Z*Magazine: 27-May-91 #194

From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 10/03/93-03:18:23 PM Z

From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
Subject: Z*Magazine: 27-May-91 #194
Date: Sun Oct  3 15:18:23 1993

           ==(((((((((( ==    Z*MAG/A\ZINE ATARI ONLINE MAGAZINE
           =========(( ===    ----------------------------------
           =======(( =====    May 27, 1991            Issue #194
           =====(( =======    ----------------------------------
           ==(((((((((( ==    Copyright (c)1991, Rovac Ind Inc..
                      Publisher/Editor : Ron Kovacs
                  CompuServe: 71777,2140    GEnie: Z-NET
        Z*NET BBS: (908) 968-8148   BLANK PAGE BBS: (908) 805-3967
                             THE EDITORS DESK
                              by Ron Kovacs

 Here is issue #194.  This time around we have news to tell you about
 AtariUser magazine and what it means to you.  Each month we will be
 bringing you an article about the Atari 8-bit from AtariUser, however,
 these articles can NOT be reorinted from ZMagazine.  You must call them
 for permission.
 The next scheduled edition will appear in two weeks from the publishing
 date of this issue.
 Happy Memorial Day!  See you soon!
                            8-BIT ZNEWS UPDATE
 The following Atari 8-bit Article is reprinted from the May, 1991 Issue
 of AtariUser Magazine, by permission.  Further reprinting of this column
 is prohibited without specific permission of Quill Publishing, 113 West
 College Street, Covina, CA 91723.  AtariUser magazine is published
 monthly and covers the entire line of Atari computing products.  For a
 subscription ($15) or to arrange free bulk delivery to user groups,
 contact AtariUser Magazine at 800-333-3567.
 Reeve Software has just announced a new release of their graphical
 operating system DIAMOND.  This new release features improved
 performance over previous versions, in addition several new features.
 Updates for the Diamond applications (also available) take advantage of
 the improvements.  Reeve Software, 29W 150 Old Farm Lane, Warrenville IL
 Computer Software Services (CSS), a long-time supporter of the Atari
 computers, has announced a new upgrade for the Atari XF-551 disk drive.
 The upgrade allows use of a 720K byte 3.5" drive mechanism while
 maintaining full functionality of the original 5.25" drive.  New
 features added by the upgrade include increased transfer speed and
 correction of several problems in the original XF-551 ROM.  CSS's phone
 number is (716)-586-5545, or you can write them at Post Office Box
 17660, Rochester NY 14617.
 THE ATARI 8-BIT STATE  - by Chuck Steinman
 What's up, What's down, and what you may find if you just look around...
 While there is not as much activity in the Atari 8-bit arena as there
 once was, the Atari 'Classic' computers remain as reliable and usable as
 ever.  There are still many third-party developers producing exciting
 new products for the machines, in addition to the many seasoned products
 which are available.  This column will offer news and information
 relating to your Atari 400, 800, 600XL, 800XL, 1200XL, 65XE and 130XE
 8-bit computer every month.  With your ATARIUSER magazine handy, you may
 find survival in the computer jungle a bit easier.
 Ok, so you are a member of the 'I own a computer' club, but just what
 have you done with it recently?  Ahhh, so you say there just are no
 programs available for your "old 8-bit Atari"...  but have you REALLY
 looked?  You will be surprised at the quantity and quality of economical
 software and hardware available for your machine.  And you probably will
 not believe me when I tell you that more products are on their way - but
 there are!
 As with any other brand or model of computer, you have to invest enough
 into the system to make it usable.  For most people that means you need
 a computer console with at least 32K bytes of RAM, a disk drive, and a
 monitor, or TV.  Many applications will also require or be enhanced by
 using a printer.  A second disk drive, while usually not mandatory, will
 usually make life with your computer system more pleasurable.  There are
 many additional peripherals you can add, such as a modem, serial and
 parallel interfaces, and of course hard drive systems.
 I realize many owners of Atari 8-bit (and ST for that matter) systems
 have no local dealer or distributor.  While this may make you feel like
 you cannot survive with your 8-bit system, with a little effort, you
 will find everything you need is just a phone call or letter away.
 ATARIUSER magazine will also make your life easier with many national
 distributors advertising within its pages, and monthly feature articles,
 reviews, and product guides.
 Another way to acquire new program files and associate with other Atari
 8-bit users is by telecommunications.  All you need in addition to the
 above suggested system components is a modem and terminal software.  In
 addition to local bulletin board systems (BBS), there are several large
 national services which feature specific areas for users of Atari
 computers.  Compuserve (CIS), Delphi, and GEnie all have active areas,
 which provide thousands of public domain and shareware files.  These
 services also have message bases, and weekly real-time conferences,
 where you can 'chat' with other users.

