capacity.  The H-6587
 series of magnetic disk storage sybsystems, has a capacity of 35
 gigabytes (GB).  A memory of 35 GB can store the equivalent of 70 years
 worth of a daily newspaper.
 IBM announced price reductions this week on several models of the PC
 System/2 (PS/2) line.  The reductions, which range from 24 to 34
 percent, affect the PS/2 Model 60 041 and 071 and the Model 80 041 and
 071.  The new prices are listed below.  In conjunction with these price
 reductions, IBM also announced the withdrawal of the PS/2 Model 60 041
 and 071 and the Model 80 041 and 071.
 IBM                 Former    New      Standard 
 Personal System/2   Price     Price    Configuration 
 Model 60 041        $4,195    $2,750   10 MHz 80286; 1 MB RAM; 
                                        1.44 MB diskette; 44 MB disk 
 Model 60 071        $4,645    $3,085   10 MHz 80286; 1MB RAM; 
                                        1.44 MB diskette; 70 MB disk
 Model 80 041        $5,395    $4,000   16 MHz 80386; 1MB RAM; 
                                        1.44 MB diskette; 44 MB disk
 Model 80 071        $6,095    $4,500   16 MHz 80386; 2MB RAM; 
                                        1.44 MB diskette; 70 MB disk

 San Joaquin Valley's Dos Palos High School is one of 28 schools that
 will receive this year's "Crossroads" grants of computer equipment worth
 $1.2 million from Apple Computer.  Grant winners this year are schools
 in Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota,
 Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Maine, Louisiana, Florida, Connecticut and

 Commodore has announced that all new A2500/30s will ship with 5MB RAM
 standard and that the A2630 will now have 4MB standard.  List prices
 remain the same.  Also, the A3000/16 and A3000/25 which formerly shipped
 with a 40MB hard drive will now ship with a 50MB drive.  Once again,
 list prices remain the same.
 Wyse Technology has added to its family of Unix-based multiuser systems
 with the most powerful Intel 486-based multiprocessing system now
 available.  The Series 9000i Model 940 can support up to eight 486
 microprocessors, offering more than 100 MIPS (million instructions per
 second) performance.

                        GRIBNIF SOFTWARE ANNOUNCES
                         NEODESK? 3, THE ULTIMATE
                        DESKTOP FOR THE ATARI> ST?
                              Press Release
 HADLEY, MA (August, 1990) -- Gribnif Software has advanced the state of
 the art in graphical user interface design with the latest version of
 their desktop replacement, NeoDesk 3 - The Ultimate Desktop.
 This new version offers both an easier to use and much more powerful
 working environment than anything ever offered before for the Atari ST.
 Its completely graphical approach brings to the Atari a more
 professional and efficient interface which can compete head on with the
 best offered by other environments such as the recently introduced
 Windows 3.0 from Microsoft.
 In making this announcement, Rick Flashman, president of Gribnif
 Software said  "Our goal with NeoDesk 3 was simple, to create the best,
 efficient, and easy to use desktop that has ever been available on any
 Dan Wilga, head programmer behind NeoDesk 3, said "NeoDesk 3 is the
 result of over 9 months of development and it is one of the most
 ambitious projects of its type anywhere."  During the process of
 development, entire sections of the program were rewritten several times
 in an attempt to gain every extra ounce of performance.
 NeoDesk 3 incorporates an incredibly impressive array of new and
 enhanced features as have never been seen before.  New features like
 Desktop Notes?, the File Clipboard?, Macros, and Split Windows are
 destined to become new standards in the type of features and
 capabilities that all users expect from their computer.
 Tricia Metcalf, CEO of Gribnif Software, commented "Many of the new
 features in NeoDesk 3 have never been seen anywhere, but they are very
 likely to become the type of features that no one can live without!"
 Gribnif Software is supporting the release of NeoDesk 3 with a massive
 advertising campaign, aimed at supporting the product and its dealers.
 "We were very surprised at the large number of dealers who began
 including NeoDesk will all their ST systems.", Rick Flashman commented.
 Many dealers report that with NeoDesk on an ST they are able to
 effectively demonstrate the power of the ST when compared against the
 graphical interfaces now being offered on other platforms.
 NeoDesk 3 has a suggested licensing fee of $69.95 and will be available
 in national distribution by September 1st.  European distribution will
 follow shortly afterwards including foreign language versions.

