Z*Magazine: 8-Nov-86 #2.6

From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 07/05/93-09:40:17 AM Z

From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
Subject: Z*Magazine:  8-Nov-86 #2.6
Date: Mon Jul  5 09:40:17 1993

NOVEMBER 11, 1986         ISSUE 2.6
Xx Editor Column

Welcome to Zmag!!

This week we cover a number of new Atari ST releases, New Basic Column 
debuts, News and Ken White replies with a commentary in Antic/Analog Blues 
Part 3.

In the very near future, Our new Editor will be here performing the tasks 
required. Alan Kloza of the Surf City BBS will be assisting me with 
Editorial duties.  Issue 2.4 of Zmag was not issued out to all BBS systems.  
This issue pertains to Assembly Language Programming which is 433 sectors 
long and is a corrolation of all the columns about the subject that were in 
past issues of Zmag. If  you are interested in getting a copy, you can call 
the Syndicate BBS at (201) 968-8148 or the Atari Connection BBS at 
(315)622-1952.  The next Special Edition of Zmag will be issue number 3.0 
which will be devoted entirely to the Zmag BBS systems.  It will have all 
of the Systems Logon info and Title Menus.


Supra Corp. has notified owners of Supra 30MB Hard Drives manufactured by 
NEC that the drives may develop encoding problems.  In a message sent to 
users of the Atari Developers Forum on CompuServe, Supra said that some 
disk drives manufactured between August 15 and October 15, 1986, have been 
known to fail after extended use.

Encoding problems can lead to scrambling of the disk directory and 
subsequent loss of data.

To determine if your Supra 30MB drive was manufactured during the suspected 
problem period, check the identification plate on the bottom of the drive.  
The manufacturing date shown is in the format of MDDYY or MMDDYY.  Users 
who suspect a problem with their drive should contact:

Supra Tech Support (503)967-9081.

Xx Product Releases

BACKUP! by Dave Clemans

When a hard-drive crashes, there isn't any noise. No smoke, no fire, no 
broken glass or twisted metal. Physically, everything remains pretty much 
intact. But datawise... 20 megabytes of amnesia?  Well, you just start 
over.  From scratch. And hope it never happens again...

Backups, what about backups?  How often do you make backups of a quarter 
billion bytes of computer memory?  And even so, are they accurate and up-
to-date?  Would you stake a month's lost labor on it? Or even a week's?  
Probably not.

And now you don't need to. MichTron's new Backup utility is for those of us 
who like things quick and simple.

Backup duplicates the contents of your hard-drive to floppy disks, 
minimizing the risk of loss.  It also lets you restore the floppy backups 
back to the hard-drive after an accident, reducing any actual loss to an 
absolute minimum.

But much more than that, Backup's specialized routines are very fast, and 
the program orchestrates the entire backup procedure for you, minimizing 
time and effort as well.

There's no longer any reason not to make backups.  Especially when it's 
this easy.

Backup uses GEM pull-down menus to make things even more convenient. You 
can select numerous options and run different types of backups and restores 
with a click of the mouse.

"Intelligent" routines give you the option of making full backups of the 
entire hard-drive, backups of only newly created or modified files, or 
backups simply by date. You might even decide to make an "image" backup, 
transferring logical sectors to counterpart floppies, saving even more 

Whatever method you need, the support is waiting for you in Backup!  
There's even a detailed Help menu available in the program.

Backup is available from MichTron for $39.95 and runs on any Atari ST with 
a hard-drive.  MichTron, a growing company in Pontiac, Michigan, is 
currently the largest producer of software for the Atari ST.

**Pinball Factory** by Kary McFadden  The video game comes full circle in 
this glorious tribute to the original!  Classic pinball springs to life 
with fresh new angles that only the computer can offer.

In addition to playing a great game of pinball, you can enjoy hours of 
creative pleasure as you design, build, and edit your own screens!

Change the board - Imagine the perfect pinball machine. Choose from a 
multitude of bumpers, tabs, and other devices, and place them anywhere you 
like to get the action just right.  Then using a powerful graphic drawing 
system, put in the walls and solid barriers.

You can even illustrate your playing board with pictures, arrows, or 
whatever you like--the ball will pass right over them! The versatility and 
the possibilities are endless!

