Z*Magazine: 4-Jul-88 #113

From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 07/29/93-09:56:26 AM Z

From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
Subject: Z*Magazine:  4-Jul-88 #113
Date: Thu Jul 29 09:56:26 1993

|                   |ZMagazine            July 4, 1988        Issue #113|
|/****************//|  American Publishing Enterprises, Inc             |
|////////////****// |  Post Office Box 74                               |
|         //****//  |  Middlesex, New Jersey 08846-0074                 |
|        //****//   |___________________________________________________|
|       //****//    |  Publisher/Editor:     Ron Kovacs                 |
|      //****//     |  Sales Manager   :     Gary Gorski                |
|     //****//      |  Assistant Publisher:  Stan Lowell                |
|    //****//       |___________________________________________________|
|   //****//        |  HAVE A SAFE AND HAPPY HOLIDAY                    |
|  //****//         |___________________________________________________|
| //****//          |  Where to communicate with ZMag/ST-Report/AMy-Rpt |
|//****/////////////|       CompuServe: 71777,2140                      |
|/*****************/|       GEnie     : R.KOVACS or ST-REPORT           |
|/*****************/|       Delphi    : RONKOVACS or REXREADE           |
|///////////////////|       The Source: BDG793                          |
|July 4, 1988   #113|Table of Contents|

<*> Editors Desk............Ron Kovacs  <*> News and Commentary..J Nagy
<*> New Uploads to SIG Atari8 (CIS)     <*> ZMag Archives July 1986 News
<*> SuperDos Review..........John Nagy  <*> CIS Question of The Week
<*> QuickCode Review.......Gary Ferris

EDITORS DESK              by Ron Kovacs

Happy Independance Day to everyone.  Please make an effort to have a safe

The Syndiate BBS is still on vacation.  I am currently looking for a few
BBS systems in the area of our location to take over the BBS duties for
the magazine.  Stay tuned to these pages next week for a complete list of
systems carrying ZMagazine debut issues.  Since we have more time on hand
to write and get involved, we will release the updated BBS Listing this

If you are a reader of our sister publication ST-REPORT, you obviously
saw the controversy develope. For the other side of that issue, read the
latest notes in Issue #42.

A concentrated effort will be made in the next few weeks to get the
Delphi Analog SIG up to date with ZMagazine issues.  I will upload all
the issues from #100 thru #113.

A problem with Issue #112 was detected on GEnie this past week.  The
issue could not be unarced.  We even used the master arced version and
could not unarc it.  A new arc file will be uploaded shortly.

Special thanks to John Nagy for sending in material this week. Always
a pleasure reading his fine work.

I included a column this week from the ZMagazine Archives.  I went back
two years and removed some interesting facts from the July 8th edition.

The Action tutorial returns later this month!

by John Nagy        [Re-Edited version]

HARD TO BELIEVE, but true: Spinnaker's NEWSROOM program for the ATARI
8-bit, so long asked for and awaited, WON'T work using a real 850 ATARI
printer interface!  It WILL work using almost anything else... and the
company has assured us that they will try to find a solution "as soon as
they can get an 850 from somewhere to test it".  Yikes.  Buyers can get a
refund if they can't wait.  Other reasons to consider other newpaper-
layout programs include NEWSROOM's inability to import graphics or text
from any other source.

Congratulations to RON KOVACS who has produced ZMAGAZINE, a weekly
electronic ATARI newsletter for BBS distribution for TWO YEARS now. Often
the content of ZMAG has bristled the hair on ATARI and other corporate
groups, but the consistancy and professionalism Ron has upheld (at his
own non-profit expense!) has paid off.  CompuServe, at one time at
serious odds with Ron over the inclusion of information about other
telecom service vendors, has finally even made a special DOWNLOAD LIBRARY
just for ZMAG.  The same has now happened on DELPHI, and GENIE even has a
special MESSAGE/SIG area in tht ATARI Roundtable for Ron and his fine
product.  ST-Report (now edited by others but under Ron's guidence)
joined the ranks with the original ZMAG (which now focuses on 8-bit
news), and year #3 looks bright.  Keep it up, Ron!

Speaking of GENIE, where ATARI is BIG STUFF, our own COMPUTER SHOPPER has
its own SIG there now.  Move to SHOPPER to look around.  I hope we can
make arrangements to post any ATARI public-domain programs discussed here
in my columns available in the SHOPPER SIG, even if they are duplicated
in the ATARI SIG.  This would make them more accessable and easier to
find for our readers.  Maybe post them for a couple months and then clear
them out?  JEFF BRENNER (APPLYING THE ATARI) may be also interested in
posting some of his items there.  Stay tuned...


I can't begin to tell you about ALL the goodies that are newly available
for our 8-bit ATARI's, but several are particularly exciting right now.

ALFCRUNCH - Not a way to smash furry aliens, this is finally a BETTER
file compactor than ARC (ARCHIVE).  For about a year, ARC (programmed for
the 8-bit ATARI by Ralph Walden) has been the protocol of choice for
"making little ones out of big ones", because it would:

1) (Fairly) reliably take multiple files of your choice and make them all
   into one file for later extraction, with filenames as in the original.

2) Save as much as 50% in total file size over the originals.

3) Use the same format as the IBM and ST ARCHIVE, allowing interchange
   between machines.

The reduced size and recovery of the original filenames is very important
to users of MODEMS to tranfer files, and also has application for backing
up your important files in a minimum of disk space.  The DOWN side of ARC
has been occasional "CRC CHECKSUM" errors making the output files NOT
match the input, a buggy user interface on the 8-bit ARC and UN-ARC
programs that can cause lots of lost time and effort, and the
SSSSLLLLLOOOOOOWWWWW performance of ARC on our 8-bit ATARI.

