Z*Magazine: 5-Jan-87 #33From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
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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...... <*> PC PURSUIT THREATENED BY FCC "RE-REGULATION" <*> ATARI TO MARKET 32-BIT BUSINESS COMPUTER <*> ATARI FAIRS DEBUT ACROSS THE COUNTRY <*> NEW ATARI 8-BIT PRODUCTS <*> ICD--A VISIT WITH THE COMPANY THAT IS SAVING THE 8-BITS <*> TECHNICAL TIPS--THE ATARI XM301 MODEM <*> COMPUTER EXPOS--FLEA MARKETS AND EXPOS <*> PC PURSUIT...A CAPSULE REVIEW <*> GUEST EDITORIAL 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 Pursuit. 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 201-968-8148. ____________________________________ Xx ZMAG BULLETIN ...FCC Threatens PC Pursuit......... ____________________________________ IMPORTANT BULLETIN! DISTRIBUTE AS WIDELY AS POSSIBLE 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. FREE LOCAL ACCESS TO PACKET SWITCHING NETWORKS MAY BE ELIMINATED 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 networks. "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 Corp. "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 happens. 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. ____________________________________ Xx ATARI NEWS ...Business Machine in the Works.... ____________________________________ ATARI TO TALK BUSINESS IN '87 (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 $8,000. 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 communications. --Daniel Janal Online Today ___________________________________ Xx ZMAG ATARI NEWS ....News for 8-Bits................ ___________________________________ (Taken by permission from AUGN #3) ATARI FAIRS NATIONWIDE 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 musicians. 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 fair. ____________________________________ Xx ATARI 8-BIT NEWS ...New Products for the Atari....... ____________________________________ ANTIC PUBLISHING INC., COPYRIGHT 1987. REPRINTED BY PERMISSION. SUPER RAT, RAOS 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 $99.95. 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. STAR FLEET 1 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. BASIC ENHANCEMENTS II 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 TUNER 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 yourself. VIDEO TITLE SHOP, MERCENARY: 2ND CITY, FIVE FROM PSS Datasoft 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 disk. 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. WARSHIP, ROADWAR 2000, GEMSTONE HEALER, WARGAME CONSTRUCTION SET, SSI CLASSICS 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 Factor. ____________________________________ Xx ZMAG PANORAMA ..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 like. 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 uproar. 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 surprises. 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 the PRINTER CONNECTION. I had 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 January. 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 mode. 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. __________________________________ Xx ZMAG RANDOM NOTES ....Tech Tips..................... __________________________________ MODEM MODIFICATION 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 loading. 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 hitch. Steve Coffman 72337,3457 ___________________________________ Xx ZMAG CURRENT EVENTS ...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) ___________________________________ Xx ZMAG REVIEWS ...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 service. 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. ___________________________________ Xx ZMAG GUEST EDITORIAL ...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 communicate. 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 time. 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 consumers. 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 affordable. 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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