Current Notes April 94 Online MagazineFrom: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
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From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG) Subject: Current Notes April 94 Online Magazine Date: Sat Apr 20 18:34:55 1996 Article 403 of freenet.sci.comp.atari.news: From: ap748@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Fred Horvat) >Newsgroups: freenet.sci.comp.atari.news Subject: Current Notes April 94 Online Magazine Date: 31 May 1994 03:51:51 GMT =================================================== C U R R E N T N O T E S Helping Atari Owners Through the World of Computing =================================================== For the very first time ever, here is a complete ascii version of CURRENT NOTES. It includes every article from the April, 1994 issue. Not included are advertisements, illustrations, screen shots, graphics, etc. For those Atari users who have never seen a copy of CN, here, at least, is a sample of a typical month's contents. --Joe Waters, Publisher, Current Notes.] This document, in its entirety, is (c) 1994 by Current Notes, Inc. ================= TABLE OF CONTENTS ================= Vol. 14, No. 3: April 1994 REGULAR FEATURES: ================= (Note: page number refer to the hardcopy edition. However, the order of the articles in this ASCII version is as indicated by the page numbers below.) Letters to the Editor.................................... 4 News and Announcements................................... 7 STatus Atari, Paul Lefebvre.............................. 12 "Powerful Alternatives?" Atari Myths & Mysteries, David Troy...................... 14 "The Information Highway: Is This the Correct Paradigm?" ST Toolbox, J. Andrzej Wrotniak.......................... 18 "Spies, Morons and the Rest of Us: How to Run Circles Around KGB and NSA" Running Out of Ram, David Barkin......................... 22 "Graphic Cards: Crazy Dots II and Cyrel Sunrise" GEnie Notes, Lou Rocha................................... 27 Around GEnie: The FAX RT, by Lou Rocha RTC Highlights, by Brian Harvey Cat's Eye View, by Brian Harvey ST Library, by Gordon Meyer Hot Topics, by Terry Quinn 8-Bit Tidbits, Rick Reaser............................... 34 "Latest News for the Classic Atari" TextPRO: Part 7 - Printing Tips.......................... 38 by Frank Walters Rebuilding the TAF 8-Bit Library......................... 41 by Robert Boardman Atari Works, Michael 'Papa' Hebert....................... 43 "Page Setup, Labels and Graphics" Woods Music, Gary Woods.................................. 46 "Cubase Score" Atari in the STicks, Henry van Eyken..................... 50 "The Little Engine That Could've" Geneva - Part 2.......................................... 56 Review by Jim Fouch Stalk the Market vs Stock Smart.......................... 58 Review by Terry Quinn Using Two Computers and One Monitor...................... 60 By Alvin Riesbeck Squish II................................................ 62 Review by Paul Lefebvre * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Current Notes (ISSN 8750-1937) is published monthly (excluding January and August) by Current Notes Inc. 122 N. Johnson Rd, Sterling, VA 20164 (703) 450-4761. Direct subscriptions in the U.S. to Current Notes are available for $27/year. Second Class postage paid at Sterling, VA and other offices. Opinions expressed in this publication are those of the individual authors and do not represent or reflect the opinions of Current Notes. Current Notes is not affiliated with Atari Corp. PUBLISHER: Joe Waters, 122 N Johnson Rd, Sterling VA 20164 (703) 450-4761. GEnie: JOE.WATERS, CIS: 74005,1270. ST EDITOR: Paul Lefebvre, 78 Winter St., Portland, ME 04102; GEnie: P.LEFEBVRE; Internet: P.LEFEBVRE@genie.geis.com; Delphi: PLEFEBVRE. (207) 828-1225. 8-BIT EDITOR: Rick Reaser, 5510 W. 140th Street, Hawthorne, CA 90250-6404; GEnie: R.REASERJR1; CIS: 72130,2073; Internet: email@example.com. Phone: (310) 643-8626. COPY EDITOR: Joyce Waters CN's ANSWERMAN: Dave Troy, (410) 544-6943. Write c/o Toad Computers, 570F Ritchie Hwy, Severna Park, MD 21146. GENIE: Toad-Serv. CN COLUMNISTS: D. Barkin, L. Duke, H. Van Eyken, B. Harvey, M. Hebert, T. Quinn, L. Rocha, D. Small, D. Troy, A. Wrotniak, G. Woods. Articles or review material and press releases should be sent directly to the appropriate editor. Deadline date for articles is the 1st of the month. SUBSCRIPTIONS: $27 per year ($48/2 years). Foreign surface subscriptions are $36/year, ($66/2 years). Disk subscriptions are $60/year ($115/2 years). Foreign disk subscriptions are $71/yr ($137/2 yrs). AIR MAIL RATES: Canada/Mexico $44; Cen.Am., Caribbean, $57; S.Amer. Europe, N.Africa, $69; Mid East, Africa, Asia, Australia, $80. Foreign subscriptions are payable in US $ drawn on a US bank. Send check, payable to Current Notes, to CN Subscriptions, 122 N. Johnson Rd., Sterling, VA 20164. NOTE: VISA and MasterCard accepted. Call (703) 450-4761. ADVERTISING MANAGER: Joyce Waters, 122 N. Johnson Rd, Sterling VA 20164 (703) 450-4761. Call for rates. BACK ISSUES: 1987/88/89 ($2 ea), 1990/91 ($3 ea), 1992 ($4 ea), 1993 ($5 ea). CN FAX: (703) 430-2618. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ===================== LETTERS TO THE EDITOR ===================== ATARIWORKS TOO BIG Dear Joe: I applaud Current Notes' decision to add a regular AtariWorks tutorial to their pages. Too often last year it seemed as if your columnists wanted to talk about anything BUT the Atari ST. It's good to see some meat-and-potatoes articles about getting the most from one's machine. AtariWorks does sound like a great program. Of course, I'll never know because I have only a one meg machine and, by all accounts, AtariWorks takes at least two megs to run. I have to question the wisdom of releasing a program which, by its very size, excludes the vast majority of Atari owners who, like myself, have never upgraded their RAM from the original 512 or 1024K configuration, especially when it doesn't have to be that way. AtariWorks itself only runts to a half meg in size, and looks as if features were intentionally left off so that it would remain small enough to run on a 520ST. Then they went and added SpeedoGDOS to it. While SpeedoGDOS, by all reports, is everything GDOS was supposed to be, it gobbles up a whole megabyte of RAM to install. GDOS was never that bad. Even Pagestream, which also uses scalable vector fonts, doesn't consume that much RAM. It can be run on a one meg machine! I can't imagine that it would take all that much effort to add a module that would enable AtariWorks to use system and printer fonts in place of SpeedoGDOS. Making AtariWorks run on a one meg system (and, optimistically, a half-meg system as well) would add tremendously to its value. Brian Earl Brown Detroit, MI A MATTER OF ETHICS Dear Joe, The Atari "Industry" seems to be fading and blinking out more and more each day. Much of the Atari user's demise and disappointment, the vendors of the all-important Atari compatible "stuff," seem also to be unable to deliver at a time when they should be in a desperate need to win more of the diminishing market share. This isn't, however, just about market share. It's really about ethics. You know, that old fashioned word that our parents used to teach us that meant honor, reliability, word/bond, etc. This practice, of course, has been discontinued due to a seeming lack of interest in the concept. As a small business owner/manager/worker in a two person (my wife and I) printing business, I can vouch for the undisputable FACT that the customer is always 100% correct. Of course, we know that isn't true literally, but if you want to stay in business, thus feed your family, etc., you must do exactly what the customer asks and deliver it EXACTLY when they ask for it. They are not concerned about your problems. If I have the flu, I come to work and work as if I didn't. If there is a major ice storm (we live 20 miles away), we somehow make it to work on time. In other words, there is NO excuse for non-performance. It really doesn't matter if you died, the customer would still be there at the pre-determined deadline asking for their "stuff." And they get it. And with a smile, too. Because once you open your mouth about a mutually agreeable delivery time, that is it. If everyone went to work with this degree of dedication to deliver exactly what they say, we would have many fewer social problems in this country. . . . I'm upset with folks like Jim Allen who promised delivery on the Tiny Turbo board last June and still hasn't delivered, even though he has had everyone's money since about May, 1992. When the UPS or FEC-EX systems can have anything you want delivered to your door on the same day you order it, I want to know exactly what these people are thinking when they promise a specific delivery date then make excuses day after day for going on a year? Isn't that fraud? Can't that be prosecuted? Before I learned how to print, I was an electronic tech. I understand the engineering problems can be unrelenting, and that sometimes when all you have is YOU to rely on, things get frustrating and almost impossible to overcome. Again, that is NOT the customer's problem. We all assumed all of that was behind these people when they made the promise. When I keep hearing, "Two weeks, the manual is at the printers," over and over again, I can't describe the anger and frustration I feel. Am I alone? Aside from the radical thought of prosecution, . . . doesn't it occur to anyone that it just plain isn't right (ethical)?? One of the best guys in the Atari high tech aftermarket business, Dave Small, is also very guilty of this. Just read the messages on GEnie in the Gadgets SIG. The common, "It's due any day now," or "That's our next project," or whatever excuse that would actually excuse them from delivering promised goods on time, is everywhere! We all know Atari does this all the time. (Where's the Falcon?) But just because it's common, doesn't mean it's right; and if we are to have an Atari market in this desperate time of diminishing support, doesn't it make sense to gear up instead of gear down? Lead, Follow or Get the H_ out of the way! This concept of making excuses has got to stop. Once something is promised, I for one, expect programmers, engineers, etc. to work all the way around the clock, if necessary, to deliver promised goods. Then, if they don't make it, they can bow before their customers and BEG for forgiveness. Maybe we will forgive; then again, maybe we will go someplace else that is more reliable. In the mean time, before I go out and buy a TT, does anyone have a suggestion on where to get a 030 system with at least virtual memory expansion for my Mega STe right NOW?? Dave Krehbiel McPherson, KS MAKING LIFE EASIER Dear Mr. Waters . . . I am not one of those who intends to give up using Atari equipment. I use MS-DOS clones and Apple Macintosh computers at work, which is fine by me, because I get paid by the hour. I also used a Sun WorkStation, with a Motorola 680x0 processor inside, on a Unix mainframe system, and found it a little slow, but likeable enough. One would expect an operating system made up of two to three million lines of C code to be at least as competent as one in 192K of ROM. I own a DOS machine, which is stacked in a pile in the corner of my bedroom. I bought it because I was taking a course in C, as part of a masters program in computer science, and needed to use the same compiler as everybody else. Having a lower-paying job now, I dropped that class, honor student or not, and put that computer away. In my not-humble opinion (IMNHO), a computer is supposed to make my life easier, at least when I'm not getting paid for my time. Part of what I want out of a computer is that it save my time, and present me with the least inconvenient way of doing things. For those things, I prefer Atari. And I do use my 1040STf pretty heavily. It is on its third floppy disk drive, and my 24-pin printer is on its third head. The dying gasps of my second floppy drive marked the only time I almost lost data, even though I have been formatting disks 10 sectors skewed for years. IMNHO, the layers of non-woven cloth inside a 3 1/2 inch floppy are intended to provide damping, to keep the disk from flopping around too much, and bouncing across the heads. The failed ones I have taken apart have worn through to a high spot in the plastic and send the disk whipping around. That makes a growling sound. Before it gets that bad, the sound from the drive is a tick-tick. What happened was that the drive spindle bearing, running out of oil, provided enough drag to keep worn-out floppies from acting up, until one day it got too bad, and suddenly I had quite a few disks to redo, with a drive that could only keep up to speed for long enough to copy short files. I presume that this has happened to other people, who think that the formatting did it. The printer's third head is made up of parts of the first two. The first one died of a broken flexible cable circuit. The second one died when drive transistors on the mother board went up with a plume of smoke and a flash of light, and in doing so, burned out four pin-driver coils, and took out the printer's custom logic array chip. Those got replaced, and I learned how to work with surface mount components. Urethane adhesives, sold as GOOP or Shoe Goo, trademarks of whoever sells the stuff, are good reinforcements for a patch on a broken flex cable conductor, and masking tape is what to use to keep 23 pins firmly in place while replacing the 24th. My experience is that if you don't tape things down, it will be about 16 hours before you have it back together. This has nothing to do with the fact that I have been re-inking printer ribbons for so long that the foamy ink reservoir rollers have turned to something that does not bounce back, and does not hold ink, but are still basically round. My monitor (SM124) is on its third flyback transformer. The second one probably failed early because I damaged it trying to get the shield can from the first one over its replacement. My best guess so far is that the flyback has an IBM number, three numbers removed from one in replacement part catalogs. I got a local repair place to order the transformer, the vertical output transistor and the nonpolarized resonating capacitor, and installed them. Those, I think, came from Best, who will sell only to service operations. The cost was reasonable, considering. In other words, I am not just a casual user of computers, and have a reason for my preferences. James P. DeClercq Roseville, MI ULTIMA VI GAME FOR ATARI To Joe Waters I'm looking for the game Ultima VI (6) for the Atari ST 1040. I called all your advertisers in the November 1993 issue of Current Notes. They all say that their distributor does not carry it. I called Origins also and came to a dead end there, also. Somebody must have a copy of Ultima VI. Do you have any suggestions as to where I might get access to Ultima VI? I loved playing Ultima I, II, III, IV, and V. Even though I'm very slow at completing these games, I would like to at least finish the series up to Ultima VI, since the first six games were made for the Atari. I appreciate any help you can give me. My son, Chris Hinds, insisted that I renew my subscription to Current Notes, in order to "support" Atari, but now that I do this, I find there is no support for Atari machines. I can't find the games I want, and the local computer service center I was using only services "IBM" now. Pat Hinds Orono, ME TOPIC SUGGESTIONS Dear Joe: I see that my subscription is due for renewal, so here's my check for $27 for another year of Current Notes. I still value CN as an outstanding Atari magazine and resource. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be much happening with Atari computers to report on except a lot of Jaguar hoopla. I hope it works, and enables and inspires Atari to pump new energy, bucks, creativity, production, and market support into non-obsolete and appropriately priced computers. Here are some article topics that I'd like to see in the next six months: - Reviews of the European accelerators for the STs, Megas, and Falcons. - How to adapt a decent $100-$200 PC graphics card to the STs (not just Megas with the Megabus, but all STs) and TTs too--and the magical availability of a good driver for the adaption. - Whatever happened to Pixel Wonder, the alternative overscan type of product for the STs and Megas from Maxon of Germany? - How to get AtariWorks to bypass the SpeedoGDOS fonts and use the fonts that are built into my printer. (Graphics-mode printing of Speedo fonts is too darn slow--at least with my old Panasonic 1092I-II 9-pin printer.) - Why Atari now must sell the new production of TTs with 8 MB of RAM and a big hard drive for well under $1000 to be competitive at today's PC and Macintosh prices (probably followed by another article about why Atari will do no such thing.) - How to adapt low-cost surplus 19-inch to 24-inch monochrome ECL high-resolution monitors for use with the Mega, the STs, and the TTs. Maybe the Falcons, too. - Reviews of some of the new inkjet/bubblejet printers by Epson, Canon, etc. and some of the low-cost laser printers (Sharp, HP, Epson, Panasonic, etc.) Thank you and continued good luck keeping the magazine timely, relevant, and solvent. Donald J. Wilhelm Menlo Park, CA P.S. Also an update article on 1) the SST (Gadgets) and 2) Jim Allen's 68030 accelerators; and why can't somebody do it better (cheaper and more available) than these guys--although I note that accelerators for the various Macintosh computers are just as pricey. Yep--the old production volume-demand issue--in part. DAVE & DAVE TIP THE SCALES Dear Joe, I just wanted to thank you and Joyce for all your work on such a fine magazine. When STart magazine went belly-up I really had no clue where to look to find a publication that could fill the gaping hole. I wanted a magazine that would give me more than just "news and reviews." As it happened, I was given a few back issues of Atari User, one of which (Aug. '91) contained a review of other Atari-oriented publications, by someone I knew at Phillips Music & Sound in Phillipsburg, NJ. The place must be good luck for me because, if I'm not mistaken, I believe I only became aware of the existence of the ST line of computers when I saw them on display at Dave Phillips. After reading the glowing review of Current Notes in AU, I believe I wrote to you to confirm the subscription information given in the article. You subsequently sent me a free trial copy. I was happy to see that the praise was justified. I found the candor refreshing. I'll admit it's taken a bit of getting used to! At the time, my main source of information on the world of Atari computing was the "Official Atari Journal," which I had subscribed to for some time. I had become less and less enthusiastic about the idea of renewing my subscription as the delays between issues grew. With the big shake-up in the "Journal's" editorial staff, I knew it was time to "explore" my options. I must admit that I looked into a few other magazines before finally settling on CN. They were all fine publications and worthy of consideration. In the final analysis, it was the little differences that tipped the scales. Or should that be the Small differences? I had become quite fond of Dave Small's columns during his days at STart. (Only Dave could have made reading about Unix so enjoyable!) Dave's presence at CN combined with that of Dave Troy, the "Director of Propaganda" at Toad Computers. I knew I had found a home. Before I close, I'd jst like to praise the gang at Toad. Just knowing that they exist takes away a lot of the anxiety of owning an Atari computer. Jennifer's friendly, helpful voice at the other end of the phone is enough to make you want to buy more stuff just to keep them in business. Besides, their catalogs are almost as fun to read as CN! ...almost. Paul Doerwang Washington, NJ P.S. The game, "Thurg'n'Murg" on PD disk #852 is a great addition to your PD library. "Droid" (on #855) looks good, too. Unfortunately, my drive light won't go off when I play it. I don't know if this is more cold-related damage or a bug that affects Megas STs, or something else altogether. Has anyone else reported any similar problems? NOVA CARD NOTES To: Joe Waters, Current Notes In your February issue, David Barkin said he was still unable to get his Nova color card working. If he is still having problems, or just wants to compare notes, I am running a TT with the Nova card and would be glad to go over things with him. A friend is using the card with his Mega STe. We both have settled on 1024x768x256 as our boot-up setting. I can't get Calamus SL to show graphics past 256 colors, but I understand there is an Auto folder patch for that. Pagestream is happy up to 2546 colors, but won't let me set palette colors in 256 color mode and only uses the 1st 16 colors anyway. Retouche Pro CD* goes up to 32,000 colors. In either 256 or 32k colors, the outline color for blocks is virtually invisible. GEMView seems to work in any rez/color setting. The only program to work correctly at 16M colors. Flash 1.52 works in 640x400x2. Touch-Up works in some 2 colors rez's and 640x480x16. ImageCopy II and Style don't show pictures with board. (ImageCopyII also doesn't show pics with a friend's Cyrel board. He said this is normal with CodeHead products.) Hope this is of use. Jim Hood Concord, CA P.S. It was David's review that finally convinced me to get Retouche. [You will have noticed in the March issue that David has surrendered his Nova card, but your information may be helpful to others who have the card or our considering purchasing it. Thanks. -JW] (c) 1994, Current Notes Inc. (Reprinted from the April, 1994 issue of Current Notes.) * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ====================================== ATARI INDUSTRY: NEWS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS ====================================== PROCESSOR DIRECT MAGAZINE UPDATE -------------------------------- Two Worlds Publishing is happy to announce that the first issue of Processor Direct Magazine is fast approaching, and we are now looking for dealers interested in selling the magazine in their stores. The first issue is expected to be mailed to dealers and subscribers in the month of February (1994). All of our subscribers were mailed a notice regarding this on January 18, 1994. If you have subscribed and did not get one, or have moved since sending in your subscription, please contact us so we can update our records and make sure you get the first issue as quickly as possible. Subscriptions to Processor Direct are still $25.00 ($32.00 in Canada) for 12 issues, and are payable by check or money order made out to Two Worlds Publishing, paid in US funds drawn from a bank in United States or Canada. Individual issues can be purchased directly from TWP for $3.50 ($4.00 Canada) each, paid in the same manner as subscriptions. [Two Worlds Publishing, Inc., 3837 Northdale Blvd. #225, Tampa, FL 33624. GEnie: P-DIRECT; Internet: firstname.lastname@example.org] IAAD ELECTION RESULTS --------------------- November 11, 1993: The Independent Association of Atari Developers (IAAD) is pleased to announce the results of the annual election of our Board of Directors. Newly-elected Board members include Greg Kopchak of It's All Relative, David "Dr. Bob" Parks of Dr. Bobware, and Charles Smeton of NewSTar Technology Management. Nathan Potechin of DMC was reelected to a fifth term, and Dorothy Brumleve of D.A. Brumleve was reelected to the Board and to the Presidency by a unanimous vote. The IAAD is an organization of third-party commercial hardware and software developers supporting the Atari ST family of computers, including the ST/STe, TT030, and Falcon030 series. An IAAD Membership Directory, including product listings, is updated regularly and made available on major online services. Commercial developers are encouraged to apply for membership by sending GEMail to the PERMIT$ address on GEnie. Developers, or individuals who would like to contact Atari develoeprs, may contact D.A. Brumleve at (217) 337-1937, DABRUMLEVE on GEnie or Delphi, email@example.com on the Internet, or 76004,3655 on CompuServe. MOUNTAIN SOFTWARE ANNOUNCES NEW PRICES -------------------------------------- Mountain Software has lowered the retail price of four of their products (Easy Base, $10; Easy Go, $15; Mountain QWK, $30; and The Recipe Box, $35), They are also now providing free shipping on all direct orders. (Residents of Washington state, please add 7.6% sales tax!) For more information, or to place an order, write to: Mountain Software, 6911 NE Livingston Road, Camas, Washington 98607. GEnie E-mail to: A.WATSON6. (Make check or money order payable to: Mountain Software.) CONNECTICUT ATARIFEST '94 ANNOUNCED ----------------------------------- 10am-5pm, Saturday, August 27; 10am-4pm, Sunday, August 28 ACT Atari Group is running another major Northeast computer event. Last year's successful move to the Windsor Court Hotel means only one thing: Encore! CT Fest '94 is just as convenient to reach as ever--only two hours from Boston or New York. The hotel has excellent room rates, easy access from Interstates 91, 95, 90, 84, and 80 and plentiful parking. It is located just one mile from Bradley International Airport (free shuttle service for hotel guests). Join us for an informal, low cost, dinner Saturday night, and mix with old friends. What about the Jaguar? Come on out and get (64)BIT! We'll have the largest Jaguar competition in New England, with the latest games and gear. We'll have our Lynx Competition, with multiple Comlynxed competitions underway at all times, the Portfolio Corner, staffed with industry experts, an endless stream of door prizes and seminars in abundance (in the past we've had everyone's favorite Atari Corp. personality--Director of Communications Bob Brodie, John Eidsvoog of Codehead, Jeff Naideau from Barefoot, Dave Troy of Toad Computers, Joe Mirando & Dana Jacobson from ST Report and many others). Stay tuned for this year's list of speakers. All in all, we hope to have the best Northeast show yet, and we look forward to your participation. Make your plans now for the most exciting Atari Weekend this summer! The Windsor Court will be offering special rates for CAF '94 attendees, call them at 203-623-9811 (Fax 9808). For further information, call Angela or Brian Gockley at 203-332-1721. E-mail can be directed to 75300,2514 on CIS. HEATSEEKER ALLOWS SLM LASER PRINTERS TO CONNECT TO FALCON030 ------------------------------------------------------------ Specification: Interface between Falcon030 and SLM 804 or SLM 05. Supplier: O.M., Berlin, Raschdorffstrasse 99, 13409 Berlin, Germany Phone: +49 / 30 492 41 27 FAX: +49 / 30 491 93 67 If you're calling the phone lines, please think about time differences. Berlin's in the Central European Time Zone (CET), which is Greenwich Mean Time plus one hour. FAX lines are open 24 hrs. a day. Includes: Heatseeker interface-hardware; GDOS-driver software; Diablo printer-emulation; Drivers for 1st Word Plus and similar Drivers for That's Write, Composcript etc.; Installation, setup and test software; FontGDOS; Special configuration CPX for the Diablo emulator; Documentation. Price: 99 DM (currently $110) Optional: SpeedoGDOS 4.2 package., Calamus / Calamus SL drivers. Features: The hardware was designed to be very error-tolerant. The problems you might have had using the old "SLMC" controller when switching off the laser with the computer turned on or booting with an offline laser no longer exist. You can now turn the laser on and off whenever you want. The hardware is very small and handy and does not consume as much space as the SLMC-controller. Its current size is 50mm xz 77mm x 13mm. The Heatseeker is easily installed and can, as well, be easily removed with a single grip. The software provides a maximum of compatibility, since it is licensed original Atari software that was modified to control the Heatseeker hardware. This allows you to run even those programs that are relatively close to the hardware. Programs printing plain ASCII text work, as well as those printing bitmap rasters through the functions provided by the Diablo emulator. Gnu-Ghostscript, Gnu's postscript emulator, runs without any problems. The memory consumption is very low (at about 100 k). Compatibility to GDOS-applications such as Xact, Prolist or such is provided through a GDOS driver that can handle scalable SpeedoGDOS vectorfonts as well as graphics. The package includes special drivers for some programs, such as That's Write or Composcript. Easy-to-use CPXs allow fast configuration of your system. MARCEL 2.2 RELEASED AS SHAREWARE -------------------------------- Marcel Software is pleased to announce the release of its latest word processor--Version 2.2. Marcel WP is now SHAREWARE! This means you can make free copies of it for yourself and your friends and, if you use Marcel regularly, you pay only a $10 user registration fee. The fee also gets you a free manual. (And you get a free bonus gift poster, while supplies last.) Marcel v2.2 is packed with new features, like paragraph sorting and line centering, PostScript output, revamped print options, improved text insertion, to name but a few. Marcel has always had a reputation for being easy to learn and use. Now it's even easier. And it even has a built-in screen saver! Marcel v2.2 requires 512KB RAM (1MB recommended), 1 720KB diskette drive, and medium resolution screen or better. It is MultiTOS-compatible and uses RTF format for file exchange with AtariWorks, MS-Word, etc. The new version employs the same easy-to-use word processing engine as the earlier version, but many improvements have been added: revamped print control for easier selection of page layouts, simpler paragraph indenting, paragraph sorting, keyboard commands for saving and printing, line centering, easier text-to-function-key assignment, multi-user switching, revamped help screens, and ready-made templates for personal and business use, to name a few. Marcel Word Processor made its debut early in 1993. It is a GEM-based, user-friendly, low-fee shareware program for anyone who likes to write. Marcel has loads of features, like auto-reformatting, instant-access writer's note pad (saved with file, but not printed or exported), easy accented-letter entry, easy keyboard selection of clauses, sentences, and paragraphs, word erase, and hundreds of other features, many not found in other word processors. Marcel can export in the following formats: Rich-Text-Format (RTF), 1st-Word, and 7- and 8-bit ASCII. With RTF, files can be exchanged with numerous programs in the Macintosh and DOS worlds, and with such programs as Calligrapher and the new AtariWorks from Atari Corp. 1st Word format may be used with programs like Pagestream. Marcel can read RTF, 1st Word, Word Writer, ST Writer, WordPerfect 4.1, and several other file formats. In addition to the new