News - Jan.90 - Mar.90

From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 02/27/94-02:59:22 PM Z

From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
Subject: News - Jan.90 - Mar.90
Date: Sun Feb 27 14:59:22 1994

 Time Capsule - News - Jan.90 - Mar.90

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

MichTron / Fast FAX                    Jan.31,1990
Double Click Software / DC - Desktop   Jan.31,1990
new ST mag                             Feb.01,1990
Pointer Sisters and the ST             Feb.01,1990
PC Ditto II                            Feb.01,1990
1990 Winter NAMM  / 0290AR             Feb.19,1990
Atari Lays off 15% work force, no new products
RONSAT Technologies :  RONSAT's Stonehenge  / 0390AR
A Peek at the new STe _ by Derek Mihocka  / 0390AR
Atari Explorer?                        Mar.31,1990


Article #198 (376 is last):
From: aa400 (Phillip M. Chow)
Subject: MichTron / Fast FAX
Date: Wed Jan 31 03:13:10 1990

Fast FAX system from MichTron : Turns you ST into a FAX

MichTron, Inc. has announced a late January release of Fast FAX, a full
featured hardware and software package which offers Group III FAX
machine capabilities right from any Atari ST computer.
MichTron states that Fast FAX's command functions permit letterheads,
signatures, cover pages, or any other saved graphics, to be inserted into
FAX documents.  A view option allows an incoming FAX to be displayed on
screen (within a scrollable window) or to generate a printout.
Fast FAX's software includes a phone book that can store over 1000 company
names, contact names and their FAX phone numbers.  A scheduling feature
provides the ability to send multiple FAXes to multiple locations, and
Fast FAX can be told when to send them.  FAXes can be set up to be sent
any time of the day, any day of the moth, and any month of the year.
The Fast FAX modem uses its own 8 MHz 68000 microprocessor, has 32K of RAM,
and 64K of ROM.  Data rates supported include: V.29 (9600bps, 7200bps),
V.27 (4800bps, 2400bps) and V.21 (channel 2 at 300bps) with automatic
Fast FAX has a suggested list price of $699.95 and is available for Amiga,
Atari ST and IBM PC computers.  For additional information, contact MichTRON,
Inc., 576 S. Telegraph, Pontiac MI 48053; (313) 334-5700.

Taken from ST Informer : Issue #30 : January 1990

Used here with permission.

Article #199 (376 is last):
From: aa400 (Phillip M. Chow)
Subject: Double Click Software / DC - Desktop
Date: Wed Jan 31 03:13:55 1990

DC-Desktop on the way : Double Click offers desktop alternative

Double Click Software has announced a new product by the name of DC-Desktop.
This product is designed to enhance your desktop, not replace it, thus 
DC-Desktop is said to be 100% compatible with all existing software.
DC-Desktop offers many of the same features that NewDesk does and even
has some that NeoDesk doesn't.  DC-Desktop supports icons on the desktop
for floppies, hard drives, printers and files, and is even compatible
with NeoDesk icon files.
However, Double Click takes this concept a little further and offers what
they call a "Cabinet" icon.  Clicking on a Cabinet icon brings up a window
of icons contained in that Cabinet.
These icons represent programs and files that are commonly used, but reside
in different directories on different drives.
The Cabinet keeps track of where these files are located so that they can
be quickly executed if accessed without the user shuffling through
multiple drives and folder directories to find them.
Some other features that DC-Desktop offers are the ability to undelete
files from the trach can (much like a Mac!), complete compatibility
with the desktop, a print spooler, and the ability to run in low rez!
To top it off, Double Click is offering a bounty of sorts.  Registered
owners of NeoDesk can get DC-Desktop by sending their original disk and
DC-Desktop should begin shipping in January with a suggested retail price
of $39.95.  Watch for a full review of DC-Desktop in a future issue of
ST Informer.
For additional information, contact Double Click Software, PO Box 741206,
Houston, TX 77274; (713) 645-3759.

Taken from ST Informer : Issue #30 : January 1990

Used here with permission.

Article #200 (376 is last):
From: ab577 (Thomas Hartwick)
Subject: new ST mag
Date: Thu Feb  1 10:22:56 1990

 Amid the closings of many formerly popular ST magazines (ANALOG, ST-LOG,
 ST-EXPRESS, etc.), a new magazine will begin publication this spring.
 ST JOURNAL will be a serious-minded monthly patterned more like PC
 magazines and less like gamer tabloids.  To be available in late March
 with an April cover date, the first issue will go to 10,000 or more ST
 users.  Editor Tim Lewis and production/art director Steve Lesh have
 experience in other Atari magazines, and expect to set a new standard of
 excellence and service in a "real user" publication.  Headlining
 columnists and contributing editors include Andrew Reese, John Nagy,
 Jim Allen, John King Tarpinian, Norman Weinress, and more.  Contact
 QUILL Publishing, 818-332-0372 for more information.

