Z*Magazine: 27-Jul-88 #116

From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 07/29/93-10:00:08 AM Z

From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
Subject: Z*Magazine: 27-Jul-88 #116
Date: Thu Jul 29 10:00:08 1993

                         WEDNESDAY  JULY 27, 1988
                                ISSUE #116

                       ATARI 8 BIT NEWS AND REVIEWS
                  American Publishing Enterprises, Inc.
                            Post Office Box 74
                       Middlesex, New Jersey 08846
      Ron Kovacs     R.F. Mariano      John Deegan     Gary Gorski

       (201) 343-1426         (216) 784-0574        (904) 786-4176

Available Exclusively on:*  CompuServe  *  GEnie  *  Delphi  *  Source  *
                           <Table of Contents>

(*) Deegans Desk                  (*) Readers Response to ZMag Issue #112
(*) Atari News and Rumors         (*) ALFcrunch Documentation
(*) Null Modem Adaptor Mod        (*) Color Radar Viewing
                          (*) The ZMag Workbench
                               DEEGANS DESK
                         (A Word From The Editor)

This week we include an article written by Jim Stiles which takes a look 
at another side of the Carina II debacle you have been reading about over 
the last few weeks.  I hope after reading this last installment on the 
topic, everyone will feel the we have covered all sides on the matter.

Please let us know your thoughts on ZMagazine and ST-Report going to hard 
copy format.  Respond on the services via email or on the BBS systems 
listed above.  Your input is important!!

Views presented in this magazine are those of the author and not 
necessarily those of ZMagazine or the staff of APEInc.  Opposing points of 
view are welcome and appreciated.

For the latest ST News, Reviews and commentary, read ST-REPORT Magazine.

Readers Response         by Jim Stiles
This article Copyright (c)1988 Jim Stiles.  DO NOT Reprint or Duplicate 
without written consent of the author.  Authorized for duplication in 
APEInc publications only.

In response to the recent personal attacks on Ron Kovacs for his experiences
in running the various BBS programs around, I feel a compulsion to put in
my two cents.  I have no axe to grind, no programs to sell, and am not
beholden to anyone.  I do not run a BBS, but have been associated with
several over the years in various capacities.

HA!!  What's this guy know?  I know that IF I should ever decide to put up
a BBS, I will value honest opinions as much if not more than the obvious
hype I have seen plastered around on the services and other BBS's.  It
doesn't seem to me that Ron tried to cover up any information at all.  He
gave us enough data to decide for ourselves how much weight each of his
opinions should have.  I should hope that we are mature enough(computer-
wise) and intelligent enough to make up our own minds.  It seems to me that
both Bill B. and Larry M. doth protest too much!  After reading Zmag114,
I am appalled at the tactics used by these two 'gentlemen'.  I see their
rantings and ravings around on different boards.  I wonder what they are
selling?  It would seem that THEY have taken Ron's commentary personally.
Ron's Publications have never, to my recollection, "attacked" anyone-only
situations or actions which were not for the betterment of Atari users.

As for Ron's "hardware problems", I called his BBS several times a week
during the last 3-4 weeks it was up.  I can attest to the fact that it was
disconnecting me.  99% of the time it was when I was moving from one base
to another.  Now, according to our 'experts'these were caused by modem/850
...it strikes me as more than a little odd that 99% of the time I would
get disconnected when these were not doing anything more than waiting for
data from the program?  AHHHH! It was that darn MIO.  Hmmm...it would be
using the HD between bases!!  Nope.  I called back immediately via ma bell
and got reconnected.  Sometimes I would be where I was when I got
disconnected.  Mostly, however, I had to suffer thru ALL the pre-disconnect
msgs each call.  Now, this isn't MIO fodder-this is not a lock-up.  Never
had a lock-up or disconnect while uploading or downloading numerous files.
Interesting stuff that we have here-it only breaks when it is not being
talked to!  Gee, it happened with all the stuff Ron used!  Gentlemen, I
am not convinced.

Someday, I may decide to put up a BBS.  If I do, I will be using what I
have now.  I will not go out and buy state-of-the-art HD's and controller
board.  So, what I would like to know is how tolerant is the structure and
programming of all the BBS programs?  I will base my purchase on known
problems, chats with Sysops, and how well and openly the program is
supported.  It is very nice that a BBS will run on new state-of-the-art
hardware, but that is not reality.  Things do trip and stumble now and
then, especially when it is used-that, Messrs. Brown and Mihalik is MY
reality!  Now, Larry states that Ron was using an old eprom...interesting
how he knows this?  Is he telepathic?  As far as I know, ICD is shipping
Vers 1.1-that is what mine is-new this year!  Is he saying ICD is shipping
junk to us normal people?  Is he telling me he has a 'better' or "newer"
version?  Now, I happen to be an ardent supporter of ICD.  Perhaps you
gents are 'special' and get early, unreleased, pre-leased...etc. stuff
that we 'others' don't get?  If so, more power to you!!  However, don't
start attacking others who are not privy to what you are.

