News - Aug.89 - Part II

From: Len Stys (aa399)
Date: 02/26/90-08:26:33 PM Z

From: aa399 (Len Stys)
Subject: News - Aug.89 - Part II
Date: Mon Feb 26 20:26:33 1990

 Time Capsule - News - Aug.89 - Part II

 News Subject Title         Date Posted
 ------------------         -----------

PC-Ditto II - some facts    Aug.28,1989
CWRU-Net,Free-Net,Atari SIG Aug.29,1989
A chat with Keith Ledbetter Aug.29,1989
Review: Express Cart        Aug.29,1989


-Article #151 (208 is last):
-From: aa399 (Len Stys)
-Subject: PC-Ditto II - some facts
-Date: Mon, 28 Aug 89 21:01:36 EDT

                            PC Ditto II:

XT-Compatible running at turbo-XT speed (Norton SI rating of 3.0, or three
times faster than a 'stock' XT)

CGA and Mono graphics, with 64k EGA support coming soon.

Supports Atari Mouse under emulation as a Microsoft Mouse.

Supports Atari HD partitions.

Small board has cable that 'clips' onto the 68000 (i.e., it's solderless).
For Mega Owners, a different cable plugs into the expansion bus connector.

Should fit into any ST case, regarless of memory expansion, Genlock, etc.

Cost: $300, and it isn't available yet. Should be 100% compatible, or very
close to it.

-Article #152 (208 is last):
-From: aa399 (Len Stys)
-Subject: CWRU-Net,Free-Net,& Atari SIG
-Date: Tue, 29 Aug 89 22:42:01 EDT

       the Cleveland Free-Net
         and the Atari SIG

     This article has to do with CWRU-Net and the Cleveland Free-Net.
Since the Atari SIG is a part of the Free-Net, I feel the Atari SIG users
have a right to know what "seems" to be going on.

     Recently, I attended a presentation for the Case Western Reserve's new
network, CWRU-Net (pronounced crew-net).  As I walked through the
doors of the audtiorium, a  20 minute film was already playing.  It talked
about what CWRU-Net will actually contain. In it, it mentioned that the
students going to Case Western would have one ID that will connect them to
any part of CWRU-Net.  The students living on campus will be able to
connect to CWRU-Net with an ethernet interface installed in their, IBM,
AT&T, or Macintosh.  The film continued on showing how students would use
CWRU-Net and what it actually is. CWRU-Net will not only connect
computers together from all over the campus but in time it will also use
video as a form of communication.  Dr. Neff was the host in the film and later
became an example on how fast and where light would travel through the fiber
lines. It was a fairly informative film though it left out any details of
CWRU-Net. It also, surprisingly, left out the Cleveland Free-Net.

     I also received flyers about CWRU-Net, Ethernet, the Cleveland
Free-Net 'go commands', and information on how to access the CWRU's Euclid
library.  The CWRU-Net flyers included information about what CWRU-Net will
do and what it will be connected to. The Cleveland Free-Net was mentioned
several times and it became obvious that it was something to boast about.
The Free-Net article contained this information:

FreeNet - A Community Information Utility

FreeNet is a system that provides access to information.  It is simple to
use.  The entire system is based on a hierarchy of menus.  To invoke a
specific function of Free-Net, one selects an item in a menu.  Its use
is pretty much self-explanatory once you enter the system.

FreeNet is oriented to the entire community, not just Case Western
Reserve University, although CWRU is a significant part of FreeNet.
Services provided is FreeNet include: electronic mail, bulletin boards,
special interest groups, information files, allowing users to chat
electronically with one another, and other servies.  Soon FreeNet will be
able to record votes, take opinions, and allow users to chat with one
another in groups rather than just one-to-one.

Many various academic and administrative departments will have
areas within FreeNet in which to provide services.

More information about FreeNet is available within FreeNet itself.  The
best way to learn about this system is to use it.


Then it continues to tell how to log on the Cleveland FreeNet.

     According to the CWRU-Net speaker, Free-Net is just one of the services
that CWRU-Net provides.  There will also be printing services, Wade
Commons, Fibley Commons, Crawford Hall, and a software library.  Free-Net,
however, will be the main message exchange board for CWRU students.
There was even a flyer explaining how to use electronic mail on the Free-Net.

     The speaker for Free-Net was of course Tom Grunder.  Mr. Grunder
talked about Free-Net and how it was a community computer system and how
CWRU students will be able to use it. He also talked about how there are
between 180 to 200 SysOps on the Cleveland Free-Net running different
sections.  He mentioned that there are a lot of informative people on the
system and how they are dedicated in helping the community.  He talked a lot
more about how it is a community system then how CWRU students will be able to
use it.  Towards the end of his talk, he told the CWRU students that if they
want to start up their own Special Interest Group on the Free-Net then
to talk to him about it.

