Z*Magazine: 20-Jun-89 #162From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 09/25/93-04:17:32 PM Z
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From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG) Subject: Z*Magazine: 20-Jun-89 #162 Date: Sat Sep 25 16:17:32 1993 | ROVAC ZMAGAZINE | | Issue #162 | | June 20, 1989 | |Copyright 1989, RII| |This week in ZMagazine| Interview with Chris Roberts Bob Brodie and John Nagy Line Noise GEnie New 8-bit Uploads Autoduel Dennis Pitman CompuServe New 8-bit Uploads SuperDOS Right Margin Frank Walters Tech Tips W.K. Whitton Z*Net Newswire 8-bit Edition Harold Brewer |INTERVIEW WITH CHRIS ROBERTS| |by Bob Brodie and John Nagy| Reprinted from ST-ZMagazine #25 CHRIS ROBERTS: NEW ATARI USER GROUP COORDINATOR Atari Corporation has at last filled the position of User Group Coordinator by hiring Chris Roberts. Chris will also be handling all coordination of Atarifests and show appearances. The position was previously held by Cindy Claveran, and Sandy Austin before her, but had included developer support duties that made the job nearly impossible. Chris comes to Atari with first hand experience in user groups. He was president of the P.A.L.A.C.E. user group (Pasadena Area Local Atari Computer Enthusiasts) in southern California for two years. He was involved with the Glendale Southern California Atari Faire, and ran his own BBS, The Dragon. He has extensive experience in 8-bit Ataris, and is a proficient programmer favoring BASIC XE on the 8 and True Basic on the ST. A number of Chris's original 8-bit games are still available on GEnie and CompuServe. His articles on Spectre 128 have been published in ST-Xpress, and he also worked for The Federated Group. Most recently, Chris was employed by Hughes Aircraft doing computer work. He currently has a program for the ST under submission to ARTWARE, an ST developer. Chris is 32, a native Californian, and is married with 3 children aged 2, 5, and 6. This is good news for Atari 8-bitters, for at last they truly have "one of their own" inside Atari, helping on the front line. User group officers will appreciate knowing that Chris has already shared their path. He knows the trials of running a group! Z*Net spoke with Chris for nearly two hours on his first day at Atari (June 12) and we were really impressed with his energy and enthusiasm for his new job. He has a lot of ideas to improve the support of user groups. He indicated that Atari is dedicated to improving their support of user groups, and wants to improve their communications with them. He repeated Sam Tramiel's request of last year, that groups can best help Atari right now by approaching dealers and trying to get them interested in ATARI. It will be easier and more attractive to be an Atari dealer than ever before. We asked Chris if he felt insecure knowing the history of rapid turnover at Atari, and he laughed and said he was already too busy to worry about anything but work. He feels he has a lot to offer Atari and the user groups, and expects to be around a long time. One of the projects he hopes to see implemented is a multi-level state, regional, national, and even international network of user groups, independent of Atari but in close association with it. Chris expects that a group should be able to be as small as five people and still be recognized. The only other requirements he thinks should be relevant are monthly meetings and bylaws with a strong anti-piracy clause. Chris hopes to get a developer's kit and access to a private area on GEnie telecommunications network for each registered club. The special SIG there will offer a place to get the newest information direct from Atari as well as keep groups in close communication. Other plans are to revive the User Group Newsletter on an every-other-month basis...without fail. That may be a tall order, as Chris will go to EVERY consumer event that Atari is involved with! Look for him at Atarifests and World Of Atari shows! In our conversation there was a real note of pride in Chris's voice when asked about his office equipment. "I've got a Mega ST, and the original prototype Atari Laser printer! What a piece of history! They had planned to put in a font cartridge, apparently, 'cause there's a slot on the printer for it. No cartridge, but the printer still works great!!!" Who else but a diehard Atari user would get excited about that printer? "This job is a dream come true for me", he said. "I've been after Sig Hartmann for some time for this position. Every time there has been an opening, I've been on the phone asking for the position. I finally got it!" Chris stressed that he had stacks of mail to go through that had accumulated since Cindy left, and that the existing database of user groups