Z*Magazine: 21-Jan-91 #190

From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 10/03/93-03:12:21 PM Z

From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
Subject: Z*Magazine: 21-Jan-91 #190
Date: Sun Oct  3 15:12:21 1993

           ==(((((((((( ==    Z*MAG/A\ZINE ATARI ONLINE MAGAZINE
           =========(( ===             January 21, 1991
           =======(( =====                Issue #190
           =====(( =======    ----------------------------------
           ==(((((((((( ==    Copyright (c)1990, Rovac Ind Inc..
                      Publisher/Editor : Ron Kovacs
                      Assistant Editor : Stan Lowell
                  CompuServe: 71777,2140    GEnie: Z-NET
        Z*NET BBS: (908) 968-8148   BLANK PAGE BBS: (908) 805-3967
 by Ron Kovacs

 It has been 20 days or so since the last release and we apologize.  We
 do have good news though, we are beginning to receive support from our
 readers and present a few of the most recent articles in this edition.
 Happy New Year to everyone and we will return in 7-10 days with issue
 number #191.  Thanks for reading!
 Atari Entertainment has announced that they will significantly increase
 its promotional activities and dealer support program during the first
 half of 1991.  The specifics on the new creative and media campaign are
 being finalized but that the advertising for the first six months will
 focus on the use of cable and syndicated television and targeted spot
 radio in key markets as well as game and entertainment publications.
 First ads will highlight the Lynx's new retail price of $149.95 and will
 feature Atari's offer of a free second game cartridge with each system
 purchased.  The offer will also be tied to dealer support activities
 which will include counter cards with tear-off pads, dealer roto and
 newspaper advertising support, as well as radio.  For dealers who don't
 have the floor space necessary to devote to the kiosks and pedestals,
 Atari will offer countertop and slotwall displays.  These displays
 feature self-running tapes that demonstrate the color, graphics and
 sound capabilities of the Lynx.
 Rampage and Rygar, were among the five latest additions to the expanding
 library of single- and multiple-player games for the Atari Lynx.
 Rampage, from Bally has a suggested retail price of $34.95.  Road
 Blasters from Atari Games has a suggested retail price of $39.95.
 Zarlor Mercenary, an Epyx original, will have a suggested retail price
 of $34.95.  Rygar, the 1989 coin-op Game of the Year from Temco, has a
 suggested retail price is $39.95.  Ms. Pac-Man, a coin-op smash hit from
 Namco, Ltd., suggested retail price is $34.95.  The other Lynx games at
 prices of $39.95 include, California Games from Epyx, Paperboy from
 Atari Games, Gauntlet and KLAX from Atari Games.  At $34.95,  Xenophobe
 from Bally Manufacturing, Todd's Adventures in Slime World from Epyx,
 RoboSquash from Atari Games, Blue Lightning from Epyx, Chip's Challenge
 from Epyx, Electrocop, an Epyx and Atari collaboration, and Gates of
 Zendocon from Epyx.  For complete information on Lynx, Atari's home
 video game systems and growing family of video game software, contact
 your local video game dealer or call/write Lawrence Siegel, President,
 Atari Entertainment Division, 330 N. Eisenhower Lane, Lombard, IL 60148;
 (708) 629-6500, FAX (708) 629-6699.
 Atari announced a complete line of Lynx accessories.  The accessories,
 which were designed to enhance the portability of the handheld video
 game system, include a traveling case, a carrying pouch, a sun visor/
 screen guard, and a cigarette lighter adapter.

 With the 16 new releases, on-the-go video game enthusiasts will have
 more than 30 games available for their Lynx portable systems.  Many of
 the 16 games scheduled for release take full advantage of the Lynx
 features, with some allowing up to eight players.  The new titles, which
 have a suggested retail price of from $29.95 to $39.95, will be on
 dealer shelves during the first and second quarters of 1991 and include:
 World Class Soccer, an Atari Games original, Ninja Gaiden, 1990 Arcade
 Game of the Year from Techmo, Blockout from California Dreams, Xybots
 from Atari Games, Shanghai from Mediagenic, Warbirds an Atari Games
 original, NFL Football, Vindicators from Atari Games, Grid Runner an
 Atari Games original, Turbo Sub another Atari Games original, Checkered
 Flag, A.P.B., Scrapyard Dog, and Tournament Cyberball 2072, from Atari

 Eight new action-packed video games for the Atari 7800 home video
 entertainment system are now available bringing the total to nearly 40
 games.  The new, full-color games include:  Ikari Warriors from SNK,
 Planet Smashers, MotorPsycho, and BasketBrawl all Atari Games originals,
 Mean 18 Ultimate Golf from Accolade, Mat Mania Challenge from American
 Technos, Ninja Golf and Alien Brigade, Atari Games originals.

 There are more than 35 sequencing programs available for the Atari
 Computer systems.  Some of these include: C-Lab Notator from C-Lab,
 Pro-24 from Steinberg/Jones, Tiger Club from Dr. T's.  Notation and
 printing software includes:  Copyist DTP from Dr. T's and EZ Score Plus
 from Hybrid Arts.  Library and Patch Editing software include:  Super
 Librarian Pixel Publishing and GenWave from Interval Music Systems.  The
 Educational platform is covered, including:  Electronic Courseware
 Systems and The Ear from Steinberg/Jones.
 Atari announced that it has relocated the firm's entertainment division
 to the Chicago Area.  The relocation was made in conjunction with the
 appointment of Lawrence Siegel as president of the entertainment
 division.  Siegel was previously vice president of software development
 for Atari.  Atari's announcement of the new $99.95 Lynx at the Consumer
 Electronics Show in Las Vegas is already having an impact on its
 entertainment division.  The new Atari Entertainment Division will be
 located at 330 North Eisenhower Lane, in Lombard, Illinois.

