Z*Magazine: 5-Sep-89 #173

From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 10/02/93-03:13:50 PM Z

From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
Subject: Z*Magazine:  5-Sep-89 #173
Date: Sat Oct  2 15:13:50 1993

          |  ROVAC ZMAGAZINE  |
          |    Issue  #173    |
          | September 5, 1989 |
          |Copyright 1989, RII|
        |This week in ZMagazine|

  User Group Update:  New Jersey 
             Robert Brodie

         Surge Protection 
              Garry Jones

  Analog Computing Table of Contents 

          130XE Upgraded 
              Mark Elliot

   Information on the Black Box 
       Computer Software Services

  Washington DC Atarifest Update 
              Bob Johnson

            ZMag Humor 
             Scott Andersen


       |by Robert Brodie, Atari|

    Reprinted from ST-ZMagazine #36

To all Jersey area Atari users:

On Saturday, September 9th, I will be
attending a meeting of the Jersey
Atari Computer Group.  The members of
the Jersey Atari Computer Group have
scheduled appearances from ANALOG and
Atari Explorer magazine as well.
Scheduled to appear from ANALOG is
Arthur Leyenberger, and from the Atari
Explorer either Elizabeth Staples or
John Jainschigg.

I would like to encourage all Atari
users in the area to attend this
meeting.  David Noyes of the Jersey
Atari Computer Group has already
contacted a number of other groups,
including the Jersey Atari Computer
Enthusiasts, ABE's ACES, Lehigh Valley
Atari Users Group, Brooklyn Atari
Society of Information and
Communication, and the Ol' Hackers.

The meeting will be held at the Bell
Labs Auditorium on Mountain Ave, in
Murray Hill, New Jersey at 9:00 AM.

For further information or directions
to the meeting, please contact
Dave Noyes, at 201-852-3165 evening, or
201-953-7977 daytime.


   |by Garry Jones (Copyright 1987)|

      Reprinted from ZMagazine #64

When setting up a computer system, one
piece of equipment which might get
overlooked is a surge protector.  The
purpose of a surge protector is to
protect equipment from:

  voltage spikes and surges caused by
  lightning strikes on power lines
    (c'mon, it never rains in Southern
    California, does it?),

  electrical equipment turning on and
  off (you didn't really plug your
    computer into the same circuit as
    your refrigerator, did you?),

  the crummy wiring in your apartment
  that your landlords won't fix
    because they're too cheap, and

 just plain lousy performance by your
 friendly local Edison Company.

A surge protector works by clamping the
voltage and preventing it from rising
beyond 130 volts when a sudden increase
occurs.  To do this, a surge protector
uses a device called a metal oxide
varistor, or MOV for short.  Of course,
you want to know if they wear out, and
when they do, how to tell.  MOVs do
have a finite life, depending on the
number and severity of surges they're
exposed to.  When they fail, they
typically create a short which will pop
a circuit breaker if one is included in
the circuit, immediately shutting off
the power and saving the equipment.

Buying a surge protector is something
of a problem, since not all surge
protectors are created equal.  Good
ones are fairly expensive (there's
plenty of expensive junk out there,
too).  How do you tell the good from
the bad, and what do you do for cash
after you spent the last of it on some
superwhizbang software for your new
computer?  Good news for you clever
hacker types who can tell a hot
soldering iron when you pick it up (by
the wrong end):  make your own surge
protector.  It's easy, it's cheap, and
best of all, it might even work.  For
the rest of you who haven't developed
opposable thumbs yet, watch the ground
for pennies, steal candy from babies
and sell it to bigger babies, see a
loan shark, and read PC (can you say,
"PC?"  Sure.  I knew you could.  It
does mean IBM, but your tongue didn't
dry up and fall out of your mouth, did
it?) Magazine's product tests and take
their advice.

Anyway, on to the project. You'll need:

   a power strip (make sure you get the
   kind you can disassemble with a
   screwdriver instead of a hacksaw),

   three metal oxide varistors
   (General Electric part no. V130LA20A
   (which means 130 volts 20 amps) or
   Radio Shack catalog no. 276-568B),

   some rosin core solder (DO NOT USE
   corrode the solder joints in time,
   ruining them),

   some miscellaneous tools, like Xacto
   knives, alligator clips, wire
   cutters, etc., and a soldering iron.
   Three hands would be nice, but you
   can probably manage with two--most
   of us do.