     The next speaker was CWRU's own Dr. Raymond Neff.  He talked a little
about everything but again, nothing about the sytem in detail.  Though he
did go into much detail about how to preserve the life of your computer and
the warranty on it which had little to do with the system and wasted much
time.  He talked about the data transmission at the speed of 10 MgHtz
and to be increased past 100 MgHtz. He did mention that they were going
to be connecting to other off-campus systems which will provide the CWRU
students with access to even more information.  He did not talk much
about Free-Net.

     As I was sitting there listening to what the speakers were saying, it
suddenly came to me on what "might" have happend...

     A few years ago, Free-Net was supposely in trouble.  It was pretty
hard to find grants and donations to keep the system running and CWRU was
not interested in commiting itself to the Free-Net.  The money donated by
users was used up pretty fast and was just "a drop in the bucket."  Then came
Dr. Neff who needed a post office or a hub for students to communicate.
As soon as Mr. Grunder found out about this, he went and talked to Dr. Neff
and both problems were solved.  CWRU found a place for their students to
communicate and Free-Net found a place to get money.  Is that it?  Is that
the only reason why CWRU is supporting the Cleveland Free-Net?  The answer
to that is a very simple "no".  Case Western Reserve has their name, as you
know, listed in several spots of the Free-Net.  It also has several
different sections on the Free-Net for their students to use such as the
CWRU bookstore, CWRU film society, CWRU Information Network Services,
CWRU student activities and just general CWRU.  It will also be known
world-wide for the Cleveland Free-Net. The few millions that they have given
Free-Net is a very small price to pay for free publicity and their name in
the history books.

     The few thing that still bothers me is:  How much influence does CWRU
have over the Free-Net?  Can CWRU fire any paid member of the Free-Net
that does not agree with what CWRU wants to do with the Cleveland

     Another thing is, Mr. Grunder had an idea of a "Tele-port" which will
allow users of the Free-Net to connect with other systems in the future.  Did
CWRU-Net steal this idea to have it only for their students and not have
it on the Free-Net?  Dr. Neff did say that he plans for CWRU-Net to connect
with other systems for the students to have access to even more
information.  I just hope that the Free-Net community will be allowed to
connect to these systems as well.

     I also am wondering about the ability for 320 incoming phone lines.
Will we even reach a quarter of that? Also, if the Cleveland Free-Net is
suppose to stir up other cities to have a similar system then why not
have a "1-800" number to show others in the country what Free-Net is all

     I believe that the Cleveland Free-Net is still a community system
and that Free-Net II and just Free-Net would not be here today if it wasn't
for some financial assistance from Case Western Reserve. I also believe that
even though CWRU is giving a good amount of money to the Free-Net, it
should not look like they own it. CWRU did give all their students
access to the Free-Net.  I am sure that if other universities asked Free-Net
for that, they would be declined. The Free-Net isn't a Bit-Net and
shouldn't be run by college students. It is a "Community Computer System".
I know now that CWRU-Net has access to the Cleveland Free-Net but the
Cleveland Free-Net so far only has access to itself.

Thank you.

Len Stys (aa399)

-Article #153 (208 is last):
-From: aa338 (Mark Leair)
-Subject: A chat with Keith Ledbetter
-Date: Tue, 29 Aug 89 22:54:38 EDT

                         A Chat with Keith!

The following is an exclusive interview between PBN and Keith    

Q: What was your first major production for the Atari 8 bit?

A: To tell you the truth, I don't really remember what my first major
   program was.  But if I could remember, I'm sure nobody would have             
   heard of it.  See, I've been coding on the Atari 8-bit since about
   1981.  But, 99% of my programs were for my use only (since I wasn't
   into modeming at that time) and a few members of local Richmond Atari
   users group.  So, as far as the first major production for the Atari
   that people know about; that would have to be original 1030 Express!
   terminal program.

Q: Upon completing the "Express"-line of terminal emulator programs what
   made you decide to release them shareware and not commercial?

A: At the time, I didn't think 1030 Express! was that great.  Yet, all of
   my beta testers kept telling me "You need to SELL this thing.  Nothing
   out there today can touch it."  So, I made some inquiries around the
   commercial circuit - Electronic Arts, Batteries Included, etc, and none
   of them were even mildly interested in another terminal program.  That,
   plus the fact that I had no idea about what needed to be done to start
   a business, bring out commercial products, etc. led to me releasing it
   as shareware.  I figured that releasing it as shareware would be a great
   way to get my name known in the Atari market, and I think it did that.
   It makes a big difference when you come out with new commercial product
   and people know your name from previous programs that have satisfied them.

