Z*Magazine: 5-Jan-87 #33

From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 07/08/93-09:35:43 AM Z

From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
Subject: Z*Magazine:  5-Jan-87 #33
Date: Thu Jul  8 09:35:43 1993

Zmagazine           January 5, 1987
Issue 33                   
Zmag Staff:
Publisher/Editor in Chief:Ron Kovacs
Editor/Coordinator:Alan Kloza
Software Reviewer: Eric Plent

This Week in Zmag......






      XM301 MODEM




   All this and more in this weeks
   edition of Zmagazine.....

Xx EDITOR'S NOTE                    
...New Beginnings...................

Welcome to a new year of Zmag! As
our first issue of the year goes to
press, we bring some discouraging
news for telecommunicators.

The FCC is considering new 
regulations in the communications
industry which threatens the 
existence of such services as PC

Read about the proposals being 
considered by the FCC in this issue
along with a review of PC Pursuit
and a guest editorial expressing
displeasure with those proposals.

Also, check out the hot news coming
out of Atari Corp. this month about
the new 32-bit business computer 
that's in the works.

Zmag has changed its deadlines and
publication dates starting with
this issue. Look for new issues
every Monday rather than Friday,
beginning with this edition. We're
always looking for contributions
so if you have an article that 
you'd like to publish in Zmag, 
call The Syndicate BBS at

Xx ZMAG BULLETIN                    
...FCC Threatens PC Pursuit.........


The FCC is considering reregulating
the packet-switching  networks like
Telenet,  Tymnet,  Compuserve,  The
Source and PC Pursuit.  This  could
result in additional  costs  to the
user.   This   is   excerpted  from
Infomat magazine.


           By Tim Elmer

The Federal Communications
Commission (FCC) will vote on a
proposal to reregulate packet
switching networks that, if
approved, would eliminate free
local telephone access to those

"If this occurs, it might
eventually double or triple the
costs to those using packet
switching networks to access
commercial on-line databases and
information services and triple or
quadruple the costs to those using
Telenet's PC Pursuit," said Philip
M. Walker, vice president and
regulatory counsel for Telenet

"In terms of cost impact," Walker
said, "if we had to pay local
access charges, it would cost us
about $3.60 an hour at the
originating end, for calls made by
users to on-line databases and
information services like
CompuServe and The Source."

"And with PC Pursuit, for which we
have out-dial modems, we would have
to pay not only $4.60 per hour
access fees at the originating end,
but also $4.80 at the terminating
end, a total of about $8 or $9.
Obviously, to survive, we would
have to add those additional
charges to our current fees and
pass them on to our consumers,"
Walker Said.

That  would almost certainly  spell
the end of PC Pursuit, and it would
likely put out of business not only
many  independent packet  switching
networks   but  also  many  on-line
databases and information services.

FCC   approval  of   changes  being
considered in Computer III,  Walker
said,  "would really  have a  major
impact  on anyone  using  a  packet
switching service  to access online
bulletin   boards,  databases,   or
information  services  aimed at the
residential user.   They  are  just
going   to  get   creamed  if  this

Walker said  that it  was not clear
exactly when the FCC would  vote on
the proposal,  but  that  it  would
probably  be  the  latter  part  of
January  or early part  of February
1987.   "They are moving  very fast
on this," he said.

...Business Machine in the Works....

(Dec. 25)

Atari plans to blitz the business
market in 1987.

The Sunnyvale, Calif., computer
manufacturer, known for its home
computers, told Computer + Software
News it is developing a 32-bit,
Unix-compatible machine for its first
foray into the Fortune 500 community.

The machine, expected to be introduced
in the first half of 1987, apparently
will compete with an unnamed Unix-based
machine Apple is working on.

Atari plans to sell its for less than
$3,000, while an Apple source told the
trade weekly that the"Paris"code-named
computer will cost between $6,000 and

The new Atari ST machine will allow
users to off-load graphics and I/O
processing, a capability that frees the
machine for other tasks, said Neil
Harris, Atari's director of marketing
               --Daniel Janal
                 Online Today

....News for 8-Bits................

