Z*Magazine: 12-Sep-89 #174From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 10/02/93-03:14:38 PM Z
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From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG) Subject: Z*Magazine: 12-Sep-89 #174 Date: Sat Oct 2 15:14:38 1993 | ROVAC ZMAGAZINE | | Issue #174 | | September 12, 1989 | | Copyright 1989, RII| |This week in ZMagazine| Editor's Monitor Harold Brewer Computer Talk Hank Vize Jersey Atari Computer Group Meeting Ron Kovacs The Mouse Loses Its Tail! Crazy Eights #8: Potpourri Robert Buman |EDITOR'S MONITOR| |by Harold Brewer| This issue of ZMagazine is a re-release of the original issue #174 due to the inclusion of a reprint of an article which appeared in the original issue #37 of ST-ZMagazine. Said article has been deemed improper to appear in this forum by ST-ZMagazine's editor Ron Kovacs. Read the re-release of ST-ZMagazine #37 for more details. |COMPUTER TALK| |by Hank Vize, EAUG president| Reprinted from The EAUG-LOG Eastside Atari User Group newsletter "Computer Talk" is a St. Louis area radio call-in show which accepts calls for two hours on any computer subject for any make computer. CT is heard on WRYT 1080 AM. On September 2, 1989, talk show hosts Ike and Bob had our local Atari dealer as guests on their show--Jeff and Tim Randall of "Randall's Home Computers". Jeff is renowned in the St. Louis Metro area as being one of the most reputable of Atari dealers. He regularly supports users groups (four in the area), and has always made himself available for any project. The show also had ZMagazine editor Harold Brewer. Harold is usually up on late breaking news and is a staunch supporter of the Atari 8-bit line. This particular Saturday morning show started somewhat slowly but then gradually gained momentum. The hosts, without any real knowledge of the Atari product line, were genuinely interested in all applications available on the computers and especially the Mega ST line. Ike asked "Jeff, tell us about your store and the Atari product line". Jeff gave a brief background and store information and then proceeded to tell the hosts and listeners about the Atari Mega ST line and the software available. The talk show hosts seemed to be in shock by what they heard. It brought co-host Bob to remark "Gee, does it do the dishes, too?". They were in wonder of the standard features of the computer: SCSI support, MIDI ports, etc; astonished that it could read MS-DOS disks and therefore would allow data to be imported into ST software from IBM sources; amazed that there were versions of Word Perfect, Drafix, DBman, Timeworks Publisher, etc.; and awed that Mac and IBM emulators were available and soon to be at speed of their original machines. In summary, they were impressed with the flexibility and versatility of the Mega ST computer. Well, next came the inevitable question. "Why haven't we heard about this computer before?" Ike asked. OUCH! Why indeed? DRAM shortages were blamed, which was quickly refuted as a legitimate excuse by the talk show host. "I can get all the DRAMs I want. And I've been able to do so for some time now" stated Ike. (Ike also is co-owner of a local retail computer store.) European market penetration was then mentioned. Both the hosts were quick to respond that it is a shame the product is only readily available in Europe. The Fall USA Push was now brought up by a caller and the host said that he hopes it becomes a reality because the computer shows great promise. Jeff was asked if he had any Mega STs in stock and he had to reply "No". The truch being Randall's last received a Mega ST shipment over six months, maybe a year, ago. IF he did receive any they probably would be gone in a week. Callers generated even more interest and this show should be considered as a success for Atari. After all, two knowledgeable computer talk show hosts, who previously knew nothing about Atari, were genuinely impressed with the Atari Mega ST line. They did side with what current owners have been saying for some time now: make the product available and then market it. Some of those who participated in the call-in show were: Jeff and Tim Randall Randall's Home Computers Harold Brewer ZMagazine editor Dave Pintar VP of Eastside Atari User Group Matthew Ratcliff Mat*Rat of Analog fame Terry Shoemaker President of ACE-STL Hank Vize President of EAUG and editor of EAUG-LOG and others whose names I didn't catch or weren't revealed. Near the close of the two hour show Jeff and Tim were invited to return as guests later this fall in November. The St. Louis Metro Atari community hopes that they will be able to report on Atari's new marketing push and