Z*Magazine: 28-Mar-88 #99

From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 07/24/93-09:27:29 AM Z

From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
Subject: Z*Magazine: 28-Mar-88 #99
Date: Sat Jul 24 09:27:29 1993

|//PUBLISHER/EDITOR| March 28, 1988//|
|//   Ron Kovacs   |               //|
|SPC                                 |
|Post Office Box 74                  |
|Middlesex, New Jersey 08846-0074    |
|BBS: Syndicate (201) 968-8148       |
|Contents                            |
|*|FCC Update                        |
|*|SPC Newswire                      |
|*|Super Database 1-2-3 Review       |
|*|Reader Reply                      |
|*|Commentary on Line Noise          |
|*|65XE Errata                       |
|*|Ask The GEnie Sysops              |
|*|CompuServe New Command Structure  |
FCC Update
From Pg. 6 of the Wall Street Journal
for 17 March 1988.


WASHINGTON - The Federal
Communications Commission has quietly
decided to scrap its plan to sharply
increase telephone rates for computer
users, agency and congressional
sources said.

Last week, the agency informed 
important lawmakers that it wouldn't
go ahead with its plan to assess so
called access charges of as much as
$5.50 per hour per user to hook up
computer-communication networks to
local telephone systems. An FCC
official described the decision as a
tactical move to placate opposition
from Congress and computer users.

"They got the message loud and clear
from Congress that this plan was a
political and policy loser", said a
House staffer who was informed of the
FCC decision.

The FCC's about-face is a big victory
for information service companies, who
have contended that steep access
charges would have driven them out of
business by making their services too
expensive.  Currently, computer-
communications networks are exempt
from those access charges. Computer
users around the country deluged the
FCC with about 10,000 letters opposing
access fees, the most letters the
agency has ever gotten on a telephone

The decision to drop the proposal was 
made by FCC Chairman Dennis Patrick
and the common-carrier bureau of the
agency, the sources said. Mr. Patrick,
whose office wouldn't comment on the
decision formally needs the vote of at
least one of the agency's other two
members to terminate a proposal.  But
in practice, he can act unilaterally
because, as chairman, he controls
which proposals can come to a vote.

In any event, FCC Commissioner
Patricia Diaz Dennis said she
supported the decision to end the
access-charge plan. "We've got a lot
of things on our plate," she said.
That's one that would overcrowd it."

Several agency officials described the
FCC's action as a way of patching up
its tattered relations with Congress
which is still fuming over the FCC's
decision to abolish the fairness

Last Thursday, [March 10] Rep. Edward
Markey (D.,Mass.), chairman of the
House telecommunications subcommittee,
said he would introduce legislation to
kill the access charge - even though
agency officials said they had assured
the congressman's staff that the FCC
itself would kill the plan.  A Markey
aide said he was only notified an hour
before Rep. Markey was to give a
previously scheduled speech on access
charges. "We'll closely monitor the
commission's future actions to insure
that this onerous charge doesn't
re-emerge in a new form", Rep. Markey
said in a statement yesterday.

Rep. Markey and other lawmakers also
still oppose Mr. Patrick's pet plan to
radically alter regulation of American
Telephone & Telegraph Co.

FCC and congressional sources said the
agency would proceed, but slowly, with
a separate plan to assess charges of
about $4.50 per hour per user to hook
up private telephone networks to local
telephone systems.

The FCC believes that both computer-
communications networks and private
telephone networks aren't paying their
fair share of the cost of local
telephone service.  But exempting
computer-communications networks has
more appeal politically, because the
users are often consumers with limited
ability to pay increased charges.
     (end of article)
SPC Newswire
Compiled and written by Ron Kovacs

Online Today on CompuServe reported
that on March 26, 1988 at BBS,
(bulletin board system) user filed a
$112,000 law suit against a local
system.  The suit filed against the
BBS and the SysOp (system operator)
could turn out to be a landmark
decision and the first one handed down
under the FECPA.

The FECPA (Federal Electronic
Communications Privacy Act of 1986),
mandates privacy protection of
electronic communications including
mail found on commercial services and
bulletin board systems.

