Z*Magazine: 23-Dec-88 #137From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 09/18/93-04:57:20 PM Z
- Next message by date: Atari SIG: "Z*Magazine: 3-Jan-89 #138"
- Previous message by date: Atari SIG: "Z*Magazine: 18-Dec-88 #136"
- Return to Index: Sort by: [ date ] [ author ] [ thread ] [ subject ]
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. SAM TRAMIEL SPEAKS AGAIN! 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 <43> (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 I 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 SHAWN SMILEY <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 ATARI TALKS: NOTHING SAID. REFLECTIONS of a CONVENTION 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 billed as an INTERNATIONAL PRESIDENTIAL CONVENTION, CompuServe had a live 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. RON LUKS ASKS FOR APOLOGY 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 exchange". 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 it. 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 observations. 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 header. FROM THE TOP-SUMMARY of COMPUSERVE CONFERENCE WITH SAM TRAMIEL 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 Station. - 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" price. - 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. ZMAG NEWSWIRE 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. CANADIAN ATARI USERS CONVENTION 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. PRESS RELEASE FROM ZMAGAZINE 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 viruses. 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 California. (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: QUESTION #1 =========== 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. QUESTION #2 =========== 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 question. QUESTION #3 =========== 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. QUESTION #4 =========== 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 question. QUESTION #5 =========== 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. QUESTION #6 =========== 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. QUESTION #7 =========== 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. QUESTION #8 =========== 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. QUESTION #9 =========== What other computers do you now own and/or use? (more than one answer allowed) 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. QUESTION #10 ============ 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. QUESTION #11 ============ 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. QUESTION #12 ============ 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. QUESTION #13 ============ 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. QUESTION #14 ============ 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. QUESTION #15 ============ 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. QUESTION #16 ============ 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. QUESTION #17 ============ 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. QUESTION #18 ============ 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. QUESTION #19 ============ 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. QUESTION #20 ============ 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. QUESTION #21 ============ 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. QUESTION #22 ============ 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. QUESTION #23 ============ 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. QUESTION #24 ============ 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. QUESTION #25 ============ 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. QUESTION #26 ============ 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 _____________________________________ NEWS: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Apr 22, 1988 CONTACT: 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, Australia 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 *************************************************************************
- Next message by date: Atari SIG: "Z*Magazine: 3-Jan-89 #138"
- Previous message by date: Atari SIG: "Z*Magazine: 18-Dec-88 #136"
----------------------------------------- Return to message index