Z*Magazine: 9-May-89 #156

From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 09/25/93-04:06:58 PM Z

From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
Subject: Z*Magazine:  9-May-89 #156
Date: Sat Sep 25 16:06:58 1993

                              |  ROVAC ZMAGAZINE  |
                              |    Issue  #156    |
                              |    May 9, 1989    |
                              |Copyright 1989, RII|
                            |This week in ZMagazine|

Publisher's Desk                    Ron Kovacs
Ratty's Rap                         Matthew Ratcliff
CompuServe New 8-bit Files 
The "Freedom Stick"                 Tom Guelker
Microcheck 130XE 1988               Eric "Gus" Augustus
Z*NET Newswire 8-bit Edition        Harold Brewer

                               |PUBLISHER'S DESK|
                                |by Ron Kovacs|

Hello again!  It has been awhile since I have had the chance to sit down and
write for ZMAGAZINE.  Since Harold has taken over the duties of ZMAG, I have
not had to get involved with the daily duties.  I have to once again thank him
for the EXCELLENT job he has done.

This month, ZMAGAZINE starts our 4th year of weekly online publishing.  I
think I can safely say we are the oldest weekly online magazine and we
will be around for some time to come.

Z-ROCK, and ZNET all originated.  Three of the above publications went through
short runs and one is under the control of another person.  However, we remain
devoted to 8-bit news and reviews with ZMAGAZINE and thank everyone for
reading week after week.

If you are new to ZMAG, take note of the issue number you are reading.
There are issues that go back to MAY 1986.  We have covered just about
everything that has happened in the Atari field either directly or by
contributions by our readers.  We have made mistakes, but most of all, we 
have enjoyed producing the publication.

Your feedback is very important to me personally and to the rest of the
staff.  Harold has the responsibility to provide issues that will be of
interest to you.  He can only perform the function best with your assistance.
If you see something we should cover, let us know!  If you have a review or
something to share with the rest of the community, send it in!

As we begin our 4th year, I have a suggestion and need your assistance.
If you are intending of using your 8-bit machine, you have to let your
feelings be known to the people developing for it.  You can make the
difference by voicing your opinion.  Take a few minutes out and write your
thoughts down about Atari and the 8-bit.  Think about the Atari
developers out there and let's start providing feedback.  Send us your
comments and they will appear here.  We can also combine all the responses and
send them off to all the developers.  Is your 8-bit dead?  If not, then now
is the time to act.  Don't let words kill off something that is alive and
living well.

We can make a difference.  Let's have some fun and see what we can do
together to provoke conversation controversy, and spotlight on this computer.

Again, thanks to our long time supporters and all the new ones!

                                 |RATTY'S RAP|
                             |by Matthew Ratcliff|

                         Reprinted from MAY 1989 Z*Net

The 8-bit Ataris are very much alive and well in the eyes of Atari, Chicago.
Yes, I said Chicago.  On my NATO day celebration (McDonnell Douglas
employees get NATO day off, don't you?) I took a 45 minute shuttle flight to
Midway Airport in Chicago.  I then traveled to Lombard, Illinois, about 1/2
hour's drive from Chicago.  The limo (hey, on a vacation day you have to
travel in STYLE) dropped me off at about 9:30 AM after a (thankfully)
uneventful flight.  This trip was arranged several months in advance with
Larry Seigel, Vice President of Software Development.  Larry and Craig
Erickson, Executive Producer of Software Development, spent most of the
day with me explaining their operation, previewing some upcoming software, 
and allowing me some time with the rest of their talented crew.

Larry has a background in pin ball machines and coin-op video games.  He
and Jack Tramiel arranged to open up this software development office last
June.  There wasn't enough room at Sunnyvale for this operation, so it was
decided it would be more cost effective to set up the new offices in Chicago.
Larry has enjoyed a certain amount of autonomy generally not afforded those
who work at the Sunnyvale offices.  This environment seems to be conducive
to productivity, minimal turn over rate (something that is mind boggling at the
Atari Sunnyvale location), and just plain fun.