You both allude to problems of various kinds.  You both claim to have
known Ron for years.  If you haven't helped, then you are part of the
problem (if there is one).  You guys both have all the answers and fixes.
You run around uploading (newer?) files to other Sysops with problems. 
That you are so helpful in this vein is commendable.  But one of you says
you don't want to know anything about what equipment Ron has (had)--sounds
REAL helpful to me!  Another of you left messages to someone running Carina
I saying you can't expect support for THAT one anymore...there is a new
one, BUY IT!  Sounds like a real good support system in place to me!  If
you both want to HELP the Atari cause, why don't you each take 1% of the
time and energy you have spent attacking and write up fixes for MIO/modem
/hd/850 problems, huh?  That would be a constructive and positive thing.
C'mon, guys, you probably have made some fixes/mods to your stuff. Pass it
on, or YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM!  The Atari community has ALWAYS been
one of sharing of information.  Neither of you gentlemen should be saying:
"Ha, I got the fix, now you find it!"

Perhaps Ron did try and get Jerry via telephone.  Let's see, Jerry just
hired on with ICD (Yay!!!).  Maybe Jerry was not home to help?  Maybe he
was gone for weeks?  Maybe his answering machine stopped taking messages?
Wouldn't you get aggravated(if you weren't "Spay-shell"). Ya darn right ya
would.  I would imagine that I would have written a lot more ugly than Ron
under those circumstances!!

I just got the August Computer Shopper.  In Note & Point by John Nagy, he
gives kudos to Ron Kovacs for his efforts.  I agree in quadruplicate!!
 While others have spent their time and $$$ in getting better and newer
equipment, Ron had a vision and a goal.  So his time and money went into
Zmagazine and ST-Report-for the betterment of the Atari community- a very
positive thing which has helped us all!

I too applaud Glenda, Jerry, Keith, and all others who write, release and
support their hard work!  I have no particular axe to grind with this or
that BBS.  As a user, I get to enjoy them all!

Now, as for Carina II.  I have followed Ron's reviews of it.  It seems to
have a lot of neato things and tremendous flexibility built into it.  I
would certainly consider it among the front runners if I were to go online
soon.  However, I for one, am tired of your seemingly endless belching as
to how wonderful it is.  Ditto your attacks on other BBS programs or anyone
else who has ANY criticisms (whether of a constructive nature or not) of
Carina II.

Now, as far as hard disks on our 8-bits, let's face it-the whole thing is
your basic kludge.  It works wonderfully well most of the time.  But to
the best of my knowledge, only the MIO was designed to deal with a HD.
Maybe SpartaDos 3.2 was written with a HD in mind, maybe it just happens
to work with them.  I don't know the facts on the why and how of its
history.  The OS was not written with a HD in mind, if it were, it would
be a little smoother.  Now it seems to me that anyone who writes a program
that is HD intensive HAS to take any short-comings or glitches that
potentially exist in the REAL world of the utilities (spelled dos), and
the hardware (spelled MIO/HD/850/modem).  It seems to me that the first
Beta sites can be spiffo wiz-bang systems.  That is fine and makes sense
for finding any major bugs.  And this may be the rub, the software should
also be tested on more "real" beta testers.  Hardware hackers if you will.
These guys would be the ones who pick up a used HD here and a "whatsit"
controller there.  He puts it together with a power supply in a case-and
it all works fine.  Maybe I am all wet, but many (most) of those I know
have gone this route to varying degrees.  It seems to me that this guy
might give some in-sight on things to watch out for. If problems occur, he
would be more thorough and knowledgeable in gathering data in case of
problems.  It seems to me that software has to consider any limitations it
must deal with-whether in the dos or the hardware.  The entire chain is
only as strong as its weakest link.  Sure, broken is broken, and used
means it MAY have limitations--that is reality.  Not everyone can afford
or desires to throw money at limitations and make them go away.  When you
do so, you haven't FIXED the PROBLEM, you have just made it go away from
you.  This is fine for you, the individual, but what about the rest of us?
Is it all JUNKY equipment?  IF it always gives us problems-yes.  If it
only gives us problems with a specific application--let the readers here
decide.  We can tell what is what if we are given less hype and more
honesty and facts.

I have written this not to attack anyone.  I don't desire a silly war.  I
only wanted to hopefully give some insight into this whole issue, and
bring out some points in Ron's behalf which may have been over-looked or
ignored.  It is easy to invent Fairy Tales if you lose track of where you
are, and where you came from.  It is easy to blame problems on incompetence
or junky this or that.  There are a lot of links in our chains to the HD.
It is very easy to stick your head in the sand and chalk someone else's
problems up to their ineptitude.  Hey fellas, problems don't go away with
threats, attacks, or sticking your head into a gopher hole.  How about
some rationality here?  It is unfortunate that Ron does not have an input
device at the moment-by that I mean an operational, on-line, functional,

and reliable BBS.  Although, I am sure that a call-in would be instigated.
This kind of activity is a dreg on the Atari community.  Let's be
positive and help to fix what needs fixing.  E'nuff said?

Atari News and Rumors
From the Dateline BBS  718-648-0947

by Curtis Vendel

News from the rumors mill.

Well, things have on an upswing for the 8bit computer systems lately. The
big news is about the 2 new operating enviorments that are scheduled for
release this July and September.