Article #201 (376 is last):
From: ab577 (Thomas Hartwick)
Subject: Pointer Sisters and the ST
Date: Thu Feb  1 10:24:52 1990

 Last year at NAMM and other shows, the Pointer Sisters band appeared to
 promote ATARI.  Much of their album and show performances relied on MIDI
 equipment controlled by Atari.  So when the Pointer Sisters appeared at
 the now-infamous floating house of Amiga on the TV ads, we wondered why.
 More recently, the Band is back in the Atari camp, appearing again at
 NAMM.  Members report that they did indeed get AMIGA equipment, and
 actually used it.  It took experience to lead them to finally sort out
 the Atari disks from the Amiga ones, and retire the Amigas to the
 closet.  From now on, it is ATARI all the way for the Pointer Sisters.


Article #202 (376 is last):
From: ab577 (Thomas Hartwick)
Subject: PC Ditto II
Date: Thu Feb  1 10:27:16 1990

 Avant-Garde of Florida has indeed begun shipping their new hardware IBM
 Emulator.  Although no dealers have the units yet, some early orderers
 have at last received their PC-DITTO II.  The good news ends there,
 though.  Almost all of the owners reporting to date have had problems.
 The new emulator is very large, and does not fit in some 1040/520
 computers... at least not with the keyboard installed!  If that weren't
 bad enough, many simply do not work, and many more were shipped without
 documentation or without the software required to activate the emulator.
 AG is still refusing to do phone support (or even take machine messages
 or talk to anyone at all) while they scamper to try to patch one crisis
 after another.  The long view still seems to favor AG and most users
 expect the problems to eventually be resolved.  But in the meantime, PC-
 SPEED, being imported from Germany by MICHTRON, is getting a lot of
 sales and supporters.

Article #208 (376 is last):
From: aa400 (Phillip M. Chow)
Subject: 1990 Winter NAMM  / 0290AR
Date: Mon Feb 19 15:35:48 1990

Winter NAMM 1990 in Anaheim    by John Davis, MIDI Resource Editor
  Taken from ST Informer 02/90         Used here with permission
         --  Winter NAMM brings new respect to Atari --
    ANAHEIM,  CA  - The National Association of Music Merchants,
better known as NAMM, has given us another outstanding look into
the business of music.  Twice yearly, NAMM sponsors expositions 
for members of the music community.  The winter show, held in
Anaheim California, is the larger of the two and it has been 
estimated that this years show drew approximately 50,000
exhibitors, buyers, and members of the press.
   Atari was the first computer manufacturer to have an exhibit
at a NAMM show, and they carried on the tradition in a big way
again this year.  Atari had a two-room suite upstairs, overlooking
the entire first exhibit hall, with a large banner underneath
the window proclaiming "Beyond MIDI.  The Next Generation From
Atari".  The first room was more like an office, with couches
and chairs for weary legs, and Portfolios and Lynx's for idle
hands.  The other room was soundproofed, and contained a sophisti-
cated arsenal of music making electronics, including the eagerly
anticipated Atari/Hotz MIDI Translator.  A device that may very 
well change the face of the music industry.