Larry convinced the Tramiels that software sells hardware, not the
reverse.  Most of the kids playing games have no technical expertise.
They don't care if Atari has the best hardware.  It doesn't sell a single
unit.  What the kids want (ages 6 to 16--the primary market for Sega,
Nintendo, and Atari game-capable hardware) are the machines that play
the hottest video games which are currently the rage in the coin-op realm.

Atari, because of the Tramiels' Commodore background, have historically
looked at the game business from the computer point of view.  This audience
typically owns a computer for doing work at home (about once every 6
months), managing the finances ("right honey"), and playing an occasional game
(99% of the time).  This audience consists mostly of yuppies (ages 21-35)
and more technically oriented teens (ages 17-20) who are into programming.
This group is more interested in the strategy and simulation games, where
the younger crowd finds this junk incredibly boring.

Atari has made the near fatal mistake of "sitting back" and watching what
happens to the game market (where they lost their shirts, before the Tramiels
took over) to see what would happen.  The Tramiels weren't ready to invest in
that fickle, financially dangerous market of video games.  In the meantime, 
Nintendo did a small test market of their machine in New York and,
shortly thereafter, took the rest of the U.S. by storm.

Now Atari is saddled with the burden of playing catch up, and it is Larry
Seigel's team that is working hard to establish Atari as the video game king
it once was.  Actually, Atari would be content with a "strong second", since
there are simply too many Nintendo units already out there.

It takes about a year to take a game from conceptual design to market.
Atari Software Development in Chicago will be a year old this June, so expect
some exciting things at the summer CES in Chicago.

Craig Erickson has a strong background in video gaming, including some of the
hottest titles ever released for the Macintosh.  He has a "Twilight Zone"
twist to his mentality that is a strong driving force behind some of the newest
games under development.  Atari will say "we need a combat game, Nintendo
has 'Jackal' and 'Commando'; we need something like that".  However, Craig
will insist that, while providing a commando-style game, it must be unique,
with a twist that will set them apart and make the kids really WANT THIS
GAME.  In Atari's Viet Nam battle style game, after you shoot some guy in
battle fatigues he will mutate into some pretty gruesome aliens.  I saw the
animations and artwork for the ST and 7800 versions.  This scene will
over-exaggerate the violent component of this game, to the point of being
funny.  This offbeat twist will certainly make it stand out from the crowd.

How about a "golf game" somebody says.  "Sure", says Larry and company, "like
maybe Ninja Golf, you have to kick the stuffing out of someone before you get
to play your hole".  I saw the early alpha version of this software and it
looks very promising.  Don't you HATE waiting for your hole because the folks
on the course in front of you are the SLOWEST people in the world?  Well, take 
your frustrations out on them vicariously through a rousing game of Ninja Golf!

What about a "karate game" someone else says.  Craig, a practitioner of Quan
Moo Chan, says "certainly, how about Rat Kung Fu?  All the fighting
characters are RATS, not some pixelated Bruce Lee imitation!"  I saw the art
work for this under development by Bob Nagel, graphic artist; one of the
newest members of the group.  The concept is hilarious.  I can hardly
wait to play this game!  Craig is working hard to develop more realism in
the animations (by digitizing his Quan Moo Chan moves with a video camera,
editing them into character form on an ST, and then using this for reference
as a game's art work is developed), and add more of a Saturday afternoon
cartoon flavor to them.  His goals are lofty, but the realities of ROM and RAM
space of the machines are limited.  I think the end results will be
impressive, and refreshingly new.

Stay tuned to your favorite Atari magazine.  I will be developing several
more detailed reports of this trip, and the software Larry Seigel's team has
under construction.  Virtually all of these titles and more are in the works
are for the ST, XEGS (and XL and XE computers), 7800 and 2600 systems.
Where is the application software, you ask?  That's not Larry's problem.  The
charter of Atari Software Development, Chicago, is to produce the hot new
games for all of Atari products that people will WANT for their home
machines.  (Yes, there is even talk about porting some of the hot sellers
over to the Nintendo and Sega machines.)  From my visit it is obvious
that Atari fully intends to support the XEGS and related computers, the ST, 
and the 7800/2600 systems for several years to come.

