Z*Magazine: 15-Feb-88 #93

From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 07/24/93-09:20:54 AM Z

From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
Subject: Z*Magazine: 15-Feb-88 #93
Date: Sat Jul 24 09:20:54 1993

|//ZMAG/|February 15, 1988
|ZMAG///|Publisher/Editor: Ron Kovacs
|Asst Pb|Ken Kirchner, Tony Santos,
|Hqts   |XBN              617-770-0026
|RegHdqt|Stairway/Heaven  216-733-8444
|RegHdqt|StarBase I       201-938-6906
|INDEX93|Call: Lions Den  312-690-3724
|..<1>..|Commentary       [Ron Kovacs]
|..<2>..|ST Transformer   [ D Mihocka]
|..<3>..|Oasis Survey Results
|..<4>..|Daisy Dot II Review
|..<5>..|AtariFest Update from CLAUG
|..<6>..|Installing I/O Master
|..<7>..|BBS Watch        [ JACG BBS ]
|..<8>..|File Compression [ M Albert ]
|..<1>..|Commentary and Update
 by Ron Kovacs, Editor

Thanks for reading another edition of
Zmag. This is our 93rd issue and 110th
publication. The other issues were
special reports or misc information.

Since we are still publishing without
a BBS system we can call our own, I
have noticed a few people getting
nervous and worried about where they
are going to get ZMAG from. Please
let me do my best to assure you that
ZMag will continue to publish on a 
weekly basis.  I have no plans on
giving up the ship yet and if I should
desire to quit, I will ask someone to
take it over.

I list a few BBS systems at the top of
each issue. If you have a need to get
in touch with me, call the above
systems first!  If you are looking
for past issues, they are available on
Genie and CompuServe, XBN BBS, and a
number of others.

Until the Syndicate BBS returns, I
must ask that everyone please be
patient.  I am sorry for any problems
this causes you, but I am doing the
best I can at the present time.

I am currently deciding which of the
300 systems on my list are going and
willing to become Regional Hdqts for
the magazines.  I am looking for
atleast one system from each area

On to other news... The Baby is due
TODAY 2-15-88 and still no action. It
looks like this week? <grin>.

The Syndicate BBS looks like a 3-1-88
re-debut. Details forthcoming.

Read the March 1988 issue of Antic for
an interesting (short) article on
GEnie and the RT sysops.

ST-Report magazine continues to gain
popularity each week.  You can find
them in the GEnie ST RT and on CIS in
the Atari16 Data Library 8. STR is
also exclusivly part of the ST X-Press
diskmate. ST-Report is another weekly
online magazine published by SPC (us).

And a thank you to Carlos H. for
selling us Basic XE. Without his
assistance and willingness to sell
his cartridge, we might have decided
other things about the BBS. Also, to
Terry in ST.Louis for supplying us the
PD and modified version of Forem XE.
(didnt want to print last names
without permission).

Basic Programming Series continues
next with Part 7.

  Call: CoaSTline BBS  201-929-9351
|..<2>..|ST Transformer Update
 by Darek Mihocka

February 7, 1988

Information about ST Xformer II:

Since the release of the Xformer in
October, I have mainly heard only two
things from people: make it run in
monochrome, and make it faster. The
monochrome part was easy, and now with
Omni Res, it is even better. The speed
issue was a bit harder to address. The
dispatch algorithm used could have
been sped up slightly, by getting rid
of common code and thus saving some
jumps and branches. But to get a
really major speed increase, I started
writing a new emulator from scratch
and came up with some voodoo that
allowed me to write an emulator that
is TWICE AS FAST as the emulator now
available. Thanks go to David Small,
Charles Smeton, and Jan Gray for
providing some of the speed up ideas.

Here at a glance are some of the
features of ST Xformer II:

- twice as fast, runs at about 40% the
  speed of a 6502

- a GEM based non-cryptic user
  interface that allows you to
  re-configure   the emulator with the
  menu bar. No more deleting and
  renaming of files.

- 4 modes: generic 6502, Atari 800,
  Apple ][, and C-64 emulation (I
  should have provided a DEGAS file
  containing a screen shot showing
  Commodore 64 BASIC in action on the
  emulator, but that would probably
  make most people delete this file
  right away!)

- online documentation (i.e. from the
  menu bar)

- player missle graphics and sprites,
  greatly increasing compatibility

- a hardcopy of detailed documentation
  and source code will be available
  for a small fee. (Hey, I gotta eat

- phone support will be provided if
  you really get stuck

The program will be available on July
1, 1988, and will be shareware. That
means it'll be free and available on
most BBSs and information services at
that time.

