Z*Magazine: 23-Dec-88 #137

From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 09/18/93-04:57:20 PM Z

From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
Subject: Z*Magazine: 23-Dec-88 #137
Date: Sat Sep 18 16:57:20 1993

    SYNDICATE ZMAGAZINE          ISSUE #137          DECEMBER 23, 1988

                         *** SPECIAL EDITION ***
                             Merry Christmas

             Part 3 (Final of a Series)  1988: Year in Review

Editors Desk
by Ron Kovacs

Merry Christmas and many thanks to everyone who supported ZMagazine in 
1988!  Without your support we wouldn't be doing this.  1989 hopes to be 
exciting in the Atari community, with many expectations.  Lets all hope 
for the best.

This issue marks the end of the 2 1/2 years on weekly online publishing. 
We enter into the start of the 4th year will hopes for the continued 
support for the 8 bit and ST.

The next regular release of ZMagazine will be January 1, 1989.  Issue #138 
will start off the year with a few press releases and a special contest we 
know you will enjoy.  Stay tuned for details.

On we go with the news of the year.  We are just starting coverage of 

October 1988

Captured and edited by Ron Kovacs for ZMagazine.  This material is 
Copyright (c) 1988 CompuServe SIG Atari. Reprinted by permission.

% The ATARI President Sam Tram conference is beginning

  Your moderator is Job 11  SYSOP-Ron

(SYSOP-Ron) Hello everyone....

Tonights special CONFERENCE with Sam Tramiel, the President of ATARI Corp.,
will begin in just a few seconds.  To ask Sam a Question, you must type
/QUE to get into the queue.  I'll recognize the next person in line one at
a time. Please keep your questions simple and ask only one question at a
time.  Mark Jansen of ATARI will be typing for Sam tonight.  Does Sam have
any opening statement before we open the floor for questions? (ga Mark)

(Sam Tramiel @ Atari) Sorry for not being available last Monday night.
There was a conflict with a Jewish holy day. There is another Jewish holy
day today but I dared not do it again.  :-) So here we are.

(SYSOP-Ron) thx Sam.  We all appreciate you showing up here to answer some
very nagging questions.  okay first user.

% Moderator recognizes queue #1
  Mark Woolworth <32>

(Mark Woolworth) I really dont want to start out on a negative point, but
here goes.  I was one of the people that was demonstarting the new machines
at the fall COMDEX show last year, and most of these machines were promised
for sometime this year. At least at the prest point I have not seen any of
these machines released. What is the status on them, and when will they be
out in the United States?

(Sam Tramiel @ Atari) You were clever not to mention the model names. At
present I think that we are shipping all the models in Europe, even the
Abaq , to developers. We will start shipping in earnest to the US market
in early 1989, including the st and the line of pc compatibles and our new
members of the ST family. The Abaq is now called the ATW (Atari work
Station) ga

% Moderator recognizes queue #2

(RICHARD MATAKA) Hello Sam...first of all, i want to congratulate you and
your sons and others who have resurrected Atari from an almost certain
death....but, I am still somewhat questioning the support from Atari US.
As you know, there are only a few US publications supporting the ST.  Now
Compute ST has decided to no longer publish and with the questionable
support from Atari, Word Perf Corp seems to have put their product
developemnt on hold.  Also other software 3rd party companies are not
supporting the ST.  How will you convince these companies and others who
may start a company to suport the ST?  What kind of incentives will you be
offering or will you just let everything come out of Europe which is where
the current bulk of ST support is based?

(Sam Tramiel @ Atari) Thank you for the fine complement regarding my sons
but they are only 7 and 4 years old respectively.  I am the son of Jack
Tramiel and Leonard and Garry are my brothers. I am as frustrated as you
are and probably more so. The present problem is that the dram problem is
causing us great delivery problems and we can not keep up with the demand
in Europe and other parts of the world.  We just signed a major deal with
a big Dram supplier and the situation will get better I hope in early 1989.
We will and do support developers all over the world and suggest that US
developers learn how to export which would help themselves and the economy.
I am sorry to see Compute drop the ST mag but I hope that they will revisit
the issue when they see tens of thousands ST's sold monthly in the US.

Last month I was in Germany for the Annual Atari Fair in Dusseldorf. It was
incredible, over 30,000 over the weekend.  ga

(RICHARD MATAKA) Sam, i appreciate your answer but while the support in
Europe,(I agree), is great, here it is another story. As you may or may not
know, I was an author for ST XPress for about a year writing Critics Corner
and the public view of Atari support is quite contrasting to Atari's
version. How will you and Atari hope to change this US view of your
marketing strategy so that support will be forthcoming for the Atari
computer products?......ga

(Sam Tramiel @ Atari) Right now we do not really have a major marketing
thrust as you know.  However, we do think that we have user support and
good in house people at Atari US that are more than willing to help.

(RICHARD MATAKA) Sam, I think that that maybe where your main problem is
user support is excellent however, development support is very very 

(Sam Tramiel @ Atari) with almost any problem.  WE definitely plan to bring
in software from Europe but "development support is very very...what?"

(RICHARD MATAKA) strained..and it is the development people that you have
to win over if you are going to be a serious computer competitor in the US.

(Sam Tramiel @ Atari) We are not strained, and are happy to help anyone. I
am sure once we are selling large quantities in the US, any strains that
exist will disappear.

% Moderator recognizes queue #3
  charles medley <16>

(Sam Tramiel @ Atari) In the meanwhile, export to Europe.
(Sam Tramiel @ Atari) We do, and we like it!  :-)

(charles medley) OK.... I have 3 questions.  1) What is REALLY in the NEW
TOS.  2)  What is the final news on the 68030 TT?  Can a MEGA be used for
it. What is the fate of the 68030 box?