As the new games make it to market, Atari will reevaluate their video game
strategies under the guidance of Larry Seigel and Craig Erickson.  These guys
have some pretty sharp ideas!

  Mat*Rat, (c) 1989, Ratware Softworks

                          |COMPUSERVE NEW 8-BIT FILES|
                           Courtesy of CompuServe's
                           Atari 8-bit Announcements

                               |May 1 thru May 8|

LIB 0 (General):

[76704,41]   Don LeBow
EDIT.TXT              03-May-89 13135

An introduction to EDIT ... the default text editor on CompuServe.

[71450,1050] Lawrence Estep
BCKMGS.TXT            02-May-89 2688

This is the 05/01/89 edition of the Atari magazine back issues listing
from the Atari Scene! BBS (502) 456-4292.

LIB 1 (Games):

[73137,3172] Larry Emery
ARCITY.ARC/binary     08-May-89 10624

This AR City article appeared in the Jan/Feb '89 issue of CURRENT NOTES
(122 N. Johnson Rd., Sterling, VA 22170, (703) 450-4761).

[73137,3172] Larry Emery
ARCITY.TXT/binary     08-May-89 21632

This is the un-compressed version of ARCITY.ARC. Enjoy!

LIB 3 (System Utilities):

[72257,207]  Ray Jennings
RUN.ARC/binary        07-May-89 896

RUN.ARC is designed to emulate the DOSXL RUN command for SDX users.

[73537,3573] Richard Mier
MIOQUP.ARC/binary     06-May-89 7424

Upgrade a 256K MIO to 1 Meg using 1Meg DRAMs.

[72347,1643] Ed Sabo
TKSTK2.ARC/binary     04-May-89 13952

TRACK STACK 2.0:  For Dos 2.0 and 2.5.  Easily transfer Machine Language
programs to the TRACK STACK disk.

[72750,2237] Scott Armitage
JSTC.COM/binary       01-May-89 896
JSTC.DOC/binary       01-May-89 2048

Relocatable memory resident joystick 'mouse' type driver.

LIB 4 (Graphics/RLE/PICs):

[71450,1050] Lawrence Estep
COLRAD.TXT            01-May-89 4280

This file explains how you can view the Color Radar images that are online on

LIB 5 (Application pgms):

[71511,2713] Gordon Granec
FINCAL.ARC/binary     03-May-89 10753


LIB 6 (Sounds & Music):

[71641,1650] Mark Vail
VERDIR.ARC/binary     06-May-89 7680

The opening of the Dies irae from the Requiem of Giuseppe Verdi for the Antic
Music Processor.

[72337,1407] Michael Rothstein
WAYITI.AMP/binary     06-May-89 6678

"The Way It Is" by Bruce Hornsby in AMP format.

LIB 9 (BBS Programs/Info):

[72750,115]  Tony Hursh
FFIND.ARC/binary      07-May-89 63360

FileFinder is a system of Programs for BBS Express! Professional that create a
keyword searchable database of all download files.

[71450,1050] Lawrence Estep
BBSREP.TXT            02-May-89 5888

This is the 05/01/89 Atari Scene! Local BBS Report listing boards in the 502
and 812 area codes in the Louisville,Ky. area.

[71450,1050] Lawrence Estep
LDBBS.TXT             02-May-89 10368

This is the 05/01/89 Atari Scene! Long-Distance BBS Report.

                             |THE "FREEDOM STICK"|
                                |by Tom Guelker|

The "Freedom Stick" (hereafter called "The Stick") is a joystick which is
manufactured by Acemore of China and distributed by Camerica.  A 90-day
warranty is included.  The main unit requires 4 AA batteries (which are not

The Stick can be connected to several different game machines and computers.
I was only able to test it on the Atari 8-bit, but the manufacturer
claims it will also work with the Nintendo, Sega, and Commodore.  Two
different adapter cables are supplied which connect to the wireless receiver.

One of the main features of this joystick is the fact that it is not
attached to your system with a cable.  It uses infrared light to transmit the
joystick functions to the base unit (just like your TV/VCR remote control).
Camerica claims the range of the infrared is about 18 feet, but that
distance is dependent upon the room that The Stick is used in.  Carpeting
and sunlight reduce the effective range appreciably.  It is not necessary to
point The Stick directly at the receiver, as the infrared radiation
bounces off walls.