Of course, Pinball Factory comes complete with a sample screen, ready to 
play and enjoy. Change the logo - Add flair to a screen you've just 
designed, or set the mood for one in the works.  The built-in drawing 
system has the power of a full- fledged art program!

Commands include Draw, Line, Ray, Frame, Round frame, Box, Round box, 
Circle, Disk, Detail to magnify small areas, Fill, Bigtype and Smalltype 
for adding text, and Airbrush and Shadow for special effects.

You can change any of the Atari ST's 16 palette colors, giving you complete 
control and "artistic expression" as you sort through and select from over 
500 different shades.

Change the rules - Alter gravity, bounce, and scoring, and change the 
bumper strength and tab bonuses. You can even change the speed of the game 
and the number of balls for each of four players to "handicap" a multi-
player game! Test and edit your screen until everything is perfect. You can 
Save and Load your favorite creations to disk.Multi-ball action - Special 
"capture" devices let you have up to three balls in play at once! That's 
enough fun, excitement, and challenge for the most avid pinball fan!Simple 
to use - All commands and menus are mouse controlled for easy use.  Even 
the drawing commands are as easy as point and click!Complete realism - 
Crisp, colorful graphics and fast, smooth action give this machine-language 
arcade game a realistic, responsive feel you'll hardly believe!  Special 
"tilt" controls even let you "bump" the machine!Pinball Factory is 
available from MichTron for $39.95 and runs on any Atari ST computer with 
color monitor or television hookup.


Want the scoop on cavities, plaque, tartar and root canal work? Once again, 
your modem rides to the rescue.Two dentists/teachers in Winston- Salem, 
N.C., have opened a computer bulletin board system to dispense free 
information. Dentistry On-Line was opened a month ago by Roger Horton of 
the Wake Forest University medical school, and Houck Medford, of the Bowman 
Gray School of Medicine.So far, says The Associated Press, the two have 
notified only health professionals about the free service, and they 
received 10 to 12 calls a day. Now they're advertising the board to the 
general public.In addition, they hope to receive funding from area 
hospitals to expand the board into a multi-user system.The BBS can be 
reached with a modem call to 919/748-2168.


C3 Inc., which was fined $5.1 million earlier this week for overcharging 
the Army on a computer contract, has hired the New York investment banking 
firm Kidder Peabody Co. to examine a possible sale or restructuring of the 
Reston, Va.-based company, reports The Washington Post.C3 -- which stands 
for "computers, communications and control" -- entered a guilty plea to 
criminal charges on Monday, finally releasing it from the threat of 
prolonged litigation.  This move, although preceded by several years of 
fighting the charges, will make it a more attractive candidate for 
acquisition.In addition to the hefty fine, C3's chairman, John G. 
Ballenger, and director, John D. Vazzana, who are the firm's largest 
stockholders, were forced by the Department of Justice to step down and 
play no role in the company for the next two years.Financial analysts 
interviewed by The Post, said the two may be looking to sell their interest 
in C3, which has been plagued by low earnings and sales the last few 
years.The 16-year-old company enjoyed booming growth in the 1970s and early 
1980s by supplying computer systems and software to government agencies. In 
1982 it was briefly suspended from military business when it was charged 
with overcharging on a contract to supply minicomputers for the Army 
Material Development and Readiness Command.According to The Post, C3 has 
been under continuous criminal investigation ever since, making it 
difficult for the company to expand and causing a severe decline in 
growth.C3 maintained its innocence for years, and on Monday pleaded guilty 
to 200 counts of making false statements in connection with the Army 
contract.  The multi-million dollar fine was levied to cover the alleged 
overcharges.The Army agreed not to suspend C3 from further military work as 
long as Ballenger and Vazzana resigned. The settlement caused a surge in 
the company's stock, apparently due to speculation about a sale, notes The 


Abacus Software has released new software for the 1040ST.ST PaintPro is a 
graphics program that uses up to three windows and allows free form 
sketching, lines, circles, ellipses, boxes, and more.ST TextPro is a 
professional word processor that features multicolumn output, automatic 
indexing, fast text input and scrolling.ST FilePro is a simple yet 
versatile data management package that allows easy file design and input of 
data through screen templates.
Each of these programs retail for $49.95
For more information, contact:

Abacus Software 2201 Kalamazoo S.E. Grand Rapids, MI 49507 or call: 616-

Midisoft Corporation is now shipping METATRAK, a multitrack MIDI sequencer 
for Atari ST computers.  METATRAK features real-time and step-time 
recording, three modes of quantization, and cut/paste editing between 

MIDI system real-time commands (STOP, START, and CONTINUE) and MIDI song 
pointer commands are utilized to provide full synchronization with external 
MIDI devices such as drum machines and other sequencers.