(Sam Tramiel @ Atari) We have already published the details of new TOS to
developers and will do so for the rest of the users when it is released.
We are working on the TT, and hope to show it in early '89.

% Moderator recognizes queue #4
  Michael Lynch <21>

(Michael Lynch) Do you have any plans for an IBM 286 board for the ST line?

(Sam Tramiel @ Atari) No.

% Moderator recognizes queue #5
  Steve Mortimer/NNQ <5>

(Steve Mortimer/NNQ) Many developers and dealers are not going to support
the ST anymore or are on the brink of that decision.  It is essential to
retain what support we have left.  Will you consider advertising to
increase awareness till the "big push" or sign up a national computer chain
stocked with a few STs diverted from Europe?

(Sam Tramiel @ Atari) We feel that advertising without product availability
is helpful in selling our competitors' machines, and therefore, will just
waste money. As far as a national computer chain is concerned, we are
already diverting machines to the US and ship them to our few but loyal ST
dealers. ga

% Moderator recognizes queue #6
  =Bandit= (tm) <13>

(=Bandit= (tm)) BALLPARK Date/Price of new TOS ROMS to USERS?
(=Bandit= (tm)) Who is Neils replacement?

(Sam Tramiel @ Atari) Date:  early 1989, depending on ROM deliveries...
Price - Reasonable.
(Sam Tramiel @ Atari) :-) ga

(SYSOP-Ron) C'mon Sam.  "Reasonable"???? How about a price range?

(Sam Tramiel @ Atari) You know that we are always reasonable, Ron.

% Moderator recognizes queue #7
  Ed Waldorph <39>

(Ed Waldorph) There has been much talk from dealers and former dealers and
employees about the difficulty of making a business selling the ST line in
the U.S.. Much criticism has been leveled at Atari for lack of dealer
support. There is some indication that the situation is changing but in
this entire forum only _one_ dealer has spoken out to defend the company.

What is Atari doing to increase its delear support? How are you going to
increase the delear base? Have you considered setting up a section for
dealers here or over at Genie so they can talk directly to Marketing and
Sevice and among themselves, and encouraging them to use it?

(Sam Tramiel @ Atari) We already have a system for Service Centers, Sales
Reps, and dealers, run from Sunnyvale.

% Moderator recognizes queue #8
  Rex Reade <17>

(Rex Reade) Sam, Why was Mike Dendo [VP-SALES] telling people in Michigan
that Atari HAD 3 soft quarters and needed strong 4th to survive!

(Sam Tramiel @ Atari) We just had three RECORD quarters, and I am sure that
someone misquoted Mike.

% Moderator recognizes queue #10
  Bob Dolson <55>

(Bob Dolson) Why don't you provide an easier upgrade path for memory, drives,
etc, so that the 'poor' owners of 520 STFM's for instance would find it
easier to get double sided drives, and more memory?

(Sam Tramiel @ Atari) It is a tradeoff between cost and upgradability.
Adding the upgradability will increase the cost of _every_ unit.

% Moderator recognizes queue #11
  Joe Fowler <22>

(Joe Fowler) Mr. Tramiel.  We heard a lot about the ST tonight.  I would
like to know what future plans Atari has for the 8 bit line of machines,
the best made on the market?

(Sam Tramiel @ Atari) We agree that the Atari 8-bit line is the best
available.  However, the US market seems to want more powerful machines.
We are selling many tens of thousands of the XE/XL line in Europe, and in
the middle east, and in Latin America. We are trying to push the XE Game
System in the US, as a computer and a game for the same price as the
Nintendo, with an exercise mat.  (i.e. $149)

% Moderator recognizes queue #12
  edward giertuga <28>

(edward giertuga) You folks make a beautiful machine, but your marketing
strategy is scaring the heck out of me.  Have you read David Small's
message (#111539) regarding Neil Harris' resignation?  It's worth reading.
Any comments?

(Sam Tramiel @ Atari) By the way, there is now a fifty dollar rebate on the
XE Game machine.  To be honest, I have not read David Small's message, but

The conference is ending due to a system shutdown.

(Ed)  At this point, CompuServe ended the conference via an unwanted 
shutdown of the area.  After a short pause and minor confusion, the 
conference restarted and continued)

% Moderator recognizes queue #40

(Dave Groves) could Sam answer Ed's query? ga

(Sam Tramiel @ Atari) As I was saying before that "glitch"  I wish Neil a
lot of success in his new job it was a pleasure to work with him over the
years that I have known him.

(SHAWN SMILEY) Are you planning to make any additions to the ST like stereo
sound and speach synthesis?

(Sam Tramiel @ Atari) No comment.  Sorry, but we do not want to promise new
things until they are ready.

% Moderator recognizes queue #42
  tc <3>

(tc) What about the portable ST? Fact or fiction? ga

(Sam Tramiel @ Atari) Fact.  We are working on it, and will ship it as soon
as it is ready.

% Moderator recognizes queue #43
  Steve Mortimer <10>

(Steve Mortimer) Do you forsee any major changes at Atari or the ST market
in the near future? This includes the possibility of a revamped ST based
on new technology like the 68020/30 while remaining ST compatible?

(Sam Tramiel @ Atari) I hope so...we plan for Atari to be number two or
number three in the world personal computer market and we hope to make the
ST one of the standard machines in the US during 1989.

(Steve Mortimer) Any specific plans to achieve that goal?

(Sam Tramiel @ Atari) I would prefer not to comment on details of future ST
or TT machines at present.

(SYSOP-Ron) I would like to apologize, But I just have been informed by Sam
T. That he has to leave in 5 minutes.  He is willing to reschedule another
CONFERENCE in the (near) future.  So Since we have so many unanswered
questions. I dont know if it would be fair to all concerned to let 1 or 2
more go, so I'll just end it here.  Would Sam like to make some general
closing comments in his last few minutes?

