Z*Magazine: 9-May-88 #105

From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 07/28/93-11:07:16 AM Z

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.
<*> 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 

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

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

    connect to modem and get to R/V
    mode (^E<cr>)
    (you want one of the options in
     group 2)
    (system reponds with a list)
    (system responds with option 19
     and possible settings)

    1<cr>   (auto error control)
    2<cr>   (disable error control)
    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

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

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

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)


Parity is actually a bit of a
dinosaur. It's really an old error
checking method that improvements in
telecommunications have rendered

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

Set your parity at whatever works on
your local BBS system -- it won't make
a difference to CIS.

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!
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
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

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

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

"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

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

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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