ALFCRUNCH, by ALFRED of the PROGRAMMER'S AID BBS (416) 465-4182, provides
a remarkable alternative to ARC.  I don't know how it works... but it
WORKS GREAT!  Distributed on most of the telecom services and BBS's by
now, get it quick.  Alfred, whoever he is, doesn't even call this work
"SHAREWARE" or ask for donations... although few have been more

When I first tested ALFCRUNCH to compact a list of files, I was CERTAIN
that it had errored out or was somehow "faking it", since it was done in
30 seconds!  The same list later took almost four minutes to ARC.  It was
even faster UN-ALFING (?) the compacted file ...only about 20 seconds! 
DE-ARCING its mate took over 3 minutes.  And the bottom line: ARC saved
26% compared to the total of the original file sizes, while ALFCRUNCH
saved 45%!  YIKES!  ALFCRUNCH is actually FASTER than the ARC used on an
IBM or ST!  (How long before "ALFRED" makes a version for the "other

I could NOT coax ALFCRUNCH into making any errors of its own... and the
documentation that comes with it is VERY thorough.  It will pass
parameters on the SPARTADOS command line, or run in a full prompt mode on
ANY DOS, even with BASIC enabled.  Amazing.

The output file from ALFCRUNCH (version 1.2 and higher) can also be
"viewed" with any of the many ARC-VIEW programs floating around on the
BBS circuit, allowing the file contents and retored sizes to be examined
without processing the file to a disk.  Although the main reason for the
poularity of VIEWERS was that ARC took so LONG to run, ALFCRUNCH users
will still appreciate the ability to peek into their stored files.

SO, ALFCRUNCH solves ALL of the problems of ARC except the compatiability
with other type computers.  As a result, I can only see TWO cases that
would make you choose to use ANY other compaction method: 1) When you
KNOW your file must be later read by machines OTHER than your 8-bit
ATARI, continue to use ARC; 2) When you must transfer a BOOT DISK or a
DOS, use DISKCOM.  (DISKCOM by Robert Puff, now in version 3.2 or higher,
is VERY friendly, fast, and reliable, but does nothing to reduce the
overall size of the files.  What it excells at is making a file which can
later be restored to be IDENTICAL (byte for byte, sector for sector) to
the original disk.  "SCRUNCH" was once a popular format for this same
purpose, but Robert's rapid-fire improvements to DISKCOM, plus its
ability to make double- and "enhanced-density" (ICK!) disks have made it
the clear program of choice.)

SIGNMAKER 1.3 - Jeff Colehour impressed us with SIGNMAKER, reviewed
breifly in an earlier column.  Version 1.3 goe further to debug and
simplify the use of this shareware program.  Basically an alternative to
PRINTSHOP, SIGNMAKER allows the use of any two PRINTSHOP format icons and
any combination of any three "normal" ATARI fonts in any of four sizes,
all on the same page.  Inverse and "control graphic characters" can also
be used in the sign.  Text can be imported from normal word processor
files, and can be automatically centered.  The biggest change in the new
version is the VIEW SIGN feature.  Although it must first save the sign
data to a disk (and it takes a WHOLE DISK!), this lets you examine the
final product before printing, as well as saving it for later use.  If
you save it to RAMDISK, the process is very fast, so viewing need not be
a painfully long experience on an extended memory computer.

Although SIGNMAKER can't touch PRINTSHOP for ease of use or polish, it
offers some power to make signs that even PRINTSHOP can't do, like making
full page printouts of graphics from ATASCII BBS cartoons.  Check this
one out.

PS UTILITIES 1.0 - Rich Spencer has put several useful features into one
package, written in ACTION!.  It accomplishes the hard-to-live-without
also allows conversion of MICROPAINTER (Koala/Touch Tablet) format files
into ICONS (and back!).  Although these features are available (one at a
time) via the commercial PRINTSHOP COMPANION plus various other PD
programs, this is a nice package for serious PRINTSHOP users.  The good
documentation ends with some very useful information about the innards of
a PRINTSHOP disk, and asks for input for future versions.

POSDEMO - Hold on to your seat for an 800+ sector download of XENIA
RESEARCH's POINT OF SALE demo.  Get it on GENIE or other telecom
services.  Although it is a demo of a commercial product, this demo is
worth its weight in RAM chips if you want to show off your 8-bit system. 
It requires that you DISKCOM the file onto a DOUBLE DENSITY disk, and
when it runs, it shows many functions of a store inventory, sales,
receipt, ordering, and saleperson reporting system.  Barcodes are printed
and read, documents and reports stream out of the printer, the display
shows finely designed "SYNFILE" looking screens for input and output. 
This system is expected to sell for well under $200 INCLUDING the Barcode
reader (!!) and can NETWORK several sales locations for interdependant
operation.  It should be available for sale by the time you read this.
Best Electronics of San Jose CA and Butlers Computers in Federal Way WA
will have supplies of POS NET.  Yes, I'm VERY impressed.  This large,
detailed, self-running demo will LIVE on-screen at any future computer
shows, showing what the 8-bit ATARI can do when not gobbling ghosts!

        *** Jun 13 - Jun 20 ***

LIB 0 (General):

[71450,1050] Lawrence Estep LGTSEN.TXT/binary     19-Jun-88 5632


This tutorial by Kevin Jones of The Atari Exchange Of Louisville, KY,
explains how to construct a light sensor for your Atari 8-bit computer!
Neat! Call The Atari Scene! (502) 964-2924. The official BBS of The
Atari Exchange Of Louisville,KY.

LIB 1 (Games):

[72347,3727] Bruce Baier MICROD.BAS/binary     18-Jun-88 10752


MicroDungeon from ANALOG Computing. Get the keys to rescue the 10
prisoners on six levels - but you can only carry one key at a time, and
beware of monsters.  Use the stars to destroy them.  Good luck!!