The suit claims the SysOp did not
properly safeguard private electronic

According to the information from
Online Today, during December 1987 the
BBS sysop allowed others to access and
view the contents of all Email
messages in a private portion of the
subscription BBS. Previous deleted
messages were also restored for others
to read.  It is alleged that some of
the user complaining's mail was among
those read.

Other actions included the user being
denied access after having paid a
year's fee for access.

Online Today's report stated that the
last two counts of the complaint could
be the most damaging and state that
the sysop "intentionally, maliciously
or with reckless disregard for the
truth, made statements which on their
face are damaging to the professional
and personal reputation of the
PetitiŁner to humiliation, personal
anguish and ridicule."

The named BBS sysop did not respond to
calls from Online Today to the
lawsuit. Callers to the BBS in Indiana
are greeted with an apology to the

More on this story as it develops. We
have removed the names purposly.
Product Review
  ... Super Data Base 1-2-3 ...
by Dave Brehm

Super Database 1-2-3
distributed by:
IMP Software
Rt 1, Box 362
Ozark MO 

Super Database is a three disk set
consisting of FILE WRITER, the Data
Entry System, Menu Writer, the Menu
creation system and Report Writer, the
Report Creation System, Plus a
Tutorial side along with some ready
made screens for your use.

Filewriter is the first of three
programs that actually write the
programs you want created.

Some examples are Auto maintenance
records, which I have available, Home
inventory, Stock Portifolio, Retail
invoice club memberships, are just a
very few that already have some screen
made, that you can use as is or change
to you liking.

Auto Maintenence allows me to enter
all repair work on my two cars, and
gives me a report anytime I want it of
how much I have spent in parts, labor,
taxes, who did the work, what where
the parts used for etc. It's nice to
be able to look back at the end of a period and see what you have spent on
the car. When it starts costing too
much to maintain it's time to get rid
of it.

Upon loading you get a menu to CREATE

GENERATOR which allows you to create
your own screen layout, or load in a
pre-made layout from the disk.

When creating the screen, the
filewriter is 40 columns across and 22
rows from top to bottom. This is one
area that the creators of the program
need to improve, a scrolling 80 column
screen would be a lot better. I have
spoke to them about several ideas and
some improvements are forth coming.
Once the screen is the way you want
it, the program reads the screen when
you push ESC. Certain PROMPT fields on
the screen will be highlighted and a
question will appear. Filewriter will
skip over any labels, date and
alpha-numeric fields we've created and
only ask about fields which contain
numeric and money information. It
allows you to make USER INPUTS or have
Filewriter Calculate by itself, etc.

You can set the screen up to do all
the calculation of fields, total the
fields, and even give you a grand
total. You can create ERROR messages
to alert the operator of mistakes.

Menuwriter creates menus just the way
you want them, letting you name each
element and letting you put in options
like Formatting a Disk, Exit to Dos,
Exit to basic. The menu autoloads, and
then you select the program you want
to run. You can link the program
together if you choose.

Report writer, the final of the three,
creates your output reports just the
way you want them. The scrolling 80
column screen allows you to put what
you want on the final report, total up
the columns or whatever. It's very
flexible. You can add additonal
calculations in the final report. You
will get a section total and a grand
total sheet if required.

All in all I.M.P. software has done a
fantastic job with the program, it
requires 48K Minimum, Atari 800, 800XL
or 1200XL, 810 or 1050 Disk Drive and
an Atari or Epson compatable printer.
The authors are very cooperative and
would like to hear from you. As of
this writing I am awaiting some
possible enhancements that I have
suggested to possibly make the program
even better.

They have assured me that if the
interest is there, they will make
further enhancements to take advantage
of the different densities, and memory upgraded machines, which would be a
nice feature.

After entering the information, it is
great to sit back and see the program
write the program you want and need,
not even knowing how to program in
BASIC. I have done some programing,
but this Super DataBase 1-2-3 really
saves me time. It's a program worth
adding to your 8 bit library.
Reader Reply
  ... Guest Commentary ...
by Shawn Connelly

Dave, I completely agreed with your
article - about the lack of support
for the Atari 8-bits. Having worked on
a LOT of micros (incl. the Altairs,
BBC's) and moving up to the Model I,
Apple II, etc.