Q: What inspired you to write BBS Express (the original version)?

A: I had already written a very powerful BBS for the Apple II computer,
   although I had never sold it (it simply ran on my own BBS system).  So,
   BBS Express! was just a natural thing to do.  BBS Express! initially
   started out as a simple "remote system" -- I wanted something that I could          
   call from work with my IBM PC and download/upload files (more or less like
   the DOSshell is in PRO! now).  But, it kept growing and growing, and
   before long I realized that I almost had a full BBS system.  So, I just
   went on from there with it.  Unfortunately, I messed up when I started
   writing it in Action!.  Action! is a wonderful language, but it generates
   too big of an object module for huge programs, and when BBS Express! came
   out, it already "max'ed out" as far as code changes go.  There was
   simply no room left to add anything.

Q: In what ways did your final product of Original BBS Express
   compare to the firstly proposed uncoded BBS Express?

A: This question is pretty hard to answer because I normally don't write
   detailed specifications for the program I write.  I usually just have
   a gneral idea of what I want to do, and then I start writing and just
   kind of "go with the flow", letting the program take on characteristics
   of its own as it grows.  But, overall, i'd say that the final product
   was pretty much what I had in mind when I started the program.

   (continued next page)

Q: After working on ST BBS Express, do yo have any future plans on writing
   any further software for the ST?

A: I don't know right now.  Both Chris and I are pretty down on the Atari
   ST market right now.  Software just doesn't seem to sell well on that
   machine.  That, along with the fact that Atari Corp. is impossible to
   work with (or get any support from) these days makes it doubtful.
   But, we are going to do an IBM PC version of Pro!, and the chances are
   very good that we will port that code to the Atari ST after it is 

Q: Approximately how many hours was spent planning and coding the first
   BBS Express! Pro! package?

A: Express! Pro was a huge undertaking;  Chris and I spent almost a year
   of our lives writing Pro.  But, because of the design of it, it was
   also the easiest large project we have ever done.  The design of the
   shell sitting in memory and loading command files as needed made it
   a wonderful system to write code for.  The only real ugly one was the
   message base processor.  That's because it had to be in assembler because
   it was so large.  Nothing like writing a threaded message base in
   assembler language.  But, it turned out great, and I can't believe that
   I have never had a screwed-up message base on the Support BBS since it  
   went online.

Q: How does Pro! V2.0 compare to the first proposed uncoded BBS Express!

A: Pro! has developed beyond our wildest dreams.  We knew it was going to
   be powerful when we started it, but I don't think we ever expected it
   be this powerful.  I'm still amazed sometimes when I look at the
   system and think we wrote all of that code!  We knew that to make
   it the best, we had to accomplish two things: (1) we had to write it
   for a specific hardware/DOS enviroment instead of trying to be all
   things to all DOS's and hardware set-ups, and (2) we had to make it easy
   for users to write their own external modules.  I think we succeeded
   in both of those areas, and that's what has made Pro! what it is today.
   But, we also know that another big thing that has made Pro! what it is 
   today is the people who keep cranking out user-written modules for Pro!.
   I'm continually amazed at some of the things that peple have written to
   run under Pro.  A perfect example of this is F-mail.  This was by no
   means a simple project.  And those people that run it absolutely love
   it, and it runs flawlessly.  Stephen Carden, @ircular Logic, Ken Cheek,
   Tim Lowery -- these are just a few of the people who have written some
   incredibly powerful Pro modules.  So, keep supporting those people that
   write user-written modules for Pro! -- they are the people that keep it
   exciting and changing every day.

   (continued next page)

Q: Does Orion have any plans on taking adcantage of the 816 Turbo board
   (16 bit processor for the Atari 8 bit)?  If so, what kind?  Any for Pro?

A: We have recently received a T816 board from DataQue, but we haven't
   had time to install it in one of our machines yet.  I really can't say
   right now whether we'll support it in any special way or not.  I'm not
   sure that any of its features would really be of any advantage to the

   Pro! system.

Q: Aside from Orion's new Express cart, what future plans does Orion have
   with the Atari 8 bit and other computers?

A: Well, first and foremost is a long vacation (grin).  We have some plans
   for upgrades to the Pro shell.  Also, we plan on doing an IBM PC version
   of Pro! sometime later this year.  As far as plans for brand new Atari
   8-bit products, we don't have any plans at this time.  We have discussed
   the possibility of coming out with a "mini pro" that would work on
   floppy disk based systems, but we're not sure if it would be feasible or not.
   But, if anyone out there has any ideas on new products, we'd love to hear
   their ideas.  Also, we're actively soliciting authors for new products.
   We'd like to greatly expand our Atari 8-bit product line.  If anyone out
   there has written a commercial-quality program that you don't wan to
   sell yourself, please give us a call.  We'll pay royalties much higher
   than the industry standard.o

Source: Aug/Sep 1989 issue of Pro! BBS News  Reprinted with permission...

pages 3-5...