was almost unusable and very incomplete. He asked EVERY GROUP to PLEASE send him a card with their group name, official address, president's name and phone number. Including a newsletter is optional. Even if your group registered last year, PLEASE send it in again...so many groups did not register last year, some due to the questions about a dealer sponsor, that Chris just would prefer to start over. Send to: Chris Roberts, User Group Coordinator, Atari Corporation, 1196 Borregas Avenue, Sunnyvale, CA 94086 Of course, you could always call him him at Atari. His phone number is (408)745-2052. This is a direct line to him. Soon you will also be able to reach him on GEnie. As the main interface of the User and Atari, Chris promises that he will always be honest with the public. "If I don't know the answer to a question, that's what I'll say, I won't make something up, and I will try to find the real answer," he stated. Items Chris passed on to us in our first talk included: there is serious discussion again about offering the BLITTER upgrade for the 520 and 1040; the upswing of national advertising is REAL, with major campaigns coming in top magazines to help inspire dealer and buyer confidence; and the products to be announced by Atari on August 25 will be EXCITING. Z*Net looks forward to a great relationship with Chris and Atari, and offer our Congratulations and Best Wishes, Chris! |LINE NOISE| From MS-DOS BBS Triangle Park, NC Reprinted from ZMagazine #114 Line Noise and the Problems it Can Cause with File Transfers Many people have left messages on my bulletin board asking me why there are so many 'garbage' characters on their screens and why file transfers are riddled with errors. These garbage characters are really line noise and can be introduced in many different places. Pure noise is a decimal 255 (FF in hex), but most line noise is not 'pure'. It usually comes in as something less than 255, like maybe a 251 (a character that looks like this ''). Ever see that one before? Yup, so have I! One of the more common and familiar introduction points of line noise is in the telephone company's system and even here there are several ways noise is introduced. A signal is routed through multiple stations before it eventually makes it to the other end and some of these stations aren't exactly new. Older areas may have older, less sophisticated equipment that is more apt to be affected by ambient noise. This is one reason some people continue to have noise problems even after hanging up and calling back multiple times. Also, a given physical connection at one of these junctions may not be up to snuff. If your particular bout of line noise is solved by hanging up and calling back, then it's probable that you were previously connected through an intermittent or 'dirty' connection. It is possible that the problem is being caused at this end, but not if the problem goes away when you call back and the line is clean -or- if you are one of a very few users experiencing noise problems. You may say that you are not having problems with other boards...in which case the problem is more than likely the route that your call takes to get here. You may be going over microwave or through buried cable which for some reason are sub-standard. No matter how many times you call, you will probably be routed over the same path. Microwave problems are sometimes the hardest to track down because they can cause intermittent problems. Some interference only occurs during certain times of the day or week. Another common noise introduction point is in your home. Most residential homes have televisions, radios, microwave ovens, VCRs, and if you are reading this, a micro-computer. All these devices radiate radio waves that can (and often do) get into the phone lines and cause noise. Electric motors and mechanical dimmer controls can introduce noise into the electrical wiring in your house and cause problems. If your line noise problem does not go away after repeated hanging up and calling back, then you may be suffering from one of these household problems. If you are suffering from this problem, you can take steps to eliminate it. First of all, turn off EVERYTHING except the fridge (if it IS the fridge, then you're SOL--can't live life with your ice box unplugged) and see if the noise persists. If it goes away, then start turning things back on, checking the computer each time until you see the noise start up again. It may be that a single device is not bugging you but several devices plotting together to annoy you. This elimination tournament may take a while. Another area to check is your wiring at the computer. Use noise supressors on your power connections to both the PC and the modem (if external). Use a shielded RS-232 cable to connect your modem to the PC. Ribbon cables (especially long runs of it) are great antennas and will cause problems. Re-route the RS-232 cable so it does not run next to the PC power supply or any other transformer. And now a little discussion about the modem itself. First of all, I'd like to clerify a commonly misused term--BAUD. The term "Baud" is actually a man's name--J.M.E. Baudot (pronounced Baw-doe) a French Telegraphy expert. 