   Dr. Scholl's Foot Powder stock is probably soaring this week.
Some of the staff from ST Informer/MIDI Resource, along with about
50,000 other people, have just returned from a three day walking
marathon - a valiant attempt to see every product displayed at the
1990 Winter NAMM Show.
  The winter show is held in Anaheim California at the Anaheim
convention center, just a stone's throw from Disneyland. 
Manufacturers from all over the world combine to form one of the 
largest industry expositions in America, and it makes you realize
just how big the music business is.  What follows is our account
of the most interesting products and displays we found for the
MIDI musician.
   -- Atari --
   Atari's space consisted of a two room affair upstairs, over-
looking the first exhibit hall.  Representatives from Atari were
on hand in the first room, along with several Portfolios, Lynxes,
a STacy (running the Spectre GCR), and a Mega ST/Laser setup
running desktop publishing software.  The second room was used as
the sound room.  One half of it was occupied by a number by a 
number of Mega systems running various MIDI software packages,
while the other half was filled with gear used by Jimmy Hotz and
the long promised Hotz Box (now officially named the 'Atari Hotz
MIDI Translator').
   The Atari Hotz MIDI Translator and STacy computer are now 
shipping in a bundled package with a suggested retial price of
$9899.95.  We got to watch Jimmy Hotz demostrate some new features
of the translator to Mick Fleetwood (drummer for Fleetwood Mac),
and within ten minutes, Mick was performing some very credible 
guitar licks to the accompaniment of 'Stairway To Heaven'.  I sure
hope Atari can come up with a less expensive translator 'for the
rest of us' - I want one!
   The STacy Laptop was in abundance at NAMM, and was present in 
the booths of almost all major MIDI software developers.  Presently,
only 2 meg and 4 meg models (both with a built-in 40 meg hard disk)
are available.  The STacy 2 carries a suggested retail of $2499,
while the STacy 4 will go for $2899.
   Atari also officially introduced the 'Atari MIDI-Tasking System',
a psuedo multi-tasking system for MIDI applications.  The MIDI-Tasking
system was developed by Intelligent Music, and will be marketed
directly from Atari, with a retail price of only $12.95.  The
MIDI-Tasking system will allow the ST to run up to six GEM applica-
tions simultaneously.  With its standardized data-sharing capabilities,
information can be exchanged between applications in realtime
through a system scrapbook.
   The MIDI-Tasking system also offers a unique set of features
specifically for MIDI users, including the ability to transfer
information from any MIDI application to any other MIDI application.
Although the system can work with non-MIDI applications, Atari does
not plan to promote the MIDI-Tasking System outside the music market.
   On Friday night, Atari co-hosted a concert featuring the Jack
Bruce band.  Contrary to what has been reported elsewhere, Atari
never promoted the concert as a reunion of the legendary 60's band,
Cream.  Instead, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker, both members of the
original band, along with Bernie Worrel and Blues Sarceno, joined
together to play new tunes, along with some old classic Cream
material.  The other member of the original band, Eric Clapton,
was not in attendance.  Sigh...
   Another group of musical luminaries also joined together to
perform some futuristic jazz music.  Michael Shrieve (Santana)
was joined by Andy Summers (The Police), Dave Torn, Mark Isham,
David Beal and Doug Lund for an hour of, uh, unusual music.
   The general feeling in the Atari area was very upbeat.  It
appears that most major developers will support the MIDI-Tasking
software, and there was a great deal of excitement over the
prominence of STacys throughout the show.  Let's just hope that
Atari's performance in the MIDI market can help overcome the set-
backs they've experienced in other markets.
   -- Hardware --
   There hasn't been a lot of ground-breaking development in
sound synthesis since the last NAMM show.  Yamaha introduced
a new technology, but most other manufacturers offered a
repackaged products of exisiting technology.
   Roland Corporation was showing one of the more exciting
oackages - a MIDI Starter System consisting of a CM-32L 
Sound Module (or an LAPC-1 Sound Card for IBMs), a PC-100
MIDI Data Keyboard, and sequencing software for either the
Atari, the Macintosh, the IBM or the Amiga.  The CM-32L
(and LAPC-1) are actually repackaged versions of Roland's
very popular MT-32.  The PC-100 is simply a keyboard with 49
full-sized keys and a MIDI-OUT port.  It can be used as a 
basic controller for any synthesizer or computer.
   When combined with a personal computer, this package gives
you everything necessary to create an enormous amount of
music.  The MIDI Starter System is priced at $995.  A new
addition to the CM (Computer Music) Series is the CS-10
(no price announced), a stereo monitor amplifier for all
computers.  This device, which is shielded so that it can
double as a monitor stand, contains a six-watt stereo
amplifier, a pair of side mounted mid-range speakers, a
center-mounted bass speaker, and volume/tone controls.
   For the professional musician, ROland has introduced
the D-70 LA Synthesizer, the next generation of the very
successful D-50.  The D-70 features a new high-performance
filter, new PCM samples, the ability to use U-series sample
cards and six-part multi-timbral capabilities - for a list
price of $2895.
   The musician who wants to get everything in a single
package with a 61-note keyboard.  Included is an LA synthesizer,
an Auto Arranger, a drum machine, a simple sequencer, reverb and
a built-in stereo with speakers.  The E-10 ($1495) differs from
the E-20 ($2095) in that it does not accept additional sound cards,
and it has less sequence memory, fewer reverbs and no LCD display.
Both synthesizers have MIDI ports for connection to computers
and other synthesizers.
   As mentioned, the only new sound synthesis technology came from
Yamaha, with the introduction of the SY77.  Yamaha has dubbed
their new process 'Realtime Convolution and Modulation Synthesis',
and the results are breathtaking.  RC&M synthesis combines 16-bit
samples with advanced FM synthesis, and samples can be used to 
modulate the FM operators.  All of this can be used to modulate
the FM operators.  All of this can be processed with up to eight
filters, each controlled by a dedicated envelope generator.  If
you've never worked with FM synthesis, all of this will sound like
gobbledegook to you.  Take my word for it, this synth sounds great!
Throw in a built-in sequencer, disk drive and digital effect pro-
cessing, and you have an outstanding new synthesizer.
   If the price of this greatness ($2995) is a little too much,
you might be interested in the SY55 ($1595).  The SY55 also uses
16-bit samples, but has fewer filters and less memory for voices
and sequences than its big brother.  The SY55 is also available
as a tone generator module only in a rackmount package called the
TG55 ($995), and is basically an SY55 without a keyboard.
   Yamaha also has several new additions to its very popular line
of portable keyboards, the PSS series.  There's a keyboard available
for almost any taste or budget, ranging from the tiny PSS-20 