[72750,1173] Doug Blackwell XEBALL.ARC/binary     16-Jun-88 33408


XEBall is a baseball strategy game for the serious fan. Designed for the
130XE it uses the ramdisk. It's a vastly improved version of my previous
game & you now can play a best-of-7 against the computer using your
entire pitching staff. It now has on-line boxscore (which can be sent to
your printer!), improved computer play, help screens, and is trapped &
bug-free.  This is an Arc file. After you've xtracted it type: [RUN
"D:XEBALL"] to boot. Enjoy!

LIB 3 (System Utilities):

[76703,4061] Bill Aycock
LIB3A.ARC/binary      16-Jun-88 20877
LIB3B.ARC/binary      16-Jun-88 22137
LIB3C.ARC/binary      16-Jun-88 21619
LIB3D.ARC/binary      16-Jun-88 20631
LIB3E.ARC/binary      16-Jun-88 20499
LIB3F.ARC/binary      16-Jun-88 21495
LIB3G.ARC/binary      16-Jun-88 23695
LIB3H.ARC/binary      16-Jun-88 19374


These eight files contain the COMPLETE directory of LIB 3 as of June 1,
1988. The listing is in alphabetical order, and is formatted for an
80-column printer. Each ARC file is about 20K bytes long and deARCs to
about 40K, so even single-810-drive owners can deARC with no problem.
Note - The complete listing is almost 360K long; that's four full disks!

[73657,62]   Jeff Treat ARCBRK.ARC/binary     14-Jun-88 6016


Arc breaker - an .arc file utility to extract seperat files from within
an arc file to dearc seperatly.  Now, you don't have to dearc that whole
file, just to get to the 1 part you wanted to dearc again. Docs included.

LIB 4 (Graphics/RLE/Pics):

[72327,311]  Don Davis  BAUTES.GIF/graph:gif  19-Jun-88 5760


This is a picture of Steve Baute [74106,770] and wife. Steve is the guy
who uploaded those first few GIF files here. View with AT8GIF.OBJ,
available in this library. The best aspect on this photo is with ratios
set at V-1/1 and H-1/3.

[72327,311]  Don Davis  PLANE.GIF/graph:gif   19-Jun-88 17792


Profile shot of a biplane sitting on a runway. View with AT8GIF.OBJ,
available in this library. Originally uploaded by Steve Wilhite
[70003,1326] GIF file for personal use only. No distribution except under
CIS guidelines.

[72327,311]  Don Davis  TIFFAN.GIF/graph:gif  19-Jun-88 20992


A picture of a lady named Tiffany. View with AT8GIF.OBJ, available in
this library. When you have seen the default display, try setting the
ratios at 1/1 and move the upper left corner to 230,110. Quite a
difference. Originally uploaded by Steve Wilhite [70003,1326] GIF file
for personal use only. No distribution except under CIS guidelines.

[72327,311]  Don Davis  USALOW.GIF/graph:gif  19-Jun-88 4736


A color map of the good ol' USA. View with AT8GIF.OBJ, available in this
library. The program doesn't show 16 distinct colors, but this is a good
example that the full number of colors isn't always necessary to see a
good image. Originally uploaded by Steve Wilhite [70003,1326] GIF file
for personal use only. No distribution except under CIS guidelines.

[75176,1205] Warren Silberstein  ANIMAT.DCM/binary     19-Jun-88 31360

          DISKCOM FILE.

Drawing and Animation program great for kids. Adults will enjoy it too.
Simple to use. Similar to "Etch-A-Sketch Animator" only better (but less
portable). Discommed file. Use Discom 3 to make a working program disk.
Doc file included plus 3 animations.

[72327,311]  Don Davis  ART.GIF/graph:gif     18-Jun-88 14976


Picture of a waterfall. View with AT8GIF.OBJ, available in this library.
Origially uploaded by Steve Wilhite [70003,1326] GIF file for personal
use only. No distribution except under CIS guidelines.

[72327,311]  Don Davis  CHRSTY.GIF/graph:gif  18-Jun-88 16512


A picture of Mrs. Billy Joel, otherwise known as Christie Brinkley. A
face well worth enlarging. View with AT8GIF.OBJ, available in this
library. Originally uploaded by Steve Wilhite [70003,1326] GIF file for
personal use only. No distribution except under CIS guidelines.

[72327,311]  Don Davis  PIRATE.GIF/graph:gif  18-Jun-88 18304


Picture of a pirate throwing disks at his Macintosh. Obviously an ad for
a pirate BBS. View with AT8GIF.OBJ, available in this library. Originally
uploaded by Steve Wilhite [70003,1326] GIF file for personal use only. No
distribution except under CIS guidelines.

[72327,311]  Don Davis  POLAR.GIF/graph:gif   18-Jun-88 6784


Neat picture showing the North and South poles in two views of Mother
Earth. Originally uploaded by Steve Wilhite [70003,1326] View with
AT8GIF.OBJ, available in this library. GIF file for personal use only. No
distribution except under CIS guidelines.

[72327,311]  Don Davis  SPWALK.GIF/graph:gif  18-Jun-88 19200


Digitized photo of an astronaut out for a little walk. Originally
uploaded by Steve Wilhite [70003,1326]. View with AT8GIF.OBJ, available
in this library. GIF file for personal use only. No distribution except
under CIS guideines.

[72750,2227] David Morse  STARPA.DCM/binary     16-Jun-88 91136


This is a DISCOMMED file PACKED with STAR TREK Koala PICS from
MicroSis, JOYFOX, Keith Mosher, and more! This is a boot disk, and this
files takes up MORE than the standard 707 sectors on a single density
disk, so you'll have to have an ENHANCED or DOUBLE DENSITY disk to
download this file (sorry 810s!) I know, this file is huge. It includes
30 Star Trek pics, plus DOS 2.5 and DUP. A *MUST* for Trekkies!

LIB 6 (Sound & Music):

[73547,1552] Robert Abrams  SPRMAN.AMS/binary     18-Jun-88 7808


This AMS II file is the theme from "SUPERMAN--THE MOVIE" composed by John
Williams. It is my latest work-- fresh off my trusty 130XE. You will need
AMS2PLY.* to play it. Let me know how you like it! Enjoy...! ROBERT N.

