Z*Magazine: 9-May-88 #105From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 07/28/93-11:07:16 AM Z
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From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG) Subject: Z*Magazine: 9-May-88 #105 Date: Wed Jul 28 11:07:16 1993 ====================================== =ZMAGAZINE MAY 9, 1988 ISSUE #105 = ====================================== Publisher: Ron Kovacs Issue Editor: Ron Kovacs Managing Editor: Rex Reade Tech Editor: WK Whitton -------------------------------------- Available on the following services: CompuServe Atari8 SIG DL 11 GEnie Atari8 RT L 14 Delphi Atari SIG Database -------------------------------------- Syndicate BBS (Headquarters) (201) 968-8148 300/1200 For PC Pursuit Access enter AT*E0 before dialing. Read article in this issue for dialing instructions into the NJNEW node. ______________________________________ Contents ______________________________________ <*> Editors Desk.........Ron Kovacs <*> PC Pursuit Update.............. <*> IBM Monitor With XEP80......... <*> Notes On Parity................ ______________________________________ Editors Desk ______________________________________ by Ron Kovacs This is Issue #105 of ZMagazine and thanks to everyone who supported us since the beginning. 2 years and now on the start of number 3. Next week I will be including the commentary listed in this and last weeks edition of ST-Report. The discussion of late has been the state of affairs at Atari. Since the number of articles would be too much to dedicate here, We will re-edit the more interesting topics and reprint them here next week. On the horizon, we have a Carina BBS series coming up and the conclusion of the Learning to Program in Atari Basic series by Jackson Beebe. There are a few modification articles currently under the knife, as soon as they are complete and formatted for publication, we will include them here. If you are carrying ZMAgazine or the ST edition (ST-Report) and do not have a BBS registration number, Please let us know so we can add you to the list. As soon as you have your number, you will have access to the SysOp base for carriers on the Syndicate. BTW, if you dont know what ST-Report is, I will fill you in on the details. ST-Report is a weekly online magazine written for the ST user. Many of the articles are generally aimed at any audience. If you have read an issue yet, Please do. This week in issue #34... Delphi sign on info, Atari news and commentary, confrence highlights from Genie and a number of other articles. ST-Report is online on GEnie by typing M 475;1 Cat #22. ST-Report is also designated DL 14 in the Atari16 data library on CIS. Enough of this long winded column. Thanks again for your support. ______________________________________ PC Pursuit Update ______________________________________ From the Syndicate BBS (201) 968-8148 Edited and commentary by Ron Kovacs If you had the pleasure of trying an access to The Syndicate via PCP, you are well aware of the current logon problems. It seems to be effecting the Carina BBS boards in the NJNEW node. The following information, submitted by Carlos Hernandez, does correct the problem. It recently tested it this week from Ohio and it worked fine. ====== To modify MNP setting in the Hayes command mode: AT*E0 No MNP AT*E1 Auto MNP AT*E2 Force MNP (call will fail if MNP unavailable) To modify MNP setting in Racal-Vadic mode: connect to modem and get to R/V mode (^E<cr>) O<cr> 2<cr> (you want one of the options in group 2) (system reponds with a list) 19<cr> (system responds with option 19 and possible settings) 1<cr> (auto error control) --or-- 2<cr> (disable error control) --or-- 3<cr> (force error control) 0<cr> (return to previous menu) 0<cr> (return to previous menu) 4<cr> (menu item is "EXECUTE") At this point you will get back the * prompt of the Racal-Vadic mode. ==== This information was supplied from PC Pursuit. ______________________________________ IBM Monitor With Your XEP80 ______________________________________ by Bob Woolley If you read my earlier article in DL7 about the XEP80, you might remember that the XEP80 uses all of the display field of the monitor and the two cheap composite monitors that I had tried did not give a very satisfactory display. I have been using a high quality video unit from a NorthStar Horizon that works very well, but a monitor like that would be very difficult for the average user to find (not to mention, expensive). I spent some time at the West Coast Computer Faire looking for some reasonable candidates, but none of the vendors had composite monochrome monitors on display! There were lots of monochrome displays with seven zillion lines of resolution, a built in swivel base, non-glare screens - the works. Good prices, too! But every one was TTL, IBM. Wellll......... Never being one to shy away from a little soldering, I decided to investigate the possibility of adapting the XEP80 to an IBM monochrome monitor. The IBM TTL monitors have a separate input for the sync and video signals, whereas the XEP80 generates a composite signal containing all three components. I figured that a little circuit to strip the Horizontal and Vertical sync from the Video couldn't be that hard, but it turns out that the XEP80 has all the signals you need inside the box! The whole project didn't amount to anything more than soldering one end of a 10" piece of four conductor ribbon cable onto the XEP80 board and connecting a 9 pin joystick socket to the other end. I tried the XEP80 on a standard IBM monochrome monitor and it worked fine! I also tried it on some