Z*Magazine: 28-Aug-87 #68

From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 07/17/93-08:32:58 AM Z

From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
Subject: Z*Magazine: 28-Aug-87 #68
Date: Sat Jul 17 08:32:58 1993

ZMAGAZINE 68  ////////////////////////
August 28, 1987  (c)1987 Syndicate
Publisher/Editor: Ron Kovacs
Assistants: Ken Kirchner
            Susan Perry
            Rich Decowski
<*> ZMAG Overseas Newswire
    By: Lennart Olsson

<*> ZMAG Atari News Update
    From CIS Online Today

<*> OSS Update
    From OSS BBS

<*> Product Review
    "The Spider"

<*> CompuServe Atari8 Bulletin

<*> ZMAG Update

<*> Carina II Preview
  ..Excerpts from Lennart Olsson..
Date:  25-Aug-87 23:30 EDT
From:  Lennart Olsson 
Subj:  Hello Again!

Hello Ron!

Long time since you heard from me? I
think it's a little too long...

I now know where and when I will go to
the U.S. The seminar will be in
Dallas, Texas. We will travel there
via New York. We'll change plane there
13 and 17 september. I can give you
more details if you want......

I got a glance at the Mega 4 ST and
the laser printer last week. Seemed
rather nice. However, no laser printer
drivers were available yet...Atari
Corp. Scandinavia will set up a
meeting this fall with all user group
officials, sysops, etc. A brand new ST
user group was formed in Stockholm
during the summer. I don't know
anything more about it yet. Atari
Corp. Scandinavia is planning to set
up an own BBS this fall.

Ok, that's it for this time. Perhaps
we could meet in N.Y?

Have a nice time!
  ..From CIS Online Today/AP

Atari Corp. wants to buy the Federated
Group Inc.'s 65-store retail
electronics chain for $67.3 million.
By this Friday, it will tender an
offer for the 10.7 million outstanding
shares of Federated stock, seeking to
gain control of stores in California,
Arizona, Texas and Kansas.

According to The Associated Press,
Federated's seven-member board
unanimously approved the $6.25-a-share
offer, noting the firm "has had
trouble finding retailers for its
products. Among other things, the
merger hinges on the approval of
Federated's lenders."

Federated lost $895,000 in the first
quarter ended May 31, compared with a
profit of $662,000 for the same period
last year, the wire service says.
Sales rose 2 percent to $91.1 million.

Atari's own financial picture has
improved lately. In the latest
quarter, its profits were up 39.3
percent to $13.54 million, while
revenue rose 16.4 percent to $70.69


Atari Corp.'s move this week to
acquire a retail electronics chain is
not an isolated event. "If other
transactions come along that fit into
our business plans, we'll do
additional acquisitions," says Atari
treasurer Steve Kawalick.

Atari Corp. wants to buy the Southern
California-based Federated Group
Inc.'s 67-store chain for $67.3
million, a move that would give it
control of stores in California,
Arizona, Texas, Kansas and New Mexico.

The Associated Press reports that the
deal, which is subject to approval by
a five-bank consortium that has
extended Federated a $48 million line
of credit, was worked out with
Federated founder/chief executive
Wilfred Schwartz, who will continue to
run Atari's Federated subsidiary.

Schwartz told AP, "It's a marriage
made in heaven. We felt we wanted to
augment our resources with the human
and financial resources available
through a union with an extremely
strong winner."

The wire service notes, "Most of
Federated's stores cover half an acre
and boast a vast selection of
electronic specialty merchandise,
including Atari's bottom-line personal

Atari's Kawalick comments, "This
particular acquisition gives us
additional distribution channels in
certain parts of the country."


Atari Corp. Chairman Jack Tramiel says
his firm's acquisition of the 67-store
Federated Group electronics store
chain will be a mighty tool against
Japanese competitors.

Tramiel told The Associated Press,
"Our Japanese counterparts all have
their own stores in Japan. I like to
copy success."

He also said that there are "no
consumer electronics companies today
in the United States. We need to
rebuild that and I think we can do

Atari revealed Monday that it is
acquiring Federated, which has stores
in five Western states, for $67.3

AP quotes Tramiel as saying that
Federated was bought in order to
reduce the time it takes for products
to be accepted by dealers. And "the
move will also spread research and
development costs over a larger
organization," the wire service said.

