Z*Magazine: 16-Sep-91 #197From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
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From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG) Subject: Z*Magazine: 16-Sep-91 #197 Date: Sun Oct 3 15:25:25 1993 ==(((((((((( == Z*MAG/A\ZINE ATARI ONLINE MAGAZINE =========(( === September 16, 1991 =======(( ===== Issue #197 =====(( ======= ---------------------------------- ==(((((((((( == Copyright (c)1991, Rovac Ind Inc.. Publisher/Editor : Ron Kovacs Assistant Editor : Stan Lowell ----------------------------------------------------------------------- CompuServe: 75300,1642 GEnie: Z-NET Z*NET BBS: (908) 968-8148 BLANK PAGE BBS: (908) 805-3967 ----------------------------------------------------------------------- CONTENTS THE EDITORS DESK..........................Ron Kovacs DUSSELDORF GOES ATARI.....................Bob Brodie PACIFIC NORTHWEST ATARIFEST REPORT...Terry Schreiber LYNX ONWERS UPDATE.....................Clinton Smith MIST ATARIFEST SHOW REPORT................Bob Brodie THE 8 BIT STATE.......................Chuck Steinman CONNECTICUT ATARIFEST REPORT......Vincent Patricelli THE EDITORS DESK ---------------- by Ron Kovacs Here is yet another issue and it didn't take 3 months to complete. In an effort to update you on recent Atari happenings, we continue with a focus on the stories you might have missed during the summer. DUSSELDORF GOES ATARI --------------------- Eyewitness Report Exclusive for Z*Net by Bob Brodie, Director of Communications, Atari Corp. For the fourth year, Atari has hosted the world's largest Atari Fair at the Dusseldorf Messe. This year's fair ran from August 23-25 in Dusseldorf, Germany. The gigantic Duesseldorf Messe ("fairgrounds") halls held over 20,000 square meters of show space for the event utilizing two separate halls for the event. This roughly translates to over 180 exhibitors at the show, many with very large booths. Atari themselves had over 60 displays in their exhibition area. This year for the first time, Atari made provisions to have developers from North America in booths at the show. Bringing their products over for the show were CodeHead Software, D.A. Brumleve, Double-Click, JMG Software, and Wuz-Tek. Other North American developers were at the show as well, but were showing their wares in their distributors booths, or their own. This includes developers like Gribnif Software, FAST Technology, ISD, Gadgets by Small, and ICD. The Atari Messe is quite literally the biggest Atari show in the world. Last years attendance was set at 42,000. This year, the final count has not been announced, although many feel that the show was perhaps 20% slower than in years previous. However, in checking with exhibitors and Atari Germany, sales figures didn't bear that out. Atari Germany felt that the different layout of the hall this year that resulted in wider aisles made the show seem not nearly as busy, but much easier to navigate the show. Atari Germany seemed very pleased that their market is now beginning to move to a different type of user--this year's show had a lot less of the phreaks, hackers, and pirates that have been at other Atari Messe's. This year, the type of client at the show seemed to be a more professional user. As in years past, the show also featured a number of different seminars for the attendees to enjoy. Among the many seminars given were Portfolio Telecommunications, DTP-the 2nd Generation, Programming with Omnikron products, Using 1st Base, SCSI usage, Multi-tasking and virtual memory, programming the XL/XE, Database applications, addressing the math coprocessor, Overscan, MIDI with the Portfolio, Using Notator 3.0 in Opera, Multimedia Publishing, Music Software demonstrations, and Using the 68040. In going to this show, Atari US had some specific goals in mind: first and foremost, they wanted to continue to "build the bridge" between the US and Europe. Convinced that many people were overlooking North American developers, Atari provided exposure to the world for the North Americans in the hope that they would acquire international distribution. Further, Atari has long recognized that there are some outstanding applications across Europe, that need to brought over to North America. In the past, this was apparently very difficult to do. However, this time around, Atari found the going much easier. In almost every case when Atari US representatives spoke to a software company, their was great interest on their part to getting their products represented in North American. I took special time to introduce myself to the European Atari media that was present at the show. I enjoyed speaking to them thoroughly, and they were quite willing to go over and visit with our North American developers. This will hopefully lead into some German reviews being written about products like MaxiFile, Kid Publisher Pro, HyperLINK, DC Novetalk, STalker/STeno, and DEKA. I spent time with XEST, ST Magazin's editor Hartmut Ulrich, and TOS magazine publisher Horst Brandl. In many cases, arrangements were made for review copies to be provided, and more than once I heard the phrase "Who is your representative here in Europe?" DMC, the producers of CALAMUS, were showing their latest module for CALAMUS S/L, a multimedia package that works with a CODE-A-CHROME interface box for a digital frame grabber. The frame grabber inputs into Calamus S/L at 16 bit color/greyscales. 