on his ample supply of Mega ST products. Maybe this will also include the newly announced STacey, Portfolio, and TT systems. I know I am biased towards Atari. I am a president of an Atari user group. I can't help but to bring forth some closing thoughts. We Atari users stand loyally behind the company. What is hard to comprehend is the fact that Atari seems to be slow to support the loyal USA base. More computers could be sold if they were made available. Some of the bizarre prerequisites for dealers need to be removed. Not all dealers can fund minimum quotas that afford price cuts or meet some of the minimum guidelines that allow them to carry a certain model. During this period of Atari wanting and needing a broad dealer base, these restrictions should be lifted and all products offered to all dealers with NO minimum order requirements. If a dealer only wants a quantity of one of some model why not make it available? How can a small dealer grow and prosper if he can't get new products, chiefly due to minimum requirements by Atari? Then, in turn, how can the potential new Atari owners purchase the model of their choice or the present Atari owner purchase an upgrade to a new model. CATCH-22! Not being a dealer, I wish to add the above remarks are made from observations of statements made on the information networks and in other user group newsletters. The goal should be to remove CATCH-22 and replace it with only "CATCH". CATCH new computer owners. CATCH more dealers. CATCH and endear the present Atari user base. Then we can watch and see if all the other companies can CATCH up to Atari. |JERSEY ATARI COMPUTER GROUP MEETING| |by Ron Kovacs| Reprinted in part from ST-ZMagazine #37 "The Editor's Desk" 9/9/89 I want to discuss and report on Bob Brodie's appearance at the September JACG meeting, of which I am a member. This was the first major appearance by Atari's new user group coordinator. In attendance with the 200 plus members and guests were Arthur Leyenberger from Analog Magazine, David Noyes from Atari Explorer Magazine, representatives from JACS User Group, BASIC User Group, LVAUG User Group and one group from Connecticut. In total, there were groups from five states here to enjoy the meeting. JACG is to be commended for organizing such a large group for the meeting. They were certainly rewarded, with Atari donating an XE Game System, an XF-551 disk drive, an XEP80, and Atari Writer 80 to the group. In addition, the JACG PD Library sold over $600 in disks!! All the group reps where given a chance to speak. Arthur Leyenberger of Analog spoke about changes in the Atari community since he was President of the JACG in the early eighties. David Noyes of Atari Explorer echoes Art's comments and his support and needs for support for the 8-bit Atari computers. I was announced and chatted briefly about Z*Net and its concept, online magazines, and allowed a short question and answer period. During a break before Bob spoke, I was surprised at the number of people who wanted to speak with me about Z*Net, ST-Z*Mag, and Z*Mag. They were by and large complimentary, with a number of them anxious to see what they had to do to get Z*Net included in their newsletter, or carry Z*Mag on their BBS. Some of the questions asked where interesting and pleasing to hear. Sitting behind the computer day after day and to hear the appreciation for publishing this material was encouraging. Another point brought up was the fact that Atari's commentary on what the three online magazines release each week never seems to appear. What exactly does Atari think about the onlines? Your guess is as good as mine. After a brief intermission, Bob Brodie was announced and started with a short speech on how he got to Atari and goals he planned for the next year. Look for the seldom produced Atari User Group Newsletter to be resurrected in 1990. Bob wants to produce the user group newsletter at least quarterly, with hopes of going bi-monthly by the end of the year. Atari is convinced that user groups need to be nurtured, and developed not just as an avenue of support for their product, but as a special market as well. Bob recognizes that user groups need a better way to communicate with Atari, as well as other user groups. To that end, Atari will be making the completed user group listings available to all groups that are registered, first for verification by the groups, then for publication. Soon after, Bob showed a short tape from a recent Atari show in Dusseldorf, West Germany, attended by over 35,000 people where Atari announced the TT. We saw over 145 developers gathered in a large hall showing a wealth of products, all for the ST. Atari Germany