Z*Magazine: 30-Oct-87 #77

From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 07/17/93-08:06:41 PM Z

From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
Subject: Z*Magazine: 30-Oct-87 #77
Date: Sat Jul 17 20:06:41 1993

ZMAGAZINE 77          October 30, 1987
Atari News & Information (c)1987 Rovac
Editor/Publisher; Ron Kovacs
Assistants; Ken Kirchner & Susan Perry
<*> Correction Notice from Issue #75
<*> Atari News Update....Neil Harris
<*> Zmag Technique.......Mr. Goodprobe
<*> ARCX Help............From GEnie
<*> DC AtariFest Report
<*> 1050 Disk Drive Fix
<*> SpartaDos Modification
Errata for 850 Modification Article,
from Zmag 75...

Several errors in my original article
have shown up and I think it best I
correct these ASAP...

First of all, the XE series DOES use
the trigger input from joystick port
four.  It is now used as part of the
cartridge interlock circuitry,
however.  The text should have
mentioned that the XE series doesn't
use the trigger input from joystick
port THREE, not four.

Change all occurences of "53265" (and
"D011") to "53266" (and "D012"). The
article is NOT accurate using location

Note that these changes DO NOT mean
modifying the hardware, if you've
already started in on these mods.  You
only need to modify the software that
you might write for these
modifications, relative to the changes
I have just mentioned.

Sorry for the inconvenience...

                       Mike Davis
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The following is a letter sent as a
reply. Written by Neil Harris and used
here as an Atari Update News Report.

September 25, 1987

c/o A.C.E. of Salt Lake City
P.O. Box 26664
Salt Lake City, UT 84126-0664

Dear Editor:

In the editorial of your September
issue, you take exception with my
statement concerning the Atari XE Game
System.  Since the statement was a
brief one, I'd like this opportunity
to give you a clearer idea of Atari's
position on this system and why it
should be a good thing for 8-bit
computer owners.

At the time of the formation of the
new Atari Corporation in the summer of
1984, the 8-bit line was not faring
too well in the mass merchants.  It
seems that the computers were
neglected during the last year or so
of Atari Inc.  The largest companies
selling the computers, such as Sears
and K-Mart, had taken the position
that the 8-bit Atari computers were
dead, and they proceeded to close out
their inventories of computers,
peripherals, and software at below-
cost prices.

Compounding the situation was the set
of records that were inherited by the
new company.  According to our books,
many of the big accounts owed us
millions of dollars for products
shipped.  According to their records,
though, Atari owed them millions for
product returned.  When two companies
have many millions of dollars in
discrepancies on the books, it is very
difficult to do business together.  In
fact, the K-Mart account was finally
settled this past summer, fully three
years after the new company was

So we have the situation where the
product lines were closed out at a
loss, and the stores have the attitude
that these products are old and dead.
In some cases, the buyers at the
stores were fired due to the losses
they took at the end of the home
computer era.  These were not just due
to Atari -- none of the mass merchants
sell "home computers" any more; K-Mart
does not (although a few isolated
stores buy some Commodores from
distributors), J.C. Penneys does not,
Montgomery Wards does not, and Sears
sells only business computers.

At the current time, Atari U.S. has a
substantial supply of 8-bit computers
in stock.  Very substantial.  We have
every motivation to sell 8-bit
computers.  At times we've been
accused of trying to kill the line.
Why would we want to?  Because many of
us came from Commodore, where we
competed fiercely with Atari?  Most of
us had substantial respect for the
Atari computers as competitors (as
opposed to, say, Texas Instruments and
Radio Shack).  Personally, I have a
fair amount of experience in Atari
home computers dating back to before I
joined Commodore -- check out
Compute's First Book of Atari for one
of the articles I wrote for them long

Despite our interest in selling
8-bits, they don't sell.  During the
past three years we've tried
advertising, without success.  We've
released more new 8-bit products than
anyone -- DOS 2.5, the XEP80, the
SX212, AtariWriter Plus, Atari
Planetarium, Silent Butler, Music
Painter, Star Raiders II, etc.  Not to
mention the 65XE and 130XE computers.
We are frustrated.

