Z*Magazine: 18-Jan-88 #89

From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 07/21/93-09:20:22 AM Z

From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
Subject: Z*Magazine: 18-Jan-88 #89
Date: Wed Jul 21 09:20:22 1993

SYNDICATE ZMAGAZINE   January 18, 1988
Issue #89           Volume 3, Number 3
            Ron Kovacs

       Circulation Assistants
            Ken Kirchner
            Tony Santos

East Brunswick Bulletin Board Service
Ascii System.
International FidoNet ID# 107/323
300/1200/2400/9600  24 hours

XBN Oasis BBS  (617) 559-6844
From The Editor.............Ron Kovacs
Zmag E-Mail.................Ron Kovacs
XF551 Review...................Unknown
Whatever Happened........Bruce Kennedy
Zmag System Update...........Nut House
Zmag Newswire............Bruce Kennedy
Commentary-Reply.........Ralph Mariano
CompuServe Update (Atarians).......CIS
Programming in Basic.....Jackson Beebe

Xx FROM THE EDITOR ______________________________________
by Ron Kovacs

Incase you are not aware of it, The
ZMagazine BBS is no longer available.

I have taken the system down for good
because of commitments on my time, and
for the fact that problems with the
hardware have caused me to decide what
my future plans dictate.

I have moved the Headquarters to the
EBBBS (which is local to ZMag) and the
XBN BBS (which is another Oasis BBS).

XBN has aquired ALL of the current 
passwords from ZMag. You can call
there direct for immediate access. No
callback required.  Your password will
be validated as it was on ZMag.

I am looking for other carriers to be
headquarter systems.  I will select
one from each area code and let you
know shortly.  If you decide to become
a regional headquarter system, you
will be asked to carry atleast 5-6
weeks worth of past issues.

I am very sorry I could not let you 
all know before, the system crashed
earlier today and the work required
to once again restart it was too much
for me right now.  Perhaps at a later
time this year, we will return to the
telephone lines.  But until then, I
sincerely hope you will continue to
support ZMagazine.

(201) 968-8148 will become a voice
line direct to ZMagazine. If you have
questions on anything, feel free to
call me.  The voice line will become
official Feb 1, 1988.  Until then, a
busy signal will be in effect.

Changes are on the horizon, with the
newly found freedom, I will be able
to work on more things and will keep
you all up to date.

Zmag and ST-Report will continue to
be found on CompuServe and GEnie.

Thank you for your understanding. To
those who know what it takes to run a
BBS, know that it is a tough decision
to make.
Here are a few letters received over
the past month from the ZMAG MAILBOX

Date:  15-Dec-87 03:13 EST
From:  John Hoffman - BPForum
Subj:  Happy Holidays


The BP Forum has been on the run....on
the go...and on the move with many
additions and improvements!

New sections include RADIO/TV TALENT
(section 5) for on-air personalities 
looking for placement and for
potential employers to find you!  The
CATV/MMDS has been established to
share information on Cable TV related
programs, utilities, and current news.
We now have a RADIO SALES area
(section 16) for discussion of sales
information and techniques.

The BP Forum is ready to bring in the
new year with a special section to
deal with election coverage issues
found under COVERAGE '88 section 15.
This area will also be looking at

Jay Trachman's ONE TO ONE is now
permenantly on line with the Forum.

You'll find lot's of interesting
information here for your on-air show
with tid bits on the latest in the
industry. So get yourself reaccquinted
with us and enjoy the new services
here in the forum for YOU!


Happy Holidays from the Staff of the
BPForum - John H., Chris, Joe, John
R., Jim, Chuck, Gerry, Ron, Steve B.,
Steve J. and Bob

Date:  18-Dec-87 19:30 EST
From:  Charles Melichar [71270,2413]
Subj:  Zmag on My BBS


As you can see, my name is Chas
Melicar, and I run a BBS in Boise,
Idaho, and I was interested in if it
was possible to carry your magazine on
my BBS.  I don't believe anyone else
carries it here, and I think that is a
shame.  Please leave me some
information, I'd sure appreciate
anything you can tell me about ZMAG.

The BBS # here is (208)/342-5981. I'm
using BBS Express!, the Xm-301
version.   Run 24hrs.

Thanx for your help and patience.

                 Merry Christmas,
                 Charles 71270,2413

Date:  04-Jan-88 20:17 EST
From:  Charles Melichar [71270,2413]
Subj:  Raves About ZMag!

