Z*Magazine: 9-Feb-92 #203

From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 10/09/93-04:23:20 PM Z

From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
Subject: Z*Magazine:  9-Feb-92 #203
Date: Sat Oct  9 16:23:20 1993

 |   ((((((((  |        Z*Magazine International Atari 8-Bit Magazine
 |        ((   |        ---------------------------------------------
 |      ((     |        February 9, 1992                   Issue #203
 |    ((       |        ---------------------------------------------
 |   ((((((((  |         Copyright (c)1992, Rovac Industries, Inc.
 |             |         Post Office Box 59,  Middlesex,  NJ 08846
 |      ((     |
 |    ((((((   |                        CONTENTS
 |      ((     |
 |             |  * The Editors Desk..........................Ron Kovacs
 | (((     ((( |  * Z*Net Newswire......................................
 | ((((   (((( |  * 30 Secrets Of Atari......................Steve Bloom
 | (( (( (( (( |  * 8-Bit Owners Update...............AtariUser Magazine
 | ((  ((   (( |  * FoReM XE-Professional....................Stan Lowell
 | ((       (( |  * Z*Magazine Archives - 1984..........................
 |             |  * Structured Programming - Part 4........Michael Stomp
 |     ((      |  * Software Abuses...........................John Navas
 |   ((  ((    |  * Drive Tests..............................Mark Elliot
 |  ((((((((   |
 |  ((    ((   |
 |  ((    ((   |  ~ Publisher/Editor..........................Ron Kovacs
 |             |  ~ Contributing Editor........................John Nagy
 | ((((((((((  |  ~ Contributing Editor......................Stan Lowell
 | ((          |  ~ Contributing Editor........................Bob Smith
 | ((   (((((  |  ~ Newswire Staff......................................
 | ((      ((  |  ~ Z*Net New Zealand.........................Jon Clarke
 | ((((((((((  |  ~ Z*Net Canada.........................Terry Schreiber
 |             | 
 |-------------|  $ GEnie Address..................................Z-NET
 |    ONLINE   |  $ CompuServe Address........................75300,1642
 |    AREAS    |  $ Delphi Address..................................ZNET
 |             |  $ Internet/Usenet Address................status.gen.nz
 |-------------|  $ America Online Address......................ZNET1991
 |             |
 |    Z*NET    |  * Z*Net:USA New Jersey...(FNET 593).....(908) 968-8148
 |   SUPPORT   |  * Z*Net:Golden Gate......(FNET 706).....(510) 373-6792
 |   SYSTEMS   |  * Blank Page.........(8-Bit FNET 9002)..(908) 805-3967
 * THE EDITORS DESK                                        by Ron Kovacs
 This edition includes a full review of FoReM XE-Professional, a BBS
 program for those who don't know.  For an effort of fair-play, I am
 officially requesting from someone out there, a review of other 8-bit
 BBS programs.  So, if you own one or know someone who does, please pass
 along our request and let's see a review of other programs!
 See you in two weeks....
 The Boston Computer Society meeting of April 22, 1992, will feature a
 special presentation and announcement of new hardware from Atari
 Corporation.  Although the world will see Atari's new hardware first at
 the CeBIT show in Hannover, Germany, March 10-16, the BCS appearance
 will be the first US showing of what may or may NOT be the much rumored
 "Falcon" 68040 computer.  According to Atari officials, a series of new
 computers will be introduced, one at a time, at computer events
 throughout 1992.  The plan is NOT to use Atari-specific shows as a
 venue, as much more overall industry expose will result in making the
 announcements at multi-brand events.  The Boston Computer Society is a
 large and prestigious club with an active Atari contingent, and has been
 the venue for major product announcements by IBM and NeXT computer
 companies in the past.  Atari made its own premier of the ST computer at
 a BCS meeting in 1985, and expects its new computers to cause as much of
 an industry stir as the revolutionary ST did seven years ago.  Z*Net
 will offer more details of the meeting date and location in the coming
 Late last week, the January issue of the troubled ST INFORMER magazine
 began arriving at dealers and subscribers.  Now in a newsprint-with-
 color book format similar to AtariUser magazine, publisher and now
 editor Rod Macdonald has enlisted the aid of Brian Gockley on the East
 coast, Donovan Vicha covering the central USA, and Robert Goff in the
 West, as principal contributors.  The January ST Informer issue was
 delayed due to the departure of the editor and key staff people some
 weeks ago, and the new issue shows signs of hasty assembly.  In his
 "Potpourri" editor's page, Macdonald pledges no ad rate increases for
 1992, and promises expanded news and European coverage.  Meanwhile,
 splinter magazine ATARI ADVANTAGE is readying for a premier, perhaps in
 March, and AtariUser magazine is preparing for the added competition in
 the Atari magazine marketplace with plans for aggressive sales under a
 new rate structure.