PostScript support, Marcel WP can print to Epson and compatibles, Atari Laser, HP DeskJet and LaserJet. Users can create their own printer drivers by editing a simple file. Marcel runs on the full range of Atari 680x0 machines, from 520ST all the way up to the Falcon. It is MultiTOS-compatible. To get your registered version of Marcel (including manual), send $10 to: Marcel Software, 318 Mendocino 051, Santa Rosa, CA 95401. CEEJAY SOFTWARE SPECIALIZES IN RECYCLED ATARI PRODUCTS ------------------------------------------------------ CeeJay Software is a new company specializing in the selling, trading and purchasing of used Atari software and hardware. It was started by Carey and Janette Cates in 1993 as an outlet for Atari users to recycle their idle pieces. With over 500 software titles, games and productivity programs, available and a continually changing inventory of hardware, they offer a varied selection for their customers. As a long time Atari user himself, the Cee half of the business, Carey, has a first-hand understanding of the problems facing the average Atari enthusiast. The Jay portion, Janette, while a relative newcomer to the Atari computers, has found the platform to be very interesting and exciting. Both are very willing to answer any questions you might have. There is a listing of the available items uploaded on GEnie every two weeks in the ST Software Library. [CeeJay Software, P.O. Box 1303, Mt. Vernon, IL 62864. Phone: (618) 242-0405; Genie : C.CATES] TEXAS ATARI FESTIVAL ANNOUNCED ------------------------------ S.A.L.S.A. (ST Atari League of San Antonio) invites you and your friends to join us at the Texas Atari Festival '94 Computer Show! This amazing amalgamation of technology and wonder will take place June 4th and 5th from 10am to 5pm on the campus of St. Mary's University. This is a fantastic chance to see the newest software and hardware in the world of Atari as well a great excuse to come to San Antonio and take a little weekend vacation! S.A.L.S.A. is targeting the general public, not just Atari or other computer users. Because of this we want to show off the multitude of things that can be done with computers and Atari computers specifically. That is why we are asking users and user groups who attend to bring some of their vast knowledge and experience and share it with us. If there is a program or area of computing that you have expertise in, we'd love to have you or your user group do a one-time demonstration. This is the best way to help others learn what you've learned as well as a great way to draw someone into our world of Atari. If you'd like to come spread your knowledge around, please let me know ASAP. We are beginning the schedule of events and the sooner we hear from you the better. One other request for help from you: We are working from a small list of user groups and developers/vendors. If you know of anyone who would be interested in attending TAF '94 or might like to display their products/services at the show please pass this information along to them. We appreciate your support!! There are a limited number of rooms available for lodging on the St. Mary's campus. One night single occupancy is $20. One night double occupancy is $16 per person. Now these rooms aren't fancy but they are CHEAP and only a short walk from the show building. We need to have your reservations AND your money by May 25th. Also admission will be $3.50 at the door but each ticket will be eligible for one of many door prizes! For more information, contact: R. Scott Helsel, Event Coordinator, 13938 Brantley, San Antonio, Texas 78233. Phone: (210) 655-4672; GEnie mail: R.Helsel; Internet mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. MIGRAPH SHIPS SCANNER FOR TT ---------------------------- Migraph, Inc. began shipping the new Migraph ColorBurst color hand scanner exclusively for Atari TT computers. The ColorBurst has four scanning modes: Super Color Mode (18-bit), Color Mode (12-bit), Greyscale (64 levels), and Monochrome/line art (text). Resolutions from 50 to 400 dots per inch are available. Migraph Color KiT software scans, displays, and saves color, greyscale, and monochrome images in TIFF, IMG, TARGA, and IFF file formats. Migraph OCR Jr. software for scanning and reading text is optionally available. The ColorBurst for the TT is available separately and bundled with Migraph OCR Jr. Omnifont Optical Character Recognition program. The suggested list price is $519 ($569 with OCR). The Migraph ColorBurst runs on Atari TT computers with 4MB of RAM. A hard disk is recommended. [Migraph, 32700 Pacific Highway S., Suite 14, Federal Way, WA 98003. Phone: (206) 838-4677; Fax: (206) 838-4702. CLEVELAND FREE-NET ATARI SIG ---------------------------- In an effort to bring professinal support to Atari users at absolutely no cost, the Cleveland Free-Net Atari SIG has released a new version of its SIG. The main goal of the Cleveland Free-Net Atari Sig is to offer the most support possible to Atari users. The Cleveland Free-Net Atari SIGOps feel that this new version is comparable to that of Atari SIGs on pay systems. The additions to the Atari SIG include: * Direct access to Atari related International Usenet newsgroups. * An enhancement of the already popular "8-bit Computers Support Area," which now includes ALL the issues published of Z*Magazine and a new improved Technical Forum for 8-bit programmers and hardware hackers. * A restructured "16/32-bit Support Area," which now includes more infomation text files than ever before. The support area includes a large list of files that can be received from popular FTP sites like atari.archives.umich.edu. Over 400 online magazines are included online with every issue of Z*Net and ST Report from 1989. All issues of Atari Explorer Online are also available. * Also available is an improved "Lynx Support Area," a new "Jaguar Support Area," and an "Atari Library" that is truly a library for Atari users. The Atari Library includes: many information text files and documents; a "Time Capsule" for old, but important, information; online publications; Usenet newsgroups; CAIN Newsletters; and Atari SIG logs. The Atari Library also includes the Atari SIG's "Who's Who in the Atari Community" e-mail address directory. The Cleveland Free-Net Community Computer System is a multi-user system that supports hundreds of users online, simultaneously. Internet users may access the Cleveland Free-Net at the following telent address: freenet-in-a.cwru.edu, freenet-in-b.cwru.edu, freenet-in-c.cwru.edu (184.108.40.206 or 220.127.116.11) The Cleveland Free-Net is accessible via modem by the phone number: 216/368-3888. If there is a Free-Net in your city, the Cleveland Free-Net is accessible through the "Teleport" option. The Cleveland Free-Net is not just a local community computer system. Atari users from all over the world access the Atari SIG on the Cleveland Free-Net daily to participate in bulletin board conversations and to contribute news and information. Atari conferences are usually held once a month on the IRC (go irc). If interested in participating in these conferences, check the Cleveland Free-Net Atari SIG's General Bulletin Board for time and date information. (c) 1994, Current Notes Inc. (Reprinted from the April, 1994 issue of Current Notes.) * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ======================= STatus: Atari by Paul Lefebvre ======================= POWERFUL ALTERNATIVES, MAIL-ORDER FALCONS, CURRENT NOTES RTC Hello again, everyone. The response to my becoming editor has been wonderful, and I wish to thank everyone who has taken the time to send me mail. Now, on with the news. POWERFUL ALTERNATIVES? In the February issue of UNIX World's Open Computing there are reviews of Norton Desktop and x.Desktop, two programs that provide desktop functions to PC's and Unix Workstations, respectively. The reviews weren't lengthy, but they did focus on some of the unique features of each product: Norton Desktop: - will allow you to drag a data file on an application icon and have the application load and open the data file. - needs 500K RAM and 9MB disk space x.Desktop: - will allow you to link data files with program applications so that a program will automatically load and open the data file when the data file is double-clicked. Hmm... do these two features sound very familiar? Yes, that's it: We have had the "link" feature (we call it Install Application) since 1985 with GEM and the "drag and drop" feature with NeoDesk (and now Newdesk) since 1988. Granted, these programs do lots more than what I have listed here, but the reviewer chose to focus on two features that we Atarians have had for many years. Our Atari's may not have the most sophisticated software available, but it is probably the most useful. TIME FOR A DIATRIBE I think the preceding paragraphs completely describe the dilemma people have when using and choosing a computer today. Often, software publishers keep adding features to their programs (just to sell upgrades, I imagine), without any consideration as to what would be genuinely useful. DOS (and Windows) machines are incredibly powerful computers, but also incredibly complicated to use and set up. I spend a lot of time in my day job dealing with MS-DOS machines, and look forward to the chance to use my Atari. I've seen many people completely screw up their machines because they don't understand how a CONFIG.SYS or AUTOEXEC.BAT file works. End-users shouldn't be expected to understand the intricacies of a computer, but with DOS (or Windows) you have no choice. Regardless, I have found that people migrate to DOS machines, mostly for the following reasons: 1. They are the standard so there is much software. 2. They are readily available. 3. They are inexpensive. These same people also tell me that they would love to have a system that is not so complicated to use, but still provide the functionality they need. I feel that the Atari provides the ease-of-use that many are looking for. How many users really need the power that Microsoft Word or WordPerfect 6 have? These programs require something like six megabytes of RAM before you can even load them. Is that necessary? People are always amazed at how easy it is to use my MegaSTe setup and want their DOS machine to also be as simple to use, but it just won't happen. Granted, Atari machines are less sophisticated than 486DX2 machines with OS/2, but is that much power really needed by the average computer user? CURRENT NOTES REAL-TIME CONFERENCE There will be a Current Notes RTC on GEnie this month. Show up Wednesday, April 27 for the RTC. Many of your friendly Current Notes authors will be there: Joe Waters, myself, Rick Reaser, Dave Troy and (possibly) J.A. Wrotniak. We will even give away a free subscription. MARCEL IS NOW SHAREWARE Be sure to read the news and announcements this month. Marcel, the word processor that was reviewed by John Godbey in the September issue is now shareware with a registration fee of only $10! This is an exceptional bargain for a complete word processor with spelling checker. Registration also includes a manual. See the press release for more details. (Available on CN Disk #884.) ST GAMING DIGEST CEASES PUBLICATION This online ST games magazine has stopped publishing, citing the lack of new game releases for Atari machines. ST Gaming Digest has been publishing since October, 1991. I have never been much of a games person, but it is always sad when another Atari publication is unable to continue. MAIL-ORDER FALCONS No longer the oxymoron it once was, Atari has decided to allow dealers to sell Falcons via mail order. What this means is not exactly defined; perhaps Atari just wants to more completely focus its energy on Jaguar. There have been rumors around that Atari is planning on clearing out existing inventories of Falcons--don't believe them. Atari is still building and selling the Falcon. Hopefully, Atari didn't wait too long to implement this. On another note, the TT030 is now available again as is Atari's co-op advertising program. Signs of good things to come? We hope so. CURRENT NOTES SHAREWARE CORNER Current Notes is testing a new method of distribution for shareware programs. We will be taking orders for several shareware programs (shareware authors: contact us if you want to be added to the list). Currently, we have the following titles available: (These are the FULL, REGISTERED versions.) * DataBasement Registration Deal, $30. (See the press release in the March News and Announcements.) * MasterBrowse - Text File Viewer, $15. * Oracle - GEnie or Delphi front-end for STalker 3, $15. You can order with your Visa or MasterCard through the Current Notes Library. ATARI SHOWS When I started to write this month's column, I was going to comment on the lack of Atari show announcements so far this year. Well, if you read the News and Announcements section you should now know that the Connecticut AtariFest is returning for its fourth year. Hopefully, there will be as many attenders and vendors as there were last year. I have had a good time attending the Connecticut AtariFest the last couple of years, especially since I don't have a local dealer (closest is in southern Massachusetts--about three hours away). Reserve your room now. I'll see you there! TEMPEST 2000 FOR JAGUAR During the weekend of March 4th, Atari offered Tempest 2000, one of the most eagerly awaited Jaguar games, to folks online. GEnie, Compuserve, and Delphi members were allowed to order Tempest 2000 via email for two days at a reduced price. Ten lucky people were also randomly picked to receive Tempest 2000 now, instead of waiting the several weeks for its normal arrival. Jay Millar (JMILLAR) of Delphi was a lucky winner of a Tempest 2000 cartridge and received it just two days after he was notified. OTHER NOTES I still have many products that are awaiting reviews. If you are interested in reviewing software, please get in touch with me. I don't like to have software sitting around and would like to see reviews appear quicker than they have in the past. Developers, send us your new products. As they say, the best way to increase a product's sales is by having it reviewed. How to reach me. U.S. mail: Paul Lefebvre, ST Editor, Current Notes 78 Winter Street Portland, ME 04102 Phone:(207) 828-1225 E-mail GEnie: P.LEFEBVRE Delphi: PLEFEBVRE Internet: email@example.com (c) 1994, Current Notes Inc. (Reprinted from the April, 1994 issue of Current Notes.) * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ========================= ATARI MYTHS AND MYSTERIES (c) 1994 David C. Troy ========================= THE INFORMATION SUPERHIGHWAY: IS THIS THE CORRECT PARADIGM? Have you ever experienced deja vu? Have you ever sensed a "message" or "feeling" that seems to come from a remote place? Have you ever felt like you had ESP? Everyone has a story. Sometimes it seems that everything in your life seems to revolve on a common theme. Coincidences, dreams, sensations, premonitions. All of these can be said to be the product of a common source. In his 1952 essay, "Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle," Carl Jung says that human beings are connected together in a kind of way that defies common sense ideas about the physical world. We, as humans, are conditioned to thinking that the world operates on the basis of cause and effect--that is to say, that for every event occurring in the world there is some antecedent cause that came first in time. Newton's Natural Philosophy, the cornerstone of modern mechanical physics, is built around the spatio-temporal theory of causality. Every reaction (cause) has an equal and opposite reaction (effect). Because Newton's view of the natural world (and the theory of causality) works so well in everyday practice, it has been applied non-stop to other areas of natural science. The theory of causality, along with the baggage it carries, is something that most of us have come to take for granted as plain common sense. Jung says that there is reason to believe that the theory of causality, so important to philosophers like Kant, is suspect at best. Jung, a great student of dreams and other quasi-respectable psychological phenomena like ESP, says that there are undeniable examples of "meaningful coincidences" everyday in our lives. To his credit, Jung says that there are many coincidences, however improbable, that can be explained away as being within the range of mathematical probability. Jung says: "To mention but one example of many, I noted the following on April 1, 1949: Today is Friday. We have fish for lunch. Somebody happens to mention the custom of making an 'April Fish' of someone. That morning I made a note of an inscription that said, 'Est homo toto medius piscis ab imo.' In the afternoon, a former patient of mine whom I have not seen for months, showed me some extremely impressive pictures of fish which she painted in the meantime. In the evening I was shown a piece of embroidery with fish like little sea monsters in it. On the morning of April 2, another patient whom I had not seen for many years told me a dream in which she had stood on the shore of a lake and saw a large fish that swam straight towards her and landed at her feet. I was at this time engaged in a study of the fish symbol in history. Only one of the persons mentioned here knew anything about it." Jung then says that he had written this passage by the lakeside. He got up and went to observe the water. At the edge of the lake was a dead fish, apparently uninjured, bringing the grand fish total to eight. However, Jung believes that this Monty Pythonish string of events is, however startling, a coincidence that fits well within the bounds of probability and causality. He goes on to cite various other experiments and occurrences that might be a little more difficult to reconcile. J.B. Rhine, a contemporary of Jung, conducted various experiments where test subjects were asked to identify 25 cards with geometric patterns on them. (The subjects had their own deck and would guess which card was selected by Rhine.) The decks were shuffled and the test subjects were separated from Rhine by a wall. Many of the test subjects performed no better than chance would dictate. But several subjects were able to consistently guess these cards at odds well above probability. One young man was able to guess all 25 cards correctly with odds of over 1 to 2 million. The next test was to determine whether these results would be affected by distance. So on one occasion, test subjects were placed in Zagreb, Yugoslavia while Rhine remained in Durham, North Carolina. The results were not significantly affected--even by the huge distance. The best subjects still performed well above average. The last step was to remove the factor of time--and of causality--from the testing. Test subjects were asked to predict the order of the tester's deck beforehand. And again, the results held up. It appeared that there were some people who were able to sense the arrangement of the cards--even before they had been arranged. This led Jung to renounce, or at least amend, the theory of causality. Jung's corollary is that of a theory of synchronicity. Jung believed there was no way to reconcile arguably impossible coincidences with the prevailing theory of causality. Jung said that for causality to explain the copious examples of "meaningful coincidence"--and he goes on to cite many others, such as a man sensing a distant newspaper headline as it is printed, and another man who sensed the death of a far-away friend--it would have to rely on energy-based theories. That is to say, that somehow these receptors of remote messages are somehow "picking up" what could be thought of as weak radio signals being transmitted through the atmosphere by their source. But if this were the case, how can we explain instances of precognition, such as we saw with the cards? Our test subject would have to be picking up a radio signal which did not exist yet. How could this be? Is he picking up a molecular configuration which did not exist yet? Apparently not. Somehow, by reaching through time, our subject is able to predict the arrangement of these cards without relying on any causal relationships at all. So, he says, given that causality seems to be flawed, he proposes synchronicity as a way in which meaningful coincidences may be explained. He says, as in the title of the essay, that synchronicity is "an acausal connecting principle." Whether you believe in Jung's conclusions or not, there is an interesting conclusion that we pawns of the information age can take away with us: synchronicity is the elemental particle of the fabled information superhighway. In fact, synchronicity is such a good model for discussing this issue that it may warrant a reevaluation of the discussion. One last Jungian interlude. He cites Wilhelm von Schols, a fellow German, who was told a story of a mother who had taken photographs of her boy in the Black Forest. She left the film in Frankfurt in 1914 to be developed, but due to the outbreak of the war was unable to pick it up. In 1916, she purchased some film so she could take a picture of her baby girl. When she developed the film, she noticed that it had been exposed twice; the first time with her boy, the second time with her girl. Somehow the film, in the confusion of the war, had re-entered circulation and inexplicably re-entered her hands two years later. This story led von Schols to conclude that there is a "mutual attraction of related objects" and that there is a "greater and more comprehensive consciousness which is unknowable." If synchronicity is the network protocol of this human information infrastructure, then this comprehensive consciousness is, in fact, the network. Ponder this. COLONIZING THE UNKNOWABLE Think about what the world ultimately hopes to gain from an information infrastructure. Ideally, the goal is to provide individuals and companies with the ability to open multiple instantaneous bi-directional communication links with any number of information sources (could be computers, video sources, telephone systems, audio servers, etc.), anywhere in the world. The world at large is uncertain what to expect from an "information highway." The digital information link that the world knows best at this point is that of a modem and a telephone line. It allows one single computer to connect with one other computer. If people perceive that an information highway would work in the same fashion--like a really fast point A to point B modem--then the value of this highway would be hard to see. Subsequently, the White House, or anyone else who is excited about implementing this kind of infrastructure is going to have a hard time justifying its costs to taxpayers and to corporate America. Perhaps, then, we ought to reconsider the name we've chosen for this ubiquitous '90's craze, lest it become a pet rock. The term highway implies a single connecting link between point A and point B. You take I-95 to get from Philadelphia to New York quickly. While a highway does link together many, many destinations, its structure forces you to choose just two points: a source and a destination. Point A and point B. It is never possible for a single user to drive from point A to both points B and C simultaneously, nor can he do it infinitely fast. Is this the kind of infrastructure we're after, an information infrastructure that will last into the 22nd century? Arguably it is not. We want to be able to connect to many different destinations simultaneously and instantaneously. If you need proof of this, look at this scenario. You want to pay your credit card bills. You bring up two (or more) windows on our screen. One window is connected to your bank's computer. The other windows are connected to your various credit card companies. In the bank window, you see a listing of your current (up to the second) bank statement. In the bill windows we would see a listing of our current credit card bills (up to the second). To pay an item on your bill, click on it and drag it into your bank window. The charge disappears from the credit card bill window, and a "payment" line appears in your bank window. Your balance would drop from $1490.50 to $1169.02 automatically. If you decide that you're not ready to pay the bill, simply drag the payment line back into the Credit Card window. Or, just press undo. While you're doing this (on your AT&T 21" InfoTerm), you have another window connected to the computer at your office. You can keep an eye on sales for that day and make sure that everyone's working hard. It keeps a running sales total displayed at the top of the window continuously. You have another window connected to the New York Stock Exchange. You're keeping an eye on your Atari stock, and you watch its price as it bobs through the day. The price is displayed in the left half of the window while a graph plots its hourly progress on the right. Another window is connected to a friend's hotel room in Los Angeles, where he is on a business trip. You're typing back and forth about the weather, but you tell him that you really must go because you're trying to pay the bills, unless of course he wants to go to teleconference mode, which you do. It slows down the machine a little, but you can see him, in a resizable window, as he speaks to you from afar in stereo surround sound. Next to him is a muted TVLink window, where you're watching Sanford and Son reruns. This is what people want from a global network. To do all that stuff (without using 10 phone lines or a bunch of satellite downlinks), it is essential that the network allow multiple simultaneous bi-directional connections with an unlimited number of other destinations, and this desire is not explicitly addressed in the current term "information highway." So we have to change what we call it. Recall now Wilhelm von Schols, and his "greater and more comprehensive consciousness."This consciousness has none of the limitations of a highway. It is synchronistically available to everyone, everywhere, all the time. It is so vast and so comprehensive that it allows a single person an infinite number of "connections." It offers simultaneous (or faster, as in the case of the precognito test subjects) data transmission. It is, thus, what we are after. What we want to build is not an information highway, but a global information consciousness. Once we have defined that this is what we are, in fact, building, this information consciousness, we can start to snap puzzle pieces together. Remember that von Schols said that this greater consciousness is unknowable to us, except when it is revealed to us by coincidences or people who seem, for whatever reason, to be in touch with it. If we have established that both von Schols's consciousness and our ideal information consciousness are infinitely fast, infinitely connectable networks, then they are equivalent entities. The thing that we are trying to build is the same thing that von Schols and Jung and countless others have already discovered. Remember, though that von Schols said that this consciousness is unknowable. This is precisely what we are reversing. We are making this shared human consciousness knowable. As we have already started this process with a dizzying myriad of on-line services, and, of course, the Internet, we have begun the earliest stages of mapping this unknown. The information consciousness is Cyberspace and Cyberspace is von Schols's comprehensive consciousness. An information consciousness may be more than just a way for business to work better and for individuals to communicate. When it reaches equilibrium, it may, in fact, become the key that unlocks the secret of the human condition. It may answer the question that we alone cannot answer: why are we here? This is a lofty claim, to be sure. But no one can know what the implications of a worldwide, practically instantaneous (ATM derivatives ought to deliver 1000Mbit or better transfer rates) infinitely connectable network would be. Some people worry about the effects of information overload (57,000,000,000 information servers and nothing's on). Can we, as humans, endure the tidal wave of information that we are trying so desperately to seed? Marshall McLuhan was the poster child of media in the '60's. As people began to struggle with the power of television, film, radio and print, McLuhan was there to post a unifying theory. The medium is the message, he said. He also made some startlingly Jungian claims that directly support the idea of re-soundbyting "information highway" into "information consciousness." Jung's biggest gripe with causality is the evidence that disagrees with it. To believe in causality, he says, you must also believe in three dimensional space and time as given and a priori. Three dimensional space and time cannot work as we think they do. If they did, the evidence he has against it (precognition, ESP) could not exist. He believes that space and time are crutches that we have developed to help us through an infinitely dimensional universe which operates with synchronicity at its core. McLuhan said the same thing of the print medium. "[The Alphabet] fostered and encouraged the habit of perceiving all environment in visual and spatial terms--particularly in terms of a space and of a time that are uniform." McLuhan, then, cannot believe that causality works. And, in fact, he does not. He believes that only the print medium is subject to causality. One must assume, then, that he intends for all other media to operate using some other principle as its ground rule. That principle is, it is fair to assume, synchronicity. He says, "The alphabet and print technology fostered and encouraged a fragmenting process, a process of specialism and detachment. Electric technology fosters unification and involvement. The instantaneous world of electric informational media involves all of us, all at once. No detachment is possible." These words are 27 years old and just as applicable to the "information consciousness" now as they were to Viet Nam then. So consider it, then. Cyberspace, electric media, the human consciousness, and the information consciousness we are trying to build. They are all the same things. They all run off the same batteries. It all runs on synchronicity. It's understandable that Al Gore would have wanted to call this thing the information highway. It was his father who helped create the interstate highway system in the 1950's. It was about 10 years ago that Gore himself first began to use the phrase "information highway," and at that time, the only digital communication metaphor was that of a modem. Americans like cars, and they understand highways. But to get at what this thing really is, we must turn to a new description. So the next time you experience an "extra-sensory" phenomenon, consider that the incident itself may be a glimpse of the kind of transcendental network that may one day arise out of the Internet and its National Information Infrastructure child. While it's a stretch to say that a digital conscious network is going to glue the world together and solve the riddle of humanity in one shot, there's a good chance that it could come up with an answer that is at least more satisfying than the "42" proposed in Douglas Adams' "Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy." Give connection machines and neural nets time to develop. Hook them up to a worldwide network. Give people personal digital assistants. Develop brainwave decoders. All of these things are on the stove, and they are laying the groundwork for a vastly comprehensive consciousness that will allow humans to interact as quickly as neurons fire in our own brains. Only time will tell what the results will be. REACHING ME: Genie: TOAD-SERV. Internet: TOAD-SERV.