I didn't really here much about the
Atari's until around 1984 (at that
time I was doing a lot of work with
IBM's and C64's -sorry!)  I then
bought a Atari 800xl - and from that
time on.. I have been convinced that
the Atari 8-bit are the most powerful
(trueŁ 8-bits on the market!

For the last 5 yrs I have been writing
software for most 6502 based and
8088's on a local scale (ie. for small
business's etc..)  (skipping a lot!)..
This summer I plan to bring out a
variety of software for the 8-bit  -
mostly prgs. Writing on other systems
and including programs dedicated to
the Atari.

Also some of these programs involve
hardware as well. I'll will (also) be
bringing out several 'sharware'
packages as well. Also (I think I'm
using too many also's). 

I'm also looking to hire some
programmers that can write in Basic,
Action, C, 6502/68000 asm or Forth -
any 3 would surfice though.. I'm
willing to give 'real' money as well.
But is the 8-bit community willing to
put some money out for the software (I
have so far been un-successful in the
PD/Shareware market - well except for
the odd few..).

The programs slated for release are as
follows: (due Summer 88 -after  May)

- An electronic Cadd (with hires and
  scrolling 50cm*70cm -not sure yet?

- A digitizing package, storage of
  sound (up to 256K?) - change
  patterns, examine waveform, freq,

- + in the same package a mod, for
  printer to digitize pics. GR.9 is
  easy - I'm tring to figure out how
  to do it with GR.8 (ie. halftones)

- also I discovered a unique way to
  store pic. files saves a lot of file

- (sorry - doing this from memory -I
  don't officially have a list

- these are all prgs. that I have long
  ago started - pending completion!)

- also working on a (non-hardware way
  of getting more than 256 cols. on
  the screen in HIRES

- just theory now-Wish me luck!!!) 

- working on a sterio tester. analizes
  freq. resp. curves, etc + pink
  noise, tape tester etc.. + hardware.

- a series of (interactive) tutorials
  aimed towards school use. I'll be
  mostly writing physics/math/computer
  tutorial or can't forget electronics
  (none of this is stated yet - but I
  have all summer)

- I did start a BBS - but I'm putting
  the project away - because I can't
  compete with BBS Express pro.!

Anyway, I'll be sending some PDs,
etc.. around May 1st. See you later.

I can be contacted at:

I'll be putting up a BBS in late May..
I'll let you know!

Thanks for your time..  AND thank you
for your continued support of the best
8-bit around! (I can give LOTs of
supporting evidence prove that!)

Whoops - the above prgs. will also be
available for the ST (at a later

Shawn D. Connelly
'Just a poor university student'
Comments on Line Noise

Line Noise and the Problems it Can
Cause with File Transfers

Many people have left messages on my
bulletin board asking me why there are
so many 'garbage' characters on their
screens and why file transfers are
riddled with errors. These garbage
characters are really line noise and
can be introduced in many different
places. Pure noise is a decimal 255
(FF inhex), but most line noise is not
'pure'. It usually comes in as
something less than 255, like maybe a
251 (a character that looks like this
'{'). Ever see that one before? Yup,
so have I!

One of the more common and familiar
introduction points of line noise is
in the telephone company's system and
even here there are several ways noise
is introduced. A signal is routed
through multiple stations before it
eventually makes it to the other end
and some of these stations aren't
exactly new. Older areas may have
older, less sophisticated equipment
that is more apt to be affected by
ambient noise. This is one reason some
people continue to have noise problems
even after hanging up and calling back
multiple times.  Also, a given
physical connection at one of these
junctions may not be up to snuff. If
your particular bout of line noise is
solved by hanging up and calling back,
then it's probable that you were
previously connected through an
intermittent or 'dirty' connection.
Some of these trunk lines (large,
multi-area that has alot of ambient
RFI (RadioFrequency Interference)
present although this is not usually
the case.

It is possible that the problem is
being caused at this end, but not if
the problem goes away when you call
back and the line is clean -or- if you
are one of a very few users
experiencing noise problems. You may
say that you are not having problems
with other boards.....in which case
the problem is more than likely the
route that your call takes to get
here. You may be going over micro-wave
or through buried cable which for some
reason are sub-standard. No matter how
many times you call, you will probably
be routed over the same path. Micro-
wave problems are sometimes the
hardest to track down because they can
cause intermittent problems. Some
interference only occurs during
certain times of the day or week.