had a section at the show called "The Atari Shop" were they displayed all kinds of goodies for Atari fanatics; Atari backpacks, Atari sweatshirts, Atari jackets, and more. Bob also brought along the new Atari Portfolio for all to see, and some to try! The Portfolio is set to begin shipping next week, and looks to be a great success for Atari! Bob allowed a 50 plus minute question and answer period. If time weren't an issue, I am sure this session would have went on for at least another hour. Some of the questions pertained directly to dealer support and the lack of it, other questions on 8-bit support, upgrading, and various comments on the current state of affairs at Atari. At the meeting, Atari announced that they have a new solution to the old problem of getting service where there are no dealers. Atari has enlisted a group of dealers located across the USA to be "Regional Service Centers". If a user has a hardware problem, he can call Atari Customer Service Department, give his zip code, and get the name of the Regional Service Center closest to him. This is a good step forward for users that live hundreds of miles from dealers, and a big improvement over simply returning the defective unit to Sunnyvale for Atari to replace or repair. Nothing is as effective as having your own local dealer, but while Atari adds more dealers, this is a good alternative. If you have attended any show, user group meeting, AtariFest, or World of Atari show, I am sure you have listened to previous Atari employees baffle the airwaves with fluff, appear not to be interested, and really leave you feeling you wasted your time. Bob Brodie did not fit any of the above. His remarks were straight forward and to the point. If he didn't know an answer, it was simply stated as such. When one user continued to pursue information on upgrading his system, Bob handled himself well and honestly. When the user continued to press that he should be able to trade in his computer directly to Atari for an upgrade, Bob tried to point out that Atari does not have a used computer business, but that a number of dealers do. He suggested that the user contact a dealer who would be interested in trade-ins. But when the user insisted that Atari should be the one taking the trade-in, Bob told about his first new car, a Fiat sedan. He told how it fit his needs wonderfully for a number of years, but after getting married, and starting a family, he found that little sedan was no longer met his needs. "When I realized our family needed another car, I did NOT go back to Fiat and ask them to add another six feet to the car, add two more doors, cruise control, etc. I sold the car, then bought one that met our family's needs. Likewise, users whose needs have changed need to upgrade their systems." The groups showed their support for his analogy with their loud applause! Bob's caring feeling shines through everything he said. A spokesman for Atari he is and I am sure he is going to fill the shoes of his previous position holders and more. Atari has latched on to a good public speaker and someone who cares about its users. After the meeting adjourned, Bob and a number of user groups officers had another meeting, enjoying a lunch at a restaurant close by. This was a great opportunity for both Atari and user groups officers to speak frankly about hopes and plans for the future. Bob shared some of his ideas that he wants to advance at Atari, getting users points of views to share with Sunnyvale executives. He stressed that he wants to be accessible to the users, and encouraged all to call (408-745-2052) or send e-mail (GEnie address: BOBBRODIE) with any of their needs or requests. It also proved a good time for contacts to be nurtured between the groups, with promises of exchanges of material flowing between the groups. You will find additional accounts of this meeting, in upcoming editions of Analog and Atari Explorer magazines. |THE MOUSE LOSES ITS TAIL!| September 8, 1989 For Immediate Release Tucson, AZ. Practical Solutions, Inc. announces The Cordless Mouse, a new innovation in input control. Compatible with all Atari ST and Mega computers, The Cordless Mouse utilizes the latest in infra-red signal transmission technology to give all mouse users long-awaited freedom. It can be operated from up to five feet away from its base receiver, eliminating those old cable tangles, while providing faster and smoother mouse movement. According to company president Mark Sloatman, this new mouse will advance the state-of-the-art for all input devices. The Cordless Mouse features a sleek, lightweight, contoured design allowing ease of use for both right- and left-handed