LIB 9 (BBS Pgms/Info):

[71450,1050] Lawrence Estep  AELBBS.TXT/binary     19-Jun-88 4864


This is the 06/15/88 edition of The Atari Scene! BBS REPORT LOCAL
EDITION. Call The Atari Scene! (502) 964-2924. The official BBS of The
Atari Exchange Of Louisville, Kentucky.

[71450,1050] Lawrence Estep  ATABBS.TXT/binary     19-Jun-88 4864

          ESTEP ZMAG WCS

BBS OF THE MONTH, The regular edition will return 07/01/88 Call The Atari
Scene! (502) 964-2924. The official BBS of The Atari Exchange Of
Louisville, Kentucky. This version is NOT REAdable online.

[71450,1050] Lawrence Estep  BBSGZ5.TXT/binary     19-Jun-88 6656


This is the 06/15/88 edition of The Atari Scene! BBS GAZETTE. Issue #5.
In this issue....

 <*>Atari Computer Fair <*>Atari Scene! goes pro!
 <*>Tutorial:Parity     <*>And more!

Call The Atari Scene! (502) 964-2924. The official BBS of The Atari
Exchange Of Louisville, Kentucky.

[71450,1050] Lawrence Estep  LDAEL.TXT/binary      19-Jun-88 6912


This is the 06/15/88 edition of The Atari Scene! BBS REPORT LONG-DISTANCE
EDITION. Call The Atari Scene! (502) 964-2924. The official BBS of The
Atari Exchange Of Louisville, Kentucky.

[73657,62]   Jeff Treat  GLUEDE.TXT/binary     14-Jun-88 6400


A text file demo of GLUE.  shortly to to be available to OASIS sysops
running version IV.  Also, soon to be released into the public domain as
a stand alone .com file.  Will handle batch runs of .arc, alfcrunch, and
library files.

[73657,62]   Jeff Treat  OASIS1.DCM/binary     14-Jun-88 76928
                         OASIS2.DCM/binary     14-Jun-88 79616


Sides 1 and 2 of OASIS JR., public domain version of oasis bs system.
Uncompact with diskcomm3.2. Requires 2 drives (ramdisk can be 1) to run.
Spartados is recommended.

LIB 14 (Programming Aids):

[72750,115]  Tony Hursh  CC8.ARC/binary        15-Jun-88 30592


The CC8 compiler from Steve Kennedy and John Palevich. Supports nearly
every feature of standard C (structures, unions, etc.)! Very fast also.
Note that this is only a compiler and documentation. You will also need a
linker and function library. Either Ace C (available here) or Deep Blue C
will work. This compiler also allows the use of proper ASCII brace
characters for greater compatibility. -Tony

Be sure to check out our selection of SIG_CLASSICS in LIB 12! And now,
LIB 11 is the place to go for ZMagazine!

[ED. As space permits, we will try to keep you posted with more bulletins
 from the Atari8 area on Compuserve.]
ZMAG ARCHIVES     (A New Column)
Compiled by Ron Kovacs

From time to time, this column will appear.  There are 112 other issues
of news and reviews we will reprint.  This week we go back to July 1986
and show you a survey from Antic Online and Atari summer CES news.


The results of Antic's online modem survey have been tabulated and here
are the results.  Over 1,000 users took the survey.

               Modem                               Results
               Atari 1030                            35%
               Atari Xm301                           13%
               MPP 1000-E                             9%
               MPP 1000-C                             5%
               Hayes 1200 Smartmodem                  3%
               Anchor 300 volksmodem                  3%

                            Modem Software
               Software                            Results
               Express 1030                          21%
               Hometerm by BI                        12%
               Smart Terminal by MPP                 10%
               Xe-Term by Atari                       6%
               ST-Talk by QM                          5%
               Tscope                                 5%
               850 Express                            5%


Compute has a report on the Summer CES this month that should make ST
owners very happy.  Remember last year, when Atari had to take a small
suite while Commodore had it's usual big floor display.  Guess who was
in the small suite this year?  Jack Tramiel's price cutting technique,
which put the 64 in orbit and sent the old Atari into the dog house, is
now doing a number on the Amiga.  After one year on the market, there are
roughly 10 times more STs than there are Amigas out there.  Unless
Commodore starts doing something,  the Amiga may go under.  Even with the
Amiga being sluggish, Commodore is still keeping afloat thanks to the
continuing success of the 64 and new 128 (600,000 have already been
sold). Commodore was showing a new version of the 64, called the 64C
which features a new design that resembles the 128 and a GEM-like
operating system called GEOS.  This system will sell for $250 and will
replace the 64 (like the 65XE has replaced the 800XL).  Well, so much for
the competition, now let's get to the Atari news.

Atari will be coming out with the XE's in bundled packages (shades of the
Adam).  A 65XE with a printer, disk drive, and five programs (Atari
Writer Plus, Home Filing Manager, Music Composer, Defender, and Star
Raiders) will cost $350 and the 130XE version will be $400.  Other Atari
8-bit products at the show included the Atari Planetarium and Star
Raiders 2 programs, the XMM801 printer, and the XEP80 80 column adapter.

Programs announced for Atari 8-bits included:

       Electronic Arts        =          Chessmaster 2000
                                         Age of Adventure
       Avalon Hill            =          Mission on Thunderhead
       Batteries Included     =          Paperclip with Spellpak
       SSI                    =          Gettysburg:The turning point
       First Star             =          Spy Vs. Spy 3:Arctic Antics
       Firebird               =          Chimera/Mercenary
                                         (2 games on one disk) for $20

Products announced for the ST included an MS-DOS emulator that will be
able to run most of the IBM PC software.  The box has a slot for the 8087
math coprocessor, and comes with 512k ram.  When not in use as the
emulator the 512k can be used as a ramdisk by the ST.  Atari hasn't
decided if the box will include a 5 1/4 drive.  Estimated price is $300
or $400.