 NeoDesk?, Desktop Notes?, and File Clipboard? are trademarks of Gribnif
 Software.  All other trademarks belong to their respective holders.
                              Press Release
 Hoover, AL (Aug 1).  Today, eSTeem inc. introduced a version of the
 PILOT authoring language for Atari ST computers.  eSTeem PILOT is a GEM-
 based language and management system for creating and using a wide
 variety of programs for education, training and systems control.
 PILOT, an acronym for Programmed Inquiry, Learning Or Teaching, is a
 simple, powerful and widely used language for creating tutorials,
 simulations, interactive laser videodisc programs, device control
 systems and other computer-based systems.  eSTeem PILOT is an enhanced
 version of PILOT, fully utilizing the friendly GEM (Graphic Environment
 Manager) user interface and graphic capabilities of Atari ST computers.
 It follows the proposed 1990 IEEE revision of the PILOT language

 In addition to its GEM user interface, eSTeem PILOT can:

    - import DEGAS and EasyDraw graphics
    - draw graphics and write text
    - generate music and sound effects
    - read and write data files
    - load, run, and chain program modules, automatically
    - place and remove graphic response markers
    - handle point-and-click responses to graphic buttons
    - offer context-sensitive HELP dialog boxes
    - control user access via passwords
    - log and report usage
    - control laser videodisc players and other devices

 An eSTeem PILOT program--called a module--can switch between full text,
 full graphics, and split-screen text and graphic displays.  It can
 present typed information and evaluate typed responses.  It can load as
 many as two DEGAS-type pictures and eight EasyDraw or other GEM-type
 graphics and then display them separately or simultaneously.  It can
 place as many as five graphic markers for labeling parts of the graphic
 display and detect the user's point-and-click responses on these
 markers.  It can also define areas of the graphic screen which become
 "hidden buttons" to which eSTeem PILOT can respond when the user points
 and clicks on them.

 eSTeem PILOT can control external devices through the computer's serial
 port.  A laser videodisc player with a computer interface can be
 connected to an Atari ST or Mega computer to provide a sophisticated,
 computer-based, interactive videodisc training system.

 eSTeem PILOT is easily configurable for use in a wide variety of
 situations, including the home, classroom, resource or training center
 or office.  Global defaults can be set and stored for password access,
 module logging, drive and path settings, title screen display, and the
 option to load and run a module at the time eSTeem PILOT is run.

 eSTeem, inc. will begin shipping eSTeem PILOT August 15, 1990.  Orders
 and dealer inquiries should be directed to:

   Computers Etc.
   4647-B Highway 280
   Birmingham, AL 35242
                       REVIEW: THE GAME OF HARMONY
                               by Tim Holt
 Have you checked your crystal lately?  Have you chanted your mantra?  Is
 your Ying out of synch with your Yang?  Well, I have a game for you!
 Billed as the first "New Age Game", Accolade has come out with "The Game
 of Harmony", a game to relax you, rather than raise your blood pressure.
 Actually, the idea is pretty neat.  I personally am growing tired of
 "shoot em until the entire population is destroyed".  And there are far
 too few games where the objective is not to kill and destroy.  "Harmony"
 is a step in the right direction.
 The idea of Harmony is very basic: push similar colored orbs together,
 cancelling each other out, and when all the orbs of a screen are
 eliminated, move on to the next level.  The manual calls this "synergy".
 Sounds easy, but like any good game, a simple idea can sometimes get
 complicated.  If two unlike colored orbs hit, they make an altogether
 different colored pod.  You can grab the pod and get more "energy", but
 if you let them lie too long, then you have to cancel them out by
 pushing them against a similar colored orb.  Still with me?  It gets
 more complicated.  There are barriers of all different configurations
 (fifty in all) that prevent you from moving forward.  Also, spheres can
 be "rubber banded" together, so where you push one sphere affects the
 one that is attached to it.  If you push them together in such a way
 that they keep hitting each other over and over, well, they create more
 pods, more spheres, and on and on.  Okay, so what?  Well, you have to
 get out of a screen before the spheres explode with "tension".  The more
 spheres you get on screen, the less time you have to cancel out each
 color.  It can really get out of hand if you have 20 or 30 orbs all
 getting ready to explode.
 When the exnplosion happens, you lose a life.  You have 4 per game.
 Okay, how do you push all these spheres together, how do you collect the
 energy pods?  Well, you control a sphere of your own (called a "seeker")
 that can be controlled by the joystick or keyboard.  It will go in the
 direction you tell it, and the direction is pointed out on top of the
 seeker.  Be careful though, you only have between 10 and 30 seconds per
 You can move on to bonus rounds, where you aquire more time, more lives
 or more energy.  There is even a random pod that pops up and if you run
 it over, you get a new life.  Sort of a reincarnation if you will.
 The manual is very brief, as it has the loading instruction for all
 versions of the game, and takes six of the thirteen to tell you how to
 start.  The instructions are brief, and hold to the theme of "New Age";
 you are reminded to "relax", and not to "breed tension".  You could
 easily figure out the game from the onscreen instructions that appear in
 the demo mode.
 There are three modes: demo, mantra and normal.  Demo is self
 explanitory, but as I said, does have good instructions.  Mantra mode is
 known in most worlds as practice.  No scoring, you can't be eliminated,
 the spheres do not explode with tension, and you can go through all
 fifty levels if you wish.  However, don't expect to play the normal mode
 as you did the practice mode.  In practice, the pods do not appear as in
 regular mode, and there is no time limit.
 The game is not copy protected, and MAY be placed on a hard drive.  This
 is a nice touch, however, you must get through the copy protection
 scheme, and match a screen picture with a list of pictures on a seperate
 piece of paper.  (An interesting note: The paper that the copy
 protection screens is a very dark red color, and cannot be duplicated
 with a photo copier.  This is a very smart move by Accolade, however, it
 is so dark that the actual screens on the paper are most difficult to
 discern.  I guess they knew that would happen, because they give you
 three chances to enter the correct screen number.)
 Do I like Harmony?  Yes.  It isn't the greatest game I have ever played,
 but it is very pleasant to play.  It is, as it claims, relaxing.  The
 sound is very nice, and comes out really loud and clear when you have it
 hooked up to speakers on your ST-e.  The colors used are all pastels,
 not seen too often in games.  Very pleasant to look at.  Sick and tired
 of killing games?  Then check out The Game of Harmony.  After a hard day
 at work, you deserve it...
 Ease of Play...............10
 Sustained Interest level....8
 Overall rating............8.5
 Tim Holt
 ST Club of El Paso
                                  PART 2
                               by Jim Allen
 This feature is a reprint from the SUMMER ST-JOURNAL MAGAZINE, presented
 113 West College Street, Covina, CA 91723, 818-332-0372.
 So you're still here - you're sure you want to be a hardware developer?
 Ok, let's get down to the basics of the hardware business.  First,
 you'll need to do some reading.  You'll need to become competent in
 marketing, finance, and accounting so that you can generate sales and
 control your money.  There is no point in committing your valuable time
 and startup capital to a business if you aren't equipped to benefit
 fully from your work.  When you're working for yourself, only you are
 ultimately accountable.  You can and should hire both a lawyer and an
 accountant, and you should find a source for business advice from a
 seasoned veteran.  This is an invaluable resource and should be
 considered a necessity.  Whether you have a friend or relative who has
 owned abusiness, or you go to the Small Business Administration, you'll
 benefit from a business mentor.

 I was lucky in this regard.  The company for which I had worked for 6
 years was founded by three wicked, smart engineers who'd had every
 possible experience--good and bad--you could imagine.  This collective
 experience was available for the asking.  They warned me of many
 pitfalls, taught me a great deal, including how to obtain venture
 capital, (That's when someone gives you millions in exchange for your
 first born.) and, also, how to be an engineer.  And, they paid me for
 the privilege.  What a country!  Reading material can be helpful.  For
 this, I suggest "The Regis Touch" by Regis McKenna, the man behind the
 rise of Intel in the 1970s.  His book is a very good indoctrination into
 marketing fundamentals.  For general business info, you should read
 "What They Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School".  This book
 covers a lot of ground and passes on, what I feel, is a good attitude
 about business.  Next, you should read "Business Plansthat WIN $$$" by
 Rich and Gumpert.  These authors will walk you through the process of
 generating a very important document, your business plan.

