Z*Magazine: 9-Feb-87 #38From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
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From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG) Subject: Z*Magazine: 9-Feb-87 #38 Date: Thu Jul 8 09:44:38 1993 ----------------------------------- Zmagazine February 9, 1987 Issue 38 ----------------------------------- Zmag Staff: Publisher/Editor in Chief:Ron Kovacs Editor/Coordinator:Alan Kloza ----------------------------------- ____________________________________ This Week in Zmag...... <*> USER GROUP OF THE MONTH MICHIGAN'S C.H.A.O.S. <*> PROFILE: THE CHAOS BBS <*> SEAGATE INTRODUCES NEW 3.5" HARD DRIVES <*> COMMODORE SHOWING PROFITS-- COMING OUT OF THE RED <*> ACTIVISION POSTS LOSSES <*> ATARI WORD PROCESSING PT.I BEST OF THE 8-BIT SOFTWARE <*> ST FORTH--YOU GOTTA BELIEVE All this and more in this weeks edition of Zmagazine..... ____________________________________ Xx EDITOR'S NOTES ....New Monthly Feature............. ____________________________________ As promised in last week's Zmag, we start a new feature this week, the User Group of the Month. This month we profile the C.H.A.O.S. User's Group of Lansing Michigan. If you would like to see your user's group featured in an upcoming edition of Zmag, send us some material for publication. We ask that all submissions be sent in by the 15th of the month for consider- ation in the next month's user group column. Take advantage of this free publicity and get your news in for an upcoming edition. Zmag is now featured on over 50 BBS's across the U.S. and Europe and can also be found in Compuserve's Atari DL library. For more information on Zmag's User Group of the Month, call: The Syndicate BBS (Zmag Headquarters) 201-968-8148 Surf City East BBS 201-929-9351 ___________________________________ Xx ZMAG USER GROUP OF THE MONTH ....Capitol Hill Atarians.......... ___________________________________ C.H.A.O.S. USER GROUP By Leo Sell, President. From out of the void...CHAOS!! C.H.A.O.S., like many user groups, came into existence to fill a void. C.H.A.O.S. is the Capitol Hill Atari Owner's Society, located in Lansing, Michigan. Supporting all Atari computers, 8-bit and 16-bit alike, we are the most active and second largest Atari user group in Michigan (M.A.C.E. of DETROIT is still #1 in size). Our still-growing membership numbers over 150, and is drawn from all over Michigan as well as out of state and Canada. A few of our continuing projects: We are most proud of our Public Domain Disk libraries. Recent trading and revision have made it one of the best sources of quality Public Domain programs anywhere, with fully categorized and indexed disks numbering over 300. The Publications Library has books, magazines and exchange newsletters from nearly 100 other clubs and spans the last 5 years. Our BBS is nationally known and visited for its quality, dependability, and ease of use, as well as being a great source for information (particularly on MEMORY UPGRADES). The C.H.A.O.S. ST INterest Group continues to grow in numbers and support. Our most recent, largest, and most exciting project is publishing and participating in the Mid-Michigan Atari Magazine in cooperation with seven other Atari user groups across the state. History C.H.A.O.S. (under a different name) began in 1981 as a small group of hackers, hobbyists, and computer professionals, with a common interest in the Atari 800. As time passed, our membership grew, adding Atari 400 owners, cassette owners and more. With growth came the need for structure and organization. The name was changed to C.H.A.O.S., a constitution was written and we incorporated. Our constitution was revised in 1985, but the philosophy and style obviously the energy of it's founders put into place has been retained. The result has been a consistency and dependability that is too seldom found these days. Organization C.H.A.O.S. is a corporation, and is organized in much the same way as a business. Our Board of Directors consists of five elected officers, including the President, Vice-President, Secretary-Treasurer, and two at-large members - one from each of the major group of owners (8-bit and 16-bit). In addition to the officers, each major function of the club is headed by an appointed manager or leader. The larger jobs, such as the disk library, are further