(Sam Tramiel @ Atari) Closing comments: I appreciate the support of all of
you, and I really hope that in 1989, you will not be such a minority in
the US personal computer world. It is a pleasure to see Atari so
successful in Europe and I'm sure that with more DRAM as we expect in '89,
we will be able to be successful in the US as well.  Good night.

(SYSOP-Ron) I'll throw the CO facility open to all folks....

% The conference has ended    Thank you for attending

by John Nagy

Yes, ATARI spokesman NEIL HARRIS has resigned.  Known unaffectionately by
many names including "the MOUTH", Neil carried the brunt of "ATARI
BASHING" for the last several years, usually due to promises, timetables,
and products that never materialized.  Neil was in a difficult position,
being told to announce things for political and economic reasons, even
when he knew (and we knew) differently.

What angered many of us was his enthusiastic zeal and razor tounge while
defending ATARI positions that would too frequently be revealed as
embarassing falsehoods or blue-sky vapor.  In some ways, Neil became the
whipping-boy, someone on whom to take out our frustrations with ATARI in
general.  It kept ATARI itself a bit cleaner looking.

However, the communication problem at ATARI is FAR from over. In what was
conference with SAM TRAMIEL, CEO of ATARI Corp.  It was held online at 9PM
EST on October 3.  And it was awful... and goes a ways in this writer's
mind to indicate that Neil was, indeed, just passing on the tone of upper
ATARI, and maybe wasn't as self-taught in his obnoxia as we had thought.

The "event" was rescheduled after Sam cancelled the original September 26
date, reportedly because it was a Jewish Holy Day.  Well, October 3 was
another one, but they held it anyway.  Perhaps it was moved because Neil
was supposed to handle it with Sam... but he resigned 3 days too soon.

When the conference opened, it was announced that "Sam Tramiel, CEO of
ATARI, is here to talk about the future of the ST".  Well over 100 people
were tuned in to read the "real facts" from the top.  Two hours were
allotted for the convention, and the question que filled almost instantly.
We were hopeful.

We were dissapointed.  Some good and wide questions were asked, and were
either avoided completely or narrowed to a yes/no answer... all without
Neil's help.

It is also interesting to note that Sam referred to ATARI machines in the
US as having been "diverted" from their European destinations!

Even the CompuServe Sysops were obviously shocked when Sam cut off the
conference after little more than an hour.  Perhaps we were seeing more
concern over the connection time fees that were to be lost than over the
possible loss of information exchange.  (Consider 100-200 people all
paying CompuServe $7 to $13 dollars an hour to witness the conference...
it MUST have been a financial dissapointment not to go at LEAST the
planned two hours!)

There WAS some actual information passed, although most of it was fairly
old or well-rumored.  Like, there WILL be an ST-Portable... someday.  Sam
says, "We are working on it, and will ship it as soon as it is ready."
Like wine, not before its' time, I suppose.

Sam had nothing at all to say in this conference, and didn't care to reach
out to the real and troubling questions of the users.  And the "event"
gives us a glimpse of what Neil had to go through to be the daily buffer
between ATARI and the public. I am left feeling that ATARI really doesn't
care about what you or I want or need... they have their company, it's
going just the way the want it, and they can't understand why we won't
just let them play by themselves.

I bet Neil hasn't got any second thoughts about leaving.

by John Nagy

Ron Luks, Manager of the the Atari Sigs on Compuserve, took personal
exception to an item in last week's ZMAGAZINE and asked for a public
apology.  While this ISN'T exactly that, our resultant hour on the phone
revealed a LOT of information that helps to explain just why the SAM
TRAMEIL ATARI CONVENTION conference went as it did.

I wrote my "reflections" on the conference, which followed the actual
conference transcript in last week's ZMAGAZINE.  After considerable
discussion about how, in my opinion, there was zero information passed in
the conference, I commented on the unexpectedly early end of the
"Convention".  In one paragraph I conjectured that by the end, the
Compuserve Sysops were "perhaps... more concern[ed] over connection time
fees that were to be lost than over the possible loss of information

Ron Luks felt personally insulted by this, and says that the other Sysops
at Compuserve felt the same.  He called ZMAGAZINE's publisher Ron Kovacs,
who suggested that I call Luks.  I did, and we both learned something from

First, Ron believes that neither he nor CompuServe consider the "lost
revenues" issue to be real.  Ron assumes that the typical user of telecom
services will spend about the same amount of time online regardless of
how or where.  An hour or two spent on the conference is, in this mindset
only time NOT spent elsewhere on the system.  If so, my observation would
be wrong.

My original intentions in making the comment were only as a minor
sidelight to the conference.  I included it after several witnesses to
the convention (myself included) independantly voiced nearly identical

In our extended discussion, Ron Luks admitted to be "very sensitive" on
the costs issue due to the other services in competition with him.  Ron
went on to agree with me that the conference was awful, and even said that
he wished he could make a refund to every person who felt it was a waste
of their time and money.

Ron went on to outline his concept of the convention (and indeed the
entire ATARI SIG system) being a FORUM, and that it was not his role as
moderator to attempt to control or prod the guest speaker.  He thinks of
the CompuServe role in these matters is to provide the place and time and
technical matters, and content is up to the attendees.  As such, Ron and
CompuServe claim no responisbility for seeing that the speaker is
co-operative or responsive to the questions.

Ron has a good track record for advocating ATARI users' interest.  He
pulled a quick (and well attended) conference together that was
instrumental in making WORD PERFECT at least temporarily rethink their
withdrawal from the ATARI market.

In an unexpected and pleasant move to make up for an embarrassing
conference, Ron graciously left mail for all attendees of the convention.
He apologised for the technical foulup that threw some callers out of the
question que and offered to collect and forward all questions that might
have been left unasked or unanswered.  He promises to post ATARI's answer
(or the lack of them) for all to see.