 This plan is your blueprint for what you want to accomplish and, also,
 the on-going record of your 'enlightenment' while becoming a business
 person.  At first it will be rough, but, eventually, you'll hone it into
 a good tool.  In the future, you'll look back and read your earlier
 entries and say 'how could I have been so stupid?'  This process of self
 evaluation is important.  Remember, your the boss; no one is going to
 push and prod you, except maybe your creditors.  A good plan will allow
 you to explore the profitability of your product in an atmosphere that
 eliminates the 'romance' of the hardware.  For your own good, your
 decisions of what to build and how to price it, etc., must all be made
 in a cold, calculating fashion.  Don't fall in love with adud; your
 wallet is only so deep.
 When the subjects of finance and accounting come up, I get a real ugly
 feeling.  They can be very boring and tedious but the only way to make
 money is to be able to control it correctly.  If you don't let your
 finances make your decisions, you may 'decide' yourself right out of
 business.  It's acutely important in a hardware business that all
 expenditures be based solely on absolute need.  Do not run out and get a
 ton of neat test equipment to build your lab; do not build up a big
 stock of components to make prototyping easy.  Just because you are
 flush with cash is not reason enough to spend it.

 Before you do anything, you'll need to run through all the expenses and
 setup costs involved in your product-to-be.  And, since you will want to
 keep track of every expenditure from the second you officially start
 your business, the first thing you should do is set up your accounting
 system.  For help here, I suggest that you go to your nearest college
 and buy the intermediate accounting textbook.  Check the bookstores and
 find a good 'plain English' accounting book as well. You can start out
 with books and computerize your system later.  Learn this accounting
 well, grasshopper, or you'll wake up someday with $1000 missing and you
 won't know where it went.

 Once you start to master the thought of being 'in business', you will
 need to select the capital equipment you need to get the job of product
 development done.  You'll probably need an oscilloscope - I lease mine;
 it allows me to get a quality product.  You'll need a multimeter.  (Good
 ones can be had for $100.)  If you're going to be building PC boards,
 you'll need a good soldering station.  Don't skimp here; buy a good
 Weller with replacement tips.  If you're going to be using programmable
 logic then the economy move is to use GALs.  They're reprogrammable and
 will save money.  I use a good programmer, called PLT, from a company
 in Colorado.  PLT comes with a logic compiler, programs GALs only, and
 costs $500, complete.  It has filled my requirements.  Other programmers
 are very expensive and should be leased if needed.  If you're going to
 be creating your own PC boards, then you'll need a schematic and layout
 CAD software package.  There are many under $1000.  Personally, I have
 Futurenet schematic capture and EZRouteII auto router.  This package is
 a bit expensive, but I've used it for years so I'm biased.  If you
 choose the selections listed here, you may be forced to purchase an IBM
 PC since most CAD software runs on Pcs. (The Mac stuff is on the high

 Once you have some development tools, you need to select the ST
 computers you need to get the job done.  If you require something for
 general work, then I suggest a 520STfm and a Mega2.  You'll also need
 both a color monitor and a monochrome monitor.  These two have all the
 features that you'll require.  (There's no point in investing in more
 machines unless you need to have examples of all the motherboard
 layouts.)  If this is the case, it's always helpful to go hunting (in
 your user group) for guinea pigs.  Originally, because I had to have an
 example of every possible configuration, I had one of each known make of

 If you are doing a Mega board, then you will probably need only a Mega.
 This is where Atari comes to the rescue. If you are registered as a
 commercial developer and are designing a product for the market, they'll
 give you some great discounts on equipment.  The Turbol6, however, is a
 special case.  In order to test its compatibility, I had to obtain many
 third party products.  Only you will know exactly what you need but the
 watch word is need.  Do not try to 'justify' neat things like a big
 screen monitor when it has no bearing on your efforts; learn discipline

 You'll also need to set up an office, a place where you can keep track
 of all the paper work you'll be generating and where you can have
 outsiders come and meet you.  It's important that you put on a good show
 for all the sales engineers and business people you'll be dealing with.
 Also, the impression you leave with your would-be suppliers will have a
 direct affect on your credit limits and the response times you get from