Upon opening the box, you will find The Stick unit, which measures about 8" by
6.5", the receiver, two adapter cables, and 4 suction cups to allow temporary
mounting of The Stick to a non-porous surface.

On the main housing, there is a joystick in the upper left corner.
There are also two fire buttons on the middle right, marked A and B.  For the
Atari, the A button does nothing.  The B button is the fire button.  Other
buttons are a Start button and Select button, which are only for the
Nintendo.  There is also an auto-fire function switch which, if enabled,
allows continuous firing by holding the fire button down.  The pulses are
spaced about every .2 seconds.  Some games cannot utilize this rapid fire
feature, therefore a switch is included to disable it.  Another switch on the
upper right is the players switch.  If two people wish to play a game, it is
not necessary to have two Sticks.  Moving the switch to "1" will allow
both players to use the same stick, provided the game allows alternate
play (not a "combat" style of play).  If the two players wish to have their
own Stick, it is not necessary to purchase another Stick "system".  Only
the main stick need be purchased, as the receiver can handle two Sticks.
Since the receiver and connecting cables are not required for the second
Stick, I would assume the price would be lower.

I played several games using The Stick.  The feel of the joystick was
very stiff and required excessive force to gain the desired output.  The odd
location of the fire button made it necessary to hold the stick with the
left hand and push the fire button with the right.  Being left-handed, this did
not seem odd, but since the majority of joystick users are right-handed,
this might be awkward.

The response of The Stick was very sluggish.  My scores were much lower since 
I had to force the stick in the direction I wanted it to go.  Click-type 
microswitches are used, and the spring-center mechanism is very stiff.

It appears The Stick was made for the Nintendo, and then the manufacturer
discovered that it could be adapted for other systems as well by adding a new
connecting cable.

The list price of The Stick is about $69.95 which is a very high price for a
joystick considering Atari computer owners cannot use all of the functions.

Overall, I would rate this stick a 4 on a scale of 1 to 10.  I suggest a
"test drive" before purchasing it.

                            |MICROCHECK 130XE 1988|
                            |by Eric "Gus" Augustus|
Miami Valley Atari Computer Enthusiasts

                      MONEY MANAGEMENT FOR THE 8-BIT ATARI 

This is one of those application programs for helping you do one of
those chores that is reluctantly done every month--balance the checkbook.  If
you're like me, it's usually put off until you get several bank statements
or maybe one of those maligned O.D.  notices.  Then it's a 4-hour marathon
using advanced math techniques to get your checkbook to agree with the bank.

Thank goodness for money management programs like MicroCheck written by
Clayton Walnum, which appeared in the February and March 1985 issues of
Analog.  D. R. Johnson later updated MicroCheck for use with a RAMdisk to
eliminate having to swap disks whenever you switched functions.  Later on,
Greg Kopchak (of ACE St. Louis) added a function to keep track of your monthly
budget and keep a yearly summary of your finances for up to eleven
different expense categories.  The latest update included functions like 
check writing, check reporting (so you can do a comparison with your written
check register), and reporting of outstanding checks.

I started keeping my checking account on MicroCheck in May 1986.  Since then
my balance has come out almost to the penny every month.  It's so easy and
straight forward to use that I never even had to read the documentation.

To begin using MicroCheck, boot the disk with BASIC enabled.  Select the
UTILITIES module, insert a blank disk, and select New Disk to create a data
disk.  You'll be asked for your name and address, starting balance, and the
year.  After your data disk has been created you're ready to enter your checks.

When you select the Enter Checks module you'll be asked for the month.  A blank
check with your name and address will be presented to you.  At the bottom of
the screen you'll see your current balance. Press return to enter your
checks.  You'll be prompted for the day, check number, payee, amount, and a
memo.  After entering the information, you'll be given a chance to edit any
field for mistakes. If it's okay, hit return and your balance is updated, and
you're ready to enter more checks.