 American Video filed a $105 million damage lawsuit against Nintendo
 charging the Japanese companies with violations of antitrust laws.  The
 suit states that Nintendo dominates the home video entertainment
 business with an 80 percent market share, and that it is using its
 monopoly power to cause the bankruptcy of the San Jose firm.  In the
 complaint filed January 8, 1991, American Video stated that Nintendo
 ships 60 million Nintendo cartridges per year from Japan to the United
 States with a retail value of about $3 billion. 

 Commodore announced earlier in the week that it intends to reduce the
 company's work force in the United States by about ten percent or 250
 to 300 people of it's 3,000 employees worlwide. 

 Kenwood will demonstrate a prototype for a home compact disc unit that
 will record on blank disks at the Winter CES Show.  The LZ-13, a CD-WO
 (Write-once) unit that is capable of producing recorded disks from
 various sources.  The disks can be played in any CD player in the same
 way as a conventional CD. 

 Logical Design Works announced the appointment of Sig Hartmann as
 executive vice president.  Most recently an executive vice president
 with Televideo.  Before working with Televideo, Hartmann served in
 executive vice president positions with both Commodore and Atari Corp.
 Logical Design Works, Inc. is based out of Los Gatos and specializes in
 exporting computers and electronics into Eastern Europe.
 Apple announced this week that net revenues rose 12 percent for its
 first fiscal quarter ended Dec. 28, 1990 compared to the same quarter of
 a year ago.  Earnings per share increased 33 percent.  Net revenues for
 the quarter were $1.676 billion, compared to $1.493 billion in the year
 previous period.  International revenues accounted for 45 percent of
 total revenues during the quarter, compared to 36 percent in the first
 quarter of fiscal 1990.  Net income in the first quarter of fiscal 1990
 included $33.7 million ($20.5 million after tax, $.16 per share) for
 expenses related to cost-reduction programs and damages resulting from
 the October 1989 earthquake in the Bay Area. 

 IBM announced this week preliminary worldwide financial results for
 1990.  Worldwide revenue for the year ended Dec. 31, 1990, was $69.0
 billion, up 10.1 percent from the prior year's $62.7 billion.  Worldwide
 net earnings for the year were $6.0 billion compared with $3.8 billion
 in 1989.  The after-tax margin was 8.7 percent in 1990 compared with 6.0
 percent in 1989.  Earnings per share were $10.51 in 1990 compared with
 $6.47 per share in 1989.  Included in the 1989 results is a one-time
 charge taken in the fourth quarter against earnings for restructuring

 initiatives, investment revaluations and other actions.  Average shares
 outstanding were 572.6 million in 1990 and 581.1 million in 1989.  For
 the quarter ended Dec. 31, 1990, worldwide revenue was $23.1 billion, up
 12.7 percent from the prior year's $20.5 billion.

 Tandon has acquired most of all of the assets of Corvus Systems which
 makes local area networking systems, PCs and related software and
 peripheral equipment.

 Nintendo announced early this week that it will increase monthly output
 of its Super Famicom video game computers to 500,000 units starting in
 April and to 800,000 units monthly beginning in August.  The Super
 Famicon uses a one-megabit dynamic random access memory microchip and
 can handle more complex game software than Nintendo's Famicom.  There
 are only nine different kinds of game software available for the new
 machine, but Nintendo says they will expand to about 30 to 40 types by
 the end of the summer.

 by Stan Lowell, Assistant Editor
 First of all, an update to the FoReM-XE Professional BBS list in issue
 #188.  The telephone number for The Outhouse BBS in Belleville, IL is
 618-398-0335.  Also, another BBS in Sacramento, CA has joined the FoReM-
 XEP network:  The Doggie Diner BBS, 916-921-1935.

 The State of Atari Corp.

 As we move into a new year, it is important to look back over our
 shoulders.  A few things seem significant to me.
 1)  Atari Dropping 8-bit support.  Many are still bitter about it.
     While I understand, it is a fact of life that any product has at
     least two lives: a "business" life, and "usefulness" life.  The
     first life has come to an end, brought on by economics and the facts
     of life.  It is always sad and disappointing to have "official"
     support for YOUR machine come to an end, but the "useful" life
     doesn't end until "you" decide.  There are still a few companies
     still selling their 8-bit software.  Some will try to help you with
     problems, some won't.  You buy it 'as is.'

 Beyond the commercial software, we still have "Shareware" authors.
 These are enthusiasts, like ourselves.  They love their 8-bits, as we
 all do.  They have invested many hours into their programs.  Support
 them.  They will continue ONLY as long as you give them your approval,
 acceptance, and the few dollars they ask in return for their efforts.
 They WILL support their programs!  Their hardware breaks just like ours.
 When it does, they will be faced with the natural attrition decision:
 "Should I fix it, or 'upgrade' to (name a machine here) ?" If YOUR
 response has been sufficient, they will likely fix it.  If not, we may
 have lost some more support.
 2)  The 'division' of the Atari community into 8-bit camps and ST camps.
     This situation is absurd!  I suppose it stems from the extreme pride
     and loyalty which has been a part of our credo as "Atarians."  It is
     very silly in my opinion.  Without the 8-bits, there might not have
     been any ST's today, while the ST is part of the natural evolution
     of the marketplace.  We all share the same history and should share
     the same philosophy of computing:  helping each other and sharing

 This philosophy was one of the things that impressed me about the Atari
 and "Atarians" before I bought my first one.  I BBS'ed for over a year
 before I took the plunge.  Once I found my first Atari BBS, I discovered
 this attitude prevelant on nearly all of them.  Rarely had I seen the
 degree of cooperation amongst users on "other" boards that I saw on the
 Atari boards.  I watched the users on one board complete a program
 started by one user who asked for help with it.  Perhaps 14 different
 users got involved with tips, hints, advice, experiences, problems, and
 actually helping write parts of the final program!  This is 'our
 heritage' as "Atarians."  Every product Atari has made or makes has its
 place in our community, be it 8-bits, ST, TT, Lynx, Portfolio, or ???
 Lets all try to continue our philosophy, our credo, our heritage for
 many years to come.