($24.95), with 32 mini keys and 6 voices (but no MIDI), to the
PSS-790 ($339.95), containing 61 full size keys, MIDI, a drum
machine, drum pads, and a built-in sequencer.
   -- Software --
   There wasn't really a whole lot in new software, either.
After all, how many different sequencers and patch editors can
the industry come up with?  Most manufacturers were offering
enhancements to existing products, as well as entry level versions
of their more popular sequencers.
   Dr. T's was showing Tiger Cub, an entry level product for the
new MIDI musician.  It's based on three of Dr. T's most popular
products [ the KCS sequencer, the T.I.G.E.R. editor, and the
Copyist notation program.  They are stripped down versions of the
original programs, but at $99, Tiger Cub still offers a lot of bang.
   Intelligent Music was showing version 1.2 of RealTime, a rhythm
sequencer for the ST.  The new version features an unlimited number
of tracks, the ability to sort tracks in any order, improved timing,
faster screen response, and it has even been significantly reduced
in size, allowing it to run on any Atari, even the 520ST.
   As mentioned, Intelligent Music has also developed the MIDI-
Tasking System, now licensed to Atari as the standard for all multi-
tasking MIDI software.  This system, formerly known as ST Ram, allows
up to 6 GEM applications to be loaded at the same time.  Each
application maintains a window on the GEM desktop, and the application
is accessed by clicking within its window.  The system appeared
to operate quite smoothly, allowing MIDI data to be traded easily
between the various applications.
   Hybrid Arts is finally shipping GenEdit, a program which functions
as a librarian and an editor for almost any synthesizer.  Configura-
tions are provided to support the most popular synthesizers, and the
program allows the knowledgable user to create a configuration for
any others.  The editor's configuration for any others.  The editor's
configurations have a very professional appearance, with onscreen
knobs, sliders, and graphic envelopes.
   Hybrid Arts has a product which promises to be extremely popular.
Imagine a multi-timbral stereo FM synthesizer with 78 different
instruments, a drum machine with 16 accompaniment styles, and
sequencing software that works in any resolution - with online help
and graphic note editing using a staff and notes.  Now imagine
paying less than $150 for the whole package.  I think this one product
is going to introduce a lot of people to the wonders of MIDI and
electronic music.  Look for FM Melody Maker to be released by Hybrid
Arts shortly.
   Passport has supported almost all computers with various versions
of their popular sequencer, Master Tracks.  They were showing the
newest version, Pro 4, currently available only on the Macintosh.
More significant, however, is the fact that as of December 12, 1989,
Passport Designs has dropped the use of copy protection on several
of their key titles.  The programs immediatly affected include
Pro 4 and Encore for the Macintosh, Master Tracks Pro for the Amiga,
IBM, and Apple IIgs, and Score and Escort for the IBM.
   The representative I spoke with, said that sales do not seem to
have been affected by this move, and if the trend continues, the
protection will be removed from other products in the future.  I
applaud Passport Designs for their new policy, and truly hope that
it works for them.
   At last summer's NAMM show, Scorpion Systems Group introduced
sYbil, a realtime performance too for the Macintosh.  sYbil allows
the performer to extend and redefine the capability of MIDI control-
lers: events generated by the controller can be scaled, inverted,
set to trigger other events, remapped, and just about anything
else you want.  The end result is that a single person can make a
single MIDI controller sound like a full band.
   In the ongoing demonstration, a representative from Scorpion was
processing the output of sYbil with a MIDI guitar.  Some notes of
the guitar had been remapped to various percussion instruments,
some had been mapped to a bass synthesizer, and others had been 
mapped to a bass synthesizer, and others had been mapped to horns 
and strings.  With a single guitar, he was able to perform composi-
tions using bass, horns, and strings simultaneously, with full
rhythm accompaniment!  The best news is that sYbil is now available
for the Macintosh, Atari ST, IBM compatibles and the Yamaha C1, for
a list price of $299.
   Digidesign has brought their popular Sound Tools Digital Recording,
Editing, & Playback system to te Atari Mega line of computers.
This system has been available for the Macintosh for some time,
and it brings CD quality recording and playback with powerful
editing features to the ST.  It also allows DAT editing, and at $2995,
it is one of the most affordable direct-to-hard disk recording
systems currently available for the Atari.  Sound Tools is scheduled
for a March release.
   -- Other Significant Products --
   There were a number of other new and interesting products being
shown at NAMM.  MusicNet Holding Company is a new company offering
something which could be a real boon for the sheet music industry -
the MusicSource Sheet Music System.  MusicSource brings to the
consumer a new method of shopping for and purchasing printed sheet
music, through the use of a unit no larger than an arcade game.
   The unit houses a computer and CD-ROM containing the data for
literally hundreds of thousands of songs.  A touch-sensitive screen
allows the user to scan the built-in database to scan for titles,
and actually have the music displayed on the monitor screen as it
will appear when printed.  The prospective customer can use a built-
in piano keyboard to sight read the music, or the MusicScoure unit
can play the song using a built-in synthesizer.
   If a particular song can't be found in the current database, the
unit will automatically use a satellite link to connect to the master
database and search for the song.  If the user decides to purchase
the music, it is automatically printed on a laser printer located
behind the counter.  It will be interesting to see how well this
new system works - the implications are enormous.
   Another trend noticed at NAMM was the sale of music disks - not
cassette tapes or compact disks, but computer disks with MIDI data
to allow anyone with a sequencer and synthesizer to recreate a wide
variety of music.  Music Data is a new line offered by Passport,
and they have hundreds of songs, arranged as hits form various time
periods, country and western, big band and classical selections.
All sequences have been voiced for the Roland MT-32, and are availa-
ble for any computer that supports Standard MIDI Files.
   Trycho Tunes offer a similar selection of sequencing in an even
larger number of data formats.  One format even supports the MIDIMan,
a device which allows a standard cassette recorder to play MIDI
sequences which have been stored on a cassette tape.  In this format,
there are even accompaniment vocal tracks recorded on the extra
cassette track which will play in sync with the sequencer!  The
downside to sequencer data like this may be the price - sequences
typically cost about $15 per song.
   -- Fini --
   Well, that's the highlights of the 1990 Winter NAMM.  We haven't
even touched on all the things to be seen at NAMM, but let;s get
real - and pass the foot powder please!