A CP/M emulator that is done entirely in software. The price is $50.

The availabilty of the SH204 20 megabyte hard disk and the Epson
compatible SMM804 printer was also announced.

Batteries Included's new DEGAS Elite program will be able to load Koala
pad or Atari Touch Tablet picture files.

Avila Associates is coming out with Make it Move.  This animation program
is compatible with all the popular graphic programs and includes features
such as zooms, fades, and spins.

Activision is releasing a new graphic program called Paintworks that can
make pictures that are taller than the screen.  You can then print out
the whole picture on a graphics printer.

Reprinted from ZMagazine July 8, 1986

SUPERDOS          Reviewed by John Nagy

As the "BIG" software companies continue their move OUT of 8-bit computer
support, imports, small companies and "basement operations" are taking
over, often with innovative and very low price offerings.  Three recent
releases for the ATARI 8-bit line continue this trend: a new DISK
OPERATING SYSTEM, "SUPERDOS"; an operating environment, "M.T.O.S."; and a
machine-language users utility, "PROGRAMMER'S PAL".


SUPERDOS is an AUSTRAILIAN import, written by Paul Nicholls.  U.S.
distribution is by TECHNICAL SUPPORT, 205 Peoria Street, Daly City, CA
94014.  The price is $20 plus $1 shipping.  As a marketing tool, many
ATARI user groups have been offered "distribution rights" by which they
may ALSO charge $20, keep $5 for their effort, and send the balance to
TECHNICAL SUPPORT along with a registered user list.  Being registered
gets you on a "future upgrade list".

Unlike some "DOS" replacements, SUPERDOS does NOT use the the DOS kernel
from ATARI DOS 2.0 or 2.5.  SUPERDOS does have the same DOS.SYS and
DUP.SYS structure, but it is all new code.  Also included is an AUX.SYS
file for the seldom used features, and menu utilities for running BASIC
or BINARY programs.

So what makes this DOS anything you would want?  Plenty.  First, it
supports ALL THREE "normal" ATARI disk densities, with automatic sensing
and reconfiguring.  It sets up its own RAMDISK, checking first to see if
it should be any configuration up to 320K - even AXLON RAMDISKS for use
on 800's!  THATS a new one.

It will automatically copy any file with a .RAM extender into its RAMDISK
at bootup, and will switch to RAMDISK for any input/output if DRIVE #1
goes offline.  That means you can copy files to RAM (which will be called
by anything from D5: to D8:), shut off your D1: and the program will run
from RAMDISK with no device number errors.  NEAT.

It'll TRACE and RESTORE deleted files, as well as attempt to PATCH
damaged sector files.  You can use lower case, inverse, and numbers in
the filenames.  Its BINARY SAVE will even save a CARTRIDGE to DISK.  It
will copy to and from CASSETTES.  A true SECTOR COPY feature skips empty
sectors.  DOS 3.0 (ARG!) is even supported for conversion to DOS 2.x
format using one or two drives.  Set your key repeat rate, verify,
buffers, etc. from the menu without pokes.  XIO support has been added
for access to the higher functions of SUPERDOS from BASIC or ML programs,
all with good documentation.

All this PLUS those things we have gotten used to on the up-scale DOS's,
like single keypress menus, resident DUP.SYS, menu-top indicators of
drive densities, double column file directories, high-speed and skew I/O
support for the U.S. Doubler and SUPERMAX, and a lot more.  All this with
a memlo BELOW DOS 2.x!

So how is it to use?  It feels a lot like DOS 2.x or SMARTDOS, using a
menu.  The screen keeps changing colors according to the process underway
(which is at once a good warning and very distracting).  Most operations
are nicely prompted, with only a few too many "ARE YOU SURE" messages.
But if you don't want to see them, most operations can suppress the
verification prompt by adding /N to your filespec.  Similar nice touches
include the good sense to cause only a SINGLE filename to be changed when
trying to undo that familiar curse of accidental duplicate filenames.

So, is there anything bad about SUPERDOS?  Not exactly.  At $20, it is a
good buy, but performs short of the ROLLS ROYCE of DOS's, SPARTADOS (by
ICD/OSS CORP).  What do you lose (compared to SPARTADOS)? Subdirectories.
Double sided disk support (XF551, anyone?)  TIME/DATE stamping of files.
HARD DRIVE support.  Plus, many unique utilities are made exclusively for

But SPARTADOS is quite a different animal, and at $39.95, is more than
some people need.  Many users, if not most, will not need the advanced
SPARTADOS features.  SPARTADOS is also SIGNIFICANTLY harder to learn to
use, and many casual users NEVER master it.  Nor will some want to use a
different DOS version in their 800 than they use in their XE (as
SPARTADOS requires).

All in all, SUPERDOS is a SUPER product, maybe the BEST "DOS 2 type" DOS
available (MYDOS users will have fit when they read that!).  At $20, it
is a perfect upgrade for an intermediate computer user who doesn't need
or want to learn to use SPARTADOS.  And, since SUPERDOS version 4.4 is
dated Feruary 1988, it is likely to still be in active development.
Registered owners might soon be offered an upgrade for use with the XF551
double sided drive, the current lack of which is the only shortcoming I
view as serious.

To get SUPERDOS, contact your local ATARI support group, or write to
TECHNICAL SUPPORT at the address above.

CompuServe's  Atari8 SIG Question of The Week
Ctsy CompuServe Atari8 SIG

What follows is a portion of a message thread dealing mainly with ANALOG
magazine's format change after being purchased by LFP, Inc. Due to an
unfortunate situation, one message was edited, and three were completely
deleted.  The rest appear here exactly as they did on the message board.

#: 210882 S7/HOT News/Rumors    17-Jun-88  20:39:44
Sb: Weekly Question
Fm: Chris Sorensen 73310,761
To: All


After a few weeks of neglect and a two week absence, the Question of the
Week is returning to the Atari8 message board.  (And you thought it was
safe to start reading again!)