 There are a number of contacts you'll need to make in order to be
 successful in the hardware business.  You'll need to know many
 distributors, so track down all the major ones in your area and build
 relationships early.  (For any part you might need, you should find
 yourself two or three sources.)  Companies like Hamilton/Avnet, Arrow
 Electronics, Interface Electronics, and Schweber will become business
 partners with you.  You will need to have them 'stock' items you'll be
 using so that you can purchase them in small quantities.  The best way
 to approach this is the way I buy 68000 chips.  I determine what I think
 will be a realistic production level for Turbol6, then order a year's
 worth of chips and have deliveries spaced out by month.  This lets me
 get the discount price while buying only a small amount at a time.  It's
 also a standard practice.

 Remember, you'll have a tough time getting credit lines until you have
 been in business for a while, so build as many good relationships with
 suppliers as you can.  As for myself, I was known by the sales reps from
 my experience with my previous company, so I landed big credit limits
 early on.  But, believe me, they were taking chances.  Now, after a
 couple of years of strongties, I have very good relationships with my

 Also, get to know the engineering support people from your local
 manufacturers.  I have a long relationship with Motorola, and, although
 I have a small company, I still have the opportunity to obtain the
 latest and greatest items like the 040 chip.  There is nothing like
 having your distributor intercede on your behalf to 'sell' you to a
 manufacturer.  All relationships are important; never burn bridges.
 Next time, I'll begin a practical 'case history" of a product.  We'll go
 through the development process together and see what happens.  See you
 then. - JA
                   Z*Net Down-Under       by Jon Clarke
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          The changing faces of global networks local and major.
                       ::The Humble BBS Bites Back::
 Well here we are all nice and comfortable reading Z*Net for another
 week.  Have you ever given any thought to how this and many of the other
 articles arrived on your computer?

 Did you get it in the mail?  If you did that is easy.  It went by land,
 air or sea to get to your place.  Did you get Z*Net from a BBS or Major
 on-line service?  If you did, it went a little further than land, air or
 sea, it went via Satellite!
 This article of Z*Net Down-Under was penned in Auckland, in New Zealand.
 Now get out your maps and look for New Zealand.  That's it!  Between
 Australia and the South Pole.  Well and truly down-under.  Now find your
 location on the map.  The distance between here and your place is about,
 what ?  Lets say 7-10,000 miles and two continents away.

 For this article to get to Z*Net it has already travelled over 112,000
 miles.  From here in Auckland it does three (3) satellite hops to the
 United States and then by landline and sometimes via another satellite
 hop into the USA network where I leave this mail.  All for the cost of
 a local call plus a little more.

 How is this achieved?  Well as I have stated in an earlier article, we
 use the IPSN (International Packet Switch Network).  This is a series of
 "Carrier Networks", that take your call from your home to distant
 networks far away.  Users of GEnie will be familiar with your local PAD,
 as users of Compuserve and Bix will be familiar with "Tymnet".  These
 allow you to access your favourite online system for the fraction of
 normal 'voice toll charges'.

 Once you are on the IPSN you will become very familiar with some of the
 global services like GEnie, Compuserve,BiX, CT, Micro-link and others.
 A point to bare in mind that some of the 'major' on-line services have
 other uses for their networks and sometimes the things you and I use
 them for are of little consequence to their overall 'global stategy.
 The good thing about this is it allows people from other countries such
 as Europe, Pacific and Asia to join in and you get a truly global family
 of users.

 Please note: Use of the IPSN incurs a cost "over" that of the on-line
              service you wish to use.  -----------

 I was shocked to learn earlier in the year that 'Tymnet' is now owned
 and operated by "BT" as we know it or "British Telecom".  Here I was
 using Compuserve and Bix assuming the carrier I logged onto from here
 was a US based firm.  Imagine my shock when I saw "BT" plastered all
 over the promo material.  Ironic really when you think about it.  "The
 British are coming!  The British are coming!", as that famous chap
 'Paul', once said.

 Other Networks avalible for us mere mortals.