OEM TTL monitors made for an IBM PC (an AMDEK 310A and a SAMSUNG MD1254G) and that also worked well. After a little pot tweaking (a LOT of tweaking on the SAMSUNG). The XEP80 uses a lower Horizontal frequency than the IBM PC, so some OEM monitors may require adjustment, but not so much that you need to re-adjust it between a PC and your Atari. The display field on the TTL units does not overscan the face of the tube so there is no adjustment required for that problem. Also, the linearity is very good on these guys, so all the characters look great! The major disadvantage to a TTL monitor is the absence of audio on them, although I prefer a separate audio amplifier anyway. [Enough babbling, I waannnt one! How do I do the mod, dummy??] The wiring required is: (from the bottom of the XEP80 board) Pin 1 and 2 of 9 pin socket to pin 7 of U6. Pin 7 of 9 pin socket to the pad 1/4 inch to the left of pin 8 of U6. (This pad is the same distance to the LEFT of pin 8 as pin 7 is to the RIGHT of pin 8.) Pin 8 of 9 pin socket to pin 9 of U6. Pin 9 of 9 pin socket to pin 10 of U6. I ran the flat cable out where the power switch is mounted. The bottom cover will clamp the cable between the board and the bottom cover at this point and provide some strain relief. I would imagine that you could use a much longer cable, but at some point you will begin to lose character resolution. Now, you can take advantage of any good deals you might see on a quality IBM monitor. I saw many different TTL units for less than $100 at the WCCF. Most of them looked like much better devices than any composite monitor I have seen and they are everywhere. If you are reasonably adept at soldering, or know someone who is, think about using one of these TTL monitors on your XEP80. The normal composite output is not affected by the modification at all. Now, if I can hack an IBM keyboard onto this thing..... Bob Woolley [75126,3446] ______________________________________ Notes On Parity ______________________________________ Captured from CompuServe Atari8 SIG #: 207676 (H) S2/Telecommunications 13-Apr-88 22:54:15 Sb: #207650-#EXPRESS Fm: SYSOP*R. Brudzynski 76703,2011 To: Phillip Kulpshas 72047,114 (X) --PHIL-- Parity is actually a bit of a dinosaur. It's really an old error checking method that improvements in telecommunications have rendered obsolete. The ASCII character set is comprised of 128 characters--anything you can send in ASCII can be transmitted with just 7 bits (2^7=128). But a byte's got 8 bits; there's a whole bit of data left over! Those brave men and women who ventured on line back in the stone age of the teletype were quite thrifty -- they figured out a use for the 8th bit. "Let's use it to check for errors," they reasoned. Here's how it worked: Let's add up the first seven bits --the so-called "data bits" -- we'll get either an even or an odd number. Now, let's take the 8th bit -- the "parity bit"--and make it a 1 or a zero depending upon whether the sum of the data bits is even or odd. If the sender's program sets the "parity bit" as the message goes out over the wire and the receiver's program checks the "parity bit" to see if the 1 or 0 matches the sum of the seven "data bits" received then the system will be able to tell if an error has occurred. (It also simplifies the problem of what to do with the extra bit, if you can imagine having two sets of ASCII depending upon the status of the 8th bit.) If one of the data bits gets flipped during transmission, the parity bit won't match the sum and we know we have an error! The system caused more problems than it solved. Some folks wanted to make the parity bit a one if the sum was even, others wanted the parity bit to be a one if the sum was odd. It made it awfully hard for "odd" people to talk to "even" people. As communication programs improved folks just started ignoring the 8th bit. "Parity bits" probably still survive on some older or eccentric BBS programs -- CIS will happily ignore the 8th bit but will send anything your terminal program demands to receive. (XE-TERM will ignore it anyway.) Set your parity at whatever works on your local BBS system -- it won't make a difference to CIS. --dick-- ______________________________________ Reader Commentary ______________________________________ by Anthony W. Hursh CIS PPN [72750,115] [Ed. Commentary noted in this article is that of the author. This does NOT necessarily represent those of the Publisher or Staff of ZMagazine.] Why I'm buying an Amiga sarcastic_mode = TRUE; if(sarcastic_mode == TRUE) $( Anyone who knows me can tell you that I'm one of the most rabid 8 bit Atari users around. I think that the Atari 130XE is the finest 8 bit computer on the market, and I have defended this position (sometimes heatedly) against Commodore and Apple users who misguidely feel the same way about their machines. Now, the state of the art (and my wallet!) have convinced me that it's time to upgrade to a more powerful machine, and that machine is the Amiga. Before all you loyal Atarians crank up the flamethrowers, listen to what I have to say. I bought my first Atari 400 back in 1982 (16K and cassette drive! what a machine!) after spending weeks looking at what other vendors had to offer (since the system cost close to $400 it was a major purchase). I felt the Atari offered the best price/performance ratio, and the graphics were superb (remember, this was 1982) Since then I've owned Atari 600's, 800's, and my current 320K 130XE. I love these little machines and I know I will use mine even after the Amiga comes to live at my house. Some of you are wondering "Why the