The Question of the Week (a.k.a Weekly Question, Q ot W) is designed to
give people the chance to voice opinions on various subjects, and share
ideas.  The topic has usually been computer-related, but any topic is
fair game.  All members are highly encouraged to respond to the

For your convenience, the Question of the Week will always have "Weekly
Question" as its subject line.  To locate past Questions and their
replies, use: REA DAY:x SUB:WEEKLY QUESTION where x is the number of days
back to search.

Suggestions for topics, and anonymous replies should be sent to Chris
Sorensen (Colorado Chris), [73310,761].

Would you like to pose follow-up Questions or receive further feed back
on a topic?  Send a request to 73310,761 or contact me during the Sunday
conferences in room four.

Thank you,  --cc

#: 210883 S0/General    17-Jun-88  20:41:07
Sb: #Weekly Question
Fm: Chris Sorensen 73310,761
To: all

Question of the Week

Recently A.N.A.L.O.G., Compute!, Publish!, and ST-Log magazines have been
changing their format/appearance.  If you read any/all of these
magazines, what do you think of the changes?  Have they improved the

The new CIS forum software has been in place for one month now.  Have the
changes been for the better?  Is there anything you dislike about the new

Answers and comments regarding these questions are encouraged.  To
suggest follow-up questions or topics, or to make private comments,
contact 73310,761.

Thank you,  --cc

#: 210897 S0/General    18-Jun-88  06:28:23
Sb: #210883-Weekly Question
Fm: Keith Joins/Sec. Leader 72347,75
To: Chris Sorensen 73310,761 (X)


Well, first Analog.  I really don't like the new layout.  It looks at
times that some child got set loose with Print Shop.  The graphics/art is
poor quality also, at least in my opinion.  I do think the paper and type
being used now is much more readable than the old.  However the large
print used as paragraph lead-ins looks as if it were done with a poor
quality dot matrix printer.  Also some of the page numbers are almost
impossible to read (although to be fair, I do need new glasses).  The
quality of the articles continues to be very good although it would
appear that submissions are down since they seem to have the space to
publish source code for most of the programs.  Of major concern is the
lack of advertisers.  The July issue has only 13 pages of advertising,
counting the inside and back of the covers.  Four of these pages are ads
for Analog itself, leaving only 9 paying pages with 8 different
companies.  Lyco has 4 pages alone.  Not good!  This is probably another
reason that they can print so much source code now.  I truly hope that
their advertising picture improves.

Compute!'s new format is probably a good move.  While I was quite upset
with the way they dumped coverage of the Atari 8-bit, I did understand
their reasons.  Type-in software has not interested me for some time. The
main reason I purchased the magazine was for Bill Wilkinson's column.  I
did find the information about other systems interesting.  However I
question whether they can adequately cover the systems they have choosen
to retain and compete with other magazines of similar nature.  The
coverage they offer is better done in machine-specific magazines.  Of the
list of systems in Compute! Specific, the only ones of interest to me are
MS-DOS and Macs.  I find Personal Computing to be far superior in their
coverage of these systems and will rely on it in the future to keep me
informed of the happenings in those fields.  Compute! and I have parted


#: 210898 S0/General    18-Jun-88  06:29:04
Sb: #210883-Weekly Question
Fm: Keith Joins/Sec. Leader 72347,75
To: Chris Sorensen 73310,761 (X)


I really like the new forum software.  I think it would be much easier
for a new user to learn.  It also offers  much greater ease in reading

The only thing I am now looking for is a re-write of the ACCESS program.
The wish-list here is a mile long.  However Mike has dropped several
subtle (not very) hints in the Practice forum that ACCESS is being looked
at now and that we could possibly see some much needed improvements in
the future.


#: 210916 S0/General    18-Jun-88  14:29:18
Sb: #210883-#Weekly Question
Fm: Bob Woolley 75126,3446
To: Chris Sorensen 73310,761 (X)

I cannot be so objective as to ignore the fact that some non-zero benefit
accrues to LPF each time I read ANALOG. The magazine I enjoyed has died a
loathsome death.
          Bob Woolley

#: 210945 S0/General    19-Jun-88  03:33:30
Sb: #210916-Weekly Question
Fm: Keith Joins/Sec. Leader 72347,75
To: Bob Woolley 75126,3446 (X)


Good point there.  While I don't think I could ever be described as a
prude, he was never my favorite publisher.


#: 210961 S0/General    19-Jun-88  07:38:47
Sb: #210883-Weekly Question
Fm: Matthew Ratcliff 76703,1077
To: Chris Sorensen 73310,761 (X)

Compute! finked out on us and dropped the 8bit line. You KNOW what the
answers to that will be! (Bronx cheer is mine.)  

New CIS software? Yeah, it seems a little easier to navigate.


#: 210975 S0/General    19-Jun-88  10:54:47
Sb: #210919-Weekly Question
Fm: Bob Woolley 75126,3446
To: SYSOP*Mike Schoenbach 76703,4363 (X)

ANTIC had a nice piece in it.... when do we start this new stuff??

#: 211002 S0/General    19-Jun-88  19:04:34
Sb: #210883-Weekly Question
Fm: DICK KNISELY 75046,473
To: Chris Sorensen 73310,761 (X)

Do not like the new ANALOG format.  Lots of space consumed with few words
-- probably deliberate.  Fonts are clumsy and unprofessional looking.


#: 211043 S0/General    20-Jun-88  19:56:30
Sb: #210883-#Weekly Question
Fm: [ICD, Inc.] 76004,1600
To: Chris Sorensen 73310,761 (X)

I think the new fonts are distracting from the magazine.