@genie.geis.com BBS: (410) 544-6999 FAX: (410) 544-1329 Mail: 570-F Ritchie Highway Severna Park, MD 21146 If you have any comments on this subject, specificially on its relation to transcendentalism, please write. (c) 1994, Current Notes Inc. (Reprinted from the April, 1994 issue of Current Notes.) * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ======================== ST TOOLBOX by J. Andrzej Wrotniak ======================== SPIES, MORONS AND THE REST OF US HOW TO RUN CIRCLES AROUND KGB AND NSA If the allegations against Mr. Ames are true, then he is not only a traitor and a spy, but, in the language of political correctness, an intellectually disadvantaged person, and very much so. Unfortunately, the last can be said, also, about those in the CIA whose task was to prevent such cases. Here we have the head of the Soviet counterintelligence in the, supposedly, leading intelligence (huh?) agency in the world, selling top secrets to the competition, at the same time throwing his money all around, keeping stacks of supersecret documents on his front porch, and, mind you, being able to get away with it for eight years or so. These are strange, strange times. . . From what I have read, the CIA was unable to spot the suspect during a meeting with any of his Soviet/Russian contacts, but they have found quite a lot of incriminating information in the disk files of his home computer. And this is what worries me: with some elementary precautions, the guy could easily have avoided that. Here, I am going to write about just one aspect of this problem. Welcome to the wonderful world of mathematical cryptology. (And do not even think about turning this page before reading the rest of it; this article does not assume any math skills beyond the fourth grade!) CRYPTOLOGY 101 Not only in the busy and complex world of military and industrial espionage, but also in many areas of business, a capability to store and transfer information so that only the intended recipient is able to read it, is a very important problem. Here is the most common model: Ms.S (for Sender) has to send some supersecret message [M] to Mr.R (for Recipient), but the channels through which the message is passed to Mr.R (computer network, postal service, messenger, denoted shortly as "mail") is insecure, i.e. the message can be intercepted by the competition. Therefore, sending [M] "as is," i.e. in plain, easily readable, form, does not make sense. This can be written as S -> [M] -> mail-> [M] -> R (which can be read as, "Ms.S writes message [M] and mails it, and then Mr.R receives the message and reads it.") Therefore, Ms.S will use some prescription, called encryption key (EK) to transform [M] into an encrypted form, [EM], hopefully unreadable for the prying eyes (or computers) of the competition. On the other end of the mail pipeline, Mr.R will use a matched decryption key to transfer [EM] back into [M], which he can read: S -> [M] -> EK -> [EM] -> -> mail -> ->[EM] -> DK -> [M] -> R (I am not explaining my ad hoc invented notation here, but it should be clear by now; please only notice that the square brackets are used to denote the information being passed.) This scheme has been used for about two thousand years, with mixed results. First of all, usually each of the keys EK and DK consists, really, of two parts. One is the algorithm used for transforming [M] into [EM] and back again; the other part is some numerical (or textual) parameter value used in the process. It is convenient to use the same algorithm in various exchanges (e.g., sending mail to Messrs. R1, R2, R3 and so forth) with various parameters (or parameter pairs) for use with individual recipients. The competition may have our algorithm, so that we have to assume it does have it. Therefore, the security of our system depends on the assumption that only Mr.R has the key parameter used in DK. Quite often, instead of key parameter, we just say key without causing any ambiguities. Second, most of the classic cryptosystems require that the length of the key parameter be comparable to the total length of exchanged messages (and, please, let me spare you the details). Otherwise, the eggheads in Fort Meade, MD (National Security Agency: my neighbors, a few miles down the road), or somewhere near Moscow, would be able to crack our key with their supercomputers in no time. They are good, or at least so we believe. Third, Ms.S has to know ahead of time that she will be sending a message to Mr.R, and she has to provide him then with the decryption key. This, again, calls for a secure channel of information. This is frequently done in the world of spying (say, Chuck, why don't we meet in Vienna, nyet?), but it may be unacceptable in sensitive business situations, when an urgent need may arise to send a secure message to a party with whom we never dealt before. PUBLIC KEY CRYPTOSYSTEMS What can be done, can be undone, they say. For a long time it was understood that the knowledge of the encryption key, EK, is equivalent to the knowledge of the decryption key, DK, i.e. that if we know one, then (with some effort, of course), we can obtain the other. This, indeed, was at one time true about all known cryptosystems. Let us, for a while, assume that things do not have to be this way. In such a case, our recipient, Mr.R, could have published his encryption key, EK, in his corporate brochure, phone directory, or in the yearbook of the KGB, inviting anyone to send him encrypted messages, which only he, Mr.R, would be able to read! The same could be done by any other potential recipient (R1, R2, R3. . .) and we could have a global network of secure communication, with anyone capable of sending secure mail to anyone. All it takes is to publish your EK, while, of course, keeping your DK for yourself. Note that the competition, now also capable of sending Mr.R an encrypted message only he can read, is, under this assumption, unable to figure out the decryption key, DK, even having at their disposal both the plain message, [M], and the encrypted one, [EM]. Unfortunately, Mr.R cannot be sure from whom is he receiving all these messages. Should he follow the one asking for six more pounds of plutonium sent to Baghdad, or maybe the one asking for six pounds of sand? This means that, in addition to secure encoding of messages, we also need a secure way of message authorization, or a kind of unforgable signature. This will require one more assumption about our keys. In addition to the obvious [M] -> EK -> [EM] -> DK -> [M] we will require that [M] -> DK -> [EM'] -> EK -> [M]. The last formula means, that using the decryption key DK on the message [M] will also somehow encrypt it into some [EM'] (different than the [EM] in the previous case), from which [M] can be extracted by applying EK. Look: if I receive some encrypted letter [EM'], and then use your public encryption key, EK to decode it and get something meaningful, then I can be sure that the only person in the world who could have sent (or, more precisely, encrypted) it, is the owner of DK, which means you! We have a situation here, where anyone can read your encoded message, [EM'], but only you could have written it. This is an unforgeable signature. To have it both ways, i.e. to be able to send messages which only Mr.R can read, but only Ms.S could have written, both of them need to have their public (i.e. known to anyone) keys as well as the private ones. Let us denote the keys belonging to Ms.S as EKS and DKS, and those of Mr.R as EKR and DKR. Now, let us submit our original message [M] to the following procedure (read it slowly and you'll be just fine): S -> [M] -> DKS -> [EM'] -> EKR -> [EM] -> -> mail -> -> [EM] -> DKR -> [EM'] -> EKS -> [M] -> R This scheme is critical to the concept of public key cryptosystems, so forgive me offending your intelligence and translating everything in a plain (if accented) English: 1. Ms.S writes the message [M]. 2. She uses her private decryption key, DKS, to encode it into [EM']--this is something only she can do, as only she has the DKS. 3. Then she uses Mr.R's public encryption key, EKR, to generate a doubly-encoded version, [EM]. This stage can be done by anyone, as anyone can have EKR. 4. The doubly-encoded message [EM] is sent via an insecure mail channel to Mr.R who receives it. 5. Mr.R uses his private decryption key, DKR, to transform [EM] into [EM'], exactly the same as the one generated by Ms.S in point (2). Oh, yes, only he can do it, as only he has the DKR. 6. Now he uses the public key of Ms.S, EKS, to decode [EM'] into [M]. If the result makes any sense, he can be sure that it was Ms.S who produced [EM']. 7. Mr.R reads the message [M], laughing. The importance of this procedure cannot be overestimated. Suddenly, even with use of insecure communication lines, anyone can send secure messages to anyone (for example, authorizing huge money transfers) and sign them with a signature that is impossible to forge! The discussion above, made under an assumption that it is possible to invent an encryption key, EK, from which one cannot compute the corresponding decryption key, DK, should suffice to explain the search for DK/EK algorithms meeting this requirement. THE RSA ALGORITHM In 1978 three American mathematicians, named Rivest, Shamir and Adelman, published an article in a technical journal. They proposed an encoding/decoding algorithm (abbreviated as RSA, from the authors' names) in which the knowledge of the public key parameter is not sufficient to learn the private one. To encode a message, you need an appropriate computer program (and a relatively simple one) and the public key parameter, which is a very large integer number, being a product of two primes. A prime number, or just a prime, is a positive integer number divisible only by one and by itself. For example, 18 is not a prime number: it can be expressed as 3*6 or 2*9, but 17 is a prime: you cannot decompose it (the only two products giving 17 are 1*17 and 17*1). The private key parameter, which every participant of the mail network keeps secret, is the pair of primes, which multiplied give the public key. Wait a minute, some would say, this is too simple! Obviously, if I have a large number, N, and if I know that this number is a product of two yet-unknown primes, P and Q, and if I have all those supercomputers, mathematicians and programmers, then I will certainly be able to find these primes such that P*Q=N--you cannot be serious! Well, this is true--as long as N is not too large. When N reaches, say, 100 or 200 decimal digits, even the computer search becomes too time-consuming to be feasible, even with the most efficient algorithms! It may require a cluster of Cray supercomputers working for, say, ten billion years. Fine, the computer technology is progressing; maybe before the year 2000 we will be able to cut this down to just 500 million years? If this is not safe enough, thenadding just one or two more digits to our key will let us sleep safely again. Some of the Readers may ask how do we come up with the two primes for our private key; if N is 200 digits long, then P and Q have to be about 100 digits each, and testing such numbers for primality is not a trivial matter. It is, however, possible, except that the best method I know works on a statistical basis: it may give me a probability as close to one as I want, but never exactly one, that a given M is prime. Fair enough, and, again, let me skip the details, because playing with prime numbers is more than enough for a whole series of articles. Anyway, after the RSA breakthrough the world will never be the same. WHAT THE GOVERNMENTS DO NOT WANT US TO KNOW Back in 1979 (or was it 1978?) I found a popular article about the RSA-based public key cryptosystems in the Scientific American magazine. I still consider that article the best introduction to the topic. It contained almost enough information to write a computer program implementing the RSA algorithm. If you want to learn more on the subject, spend an hour in a library and you will not regret the time. At the same time, the US Government was busy working on its own public-key encryption standard. Together with IBM (whom else?) they have devised the DES, Data Encryption Standard. Do I have to tell you more? You can not just keep throwing money at a big company and hope that it will come up with something brilliant, or even useful. DES turned out to be a dog, a laughingstock of the mathematical community: complex, mathematically unsound and, on top of that, quite insecure. In the meantime, all mathematicians and their mothers kept spending countless hours trying to break the RSA algorithm. As far as I know, not much progress has been made: the most promising approach requires the owner of the secret key to encrypt a special message prepared by the opposition. (Simple protection: never use your private key to encrypt messages given to you by strangers, at least not without modifying them first. Don't accept candy, either.) Number factorization has been one of the most researched topics in mathematics for the last 150 years. The problem belongs to the so-called NP (non-polynomial) class; let us just say that the time needed to factorize a number increases very, very fast with the number size itself. Computers or not, RSA seems to be safe. This is why many (possibly most) governments, except those few who do not give a damn, like the Fiji Islands, are very unhappy. Imagine a situation where a hobbyist teenager (or a terrorist, or an S&L embezzler) can exchange email with his buddies, and all the learned people of Fort Meade can only watch? Or where millions of Chinese (at least those who have computers) are exchanging subversive literature, like copies of Orwell's Animal Farm, and the secret police cannot participate in the reading? The US law enforcement agencies also seem to be quite nervous. There is a new encryption standard being prepared (what? is not DES the best?) and there is a discussion, whether to make the standard weaker (so that you cannot break the code on a PC, but you can on a Cray) or to make it more secure, but giving the keys to some very honest, very trusted people (like Mr. Ames?), who would use them only when authorized and only for our own good. This is not as funny as it may sound. There is a thin line between government's protection of law and order on one hand, and violating our privacy rights on the other. A few years ago, the Polish police could just beat a (suspected) thief up and he would show them gladly where the stolen goodies were; now they can't do it, and the recovery rate is drastically down. Still, most of us would agree that this change in procedures was rather a good thing. We should pay more attention to this encryption thing. Whatever the future of the government-approved encryption standard will be, the genie is out of the bottle. Nothing can stop you and me from developing our own public key cryptosystem, giving the software to anyone we want, and putting this thing to any use we want: good or wrong, legal or not. And the governments of the world will have to learn how to live with that. FURTHER READING Sorry, I'm too lazy to look up the Scientific American article of 1978 (79?) mentioned in the text. Finding it in the index should not, however, be a problem if you need an hour or two of education and entertainment. Here are two other positions which you may find interesting: 1. Possibly the most readable, simple, yet complete, introduction to the public key cryptosystems based on the RSA algorithm can be found in the article by Diffie and Hellman, "Privacy and Authentication: an Introduction to Cryptography" in the Proceedings of the IEEE, Vol.67, March 1979. Amazingly, it does not really require almost any math beyond the high school level. 2. There is a monograph: "Mathematical Cryptology" by Wayne Patterson (Rowman and Littlefield, 1987). Some parts of it require more math background, but the book contains an appendix with a number of useful procedures programmed in Pascal, including the complete code of the RSA algorithm. If you are looking for a do-it-yourself kit, this may be it. I have also seen a few Public Domain implementations of the RSA system on GEnie or CompuServe (in the PC-DOS areas). At least one of them comes with the source code in C, which may be portable to the ST. (c) 1994, Current Notes Inc. (Reprinted from the April, 1994 issue of Current Notes.) * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ================================================ CURRENT NOTES ST PUBLIC DOMAIN/SHAREWARE LIBRARY New Disks for March and April ================================================ MARCH 1994 ========== #874/#875: Towers (2 disk set) a complete game with all the functions intact. Works on ST/STE/Mega/TT/Falcon computers; Req 1 MB. #876: Color Games. LANDMINE-A strategy game based on a popular game for that other computer (c/m). MATCH_UP-For 1-4 players, this colorful game lets you test your memory skills (c). PEARL_93-Demo version of Super Dark Pearl 3D game with 10 levels. HTU-"Highscore Terminal Utility" maintains your high scores in your favorite video games. #877: Second GFA Basic Manual. 3rd Edition. A collection of example code and text files that will help you with GFA Basic. All files compressed with ZIP. #878: Binkleyterm. First full release of BinkleyTerm ST includes the Binkley program, docs, and optomized high speed serial routines. #879: Utility #28: A host of small utilities provided by Atari Explore Online. AFMT, ALASPEC, BIT, BITMASTR, BLKOUT, BOMB, BRDLFRMT, COLOREMU, COPYCART, CPBOOT, DISKDOUB, DSKFIL20, F11GEM, FASTER2, FCPY_III, FIXDISK, FLEXCOPY, FLIP, FMTUTIL, FORMATTP, KILLDRVB, KNUTSOFT, MUTATE, PCFORMAT, PD_QUICK, SALVAGE, SPECSTUF, STDUP, STMIROR2, SUPER, TASKCOPY, UNFORMAT, UNHIDER. #880: Utility #29: More utilities provided by AEO. BELLTST2, B_BOOT, CDC220, DECOMPRE, DF_SUITE, DISKSCAN, DSKMAP, DSKSPEED, DSKSWICH, FASTFIND, FF, FOLDRSRT, GCLOCK, HDDIRECT, HDWBOOT, ICONES, KBD, LOAD_INF, MAKE512, MAPMEM, MEMCHECK, MEMFREE, MEMTEST, MINIVIEW, RESET, RSC_VIEW, SEL_PROG, TOS_VERS. #881: Utility #30: Still more utilities from AEO plus others. ARDVARK, AUTO_SET, BKITE110, BOOTSIE, CLEO, CPP2, JOSHUA, SDDFR_12, SHORTBIN, SINF158, SPLITIT, SUPRSHUF, TIMECODE, TVST15, UNDOUB, UNIX2DOS, UNIXFLOP, VECSHOW, WO #882: Shocker2-Mono German shareware game. Manipulate the marble to get a hold of hearts in each level, avoiding the traps and monsters along the way. One or two-player mode. 100 levels, with an extra 100 levels in two-player mode. #883: Atari Works No.4: AWHP3ENV-template for printing addresses onto standard size envelopes to an HPIIIp printer, using Print Merge in Works. AW_ROTAT-Text rotation in AtariWorks. AW_HMINV-AtariWorks Home Inventory Database template and tutorial. AWNO10MP-How to print #10 Envelopes on the Hewlett Packard LaserJet 4 MP. AW_FNFNT-17 Calamus fonts converted to GEM fonts for use with AW. CN_DATA-Includes 1993 CN index, Atari vendors, Atari retail stores, and CN Library. #884: Marcel V2.2-The Marcel Word Processor is now Shareware! Marcel v2.2 is packed with new features like paragraph sorting and line centering, PostScript output, revamped print options, improved text insertion, to name but a few. APRIL 1994 ========== #885: Turbo BBS & HSModem. Turbo Board ST, Shareware V1.0, by William Miller. Here is a full-featured bulletin board system including everything you need to crate and run your own BBS. HSMODEM is the modular serial fix/serial port accelerator for all ST(e)/Mega ST(e)/TT/Falcon machines. #886: ZX81 Emulator. This is V2. 1 of an emulator program for the legendary Sinclair ZX81 homecomputer of the year 1981. It should work on all Atari computers of the ST(E)/TT series. The emulator needs no hardware support, nevertheless nearly everything works and looks like on the original ZX81. #887: Euler. Euler is a full-featured rival for the famous (and expensive) engineering program called Mathematica, while at the same time offering even more power in some major ways. Runs on all Ataris. #888: The Printing Press. v.3.03 is an excellent mono-only program that will allow you to print out Letterhead, Envelopes (with both address and return address, and a graphic!), two types of disk labels, banners, and cards. Includes drivers for 9 and 24-pin printers. Geneva and ST/STe compatible. #889: Utility #31. Two in One archive shell. v1.03 . Nice-looking archive shell for all types of archivers. Shareware from Germany (translated to English). Ocultar v.3.01b is a shareware AUTO folder program that will protect your hard disk from unauthorized access. ST/STe/TT compatible. Profile v1.5 is a superb "sysinfo" type utility by Mark Baines. Not too fancy, but the level of detail it displays about the 'innards' of your machine is unsurpassed. Freeware from the UK. #890: ConNect. Here is the latest version (2.46) of the CoNnect terminal emulator. This version has improved online help, faster transfers, etc. Still with internal x/y/zmodem/kermit, VT52/VT100/VT102/VT220/Tek4014, multitasking. Supports ALL ST/TT/Falcon modes. CN PD/Shareware Disks $4 each 10 or more: $3.50 each CN disks are, generally, double-sided. Add $1 for every 5 disks for postage and handling. Order disks from CN Library, 122 N. Johnson Rd., Sterling, VA 20164. You can charge your order using your VISA or MC card by calling (703) 450-4761. Note: DOM disks are $5 each. CN DataBasement Special ----------------------- DataBasement Software's ShareWare Registration Deal is now permanent! Receive the full registered versions of 5 share programs for $30: Die Blitzschnell Hard Drive Defragmenter/Optimizer (GEM and TTP versions); Kitty Lock; Volume Utility; 5-of-a-Kind; and Euchre. (c) 1994, Current Notes Inc. (Reprinted from the April, 1994 issue of Current Notes.) * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ======================== RUNNING OUT OF RAM by David Barkin ======================== GRAPHIC CARDS: CRAZY DOTS II AND CYREL SUNRISE Readers may not be aware of my recent promotion to head the New York branch of the Current Notes Hardware Testing Division. Armed with a $500,000 budget, I've decided to dedicate my first article to graphic cards. Taking advantage of the prestige of this new appointment, I ordered 500 Crazy Dot boards and 500 Cyrel boards. I also took advantage of my friend Cliff Steward and borrowed his NOVA Board. The first, and of course, most important, test was the torture test. How much physical abuse could these boards take and still run? I'm sorry to report that of the 998 boards subjected to this test, none survived. A couple of the Cyrel cards did manage to make it through the "five little kids with sledge hammer test," while the Crazy Dots boards all shattered into a million pieces. But even the Cyrel Cards failed the Oxyacetylene Cutting Torch Test. I was unable to put the NOVA through these tests because, when Cliff observed my testing methods, and the special, "Battery Acid Dip Test," that I had reserved for his board, he backed out of lending me his card. No, I am sad to relate that this kind of data from the NOVA was not done in CN's up-to-date lab, but was phoned in by Cliff from his Long Island home. If you followed last month's column, you are probably aware of the review of the NOVA board. This month I will cover the Crazy Dots Board, distributed by Gribnif Software, and the Cyrel Board, sold and manufactured by Cybercube Research. In the tables of data, I will also include results from the NOVA Board, distributed by Lexicor Software. INTRODUCING THE BOARDS To begin with, both the Cyrel and the Crazy Dots Boards are designed to fit entirely within your computer. With the TT and Mega Ste, this is done by removing the access plate from the VME slot on your machine, inserting the boards, and locking the boards into place with the integral plate and screws. Since, on the TT, this also means removing and disconnecting the two serial ports, one result is that these serial ports are gone. If you want them restored, it's possible to cut new holes in the back of your computer and mount the ports in the new location. Unless you know what you're doing, better hire a technician to do this job. With the Mega Ste you only eliminate one of the serial ports, while with the Mega ST, the board is connected internally to the Mega bus expansion slot. At any rate, once done with the installation of the board, your machine presents a finished appearance. With the Crazy Dots board you now have a new monitor port and an auxiliary expansion port, reserved for future hardware releases. The Cyrel Card gives you one monitor port and a LAN expansion port. A word here on the instructions that come with these boards. The Crazy Dots Board comes with a full printed manual. While short, being only 30 pages, it's quite complete. Aside from telling you how to install the board and software, it gives comprehensive instructions for the accessory, and other programs that come with the package. The manual that comes with the Cyrel Card is really meant for people with a technical background. I really found it inadequate. There is a comprehensive manual, but it's on the disk, in the form of extensive "read me" files. When I say extensive, I am talking about hundreds of pages. These pages are divided into sections with such clear and helpful titles as "Xbios parameters" or "Vidimix8 Doc." These last comments perhaps reflect an unnecessary "turning of the screw" on Cybercube. There are titles like "Overview Doc" etc, but the point of this criticism is that I would much prefer a printed manual. The saving grace for the installation of the Cyrel Board is the install program. This is a program for complete morons, taking you by the hand, step-by-step, with cute little pictures showing you exactly how to install the board,finally, this program will install the software. I appreciate this approach to installing expensive pieces of hardware, where the fear of mistakes has often resulted in gigantic visible ulcers, so large and painful they assumed a life of their own. This is, in fact, how I acquired my dog. I became intimate with this program because it has one little bug. When I arrived at the point where you install the software (clicking through 30 or more steps to reach this point) I would get the message, "I/O Error," and the program would crash. After running this program 20 times, it started to look cruel and vindictive instead of cute and cuddly. It turns out that the program expects that it will not find an Auto Folder on your hard drive. If it finds such a folder, the program will crash. If no such folder exists, the program will happily create its own, and load in all the necessary, and for that matter, unnecessary software it can find. OPERATING THE BOARDS Once the boards are installed, they take two different approaches to operating. Before I describe this, let me say that when you purchase a graphics card you must have either a second monitor or a monitor switch! While your main monitor is connected to the board, you can still plug in a monitor to your regular ST/TT monitor port. Since many programs will not run with either board, in many resolutions, a monitor switch becomes a necessity. A good switch will cost $40, tops, and should not be regarded as a handicap. The Crazy Dots Board depends on software to boot your computer and change the resolution of the board. The Cyrel Card, while still dependent on software, uses re-programable Eprom chips to select different resolutions. What does this mean, in practice? Both boards will automatically boot in the last selected resolution. If you are working in 800 by 600 with 256 colors, then the next time you re-boot, this will become the default. But the boards differ in the following way. With the Crazy Dots Board, holding down the space key during boot-up will give you access to the management program. Here you can change the resolution and colors that the computer will boot in. Holding down the escape key will bypass the board entirely and you will boot in your regular ST/TT resolution. You can then either turn your monitor switch to your normal monitor port, or if you have a second monitor, turn your head in the direction of the second monitor. The Cyrel Card has no such accessible management program. The computer boots in the last selected resolution. If you wish to change resolution, you must do so after you boot. This is done by running a separate program and selecting your resolution from there. This is not as difficult as it sounds. My solution was to move this program to the desktop, move the folder that contains the various possible resolutions to the desktop and save my new desktop. This assumes you have either TOS 2.xx or 3.xx ROMS. When I want to change resolutions, I just drop one of these resolutions onto the "Xchange" program and this reprograms the eprom chip on the Cyrel Card. The Cyrel also comes with a utility program to make these changes on the fly. I couldn't make head or tail of this utility and, even if I did, it doesn't seem greatly superior to the method I use. I rarely change resolutions, anyway. There is also a program to reprogram the default factory settings. You can access the normal computer resolution by holding down both shift keys during the boot process, and you will be presented with a simple dialogue. "Install M16 Board: Yes/No." If you hit "n" the board is ignored and the computer boots in normal resolution. If "y" is your response, then you are presented with two choices. You can either select the previous default or you can choose the eprom default settings that the board either came with or that you later modified. In other words, when you boot the Cyrel Card, you have a choice or two resolutions or the normal computer resolution. I prefer the Crazy Dots method, but in practice, it really doesn't make that much of a difference. Why do I say this? The plain fact of the matter is that these boards are valuable in running programs that can take advantage of the higher resolutions. Quite a few programs can not. I run my Cyrel Board in 800 by 600 with 256 colors. The most common change I make is to disable the board entirely. The Cyrel, unlike the Crazy Dots, has no monochrome mode, but what if it did? I would still have to reboot the computer to access the monochrome mode of either board. The monochrome mode on the Crazy Dots, as long as the resolution is the same as the programs I want to run, is compatible with just about every program I've run. But there's no benefit in running in "Crazy Dots monochrome" as opposed to normal ST High. Yes, the screen is larger, but the screen is fuzzier. The screen redraws are fast, but not as fast as if I run Warp Nine (the software screen accelerator). In other words, who cares? Either way, I have to reboot. These boards have to be judged on their compatibility in higher resolution and their speed in higher resolution. If you're not interested in the type of program that benefits from more colors or higher screen resolution, then a graphics card is just a big waste of money. I must admit that the NOVA Board's accompanying program, Resolution Switcher, although not compatible with everything, did allow me to use some monochrome programs while I was running in higher resolutions and a greater number of colors. Of course, since I couldn't get this board to work properly in these higher resolutions or colors, this ability is academic. Which brings us to the next question, just what resolution and color choices do these boards offer? RESOLUTION AND COLOR The Cyrel comes with predefined choices and no way to alter these choices. You are presented with 86 different files. Each file represents both a different resolution and a different number of colors and a different monitor. There are a number of repititions of colors and resolutions. 