Z*Magazine: 30-May-89 #159

From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 09/25/93-04:12:27 PM Z

From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
Subject: Z*Magazine: 30-May-89 #159
Date: Sat Sep 25 16:12:27 1993

          |  ROVAC ZMAGAZINE  |
          |    Issue  #159    |
          |   May 30, 1989    |
          |Copyright 1989, RII|
        |This week in ZMagazine|

         Editor's Monitor 
             Harold Brewer

         Hard Disk Hints 
             W.K. Whitton

         Crazy-Eights #5 
             Robert Buman

           Interlude 1 

         Kennedy Approach 
             Dennis Pitman

         Guest Commentary 
                Leo Sell

           Interlude 2 

   Z*Net Newswire 8-bit Edition 
             Harold Brewer


           |EDITOR'S MONITOR|
           |by Harold Brewer|

My sincere apologies for the extreme
lateness of this issue of ZMagazine.

The day after ZMagazine #158 was
produced, my family and I were given 
the unforseen opportunity to move into
a larger apartment for the same rent.

The next day, I found I had been
accepted into a new job, with training
to begin immediately.

When it rains, it pours...

So between the longer hours at the new
job and the non-stop cleaning,
painting, tearing-down, packing,
moving, unpacking, and reassembling at
home, the Atari goodies took a back

A common conversation between my wife
and I went something like this:

She--"Don't even look in the direction
      of that pile of computer parts!"


She--"The phone service isn't even
      transferred here yet, so you'd
      just be spinning your wheels!"


She--"But me no buts, and get up on
      that ladder!"


The new job is well in hand, and the
home front is shaping up quite nicely.

The two kids are happy--they each have
their own room.

The wife is happy--she has more wall
space for her needlepoint.

I'm happy--more room for more computer


           |HARD DISK HINTS|
           |by W.K. Whitton|

    Reprinted from ST-ZMagazine #22

Several major drive manufacturers
recommend doing a low-level format on
your drive every 3 months or so.  The
"simple" passing of the head over the
drive media (at roughly 3600 rpm)
causes the integrity and strength of
the magnetically stored information to
deteriorate.  You should backup your
data and reformat several times a year
to insure top notch data integrity.
Always make sure the placement of your
hard drive is such that it is in the
least likely place to get bumped.
Placing the hard drive on its side is
perfectly acceptable and will cause you
no problems, while at the same time may
save some space on your desk.  Hard
drive crashes are the owners worst
nightmare, yet only 2 or 3 hard drive
failures out of a hundred are due to a
legitimate crash (head hitting the
media surface).  The other 98% are
merely failures and are due in large
part to breakdown of the controlling
electronics or power supply.
"Bigger" is not always "better".
Another study has shown that MFM drives
hold up much better than their RLL
compatriots.  The data on an RLL drive
has a nasty habit of deteriorating.
Case in point:  hard drive producers
use basically the same mechanism for
both types of drives.  Seagate has the
ST225 and the ST238 (20Meg MFM and
30Meg RLL), while Miniscribe has the
8425 and the 8438, and also the 3650
and 3675.  The rated life of a 3650 is
35,000 hrs. while the 3675 is only
rated at 20,000 hrs.  Quite a
significant drop isn't it?  Although
the mechanism is almost the same, you
should avoid using an RLL controller on
a drive unless it is specifically rated
for that purpose.
These facts and the many to follow in
the coming weeks we help you keep your
system going longer and give you
insights on purchasing hardware from
the many hard disk manufacturers.  Know
what you are purchasing  before you
pass the green along.


           |by Robert Buman|

        8-bit librarian for SAGE
      Spectrum Atari Group of Erie

I probably talk too much about
computers, especially when my nieces
are visiting.  This is not good.  These
girls are four and six years old and
are quite amazing when it comes to

Angel loves my computer, almost as much
as she loves me.  Jessica, the
four-year-old, loves me too, and loves
to play with anything that can be
thrown or dressed.  When they come over
their first two questions to me are
"Can we play with your computer?" and
"Why not?".  I'm usually copying disks
or doing some other club drudgery when
they come over.