 In a surprise move, Atari Corporation's own magazine, Atari Explorer,
 actually released copies of their February 1992 issues BEFORE the
 January 1992 issue.  The February issue was a special MIDI issue,
 including a mini-magazine inside called ATARI ARTIST.  Since the
 National Association of Music Merchants' show came at the end of
 January, and the MIDI and musician coverage was to have been timed for
 release to the crowds at NAMM, the February issue was pushed out in
 front of the delayed January issue.  Confused yet?  Explorer editor John
 Jainschigg was heard talking about coverage in the January issue and the
 publication schedule during the NAMM show: "We will soon be including
 that in our previous issue... our NEW issue will be LAST month's issue,
 so our NEXT issue will be the one AFTER this one..."  Atari Explorer is
 officially a bi-monthly publication, but has recently had monthly issues
 in order to catch up after major delays in production during 1991.

 * 30 SECRETS OF ATARI                                    by Steve Bloom
 (c)1983 Carnegie Publications Corp.
 (c)1987, 1989 Public Domain media
 [Author's note:  Here presents information I had compiled through
 research and interviews with people from Atari, Inc. (a.k.a. the "old"
 While I wrote this article back in 1983, I felt that much of the
 information would be still interesting today.  What is presented here is
 not an exhaustive list.  I used only the information I felt was not
 common knowledge and some insight on others.  Because the magazine that
 originally published this, Computer Games, (February 1984) is no longer
 in circulation, I felt that in the best interest of all that I re-
 acquire publication rights.  This is why I have placed this in the
 public domain for everyone to enjoy.  The entire article is unabridged
 and unchanged from the original published format.
 Steve Bloom, 
 May 29, 1989.

 The real story of Asteroids, Space Invaders, Pac-Man, Pong, and Pole
 In its 11-year history, Atari has become one of the biggest, flashiest,
 most influential companies in history.  They have had their share of
 incredible successes and embarrassing failures.  Perhaps more than
 anything else, they have had their secrets.
 Atari is very tight-lipped.  At one point employees were asked to sign
 confidentiality agreements and use magnetic ID cards to walk through the
 company's corridors.  Aside from the actual cartridges, the public
 learns little about Atari's games and the people who created them.
 Until now.  We have interviewed dozens of employees of the company, past
 and present.  We have guaranteed them complete anonymity in exchange
 for a tip, an insight, a never-before-heard anecdote.  From these
 interviews, we have compiled the following secrets of Atari, which are
 published here for the first time.
 1.  Nolan Bushnell, Atari's founding father, originally named the
     company Syzygy (the sun, moon, and earth in total eclipse).  He
     renamed it to Atari because another company already owned the name
 2.  Bushnell is generally believed to be the author of Pong, Atari's
     first game.  Actually, Magnavox released the Odyssey 100, the first
     home video game system, which included a game remarkably similar to
     Pong, several months before Pong's debut in the arcades in 1972.
     Years later, Bushnell admitted in court that he had seen an Odyssey
     prototype on display earlier in 1972.  The Odyssey 100 was designed
     by Ralph Baer.
 3.  Bally/Midway rejected Bushnell's Pong when he demonstrated the game
     in its Chicago offices in 1972.  Bushnell went back to California
     and started Atari.
 4.  Given a choice between Mappy and Pole Position, two arcade creations
     by the Japanese firm Namco, Bally/Midway amazingly opted for Mappy.
     Atari had to settle for Pole Position, which went on to become the
     biggest game of 1983.