About Zmag...

Ron: Sorry to bother you (you must be
extremely busy), but thought you might
want to hear.. with just the first
issue, I've already had people saying
"I actually Learned something" and
"When is the next issue?  You WILL get
more, won't you?"

Thanx alot, Ron, keep at it, you're
doing an excellent job (and please
pass it on to all of your helpers,
editors, asciiingers, and so on!

Oh, and before I forget, if you would
like it, or if there is an opening, I
would like to write a short article
for ZMag... lemme know if you are

          The best to you in '88,
           "The Loopy Year"

Date:  10-Jan-88 20:22 EST
From:  JERRY CROSS [75046,467]
Subj:  zmag

Ron, you did it to me again.  You left
my bbs off your list! I left you a
note once before and you said you
would include it on future lists!
 PLLLLLEEEEZZZZZ put my name on your
next one. I have been a faithfull Zmag
bbs for over 1 1/2 years, and
currently carry all of the issues back
to August. 

FACTS   3/12/2400   313-736-3920
Author Unknown
(captured from CompuServe)

At a Federated store somewhere in

I can actually hear the salesman's
thoughts as I approach... <not this
Atari 8-bit nut again? Why couldn't I
have listened to my mother and sold
shoes? ("people will always need
shoes, Marvin!")....>

I notice that there are even more
Atari specific products displayed,
including the stack of XEP-80s and
SX-212s. Even third party 8-bit
products peek out at me from the
racks. Not overwhelming, but the place
is beginning to look like Atari does
intend to sell 8-bit computer stuff
there. My weekly (daily?) visit does
not concern itself with what I can see
though, the Question readies on my
lips... "got any word on the new disk

"Well, there is a truck waiting to be
unloaded that just came from Atari....
I could look on the bill of lading."

Sure, you go look at your paperwork.
I'll just poke around in the displays
until you give me the Bad News.... I
didn't even ask him the price when he
came back and said they shipped him
ONE unit. I think I got home without
breathing, watching for the Atari
Patrol to confiscate my prize...."that
unit was not for sale! It is a demo!
The FCC has not approved the XF551,

The Family is so well trained that
they didn't notice the glaze over my
eyes... no mention of the new, grey
thingie on my console....  my mumbles
sounded somewhat feverish, but within
the limits of normality for me. I
actually got an XF551, and it worked,
and it runs all my software, and it is
going to do Great Things!

The Nature of the Beast...

The XF551 is a half-height floppy
drive that is somewhat smaller than
the 1050 and Tramiel Grey in color. It
will read and write SS/SD disks (810),
SS/ED (1050), SS/DD (ICD Doubler or
Percom, etc.), and DS/DD (360K!!). I
have heard rumors that the built-in
controller has a track buffer, but the
performance of the unit that I have
does not confirm that. The XF551 can
transfer data on the SIO at twice the
normal speed, if your DOS knows how to
activate the feature. OSS has written
ADOS for the new drive that will
support all these formats, but it is
not yet available. Luckily, SpartaDos,
from ICD, does a great job on the
XF551. Only the high speed SIO
function is missing from my 3.2d
version of SpartaDos and ICD has
already announced the availability of
an upgrade to remedy that. The drive
can be addressed on the SIO buss as
D1: thru D4:, just like the 1050, and
acts like the previous device in
almost all respects.
    Almost all respects.....

The DOS 2.5 manual that comes with the
early XF551 looks like a copy of the
1050 manual with all instances of the
string "1050" replaced with "XF551"
(heck, it IS a copy with all the
references changed....). No mention is
made of double-sided, double-density
operation in the manual. It even lists
the controller as a 6507/2793
combination, which it is certainly
not! I would have to assume that we
will see a proper manual when ADOS is

As for operating quirks, the drive
will normally post a "no DOS" message
(or rather, SpartaDos posts the
message) when you boot the first DS/DD
disk. You have to re-boot to get it to
load in, but only the first time. It
seems that the device will only change
density when it reads sector 1. This
appears to solve the problems that
crop up in protection schemes that
rely on an 810 or 1050 to fail to read
a DD sector stuck in a SD disk. I
tried a number of commercial software
packages that are known to croak on DD
drives and found no problems. There
MAY be a few out there, but I would
guess not many. (very good news for
those buying their first and only

This new kid will also read SS/DD
diskettes from ICD and such. Unlike
the ST SS drive, the format of the DD
drive does not write all the sectors
on one head of a track and then switch
to the other head and write those
sectors before moving to the next
track. By writing 36 DD sectors before
moving the head, you get a higher
transfer rate, but you lose SS
compatability. This means that I can
read the first 180K of my DS/DD disks
on my ICD modified 1050 (a SS drive)!
Much handier than having the ST style
format, even if it is slower.