During one of their visits I was busy
(again) so they asked to play with my
cats.  I thought "What a great idea!".
Angel grabbed Shadow and Jessica
dragged Sonya into the living room.
"Not by the tail, please" I moaned.  I
was wrapped up in whatever it was I was
doing and lost track of time.  Pretty
soon I heard some angry cat-language
that I understand but cannot translate
for you here.  That was the first time
I ever saw my cats wearing clothes.
Not a pretty sight.  The girls did not
realize that Shadow should have been
Ken and Sonya, Barbie.  By the
following weekend I had assembled a
second Atari system and set it up in
the living room.  The kids now had
their own computer and my cats had
their bare-fur again.  This worked out
well for a while.

Then somewhere along the way my
unintentional influence began setting
in.  As I stated earlier, I probably
talk too much about computers.  Someone
in the club will call and we'll get
deep into a discussion.  For example,
I've had this longtime fascination with
computerized control of things.  Just
about any thing:  remote controls,
train sets, air conditioning, home
security and so on.  I talk a lot about
what can be done with a computer with
the hope that someday this sort of
stuff will get more common on Ataris.
I can only assume that I was into one
of these phone-discussions when the
girls were over and they must have been
in INPUT MODE big-time.

One Saturday afternoon the girls had a
box with them.  "Can we play with the
computer Uncle Bob?"  "Sure--just don't
get too loud."  They actually managed
to keep the noise down to a few
giggles.  Minutes later Jessica walked
by, cat in hand.  I didn't notice which
one at the time, I was too busy, as
usual.  Besides I figured if I don't
hear any howling, everything should be

Then, it happened.  There was some
clicking sounds and the intro music to
some game.  Then a shooshing sound--the
kind you hear from a walkie talkie.
Some more shooshing sounds followed and
then a SWOOSH sound.  You know--the
kind that comes from a small animal
darting past you from behind.  Oh yes,
and this rushing-wind sensation on the
back of my neck.  And a small black
fur-ball floating down in front of my
face and onto the keyboard.

So I ask a stupid question.  "What was
that?"  Jessica just looked at me with
her hands over her mouth trying to
conceal a big grin beneath.  Angel came
darting in from the living room.

"Where did Shadow go Uncle Bob?"

I jumped out of my chair and stepped
into the living room where I saw this
mess created by two tiny masterminds.
I decided not to let my inner panic
upset the kids so I stood there for a
second with my hands in my pockets
trying to look as cool and collected as
I could.

"Uh...what are you doing in here?"

"We hooked Shadow up to the computer!"
squeaked Angel.

No, not physically, as my other 130XE
was still sitting on the little desk
where I had set it.  But judging from
the looks of things on and around the
play-area I was prepared to believe
them.  There were long pieces of
masking tape and bits of construction
paper.  There was a half-empty jar of
paste and a single walkie-talkie that
meowed like a cat.

I would have laughed about it on the
spot, had I not been thinking of all
the horrible things two little
girls--armed with paste and a
computer--could do to a cat!  I hurried
to the basement, hoping to find Shadow
in one piece.  A couple of minutes and
ten thousand cobwebs later I found him
hiding in an old rolled-up carpet.  I
almost had to unroll the rug completely
to get him, but he finally came out,
looking frightened and confused.

Shadow was dressed up again, only this
time he was covered from nose to tail
with colorful bits of construction
paper.  There was a large bulky box
underneath, taped to his fur.  It was
the other walkie-talkie.  The girls had
turned Shadow into a computer
controlled cat!  If there's a bright
side here, it's this:  he could have
been hard-wired!  I could just imagine
shadow zipping through the house and
down the cellar stairs with a computer
flopping behind him.  And a disk drive.
And two power supplies.  Moving like an
out-of-control train, with Shadow being
"the little engine that could!"

Then these dear sweet little fireballs
known better as Angel and Jessica each
grab an arm and look up an me with big
eyes and pouting lips and say...