 Hopefully, Atari will continue to increase its "Name recognition", not
 as a 'game machine,' but as a serious, powerful and flexible machine
 that it is(and always has been).  I think they are making inroads with
 the Portfolio.  Presumably, this will lead to increased sales, support,
 and advertising here in the USA.  It's a slow process because Atari is
 small, but in my opinion, Atari is trying to turn it around.

 Let's look positively into this new year.  Hopefully it will be a good 
 one for us all!

 More 8-Bit Commercial Support
 News of another company still supporting 8-bits from the ACUTE BBS:

 Message: 243 (#5422) - Reply to #234       Title: Parrot II
 Author: Jonathan Mordosky                  To: Robert Genthner (Recvd)
 Posted: Mon 24-Dec-90 at  9:08:00am
 Hi Rob,
 Parrot II is a product of Alpha Systems in Ohio.  At the WACCE fest in
 October, Alpha Systems was there and one of only a few companies still
 actively supporting the 8-bit machines.  In the October STart magazine,
 Alpha Systems had a half page add for their 8-bit products.  The phone
 number in the ad is (216)374-7469.  The mailing address is:

 Alpha Systems
 1012 Skyland Drive
 Macedonia, OH 44056

 You should be able to contact them by phone or mail.  Take care, Jon

 Still Another Source for European Software
 And another capture from ACUTE via its networked Near-Us message base.
 (The number for the Nest BBS is: 516-221-8462)

 Message: 242 (#5497)              Title: Current Notes NOTE
 Author: JOHN AALTO                To: Triala
 Posted: Fri 28-Dec-90 at 10:44:00pm
 Origin: Nest BBS, Long Island, New York

 Its not all that bad!  Nov's Current Notes has one major article on
 "Secrets of XL/XE Power Supplies", an column "The 8-Bit Alchemist" by
 Ben Poehland, after that its the ads and CN's XL/XE PD Library.  There
 are news updates on the XE, but have you collected all the old magazines
 yet?  Lots of material....dated.....but useful.
 One new source of software for the XE is coming out of Germany via
 Software Infinity which is releasing new titles from KE-Soft (Germany).
 I've just gotten a catalog from ABBUC of Germany with a whole list of
 titles.  Chromatics and Cultivation.  Also Tobot, Bros, Zebu-Land,
 Dredis and .........TECHNO-NINJA.........but can anyone tell me what
 ZONG is?
 Yes, the Atari 8-bit lives on! What a long strange trip its been!
 Message: 243 (#5498)             Title: Current Notes NOTE
 Author: JOHN AALTO               To: JOHN AALTO
 Posted: Fri 28-Dec-90 at 11:01:00pm
 Origin: Nest BBS, Long Island, New York
 If you'd like to get in touch with Software Infinities Write for their
 catalog at: Software Infinity, 642 E. Waring Ave., State College, PA
 16801.  In addition to the German software they have an PD Library for

 R-Time 8 Battery  Replacement!
 The following is a capture from the Lehigh Valley Atari User's Group BBS
 (ACUTE  - Atari Computer User's Technical Exchange, 215-261-0620):
 Message: 99 (#5246)               Title: R-Time-8 Batteries
 Author: Jonathan Mordosky         To: All
 Posted: Sat  8-Dec-90 at  9:17:00am

 A worn-out battery in the R-time can cause some problems with certain
 programs.  Several months ago, we tracked down a problem to a weak
 battery, even though the R-time still kept perfect time.  I found that
 replacement solder type batteries were impossible to find.  Solution??
 Replace your worn out battery with a socket and buy replacement
 batteries at the local Radio Shack.  I have tried several different
 battery holders and the best one found was from Bogen Communications,
 Inc.  It is a 24mm diameter Coin Cell Holder and is available from Digi-
 Key Corporation.  A good replacement battery is available at Radio
 Shack.  It is a Lithium Battery, part number CR2430 at a cost of $1.99,
 the total cost of replacement is less than $3.50.
 The replacement socket adds just a little too much height to close the
 cart fully.  The solution to this is easy with the Bogen socket, just
 file a little plastic from each of the three stand-offs on the socket
 and it fits perfectly!!  I have installed three of them so far with no

 P.S.  Some sockets which will fit the replacement cells, will not fit
 the R-Times properly.  They could require much more modifications than
 the one listed.

 Many thanks to Jon for this info!  Jon is the SysOp of the board.

 Well, until next time!  If you would like to submit a review, article,
 or a rebuttal (ANYTHING is welcomed!), feel free to upload to myself or
 Z-NET Online BBS.  I can be reached on my BBS (908-805-3967), GEnie
 (S.LOWELL), and on Z*Net Online BBS(908-968-8148).

 SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL USERS GROUP!  Support those who support US!

 FMS FOR THE 8-BIT ATARI: Fact And Opinion!
 by John Picken

 This article is a brief description of the various DOS in use by, or
 available to, 8-bit users.  I refer to them as FMS (File Management
 Systems) as a more accurate representation of function for these
 programs.  This is not presented as an exhaustive, in-depth survey and
 I apologize to the proponents of any FMS I missed.

 Your computer does not need FMS to access disks. If it did, you wouldn't
 have "Boot Disks" among your software.  The OS (Operating System) can
 access disk sectors but, except for the "boot" (first three) sectors,
 the computer must be told, by number, which sector you want to read or
 write.  With a disk dedicated to one program which does not require a
 file structure, this is all that's needed.  Such programs provide their
 own FMS or treat the disk as the equivalent of a fast cassette -- they
 start at the beginning and read or write consecutively until done.