So, this XF551 is quiet, fast and
holds lots of data. Just what we
wanted, right? Yeeesssssss.....but I
kinda liked the idea of a 3.5 inch
drive, too. And I'm kinda partial to
the PBI on my 800XL, 1200XL and
130XE..... and ,,,,,

Out Come The X-Ray Glasses...

The best part of this drive is the
part you never see, inside the covers.
The power supply is an old standard
400/800/810/1050/1200XL transformer
that should last forever and costs
almost nothing. There is a single-chip
microprocessor in there directing
traffic, a couple of TTL ICs and a
WD1772 floppy disk controller. The
same controller as the ST. Exactly the
same. The one that does 720K on a
3.5in drive..... Looking at the drive,
it seems to be a bone-stock, IBM
style, 360K drive. With a regular 34
pin interface cable. Just like the
720K, 3.5in ST drive....

Out comes the book, on goes the
soldering iron, snip-snip, solder-
solder. Using a 14 pin ST drive
connector and a foot of 14 conductor
flat cable, I soldered a cable to the
XF551's 34 pin connector site that
would plug into an SF314 drive. You
have to pull the connector to the 5.25
drive in the XF551 since the
controller will select both drives at
once if they are both plugged in.
Without any 3.5in disks to boot from,
I had to boot from a 1050 with the
XF551 set as D2:. Calling the XINIT
program, I formatted a 3.5in disk as
DS/DD, 80 tracks. 720K of available
space!! Of course, it didn't really
have 720K of space, since the XF551
ROM does not understand 80 tracks vs.
40 tracks. With the ROM in a nice
socket, someone should be able to fix
that (are you listening, Tom?).
Regardless, the 3.5in drives work fine
at 360K and promise to be even more
useful in the future.

Did I mention the drive select line on
the WD1772? The one that tells which
of the four drives on the 34 pin buss
to pay attention? If one were to plug
the SF314 into the buss, but use the
D2: select line instead of the D1:
line (the line that the 5.25 drive
reponds to), one could run both drives
from the one controller. No conflicts,
no hassle. A second SF314 plugged into
the back of the first SF314 (using a
standard ST cable), would be D3:! It
would require a new ROM to implement
this configuration, but little else.
Of course, if you were going to use
the PIO to talk to the XF551, you
wouldn't use the ROM anyway. Gee, the
SF314 sits perfectly up there on top
of the XF551. They make such a
wonderful pair. And on such a
wonderful machine.

Made a little more wonderful by the
addition of an XF551.
by Bruce Kennedy


The other day I was visiting the IBM
forums on CIS, trying to get my new
office portable to work, and I bumped
into someone who helped our Keith
Ledbetter along the way. Ward
Christensen. I asked him what his
experience with PERSONAL computers
was, see below. Also where he worked
and a quick summary of his claim to
fame. If you're into telecomputing,
you should know THE pioneer in modem
protocol development, and BBS

------ Ward Christensen ---------

The messages below have been approved
by Ward for publication.

Fm: Ward Christensen 76703,302
To: Bruce Kennedy 72327,1500 (X)
I'm in PC technical support for IBM.
(though have worked for IBM for 20
years, and have been in everything
from small card systems (back a few
years) to mainframe databases. Been in
PC's since '84.

CIS work, its private - my IBM-ness
is not why I'm here - I'm here because
of my hobbyist stuff - and because I
invented XMODEM and programmed the
worlds first BBS, etc>?? from Kennedy:

What computers do you tinker with in
your private life, Ward? Do you
harbour a C64 or an Atari in the

Nope - all those "other" machines came
along quite a while AFTER I'd gotten
into microcomputing - I had a disk
system back in '75, 8080 CP/M based.
All the other stuff seemed rather
"toyish" compared to mine-since as
early as '72 I decided the system HAD
to be disk based.  SO, I went from a
20K 8080 in '75, to the CP/M operating
system in '77, had a hard disk
(whopping 8M) in about 80 or so, with
1.2M 8" diskettes (need 1000 8"
diskettes? ;-) - then a PC in '84.