"Uncle Bobby, we're thirsty!"

You were expecting something else?

Goodbye 'till next month!

              *** BOB ***


          _______    _______
           ______  ______

   |"This darn ZMag is gettin' more|
   |     attention than I am!"     |


           |by Dennis Pitman|

It's 11:13 a.m.

You're in the midst of your second
shift as an air traffic controller.
Six flights await your clearance for
takeoff.  Five more are waiting to
land.  Compounding your headache are a 
thunderstorm approaching from the west
and the Concorde approaching from the

Suddenly you hear, "This is United 101.
Emergency! Eight minutes fuel!"

The Concorde moves at eight miles every
minute.  Within two minutes the planes
will be at a point of intersection.
Unless United 101 gets on the ground
fast, lives will be lost.

Your palms begin to sweat.

"United 101.  Turn left, heading 90
degrees.  Descent to 3,000 feet.  Air
France 314.  Hold right at VDR at 5000

Oh no! you think, staring at the
screen.  I forgot Delta 626 coming in
at the same altitude!

The conflict buzzer sounds.

Your spouse looks up from the couch.
"Could you please turn that thing

This is Kennedy Approach, an air
traffic control simulation from
Micro Prose.  It puts you in the seat
of an air traffic controller in one of
five U.S. cities.  Each airport
presents you with skill levels ranging
from 1 (Atlanta--a challenging 
beginning) to 5 (New York City--no
margin for error).

In Kennedy Approach, you work a shift
of approximately ten minutes real-time,
longer at the higher levels.  At the
end of your shift, your performance is
evaluated and you're promoted, given a
bonus, or fired.  Additional options
let you continue your career, see an
instant replay, save your shift to
resume playing later, or return to the
main screen.

It's only a simulation, a game, you
tell yourself between shifts--but the
sweat on your palms when you play
Kennedy Approach is quite real.

Keyboard or joystick controls are used
to establish contact with a plane.
Then the joystick is used to change its
heading and/or altitude.  A push of the
fire button prompts an exchange of
dialog between you and the pilot.
Probably the most delightful feature of
the program is the use of digitized
voices for this exchange.  This is
software-driven speech synthesis from
Electronics Speech Systems.  The
dialogs have the quality of genuine
"black box" air traffic recordings.

The graphics overall are very good,
particularly the thunderstorms, but a
few effects require getting used to. 
The one representing a plane's location
is somewhat confusing, and it's
difficult at first to decipher the
display of flight plans.  Both these
problems are conquered by familiarity.

There are a few quirks in Kennedy
Approach.  Planes start to wrap around
the screen, a sight which can be
disconcerting to the newly hired
controller.  Routing flights into a
holding pattern is a lip-biting
maneuver, as this requires you to press
the fire button at the right moment
while commands are sequentially 
displayed in the command line.  This is
the most difficult task in the program,
and it seems that it could be
accomplished more easily.

Another oversight is that Kennedy
Approach lacks a disk directory
function for selecting which shift to

The instruction manual is superb in
providing information about the air
traffic control aspects of the
simulation.  This technical information
allows even the beginner to feel
familiar with the new environment.  One
small flaw, though:  at one point the
manual directs you to a nonexistent
Section VI, leaving you to your
ingenuity and experience to discover
how to instruct the pilot to climb to
the desired altitude at takeoff. (This
is corrected in later editions of the
manual.  Users with early manuals
should refer to B-3 instead of Section

Despite these small problems--they're
the only ones I found and are minor
compared to the whole package--Kennedy
Approach is a fascinating,
well-designed simulation for someone
who wants to get a taste of what air
traffic controllers do all day and
night.  More simulation than game, it
still elicits game-type responses.
If you judge a game by how it affects
your psyche, by how excited you get,
and by how nervous it makes you,
Kennedy Approach gets a clammy hands
rating of 9 out of a possible 10.

You can order Kennedy Approach through:

Micro Prose Software
120 Lakefront Drive
Hunt Valley, MD 21030.