Manufacturers Mentioned:

Atari Corporation             Digidesign
1196 Borregas Ave.            1360 Willow Road
Sunnyvale, CA 94088           Menlo Park, CA 94025
(408) 745-2000                (415) 327-8811

DR. T's Music Software        Hybrid Arts
220 Boylston St.              11920 W. Olympic Blvd.
Chesnut Hill, MA 02167        Los Angeles, CA 90064
(617) 244-6954                (213) 826-3777

Intelligent Music             MusicNet Holding Company
PO Box 8748                   3006 South Highland Drive
Albany, NY 12208              Salt Lake City, Utah 84106
(518) 434-4110                (801) 486-5555

Passport Designs, Inc.        Roland Corp. of America
625 Miramontes ST.            7200 Dominion Cir.
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019       Los Angeles, CA 90040
(415) 726-0280                (213) 685-5141

Scorpion System Group         Trycho Music International
175 Fifth Avenue Suite 2624   2166 W Broadway Suit 330
New York, NY 10010            Anaheim, CA 92804
(415) 864-2956                (714) 826-2271

Yamaha Corporation of America
P.O. Box 6600
Bueana Park, CA 90622
(714) 522-9011


Article #209 (376 is last):
From: aa399@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Len Stys)
Subject: Atari Lays off 15% work force, no new products
Date: Tue Mar 20 20:14:37 1990

This is a special Z*BREAK news flash from

           //////       //    //  //////  //////   
              //   /   ///   //  //        //   
           //    ///  // // //  //////    //
        //       /   //   ///  //        //  O N L I N E
       //////       //    //  ///////   //
         The Weekly ATARI NEWS FIRST Online Magazine!
March 16, 1990:


This cutback and layoff is NOT a temporary measure for those 
who received their termination notice at the close of business 
today in the Sunnyvale, California offices of Atari.  No 
expectation of callbacks in the foreseeable future was extended to 
the employees.

The layoffs occurred at the service level of all departments, but 
particularly hard hit were Accounts Payable and Credit, losing 50% 
or more of their staff.

Of the "Name" people that most of the public has any contact with, 
there were no terminations.  Popular figures such as Bob Brodie, 
Charles Cherry, and others were not directly affected.  
Additionally, no changes at the executive level were made public.

Conjecture by those near ATARI is that the cutbacks are due to the 
fact that Atari simply has no product ready for immediate sale, 
and that the bulk of those laid off had little to do that is 
essential to the current level of U.S. Operations.  The fact that 
the upper level employees were spared gives some reason to expect 
that this is not a long-term reduction in overall operation, but 
more an immediate action for an immediate situation.

CEO of Atari, Sam Trameil, was unavailable for comment or for 
employee negotiation today, having left the USA for computer shows 
in Europe earlier in the week.