Stores don't want to carry the
products.  We even offered to let them
have the machines without paying for
them until they sell!  If you know
anything about Jack Tramiel, this
isn't something he likes to do.  But
stores value their shelf space, and
buyers value their jobs, and we had
little success.

On the other hand, there's the video
game business.  We fully expected
video games to be a dead issue upon
joining Atari.  After all, everyone
knew the video game business was dead.
At Commodore, we thought we'd killed
it!  But, we were surprised when the
existing inventory of about a million
2600 systems sold during the first
year of the new Atari Corporation,
without any advertising and with
little effort.  As a kind of
experiment, we built another million
machines and sold them during the next
year.  "Aha," we said to ourselves. 
"Doesn't look like a dead business to

So we went forward with the 7800
system, for which parts were already
available, and lo! and behold, we sold

all we could make of them last year

Now Nintendo and Sega have jumped in
with high-end, $150 game systems. 
Nintendo in particular is doing very
well indeed.  They don't sell as many
of these as we sell, but they sell for
more money.  So Atari took a hard look
at the marketplace and determined that
we should do a $150 system as well.

Examining the products, it seems that
Nintendo has decent graphics, a light
gun, not much of a joystick... and a
robot.  What does the robot do?  Well,
it photographs very well in their
commercials, but really it doesn't do
anything to help in playing games.

For the same $150, we can provide the
consumer with a game system, light
gun, three pieces of software -- and a
computer-style keyboard.  While not as
dramatic looking, I'm sure all
computer users know that some games
just can't be played with a joystick
alone.  Flight Simulator II, which
comes with our XE Game System, needs
the keyboard.  So do adventure games
and most other strategy games.

We can't get stores to carry the 8-bit
computers.  They won't even sell the
software to their existing customers
-- for a while software companies had
to put the 8-bit programs on the back
of the C64 disk to get shelf space at
all!  But when we showed the XE Game
System to the buyers, they were
totally enthusiastic.

This is truly marketing in action.

We have something like 50 cartridges
in inventory from the old days, and
are feverishly working on converting
disk games to cartridge.  With some
clever programming, we can now get
256K of ROM on a cartridge, instead of
the 16K in the old games.  That's how
we got Flight Simulator II *plus* a
scenery disk onto a single cartridge.
There is nothing different about the
XE Game System to make this work --
existing 8-bit computer owners can use
the very same cartridges.

So what does this mean to you?  In the
beginning, all it will mean is that
more games will be coming in 8-bit
Atari format.  But, what we hope is
that this will be the springboard to
revitalizing the 8-bit Atari computer
line.  Once the XE Game Systems start
selling (and they have just begin
arriving in stores this past week), we
have a potential market of hundreds of
thousands of consumers.  At this time
Commodore is selling around 300,000
C64's annually.  With a market this
size, the motivation for software
developers to bring out new titles in
our format is enormous.

Remember, the XE Game System is
totally compatible with your 8-bit
computers.  Once the customer takes
the XE Game System home, they discover
in the manual that the system includes
the Atari BASIC language and that
there is an SIO port for computer
peripherals.  We expect that people
who may have been frightened of
computers, or leery of spending the
money on a computer with a drive
($400+) initially, may very well
upgrade to a fuller system.  And we
hope that they will then demand the
kind of software that we need to see
developed -- serious applications

While this is happening, we continue
to sell the 8-bit computers.  Contrary
to some published reports, we cannot
simply remove the motherboard from the
65XE's and put them in the Game
Systems.  It's a different board.  So,
we still have the large inventory of
computers.  And we expect that smart
Atari dealers will use the advertising
campaign for XE Game Systems and sell
the computers as a compatible
alternative.  "Why," they might ask a
customer, "should you spend $150 when
you can buy the system ala carte, with
a computer for $99 in a more compact
case and then buy whatever software
you want?"

Lets all hope this works.  Atari has
tried just about everything in our
power to keep the 8-bit computer line
going.  This is probably our best

One last fact -- for our customers in
areas where there are Federated
stores, Jack Tramiel has said that
these stores will carry a full line of
Atari 8-bit computers.  So
availability should be a whole lot
better in California, Texas, Arizona,
and Kansas.

Thanks for giving me the time to
explain in much more detail than I can
online.  We've been through some tough
times together.  Please try to keep
the faith and bear with us just a
little longer while we get the 8-bit
situation straightened out.