MicroCheck has four different types of check numbers.  The first is a 4-digit
number corresponding to your written check number, and is incremented each
time you start a new check.  The second type uses DEP for deposits, so the
amount you enter is added to your balance instead of subtracted.  The
third type is AUTO.  This type allows you to enter transactions that occur
regularly every month, and will be automatically deducted from your account 
every time you start a new month.  The last type is 0000 and is used for 
making corrections to your balance or for electronic teller transactions.

Once you've recorded all your transactions for the month and received
your bank statement, it's a snap to balance your account.  Select the
Balancing Your Account module.  You'll be asked for the ending balance and
month.  After the data is loaded you'll be presented with a list of all checks
entered for that month.  Go through your list of checks and press the
asterisk '*' key for each check that matches your statement.  When you've
finished, MicroCheck will search for all returns, outstanding checks,
and deposits then calculate your ending balance.  A summary of the totals will
be presented and if the ending balances match you'll be given a short melody.
If they don't match you'll get a beep and given a chance to try again.  In
either case you can get a printout of all outstanding checks and deposits,
which is great for helping locate discrepancies if your account didn't balance.

Another function MicroCheck provides is the ability to search for a check or
group of checks.  Search criteria can be any of the data fields, such as the
check number, payee, amount, date, memo or combinations of any or all of them.
Any checks matching the search criteria are displayed, or printed if you
selected that option, along with the number found and the total of their 

MicroCheck is a powerful money management program that rivals any 
commercial counterpart.  With the added updates and RAMdisk support, MicroCheck
should satisfy the needs of most people.

For those of you who do not have an Atari 130XE or an XL with a memory
upgrade you'll have to use an older version that hasn't been modified to
use a RAMdisk, or modify it yourself.  This simply involves changing the BASIC
code to use D1 instead of D8 and using a different AUTORUN.SYS to load the
MicroCheck menu module.

Good luck and may all your checkbooks balance. 

                         |Z*NET NEWSWIRE 8-BIT EDITION|
                               |by Harold Brewer|

  In order to reprint the following message from the GEnie Atari 8-bit
     Bulletin Board authored by Alan Reeve and dated 4/24/89, I
     must include this statement:
     Copyright 1989 Atari Corporation, GEnie, and the Atari Roundtables.
     See signup information in this magazine.  May be reprinted only
     with this notice and signup information included.
     To sign up for GEnie service, call (with modem) 800-638-8369.  Upon
     connection type HHH (RETURN after that).  Wait for the U#= prompt.
     Type XJM11877,GEnie and hit RETURN.  The system will prompt
     you for your information.

"Well I just got back from a successful World of Atari Show in Anaheim, CA
where we demonstrated our Diamond GOS cartridge at the show.  I was pleased
with the response we got from the 8-bit community and it sounds as if Atari has
a sincere interest in supporting the 8-bit community with Diamond.

"I also feel that it is appropriate to say that we are severing ties with
Shelly Merrill at this point for several reasons, and that I hope he
honors his business obligations to the Atari community.  I do know that I have
been working with him since early August of 1988 and have not received a
penny from him, and that he has done many things without my approval.

"Lastly, we have completed shipment of all orders of Diamond and Diamond
Paint at this time, and are near completion of Diamond Write which will
be a complete word processor that allows for different styles of text to
be used such as in MacWrite.  I fully expect to have Diamond Write shipping
in 2-3 weeks or at the very latest the end of May (as I get out of school for
the summer on May 8).

"Once again, I would like to thank the Atari community for the warm reception
we received at the show (especially being as we were the ONLY exhibitor
supporting ONLY the 8-bit with no ST software).  I have enjoyed creating
Diamond as much as the community has enjoyed using it, and I do believe that
the Atari 8-bit will survive with Diamond.  I also feel that now I am in
full charge of EVERY aspect of Diamond that there will be less confusion.  It
has been difficult for us over these past few months of development.

    "Thank You,
     A. Reeve

  While perusing the new uploads on both CompuServe and GEnie, a text
     file caught my eye.  This file is entitled:

     "256K MIO Upgraded to 1MEG. using 1 MEG DRAMs" and is by Rich Mier
     from SPACE-St. Paul, MN.