The first is called Diamond(tm) and is a graphics operating system.  Some
users are familar with a piece of software called RAOS: the Rat Actuacted
Operating System which was nothing more than a fancy graphics DOS menu,
not much more.   Diamond on the other hand is an operating "System" or
"Enviorment" that will control windows, dialog boxes, icons, fonts, etc..

In a conversation with Alan Reeve, the author of Diamond, he mentioned
that the packages would costs $29.95, I say packages because along with
Diamond will be a developers kit for designing software which will run in
the Diamond enviorment, also to be released along with Diamond will be a
painting program and a wordprocessor rumored to have multiple fonts.  No
release dates have been set, but also scheduled are several programming
languages and a desktop publishing program.  Alan Reeve is also the author
of News Station, one of the first page designing programs, perhaps the
Diamond Publish program will be a souped up version of his News Station.

And in the other corner of the ring is STjr by Merrill Ward & Associates.
In a brief interview with Mr. Shelly Merrill I was able to find out that
the STjr GOE is a 'ROM' based program.  This will allow 400/800 users to
be able to utilize this software, Diamond unfortunetly uses the extra 16k
of the XL/XE machines.  I asked Mr. Merrill what his company would do in
the event that the GOE cart. has a bug in the software or they decide to
update their package and he commented that STjr carts. would be under an
"exchange" agreement.  However I'm sure there would be a small charge for
an update exchange though.   The GOE cart will have a built in Paint
Program and Wordprocessor.  Support disks for additional fonts would be
sold later.  Also in the works is a terminal program and here is a key
note for XEP80 users, Merrill Ward Associates is working closely with
Atari and will be producing GOE based XEP80 column support, GOE will be
using ADOS and is rumored to also have possible SpartaDOS support (this
is yet unconfirmed).

Both companies have DEMO disks, the Diamond demo is not yet available and
is expected around mid July, the STjr GOE is available right now for $5.00

                                Alan Reeve

Packages are $29.95 and COD orders are being taken now, according to Mr.
Reeve packaging is being done and shipping is expected by July 15

                                STjr (GOE)
                        Merrill Ward & Associates
                          Palm Springs, CA 92262

The final version in ROM wont be available until September, a disk based
version is available for $59.95 and a DEMO disk is available for the first
500 users for $5.00

Speaking is operating enviorments, there was a quick surge of talk about
MTOS (Mult-Tasking Operating System) unfortunetly MTOS only works
effectively on a 130XE with at least 256K and will only allow 16K programs
to run, this restriction might be a big reason why no one has heard much
from MTOS or its author for sometime now.  With hope, perhaps a new
version that could support 32K or more per program would have the MTOS
enviorment quite a bit.   Best wishes and success to MTOS

Sales of the XE-GS are steady and high, sales are rumored at well over
1,000,000 units and Atari is promising harder hitting advertising for its
new 8bit system.  More and more 'new' games have been appearing, they
include Battlezone, GATO, Barnyard Blaster, Crossbow, Commando, Airball
and here's one of interest to Dungeons and Dragons players: Dark Chamber.

Another bright ray of hope at Atari is Nolan Bushnell.  For those new to
Atari's or unfamilar with the name, Nolan Bushnell created and founder of
Atari in 1972 with his first video game called Pong, Atari started as a
$500.00 endeavor and Bushnell sold Atari to Warner Communications for $24

Well Mr. Bushnell has been commisioned by Atari to be a Software consultant
to help design 76 new games for the 2600, 7800, and XE systems.  Now you
say 2600??? They're still selling???  As a matter of fact, approxiametly
1,000,000 a year and there are approxiamelty 8 new titles out and 2 flashy
commercials which can be seen in the afternoons showing off what that 4K
bank switching VCS can do.  The 7800 is doing quite well also, Epxy just
released World Games and Street Games, Atari has several new titles out
for it and more are on the way.

Little unknown printer, for those not aware of it, with zero fanfare,
announcment or reviews Atari released the XDM121 printer several months
ago.  It is actually a superb printer, it puts the 1027 to shame (though
that is not a hard task in the least) the XDM121 produces high quality
typerwritter style printing at a slow 12 characters per second (CPS), its
$159-$189 price tag is a bit heafty but is worth it for the quality print.
An added note for those users who endeavor to dig up any little secrets
about Atari, here's a tid-bit: did you know that if you dig up an old
1983 Atari 2600 games catalog and look at the Soon to come section of new
Hardware items, there is one item in particular: The Voice Commander, the
casing is the exact same case now being used by the 2600jr model Atari
Corp has been selling for the past couple of years.  I know its not much
but some users find it useful.

Ok, thats it for now, more info, dirt, gossip and whatever else I can dig
up as soon as it comes along.  Just remember, things are looking up for
8bitters, keep the faith and keep an eye out for new software and hardware
for the 8bit line.

                         AlfCrunch Documentation
Revised 6/5/88

AlfCrunch is an implementation of the Lempel-Ziv compression algorithm.
Although it produces files that have the same structure as those produced
by the Arc program, the two are not compatible. Arc cannot uncrunch
AlfCrunch files, nor can AlfUnCrunch unarc normal Arc files.