24 bit color digitizing is next on the horizon for Calamus S/L! The results were amazing! The staff of DMC would be demonstrating their product, with a digital camera mounted at the top of the large screen monitor. When they got to a point that they needed to import an image, they simply digitized the crowd standing behind the monitor, and immediately imported the image into Calamus. The results are true magazine quality instant photos. Double Click Software was showing their DC NoveTalk. This is an ST the capability to run a real Novell network while they are running a PC emulator on their ST. These guys from Houston were showing the product with a STacy with an AT-Speed board installed in it. The product occupies that cartridge port on the ST computers, and is said to provide a Local Talk capability under TOS for ST users to network with Mega STEs and TT's. At least three German companies were showing their own networking solutions: PAMS Net, Riebel (being shown in Atari Germany's booth) and BioNet. Each are true ethernet compatible networks. Dave and Sandy Small aren't just showing Spectre GCR now. Now they are getting into the accelerator business with their Gadgets by Small SST. This 68030 device not only completely replaces the ST's 68000, but also adds additional ram capabilities to the system as well. Up to 12 megs of ram can be added. One of the great cries that Atari US has heard is "Now that there are VME busses in your computers, when will you have graphics cards?" I'm pleased to state that we saw several more at the show. In addition to the MATRIX card and the AlberTT card, which Atari is quite familiar with, we found at least three other graphics cards. All of these cards had a variety of capabilities, and costs. For example, the IMAGINE Farbgrafikkarte had the following capabilities: 320x200 256 colors 640x480 256 colors 800x600 256 colors 1024x768 256 colors 1280x1024 16 colors In addition to the resolutions, the product also came with a long list of compatible software. Here's just a portion of the list: Calamus, Arabesque, Cubase, Gemini, GFA Basic, LDW Power, Retouche Professional, Script II, Signum!2, That's Write, TMS Cranach, First Word Plus. In the same booth, we also found they had done some TT conversions to a tower case. Most of these units had at least 8 megs of ram, and very large hard disks (200 megs plus!), Syquests, and of course a high speed modem mounted internally. We found a company with a PCB (printed circuit board) layout program called PCB-layout plus. This program featured a full board design, and interface to a router to actually have the board etched/built by the computer! There was at least one other company doing the same type of demonstration there, showing the ST controlling the router, and the board design in progress. Very interesting, indeed. The gang from Atari Journal was busy showing an amazing product-software that gets beamed into your home via a satellite dish! From Channel Videodat this interface box allows you to get literally megabytes of data transferred for your computer, as a subscription offer. Truly amazing! GE Soft Computersysteme was the first company to come out with a third party ram upgrade board for the TT. And of course, typical of third party upgrades, it has to be different from anything that the computer company manufactures. In this case, the ram board (called the Mighty Mic Profiline) breaks the 16 megabyte limit that Atari has imposed on the TT. Instead, their product will come with 4 megs, 8 megs, 16 megs, 20 megs, and a whopping 32 (that's right THIRTY TWO!) megabytes of TT ram! From Holland came a very interesting type of disk magazine: one that is offered a shareware disk. It's called STabloid and is done by a bunch of hard core Atari fanatics. The disk is loaded with amazing demos, lots of information on how to do them. STabloid also has articles of interest to most Atari owners about current events. Chief Editor Jam Willekens is very excited about new arrangements in the US to distribute his shareware disk magazine. The fischertechnik company also showed a Lego-like contstruction set, all controlled by the ST. This was quite reminiscent of the Atari ROBO Kit, put out by Atari UK and now being carried by Atari US. Fischertechnik had a miniature car wash erected, and an ST was controlling all the actions of the car wash, including moving a model car up and down the line, and rotating the brushes on the car wash. Very impressive models! One of the great needs in presentation hardware has always been the need to interface with an overhead projector. Here in the US, N-View has a lock on the Atari market. Not so in Germany--SHARP makes and sells the QA-75, which does a beautiful job of displaying a computer image on an overhead projector. No more trying to gather the gang around the monitor. The QA-75 makes it easy to us a computer to give classes, or just demonstrate the capabilities of your software with an ST/STE/Mega STE/TT! The Portfolio was not to be overlooked in any of this. There was an abundance of software available for the Portfolio on a number of tables across the halls. SWIFT! is a company that is making software for the Portfolio to do banking, insurance quotes, financial operations, and stock brokerage operations! In