 FMS is necessary for randomly accessible files.  Its only function is to
 manage these for you.  This task requires it to keep track of used and
 free disk space and the identities and locations of files and to make
 them available on demand.  Tasks such as copying files or sectors or
 duplicating disks are not FMS functions.  They are available to you in
 separate, but closely related and dependant, programs.  Most commonly
 these are handled by a single program called DUP.SYS -- the Disk Utility

 There are various ways of organizing files on a disk.  How this is done
 depends on the format used by FMS.  It is important to realize that
 there are two senses to the word "format".  The first is the meaning to
 the drive.  No matter what, if any, FMS you use, the physical format of
 a disk is only changed by the drive.  A standard Atari 1050 has two and
 only two possible formats: Both use a sector size of 128 bytes and there
 are always 40 tracks.  In SD (single density) there are 18 sectors per
 track and in ED (1050 or enhanced density) there are 26.  No program can
 ever access more or less than one complete, 128-byte sector.

 FMS formatting is concerned only with the management of sectors -- in
 other words, how it uses, accounts for and, locates them.  This is where
 the critical difference between various FMS occurs.  As long as two
 different FMS use the same format, either can access disks set up by the
 other.  There is a "de facto" standard format which, though not the
 best, is most widely used.  It is described in the next three paragraphs
 (technical stuff -- skip if you want).

 Sector number 360 is used to map sectors in use or free (the VTOC).
 Eight sectors (361-368) are used for the Directory with eight files
 listed in each sector.  Each directory entry holds file identity, status
 (deleted, open, locked, etc.), length, and starting address on the disk.
 As only the starting address is available, linked files are required.

 So to access any part of a file, FMS must find it in the directory, go
 to the starting sector and read the file from there, following the
 links.  File links, held in the last three bytes of each data sector,
 look like this (note -- bytes are counted from 0 to 127):

 [nnnnnnss] [ssssssss] [vvvvvvvv]
 {byte 125} {byte 126} {byte 127}

 The six bits represented by "n" are used for the file number which is
 just the file's position in the directory (between 0 and 63).  This is
 checked every time a sector is accessed to ensure that sector is truly
 part of the file in use.  The ten "s" bits hold the next sector number.
 Finally, since the drive won't write less than a full sector, you might
 have to stick filler between the true end of data and these link bytes
 so byte 127 (the "v"'s) holds the count of valid data bytes for the

 There is one quirk to this format: Atari disk drives count sectors from
 one but programmers count from zero.  As a result, sector zero, which
 FMS thinks exists, does not.  So the VTOC always shows it as being
 unavailable (in use).  Nothing was done at the other end of the range so
 the drive has a sector 720, but FMS doesn't use it.  This is why you get
 707 free sectors rather than 708. (707 = 720 - 3 boot - 1 VTOC - 8
 directory - 1 unused)

 Regardless of other programs released as "Atari DOS", this is "THE Atari
 format".  When swapping software, it is the format you should use and
 expect to receive.  Compatibility with this is a major consideration
 when selecting an FMS.  If an FMS can't use Atari format, it had better
 be good -- exceedingly good -- good to the point of making it worth the
 trouble of converting files.

 The MyDOS and TopDOS formats mentionned below are nearly identical
 except that they do make use of sector 720 and they don't use file

 numbers.  This last means the directory can be sorted or rearranged
 without the necessity of tracing and rewriting every file to change the
 links.  Additionally, MyDOS uses the six file number bits to allow for
 larger sector numbers.  MyDOS is the only FMS which uses linked files
 with sector numbers greater than 1023.

 DOS 2.0s is the standard.  Its format is the one above.  It does not
 support a RAMdisk or ED.  Use with DD (double density -- available on
 other drives) requires a separate version.  If you "must" use "Atari
 DOS" this is the best.

 CAUTION: An alternate DUP is available for DOS 2 with most of the
 features found with SmartDOS (below).  I have seen versions identified
 "2.5F", "2.6f", and "4.0F".  It is a useful program for DOS 2 users, but
 one version (I think 2.6f) has been included on a disk with a modified
 FMS which will trash any normal Atari format disk.  To check this, boot
 the FMS and format a disk.  If you get more than 707 FREE SECTORS, do
 not use the FMS.  You can try copying the DUP to a disk containing
 normal DOS 2 and see if the format function is correct -- if it isn't,
 don't use the DUP either.

 DOS 3 was packaged with almost all 1050 drives and was rejected by even
 more users.  It uses a non-standard format which offers no advantages.
 Don't use DOS 3 (ever).  There are programs to convert files from DOS 3
 format to the Atari standard.  If you have such beasts, use one.

 DOS 2.5, a rewrite of DOS 2, replaced DOS 3 after much user howling.  It
 supports ED and provides a 130XE RAMdisk (64K maximum).  The ED format
 used results in slower disk access and sacrifice of DD capability.  More
 critically, the format hides some files from other FMS.  They can't even
 be seen in the directory -- an invitation to disaster.  If you use any
 other FMS, steer clear of the DOS 2.5 ED format.  (I steer clear of DOS
 2.5 -- period.)

 DOS 4 or QDOS was cancelled by Atari, but released by it's author
 through the Antic Catalogue.  It supports all densities but not RAMdisk.

 It has some nice features but not enough to justify its custom format.
 I know of no utilities to convert files back from this format so, use it
 and you're on your own.

 DOS XE was released with the XF551 (the 3.5" drive that cleverly became
 a 5.25" unit allowing you to spend money converting it to 3.5").  It
 supports all densities, a 64K RAMdisk, and is "user-friendly" to the
 point of being painful to non-beginners.  DOS XE uses yet another custom
 format but does, at least, support subdirectories.  It has an awkward
 means of accessing Atari format disks though, at least, that access is
 two way.  Users have not generally accepted it.  Like DOS 4, use it and
 be alone.

 DOSXL is DOS 2 with the addition of a CP (Command Processor -- you don't
 have a DUP).  It has alternate versions which utilize hidden areas of
 RAM.  It may be used in SD or DD but does not support ED or RAMdisk.
 Its primary disadvantage is that it uses more RAM than may always be
 available with some applications.  DOSXL was good in its time but has
 long since been surpassed.  It is not PD.