 The Atari 8-bit computer systems remain a strong contender in many
 applications.  If you write letters, there are several word processors
 available for the 'Classic' Atari.  There are two versions of the
 AtariWriter word processor available.  The first version is a cartridge
 based program, and the latter is disk based.  The newer version also
 offers a spell-checker, which is a very nice addition.  There is also
 the very popular and powerful shareware program TextPro, which is
 scheduled to be updated soon.
 If you are into number crunching, there are several spreadsheets
 available, such as Visicalc, Syncalc, and the cartridge based Turbo-
 Calc.  Spreadsheets are THE way to handle complex calculations,
 especially where large numbers of variables are involved.  In a matter
 of seconds, you can see the results of changing one or more variables.

 There are many mailing list managers, and database applications
 available.  The commercial program SynFile will allow you to transfer
 data to and from SynCalc, which is a nice feature.  There are several
 other commercial and shareware database management programs available.

 As you can see, the 8-bit systems can be used for all kinds of serious
 work.  The types of programs listed here are just a small sample of the
 many different applications available.  While it may take searching
 through magazine advertisements, and making a few phone calls, you
 should be able to find just the program you are looking for.  Of course,
 ATARIUSER will keep you informed of what is available, and what is under
 development.  If you have any comments or suggestions, feel free to send
 them to me, care of ATARIUSER magazine.

 BIO:  Chuck Steinman is the VP of Research and Development for a company
 which designs and manufactures facility management systems, sold
 worldwide.  Chuck has been published in almost every Atari magazine.  He
 has a degree in Electrical Engineering and designs hardware and software
 for the Atari 8-bit, Atari ST, Apple, and IBM/PC systems, distributed
 under the DataQue label.

                              Z*NET NEWSWIRE
                          Compiled by Ron Kovacs
 Fujitsu has unveiled a new 16-bit handheld computer called the AcuTote
 3000, featuring full PC XT and MS-DOS compatibility, enabling users to
 develop applications on an industry-standard hardware platform.
 Logitech has announced ScanMan Model 32 for IBM and compatibles.  This
 is an easy-to-use, black and white hand-held scanner that offers gray-
 scale image editing through software.  The product will be available
 through Logitech dealers and distributors in early June at a suggested
 retail price of $299.  Registered ScanMan Plus users can upgrade to
 GrayTouch software through Logitech for $25.
 Acclaim announced recently that it plans to double the number of
 software releases to the European market, having acquired the right from
 Nintendo to release five additional NES titles per year for the European
 market under the LJN label.
 Seagate announced the expansion of its lineup with 2.5-inch hard disc
 drives for the portable computer market.  The ST9077A and ST9038A drives
 feature 64 and 32 formatted megabytes of data storage capacity,
 respectively, and come equipped with an embedded AT interface.  The new
 models extend Seagate's ST9096 family of 85-, 42-, and 21-megabyte 2.5
 inch drives.  Each model weighs just 6.5 ounces.

                       Z*NET SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN
                            Story by John Nagy
 After days of conflicting rumors, it was confirmed by STart Magazine
 staff members on Wednesday, May 15, that the bi-monthly Atari magazine
 STart will NOT publish another issue.
 "STart has suspended publication pending a sale of the magazine," said
 Editor in Chief Tom Byron.  A sale is said to be in the works with
 unidentified parties, and no timetable is being discussed publicly.