800 by 600 is repeated 13 times, with each file having a slightly different name. At least one of these files will run on your monitor. Keep in mind that different monitors have different capabilities. Selecting the wrong choice can terminate your monitor. If you don't have the specifications of your particular monitor, Cybercube thoughtfully provides a list of over 300 monitors and their exact specifications. When I realized how this system operates, I created a separate folder containing the files compatible with my monitor. There are choices galore for everyone, ranging from 128 by 400 to 1600 by 1200 in 256 color mode. The other color choice offered by the Cyrel is 24-bit mode (16.7 million colors). Once again, the choices are enormous, ranging from 128 by 400 to 1024 by 512. Keep in mind that these are non-interlaced modes. Higher resolutions are possible in interlaced modes. Interlacing is a way of getting around the limitations of your monitor by constantly redrawing each line of your screen when you are in modes that are larger then your monitor is capable of displaying. Interlacing produces a constant, subtle flickering. I have enough problems with my eyes as it is, and as a gesture of utter disregard for potentials, I disregard interlaced modes. If you feel that your vision is impervious to harm, you can go as high as 2000 by 1000 in interlaced mode. One might think that the Cyrel, by offering only two color modes, has a great handicap. Such is not the case. My working mode is 256 colors and true color (24-bit) is for final proofing. As I said before, you have to reboot the computer to change modes, so you might as well reboot in normal mode if you need monochrome or 4-bit color. As far as I can determine, the Cyrel is as compatible in 24-bit mode as in 256-color mode. There is a patch program that must be run for 24-bit operation to eliminate color inconsistencies with some programs, like Studio Photo, but everything I ran, with the exception of Retouche, worked flawlessly. Also included are patch programs for Calamus SL and Outline lll in 256-color modes. I found, after a while, that these programs ran fine without these patches. Go figure. The Crazy Dots Board allows choices of different colors from monochrome, 4-bit, (16 colors) 8-bit (256 colors) and 15-bit (32,000 colors). Software is under development to run the board in 24-bit color. The Crazy Dots Board has half the memory of the Cyrel Card so that the upper limits of resolution are less. In 15-bit color, the maximum screen resolution is 800 by 600, while with 256 colors, it's possible to go up to 1024 by 768. When true color software is developed, the maximum resolution will be 640 by 480. In monochrome mode, it's possible to go as high as 1664 by 1200. Unlike the Cyrel Card, the number of resolutions is limited to a dozen or so pre-prepared monitors. Once again, if you pick the wrong monitor, your monitor's second hand value can drop significantly. To deal with this problem, Gribnif includes a program to create your own monitor resolutions. This program, the VMG Program, is thoroughly explained by the manual. Within an hour, assuming you know the specifications of your monitor, you will be up and running. Cybercube intends to release a similar program shortly, but while I appreciate this, it's not as important as it sounds. The Cyrel Card already comes with an abundance of selections. One major problem with using the Crazy Dots Board is that, when running in colors above 256, a number of programs would not run properly. These include Calamus SL, Outline lll and Studio Photo. The included demo versions of Chagall and Papillon ran flawlessly in higher resolutions, but these programs are unavailable at this time and, even if they were, what about SL? One can only hope that Gribnif, as well as releasing software to run in 24-bit, will release patches to run SL and Outline as well as others. WHAT ABOUT SPEED? At the present time, there are no programs capable of testing the speeds of these boards with any consistant accuracy. Results from Quick Index gave wild measurements. Originally, I laboriously assembled a number of tables of data. These tables bore no relationship to the actual results of using these boards. I put so much work into making them, and they filled up so much space, that I almost included them anyway. Finally, just before I sent this article out, I discovered the NVDI testing program. I had already sent the Crazy Dots Board back to Gribnif, but I did manage to get a copy for Cliff, so that he could test the NOVA. In 640 by 480 by 256 colors, the Cyrel redrew screens and scrolled slightly faster then the Crazy Dots and slightly slower then the NOVA. This difference in speed was hardly perceptable. At that resolution, all the boards compared favorably with TT Medium running with Warp Nine. However, just before I returned the Crazy Dots Board to Gribnif, I tried the "text mode" of the Crazy Dots Board. The Crazy Dots allows two methods of running the board. Text Mode and Graphics Mode. The manual seemed to imply that you should choose "text" for programs like Word Perfect and "graphics" for programs like Calamus. I just follow directions. Running the Gribnif Board in "text mode" caused a 50 percent leap in speed. Thus, in any 256-color option, the Crazy Dots Board was clearly the fastest. Unfortunately this did not hold true in 15-bit mode, where choosing "text" had no effect. I should add that running programs that I think of as "graphics" programs did not seem to faze the Gribnif Board at all. The Cyrel was noticably faster then the Crazy Dots Board in true color mode and was much faster then the NOVA. EXTRA'S AND PROBLEMS: THE CRAZY DOTS BOARD The Crazy Dots Board comes with the capability of future expansions. Genlock potential, color and resolution upgrades are all possibilities built into the board. There is, however, no release date for these potentials, at least as far as I know. The only real improvement promised for quick release is the software to run in 24-bit mode. Along with the software to get your board up and running, there is a very useful accessory program. This program, as well as giving you the power to fine tune the color display on your monitor, has one really useful function. Many VGA monitors do not come with the ability to control both the size and position of the display. In other words, booting in different resolutions may leave your display high and to the right, or all the way to the left, etc. Using this accessory/program, you can center your picture and save this information so that each time you reboot, the display will always be perfectly placed. Another advantage of this capability, even for those people with adjustable monitors, is that when you bypass the card your normal resolution will be properly displayed. Another capacity of the Crazy Dots Board is "Virtual Screen." If you boot in 800 by 600 and select the virtual screen option, for example, you could have an actual screen of 800 by 600, but only 640 by 480 is visible. As the mouse or cursor moves to the edge of your display, the screen shifts the picture. Both Gribnif and Cybercube regard this option as important; personally, I find it disconcerting and annoying and couldn't care less. Some people will no doubt appreciate this option. Using virtual screen acts like setting a zoom level. The Cyrel Card does not have this capability, although they are about to release it. I have no use for this option. When I first plugged in the Crazy Dots Board I had trouble accessing the management program. In addition to this problem, after booting, the desktop and programs that I ran would often display garbage, which is to say, illegible characters and other display problems. The problem turned out to be my ICD Professional hard drive program. Gribnif gave me two fixes that would work. I could either run my original Atari Hard drive software or use the optional NVDI screen accelerator program. Reinstalling the Atari driver cured my problem. Users who have the standard version of ICD's software should also have no problem. I had also tried this fix with the NOVA Card, but without any improvement. Finally, although Gribnif never sent me a copy, they are selling, as an option for $99, the NVDI Screen Accelerator. This version of the software will only work with the Gribnif card. While I didn't have the opportunity to test this software, I'm sure it will speed the performance of this already fast hardware. It will also eliminate the problems of people who use ICD's Pro hard drive system. This little experiment with using Atari's hard drive system also taught me a new trick. Up until now I was under the impression that using this software would not allow me to use my Epson color scanner. But in the intervening time since I first ran into this problem, I installed terminators on the mother board of my TT. With these terminators installed, the Atari software allowed me to use my scanner without problems. This installation of terminators is an interesting topic for a future article, hopefully by Dave Troy, since I really don't understand what the heck they terminate. I can repeat the verbal description. SCSI devices form a chain, each end of this chain must have terminators, little chips that end the chain. What does this mean? By all the known laws of relativity, if something is plugged into your SCSI port then that device must be turned on for the system to operate. Any computer repair person will tell you that. But, if terminators are installed on my TT mother board, the SCSI device can be on or off and my computer doesn't even blink. THE CYREL SUNRISE CARD The CyrelCard has numerous built-in expansion capabilities. Genlock and video control hardware are available. There is an optional adapter, which will allow you to plug in up to four Cyrel Cards and link them together. One of the most interesting facets of buying the Cyrel is the capability of using standard IBM serial mice or Summagraphic Compatible graphic pads. I've always wanted a graphics pad. My main reason for not getting one was that if you plug in a graphics pad, you have to unplug your mouse. It's often been said that drawing with a mouse is like trying to draw with a block of soap. On the other hand, operating a regular program with a graphics pad is like trying to wash with a pencil eraser. Cybercubes mouse/graphic pad manager, allows you to use both your Atari mouse and the graphic's pad at the same time! This potential puts a graphics pad high on my buying agenda. This program is provided free with the Cyrel Card, but can be purchased separately from Cybercube and does not need the Cyrel Card, or any other card, in order to work The Cyrel comes with an accessory program to control colors. This gives much more extensive control over color then the Crazy Dots. You can load, save and create new color palattes; 35 palettes come with this accessory, but I'm not sure if this isn't overkill. It's probably much more useful if you're also taking advantage of the video capabilities of the card. There is also an accessory to control the operation of the card. Using various control parameters you can set up various options to make non-compatible programs compatible. I was able to make Touch-up and Convector Professional run in resolutions they weren't meant for, but I found that it was easier to simply boot my computer in a normal ST/TT resolution and not bother with setting up the accessory. Cybercube has just released a monochrome package. I intend to try this package out, but how useful it will be, I'm not sure. The only real lack of the Cyrel software is no VMG program like the one that comes with Crazy Dots. As I said before, Cybercube presents so many choices that such an option is not a necessity as it is with Gribnif's package. But even so, I'd like to have it. I also want the ability to position my screen via software controls as opposed to hardware. I use a Nec 3FGx monitor, which has hardware control over screen position, so software control is not crucial. If I didn't use this monitor, my screams would be audible in Canada. Cybercube promises a quick release of such software. This brings up a big advantage of the Cyrel Card. This is a Canadian company. The board is manufactured in Canada. This provides a quicker response, quicker updates and someone close by to complain to. Improved software drivers are constantly being created. At some point this should result in quicker performance. As is, the board is very fast, if not up to the Crazy Dots speed. The above is not meant as a criticism of Gribnif's support. The support is excellent, but they get their updates and hardware from Germany. This gives them less control of the entire process. THE BOTTOM LINE I hope that this article is giving you some idea of what to expect from a graphics card. This is a tool for professional work. If you're doing word processing it may very well come in handy with word processors that can take advantage of larger screen sizes. This seems like a lot of money to spend just to see a higher proportion of a text only program. Even the speedy Crazy Dots Board will not improve much, if any, over software accelerators like Warp Nine. So why buy a board? For desktop publishing, video, CAD, graphics and related programs. Running these programs in higher screen resolutions and/or colors has become a necessity to me. It's much like getting your first hard drive; you don't miss it until you use it. At 256 colors, photos spring into life. At 16 million colors, you are looking at immense blow ups, the details of which will take your breath away. With a slew of image processing programs, either just released or about to be released, these boards will go a long way in making full use of them. The same can be said about video. A program like Calamus SL in 800 by 600 mode, runs much faster. By this, I don't mean that the program actually runs faster, I mean I run the program much faster! Instead of constantly changing my zoom mode, I use only two zoom levels. At half page, I can actually read the text. The improvement in speed of use is phenomenal. Let this be a warning, the whole process of using a graphics cards is highly addictive. You might ask why don't I run my board in even higher screen resolutions? My monitor is simply too small. In order to take full advantage of 1024 by 768, I would need a 15-inch or better monitor. Running at these higher resolutions can produce text on menu options that is not easily visible. If I had a larger monitor (someday, someday), this would not be a problem. Video or graphics work in 15-bit or 24-bit color shows me exactly what my visual display will look like. This raises the question, "What is the difference between 15-bit or 24-bit mode?" With a 15-inch monitor, like mine, (actually 13-inch) there is no, or very little, difference in how a full color picture appears. On the other hand, I may someday, as I hope, purchase a larger monitor. At that point, there is a difference. I ran next door to the neighboring design studio with a 24-bit TIF file and had them display the file in both 15-bit and 24-bit. I could, indeed, clearly see the difference on their big 17 and 21-inch displays. In the interest of science, I constantly try out this kind of thing with my neighbors' Mac's. They let me get away with this for three reasons. First, because I'm such a nice guy, second, because they're a bunch or weenies and easy to intimidate, and third, because the owner of the building hired me to take care of his heating system. As a shocking coincidence, when they refused to let me take advantage of their computers, the heat went off in the building. This was in early January when the temperature in New York went below zero. Ethnic and racial differences between people tend to disappear at these temperatures. Yes, as it turns out, whether you're white or black, or any shade in between, you just look a bright chrome blue at these temperatures. In fact, even sexual differences are hard to determine, due to the fact that bodies tend to be a blur of confusing motion. Overall, this question of color should only be a relatively small factor in determining which board to purchase. But the Cyrel Board has a big edge because it was capable of running every 24-bit capable program I threw at it. This could not be said for the Crazy Dots Board. It could not run Calamus SL, Outline lll, or Studio Photo. Although the NOVA could run Calamus, it couldn't run Outline lll or Studio Photo. If you're looking to do professional level work, this becomes a major issue. Running in 256-color mode is quite spectacular and adequate for many jobs, but for professional level work, higher color modes are a necessity. There is not a dramatic price difference between these two boards. The Crazy Dots has a list price of $799, while the Cyrel lists for $995. You can expect discounts on the Crazy Dots Board from retailers; even so, they are both expensive. Gribnif is one of my favorite companies. It seems a shame that their fine board has so many incompatibilities with 24-bit software in true color mode. This is especially true since they were kind enough and confident enough to lend me one of their boards. If the only factor you're looking for is speed, then the Crazy Dots was the clear winner in 256 colors or under, although all the boards were fast enough. Cybercube has a written policy where, in addition to a one-year guarantee, you have 10 days to change your mind after receiving their board. Gribnif has a similar policy. Lexicor's policy is that, once you've purchased the board, you can not return it, even if the board is incompatible with your computer. They guarantee that the product will work with their computer. Crazy Dots ll, $795. Gribnif Software, P.O. Box 779, Northhampton MA. 01061. Tel: (413) 247-5620, Fax: (413) 247-5622. Cyrel Sunrise, $995. Cybercube Research Limited, 126 Grenadier Crescent, Thornhill ON,. L4J 7V7, Canada. Tel: 905-882-0294. Also available from DMC Publishing, 2800 John Street, Unit #10, Markham, Ontario, Canada L3R OE2. Tel: (416) 479-1991; Fax: (416) 479-1882. NOVA CARD, $529 + $40 shipping. Lexicor Software Inc., 1726 Francisco Street, Berkeley CA. 94703. Tel: (510) 848-7621; Fax: (510) 848-7613 (c) 1994, Current Notes Inc. (Reprinted from the April, 1994 issue of Current Notes.) * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ======================= GENIE NOTES by Lou Rocha ======================= April showers in your neck of the woods? Personally, I would be happy with anything that doesn't need to be shovelled! Cabin fever is rampant and even my computers are begging for a change of venue. Speaking of changes, this month we have some new items to share with you. Around GEnie visits another new RT; Gordon Meyer makes his first contribution to the library corner; Terry Quinn returns with a couple of new Hot Topics and Brian Harvey presents a new feature for GEnie Notes-CAT's Eye View. Take your Current Notes out to the backyard and relax with us. ------------------------ AROUND GENIE: THE FAX RT ------------------------ Continuing on our tour of relatively new services on GEnie, this month's visit stops in the FAX RT. For those of you just getting in from the outback of Australia, Facsimile machines have become nearly as common as cellular telephones for the small business and for many homes. Although the prices are falling almost as fast as hard drives, some people still don't own their own FAX machine. Enter GEnie FAX Service! GE Mail to FAX will allow you to send text messages to Group III facsimile (FAX) machines. Here is some information on how to send send a FAX via GE Mail. To get to GEnie FAX, type "FAX" at any system prompt. This brings you to the front door of GEnie FAX where the FAX Menu is ready to serve you: 1. About GE Mail to FAX 2. GE Mail to FAX Rates 3. GE Mail to FAX Country Codes & Zones 4. GE Mail to FAX Instructions 5. Common Questions about GE Mail to FAX 6. Send a FAX Message 7. Check Delivery Status of FAX 8. List Non-Delivery Notices Select #2 to get an overview of the rates for this service. You can FAX anywhere in North America for $1.15 per page. Rates to other destinations range up to $6.50 per page and you can even send a FAX to a ship at sea for $25.00 per page! To get a very helpful tutorial on the use of this service select menu item #4. Four pages of text provide very clear examples on how to use the service. You can also send a FAX direct from GEnie e-mail. A FAX address can be entered at the TO: or CC: prompt and be formatted as follows: TO: JOHN SMITH/1-301-251-6421@FAX# NOTE: JOHN SMITH is the receiver's name; 1 is the country code (U.S. destination); 301 is the area or city code; 251-6421 is the extension; @FAX# is the name of the connector system (it will always be called FAX#) You also have the ability to check if your FAX has been delivered by selecting item #7 on the FAX menu. It will bring up a list similar to the following example: FAX Delivery Status Check Queue# Item From To Sent Subject 1 1234567 PAM FAX# 90/12/27 Test Upon entering the list number, the following information will be displayed about your FAX message: Status of item: 1234567 Sent 92/12/27 09:44 PAM listed 92/12/27 09:44 JOHN SMITH/1-301-251-6421 @FAX# 92/12/27 10:15 delivered This has been a very brief tour of GEnie FAX services. There are other features that you can explore and, of course, some helpful sysops around in case you need assistance. The FAX RT-one more reason to come to GEnie! --------------- RTC HIGHLIGHTS by Brian Harvey --------------- Welcome again to another month of Real Time Conferences (RTCs) on GEnie! For a change this month, I will be brief, which will probably amaze Lou and anyone who regularly reads this section. First, I would like to remind everyone about the Programming RTCs held the first and third Thursdays of each month. Again, you don't need to be an expert with code to get the most out of these RTCs. Also, more goes on than just coding, such as the camaraderie of talking with other programmers of all levels. Plus, it's a good place to network concerning others' programs. For example, Mike Allen was in contact with Karsten Isakovic, the author of SysMon and informed everyone at the 17th February RTC that 1.0.9 is in beta test. Mike stated that Karsten will no longer allow SysMon to be uploaded onto BBSs. SysMon remains as shareware and costs $40 for non-commercial use and $80 for commercial use. Lou Rocha opened this month's Dateline Atari RTC on March 4, 1994 with extending his condolences to the family of comedian John Candy who passed away in his sleep that morning. John may not have been an Atari user, but in this writer's opinion, he was one of the most underrated comedians in the business. His talent will be deeply missed. This RTC had some special guests in the form of four "new" (online) Atari personnel; Tom Gillen, Hank Cappa, Joe Sousa, and Faran Thomason. Tom Gillen (GEnie address TOM.GILLEN), is the Software Test Group leader at Atari. Tom has been with Atari since back when Warner owned the company. He has always been involved with the Software Test side of things with some hardware testing. Joe Sousa and Hank Cappa are two of Tom's testers. The Test Department consists, not only of play testing, but also of providing game ideas and enhancement suggestions. They focus on the Jaguar but still are testing LYNX games. For FALCON software, testing has been moved to the United Kingdom. Faran Thomason (GEnie mail address F.Thomason) is a former tester. Bob then went on and gave out the GEnie addresses of other new online personnel who couldn't make it that night. This list included Hans Jacobsen (H.JACOBSEN), Sean Patten (SEAN.PATTEN) Ted Tahquechi (TAHQUECHI), and Susan McBride (S.G.MCBRIDE). Remember, it pays to attend these RTCs since Bob made a special offer to celebrate the release of Tempest 2000 for Jaguar. Sorry, the offer is over now, but maybe next time. Of course, the big news is still the Jaguar, with the national rollout being very close to occurring. Bob mentioned that they have 48 new Jaguar developers, bringing the total to 86. However, not all the news was Jaguar news. There are more TTs being shipped and information was presented concerning the 040 board for the Falcon. Also, Atari is creating a new co-op program in place to help dealers advertise their Atari products. I asked Bob about the BPS (Black Page Syndrome) on later versions of Atari Works (AW) and he stated "Pradip is deeply concerned about the Black Page Syndrome and is hard at work on it, but you are correct . . . it is not his number one priority." However, even after a RTC, news can be spread! Pradip stopped by Bob's office and told Bob he thought he may have fixed the BPS! In the meantime, Bob is talking with his bosses to get a earlier version of AW. Bob was asked about Atari's cash flow for supporting the Jaguar and he commented that Sam Tramiel mentioned that Atari is planning to go to the equity markets to raise cash. This was planned even as far back as the November Jaguar launch. Well, that's it for another month! Good Atari computing and don't forget to drop in sometime to the RTCs! ------------------ CAT's Eye View by Brian H. Harvey ------------------ Hi, everyone! This section is a small occasional column that will focus on one or more categories in the Atari RoundTable (RT). Hence, the name of this column. It will be only a brief look at the category and is in no way meant to be definitive nor provide a repeat of messages in the category. (Categories are the way thematically similar sections of an RT are organized.) It is aimed to be a bird's, or should I say, CAT's eye view of the category. (I will try to keep the puns to a minimum.) What better place to start this column than highlighting the CodeHead Product Support Category, which is category 32 in the Atari RT! These versatile programmers, musician, developers and loyal Atari users frequent the RT everyday. John (GEnie address J.EIDSVOOG1) and Charles (CODEHEAD) with Tomas (MUSE) not only provide online daily support for the simplest or most complex questions, but also talk about what they have in the works and the chances of one of their products being upgraded shortly. Having them online not only means quick solutions to your problems, but also provides a medium for you to pass on your compliments and perhaps even a constructive criticism, though their products are rock solid! If you haven't heard of the CODEHEADS, then you, obviously, are not an Atari user. However, just in case, here is a list of ten of the more than 37 topics they have in their category: ARC Shell Ask the CodeHeads Calligrapher-the Writer's Tool! CodeHead Quarters BBS CodeHead Technical Info CodeHead Update Information HotWire MaxiFile MegaPaint Professional MIDI Spy, the Background MIDI Recorder Mouse-Ka-Mania II MultiDesk Troubleshooting Warp 9, the Accelerator Were you counting? OK, more than ten, but I can't just name ten. They have so many great topics and it shows by the traffic they receive daily. Of course, since they are online all the time, a search of the library would find a ton of files with numerous updates/patches reaching GEnie before anywhere else! This means that most of these topics seldom go long without traffic and when these topics reach approximately 200 messages they are archived and placed in the library for others to use. Why archive them? I will give you an example from my personal experience. Over the past two years I have bought almost everything sold by the CODEHEADS that could be of use on my computer. When I bought Codekeys, I downloaded all the messages in that topic and also the archived files in the library. Between these two sources, I acquired an excellent knowledge of this product, which months of use wouldn't supply. I saw others' mistakes and tricks and knew exactly what I needed to do to make some neat Codekey files for different programs. If you don't want to spend that much time in reading, then you can ask a question right in any of these topics and get answers back from both the CODEHEADS and other users. Believe me, there are any people who have a setup similar to yours or who have made the same errors. Well, that's it for the first time with this column. If you like it, then let us know; if you don't, tell us how to improve it! --------------- ST Library by Gordon Meyer --------------- Gordon Meyer is one of he library sysops in the ST RoundTable and he has joined us this month to preview one of the new files in the ST Library. This month we're going to focus on a file of interest to many Aladdin users, particularly those with Falcon030 computers. But even if you haven't yet upgraded to a Falcon, read on to discover what this program can offer to all ST users. LOADALAD by Keith Gerdes/Trace Technologies LoadAlad is a utility for use with GEnie's "frontend" interface program, ST Aladdin. It permits Aladdin to address any of the serial ports on Atari's newer machines and also includes some features of benefit to all Aladdin users, even if you don't need additional serial port support. The most impressive feature of LoadAlad is that it allows TT, Mega STe, and Falcon users to use Aladdin with any of the serial ports available on these machines. You see, Aladdin addresses the standard ST serial port directly and doesn't know that the other ports are available. This means TT and Mega STe users have to connect their modems to the one specific port Aladdin knows about. And the people who use Falcons are simply out-of-luck because the ST serial port hardware Aladdin is looking for doesn't exist at all on their machines. LoadAlad works by altering, or "patching," Aladdin's serial port access routines. You simply run