The current version of the LZ/DZ files is 1.2. Versions 1.1 and 1.2 are
compatible, but not with 1.0. If you have 1.0, you should discard it and
use 1.2. The reason for this is that 1.0 used the same header as normal
Arc crunch. Because of possible confusion over this, the header used by
AlfCrunch was changed.  Since 1.0 had very limited distribution, this
situation should not often arise.  For those who wish to be able to detect
the AlfCrunch format, the first two bytes of the file will always be $1A

This latest version fixes a couple of problems with 1.1. When specifying
a subdirectory as the input filemask, 1.1 ignored it and always searched
the root directory. This could be avoided by the use of CWD to switch to
the proper directory. When using ArcView, the filenames in a 1.1 file may
contain garbage characters after each filename. Finally, under SpartaDos
2.3 and Dos 2.0, 1.1 crashed when it was trying to return to Dos.

The enhancements to 1.2 include fixing the above problems and adding batch
file capabilities. Batch file processing is only available under SpartaDos
3.2, as there is some quirk with i/o redirection under SpartaDos 2.3 which
causes the batch file to fail.

When running either LZ.COM or DZ.COM, Memlo must be under $2000. This
should not normally be a problem with SpartaDos, unless you have a lot of
handlers installed. With a Dos 2.0 type Dos (ie., 2.5, 2.6, etc.), this
can be fixed by only having one or two drives defined to the Dos. A
cartridge may be present, as it only affects the size of the buffer
available to AlfCrunch. Maximum speed will be achieved without a cartridge
being present.

Thanks to Robert Ames and the Phoenix for their suggestions and aid in
testing AlfCrunch.

                           Programmer's Aid BBS
                              (416) 465-4182

                            Running AlfCrunch

To crunch files, load LZ.COM. The title will be displayed, along with the
version which should be 1.2. You will then be prompted for the output
filename. This may be up to 80 characters long, including subdirectory

If the output file already exists, it is checked to see if it is an
AlfCrunch file. If the first header is correct, then the new files will be
appended to it. If the header is wrong the program will print an error
message and exit to Dos. If the file is shorter than the header length
(29 bytes), then it is simply opened for normal output, which erases it.

Next you will be prompted for the input filemask. This is what will be
used to select the files. This may also be up to 80 characters long,
including any subdirectory names. Wildcards are allowed. If selecting all
files, the mask must end in *.* .

Finally, you have the option of turning the screen off. Selecting this
option will speed up the program by 15-20%. Once selected, you will not
again be prompted for this option. If you do not elect to turn the screen
off, the program will continue to present this prompt until it is selected.

The program will then select files using the mask and compress them,
displaying the filenames as it progresses. When it has finished, it will
prompt you for additional input filemasks. You may either enter another
mask or simply press return to exit back to Dos.

                           LZ and SpartaDos 3.2

If you are using SpartaDos 3.2, you may invoke LZ.COM and specify the
output file and input filemask on the command line. The format is:

      [Dn:]LZ  Dn:[path>]filename[.ext]  [Dn:[path>]filename[.ext] ]

The square brackets denote optional parameters which may be omitted. The
first filename is the output file. The second is the input filemask.  If
you do not specify the input filemask, the program will prompt you for it.
The program will automatically turn the screen off. When it is finished
it will prompt you for more input filemasks.

To invoke LZ as part of a batch file, the format is almost identical. The
lines in the batch file would be:

      [Dn:]LZ  Dn:[path>]filename[.ext]  [Dn:[path>]filename[.ext] ]
       Dn:[path>]filename[.ext]            <- Additional
       Dn:[path>]filename[.ext]               input masks

The program will read each input filemask, compress the files selected and
continue until all the input masks have been used. You will then be
prompted for more input masks. If this is part of a larger batch file,
leave a single return after the last input mask to force LZ to return
control back to the batch file. Example:

      [Dn:]LZ  Dn:[path>]filename[.ext]  [Dn:[path>]filename[.ext] ]
                   (single return here)
      [Dn:]LZ  Dn:[path>]filename[.ext]  [Dn:[path>]filename[.ext] ]
                   (single return here)

At the end of this, you will be left at the Dos prompt. Because of the way
i/o redirection is handled, an alternative form is available:

 Dn:[path>]filename[.ext]           <- The output file
 Dn:[path>]filename[.ext]           <- The input filemask
 Y                                  <- Turn the screen off
 Dn:[path>]filename[.ext]           <- Additional
 Dn:[path>]filename[.ext]           <- input filemasks
 (single return here)

Notice that the Y was only supplied once. When LZ is run in this manner,
it behaves exactly as if you were pressing the keys yourself. If you turn
the screen off, then you need only enter the Y once. If you said N, then
you would need an N after every input filemask until you said Y. Example:

 Dn:[path>]filename[.ext]           <- The output file
 Dn:[path>]filename[.ext]           <- The input filemask
 N                                  <- Leave the screen on
 Dn:[path>]filename[.ext]           <- Additional mask
 N                                  <- Leave the screen on
 Dn:[path>]filename[.ext]           <- Additional mask
 Y                                  <- Screen off now
 Dn:[path>]filename[.ext]           <- Additional masks, but no Y
 Dn:[path>]filename[.ext]           <- is necessary
 (single return here)

                            Getting Them Back

To extract the files from an Alfcrunch file, load DZ.COM The title will be
displayed, along with the version number.