 5.  Gravitar was one of Atari's worst-selling arcade games.  So they
     took the game out of the cabinets and converted them all to Black
 6.  Mike Hally designed Gravitar.  He recently redeemed himself as the
     project leader for Atari's spectacular Star Wars game.
 7.  Rick Mauer never programmed another game for Atari after he did
     Space Invaders for the VCS.  He is said to have earned only $11,000
     for a game that grossed more than $100 million.
 8.  Todd Fry, on the other hand, has collected close to $1 million in
     royalties for his widely criticized VCS Pac-Man.
 9.  The man for bringing Pac-Man home to Atari- Joe Robbins, former
     president of coin-op- was severely reprimanded by the chairman of
     the board Ray Kassar for making the deal with Namco without
     consulting him.  It seems Robbins was in Japan negotiating a legal
     matter with Namco at the time, and Namco demanded that Atari buy the
     home rights to Pac-Man as part of the settlement.  Pac-Man had yet
     to take off, but when it did, Robbin's gutsy decision paid off as
     Pac-Man went on to become the company's best-selling cartridge ever.
 10. The man for bringing E.T. to Atari?  None other than Warner
     Communications chairman, Steve Ross.  So convinced was he that E.T.
     possessed video game star quality, Ross paid Steven Spielberg an
     enormous sum (did I hear $21 million?) for the rights to the little
     extraterrestrial bugger.  Designer Howie Warshaw spun the game out
     in four months, only three million cartridges were sold and Atari
     began to announce million dollar losses.  E.T. is now selling for as
     little as $5 in some stores.
 11. Warshaw also designed Raiders of the Lost Ark cartridge, and Yar's
     Revenge, which started out as a licensed version of the arcade game,
     Star Castle.  "Yar" is "Ray" Kassar backwards.
 12. One of Atari's most popular early arcade game was Tank, only it
     didn't say Atari anywhere on the cabinet or screen.  Instead, it
     said "Kee Games," which was another name for Atari from 1973-78.
     Atari and Kee (named after Joe Keenan, Bushnell's longtime partner)
     put out identical games in order to create more business for Atari.
     For instance, Spike (Kee) and Rebound (Atari) were volleyball games
     that came out a month apart in 1974.
 13. Tank was designed by Steve Bristow, who is still with the company
     after all these years.  Most recently, he has been in charge of
     Ataritel, Atari's telecommunications project which had been
     codenamed, "Falcon."
 14. Code-names have always been popular at Atari.  The VCS was "Stella,"
     the 400 computer was "Candy," the 800 was "Colleen," the 5200 was
     "Pam."  All were named after well-endowed female employees working
     at Atari (except for Stella, which was a bicycle trade name).
 15. And there was "Sylvia," the 5200 that never was.  Pam, as everyone
     by now knows, was a stripped down 400 computer for the sole purpose
     of game playing.  Sylvia was intended to be Atari's answer to
     Intellivision and was in the works long before Pam was born.  But
     problems developed largely because the 5200 was projected to be
     compatible with VCS software, which limited the design of the
     hardware.  When push finally came to shove, Sylvia went out the
     window, and Pam walked in the door.
 16. Cosmos, Atari's experiment with holography, was a battery-operated
     game system that was introduced at a New York press conference in
     the spring of 1980.  Created by Al Alcorn, Cosmos was never to be
     seen again.
 17. Alcorn was the first engineer hired by Nolan Bushnell.  His first
     project was Pong.  His second project was Space Race, the forerunner
     to Frogger.
 18. Another project announced was a remote-control VCS.  Since it was
     wireless, you could play games at 30 feet without having to hassle
     with the console.  It too mysteriously disappeared from Atari's
     catalogue.  (Note: it looked almost exactly like the 5200).
 19. Nobody in Atari coin-op liked Dig-Dug, the company's first Japanese
     import, except for Brian McGhie, now with Starpath.  It was McGhie
     who added the finishing touches to Dig Dug.  His latest game is
     Rabbit Transit.
 20. Quantum and Food Fight were not designed by Atari.  They were the
     work of General Computer Corp. of Cambridge, Massachusetts.  GCC
     broke into the business selling kits that would speed-up Missile
     Command.  Atari sued and settled with GCC for the above mentioned
 21. Tempest was originally intended to be a first-person Space Invaders
     -type game.  Then Dave Theurer came up with idea for tubes on the
     screen.  Theurer also designed Missile Command.