The suggested retail price of METATRAK is $99.00.

For additional information please contact:

Midisoft Corporation Box 1000 Bellevue, WA  98009 (206) 827-0750 

Xx Basic Review


by Tom Smith First Atari Computer Club of Spokane

Atari BASIC may come with Atari computers, but it is not the BASIC that you 
should be using.  BASIC XL and BASIC XE are the BASIC languages that 
everyone should be using. This is a bold statement, but let us take a look 
at these superior BASICs from OSS.

OSS was the original producers of Atari BASIC, and they did a fine job of 
placing it in 8K.  BASIC XL is the second generation of Atari BASIC and its 
total size has been increased to 16K.  This jump in size was not done at a 
loss to the amount of memory available for programming.  OSS uses a bank 
selected cartridge, so that at any time only 8K of the cartridge shows 
itself at a time.  BASIC XE follows along the same lines, and is a further 
enhancement to BASIC XL. BASIC XE uses the same 16K bank selected 
cartridge, but on an XL/XE series computers it will load from disk an 
additional 11K of extensions and place this under the Operating System. 
This gives BASIC XE a total size of 27K with no loss of programming space.

BASIC XL/BASIC XE share most of the same basic features that I will be 
discussing in this article, so I will just refer to BASIC XL for the rest 
of the article.  I will leave this one final note on BASIC XE. If you own a 
XL/XE series computer (especially if you have or intend on getting a memory 
upgrade) then BASIC XE is your definite choice (with 128K of memory BASIC 
XE can give you 64K for program space and 32K for variables).

The one big thing I enjoy about BASIC XL is its ease of use.  BASIC XL 
makes a lot of tedious jobs associated with programming a snap. Have you 
ever had a problem of remembering to go back to CAPS after typing in a 
PRINT statement in lower case.  Well, BASIC XL does not care what case your 
in when entering programs, you can ever be in inverse video.  This makes 
program entry easy, and produces a easy to read listing.  Also, Error 
messages are not given in cryptic numbers, but are given as a number with a 
word description of the malfunction.  I should mention here that error 
codes are the same in BASIC XL as in Atari BASIC (Atari BASIC programs are 
100% compatible with BASIC XL).  Two more features that make BASIC XL 
friendly to use are Auto Line Numbering and program Renumbering.  You can 
also delete either single lines or a range of lines with the DEL command.  
This is much cleaner and faster than typing a bunch of line numbers 
followed by 'Carriage Returns'.  When it comes time to debug your programs 
two neat functions are the LVAR command and TRACE mode.  LVAR produces a 
listing of all the variables used by a program and also the line numbers 
that they are used in.  For those errors that you don't have a clue as to 
their origins you have the ability to TRACE a programs execution.  In TRACE 
mode you run the program and the line number of the line about to be 
executed is displayed on the screen surrounded by square brackets. This 
continues until either; 1) an error occurs 2) the end of the program is    
encountered 3) you stop execution with the 'Break' key.

You will be absolutely amazed at how these features can make your 
programming a much more joyful experience over Atari BASIC.  But wait, 
there is one more thing that makes your life easier.  Are you tired of 
having to go to DOS for simple directory listing that gets erased anyway 
when you go back to BASIC ?  BASIC XL solves this problem by having its own 
mini-DOS. You can get Directory listings, Protect & Unprotect files, Erase 
files, and Rename files without leaving BASIC XL.  Talk about convenience !

The features discussed so far are just things that make your life easier in 
the immediate mode of BASIC XL.  Now we can get into all the nifty new 
commands that you can use in the program mode.  All the commands and 
structures of Atari BASIC are exactly the same in BASIC XL with the 
addition of the commands listed below. For the sake of space I will list 
the commands followed by only a short description (just enough to wet your 

FAST Usually the first statement of your program.  Allows your programs to 
run significantly faster than normal.