Take the back off the power strip and
look inside.  If it has outlets, wires
(three of them?), and a cord, it'll
work.  Notice the three wires inside:
they're probably black, green, and
white.  White is the hot wire, green
the ground, and black the common.

Now, strip some insulation off the
wires as shown in the illustration.

Take one varistor and solder one of
it's wire legs to the white wire, and
the other leg to the green wire as
shown below.  Fasten an alligator clip
to the leg being soldered between the
solder joint and the varistor to
prevent heat damage to the varistor
while soldering.

Do the same thing with the second
varistor, except it should be soldered
to the green wire and the black wire.

Solder the third varistor to the black
wire and the white wire.

Clean the solder joints with a rag
dipped in a little alcohol, and examine
the joints.  There should be a smooth
shiny flow of solder between the wire
leg of the varistor and the copper wire
in the power strip.  If the joint is
dull, lumpy, or flawed in appearance,
resolder it.  When all the joints look
good, reassemble the power strip.  Sit
back.  Relax. You're done now.  Wasn't
that easy?  Can you say, "Easy"?  Sure.
I knew you could.

    White     T
T        #1     |               O
O          |MOV|     |                
            #3             O
P   Green |MOV|    U
L                   #2     T
U                    |     |MOV|     L
G                    |          E
    Black     T





Double Six..............Pierre Roberge

      A colorful version of Backgammon
      for your Atari.

Error Manual.....Matthew J.W. Ratcliff

      Here's a helpful program that'll
      turn those cryptic error messages
      into plain English.

Into the 24th Century......Frank Cohen

      Fans of Star Trek:  The Next
      Generation won't want to miss
      this interview with two of the
      hit show's artists.

Keeping Your Atari Busy..Reid Brockway

      This tutorial shows you how to
      turn your computer into a clock
      and provides some valuable
      programming information along the

Skull Island...............John Patuto

      You awaken to find yourself
      laying on the beach of a strange
      island. What dangers lie in wait
      for you?  Can you get off the
      island safely?

TX Cruncher..............Frank Martone

      Take control of Tx as he scoots
      across his electric grid,
      consuming energy and avoiding the
      Hulk Robots.

Fast Move...............John W. Little

      For BASIC programmers wanting a
      convenient way to control
      Player/Missile graphics.


Astronauts.......Matthew J.W. Ratcliff

L.A. Swat/
Panther..........Matthew J.W. Ratcliff


Boot Camp...................Tom Hudson

BASIC Training..........Clayton Walnum

Database DELPHI.......Michael A. Banks

The End User........Arthur Leyenberger


Editorial...............Clayton Walnum

8-bit News

M/L Editor..............Clayton Walnum

BASIC Editor II.........Clayton Walnum

Disk Contents


            |130XE UPGRADED|
 |by Mark Elliot, Innovative Concepts|

The following changes have been
incorporated in the 130XE computer.

(In case there are people reading and
shaking their heads, the 130XE is 
Atari's 8-bit computer (parent of the

1)  RAMs used (4), are the 41464 (4464)
    types (compared to 16-4164 on old)

2)  The O.S. has minor changes like:

    A)  The MEMORY TEST (from SELF
        TESTS) tests the extra 64K now!
        (in 4 squares)

    B)  Also, the MEMORY TEST checks
        the first 48K over TWICE as
        fast as before!

    C)  The KEYBOARD TEST has the F1-F4
        keys missing on top (function
        keys), although the code that
        interprets them is probably
        there (like XEGS)

    D)  Also, it types out "COPYRIGHT
        1985 ATARI" at the keyboard
        test when all tests are done
        (compared to COPYRIGHT 1983
        ATARI, before), and

    E)  The O.S. chip itself is on a
        27256 EPROM, but only half of
        it is used! (compared to the
        original, which was on a
        16K x 8 ROM, 27128 comp.

3)  The PIA is a completely different
    chip--a 68B21! (compared to the
    6520/6520A on all other Atari

4)  Last, but not least, the Owner's
    Manual (Rev. D), is now
    paper-bound, compared to
    spiral-bound on the original.

Hmmm, at least Atari went to the bother
of updating the new machine (probably
will save them money, being more
reliable with less chips).


 |by Computer Software Services (CSS)|

There has been a great deal of interest
since the announcement this spring
concerning the Black Box, so hopefully
this file will answer the majority of

The Black Box is a add-on board for the
Atari 600XL (upgraded), 800XL, and
130XE 8-bit computers.  It is a
T-shaped board that plugs into the PBI
port of the XL computer, or the ECI and
cartridge ports of the 130XE.
Connectors for both types of computers
are built into the Black Box, so no
adapter boards are necessary.  A
cartridge port is available on the
board itself for 130XE users, since the
board plugs in where cartridges are
normally added.  The board is 12 inches
wide and 3 inches deep, sitting back
3 inches from your computer.  It has
two switches, two push-buttons, and a
set of dip switches on the top.