1,200 and 2,400 Baud is NOT the same as 1,200 and 2,400 BPS (Bits Per Second). The usage of "Baud" to describe line speed in terms of data through-put is incorrect. 1,200 and 2,400 BPS modems both operate at 600 Baud. Basically, without getting too technical, a Baud is a "blip" of information. 1,200 BPS modems use four states per blip (or Baud) and 2,400 BPS modems use sixteen states per blip. If you want more information on what Baud and BPS mean and a full explanation of how data is actually represented and transferred by the modem, please refer to PC Magazine Volume 6, Number 9 (May 12, 1987). Modems operating at 2,400 BPS are much more intolerant of line noise than are modems operating at 1,200 BPS. Conversely, modems capable of 2,400 BPS operate better at 1,200 BPS than do 1,200 BPS only modems. If you are being hopelessly attacked by noise at 2,400 BPS, trying calling back at 1,200 BPS. It's very possible that the noise will be greatly reduced or disappear altogether. I know, you didn't buy a 2,400 BPS modem just to retard it to 1,200 BPS. The brand of the modem plays a part in the immunity to line noise. Some modems can digest more noise (lower signal-to-noise ratio) than others. PC Magazine (same issue mentioned above) ran a test on 87 different modems. You might check the results to see how your modem ranks. Most 2,400 BPS modems operating at 1,200 BPS have approximately -8 to -10 db error threshold while the same modem has about -16 to -20 db threshold operating at 2,400 BPS. For this reason, line quality is much more critical at 2,400 BPS operation. Additionally, a friend of mine who runs a bulletin board from their office has been plagued with line noise problems at 2,400 BPS but very little noise at 1,200 BPS. The culprit is the office's centralized telephone system. Many office buildings have a given number of trunks that actually enter the building while there may be many, many more extension within the building. These types of telephone systems have their own controllers and line assignment devices and are frequently not as high in quality as a hard-wired MaBell (or GTE) line. The acceptable signal-to-noise ratio in some of these inter-office phone controllers are lower than necessary for reliable 2,400 BPS operation but not too low for 1,200 BPS. If you get transmission errors while downloading or uploading a file, don't fret it. The Xmodem (or whatever protocol) incorporates an error checking/correction mechanism that automatically detects and corrects any errors that may occur during transmission. The very fact that Xmodem reported the error in the first place means that he caught it and corrected it. The only errors you have to worry about are the ones that Xmodem does NOT report Any reported error has already be corrected. Xmodem, especially the CRC flavored one, is a very reliable file transfer protocol. Even if you got 100 errors during transmission, chances are still pretty slim that the file got corrupted. Occasionally, a file will be corrupted after transfer, but many times this may be due to a bad ARCing of the file or perhaps a disk error that may have occurred sometime during the file's past. I hope this text helped explain some facts about modems, line noise, and file transfers. If you have other, more specific questions, concerning modems or communications in general, leave a C)Comment to the SYSOP. I'll try to answer them. |GENIE NEW 8-BIT UPLOADS| Courtesy of GEnie's 8-bit Atari Library No. File Name YYMMDD Bytes Access Lib 4427 MACREAD.ARC 890617 32760 17 7 Desc: View MAC pics on ATARI! 4426 BOWL3SRC.ARC 890615 68040 15 9 Desc: BOWLING ASSISTANT VER. 3.02 PROGRAM 4425 BOWL3DOC.ARC 890615 15120 8 9 Desc: BOWLING ASSISTANT VERS. 3.02 DOCS 4424 Z161.ARC 890615 16380 76 13 Desc: ZMagazine #161 for 13 June, 1989 4423 REVB_MIO256KTO1MEG.ARC 890613 7560 19 11 Desc: Rev B (Final). Upgrade a 256K MIO 4421 BOBTERM11.ARC 890612 61740 139 8 Desc: * BobTerm version 1.10 - D/L this! * 4420 CURLY1.GR9 890611 8820 17 7 Desc: Gr.9 pic of Curly from 3 Stooges 4419 STOOGES.GR9 890611 8820 14 7 Desc: Title screen from Stooges short 4418 AIRPORT3.GR9 890611 8820 11 7 Desc: Gr.9 pic of scene from CASABLANCA 4417 AIRPORT2.GR9 890611 8820 10 7 Desc: Gr. 9 pic of scene from CASABLANCA 4416 AIRPORT1.GR9 890611 8820 10 7 Desc: Gr.9 pic of scene from