addition, the company also has their own version of BASIC (called SWIFT! BASIC) complete with a compiler. They also have a file transfer program called SWIFT! Link ST, making file transfers painless between the ST/STE/Mega STE/TT and the Portfolio. This show is so overwhelming, it's easy to feel that you would never be able to cover the show properly. I am sure that there are things that I have omitted in this report that others will report as very interesting events/products. I trust that this will serve as just something to give you a hint of everything that went on in Atari Messe. PACIFIC NORTHWEST ATARI FESTIVAL REPORT --------------------------------------- by Terry Schreiber, Show Coordinator The Pacific Northwest Atari Festival took place in Canadian Richmond B.C., a suburb of Vancouver, on June 15th & 16th. Total attendance for the two days was under nine hundred people - total expected were two thousand plus. Although attendance was light most dealers and developers reported brisk sales for the event. Compo, Rimik, Infinite Grafix, ICD, Wizard Computers, ISD, Minitronics, Branch Always and all of the Music dealers all had excellent sales reports. While Zubair Interfaces and Omnimon Peripherals reported sales were bad. All others fell somewhere in between. Hardware, both Atari and third party, sold BIG and FAST. Software, especially established titles, sold SLOW. Where have all the users gone? As show coordinator, that was the question I asked myself the weekend of the show. With over five thousand machines sold here in British Columbia - where were the users? Total spent on show advertising and promotion exceeded ten thousand dollars. While Father's Day on Sunday may well have severly cut the second day attendance, Saturday should have been fine... and was not. Some have speculated that, since we have a lot of well-stocked dealers in the general area, it's no big deal to a lot of users to see such a show. Compo Software flew in from England just to attend the show. He had two new products for the West - That's Write and Write On. GEnie's Darlah and Atari's Bob Brodie were both very taken by them, look for reviews on both in a later issue. Also shown was a new mouse called "That's a Mouse" which is similar to most of the higher resolution mice but this one felt better than most. Rimik new on the developers scene is run by Richard Betson formerly with Talon Technologies. Rich was demonstrating a new multi-tasking system from Germany called Multi-Gem and although it was a pre-release version showed excellent signs of being a success. JMG Software was showing Hyperlink a modular style database. Add on modules for just about any application are sure to make this one a hit. Soft-Aware was showing their entry into the database market called Informer II. First impressions left me with my mouse in hand. This was the official database used for the show, it is slick and allows you to build some powerful macros. Musicode was showing their MIDI and games software. I am not sure how they did on the MIDI end but Blackjack Plus was surely a hit at this show. SoftLogik, the Pagestream guys, were blowing people away with the color output on a postscript QMS Color Laser. Even users of other brands of computers were definitely impressed. Ron Tucker of Tucker Media here in Vancouver who, till a year ago, was an Atari user and sold it for a Mac, was seriously contemplating the change back to Atari. Excellent job guys. Version 2 of Pagestream was to be available for sale at the show, but is now scheduled for release July 1. Phil Commeau had his grammar checker, which by the way I vow to start using soon, Phil. He also demonstrated a Geography Tutor which is currently available in English or French but I understand he is working to translate it into more languages. ICD had extremely brisk sales. Host adapters, hard drives, Adspeed boards it didn't seem to matter they all sold except for the tape back- up system. Hint - could this puppy be a little too high priced? It doesn't matter because I fully intend on buying one anyway. No serious computer user should be without a back-up system and at the size of the drives currently being sold it no longer makes it feasible to use floppies. Can you afford to lose your data? Application and Design were selling their new upgraded Universal Item Selector. This is a program that no one should be without. It is simple to use and practically fool-proof. Formatting, copying, setting attributes--this program contains what we had hoped Atari had built in to their new TOS. John and Charles - The CodeHeads - were doing upgrades to most of their product line as well as sales. MaxiFile and MultiDesk owners were pleasantly surprised at the amount of work gone into the latest versions. If you liked UIS you will love MaxiFile. Although the features are too numerous to mention this is a MUST HAVE for anyone who is a power user with a large hard drive system. Zubair Interfaces attended and was selling his memory upgrades, but did not fair well. We have a thing called dealers up here in B.C. and they all stock and sell his products, making his market fairly saturated. Omnimon Peripherals demonstrated their new DEKA interface. This allows the use of an IBM style keyboard with the ST as well as relocating the joystick and mouse ports. Gribnif was showing their