divided using assistants whose work is overseen by the manager. Further use of the appointees' ideas and abilities is made by a management type of commitee, called the Activities Board. It consists of the Vice-President as Chairman, and all appointees of the club. Together they oversee their various activities and responsibilities, and brainstorm for new ideas and services. The MID-MICHIGAN ATARI MAGAZINE is published by C.H.A.O.S. but is managed as though it were essentially a separate entity in order to be fair to all the participating groups. The ST Crisis Another of our recent accomplishments that I take pride in, is the way we have weathered the ST crisis. It seems as if many clubs split the ST owners completely off, for a variety of reasons. That didn't happen here, although for a time there was some controversy and sentiment for a new and separate ST group. In the very early days of the ST, the C.H.A.O.S. Board of Directors deemed that we would support the ST as fully as possible. We strongly urged ST owners to remain with the club and take advantage of the structure and resources that already existed. We emphasized the common ground and needs of both 8-bit and 16-bit owners. We committed strongly to the ST owners and then stuck to our resolution. We have also made it plain that we believe the future lies with the ST. As a result, our ST presence continues to grow and prosper, as does the club itself. The Future I believe that we will continue to grow and prosper and support owners of new and old Atari computers alike. As a percentage of membership, owners of the ST (and of the Atari machines yet to come) will continue to increase and that of the 8-bit will decrease. But the foundations laid by the 8-bit owners will serve the future members well. Because we have joined together for support now, we can look forward to mutual support, cooperation, and harmony for a long time to come. ___________________________________ Xx ZMAG USER GROUP PROFILE ....The CHAOS BBS.................. ___________________________________ The C.H.A.O.S. BBS - (517) 371-1106 By the System Designer and Operator, John Nagy The C.H.A.O.S. BBS is now in its third location and phone number since it began operations in 1982. I have been operating it since summer 1985. The BBS is supported completely by the C.H.A.O.S. CLUB, who pay for the equipment, line, repairs and upgrades. At the present, the system runs on a 320K ATARI XE computer, Basic XE (O.S.S. Inc.), Spartados (ICD, Inc.), a PERCOM master disk drive with two double sided double density slave drives, an ATARI 850 interface with an AVATEX 1200 modem, and an ATARI 1020 printer/plotter for a logger. Arriving daily are the parts that will soon provide 10 MEG of hard disk storage, including the 256K MIO board from ICD. The software now running on the C.H.A.O.S. BBS is called "The M-5 SYSTEM", and is structurally based on the original public domain F.o.R.e.M. program by Matthew Singer, but has been totally redeveloped to add hundreds of improvements, features, and speed. Features include: 300 and 1200 baud; an automatic voting section; multiple message bases with reply chains, search by MARKED or NEW SINCE LAST CALL, controlled scroll, and more; "last words" left for the next caller, plus a LAST CALLS LIST to see who has been on, when, how long, and what their "LAST WORDS" were; continuously user-variable "expert user" mode; the best and newest information and text files for online reading; top quality recent public domain software for downloading; ZMAGAZINE; online roleplay/adventure games; and more. Perhaps the most outstanding feature of the M-5 System is the prompts. They automatically respond and offer help when you need it, judging your experience (as shown in the user log), your errors while using the system today, and your own requests for help. This part of the system has been and continues to be one of my main areas of development. It is perhaps the most user friendly system available for ANY computer. Our callers number as many as 50 a day from all over the USA and several other countries. We have over 400 regular users. For more than a year, C.H.A.O.S. has offered all the MEMORY UPGRADE information and software possible, and many calls each day are drawn by this selection. (Claus Buchholz, originator of the 256K upgrade for the 800XL, is