Another common noise introduction
point is in your home. Most
residential homes have televisions,
radios, microwave ovens, VCR's, and if
you are reading this, a
micro-computer. All these devices
radiate radio waves that can (and
often do) get into the phone lines and
cause noise. Electric motors and
mechanical dimmer controls can
introduce noise into the electrical
wiring in your house and cause
problems. If your line noise problem
does not go away after repeated
hanging up and calling back, then you
may be suffering from one of these
household problems. If you are
suffering from this problem, you can
take steps to eliminate it. First of
all, turn off EVERTHING except the
fridge (If it IS the fridge, then
you're SOL. Can't live life with your
ice box unplugged) and see if the
noise persists. If it goes away, then
start turning things back on, checking
the computer each time until you see
the noise start up again. It may be
that a single device is not bugging
you but several devices plotting
together to annoy you. This
elimination tournament may take

Another area to check is your wiring
at the computer. Use noise supressors
on your power connections to both the
PC and the modem (if external). Use a
shielded RS-232 cable to connect your
modem to the PC. Ribbon cables
(especailly long runs of it) are great
antennas and will cause problems.
Re-route the RS-232 cable so it does
not run next to the PC power supply or
any other transformer.

And now a little discussion about the
modem itself. First of all, I'd like
to clerify a commonly misused term -
BAUD. The term "Baud" is actually a
man's name - J.M.E. Baudot
(Pronounced: Baw-doe) a French
Telegraphy expert. 1,200 and 2,400
Baud is NOT the same as 1,200 and
2,400 BPS (Bits Per Second). The usage
of "Baud" to describe line speed in
terms of data through-put is
incorrect. 1,200 and 2,400 BPS modems
both operate at 600 Baud. Basically,
without getting to technical, a Baud
is a "blip" of information. 1,200 BPS
modems use four states per blip (or
Baud) and 2,400 BPS modems use sixteen
states per blip. If you want more
information on what Baud and BPS mean
and a full explanation of how data is
actually represented and transferred
by the modem, please refer to PC
Magazine Volume 6, Number 9 (May 12,

Modems operating at 2,400 BPS are much
more intolerant of line noise than are
modems operating at 1,200 BPS.
Conversely, modems capable of 2,400BPS
operate better at 1,200 BPS than do
1,200 BPS only modems. If you are
being hopelessly attacked by noise at
2,400 BPS, trying calling back at
1,200 BPS.  It's very possible that
the noise will be greatly reduced or
disappear altogether. I know, you
didn't buy a 2,400 BPS modem just to
retard it to 1,200 BPS. The brand of
the modem plays a part in the immunity
to line noise.  Some modems can digest
more noise (lower signal-to-noise
radio) than others.  PC Magazine (same
issue mentioned above) ran a test on
87 different modems.  You might check
the results to see how your modem
ranks. Most 2,400 BPS modems operating
at 1,200 BPS have approximately -8 to
-10 db error threshold while the same
modem has about -16 to -20 db
threshold operating at 2,400 BPS. For
this reason, line quality is much more
critical at 2,400 BPS operation.

Additionally, a friend of mine who
runs a bulletin board from their
office has been plagued with line
noise problems at 2,400 BPS but very
little noise at 1,200 BPS. The culprit
is the office's centralized telephone
system. Many office buildings have a
given number of trunks that actually
enter the building while there may be
many, many more extension within the
building. These types of telephone
systems have their own controllers and
line assignment devices and are
frequently not as high in quality as a
hard-wired MaBell (or GTE) line. The
acceptable signal-to-noise ratio in
some of these inter-office phone
controllers are lower than necessary
for reliable 2,400 BPS operation but
not too low for 1,200 BPS.

