Z*Magazine: 27-Apr-87 #49

From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 07/09/93-11:31:31 AM Z

From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
Subject: Z*Magazine: 27-Apr-87 #49
Date: Fri Jul  9 11:31:31 1993

April 27, 1987
Zmag Staff:
Publisher/Editor in Chief: Ron Kovacs
Managing Editor: Alan Kloza
Special Correspondent: Steve Godun
Columnist: Eric Plent
Asst Publisher: Ken Kirchner
Zmag Headquarters:(201) 968-8148
                   300/1200 Baud
This week in Zmagazine New Jersey

<*> Apple Mac vs. The ST--
    The Price You Pay

<*> XM 301 Modem Owners Beware!
    Check Under the 'Hood'

<*> Star Raiders to Sundog--
    Evolution of the Space Games

<*> ACTION! Programming Tips
<*> Zmag Notes

<*> New ST Products--WordPerfect
    and Monitor Master

....New Macs vs. Atari ST's.........

Bob Kelly

In this month's column I'd like to discuss the new MacIntosh computers
(SE and Mac II) and a "letter to the editor" I read in an Atari
magazine.  The correspondence represents an illustration of how NOT to
explain establishing a price for software.

I.   The New Mac's


The Mac SE should be on the shelf by the time you read this column.
It will, however, be in limited supply for the next couple of months,
according to Apple.  The Mac SE is an enhancement of the Mac Plus and
is slightly faster (15% to 20%).  The Mac Plus cannot be upgraded to
an SE since the hardware changes are extensive.  Apple has stated that
new software eventually designed to take advantage of the special
features of the SE and MacIntosh II might not work on Mac Plus and
older machines.  The 9 inch monitor for the SE is built-in as is on
the Mac Plus.  The SE has two desktop bus ports to connect input
devices such as a keyboard, mouse and graphics tablet.  It comes with
1 megabyte of RAM as standard expandable to 4 MB.

For some of us who are familiar with the Atari 1040ST, this machine
sounds suspiciously similar.  However, when you compare price, any
reasonable comparison ends.  The SE with two drives, IBM style
keyboard with function keys, and standard configuration of 1 megabyte
retails for $3,130.  Assuming that in 6 months or so you will be able
to get 20% discount, the SE will cost $2,500.  An Atari 1040ST with 2
drives, 1 megabyte and a 12 inch monitor costs less than $1,000


The MacIntosh II is the long-awaited open architecture 32 bit
machine.  The machine operates at nearly 4 times the speed of the Mac
Plus, according to Apple.  Its configuration is much like an IBM in
that it has a separate keyboard, CRT display, and computer/disk drive
box.  It also comes with the same standard equipment such as input bus
connectors, 1 MB of memory, etc. found on the SE.  The Mac II is
designed for the business market and as such has 6 built-in expansion

When it comes to price, the MacIntosh II is certainly going to be no
slouch.  The suggested retail prices for the main components are:

Base price: $3,900 (computer/1 drive); Disk Drive: $300; Video/display
card: $500; 12 inch monochrome monitor: $400; 13 inch color monitor
(16 colors): $1,000; Color card upgrade: $150

When you purchase the Mac II, the monitor is a separate item as is the
video display card.  For a monochrome or color system, a 640 x 480
pixels display is generated.  The color card upgrade for $150 allows
you to display 256 colors rather than 16 colors.  In sum, a 2 drive
monochrome system costs $5,100.  For a color system, it costs $5,850.
I have not mentioned hard disks but they start at $999 for a 20
megabyte drive or a net of + $700 to the total system cost shown

Apple has announced that 90 to 95% of the programs that currently run
on the Mac Plus will also work on the Mac II.  This may or may not be
an accurate statement as it applies to commercial/business programs.
However, as far as public domain or home entertainment programs, it
will be a different ball game for Apple users.