Reported by Bruce Kennedy of Rhode
Island ACE
The following message was posted on
the Analog forum of Delphi In early

For all who are interested...

ANALOG is in the process of being
bought out by a very large publishing
company based in Los Angeles,
California.  The publishing company
will provide printing, distribution
and subscription services for ANALOG
and ST/Log Magazines. For the most
part, the editorial content will still
be lead by Lee Pappas, Clayton Walnum
and the assortment of contributing
editors currently adding their prose
to the magazine.

The first issue of ANALOG and ST/Log
that will be published under the new
company will be the March, '88 issues.
These issues will be on the news-
stands in late January, '88. After the
re-introduction, ANALOG and ST/Log
magazines will be published monthly
with approximately the same coverage
and substance as was previously made

Subscribers will continue to receive
their issues as normal under this new
arrangement. ANALOG will be installing
an answering machine on their
Worcester, Massachusetts phone number
sometime this week. The machine will
give more precise details regarding
the publication dates and subscriber

Reported by Bruce Kennedy of Rhode
Island ACE
Please add the following number to 
your ZMAGAZINE System Carrier Listing.

(602)459-6896      The Nut House BBS
Sierra Vista, Az.  300 only
8N1 7:00pm to 7:00am MST

The following message was posted on
the Analog forum of Delphi in early

For all who are interested...

ANALOG is in the process of being
bought out by a very large publishing
company based in Los Angeles,
California.  The publishing company
will provide printing, distribution
and subscription services for ANALOG
and ST/Log Magazines. For the most
part, the editorial content will still
be lead by Lee Pappas, Clayton Walnum
and the assortment of contributing
editors currently adding their prose
to the magazine.

The first issue of ANALOG and ST/Log
that will be published under the new
company will be the March, '88 issues.
These issues will be on the
news-stands in late January, '88. 
After the re-introduction, ANALOG and
ST/Log magazines will be published
monthly with approximately the same
coverage and substance as was
previously made available.

Subscribers will continue to receive
their issues as normal under this new
arrangement.  ANALOG will be
installing an answering machine on
their Worcester, Massachusetts phone
number sometime this week. The machine
will give more precise details
regarding the publication dates and
subscriber information.


Electronic One, the mail order house,
has discontinued phone service
effective January 14, 1987. They are
only accepting mail communications.

Has anyone had problems with service?

Has anyone attempted to cancel credit
card charges to avoid payment for
merchandise not received or delivered
later than promised?????

Let us know??

Reported by Bruce Kennedy of Rhode
Island ACE
_______________________________________Xx COMMENTARY-REPLY
Two weeks ago Jack Lee commented on
the lack of software for the 8-bits.
This a reply to the article.


What has been left unsaid by the
article is the story about the glut of
TRASH software foisted upon us by the
same crummy software companies that
are doing all crying about ATARI!
Well, let them take notice..Gents keep
an eye on FTL's Dungeon Master!  It is
gonna break every sales record you
clods ever thought you could
establish!!!  The message is loud and
clear.." Quit the crying and produce
quality software, the Atari users are
NOT the idiots your demographic
"studies" or your pea-brained sales
managers have said they are!  It is
quite evident that the software
released for the 8 bit is partly to
blame for the "widespread
Piracy"...how? easy! It's a pleasure
to pirate a crummy program to show as
many folks out there how really bad it
is...so they dont get suckered into
buying it because of the enticing

In short, take your accusations and
stuff em!  Release REAL software and
see REAL profit!!!   You say you wont
produce for us anymore? Who Cares!
Take ALL your MARBLES and run....when
all the smoke clears, all the users
(not just Atari) will know just how
fickle you are.  For every software
publisher that thinks he is hurting
us, let him be the first to pay
attention to FTL sales in 1988...we,
the users pledge full and unerring
support to this fine company for it's
outstanding efforts in producing a
super quality product for the
"so-called" Atari pirates. hahahaha!!
What fools are those who think we will
not spend for quality...just look at
the hardware we use..The very very

FTL [FASTER THAN LIGHT] support these

totally tired of crybabys,

Ralph F. Mariano

News from CIS's Atari Section

Forum member Bill Fox will be hosting
an informal Conference on Friday,
January 22, 1987 at 8:00 PM EST in
Conference ROOM 2 to discuss problems
and cures for the Bulletin Board
Construction Set (BBCS) software.  All
members are invited to attend!  Type
/TUN 2 to join in.