latest in software, including Cardfile and STENO, which premiered at this Vancouver show. I didn't find out what sales they did during the two days but from the amount of people around the booth I would say sales were slow. Gribnif puts out the popular Neodesk the desktop replacement for the Atari. Another entry into alternative desktops was Double Click. They were demonstrating DC Desktop, DC Utilities, and the new DC Shower program. For those of you into graphics, their new DC Shower is a must. This program shows almost all picture files from the desktop, a fast and handy way of searching through picture files. Darek Mihocka of Branch Always Software was demonstrating the latest Quick ST on the TT030, another first released at the show. Darek also took the time to spend on the slower Sunday to do some code re-writing at the show. Cherry Fonts and Todd Johnson were also selling a competitor's fonts at the show. Todd is now looking at expanding his fonts into other programs other than Calamus. Canoe Computers is based out of Edmonton and had memory upgrades and accelerator boards for sale. Goldleaf was demonstrating Wordflair II. We were hoping that some of the new products from Germany would be available but not as of the show date. Keep your eyes peeled for these products, becoming available shortly. David Small - always a hit at any show - was showing the SST an 030 board for your 68000. Also, the Spectre GCR which was running on a TT030. This unit turns your computer into a Mac. How fast David? When did you say that Cray emulator was going to be ready? Micro Creations had their latest release for sale G.I.M.E., a terminal program offering online graphics. PDC Software was offering the Calamus Font Resource, Tracker ST STealth, and a few other items for sale. This is another booth that I didn't get to spend any time at. Darlah Pine the System Operator of the Atari section on GEnie was there for the two days of the show. Sunday we finally had the phone lines to the information booth and the hook-up to GEnie. Darlah and others spent most of the early afternoon catching up on messages they had missed during the trip but the booth did not go un-noticed. Many people expressed interest in signing up to GEnie at the show. Bob Brodie - have you seen Bob? This was the guy who said I was hard to catch up with that weekend. If I had a free moment I was looking for Bob. "Oh Bob, ya I think I saw him in the Gadgets Seminar", damn, missed him again. Yes Atari U.S.'s man on the go was living up to his reputation - he was everywhere but where you could find him at a moments notice. We'll try this again next time Bob--in the meanwhile we will continue to play telephone tag. Nathan from ISD gave two seminars as well as multiple demonstrations of the Calamus product in Atari's area. Nathan had the new version of Calamus, but unfortunately release to the public will be delayed while manuals are being translated and printed from the German version. Atari Canada's Geoff Earle, Murray Brown and Mark Campbell were joined on stage by Geoff LaCasse and Ron Grant of GXR Systems in the Atari display. Atari had their full product line on display including the ATW/ABAQ workstation. Atari Canada supplied most of the equipment for developers use at the show, many mouse clicks of thanks to Geoff Earle and Murray Brown. Although the show turnout was somewhat less than expected, most people attending as well as the developers had a good time. Will there be a show next year? That depends on how many developers will come back and how Atari sales fare over the next eight months. I would like to take this opportunity to thank those developers that did attend and support the event. It was a pleasure putting faces to all those names, although now a week later I doubt if I could tell the difference between John and Charles. Well, I'll take two Aspirin and the leftover keg of beer, and start looking for next year's location! LYNX OWNERS UPDATE ------------------ by Clinton Smith Copyright, 1991, by Quill Publishing. This article may NOT be reprinted without permission of AtariUser Magazine. Information and subscriptions are available at 800-333-3567. ALERT BOX ITEMS NEC's TurboExpress portable game unit will not be released in Europe due to the established popularity of the Lynx there, according to reports in an online magazine from the Netherlands. Portable Addiction, edited by Tjerk Heymens Visser and Yiri Kohl, is a new monthly Lynx and Portfolio support magazine, distributed electronically from Europe via USENET, and also available on U.S. BBS systems and pay services. Consolidating its resources, Atari relocated its entire entertainment division to Lombard, Illinois, formerly only the Lynx software development center. Lawrence Siegel, a 20 year veteran of the amusement and video game industry with Sega, Seeburg, and Williams and former head of Lynx software development, has been appointed President of the Atari Entertainment Division. NEW LYNX GAMES - PREVIEW! Insider's first look at games in development By the time you read this, Warbirds and Blockout should both be out, but I took advantage of my proximity to the new Atari Entertainment Division in Chicago to get an early peek. I gave them a call and they invited me down to their offices to check out some upcoming games and get the lowdown on what is to come. These