 Byron also said that the next issue, the June/July edition, had been
 completed and was waiting for printing when he got the news today that
 the suspension was in effect.  There are no plans at this time for the
 printing and distribution of that edition to be carried out.

 STart had been building a reputation for fiscal difficulty for many
 months.  Writers and programmers typically waited for six or more months
 to be paid for their free-lance and assignment work.  After closing the
 8-bit Atari magazine ANTIC, and folding it into STart last October 1990,
 STart was to have become a much larger monthly magazine - 120 pages was
 the discussed target.  Instead, by January 1991, STart became a bi-
 monthly, and remained at about 80 pages.

 Meanwhile, the parent corporation of STart, Antic Publishing, was having
 additional trouble.  An Amiga computer magazine was launched and failed
 despite a good market for Amiga magazines.  Presently, Antic
 Publishing's STart staff is assigned to produce PC HOME JOURNAL, aimed
 at the IBM market.  This venture appears to be doing better.  Some of
 those close to STart say that the Atari magazine was paying for itself
 within Antic, but that all funds generated by it were being used in the
 other corporate efforts.  Dropping to a bi-monthly format, they say, was
 more an effort to use staff for other projects than to economize the
 Atari operation.

 Now that production is suspended, the fates of subscribers and the many
 writers to whom STart has owed moneys dating back to mid 1990 is not
 known or predictable.  If STart is sold, it may be that those owed will
 be paid from the revenues, or the new owner may assume the liabilities
 of the company.  A third possibility is that there would be a
 liquidation and sale of assets held by STart itself, which may be
 negligible.  Some observers speculate that a sale may be impossible, as
 STart may have more liabilities than assets.  Amounts owed creditors and
 writers, plus the costs of substituted magazines to fulfill existing
 subscriptions may overshadow the value of the established subscriber
 base itself, estimated at perhaps over 20,000.  Talk of a sale may be
 real or simply an effort to postpone inevitable conflicts with

 Upset developers and writers stand to lose between hundreds and many
 thousands of dollars each for published but unpaid work.  Talk has
 already begun regarding possibilities of legal actions and class suits
 against Antic Publishing, who appear at this time to be remaining in
 Z*Net will continue to follow this story which is of great concern to
 the entire Atari community.  STart was the last independent commercial
 "slick" magazine for the Atari in the U.S.A.  It leaves behind only the
 bi-monthly Atari Explorer (Atari's own magazine), newsprint publications
 AtariUser and ST Informer, and smaller circulation user-group based
 publications like Current Notes, AIM, and PSAN.

                             DATAQUE TRANSKEY
                              Press Release
 Official DataQue TransKey Aquisition Sale Details!
 Upgrade ROM 2.x from 1.x ............... $5.00
 6116 SRAM (if your board lacks one) .... $5.00
 TransKey solder-in version 2.x ......... $44.95 (normal $47.00)
 TransKey plug-in version 2.x ........... $54.95 (normal $57.00)
 Zero-Power SRAM for above .............. $11.95 (normal $12.95)
 Please Specify whether you want the keyboard connector to be of the
 inline or chassis mount type.  If not specified the inline type will be
 NOTE: the above TransKey prices are for orders post marked >>BEFORE<<
 June 15, 1991, any orders received after that time will be billed at
 normal prices!  If you have been thinking about getting one (or a
 second) NOW is the time.
 Upgrade ROMs will be available approx May 15th 1991, and TransKey
 systems will be available approx June 1st 1991.  This is not vaporware,
 DataQue has just aquired the TransKey product line, and some components
 had to be ordered to build up the inventory.
 Upgrades will be the latest and greatest TK release, so if you have an
 older 1.x version, get on the stick, and send in your order for the new
 Version 2.x improves reliability, and adds more predefined macros and
 NEW user programmable macros.  The ZP RAM adds the capability to retain
 user programmed macros when the computer is turned off.  XE users should
 only order the solder in version, since their PoKey is not socketed.
 Orders should be sent to:
 DataQue Software 
 Post Office Box 134
 Ontario, OH  44862  USA
 All US orders include $1.50 (Canadians include $2.50) for S&H, foreign
 orders include $5.00 for S&H.  All orders must be prepaid in US funds,
 drawn on a US bank.  Cashier's Check, Money Orders, or Personal Checks
 are accepted, with the latter retained for 7 days for clearing.
 TransKey's purchased from DataQue Software are warranted for a period of
 1 year on parts, and 90 days on labor.  Please retain your invoice as
 proof of purchase.