(Taken by permission from AUGN #3)


The first of three Atari fairs
has been held with outstanding
results.  A total of more than ten
thousand consumers have been
exposed to Atari computers in the
Los Angeles, San Jose, and Portland
areas during August, September, and
October.  During November, the
"road show" moved to Pittsburgh,
with 1987 dates including Allen-
town, Chicago, Salt Lake City,
Denver, Boston, Buffalo, Dallas,
and more.

Each show begins with a media
blitz for the weeks before the show
dates.  The show is promoted by
independent dealers and Atari Corp.
through newspaper and radio ads as
well as in-store promotions.  User
groups place community events
announcements, distribute posters,
and have mass mailings.

In the show itself are dealers,
software developers, user group
booths, and an Atari Corporate
booth. Special seminars are held
which target specific
areas of interest such as music,
business, and technical subjects.

Participants in the shows so far
have included Antic, Analog,
Activision, Batteries Included,
Haba, Hippopotamus, Regent, OSS,
Michtron, FTL Systems, Metacomco,
Beckmeyer Development, Quickview
Systems, Abacus, Maxthink, Stra-
tegic Simulations, and many others.
Many products have been shown to
the public for the first time at
Atari Fairs including Atari's own
"MicroSoft Write" word processor,
the forthcoming "BLITTER" chip, and
the 80-column card for the XE line,
as well as Antic's 3-D glasses for
"CAD 3-D", "Haba Write II" from
Haba, Michtron's "8-Ball Pool"
game, "Regent Word II", "DEGAS
Elite", "Cambridge Lisp" from
Metacomco, "Magic Sac" from Data
Pacific (a Macintosh emulator), and
countless others.  Guest speakers
included Atarians Sam Tramiel,
Leonard Tramiel, Shiraz Shivji, Jim
Tittsler, and Neil Harris, along
with developers like Tom Hudson,
Frank Cohen, Malcom Cecil, Paul
Heckel, and columnist extra-
ordinaire Jerry Pournelle.  There
have been some dynamite MIDI/music
demonstrations by Hybrid Arts along
with their entourage of top name

Participating dealers reported
spectacular sales both at the fair
and at their stores during the fair
thanks to the promotions sur-
rounding it.  IB Computers in
Portland reported their all-time
best sales on the Saturday of their

...New Products for the Atari.......


Zobian Controls
1156 Old Mill Lane
P.O.  Box 6406
Wyomissing, PA 19610
(215) 374-5478
48K disk

SuperRAT, a new high-accuracy
digital version of Zobian's mouse for
Atari 8-bit computers, can access every
pixel in Graphics 8.  It comes with
Accu-Draw for $69.95 and with RAOS for
RAOS ($49.95), the Rat-Actuated
Operating System, gives you a "GEM"
system on your 8-bit Atari.  RAOS has
its own icon-based desktop program,
Z-DOS, replacing DUP.SYS, and a
mouse-controllable, user-programmable
windowing environment occupying 3K of
RAM. RAOS uses a Player/Missile cursor
to select icons and is compatible with
most memory upgrades.

Electronic Arts
1820 Gateway Drive
San Mateo, CA 94404
(415) 571-7171
$49.95, $48K disk

In Star Fleet 1, each new level at
the Officers Academy lets you role-play
different characters and experience
unique tasks.  As a member of the
Alliance, you must protect its outer
regions against the invading Krellan
and Zaldron empires.  After graduating
from the academy, you'll command one
of 36 cruisers with a sophisticated
array of weaponry at your fingertips.

First Byte
P.O Box 32
Rice's Landing, PA 15357
(12) 627-3596
$24.95, 48K disk

First Byte's Enhancements to BASIC,
Version II is a completely rewritten
package, not just an upgrade.  You can
access many DOS functions in immediate
mode.  Enhanced BASIC II makes it
easier to trace your program flow for
debugging. The software renumbers,
block deletes and provides automatic
line numbering.