The first prompt is for the name of the file to uncrunch. This filename
may be up to 80 characters long, including subdirectory names. Wildcards
are not allowed.

The next prompt is the output directory. This is the directory where the
files will be placed when extracted from the crunch file.  If the directory
does not exist, an attempt will be made to create the directory. This may
involve creating a number of subdirectories to get to the last one, so
care should exercised with this feature. If errors occur during the
directory build stage, an error message will be displayed, and the program
will return to DOS.

Auto directory creation is only available under SpartaDos. Under any other
Dos, if you specify a subdirectory, you will probably get a single file
with the name of the first pathname.

Assuming all is well, you again have the option of turning the screen off
while files are being extracted.

The program will then extract each file and place it in the output
directory specified. If any errors occur, an error message is printed and
the program returns to Dos. When all files have been extracted, you will
be prompted for another input file. You may enter another filename or
press Return to exit to Dos.

The situation may arise where the crunch file has been corrupted. This may
occur due to errors during download, or failure of the disk on which the
file resides. There are several error messages which are associated with
bit errors.

                       Msg: Not An AlfCrunch File!

If this message is issued before any files were extracted, then either the
first two bytes of the file are corrupt, or else the file was not created
by AlfCrunch. If the message is issued after several files were extracted,
then the file has been damaged somewhere in the last file extracted. You
may also get the message which is described next.

                       Msg: File Checksum In Error

DZ has detected that the checksum calculated for the filename just
extracted does not agree with the checksum in the header block.  Either
the header block has been damaged or more likely, the file itself has been
corrupted. If the file is a text file, it may be partially correct. Object
file types should be discarded, as it must be assumed they are corrupt.

                            Msg: Stack Overrun

This is an internal DZ error. The file being processed has been corrupted,
and DZ has exhausted all free memory in attempting to extract the data.
The output file produced is incomplete, corrupt, and should be discarded.

                Msg: Extra Bytes At Eof, Don't Add To File

This means that the file has extra data at the end which is not valid.
This may arise from downloading where the last block is padded. Do not add
new files to it with LZ as you will not be able to get them back when you
run DZ again. You will get the 'Not An AlfCrunch File!' message at that

                           DZ and SpartaDos 3.2

If you are using SpartaDos 3.2, you may invoke DZ.COM and specify the
input file and output directory on the command line. The format is:

           [Dn:]DZ  Dn:[path>]filename[.ext]  [Dn:[path>][*.*]

The square brackets denote optional parameters which may be omiited if you
wish. The first filename is the file to be processed. The second filename
is the directory in which the output files are to be placed. Remember, if
any of the directories in the output path do not exist, an attempt will be
made to create them. If you omit the *.*, it will be automatically added
by the program.

The program will automatically turn the screen off, and extract the files.
If any errors occur, the appropriate error message will be printed and
control will return to Dos.

When DZ is finished with the current input file, it will again prompt you
for another input file. You may continue uncrunching files, or simply
press return to exit back to Dos.

As part of a batch file, the form for DZ is almost identical to the LZ
form. Accordingly, only brief examples will be shown:

[Dn:]DZ  Dn:[path>]filename[.ext]  [Dn:[path>][*.*]
 Dn:[path>]filename[.ext]          <- Second input file
 Dn:[path>][*.*]                   <- Second output path
 Dn:[path>]filename[.ext]          <- Third input file
 Dn:[path>][*.*]                   <- Third output path
 (single return)                   <- Return to Dos

The second format is:

[Dn:]DZ  Dn:[path>]filename[.ext] <- First input file
 Dn:[path>][*.*]                   <- First output path
 Dn:[path>]filename[.ext]          <- Second input file
 Dn:[path>][*.*]                   <- Second output path
 Dn:[path>]filename[.ext]          <- Third input file
 Dn:[path>][*.*]                   <- Third output path
 (single return)                   <- Return to Dos

The third format is:

 Dn:[path>]filename[.ext]          <- First input file
 Dn:[path>][*.*]                   <- First output path
 Y                                 <- Screen off
 Dn:[path>]filename[.ext]          <- Second input file
 Dn:[path>][*.*]                   <- Second output path
 Dn:[path>]filename[.ext]          <- Third input file
 Dn:[path>][*.*]                   <- Third output path
 (single return)                   <- Exit to Dos

8 Bit Modification from AtariTech BBS
Null Modem Adaptor

Have you ever tried to transfer files from one computer to another? You
probably connected two modems together, or called yourself if you happen
to have two telephone lines. It was probably a very slow process, unless
you happen to own TWO 9600 baud modems! A Null-Modem Adapter can help
you.  It will allow you to transfer files at up to 9600 baud and not have
to tie up your telephone line.

A Null-Modem Adapter is simply a connector between two computers that
allow direct communication between them.  An actual modem is never used,
so you can use the highest baud rate that both computers can handle. What
the null-modem adapter does is convince the computers that they are
connected to a modem instead of another computer.