LoadAlad, which, in turn, loads, modifies, and then runs Aladdin. All changes are done to Aladdin in RAM so the original ALAD.PRG file is unchanged. If you ever want to skip the LoadAlad routines, simply run Aladdin directly. Even if you don't need access to the other serial ports, you can still benefit from LoadAlad. Another feature is that it allows you to specify a "time out" value. If you use this feature, LoadAlad will automatically disconnect Aladdin if there hasn't been any modem activity for the number of minutes you specify. GEnie will automatically do this, too, but LoadAlad lets you decide how long of a delay you'll tolerate, instead of letting GEnie make the decision for you. Finally, a side-benefit of LoadAlad's serial routines is that you can now use other programs that access the serial port (such as dialing with CardFile) even while Aladdin is loaded. As long as Aladdin isn't actively using the modem, other programs can have at it, something that was nearly impossible before LoadAlad. This alone makes LoadAlad a boon for users of multi-tasking operating systems like Geneva. LoadAlad support is in the ST Aladdin RT (Category 2 Topic 6). For a limited-time demo, download LDALDEMO.LZH (File #330) from the ST Aladdin RT Library. LoadAlad is shareware ($15.00); try out the demo and then contact Trace Technologies via GEnie mail K.GERDES to obtain a registered version. ---------------- Hot Topics with Terry Quinn ---------------- One concern not far from every Atari user's mind is whether or not he is missing out on something by not switching to another platform (most particularly DOS/Windows) since there seems to be so much "nifty" hardware and software available. Have all of the "switchees" been happier as a result? To paraphrase John Wayne, "Not Hardly!" EXPLORER.1  Ron  To make room for 50-meg word processors, I just spent three days trying to add a Quantum 540 drive to a 486 that had a Quantum 240 already installed. This is a process that takes about 15 minutes on the ST. The first day is spent learning you can't use all of a 540 meg hard drive on a PC (500 meg is the limit) without a boot loadable disk driver. The "fun" part is if you set up the drive parameter table with a drive larger than 500 meg, even though FDISK recognizes the larger drive, the partitioning option only recognizes the 40 meg it can't use. A quick trip to CompUSA to get a loadable boot driver is taken in an attempt to be able to use the entire drive. Then another day is spent finding out it's not compatible with DOS 6.2. A call to "dog-patch disk driver company" tells me the loadable boot driver won't work but an update is out. But the update will cost what I just paid yesterday for the old version that doesn't work. At this point, I'm starting to see the advantages of selling hotdogs on the beach. On the third day, we go back to the drive parameter table (why can't it load this from the drive boot sector anyway?) to reconfigure the drive as a 500 meg and we start to make progress. Whoops, now it won't boot from the new drive until we go back and use Norton Utilities to edit the partition table to toggle the boot bit. Except, now, when we add the second drive back in, the first partition pops up in the D: slot throwing all of Window's application paths out of kilter. Of course, DoubleDisk freaked at its compressed partitions now being on disk two and won't let me do hard disk to hard disk restore. Time to re-Fdisk both drives and reload everything, yet again, from tape. I get to go back in Saturday and let Word 6 for Windows kick sand in my face. I think I'll bring the Falcon along for entertainment, since I'm sure another complete re-load from tape is in my future. I, in fact, enjoy using a full range of computing platforms as much as I like driving different kinds of automobiles. But crank starting the engine in this day and time is not my idea of a good time. Superior hardware is such fun ;-) K.RICHARD2 [Bondservant] Ron, I suppose that it would be worth noting that it took about two minutes to add a Quantum520s as my ) id scsi (I have THE 80IDE in my Falcon.) Just set ID to 0, plug ribbon with scsi add scsi to scsi2 cable, boot up, format Atari HDX; only got 500 megs, but for a 520, I was happy. Rick Actually, most of the time, you really have to wonder about what other computer companies think about those poor schmucks who are their primary customers. While effective, it appears as if most of what you read that is directed at other platforms' customers makes you believe that those folks have IQ's lower than their shoe sizes! POTECHIN [Nathan @ DMC] "Darlah and I recently picked up one of the "XXXX for Dummies" books that are available for many of the leading PC applications. They weren't kidding. You should have heard us laughing at some of the explanations inside. One classic comes to mind, although I don't remember the wording they used: WARNING: DO NOT FOLD THE FLOPPY DISK IN HALF. I remember wondering, after I stopped laughing, if they were worried that someone would try and fold a 5 1/4" floppy to fit into a 3 1/2" disk drive. ;-) Nathan ST.LOU [Lou Rocha] Nathan, if you fold a 5.25" floppy to fit a 3.5" drive, does it still format as double-sided? :-) A.FASOLDT [Al Fasoldt] Lou, to format a folded floppy on both sides, you need MOEBIUS.PRG. Al Then, just when you begin to think that the "dumbness" tales are xaggerated, along comes proof that DOS/Windows types really are clueless: A.FASOLDT [Al Fasoldt] Nathan, I have received more than one call from readers who took my advice straight to heart (bypassing the head) when I said they should format many floppy disks at the same time. One reader complained that two would fit in the drive, but not three or four. . . Al POTECHIN [Nathan @ DMC] Al ... I'll go you one better. ;-) One of the guys came in here yesterday and repeated this story he'd just heard. It seems that this new computer owner took advantage of the 1-800 numbers now being advertised by IBM to offer support to everyone. The story goes that this person called up to complain because her floor pedal wasn't working and wondered what she needed to do to get it right. She was greeted by a long pause while the person on the other end first figured out what she was referring to and then controlled her initial response. It took me a few seconds as well. Fortunately, I've used the floor pedal on our sewing machine and was able to make the leap. But I must say, I don't think I would have ever placed the mouse on the floor and stepped on it, even the first time in my life I turned on a computer. Go figure. ;-) Nathan SIGN OFF This month's column was a little briefer than I intended due to a number of mishaps and best laid plans... etc. Next month is going to be much better. I will bring back a new series of GEnie Tip features that focus on the Aladdin terminal program, which Gordon mentioned in the library corner. Aladdin is the front-end terminal program that makes using GEnie a snap for even the faint-hearted novice. With the price of 2400 baud modems dropping well below $100.00 (or USED for $40.00), the availability of a free terminal program like Aladdin brings telecomputing within reach of every Atarian. If you have a GEnie account but don't have Aladdin, just type "ALADDIN" at any system prompt to get to Page 1000. There you will find notices to help you get your free copy of the latest version. If you don't have a GEnie account but would like to learn Aladdin, send mail to Joe Waters here at Current Notes. I'm sure Joe has Aladdin on his PD disks and for a small fee, Joe will ship you a copy on disk. Make sure you get your Aladdin so you can follow along next month. [CN Library disk #829 includes a number of programs useful to GEnie users including Air Warrior, Aladdin, the Aladdin Manual, Genie's Assistant, Aladdin's Magic Browser, Aladdin Script Manual and Tutorial, Aladdin Viewer. The disk also includes a program for CompuServer users called QuickCIS. CN disks are $4.00 each. -Joe Waters] SIGN UP GEnie's new rates are attracting a lot of users to telecommunications. For $8.95 US per month you get four hours of free connect time-long distance and sprint node charges extra. Additional time is charged at only $3.00 per hour. To sign up, just follow these simple steps: 1. Set your communications software for half duplex (local echo), at 300, 1200 or 2400 baud. 2. Dial toll free: 1-800-638-8369 (in Canada call 1-800-387-8330). Upon connection, enter HHH 3. At the U#= prompt, enter XTX99437,GENIE and then press [RETURN]. 4. Have a major credit card ready. In the U.S. you may also use your checking account number. (c) 1994, Current Notes Inc. (Reprinted from the April, 1994 issue of Current Notes.) * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ======================= 8-BIT TIDBITS by Rick Reaser ======================= MO' MOA IMPRESSIONS My kids and I have been playing a lot of Maze of AGDAgon (MOA) lately. Since my last column, I received my cartridge and buffered tri-link cable from Chuck Steinman. (I ordered by credit card over GEnie e-mail, which I thought was pretty slick.) It is a great game and the kids even have had friends over to play it. (Put that in your Sega Genesis or Super NES and smoke it!) The tri-link cable has three SIO connectors, as you might expect. One goes into my 130XE, the others go to my 800XL and vanilla 800. The cable is expandable so that you can easily hook another to it to double the number of computers that can play. What a clever design! The only problem I've really had with MOA is forgetting to hold down [OPTION] on my 800XL. I do have a few suggestions for future versions. 1. It would be nice to have different colors or "insignia" for each player so you can tell who you are blowing up. 2. The lack of "peripheral vision" is a little discomforting as mentioned by Dave Paterson in his review last month. The old game Wayout had a similar maze visual environment and I never noticed this problem. Maybe something could be learned by looking there. 3. The rule where you can't move after you drop a bomb should be an option. When you are face to face, whoever pushes the trigger first wins, if you both press. It would be nice to be able to run away after you drop. Not to be outdone, Chuck Steinman and Jeff Potter are ready to embark on another GameLink II Odyssey-mAGDAr Invasion Force. This one involves a contest. See the contest rules at the end of my column for further information. INFO HIGHWAY BLUES Just when I get my full up Internet account, they pull the plug on the Atari8 digest. This situation has caused quite a bit of consternation in the 8-bit community, but no one has stepped up and volunteered to crosspost the thing from usenet to the Internet. In the interim, it is possible for those with full Internet access to telnet to the Cleveland Atari Freenet and participate directly. Just: telnet freenet-in-a.cwru.edu (18.104.22.168). You usually get a menu first thing. Once you're actually on the system, even as a visitor enter "go atari" to reach the Atari SIG. Thanks to Michael Current for providing this tidbit. My FidoNet quest continues. I have a very cooperative SysOp on this end helping me out. Larry Black, the Atari 8-bit Echo Coordinator, has been in contact with us via NetMail to give suggestions. Hopefully, I will be back up on the echo soon. ELSEWHERE IN THIS ISSUE Robert Boardman joins us for the first time with a short piece on how his club reorganized their 8-bit library. Robert used his first Atari computer in April 1986, a 130XE, which he still has and uses. He joined the Toronto Atari Federation in 1989. (It's getting to the point where over half of our 8-bit authors are Canadian. <grin>) He was elected 8-bit Vice President in 1993. In real life, Robert helps people learn how to use IBM compatible computers and software. In the near future, we should be publishing Robert's review of UltiFont from TWAUG. This month marks the last installment of Frank Walter's series on TextPRO. If there is further interest in this topic, please let us know. UPDATES AND ERRATA In the February issue of CN, many of you noticed that we failed to print the DATA listing to generate the Card Macro, CARDER.MAX, from Frank Walters' article. So we are printing it here along with the DATA statements for DATA.MAX, which allows you to type the data items directly into the TextPRO editor. When using DATA.MAX, do not type 155; enter 30 instead, since TextPRO swaps these two characters when it saves the text. There was not enough room to fit Bill Mims' DOS comparison article in the February issue, for those of you still looking for it. We'll try to squeeze it in at a later date. Margo Sullivan posted an example of one of her Public Access TV images mentioned in her article last month to CompuServe (CIS). (See "Back to the Future-Atari 8-bits take on Wayne's World," Mar '94 CN) It's called ROTV.ARC and it's in CIS 8-bit Library 4. Display it using Picture Plus or Atari Artist. JVIEWXL Version 1, which was previewed for you by Tom Andrews, is now available on GEnie as file #6792 (JVIEW1.ARC). ON THE HORIZON Craig Rothman is preparing to write an update to his previous review of BBS Express Pro! v4.0b. Apparently, it has a lot of new, fantastic features. Bill Mims is ready to dig into an update of his review of PabQWK to cover the nuances of the recently released version 2.0. John Harris is still putting his thoughts together on a piece on Assemblers. (He's writing an assembler himself!) If you have a neat idea for an article, please contact me. PC XFORMER UPDATE Darek Mihocka did the first real public demo of a workable PC Xformer at the Sacramento show (which is today as I write this). Progess on the program is really picking up according to Darek. Here's what the program supports so far: - All graphics modes GR.0 through GR.8 - ST Xformer virtual disk files for floppy disk support (up to 8 at a time) - Interrupt support for the vertical blank, display list, and keyboard interrupts - 256 colors, on the fly color updates (i.e. rainbows), support for any kind of funky display list you can throw at it He's still working on support for: - Joysticks - Sound - Player missile graphics collision detection Darek's getting steady response from the community on the project. He's spoken with Nick Kennedy about SIO2PC to investigate ideas on that front. Right now, 8-bitters without STs would need a way (or friend) to convert their 8-bit stuff into ST virtual disk files (probably via Darek's Xformer Cable). We're working with Darek to do a "pre-release" preview of the program here in Current Notes like Tom Andrews did with JVIEWXL. PRISM STUDIO UPDATE Michael St. Pierre sent me the following additional information about his new Prism Studio product. Chuck Steinman will be writing a review of Prism for an upcoming issue of Current Notes. Here's a list of what Prism Studio does: * Combines the graphic capability of your Atari 8-bit computer with live action video, for realtime FULL COLOR video overlay. * Supports all Atari graphics/text modes, including custom display lists for split-screen effects. * Overlay of computer video based on luminance key principle (whenever the computer's image possesses luminance, this image will take the place of the live video). * External key input and video pass-thru provided for future expansion. * Special fade effects provided by two front panel controls, allowing selective or non-selective fades of computer imagery, determined by luminance value vs. control settings. * Comes with its own painted enclosure and power supply. * Simple plug-in installation on all standard NTSC compatible Atari 8-bit computers prior to the XE/XEGS models (400, 800, 600XL, 800XL, 1200XL). The price is $179.00. (CA residents will need to add sales tax.) S&H: USA $5.00, Canada $10.00. Allow 2-4 weeks for delivery. For further information or orders contact: MYTEK, P.O Box 750396, Petaluma, CA 94975-0396. FAXLINE: (707) 527-0674; GEnie: MYTEK. FINE TOONED ENGINEERING (FTE) FTe has BASICXL, BASICXE, MAC65, ACTION! and R-Time 8 Carts available for $49.95 including shipping. The OSS Carts are bundled with their respective toolkits. FTe also has a few P:R: Connections left for $34.95. FTe will also upgrade your SDX to the 4.21 ROM for $12.95, and you don't even have to send the old ROM in! U.S. Doublers are also available again for $24.95. FTe has decided to release SpartaDOS 3.2d & the SpartaDOS Toolkit (both disk based) as shareware. A one-time registration fee of $19.95 is requested. This will get you both manuals, as well as on the FTe mailing list. If user response is sufficient, upgrades will be provided to those who are registered. For those of you who have not used the Toolkit, it contains "Cleanup" and "DiskRX," as well as seven other very useful utilities. Disk Images of these disks will be uploaded to the networks, hopefully by the time you read this. If you've been using a "copy" of SpartaDOS, here's your chance to get legit! If you've already purchased 3.2d, the Toolkit utilities alone should be worth registering. If you actually have purchased "both" programs, you are welcome to support the cause (and be upgraded) if user response is sufficient. I failed to mention last month that the GEnie mail address for Mike Hohman and FTe is: F.TOONED. To register your SpartaDOS 3.2 contact: FTe, P.O. Box 66109, Scotts Valley, CA 95067. Phone: (408) GET-REAL. GENIE NEWS Current Notes will be featured at a GEnie Real Time Conference (RTC) on Wednesdady, 27 Apr 94, on Page 475, 10PM Eastern. Page 475 is the ST side of GEnie, but this is a combined 8-bit/ST Atari event. So, don't be shy guys. It should be a good time and we'll have banners up on the 8-bit side. In spite of the recent problems with crossposts of the comp-sys-atari8 digest from usenet to the Internet, GEnie subscribers are still in the know. Mike Todd has been crossposting the digest onto GEnie. BRAVO! According to a recent post on the GEnie Bulletin board, the OASIS International Network (OIN) is still hanging on. There have been a few hardware problems here and there that set things back at times. OIN is looking at using the Internet FTP to exchange the packets with New Zealand and Canada to help these folks cut down on toll charges. I am trying to find someone to tell us more about OASIS. There were so many good files on GEnie this past month, I thought I'd just list them here, before I mention what they are about. File Name Description 6793 QWK8.COM Offline reader for unexpanded XLs 6792 JVIEW1.ARC GIF decoder viewer for XL/XE's 6774 PABQWK20.ARC Ver 2.0 of PabQwk offline reader 6767 MEETCOWS.ARC Visual Poetry Program 6764 TAX93FED.SC SynCalc '93 Tax Template QWK8.COM is a simple Off Line Reader that doesn't have all the functionality of PabQWK, but has been getting good reviews because it is somewhat simpler to use and requires a simpler set up. I mentioned JVIEW1.ARC and PABQWK20.ARC earlier. Both are very impressive programs by all reports. (Both of these are also available on CompuServe as well.) I thought MEETCOWS.ARC was really cute and so did my kids. It was a little poem set against a semi-moving graphic. It would be a great user group demo. I thought I'd never see it, but someone actually put up the SynCalc template for the '93 tax year. Of course, I already did my taxes by hand and got my refund back. Rats!! BEST ELECTRONICS UPDATE I touched base with Brad Koda of Best to see how his new catalog is coming along. He's holding it up so he can add more stuff to it. It seems that Brad won another bid for items from Atari Corp. The new batch of stuff includes XM-301s, which will go for $19.95, and SX-212s, which will run $29.95. In addition, Best has a few more European titles to offer like Operation Blood and a Lemmings clone called Brundles. Both are big hits "on the continent," according to New Atari User. Brad is still working on his clock cartridge. I didn't realize this, but it will be an internal mount. You will unplug a chip on your motherboard and plug this module in, instead. It will be something, when it is finished. The planned price for the clock module with be less than $35. To me, the biggest news was that Brad has lowered the price of his XE TT Touch keys mod from $29.92 to $14.95. I was so excited, I sent him a check that day and will report my impressions when I get the thing installed. Essentially, TT Touch is a new set of contacts for XE machines that help eliminate "spongy keyboard syndrome." COMPUTER SOFTWARE SERVICES (CSS) NEWS I also chatted with Bob Puff this past month. He will be lowering the price on his Multiplexer device by the time you read this. So check with CSS if you are in the market for one of those things. BBS operators like them a lot. Bob also mentioned that he has worked with Mike Hohman of FTe to fix bugs in several of the OSS products. The MAC65 will now compile to disk under SpartaDOS. Several bugs in the MAC65 Toolkit are now fixed as well. ACTION! incompatibilities with SpartaDOS have been addressed as well. This is great news for all of us and all the fixed versions are available now. That's all for now. You can contact me via the snail mail or e-mail addresses at the front of the magazine. (c) 1994, Current Notes Inc. (Reprinted from the April, 1994 issue of Current Notes.) * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * TEXTPRO: A GUIDE FOR BEGINERS PART 7 - PRINTING TIPS by Frank Walters ------------------------------------------------------------------- KEY BOARD CONVENTIONS: Keys on the keyboard are surrounded by brackets. [START] means the START key. Inverse characters are bracketed by "less than" and "greater than" symbols. <=> means inverse =, which is entered from the keyboard by first holding down [SELECT] then typing the [=] key. Multiple key strokes are indicated by an "underline" symbol or _ connecting the indicated keys. "CTRL" indicates a "control character" which means the [Escape] key must be pressed prior to entry. [CTRL_G] indicates that you would first press [Esc] once then hold down the [CONTROL] key while pressing [G]. <CTRL_G> means to first press [Escape] once then hold down [SELECT], then hold down [CONTROL] key and while holding down both of those keys, press [G]. [CONTROL]_[G] is not to be a control character, so no [Esc] is required; just hold down [CONTROL] while typing a [G]. The same is true for [SHIFT]_[G]. ------------------------------------------------------------------- I never considered using TextPRO as my word processor until it included the feature that saved the printer equates in the configuration file. Then I could assign inverse upper case letters to send printer codes,0 and not have to go back to my printer manual every time I wanted to print using TextPRO. In this article, I will explain how to set up a print driver for your printer. I'll give you some ideas about additional help files and their associated macros, so you can review which special inverse print letters you have defined for each printer function. I'll present a simple idea to print an entire address list on labels. Finally, I discuss printing in two columns with TextPRO and a shortcut you can use to make the last page come out in equal length columns. PRINT DRIVER First, you have to get out your printer owner's manual to look up the ASCII codes for various functions. Next, decide which special inverse print key (letter) to assign for each function you wish to use. Finally, save these codes and associated print key in your TEXTPRO.CNF file so they are available whenever you load TextPRO. The easiest way to create a print driver is by typing all 26 inverse upper case letters in the editor like this: <A>=0 <B>=0 <C>=0 Pick which letter to use for each printer code. Try to use letters that are similar to the function selected. I use <E> for Elite; <P> for Pica; <C> for Condensed; <D> for Double Strike; <I> for italics; <Q> for NLQ font; <R> for Reverse Linefeeds; <S> for Super and Subscript; <U> for continuous underline; and <W> for double Width. I assign the remaining codes to the letters left over. If you go overboard and use up all 26 upper caseletters, there are two lower case letters that have no current function and can be defined exactly like inverse upper case: <a> and <v>. Now look up the ASCII codes that require escape (27) followed by another number. Replace the 0 (zero) with the ASCII number (following 27) in your printer manual. On the same line, type a description of the code so you can make up a help file using that information: <E>=77 E=77 Elite draft (12 cpi) <F>=111 F=111 Elite NLQ (12 cpi) For any function requiring three characters, just use the value immediately after the 27. Some printer codes require three characters. My printer uses 27,45,49 to turn underline on and 27,45,48 to turn it off. Since I use 48 and 49 for several other 3rd characters, I've defined the following inverse numbers: <0>=48, <1>=49, <2>=50, in my print driver. By using inverse numbers (which do not cause ESCape to be sent), TextPRO will not count the inverse numbers for computing where to break the line when it prints. For example, if <U>1 is used to turn underline on, TextPRO would count the "1" as one of the 80 characters even though it is part of the printer escape sequence and would not actually print on the paper. Using <U1> instead, TextPRO ignores the inverse characters in the count, as it should. The <U> sends 27,45, while the <1> sends 49, to complete the 3-character printer code for continuous underline on. When you finish, you may still have some unassigned letters that are equal to zero. You can always redefine them later. Now you are ready to force TextPRO to read the equates into the configuration section of memory. There are two ways to do this. You can move the cursor to the bottom of the text and use [CONTROL]_[W] (in Text Mode) to find the page and line at the cursor position. This forces the equates into the configuration section of memory as long as the cursor is below all the equates. Or you can actually print the file to get a hard copy of your equates list. This will install the equates in memory at the same time. Before saving the configuration, make sure TextPRO is configured to send the ESCape (27) character whenever it sends the value of an inverse upper case letter. Type [CONTROL]_[;] and reply [N] to both the "ASCII CR" and "Linefeed" prompts. Reply [Y] to the "Add ESCape" prompt. Type [SELECT]_[CONTROL]_[S] to save the configuration to TEXTPRO.CNF on your default drive so it will load automatically whenever you load TextPRO. HELP FILES Now you are ready to make a print driver help file. I use the same format as other help files. What mine looks like is shown in Table 1. Print Key letters, numbers and some other characters are inverse, along with heading and bottom line: --------------------------------------------------------------- TextPRO 5.0X Print Driver Key Panasonic 1092i set p/x A 6 lines per inch [default] p66 B 8 lines per inch p88 C Compressed draft 4 OFF x137 D Double strike ON X OFF E Elite draft x96 F Elite NLQ x96 I Italics ON J OFF N Pica NLQ x80 O Proportional O1 ON O0 OFF x85 P Pica draft [default] x80 Q NLQ Q1 Courier Q2 Bold PS Q0 OFF R Reverse Linefeed Rn/216" n=36/line S S0 Superscript S1 Subscript T Sub/Superscript OFF U Underline U1 ON U0 OFF W Double Width W1 ON W0 OFF x40 Y Paper-out DISABLE Z ENABLE #13 HELP> Menu START> Load Macro --------------------------------------------------------------- Table 1. Print Driver Help Screen Notice the right side includes lower case letters (p,x) which should be inverse. They indicate the values you also need if you use the printer commands on that line. This is a reminder that page width is changed and you may also need to change your margin numbers for different sized fonts. When you finish your help file, save it to disk with your other TPHELP files. Notice the bottom line of mine is #13, so I use the name: TPHELP.13. Now you have to load TEXTPRO.MAX and add the macro to display the new help file. I decided to use [OPTION_P] for my macro key for the print driver help file: P<=><CTRL_G>pp<=><CTRL_Q>TPHELP.13,E:[RETURN] Notice the "Goto" macro key, linking the upper case "P" to lower case "p" since you want it to work with either case. Save TEXTPRO.MAX to your default drive and then load it into the macro buffer with [CONTROL]_[V]. Test it out by pressing [OPTION]_[P] to see the help file displayed on the screen. If you redefined some inverse numbers in your print driver, edit TPHELP.06 to reflect the new values for the inverse numbers. Load TPHELP.00 and add the macro keys to display your new help files and then save it back to disk. DISK MACRO HELP FILE While on the subject of help files, I made another help file shown in Table 2, listing all my interactive disk macros with short descriptions: --------------------------------------------- TextPRO 5.0XMacro Library Macro Function CARDCR CL PS Card: Cond.(17): Rgt/Left CARDER EL PS Card: Elite(12): Rgt/Left CR Remove Carriage Returns DUAT DTC DUAT flight plan ENV ENV2 Envelope PS size envelope LINK Link-load to bank |2| & |M| #14 HELP> Menu START> Load Macro ---------------------------------------------- T able 2. Macro Help File Screen I only included an abbreviated listing to show you how to do it. The text in the top and bottom lines are inverse. Do not put a [RETURN] at the end of the bottom line of any TPHELP file. This will retain the cursor on that line when it is displayed on screen, giving you one extra line beforeit scrolls the title. Save this as TPHELP.14. Add another macro key to your TEXTPRO.MAX file to display this help file. Since macros use [CONTROL]_[V] to load, I used [OPTION]_[V] to read it, but [OPTION]_[M] (for Macros) would work just as easily. Use the example for [OPTION]_[P] above and substitute the new letter and change the file extension to .14 instead of .13. PRINTING ADDRESS LABELS Here is a tip I worked out for my sister who had to mail 250 newsletters. She needed to print labels from her address list. This is an easy way to do it. The address list must be a simple text file, which you can create with any word processor. Each address must have enough carriage returns to total six lines. A 3-line address should be followed by three blank lines with [RETURN] characters only. A 4-line address would be followed by two extra [RETURN] characters. Save your address list to disk. If your list is over 200 addresses, you might consider splitting the list alphabetically, i.e. ADDRESS.AM and ADDRESS.NZ. This will keep you from filling the buffer. You can print the two files separately, using wild cards in the DOS commmand. A standard 3 1/2" x 15/16" label will permit about 30 characters per line at 10 cpi pitch, or 36 letters at 12 cpi. Set the labels in your printer with the print head on the second line of the first label. A label will hold 5 lines at the default 6 lines/inch spacing. Use DOS to copy the address list from disk to printer, typing the source and destination like this: D:ADDRESS.??,P:[RETURN] That's all there is to it. Pretty simple, huh? You can send any font to the printer before copying the address file, but do not turn off the printer between installing the font and copying the file. Do not try to print the address list from TextPRO as it will set margins and send page breaks. But you can use TextPRO to configure the printer as desired using the previously described print driver commands and then exit to DOS and use the Copy command to print the address file(s). PRINTING TWO COLUMNS I made a hard copy of my sister's address list for her and printed it in two-columns per page to save paper. I'll explain how to format TextPRO for two-column printing. For an address list like above, you have to make a separate file with only five lines per address. Load the 6-line list. Use [CONTROL]_[G] and type [CTRL_+] three times. (Remember to type [ESC] before the [CTRL_+] to get the special "Control Character that looks like a bent arrow.) This enters three [RETURN] characters at the "Find:" prompt. Press [RETURN] and enter two [CTRL-+] characters at the "Change:" prompt. After the global replace, your address list will have one [RETURN] character removed from each address, leaving 5-lines each. This will allow 11 addresses per page in each column. Save it under a diferent filename than your 6-line list. At the top of the list, insert the following two printer format lines: <?