        - TOM -

#: 211046 S0/General    20-Jun-88  21:50:34
Sb: #210883-#Weekly Question
Fm: Don Miaw 70707,1414
To: Chris Sorensen 73310,761 (X)

Their mixing of several text types, sizes, horizontal or vertically makes
me want to throw the magazine in the waste basket.  Maybe I'm getting old
and can't read all that mess.  So, I became more selective of what to
read from ANALOG; and most of times those just happen to be articles of
little interest to me.  I'm glad they're back, though.

#: 211079 S0/General    21-Jun-88  21:11:49
Sb: #210883-#Weekly Question
Fm: Charles Blaquiere 76046,1756
To: Chris Sorensen 73310,761 (X)


     I finally got the new Analog last week and boy am I disappointed.

One of the things I appreciated about the "old" Analog was the way they
kept their basic design the same through the years, while Antic would
sway from one extreme to the other on a regular basis. I liked the
non-glossy, very white paper which made listings quite readable. And of
course I loved the contents!

     In the new Analog, the contents is still of high quality, but
everything related to presentation has gone down the tubes. In an effort
to look hip, they have sacrificed all clarity. Every element and subtitle
screams for attention, and you don't know where to turn first. Since I'm
easing into Desktop PUblishing, I've read about this basic design
principle countless times: try and lead the reader through the material.
I've always thought of it as an abstract concept, tough to grasp for
someone who hasn't gone to graphic arts school. Fortunately with the new
Analog, I now have a clear example of what NOT to do.

     The number of boo-boos is surprising. They forgot some author bios.
Some section titles on page 4 are Helevetica-like, others are
Futura-like. One major fault, in my eyes, is the lack of screen shots!
Call me superficial, but I'm always more tempted to read about a program
if I see a nice screen shot, and in that regard Analog was always less
stingy than Antic.

     That basically sums it up: total shock from a long-time strong
supporter. I'll give'em a few months to sedate the art director, and I'll
give myself a few months to adapt and then we'll see. But until then, I
have serious reservations.


#: 211120 S0/General    22-Jun-88  23:20:51
Sb: #211043-Weekly Question
Fm: Gene Douglass 76674,1602
To: [ICD, Inc.] 76004,1600


I am tired of the New(?) already.


#: 211123 S0/General    22-Jun-88  23:24:47
Sb: #210916-Weekly Question
Fm: Gene Douglass 76674,1602
To: Bob Woolley 75126,3446


Very much agreed!  Why sell out to the devil to get a "better" magazine
or even stay in business?  I don't plan on renewing!


#: 211129 S0/General    23-Jun-88  02:01:19
Sb: #210883-Weekly Question
Fm: Tim Patrick 73167,2611
To: Chris Sorensen 73310,761 (X)

I think the new forum software is fine, not a major improvement, but not
worse either.  It's probably easier for new users, and as long as the old
commands still work, I'm happy!

As for the "new look" to the magazines, it stinks!  The new font is hard
on the eyes, and the pages look terribly cluttered up, with all that
big/small/sideways/upsidedown/whatever printing!

Bring back the old format ANALOG!!!

Aloha from the Happy Hacker! (TIM)

[ED. If you have comments on this matter, feel free to pass them on and
we will post them here.]

QUICKCODE  - The Programmers Library
Reprinted from Michigan Atari Magazine

by Gary R. Ferris

It's not often that a new company can step in and make an immediate
impact with a strong new software package, especially for a computer line
that's been around as long as the Atari 8-bits have.  Stardust Software
seems to have performed such a feat with QuickCode - The Programmers

When I was first approached about QuickCode, I was quite frankly
skeptical.  I felt that it was probably too late in the game to be
attempting to write and market a new programming language for the 8-bit
line.  When the review package arrived, and I had a chance to experiment
with it, I realized that this was going to be worth a much closer look.

The QuickCode package contains a double sided disk with the backside
containing a great deal of additional documentation, which is not
included in the impressive 66 page manual.  QuickCode will work with any
Atari XL/XE or 800 with at least 48k, one disk drive, and Mac-65

QuickCode almost became a nonstarter, when at about the same time
QuickCode was introduced, OSS announced that they would no longer market
or support the Mac-65 cartridge.  The early rumours were that this was
due to a royalty dispute with the author of Mac-65. This proved to be
false and the real reason was that OSS would not renew the contract as
they intended to cease operations.  Fortunately, ICD purchased OSS and
will continue to market Mac-65 and all other OSS products.

For those readers, unfamiliar with Mac-65, the next section will be a
short overview of the language and what it can do.

Mac-65 is what's known as an Editor/Assembler.  The cartridge also
includes an excellent debugging utility, called DDT.

Mac-65 is based on the Atari Editor/Assembler cartridge, but with many
enhanced features.

The Editor is actually divided into two parts.  The Edit mode is the one
which will normally be used as it provides error checking similar to that
provided in Atari BASIC.  The other mode available is the Textmode which
provides no error checking, but can be used to edit nonassembler files.

The assembler allows you to write code in a form which is fairly easily
understood by humans (ex. JMP $2000 means JUMP to memory location $2000)
which is then converted (assembled) into the true machine level code
which is impossible to comprehend for the average person (the above
example would read as, 4C 00 20 in machine code).

The Mac-65 Assembler is especially powerful in that it alows you to form
macros.  Forming a macro is literally like adding a new command to the
language.  If you have a routine which you are going to be using
frequently, and do not wish to write the entire routine in each place it
will be used, you can use the .MACRO directive to give the routine a
name.  Then in each place you wish to use the routine, you merely place
the Macro name in the instruction field and the routine is automatcally
inserted at that point.

The DDT debugging utility allows you to actually view the program in
operation.  It allows you to set breakpoints (spots where the program
will pause) which alows you to view the contents of variables and
registers to see if the program is doing what it should.  It also allows
you to singlestep through a program which allows you to view the changes
caused by each instruction.  Singlestepping is most useful when you have
narrowed the problem area to a small portion using the breakpoints.

Although not as easy to understand as a program written in BASIC, or
other high-level language, assembly language can give an increase in
execution speed of up to several hundred percent.