Before building your adapter, you need to determine which types of
connectors to use.  Most Null modem connectors use a male and female DB-25
(modem type) connector. If you already have modem cables, you will
probably find that a null modem connector with two female ends will be
more useful to you. This way you can connect the two cables together with
the null-modem adapter and be ready to roll!

What you need:---> Soldering Iron and Solder
               --> Approx. 12" of #24 stranded wire
               --> Cover shell - Shack # 276-1520
               --> Two DB-25 solder-type connectors
                        Female - Radio Shack 276-1548
                          Male - Radio Shack 276-1547
                        (determine which ones you need)

How to Build It:
Full Handshake Null Modem (best):
                     Connector:    A            B
                                   1     to     1 
                      Connect      2     to     3 
                       These       3     to     2 
                        Pins:      4     to     5 
                                   5     to     4
                                   6,8   to    20
                                   7     to     7
                                  20     to   6,8

The pins on the connector are numbered, but remember that the pins on the
Male connector, looking at the solder side, narrow-edge down, are numbered
right-to-left, top row first.  The female connector is numbered left-to-
right!  If this one does not work, and you have CHECKED the WIRING, then
try using the "No-Handshake" null-modem adapter:

Connect the following pins OF EACH connector together:

                       Connect pins 4 + 5 together.
                       Connect 6, 8, + 20 together.

Connect these pins BETWEEN the two connectors together: 

                        Connector: A            B 
                                   1     to     1
                                   2     to     3
                                   3     to     2
                                   7     to     7
How to Use the Adapter:

Boot up each computer with a good terminal program.  For the Atari 8-bit
I suggest AMODEM 7.5 because it can handle BOTH 9600 baud and YMODEM
transfer protocol.

This will give you the fastest possible data transfer. Set both terminals
to the fastest baud rate that both computers can handle.

Next connect the computers together with the Null-Modem Adapter. Following
the instructions of each terminal program, simply set the sending computer
for upload and the receiving computer for download. Remember to use the
same protocol on each computer, it is usually better to start the
receiving computer first.

Basically, that's it!   Easy!

If you have any questions about this or any technical questions about
Atari 8-bit computers, you can call the AtariTech BBS at (813) 539-8141.
We have many files on easy-to-build hardware projects, memory upgrades,
fixes and mods.


by Lawrence R. Estep

                           ***ONLINE VIEWING***

Unfortunately, online viewing of GIF graphics is not available yet, but I
understand that the possibility is being discussed. Stay tuned for further
updates on this.

                          ***OFFLINE VIEWING***

To view the Compuserve Color Radar images, you need the file AT8GIF.OBJ,
and the doc file AT8GIF.DOC, which are both available in Library 4 of the
Atari 8-bit forum on Compuserve. The next step is to download the map.

                           ***GRAPHICS MODE***

To download the latest Color Radar image, type GO COLMAPS at any
Compuserve Information Service ! prompt. When prompted for your graphics
mode, enter 4 for Other.

                          ***NUMBER OF COLORS***

Next enter 256 when prompted for the number of colors your graphics mode
supports. You will then be prompted for your choice of GIF maps. Enter the
appropriate number for the U.S. Radar Map.

                           ***COLOR SETTINGS***

You will then be prompted with a menu that will look something like this:

                             1. Display Map*
                             2. Download Map
                         3. Change Color Settings

Choose option 3 to change the color settings. You will then be prompted
with 6 levels:

                                 1 Light:
                                 2 Moderate:
                                 3 Heavy:
                                 4 Very Heavy:
                                 5 Intense:
                                 6 Extreme:

Next to each will be the default colors. The default colors do not produce
a very pleasing image on the 8-bit. Type 1 to begin changing the colors.
You will be prompted with the following:

                       ENTER COLOR YOU WISH TO USE

                               1 Dark Blue
                               2 Dark Green
                                3 Dark Red
                              4 Dark Magenta
                              5 Dark Yellow
                               6 Dark Cyan
                                 7 White
                               8 Light Blue
                              9 Light Green
                               10 Light Red
                             11 Light Magenta
                             12 Light Yellow
                              13 Light Cyan

I have found that the following colors produce the best image:

                          1 Light:Light Blue (8)
                        2 Moderate:Light Cyan (13)
                         3 Heavy:Light Green (9)
                      4 Very Heavy:Light Yellow (12)
                         5 Intense:Light Red (10)
                       6 Extreme:Light Magenta (11)


After changing each color level, return to the options menu, and choose
option 2 to download the map. This is better than capturing it, because
you eliminate errors.


After downloading the map, you can go offline, and view it. The best way
to view the map with the AT8GIF.OBJ program is to zoom in on various
sections, as a full U.S. image is rather distorted looking. See the file
AT8GIF.DOC for more information on the zoom feature of AT8GIF.OBJ.


If you wish to add titles, the easiest way that I have found is with Video
Title Shop. To use this, you must first write a copy of your GIF image to
disk. This creates a MicroPainter compatible file (62-sector format). This
will then enable you to choose the Load Canvas option of VTS, and add your
titles. This also enables you to chain several maps together in a
continuous slide show.


If you own an Okimate 10 printer, you can make a hard copy of your map by
using the Color Print software that came with your printer, and a color
ribbon. Just load the converted Micropainter file, and choose option 7
from the Color Print menu for Micropainter files.