BGET/BPUT allows you to input/output a specified # of bytes from memory to 
a given device.

DIM A$(4,40) string arrays

DPOKE/DPEEK Poke/Peek two bytes of data into/ out(of) memory (High/Low byte 

ELSE IF something THEN do this ELSE do this instead

INPUT "....";A a statement can be printed before the computer waits for an 

MOVE move chunks of memory around at machine language speed

PRINT USING you can define the format of a printed line by setting up a 
format string containing format commands and then supplying a list of the 
variables that contain the info you wish displayed in the different fields.

RGET/RPUT allows you to input/output fixed length records made of any 
combination of string and numeric data

TAB computer will TAB out a given number of spaces

WHILE/ENDWHILE While a given statement is true this loop will continue to 
execute until it turns false

ERR can either return the # of the last error -OR- the line # where the 
last error occurred

FIND searches a string for a given sub-string and if found returns the 
location at which the sub-string starts.

HSTICK detects only horizontal movement of the joystick returning either 

VSTICK same as HSTICK but detects vertical movement only

PEN returns the values in the lightpen registers

LEFT$/RIGHT$/MID$ allows you to pull a given # of characters from either 
the Left/ Right side of a string or from the Middle(MID).

HEX$ allows you to convert a decimal # in a four digit Hexadecimal number 
(BASIC XL) allows you to use HEX #'s in your programs by placing a '$' 
before the number

Player Missile Support

BUMP detects collisions between Players, Missiles, and Playfields

PMADR returns the location in memory that a given Player/Missile is 

PMCLR Clears a Player/Missile

PMCOLOR Specify color for Player/Missile

PMGRAPHICS Enable/Disable PM (Player/Missile) graphics

PMMOVE Move PM to any location on screen

PMWIDTH Define resolution of PM

MISSILE Allows parent Player to shoot a Missile

 Well there you have it.  A very brief overview of the capabilities of 
BASIC XL/BASIC XE over Atari BASIC.  You cannot go wrong investing the $39 
(BASIC XL) or $49 (BASIC XE) to give your Atari the power of one these 
premier BASICs.  From the beginner to advanced programmer these two 
languages have it all.

P.S. Prices quoted are Mail-Order 
Xx Basic Programming Part One

In this column we will provide descriptions and easy type in programs for 
various commands and functions available in Atari Basic.

We will continue on a weekly basis in aplhabetical order. Example: ABS,CLR 

This weeks coverage is:


ABS ---
This function returns the absolute value of its argument. A numbers 
absolute value is its value without regard to sign.
(argument) can be any numeric expression or numeric constant.
PRINT ABS(-81),ABS(82) 81             82
ADR ---
This function returns the absolute memory address of the argument. The 
argument must be a predimenshioned string variable or a string constant.

In BASIC, a machine language program can be put in a string variabe. 
However, the operating system moves variables around to use the memory 
efficiently. As a result, to call a machine language routine, the ADR 
function may be used to locate the string.


X=USR(ADR("Lx d "))
typing this line is equivalent to turning off the power to your computer. 
Upon executing this line, you will erase any RAM-resident program and will 
cause your Atari to behave as if it had just been turned on.

The string argument of the command line is the machine language command to 
cold start the Atari. The USR function executes this command by finding 
it's address using ADR.

 AND ---

This is an operator function. This word is generally used to combine two 
comparisons in the context of an IF--THEN statement.
expression1 AND expression2
If an expression is non-zero, that expression will be evaluated as true. 
Likewise, an expression with a value of zero will be evaluated as false. 
The following is the truth table for AND

    X        Y       X AND Y   
    true     true      true
    true    false     false
   false     true     false
   false    false     false

In Atari Basic, a true is 1 and a false by a 0.