aren't quite reviews--I like to spend some serious time with a game before I make a definitive opinion. I'll give you the final word on these as soon as I get my hands on them. WARBIRDS Warbirds is a World War I dogfighting game where you fly in 3-D through the skies, engaging enemy aircraft. The surprising thing is that this isn't the shootemup that you would expect on a video game system. Instead, it's more like the flight simulators that you're used to seeing on 16-bit computers like the ST. You view the game from your biplane's cockpit. Since they didn't have radar in WWI, you have to scan the skies with your eyes to find your opponent. Holding down your B button and moving your joypad will let you look around and behind you. Warbirds features exceptional graphics. The 3-D environment is very smooth and even has clouds to hide in. When an enemy plane is damaged, smoke starts pouring out of its tail. The game also has some nicely detailed, digitized pictures at the end of the mission. If you feel like making your friends crash and burn, you can ComLynx up to 6 players. BLOCKOUT Blockout is a 3-D puzzle game which is already available for most computers. It's very similar to Tetris, but the action is viewed from above. Three dimensional blocks fall into a pit, and you must rotate them as they fall so they will fit together. Fill up an entire level and those blocks disappear. If your block placement isn't very good, the blocks will start to stack up and once they reach the top of the pit, GAME OVER. The 3-D graphics of Blockout fit in perfectly with the Lynx's 3-D scaling abilities. Like other puzzle games of this sort, it's extremely addictive and will be eating up a lot of man hours. THIRD PARTY DEVELOPMENTS A number of third party companies are working on games for the Lynx: COLOR DREAMS is best known as one of the companies who has produced third party NES titles without Nintendo's permission. Their first Lynx title is Crystal Mines 2. CM2 is a puzzle/strategy game which looks similar to the classic Boulderdash. They're also working on a game based on the gruesome horror film, Hellraiser. LORICIEL (one of the biggest French developers) is doing Superskweek, an action game where you must repaint tiles, rescue imprisoned Skweekettes, and kill the monsters that are infecting your planet. The game has 225 levels for you to get through. SHADOWSOFT is a Canadian firm which is converting the arcade classic, Robotron. They are also rumored to be working on a Lynx version of Joust. TELEGAMES USA is readying a comprehensive chess game titled Fidelity Ultimate Chess. The game features 2-D and 3-D views. Next up is a 3-D miniature golf simulation. Most of these games are due very soon. PLAY TIPS In XENOPHOBE, the Poofer Gun is the most powerful. It has a short range but is very effective right through the last levels. Jump to level 144 in CHIP'S CHALLENGE with code GVXQ. And try code MAND for the hidden Mandelbrot explorer, where every button has a new function. NEXT MONTH we'll have more on "games within games", hidden levels, and more playing hints. If you have Lynx questions or suggestions for this column, contact me in care of my quarterly newsletter. APE Newsletter, 2104 North Kostner, Chicago, IL 60639. I also can be reached on GEnie - leave a message to me at C.SMITH89 - Clinton Smith MID INDIANA ST ATARIFEST SHOW REPORT ------------------------------------ by Bob Brodie, Director of Communications, Atari Computer Corp. For the last two years, a small gathering of Atarians has met in Bloomington, Indiana. The groups have used the gathering as a chance to have a swap meet, and attract a few small developers. MIST is an association of three users groups that has shared members, and needs over the past few years. The groups that form MIST are ASCII- located in Indianapolis, BLAST- located in Bloomington, and PAUG- located in West Lafayette on the campus of Purdue University. Their goal has been to share information, ideas, make new friends. In making the move to Indianapolis, the members hoped that they would share the burden of putting on the event a little bit better. This years show was put on at CADRE, Inc, a local CAD firm. The show area was a comfortable seminar area at CADRE, with carpeting, air conditioned, and easy access to hotels and local eateries. The wide open seminar room was laid out logically, so visitors would have an easy path in making their way around the show. Exhibitors at this event included: Atari Corporation MP Graphic Design Gribnif Software CompuServe AT/Com Electronics Clear Thinking Software Unicorn Publications Randall's Home Computers MegaType Electronic Spinster Graphics Mar's Merchandising Touch Technologies SKWare One Softlogik Computer Works ICD Cal Com DA Brumleve Apprentice Software One STop MS Designs Wiz Works also attending were a number of user groups: Milwaukee Atari ST of Milwaukee, WI Cin'tari of Cincinnati, OH STar of Belleville, IL Lake County Area Computer Enthusiasts, Waukegan, IL Eastside Atari Users Group, Alton, IL From the moments the door opened, the show was very, very busy. Show organizers were pleased with the turnout for Atarifest III! Once again, the combination of inexpensive tables for developers ($50 a table!) and low admission made this event a can't miss affair! While the turnout was great, and the crowd was