                            8-BIT HARD DISK  
                               by Don Lebow
 Recently, I've run across several messages from folks wondering whether
 it was worthwhile to upgrade their 8-bit to a Hard Disk.  For those who
 might have been asking themselves the same question, here are some
 personal notes on how I got mine, and how I use it.
 First consideration is cost, of course. How much? With a little shopping
 around, mixing and matching components, you can keep the price
 relatively low ... assuming you're savvy enough to do the matching, the
 cabling, and other elements of installation yourself.
 What you need:

 The HD itself
 Controller Board
 Power supply
 Interface to allow your XE or XL to access the HD (it's problematic to
 hook up an older 800 to a HD.)
 If you're not already, you'll also need to use a DOS that will support
 the LARGE partitions on an HD.  That narrows it down to exactly 2: MYDOS
 4.5 or SPARTADOS. (I use SpartaDOS X)
 Buzzword: a "Partition" is a block of storage on a Hard Drive which is
 assigned a drive number, and accessed by DOS just as if it were a
 separate drive.  HD partitions often run to THOUSANDS of "free sectors",
 thus the need for a supportive DOS.
 I'm no techie, so after some checking around, I decided to opt for a
 "package deal" from Computer Software Services in Rochester.  Cost was
 $399.  For this I received a 10 meg Seagate drive (complete with an IBM
 logo on the faceplate to make me feel <SPECIAL> .. heh), Xebec
 controller board, power supply, and, most usefully, a Black Box (aka the
 "Bob Box," after Bob Puff, who designed it) which provides the

 Added costs: I also opted for a case for the BB, which is a bare circuit
 board in stock format.  A plastic shell to neaten things up adds $39.95.
 Since the BB supports a parallel interface for a printer (and includes a
 Print Screen button!) and serial RS-232 for modems and such, you'll
 probably want cables.  CSS sells ready built cables for each, but
 they're also VERY easy to build yourself, given a bit of ribbon cable
 and some crimp on connectors.  And with that RS232 interface out there
 just begging for a 2400 baud modem ... ok, I had one already, but if you
 don't it's hard to resist.
 The package is advertised as "ready to run", and that proved to be the
 case.  All cables (except for having to plug the power supply into the
 HD, which even *I* was able to handle) were in place.  I also got a disk
 including some vital HD support files:

 HD FORMAT (rarely needed)
 PARTITION FORMAT (often used)
 PARK (move the heads in your HD to a safe spot before powering down.)

 Once I'd unpacked everything, connected the BB to my 256k XL (via the
 PBI slot in the back), AND found room for all this stuff in my work area
 (both the HD and power supply are BIG boxes, approx 10 x 6 x 4), I fired
 up the 'puter and ... nothing.
 Oh dear.

 Back to recheck the seating on all the cables, cross fingers, close
 eyes, power up, and VIOLA! It works!!
 Now for the fun part.  CSS had preformatted the drive, of course (else
 it wouldn't have booted when I turned it on.)  But, of course, I wanted
 to customize it to meet my own needs.
 The BB docs are great, explaining the ins and outs of setting up an HD.
 They are general, but CSS also provided the basic stats for my specific
 drive, so I was able to forge ahead with confidence.