 For those of us who do not have an unlimited pocket-book, there are
 other networks we an use at a fraction of the cost.  I refer to the
 likes of Fido-mail, F-Net, and Usenet.  These can be accessed on many
 BBS's world wide and reflect the changing face of the humble Buliteen

 ::::::::::::: Is a world wide mail store and forward system.  You will
               usually find it based on the local BBS networks. The good
               thing about Fido is the ability to echo mail around your
               country and world wide. Not much Atari related mail.
               Echoes(mail) from countries like :Australia, Asia, Europe,
               South Africa and New Zealand are not uncommon on this

 :::::::::     FoReM-Net mail is also world wide and links the many FoReM
               BBS's world wide. I have seen echoes from Isreal, England,
               USA and the likes.  Lots of Atari based news and mail.
               Good local network to get involved with.  This is very
               popular in the USA, and a cheap and easy way to

 ::::::::::    Usenet is a truly world-wide all computer/leisure/business
               based mail/file system.  This is normally associated with
               education,VAX,Unix facilities.  However it is opening up
               to local BBS's and other companies, institutions that wish
               to spread the net-mail.  Your message can travel alot
               further than 112,000 miles and the message headers (where
               the mail is addressed to) can be very long.  Below is a
               sample of a message Path (or the trip it takes from me to
               say the USA)
                                                  [Us in NZ]<-
          Usenet does however offer some excellent Atari based topics,
              ie.. comp.sys.Atari.ST      <- ST based mail
                   comp.sys.Atari.8Bit    <- 8 Bit based mail
                   comp.binary.Atari.ST   <- ST based files
                   comp.binary.Atari.8Bit <- 8 Bit based files
                   comp.source.Atari.ST   <- ST based source code.

 Over the next few weeks I will take you for a walk through Fido-Mail,
 echo-mail and Usenet so you can see what is happening in the changing
 faces of the "humble BBS".

 \\\Z-Net Down-Under can be reached at the following EMAIL address's\\\
 \\\   ::Fido:: Zone 3/ Jon Clarke ::Usenet:: STT@kcbbs.gen.nz      \\\
 \\\  ::GEnie::J.Clarke6          ::Compuserve:: 72000,3555         \\\

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                    Z*Net Echos     by Terry Schreiber
 The cross-nets are buzzing with pros and cons of Atari Corp.  The
 general conclusion is that persons living in places other than the U.S.
 are happy or happier than those living under the head office.
 Canada has been used as a test market on most of the Atari product line
 and therefore has received new products before the U.S. dealers.  This
 has both advantages and disadvantages to the U.S. Atari market.  The
 advantages being that the U.S. dealers will get a tried and proven
 product, Atari should have all the bugs fixed by it's intro into the
 U.S.  Some will disagree reciting examples of the Stacy battery problems
 and the STe Tos and DMA port problems that are now appearing after the
 product release in the U.S. and some will even say that Atari was aware
 of the problem before they went to market.
 This is common place with any computer - some try to justify their
 computer by defending it - others go the opposite way and cry foul at
 every event involving Atari.  The release of products into a test
 marketplace is a very good idea and is common amongst all manufacturers.
 A certain fast food outlet is constantly testing it's "M" this or "M"
 that in different cities in North America.  Market testing is here to
 stay but unfortunately what works to Atari's benefit can also work
 against them.
 U.S. dealers cry foul over Canadian suppliers shipping goods into their
 marketing area.  Atari as it seems, always had a problem in the U.S.
 retail end with both it's dealer network and end users.  When Atari
 purchased the Federated chain and began competing against it's own
 dealer network, that was the last straw for many independent dealers.
 The Atari users ask "Where are the new products you announced".  The
 whole situation is a catch 22, your dammed if you do or don't.
 Atari has survived in the North American market and intends to make it
 self known in the next few months.  In Canada, we are scheduled for a
 very agressive marketing campaign starting with the back-to-school.  I
 have not heard this years slogan as of yet but I think the "Power
 without the price" and Technology so advanced it's affordable" should
 take a back seat to something that more describes the handling
 capabilities and ease of use. (more like a car commercial)
 The computer market is losing sales to people who are intimidated by
 "The Machine" cars sell by options - automatic transmission, power
 brakes, stereo surround sound, air conditioning, etc.  If the ease of
 use and options available were known Atari would sell many more
 computers.  A test drive could be set-up at local dealers where as a
 system could be tried before it is purchased.  A nominal rental fee
 could be charged for the system for a weekend with the rental going
 towards the purchase price if the customer decided to buy.
 I have on occassion lent one of my systems to a computerless friend only
 to find that when the system is returned usually within thirty days he
 buys his own, sort of like taking the candy away from the baby.
 I am straying from the main topic here which is again attitude towards
 Atari and the Atari supporters.  David Small recently wrote an excellent
 article in CURRENT NOTES which most users felt was quite informative but
 again the negatives where out in full force.  "He makes his living
 selling ST related products - of course he is going to support Atari".
 Let's take a minute to reflect on this.
 David Small, a prominent developer, takes time out to write an article
 voicing his own point of views to be shut down by another so called
 Atari user who claims the article as written for profit.  Will someone
 please explain to me what this person is getting at?  If he has a valid
 point I for one fail to see it.  What I do see in fact is a disgrunted
 Atari user looking for any reason to gripe.