-Article #154 (208 is last):
-From: aa338 (Mark Leair)
-Subject: Review: The Express cartridge!
-Date: Tue, 29 Aug 89 22:55:27 EDT

Source: Aug/Sep 1989 issue of Pro! BBS
News.  Reprinted in the Free-net Atari
SIG News forum with permission from PBN.
                       Review: The Express Cartridge!

The Express! terminal program cartridge. A review by the SysOp of the
Part-Time BBS, Express Node X7, Cleveland Ohio.

     Once again those great people at Orion Micro Systems have a winner on
their hands. After their great success with the BBS Express! Professional
BBS program they came back with another great program to prove that the
team of Ledbetter and King can produce back to back hits.

     The Express! terminal program cartridge, here after referred to as the
Express! cart, proves the limits of the 8 bit Atari systems are yet to be 
reached. Orion Micro Systems once again pushes 8 bit software to new levels 
of sophistication.

     When you first open the package the look of the cartridge is what grabs 
your attention. It is a piggyback cartridge. You can plug it into your 
machine and still be able to use other cartridges without removing the 
Express! cart. As a matter of fact, by using the external CONTROL.COM 
program you can turn the Express! cart on and off without ever having to 
remove it from you computer.

     The Express! cart has a menu control system based on pull down menus in 
the 40 column modem and text menus in the 80 column mode. Pressing the 
'Escape' key activates the menu control system.

     The 'Dial' menu selection allows you to create and save multiple phone 
list, dial numbers from the list, and mark several numbers for the Express! 
cart to call. Three macro keys, twenty nine bytes each, are available for 
each number on the phone list. It is interesting to note that you can set 
the macros to be sent automaticly and the three macros can be chained into 
one long macro if needed. Using the macros an automatic logon sequence can 
be set up for each number entry.

     The 'Parms' menu selection allows you to set the default parameters for 
the terminal mode such as baud, port, long distance codes, translation, 
duplex, and parity. Orion has thoughtfully allowed the use of comm ports R1: 
thru R4:. Good news for Atari 850 users.

     The 'Receive' menu selection allows you to set the transfer protocol. 
The protocols supported include Xmodem, Ymodem, Windowed Xmodem, SEAlink, 
and Lmodem. Take note of Lmodem. It permits automatic downloading from PRO 
Express! boards just by selecting the file on the BBS.

     The 'Send' menu selection is pretty much the mirror image of the 
'Receive' selection. There is a status window that comes up on the screen 
during file transfers that supplies such information as current block 
number and bytes received.

     The 'Buffer' menu selection permits the viewing, loading, saving, 
printing, and clearing of the capture buffer. A point to note here is that 
the size of the capture buffer can be adjusted to take advantage of any 
extra memory which you may have installed in your computer.

     The 'Config' menu selection allows the setting of such options as the 
default disk dive number, left screen margin, screen word wrap, memory size, 
columns modem, and upload pause time. From this selection the seven 
'generic' macro keys can be set up.      

     The 'Misc' menu selection permits the setting of the background screen 
color, background intensity, and foreground intensity.

     The 'OS Shell' menu selection provides access to DOS functions without 
having to exit from the Express! cart. Depending on the DOS being used such
functions as disk directories, erasing files, renaming files, copying files, 
locking files, and more.

     The 'Info' menu selection provides such information as the version 
number of the cartridge, the address of Orion Micro Systems, and the phone 
number of Orion.

     The 'Exit' menu selection permits the running of a piggyback cartridge 
or internal basic. All cartridges plugged into you system can be disable from 
this option.

     Although this is a short review I would be remiss if I did not mention 
that the Express! cart has support build into it for the running of external 
programs without exiting from the Express! cart. As of the writing of this 
review there are no external programs available. New transfer protocols, 
games and who can guess what else can be added to the Express! cart without 
an upgrade to the Express! cart itself. The best news is that Orion Micro 
Systems has stated that external programs for the Express! cart will be made 
available at no charge.

     I am sorry to say a short review like this one can't do justice to such 
a great product as this one. At a time when programmers are walking away 
from the Atari 8 bit systems it is refreshing to see a program like this one 
where the amount of hard work by the programmer is so evident.

This Time Capsule file was produced by
Len Stys.  It may only be reposted with
the following information included:

REPOSTED FROM:  The Cleveland Free-Net
                  type 'Go Atari' at
                      any menu


Return to message index