It retails for around $25.00.


             |by Leo Sell|

    Reprinted from ST-ZMagazine #22

            WRITE A MAGAZINE  
No, I don't mean publish your own, I
mean write TO a magazine.
Have you ever stopped to think how few
general interest computer magazines
cover the Atari, ST or 8-bit??  Once
upon a time, Creative Computing,
Compute!, Family Computing, and the
like, all had at least something about
Atari in each issue.  Now the only ones
that publish anything are Computer
Shopper (every month), and Byte
(occasionally).  I can't find any other
GENERAL computing magazine that says
anything at all about the Atari
products.  Pretty sad commentary on the
state of things in Ataridom.

I think it's time to stop taking for
granted what we do have and do
something to try to preserve what's
left.  Why not write to Computer
Shopper and tell them how much you
appreciate their continued coverage of
the Atari computer.  As it is, the
8-bit computer is covered under
"classic computers".  That's where
they've put the coverage of computers
that now have a limited audience (Atari
8-bit, Texas Instruments, CP/M and the
like).  And, with such a limited
audience I'll bet they could drop them
at any time.  If you want to help make
sure that the coverage continues, write
and express your appreciation and
encourage Computer Shopper to continue
their coverage.

ST owners should also write.  When you
stop and think about it, if Computer
Shopper were to drop coverage, there
would be no coverage outside of
Atari-specific magazines.  Then how
would the rest of the world hear about
our favorite machine?

ST owners have an advantage, since
Atari has announced such exciting new
products as the STACY, Portfolio, and
TT.  The "Power without the Price"
keeps getting better.  It wouldn't hurt
to tell Computer Shopper, and others,
that Atari is BACK!!  Let them know how
exciting the new products are and how
great a value they are.  A magazine
like Personal Computing wouldn't have
to hear about the power in the
Portfolio for the price, or the
ST/MAC/IBM clone you can have for less
than $2500 before they pricked up their
ears.  Let some of these magazines know
that the Atari market is going to grow
by leaps and bounds and tell them they
shouldn't wait and be left out in the

Here are the addresses for several
general interest computer magazines
that I encourage you to write to.
Every one of them COULD cover the
Atari if they thought the interest and
market was there.  Let them know that
it IS there and will be getting bigger.

   Computer Shopper   
 5211 S. Washington
 PO Box F
 Titusville, FL 32781

 One Phoenix Mill Lane
 Petersborough, NH 03458

 Home Office Computing
 (formerly Family Computing)
 730 Broadway
 New York, NY 10003

 324 West Wendover Ave
 Greensboro, NC 27408

  Personal Computing  
 Ten Holland Drive
 Hasbrouck Heights, NJ 07604

Go ahead, sit down to your word
processor and fire off an excited
letter to these magazines.  It just
might help extend the life of your


  |Sez a SysOp's Cat:  "That guy had|
  |  better clean this box or his   |
  |floppy disks will get a surprize!|


           |by Harold Brewer|

  In ZMagazine #158, an order form
     and accompanying information about
     the Turbo-816 from DataQue
     appeared.  The stated offer should
     have had the expiration date of
     June 15, 1989 listed.  Our
     apologies for anyone's

  From issue #22 of St-ZMagazine
     comes this, a partial Editor's
     Desk by Ron Kovacs:

"The Dearborn World of Atari Show is
June 24, 25th and ST*ZMAG/Z*NET will be
there.  If you are planning to attend,
be sure to stop by our mini-booth and
meet us.  On hand (so far) will be most
of our staff of both publications.
Next week, we will update the status of
the show and include the hotel and
current flight discounts being

  Dan McNamee from Atari Technical
     Support says the long-awaited
     AtariWriter 80 is available.
     This 80 column word processor,
     to be used with the XEP-80 (the
     Atari 80 column adapter and
     printer port), is said to cost
     $49.95 through Atari and its

     Look for more specifics on this
     release in the near future (like
     which computers will it work


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 |Copyright 1989  All Rights Reserved|

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