operators. Using an 8-bit, 12 MHz CMOS CPU, The Cordless Mouse provides a high resolution of over 200 cpi and a tracking speed of up to 600 mm/sec. This makes it twice as fast as the Atari mouse, taking up less than half the rolling room normally required on your mouse pad. The Cordless Mouse also has an automatic shutoff to extend battery life (two "AAA" batteries required). No special gridplate or mousepad is necessary. The Cordless Mouse has a scheduled release date of October 20, 1989 with a suggested retail of only $129.95. It comes with a one year limited warranty and unlimited technical support. Early response indicates an overwhelming demand, especially for those that use their ST every day. Sloatman says "Once you've used our mouse you'll never want to use any other. It's the fastest, smoothest mouse available today." |CRAZY EIGHTS #8: POTPOURRI| |by Robert Buman| 8-bit librarian for SAGE Spectrum Atari Group of Erie With the September Newsletter deadline rapidly approaching, I found myself without a finished Crazy-Eights article. Too much fun, sun and 8-bit librarian work, I guess. I thought about using my October piece, but it's a bit lengthy and I wanted some room to remind everyone about the Crazy-Eights Logo Contest. As a result, I'm using this month's whole article for a friendly "fireside chat". Sit back, relax. Can we talk? OK, first the contest: YES friends, it's real. There was some concern about this at our club's last meeting, since my articles tend to bend the truth a little (just a weeeeee bit...). So, to re-state: LOGO CONTEST! So what's a logo you may ask? It has nothing to do with the language of the same name, so breathe easy. A logo is a graphic symbol that represents some group or company or some THING...everytime you see it you think of the item that it represents. Everybody knows Atari's Fuji symbol, right? It looks like a volcano with an oil well dug in the middle. That's Atari's logo. Can you think of some? Your computer club might even have their own. Check your newsletter, club stationary, etc. What kind of ideas would be fitting for a Crazy-Eights logo? Hmmm...Think of something "crazy". Think of the number "eight". Think of earlier articles. Think! Think! Think! Logo format: I want to display the entries at our December Club meeting. Your logo(s) must be in one of the following formats: Koala, Microillustrator, or uncompressed Graphics 8. Pictures that require some extra programming to be shown other than a standard picture viewer will probably not qualify. You are welcome to send extra files, but only the picture files will be shown at the meeting. Anyone is eligible. My only requirements are to use the Atari picture formats listed above and to send them to me either by mail to the SAGE mail box or by sending them to me via my GEnie address (LAKE31) or to the SAGE BBS SYSOP (814-833-4073). Make sure all your personal info gets sent along with your entries so we know who you are. The deadline for receiving entries is NOVEMBER 1, 1989. First place winner receives a bank check for FIFTY DOLLARS (my own hard-earned money!). Second and third place winners receive five and three Public domain disks (respectively) of their choice from the SAGE PD software library. The disks are being donated by SAGE! Now that you have had your SECOND NOTIFICATION, it's time for you to get going. Let's get back to some Crazy-Eights stuff... MOST ASKED QUESTION: Is Patty afraid of heights? In my first article I mentioned that Patty took the stairs up to my library office rather than the elevator. Many of you interpreted this to mean Patty had a fear of high places. I asked her about this and she assures me that while she could never be a riveter on top of the World Trade Center, she has no abnormal fear of heights. As a matter of fact, Patty loves coolers and on occasion she gets rather elevated. Fans of Patty may send mail/coolers to her via Crazy Eights. MY FIRST COMPUTER: I designed and built it myself. It was a big cardboard box (Maytag, I think) with rows of old radio knobs and a series of square holes cut out. I taped colered christmas paper behind each. Inside were a couple strings of christmas tree lights and a miniature reel-to-reel tape recorder. The computer doubled as a cozy sleeping quarters, too. I was eight years old. WACO APPRECIATION MONTH: WACO, for those who don't know, stands for the Westmoreland Atari Computer Organization. WACO is our "sister group". George Adamson of WACO was instrumental in our formation. George is also our most colorful, best dressed member in the summertime. One year we saluted George and the gang by holding a surprise "WACO appreciation month". George was known