                           ***EXAMPLE FILES***

The following example files are available in Library 4 of the Atari 8-bit
forum on Compuserve to help you:

*MAPCOL.PIC-This is the suggested color code for the Color Radar images.
*NERAD.PIC -This is an example of a converted GIF Color Radar image. This
            image is of the Northeast portion of the United States, and
            uses the color code in MAPCOL.PIC.

                            ***GOOD LUCK!!!***

If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or complaints, please
leave me an Easyplex E-mail message to user i.d. #71450,1050.  I hope
this file has been of use to you! Watch for future modifications to this
file, as GIF images improve, and new options appear!

The ZMagazine Workbench

This NEW column will deal with interesting modifications and articles for
the 8 Bit Atari computers.  Although the material here will not be 
original, we feel it is worthwhile material for our readers. ED.

600XL Monitor Outputs      by Don Neff
Reprinted from Michigan Atari Magazine
The Project 

   The inexpensive Atari 600XL computer is often maligned as being
inferior to its brother, the 800XL. In reality, the 600XL is a stripped-
down 800XL which can easily be returned to 800XL status.

   The most obvious differences between these two computers are the
600XL's smaller memory bank and lack of video/ audio monitor outputs.
This article tells you how to add the missing monitor outputs so you are
no longer forced to use a TV as a monitor.

   When Atari first designed the 600XL, they intended it to have a monitor
plug in addition to the RF modulator, just like the 800XL.  Later, they
changed their mind and supplied only the TV RF modulator to keep their
costs down.  Luckily for us, they didn't modify their original circuit
board design.  Instead, they just didn't install the components which are
needed to create the monitor signals.  The original copper traces are
still on the circuit board waiting for you to install the necessary

                           Opening Your 600XL 

Gently remove the top of your 600XL and carefully unplug the keyboard from
the mother board.  In the front, right corner of the motherboard you'll
find the part number and revision number for your board. They should read:

                              REV 8A  600XL 

If your numbers are different than these, you may still be able to add
this circuit if your board contains the unused circuit traces described

Take the upper shield off the motherboard by twisting the mounting tabs
with small pliers.  Remove the mother board by unscrewing the two mounting
screws and firmly lifting the front of the motherboard while prying the
case away from the joystick ports.  Remove the shield from the bottom of
the motherboard and set everything, except the motherboard, out of the way.
Look at the rear left quarter of the top of the motherboard.  To the left
of the TV modulator, and behind U19 (a CD4050 chip), you should see a
section of circuit board which is missing some components. The most
obvious of the missing components are transistors Q7, Q8, and Q9.  If you
do not have this area on your motherboard, you can not make this
modification.  You will also notice an area of missing components (Q5, U24,
etc.) located between the clock crystal and the color adjustment pot.  Do
not confuse this area with the one we need. 

Transistors Q7-Q9 were to be the color amps which would have supplied a
signal to a monitor jack to have been located where the channel select
switch now resides instead.  We are going to install the missing
components to create a circuit similar to Figure 1.  The finished circuit
will provide the following output signals to your monitor:

                             Comp. Luminance
                               Comp. Chroma
                               Comp. Video 

                          Installing the Parts 

Make sure you understand the resistor color code so you don't install any
of the resistors in wrong locations.   I suggest you pick up Radio Shack's
pocket color code guide (RS 271-1210) to be safe.  Almost all the resistors
are used for transistor bias and a misplaced resistor can keep the circuit
from working. If your finished project doesn't have a crisp, bright
display, you should recheck all your resistor values.
Install all of the resistors and capacitors before installing the
transistors. This will prevent damage to the transistors by the heat of
soldering other components. 

Notice most of the component numbers on the board are to the right of the
holes they correspond to, when viewed from the front of the board.  Mount
the components according to the numbers printed on your board instead of
the numbers shown in Figure 1. Your actual circuit may be slightly
different than Figure 1, since Atari often used several variations of the
same circuit. 

C110 and R57 may already be installed on your board, along with some of
the other parts, depending on when and where it was assembled.
L12 is a small coil which is not easily obtainable. Make a jumper from a
piece of resistor lead and install it in place of L12. 

When all other components have been soldered in place, you may install
transistors Q7, Q8, Q9 using Figure 2 as an orientation guide.  Notice
that the transistor cases are the same shape as their outline on the
circuit board and install them accordingly.

Gently bend the transistor leads with small needle-nose pliers to line
them up with their appropriate mounting holes.  Do not heat any transistor
lead for more than four seconds when soldering them in place. 


Cut one of the two plugs off of each of the four cables.  Prepare the cut
end of the cables by stripping and tinning the wires.

I removed my TV modulator and used the resulting hole in the case to pass
the four cables through the computer case. I used the ground plane beneath
the modulator as the attachment point for the shields of the four cables.

If you choose to retain the RF modulator, you'll have to make an extra
hole in your plastic case and metal shield to accommodate the new cables. 

Pass the cables through the hole in the case before soldering them in place
on the circuit board.  Select a grounding point and solder the shields of
all four cables to this point. 