Z*NET will have more on this story as it develops this week... 
look for details in the next Z*NET ONLINE MAGAZINE, issue #513, 
available starting Friday, March 23, 1990.  And, as usual, Z*NET 
will bring you ATARI NEWS FIRST.

Copyright 1990 by ROVAC INDUSTRIES of Middlesex, New Jersey.
Reprint permission granted as long as the entire text is quoted 
and Z*NET is credited.


Article #212 (376 is last):
From: aa400@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Phillip M. Chow)
Subject: RONSAT Technologies :  RONSAT's Stonehenge  / 0390AR
Date: Mon Mar 26 03:30:48 1990

RONSAT's Stonehenge    An external RAMdisk for ST's

   Buffalo Grove, IL - RONSAT Technologies, Inc. announced
the release of Stonehenge II, a RAM-drive for Atari ST
computers. STonehenge II will provide ST users with high
performance disk access and superior data integrity.
Because STonehenge II is a hardware RAM-drive it offers
several benefits over traditional, software-based RAM-
disks including data integrity, more available system
memory, and much greater RAM-storage.
   Stonehenge II comes configured with either 256k or 2MB
of dynamic RAM on a custom printed circuit board.  It
provides its own ASIC controller (Application Specific
Integrated Circuit) and the 256k unit is user-expandable,
in 256k increments, up to 2MB.  The unit plugs into the
computer's DMA port and with the provided DMA throughput
function the user is able to daisy-chain (i.e. link together
off the same DMA port) a mechanical hard-drive or multiple
Stonehenge II units.
   Traditional RAM-disks are implemented in software.  The
user must allocate a portion of system memory to function
as the RAM-disk, thereby decreasing the amount of available
memory.  Because system memory is functioning as the RAM-
disk it is vulnerable to the tendency of crashing applica-
tions to corrupt system memory.  Software RAM-disks also
depend upon the computer's own power supply for data
retention.  Stonehenge II's data integrity is maintained
separately from the ST's.  This means that all data will
survive a system crash or complete power-down/power-up
cycle of the computer.
   Stonehenge II is now available direct from RONSAT
Technologies, Inc. at 368 Lexington Drive, Buffalo Groove,
IL 60089.  RONSAT may be contacted at (708) 520-8003, or
throught CompuServe at 76515.3152.  On-line direct ordering
info is available via modem at (708) 520-7812 - login as

Taken from ST Informer : Issue #33 : March 1990

Used here with permission.

Article #213 (376 is last):
From: aa400@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Phillip M. Chow)
Subject: A Peek at the new STe _ by Derek Mihocka  / 0390AR
Date: Mon Mar 26 03:31:25 1990

A peek at the new STe    What to expect from the latest Atari
             by Derek Mihocka

   What can I say? I like it, I like it!  This is the first
significant upgrade to the Atari ST line since the inroduc-
tion of of Mega ST more than two years ago, and it has several
new bells and whistles.  The only drawbacks about the machine
right now is that there is no software yet available to make
use of the new features, and when such software does appear
it will be incompatible with other models of the ST.
   At a street price of $899 in Canadian dollars, or less than
$800 in U.S. dollars, the STe is almost as cheap as a regular
ST.  The price around Christmas time was even lower!  However,
there are a few bugs with the computer that still have to be
dealt with, and at the time this article is being written
(mid-February) the STe is still not available to the general
public in the U.S.
   The machine I bought is the 1040STe.  It is almost identical
in appearance to a 1040STfm, except for three changes.  There
are two extra joystick ports on te left of the keyboard which
also support paddles and light pens, two RCA audio jacks in the
rear of te machine and a tiny letter E on the logo in place of
the letters FM.  Unfortunately, the original joystick/mouse
ports are still buried underneath the keyboard and are hard to
   Some of the new features include a 4096 color display, hard-
ware supported fine scrolling, stereo digitized sound, a built-
in blitter chip, plug-in memory modules, 6 joystick ports, an
RF-modulator, and a new version of TOS.  Screen resolution, disk
capacity, and CPU speed remain unchanged.  The computer is com-
patible with most, but not all, software currently available for
the Atari ST and Mega ST computers.