If you get transmission errors while
downloading or uploading a file, don't
fret it. The Xmodem (or whatever
protocol) incorporates an error
checking/correction mechanism that
automatically detects and corrects any
errors that may occur during
transmission. The very fact that
Xmodem reported the error in the first
place means that he caught it and
corrected it. The only errors you have
to worry about are the ones that
Xmodem does NOT report.  Any reported
error has already be corrected.
Xmodem, especially the CRC flavored
one, is a very reliable file transfer
protocol. Even if you got 100 errors
during transmission, chances are still
pretty slim that the file got
corrupted. Occasionally, a file will
be corrupted after transfer, but many
times this may be due to a bad ARCing
of the file or perhaps a disk error
that may have occured sometime during
the files' past.

I hope this text helped explain some
facts about modems, line noise, and
file transfers. If you have other,
more specific questions, concerning
modems or communications in general,
leave a C)omment to the SYSOP. I'll
try to answer them.
The following is a reply to a reader
who had or has a problem with the 65XE
upgrade.  Here is the reply to the
problem from Mr. Goodprobe.

My first guess on your problem would
be to check the connections in the
area where you piggy-backed the rams
on top of the already present ones.

It seems that the vast majority of
problems folks encounter with this
upgrade is in this area, especially
the 2 rams you will note that are
extremely close to one another. This
would be the area where you would be
most likely to have a problem.

The self test is trying to tell you,
from your description, that there is
indeed a ram problem. There is one
typo when I wrote up the article that
I would alert you too... You will
notice that ground goes to pin 8 of
the 74LS158 not pin one as I
errouneously typed in step number 11.
So just as you had to bend up pins 8
and 16 on both chips, and actually
meant the only pins to leave uncut
were pins 8 and 16, and these should
be soldered to the same pins of the
pins below. Not only would it not run
if pin one is soldered to pin one of
the chip below, but not even ATTEMPT
to run as the ground would be open.
Fortunately no damage could be done.

The response to this article has been
down right amazing the last few weeks
and I would guess there are at least
50 320k 65xe's out there now, and am
sure there are more that I don't know
of. We have a few users out here, like
my buddy Walt, that have one, and are
loving every minute of it!

Thanks Scott!
Ask The GEnie Sysops
(C) 1987 by Atari Corporation, GEnie,
and the Atari Roundtables. 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 (RETURN after
that).  Wait for the U#= prompt. Type
XJM11877,GEnie and hit RETURN. The
system will prompt you for your

Topic 18        Sun Jan 11, 1987

Well, let's see...I had a question to
ask bob that wouldn't fit anywhere
else, so, like God created the earth,
I'm creating a new topic.

Category 14,  Topic 18
Message 1         Sat Feb 06, 1988

Hi you all sysops.  I'm lost, but I'm
sure you hear that a lot from new
users. The message system here doesn't
seem to be particularly friendly. 
Maybe I'll become more accustomed to
it shortly. There is no master message
number referencing?  How do I pick up
on message thread?  How many messages
does a BBS retain before it is cleaned
up?  Is it my imagination or is the
topic list here rather brief?  What
I'd like to do is just read messages
from the first of the year.  I tried:
>880101 but that didn't work at all,
the system went to the OLDEST message
on line and began there.  I'm little
lost, but I'll manage I guess. Thanks.

Category 14,  Topic 18
Message 2         Sat Feb 06, 1988

Mat, read the text file in the
software library called BB.HLP This
file will explain the Bulletin Board
commands. Typing HELP at the prompt
will give you a list of commands and
*H while in the message editor will
give you the editor commands.

Category 14,  Topic 18
Message 3         Sat Feb 06, 1988

Thanks Darlah (I love that name!  I'm
a long time Little Rascals fan. I had
a crush on Alfafa's Darla for years!)

I muddled about on here for a little
while, but I'm pretty comfortable with
system now.  The biggest drawback is
that you can't "type ahead".  If you
type ahead of GEnie's prompt, all is
lost. This is frustrating for a fast
typist (I spend about 60 hours a week
at a keyboard.)

The hardest part now will be
determining which CATegories and
TOPics I'll want to visit regularly.
Marty has put in ASK THE RAT! topic
under Technical CATegory.  Hopefully
folks will come find me there, and
draw my attention to the hot CAT/TOPic
areas of the day.