 MachDOS is PD.  It is density smart and features instant availability of
 MACHCP.SYS (DUP), kept under the OS or optionally in low RAM.  A plus is
 the ability to define "D:" as something other than "D1:".  The version I
 have does not support RAMdisk or ED.  It is an excellent FMS for an
 800XL or 65XE owner who does not use Turbo BASIC.

 MyDOS is compatible with Atari format and is similar in appearance to
 DOS 2.  It supports up to nine drives in any density and allows
 redefinition of "D:".  Its MyDOS format supports subdirectories, a
 necessity with a large RAMdisk, and sector numbers up to 65535 (hard
 drives).  You may opt to have its powerful DUP remain resident in RAM.
 It includes a RAMdisk capable of handling up to one megabyte on almost
 any machine including the Atari 800.

 If you now use DOS 2 or 2.5, you would do well to switch to MyDOS (make
 sure you get version 4.5) which offers far more power.  It's available
 in your user group library and on various BBS.  It comes with complete
 documentation, pre-formatted for printing but, you will rarely need to
 refer to this if you are familiar with DOS 2.  If Atari listened to
 users before rather than (sigh) after the fact, they could have saved
 all the effort spent on QDOS and DOS XE and tried to buy MyDOS before it
 went PD.  In my opinion, MyDOS 4.5 is now the standard PD Atari FMS --
 Try it.

 SmartDOS is another non-PD DOS 2 clone which offers few advantages
 though its DUP has many features not found with Atari DUP like sector
 copying and hexadecimal conversions.  It supports neither RAMdisks nor
 ED.  It's not highly rated and I'm not sure you can even still buy it.

 SpartaDOS and the cartridge version, SpartaDOS X, are the most powerful
 FMS available.  They use a custom format which produces far faster disk
 access and supports a complex subdirectory structure.  In addition,
 Sparta can directly access Atari format single or double density disks.
 It comes with a superb menu for those not comfortable with a CP.  Drives
 of all type, size and density, and RAMdisks of up to 1 meg are fully

 There simply is no better FMS than SpartaDOS.  The cartridge is more
 powerful (and expensive) but many users are satisfied with the disk
 version which still leaves all others far behind.  My recommendation is
 to go with the disk version, at least until you're sure you want to buy
 the cartiridge, and switch to MyDOS when you want to use Turbo BASIC
 which is incompatible.  (Stick to standard Atari format for passing
 files between the two.)

 SuperDOS uses the same ED format as DOS 2.5 (hidden files again).  It
 offers far more power on the DUP side but, because of the format, is
 slow accessing disks.  It's not PD, it's incompatible with Turbo BASIC
 and, given the format, I recommend you save your money.

 TopDOS is an excellent FMS which offers its own format as well as full
 compatibility with Atari format.  Its DUP (optionally RAM resident) is
 the best available and this combination makes TopDOS an ideal system for
 users doing a lot of disk work.  It supports various RAM upgrades for
 all 8-bits.  It even provides a special handler for the 130XE which
 allows you to use the RAM "under" the OS to increase your RAMdisk to
 over 600 sectors.  TopDOS also supports powerful (though terse) batch
 files, something which is rare in a two part FMS.  I recommend it highly
 after only Sparta and MyDOS (which, after all, is free).

 MORE ROOM: You can safely use 931 sectors in Atari format!  With MyDOS
 use XIO 254,#1,175,131,"D1:" on a preformatted ED disk.  Alternatively,
 format in TopDOS ED.  With TopDOS or VTOCFIX (from the MyDOS disk),
 sector edit the VTOC and make the first byte 2 {CONTROL B}.  In this
 format, Sparta will read but not write to the extra sectors; MyDOS,
 TopDOS, and PaperClip can use them all.  With DOS 2 (and clones), POKE
 4362,128 to use them.  This is The only DOS 2 ED mod safe for use with
 SD disks.  Do not use this format with DOS 2.5 (or SuperDOS).

 EDITOR'S NOTE:  This article was originally published in the September/
 October 1990 issue of XIO3, the newletter of the Garden City A.C.E..  As
 always readers are encouraged to provide feedback to the author.  Please
 direct correspondence to:

  1003 Amphion Street
  Victoria, B.C., Canada V8S 4G2

 by Nick DiMasi
 Suburban Chicago Atarians

 1001 Medical Park Dr. S.E.
 Grand Rapids, MI  49506
 Perhaps Baudville subtitled this product "Illustrator" to forestall any
 confusion about its purpose.  After all, with a name like "Blazing
 Paddles" we might assume that it's some sort of ping-pong (or other
 arcade) game.  Wrong!  It's a drawing program - not a new one (1986),
 but one that's not as widely known as Micro Painter or Micro Illustrator
 (early 1980's vintage).  This makes it worth reviewing for the benefit
 of those users who are not familiar with it.
 The name "Blazing Paddles" (which I'll abbreviate "BP" from now on)
 relates to the fact that a pair of paddle controllers can be used as the
 input device to the program.  I don't have any paddle controllers, so I
 haven't tried using BP with them, but I can't imagine anyone actually
 preferring this over other input devices.

 In SKETCH (freehand drawing) mode, it would be like drawing on an Etch-
 A-Sketch.  If this doesn't appeal to you, don't worry:  BP can also be
 used with a joystick, light pen, or graphics tablet (such as the Koala
 Pad or Atari Touch Tablet; owners of the Animation Station should
 already be familiar with BP, as it is the drawing program supplied with
 that tablet).  Sadly, the left switch on my Koala Pad, which is BP's
 "action" button for tablets, is broken.  I don't like using a joystick
 for drawing, so until my Koala Pad is repaired, I have been using my
 Atari Trak-Ball in "joystick" mode.   This ability to work with most
 common input devices gives BP an important advantage over other drawing
 BP provides all the standard functions found in most 8-bit drawing
 programs:  Freehand draw (SKETCH), points, lines, connected lines, ovals
 (and circles), boxes, area fill, a choice of brushes, and a magnify
 (ZOOM) mode.  The ZOOM mode is easy and a pleasure to use; the top half
 of the screen shows the whole picture, with a cursor (small box) that
 indicates the area that is magnified in the bottom half of the screen.
 What's missing is a choice of drawing modes.  You can't draw using the
 LINE, OVAL, BOX, etc. functions - only DOTS drawing is possible, and
 only with the default brush.  This makes the ZOOM mode only useful for
 viewing fine detail, and minor touch-ups.  BP's color palette, besides
 allowing you to set the hue and luminance of the 3 drawing colors and
 background, also lets you mix any two of those colors, using a choice of
 patterns.  The resulting mix can be selected as the current drawing
 color just like any of the solid colors.
 Other functions provided by BP are:

 SPRAY: This mode "sprays" a pattern of dots wherever you move the cursor
 (while the "action" button is held down).  The pattern is fixed and not
 as fine as the "airbrush" found in drawing programs for larger
 computers, but otherwise it works the same.  The cursor shape is the
 exact pattern, so you can see precisely where the color will be sprayed.
 If you go over an area already sprayed, the result is denser coverage.
 SPRAY may be useful for blending colors and producing variable shading.
 TEXT:  Text can be placed anywhere on the picture.  There are three
 resident fonts (small, medium, and large), and a character set can be
 loaded from the BP disk (which must be done before selecting TEXT mode)
 for a fourth font choice.  Unfortunately, there are only three fonts on
 the disk, and only one of them (Italic) differs in other than size (and
 a small degree of boldness) from the resident fonts.  This would not be
 a problem if BP used standard nine-sector font files, since there are
 plenty of those in the public domain - but its fonts are non-standard.
 On the plus side, a nice feature of the TEXT mode is the ability to move
 a line of text around on the  screen, after it has been entered.

 WINDOW:  This is a "cut and paste" mode.  You draw a shimmering box
 enclosing the area of the picture that you wish to cut.  This area is
 not erased from its original position, but stored in a "window."  Then,
 at any time, you can paste copies of this window anywhere in the current
 picture, or a new picture - the window is stored completely independent
 of the picture.  You can save the window to disk or load a window from
 disk.  The largest window that can be cut is about 1/4 screen size.  In
 practice, this is a generous size, and if it's not large enough, you can
 always cut 2 or more windows - saving each to disk before cutting the

 SHAPES:  BP comes with a "library" of pre-drawn shapes, or objects, that
 can be added to a picture.  These are line drawings that work something
 like a rubber stamp.   When a shape is selected, it can be rotated and/
 or flipped.  When placed in the picture, the shape will normally be in
 the currently selected drawing color.  The selection of shapes to choose
 from is changed by loading a different set of shapes from the disk.  The
 problem with this feature is that, with one exception, each set only has
 a few shapes; and there are only three sets.  The default
 ("miscellaneous") set has two men, a couple of farm animals and some
 farm equipment and vehicles.  The other two sets contain buildings (a
 house, a church/school, etc.) and music symbols - this last appears to
 be a fairly complete set, with about 35 symbols.  So, for kids or
 composers, the shapes library may be a great feature, but otherwise it
 has limited use - fun to play with, but generally not much help with
 serious drawing.

 SCROLL:  BP lets you scroll the screen up, down, left, or right.  In
 this way, if your picture (not including the background) does not take
 up the entire screen, you can adjust the position of the picture within
 the screen.  When an object reaches the edge of the screen, it does not
 disappear, but wraps around to the opposite side of the screen.  It
 would be nice if the user could choose between "disappear" and wrap-
 around, but even as-is, SCROLL is nice to have -  it was added to BP
 when the program was ported to the Atari.

 MIRROR:  Another function added to BP when ported to the Atari, this is
 different than the "mirror" mode found in drawing programs like Micro
 Illustrator.  In the latter, MIRROR is a freehand drawing mode which
 mirrors what you draw in 4-way reflection (up-down and right-left).
 BP's MIRROR works on an already-drawn part of the picture.  You "cut" an
 area just as in the WINDOW mode, and then indicate in which of the four
 directions the area should be mirrored.  This makes it easy to draw a
 picture with perfect up-down or left-right symmetry, regardless of the
 drawing mode(s) needed to produce the details of the picture.  This is
 much more useful than the other type of "mirror" function.

 UNDO:  This is not a drawing function in its own right, but works with
 the drawing modes.  Pressing the UNDO button (the right button on the
 touch tablet, the BREAK key when using other input devices) removes the
 last object placed on the screen.  So (for example), if that oval you
 just drew doesn't look right, you can erase it without affecting the
 rest of the picture, and without having to change to the background (or
 underlying object) color and draw over it.  You can't "undo the UNDO,"
 however, so if you have just SKETCHed for a long time on one press of
 the "action" button, you should think twice before UNDOing it.

 DISK:  BP provides the usual ability to save and load pictures to and
 from a disk.  The popular 62-sector (Micro Painter) format is used, so
 BP picture files are compatible with most other drawing and related
 programs (Magniprint, YEMACYB/4, Super 3D Plotter, and many others).  In
 addition, windows can be saved and loaded, and this menu is also where
 character sets and shape tables are loaded.  When loading, a list of all
 files of the chosen type on the disk is shown, and the desired file is
 chosen with the cursor and "action" button.  The biggest limitation is
 that the disk must always be in drive 1.  BP has no provision for a 2nd

 PRINT:  A picture can be printed using any of several brands of
 printers.  With the exception of the Okimate 20, pictures are printed in
 black-and-white, using different patterns (the manual calls it a "gray
 scale", but it really isn't) for the different colors.  It would be nice
 if other color printers were also supported, like the Star NX-1000
 Rainbow (Epson JX-80 compatible).  The Epson setting works fine (in
 black-and-white) with my NX-1000.