Initial reaction to the new computers has ranged from full blown
enthusiasm to extreme skepticism (what's new!).  In any event, the
skeptics center their criticism on past Apple performance of failing
to get new software on the market in a timely basis.  Already, Apple
has announced that the Mac II would not be available in any quantities
prior to the end of this summer.  InfoWorld's Robert X. Cringely had
an interesting comment providing one reason for the delayed

"It's new, four-voiced stereo sound chip doesn't work: It was so flaky
that when Apple tried to show it off to the assembled press, it
crashed the prototype Macintosh II.  The crash was so catastrophic
that product manager Didier Diaz, apologizing that the chip wasn't
finished, had to pull the plug out of the wall because even the reset
button was frozen out."

One thing for sure, for Apple to change corporate image, it will
require more than a slick public relations effort.

II. Letter to Editor

A recent letter to the editor by a software producer is a classic in
how not to set a price.  To quote the relevant portion of the letter:

"The price was incorrectly printed as $179.95.  It's actually $79.95.
This will increase to $149.94 as of January 1, 1987.  There will be a
more extensive manual and several new features added, most notably a
complete payroll program.

There has been a lot of confusion concerning the price.  ANTIC
reported it as $19.95 at one point, overlooking information about an
increase and using the price in the original submission six months

Now, let's review the bidding.  It was originally erroneously reported
that the price was $180.  The developers marketing the program stated
the initial price was only $20.  But six months later, the price
increased by "400%" to $80 up until January 1, 1987.  Then, a decent
manual was written (boy, am I glad I didn't buy the old one) plus the
addition of a payroll module and the retail climbed to $150.  This
represents a 750% increase over the original $20 price in less than a
year!  If I figured this wrong, write.

...XM 301 Modem Owners Beware!.......


If you own an XM301 modem, you may own an electronic "Time Bomb". After
a  rash  of hardware failures last month, which included smoking a disk
drive and two printer interfaces, I found the cause of my problem to be
my XM301. The modem worked fine, but was killing off my system piece by

The reason has to do with the thirteen wires coming from the serial I/O
plug,  although  only  nine  wires  are actually used by the modem. The
other  four  wires  have about 1/8 inch bare wire showing, and are just
hanging   around,   unterminated,   waiting  to  touch  something  they
shouldn't. I have checked other XM301 modems and this condition existed
in them too.

Here is what to do IMMEDIATELY:

With  all power OFF, remove the two screws from the bottom of the modem
and  lift  off the plastic case. Inspect the wires where they enter the
modem.  You  will  find  that  four  of  the wires are not connected to
anything.  If  these  wires have ANY bare metal showing, cut it off. Be
careful  to  keep the cut-off pieces from falling into the modem. Next,
tape each wire individually, so that it cannot possibly touch any other
wires  or  parts  in the modem. Put the modem back in its case, replace
the  screws,  and  you are done. I have written to ATARI regarding this
problem, but have not received a reply as yet.

Note:  This  may  be an isolated problem, but when I checked my modem I
found bare wires looking for trouble. I found heat shrink tubing worked
best.  If  you  own  an  XM301,  I  highly  recommend checking for this
potential disaster NOW!

....New Products For The ST..........


WordPerfect Corporation introduces WordPerfect for the Atari ST. The
following is a brief list of features for this professional word

Compatibility - File compatible with WordPerfect 4.1 for the IBM
PC and other computers, allowing for direct document transfer
to and from the ST without losing document format.  Function
keys are defined the same between versions, for increased
ease of learning.

Footnotes/Endnotes - Footnotes and endnotes are automatically
numbered and renumbered as you edit.  Footnotes are properly
placed at the bottom of the page, and endnotes are compiled
at the end of the document.  There is no limit to length, as
all notes can overflow the current page if you designate.

GEM Interface - WordPerfect fully supports the GEM interface.
Virtually all functions may be easily accessed with either
the mouse or the keyboard.  Desk accessories are fully
accessible from inside WordPerfect.