Federated has lost money recently to
the tune of $5.2 million in the fiscal
year ending last February, but Tramiel
says it will start making a profit now
"by slowing its recent expansion drive
and gaining from more advertising and
the addition of new Atari products,"
AP reports.  --Charles Bowen;Online 
 ...from the OSS BBS (408-446-3451)...
The Official Procedure:

To Turn a SuperCart OFF:

1> Close I/O Channel 0

2> Wait for the LSB of RTCLOK ($14) to
   change value.

3> Do an SEI

4> Save $AFFF ... this is the 'cart
   status' register ... you'll need it
   if you wish to restore the cart

5> STA $D508.  This turns the cart

6> Poke $3FA(GINTLK), 0 to tell the OS
   that there is no cart installed.

7> Poke $6A(RAMTOP),$C0 to tell OS
   that full RAM is available.

8> Do a CLI

9> Open #0,12,0,"E:"

To Turn a Supercartridge back ON:

1> Perform steps 1-3 from above.

2> LDX with 'cart status' value saved
   in step 4 above.

3> STA $D500,X. This turns cart ON

4> Poke $3FA,1 to tell OS that there
   is a cart.

5> Poke $6A,$A0 to tell OS that less
   RAM is available.

6> Perform steps 8-9 from above.


These should be obvious, but if you're
a space case like me...

The ON/OFF code MUST be 'safe'. That
is, if RAM resident, it should not be
overwritten by any application you may
be running, whether under Cart control
or not. (Especially the $AFFF value if
you'll want to turn the cart back on!)
Disk .COM files are a viable

Once the cart is off, there MUST be a
program IN PLACE to take over control
of the computer! That may be DOS or it
might be your own code.

Depending on exactly what you're
doing, some sort of RESET handler
might prove useful.

Again depending on application, XL/XE
users may want to add PORTB
The first developer kits for the
4-port Spider were shipped on July 1.
These kits consist of a 4-port Spider
plus technical documentation required
to program applications on the device.

The Spider is a multiple RS232 port
interface.  It requires connection to
a host system through an RS232 port.
This uses one of the four ports on
this Spider, leaving three ports for
connection to other RS232 devices,
including additional Spiders.

If you purchase a Spider developer's
kit, you also get a password allowing
access to a developer's subboard here
on Nite Lite.  In this subboard is a
message base and a file transfer
section containing Spider command sets
and other developer aids for the

I will be shipping the first Spiders
(without developer's kits) within two
weeks of July 1.  The manuals
accompanying these Spiders contain all
the information for programming
applications on the host computer
using the Spider's built-in command
set.  A Spider can be connected to any
computer that has a standard RS232
port.  Each port on the Spider can be
programmed to run at a selection of 14
baud rates from 50 to 19200 baud.
Parity, word length, number of stop
bits, etc., are selectable
independently for each port.  Some
command sets and independent
applications will be available for
free distribution.  One application
planned is a multiline chat board that
runs completely within the Spider, not
requiring a host computer once it has
been booted from a host.  It can be
run, once booted, to support three
lines plus a local line connected to a
host or to support four lines with no
connection to the host.

Prices on these products are as

4-port Spider w/documentation-$199.95

Developer's kit (4-port Spider,
technical doc plus password for access
to the Spider development subboard)-

Mass. residents add 5% sales tax to
the above prices.  No COD orders. Mail
orders to:

Nite Lite Systems
P.O. Box R
Billerica, MA 01821
By Dr. Warren G. Lieuallen

In previous discussions, we have
examined both how to load and store
a machine language program, and a
simplistic view of how the hexadecimal
codes produce any meaningful results.
This article will now deal with the
specific commands available in the
assembly language, and how they work
to comprise a complete, working

To make machine language programming a
little easier for human beings, it was
decided that the numerical codes which
represent the actual commands would be
given an associated "mnemonic" word,
or label, describing the command.  A
mnemonic is simply something which
makes remembering easier, due to
associations which may be made between
the mnemonic itself and the item being
remembered.  In other words, the
command which is represented by the
number 76 (or "4C" in hexadecimal) is
also indicated by the mnemonic label
"JMP", which stands for "jump".  This
JMP command is very similar to the
GOTO command in BASIC, which is
essentially a "jump" in the program's
execution. So, by remembering "JMP",
you can remember how this command
functions (just like remembering
"GOTO" in BASIC.).