one of C.H.A.O.S.'s original members.) A recent user poll showed an average user age of 28 years, with 20% of the traffic from out of the state. Although NOT in one of the area codes reachable through PC PURSUIT, C.H.A.O.S. still deserves a visit on your next trip through the electric highway! ____________________________________ Xx ZMAG NEWSWIRE ....General Computer News........... ____________________________________ SEAGATE ANNOUNCES 3.5-INCH HARD DISK DRIVES (Feb. 5) Seagate Technology has announced its first 3.5-inch hard disk units, with a maximum capacity of 45MB. The half-height drives have an average access time of less than 30ms and are available with SCSI or Seagate's own ST412 interfaces. The SCSI and ST412/RLL models offer 30MB and 45MB respectively, while the lower density ST125 and ST138 models give 20MB and 30MB formatted capacity. Prices start at $595 for original equipment manufacturers and volume production starts in the third quarter in Seagate's Far East plants. TANDY TOPS APPLE, IBM IN CHRISTMAS QUARTER SALES (Feb. 5) Tandy Corp. had itself a merry, BIG Christmas -- the latest word from Infocorp researchers is that the Fort Worth, Texas, computer maker claimed a 37 percent share of the nation's fourth-quarter retails sales of personal computers. That's more than the Apple Computer and IBM's portions combined. According to the report, Apple got a 24-percent share; IBM got only 12 percent. The fourth quarter is the most important, because traditionally it accounts for a third or more of the annual sales. Meanwhile, Apple's not really hurting, either. Looking at the year as a whole, both Apple and Tandy passed IBM, each getting about 25 percent of the total 2.7 million units sold through retail stores in Christmas compared with IBM's 17 percent. Note, though, that this report from the Cupertino, Calif., - based Infocorp focuses only on sales through retail stores like ComputerLand and Radio Shack outlets, and does not reflect direct sales to large companies, one of IBM's big distribution channels. --Charles Bowen COMMODORE POSTS PROFITS AGAIN, REVENUES DOWN SOME 20 PERCENT (Feb. 5) As predicted last month, Commodore International today reported its third straight profitable period, although revenues declined. According to a statement from its West Chester, Pa., headquarters, the computer maker made a profit of $21.8 million in the quarter ending Dec. 31. The Associated Press notes that included in the profit is a one-time tax-related gain of $5.8 million, compared with a loss a year earlier of $53.2 million. The profit amounted to 68 cents per share. Revenue, down 20 percent to $270.8 million from $339.2 million a year earlier, was at planned levels, said Thomas Rattigan, president and chief executive officer, in the statement, "as the company managed for profitability and cash flow" rather than growth. Interviewed by AP, Commodore financial officer Michael Evans elaborated that "trying to build for a large Christmas season, given the financial position of the company, would not have been the right thing to do." Evans added, incidentally, that the company hopes to complete within a week a new agreement with its bankers on a $140 million revolving line of credit. Commodore was in default on stipulations of its earlier agreement. Commodore reports for the first half of its fiscal year, the period ended Dec. 31, it had a profit of $25.5 million or 80 cents a share, including the $5.8 million tax-related benefit, compared with a $92.4 million loss a year earlier. Revenue for the same period fell 10 percent to $446.8 million from $498.4 million. --Charles Bowen ACTIVISION POSTS LOSS (Feb. 6) Activision Inc., a publisher of game and education software, has posted a third quarter net loss of $3.9 million or 11 cents a share. In the year earlier quarter, Activision had a net loss of $900,000 or three cents a share. Net sales for the latest quarter were $9.6 million from $5.8 million a year ago. For the first nine months of the fiscal year, Activision had a net loss of $6.7 million or 20 cents a share. This compares with a net loss of $3.8 million or 12 cents a share a year earlier. Net sales for the period rose to $22 million from $12.5 million. Bruce L. Davis, Activision's president and chief operating officer, said that the 66 percent increase in sales for the