Compuserve's ATARI area remains dedicated to offering the best services
for the money, says Ron, and he has backed that offer up by extending his
signup offer to anyone who reads ZMAGAZINE/ST-REPORT.  From now until May
1, 1989, you can obtain a free introductory kit (including free
registration on CompuServe and $15 of free online time) just by dropping
a note requesting one to ZMAGAZINE, care of the post office box in our

by Michael Brubaker  Editor, O.P.A.C.E. JOURNAL
Ohio/Pennsylvania Atari Computer Enthusiasts

Atari Corp. plans to be number two or three in the world personal computer
market and hopes to make its ST computer line one of the standard machines
in the US during during 1989 according to Sam Tramiel, Atari Corp.
President. (Sam and his brothers Leonard and Gary work with their father
Jack Tramiel running Atari which Jack Tramiel bought from Warner
Communications in July, 1984.) Mr. Tramiel made these comments during a
conferance on the Atari SIG on COMPUSERVE recently. (A transcript of the
conferance can be downloaded from Library 15 on the ATARI16 forum on
COMPUSERVE, or read in ZMAG Issue #126. The conference file is named
SAM-T.CO.) Approximately 95 people joined in the electronic conference
according to Ron Luks, SYSOP and conference coordinator. This was a record
level of participation in an ATARI SIG conferance said Luks.

Other topics of interest that Mr. Tramiel mentioned were:

- At the present time Atari is shipping all of its announced new models
  (unnamed, but presumed to be the MEGA4 ST, MEGA2 ST, PS clone machines,
  and the XE computers) to Europe. It is also shipping its Abaq transputer
  to European developers. The Abaq is now called the ATW for Atari Work

- Atari plans to start shipping the above computers "in earnest" to the US
  market in 1989.

- Mr. Tramiel blames the DRAM shortage for Atari's inability to make many
  of its computers available in the US. He said Atari cannot keep up with
  demand for its computers in Europe and other parts of the world, but
  hopes to improve this in 1989. Atari has just signed a major deal with
  a large DRAM supplier, he said.

- Atari's current low level of advertising and marketing of its computers
  in the US is due to the above noted supply/production problems. "We feel
  that advertising wihout product availability is helpful in selling our
  competitors' machines, and therefore, will just waste money.", he said.
  Atari is already diverting products it could sell in Europe and other
  parts of the world to supply its "few but loyal" US dealers.

- Many of the conferance participants expressed feelings that Atari's
  support for US software and hardware developers is minimal. They pointed
  out that Word Perfect Corp. seems to have put its ST product development
  on hold, and Compute has dropped its COMPUTE ST magazine. Mr. Tramiel's
  answers to these questions were essentially that Atari has lots of
  support available for developers and figures that its planned increase
  in US product availability and resulting increase in sales ("tens of
  thousands of ST's sold monthly in the US.") will attract third party
  development and support for its computers. Meanwhile, Mr. Tramiel
  encourages US developers to export their products to Europe where the
  ST is very popular.  This "would help themselves and the (US) economy."

- Highlighting European and world support for Atari's products Mr. Tramiel
  described recently attending the Annual Atari Fair in Dusseldorf,
  Germany. Over 30,000 people attended the show in one weekend! Also,
  Tramiel said "we are selling many tens of thousands of the XL/XE line in
  Europe, and in the Middle East, and in Latin America. Atari plans to
  bring European ST software into the US market.

- Atari appears to have few plans for further major support of the 8 bit
  computer line in the US. Atari perceives that "the US market seems to
  want more powerful machines." They are marketing the XE Game System in
  the US as a combination game system/computer. Their marketing positions
  the XEGS at the same price as a Nintendo system with an exercise mat.
  Atari is now offering a $50 rebate on the XE Game System which prices
  it at $99.

- Regarding new ST products and beyond Mr. Tramiel said that a portable ST
  model is being worked on and will be shipped as soon as it is ready.
  Atari is also working on a 68030 TT computer. Mr. Tramiel made no
  further comments about the TT except "it will knock your socks off!"
  Atari has no plans for an IBM 286 type board for the ST line.

- The new ST TOS ROMS should be available in early 1989 at a "reasonable"

- Atari has just had three RECORD profit quarters. Mr. Tramiel attributed
  reoprts that Mike Dendo [VP-SALES] had told people in Michigan Atari had
  just had three soft quarters and needed a strong fourth quarter to
  survive to misquotes.


Daisy Dot 3

#: 216001 S5/Application pgms    26-Oct-88  20:44:29
Sb: #Daisy-Dot 3 in works
Fm: ROY GOLDMAN 72347,3705
To: All

I've got some good news:  I've started Daisy-Dot 3!  I'm working on the
new font editor first -- this is the time to make suggestions.  Any ideas
for more editing commands?  How about Koala Pad support?  Let's hear ya!

If you're wondering why a new font editor is even needed, there's a good
reason (which of course I'll keep a surprise!)

Release for DD3 is a long way off and I don't want to make any release
predictions now.  But I'll keep everyone updated!
            Roy Goldman

ZMAG NEWSWIRE: November 1988

SUNNYVALE (NOV 1) USA Today: Atari reported they will be giving credit for
purchasing Atari cartridges. They are sold presently at a cost of $10 to 
$30 each.  Also stated in the article, Atari will give prizes and give 
away a two week vacation. If this expirement works, they will continue
this promotion as a way of luring more people to purchase Atari products.

COMDEX UPDATE: (NOV 6): Atari failed to register on-time for the Comdex 
preview.  (Ed. Hope this isn't s sign of things to come.) The Laptop seems 
to be the highlight scheduled along with desktop publishing displays.