       The Hardware
   So far, I have had the chance to rip apart two STes.  Both
were identical in every way, including some small patches to 
the circuit board.  When I flipped my machine over, I was sur-
prised to find that there were no approval stickers on the back.
My 520STfm for example, has an FCC ID number along with the usual
"Certified to comply with..." text, and also a UL logo.  My 
1040ST, which doesn't seem to have FCC approval, has a CSA
(Canada Standards Association) label.  The 1040STe, which is la-
beled on the back as "1040STE US" has neither.  This could explain
why the machine is not yet available in the US, but it does not
explain how it is available in Canada without CSA approval.
   Internally, the changes are numerous.  There is now a blitter
chip, a new version of TOS (1.6), SIMMs (Single Inline Memory
Modules) instead of standard memory chips, 1 Megabit EPROMs instead
of 256kbit ROM chips, a lack of sockets and some new chip packages
including a 68000 which now comes in a square 68 pin package.  More
on that later.
   Most users who wish to upgrade their memory will appreciate the
use of SIMMs, a small plug-in memory module that replaces the
previously used soldered memory chips.  This makes it extremely
easy to add or remove memory from a machine.
   When the top cover and keyboard are removed from the computer,
it revelas a slightly modified shield.  There is a panel between
the power supply and the disk drive, which when removed, exposes
the SIMMs.  No desoldering or removal of the metal shield is 
required.  My one megabyte machine came with 4 256K SIMMs.  To
upgrade to 4 megabytes, all I have to do is unplug the 4 SIMMs
and plug in 4 1-Megabyte SIMMs.  One dealer quoted me a price
of $150 per SIMM, so a 4 Meg upgrade only costs about $600 
Canadian.  And since the SIMMs are plug-in, any user can easily
upgrade their ram in about 5 minutes.  When the metal shield is
removed, the entire motherboard is exposed.  The first thing I
noticed is that there's no longer a small metal cage around the
shifter chip.  The next thing I noticed is the extremely small
size of the RF modulator.  It is barely an inch square and has 
only 3 terminals on it.  I would suspect that this means it's
not possible to perform a Hyperscreen upgrade on the STe (Hyper-
screen is a hardware modification from Germany that increases
the resolution of the ST).
   At this time, there are no joysticks available to plug into
the new joystick ports.  The reason is that the ports use DB-15
connectors instead of the usual DB-9 connectors found on all
previous STs, 8-bit ataris, and Atari video game units.  The
extra pins support paddles and light pens, as well as two joy-
sticks per port.  That means in total, an STe can have 6 joy-
sticks connected to it.  The documentation that came with the
machine does give a pinout of the joystick ports, but that will
be of little comfort to most STe users.  I assume that Atari will
make new joysticks available soon, maybe even before new STe games
are out.
   The RCA jacks on the back are a welcomed feature.  Just like the
old Atari 800, it is now possible to connect the STe directly to an
amplifier.  Unlike the Atari 800, the STe has true stereo sound
output, thanks to the addition of stereo digitized chips.  The
original 3 sound channels are in mono, appearing on both the left
and right outputs.  The stereo sound adds two new sound channels,
left and right.
   I'm not quite sure how many chips are involved with the stereo
sound, but I did find two D/A chips and the LMC1992 volume/tone
control chip.  The DMA chip feeds the D/A converters with digitized
sound samples from memory, and the resulting analog signals are fed
through the 1992 chip.  Each channel has individual bass, treble,
and volume controls.  Since the stereo sound sampling is done using
DMA, it takes no time away from the 68000.  This means that it is
possible to have digitized sound playing in the background while a
program is running, without the usual compromise between sound
quality and program speed.
   TOS 1.6 is on two 1 megabit EPROM chips.  This is a blessing,
since it will be easy for dealers to burn an updated version of
TOS 1.6, hopefully with the bugs fixed.
   (Editor's note:  Atari US has indicated that US TOS 1.6 chipsets
will incorporate fixes for some bugs noticed in the Canadian and
European versions of TOS 1.6.)
   Most of the standard ICs, such as the old sound chip, the floppy
controller, the DMA controller, and the ACIAs, are soldered directly
to the circuit board.  On earlier models, some of these chips were
socketed.  Although this does help to slightly reduce the cost of
manufacturing the computer, it will make it more difficult for
people to replace bad chips.
   As mentioned earlier, the 68000 microprocessor now comes in a
square 68 pin package.  Because this configuration is completely
different from the 68000 used in 520s, 1040s and Megas, current
PC emulators and accelerator boards that plug in or clip on the
68000 will not work.  However, Atari has left the square 68000
socketed and as a result, MichTron has announced the release of
PC Speed STe and Jim Allen has stated that he will have an STe
version of Turbo 16 available shortly.