                              Audio Output 

The audio signal can be picked up at the right corner of the channel select
switch as shown in Figure 3. Solder the center lead of one of the four
cables at this point.  Label the plug of this cable as the audio plug. 
This audio signal can be fed to your monitor, stereo, or auxiliary
                             Composite Video 

To the left of the audio connection, near the left corner of the channel
select switch, are two more solder pads, as shown in Figure 3. One of
these pads has a thin trace running over to R137 and the jumper you
installed in place of L12.  This is the pad which has the composite video
(combined chroma and luminance) signal.  Solder the center lead of one of
the  cables to this solder pad.  Label the plug on this cable as the
composite video plug. 

                           Composite Luminance 

Label one of the plugs as the luminance (pixel brightness) plug.  Solder
resistor R224 to the center lead at the other end of this cable.  Cover
the exposed connection and leads of the resistor with tubing or electrical
tape to avoid short circuits with other wires.  Leave enough of the free
end of the resistor lead exposed to make a solder connection to the
luminance circuit. 

The luminance signal comes from the emitter of Q6 and can best be picked
up at the junction of R124 and R125, as shown in Figure 1.  Locate R124
and R125 on the circuit board (near the jumper you installed for L12) and
use a VOM to determine which lead of R124 is connected to R125. That lead
of R124 is the attachment point for R224 (on the luminance cable).  Loop
the free lead of R224 around the lead of R124 (which connects to R125) and
solder them together. 

                            Composite Chroma 

Label one of the plugs as the chroma (pixel color) plug.  Solder resistor
R223 to the center lead at the other end of this cable. Cover the exposed
connection and leads of the resistor with tubing or electrical tape to
avoid short circuits with other wires.  Leave enough of the free end of
the resistor lead exposed to make a solder connection to the chroma circuit.
The chroma signal comes from the emitter of Q9 and can best be picked up
at R136, as shown in Figure 1. Locate R136 on the circuit board (near the
jumper you installed for L12) and determine which end is grounded and
which is not. The ungrounded lead of R136 is the attachment point for
R223 (on the chroma cable).

Loop the free lead of R223 around the ungrounded lead of R136 and solder
them together. 

                           Monitor Connections 

All of the input jacks on your monitor should have an identifying label
near them.  If they don't, refer to your owner's manual for their function
and label them yourself. 

Connect the audio plug to the audio jack of your monitor.  The cables
specified in the parts list have standard phono plugs attached to them. 
If your monitor uses a phone jack for its audio input, you'll have to
change the audio cable plug or use a phono-to-phone plug adaptor (RS# 274
-320 or 274-359). 

If your monitor offers you a choice between using video input or split
chroma/luminance input, always use the split chroma/luminance inputs to
get the best screen display.  The composite video signal is a mixture of
the chroma and luminance signals.  This mixture of signals must be separated
by the monitor before the signals can be used to create the screen display.
The separation process is not always successful and the resulting screen
display is often fuzzy  and dull. The split chroma/luminance signals
provide a sharp, colorful screen display, second only to an RGB or TTL
monitor (neither are used in the Atari 8-bit world). 

If your monitor offers only a composite video input,  you are going to have
to accept the fact that your screen display will not be sharp.  In fact,
the fuzzy display of a TV, when used as a monitor, is a result of the
composite video signal from the RF modulator.  If you're using your
computer for wordprocessing, this fuzziness can be hard on your eyes.
However, when wordprocessing, or in other applications where your don't
mind a monochrome display, you can plug the luminance plug into your video
jack and have a very sharp display.

                            Color Adjustment 

Boot your computer with Basic and get a clear screen with the "READY"
prompt displayed.  Set the color controls on your monitor at their midpoint
of travel. Adjust the color pot, R43 (lower left corner of the circuit
board), to obtain a deep blue screen with bright white letters.  If the
letters are slightly blue, you have turned R43 too far. 

Once the color has been adjusted to suit your tastes, your can reassemble
the console and enjoy your improved screen display. 

                                Parts List

            Number     Part        Radio Shack #             
             --        4 Cables     42-2309 
            C110,113   100pf cap   272-123 
            C111       4.7pf cap   272-120 
            C112        .001uf     272-126 
            L12        Jumper        ---- 
            Q7,8,9     MPS3904     276-2016 
      R57,129,131,132  1K ohms     271-1321 
 R124,136,137,223,224  100 ohms    271-1311
            R128*      4.7k ohms*  271-030 
            R128*      6.2k ohms*  271-025 
            R133       3.3k ohms   271-1328 
            R134       10k ohms    271-1325 
            R135       220 ohms    271-1313 
            R138        3k ohms    271-1328 
            R139       4.7k ohms   271-1330  
                                * Connect in series to form R128

(ED.) Figure statements referenced in this article could not be duplicated 
for inclusion in this article.  However, If you are interested in a 
reprint of the article complete with the figures included, you may write 
to the following address:

                           Unicorn Publications
                         Michigan Atari Magazine
                           3487 Braeburn Circle
                           Ann Arbor, MI  48108

Please indicate that you want the reprint on the 600XL Monitor modification.

          ZMAGAZINE ISSUE #116   JULY 27, 1988   (C)1988 APEInc
                           ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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