The ATARI 8-Bit Forum holds two weekly
"informal" gatherings that all Forum
members are invited to attend:

* Technical/Programming CO
  -- All programmers and "technical
     minded" people are welcome to
     join us every Saturday night at
     9:30 PM EST/6:30 PM PST.

* Community Gab
   -- All Forum members are invited to
      "shoot the breeze" or discuss
      Atari with other members every
      Sunday night at 9:00 PM EST/6:00
      PM PST in conference room 18!

STARDUST Software is offering our
members a discount price on their
"QuickCode Programmers Library."  Be
sure to take advantage of this special
offer which is good through March
31st. Please see message # 202375 in
the ATARI 8-Bit Forum for details!


The Data Library Bulletin is updated
each Monday with a listing, complete
with keywords and descriptions, of the
files uploaded during the previous
week. Instead of going to each Data
Library and BROWSE/SCANNING, simply
type B;4 at the main menu to find out
what new files are available!

 The ATARI 16-Bit Forum (GO ATARI16)


Please help us congratulate Richard
Lawrence [71101,2272] who won a FREE
month in ATARI16 for his correct
solution to the "Christmas language


In the coming days, we will be
implementing some organizational
changes in ATARI16.  Foremost in the
list will be the appointment of
Section Leaders. The Section Leaders
will be "experts" in particular
section that they are designated
leader of, and they will be assisting
the SYSOPs in helping to keep message
threads in the right sections and
under clearer topic headings.

  ...Part 3 of a continuing series...
Getting Started in Atari BASIC
(C) Copyright 1986 by Jackson Beebe

When you have a program typed in
correctly, LIST it, and make sure it's
right. Type RUN (no line number) and
RETURN. Your program should begin
executing, and produce output. It's
STILL in memory, and you can LIST it,
or RUN it again. You can usually stop
a program with the BREAK key.

The RUN command is used in IMMEDIATE
Mode (no line number).  When we use
line numbers, we're in PROGRAMMING
Mode. When we type commands in
IMMEDIATE mode, we're talking directly
to the computer. You can print in
immediate mode. Try:


It prints, but it's also gone, and not
in memory. Try a LIST, and you'll
notice it's not there.

To save a program to disk, you think
up an eight letter filename. It has to
start with a letter, and can only be
eight characters (letters and
numbers). No spaces are allowed. If
you wish, you can type a period, and
add a three letter extension to label
programs. It's usually used that way.
For example GAME.BAS would be a game
in BASIC. To save a program, type in a
statement in the form that follows.
The D refers to disk drive. If you use
only D, it assumes D1 or drive #1. Use
the proper number if you have multiple


Your disk should spin, and save the
program under the name you gave it.
Think up good names, 'cause when you
have hundreds of programs, you need to
be able to identify them from their
name alone.

At this point the program is STILL in
memory, AND a copy stored on the disk.
You could remove the disk, and shut
down the system, and your program will
remain on the disk.


You must use an Atari tape recorder to
save programs. Model 410 recorders are
very inexpensive, and often available
for loan from friends who have moved
up to disk drives. Model 1010
recorders are newer. I would not
consider buying a recorder new, but
save my money toward a disk

To SAVE a program to cassette, rewind
the tape to the beginning, or the
place you want to record at. Type
CSAVE and RETURN in Immediate mode.
You will hear two  beeps, to remind
you to push two keys. Push down both
the PLAY and RECORD buttons at the
same time on the recorder. Now push
RETURN again, to start the recording.
When your program has been saved to
tape, the tape will stop turning. Note
the counter number for future
reference. No filenames are possible
with tapes.
To see a list of the files on your
disk, you must go to DOS (Disk
Operating System.) This is done by


This is in immediate mode. When you
get to the DOS menu, follow your DOS's
instructions to look at your files.
When finished, return to your BASIC
cartridge, usually menu option B. If
you are using a MEM.SAV file, your
BASIC program will remain unchanged in
memory. Without, when you return from
DOS, your BASIC program will be gone
into never never land, and lost. This
is no problem if you remember to SAVE
it before going to DOS. You can load
it back in. You'll learn quickly after
losing a few programs that you hadn't
saved yet. Read your disk manual about

To get that program back the next time
you use your computer, install BASIC,
turn on the disk drive, and printer.
Insert the disk. Turn on computer. The
disk should spin and give you READY
prompt. You're in BASIC. To get back
your old program, type:


Your disk should spin, load in the
program, and say "READY". To see it,
type L. or LIST. To run it, type RUN.
To stop it, usually the BREAK key will
do it. You can start again with RUN,
or sometimes by typing CONT for

If you change your program, with line
editing, or by adding to it, be sure
to save a copy with the changes. I
save my program often while writing,
in case I screw it up totally, or
there's a (GASP) power failure.
Programs saved on disk survive.