Mind Link Communications Inc.
Box 488
36 Adelaide Street East
Toronto, M5C 2J6 Canada
(416) 961-8858
$24.95, 48K disk

In the market for self-improvement?
Mind Tuner uses proven psychological
principles to help you manage stress
and improve your personality and
performance with visualizations,
positive affirmations and subliminal
messages that you can write for

19808 Nordhoff Place
Chatsworth, CA 91311
(818) 886-5922
48K disk

Develop title screens on your Atari
for your VCR or video camera, and then
record the screens directly to
videotape with Video Title Shop
($29.95).  Choose from several type
styles and sizes, create borders and
add flair with the scrolling and
fade-in/out features.  The
package inclues Micro-Painter Plus for
graphics that can be used as
backgrounds to titles.

Experienced players of Mercenary
will find the Second City on the other
side of the Planet Targ, and once again
you must escape.  You'll be hindered by
those warring planetary factions.
Mercenary:  The Second City ($14.95)
must be played in conjunction with
Datasoft's original Mercenary game

Five new games come by way of
England's PSS:

Tobruk ($34.95) is a re-creation of
the desert battle that threatened
England's presence in North Africa.

Bismarck ($34.95) puts you in
command of the Royal Navy or the
Bismarck itself.

Swords & Sorcery ($34.95) is a
role-playing fantasy that takes you
through the underworld on a quest for
secular and spiritual power.

Saracen ($29.95) sends you through
100 mazes of increasing complexity as
you seek and try to destroy the evil
Saracen warrior.

Black Magic ($24.95) puts you into
100 mazes of a fantasy world as you set
out to destroy the forces that have
overrun the kingdom of Marigold,
restoring the Golden Age it once knew.

Strategic Simulations Inc.
1046 N.  Rengstorff Avenue
Mountain View, CA 94043
(416) 964-1353
48K disk

SSI's newest release includes
Warship ($59.95), a tactical
ship-to-ship World War II game, Roadwar
2000 ($39.95), a science fiction
adventure, Gemstone Healer ($29.95),
the sequel to the role-playing
adventure Gemstone Warrior, and the
Wargame Construction Set ($29.95),
which lets you build your own war,
fantasy or science fiction games.

The SSI Classics line brings back
proven hits -- now at only $14.95 each.
Titles include Combat Leader, Computer
Baseball, Computer Bismarck, Cytron
Masters, Eagles, Fortress, Galactic
Gladiators, Gemstone Warrior and Warp

..Features, Tips and Reviews........

The Pilgrimage To ICD
By Mike Brown

While vacationing in the Chicago area
just before Christmas, I was fortunate
enough to be able to make the trip to
nearby Rockford, home of Atari
computer accessory company ICD.

For those who do not know, ICD has
been most prolific in the last few
years, producing such great products
as SpartaDOS, the US Doubler 1050
enhancement, the Rambo XL memory
expansion, the P:R: Connection 850
replacement, and recently the Multi
Input-Output Interface.

It was the search for an MIO that
originally brought me to
Rockford and ICD, I had planned
to just pick up a MIO and take
advantage of their special on Adaptec
hard disk controllers, but upon
talking to ICD founding father and
guiding light Tom Harker over the
company BBS, I asked if it would be
possible to take a short tour of their
facility and tell you what it was

The home of the most creative and
technologically advanced products for
Atari computers is a rented section of
what was once a large manufacturing
company that has fallen on hard times.
ICD has what is called a "suite"
within this facility and also leases
manufacturing and warehouse space at
this location.

When I first arrived, 
I wondered if it was the right
address, as there was no indication
that there were other companies under
the wing of the larger company. After
being assured that I was in the right
place by the guard, I was led back to
ICD's "nerve center".