 22. The first 200 Asteroid machines were actually Lunar Landers.  Atari
     was so hot on Asteroids, that it cut short the production run on
     Lunar Lander- Atari's first vector game- and released the 200
     complete with Lunar Lander art.
 23. Asteroids had two incarnations before it achieved its spectacular
     success.  The first, Planet Grab, simply required you to claim
     planets by touching them with your spaceship.  The second version,
     allowed you to blow up the planets and duel with another ship,
     Space-Wars style.  Only in Asteroids, which came along two years
     later, did Atari engineer Lyle Rains introduce the concept of
     floating rocks.
 24. Many at Atari, past and present, dispute Rains' claim that he was
     solely responsible for Asteroids.  Ed Logg, who programmed it, and
     who also had his hand at the design of Centipede and Millipede, is
     said to be the true mastermind behind Asteroids.
 25. One of Ed Logg's game that has never been released in the arcades is
     called Maze Invaders.
 26. Battlezone Ed Rotberg left Atari after he was forced to convert his
     favorite game to Army specifications.  Dubbed the MK-60 by the Army,
     it included 30 game variations, improved steering and magnification,
     and simulations of Russian and American tanks.  It sold for $30,000.
 27. Rotberg joined two other Atari engineers, Howard Delman and Roger
     Hector, and formed Videa, which not too long ago was bought by Nolan
     Bushnell for more than $1 million amd renamed Sente Technologies.
 28. President of Apple Computers Steve Jobs began his high-tech career
     at Atari.  He was known to walk around barefoot, kick up his dirty
     feet on executives' desks, and talked continuously of going to India
     to meet a guru.  Not only did he do the latter, he designed Breakout
     before leaving Atari for good.
 29. Before they left Atari, designers Al Miller, David Crane, Larry
     Kaplan, and Bob Whitehead were working on games that would later
     become Activision cartridges.  Crane's Dragster was a spin-off of
     the Atari coin-up Drag Race and Kaplan's Kaboom was based on the
     Atari coin-op Avalanche.
 30. Warren Robinett, tired of Atari's policy of no author credit for
     game designers, decided to sign his game, Adventure, in an obscure
     secret room in the program.  He never told his fellow designers
     about this for fear of word getting out and he being reprimanded.
     Ultimately, a 12 year-old in Salt Lake City discovered the room
     where it was written:  "Created by Warren Robinett."  To his
     surprise, Robinett was never punished.  He too left Atari shortly

 The following article is reprinted in Z*Net by permission of AtariUser
 magazine and Quill Publishing.  It MAY NOT be further reprinted without
 specific permission of Quill.  AtariUser is a monthly Atari magazine,
 available by subscription for $18 a year.
 Chuck Steinman has recently been promoted on GEnie as a CoSysOp, sharing
 duties with Craig Thom.  If you are a GEnie subscriber, feel free to
 drop into the Atari 8-bit Bulletin Board, Software Libraries, or Real-
 Time Conference.  The Atari 8-bit RTC is held from 10:00 pm to 11:00 pm
 each Thursday.  Please drop in!
 OOPS!  We printed the wrong phone number in the October AtariUser 8-Bit
 Alert.  Let's try it again!  Wanted: 8-bit Atari's!  Dr. James Hooper is
 Director of Medical Services for an Alabama hospital for mentally ill
 offenders.  He's given his own 800XL to the hospital, and patients are
 eagerly lining up to learn reading, typing, and computer literacy.
 Funds are not available for buying more, and Dr. Hooper asked AtariUser
 to solicit fully tax-deductible donations of Atari 8-bit equipment to
 expand his program.  Individuals or vendors: contact Dr. Hooper at
 Taylor Hardin Secure Medical Facility, 1301 River Road Northeast,
 Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 35404, 205-556-7060.  Yes, this is the REAL number.
 THE 8-BIT STATE: Taking advantage of system upgrades.
 While the stock Atari 8-bit system provides the features needed for many
 applications, expansion options (especially of the XL/XE series) allow a
 system to become more powerful and easier to use.