>1<!>1<l>1<r>38<t>4<b>59 <i><?>2<!>1<l>41<r>78<t>4<b>59 The top line is for printing the first pass. The bottom line follows an info <i> character and is not used until the second pass. With the top and bottom margins set at 4 and 59, it will allow exactly 55 printed lines, or 11 5-line addresses. No addresses will be split between columns or pages. <?>1 tells TextPRO to start printing at page 1. The second line starts at page 2. <!>1 tells TextPRO to skip 1 page when printing. Thus it will print all the odd numbered pages when the first format line is active (1, 3, 5, etc.). If there is more than one file in your list, add the "goto" command for printing linked files at the end of each file except the last. Due to a bug in 4.56 and 5.0, the maximum length of the dev:filename.ext recognized by the "goto" command is 14 instead of 15. My example only uses 12: <g>D:ADDRESS.NZ[RETURN] Insert the paper with the top line under the print head and print the address list with [CONTROL]_[P]. When finished, roll the paper back to the original position. Insert an inverse <i> in front of the top format line. [CONTROL]_[DELETE] the <i> from the second format line. Print the second pass with [CONTROL]_[P]. It will start printing the right column with page 2 and all the even-numbered pages. I wanted to print a footer with page numbers and a title, so I counted the total printed pages and made a new file to print just the footer line. Let us assume it is six pages. Set the paper back to the first page, clear the editor and enter a footer line like this: <f> TITLE OF ADDRESS LIST<e>page <#>[RETURN] <nnnnn> The left margin of our document was set at 1 and footers ignore the left margin so I left a space after the <f> so the title would line up with the left column. Since I want to print footers on six pages, I needed to add five inverse <n> characters, to force next-page five times, for a total of six pages. Print the "footer" file and it will add the footer text and page numbers on your two-column document. That wasn't too difficult, was it? You can use the same principle and similar margins to print two-column text files. You might want to include <q>1 in your format lines to justify the right margins, like in magazines, although it is not necessary. When printing text files this way, the last printed page will not come out even. There is an easy way to correct this. Print the two-column text file as explained above. Tear off the last printed page with uneven columns. Delete the two printer format lines from the top of your file with [CONTROL]_[D] and [P] twice. Use [SELECT]_[CONTROL]_[F] to find the first few words at the top of the last page. Put cursor on first word and enter [SELECT]_[CONTROL]_[U] to "Delete to TOP" of text. Reply [Y]es and you will be left with only the text on the last page. Type [CONTROL]_[R] to replace the format lines from the paste buffer. Be sure the <i> is in front of the second line, not the first. Count the total lines on your printed last page and divide by two to find how many lines you want on each side of the page. Assume you have 84 lines and want 42 in each column. Add the top margin (4) to find line number 46. Change bottom margin to <b>46. Print the left column and reset the paper to the top. Move the <i> from the second format line to the top and print the right-hand column. Load your footer file and replace the <#> with the actual page number and remove the inverse <n>s at the end. Reset the last page and print the footer. Voila! You now have an evenly spaced last page to add to the other two-column pages of your document. CONCLUSION These printing tips should make TextPRO more useful to you. If you implement the HELP screens, TextPRO will be more user-friendly, as well. I've enjoyed writing this series of articles about TextPRO for you. Hopefully, this series has shown you that a kinder, gentler TextPRO is out there waiting for you to customize. (c) 1994, Current Notes Inc. (Reprinted from the April, 1994 issue of Current Notes.) * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * REBUILDING THE TAF 8-BIT LIBRARY Tips to Help Your Organize Your Library (C) 1994 Robert W. K. Boardman The Toronto Atari Federation (TAF) was established in 1981 by users of 8-bit Atari systems. At present we have over 200 members, a monthly newsletter, and a very active BBS. Since 1981 technology has changed so that almost all TAF members own 16-it machines. Despite the change in technology,we have a small (8-15) group of members who are actively involved with software and hardware on their 8-bit machines. Since the first Public Domain (PD)/Shareware floppy disk was sold to members, over 240 disks were compiled by the TAF 8-bit librarians. Until recently, the librarian could easily put together four disks a month of newly released PD/Shareware. About two years ago, the library went "on hold," because there wasn't enough software being written or released to warrant the release of new disks. We have released five disks of new 8-bit software since Sept 93, and more may be coming. All of those 240 disks were arranged numerically and in chronological order. We had both a printed catalogue and a catalogue on disk, which was given to all new 8-bit members. A printed chronological listing has its advantages for historical purposes, but makes it difficult for the inexperienced library user to find what they want. To make the library more "useable," in the summer of 1993, I decided to rebuild the library by types of programs rather than by dates. Three TAF members, Mike Seaman, Jeff Thomas and me, have worked on this project so far. The TAF ST librarians made a similar change the summer before and have found the new format easier to work with, particularly for new members or those members who have a need for one particular type of software. We had to work within some long established guidelines. All disks had to be single density, with no ARC or DCM files. (We had to work with the membership's lowest common denominators: 810 disk drives and no archiving software.) All disks, except those dedicated to one game or demo, have to include DOS (usually 2.5 but we used others), our TAF logo, and a menu programme. All disks should also have on-disk documents explaining what programs did and any restrictions (load with Basic out for example). We also included a Ramdisk file for those who could use it. We had some equipment restrictions that made some of the work more frustrating than it might have been otherwise. While my 130XE has been a 320XE for a few years, and my 1050 drive has a U.S. Doubler, I have only one drive. During some of the process we were able to use another drive and another 130XE, which certainly helped a lot. The ideal, of course, would have been a hard drive. Since almost all our disks have an overhead of about 180 sectors (roughly 20 Kbytes) a 20 megabyte hard drive would have been perfect. That we were able to accomplish this reorganization on the equipment available is a tribute to the flexibility of these computers as well as to the patience of TAF 8-bit members. The first step in the process was discovering what we already had in the library, and building a classification scheme. Our present (and long term) librarian, Dave Lee, made an excellent up-to-date printed catalogue, which we took apart, disk by disk, until we came up with the following classes: games, utilities, productivity, home use, education, text and DTP, graphics, music, communication, programming, hardware hacks, demos. Some classes were obviously going to be larger than others, and some material was difficult to classify. We wanted to avoid having the same programs in two different classes so sometimes we made arbitrary decisions. We decided that utilities would generally be small add-on programmes that directly affected other computer material, for example, ARC, SDV. Productivity programs allow the user to do a particular task more efficiently. We made a split between DTP and graphics because there is a large pool of material for the 8-bit built around text and graphics on paper (Textpro, DaisyDot, Printshop), and a separate pool for graphics on screen (animation, logos). We have some disks, which are not games, that have both animation graphics and sound. Most of these were placed in the Demo category. The Programming class includes what others might call utilities or productivity aids: renumbering, Pascal, etc. This class is of specific interest to programmers in various languages. The Home Use group includes a full disk of material for calculating the costs of running a car, various income tax programmes and templates, loan calculations, shopping list makers, and more. Once we had an idea of what classes of material we had, and how much there was, we started building the new disks. If we were recycling, we had to remove just the programmes and keep the standard overhead (DOS, logo, menu, ram). We also had to format many unused disks and put our standard files on them. Each disk in the old library was numbered in the on-disk menu as well as on the label, so we had to change all the numbering on recycled disks, and put it in place on the new disks. To take advantage of Ultraspeed on the U.S. Doubler, we formatted as many disks as we thought we would need for a particular session with DOS 2.5 and added the DOS files. Next the TAF logo (62 sector graphic), menu (in Basic) and ram driver were copied from RAM onto each new disk. We then switched over to Sparta and copied files from the old library disks into RAM until there were about 500 sectors used. Then we copied from RAM onto the disks. The process was usually so straight forward that it became very much like an assembly line. Put the original in the drive. Do a directory and copy what we want into RAM. Is RAM full enough yet? If Yes, copy RAM onto a new disk; if No, grab another original disk and copy more stuff into RAM. The work was fairly straight forward, repetitive and at times a little boring. However, we did discover several programmes that none of the three of us knew existed in our library. We also discovered how many programmes we have called "calendar.com"--three at last count--and how many different versions of Blackjack we have (more than three). With work and family obligations getting in the way, the transfer was put on hold in mid-December. We are about 2/3finished with the transfers of files. Adding a short document file to each disk is yet to be done (we'll use the old descriptions as often as possible). Textpro allows the user to copy a disk directory into a document, so we used that facility to keep an on-disk catalogue as we worked. At the moment it has only file names, soon we will add 20-30 character descriptions and then issue this new catalogue in both disk and printed form. The disk will have an ASCII text file in 40-column format (as well as the Textpro file) so any word processor can read it. Users will also be able to print the catalogue direct to the screen if they don't have a word processor. Since Textpro is part of our library, we will encourage members to own a copy so they can search the new catalogue easily. Once the job is finished, TAF is willing to share the resources of our library with other users and user groups, particularly those in Canada. Reg Loeppky, president of the Winnipeg users' group, is heading a movement to share newsletters and resources among all Atari user groups in Canada. The work TAF has done with Reg has so far been of benefit to 16-bit machine users, but there's no reason it shouldn't include the 8-bit veterans. Because of the efficiencies of programming for 8-bit machines and the size of their RAM, 240 90K diskettes hold an enormous number of programs. We are very pleased with the work so far, and have generated some new interest in the 8-bit library (even sold a few disks) since the rebuilding. If it weren't for the conscientious record keeping of the previous librarian, Dave Lee, our job would have been much more difficult. Having an accurate printed catalogue made the job straight forward. For user groups who wish to reorganize, I strongly suggest you find someone with a hard drive and do the work on it. If you want an electronic version of our finished catalogue contact me: GEnie: R.Boardman Internet: firstname.lastname@example.org CompuServe: 70034,3052 Printed copies can be ordered through (send large size SASE or $2 for copying and postage) to: Toronto Atari Federation, 5334 Yonge St, Suite 1527, Willowdale Ontario M2N 6M2 Canada (c) 1994, Current Notes Inc. (Reprinted from the April, 1994 issue of Current Notes.) * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ======================== EXPLORING ATARIWORKS by Michael 'Papa' Hebert ======================== PAGE SETUP, LABELS AND GRAPHICS In last month's review, I extolled the virtues of AtariWorks' paragraph formatting capabilities. Without a doubt this is the single most powerful feature in the AtariWorks word processor. This month we will be looking at some features that enhance AtariWorks' flexibility. MARGINS AND MODES AtariWorks provides a very comprehensive set of tools for defining the type of page that is to be printed. When you click on "Page Setup" under the File Menu, a large Dialog Box with a multitude of options opens (see figure 1). Your current printer selection is shown at the top of the Dialog Box. A click of the mouse button on the printer name will drop down a Selector Box, giving access to any other printer drivers you may have loaded in SpeedoGDOS (yes, you can have more than one). Along the left side is a row of Selector Boxes with three common paper sizes predefined. When you click on one of these boxes, the paper size will be shown in the Width and Height boxes. Clicking on the Others box allows you to enter a paper's size in the Width and Height boxes. Clicking on "Set Size to Current Printer" may be used with laser printers that register the size of paper in their tray and communicate that information to the computer. Printing orientation may be set to Portrait (upright) or Landscape (sideways) mode. The Landscape mode may be used to create banners up to 36 inches long. The Margins dialog permits defining Left, Right, Top and Bottom margins independently. This is an essential bit of flexibility. Some printers, such as the HP Laserjet, offset the top of the page downward. The offset can be compensated for by decreasing the top margin and increasing the bottom margin. Left and Right margin offsets may be used with tractor feed dot matrix printers if you find your pages not centered properly and do not want to shift the tractor positioning. The "grayed out" Print Row and Column Headers' selection becomes active when printing from the AtariWorks Spreadsheet. It gives the option of printing or not printing the row and column headers. You can check the Page Setup even while editing a document. If you find that the margins or any of the other parameters are not what you want, the appropriate changes can be entered. A single click on OK will return you to your document where you will find AtariWorks busily implementing your changes. It takes only a few seconds for AtariWorks to reformat a 10-page document. If you decide that the current settings are just what you need, a click on "Cancel" will send you right back to your document with no changes. Page Setup parameters are saved with your document and also in WORKS.INF, which is updated each time you exit AtariWorks. This is a blessing to some and a curse to others. If the last document you created had a peculiar page setup, you will find that setup repeated the next time you select New to start a document. This can be tremendously convenient, if you always use the same set of margins and print mode, but downright annoying for people who use several different layouts. The workaround is to create an assortment of "blank page" documents with your most used page setups. Loading a "blank page" document loads the proper page setup parameters at the same time. LABELS, LABELS, LABELS Clicking on Label Setup takes you into another one of AtariWorks' unique features (see figure 2). While many other word processors allow you to print labels and even do mail merge operations, very few permit you to define the label size. AtariWorks takes the Labels per Row and Labels per Column figures, compares them with the page margins and calculates the proper sizing of labels. A whole sheet of return address labels can be printed after entering the data in just the first label. It will be automatically repeated on each label. If you are printing mailing labels, the data may be merged into the label from an AtariWorks database and each label will be printed using the data from a different record (see figure 3). The Label Setup option is useful for any operation that involves repeating the same text and/or graphic layout several times on a page. I have used this option to print invitations, announcements and even a Thanksgiving table "pop-up" place marker (see figure 4). One user in Wisconsin has designed a postcard layout that prints an announcement on one side of cardstock paper. Flipping the paper over he loads his database and merges the addressee data on the second pass, complete with return address. All of the AtariWorks word processor bells and whistles are available for use in making custom "one of a kind" multiple labels. WOULD BE, COULD BE DTP AtariWorks, as I have said before, is quite capable of doing desktop publishing. The SpeedoGDOS fonts, combined with Paragraph Format/Style macros and AtariWorks' graphic handling abilities, create a fertile environment for all sorts of unique, eye catching documents. AtariWorks can import only two types of graphics formats : GEM metafile vector graphics and IMG bitmap graphics. Complementing AtariWorks with a shareware graphic file conversion utility, such as PicSwitch or GEMView, allows the use of all sorts of bitmap file formats, including photographic formats. GEM vector graphics created in any of the commercially available editors are usable as are those done in MyDraw and Kandinsky, which are readily available as shareware. Programs such as Avant Vector give the ability to convert Calamus CVG and Postscript EPS files to GEM format for use in AtariWorks. The graphics that are imported into AtariWorks can be resized, positioned at will, and even overlaid. Ordering the placement of combination graphics is a simple cut and paste procedure. Text elements can be created, then "metafile copied," with an undocumented [Alternate]+Copy command. The original can then be deleted and the metafile copy pasted in and repositioned just like any other graphic. In the screen shot illustration in figure 5, I used one bitmap graphic (the "X'ed" box), two GEM vector graphics created in MyDraw (the diskette and the word "Bodacious!") and four metafile copies (the word "Positively," and each of the three lines of text overlaying the bitmap graphic box). Bitmap IMG graphics will not appear on the AtariWorks screen except as an "X'ed" box. Initially, this can be very disconcerting, but you get used to it very quickly. It has two very positive advantages. One is speed, since the bitmap does not have to be redrawn every time you scroll the page. The other is file size. AtariWorks does not store the IMG with the text. Rather, it stores the path to the IMG as part of the file, just like Ventura Publisher. GEM graphics will show on the screen and they do slow down screen redraws considerably, especially in larger sizes. Once they have been sized and positioned, they can be "hidden" with a click on Hide Picture under the Edit Menu. When this has been done, the slowdown of screen updates is barely perceptible. Unlike IMG's, the GEM graphics typically have small file sizes and are stored in the AtariWorks file. Print speed will be affected to some degree by the number and complexity of graphics on a page. SpeedoGDOS has to take extra time to convert them into commands the printer can understand. The slow down is just perceptible on an HP Deskjet or Laserjet but can be very noticeable on older 9-pin printers with small buffer sizes. ATARIWORKS NEWS Is Black Page Syndrome fixed? Is Version 2 of AtariWorks imminent? The latest word through the ever "reliable" rumor mill is that Pradip is still working on the BPS fix--on his own time! Atari has him hard at work on Jaguar projects. And Version 2? I seriously doubt we will see that for some time to come. Am I worried about all this? Not really. I don't have enough sense to be worried. But what about BPS? We all know what the "cure" for that is--and it is being implemented through the "Decentralized Customer Support" network. Need I say more? AND NEXT MONTH . . . I plan to wind down the word processor portion of this review with an examination of AtariWorks' block operations. Following that, I will move on to the database and then the spreadsheet. 'Til then, keep healthy and practice a little "guerilla mode" thinking! (c) 1994, Current Notes Inc. (Reprinted from the April, 1994 issue of Current Notes.) * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ======================= WOODS MUSIC by Gary Woods ======================= CUBASE SCORE For the past few months I've been Beta-Testing the latest offering from Steinberg/Jones, Cubase Score for the Atari. For the foreseeable future they are going to be marketing three different versions of the program. The first is Cubase 3.02, which retails for $599; the second is Cubase Score, or version 3.5, which retails for $699; and the third is Cubase Audio, which allows the user to record audio direct to hard disk and retails for $999. For the purposes of this article, I'm going to confine most of my comments to the Score Editor on Cubase Score, because it has undergone the most radical changes. There is also a new MIDI Mixer Module in the package, and some other goodies that I'll talk about later, but the Scoring function is the real focus here. Cubase is such a great sequencer that the addition of a wonderful scoring module has really enhanced the overall product. The Tools available in the Editor (figure 1) are the "Arrow," which is used to move elements like notes, text, and barlines. The "Eraser," which is used to remove objects. The "Rest," which is used to put rests in the score with the cursor changing shape to reflect the type of rest being placed. The "Scissors," which break the staff where desired, meaning you can have 2, 3, 4, or more measures per staff. The "White Arrow," or Layout Tool, which is used to adjust the layout for things like how far apart the staves are from each other. The "Magnifying Glass," which allows the user to hear particular notes in the score. The "Pencil," which is used to place objects like text, clefs, chords, or any of the other marks which the program generates onto the page. The "Note," which, like the "Rest," changes the shape of the cursor with the value of the note being placed, is used to input notes. And finally, the "Glue Stick," which is used to bring staves from different lines together. When you start working with the program, the first thing you'll notice is that everything moves much quicker. The programmers have really worked hard to speed up all the screen redraws and the placement of notes and text. This is particularly evident in the Score Editor, but the entire program works much faster. Also, as long as I'm talking about speed, run, don't walk, to your nearest purveyor of Atari software and get Codehead Technologies, Warp 9 Version 3.81. This little screen accelerator placed in your Auto Folder at boot up will immensely increase your enjoyment of all Cubase programs, not just Cubase Score. The only thing to remember is to copy a program called CUBASE.DAT from the original Warp 9 disk onto your root directory and rename it WARP9.DAT. If you don't do this, the screen saver will engage and Cubase will crash. But now, back to Cubase Score. When you first bring up the Score Editor screen, you will see displayed just above the manuscript area, boxes with the numbers 1-4 in them. These are for use with what is called Polyphonic Voices. Cubase can display up to four separate voices on each line, which is very handy for those of you who deal with choral music. Each voice can be displayed with the stems up, down, or automatically, and with the rests shown or hidden. Also, each voice can have a different quantization, or, for that matter, different sections of the same voice can be quantized differently. And, as with all Cubase quantizing that hasn't been Frozen, it can be unquantized to the original value. The display is quite flexible and very easy to manage. Next to the numerals 1-4 are note values from a whole note to 64th. Also, there is a "T" for Triplet, and a "." for dotted values. These notes are for "Step-Time" entry of music onto the score and make it quite easy to change note durations. As you can see in figure 1, the note icon has been highlighted; this is the tool used to input new notes into the score. Unlike previous versions, notes are placed onto a snap grid, which is set to the value of the note being placed. Also, notes may be moved up and down chromatically now instead of diatonically as in the previous versions. This means you no longer have to press Control to place a note outside the current scale. The next area across the top is for Enharmonic Shifts. Clicking on a note, then on one of these symbols will, for example, change a note from an F Sharp to a G Flat to an E Double Sharp. You can change several notes at the same time by holding down the shift key and then clicking on each of the notes you want to alter, then making your selection. On the subject of Enharmonic Shifts there is an adjunct to a feature called "Make Chords" that, when activated, will apply the correct Enharmonic Spelling for notes throughout the score. The option is called "Use Chord Track for Accis." (More on this later.) Moving on down the line, next to the Enharmonic Spellings is a large bold faced "I" (see figure 2). By inversing a note and clicking on the "I," a box that allows the user to change such attributes as the Note Heads comes up. There are many different types available, from harmonics to various kinds of percussion notes. Below the note heads, bowings can be selected for string instruments. Next, a stem direction option can be chosen with Up, Down, or Auto being the choices. On the other side of the page, you can choose to make a note a grace note, or make it a small or "Cue Note," which is used to indicate activity on other parts of the score. Back on the main Score Editor Screen, next to the "I" icon, are two arrows pointing Up and Down. These are also used for Stem Direction, and like the Enharmonic Spelling, can be used on several notes at once by holding down the shift key and continuing to select notes. Also, as I stated before, when used in conjunction with Polyphonic Voices, for example, you can have all the Stems for a particular part going up or down as needed. Next to the up and down arrows is a tool that has saved me a lot of time. The icon has four arrows pointed in four different directions and it is the symbol for "Auto Layout." By selecting this feature, it will automatically proportionally space out your score, making it very readable. This feature can be applied to a single staff, a single page, or the entire composition. In the previous version of the program, there was a great deal of time spent moving items one way or another, and combined with the general slowness of the editor, it really made laying out a score very tedious. Next to Auto Layout are four eighth notes with a grayed out portion between notes two and three. This is used to separate eighth notes into groups of two instead of groups of four, and, like all the other features, it can be used with the shift/click feature to apply it to many notes simultaneously. The last command on the line is simply labeled "Hide." In a program that automatically places a great deal of information on a score, the Hide feature is very helpful. It's surprising how many extraneous elements can creep into a score, and with Hide you can remove everything from a dot to an entire stave of music. On the other side of the coin, under the "Options Menu," is something called "Show Invisible," which will display items such as Stem Lengths, Split Rests, and all the stems that were previously hidden. Running down the right side of the score are the various Symbol Menus. There are six in all, including those for Chord Symbols, various layout features like 1st and 2nd endings, tablature, bowed tremolo marks, and dynamics. I haven't found a symbol yet that I needed that was not represented on the Symbol Menus. Also on the symbol menus are several representations for Text and Lyrics. Text can be placed as part of a layout so that, as the layout is edited, the text moves with the stave that it was originally attached to, or it can be placed independently so that edits don't effect its placement. Lyrics are placed in relationship to noteheads, and this is one area that I really noticed how much quicker this program works than the previous edition. Text input, editing, and placement all work much quicker than before, cutting the amount of time that it took me to do a composition about in half. On the subject of Text and Lyrics (figure 3), the program now has a 3rd font called "Antigua," which is an Italic Font and looks great. For things like "Ritardando" and "Accelerado," this font should be ideal. Also on the disk, there is a new Geramont font that looks quite good. All of these fonts can be displayed with different characteristics like Bold, and Underlined, as well as with Boxes and Ellipses around them, so there is quite a variety of looks available for your text. Lest you think that this program is all about look and not about sound, there