       The Software
   The first question that will probably come to most people's
minds is "What doesn't run on the STe?"  That is a valid question,
considering the compatibility problems some software had with TOS
1.2 and TOS 1.4.  Well, TOS 1.6 has its share of problems.  Some
are simply bugs which will hopefully get fixed, while other pro-
blems are due to programs which 'break the rules.'
   Atari's policy is that programs that are written properly to
follow the rules will work on the STe, and those that don't follow
the rules, well, tough.  TOS 1.6 has a number of significant
changes, so programs that made it pass the TOS 1.4 hurdle may
trip on TOS 1.6.
   The first and most important change is that TOS 1.6 is at a dif-
ferent memory location than earlier versions of TOS.  It now occu-
pies the 256K of space starting at $E00000, and the old memory
space starting at $FC0000 is now empty.  There are quite a few
programs, mainly  utilities such as UIS II, Hotwire, DC ShowIt,
and Neodesk, that make certain assumptions, and either crash or
don't work on the STe.  I'm told that UIS III fixes this problem,
and I have found a one byte patch that makes Neodesk work just
fine.  Codehead and Double Click have also made the appropriate
changes in their products.  Oddly enough, one of the first pro-
grams out for the ST, ST Writer, does not run on the STe.  No
word on what the problem is with it.
   A larger program lies with video games.  Many video games
are heavily copy protected, so it is almost impossible to patch
them.  Unless the software companies are still in business, we
may never see fixed up version of some games.  One dealer
that I spoke to acutally gives a copy of the original TOS 1.0
on disk to customers who have problems running video games on
the STe.  It is not an ideal solution, but may be the only one.
   The second change in TOS is that it is now 256K in size, in-
stead of 192K.  This means that some of the space saving measures
of earlier versions of TOS (such as Line F calls) have been
removed, and replaced with slightly larger and faster code.
According to Quick Index tests I performed, TOS 1.6 runs at the
same speed as TOS 1.4, except for a minor speed increase in GEM.
Of course, if you turn the blitter on, it gives another small
speed increase.
   TOS 1.6 doesn't completely fill up the 256K.  Only about 200K
is used, and the remainder is empty for now.  Since TOS 1.6 is on
EPROM, this opens up a whole new set of possibilities, such as
customized versions of TOS with an additional 50K worth of built
in utilities.
   Unfortunately, with all the added space, GDOS is still not
built in.  It was my understanding that the reason that GDOS
is still not built in.  It was my understanding that the reason
that GDOS was on disk in the first place was because it didn't
fit into the early 192K versions of TOS.  Now with a 256K TOS,
that should be possible - hopefully in future versions of TOS.
   The third major change in TOS 1.6 is that it supports the
68020/68030 chips.  I don't know if this means that a 68030 can
just be dropped in.  Probably not, but I have already talked to
one German developer who has installed a 68020 in his STe.
   There are several bugs in the new TOS.  The first one is that
when using a color monitor, the computer will always boot up in
low resolution, even if the desktop was saved from medium resolu-
tion.  Atari released a fix for this problem in January, and it
consists of a small program which is placed in the AUTO folder.
   (Editor's Note:  To be fixed in the US chipset.)
   Another bug, which is also present in TOS 1.4, is that once
in a while when a program is double clicked on the desktop, the
Show Print Cancel box comes up.  I find that this happens with
some programs more than others, and may be related to the size of
the file name - it happens more with files that have an odd number
of characters, such as "MAC.PRG" or "FLASH.PRG".  Unfortunately,
there is no bug fix for this yet.
   A less bothersome bug concerns the file-counter indicating
one less than the acutal number - when copying two files, the
dialog indicates one, both are copied though.
   That's about it for my tour of the STe.  The STe is a machine
with a lot of untapped potential, much like the 520ST of 1985.
Let's hope it stays around as long.  Next month I will cover
some programming information on the STe.

Taken from ST Informer : Issue #33 : March 1990

Used here with permission.

Article #214 (376 is last):
From: aj205@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Kevin Steele)
Subject: Atari Explorer?
Date: Sat Mar 31 23:07:23 1990

                                 PRESS RELEASE

                             FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

                                              March 28, 1990
         For Additional Information, Contact: Jim Fisher
                                              Atari Corporation
                                              1196 Borregas Avenue
                                              Sunnyvale, CA  94086
                                              (408) 745-2010


         SUNNYVALE,  CA-  Atari  Corporation  announced today plans to

         enhance  the  ATARI  EXPLORER magazine.  This announcement is

         made formal following necessary actions taken to relocate the

         operation closer to headquarters in Sunnyvale, California.

         "We  want  to make notable changes in the production of Atari

         Explorer  magazine  to include expanded editorial coverage of

         additional products and enhance the environment for potential

         advertisers",  stated  Mr.  James Fisher, V. P. Marketing and

         advertising.   "The  effort  to present this news effectively

         and  more timely requires the magazine staff to have 'instant

         access' to the technology and information available here."

         Atari  plans  to complete the current issue which is still in

         the hands of the printer and rush them to subscribers as soon

         as  possible.   At  the  time  of this release, no changes to

         publication   frequencies  and  subscriber  fulfillment  were

         considered   and  Mr.  Fisher  stated  that  subscribers  and

         advertisers   will   always  be  the  biggest  priority.   If

         necessary, extensions will be made to accomodate subscription


posted by:
           aj205.cleveland.Freenet.Edu  (Kevin Steele)


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