Best regards,

Neil Harris
Those Were The Good Old Days

by Mr. Goodprobe

Ah, remember when you could go down
the boardwalk and smell the nuts
roasting in the little shops, bikini's
were the most eye-catching thing
around beside mini-skirts, and
skateboards had metal wheels? Some of
the things from then I dearly miss,
and others not at all! Those killer
metal wheels on skateboards quickly
disposed of several pairs of jeans in
my teenage years, and accounted for
numerous shredded elbows, knees and

The Atari 800 had one of the finest
keyboards available on the home
computer market, and the entire unit
was designed with longevity in mind.
One nice touch the 800 possesed which
was eliminated with the advent of the
XL series was the internal speaker.  I
can remember a game I used to enjoy on
the 800 whose name escapes me at the
moment. The general idea was to spray
the garden with bug spray to rid your
plot of pesky bugs that would flutter
about and devour your veggies. As the
bugs appeared on the screen, from the
internal speaker would arise such a
clatter that you would really have to
stop as it sounded for all the world
that they were ACTUALLY inside your
beloved computer...it was an uneasy
feeling to be sure! Now, just because
you upgraded to an XL/XE doesn't mean
you have to do without this feature
any longer! This will be one of the
simpler projects you will undertake,
but its rewards for the installer will
far exceed the effort expended. This
article will cover the version I
whipped together for the 800xl, and
next issue we will share the version
for the 130xe with you.

Parts you will need:

1. Diode: Part # ECG 177
2. Transistor: Part # ECG 123AP
3. Capacitor: .001 @ 50v
4. Resistors: 1k 1/2 watt
         100 ohm 1/2 watt
5. Speaker: 8 ohm 1/2 or 1 watt
   variety (The smaller the physical
   size the better)
6. Small hook-up wire


Dissemble your 800XL, remove keyboard,
metal shield, and screws and place
these items safely aside. You will not
need to remove the PC board from the
bottom of the case.

   1. Attach wire to bottom side of
C23. This capacitor can be easily
located by first looking directly
between the RF modulator and the
cartridge slot on the right. find the
middle ground between these 2 points,
then mentally draw a line 3 inches
long back toward yourself from this
point and you see C23. Just above and
to the right of this part is a small
electrolytic standing on end. Found
it? Good!

   2. At the other end of the wire
attach your 1k 1/2 watt 

   3. The neatest way to build this
project is to build a large portion of
the needed circuitry right onto the
speaker itself.

Using the lead placement chart solder
the collector of your ECG 123AP
transistor to one of the lugs on the

          |                        |
          \    *     *     *       /
           \   E     B     C      /
            \                    /

(Bottom view with pins facing toward

   4. Grasp your ECG 177 diode, and
connect the end which DOES NOT have
the band on it to the same lug on the
speaker as you connected the collector
of the transistor to.

   5. Connect the front (banded) end
of the diode to the other lug of the

   6. Connect the 100 ohm resistor to
lug of the speaker with the banded end
of the diode.

   7. Connect the .001 capacitor to
the base of the transistor.

   8. Connect the free end of the 1k
resistor to the base of the

   9. Locate the small 8 pin IC.
notice the small dot on the bottom
left corner. This is pin 1. Count over
to pin 4, this is the point we will
use for ground. Connect a wire here.

  10. Connect the other end of this
wire to the following parts:

A: The free end of the .001 capacitor
B: The emitter lead of the transistor

  11. Locate C14. This capacitor is
located directly to the left of the
modulator. The top of this cap is our
5v source. Solder a lead to this

  12. Connect the free end of this
lead to the free end of your 100 ohm

All that remains to be done is locate
a spot to mount the speaker inside of
the cabinet of your XL. The smaller
the physical size of the speaker you
have chosen, the easier your task for
finding the needed space will be.

Also, it might be wise to use
electrical tape to insulate all
exposed wire leads of your add-on to
avoid any future problems.

Keep those Atari's hummin'!
Mr. Goodprobe
(on lend from)
Midtown TV
Atari 8/16 Sales/Repair
(216) 633-0997
(C) 1987 by Atari Corporation, GEnie,
and the Atari ST Roundtable. May be
reprinted only with this notice
intact. The Atari Roundtables on GEnie
are *official* information services of
Atari Corporation.