 With my trusty calculator by my side (aided by that Print Screen button,
 which let me keep a running record) it was a matter of deciding how many
 sectors I wanted for each partition, adding that to a starting sector
 number, then inputting the info into the BB configuration screen.
 Once done with allocation, I used the FMTDIR program on the included
 disk to initialize each partition, then started copying files from
 floppy over to their new homes.

 What did I end up with?  This will, I think, give you an idea of WHY an
 HD can be so addicting:

 D1: 4000 sectors
 D2: 5000 sectors
 D3: 5000 sectors
 D4: 4000 sectors
 D5: Pseudo floppy
 D6: Floppy #1
 D7: Floppy #7
 D8: 5000 sectors
 D9: 7000 sectors

 Those are *Double Density* sectors, mah friends.  My XF-551 shows 1440
 sectors in DS/DD sparta format.  Add it up and that makes ... lessee
 here ... the equivalent of around *20* DS/DD floppies!  A whole disk
 box, all in one spot, instantly accessible! Neat, no?

 D6: is actually my ol' trusty XF, still with it's back switches set to
 being D1:, wherein lies a point.

 The BB (like the MIO, the other popular 8-bit HD interface) has the
 ability to "remap" drives.  What does that mean?  With multiple
 partitions, you suddenly have a system with anywhere from 2 to 9
 "drives" all on line at once!  Once you get over the shock <g>, the
 possibility of having any ONE of those be "D1:" or "D2:" to match
 requirements of whatever you might be running is irresistible.  Unlike
 software "swap" commands, these remaps are "permanent" (i.e. until you
 change them again.)  So if you decide you want to reboot with another
 partition as D1: (perhaps to boot Turbo Basic?  Maybe a program that
 ASSumes AtariDOS, like AMP?.  Or even *eek!* a copy protected floppy) No

 D7: is actually RamDisk, as defined by DOS


 "Pseudo Floppy" refers to a special feature of the BB.  You can define a
 partition, specifying density, to match floppy specs (I use both 720
 sector SD for AtariDOS, and 1440 DD sector for Sparta.)  Use a sector
 copier (or DISCOM) to duplicate a floppy to the partition, and you have
 a "pseudo floppy" on your HD!  That's not unusual.  But the bonus is
 that the BB supports more than "active" partitions.  In fact, it lets
 you define up to 96(!) partitions, all kept in a special "partition
 list" (touch of a key to access, even in the middle of a program), and
 swap them in and out of the "active" drive map at any time.  I actually
 have <14> partitions set up on my HD.  Waiting to be swapped in at need
 are 4 DOS 2.5 SD "disks", and 4 Sparta DS/DD "disks."  How useful is
 that?  I can specify a couple of the ADOS "disks" to D1: and D2: and
 boot DOS 2.5 from HD! Fast.  I like that...


 Yes, well.  Bells and whistles.  But absent all the tricks, what are the
 more mundane benefits that might justify spending that kind of money?

 The biggest thing (and the real reason I bought it) is that having all
 that space means no more searching through floppies, trying to remember
 where a program is.  My experience is probably not unlike yours:

 There are a few programs I use everyday.  There are others I may use
 once a week or so.  Then the OTHERS that I need every once in a while
 and are inevitably "somewhere" in a pile of 20 floppies.  I know, I
 *should* have all my disks cataloged, but I don't.  Find me looking for
 some obscure utility that I suddenly need at 2 a.m., and there I am,
 shuffling disks like a Las Vegas blackjack dealer.  No more! (well, not
 as often, anyway ;-)

 I organized the HD in what works for me as a logical order

 D1: contains BobTerm and my most used utilities
 D2: is a "work disk", which I use for temporary storage (reformatted
 D3: is games
 D4: is another work disk
 D8: has all my TextPro files
 D9: is the archive, where I keep those not so often used programs.

 et, comme il dit, cetera.  I've lowered my "where did I *put* that" time
 to just about nil.