The program will soon go out to a few
beta testers who will put it through
the wringer. A preview version will be
made available to magazines and user
groups on May 1, 1988. If you are a
user group executive and are
interested in getting the preview
version to demo to your user group,
send a recent copy of your newsletter,
your name and phone number, and $5 (to
cover the cost of a disk, a mailer,
and postage) to me:

     Darek Mihocka
     310-D Bluevale St. N.
     Waterloo, Ontario
     N2J 4G3

and I'll give you a call when the disk
is about to go out (in late April or
early May).

Anyone will last minute requests and
suggestions for the emulator can drop
me mail, email, or call the "support
line" (really just my modem line, he
he, so if you call and get a modem
carrier, hang up). Of course, after
the preview gets out, I'll definately
be taking last minute suggestions and
bug reports before letting the cement

To contact me by email, you'll need an
account on one of the information
services listed below, and then send
the email to the appropriate ID:

BIX: darekm
Compuserve: 73657,2714

The ST Xformer support line is:

On the FOREM FNET network, send email
to Gilligan's Island BBS (node #118).
Hopefully it'll find a path through. 

That's all! Enjoy ST Xformer 1.2 and
please be patient about getting ST
Xformer II. It will be worth your
|..<3>..|Oasis Survey Results
 Compiled by Ron Kovacs

The following survey results were
compiled from a few Oasis Systems
around the country.

These results were added together and
added to the final results listed


Welcome to the BBS Software Survey.
This Survey covers four Atari 8-Bit
BBs software programs. 

If you are not familiar with the
programs at all, please do not take
the survey.  If you think you might be
informed enough, try the survey, but
if you find then, that you are not
aquainted with the programs being
considered, please do NOT save your
answers at the end of the survey. 

The above requests are directed
primarily to non-Atari users, and
new users.  We would like the survey 
results to be as fair as possible. You
do NOT have to know something about
all the programs, but if you do not
know anything about any of them, then
your answers would be unfair. Thank
you for your consideration in this

The survey considers that a BBS is a
place where people MEET to exchange
INFORMATION.  People meet on the
message bases, and exchange
information there, and in the download
area.  Therefore, the survey asks
about these two functions.

          ON WITH THE SURVEY !!

| SURVEY by G. Stocks  |
|[0] Quit To BBS |
|[1] Take Survey |
|[2] List Takers |
|[3] See Results |

> Denotes highest vote getter

| Question Number  1 |

Choose Your Favorite Atari 8 Bit BBS.

 0] No Answer
 1] Carina 1.0
 2] BBS Express!
>3] Oasis
 4] Nite Lite
 5] Another Atari 8 Bit BBS

[#1] 42  [#2] 55  [#3] 73 [#4] 32
[#5] 21  

| Question Number  2 |

The BBS That Is Best At Overall
Message Base Functions. 

 0] Oasis
 1] Nite Lite
>2] BBS Express!
 3] No Answer
 4] Carina 1.0

[#0] 36  [#1] 26  [#2] 95  [#3] 31
[#4] 35  

The BBS That Is Best At Overall File 
Transfer Functions.

 0] Carina 1.0
 1] No Answer
 2] BBS Express!
>3] Oasis
 4] Nite Lite

[#0] 10  [#2] 22  [#3] 191 

| Question Number 4 |

The BBS That Has The Best Message
Editing Functions While Posting

 0] Nite Lite
 1] Carina 1.0
 2] Oasis
>3] BBS Express!
 4] No Answer

[#0] 22  [#1] 21  [#2] 67  [#3] 104
[#4] 09  

| Question Number  5 |

The BBS That Has The Best Message 
Base Reading Functions.