10 X=10 
20 Y=30 
30 IF X=10 AND Y>100 THEN END 


In this example, AND is used in an IF--THEN statement which ends the  
program if both conditions are true. The first expression of the AND 
statement is X=10. This is true because X is assigned the value of 10 in 
line 10. The second expression Y>100, is false because Y is assigned the 
value of 30 in line 20. The result is expression1 is true and expression2 
is false. This will match the second line of the truth table.  Example:  
PRINT (3=1+2) AND (-5)  In this example, 3 is compared to the result of 
1+2, so the first expression evaluates as true. The second expression (-5) 
is non-zero so it also evaluates as true. If you re-read the truth AND 
truth table, if both expressions are true, then the whole expression is 
true.  Therefore, 1 is printed.  ASC ---  This function returns the ASCII 
code for the first character of a string. The argument of ASC can be a 
string variable or constant.  ASC(argument)  Example:  10 DIM B$(10) 20 
B$="ZEBRA" 30 PRINT ASC(B$)  RUN  90  Next week we will continue with part 
2. With functions, ATN, BYE, CHR$, CLOAD, CLOG, CLOSE, CLR.  

Xx Zmag Calendar
N O V E M B E R   1 9 8 6
10-14 COMDEX/FALL '86 
WASHINGTON, DC 20036-1903 202-371-0101  
18-20 LOCALNET '86 
5485 212-279-8890  
18-21 WESCON '86 
19-21 ADA EXPO '86 

Xx Antic Analog Blues Part 3 By Ken White

  I read with a fair amount of annoyance the recent column by  Jack H. Lee 
decrying the "excessive" support that Antic and Analog are giving to the ST 
line of Atari computers.  Upfront, let me say that I'm an ST owner.  I'm 
also an 8-bit owner, and have been for more than three years.  When the 
ST's were first shown a year and a half ago, I was VERY interested.  The 
amount of power they promised for a minimal price seemed to make them 
perfect for my needs (which are primarily in the field of word processing.)  
My only source of information about the machines at that time was the two 
Atari-specific magazines on the market - Antic and Analog.  I devoured each 
issue, looking for new information about the machines, about software 
coming out for them, about anything that had to do with the Atari ST; as a 
prospective buyer, I wanted to know as much as possible about my 
prospective purchase.  As Mr. Lee will remember, we 8-bit users were in the 
middle of a bit of a slump at that time, in both the hardware and the 
software arenas.  Except for those few software companies that have 
supported Atari since the Warner Communication days, nobody wanted anything 
to do with the 8-bit line.  Lo and behold, the ST's are released.  Atari 
starts making some money.  Atari looks like it might just be around for a 
few more years, so software companies (and some hardware companies as well) 
perk up their ears and start paying attention.  Trip Hawkins of Electronic 
Arts makes an ill-advised decision not to support the ST's and he gets 
inundated by mail from loyal Atarians, both ST owners (a small number at 
the time) AND 8-bit owners.  There was still some solidarity in the ranks.  
Fast forward a year.  Suddenly, the ranks are filled with dissent. It's no 
longer "us" (ALL Atarians) against "them" (everybody else).... now it's 
"us" (the 8-bit users) against "them" (ST users and everybody else).  I 
read user group newsletters from all over the country every month, and the 
story is the same in about 60% of the Atari user groups - "Oh, how are we 
gonna handle the ST - separate groups, separate newsletters, separate 
meetings." ....or...."We don't have enough ST users in our group to justify 
any special treatment, so we're gonna pretend they don't exist...maybe 
someday down the road when we have a few of them...."  Give me a break!  If 
Mr. Lee and those of his ilk had their way, those of us who either use or 
plan to someday use an ST would be sent off to some little ST "ghetto" 
somewhere, where we could discuss our machines, read news about upcoming 
products, and run our programs without tainting the purity of the Atari 
way-of-life.  When I first got started in computing, I chose an Atari 800 
because I liked the feel of the keyboard, because it ran the software I 
needed, and because Atari had a reputation for service and reliability.  
The magazines I read to learn more about my new machine?  Antic and Analog.  
When I decided to buy an ST, and finally did buy an ST, what magazines did 
I CONTINUE to read?  Antic and Analog.  Neither one of them is perfect.  
Neither one meets my needs entirely.  Sometimes I'd like to toss an issue 
right into the garbage five minutes after opening it.  But the fact remains 
that I own TWO computers and I therefore have a vital interest in coverage 
of BOTH machines.  What, exactly, is Mr. Lee afraid of?  That pretty soon 
everybody's going to forget about the 8-bit Atari computer line? Possible.  
Not probable, but possible.  A whole lot more probable than the Commodore 
64 fading into obscurity. Because there's 6 million of those suckers out 
there, and only 2 million 8-bit Atari machines.  And 8-bit technology is 
rapidly becoming a technology that has reached the last leg of its race.  
It's unfortunate, but it happens to the best of computers.  Seven years 
ago, a knowledgable computer guy was trying to convince me to buy an Exidy 
Sorcerer.  Best machine around, he said.  Blows the others away, he 
said....You run into many people with Sorcerers?  I sure haven't.  The 
machine was superceded by the Apples, the Ataris, the Commodores, the 
IBMs....  And ultimately the 8-bit Ataris will be superceded by the STs, 
the Amigas, and the machines that will ultimately supercede the 16 bit 
wonders of today.  It's a matter of changing technology - if something can 
do things better and cheaper, it's gonna win.  Which is not to say that 
there's anything wrong with the 8-bit machines, or that anybody should take 
a sledgehammer to their trusty 800XL and run (not walk) to their local ST 
or Amiga or Apple IIGS dealer....if the machine does what you want it to 
do, with reasonable speed, then hang onto it till the keys fall off.  I 
bought an ST because I'm going to game design for the machine, and I 
obviously needed one.  Had I not needed one immediately, I probably would 
have waited another six months, or maybe even a year.  My 8-bit handled my 
needs just fine.  But to somehow "fear" the ST, and coverage it is getting 
in the Atari-specific magazines seems to me to be the equal to sticking 
ones head in the sand and refusing to see what's happening outside ones own 
little 8-bit world.  The two magazines seem to have the same amount of 8-
bit coverage, and I've been reading them for three years - of course, you 
do have to wade through some ST material too....  Face it - the STs are 
Ataris too, and Antic and Analog are committed to covering the ATARI line 
of computers - not just the 8-bit line OR just the ST line.  If you don't 
have the interest in STs that others do, just turn the page.  Don't try to 
deny others access to information just because YOU aren't interested.  Do 
that, and you're hurt 
 Starting with this list each system will have a Zmag System number.  If 
you leave a message or drop a letter to us, Please let us know which system 
you are reading Zmag on.   