 Second, but just about as useful, is that I've completely lost my old
 worry about wondering whether an UnARC, or a BIG file download/message
 capture would run into "disk full" hassles.  This is hard to explain
 until you actually use it, but trust me.  I go whole DAYS without
 feeling compelled to use CHKDSK.  That's luxury.

 And speed, of course.  That's a given.  It's *not* as fast as a RamDisk,
 but, heck of a lot faster than a floppy.  I mean, if I can boot up DOS
 2.5 in 3 seconds (including RAMDISK.COM ... heh), no complaints.

 Matter o' fact, for some things I still prefer the RamDisk.  To that
 end, I have a batch file on D1: that copies my essential TextPro
 program, cnf, and macro files (stored on HD, of curse) to RamDisk.
 Since I tend to use a lot of temp files in my macros, saving THIS then
 loading THAT, it seems to work better.  Not only a bit faster, but
 saving a little wear and tear on the drive.  With a few thousand spare
 sectors dedicated to text, it's also easy to exit and come back later,
 without worry.


 Luxury or Necessity is a matter of personal definition.  I've talked
 about some of the reasons I'm glad I took the plunge.  They may or may
 not make sense to you.  Or you may see possibilities matching your own
 situation that I missed.  Whatever, this isn't an insignificant amount
 of money, especially in terms of the traditional 8-bit market.  This is
 where the real decision comes in: how much do you (or *will* you in the
 future?) actually USE your 8-bit.  That's a question you'll have to work
 out for yourself.  If you answer "a lot", then I think you should give
 an HD some serious thought.

 If you have comments or questions, feel free to post...

 NEXT TIME: backing up and how I learned to love it ;-)

                          Z*Mag/a\zine Archives
                         May 27, 1986 - Issue #3

 Editors Note:  This Month (MAY 1991) marks the start of our sixth year
 of publishing this online magazine.  With all future issues, we will
 reprint some of the interesting material previously available in older
 ZMAG issues.  This week we go back to the beginning.
                           An Eight Bit Lament
                           by Richard Kovalick
                              April 27,1986
 I'm an eight bit Atari Computer.  Will I continue to be supported?  For
 how long?  Has everybody forgotten about me?  I have a new bigger and
 faster brother called ST.  Everyone is paying attention and talking
 about him.  They are writing a lot of new software for him.  How about
 me?  Over a year ago my parents (The Atari Corp) jazzed me up a bit and
 gave me some more memory.  The magazines wrote a few articles about the
 new me.  They also published a couple of copy programs and a picture
 loader for me.  The software manufacturers did not do much more.  They
 put a couple of new routines in existing programs (AtariWriter Plus and
 SynFile +) to use my extra memory and came out with a couple of games.
 That was about it.
 Oh yes, Optimized Systems Software (bless them) did write a great new
 Basic Language just for me.  My parents should have done that.  This way
 everyone would have this new better Atari Basic Language to use.  My
 parents promised to make a new 3 1/2 inch disk drive just for me.  They
 also have been talking about an 80 column board for me.  But, they got
 busy with my new brother ST and I have not seen them.  There are ways to
 increase my memory to 320K and even more.  What am I going to do with
 all that memory, without some new software?  The Pirates out there are
 not helping me at all.  There are some darn good programs out there,
 that are worth the price.  If everyone went out and bought a piece of
 software, once in a while, the manufacturers would realize I'm still
 around and make some new software for me.  Maybe, when the novelty with
 my new brother wears off, everyone will realize that I'm still around.
 With the proper support from my users and the manufacturers, I can do a
 heck of a lot and my price is right.  Right now, I sure feel like I am
 on the way out.

 I purposely dated this.  I hope some day soon, I will have to eat my
 words.  Will I have to?

           Reprinted from Zmag/a\zine Issue #3     May 27, 1986
             (c)1986 Ron Kovacs, 1991 Rovac Industries, Inc.
 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.
                  Z*Magazine Atari 8-Bit Online Magazine
                Copyright (c)1991, Rovac Industries, Inc..

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