is a whole page of MIDI Meanings for Symbols. Such things as Staccato, Tenuto, and accent can all have a MIDI meaning that is user definable. Also, there is a Drum Map so you can Map pitches to the individual sounds in your modules, yet display them however you would like on the score, with different note heads and positions on the staff. A couple of interesting features are something called "Score Notes to MIDI" and "Build N Tuplet." Score Notes to MIDI takes the notes from a score and realigns the MIDI data so that it plays back exactly as it is on the score. This is helpful, for instance, with the other feature Build N Tuplet. This feature takes several notes and combines them into irregular groups like 5's, 7's or whatever is required. Then, by applying Score Notes to MIDI, they can be played back correctly. This saves a lot of time trying to arrange them into exact rhythmic groupings in the other editors. Figure 4 displays the options in the box called Staff Settings. In this area, the way the part is displayed on the screen can be manipulated and then saved as a preset. Such things as No Overlap, meaning that if a note is held slightly longer so that it goes into the next note, this overhang is not displayed. Also, there is a setting called Clean Lenghts. This means that if a note is not held xactly to be a quarter note or whatever, it is not displayed with 4 dots behind it, or instead of a quarter note displaying it as an 8th note tied to a 16th tied to a 32nd, etc.. You can also set up separate quantized values for notes and rests so that you don't end up with unreadable and cumbersome rest patterns, like a quarter rest followed by a sixteenth followed by a thirty second. There is an option for setting a split point so that a keyboard part played in as one part can be displayed on two staves, and also an otion for setting up Polyphonic Voices, where more than one voice is displayed on one staff. In another menu, there is something called Explode (see figure 5.) This would allow you to play a three note chord, for example, and expand it out automatically to three parts to be printed and played by three different instruments. For someone who has copied a lot of parts by hand, this is a real time saver. On the next menu down, is something called "Make Chords." This feature is great if you are unsure of what to call a chord because it will name all the chords in your score automatically. Also, as I mentioned earlier, there is an option that will help you display the accidentals correctly so that they agree with the key signature and chords. I was really quite impressed with this feature; its accuracy was amazing, even when I tried to trick it with some oddball extensions and root notes. After you've spent the time to create a perfect layout for a song, there's a provision that allows you to save it so that you can use it with other parts or other songs. Some of the elements saved are Repeat Signs, Double Bars, Rehearsal Letters, and Text. There is also a command that would allow you to see exactly what is saved before you save it. A real space saver is the implementation of "Multi-Rests." This feature will take a string of rests and reduce them to one multi-bar rest. This rest can be broken up into more than one multi-bar rest, like taking a seven bar rest and dividing it into three and four bar segments. Also, it automatically breaks a multi-bar rest at places like double bars. In the Options area, there is a great deal of control over things like how far apart the sharps and flats are in the key signature, how close the clef is to the bar, how wide the slurs and beams are, placement of bar and page numbers and many more options. With the potential of up to 127 staves, you can deal with as large an orchestra as required and still have staves left over. Added to all this are the normal Cut, Copy, and Paste features you would expect on a sequencing package and it really makes for a full featured music manuscript program. When it comes time to print out your score, there is something called "Fast," under the print menu. This prints out the part in about a third the time it would normally take so you can make final adjustments without having to wait. The normal printout on my Hewlett Packard LaserJet II is approximately five minutes a page, and it looks great. Bundled with Cubase Score are some other goodies. First, is a rather good Arpeggiator. You can have as many as four different arpeggio patterns loaded at any one time, using the preprogrammed patterns or making up your own. Some of the variables are quantization, length of the longest note, length of the shortest note, whether the pattern goes up only, down only, or both directions. I found it very easy to use, and quite useful in some of the things I was working on. I've never used an arpeggiator before, but this module could prove to be useful for me. The next item in the bundle is a Sysex-Editor for editing large Sysex Dumps. I've also been testing the "Studio Module," which does similar types of manipulations; I'll talk about it in another column. So the Sysex-Editor didn't have much use for me. Something else in the bundle is called "GM Name." This works in conjunction with the Part Inspector, and instead of displaying program numbers, it shows first the name of the class of instrument, like Piano, Organ, Bass, etc. Then off to the right of that is displayed the exact preset name like Slap Bass, Synth Bass, etc.. It is really a very slick module for someone who uses General MIDI devices in their setup. Cubase Score is also up and running on the MacIntosh and PC platforms, with Cubase Audio running on the Mac, but not the PC, at this time. The Score Editor is a real full-featured module that has finally come up to the quality standard set by the sequencing part of the program. I recommend it for anything from lead sheets to full scores and parts. If you have any questions or suggestions on anything I've written, or for future articles, please don't hesitate to contact me at: Gary Woods 6428 Valmont St. Tujunga, CA 91042 818-353-7418; FAX 352-6559 (c) 1994, Current Notes Inc. (Reprinted from the April, 1994 issue of Current Notes.) * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ======================= ATARI IN THE STICKS by Henry van Eyken ======================= THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD'VE Or How many times can you fold a sheet of paper in this Age of Oversimplification? Question: A package of 500 sheets of paper is one inch thick. How thick is one sheet of paper after folding it over 52 times? Solution: 252/500 inches = 9 trillion inches. Question: The average distance between Earth and Sun is about 93 million miles. What is this distance expressed in inches? Solution: 93x106 x 5280 ft/mile x 12 in/ft = 6 trillion inches. Compare answers. * * * Try folding a sheet of paper more than seven times and you'll know it isn't easy. But the calculation for folding a sheet 52 times is, and the answer dramatically demonstrates the awesome power of exponentiation. Yet, the continued linefaction of a paper plane while it is of paper no more is only whimsically relevant, a virtual reality, an abstraction, a game if you wish. Its relevance lies not in the blunted edges of the folds, but in sharpened razors of mind. It helps develop insight. Closer to reality is the scenario of the next problem, reportedly taken from a first-year algebra book: "Mary's mother needs three hours to do the laundry. If Mary helps her, they can do the laundry in only two hours. How long would it take Mary to do the laundry by herself?" An educator had selected it for thougHtful analysis: "This problem was obviously written by someone who had never done the laundry. Doing the laundry is usually not a two-person activity ... various quantities of soap ... machine goes through its cycles ... not make the agitator go faster ... soggy mass is then transferred to dryer ... search for the missing sock. The point is that most of the problems presented to students in mathematics classes are patently unreal. Rather than motivating the students to solve problems and study more mathematics, these problems teach ... that mathematics has nothing to do with the real world."(1) All very true, but I don't think that's the main point. Neither does Mary. More likely, the right brain is convulsed into urging the left brain to make an excuse for getting out of this dull chore. Heck! Laundry is no fun. "Mathematical learning should be integrated with play," says no less than the American Association for the Advancement of Science.(2) That should make math fun by association. What student in his rightsided mind would welcome less than that? * * * The full title is: The Very First Original Fleabyte Course On How To Program And Make Good Use Of A Casio Or Tandy Pocket Computer & Guide To Provide An Insight Into Why And How The Pocket Computer Can Play A Vital Role In Education And Work.(3) Whimsical? Of course. But I was not selling snake-oil. I wanted those teachers who were thinking of taking this three-credit course to have some idea of what they would be in for. Academic officialdom shortened the title to a sober Pocket Computers in Education. We shan't have PCs that aren't PC. THE DEARLY DEPARTED Those Casio and Sharp and Tandy programmable pocket computers are little marvels. Too bad they don't sell them anymore in Canada nor, I believe, in the U.S. Casio and Sharp used to make model after model, some sold under the Radio Shack or Tandy label as well. My first one (bought in 1985, I believe) is a Radio Shack PC-4, which had all of 544 bytes of RAM to play with. I soon raised my investment from $90 Cdn by another $25 to triple its capacity to 1.568 bytes. This can be divied up among ten stored programs. Straight from electronic memory they come; no waiting. Additional programs may be stored on magnetic tape, which is a pain. However, my Sharp computers can share intelligence with an ST as well. Figure 1 depicts the Casio FX-730P. The PC-4 has a 12-character-wide scrollable liquid-crystal display: [Insert graphic.] Other models have displays of up to 24 characters. Using a small, 0.2-K program, these windows are more than sufficient to show that 252 thicknesses of paper = 4,503,599,627,370,496 thicknesses of paper. If desired, another 1-K program will put this number into words, four quadrillion five hundred and three trillion &c. Nevertheless, the small windows make it often necessary to employ a tiny printer. Casio's produce 1.45-inch-wide thermal hardcopy; Sharp's are twice that width. One Casio, the FX-820P, has a printer built in, Fig. 2. What makes these, now unavailable devices so interesting? Well, they are more than computers; without any programming they are also full-function calculators. And, like calculators, they really do fit in a pocket and, hence, may be used anywhere, be it for serious work or for turning math into play. They should be great for kids, inside and outside our classrooms, and great for professionals of various stripe. As a teacher, I still use them to check students' work, using a glue stick to fasten the narrow strips of rice-paper print-out to their laboratory reports, and I am sure others must have found their own good uses. A TOUCH OF CLASS I know, no longer does programming computency make, not by popular concensus anyway, but why blindly follow the crowd? Let's keep our own minds open. Let's dabble in it a bit, if for no other reason than to understand why we feel the way we do. Only a few commands are needed to program one of those pocket computers (see Box). Essentially, they allow one to make loops for repetitive operations, to make conditional statements (if ... then ... statements), and to manipulate character strings. Here, as an example, is a program for averaging numbers. For readers unfamiliar with programming, I have included a separate column, headed Data Flow, whose vertical columns show how data change during the running of the program when averaging 58 and 84: PROGRAMDATA FLOW 10 CLEAR|I=0, T=0 20 PRINT "E for exit"| 30 LET I=I+1|When I= 1 2 3 40 INPUT "Value",V$|then V$= 58 84 E 50 IF V$="E" THEN 80| 60 LET T=T+VAL(V$)| T= 58 142 70 GOTO 30| 80 PRINT "Ave ";T/(I-1)|T/(I-1)= 71 The letters I and T, in lines 30, 60, and 80, represent numerical values. At the outset these are set to zeros by CLEAR. A single letter followed by a dollar sign, like V$ in lines 40 and 60, represents a string of characters, which may consist of letters, digits, and other symbols. (A string may be as short as zero characters, which I then identify by "".) The program's lines are read by the computer in the order of increasing line numbers preceding them. When the program runs, it first reminds the user to press E when finished with typing in the numbers to be averaged. The sign "=" means either equals or, particularly in a statement beginning with LET, replace by. Thus line 20 replaces the existing value of I by I + 1. In this instance, zero is replaced by one. The computer then asks: Value? You type in the first number-58 in the above example. Because you entered characters other than an E, the computer will replace the existing value of T, which is 0, by VAL(V$), which is the value read from the character string just entered. The computer then returns to statement line no. 30 and asks again: Value? Cycling continues until you enter E. Then the conditional statement of line 50 makes the program jump to line 80 where the average is calculated and displayed. The example contains a loop and a condition to be met. It also offers an example of string manipulation: VAL(V$), which takes the value of a string. The programmer might include a guard against mistakes. Anticipating, for example, that the word EXIT is entered instead of the single letter E, a potential error can be avoided by changing line 40 to: 40 IF MID$(V$,1,1)="E" THEN 70 to isolate the first character of EXIT. MID$(V$,1,1) is another example of string manipulation. To readers in-the-know: Sure, this is "Street" BASIC and the program is sensitive to input errors. I merely want to show how a program works and thereby help the reader balance cost versus benefit.(4) The point is, it doesn't require much imagination to realize that fine computing can be done with a simple, and cheap!, pocket computer without a long list of commands to memorize. It doesn't require extraordinary powers of reflection that such computing might have pedagogical value by developing greater comfort with numbers and, thereby, superior numeracy. And that it insists on users assuming a habit of discipline without which programming is impossible. And when all is said and done, it shows students that memorizing formulas is not the same as getting an education.(5) MUTILATION BEYOND HOPE Why were programmable pocket computers taken off the (North American) market? Presumably, there was not enough demand. There is resistance to learning how to program. The Fleabyte course was mostly well received, but having given it a few times, I know that there are outstandingly bright people who find it hard to come to grips with this particular activity-programming. Maybe they feel they have little use for it. Maybe this is because of minds differently formed, maybe because of a different path through life or because of other matters vying for attention. Or maybe I still had to learn how to better conduct such a course, how best to adapt it to a variety of individuals, how better to demonstrate its immediate value and its potential. Ultimately, the course could no longer be offered because those programmable pocket computers were withdrawn from the market and non-programmable, personal organizers such as the Sharp's Wizard and Casio's B.O.S.S. began to take their place. Please, do not ask me why anyone would prefer an electronic diary over an old-fashioned one made of paper. Somebody else will have to explain that one. This essay is about cheap, programmable pocket computers, not about organizers. When desktop computers made their grand entree, the argument was less whether students should learn to program than what programming language is best. BASIC had acquired a bad odor emanating from its GOTO statement. The sample above shows such a statement explicitly in line 80, and there is one implied in line 50 because that line really means to say 50 IF V$="E" THEN GOTO 80 Word had gotten around that, "It is practically impossible to teach good programming to students that have had prior exposure to BASIC: as potential programmers they are mentally mutilated beyond hope of regeneration."(6) "The unbridled use of the go to statements ... is too much of an invitation to make a mess of one's program."(7) GOTO, critics say, allows budding programmers to create unstructured code that makes detour after detour. This spagheti code is hard to trace by people (no, not by computers) and, hence, hard to correct or otherwise modify. But for the kind of programming I am writing about here, with very short programs, GOTO shall not mutilate impressionable minds anymore than learning to write English can. The unbridled use of pencil or ink creates far more unstructured code than the GOTO statement ever will. It's a matter of practice and discipline. Properly structured programming is well accomodated by such new BASICs as our GFA BASIC and Microsoft's Q-BASIC. Here, for comparison, is the averaging program in GFA BASIC with statements written to fit a 24-character display window. It is easier to read than Casio's Street BASIC, especially because indenting, which is done automatically, makes loops stand out visually. And it shows no GOTO. PROGRAMDATA FLOW CLR i,t|I=0, T=0 PRINT "E for exit"| REPEAT| LET I=I+1|When I= 1 2 3 INPUT "Value", V$|then V$= 58 84 E LET T=T+VAL(V$)|T= 58 142 142 UNTIL MID$(V$,1,1)="E"| PRINT "Ave ";T/(I-1)|T/(I-1)= 71 TAKING CUES FOR CLUES Not only do many students enter college illiterate, many arrive also without much skill and insight in arithmetic and algebra. They meet my chemistry problems by fiddling with numbers till something comes up they pray is reasonable. Is this only a consequence of that proverbial grasping for straws, or is it the outcome of a history of brainwashing in exploiting clues that may be utterly irrelevant? I recently attended a session on numeracy conducted by a teacher who has served in various capacities in the American Mathematical Association of Two-year Colleges and, hence, is well placed to deal with that topic.(8) It gave me an opportunity to see classroom interactions through the eyes of a teacher in another discipline. These included stories about children's approaches to problem-solving. One boy who had done quite well throughout school said that if a problem contains two big numbers, he subtracts; if one number is big and the other small, he divides; but if the division doesn't come out even, he multiplies instead. Apparently, that works well enough to get passing grades. Among the examples given, I like this little design for finding out what fraction of college students fall for clues hat aren't pertinent: "Judy is 33, unmarried and quite assertive. A magna cum laude graduate, she majored in political science in college and was deeply involved in campus social affairs, especially in anti-discrimination and anti-nuclear issues. Which statement is more probable? (a) Judy works as a bank teller. (b) Judy works as a bank teller and is active in the feminist movement."(9) Non-pertinent clues are the Achilles' heel also of chemistry. Familiar to me was the observation that many textbooks are cooked to meet the market of this Age of Oversimplification; written to lessen short-term pain at the expense of long-term gain: "Some textbooks, and even some tests, seem to have been written by people who have joined in a conspiracy to make it appear that children have learned to solve problems when they have in fact only learned how to take certain kinds of tests. Such activity is harmful largely because it takes time and effort away from the serious goal of helping children understand and deal with the real world."(1) Did I not write the same in this column a few months ago? "The prescribed course text was a "How-to" manual more than a proper textbook... . The book had given my student a sense of security ... and her mascara began to run when she recognized her sense of security had betrayed her. She had already crossed too many bridges without having accomodated needed concepts and principles. By now she was thoroughly confused and frustrated... ."(10) Too many textbooks simply emphasize what formulas must be memorized, then add some dumb drill. It all goes something like so: Memorize: Surface area of a sphere: 4 c r2. Exercise: What is the surface area of a sphere with a radius of 4 inches? Problem: What is the radius of a sphere with a surface area of 100 square inches? The exercise demands of a student to perform at the intellectual level of a cheap calculator. To solve that what I loftily called a problem, he must aspire to be like a slightly more expensive calculator. Often (usually?) not required is practice that leads to more readily recognizing what neuronic or electronic algorithms to apply in tackling real, worthwhile problems, or, possibly, to scorn algorithms altogether.(11) Small wonder that college students' approaches to problem solving are too often haphazard. Students who can't read grasp for clues that are not at all pertinent because they can't discern what is pertinent. So, there you have it: a sad truth about how well young people are prepared for our global village, prepared neither for competition nor cooperation. ALGORITHMIC PROGRAMMING Every so often I encounter arguments for chess in school. The needed concentration and discipline make for better minds. No question about that, but I propose that we take a hard look at computer programming instead of chess as the means. Programming requires discipline to handle it logically and systematically. It has the added advantage of being useful. There is good reason for having kids program at as young an age as maturation allows. By using, especially in the beginning, a language with few commands should help focus on what is needed most: developing problem-solving strategies or algorithmics.(12) Irrelevant clues will not see them through. Once students can write programs, they may use them to rapidly generate insight-engendering numbers from given data. One may expect that this will further improve learning. The reader will understand why I think it is a pity that those cheap Casio and Tandy pocket computers went off the market. But understand correctly, I never did consider them quite good enough as they are. Their merit is that, with minor improvements, they can help prepare students for a more demanding future. Beyond that, fully-featured pocket computers may well evolve into tools that will be part of that future by providing on-the-person intelligence. Pocket computers have returned to the market. They range from expensive Hewlett-Packard products to the more reasonably priced Atari Portfolio with its uncertain future. Should we pick up where we left off? For now, we work mainly with our desktops. If one overlooks their lack of mobility, they are more convenient even for exploring the pedagogical games that may be played with pocket computers (eventually?). But for such applications we want only a small command set with a view to easy mastery. Learning the language must not get in the way of learning to program. We want students to become better problem solvers, not bigger catalogs. This points to a need to distinguish the kind of programming I have in mind (call it algorithmic programming, if you wish) from professional and hobby programming. Look at writing. Schools teach students how to write up to a point; they don't teach writing poetry and novels. What programs might students make? The variety seems endless. Most of all, I think, we must value those that expand their sense of numbers and grasp of number systems. Many would fall in the fun-with-numbers category such as algorithms for generating triangular numbers, a Fibonacci sequence, the sum of an algebraic or geometric series, residues with repeating and non-repeating decimals, the prime number sequence, common factors, conversions between number systems (such as to and from Roman numerals, of course!), iterations, what-have-you. Then, there are all sorts of algebraic and geometrical algorithms they might develop, e.g. for solving simultaneous equations and Diophantine equations, for calculating c.(13) How about monetary problems with their variety of interesting interest algorithms for those who either borrower or lender be? How about sorting routines and solving alphanumeric puzzles in which letters parade as digits? The Sun is the limit. TRAINS OF THOUGHT In keeping with this essay I like to conclude with another simple program, one that might make Mary take notice. As I remember, there used to be a lot of ditch digging going on in math classes, with scenarios like this: Peter's father needs three hours to dig a ditch. If Peter helps him, they can dig the ditch in only two hours. How long would it take Peter to dig that ditch by himself? After working the problem, Peter, who would rather help out in the yard than attend classes, went on to create a program for problems of this ilk. He decided he might as well generalize it to meet various contingencies. For example, it might accomodate more than two people on a job or the finding out how long it takes to complete a job by people with different personal productivities. Here is his program, along with an indication of the data flow for the problem as posed above. (See program listing in box.) The Number to be entered is the number of people participating. After One, enter the time it takes one person to do the job; if nothing is entered, the program will later ask how long it should take the team to do the job. If you have GFA BASIC, you might copy it and have it answer the question that follows, or else you might find the answer by tracing the above data flow layout: It would take Peter's father three hours to dig a ditch and it would take his big uncle two hours to do the same job. They want to get the job done within one hour and decided to work together and ask Peter to pitch in as well. The three made it just in time. How long would it have taken Peter to dig the ditch by his lonely self? And how about this problem, so much dearer to my heart? It takes Little Red Engine six hours to pull a train from Montreal to Ottawa. The Silver Streamliner can do it thrice as fast. How soon could they be in Ottawa by pulling together? Yes, indeed, it is the thought that counts! Algorithms are not to be applied blindly. We shan't take thinking out of service too rashly, as many of our textbooks do. Neither should little Fleabyte have been taken out of service too rashly. We need product cycles that allow us to come to terms with what's new on the market. We need time to crystallize experience in how computers may serve students preparing for their future. Building that experience demands a broad view of things, a systems view. It just isn't good enough to know something about computers, or about modern educational technology. It isn't good enough to know something about people, or about their learning. And it isn't good enough to know something about the planet we share and about separatist habits of mind. We must also vanquish that paralysis mislabeled realism and move on, dreaming of better ways. Surely, we can think we can. ;) CONTACT: On GEnie: H.VANEYKEN Address: 11 Falcon Lakefield, Quebec, J0V 1K0 Canada NOTES & REFERENCES (1) Stephen S. Willoughby, Mathematical Education for a Changing World, ASCD, Alexandria, Virginia (1990), p.41. (2) The reference is to an aspect of the AAAS' Project 2061: Science For All Americans that defines literacy goals in science, mathematics, and technology. (3) Pocket Computers in Education. Course for educators given under the auspices of the University of Sherbrooke. 