Tom explained to me that they were in
the process of getting several new
products to market, (more later) and
that things were somewhat in an

The one thing that did catch me by
surprise around the ICD offices, was
the IBM PC "Clones" being used around
the office for "serious" work. I would
think that a company that makes its
living on the Atari computer line
would be anxious to prove the
viability of Atari computers in an
office environment.

In the course of going through the ICD
manufacturing facility (on the second
floor), Tom and I discussed ICD's
philosophy; "We (at ICD) have all been
consumers, and have been in the
situation where a product does not
work as advertised, or does not work
at all. We probably over-test our
products, but we want to be known for
putting reliability and quality
first." The testing and "burn-in"
areas are where the most Atari
computer equipment is used. I saw a
row of 600XL's running a special
cartridge program that verifies the
operation of every MIO that ICD ships.

I also saw an area in the
manufacturing facility where specially
modified equipment checks out each US
Doubler chipset before it is packaged.
This 100% commitment to quality is
unique in an industry founded on
"cookie-cutter" production methods.

As impressive as the plant tour was,
the really fun stuff was getting a
preview of what is to come in the next
few months from ICD. Tom held
impromptu demos of everything that is
promised from ICD and offered several

The products that were shown to me
were PROTOTYPES, and may be different
when or if they hit the market. The
first thing I saw was a prototype of
envisioned this as a stripped-down
P:R: Connection, but it is obvious
that they went with a clean sheet of
paper on this one! The actual
electronics module is barely larger
than the hood for a standard
Centronics type printer connector. The
Printer Connection does not require
you to buy anything extra such as
cables or the like, just plug it into
an Atari Serial port and to your
printer! Unfortunately, the device
must be the last on a "daisy chain" as
there is no way to connect another
serial device to it. The tentative
price for this little gem is $59.95
and will be available around the
middle of February.

The most impressive demo was the
forthcoming 80 COLUMN ADAPTER for the
MIO. Tom apologized to me about the
quality of the display, since the one 
I was shown was just a prototype, and
that they had some firmware massaging
to do before it would be ready for
market. I use IBM PC's quite
frequently with EGA monitors, and I
swear that in text mode, the 80 col
MIO was just as sharp as the best text
displays I have seen. The adapter will
support the full Atari character set,
but I am not sure about graphics,
since I was told that has not yet been
decided. The output of the adapter s
full RGB nine-pin output (same as the
IBM PC), but no mention was made about
sound support (since most RGB monitors
do not have internal speakers). A
pleasant surprise is that when
displayed on a color RGB monitor, the
adapter displays in 16 color mode! Tom
said that there is "almost no
software" that supports the adapter at
this time, but ICD plans on working
with software developers and may
market not only patches for existing
software, but also whole applications
packages for the adapter. The adapter
is designed to be easily added to a
MIO by the end user, I understand that
it just involves removing four screws
from the MIO case and plugging a
daughterboard into the MIO main board,
the built-in firmware does the rest.

Tom noted that the adapter will have
its own screen memory, so "normal"
computer memory will not be
significantly affected by the use of
the adapter. What of the "official"
Atari 80 col adapter/printer
interface?? Tom showed me a
pre-production version of one stripped
down to the board level, the layout
looked crude in comparison to the MIO
adapter I had just seen. "We plan on
being compatible with software written
for the Atari adapter. We work quite
closely with Atari and have a
developer's non-disclosure agreement
with Atari". The preliminary price of
the 80 column MIO option is $99.95,
and they are promised by the end of

One other item that I saw, was a most
preliminary version of SPARTA DOS X;
SpartaDOS 3.3. Tom explained that 3.3
was mostly 3.2 modified to work in ROM
(shades of the ST!), and that X would
have a lot more "neat stuff". The
literature I have on it says that
SpartaDOS X will have full 80 col
support, support for the Atari 3 1/2"
drives, and the Indus GT high speed

The preliminary price for
the SpartaDOS X cartridge is $79.95
and no release date is given.