List Files - A complete set of disk utilities is included, for
total file maintanance.

Macros - Record any series of keystrokes or mouse actions and
recall them with a single keystroke.  Macros can be chained
or conditional, as well as delayed.

Math - Math mode allows creation of numeric tables in your
document, with automatic calculation of subtotals, totals,
grand totals, or your own custom math functions.

Merge - Merge can be used to automate many office proceedures,
including forms, labels, contracts, and other time-consuming
tasks.  The Merge feature may also be combined with macros
to create powerful user-defined functions.

Paragraph/Outline Numbering - Paragraphs can be automatically
numbered in several different styles.  Or, use the outline
feature to simply organize your documents.

Printer Support - WordPerfect supports over 200 printers, including
most laser printers.  Documents can be printed using true
proportional spacing, font downloading, or virtually anything
else your printer is capable of.

Speller - A fast 115,000-word dictionary with phonetic and word-
template look-up is included.  Fully expandable, with legal
and medical terms already included.

Table of Contents/Index Generation - Create a table of contents
or index for your document, consisting of up to five levels.

Text Columns - Up to five newspaper-style or static text columns
may be displayed and edited on-screen.

Thesaurus - Synonyms and antonyms may be displayed for up to three
different words at the same time.

Undelete - The last three deletions or series of deletions can
be restored at will, at any location you choose.

Virtual Memory - Data can flow onto disk when computer memory is
full.  No longer are your documents limited by available
memory, but only by disk size.

A complete manual, including graduated lessons, a thorough reference
section, and a color-coded keyboard template, provides ease of
operation for both new and experienced WordPerfect users.

WordPerfect is scheduled for release this summer.  Watch for world-
class word processing at your local Atari dealer.

Questions can be directed to Jeff Wilson, Manager of Atari Development
for WordPerfect Corporation, at CIS: 72447,3427. Or write:

WordPerfect Corp.
288 West Center
Orem, UT  84057


Monitor Master is a monitor switchbox allowing you to easily switch
between your monochrome and color monitors. It also helps prevent
damage to your cables and computer by omitting the need to plug and
unplug your monitors.  If you use a monochrome monitor and a TV for
color, you will no longer need to unplug the monochrome monitor to use
the TV for low or medium resolution.

Monitor Master provides a standard RCA jack for composite video so use
with a regular composite monitor is possible.  However, your ST needs
an RF modulator for this to function.  An RCA jack is also provided
for audio out that allows you to feed the ST's sound into your stereo
system or your composite monitor.

Monitor Master will work with any Atari ST compatible
monitors. Approximate case measurements are 1 1/2" H x 4 1/4" L x 3"
W. Monitor Master features a 24 inch molded cable. Suggested retail is
$49.99, and is shipping now.

Also available are high quality composite and RGB cables, and the hard
to find male and female 13 pin DIN connectors.

Practical Solutions
1930 E Grant Rd
Tucson Az 86719
(602) 884-9612

...Space--The Final Frontier........

by Bill Silverman

Atari  folklore  tells  us  that  the  world started with PONG, reached
superlative heights with STAR RAIDERS and has been waiting for the next
great  step  ever  since.  Having  recently  tinkered with the ST basic
version  of  Star Trek from Antic I have found myself reflecting on the
genealogy of Space games for Atari computers.

My  favorite  space games have been those that have emphasized strategy
over brute arcade action. The original STAR RAIDERS is still the finest
arcade  action  available  and  also  incorporates  strategy. The game,
however,  while  truly  superlative  lacks  depth, that is to say it is
essentially one dimensional - find and destroy ZYLONS!!! On other hand,
no  one  has  has  used  an  8K  cartridge as well before or since STAR
RAIDERS  and many purely arcade games using 48 or 64K do not measure up
to it's standards of 3-D action.