 BP's manual is short but complete, and straightforward.  As with some
 other 8-bit programs, since the Commodore version of BP was produced
 first, the manual is written for that version, with a loose insert
 detailing the differences in the Atari version.  Unfortunately, the
 insert misses a few important details - for example, that to "unhook"
 lines, boxes, and ovals (that you are drawing) without placing them in
 the picture, you press the ESC key.  The ESC key is also used for
 changing colors in ZOOM mode.  An even larger omission is the way to
 return to the main menu from the drawing modes: press the space bar.
 The help screen (at least for the joystick) does mention this, though
 (it's also the way back from the help screen).  The manual itself might
 benefit from a few more illustrations.

 Overall, BP is the most comprehensive drawing program for the 8-bit
 Atari that I have ever seen, and yet it is fairly easy to use.  Anyone
 who does not have a drawing program, should consider BP before
 purchasing any other.  BP is also worth a look for those who already
 have a drawing program, and who would like to have all its handy
 features at their (joystick-, paddle-, lightpen-, or tablet-equipped)

 by Bob Nex
 The first thing you must have is one of the following computers; 600XL,
 800XL, 130XE.  The 600XL should be upgraded to 64K to allow you the full
 use of a Hard Drive.  You must also have either MYDOS or SPARTA DOS
 (3.2+).  MYDOS is a shareware DOS now, so you could get that from your
 club library.  Sparta DOS, on the other hand is not PD, you must buy a
 copy. You can use Sparta DOS X with a Hard Drive (HD), in fact it is at
 it's best in this type of environment.  Now that I've got that out of
 the way, I can move on to things specific to the HD.
 All of the installation instructions will come with the Interface that
 you get.  What I will do is give you is a list of what you might require
 if you were leaning towards a HD.
 First you need a 'controller interface'. This would be a Multi I/O
 (MIO), BLACK BOX (BB), or the Supra interface (now called K/P
 interface).  The MIO and BB also gives you modem and printer ports as
 well as a HD controller port.

 The controller is next. This is a 'card' that interprets the signals
 from the computer and the HD and makes it all work.  You will need
 either a SASI (sassy) or a SCSI (scuzzy) controller, you CANNOT use an
 IBM PC controller.  One of the popular controller's is the Adaptec 4000
 series.  Just a note, some HD's comes with the controller built-in.
 This means you will not need a controller because you all ready have
 one. The disadvantage is you cannot connect 2 HD's to a controller if it
 is built-in to the drive.

 The hard drive is next. They come in various capacities ranging from 1
 Meg to over 120 Megs.  One important note, it has to be a ST-506/ST-412
 compatible drive (all IBM Hard Drives are of this type).  Remember, if
 you get a Hard Drive with a built-in controller you will not need a

 The last major part is a power supply.  You can use any IBM power supply
 that you can get your hands on.  You need this because the controller
 and HD uses 12 volts DC.  Your computer's power supply could not supply
 the required power or voltage to run the controller and HD.  You will
 also need the required cables to connect the Interface to the controller
 and the controller to the HD.

 After that you will need to format the drive and set up partition's
 depending on the drive size.

 That is about all the hardware you will need.  Now, you ask, how much is
 all this going to cost?  Well, quite a bit if you buy all new equipment.
 I will give you a break down on what you might expect to spend on a HD

 I am not sure on the price of the Supra but an MIO or a Black Box will
 run about $250.  It is hard to find a used interface.  The controller
 can run from $20 used (what I got mine at) to $150 new.  You will have
 probably have to mail order both the interface and controller, but you
 might want to check some of the computer stores around town for a
 controller.  The power supply will run about $50 used and I don't even
 want to think about new! The big expense seems like the Hard Drive, but
 if you shop around you should be able to find a 20 meg in the $250 to
 $300 dollar range.

 Here is a list so you can see a little better.

 Interface              $250
 Controller              $75
 Power                   $70
 Hard Drive             $300
 Cables exc.             $30
 Grand total            $725

 So really it is not too expensive to get a Hard Drive for your 8-bit.
 My system has a Black Box, adaptec 4000A controller, ST-225 Hard drive
 (20 Meg), ST-251 Hard Drive (40 Meg).  I have used an MIO for 1 year.
 You can see an 8-bit using a Hard Drive on my BBS, THE POTHOLE BBS
 (604) 642-6795.

 If you have any questions or want a hand connecting a hard drive (if
 your're in Victoria), give me a call at (604) 642-6358.

 EDITOR'S NOTE:  This article was originally published in the November/
 December issue of XIO3, newsletter of the GARDEN CITY A.C.E., 1003
 Amphion Street, Victoria, B.C., Canada V8S 4G2.  Readers may also
 contact the author by directing correspondence to this users group.

 by Dan Knauf
 (This article originally appeared in the December 1990 issue of the
  Puget Sound Atari News magazine.)
 First the disclaimer.  Neither I nor S*P*A*C*E assumes any liability for
 any damage caused by performing this upgrade.  I have been using a drive
 with this modification in it for about 3 weeks with no problems.
 However, if you decide to do this project you do so at your own risk.
 Now that we have that out of the way...
 I decided to install a write protect switch in my only un-Happy 1050.  I
 had a couple of public domain text files describing how to install such
 a switch.  One of them required using a circuit board and an IC chip
 along with numerous other parts.  The other one required a DPDT switch
 and an LED.  While this one required cutting or splicing into four wires
 on the drive, it was more to my 'lazy-man' liking.

 I proceded to install this version - getting fancy and making a 6-
 connector plug so I could still remove the mechanism from the drive if I
 needed to later.  When I was all done, I fired up the drive to test it
 out.  Every thing worked just fine.  I had three write protection modes
 - ALWAYS write, NEVER write, and NORMAL (use-the-disk-notch) mode.
 However, the LED only lit up when the switch was in the ALWAYS mode.  I
 am used to my Happy drives that let me know whether I can write to
 whatever disk is in the drive by having this LED on if I can write and
 off if I can't.  I wanted this drive to work the same way.