     "Wow", said I.  I wouldn't mind doing a bit of soldering on my
     256K MIO if the price was right, even though this article
     wholeheartedly suggests ICD to be the best place to do this upgrade.

     This DIY price would seem to be under $200, which is $100 less
     than the current upgrade fee which ICD charges ($300 according to
     Craig at ICD).

     But before I started calling for the lowest DRAM chip prices, one
     paragraph in this text file caused me to shudder.  Mr. Mier states
     the v1.1 PROM chip found in 1Meg MIOs (the chip containing all the
     MIO's built-in software) is not copyrighted.  "Hummm...", said I.
     "This doesn't sound right."

     Mr. Mier continued to write that this PROM is necessary for the
     1MEG upgrade, and that if the reader doesn't have the chip, he
     should "copy a friend's ROM".

     A quick call to ICD resulted in two tidbits of information:

     1) this v1.1 PROM chip cannot be purchased from ICD and
     2) this v1.1 PROM chip is, in fact, copyrighted.  (Thanks for
     the information, Craig.)

     So as far as I can ascertain, the only legal way this upgrade can be
     done is to salvage a v1.1 PROM from an existing 1Meg MIO.

     I can only hope that Mr. Mier's future hardware upgrades are not
     so dependent upon such a limited resource like the v1.1 1Meg MIO PROM.

  John Nagy, ZMagazine contributor and writer extraordinare, tells me
     that by his count, 40 column ATASCII ZMagazine downloads are
     "up" on GEnie by 25% and ZMag is now regularly the most accessed
     file for Atari 8-bits.

     One reason for this may be the inclusion of the full range of
     ATASCII characters which ZMag readers asked for in the last ZMag
     Readers' Survey.  John said it nicely when he mentioned the
     current ZMagazine having "...the dressed-up look when viewed on the
     machine it is written for...".

     With close to 5 Megabytes of ZMagazines published, the Atari
     community has quite a nice resource available for the asking.

  Last week's ST-ZMagazine (#19) contains a plethora of information
     for the Atari ST, and a not-so-limited amount for our
     8-bits.  I have reprinted ST-ZMag #19's Table of Contents here.
     Articles which may be particularly suited for 8-bit readers (my
     opinion only) have had their "flag" inserted in inverse

     I urge all those who like to keep up with the 8-bit world to take
     the time to read not only this ST-ZMag, but all that have been
     published (over one Megabyte of information).

            ST-ZMagazine #19 
 (*) Editors Desk by Ron Kovacs
 (*) ZMag Exclusive by John Nagy (Sig Hartmann Speaks at Anaheim
     World of Atari Show)
 (*) ZNet Newswire
     (BBS Operator Arrested, Epson releases new printer)
 (*) Ratty's Rap by Matthew Ratcliff (Reprint from May 1989 ZNet)
 (*) Hardware Review by Allen Lindsey
     (Review of the First Stop Computer $149.00 DS Drive)
 (*) Communications Protocols Part 4
     (Look for the special offering from Hayes in this article)
 (*) Hardware Projects by Mark Sloatman
     (MultiSync and Audio projects)
 (*) Public Domain Shelf by Alice Amore
     (Latest look at recent PD releases)
 (*) FAX Directory -Press Release-
 (*) ZAP Shot -Press Release-
 (*) Spectre Hints and More by WK Whitton
     (Spectre and more..plus special info on Atari Promos)
 (*) Guest Commentary by WK Whitton
 (*) SysLaw Conference Transcripts    
 (*) Pagestream Update 

                     |   Rovac Industries, Incorporated  |

                            CompuServe: 71777,2140
                                 GEnie: ZMAGAZINE
                                Source: BDG793

                         ZMagazine Headquarters BBSes:     
                          Centurian BBS--(314)621-5046
                              Chaos BBS--(517)371-1106
                           Shadow Haven--(916)962-2566
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                                The Pub--(716)826-5733

|                        Rovac Industries, Incorporated                        |
|                      P.O. Box 74, Middlesex, NJ 08846                        |
|                               (201) 968-8148                                 |
|                     Copyright 1989  All Rights Reserved                      |
|    Issue  #156                                                May 9, 1989    |

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