This brings us to the reason QuickCode was developed.

Although QuickCode is not actually a language, it is really a library of
Mac-65 Macros, it allows you to write assembly language programs in a
form which makes them nearly as easy to read and understand as a program
written in BASIC or other high level language.

In fact, many of the QuickCode macros have the same name as the BASIC
function they replace.

Other macros which have no exact counterpart BASIC retain the same
general structure. If you are a user of ACTION!, BASIC XL, OR BASIC XE,
then there are many commands you will recognize that are not in the
regular ATARI BASIC.

Macros must first be selected in a manner which the manual states may
seem awkward at first.  I still find it to be somewhat cumbersome, but it
does get easier as you get used to it.  You start with a file called
FILE.HND which contains a list of all the macros with a semicolon in
front of the macro name.  This places them all in the comment field.  To
select a macro, you go to that line and delete the semicolon.  Then you
place the name of your source program at the end of FILE.HND in an
.INCLUDE statement and save the modified FILE.HND to disk.

I will discuss mostly the Player / Missle Graphics macros and those used
for Program Control or decision testing as that is where I feel the power
of QuickCode asserts itself most.

You have a large number of options available to you for condition testing
and program control in QuickCode, each of which has their own specific
advantages which gives you tremendous flexibility.

You have the familiar FOR / NEXT and ON / GOTO/GOSUB.  You also have a
form of the IF / THEN sequence which has the added power of the ELSE
command.  There are several variations of IF, each specific for the type
of variable you are testing.  In addition, you have the DO / OD loop
which is claimed to be as much as 30 times as fast as a FOR / NEXT loop.
The LOOP / ENDLOOP macro is claimed to be up to 50 times as fast as FOR /
NEXT.  The WHILE / ENDWHILE loop will execute as long as a set condition
is true.  With the CASE macro, you create two tables, one containing
elements to be compared, and the other containing the point the program
should jump to if a match is found.

There are also many Assembler type psuedo opcodes which test the status
register such as JCC which will jump to the designated location if the
Carry Flag is set.

Where QuickCode really shows it's power, is in it's graphics routines. It
allows you to work in any graphics mode, even those unaccessable from
BASIC or the OS!  It allows you to easily manipulate the Player/Missiles
and allows you to put the movement routines in the VBI (Vertical Blanking
Interval) or access them as a subroutine.  It also makes manipulating the
Display List fairly easy.

The DL macro will change the OS pointer to your DISPLAY LIST and the DLI
macro enables or disables Interupts.

The VBI macro will turn a user defined VBI routine on or off.

The CHST macro allows you to have multiple character sets in memory and
easily select which is active at any time. Assuming you have loaded a
character set in page 110 (a page is 256 bytes), the QuickCode command
would be CHST 110, in BASIC, the command needed is POKE 756,110.

A macro which goes hand in hand with CHST is the MVSET macro.  This
allows you to easily move the ROM character set to ram where it can then
be altered.  The QuickCode command to move the ROM character set to page
110 of memory would be MVSET 110. The code required in BASIC to perform
the move would be:

10 CHBASE=110*256-1:REM New char set location
20 ROMSET=57344:REM Address of char set in ROM
30 FOR I=0 to 1023:REM Move 1024 bytes

Additionally in BASIC, you must protect the area from being overwritten
by BASIC's normal operation.

The HSCROLL / VSCROLL macros allow you to scroll the screen horizontally
from 0 to 16 color clocks or 0 to 16 scan lines vertically.

There are several macros for collision testing:

Macro        Function

TMPFC        Test Missle PlayField Collision
TMPLC        Test Missle PLayer Collision
TPLPFC       Test PLayer PlayField Collision
TPLPLC       Test PLayer PLayer Collision

As you can see, the proper macro to use is easily determined. An example
of the Missle / Player test  is TMPLC 0,TEST. This example tests whether
Missle 0 has collided and returns the value to the variable TEST. A
collision with Player 0 sets bit 0, collision with player 1 sets bit 1,
etc.  This also allows testing for multiple collisions since each bit set
means a collision with that player.  In BASIC you need to know the
address of the collision register for the particular Player or Missle you
are testing for and PEEK that location.

The HITCLR macro will clear all collision registers. In BASIC you would
POKE 53278,0.

The PRIORITY macro sets the level of priority for display of overlapping
Players, Missles, Playfields and Background. The OVERLAP macro determines
whether the overlapped area is black or the two colors are ORed which
will create a third color. In BASIC both fuctions are accomplished by
POKEing 53275 with the appropriate value.

The PMCLR macro clears the upper 5/8 of the PM Ram which has the effect
of removing the objects from the screen.

The PMGR macro initializes the Player / Missle graphics, sets Priority to
0, and determines whether the movement routine is installed in the VBI or
accesed as a subroutine.  The movement routine can be accessed as a
subroutine even if installed in a VBI.

The PSIZE and MSIZE macros set the Player or Missle size.  In BASIC you
would POKE 53256 with the appropriate value.

The PMOVE and MMOVE macros will move a player or missle to a specific
point on the screen.

Most of the DOS functions are available to you from your program with
macros named for the function.

For example, to RENAME a file in QuickCode, you enter RENAME 1,
"TESTFILE.SRC, NEWFILE.SRC". In BASIC, you have to use XIO 32,#1,0,0,

Although QuickCode is definately not for the Novice, I feel that anyone
who has a reasonable grasp of BASIC, ACTION!, or other high level
language could easily write programs in QuickCode with out being Assembly
Language experts.  If you intend to write a program, which makes any
significant use of the Atari's graphics capabilities, then I feel
QuickCode is the logical choice.

For more information about QuickCode, contact:

                              Stardust Software
                              P.O. Box 33192
                              Indianapolis, Indiana, 46203.
ZMagazine    Issue #113    July 4, 1988
Copyright (c)1988 APEInc/Ron Kovacs/SPC
All Rights Reserved

Return to message index