The Black Box provides many unique and
useful functions.  The three primary
functions are:

       RS-232 serial modem port 
         Parallel printer port  
       SASI/SCSI hard disk port 

A fourth floppy disk port for
connecting 3.5" or 5.25" floppy drives
will be available at a later date.

> The RS-232 port provides the full
RS232 specification signal levels for a
modem or other serial device.  It
emulates the Atari 850 interface very
closely, but goes beyond by providing
19,200 baud capability.  The R: driver
is built into the Black Box, so it does
not use ANY user memory!

> The Parallel printer port
interfaces to most all Centronics-type
printers.  You may assign the printer
number and linefeed options from within
the Black Box's configuration menu.
The Black Box also provides you with a
printer buffer if the board or your
computer has extra memory.  A printer
buffer allows you to quickly dump your
file to be printed into the buffer
memory, then go about your business as
the Black Box sends the data to your
printer--a real time saver!  The
Black Box will use either its own RAM
(if you order the 64K version), or the
130XE extended memory banks.  It's all
controlled by the configuration menu.

> The Hard Disk port is the real
reason for the design of the Black Box.
You may connect most any hard disk
controller that is SASI or SCSI
compatible, or drives with embedded
SCSI controllers.  It is totally
compatible with the current versions of
MYDOS and SpartaDOS (which both have a
limit of 16 Megabytes per logical
drive), but a newer version of MYDOS is
provided that is capable of 48 Megs per
drive.  Combine that with nine drives,
and that's over 400 Megs available at
one time!  The Black Box also provides
a conversion toggle for drives capable
of 512 byte sectors only.  Many of the
embedded drives have this limitation,
and previously were unusable.  The
Black Box splits each 512 byte sector
into two 256 byte sectors, so your DOS
will still only see what it requires.
Another advantage is storage space.
Many drives/controllers will give you
more storage when using 512 byte
sectors, some as much as 15% more!
Currently, format software for the
Black Box supports the following

        Adaptec 4000A and 4070    
             Xebec S1410          
       Western Digital 1002SHD    
        OMTI 352x controllers     
      Maxtor embedded SCSI drives 
     Seagate embedded SCSI drives 

A partition is defined as a part of the
hard disk which is seen by the computer
as a separate disk drive.  Since many
hard disks are very large, it is useful
to create several partitions of the
drive, instead of one single drive, as
your DOS sees it.  The Black Box goes
one step further in not only letting
you define the partition for each of
your 9 available drives, but allows you
to have a list of up to 96
partitions--with names!  Since a
partition can be very small, you can
make up several small partitions of
720 sectors (the same length as a
standard floppy disk), and sector-copy
any of your non-protected programs to
these partitions.  Now you can swap
that partition in as Drive 1 and boot
your program at hard disk speed!

The configuration menu is the "heart"
of the Black Box.  You can enter the
menu from anywhere you are by simply
pressing one of the buttons on the
board.  You may now edit the hard disk
configuration, exchange drive numbers,
enable/disable the modem and printer
ports, or go into the 6502 monitor.
After you are finished, pressing
<ESCAPE> will put you right back into
the program you were using!  No memory
or screen display is destroyed by using
the menu!

The 6502 monitor is very handy for
machine language programmers.  How
often have you wondered where your
program was, or what caused an apparent
"lock-up"?  Entering the monitor will
show you all the processor registers
and display the disassembly of the
instruction it was about to execute
when you entered pressed the button.
Users of MAC/65's DDT will feel right
at home with the monitor's use.

The Black Box has other "goodies" in
it.  Any communication with your floppy
drive will be in high speed if you are
using a XF-551, a modified 1050, or a
happy 810.  This will work with just
about ANY DOS or utility!

A text or graphics printer dump of your
current screen may be done at any time
by pressing one of the buttons on the
Black Box.  (The graphics dump is only
available for dot-matrix printers
capable of graphics.)

You may write-protect ALL of your hard
disks by flipping another switch on the
board.  This can be a real life-saver
when running a new piece of software.