ZMag Special Report

"The First Canadian Atari Users Convention": In the Promised Land
By Anthony L. Robinson (CHAOS, Michigan)

It was a cool day in Toronto, but for the Atari enthusiast it was a
beautiful day.  It was the "First Canadian Atari Users Convention". Over
fifty booths of nothing but Atari hardware and software of every kind.
There was even a 260 ST on display at one of the user group tables.  The
convention, open from 10am-6pm, had nearly 700 show-goers in attendance
by 1:30 in the afternoon.  The place was packed!  A great beginning for a
great show.

Many well supplied dealers and user groups were there for the curious and
seeking, even a few programmers, but most important presence for many was
the Atari (Canada) Corporation.  Business was swift and rewarding for all
in attendance.  Inquiries received demonstrations, and questions were
given real answers.  On the hardware end there were no such thing as
shortages or unavailability of products, practically everything that Atari
has manufactures in computers was on hand - in great quantities.  Atari
support, both from the company and from the users, was clearly evident.
While at the Atari booth, it seemed like the only feelings of doubt or
overall complaint came from the U.S. attendees.

Conversations with the Atari representatives revealed several new 
developments, and responses to many current speculations.  Although the
representative was not free to announce all the facts (a privilege
reserved for those at Comdex), he did talk about things in general.  We
can expect to see new products (ie...machines) to start coming out shortly
after the first of the year.  One of the computers coming will be a 68030
chip-based ST.  It will be endowed with enhanced graphic resolution, a
stereo chip, more colors, and the new TOS.  It will remain completely
compatible with existing ST software via the ability to load in old TOS,
and it will support Unix in the same manner.  A '30 upgrade for current
ST's is being worked on, but may prove to be unfeasible due to the amount
of reworking that seems to be necessary.

Other goodies to be released will include a portable laptop ST, a "Amiga
Beater" ST (not the 68030 one!), and later, a ST based game machine -
currently incompatible, but still under development.  On a lighter note,
ST owners can also be on the lookout for a new light gun of the ST, as
well as some new games to utilize it.  The gun will basically be the same
as the design currently available for the XE game system (let's hope the
aim will be better!).  One of the games to use the new gun will be
"Crossbow", already available on several other computer systems.

Another topic that came up was the company's image as a business company
or game company.  One of the attending users apparently felt that Atari
was wrong to show the ST running games in its advertising.  The Atari rep.
said that there was nothing wrong with it.  In fact, he said that Atari
was interested in showing the business side of the Atari, but was not
trying to kill the game side at the same time.  Almost half of Atari's
profit last year was from the games.  When challenge with the low ratio
of games available for IBM, the representative countered with statistics
that almost 65% of the software available for the IBM was game oriented.
Obviously, Atari wants to have something to offer for everyone.

Further talk with the Atari rep. included references to Atari's efforts to
encourage third party programmers to stick with the U.S. market till they
get more ST's out in the U.S. (ST's are doing great in the UK and Europe,
approaching around 200,000 ST's in the UK alone by Christmas!).
He recited that they've already had success in this activity with
programmers such as Epyx, Electronic Arts, and several others with more to
come.  He stated that all the ST will remain as upwardly compatible as
possible, to help insure a long and happy life for the computer line.
Another activity that Atari is conducting is the importation of european
software to this side of the ocean.  This brings hot, new titles to the
users and helps show U.S. programmers what's being done in Europe on the
ST - yet another market waiting for more Atari titles.

Indeed, most Canadian Atari users seemed very happy with their machines
and its creator.  With plenty of dealers, products, and availability
backed-up with plenty of advertising and promotions, its easy to
understand all the positive and enthusiastic feelings found at the
convention.  To an American, it felt like being in the "promised land"
(imagine what being in the UK must be like! Nirvana!?).  Atari (U.S.) is
promising to bring this "land" to the States.  If Toronto is just a taste
of paradise, it was a taste that should become a regular meal for every
Atari user everywhere.


Effective November 17, 1988:

ST-Report Magazine is no longer affiliated with ZMagazine. ST-REport is
now under the control of ST-Report Inc.

For the last 4-5 months Ralph Mariano has been solely responsible for the
content of ST-Report.  What began as my solo project, ST-Report became a
joint venture in June 1988.  Since that time, my involvement with ST-
Report has steadily declined to a non-active status.

With my status as non-participant, I can neither comment nor defend ST-
Report in the midst of several controversies surrounding it.  I take this
opportunity to formalize the separation of ZMagazine and ST-Report, a
separation which has been informal for some time. Please direct questions
of ST-Report solely to Ralph Mariano.

ZMagazine will continue to provide weekly online magazines as we have been
for the last 3 years.

Ron Kovacs-Publisher 
Syndicate Publishing

ZMAG NEWSWIRE:November 1988

Anti-Virus Law Proposed in Michigan

Michigan state lawmakers are considering a proposal that would impose 
penalties against anyone convicted of creating or spreading computer 

This proposal came to light based on the virus attack earlier this month 
on military and research computers linked by ARPANET and other computer 
networks.  Luckily, this virus did not cause any damage other than down 
time to all involved.

Comdex Opens

As stated in the top of this weeks edition, we are covering Comdex related 
news in most of the article presented this week.  Comdex opened last week 
celebrating it's 10th anniversary, with a speaker stating a "customer 
revolt" is changing the computer industry.

More than 100,000 people attended, making this the biggest Comdex showing 
to date.  Some 1,700 companies exhibited with displays covering 1.75 
million square feet.

NeXt Computer Finds Site

Steve Jobs' 170-employee NeXT Inc. has picked Redwood City, Calif., a site
on the San Francisco Bay, for its new, expanded headquarters. NeXt which
announced its first computer last month, has signed a five-year lease with
an option until 1999 for 164,000 square feet of new office and research
and development space. The site will include six one- and two-story
buildings constructed on a landfill area known as Seaport Centre.

