Z*Magazine: 12-Sep-89 #174

From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 10/02/93-03:14:38 PM Z

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

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

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

Some of those who participated in the
call-in show were:

Jeff and Tim Randall  Randall's
                      Home Computers
       Harold Brewer  ZMagazine
         Dave Pintar  VP of Eastside
                      Atari User Group
    Matthew Ratcliff  Mat*Rat of
                      Analog fame
     Terry Shoemaker  President of
           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

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.


            |by Ron Kovacs|

Reprinted in part from ST-ZMagazine #37
          "The Editor's Desk"


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

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

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

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.



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


           |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

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...

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

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.

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

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

"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

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

            |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

Return to message index