1. THE SYNDICATE BBS..(201)968-8148 
2. THE LIONS DEN BBS..(201)396-0867 
3. THE BACKSTAGE BBS..(201)944-1196 
4. TEMPLE OF DOOM BBS.(201)656-6439 
5. THE BOTTOM LINE....(201)991-5546 
6. THE GATEWAY BBS....(609)931-3014 
7. THE CAVE BBS.......(609)882-9195 
8. EAST BRUNSWICK BBS.(201)254-6449 
9. THE CULT BBS.......(201)727-2274 
10.SURF CITY BBS......(201)929-9351 
11.THE SANDY BEACH BBS(201)356-8411 
12.THE DEEP...........(201)583-5254 

14.THE W.C. SYNDICATE.(415)825-2952  

15.M.O.U.S.E. BBS.....(219)674-9288 
16.ONE STONE BBS......(219)875-8205  

17.THE CARINA BBS.....(305)793-2975 
18.ATARI COMPUTER CLUB(305)734-6026  

19.NEW YORK CITY BBS..(718)604-3323 
20.ATARI CONNECTION...(315)622-1952  

21.THE HELP BBS.......(316)683-7514  

22.MEGA VISION BBS....(216)441-3816 
23.THE BALLOON WORKS..(419)289-8392  

24.C.H.A.O.S. BBS.....(517)371-1106  

25.RUNEQUEST BBS......(312)430-4234  

27.KNOTTS NOOK BBS....(206)631-8056  



[Ed. This list is current to 11/01/86 and if your system carries Zmag and 
is not on this list. Please leave me a message on Compuserve User ID: 
71777,2140 or drop us a line to:  Zmagazine  Post Office Box 74 Middlesex, 
NJ 08846-0074 Attn: Ron Kovacs 
Zmagazine New Jersey 
November 8, 1986          Issue 2.6 
Please Contribute!!  

[Ed. Please excuse typing error on top  of file. Should be November 8th, 
not  November 11th.]  

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