My  next  game purchase was Star Trek version 2.0 on a 32K tape written
in  basic - yes that was a long time ago (early 1982). The graphics had
color  and a big blocky Enterprise that sped at basic slow speed over a
graphics  7  playfield with a standard text window at the bottom of the
screen.  Photon  torpedoes  plodded  along  towards  stationary Klingon
ships,  phaser  beams were plodding straight red lines drawn across the
screen.  This  was a text game with limited graphics to brighten things
up.  But  way back then it was great - strategy was delightful and real
time  tactical thought had to be made to successfully discover planets,
destroy  Klingons,  repair  your ship, defend star bases all within the
time  limit of your mission. By the way when this program is run in the
fast mode with BASIC XE everything seems to fly.

Next  came a Scot Adams space adventure called Galactic Trader that was
ported  over  from  an  Apple  II.  Graphically  it  had nothing (Apple
translation!),  sound  was nothing (Apple translation!) but it had more
rules  than  any  space game I had played and it made things difficult.
You  had  to plan, take risks, make a fortune or die young. It made the
double  secret  probation  of Animal House a small test. To figure this
game out made my day.

Well,  there I am, it's late 1982 I have the Star Raiders cartridge and
two  32Ktapes.  Collectively they were the perfect program. In the next
couple  of years two other programs came by that had fleeting moments -
INVASION  ORION another Apple retread with bad Apple graphics and sound
matched  with Atari's floating point routines made a missile shot a two
minute  math  drill.  But  at least you now had to deal with a thinking
computer opponent. Then came GALACTIC QUEST which was the first program
to  try  and  put all these things together in one program - some of it
worked,  the  graphics  were  good,  the sound effects used some of the
machines  capabilities,  you  traded,  stole, connived, bought and sold
commodities, pirates attacked your ship, you fought back, repaired your
ship.  Conceptually  the  program  was  great,  operationally, well the
company soon went out of business.

So  the GREAT SPACE GAME remained to be written, produced, distributed.
The  years  went by and Atari was Trameilized, the ST was born and this
time  a  friendly  little program - SUNDOG - wants to claim GREAT SPACE
GAME title.

SUNDOG  provides  the player with a small galaxy with a host of planets
that rely on traders to ferry goods between star systems. There are bad
guys  with  varying  egrees of bravery, armament and ability, commodity
exchanges  on  every planet that rise and fall based on your deliveries
and  the  passage  of time, and a bank that is hoping you'll fail so it
can  get  your  ship to sell for a big fat profit. What makes this game
intriguing  is  the  process of discovery that you experience the first
two or three times you play the game. The instructions are clear enough
so  that  you  know how operate your ship and land rover but leaves all
the  finesse  and  decision  making up to you. The mission in Sundog is
simple,  complete  a  contract  with a utopian group to stock their new
colony with supplies and colonists and the ship is yours. Along the way
make  as  much money for yourself as you can. But you have very limited
resources  at the beginning of the game and in your first game you have
no  idea what you should do. You have to solve all those keys yourself.
If you like space simulations, like to spend hours solving puzzles, get
into  occasional  space duels, and also commodities market trading on a
galactic scale check this game out.

Sundog's  graphics  are quite stunning using the low resolution mode to
get  16 bright well defined colors on the screen. There are a few types
of  cities  in  the galaxy - urban, agrarian, mining, and utopian. Each
community  type has it's own unique set of buildings. The arcade combat
in  space is well done using the mouse for all control, in fact game is
100% mouse driven.

Sundog  is  on  a copy protected disk with a suggested retail price of
$39.95 (plus a secret $10.00 charge for a backup disk) and is available
mail order for around $25.00.

....Action! Tips and Tricks..........

04-Apr-87 Action Goodies
Fm: Bill Wilkinson [OSS] 73177,2714
To: All Action Freaks

Well, I got a piece of code from Keith Ledbetter today, and it taught
me a lesson about Action that I wouldn't have believed if I hadn't
seen it.

Question: What will "Q" be equal to after the following piece of code
is executed?