Atari's Holiday Promotion

Hoping to regain superiority in the video game market, Atari has unveiled
a holiday promotion that offers free game cartridges to buyers of Atari
video game systems and software.

The "Atari Holiday Bonus Software Program" lets consumers who purchase an
Atari 2600 or 7800 game system between November 21 and December 31 receive
a bonus of two free game cartridges direct from Atari. Current game system
owners who buy any two Atari game cartridges during that time will get one
cartridge free.

Through December 31, Atari is offering a $50 consumer rebate on the
purchase of the Atari XE. In addition, the company will continue to offer
consumers prizes for buying Atari games through the "Atari Advantage
Collector Program." Consumers who buy five games can receive a free Atari
Advantage T-shirt. Those who purchase 15 games will receive one free
cartridge. Consumers who buy 25 games are entitled to a reduced price on
an Atari 7800 or XE game system or peripheral, plus a chance for the Atari
Advantage Grand Prize -- a seven-day expense-paid trip for two to

(MICHTRON Update):  GFA Systemtechnik informed MichTron in September that
they intended to begin marketing all their products, world wide, by
themselves. GFA was going to start a new company in the USA called GFA
U.S.A.  Hearing this, HiSoft approached MichTron about publishing their
products in the United States.

After evaluating HiSoft BASIC and DevpacST, MichTron felt that these
products were superior to the GFA products, and signed an agreement to
publish several HiSoft products on both the ST and the Amiga.

Recently GFA's efforts to open a U.S. office were delayed. MichTron will
continue to sell and support GFA products, including GFA BASIC, until
such time as GFA U.S.A. is established.

DevpacST Version 2.0, the world famous assembler for the Atari ST, will
be launched by MichTron on December 1st at a price of $99.95. HiSoft
BASIC, an extremely powerful Microsoft and ST BASIC compatible BASIC
Compiler, will be released on December 1st at a price of $79.95. HiSoft
Power BASIC, an enhanced version of HiSoft BASIC for the serious
programmer, with debugging tools and extended libraries will be introduced
December 15th at a price of $159.95.

As a special offer, any owner of GFA BASIC will be able to purchase a copy
of either HiSoft BASIC or Power BASIC at 1/2 price.  Further details of
this offer will be announced later.

 Gordon Monnier,  President,  MichTron Inc.

GEnie Survey Results
Well, the results are in from the Atari 8-Bit RoundTable survey!  They
are, to say the least, interesting.

Here are the results, by question:

What is your age group?

  15 and under      2%    9 users
  16 to 20          7%   31 users
  21 to 30         27%  120 users
  31 to 40         45%  203 users
  41 to 55         18%   80 users
  56 to 65          3%    3 users
  66 and over       0%    1 user

As you can see, the vast majority of the users are between 21 and 55 years
old.  98.5% of the users answered this question.

What is your sex?

   Male             98%  439 users
   Female            2%   10 users

Well, not many ladies in our midst. 98.9% of the users answered this

What Atari 8-bit computer do you use most often?

   400               0%    1 user
   800               9%   42 users
   600XL             0%    0 users
   800XL            36%  164 users
   1200XL            1%    6 users
   130XE            53%  237 users

As this shows, the majority use the 130XE machine.  Also, from this, we
can see that 90% of the users have 64K of RAM or more because the 800XL,
the 1200XL, and the 130XE are all 64K+ machines.  99.1% of the users
answered this question.

What disk drive do you use most often?

   Atari 810           5%   21 users
   Atari 1050(stock)  38%  170 users
   Atari 1050(mod)    37%  166 users
   Percom              3%   13 users
   Indus              11%   50 users
   Other               6%   28 users

>From this, it would seem that the vast majority can handle either enhanced
density or true double density (89%). 98.7% of the users answered this

What is the memory of your Atari 8-bit computer?

   16K               0%    0 users
   48K               6%   29 users
   64K              21%   95 users
   128K             41%  185 users
   256K             21%   93 users
   320K              6%   28 users
   512K              2%   10 users
   1Mb               2%    7 users
   Not Sure          1%    4 users

This data tells us a lot.  93% of you have 64K or more, while 72% of you
have 128K or more!  Only 1% had no idea of what their machine was capable
of in terms of RAM.  That means that you are a knowledgable lot!  99.3%
of the users answered this question.

What modem do you use?

   Atari 1030/XM301  31%  140 users
   Atari SX212       15%   95 users
   Other Atari        5%   23 users
   Other modem       47%  215 users

>From this, we can estimate the number of 300/1200 baud users.  We know
that the 1030/XM301 and the other Atari will be 300 baud, so that is 36%.
The rest is guess work, but a fair estimate of 1200 baud users would be
in the range of 45%. 98.2% of the users answered this question.

If you use an interface, what interface do you use?

   None             35%  155 users
   Atari 850        21%   95 users
   ICD unit         39%  171 users
   Other             5%   22 users

This has to make ICD happy!  This information, along with that in question
#6, make the estimate of 1200 baud users much better.  97.6% of the users
answered this question.

How long have you used Atari 8-bit computers?

   Under 1 year       2%   11 users
   2 to 4 years      47%  213 users
   5 to 7 years      43%  195 users
   More than 7 years  7%   31 users

That's a lot of people for a long time!  If you multiply this out, you
find that we have somewhere between 1618 and 2445 years of Atari 8 bit
experience in the RoundTable!  99.1% of the users answered this question.

What other computers do you now own and/or use?  (more than one answer

   Atari ST         13%   57 users
   C64/128           4%   19 users
   Amiga             2%    7 users
   Apple ][          4%   17 users
   Macintosh         3%   12 users
   IBM PC           29%  131 users
   RS Color Comp.    2%    9 users
   Large Mainframe  18%   81 users
   None             47%  210 users

The surprizing areas here were the ST and the None categories. Relatively
few Atari 8-bit owners have STs and almost half have/use no other machine.
98.0% of the users answered this question.