The Black Box provides disk I/O tones
with separate pitches for disk reads
and writes to your hard disk, so you
can hear what's going on!  This option
may be disabled within the
configuration menu.

The Black Box also provides support for
users who have used an MIO previously
to store data on a hard disk.  The MIO
actually stores data inverted.  This is
fine as long as the MIO reads it, but
when another host adaptor reads the
same data, it will be meaningless.  By
setting a dip switch, a previous MIO
user will now be able to access all the
data on his drive using the Black Box
with a small sacrifice of speed.

If you have any more questions, please
feel free to call.  User group and
dealer discounts are available.  The
retail price of the Black Box with no
buffer RAM is $199.95, and with 64K,

      Computer Software Services 
            P.O. Box 17660       
         Rochester, NY  14617    
            (716) 586-5545       


           |by Bob Johnson|

      WAACE Publicity Co-Chairman

The 1989 edition of the WAACE DC
AtariFest is in the final planning
stages now, and every indication is
that we are going to have a super show
for you folks.  Just to whet your
appetites, here is a list of who's
coming to date (more are being

             Atari Corp.         
            Alpha Systems        
             ST Informer         
          Gribnif Software       
          Gadgets by Small       
            Word Perfect         
          Best Electronics       
         Orion Microsystems      
           Toad Computers        
        The Electronic Clinic    
          ASDE Inc/ST PLUG       
        Double-click Software    
          Codehead Software      
           Joppa Computers       
            Current Notes        

And there's more where this came from.
We're just awaiting more firm
confirmations by the parties involved.

Also, we are conducting a large number
of seminars and demos with some of the
topics covered being:

           Desktop Publishing
         Graphics and Animation
         IBM and Mac Emulation
         Business Applications
                and more

Atari representatives will be speaking
on the future of Atari, and a Banquet
is planned for Saturday nite.  

The DC AtariFest 89 is taking place the
7th and 8th of October, with the hours
on Saturday running from 10:00 am to
5:00 pm, and on Sunday from 1:00 pm to
5:00 pm.  Admission is free, and we
will also be giving away hourly door
prizes which will range from 8-bit and
ST Software on up to a complete 520ST
system, with a LOT of nice prizes in
between (anyone for a hard disk?).  The
location is the same as in past years,
at the Fairfax High School, in Fairfax,

This is shaping up to be perhaps the
BEST DC 'Fest yet, and we are expecting
to exceed last years total attendance
by a good margin.  If you have any
questions or need more information,
contact John Barnes at 301-652-0667.


              |ZMAG HUMOR|
          |by Scott Andersen|

      Reprinted from ZMagazine #67

At first it was just rumors. I'm sure
you've heard some of them.  Mergers
and/or joint ventures.  Atari and AT&T.
Atari and Teledyne.  Atari and
whomever.  But this one is confirmed.
I saw the proof at last month's
outdoors exposition.

Atari is involved in a joint venture
with Coleman Western, the outdoor
products giant.  The offspring of this
marriage is the Coleman Camp Computer,
hereafter known as the CCC.

It was on display in one corner of the
Coleman booth at the outdoor show,
with an Atari rep in attendance to
demo the machine.  It is quite a
machine.  Its most impressive feature
is its ability to function without a
power supply; the CCC uses white gas
(Coleman Fuel) like so many other
Coleman appliances.  After filling the
tank with fuel and pressurizing the
system by hand pumping, you start up
by firing the pilot/burner.  The gas
flame heats a sealed fluid system
which powers a micro turbine
generator.  This in conjunction with a
regulator provides all the voltage you
need to power the CCC and all of its
peripherals.  The CCC is a 128K machine
that utilizes the 6502 processor.

It has a new O.S. that is completely
compatible with all Atari and third
party software.  Two built-in languages
are switched on or off via a three way
rocker switch.  They are BASIC (of
course) and Action!.  Atari apparently
had a large quantity of 400 keyboards
that they decided to use up on the
CCC.  While being a pain to type on,
the use of the membrane keyboard is
understandable on a product that can
be left out in the rain.  Yes, the CCC
is completely weatherproof.  Rubber
doors cover the 4 joystick ports, the
I/O port, the serial/expansion bus,
and the built-in disk drive and modem.
The disk drive is a half height 5-1/4"
that uses single or enhanced density.
The modem is something completely
different.  It is said to be almost
Hayes compatible, the exception being
that it can't answer.  This is
understandable, you have no phone
number.  At the end of the 25 foot
modem cable is a special induction
device that you merely clamp over any
phone cable.  No pins, no plugs, no
muss, no fuss.  The device can only
originate calls, but it can do it
anywhere there is a telephone line, be
it the backwoods or your back yard.