 0] BBS Express!
 1] No Answer
>2] Oasis
 3] Carina 1.0
 4] Nite Lite

[#0] 99  [#2] 103  [#3] 8  [#4] 13  

| Question Number  6 |

The BBS That Has The Best Download 
Directory, Or Listing Of Download 

 0] Nite Lite
>1] Oasis
 2] No Answer
 3] BBS Express!
 4] Carina 1.0

[#1] 155  [#2] 22  [#3] 30  [#4] 17  

| Question Number  7 |

The BBS That Has The Best Method 
Of Choosing A File To Download

 0] BBS Express!
>1] Oasis
 2] Carina 1.0
 3] Nite Lite
 4] No Answer

[#0] 14  [#1] 187  [#2] 11  [#3] 11  

| Question Number  8 |

The BBS That Has The Best Protocol 
Options For Downloads

 0] No Answer
 1] Carina 1.0
 2] BBS Express!
 3] Nite Lite
>4] Oasis

[#1] 14  [#2] 12  [#3] 10 [#4] 187  

| Question Number  9 |

The BBS That Has The Best Library 

>0] Oasis
 1] Nite Lite
 2] BBS Express!
 3] Carina 1.0
 4] No Answer

[#0] 124  [#2] 87  [#3] 06  [#4] 06 

| Question Number 10 |

The BBS That Has The Best Games

 0] No Answer
 1] Nite Lite
 2] Oasis
 3] BBS Express!
>4] Carina 1.0

[#1] 11  [#2] 38  [#3] 06  [#4] 169  

| Question Number 11 |

The BBS That Provides The Best Board 
Members Information.

 0] BBS Express!
 1] No Answer
 2] Carina 1.0
 3] Nite Lite
>4] Oasis

[#1] 28  [#4] 195 

| Question Number 12 |

The BBS With The Best E-Mail Message 

>0] Oasis
 1] Carina 1.0
 2] No Answer
 3] Nite Lite
 4] BBS Express!

[#0] 108  [#1] 30  [#3] 08  [#4] 77  

| Question Number 13 |

Choose The BBS Function That Nite 
Lite BBS Performs The Best.

>0] No Answer
 1] Message Base Reading
 2] Listing Download Files
 3] Posting Messages
 4] Choosing Download Files

[#0] 74 [#1] 46  [#2] 42 [#3] 39
[#4] 22  

| Question Number 14 |

Choose The BBS Function That Oasis 
BBS Performs The Best.

 0] Posting Messages
 1] No Answer
>2] Choosing Download Files
 3] Listing Download Files
 4] Message Base Reading

[#0] 23  [#1] 29  [#2] 79  [#3] 28
[#4] 64  

| Question Number 15 |

Choose The BBS Function That BBS 
Express! Performs The Best.

>0] Message Base Reading
 1] Choosing Download Files
 2] Listing Download Files
 3] Posting Messages
 4] No Answer

[#0] 59  [#1] 29 [#2] 38  [#3] 55  
[#4] 42  

| Question Number 16 |

Choose The BBS Function That Carina 
1.0 Performs The Best.

 0] Listing Download Files
 1] Posting Messages
 2] Choosing Download Files
>3] No Answer
 4] Message Base Reading

[#0] 33  [#1] 31  [#2] 34  [#3]  68 
[#4] 57  

| Question Number 17 |

Choose The BBS Function That BBS 
Express! Needs To Improve.

 0] Posting Messages
 1] Reading Messages
 2] Listing Downloads
>3] Choosing Downloads
 4] No Answer

[#0] 33  [#1] 38  [#2] 35  [#3] 79 
[#4] 38  

| Question Number 18 |

Choose The BBS Functon That Carina 
1.0 BBS Needs To Improve.

 0] Choosing Downloads
 1] Reading Messages
 2] Posting Messages
 3] Listing Downloads
>4] No Answer

[#0] 26  [#1] 49  [#2] 14  [#3] 16 
[#4] 118  

| Question Number 19 |

Choose The BBS Function That Oasis 
BBS Needs To Improve.

 0] Listing Downloads
 1] No Answer
>2] Posting Messages
 3] Reading Messages
 4] Choosing Downloads

[#0] 19  [#1] 35  [#2] 116  [#3] 38
[#4] 15  

| Question Number 20 |

Choose The BBS Function That Nitelite 
BBS Needs To Improve.

 0] Reading Messages
 1] Listing Downloads
>2] No Answer
 3] Choosing Downloads
 4] Posting Messages

[#0] 40  [#1] 34  [#2] 110  [#3] 21 
[#4] 18  

| Question Number 21 |

In Telecommunications On Atari 8 Bit
Boards, you are ...

>0] A SysOp
 1] A Co-SysOp
 2] A User
 3] An Ex-SysOp
 4] An Ex-Co-SysOp
 5] No Answer

[#0] 137  [#1] 18  [#2] 53  [#3] 15  

| Question Number 22 |

If You Are Now A SysOp, Or Co-SysOp, 
Choose The BBS Program That You Run.

 0] Nite Lite
 1] BBS Express!
>2] Oasis
 3] Carina 1.0
 4] Another Atari 8-Bit BBS
 5] An Atari ST BBS
 6] A Non-Atari BBS
 7] I Am Not A SySop
 8] No Answer

[#0] 12  [#1] 42  [#2] 115  [#3] 31
[#4] 03  [#5] 10  [#6] 01   [#7] 09 

| Question Number 23 |

Of All The 8-Bit Atari Boards In 
Your State, Choose The BBS That Is 
Run The Most.