For what purpose do you use your Atari 8-bit computer?  (more than one
answer allowed)

   Games            73%  328 users
   Word Processing  72%  323 users
   Home Inventory   21%   93 users
   Telecomputing    79%  354 users
   Business         23%  104 users
   Education        23%  102 users
   Art/Music        28%  125 users
   Programming      37%  166 users
   Other            15%   68 users

This is really saying that not all Atari 8-bit owners actually have a
game machine.  It seems that many use the computer as a serious tool.
99.1% of the users answered this question.

What programming languages do you use? (more than one answer allowed)

   BASIC            92%  408 users
   Machine Lang.    31%  137 users
   Action!          14%   60 users
   Pascal            8%   35 users
   C                13%   58 users
   Pilot             5%   23 users
   Logo              9%   39 users
   LISP              2%   10 users
   Cobol             4%   18 users
   Forth             5%   21 users
   Other             6%   28 users

To me, it was a shock at how few people use Action!.  97.4% of the users
answered this question.

How do you rate your programming skills?

   I don't program   8%   34 users
   Beginner         29%  130 users
   Average          48%  218 users
   Expert           10%   45 users
   Professional      5%   24 users

With all these average and above programmers, you'd think that we'd see
more software coming out for the Atari 8-Bit.  99.3% of the users answered
this question.

In what format do you prefer that files be stored in the RT Library?

   ARC              53%  239 users
   Scrunch           2%   11 users
   Shrink            2%    8 users
   Disk Comm.        7%   33 users
   SCOPY             1%    3 users
   Other format      1%    3 users
   No compression    8%   38 users
   No preference    25%  114 users

So, ARC is the clear preference of the users. 98.9% of the users answered
this question.

Do you prefer that program documentation be:

    Part of the compressed file                       41%  181 users
    As above, but also available as a seperate file   34%  150 users
    As a seperate file only                           24%  107 users

This one is hard to call.  Just about an even split, with the first
having a slight edge.  96.5% of the users answered this question.

What terminal program do you use?

   Express!         72%  324 users
   Amodem           10%   46 users
   Back Talk         2%   11 users
   Home Term         2%   10 users
   XE Term           7%   33 users
   Other             6%   25 users

Looks like Express! is still the leader in term programs.  98.9% of the
users answered this question.

What DOS do you use most often?

   Atari 2.0/2.5    52%  234 users
   SpartaDOS        33%  148 users
   MYDOS             6%   25 users
   SmartDOS          4%   18 users
   DOS XL            2%    9 users
   HappyDOS          1%    3 users
   MachDOS           0%    1 users
   Other             3%   12 users

Hmmmm....Looks like ICD is doing well with Atari 8-bit users!  Ofcourse,
the old standard Atari DOS is still number one.  99.1% of the users
answered this question.

How often do you use the RT Bulletin Board?

   Never            12%   50 users
   Almost never     25%  109 users
   Sometimes        33%  144 users
   Most times        8%   34 users
   All the time     22%   97 users

This tells us that many of the Atari 8-bit RT seldom use the BB area.
Some of the comments that we received might explain why.  Only 95.6% of
the users answered this question.

How many files per month do you download from the Library?

   None              8%   34 users
   1 - 5            52%  224 users
   6 - 10           23%  101 users
   11 - 15          11%   46 users
   16 - 20           2%    8 users
   21 - 30           1%    6 users
   More than 31      3%   12 users

It would seem that almost everyone takes advantage of the Library. Only
94.9% of the users answered this question.

Are you an active member of an Atari User Group?

   Yes              46%  208 users
   No               54%  242 users

Sad, but true.  99.1% of the users answered this question.

What is your occupation?

   High Scl.         4%   20 users
   College St.       6%   25 users
   Computer Pro.    17%   75 users
   Teacher           2%    7 users
   Other Pro.       43%  195 users
   Self Employed     6%   29 users
   Other            22%   99 users

99.1% of the users answered this question.

Have you ever ran a Bulletin Board System on an Atari 8-bit?

   Yes              20%   89 users
   No               80%  363 users

99.6% of the users answered this question.

When you have a problem with your Atari 8-bit, who is the first person
that you contact?

   A friend         30%  133 users
   Your User Group  19%   85 users
   Local BBS SysOp  13%   56 users
   A GEnie SysOp     3%   15 users
   Other            34%  153 users

97.4% of the users answered this question.

How many hours per month do you spend in the Atari 8-Bit RT?

   Under 2          39%  172 users
   2 to 5           36%  158 users
   5 to 7           11%   48 users
   7 to 10           4%   18 users
   10 to 15          2%    8 users
   More than 15      7%   32 users

Only 96.0% of the users answered this question.

Do you find the information in the Atari 8-Bit RT to be:

   Not useful        2%    9 users
   Somewhat useful  50%  202 users
   Very useful      48%  193 users

Sadly, only 89.0% of the users answered this question.

In general, what is your opinion of the operation of the Atari 8-bit RT?

   Very poor         0%    1 users
   Poor              1%    3 users
   Fair              4%   18 users
   Average           9%   38 users
   Good             38%  156 users
   Very good        34%  140 users
   Excellent        13%   51 users

Again, only 89.6% of the users answered this question.

Is there anything that you would like to change in the RT?

   Yes              23%   93 users
   No               77%  304 users

Only 81.3% of the users answered this question.

That is the end of the survey results.

As you can see, in the areas where the users were asked for direct input
on the RT, the number of people that answered the question dropped off
sharply.  This is perhaps due to the idea that the users were afraid to
leave negative comments.  In retrospect, I see that this was not made
clear at the start of the survey, but the SysOps have no way to know who
leaves what answers.  The only exception would be questions like #26
where you have a chance to leave comments.  That goes via GE-Mail, so
your user address is there.  The other 25 questions are totally anonymous.