All this and 1200 baud too.  When you
lift the cover on the CCC you'll see
the best feature of all.  The 9" Hi-Res
LCD color monitor has a true 80 column
screen that is compatible with most
available software.  If not, a rubber
toggle switch will get you back to 40
column at any time.  In either mode the
characters are sharp and crisp and
easy to read.  All this and only 14.4
pounds.  But if that seems too heavy
for you backpackers, the fuel tank/
pump/burner/stand assembly can be

The remaining unit, at 8.3 pounds, can
be used at any campsite simply by
setting it on the campfire.  Included
in the $450 price are three new pieces
of software.

The first, "Campcalc", is a wilderness
management program.  The second,
"Camp-Talk", synthesizes bird and
animal calls.  The third is a graphics
masterpiece.  It is a Conestoga Wagon
simulator called "Yerass".  No more
boring evenings around the campfire.

    Coleman Camping Computer Update

Yes, since announced in the June 1986
issue of Mile High Magazine, Coleman
products, has barely been able to keep
up with the orders for the Coleman
Camping Computer, let alone develop
any new enhancements for the popular
system.  Due to some heat disipation
problems, the Camp Fire power system,
has been dropped, in favor of a new
system using 3-6 foot solar panels,
generating enough heat to move a small
turbine, which in turn is hooked to a

This seems to be a much safer system,
than the camp fire unit, and is ready
to ship as of this writing.  Estimated
cost is a reasonable $1250 plus

Shipping, due to size, must be arranged
by the purchaser, with local contacts
for hauling, setup and crane services.
Estimated weight is 2200 pounds.

          Third Party Support!

Yes, with a great product like the
CCC, there is undoubtedly going to be
some inovative third party support.
DuckPuck Direct, Wholesalers for Idaho
has jumped on the CCC bandwagon with a
couple of new products.  Their feature
product is a small nuclear power
supply, much smaller in size and
weight than Coleman's Solar system.
This amazing power source will be very
popular with the "way back in"
campers.  True, a waste water source of
200 cubic feet per minute is
neccessary to prevent core meltdown.
And true, plutonium is some what of a
rare item,(though DuckPuck has
plutonium available in their new
catalog, and is rumored to be working
on a reactor that will be fueled by,
what else "DuckPuck").

Side advantages of the Alternate power
source is that you can recover some of
the cost of the plutonium by selling
the additional unused mega-watts to
the local power company.  The large
amount of heat generated is a definate
plus for the artic campers.  Included
is your very own lead lined camping
attire, sleeping bag, and water
purification system to assure that you
are not contamenated by the waste.  All
in all an exciting package for the

DuckPuck has also announced some other
enhancements for the Coleman system.
These include:

For the Camp Talk Synthsis System.
Domestic Animal Data Disk!  Wouldn't
Old McDonald be envious.  For those of
you who live on a farm and would like
to have exciting conversations with
your horses, cows, pigs, and chickens.
Requires version 26 of ODS (Out Door
Operating system.)

Exotic Bird Data Disk. Another fine
data disk for the Camp Talk Module.
This is for those of you planing a
trip down the Amazon and would like to
keep in touch with the local wildlife.
Another useful product from DuckPuck.

Also distributed by the amazing
DuckPuck Folks is Apuck74!  Those of
you familar with the popular Amodem74
by our own Trent Dudley will feel
right at home with Apuck74.  As usual
Mr. Dudley did a fine job of porting
the powerful program over to ODS.  One
nice enhancement added to this version
is optional core temperature monitoring
with the DuckPuck Nucular power system.

Rumor has it that DuckPuck is working
on a Code name 'P' power enhancement
for the Backpacking users.  An Inside
informer claims the P stands for
potato and is the main component used
in the new device.

For more information on these and
other outstanding CCC products contact:

DuckPuck Direct
The Software Wholesalers for Idaho
P.U. Box 3 Duckpuck

Thanks to The Puget Sound Atari Users
for inspiration in creating this

Scott Anderson is the current
President of STARFLEET Atari User
Group of Denver, Colorado.  This was
first printed in the MILE HIGH Atari
Magazine and was downloaded from
SKYLINE BBS (both of Denver).


 |   Rovac Industries, Incorporated  |
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 |          (201) 968-8148           |
 |Copyright 1989  All Rights Reserved|

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