 0] Carina 1.0
 1] No Answer
>2] BBS Express!
 3] Oasis
 4] Nite Lite
 5] Another Atari 8 Bit BBS

[#0) 32 [#1] 42  [#2] 103  [#3] 42 
[#4] 06 [#5] 04  

  Call:  Wonderful World 808-423-3140

|..<4>..|Daisy Dot II Review
 by Dr. Warren Lieuallen

Many of you are already familiar with
the Daisy Dot Near Letter Quality
Emulation program.  This public domain
program has appeared on most users'
groups' disks over the past six
months, and has received kudos from
everyone who has seen it.  In short,
this program allows any Epson-
compatible or Star printers to achieve
"near letter quality" text printing,
in one of several different, user-
definable fonts.

While most of the newer dot matrix
printers come with a built-in NLQ
font, this program frees you from its
limitations of spacing and appearance.
Daisy Dot fonts are proportionally
spaced (the "i's" are skinny, and the
"M's" are wide), and the characters
can take any form and shape you
desire. A font editor was supplied
with the program, along with five
pre-defined fonts.

There are prices to pay for all this
flexibility, of course. Daisy Dot
requires ASCII files, already pre-
formatted and ready to dump to the
printer (most word processors are able
to provide these ASCII files easily).
And because Daisy Dot actually prints
the file as graphic data, the printing
process is rather slow (although
fairly comparable to the speed of most
printers' NLQ modes).  These are minor
limitations, however, and are more
than offset by the advantages allowed
by this professional quality program.

Nice though it is, there have been
suggestions for improvements and
modifications.  One user went so far
as to write his own program (Which he
unfortunately chose to originally
title "Daisy Dot II". This program has
since been renamed "Dot Magic".),
incorporating a few additional
features.  For the ultimate in ease of
use, and flexibility, though, the
definitive Daisy Dot II program is now
the obvious choice.

Roy has really outdone himself this
time.  While Daisy Dot was good, Daisy
Dot II is truly fantastic.  I honestly
cannot give this program (and the
programmer) enough praise!  It has
been totally re-written in C (the
original was in compiled Turbo BASIC),
the user interface has been upgraded,
and many new commands have been added.

Roy remains available on CompuServe
and GEnie, and has always been very

One of Daisy Dot II's most unusual
features is its documentation.
Included on the disk is a set of files
which contain all the documentation,
in a format ready for Daisy Dot II to
print.  This manual, which is 24 pages
long, is one of the best I have ever
seen, for any product.  It includes an
introduction to the Daisy Dot II
system (which consists of the main
printing program, the new font editor,
a font utilities package, and a
graphics support program), examples of
the 14 fonts provided, instuctions on
preparing the ASCII file with most
popular word processors, and clear and
concise examples of all of Daisy Dot
II's commands.  These examples include
both the precise syntax to include in
your file, as well as a print-out of
the resulting output.  After a unique
"question and answer" section, the
manual concludes with a one page
"Quick Reference Guide".

As an example of the flexibility of
Daisy Dot II, in my own set-up, I have
accumulated 21 different fonts, and
have designed several myself.  I use
TextPro as the word processor, running
from the SpartaDOS 192K RAMdisk. In
this way, I may switch back and forth
between Daisy Dot II and TextPro very
quickly, and with no disk switching.
This system is not only quite
convenient, it is also completely
public domain!

The commands supported by Daisy Dot II

- the ability to change fonts "on the

- left or right margin alignment, and
  right justification

- automatic line centering, in any

- double width printing, in any font

- underlining of any font

- proportional tabs

- user selected graphics densities,
  and character spacing

- ability to include graphics in a
  text file

- "chain" multiple files together, to
  allow "unlimited" text size


All of these commands are accessed
from within the text file itself by
preceeding them with a backslash
character ("\").  The syntax is
sensible (most commands are
abbreviated by their first letter),
and easily mastered.  A number of the
commands can be combined, providing
even more flexibility.

I have had the Daisy Dot II system for
more than a month now, and have still
not used it to its fullest potential.
The flexibility and usefulness of this
program rivals any commercial software
available, and its uses are limited
only by the imagination of the user. I
strongly urge you to contact your
local users' group to obtain a copy,
and to support Mr. Goldman with a
small donation for his work. You won't
regret it!