active, I never felt like I was in a rush to get to the next person. Instead, I found people to be quite patient waiting for their turn to talk with me about what was going on in the Atari Community. I was quite surprised at the distance that some people drove to attend this event. Spotted in the crowd was Paul Plants of the WACO User Group from the Pittsburgh, PA area! Attending from Huntsville, Alabama was John Cole, ST Vice President of the Huntsville Atari Users Group. Other people told me that they had driven up from Kentucky, Ohio, Missouri, and Michigan. I met so many new faces, I'm sure that I've overlooked a number of people in this report. The MIST organizers set up the exhibition area in a large open area of CADRE's conference center. In addition, they had seminars set up in a room down the hall from the main area, which sat around 150 people. The entrance to the show was in yet another area, which also had a MIDI-Maze ring set up in it. Dan Ward from ASCII set up a large "white board" that he posted all door prize winners on. Nice touch, Dan! There was even a convenient Coke machine! A number of developers that couldn't attend this show demonstrated their support for MidWestern Atarians by sending along door prizes or advertising in the show program. Among them was ISD Marketing, which donated Calamus, Outline Art, The Calamus Font Editor, a copy of the Guide to Calamus Desktop Publishing. Current Notes, the Washington D.C. area based magazine offered a subscription to Current Notes, as well an ad in the show program. Fonts by Guber sent 3 PageStream font disk certificates. The show organizers kept trying to tell me that they only had 250 people or so that had shown up. I couldn't believe it, I've been to enough of these events that I just *knew* that the crowd was much better than that! Sure enough! During teardown the show officials acknowledged that they had miscounted. The attendance was 450+! Now there's a number I can believe in! The developers expressed great satisfaction with this event. Tricia Metcalf from Gribnif Software told me that sales were better than they had been at the Windsor Show, which was a two day event with much higher booth prices! ICD sold out of a number of items. Wiz Works was badgered by people all day that wanted to buy Migraph scanner modules to use with MVG, and I was one of them! Some of the user groups expressed disappointment with the sales of their PD libraries, while others did just great. The LCACE gang did a bang up business, and EAUG had a terrific looking booth. For me, one of the highlights of the day was the MARC Meeting. Under the leadership of Hank Vize, MARC (Midwest Atari Regional Council) is trying to make sure that all of the groups in the midwest stay in good contact with each other. This meeting was open to user group officers only, and had a fine turnout. MARC started in the St. Louis area. I visited them in late '89, and just kind of casually remarked to Hank that it was a shame that the local groups didn't talk more. He took the idea and ran with it, and now MARC has an e-mail list that goes from St. Louis to South Bend, Indiana! Keep up the good work, guys! Look for the gang from St. Louis to have a bigger role in next years MIST Show. Maybe they'll have to give the show a new name! Another bright spot was a tour of Purdue University. Professor Dennis Short of Purdue's Technical Graphics Department is an Atari fan! He's got a number of labs at Purdue that are crammed full of IBM/PS2's and Macs. But in his office, he's got an Atari TT, running DynaCadd and NeoDesk3! Professor Short is excited about the high speed performance of DynaCadd. He's proposed a lab of TT's to Purdue University, all to be running DynaCadd! Professor Short is faculty advisor to the Purdue Atari Computer Enthusiasts, and spent several hours at the show. During dinner on Friday night, he expressed sincere appreciation for all of the support Atari developers have provided him as he's learned the ins and outs of the TT030! Not without a fun streak in him though, I caught the professor taking a hard look at a Lynx! Hmmm, what that line about all work and no play? MP Designs is the Indianapolis based VAR that is servicing Purdue's Atari needs. I'm grateful to the organizers of the MIST Atarifest III for allowing me to participate in this event. Congratulations on a job well done! 8-Bit ALERT ----------- As previously reported in AtariUser, catalog close-out specialist DAMARK has purchased thousands of Atari SX212 300/1200-baud Hayes-compatible modems. The latest Damark catalog (September 1991) now shows a reduced price of only $19.99! Shipping and handling is an additional $5.50. These Atari modems are 8-bit ready, featuring an Atari 8-bit SIO port (no interface required) as well as the industry standard RS232 connector. At this price, no 8-bit owner should miss this modem! Get terminal software for it through your club or any PD software source. Damark, 800-729- 9000, item number B-375-181504, catalog B-375-2006. THE 8-BIT STATE: Adding BIG Power to your little system. ---------------- by Chuck Steinman One of the most significant time saving and productivity raising peripherals you can add any computer system is a HARD DRIVE. That goes for the 8-bit Atari too, and once you have one you will wonder why you hadn't upgraded before. There is something