CASABLANCA 4415 LOUIE.GR9 890611 8820 7 7 Desc: Gr.9 pic of C. Rains in CASABLANCA 4414 BOGIE1.GR9 890611 8820 15 7 Desc: Gr.9 pic of Bogie in CASABLANCA |AUTODUEL| |by Dennis Pitman| MVACE Based on the popular board game Car Wars by Steve Jackson, Autoduel is essentially a futuristic role-playing game that takes the player out of a dungeon and places him on the outlaw-infested highways of the twenty-first century, "...where the right of way goes to the biggest gun." However, Autoduel also requires a mastery of the arcade-style game skills called upon in the popular Spy Hunter computer game (which it closely resembles in many ways). Finally, Autoduel demands strategy, logic, and planning. It's really a game within a game within a game. In Autoduel your chief characteristics are not strength, dexterity, and wisdom; instead you split beginning ability points among driving skill, marksmanship, and mechanical skills. With those attributes and $2000.00, you find yourself in Albany, New York (one of 16 cities that make up the Northeast Sector as determined by the AAA--the American Autoduel Association), looking for courier jobs as a way to earn fame and fortune. Because of the deadly bandits and underworld gangs who patrol the highways, drivers with guts and guns are needed to transport anything from valuable stamps to computer chips from one city to another. Computer role players will find that Autoduel offers a refreshing change of pace after one too many tours of various dungeons and demon-infested lands. Unique in many ways, Autoduel provides many of the same satisfactions as role-playing games, but it also offers an exciting new scenario with new challenges and unexpected situations. The Driver is required to build his own car, designing it as he sees fit and as resources allow. This aspect of the game is almost as much fun as the actual highway shootouts. You must determine each characteristic of your car: how much armor it needs and where to put it, what weapons it will use, what kind of suspension best suits it, how much carrying capacity is required, etc. Certain types of designs will naturally be better for different types of jobs, and as you become more successful and more wealthy, you will end up with a stable of machines from which to choose. You'll be able to suit the car to the job. The possible variations in car designs are endless, and each design opens up an entirely new spectrum of strategies and job possibilities. Obviously, a car designed like a war-wagon, containing every possible armament, would be deadly but slow-moving due to its weight. On the other hand, a car given maximum engine power, but lightly armed, would be a highly mobile, easily maneuvered machine. The various cars would require various strategies and tactics to derive the maximum benefit. The world of Autoduel includes many challenges and adventures. Most cities have arenas where deadly races are held nightly. A driver can earn money and prestige in the arena...or death. In Atlantic City, stop at a casino and gamble away the money you've just been paid for delivering a rare pet to a zoo. In Philadelphia, visit a Gold Cross building and have a clone created: if you die, he, or rather, it, will take your place. Of course, you don't have to be a courier; you could be a vigilante, gunning for outlaws. Or maybe, just maybe, you might prefer to be an outlaw yourself. Autoduel is more than a game--it's a complete system of play. There is a wealth of additional features I don't have room to cover, and the overall game play is excellent. Now you too can be a Road Warrior, riding the highways of those who would control them for the wrong purposes. And remember the AAA's motto: "Drive offensively! The life you save may be your own." This exciting program is highly recommended. You even get a small tool kit, real tools, when you purchase the game. Autoduel retails for around $49.95 or less depending on where you go. |COMPUSERVE NEW 8-BIT UPLOADS| Courtesy of CompuServe's Atari8 Library Uploader address Filename/type Date Size Downloads [72750,747] BOULDE.ARC/binary 19-Jun-89 2944 [73270,1117] ALIENS.BAS/binary 15-Jun-89 12544 Accesses: 45 [76704,41] NEWCON.TXT 15-Jun-89 4215 Accesses: 14 [71777,2140] Z161.ARC/binary 14-Jun-89 15232 Accesses: 20 [72347,1104] BOWL3D.ARC/binary 14-Jun-89 13952 Accesses: 3 BOWL3S.ARC/binary 14-Jun-89 65280 Accesses: 3 [73270,1117] MIRROR.COM/binary 14-Jun-89 11392 Accesses: 19 QUEST.COM/binary 14-Jun-89 19328 Accesses: 16 [73537,3573] MIOQUC.ARC/binary 14-Jun-89 7168 Accesses: 9 |SUPERDOS RIGHT MARGIN| |by Frank Walters| T.A.C.O. BELL BBS SuperDOS is a nice DOS but I have found a problem with the binary load function when I tried using it with BobTerm. Others have noticed the problem with the menu in SpeedScript or Textpro. SuperDOS SDUP.SYS menu sets the right margin to 37. If you binary load a file, the margin remains at 37 unless the program changes it. There are two solutions to this problem: You could rename your binary file to AUTORUN.SYS and boot it. SDUP.SYS will not load and set the margin at 37. Or you can extract this short BASIC listing and ENTER it into your Atari with BASIC on. When you RUN the file it will create a machine language file on drive 1, with the name RM. 10 REM D:RM for SuperDOS 20 REM Sets right margin to 39 for 30 REM binary load. Do NOT hit RETURN 40 REM for menu, or margin will reset 50 REM to 37 again. 