for coming to our meetings in wild flashy bermudas or jamms. And since he would speak at each meeting (he's a fountaion of fresh Atari information) you couldn't help but notice the fashion statement! We decided to announce the special meeting by putting a blurb in the newsletter. Since WACO also receives our newsletter we conspicuously blanked out the article in their copy, inserting little comments in the space. On the day of the meeting George and some other WACO club members arrived to find many SAGE members dressed in their craziest shorts, jamms and tee shirts. Alas, the little spoof backfired. George surprised us all when, for once, he showed up wearing a shirt and slacks! THE AMAZING MR. PIXEL: We have many colorful members at SAGE, one of whom is Rich. Rich is often refered to as Mr. Pixel. Rich has done it all with his computer, or so he tells us! I met Mr. Pixel before he was a member of SAGE. I was answering a classified ad in Erie's newspaper which advertised an Atari 800 being sold for $50. I called to tell him I'd be right out. Right out was a few hours later...when he said he lived "out a ways" he wasn't fooling. He lived out so far in the jing-weeds that I had to leave a trail of write-protect tabs behind me to mark my path. When I got there Rich was in the process of putting the cow out for the night. "The doorway will be clear in a moment" he hollered. "Betsy has to get used to the night air." Betsy cried "Moooooo!". Betsy, a black and white spotted Holstein, lumbered out while four or five dogs and cats bolted in. "My whole family is into computers" Rich boasted. "Betsy loves computers too." "That's nice" I said politely. Rich led me to his computer room which doubled as the nursery for a fresh litter of hound pups. "Don't mind the dogs, they love computers" Rich assured. "No problem" I answered, cautiously watching what I stepped on or (ahem) in. His computer area, in spite of the dog hospital surroundings was quite charming. The sturdy 800 worked fine. When I asked him why he was selling it, and so cheaply, he confessed money was a bit tight and he was trying to scrape up some cash to get a 130XE out of lay away. I offered to go a little higher (something I don't do too often) as I felt it was worth more than he was asking. But Rich was steadfast and refused to take more. That's when he mentioned he had a mainframe computer in the basement. "Just needs a little work" he added. "Surplus from M.I.T. with 200 megs of online memory and a three dimensional graphic monitor that had resolution to a third of a pixel" (Thus, the Pixel moniker). "Betsy's computer, right?" I queried. "Oh, no! The mainframe's my baby. I have the Atari to keep everybody out of my hair while I'm programming...COBOL mostly...it's got an instruction set of over a thousand command-words." "Gee, I'd really like to see it" I said ever-so-innocently sounding, trying my best not to let my total disbelief or burning curiosity show through. "Wellll, it's a mess down there--I've got the CPU all torn apart trying to repair a bug in the read/write line to the laser disk." "You mean it has a laser disk for storage???" I gasped. "Yep, about 10 megs per disk, when it works" he answered casually. "Someday I'll have it all humming again. I work on it when I don't have anything else to do." I bought the 800 but not the rest of the story. Rich did eventually join our club, and in spite of my personal problem of dealing with what he sometimes said, we get along pretty well. POTPOURRI FINIS: These are just some article ideas I have been playing with. Some are real, some are...well...in any case I'll be expanding on these subjects in future articles. Caveat emptor! |Crazy-Eights | | att'n SAGE | |PO box 10562 | |Erie PA 16514| | Rovac Industries, Incorporated | | P.O. Box 59, Middlesex, NJ 08846 | | (201) 968-8148 | |Copyright 1989 All Rights Reserved| Comments and opinions expressed in this edition are those of the individual authors. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ZMagazine, Rovac Industries, or ST-ZMagazine/ZNet. Opposing commentary is accepted and appreciated and will be printed subject to the editor's descretion. All 8-bit submissions are accepted 24 hours a day via the Centurion BBS (after validation) at (618) 451-0165 (PCP via MOSLO). All material becomes the property of Rovac Industries and will not be returned. All submissions must contain the author's name. CompuServe: 71777,2140 GEnie: ZMAGAZINE Source: BDG793 ZMagazine Headquarters BBSes: Centurion BBS--(618)451-0165 Chaos BBS--(517)371-1106 Shadow Haven--(916)962-2566 Stairway to Heaven--(216)784-0574
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