about having many megabytes of files instantly available on the 8-bit that is nothing short of amazing. And the speed of access and loading is blinding--quite literally indistinguishable from the speed of a RAMdisk. While there were hard drives made for the original 800, they appear to have gone underground over the years. We'll concentrate on the newer systems. THE HOST ADAPTOR The gateway to hard drive use is the device called a HOST ADAPTOR. There are two main units used in the classic Atari world, the Multi-I/O (MIO) from ICD, Inc., and the Black Box (BB) by Computer Software Services (CSS). Both provide similar performance, with each offering their own special features. They both connect to the Atari 600XL and 800XL PBI (Parallel Bus Interface) and to the 130XE through the ECI (Enhanced Cartridge Interface). Several other companies used to market hosts for the classic Atari, and their products might still be available either second hand or from dusty dealer archives. Beware, it might be impossible to find technical support. The MIO has been out for many years, but ICD is presently trying to close out their 8-bit lineup. One of the unique features that the MIO offers is its built in RAM. You can order the MIO with either 256K or 1M bytes of RAM, which can be used as a RAMDisk or a print spooler. The amount of RAM dedicated to each function can be user programmed using the built-in configuration menu. The Black Box does not have a built-in RAMDisk, but does have an optional printer buffer. There is a print screen button, which will send a text/graphics dump of the current screen contents to your printer. Another pushbutton will activate the BB debugger, extremely handy for programmers. The BB also has a port on it for a parallel floppy drive, but they are not available. Both the MIO and BB will control up to eight disk drives, of which any number can be RAMDisks, standard Atari floppies, or hard drives. You can change the logical drive number of any drive, or swap drive numbers of two drives. Hard drives can be divided ("partitioned") into several separate sections, each seen as an independent disk drive. The BB and MIO both offer a serial (modem) port, a parallel (printer) port, and an SASI/SCSI (hard drive) expansion port. This last port will allow industry standard SASI or SCSI hard disk controllers to be attached using a 50 position ribbon cable. BUILDING A HARD DRIVE SYSTEM An 8-bit Atari hard drive setup will include several parts: the HOST (probably an MIO or BB), a CONTROLLER, a HARD DRIVE, and some kind of case and power supply for it all. Other than the host, all the other parts will be usable on other computers (including the ST) if you later change systems (shame on you). Total costs can be as low as under $400 with careful shopping. And you won't really need more than a single floppy anymore, perhaps freeing up some hardware you can sell. Hard drives are available in a wide range of sizes, from 5 megabytes to hundreds of megs. The capacity of your drive is up to you and your budget, but for the relatively small 8-bit applications, even a (very cheap!) 10 meg drive will hold an incredible array of software. You can also easily add a second drive later. When buying your hard disk controller, make sure it matches your hard drive. Controllers are available for Modified FM (MFM) and Run Length Limited (RLL) type drives. RLL will provide 50% more disk space at approximately the same cost, and are usually a bit faster. Don't use MFM drives with an RLL controller, as the increased data density of the RLL system will likely exceed the capability of the MFM drive, leading to data loss sooner or later. You can usually use an RLL drive on an MFM controller with no harm, but with only two-thirds of the rated drive capacity. Another option would be to get a drive which has the controller built right on it. These drives tend to be a bit faster and more expensive. These are designated as "SCSI drives" and have the 50 position ribbon connector right on the drive. A wide variety of cases (most with power supplies) are on the market, with the most popular being the external "shoebox" type formerly used on the original PCs. To be able to access all of this disk space, you will need a DOS which will support hard drives--Atari's own DOS systems haven't got the capacity. Both SpartaDOS (including the cart-based SDX, both sold by ICD, Inc.) and MyDOS 4.50 (included with the BB) fill this need very nicely. Both support drives with partitions as large as 16 megabytes. Both ICD and CSS offer prepackaged hard drive systems to simplify the task of adding a hard drive to your 8-bit. Call CSS or ICD to check their current stock, pricing, or for additional information. Resources: Computer Software Services P.O. Box 17660 Rochester, NY 14617 (716) 429-5639 ICD Inc. 1220 Rock Street Rockford, IL 61101-1437 (815) 968-2228 BIO: Chuck Steinman not only reads and writes about the Atari 8-bit computers, he designs software and hardware for them, which is sold by DataQue. He can be contacted on GEnie and Delphi as DataQue, or CIS at user i.d. 71777,3223. CONNECTICUT ATARIFEST REPORT ---------------------------- by Vincent Patricelli I attended the Connecticut AtariFest Saturday and spent the entire day there. I would guess there was about 200-300 total people who attended the show, so it wasn't