quarter was due to the acquisitions of Infocom and Gamestar and strong sales of certain entertainment software and video games. He went on to note that operating results for the quarter were negatively affected by delayed product introductions, high marketing expenditures for new product introductions and heavy investment in new product development. -- John Edwards ___________________________________ Xx ZMAG PANORAMA ....Atari Word Processing Part I ___________________________________ *********************************** Editor's Note: The following article comes to us from Antic Online and presents a good overview on a few of the many word processing programs available for the Atari 8-bit computers. Because of its length, Zmag is publishing this review in 2 parts, the second of which can be found in next week's issue of Zmag. *********************************** ANTIC PUBLISHING INC., COPYRIGHT 1987. REPRINTED BY PERMISSION. By GREGG PEARLMAN, ANTIC JUNIOR EDITOR Atari 8-bit computers are fine word processing tools. For $500 or less-- the price of a computer, printer, disk drive, software and some paper--you can have clean, correction-free documents that make ordinary typewritten material look as if the cat did it. In terms of versatility, speed, ease of use and readability, word processing is as far above typewriting as typewriting is above penmanship. An individual word processor is an acquired taste. Features that please some might annoy others. Even the five Antic editors are split on their favorites. For personal use. two prefer PaperClip, two use AtariWriter or AtariWriter Plus, and the fifth uses Letter Perfect. What follows is a detailed comparison of seven word processors currently available for Atari 8-bit computers. These word processors are AtariWriter Plus, First XLEnt Word Processor, PaperClip, Letter Perfect, Superscript, Word Magic and HomeText. 80 COLUMNS The biggest lack in 8-bit Atari word processing to date has been the unavailability of an 8O-column screen display that shows your page exactly as it will print out. However, Atari now says that its long-awaited XEP80 80-column adapter box will be shipping in January, 1987. The XEP80's razor-sharp text display was demonstrated at last year's trade shows and Atari Fairs. The $79.95 adapter plugs into either joystick port and includes its own parallel printer interface. It works with either monochrome or color monitors. Prompt release of new versions supporting 80 columns on the XEP80 are expected from AtariWriter Plus, PaperClip and First XLEnt Word Processor. ACE80 ($49.95. Reviewed in Antic, July 1986) and Write80 ($59.95. Reviewed in October 1986) each offer 80-column displays without the XEP80 hardware. But neither of these products can be considered full-featured word processors like the other software in this report. ATARIWRITER PLUS AtariWriter Plus does many things well. Its Proofreader and Mail Merge functions make it one of the most complete word processing packages available for Atari 8-bit computers. AtariWriter Plus is powerful and versatile, it does not drop characters or lock up as you type, and it has a 36,000-word spell-checking dictionary. The main limitation we found is a maximum file size of only 12.3K on the 800XL, slightly less than half of the file sizes we obtained from four other word processors. However, on the 130XE (and compatible memory upgrades) there are 15,872 bytes free -- in each of three "banks." Files longer than 15.5K "spill over" into the next available bank. [START] [B] switches from one bank to another, and [OPTION] [F] evenly distributes the file among all three banks. AtariWriter Plus can be configured to almost any printer. You need to load the printer driver every time time you boot up. The print preview feature gives you horizontal scrolling in more than 200 columns, and underlined characters appear in inverse video. However, boldface, italics and other special fonts are not indicated onscreen. The AtariWriter Plus Mail Merge lets you create an electronic mailing list with up to 255 records per file. AtariWriter Plus's powerful search-and-replace lets you use question marks as "wild card" characters. And global substitution is almost instantaneous -- you don't have to watch the cursor scroll through the entire file. The Proofreader program takes a little while to load, but