Category 14,  Topic 18
Message 4         Sun Feb 07, 1988

Matt, You mean you actually read and
respond on line? I do a BRO ALL NOR
and capture all messages to read off
line. Now that I have a new toy (Tandy
1400LT) I have a better selection of
editors for reading and writing
messages it is even easier. Right now
I am using CSE Program Editor which
allows 5 files in memory at the same
time. Load your message file and read
until you find a message you want to
respond to. Then switch to another
file area and write your response. (I
think I'm going to like this MS-DOS
world). When you log back on just set
your cat and top for a reply and at
the first line number type *u and it
will respond with ready for upload.
Then upload. When that reply is done
type in your break character. Mine is
^C. You will then be presented with a
line number xx>. Then type *s. It is a
cost saver no matter how fast you

Category 14,  Topic 18
Message 5         Sun Feb 14, 1988


I've downloaded the files..CHOPPER.BAS
and the Breaker/Splitter files. Every
time I run them to split a file they
don't work. Breaker/Splitter will take
a 172 sector file and tell me that the
file sixe is only 2176 bytes long. It
will spit it into four 5 sector files.
or if I input the file size I want as
the amount it gives me(2176) it will
give me an 18 sector file. It's not
even consistent in it mess up.
(5+5+5+5 do not equal 18) If I use
Chopper, it doesn't even get to start
work on the file. I get error 130 and

Category 14,  Topic 18
Message 6         Mon Feb 15, 1988


OK, I downloaded the following files:

#1826  Breaker/Stripper.ARC

The ARC'd file unARC'd without a
hitch.  No CRC errors or anything.

I ran the files under Atari DOS 2.5,
again, no problems.

Chopper seemed much faster than any of
the others.

I was not able to even force error #17
or #130.  The only error I got was an
#130 when I failed to give a drive

I tried with and without the RAMdisk,
to/from various drives, and then with
SpartaDOS 3.2d, and all was still

I'm not sure why you're getting the
errors. The files seem to be fine.

Category 14,  Topic 18
Message 7         Tue Feb 16, 1988


I was using a Ramdisk (Axlon comp.) on
my 800 with Mydos 4.3a. I'll try it
out with 2.5. Thanks. Juan

PS. Do you think it could be that the
file I'm trying to break/chop is bad?
Category 14,  Topic 18
Message 8         Tue Feb 16, 1988

hmmmm.....Unfortunitly, since I have
neither MyDOS 4.3 or an Axlon system,
I can't check that out for you.

The source file shouldn't make any

Category 14,  Topic 18
Message 9         Wed Feb 17, 1988

What I was hoping to do was change the
part of the program that sets the bits
at PORTB on the XE to $CFFF, which is
where Axlon/Magna memory expansions
sets it's bits. The memory window
opens in the same place ($4000-$7FFF).
All I'd like is the guy's address.

Category 14,  Topic 18
Message 10        Sat Feb 27, 1988
J.BLOY [Jonathan]

I don't know if this is the proper
place for this question but...

Does anyone know of a utility to print
Z-Mag issues in two columns? In the
d/l section there are several
utilities that print in three columns,
but not two. I'm getting tired of
wasting the other half of my paper
when printing Z-mags. Thanks.

Category 14,  Topic 18
Message 11        Sat Feb 27, 1988

I haven't tried this, but you might be
able to get the double column printing
by taking the Zmag file into
PaperClip, editing it a little, then
using PaperClip's double column
support to print it out.  I suspect
the same could be done with
AtariWriter Plus.

Good luck!
Category 14,  Topic 18
Message 12        Sat Feb 27, 1988


Category 14,  Topic 18
Message 13        Sun Feb 28, 1988

Right you are!  Zmag is a privately
owned/operated electronic magazine for
and about Atari computers.

Note that some of the Zmag issues are
ARC'd and need to be recovered with
ARCX12.COM before use.  Others are in
regular text format.

There are several readers for the Zmag
in the library as well, or you can
just use DOS to copy them to the
printer or screen, or you can load
them into your word processor as you

Category 14,  Topic 18
Message 14        Sun Feb 28, 1988
J.BLOY [Jonathan]


That's a good idea. I never thought of
using Paperclip's double column
printing feature (and it was right
there under my nose the whole time).
I'll try that. Thanks.