To load from cassette, wind/rewind
tape to beginning of program using
counter. Type CLOAD and RETURN. You
will hear one beep. Push down the PLAY
key on the recorder.  Now hit RETURN
once again. The tape should beginning
turning, and load in the program.  Be
patient, tape is a very slow process.
You will hear bleeps as the tape loads
in. Sooner or later, the tape will
finish loading. Type LIST or RUN. Do
not be alarmed if your program failed
to load accurately. Simply rewind, and
try again. Tape loads correctly most
of the time. Keep your heads clean,
and if all else fails, have your local
hardware whiz realign your head. Tape
is fussy.
SAMPLE Problems:
PROBLEM 0  (can be filenamed PROB0)

Okay here we put it all together. Type
in the following program EXACTLY as it
appears below.

10 REM *** PROB0 ***
20 REM Your Name  - Date
30 REM
40 PRINT CHR$(125)
70 PRINT "I am communicating with the world."
90 PRINT "        by Your Name"
100 END

We introduced one new concept here.
The PRINT CHR$(125). It "prints" the
screen clear (clears the screen.)
Handy statement to put up front in a
program. Starts you off with a fresh

Type the program in. Save it to disk
with SAVE "D1:PROB0". When it's done
and a copy saved on the disk, run it
by typing RUN. You should see output
as follows:


I am communicating with the world.

        by Your Name

Try turning your computer off,
rebooting, and loading this program
back in. LIST it to see if it's there.
Try running it again. If it works,
then congratulate yourself. You have
written a BASIC program. This program
is for your own use. Do not upload
this program to the BBS.

Write a program to produce the
following output:

      *           *
      *     *     *
      *    * *    *
      *   *   *   *
      *  *     *  *
      *  *******  *
      *  *     *  *
      *  *     *  *
      *  *     *  *
      *           *


Write a program to print:

       A   TTTTT   A    RRRR   I
      A A    T    A A   R   R  I
     A   A   T   A   A  R   R  I
     AAAAA   T   AAAAA  RRRR   I
     A   A   T   A   A  R  R   I
     A   A   T   A   A  R   R  I

This concludes Part 3 of Lesson 1 of
Learning to program in Atari BASIC. Be
sure to read next week for Part 4 and
the start of Lesson 2, which covers:

LET statement, Numeric variables,
String variables, READ statement, DATA
statement, Math rules, END statement,
INPUT statement

We'll begin problem solving at the end
of Lesson 2.

Contact me at:
Jackson Beebe
Prairie Data Fields
807 W. Hill Street
Urbana, IL 61801

or CompuServe 72550,317
Xx POINT   -Steve Godun
Subject: Jersey Atari Computer Group

[Ed. I have decided to publish this
 article in both ZMagazine and ST-
 Report because it is news worthy in
 our local area.  Some of you might
 find this interesting and others may
 not.  My intention here is to show
 everyone what goes on behind the
 scenes of some of our User Groups
 across the nation.  This article in
 NO WAY reflects the opinions of the
 Syndicate Publishing Company and any
 of the publications.  There is Steve
 Godun statements, and then followed
 by David Noyes reply. David is the
 Editor of the JACG Monthly 

POINT--Steve Godun

I was invited to join the JACG by Gary
Gorski, JACG Advertising and Sales
representative and JACG BBS Sysop, at
about mid-June 1987. I joined the JACG
at the July 1987 meeting thinking that
there was enough activity and
knowledge in the group to justify the
$25 fee.  I expected to receive a top-
quality newsletter every month.  I
expected to see membership increase as
Atari computers become more popular. I
expected to see demos of new,
productive, and entertaining software.
I even expected to see the JACG hold
an AtariFest in New Jersey, since
every other major Atari user group in
the U.S. has held one.  I have since
learned to expect nothing from the
JACG, especially the above.