1987 - 1989. (4) This level of programming skill is also needed for (many, all?) proprietory scripting languages, such as for automating telecommunication programs. That's Write 2 employs a scripting language called Follow Instructions. And who never heard of Mac's HyperTalk? (5) Quipped behaviorist B.F. Skinner, "Education is what survives after what has been learnt has been forgotten." (6) Edsger Dijkstra, "How Do We Tell Truths That Might Hurt?" Selected Writings on Computing, 1975. (7) Edsger Dijkstra, "Go To Statement Considered Harmful." Note in Comm ACM 11, No.3: 147-148 (March 1968). (8) Brian E. Smith, Numeracy: The Relationship Between Mathematics and Language. Discussion organized by the Centre for Literacy of Quebec, Inc., at Dawson College, Montreal, Feb. 10, 1994. (9) The scenario was developed by psychologists Tversky and Kahneman and quoted in John Allen Paulos, Innumeracy. Vintage Books, 1990. Tversky and Kahneman found that 85% of college students erroneously responded that (b) was more probable. But, then again, that could happen to the best of us if we don't attend to what we read. (10) vE, "Changing Minds," Current Notes, Oct. 1993, p.22. (11) From "Reading in the Mathematics Classroom: Unresolved Issues," J. Reading, Feb. 1994, p.389: A survey of 114 U.S. middle school math teachers finds reading comprehension rather than "computation or decoding" [Roughly: "plugging-in numbers," vE.] prevents students from doing word problems. (12) I would suggest that college departments of mathematics formally become departments of mathematics and algorithmics. Suggested reading: David Harel, Algorithmics: The Spirit of Computing. Addison-Wesley Publishing Co. 1987. (13) Though 3.1415... is customarily generated from a geometrical foundation, a simple exercise in string manipulation may produce its digits from such letter-counting mnemonics as How I like a drink, alcoholi, of course, after all these chapters involving quantum mechanics. Or from this, perhaps educationally more correct, pious poetry: Now I will a rhyme construct, By chosen words the young instruct Cunningly devised endeavour, Con it and remember ever Widths in circle here you see Sketched out in strange obscurity. (c) 1994, Current Notes Inc. (Reprinted from the April, 1994 issue of Current Notes.) * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * GENEVA PART 2 Reviewed by Jim Fouch Introduction If you haven't read last month's review of Geneva yet, you may want to read it now. This is the second part of a two part review. Last month we covered the fundamental features of Geneva and the concept of a multitasking environment. This month we'll go into greater detail of specific Geneva features. Because of the magnitude of Geneva, we will not cover every feature. Just the really significant ones. SETTING UP GENEVA THE RIGHT WAY To get the most from Geneva, you should spend some time configuring it to your particular system and needs. This is achieved with the use of the Task Manager, a desktop accessory provided with Geneva. This program is the heart of Geneva; it controls the way Geneva runs and acts. The Task Manager is accessed via the desk menu. It places a small window on the desktop. See figure 1. This window will list all current applications in memory. Notice the way the listing of applications loaded is printed. Small text indicates a program that is single-tasking. Italics mean an application is sleeping. The small circle next to an item means it is running as an accessory. You can use the Task Manager to switch between applications. Within the Task Manager there are two menus, File, for controlling the running of applications and, Options, for general setting of Geneva. The File menu will allow you to open (run) an application/program. This is the same as if you were to run it from your shell/desktop (maybe NeoDesk). Once the program has been run, the Task Manager gives you a number of options. You can put an application to sleep, or terminate it. Note: most programs will never need to be terminated; however, most accessories never expect to be ended so they will need to be terminated. With normal programs, when you exit, they release any memory they were occupying and remove themselves from the Task Manager's menu. SETTING YOUR EXECUTION FLAGS Because of the magnitude of programs available for the ST/TT/Falcon, Geneva had to have a way of changing the way it handled many different programs. This is done with use of execution flags. See figure 2. These are probably the most significant settings in Geneva. These execution flags are stored in a file called geneva.cnf. Geneva can keep many different execution flags. Some may point to a specific file or a range of files. Geneva controls this by use of a filename that it compares when it launches an application. The use of wildcards is allowed, so you could use "WP*.PRG" for any program starting with "WP." I don't think there is a limit on the number of execution flags that can be set. I will explain the major flags. The Multitask flag tells Geneva if a program should multitask. This is the standard method. However, some programs simply just won't share your computer with others. For these types of programs, you tell Geneva to put all other applications to sleep and run the current application by itself. If you switch to another application that is multitasking, the current single tasking application is put to sleep and all other multitasking applications wake up. If you then switch back to that single tasking application, it will be awakened, and all other applications will be put to sleep. The limit memory option is also very important. It limits a program from taking all the available memory in your computer. For example, PageStream will try to take every byte of memory when run. This is fine in a single tasking environment. But in a multitasking environment, when you try to run a program after you have loaded PageStream, there won't be enough free memory. Knowing what the limit memory setting should be is a hard call to make. It may change from one program to another. Some programs don't try to take all memory, some do. This is something you will have to experiment with. The Clear allocated memory flag is also important. This is similar to the fast load option in TOS 1.4 and above. When this flag is set, Geneva will clear all the memory a program will use. Most programs do not need this flag set. However, some programs expect all memory to contain zeros, and when they don't find them they do funny things. This flag is to keep that from happening. The Automatic keyboard equivalents flag will allow Geneva to use the keyboard to access exit items on dialog boxes. This is similar to a utility called form-do-it. A letter in each option is underlined to show what key will activate it. This is a nice feature that will keep you from going from your keyboard to your mouse every few seconds. However, this may cause problems with some programs and this flag will allow you to disable it for those programs. The last flag, AES 4.0 extended messages, tells Geneva if an application should use the new AES calls. Most applications just ignore any newer AES calls; some do take advantage of these newer calls. EVERY PROGRAM HAS ITS OWN KEY One very powerful feature of the Task Manager is the ability to define a key combination to call an application/desktop accessory to the foreground. (Notice at the bottom of the Execution flags dialog box, the button marked Keys.) For example, you could define the key combination [Alternate]+[Control]+W to bring the Warp9 Control Panel to the front. The feature will only work if the application/desktop accessory is already loaded. CONTROLLING YOUR WINDOWS WITH KEYS Geneva will allow you to program keyboard equivalents for most of the window commands. For example, you could program the [Alternate]+[Esc] key combination to close the active window. This comes in handy when you don't want to take your hand away from the keyboard. Geneva comes already programmed with default key combinations, but you can change these to satisfy you own preferences. To program or change the window keys, use the menu selection labeled "keyboard... ." under the Option menu. WALKING THE DROP DOWN MENUS Like with the window keyboard equivalents, Geneva also allows you to access the drop down menus in a similar manner. You simply press the [Alternate]+[Space Bar] key combination. This will drop down the left most menu. Simply use the arrow keys to highlight the option you would like. Then press [Enter] to make your selection. Note: These keys are not user definable. CHANGING THE GEM WINDOWS Geneva will allow you to modify the way GEM windows appear. This feature is accessed using the windows ... menu select in the Task Manager. See figure 3. The size of the title and info lines, and the right vertical bar can be changed. This will allow more working area. As little as it may be, it can sometimes help. Geneva also lets you change the font and size used for text in GEM windows. You can use the standard system font, or a monospaced GDOS font. For my uses, it seems faster to use the system font. SPICING UP YOUR PLAIN LOOKING DIALOG BOXES You don't have to live in the past with your old, dated-looking dialog boxes. Geneva replaces the boring-looking box type buttons with neat, 3D type buttons that appear to move into the screen when you select them. This gives you the NEXT / ZEST type looking interface. You also can define a different looking background for dialog boxes. For color users, you can define color buttons, borders, text, and fills. CONCLUSION As I said in the first part of this review, I think Geneva is a very well thought out program. When doing a review, I try to do it as objectively as possible, pointing out any problems I find. The only dilemma with reviewing a program like Geneva, is there are so few problems, it's tough to do a review without seeming partial toward the developer. In all honesty, I think Geneva is one of the best programs to come to the Atari market place in recent history. It truly breathes new life into your computer. [Geneva, Gribnif Software, P.O. Box 779, Northampton, MA 01061. Voice (413) 247-5620, Fax (413) 247-5622.] (c) 1994, Current Notes Inc. (Reprinted from the April, 1994 issue of Current Notes.) * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * STALK THE MARKET VS STOCK SMART A Comparison of Competing Investment Analysis Tools by Terry L. Quinn If you are an Atari owner and you are looking to get more for your savings, you might want to take a look at a couple of programs which make "investing" much easier. Stock Smart by Mark Cawthon and Stalk the Market by Tom Bushaw are a couple of expertly written programs that will let you establish what are called "portfolios" and track how much the contents are worth, without all of the confusion and eyestrain of decoding the Wall Street Journal. Both of these programs are useful tools for maintaining a historical record of stock investments and keeping track of the value of those investments. Beyond this, both of them will also put some analytical tools at your fingertips to help you maximize your return. They also make very pretty charts of the basic price information together with the appropriate analysis information. Both provide a means of directly importing price information from GEnie, Compuserve and other services to save you the nuisance of manually entering the information from listings printed in your local paper. In fact, this process is so easy, if you have any investments at all, the convenience of obtaining price information this way is well worth the modest cost of these programs. One weakness that both of these programs share is that neither one provides you much, if any, clue as to what to do with the information they provide you. Stalk the Market is considerably better in this respect than Stock Smart in that it provides a useful listing of reference works if you wish to learn the principles underlying the features of the program. Stock Smart, on the other hand, does not give you any idea where to get information on the hows and whys of investing and investment analysis. It is the opinion of this reviewer that if you don't know what you're are doing, a program like this will usually multiply your confusion if you don't do some additional study; so reading beyond the documentation is recommended. There are substantial differences between each of these programs in terms of how they gather the basic information on each stock. Stock Smart uses an included external terminal program with a powerful macro capability to gather the basic information, which is then converted by yet another program to a format the basic program can use. There are several places where this process can go awry. First, when setting up the terminal program, it will not display your logon password sequence after you type it (as a security measure). If you make a minor typographical error and it doesn't run properly, this characteristic makes it rather difficult to determine the problem. Second, it uses a complicated naming system for capture file, which, if you don't study the documentation carefully, will cause you to lose the data you just downloaded. Finally, since the process is essentially manual with a complicated series of commands, captures and saves, the possibilities of screwing something up are considerable. Stalk the Market, on the other hand, is simplicity itself in this respect. You enter a portfolio (a collection of stocks) which you want it to follow, select the service (GEnie, CompuServe, DJNS, etc.) from a menu, add the local phone and your password and turn it loose. No macros, manual operations, or converting. In fact, you don't even need to own the stock in question. One of the great strengths of this program is the ability to create "hypothetical" portfolios so you can play "what if" before you actually spend any money. This gives you the opportunity to really learn what you are doing before you make a *serious* investment. Versatility is another important characteristic for any program of this sort. Stock Smart is designed to handle any Common Stock whether NYSE, AMEX or whatever. It will accommodate stock splits and will give you what the program calls a total return on investment. It only has a couple of flaws in this department. First of all, there is no intuitively obvious manner in which to record Dividends. If you are primarily interested in Capital Growth and the companies you invest in don't pay dividends, this will not present a problem. However, a large number of large companies do pay dividends and the fact that they do so will have a positive effect on your total return. Second, this program is not designed to be able to handle any security other than common stocks. This omission is particularly painful when one reflects on the popularity and easy availability of mutual funds. These two disadvantages are enough to severely limit the usefulness of this program for many individuals. Stalk the Market, by contrast, is considerably more versatile. To begin with, any securities product, whether a stock, mutual fund, or whatever, for which there is a standard abbreviation can be accounted for in this program. It is supplied with files to allow you to download prices from stock exchanges in the United States and Canada via any of four online services. It also features accounting functions to handle several types of transactions including dividends (whether reinvested or cashed out), capital gains (both short and long term), stock splits, and others. It will keep track of your gains and losses for each individual investment as well as for the portfolio as a whole. One of the features of this program, "Smart Ledgers," provides some checks and balances to ensure that the information retained by this program is accurate by calculating certain items of data from other information that you had previously provided. Since both of these programs are marketed as investment analysis tools, it seems only fair to evaluate them in this respect as well. Ideally, all programs of this type should provide you with a variety of statistics to assist you in the decision as to whether you should buy or sell a particular security. Stock Smart provides two basic statistical tests: Moving Average Current Values (MACV) and Stochastics. To their credit, they describe in detail how each of these is calculated and how you should recognize the indicated buy and sell points. These features work well, in that the calculations are accurate, and buy and sell points show up clearly. The only drawback is that you don't have a clue as to what the significance of these tests is and why you should consider buying and selling according to the results of the indicated calculations. Stalk the Market has a richer set of calculations than does Stock Smart and shares at least one of the statistical tests (MACV) with its competitor. Unlike Stock Smart, however, it provides you with the basis on which certain tests were included, how to evaluate them, and reference works if you wish to understand the investment management theories that use these tests. Besides, you have other buy and sell indicators like Valid Trend Lines, and Trailing Loss Levels. It will also do cyclic analyses like Fourier Analysis, and Residual Analysis, as well as a full blown historical simulation. While it does not provide formulas (some like Fourier Analysis are too complex), it does provide a useful background for all of them. One might easily conclude that this author considers Stock Smart to be distinctly inferior to its competitor, Stalk the Market. While true, it is obvious that this is not an isolated opinion if one carefully examines the documentation supplied with Stock Smart. Mark Cawthon, the creator of Stock Smart strongly recommends acquiring a copy of Stalk the Market in addition to his own program and provides an excellent facility for importing data from this program into his own. The only problem here is that once you have used both, you probably will want to stick to Stalk the Market exclusively. Both of these programs were provided courtesy of Horizon Computers at 695 South Colorado Boulevard #10 in Denver, Colorado. (c) 1994, Current Notes Inc. (Reprinted from the April, 1994 issue of Current Notes.) * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * USING TWO COMPUTERS AND ONE MONITOR By Alvin Riesbeck Photograph by Jennifer Riesbeck When the Falcon first arrived on the scene, I, like the other Atari faithful, went to see the Falcon at my Atari dealer. What new special hardware features would be built into the Falcon and could the Falcon produce a desire for me to buy it? I asked Don Barr of Computer Sellers West the following questions about the Falcon. Would it support VGA graphics (640x480 with 256 colors)? Don replied, "Yes." An additional hardware package, Screenblaster by Overscan, would support even higher graphics resolutions: 1152x832 with 16 colors or 800x600 with 256 colors or 1280x960 in 2-color interlace mode. The interlace mode has a lot of screen flicker and I do not believe it is useable. Screenblaster is also capable of various lower resolution VGA graphics. To obtain the VGA graphic modes with the Falcon, you must use a VGA monitor. More questions. Can the Falcon use the same WAV sound files the Microsoft windows system uses? Do Windows BMP, GIF and PCX bit map pictures work? Could my Atari Megafile 44 megabyte removeable be used with the Falcon? Don replied, "Yes!" to all these questions. I told Don I would be back with some of my software and bit map pictures, etc. FALCON ABILITIES I returned to Computer Sellers West with the following software in tow. Bit Map picture files, which included Windows (BMP), PC Paintbrush (PCX) and GIF. I also brought Windows WAV sound files and Michton's 3D-Calc spreadsheet program that is now being sold by Oregon Research. The Falcon demo machine had several application programs loaded, including LDW spreadsheet, Pagestream desktop publishing, Atari Works, and True Paint by Oregon Research. The demo machine also had the Screenblaster hardware installed. I first tried the WAV files and they worked using the Atari system audio manager software. Next came the test of the software package 3D-Calc, and it worked. I then loaded the BMP, PCX and GIF picture files using the software program True Paint. The displays were at 800x600 w 256 colors; in fact, the bit map pictures looked the same when displayed from the Falcon or from my IBM. Thinking about the Falcon, I realized it would cost me almost the same amount of money to upgrade my old system to the capabilities of the Falcon as it cost to just buy the Falcon. The Falcon came with bundled software, had more computing power, built in stereo sound, 1.4 megabyte floppy disk drive, the latest GEM operating system and it could display VGA graphics. Because of my work environment, I already owned an IBM system with a super (1024x768 dot .28) VGA monitor. I wanted to buy the Falcon, but I did not want to buy another VGA monitor for about $400. THE NEED TO USE ONLY ONE VGA MONITOR I turned to members of my computer club for some help. Wayne Booth suggested I purchase an A/B switch box and use my IBM monitor for both systems. Wayne, conveniently, had an extra 15-pin VGA A/B switch box for sale and I bought it. The plan to buy a Falcon was now in full swing because I had a way to use my IBM monitor for both computer systems. I ordered a 4 megabyte Falcon with an 85 megabyte hard drive from Computer Sellers West. Don would install a SCSI cable allowing my 44 megabyte removable to work on the Falcon and I would buy two cables to connect to the A/B box from the two computers. Everything seemed just fine until I discovered the VGA cables at the discount computer stores were mainly made for extension purposes and were constructed with one male and one female connector. What I needed was a female connector on both ends of the cable because the A/B switch had male connectors. I went back to Don Barr and explained the problem. He said it's no problem; just buy two female connectors remove the male connector from the cable and attach the female connector. I then confessed to Don that I do not solder. Don said he would take care of the problem. About a week later Don called me and said the my Falcon was at his store waiting for me to pick it up and the cables were ready. All I had to do was bring the Megafile 44 to the shop and he would install the SCSI cable onto the Megafile drive. Yes! I did get the hardware ScreenBlaster with my Falcon. WILL IT WORK? When I got the Falcon home, the work of installing the new setup did not take very long. I disconnected the VGA monitor from the IBM. I then connected the cable from the Atari computer to the 'A' connector of the 15-pin VGA switch box. The next step was to connect the second cable from the IBM computer to the 'B' connector of the switch box. I then connected the monitor to the input/output connector of the switch box. When I set the A/B switch to the 'A' position, the monitor will display from the Atari computer; and the monitor will display from the IBM computer when I put the switch box into the 'B' position. After connecting all the rest of the cables on both the IBM and the Atari computers, I was now ready to test my new system. The system worked flawlessly. The photo included with this article displays my two-computer, one monitor setup. In the upper left corner is the 44 megabyte removable hard drive. To the right of the hard drive is an A/B switch box for the printer. (Yes! one printer for two computers.) The VGA monitor is on top of the IBM keyboard that is housed in a keyboard case and the IBM mouse is to the right of the monitor. In the lower left corner is the Atari Falcon with the Atari mouse to its right. In the shelf under the IBM keyboard is the A/B switch that controls the monitor. Next to that switch is a US Robotics modem. Finally, to the right of my computer desk is the Mid tower IBM clone box. NECESSARY HARDWARE To share a monitor between an Atari Falcon and an IBM compatible, you will need the following hardware: * An IBM computer system with a VGA card. * An Atari Falcon computer with a VGA adapter. * One VGA monitor. * One 15-pin VGA A/B switch box. * Two VGA cables with female 15-pin connectors at both ends of the cable. (c) 1994, Current Notes Inc. (Reprinted from the April, 1994 issue of Current Notes.) * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * SQUISH II Reviewed by Paul Lefebvre Squish II is the update to the popular DC Squish program that was included in the old DC Utilities package. Squish II promises faster compression time and smaller executables. Does it deliver? Read on. SETTING IT UP Squish II is very easy to set up, involving only a quick copy of UNSQUISH.PRG to your auto folder. Squish II delivers smaller executables, in part, by requiring the decompresser to be loaded as an AUTO program. This allowes the uncompression loader that was previously tacked on to each squished program to be removed. The net result is that a small amount of space is saved for each file, but a large amount is saved over an entire drive. UNSQUISH.PRG only requires about 2K. Since squished programs will not run without UNSQUISH.PRG loaded, distributing squished files is impossible (and not allowed, anyway). Trace Technologies recommends that you reorder the AUTO folder so that UNSQUISH.PRG runs near the beginning since you can only squish auto folder programs that run after UNSQUISH.PRG. USING SQUISH II The SQUISHII.APP program (as bef, it can work as an accessory by changing the extender to .ACC) has an entirely new interface and can now multitask. It is even possible to squish files in the background. Unlike the original DC Squish, Squish II has ten different levels of compression, called CF (compression factor) 0-9. CF0 is about the same compression that Squish v1 would give you, but selecting a higher CF value will lead to a smaller executable. The only drawback is that it takes longer to compress the executable with a more efficient CF. Trace Technologies recommends using CF6 for most of your files (and I agree) as it is the best compromise between compression time and size of the executable. Decompression time is always constant, whether you use CF0 or CF9, so if you have time to kill while Squish II compresses your executables, feel free to use CF9. Squish II is able to convert most other compression methods to its own (more efficient) method. This is a useful feature that eliminates having to decompress anything you might already have compressed. One of the most useful features of Squish II is its ability to perform batch squishes. Squish II can search an entire drive or directory and squish every executable in it without any interaction from the user. This is where the background operation comes in most handy because it can take a while to squish an entire drive. As an example of the type of compression you can expect, these are the results from squishing all the executables on my system: Drive Before After Savings Squish II Squish II ----- --------- --------- -------- C: 2.4MB 2.9MB 0.5MB D: 10.2MB 11.2MB 1.0MB E: 16.4MB 18.5MB 2.1MB F: 3.5MB 4.3MB 0.8MB Total Savings: 4.4MB I freed 4.4 megabytes of space on my hard drive by squishing every executable. Considering that I had already been using DC Squish v1 on almost every file, I find it to be an impressive reduction. According to Data Diet Tools, which is included free to examine disk usage, I saved over 10 megabytes of disk space by using Squish II (versus not using any compression). Users of DC Squish v1 will remember the annoying little "DCSquish-FILENAME" that appeared on the menu line when a program was executed. Thankfully, it has been removed from Squish II. The only time you will notice if something has been squished with Squish II is if you forget to boot with UNSQUISH.PRG in the AUTO folder (you will get a "File not found" message when trying to execute Squished executables). I no longer notice it is installed (except when I check my free disk space and see the appreciated savings). MANUAL The 42-page owner's manual is a no-frills affair; graphics are inserted where appropriate and it reads well. Squish II is so easy to use, you may be tempted to not read the manual. I have always maintained that to make maximum use of a product, you need to read the owners's manual--whether it is a toaster or a compute program. There are plently of little tidbits in the manual, so please do read it. SUMMING IT ALL UP -- POSITIVES extremely easy to use multitasking-friendly great support SUMMING IT ALL UP -- NEGATIVES squished files cannot be distributed This program is strongly recommended. Do not steal it. Do not borrow it. Purchase it. You will not regret it. [Squish II, Trace Technologies, PO Box 711403, Houston, TX 77271-1403. Phone: (713) 771-8332, Weekdays 1PM-5PM CST). List: $39.95.] (c) 1994, Current Notes Inc. (Reprinted from the April, 1994 issue of Current Notes.) * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Current Notes Disk Subscription ------------------------------- $60/year or $115/(2 years) With every issue, you will receive a CN public domain Disk of the Month (DOM), filled with the finest in PD software, delivered right to your door. For only $60/year, $33 over the standard CN subscription rate, you receive a double-sided disk packed with games, utilities, demos, and application programs for your Atari. See page 2 for a listing of the titles available on this month's DOM. Note: if you are a current subscriber, you can convert to the disk subscription for only $3.30/month over the balance of your current subscription. CN DOMs will be available in the library for $5 each (plus $1 S&H). INTRODUCTORY SPECIAL: Note: anyone beginning or switching over to a disk subscription with the March or April issue will receive the February DOM FREE! With that initial DOM, you will be able to easily uncompress any of the files in the CN library. Offer expires May 1, 1994. Canadian Subscribers: A disk subscription is available for only $35 over your regular subscription rate of $36/year. For Canadian and other foreign subscribers, the per disk cost is only $3.50 per month. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Current Notes Disk Subscriptions -------------------------------- Start your disk subscription to CN and, for only $3.30/month, you'll receive a public domain/shareware disk, just like those below, delivered to your doorway with each and every issue. (Disks sold separately for $5, +$1 S&H). Order from CN Library, 122 N Johnson Rd., Sterling, VA 20164. CN Disk Subscriptions: only $60/year! CN DOM-2 - April 1994 ===================== All files on this disk are compressed in ZIP format. Alice, Another Little C Editor, V1.42, is a GEM-based text editor for ATARI ST. ColorBurst III, a full-featured paint program tht is SpeedoDOS, Multitos compatiable. The Clipboard Setter, accessory allows you to redirect the system clipboard to the drive of your choice. The Atari Glossary, emphasizes the jargon that is specific to Atari, TOS and GEM. HD Free - A CPX that shows a graphical representations of your free hard drive space and Memory. Maus-Window, v.1.25 of this .acc/.prg allows you to "top" a window (bring it to the top of all the other open windows and activate it) simply by moving your mouse pointer over it. MemWatch, graphically displays memory usage in your system so you can spot memory fragmentation when it occurs. Mouse-Ka-Mania II, lets you replace any of the standard mouse cursors with fun and flashy animations; more than 140 animated and single-frame mouse cursors are supplied in the package. QSort, v1.0 rapidly sorts up to 65535 ASCII lines. Searcher, search your floppy or hard drive and, when you find the files you want, you can delete them, change their attributes, hide them and more. ST_Tools, unfragment your hard drive, edit sectors and files, etc. Whatis, v6.6 identifies over 160 different file types--ARC, LZH, ZIP, ZOO, pics, accessories, animations, etc. Wing Lord, a great 'Joust' clone with a few new twists added to give the game a new feel. CN DOM-1 - March 1994 ===================== All files on this disk are compressed in ZIP format. Ascii-View, v3.75, Text viewing program developed to replace the [Show]-[Print]-[Cancel] feature of the standard ST Desktop. Clock, Clock dispalys an analog clock on you monitor. Grammarian, V1.4.0. Examine text files for word usage, spelling, and grammatical rules. Magic Spell, V2.1. Shareware spelling game/program for young and old alike. MasterBrowse v3.5, The *BEST* ST/STe/TT/Falcon/MultiTOS Text File Viewer! Recipe Box, The Recipe Box provides easy entry, storage, and access to all your favorite recipes. Shareware. Sleuth, Colorful arcade action fun game created with M.A.G.E. Teddy-TERM v2.10, a fully functional communications terminal that support many of the external protocol programs available as well as ANSI/VT100 and VT52 terminal emulations. CN DOM-0 - February 1994 ======================== This disk includes the latest versions of two of the most popular compression programs for the Atari. The files are not compressed and are ready to use. One or both of these programs will be needed to uncompress files on other disks in the CN library. ST ZIP v2.4 (c) Vincent Pomey 1990-1993. STZip allows you to compress and decompress files, i.e. to reduce their lengths. You saves space on your disks and reduce the transmission time if you send the files by modem. It also allows you to group several files in one single file, whose extension in general is ZIP. STZip uses files that are compatible with PKZip 2.04 on the IBM PC, and the Unix Info-Zip programs Zip 1.9/Unzip 5.0. LZH v2.99. Latest version of LHARC from Christian Grunenberg now includes an English language shell that takes advantage of all LHARC features and allows you to compress and uncompress files with ease. Includes an English manual plus documentation. |================================================================| | CURRENT NOTES SUBSCRIPTION FORM | | YES!!! 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