Z*Magazine: 27-Jul-88 #116From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 07/29/93-10:00:08 AM Z
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From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG) Subject: Z*Magazine: 27-Jul-88 #116 Date: Thu Jul 29 10:00:08 1993 ZMAGAZINE WEEKLY ONLINE MAGAZINE WEDNESDAY JULY 27, 1988 ISSUE #116 ATARI 8 BIT NEWS AND REVIEWS ------------------------------------------------------------------------- American Publishing Enterprises, Inc. Post Office Box 74 Middlesex, New Jersey 08846 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- PUBLISHER MANAGING EDITOR ZMAG EDITOR SALES MANAGER Ron Kovacs R.F. Mariano John Deegan Gary Gorski ZMAG NORTH HDQTS ZMAG MIDWEST HDQTS ZMAG SOUTH HDQTS (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 DIAMOND(tm) Alan Reeve 312-393-2317 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 619-328-8728 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 million. 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 $0F. 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. Alfred 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 names. 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] ] Dn:[path>]filename[.ext] Dn:[path>]filename[.ext] (single return here) [Dn:]LZ Dn:[path>]filename[.ext] [Dn:[path>]filename[.ext] ] 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:]LZ 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:]LZ 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 time. 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:]DZ 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. Traveler ====================================== ATARI 8-BIT COLOR RADAR VIEWING INFO ====================================== 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) ***DOWNLOAD*** 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. ***DISPLAYING*** 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. ***MODIFYING*** 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. ***PRINTING*** 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 components. 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: P/N:150600008 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 here. 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: Audio 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. Cables ====== 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 amplifier. 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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