All the mnemonic labels have been
reduced to three letters in length for
the sake of consistency. Therefore,
it's not too difficult to create a
program which will accept the three-
letter mnemonics, and convert them
into the appropriate numerical codes,
thereby saving us the trouble of
looking all of them up in a table and
performing the conversion ourselves.
This is exactly what the various
assembler/editor programs do (of
course, they also do a lot more, but
that's another story, or at least
another article!).  In this way, all
we need to remember is the mnemonic
labels, and not concern oursleves with
the actual numerical, hexadecimal

Previous newsletter articles by
Charles Brown have discussed that
everything your Atari does is the
result of changing certain memory
locations, either with PEEK's and
POKE'S, or just with other BASIC
commands, which alter the memory
locations for you (whether you realize
it or not!).  Machine language is no
different; everything happens because
of changes in the memory locations.
The only difference is that in
machine language, you do have to be
aware of these changes, because it is
your machine code which will produce
these changes.  BASIC's extra "helping
hand" is no longer available, and much
of the housekeeping functions must be
dealt with by you directly. In
actuality, this is not as bad as it

The simple screen-fill routine we
discussed last week will serve as a
good example.  This routine was made
up of thirty-four numbers, which
correspond to the thirty-four commands
in this program.  Here is the source
code for that program (The "source
code" is the set of mnemonics,
understood by your assembler, and
hopefully by you as well; the "object
code" is the set of numbers generated
by the source code, and saved as a
binary load file.):

Byte 1= PLA     - get # of arguments
CMP #$1 - is it 1?
BNE #-2 - if not, kill program
          (infinite loop)
PLA     - get MSB of argument (not
PLA     - get LSB of argument 
          (character code)
TAX     - store it in X
LDA $58 - store contents of $58 in A
STA $CC - store A in location $CC
LDA $59 - store contents of $59 in A
STA $CD - store A in location $CD
TXA     - retrieve the argument into A
LDY #0  - let Y=0
STA $CC,Y - store A at location
INC $CC - increment location $CC
BNE #-6 - if $CC<>0 then go back to
INC $CD - increment $CD
LDX $CD - store location $CD into X
CPX #$A0 - compare X with $A0 (160)
BNE #-14 - if X<>160 then go back to
Byte 34=RTS     - return to BASIC

Depending on your background, this
listing may or may not make any sense!
What is shows, though, is that this
program works exactly like its BASIC
counterpart--it places the internal
code for an asterisk in the memory
locations corresponding to the
graphics zero screen display.  It does
this by first checking to see that
only one number was recieved (this
number [the argument] is the internal
code for an asterisk, which you
specified in the USR call from BASIC,
eg. X=USR(1536,10).).  It then
transfers this value to the X register
(a special memory location used to
hold values needed in the program,
just as variables do in BASIC), and
then gets and stores the pointer to
the beginning of screen memory (this
is location $58 in hexadecimal).  It
then retrieves the character code, and
begins to place it in the memory
locations.  The rest of the program
simply counts how many locations have
been filled, increments the screen
pointer and stops when one screen-full
is done! A slightly more detailed
discussion can be found in "Atari
BASIC Faster and Better", by Carl M.
Evans (published by IJG Enterprises).

So, although you may not think so just
yet, that's all there is to
programming in machine language. While
it certainly seems harder than other
programming languages at first, with a
little practice and familiarity,
you'll find that it really is just
another language in which programs may
be written.  Best of luck!
Don't forget that Monday night at 9:00
PM Eastern time, we will be continuing
our series of ST Emulator COs in
ATARI16. Our guest this time will be
Darek Mihocka. Darek is the author of
the latest ST Emulator,
ST-Transformer. It emulates the 8-bit
Atari 800. The emulator will be
released to the Public Domain in
ST-Log (from Analog). All SIG*Atari
members, and other intrested parties
are invited to attend.

[Ed. As you all know, Zmag approached
Darek a few months ago about his
transformer.  We will be here also to
capture and see what happens. I hope
to see John Nagy there to monitor it
all with us.]
The FCC deadline has been extended
to September 24, 1987 for comments.
The deadline for reply comments has
been extended to October 26, 1987.

There is enough time to get your
opposition letters in the mail. For
more information on this entire
subject, download all the support
files from CompuServe or the Zmag BBS.

In your letter, Please emphasize how
these increased access charges will
effect you!!  Tell the FCC what
database, BBS, or service you use and
for what purpose. Include the 

-Monthly usage.
-What you pay now.
-How access charges would impact your
 use of these services.

Current investigation of this matter
shows the cost will increase by:

-- $4.50/hr to the cost involving
   only dial-in service.

-- $7-9/hr to the cost of connections
   involving both dial-in and dial-out

-- $7-9/hr access charge for PCP users

-- $4.50/hr for access to CompuServe,
   The Source, Quantum, GEnie.