[ed.: Daisy Dot II and Dot Magic II
 will be available on the Syndicate
 BBS in March.]
|..<5>..|Chicago AtariFest Update
 Captured from CLAUG BBS

  To:MIKE MILLER         02/11/88
From:MARTY CONROY        
Subj:Huh?...             <REPLY>

Atari Fest Update:

The most recent news we have is that
the first site looked at by the
committe was the Rosemont Convention
Center, on River Road. Close to:
C.T.A., Kennedy Expressway, Tollways,
and not least O'Hare Airport.

If we choose this site, the proposed
fest dates will be: 26,27 & 28 Aug 88.
That's right folks a three day fair.

If we sell thirty booths, the fest is
paid for, not counting the ticket
sales at the gate....so....we expect
this event to loom large as an Atari
Fest should.

CLAUG is putting up $300.00 as a firm
committment toards the event and other
groups LCASE, ALIEN, SCAT and others
will put up a fair share to set the
thing in motion, ie... bank accounts,
post office expenses and 24 hour hot
line for voice information and
updates; also printing costs, because
as soon as we set the date and
location, we'll be sending advance
tickets to every user group in the
Atari kingdom.

Atari, Sunnyvvale, will also put up
some seed monies as an investment to
insure the success of the event.

Any one with any experience in this
type of event would be of invaluable
service to the user group committee
members working  on the fest.  If you
can offer an assist, leave E-Mail
and/or a reply to this message base.


  Call: M.O.U.S.E. BBS  219-674-9288
|..<6>..|How To Install I/O Master

       Computer - Top View

         [Rear]          SIO Port
|                                  |
| ATARI                            |
|                                  |
|                                  |
| +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+  +--+|
| | | | | | | | | | | | | | |  |  ||
| +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+  +--+|
| | | | | | | | | | | | | | |  |  ||
| +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+  +--+|
| | | | | | | | | | | | | | |  |  ||
| +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+  +--+|
| | | | | | | | | | | | | | |  |  ||
| +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+  +--+|

Open your computer, and look at the
SIO port from the front:

  SIO Port,   |                    |
  Front View  |  2  4  6  8  10 12 |
              |     X     X        |
              |  O  O  O  O  O  O  |
              |                    |
              |                    |
              |                    |
              | O  O  O  O  O  O  O|
              |             X  X   |
              | 1  3  5  7  9 11 13|
              |                    |

You will have to solder something to
pins 4,8,9, and 11.

Now look at the I/O Master chip:

   +-+ +-+ +-+ +-+ +-+ +-+ +-+
  ++ +-+ +-+ +-+ +-+ +-+ +-+ ++
  |14  13  12  11  10   9   8 |
  |                           |
  |                           |
  --          74LS14          |
  --                          |
  |                           |
  | 1   2   3   4   5   6   7 |
  ++ +-+ +-+ +-+ +-+ +-+ +-+ ++
   +-+ +-+ +-+ +-+ +-+ +-+ +-+
    X   X   X   X           X

You will have to solder something to
pins 1,2,3,4, and 14.

BREAK OFF the other pins of the I/O
Master chip with needle nose pliers.

Solder a length of wire to pin 14 of
the chip, and then use Crazy Glue to
glue the chip on top of the plastic
shield with surrounds the I/O port.
Then, solder lengths of wire to pins
1,2,3, and 4.

** Trim the wire from pin 14 of the
chip, and solder it to pin 4 of the
SIO port. 

** Cut some 14 inch lengths of wire. I
use ribbon wire and strip one end.

** Using one wire strip the insulation
from about 1/2 inch of the end, and
solder the tip to pin 7 of the chip,
and the other portion of the same end
to pin 8 of the SIO port. The other
end of this wire will be soldered to
the LEDs.

** Take another wire and solder one
end to pin 3 of the chip, and the
other end to pin 9 of the SIO port.

** Take another wire and solder one
end to pin 1 of the chip, and solder
the other end to pin 11 of the SIO

** Solder a wire to pin 2 of the chip
this leads to an L.E.D.

** Solder a wire to pin 4 of the chip
this leads to the other L.E.D.

Your computer should now look like

   To pin 4
   +-+ +-+ +-+ +-+ +-+ +-+ +-+
  ++ +-+ +-+ +-+ +-+ +-+ +-+ ++
  |14  13  12  11  10   9   8 |
  |                           |
  |                           |
  --                          |
  --                          |
  |                           |
  | 1   2   3   4   5   6   7 |
  ++ +-+ +-+ +-+ +-+ +-+ +-+ ++
   +-+ +-+ +-+ +-+ +-+ +-+ +-+
    O   O   O   O           O
    |   |   |   >To LED     >To pin 8
    |   |   |                 and LED
    |   |   >To pin 9
    |   |
    |   >To LED
    >To pin 11