 The fall season is just around the corner and Atari is ready. Those
 520STfm's that we haven't seen here in Canada for a long time now are
 back and smartly bundled with productivity and entertainment packages.
 Remembering back when I last sold these machines, I recall horror as
 they didn't have enough memory to run some of off the shelf titles, but
 also remembering how many of these entry level computers were sold and
 at what price soon jolts the negatives out of your system.  Atari is
 back to basics this fall with a proven seller.  The system is perfect
 for the first time user and fairly cheap to upgrade to one megabyte if
 needed later on.  The basic system out of the box can be connected to a
 television (although a monitor is much needed for productivity software)
 and comes in a price range that no other 16 bit computer comes close to.
 The competiton will be sitting up and noticing again this fall as this
 proven system, priced far below the competitors half meg model again
 hits the marketplace.
 As reported in last weeks issue, dealers will soon be able to have
 information at their fingertips.  Atari's online information system is
 available through Datapac.  Canadian dealers will receive information
 kits at the August 8th dealer meeting in Toronto.  Local Atari
 representitive Murray Brown commented on the positive aspects of this
 system.  "It will make dealers more aware of the changing market and
 bring dealers closer to Atari as well as each other.  Information will
 be immediately posted on the system with regards to any hardware or
 software problems with the equipment, and problems can be more quickly
 identified and dealt with within the corporate structure." 
 Well, who said Atari wasn't listening?  The powers that be in Toronto
 have sent questionaires out to all of their reps to be filled in by the
 dealers.  Questions were general in nature with regards to support,
 service and advertising, but the main point is that Atari is asking for
 feedback from it's dealer network.
 On a personal note I found that the only gripe I had with them at this
 time was the service department.  I figured eight weeks for TOS roms and
 three weeks and still waiting for MMU chips is a bit too long when these
 parts are readily available in stock.  Hey, what are you typing your
 order forms out on - stone tablets?  The order could have come from
 Taiwan via dog sled faster.
 When this conference was first introduced on the cross-net and I posted
 a message asking nodes to join.  I also posted a note that I would
 prefer people to use their real names and not handles.  This was not a
 stipulation but a personal request by me by a matter of preference.  I
 am very liberal at the best of times but I felt answering messages back
 to someone called "One Hung Low" or "The Galloping Gourmet" was a little
 too much.  It has recently been pointed out to me that these people use
 handles to provide a little mistique to themselves and that some sysops
 actually encourage people to use handles as they post more messages on
 their message bases.  There are even some people who actually leave
 Latin quotes with every message they post, and when asked why stated
 "It's my trademark".
 Well now, we've gone from handles to trademarks - what next?

 To make a long story short in the messages I have seen posted in the
 last month, I have also seen that these people are not just there living
 in their fantasy world, but are living and breathing Atarians and most
 with a sincere wish to gain knowledge about their computer.  There are
 the odd few that use these handles to hide behind to post nasty messages
 and bash Atari at every chance they get, but by the most part I must say
 my attitude is changing.  To those people I do apologize as sometimes I
 don't see the forest for the trees.
 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 ATARI 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.
                Copyright (c)1990 Rovac Industries, Inc..

Kevin Steele (aj205.Cleveland.Freenet.Edu)

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