 I decided to LOOK at the directions I had FOLLOWED and see if there was
 a way to make the LED work the way I wanted it to.  The first thing I
 noticed was that I had had to splice into one wire and cut one wire more
 than was necessary.  This added up to one whole side of the DPDT switch.
 Figuring out how to make the LED do what I wanted took some further
 digging though.  I hauled out my trusty 1050 field service manual and
 discovered that pin 36 of the floppy disk controller was where the write
 protect signal ended up.  Hmmm.....  I wonder.....  I think I'll try it.

 Now that I have taken up some space to make the editor happy, here's how
 I installed my write protect switch and an LED that works right.

 Parts:  1 - SPDT center-off switch.
         1 - 1k resistor (brown, black, red).
         1 - LED (I used a yellow one to match my Happy's)
         A little wire.

 (Sorry, no Radio Shack stock numbers - I had all of these parts just
  laying around my house!)

 WARNING:  There is nothing dangerous or risky about the write protect
 switch if it is installed according to these directions.  It is,
 however, possible that installing the LED as directed here could cause
 the disk drive be unable to write to a disk.  The LED uses the power
 from the write protect pin of the floppy disk controller.  The power at
 this pin is what tells the controller that it is ok to write to the
 disk.  If your 1050 has a weak power supply it is possible that the LED
 will draw enough juice from the pin to make the controller think it
 isn't supposed to write to the disk.  I don't think this is too likely,
 but it IS possible.  If this happens, you could try using a resistor
 with a larger resistance value in place of the 1k resistor.  (Which also
 will dim the LED some.)  If that fails you will have to do without the
 LED.  For this reason, you may want to install the write protect switch
 then hook up the LED ciruit and test things out BEFORE you drill the
 hole for the LED.

 Switch installation:
 Open the drive exposing all those fancy electronics.  All referrences to
 places on the drive assume that the front of the drive is facing you and
 it is right side up.

 Now you have to decide where to put the switch and LED.  I mounted mine
 on the front of the drive just to the left of the drive mechanism.  I
 drilled the hole for the switch so that the center of the hole was about
 even with the bottom of the mechanism slot.  I mounted the LED just
 above that.  This matches the way it is done for my Happy drives.

 Once the holes are drilled, find the row of plugs on the back left side
 of the mother board.  Cut the wire going into these plugs which closest
 to the front of the drive.  This wire goes from pin 1 of J11 to the
 light sensor half of the write protect circuit.  Solder a piece of wire
 about 11-12 inches long to each side of the cut you just made.  Hook the
 wire from the plug (J11) side of the cut to the middle pin of your SPDT
 switch.  Hook the other wire to the top pole of the switch.

 Next you need to remove a little insulation from the wire immediately
 behind the one you cut.  This is the wire going to J11 pin 2.  For you
 techies, this is one of the leads going to the light emitting side of
 the write protect circuit.  You must solder a 12 inch piece of wire to
 the place you exposed.  Alternatively, you could solder this wire to the
 bottom of the motherboard where pin 2 is attached.  The other end of
 this wire goes to the bottom pole of your switch.

 If you haven't mounted the switch yet, you can do so now.  The wiring to
 it is done.

 LED Installation:
 Cut two pieces of wire about 8 inches long.  Solder one end of one of
 these wires to pin 36 of the 40 pin chip just towards the front of the
 drive from J11.  Pin 36 is the 5th pin from the front on the left side
 of the chip.  Also, this chip is the left-most 40 pin chip and should be
 marked as WD279x.  (The x in the number could be either a 7 or a 3
 depending on where the drive was made and who has hacked on it.)  Solder
 the other end of this wire to your 1k resistor then solder the other end
 of the resistor to the LONG lead of the LED.

 The wide foil strip running along the top left side of the motherboard
 is ground.  Take a knife and scrape a spot big enough to solder a wire
 to down to the foil.  Solder the remaining 8 inch wire to the spot you
 just scraped.  Solder the other end of this wire to the SHORT lead of
 the LED.

 All that is left is to mount the LED in the hole.  I used a hot-melt
 glue gun for this.  Hastily reassemble the drive and you're done!

 You now have a write protect switch with three modes.  In the up
 position you can ALWAYS write to any disk whether it is notched or not.
 In the middle position you can NEVER write to a disk even if it is
 notched.  With the switch in the bottom position the drive acts NORMAL.
 Ie., you can write to a notched disk that is not write-protected and you
 cannot write to a write-protected or un-notched disk.

 The LED will always be on if you can write to the disk that is in the
 drive.  It will always be off if you cannot write to the disk in the
 drive.  Note that in the NORMAL mode the LED will also be on if no disk
 is in the drive.

 This is the easiest write protect switch installation I have seen for
 the 1050.  It sure beats the heck outa having to notch disks!

 I can be reached for comments, gripes, or (especially) praise on GEnie
 at DAN.KNAUF or Compuserve at 76427,454.  Geez I hate those CIS numbers!
 Z*MAGAZINE Atari 8-Bit Online Magazine is a bi-weekly magazine covering
 the Atari and related computer community.   Material  contained in this
 edition may be reprinted without permission,  except where otherwise
 noted,  unedited,  with  the  issue number, name and author included at
 the  top  of each reprinted article.  Commentary and opinions presented
 are those of the individual author and  does  not  necessarily  reflect
 the opinions of Z*MAGAZINE or the staff.  Z*Magazine Atari 8-Bit Online
 Magazine, Z*Net Atari Online Magazine, Z*Net  are  copyright (c)1991 by
 Rovac Industries  Inc, a registered corporation.  Post  Office  Box 59,
 Middlesex, New Jersey 08846.  (908) 968-2024.  Z*Net  Online  BBS  24
 Hours, 1200/2400 Baud, (908) 968-8148.  We can be reached on CompuServe
 at 71777,2140 and on GEnie at Z-NET.  FNET Node #593
                  Z*Magazine Atari 8-Bit Online Magazine
                Copyright (c)1991, Rovac Industries, Inc..

Return to message index