Category 14,  Topic 18
Message 15        Mon Feb 29, 1988


Category 14,  Topic 18
Message 16        Tue Mar 01, 1988

Have you tried to send Dan GE-Mail?

That would be much better than putting
you mail address here in a public

To send him mail, just go to the GEnie
mail menu <type MAIL from the RT main
menu> and select item #3 to send mail.

At the To: prompt, enter D.MCALLISTER

Just follow the prompts from there.

Category 14,  Topic 18
Message 17        Sun Mar 06, 1988

To the person wanting a 2-column Zmag
printer utility, may I suggest that
you download file # 2594 & 2595

The program is called Little Lister,
and will take any text file, and
convert it to as many columns across
and wide as you want. I have found
that by setting it for 132 characters
across, and 3 column, I can print
3-column in compressed mode with my
printer.....works like great stuff!!!

Scott Goulding
CompuServe's New Command Structure


by Mike Schoenbach

The second generation of CompuServe
Forum software is now ready and I want
to introduce you to the new system.

When you access a Forum where you're
not listed as a member, a visitor's
bulletin from the sysop now appears.
Then you see the Forum's main function
menu, which includes a new command --
JOIN this Forum.

hoose that option or type JOIN to add
your User I.D. to Forum membership and
activate all privileges. The sysop can
also disable certain Forum features
for non-members. If you try to access
a disabled feature, the software tells
you that you need to join and asks if
you want to do so now.


The new main menu looks like this:

    Atari 8-bit Forum Functions Menu
  3 LIBRARIES (Files)
  4 CONFERENCING (# participating)
  5 ANNOUNCEMENTS from sysop
  6 MEMBER directory
  7 OPTIONS for this forum
    Enter choice !

Each department can be accessed by
typing the appropriate number or the
first three letters of the area's
name. The new Forum software lets you
choose to automatically enter the
Forum at any menu. Therefore, the main
Functions menu does not necessarily
have to be the first menu you see when
entering the Forum.  You set this
within the OPTIONS category.


Though the new Forum menus are very
straightforward and easy to use, you
really should read the instructions.
As with all software, you are bound to
find something that you missed before
which might end up saving you time and
money. The online instruction guide
menu looks as follows:

   Instructions are available for:
  1 Overview
  2 Messages
  3 Libraries
  4 Conferencing
  5 Announcements
  6 Member directory
  7 Options
  8 Miscellaneous
  9 Complete HELP facility
 10 Forum Reference Card
 11 Forum User's Guide
    Enter choice !

When reading any online instructions,
be sure to keep your capture buffer
open so you can read the information
off-line and cut down on your connect
charges. (8-Bit users should use the
"capture to disk" feature of your
terminal software.)  I recommend the
complete Help Facility and Forum
User's Guide.


The Forum's message center is where
members can find assistance and meet
new people (who might live halfway
around the world). CompuServe's
redesign effort is most noticeable
here.  Cryptic commands such as RF
have been replaced by more intuitive
commands such as READ FORWARD which,
like all commands, can be abbreviated.

Several new menu selections enhance
message retrieving. You can enter the
message center by choosing command 2
(above) or typing MES from the main
Functions menu.  The Messages menu
looks like this:

   Atari 8-bit Forum Messages Menu
   Message age selection = [New]
 1 SELECT (Read by section and
 2 READ or search messages
 3 CHANGE age selection
 4 COMPOSE a message

   Enter choice !

The first three choices deal with
retrieving messages. Choice 4, or COM,
lets you compose your own message to
post on the Forum's message board
using one of the two message editors
available -- LINEDIT (a line-oriented
editor, much like those available on
local bulletin boards) or EDIT (a
powerful File Generator and Editor,
formerly called FILGE).

Forum message boards tend to become
very large, and message numbers get up
to five or six digits.  Now you can
specify how far back you want to
retrieve messages in terms of days
instead of message numbers -- no more
guessing which message number was the
first one posted three days ago.  To
do this, just change your age
selection. The default setting is to
retrieve new messages since your last
log-in to the Forum. The age selection
can be changed by choosing command 3
(above) or typing CHA at the message
menu command prompt. The change age
selection menu looks this way:

   Atari 8-Bit Forum Change Menu
 1 [*] NEW messages
 2 [ ] ALL messages
 3 [ ] STARTING message number
 4 [ ] Number of DAYS

   Enter choice !