To sign up for GEnie service, call
(with modem) 800-638-8369.  Upon
connection type HHH (no RETURN after
that).  Wait for the U#= prompt.
Type XJM11877,GEnie and hit RETURN.
The system will prompt you for your

HELP for using ARCX v1.2 <file #1908>

This is a short "How to..." on the use
of ARCX version 1.2 as found in the
GEnie 8 bit Atari RoundTable.  This
file is broken into two parts:

1> loading ARCX
2> running ARCX.

Since there are few differences in
ARCX v1.1 and ARCX v1.2, we will refer
only to ARCX.  It is strongly
recommended that you download ARCX
v1.2 as it is about 30% faster than
v1.1 and will therefore save you some
time off line when recovering files.

ARCX is the program that you will need
to be able to recover and use all of
the files in the Atari RoundTable that
are stored in the ARC format.  See the
file ARC.HLP for more info on the
creation of an ARC'd file.

To load ARCX, place a disk with your
DOS file(s) on it in D1: and turn on
the computer.  BE SURE TO HAVE ALL
TO TURN OFF BASIC.  ARCX is known to
work with Atari DOS 2.0 & 2.5,
SpartaDOS <all versions>, and MYDOS
4.0 and up.  ARCX  ** WILL NOT ** 
work with SMARTDOS.

Once to the DOS menu, you may set up
your RAMdisk, copy files to the
RAMdisk, etc..  It is recommended that
you have a freshly formatted disk
ready to receive the recovered files,
so you might also want to format a
disk now.

Now place the disk with the file
ARCX.COM on it in the drive and do a
binary load of the file.  From Atari
DOS, this is option 'L' and the file
name to load is ARCX.COM.

From SpartaDOS, just type ARCX
<RETURN>.  ARCX will load into the
computer and be ready to run.

Note that ARCX will work with all
Atari 8 bit computers with at least
48K of RAM and one disk drive.

The first line of the ARCX menu will
prompt you for a file name.  If the
file to be unARC'd has the extender of
.ARC <as it should>, you need only
type in the file name and not the
extender.  <ie to recover TEST.ARC,
you need only type TEST>  If the file
to be recovered is in any drive other
than D1:, you will need to give the
device as part of the file name. <ie
from a RAMdisk as D8, you would type
D8:TEST>  You may also see a directory
of a disk by pressing the '+' key.


ARCX does not allow the use of wild
cards, so you must enter the complete
file name.

Once you enter the file name to be
recovered and hit <RETURN>, ARCX will
ask for a destination drive.  This is
just a number from 1 to 8. There must
be an active drive that is ready to
receive the recovered file(s).  If you
want to send the recovered file(s) to
D2:, put your formated disk in D2:,
and press '2'.

The last option that you will see is
if you want the screen turned off or
not while ARCX is working.  Pressing
the 'N' key leaves the screen on and
pressing 'Y' turns it off.

Unless you are just curious, it is
recommended that you turn the screen
off <answer 'Y'> because ARCX is about
25-30% faster with the screen off than
with it on.  Once you press the 'Y' or
'N' key, ARCX will proceed to read the
source file and write to the
destination drive.

At the very start of the ARCX process,
you may get several different I/O
errors.  I have found that most of
these are because of the failure to
give a valid file name.  If this
happens, make sure that you have given
the COMPLETE file name with NO
wildcards.  As a matter of habit, I
also enter the .ARC extender as part
of the file name. Also make sure that
the destination disk is freshly
formated and is not write protected.

If ARCX fails to do anything when you
REMOVED.  ARCX will lock up if BASIC
is on.

While ARCX is working, you may
sometimes hear a high pitched beep. If
the screen is on, you will also see
the note "filename.ext Fails CRC
Check".  This means that ARCX has
encountered a file in the ARC'd file
that for some reason does not match
the original source file.  This DOES
NOT mean that the file is bad!  This
often happens on text files and is due
to the block padding that most Xmodem
file transfer systems do.  If you get
a CRC error, try to run the recovered
programs.  Odds are, they will
probably run with no problems.  If you
do find that they will not run, use
ARCX to recover the *.ARC file again
and see if the error occurs again.  If
you have more problems, please leave
E-Mail to one of the Atari RT SysOps
with the file name/number, and a full
description of the problem.