                           >To pin 7
          To pin 14<       |and LED
  SIO Port,   |    |       |       |
  Front View  |  2 |4  6  8| 10 12 |
              |    >X     X<       |
              |  O  O  O  O  O  O  |
              |                    |
              |                    |
              |                    |
              | O  O  O  O  O  O  O|
              |            >X  X<  |
              | 1  3  5  7 |9 11|13|
              |            |    |  |
                   To pin 3<    |
                        To pin 1<

** Now, at this point, a little
experimentation is called for.
Theoretically, you should be able to
tell which of the leads from an LED
is the anode and which is the cathode
from the length of the wire and from
the location of a flat spot on the
side of the LED. In practice, the pole
sometimes are reversed.

So the basic idea is that the cathode
of one LED will be soldered to the
cathode of the other LED, and the wire
from pin 8 of the SIO port will be
connected here.

Then, the wires from pins 2 and 4 of
the chip will be connected to the
other LED pins (--Note: I have found
that connecting pin 2 of the chip to
the green LED's anode, and connecting
pin 4 of the chip to the red LED's
anode works fine).

Hook your computer up, with the case
open and a disk drive connected, but
power switch off. Connect the LEDs and
turn the power on. If you have
connected properly, the green LED
should go on when a READ is in
progress, and the red LED should light
up when a WRITE is in progress
(--Note: Neither light will go on
while reading or writing to an
internal ramdisk [Such as that of an
upgraded 800xl, or Xe).

When you have the right combination,
solder everything together. Then drill
holes in your computer cover and
install the LEDS using LED mounts or
crazy glue. Reassemble your computer
and you're all finished.

NOTE- while you have you computer
apart, it's a good idea to cut the
capacitors connected to the SIO port,
(the ones below the port, Xe computers
only) as they interfere with U.S.
Doubled and Happy Enhanced drives. If
you're not sure, just skip this.
(--Note: I tried running the computer
without the capacitors cut, and it
worked just fine, so who knows...)

[ed. This modification NOT test by
 ZMagazine staff. Any modifications
 done will void any warranty and is
 done at your own risk.]
|..<7>..|BBS Watch (Msgs of Interest)
 Captured from JACG BBS

Message #31  UDLR
Posted February 5th, 1988 at 2:26 AM
From:Paul Machiaverna

Hard Drives for the Atari ST

The Japanese Yen has risen and so has
the price of the Atari Hard Drive, the
SHD-204.  The '204' will now cost you
$600!  But, their are lower cost
alternatives which work just as well,
and better.  Third party vendors are
releasing hard drives for the ST by
the handful. Berkeley seems to offer
the best deal going.  They will send
you a fully assembled 62 MegaByte Hard
Drive with a 40 msec seek rate for
only $800!  This is a faster drive
than the Atari 204 and has over three
times the storage for only $200 more.

For $600, you can get a 40 MegaByte
Hard Drive which is the same speed as
the 204.  Other packages are
available. Call 1-(415)-465-6956 for
all the information you may need.  Ask
to speak to Vance or Chris.  They are
some of the most helpful people you
will ever speak to in any company.

Message #42  UDR
Posted February 6th, 1988 at 1:12 PM
From:Tom Shoosmith

Know DDD from ADD!

The CD market has also created a
collectible craze. Import vs.
Domestice release, Label vs label
(McCartney Capital & CBS), mislabeled
CD's (Elton John's labeled Bennie and
the Jets being Candle in the Wind),

When a CD is released in the US, it's
Import version is no longer sold here
(in theory anyway). Recently Paul
McCartney switched labels making some
CD's extinct or close to it.

When buying a CD, know the difference
between DDD and ADD, avoiding what you
may think was recorded on Digital
equipment. Digital Audio is a very
good magazine for the serious CD'er.

Recently I picked up Harry Chapin's
Greatest Stories Live. It was released
earlier this week and for a live
recording the quality transfer from
the original is super!
|..<8>..|File Compression Compared
 by Marty Albert (GEnie Atari8)

This file may be freely distributed so
long as this notice remains in the
file and there are no changes made to
the file.

Copyright 1988 by Marty Albert.

As the title implies, this article
will discuss several of the file
compression, compaction systems that
are now available for use on the Atari
8-bit computers.  I have limited the
scope of this article to only those
systems that will work with true
double density disks, that is, 256
byte sectors.