Your current setting is the one with
the asterisk (*). If you want to read
only the last three days of messages,
choose command 4 and respond to the #
of days: prompt with 3 -- or type DAYS
3 at the change menu command prompt.

The message number and age aren't the
only retrieval criteria you can
specify. You can also select messages
by individual message number, message
subtopics, or message subjects.  By
choosing command 2 or typing SEL from
the message menu, you can select a
second retrieval criteria.

Next menu is Forum Sections, which
offers different choices depending on
the specific Forum you're in and your
retrieval age selection.  This menu
will show a list of subtopics
containing messages pertinent to your
age selection.  Next to each subtopic
are the number of subjects (threads)
and the number of actual messages in
the subtopic that meet your age
selection. Here's an example:

   Atari 8-bit Forum Sections Menu
   Section names (#subjs/# msgs)
 1 Games/Entertainment (2/5)
 2 Telecommunications (7/19)
 4 Sound & Graphics (1/1)
 5 Applications (3/10)

   Enter Choice(s) or ALL !

From this menu you can choose to read
from one, some or all subtopics.
Multiple subtopics are separated by
commas, so if you want to select only
Telecommunications and Applications
messages, you'd type 2,5 at the Enter
Choice(s) or ALL ! prompt.

Next, the Forum Subjects menu lists
all subjects and the number of
messages displayed.  From here you can
again choose to read one, some or all
subjects in that subtopic. You'll see
a Forum Subjects menu for each
subtopic you specified to read from
the Forum Subtopics menu.  Here's an

   Atari 8-bit Forum Subjects Menu
   Subject (# msgs)
   Section 2 - Telecommunications
 1 When MPP EXPRESS 3.0??  (2)
 2 Viewing RLE Pics (3)
 3 New Forum Menu Q's (4)
 4 New term software (2)
 5 Using ATARI8 (5)
 6 New BBS (1)

   Enter choice(s) or ALL !

All the submenus resulting from the
SELECT command aren't nearly as
complex as they seem.  The online
Instruction Guide give you more in-
depth information.

But how about experienced users who
want access to the "classic"
CompuServe reading commands.  By
selecting choice 2 or typing READ from
the Forum Message menu you'll get the

   Read Menu
 1 [NEW messages]
 2 Message NUMBER
 3 WAITING messages for you (0)
   Search [NEW messages]
 4 FROM (Sender)
 6 TO (Recipient)

   Enter choice !

The Read menu lets you read an
individual message selecte by its
number, read all messages based on
your age selection, do Read Searches,
or read any new messages addressed
specifically to your User I.D.  Read
Search seeks messages by the sender's
(or receiver's) name or User I.D., or
the subject.

Eventually you'll be able to bypass
many menus by chaining commands -- for
example, typing REA DAY 8
FRO:SCHOENBACH at the main Functions
menu will search the last eight days'
worth of messages from anyone named


Data Libraries in a CompuServe Forum
contain user and sysop-submitted
programs and text files for you to
download.  CompuServe currently
supports the following file transfer

XMODEM (MODEM7), CompuServe A,
CompuServe B, DC4/DC2 CAPTURE, Kermit,
and CompuServe Quick B.

For a listing of the Forum's Data
Libraries, type 3 or LIB at the main
functions menu.  At the next prompt,
type the number of the library you
selected.  You'll then see the

Library Menu:
   Atari 8-bit Forum Library 7
   - News & Reviews -

 1 BROWSE thru files
 2 DIRECTORY of files
 3 UPLOAD a new file
 4 DOWNLOAD a File

   Enter choice !

Command 1 (BRO) puts you in Browse
mode -- the system goes through the
Data Library files, from most to least
recent, showing a complete description
of the file followed.


Look for the new version of TWISTER
in the Summer 1988 issue of START, on
sale in June.
ZMAGAZINE 99            March 28, 1988
(c)1988 SPC/Ron Kovacs
All Rights Reserved.

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