it quickly scans your file for anything unusual, at which time an obnoxious beep alerts you. While the Antic editorial staff has had no problems with AtariWriter Plus, this isn't entirely true of our readers. We have received a trickle of letters listing minor complaints. For example, apparently headers and footers are sometimes printed somewhere other than where you want them. $49.95. Atari Corp., 1196 Borregas Avenue, Sunnyvale, CA 94086. (408) 745-2000. (Reviewed in Antic, April 1986, page 81.) FIRST XLENT First XLEnt Word Processor is the newest 8-bit product in this category and it is packed with unique and impressive features. First XLEnt lets you add pictures to the text, use the joystick for cursor movement, edit two documents at once, load in any Atari 8 X 8 font (such as international character sets). Help screens are easily available and search-and-replace is almost immediate. You can load files from any DOS (including specialized operating systems such as SpartaDOS). And there's no problem loading First XLEnt files to other word processors that use an Atari-compatible DOS. First XLEnt is not copy-protected and comes with Atari DOS 2.5, but you can substitute your own DOS -- meaning that you can set up a large RAMdisk, for example. In fact, First XLEnt uses the 130XE RAMdisk, so you can load files lightning-fast --tantamount to using an extra edit window. The program wordwraps on spaces and hyphens, making word-breaks cleaner. "Soft" hyphens are ignored unless needed for a line break, and "hard" spaces prevent a line break at that space. However, if you use two hyphens for dashes (--), they will be split up at the end of a line when printed. First XLEnt has a visible, editable cut-and-paste buffer. You can insert a disk file anywhere in your text without losing the end of your document. You can save to disk any part of the document in memory. Also, when working with two documents in memory, First XLEnt flips between them instead of splitting the screen into small windows. (Those who prefer two windows might like PaperClip better.) The biggest limitation we found in First XLEnt is that the cut-and-paste buffer holds you to one screen -- 800 characters. Also, the printing section in the manual could be more informative. When you go to the icon menu you're not always returned to your original spot in the text, or even to the same typing mode. If you were in Insert mode, you might find that you've overwritten some of your document before you realize you're no longer in that mode. And finally, the [CONTROL] key combinations on the 800 become [OPTION] key on the XL/XE. But despite any minor quibbles, the First XLEnt Word Processor is a most welcome entry in the 8-bit market. It's powerful, easy to use and highly original. $29.95. XLEnt Software, P.O. Box 5228, Springfield, VA 22150. (703) 644-8881. (Reviewed in Antic, January1987, page 53.) PAPERCLIP As we've said on various occasions, Batteries Included's PaperClip is the 8-bit word processor we use at Antic. Several features weight the dice heavily in PaperClip's favor. It has "macro" capability for writing out lengthy strings of stored text with just two keystrokes. It has a generally fast and efficient command structure. It lets you work on two windows at once, and can use the paste buffer as a third window. It reads standard Atari DOS files, so you can easily work with files from most other 8-bit word processors. PaperClip's best and most original editing features include commands to transpose two adjacent characters or words in a line, and to delete one word. When you press [CONTROL] [SHIFT] [CAPS], the cursor scoots along, changing capital letters to lowercase or vice versa. The search-and-replace feature is good, but it slows down as file size increases. However, you can search and replace as many as six strings during a single global substitute. You can easily merge files, rename or erase them, and format disks. PaperClip's commands are generally easy to remember. [CONTROL] [SHIFT] [R] Reads a file from disk, and [CONTROL] [SHIFT] [W] Writes it to the disk. [CONTROL] [SHIFT] [M] Moves a block, [CONTROL] [B] turns on Boldface, etc. But then [CONTROL] [A] sets print tabs and [CONTROL] [T] forces a new page, so the memory associations are not always that clear. Among the word processors in this report, only