The reason for this message:

I received a call on Saturday, January
9th, 1988 (JACG meeting day) at around
10:00am from Doug Van Hook, JACG
President.  He told me that there were
approximately 200 people waiting for
the JACG's 130XE, of which I was in
charge of because I am the JACG 8-Bit
Vice President.  I explained to him
that I had the flu, and that there was
no way for me to drive there on
account of the fact that Piscataway
doesn't believe in plowing the back
roads; thus, I was snowed in.  His
reply was "Steve, you let us down."
Let YOU down?  In that case, I
apologize for the existance of illness
and snow.  I'll bring it right up to
God and have them eliminated
immediately.  I was told that I should
have contacted him about this earlier.

When I claimed that I tried to call
from where I work at about 8pm the
previous night, he told me he was home
and got no call -- in essence, I was

Doug, you're a lost case.  If you
can't accept a legitimate reason and
want to put the blame on another
person, then you've got a lot of
growing up to do.

I thought about his reply after he
hung up and I've come to this
conclusion: How could I "let down" a
user group that is about as active as
a dead moose?  The JACG has been
around since December 1981/January
1982 and I have yet to see any kind of
major contribution to its members
since around 1984.  At times there are
helpful articles in the newsletter
(always, of course, written by the
same people every month), but that's
about as far as the help extends.
Unless you have a specific problem
that someone in the meeting room is an
expert on, forget it.

You might get a few suggestions, but
most likely everyone will be asleep
from watching such thrilling demos
such as a video taped 1/2 hour TV
program that has nothing to do with
Atari computers at all, or perhaps
from watching a man page through about
12 pages of text on an old word
processor without saying a word. Ever
try to read text on that ancient
projection TV of yours?  More news for
you -- it can't be done.

Let's take this one step at a time.
First, the newsletter.  To begin, if
you're going to do a newsletter, do it
right.  It takes a special kind of
ignorance not to know that red body
type on white paper is very hard on
the eyes to most people.  I have yet
to see an issue where all the text is
straight, the line spacing consistant,
and the print centered on the page
(usually it's off to the right or left
to the point where it's almost - or is
- cut off).  Content?  What content? I
can see where product/service reviews
can help.  I can see where technical
issues can help.  I can even see where
two pages per issue on nothing but
desktop publishing is discussed.  But
that's it.  Every issue, that's all
you see.  What about program type-ins?
You can't claim they're not popular.
Ever hear of Antic or Analog?  Guess
what?  They have popular type-in
programs!  What about homemade
hardware projects like that printer
digitizer that was in Antic/Analog
awhile back?  I expect to get a
response like "If nobody writes it, we
can't put it in." In that case, you're
telling me that there is no newsletter
in the entire U.S. that has any such
articles?  I find that hard to
believe.  I also expect you never to
hear of "cut-and-paste".  It IS
possible to xerox an article out of
another newsletter and paste it into
the JACG newsletter.  Or is that "not
JACG policy"?

Next, I would like to know exactly
what the best offering the JACG has
for its members.  It's not the
meetings, it's not the newsletter, and
it certainly isn't the lame JACG BBS.
So, what is it?  Exactly why hasn't
the JACG had an AtariFest?  I got a
quote from a professional show manager
a few months ago (I even told you
about it, but you so conveniently
brushed it off as "ignorance of one so
young").  He told me that all you
would need is about 10 volunteers and
about $8,000 for a very large 3-day
show.  If the JACG can't hack that
small amount, then it's in BIG
trouble.  There are more Atari users
out there than you may think, so
unless you schedule the show for
Christmas Eve and/or Christmas Day
(which sounds like something the JACG
would do), there would be many people
in attendance.  Unless, of course, the
JACG comes up with some more brilliant
advertising, such as putting 1"x1" ads
in the bathrooms of New York subways
(more JACG brilliance).

Besides that, like someone said at the
"executive meeting", a member pays $25
per year and gets nothing except a $2-
per-month newsletter and a cheap blue
card that entitles him/her to
sacrifice more wallet space. For $1
less, a non-member can get the same
"benefits" as a member can, along with
room for another photo in the wallet.
Oops, I almost forgot -- "members" get
a big $1 off JACG software.
Oooooohh...I'm really impressed.  Wow.

I have been in the JACG for six months
and I have yet to see confirmed facts
that membership has RISEN.  If
anything, it has dropped. I can recall
a time in the past when a friend of
mine was part of more than 500
members.  Now it's at about 200 or so.
Really impressive.  You must have been
up all night to think of some
brilliant way to lose 300 people.