very big, but nonetheless very exciting. The following are the vendors that attended: Gribniff Software - Rick Flashman and company was displaying several new exciting programs. They were taking advance orders on Stalker 3.0 which should be available in about a week....it is impressive. He says it has the most extensive manual for a terminal program available for the ST, and the program operates as an accessory completely in the background, including Z-modem. The companion program Steno, a text editor as an accessory, has been released and works with Stalker....looks like a nice combo. Also, I saw a demo of a German import drawing program called Arabesque. It combines all the features of Touch Up and Easy Draw and more in one program....and boy is it fast and impressive. It should be available in about a month and will retail for $199. Rick said this is the best selling program in Germany and the only thing holding back the US release is the manual. Can't wait! Atari Explorer - John Jainschigg was there giving out free copies of the latest Atari Explorer mag. He gave a seminar on publishing which I only caught the tail end of. They have a special on subscriptions for all Genie and/or Atari user group members...$9.95 for one year (6 issues) Good deal! GFA Basic - John Barger was there displaying the latest version of this popular basic program and showing off the new IBM version on a couple of MS DOS portable computers. Owners of the ST version can purchase the IBM version for 50% off list. Step Ahead Software - Nevin Shalit was showing off his latest version of Tracker ST, an impressive, easy to use database program. I attended his seminar and he showed off 2 fantastic products, Retouche Professional and Didot. These allow the ST/TT to do things I never even say a Mac or IBM do. I was impressed!! He is currently writing the manual for these products and they are going to be distributed by Goldleaf Publishing. Retouche allows full editing of black and white or full color photos. Nevin was doing some amazing things with this program. Didot is a vector tracing program and more that has true bezier curves and allows you to set a path for text, type along the path, and do amazing distortions you wouldn't believe. Each program comes in a professional version (big $$, $2000 retail for Retouche Professional and $900 retail for Didot) and a scaled down version (smaller $, around $200-300 each). This is a big step ahead for Atari! TidBit Software - Jeff Lomicka was demoing his program, the Good Backup Utility. I also attended his seminar and he explained his philosophy for backups. His program automatically deletes old data and updates it in the free space on incremental backups and is very reliable. He said he has about 500 copies sold worldwide. I have read favorable reviews of this program. Softlogik - Bill Caferelli was showing PageStream 2.1 and all the font sets and business templates for this fantastic program. I got a chance to play with PageStream 2.1 on Bob Brodie's TT, WOW, is it impressive in high rez color, and fast, too! Taylor Ridge Books - Clay Walnum was displaying his book on C-Manship, a complete tutorial on learning to program in C on the ST, complete with a two disk set. This is his excellent series from the defunct ST-Log magazine. Alternative Hardware - Leo Taylor was displaying several unique mutant ST's including one mounted in a wooden case! Atari Computer - The hit of the show was Bob Brodie. He gave his usual honest and sincere seminars. He said FSM GDOS was finished should be shipping by November. The TT is in the lab and pending class B certification. It has a 1.44 meg floppy in the newest version. WordUp is being updated and Atari will distribute it under their own name, although probably not until next year some time. The Hotz box has sort of been put on the back burner due to lack of interest in the product. New software is being developed for the Atari CD Rom player which will allow it to use data disks from other platforms. The latest version will only have a SCSI interface and will require a host adaptor to work with the ST. He spoke about the positive reception Atari is getting with the TT in the desktop publishing market and that Atari will be advertising a full page ad in Publish! magazine in next month's issue... YEA! Also, there was Computers Ect., the local Atari dealer offering specials on all software and hardware. Paul, the owner, reported brisk sales all day. Three user groups, STARR, FACE, and the Boston Computer Society were selling PD or used software at very good prices. Unfortunately, Jim Allen from Fast Technologies didn't make the show. I heard he had a hard drive crash the day before the show. Hope he had a backup :^) I was really looking forward to seeing Turbo 20, oh well, maybe at WAACE. Also, Darlah Pine from Genie was supposed to be there, but I guess she couldn't make it, either. All in all, it was a pretty good show. It was small enough so you didn't have to fight crowds to talk to the vendors. It was announced that this will be an annual event, so I am looking forward to going again next year. ======================================================================= 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)1990 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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