heck doesn't he get an ST? Doesn't he have any loyalty to Atari? Doesn't he realize that the Amiga is made by COMMODORE, for Pete's sake?" Yes, I know that the Amiga is made by Commodore (aka The Dark Side of the Force), and no, I don't have any loyalty to Atari. Atari grossly screwed over 8 bit owners when they came out with the ST. They began treating 8 bit developers and owners like AIDS victims. Their attitude was "So what? We have your money. You can't get it back now. If you want us to do anything for you, buy an ST." Sorry, Atari, I'm not buying another machine that you will forget when the next generation comes along. Commodore at least makes an effort to support their 8 bit owners, and there is no dearth of software for 64's and 128's. Call the Atari BBS sometime and count the number of 8 bit vs. ST downloads. They say they have limited space and that they can only have a certain number of programs online. Fine, but do they really expect us to believe that there are that many more ST's than 8 bit computers out there? Get real, guys. Why not buy bigger hard drives? Surely Atari can afford three 60 meg drives? (or 150 meg drives for that matter. I doubt if the Tramiels are going on welfare any time soon.) Also, what about the endless delays and excuses that Atari has given to both 8 bit and ST owners? (the blitter for the ST, the XF551, the SX212, the XEP 80... the list could go on forever) What about the supreme absurdity of finally releasing the SX212 and the XEP80 with NO! SOFTWARE! WHATSOEVER! Surely, someone at Atari has the skill to write a rudimentary terminal program for the SX/XEP combo? Why leave it up to us? Can you imagine selling compact disc players and telling customers "Sorry, this unit won't play any of the discs on the market. You'll have to make your own."? Doesn't seem like a very wise marketing move, does it? Enough flaming. I'm going back to looking through the Amiga catalog. $) sarcastic_mode = FALSE; Tony Hursh CIS: [72750,115] GEnie: A. HURSH P.O. Box 90399 Anchorage, AK 99509 ______________________________________ ATARI SCUTTLEBITS ______________________________________ by Bob Kelly Myths and Market Movements ...... Word Processing on the Atari: Much has been written lately about Word Perfect 4.1 and the possibility this software firm may soon terminate its support for the Atari. First, let me say there is little doubt about the potential power of the program as well as the corporate commitment to service the purchaser. Based on past experience in the IBM marketplace, I encouraged several Current Notes staff members who were sceptical to give it a try. They did, were impressed with its versatility and power, and are today regular users. Having said this, you might ask whether I am a user. The answer is, no. Why? Simple, there were too many bugs in the program when introduced (my frustration level is low). However, I am now told that it is now "bug-free" or close to it. The problem of getting the program to run correctly is, in my opinion, the primary reason why Word Perfect encountered difficulties in the Atari market. Sure, some individuals have a pirated copy of the program but they are not going very far without the 500+ pages of documentation accompanying the program. As pointed out in last months column, the issue of piracy can be a smoke screen. REMEMBER, the impact from a pirated program is negative, in terms of cash flow, ONLY IF it substitutes for what otherwise would of been a cash purchase. The fundamental flaw was in releasing a program not up to the standards expected from this company. In the end, not even a good marketing effort could recoup the loss-of-face (of course, to their credit, Word Perfect provided quick fixes to the bugs). Nor do I believe that the price of the product inhibited its acceptance. If you want a full featured word processor, the price goes up. But, again the user expects the program to perform as advertised. The word processor I have been using for almost two years is Regent Word II. Up to now, I preferred it to the other word processing programs for the Atari. It does have definite limitations and is not in the "class" of Word Perfect 4.1. The problem with Regent Word II is not just the lack of features itself but the company. It is copy protected despite user protest and enhancements to the program are nonexistent. Regent Word II is a good example of a program which had the opportunity to capture a significant market share early in the game but failed to respond to the signals. Well, myth may become reality. Word Perfect could eventually dominate the Atari market as they do others, i.e., IBM. My word processing needs are growing more sophisticated. I will invest the 200+ dollars and purchase 4.1. This summer there will be time to learn the program. This rather cavalier attitude on my part assumes that Word Perfect 4.1 is still available for the Atari by summer. I expect it will be. Word Perfect Corporation seems to understand that their marketing problems started because of a less than satisfactory product. Wait a minute, I hope they understand! Apple Versus Who or Whom-ever: ------------------------------ As most computer users are aware, Apple has initiated legal action against Microsoft (MS) and Hewlett- Packard (HP). The suit by Apple is brought against HP's New Wave interface manager and MS's Windows (Presentation Manager). Several market pundits have stated that the suit by Apple is really designed to stop IBM from developing a graphics interface capability similar to the MacIntosh. In other words, the suit concerns the "look and feel" of HP/MS