I and many other people feel that the
JACG offers nothing more than what you
can get from any local BBS or just
from friends.  Thus, I resign from the
position of 8-Bit JACG Vice President
-- find some other sucker to take the
position.  I am tired of hearing about
all of the so-called "plans to
encourage participation and increase

And that's all I've been doing --
hearing about it.  The JACG will get
it's computer back as soon as I
possibly can deliver it.  I have
offered more to the Atari community
than most of JACG members combined.  I
have written more articles,
established more contacts for people,
and helped more users than most of the
JACG members ever have and I'm sick
and tired of it.  I honestly didn't
mind the hundreds of questions I got
at each meeting and at computer
stores.  I also didn't mind the 1/2
hour drive to and from the meeting at
7am every month.  I even didn't mind
(for awhile) the fact that my name was
misspelled on the newsletter mailing
label.  But when I started getting
phone calls from members at 2am in the
morning looking for help (no kidding
-- one member called me at 2am to ask
me how to format a disk), or getting
JACG members calling my BBS and
abusing the system then looking for
more and more to take -- THAT'S when I
draw the line.  Now I finally realize
why there was nobody else who wanted
the position of 8-Bit VP.  Now I
finally realize what my fellow Atari
non-JACG members were warning me
about.  Now is the time I end the
seemingly endless span of useless
members and worthless management.  As
far as I can tell, the JACG has been
on a spiraling course for the past
year and a half and there's nowhere to
go except down.

I've been a member for 6 months, and I
have paid for a year.  Thus, for my
endless troubles I demand the sum of
$12.50 be sent to my address in a
check payable to me.  A legal friend
of mine (who, by the way, has fairly
recently let his JACG membership run
out on account of "nothing to offer")
says that I have a right to have ALL
of my money back, but I only want
what's mine.  The $2.08 per month is
DEFINATELY not worth it.  MAYBE 2
cents...That's about all.  I have "let
down" a group of 200 people for one
day, while they have let ME down every
day for the past 6 months.  I think
that's more than generous on my part.
Doug, if you want to bitch to someone,
bitch to them, not me. And a good look
at yourself might do wonders.

I am almost positive that this message
will be deleted minutes after I post
it on the JACG BBS.  In any event, I
am also uploading this as a file to
other BBS's that I call so everyone
will know how I feel.

If you feel that I am totally in the
wrong, put this message in the next
issue of the newsletter.

In any case, that's that.  Good-bye,
good luck, good riddence.

 -Steve Godun      Liberated At Last
Sent on 01/17/88 at 09:14:44
From: David Noyes

Ron....JACG intends to keep his
message up on our board...so as far as
I'm concerned...you can use it....I, 
and many others don't take issue with 
a lot of what he has to say...check my
editorials  for the last year or so,
re. participation...et. al.---However, 
I take great issue with the delivery 
(diatribe/lack of maturity) method.
Please understand...HIS failure to
show up at the last meeting, or to
make whatever effort was neccessary to
get to ANYBODY on the board, left the 
membership sitting around on meeting
morning with NO 8-bit machine, no
cable...and therefore, no demos.

As far as his comments re. the
competitor of ANALOG or ANTIC, it's
staff of one, like you, is not
compensated...holds a full-time job,
and has family reponsibilities...and
yet it has ALWAYS been issued
on-time...the membership has NEVER
been let down, and THEIR articles have
always found their way into print. I
intend to list ALL contributors of the
last 12 months, indicating whether
they are "first-time" or not & will
print Steve Godun's article in full
...but with very crooked margins!!!
(But not in red-ink, which, by the
way, was NOT what I instructed the
printer...I had asked for GREEN, but
the scheme was reversed...I NEVER
would have done the DECEMBER issue
that way).

Almost all ATARI user groups are
declining in membership (as I have
indicated in my editorials) it is
symtomatic of not only a lack of
participation common to all groups
(fraternal, religious)...but also of
the move (in ATARIDOM) from 8 to 16-
Bit.  Many 16 bit purchasers evidently
do not feel the need to "join" a user
group...possibly having bought an ST
for specific purposes.  You are
therefore left with a club, shrinking
naturally (attrition)...and in
transition...8 to 16-Bit. I believe it
an inevitable down-trend.... .......
..Dave Noyes

Any views on this are welcome!
(c)1988 Syndicate Publishing Company
Issue #89  January 18, 1988

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