60 CLOSE #1:OPEN #1,8,0,"D:RM" 70 FOR I=1 TO 27:READ X:PUT #1,X 80 NEXT I:? "DONE":END 100 DATA 255,255,0,6,14,6,169,39,133 110 DATA 83,169,128,141,198,2,169,12 120 DATA 141,197,2,96,226,2,227,2,0,6 When you binary load the file RM from the DOS menu in SuperDOS, it will set the right margin to 39, and set screen color to dark blue. Do NOT hit RETURN when it is loaded, or the menu will print and reset the margin back to 37. Use L to binary load your new program. |TECH TIPS| |by W.K. Whitton| Reprinted in part from ST-ZMagazine #25 |HARD DRIVES| This week I'd like to do something a bit different, and trust that some of you will benefit greatly from this information. Many of you have decided to piece together your own "home-brew" hard drive system. Much of the time it takes to put the system together is not concerned with the actual construction, but rather in shopping for the best prices. Here are some great hard drive mechanism prices I located earlier this week. I am not able to verify the quality of service these companies provide, or if indeed the items are in stock. These prices are the lowest I have seen on each mechanism and hope you'll find one that suits your needs. Item: Capacity: Supplier: Phone #: Price: Seagate ST-157N 48 Meg 3 1/2" Group One Electronics 818-993-4575 Price: $260 Seagate ST-277R 65 Meg 5 1/4" Group One Electronics 818-993-4575 Price: $300 Seagate ST-225 20 Meg 5 1/4" COM*PUT*Rs 800-637-4832 Price: $135 Seagate ST-125 20 Meg 3 1/2" Computer Parts Outlet 407-265-1265 Price: $139 Micropolis 170 Meg 5 1/4" Int. Materials 617-254-1700 Price: $799 Miniscribe 3438 30 Meg 3 1/2" COM*PUT*Rs 800-637-4832 Price: $150 Seagate ST-238 30 Meg 5 1/4" BCS Inc. 201-670-0505 Price: $179 Micropolis 1578-15 382 Meg Full Epoch Research 508-452-6000 Price: $1695 Fuji FK309-39R 30 Meg 3 1/2" Computer Parts Inc. 407-265-1265 Price: $129 Lapine 3532 30 Meg 3 1/2" Computer Parts Inc. 407-265-1265 Price: $125 NEC 2246 85 Meg Full Manco Inds. 818-718-0484 Price: $299 |Z*NET NEWSWIRE 8-BIT EDITION| |by Harold Brewer| Supra Corporation has acknowledged the transfer of its 8-bit hard drive interface rights to K-Products and Bob Klaas. Users interested in developing their own 8-bit hard drive system may do well to look into this product. Look to ZMagazine #161 for ordering details. From ST-ZMagazine comes this Z*Net Newswire update by Ron Kovacs: "World of Atari Update: ST*ZMAG/ZNET will be at the show live providing online news updates and manning a booth near the CHAOS user group booth. If you are attending the show, please stop by. GEnie will be at the show also reporting. Atari area spans nine booths and an aisle. Included: 8-bit products, SX Express, MidiMaze, STacy, Portfolio, software included: Word Flair, Flash, DynaCadd, General Store and more. While user groups are sitting down to write Atari's new User Group Coordinator, try to take the time and drop a line to your favorite hard copy magazine which includes Atari 8-bit information (Antic, Analog, Computer Shopper, etc.). You may want to tell them how you enjoy their coverage of the 8-bit scene, and that you patronize their advertisers due to said 8-bit information. Anything we can do to keep the 8-bit well from drying up will be worth what little trouble we take. The very successful SpartaDOS X cartridge from ICD is up to version 4.21. And once again, ICD has made available the one file (ATARIDOS.SYS) which changes version 4.20 into 4.21--for free! Starting with the free X.COM (to change v4.19 into 4.20) which is available on ICD's bbs and on the pay services, and continuing with ATARIDOS.SYS, owners of SpartaDOS X v4.19 (like me) can't help but to smile... | Rovac Industries, Incorporated | | P.O. Box 74, Middlesex, NJ 08846 | | (201) 968-8148 | |Copyright 1989 All Rights Reserved| CompuServe: 71777,2140 GEnie: ZMAGAZINE Source: BDG793 ZMagazine Editor: Harold Brewer ZMagazine Headquarters BBSes: Centurian BBS--(314)621-5046 (618)451-0165 Chaos BBS--(517)371-1106 Shadow Haven--(916)962-2566 Stairway to Heaven--(216)784-0574 The Pub--(716)826-5733
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