Address your letters to:

The Honorable Dennis Patrick,
Federal Communications Commission
Washington, DC 20554

with copies to:

Mr. William J. Tricarico

The Cheif
Common Carrier Bureau
Mr. Gerald Block

and copies to:

Commissioner James Quello
Commissioner Mimi Weyforth Dawson
Commissioner Patricia Diaz Dennis

On the letter indicate:
"RE:CC Docket 87-215"

Look for more information next week
in Zmag..

We have also been given an interview
with Keith Ledbetter, done by
Chuck Leazott.  We will publish this
interview starting with Issue #71.
We will divide it into 3 parts.
Due to pressing matters, I had to
re-edit this weeks edition. Articles
scheduled to run this week have been
reassigned for future issue.

Last weeks User Group Focus brought
commentary by one of our readers. I
read the users Email to me on the
BBS, But due to the Email message
base crash this week, I lost all the
information sent in.

Since we are trying to keep Zmag 
current as possible, news items will
take priority over special features.
Next week, we will continue the 65XE
upgrade originally lined up for
publication this week.

The Wizard, Mike Brown will return
next week.

This week we will release ST-Report
number 6.
Welcome to your preview of:

Carina BBS: Version II

Brought to you by Drummer Boy

This is a captured text file that has
been re-edited.  I called Jerry and
asked to see what he'd done with
version 2.0 of Carina BBS.  He put up
what he had worked on so far.  This
file is what I saw as Jerry walked me
through this early (uncompleted)
version.  Jerry agreed that it would
be a good idea for all of you who have
access to level 3 on Carina BBS to see
this file to get an idea of what's
going on, what's new, and how it'll
work.  So make up your wish list,
study this, and let Jerry know your
constructive criticisms.

Calling Carina Version 2.0 on Tuesday,
July 14th at 1:25 am.

AT DP 305-747-9196


 Press |RETURN| 

Connected at 1200 baud in ATASCII

 Name or Account #:  1/CARINA

[Editor's note: As you can see, there
 are now account numbers, and you do
 not have to wait for another prompt
 for p/w input.  From now on, all
 comments made by me shall be in
 [brackets] and introduced by "Ed:".]

 Hello There  >>> JERRY HORANOFF      

 Caller #    >>> 1

|Carina II|BBS-305-747-9196|Voice-9195|
 Section > Electronic Mail        -
 Minutes > 050
 Command : 


There is a configuration to make it
not ask if you wanted to change the
header or not... that is why it did
not ask (in the case you were wonder-

Don't worry about it - let's see the


|End Term/Chat|

 Section > Electronic Mail        -
 Minutes > 050
 Command : Menu

[Ed: As you can see, we are already in
 a "section."  Actually, it's another
 way of dividing the BBS into special
 interest groups (SIGs).  Currently
 we're in the Electronic mail section.
 Now, for that long awaited new menu!]

|Read     |R|Ctrl-R|Read Messages    |
|Scan     |S|Ctrl-S|Scan Msg Headings|
|Post     |P|Ctrl-P|Post a Message   |
|Feedback |F|Ctrl-F|Message to SysOp |
|Sections |+|     +|Section Titles   |
|Go       |G|Ctrl-G|Go to New Section|
|Topics   |T|Ctrl-T|Message Topics   |
|Games    |^|     ^|Play a Game      |
|Logoff   |L|Ctrl-L|Exit BBS         |
|Chat     |C|Ctrl-C|Chat with SysOp  |
|Databases|*|     *|Read a Database  |
|Users    |U|Ctrl-U|List of BBS Users|
|Status   |%|     %|Your Status      |
|Settings |S|Ctrl-S|Change Settings  |
|Vote-Poll|V|Ctrl-V|Voting Poll      |
|BBS-List |&|     &|List of BBS's    |
|Bulletins|=|     =|Current Info     |
|Callers  |N|Ctrl-N|Today's Callers  |
|Menu     |?|     ?|This Menu        |
|Help     |!|     !|Extensive Help   |
|Directory|D|Ctrl-D|Download Files   |
|Browse   |B|Ctrl-B|File Descriptions|
|Download |<|     <|Download a File  |
|Upload   |>|     >|Upload a File    |
[Ed: Looks like Jerry has gotten rid
 of the File-Tran/Sub-Cmds modules.
 You'll see why later.  But look, for
 those users who complain, now you've
 got those 1 key commands. > = U/L.]

Look for more from this text demo in
the weeks ahead.
ZMAGAZINE 68           August 28, 1987

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