software, not an issue of coding. A number of strategic business issues are related to this suit (aside from the potential impact upon Atari). A very interesting column explaining the situation is Jerry Pournelle's in InfoWorld on April 4, 1988. Additional insight was provided by a full page article in the Washington Post of April 10, 1988 (Outlook section, P. B3) written by Gary Hoffman and Geoffrey Karny, legal specialist. Some excerpts from this article follow - (Note, a patent traditionally protects designs and inventions while copyrights are granted to written material): "A patent may be viewed as a social contract. Society grants the inventor the right to exclude others from making, using or selling his invention for a limited period of time. In return, the patent must fully and publicly disclose the invention by describing it in sufficient detail to enable a 'person skilled in the art' to make and use it. In this way, society can immediately begin to build upon the new technical knowledge. Until 1981, patent protection for software inventions in the United States was relatively difficult to obtain. The Patent and Trademark Office approached computer software as a written expression of a mathematical algorithm, and hence adamantly opposed protection on the grounds that no one can have exclusive rights to mathematical functions. Copyright protection has been accorded to the program code of computer software for several years. But recently courts have had to confront the issue of whether that protection should cover not only the exact, literal expression of the program code but the idea behind it as well - the so-called "look and feel" of the software as perceived by the operator. An analogous case would be extending a fiction writer's rights beyond the written words to the plot and characters of his novel. The trend is clear: Because Congress has failed to enact a new body of law to adequately protect software technologies, courts have been obliged to fill the gap. And in doing so, some courts have expanded the scope of copyright protection beyond the original intent of Congress. If that protection is construed to cover the basic concepts of the sequence, structure and operation and not the expressed details of the program, then copyright passes into the realm of the protection of ideas - for which the patent laws have been devised. Such an extension could have a stifling effect on software innovation by effectively preventing developers from enhancing or modifying an overall program design once it was created. As courts deal with the troublesome cases now at issue, their decisions will have a dramatic impact on the future of America's software industry and its ability to compete in markets abroad." Naturally, HP and Microsoft state in their counter-suits the interface techniques are not copyrightable. From my readings, most industry analysts believe Apple's legal case is shaky. I agree. Apple must eventually find a graceful way out of this situation or risk possible damage to its corporate image. The circumstances of this case are not similar to DRI's (developer of Atari's GEM interface). HP, MS and IBM are corporations with considerable financial resources and will not shy away (or fold as did DRI) from a prolonged legal battle. With Apple targeting the business community, a prolonged legal encounter could steer large corporations away from purchasing the Mac. Thus, Apple loses in or out of court - it's their choice. Apple's legal action in the future may be regarded as a classic example of a corporation going to the well once to often. Apple Computers and the MacIntosh up to now have grown in acceptance (penetration of markets) not on myth, but substance. Their machine is easier to use than keypunching the IBM. Why else would firms develop similar graphic techniques? Apple should return to substance. How about the slogan " Why not purchase the real Mac-coy ?" The Blundering Giant: --------------------- Myth has it that IBM got where it is in the PC market because it just happened to have the right idea and right people at the right time. Oh, what a lucky corporation! This story has been carefully handed down for quite a few years and surprisingly many people believe it. DON'T, because it just ain't true! IBM is a calculating, highly competitive firm that got where it is today by smarts, not luck (I don't particularly like IBM but I do respect their business acumen). IBM is ready to make another move and I am glad I don't own stock in a clone. Some examples: o IBM has announced drastic price reductions on its PC models over the next 18 months that will drive some clones out of business. o IBM has announced a flood of new products that will severely strain the financial resources of many of its competitors to keep up. o IBM is reported to be buying DRAM chips while a portion of its production facilities remain idle. IBM is paying top price for the chips. As a result, fewer clones will be produced at higher prices. o Some dealers are complaining they cannot meet the quotas set by IBM and their margins are very low. IBM's goal is to recapture market share. The most likely response by IBM will be to let the inefficient dealers fall by the wayside. This, my fellow users, is not myth, it is hardball. Capitalism is not dead. Pardon a play on words, but the only blue to be seen will be manufacturers pounded by IBM. That's all for now folks ...... ______________________________________ ZMAGAZINE Issue #105 May 9, 1988 (c)1988 APEI/Ron Kovacs ______________________________________
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