Most of the comments that we did receive fell into one of two topics....

The GEnie Bulletin Board is bad, or...

Atari needs to do ---------------- <whatever>.

The comments about the BB have been sent to GEnie.

Atari, in the form of Neil Harris, has the comments about Atari Corp..

Let me just say thanks again to all who took part in the survey.  The
data that we gathered from it has helped us set a new course for keeping
the Atari 8-Bit RoundTable on track and alive!

...Marty... SysOp    MARTY.A

Super Dos  Press Release

                    Apr 22, 1988

Charles Cherry
Technical Support
205 Peoria Street
Daly City, CA 94014

SUPERDOS, the most popular DOS in Australia, is finally available in the
United States. It is an easy to use, powerful replacement for DOS 2.0 and
2.5. Although SUPERDOS is more compact than the other DOSes and uses less
disk space, it has several new commands, such as RESTORE DELETEd files
and PATCH damaged ones.

The convenient, high speed menu is available instantly with all computers,
even 400s and 800s (no MEM.SAV, no lost data). It closely resembles DOS
2.5 in appearance, but is optimized for ease of use and speed.

SUPERDOS supports Atari 1050 and 810 drives as well as double density
drives. Automatic density sensing configures SUPERDOS for each disk as it
is used. Copying between densities is easy, even with only one drive.

SUPERDOS also supports 130XE-compatible RAMdisks up to 320K bytes and
Axlon-compatible RAMdisks up to 288K bytes. SUPERDOS automatically sets up
the largest RAMdisk possible and copies designated files into it.

SUPERDOS is NOT a public domain program. It was written in Australia by
Paul Nicholls who retains sole ownership of it. It is marketed in the
United States by Technical Support. If you have not paid for the copy you
are using, please send $20 (plus $1 shipping) to:

          Technical Support
          205 Peoria Street
          Daly City, Calif 94014  USA

(California residents add 6.5% sales tax.)

SUPERDOS is warranted to perform satisfactorily. If you are not satisfied
with SUPERDOS, your purchase price will be cheerfully refunded.

SUPERDOS is fully compatible with DOS 2.0 and 2.5. It even looks and feels
like Atari DOS, there's nothing new to learn. However, it's much easier to
use, and much more powerful. It supports most Atari configurations,
including Single, Enhanced (Dual), and Double density disk drives, Axlon
and XE RAMdisks, and most memory expansions. We are convinced that
SUPERDOS is the most convenient Atari DOS ever created. If you use it for
a week, you'll never want to return to another DOS.

SUPERDOS features:

1.  SUPERDOS works with all Atari  400/800/600XL/800XL/1200XL/65XE/130XE
    computers and the XE Game Machine.

2.  Supports Single, Enhanced (Dual), and Double density.
3.  Automatically configures to the density of the disk in the drive.
4.  Density of each drive is displayed at the top of the screen.
5.  Copy files between different density disks with only one drive.
6.  Automatically finds and sets up largest RAMdisk possible.
7.  Supports 130XE compatible 128K, 256K, and 320K RAMdisks.
8.  Supports Axlon compatible 128K and 256K RAMdisks.
9.  Automatically copies files with .RAM extender to RAMdisk.
10. I/O defaults to RAMdisk if drive 1 is not available.
11. SDUP.SYS available instantly, no MEM.SAV (even on 800s)
12. Short DOS.SYS and SDUP.SYS files leave maximum space for you.
13. RESTORE files which have been DELETEd or left OPEN.
14. Directory can display DELETEd and OPEN files.
15. Automatically TRACE and PATCH to recover damaged files.
16. Single keystroke menu (no Returns).
17. Clear English prompts.
18. Concise double column display lists 40 files at once.
19. Full screen scroll, won't wipe out filename you were about to use.
20. Screen border color indicates type of operation.
21. Use upper and lower case, inverse and numbers in filenames.
22. Adjust the key delay and repeat rate for XL/XE (fast keyboard).
23. Write with or without verify, toggle from menu.
24. A Binary Save that even saves cartridges.
25. Support for high speed transfer with SUPERMAX and US Doubler.
26. Skewed sectors for even higher speed with SUPERMAX.
27. Format disks in any density.
28. Write DOS.SYS and SDUP.SYS or DOS.SYS only.
29. Copy all .SYS files except DOS.SYS using wild cards.
30. True sector copier copies boot disks, skips empty sectors.
31. Option to format destination disk during disk copy.
32. Copy sectors and display bad sector numbers.
33. Copy to and from cassette (C:) using long or short IRG.
34. Display the configuration block for non-Atari disk drives.
35. Enter sector numbers and addresses in hexidecimal or decimal.
36. Handle up to eight double density files open concurrently.
37. Handle up to four double density drives plus a RAMdisk.
38. Easy to change file buffers and drive buffers, no POKEs.
39. Copy from DOS 3 files using one or two drives and wild cards.
40. SUPERBIN - a compact boot program which displays menu of binary files
    and runs them.
41. SUPERBAS - a compact AUTORUN.SYS program which displays menu of BASIC
    files and runs them.

Note: SUPERMAX is an enhancement for the Atari 1050 disk drive. It
provides true double density and SUPERSPEED data transfer. SUPERMAX is a
product of SUPER Products, P.O. Box 507, Beenleigh, Queensland 4207,

Note 2: We have just discovered that the current version of SUPERDOS
(V.4.4) only supports 128K of the Newell 256K memory upgrade.

 Conveyance Courtesy PayBax BBS, Wilmington, DE. 302-731-5558 All Bauds

  Syndicate ZMagazine, Copyright (C) Syndicate Publishing Company, 1988
                                Issue #137

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