Superscript and PaperClip have math functions. PaperClip can add, subtract, multiply and divide, and print totals and subtotals. But you need to use the print preview window to see the results, which for unknown reasons often renders useless the block move command, [CONTROL] [SHIFT] [M]. Other functions include batch file processing and Mail Merge. The utility files also include machine language printer driver maker, a graphics dump and an AtariWriter to PaperClip conversion program. [CONTROL] [SHIFT]  gives a word count, but it's not terribly accurate. It counts spaces, not words, and consequently misses by as much as 20 percent. The print preview feature uses PaperClip's wide horizontal scrolling to display the page as it will look on paper. Despite all these flashy and valuable features, Antic editors have learned from nearly two years of heavy PaperClip use that the software sometimes mysteriously locks up or drops characters. Also, the type-ahead buffer is often too slow to keep up with reasonably speedy typing, especially at line-breaks. The program doesn't tell you when your data disk is full. And in a rare copy-protection scheme, you can back up the disk but you must plug the enclosed "hardware key" into joystick port 2 to run PaperClip. That key costs $20 to replace, but a keyless 48K-only version is available for $39.95. Our copy of SpellPack, the spell-checker in PaperClip's 130XE version, didn't show words like "without," "us" and "too." But it had no problem with "mnemonic" or "dubious" -- and it also provided a large selection of non-words such as "usabg" and "thesficking." However, Batteries Included has assured Antic that these bugs are fixed in PaperClip version 2.0 which is presently shipping. Upgrades are free with a dated receipt within 90 days of purchase. After that, the fee is $10 for an updated 130XE version and $15 for an upgrade from XL to XE. $59.95. Batteries Included, 30 Mural Street, Richmond Hill, Ontario, L4B 1B5, Canada. (416) 881-9941. (Reviewed in Antic, May 1985, page 24.) ************************************ ED.NOTE: Check out next week's Zmag for the conclusion of this report. ************************************ ___________________________________ Xx ZMAG EXTRA ....Miscellaneous Tidbits.......... ___________________________________ ZMAG TYPE-IN PROGRAM The following was sent in by a Zmag reader in Indiana. By: Dave Marzigliano DEC>HEX Conversion Prgm. 10 DIM A$(9),AD$(1) 20 GR.0:? :? HEX NUMBER CONVERSIONS":? 30 ? :? "Enter 'D' for DEC to HEX." 32 ? :? "Enter 'H' for HEX to DEC." 36 INPUT A$ 40 IF LEN(A$)=0 THEN 30 50 IF A$="H" THEN 300 60 IF A$<>"D" THEN 30 90 TRAP 90 100 ?:? "Enter a decimal number from" 105 ? "0 through 999999999." 110 ? "DEC:";:INPUT N 120 IF N<0 OR N>=1E+10 THEN GOTO 100 130 I=9 140 TEMP=N:N=INT(N/16) 150 TEMP=TEMP-N*16 160 IF TEMP<10 THEN A$(I,I)=STR$(TEMP) 165 GOTO 180 170 A$(I,I)=CHR$(TEMP-10+ASC(A)) 180 IF N<>0 THEN I=I-1:GOTO 140 190 ? "HEX: ";A$(I,9):? 200 GOTO 110 300 TRAP 300 310 ? :? "Enter a HEX number from" 315 ? "0 through FFFFFFFF " 320 ? "HEX:";:INPUT A$ 330 N=0 340 FOR I=1 TO LEN(A$) 345 AD$=A$(I,I):IF AD$<"0" THEN 300 350 IF A$(I,I)<"9" THEN N=N*16+VAL(AD$) 352 GOTO 370 355 IF AD$<"A" THEN 300 357 IF AD$>"F" THEN 300 360 N=N*16+ASC(AD$)-ASC("A")+10 370 NEXT I 380 ? "DEC: ";N:? 390 GOTO 320 400 END This program can be typed in or extracted from this issue with your word processor and entered into basic. ATARI TABLE OF GRAPHIC MODES ---------------------------- MODE TYPE H V/S V/F COLORS RAM ---------------------------------- 0 Text 40 - 24 2 993 1 Text 20 20 24 5 513 2 Text 20 10 12 5 261 3 GR 40 20 24 4 273 4 GR 80 40 48 2 537 5 GR 80 40 48 4 1017 6 GR 160 80 96 2 2025 7 GR 160 80 96 4 3945 8 GR 320 160 192 1/2 7900 ---------------------------------- H=Horizontal Columns V/S=Verticle Rows Split Screen V/F=Verticle Rows Full Screen RAM=Ram required ZMAG TYPE IN PROGRAM Atari Light Show 10 FOR ST=1 TO 8:GR.7 15 POKE 752,1 20 ?: ? " Atari's Special Light Show" 25 SETCOLOR 2,0,0 30 SETCOLOR 1,2*ST,8:COLOR 2 40 FOR DR=0 TO 80 STEP ST 50 PLOT 0,0:DRAWTO 100,DR 60 NEXT DR:FOR N=1 TO 800:NEXT N 65 NEXT ST 70 FOR N=1 TO 2000:NEXT N:GOTO 10 ------------------------------------ Zmagazine #38 February 9, 1987 Please Contribute!!! ------------------------------------
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