    Q ==- X+1

If you said "7", give yourself a cigar!!!  Personally, I would have
said 5.  I though Action would see
    Q ==- X+1 as being the same as
    Q ==- (X+1)

No such thing!   Action sees that as being the same as
    Q ==-  X    :   Q==+ 1

Now, this particular set of operators (-, +) is handy, though I could
have gotten the same results by coding
    Q ==- (X-1)

But how about this one:

    Q == +X & $7F

How neat!!!  With this simple little piece of code, we can increment Q
by X and THEN be sure that the result is limited to 7 bits (0 to
127).  How many times have I had counters that worked like this:
    Q == +1
    Q ==& 7

(to make sure the counter went from 0 to 7 and then back to 0).  Now I
can do it all in one operation:
    Q == +1 &7

Thanks, Keith!

04-Apr-87 Sb: More Action Goodies
Fm: Bill Wilkinson [OSS] 73177,2714
To: Action Freaks

Okay, now that Keith taught me a trick, here is one for him:

Keith has many places in his code that look similar to this:

   BYTE ARRAY buffer1(100), buffer2(100)
   BYTE ARRAY ext(0)=".DAT"

   InputSD( disk, buffer2 ) ; get basic filename into buffer2
   SCopy( buffer1, "D2:" )
   Sassign( buffer1, buffer2, 4, 4+buffer2(0) )
   Sassign( buffer1, ext, buffer1(0), buffer1(0)+4 )

The result is that "buffer1" holds something like "D2:myfile.DAT"

Come on folks!!!  Let's invent a new, handy PROC!

PROC Apd( BYTE ARRAY A,B ) ; append string B to string A BYTE AL,BL,I
AL=A(0) BL=B(0) ; makes coding prettier FOR I=1 TO BL DO
    A(AL+I) = B(I)
    OD A(0)==+ BL RETURN

PROC MakeStr( CARD A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H ) SCopy( A, B ) ; initial part of
string IF C THEN Apd( A,C )
    IF D THEN Apd( A,D )
      IF E THEN Apd( A,E )
        IF F THEN Apd( A,F )
          IF G THEN Apd( A,G )
            IF H THEN Apd( A,H )

PROC Main() Byte Array buf1(100),buf2(40)
    InputSD( file, buf2 )
    MakeStr( buf1,"D2:",buf2,".DAT",0 )

Get the idea???  The first nul pointer (the "0" in the call to MakeStr
in last pgm line above) tells MakeStr to quit adding things on to the
first string!

This works because ACTION allows you to pass FEWER (never MORE!)
parameters than are declared by a given PROC or FUNC.

It DOES work.  I tried it.  (Barring a typo or two putting it in
on-line here...sigh...hope I didn't blow it, but...)

Try it.  Let me know.

_This_ is what ACTION is for!!!! Exploring neat alternatives to doing
mundane things.

Bill Wilkinson

Xx Zmag Notes
....80 Columns......

As you may have noticed in this edition we are going to a complete 80
column format. Please let us know your comments on the change.

Due to a few demands for 80 column requests, we have decided to
venture into publishing this way.

The ACTION notes have been reprinted by request.


In May we will be celebrating our first year. We will produce 2
special editions along with our regular weekly editions. These issues
will contain the best of Zmag from May 1986 through April 1987. Look
for reprints of the BBS that was closed down by a local police
department. CES stories, true or false predictions. Atari enters the
Stock Exchange and much more. Look for details in next weeks edition.

Zmag is available on CompuServe Atari 8 bit, Data Library 7.  GEnie
Atari 8 bit Roundtable. Delphi, The Source and on over 125 BBS systems
across the US and Sweden. If your system carries ZMAG on a weekly
basis, Please let us know and we will add your name to the growing
systems list.

Thanks for reading ZMAG!
Zmagazine April 27, 1987  Issue 49
Please contribute!!
(c)Syndicate Services 1987

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