You may get a disk full error if you
are using only one drive.  ARCX
supports the use of a RAMdisk and it
is recommended that you use the
RAMdisk if you can.  If you have only
one drive and no RAMdisk, you will be
limited as to the size of the file
that you can recover since both the
source *.ARC file and the recovered
file(s) must all fit on the same disk.
As a rough guess, the *.ARC file
should take up no more than 30% of the
total disk space.

Many people have left me mail saying
that ARCX has "Locked up" when in
reality, it was doing just what it
should be.  This apparent lock up is
because ARCX is fairly slow and does
little disk access, so not much seems
to be going on.  As a rule of thumb,
allow ARCX 1 minute for every 5K of
*.ARC file size.  <5K=40 SD sectors=20
DD sectors> This way, you won't be
expecting ARCX to just zip right

Hopefully, this will answer many of
your questions about how to use ARCX
to recover the files here in the Atari
8 bit RT.  If you should have a
specific question, please feel free to
drop E-Mail to one of the SysOps, and
we'll be glad to help in any way we

by John Ruley

Show Report: DC Atarifest, 24-25
October 1987

I just got back from this show, which
was held in one of the largest high
schools I've ever seen.  Lot's of

ATARI was showing its laser printer...
and - the PC!  Yes, it really DOES
exist (and looks quite nice,

ANTIC had no booth, but their
Cybermate and Spectrum 512 products
were there, and moving nicely. The
pictures, particularly some of the
Voyager probe shots of Jupiter and its
moons, are really something to see!

Lots of Megas were at the show - we
counted at least 6, but I think the
only ones with Blitters were ours and
Atari's.  Dunno if they are shipping
to regular customers yet, but it's
obvious that they've got the
production problems fixed.

SEYMOR-RADIX's IMG Scan, which looks
and acts like Thunderscan on the Mac,
but costs $99 and works with ANY
printer; was in evidence and running
VERY nicely - we picked up a copy
which I've been playing with for the
last few days.

ZAPHODYNE's (blush) revised (version
2.1 - 1.9.9 owners can get a FREE
upgrade) version of the new VTX commo
package for the ST was doing quite
nicely, with full Ymodem and Kermit
support (including server), and a
silly script demo called the "Poor
Man's BBS" set up to allow spectators
to control the ST from a dumb
terminal.  We also announced our
VTX-132 package, which adds 132
column and double width/height text to
the VT-100 emulator (available in 2

DATA PACIFIC was showing a new,
improved 'SAC which takes full
advantage of the Mega's extra memory -
VERY nice!  AND... they finally got
the conversion unit done so that you
can use original Mac format disks.  If
I was Apple, I'd be worried!

New Publications (at least I've never
seen 'em before): RESET and ST-World.
Both looked layed out pretty well,
professionally printed jobs with some
pretty nice articles.

Spent an hour with Dave Ahl of Atari
Explorer - they seem to be on track
and going places - the latest issue
looks awfully nice.  Dave told me that
they hope to go monthly next year.

Overall, a darn nice show, and BUSY -
the place was mobbed when it opened
both days, and stayed that way until
it closed.  Next time, to heck with 
appearance - I'll wear tennis shoes.
My feet STILL hurt!

John Ruley (jruley)
Zaphodyne Inc.
This text file will (hopefully) tell
to how to fix your 1050 drive ONLY if
the following conditions are true.

#1 The drive reads disc files okay.

#2 The speed of the drive is correct.
Their are Utilities in DL3 that you
may use to check the speed. Just

#3 The drive refuses to format when
given the command and either formats
the first two tracks or none at all
and then just spins. Sometimes it will
return an error #139.

#4 It refuses to write and when given
the command,just gives an error# 139.

These are the problems that I had with
my US doubler 1050. If you have the
same EXACT problem, this fix MAY work
for you also. CAUTION! If you are not
hsay what it may do to yours. Still
game? Okay,here we go.

You will need a pair of needle nosed
pliers, a phillips screwdriver, and a
switch (I used a cheap Radio Shack
pushbutton, less than $3.00). Also,
about 10 inches of wire. I used a
piece of small gauge speaker wire. And
a low wattage soldering iron (25 watts
will do).