All in all, the "fact-finding mission"
to ICD HQ was an extremely enjoyable
experience. It's encouraging to see
their strong commitment to advancing
the Atari 8-bit world.

....Tech Tips.....................


I recently bought an Atari XM-301
modem and discovered that it has a bug.
When used with the 1050 disk drive, it
causes the drive to time-out
periodically and slows down software

To fix this, three 47 0 ohm (2%
tol) resistors can be connected to pins
# 3, 9 & 13 on the circuit board,
connecting to the I/O cable.  Just
unsolder the I/O cable wires from the
board, older the resistors to the wires
and hook them back on to the circuit
board.  My modem now works without a
     Steve Coffman 72337,3457

...Shows, Expos, Fleamarkets.......

     Ken Gordon Computer Shows 

The following is a list of current
and/or future computer shows and
expos being held by Ken Gordon
Productions, Inc.  All shows in
this list are indoor shows, so they
will be held rain or shine.  Ad-
mission to each show is $7.00 for
adults, or $5.00 for children (age
5-12).  If you need any more infor-
mation about these shows, you can
contact Ken Gordon Productions at
(201)297-2526 in NJ, or toll free
1-800-631-0062 outside NJ.  This
list is presented to you by Steve
Godun (no affiliation with Ken
Gordon Productions, Inc).
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
 SHOW: Apple & Commodore Expo
       Show, Sale, and Fleamarket
 DATE: Sunday, January 11, 1987
 TIME: 10am thru 4pm
 LOCATION: Aspen Manor Convention
           Center (Parsippany, NJ)

 SHOW: (All Systems)
 DATE: Saturday, February 7, 1987
 TIME: 9am thru 4pm
 LOCATION: William Paterson College
           Recreation Center
           (Wayne, NJ)

 SHOW: (All Systems)
 DATE: Sunday, February 22, 1987
 TIME: 10am thru 4pm
 LOCATION: New York Penta Hotel
           (New York City, NY)

...PC Pursuit.....................

By Greg Figueroa 

The Telecommunications market  
has never been so blessed with such  
a service as PC Pursuit.  PC Pursuit
is a service of GTE Telenet, and is
very helpful with the wallet in terms
of long distance phone bills.

For $25 a month, you can access
the following metropolitan areas all 
you want within the standard times of
6 PM to 7 AM Monday thru Thursday,
and from 6 PM Friday to 7 AM Monday.

At the time of this writing,
there are 14 areas you can call, and
they are:

      City           Area Code
      Atlanta              404
      Boston               617
      Chicago              312
      Dallas               214
      Denver               303
      Detroit              313
      Houston              713
      Los Angeles          213
      Newark               201
      New York             212
      Philadelphia         215
      San Francisco        415
      Seattle              206
      Washington D.C.      202

And early this year, the
following 11 cities will be  
added to the PC Pursuit network:

      City           Area Code
      Portland             503
      San Jose             408
      Phoenix              602
      Milwaukee            414
      Tampa                813
      Glendale             818
      Cleveland            216
      Research Triangle  
                Park       919
      Miami                305
      Minneapolis          612
      Salt Lake City       801

For more information on PC 
Pursuit, or to register for it, call
the support board "In Pursuit of..."
at 1-(800)-835-3001.  It has all the
information you need and you can even
register through the board for the

If you have any other questions,
please feel free to contact me on CIS
in Easyplex or the Atari 8-Bit Forum.
My PPN # is 72347,576. 

...By Alan R. Bechtold.............