This reduced the various systems
available to three:

ARC version 1.2
DiskCom version 3.0
SCOPY version 1.2.

I apologize to anyone that has written
a system that I did not include. If
they will send me a copy of the
file(s) needed, I will be happy to
include it in the test.

The system that I used for the test is
the one that I use all the time. It
consists of:  an 800XL with the 256K
RAMboXL upgrade, two 1050 drives with
US Doubler chips, an ICD P:R:
Connection, a Magnavox Color Monitor
40, a Panasonic 1080i printer, and an
Atari SX212 modem.  The DOS used was
SpartaDOS 3.2d. The RAMdisk was not

All tests were conducted with both
disk reads and writes going to/from a
"real" disk.  The test disks were
formatted with the file SINIT.COM (by
Craig Thom) in double density yielding
707 sectors of 256 bytes each. To
determine the files sizes, files were
copied to the standard SpartaDOS
RAMdisk and then the directory was
printed out.

All times were kept by stop-watch as
accurately as possible. There may be
errors in the times by as much as +/-
5 seconds. Note also that the times do
not include time needed to deal with
the menus, enter filenames, etc..

The times reflect only the time needed
for the program itself to do it's job.

In selecting the files to test, I
tried to choose a variety of file
types.  Something from as many
different types was needed, while
remaining in the realm of what might
really be transferred by modem.

What I finally settled on was one file
each from the types:

Graphic 9 picture
RLE picture
KOALA picture
AMS II song file
Atari font
a binary file
a SAVEd BASIC file
a Compiled Turbo BASIC file
a font for Daisy-Dot

This seems to cover all the bases and
gave me a hefty disk full of files.

The size of the various files can be
found in TABLE 1.


FILE TYPE              SIZE (in bytes)
ATASCI text                   14224
Graphic 9 picture              7680
RLE picture                   18964
KOALA picture                  6662
AMS II song                   23103
Atari font                     1024
Binary file                   19712
SAVEd BASIC file              18288
Compiled Turbo BASIC file     18404
Daisy-Dot font                 3113
TOTAL OF FILES               131174

Now, on to the actually testing done!

ARC version 1.2
This, the latest version of ARC, has
been with us for some time now.  It is
doubtful if the author, Ralph Walden,
will do any further updates.  I've
heard much about so-and-so is going to
rewrite ARC to be bigger, better,
faster, and so on, but to date, this
simply hasn't happened.

I'm sure that everyone is familiar
with the common CRC errors that ARC
produces on text and text-like files.
While not really harmful, it is a very
misunderstood annoyance. The versions
of ARC for other machines don't do
that, so why does ours?  Oh, well.

Also, ARC is slow.  That may too mild
a word for it, but it's all I have.
Let's just say that I watched an
entire TV show while doing the test
and ARC only needed me once.

But, on the plus side, ARC is the
champ at compression. With an average
compression of between 30-40%, and
some files as high as 80%, you just
can't beat it.

ARC also will accept commands from the
command line of SpartaDOS. With more
and more SpartaDOS users everyday,
that may be a big plus as well.

For the actual tests results, please
see TABLE 2.

DISKCOM version 3.0
This is a nice program from Bob Puff.
It has a number of good points, but
also a number of bad ones. I've heard
of a version 3.2 of this program, but
as yet I've not been able to find it.
I've not even heard of version 3.1.

The biggest good point for DiskCom is
it's menu system. Very user friendly.
I found it easy to understand and to
use.  Another good point is that it
can use ALL the memory of my 256K
machine to reduce the number of passes
needed to process the disk. I like
that.  After all, I paid for 256K, so
why shouldn't I be able to use it?

Now, a few bad points.  I tried to run
DiskCom 3.0 twelve times before it
finally worked on the thirteenth. It
would create the file just fine and
write it the disk, but when I tried to
recover it, I was told by the program
that there were "bad bytes" in the
file and to re-download it or use a
file called DISKFIX2 on it.  I tried 8
different disks in the hopes that it
was a bad sector on the disk, but no
luck.  I re-copied my source files to
a new disk in hopes that it was bad,
but again, no change. Then finally, on
Lucky 13, it worked. I don't know why
or how.  It just so happened that on
trial eleven, I went back to the
original source disk (that, by the
way, ARC and SCOPY both read just
fine) and a new destination disk, and
pooph!  It worked! It recovered the
files without a catch then.

I have no explanation for this
happening, but happen it did. I just
hope that before the next version
comes, Bob has a chance to see this.