First, unplug your drive and turn your
drive over and unscrew the four
recessed screws that hold the top
down. You should'nt have to remove the
front two that hold on the face
plate. Now turn the drive right side
up. Lifting from the rear, remove the
top. Be VERY careful not to disturb
anything! On the left rear of the
printed circuit there are four brown
plugs that are marked (on the board)
from front to rear as J11, J12, J1,
J10 and J14. The one we want is J11,
the closest one to the drive motor.
Take a magic marker and mark the front
of the plug, this will make it easy to
know which side is the front. The two
wires we want are the north pair of
the four (when you're in front of the
drive). In other words, of the four
wires in plug J11, we want the first
two, closest to the drive motor. Once
it's marked, CAREFULLY remove the plug
with a pair of needle nosed pliers.

Carefully remove the some of the
insulation from our two target wires.
Take a small piece of wire and connect
the two wires together. Tape them to
prevent a them from shorting out
against antthing. This is only
temporary, as first we will test the
fix to see if it works.

Replace J11 (using the magic marker
mark as thefront) and without
replaceing the top, plug up your drive
as usual. Load your dos. Using a blank
disc, attempt to format. IF when the
first two wires of J11 are connected
together, the drive formats and writes
then we are on the way! If the drive
still refuses to format or write, then
undo the jumper that you made on J11,
tape the two bare spots on the two
wires and replace J11.

Replace the cover and send the drive
out to be fixed. If the drive now
formats and writes, then on we go!

Unplug the drive and go back to J11.
If everything is working now, we have
to wire up a switch because connecting
the two wires of J11 together over
rides the write protect of the drive.
You can now write to ANY disc, whether
it has a notch, write protect tab, or
no notch at all. So, we have to put in
a switch so that we can go from the
old NO format, no write condition to
ALL format, all write condition.

Remember those extra write protect
tabs that you had? Put them on ALL
your discs! Just in case the sensor
starts working again and formats or
writes when you least expect it. All
you people that use both sides of a
disc (a bad practice I'M told), will
now be able to format or write to side
two without making a notch. On to the

Remove J11 again and remove the jumper
wire that connected the first two
wires. What we want to do is solder a
length of wire to each of the two
wires (the bared portions). Once
you've done this, tape each wire well
and replace J11 on the board. (use
your mark for front!). Each wire
should now be separate with a length
of wire coming from it.

Now solder a wire to each of the two
terminals of your switch. (first
decide where you're going to mount
it, I mounted my pushbutton on the
lower sloping portion of the face
plate). Without replacing the cover,
plug your drive in and test it once
again for format and write. If it
does'nt write or format the first time
then push the switch to the other
position. It should now work. If it
worked the first time, it should work
now. If not, go over your work. Maybe
you did'nt make one of the connections

If using a pushbutton switch, in
should allow the drive to function as
it should and out should restore it to
it's former no write condition.

Now mount your switch, (keep the wires
away from the drive mech.) and replace
your cover. As to WHY this works or
what happened to break your drive in
the first place, well sorry I don't
know. I do know that it worked for me
and I'm hopeful that this $3.00 fix
works for you.

(Willie Pelzer 3rd ppn# 73247,206)
How many times have you wished you 
could call a binary file AUTORUN.SYS 
and have SpartaDOS load it automaticly
for you but the program will not run
with the key board buffer installed.
Until now the only way was to use a
startup.bat file to do a key off then
load the program.

Well I got tired of it and discovered
that you can search the X32D.DOS file
for three bytes and change them and
the default on boot up will be the key
board buffer off. Just get out the
SpartaDOS Tool Kit and load the Diskrx
sector editor. Search for these three
bytes. 20 DB FF. Change them to EA EA
EA. Thats all there is to it. I also
changed the ver. number to X32k.DOS so
I would know that it was the one with 
the default K.B. off. I think this
makes a great dos even better.

If you don't have Diskrx then format a
disk with AINIT. Copy X32D.DOS to it.

Load up what ever sector editor you 
have and go to sector 106. Now change 
the bytes 20 DB FF to EA EA EA.

Gerald Cox
Zmagazine Issue #77   October 30, 1987
Please contribute!!
    !!!!!!Happy Halloween!!!!!!!

Please Vote November 3, 1987

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