At the risk of over-simplification,
I  think  I should  first  describe
just   what   a   packet   switched
networking service  is.   These are
the  services  you  use  to  access
online   databases  and  commercial
online services, such as CompuServe
and The Source,  with  just a local
telephone call.  Once  you call the
local Telenet or Tymnet number, for
example, and a  connection is made,
you  are   then  connected  with  a
computer    that   puts    you   in
communication   with  the    online
services  with  which  you wish  to

This computer is  handling a number
of  calls  into  the   main  system
computer  at  the  same  time.   It
takes   information  you  send  and
delivers  it in  "packets"  to  the
proper    destination,   picks   up
information from the online service
computer you called,  and sends it,
also  in  "packets"   because  this
allows the network's  computers  to
offer   protocol   conversion   and
handle       several        ongoing
communications sessions at the same

FCC regulations allow AT&T and Bell
Operating   Companies   (BOCs)   to
engage in packet-switching  network
operations,  but  they  must   also
maintain    completely     separate
accounting   of  their  voice   and
packet switching operations.   They
must also offer  free local-calling
access   to  their  lines   to  any
competitors  engaged  in the packet
switching service industry.

The above regulations  have allowed
Telenet  and Tymnet,  among others,
to operate at a  reasonable cost in
a competitive atmosphere.   This is
a case of regulation  of a business
actually  resulting  in   increased
competition  and  lower  prices  to

As things  stand now,  you can call
any local Telenet or  Tymnet access
number  and  use these  services to
inexpensively   access  such   only
services as CompuServe, The Source,
Delphi, and  countless others.   In
addition,  GTE's  new   PC  PURSUIT
service now offers  you the access,
through   their    Telenet   packet
switching  service,   to  literally
hundreds of local  bulletin  boards
in    cities   all    across    the
country--for the flat charge of $25
per month.

But, the FCC is now  being asked to
REREGULATE   this  segment  of  the
communications  industry,   elimin-
ating the   FCC  requirements  that
AT&T   and   BOCs   keep   separate
accounting records of  their  voice
and packet switching services,  and
eliminating  the  stipulation  that
the BOCs and AT&T must offer  their
competitors in the packet switching
business free access to their local
telephone connection lines.

The idea is patiently ridiculous.

Mark Fowler,  Chairman  of the FCC,
has been  hailed by  the press as a
"air-market  zealot."  The  chances
are very  good  that he views  this
proposed reregulation  as the magic
road to increased competition and a
fairer pricing for consumers.

Unofficially,  the word is out that
the  FCC  advisory  committee   now
considering  this matter is  indeed
leaning in  favor of  the  proposed
reregulation    of    the    packet
switching   industry.     If    the
committee recommends these changes,
it's likely that a  majority of the
five voting members of the FCC will
vote in favor of the changes.

The  proposed  reregulation   could
very  well  spell  the death of  PC
PURSUIT.   Because  GTE  also  uses
dial-out modems at the other end of
their Telenet  connections for  PCP
service,  the   company  would   be
forced to pay an  hourly charge  at
BOTH  ends  of  the  phone  line --
totaling up to  $9 per hour.  These
fees would have to be added  to the
flat  $25 per  month  that GTE  now
charges  for  access  to   PCP.   It
would simply make the final cost to
PCP  customers  too  high  for  the
service  to  remain  practical  and

So,  this is ONE TIME  you MUST use
your word processor to produce some
letters   opposing  this   proposed
reregulation!  Write to:

  Honorable Mark Fowler
  Chairman of the Federal
   Communications Commission
  Washington D.C.  20554

Refer  to Computer  Inquiry  III in
your letters.   State  clearly,  in
your own  words,  that  competitive
packet  switching  services  should
not be reregulated  or subjected to
carrier  access charges,  and  then
explain why not.  Tell  Mr.  Fowler
that    reregulation   of    packet
services  will  completely  destroy
the existing  fair market for these
services, and  eventually  increase
costs, not DECREASE them.

And  Hurry!   I  have  heard   this
matter will be going before the FCC
for a  vote in  the latter  part of
January or early  part of February.
Time is running out.

Help save PC Pursuit.  Write today!

Zmagazine  January 5, 1987  Issue33
Please Contribute!!!

Next issue January 12th. Look for the
updated Zmag Systems list in a future
edition. Due to the length of the 
current list. We have decided to stop
publishing all the systems each week.
We will spotlight 3-5 systems each
week. Happy New year!  Ron

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