Again, please see TABLE 2 for the test

SCOPY version 1.2
SCOPY is, for those who don't know,
available from ICD as one of the files
on the SpartaDOS Construction Set
disks. It is a copyrighted file.

I like SpartaDOS. In fact, it's all
that I use, except when I have to use
something else. I'm not impressed with
SCOPY that much, though. SCOPY is
fast.  In fact, SCOPY was faster than
a straight disk to disk file copy!
But, it's a bit f a pain in the neck
to use.

It is command line driven, and trying
to figure out the commands is like
playing Russian Roulette.  The command
structure looks like this:


Not too bad, eh?  Wait til you add in
the US Doubled drives and the RAMdisk!
Then it mutates to:


Well, enough said about that.  It gets
messy, but, like I said, it's fast! It
also is the only one of the three
programs that actually increased the
size of the compacted file to more
than the sum of the individual files.
I don't like that either.

Once more I refer you to TABLE 2 for
the test results.

FILE    CT     RT     SIZE    % CHANGE
file   2:10   ----   131174      ---

ARC    14:57  16:34   90848    -30.74%

DiskCom 4:38   3:36  121139     -7.65%

SCOPY   1:44   1:38  136408     +3.99%

In the above table:

CT = time to create compacted file
RT = time to recover compacted file
SIZE = the size of the compacted file
% CHANGE = the percent of change from
  the sum of the individual files.

The first item listed as "file copy"
is a simple disk to disk file copy via
the SpartaDOS command COPY D1:*.*

So, as you can see from the results,
SCOPY is far and way the fastest with
ARC the slowest.  ARC does the best
compression while SCOPY does none, and
in fact adds to the size.  DiskCom did
well in both speed and compression,
but it was hard to get going with it.

ARC does have the advantage of being
100% compatible with ARC for the ST,
the IBM, and the MAC.  That is not
important unless you want to unARC
those files.  Many people ask why you
want to since you can't run them on
your Atari.  Well, the reason is
simple...RLE pictures and text files
are universal.  They will run on ANY
machine, once you recover them. Have a
look in the IBM RoundTable on GEnie
sometime.  There are a lot of RLE
pictures, text pictures, and straight
text files that are fun and/or
interesting.  But, they have all been
ARC'd.  With ARC, you can recover

I like ARC, in case you haven't
noticed.  But, I don't like ARC's
being slow or the fact that we could
be getting even better compression.
Perhaps someone out there that is a
better programmer that I could write
such a version of ARC.

After doing this test, as well as an
earlier, much less formal test, I have
come to the conclusion that what we
as Atari 8-Bit users really need is
totally different compression system
to use on our files.  Here are the
points that it should contain...

#1) It should be fast.  About the
    speed of DiskCom would be

#2) It must do high compression rates.
    30% reduction at a minimum.

#3) It should be easy to use.  Either
    a good menu or command processor
    input would work.

#4) It must be able to select the
    individual files to be included in
    the target file, like the current

#5) It must be able to recover just
    one file from the compressed file.
    Like the IBM version of ARC.

Who cares about compatibility?  We
have ARC, so we can get those RLE and
text files.  No one else will be using
it except Atari 8-Bit users.  So long
as it is widely available. Maybe as
shareware.  Although, I doubt that the
author would make much money from it
that way.

Just as a little side information, the
recent member survey that was done in
the GEnie Atari 8-Bit RoundTable gave
the results for the different systems

ARC             57%
DiskCom         10%
SCOPY           01%
No preference   23%

Those are the percentages of the RT
members that prefer that system. All
other systems accounted for only 9%
of the RT members.

So, what is the conclusion?  That
depends on what you're doing. For
online pay services like GEnie and
CompuServe, the only real choice is
ARC as it can save you lot of cash.
For local BBSs, I'd look long and hard
at DiskCom.  For dedicated BBSs, let's
say where a lot of the users have
SpartaDOS, then use SCOPY.

For me, until something better comes
along, I'll stick with ARC and watch
TV in my spare time. Of course, that's
why I have two computers!

GEnie Mail address :  MARTY.A

(AUTHOR'S NOTE : If anyone has another
 compacting program that supports true
 double density, please send me a copy
 via the GEnie Atari 8-Bit RoundTable
 or by US Mail.  I can be reached by
 US Mail at:

 Marty Albert
 Suite 6-216
 P.O.Box 4005
 Carmichael, CA  95609-4005

I plan to keep doing these comparisons
until we get a good program!  Thanks!)
Syndicate Zmagazine  February 15, 1988
(c)1988 SPC/Ron Kovacs

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