 One of the most popular upgrades for the 800XL and 130XE is a memory or
 RAM upgrade.  While plans for do-it-yourself RAM expansion are readily
 available in club and BBS libraries, it's nearly as cheap and much
 easier to buy a kit.  The Newell 1 megabyte upgrade has recently been
 released for under $50, excluding DRAM.  Newell also offers a 256K
 version for the XL at under $30 (excluding DRAM).  While there are few
 applications which directly support these type of upgrades, most
 applications allow them to be used as large RAM Disks.  Newell upgrades
 are distributed by American Techna-Vision, 15338 Inverness St., San
 Leandro, CA 94579, 800-551-9995.  B&C ComputerVisions at 3257 Kifer
 Road, Santa Clara, CA, 95051, 408-749-1003, also carries Newell and
 other similar RAM upgrades.
 If you own an XF-551 drive, Computer Software Services (CSS) has two
 upgrades for you.  The single-drive upgrade will allow you to replace
 the 5-1/4" drive with a 3.5" drive.  With the new drive mechanism and a
 compatible DOS (SpartaDOS or MyDOS for example) you will be able to
 format 720K bytes per double-sided diskette.  A utility is included
 which will allow you to read IBM or ST diskettes.  This upgrade is
 available with a Sony mechanism for $99.95 (plus $8 S&H), or without for
 $59.95 (plus $5 S&H).
 The CSS double-drive upgrade is similar to the single-drive, except the
 3.5" drive is connected in addition to your existing 5-1/4" drive.  This
 will allow you to use both types of diskettes for only a small
 additional hardware cost.  The basic upgrade package with a Sony
 mechanism costs $139.95 (plus $8 S&H), or without for $79.95 (plus $5
 S&H).  Another version is available for an additional $20 which allows
 use of two 3.5" drives, providing total storage of 1440K bytes.  CSS,
 P.O. Box 17660, Rochester, NY 14617, 716-429-5639.
 TransKey (TK1), a small microprocessor based keyboard interface board,
 connects an IBM type keyboard to your Atari 8-bit system.  TK is mounted
 inside your 400/800/XL/XE computer and the original keyboard retains
 full functionality whether the IBM keyboard is connected or not.  With
 the recent 2.4 upgrade ROM, you can now enter macros (key sequences)
 from the keyboard.  The ZRAM option ($13 extra) will retain those macros
 in memory even while your system is not powered.  The basic solder-in
 (14 total solder connections) version of TK is $47.00, while a version
 with a PoKey piggy-back board is $10.00 more and reduces your work to
 four solder connections.  TK is manufactured by DataQue Products, Post
 Office Box 134, Ontario, OH 44862 (USA).
 Another popular product from CSS is the Black Box (BB) interface.
 This upgrade for 600XL/800XL/130XE provides a myriad of peripheral
 interfaces, and a few tricks.  Not only does the BB provide a parallel
 printer port and an RS232 serial port capable of 19.2K baud, it also is
 a hard drive host adapter.  By adding a power supply, controller, and
 hard drive, you can have a complete drive system with exceptional speed.
 The BB also has built-in screen dump and mini-debugger software.  The BB
 is $199.95, and there's several options.
 One of the more popular offerings from DataQue Products is the Turbo-816
 upgrade.  Similar to an upgrade which was offered for the Apple ][
 (prior to the introduction of the Apple //gs), this upgrade adds 16-bit
 processing power, while still maintaining compatibility with current
 software.  Turbo-816 is $104, which includes the adapter board,
 connecting cable, replacement OS ROM, and user diskette, and can be used
 with Atari 600XL/800XL/1200XL systems.  SRAM cards are available in 64K
 byte ($53) or 256K byte ($104) sizes, or a real-time clock version
 including 32K bytes of battery backed SRAM ($73) and drivers in ROM
 (prices include S&H).
 There are too many upgrades available for the 8-bit Atari systems to
 list here.  While some popular items may be out of production, they're
 often still available from distributors like American Techna-Vision, B&C
 ComputerVisions, and Best Electronics.  Atari and ICD Inc. still have
 limited supplies of 8-bit stock on hand as of this writing, and should
 be contacted for more information.
  - Chuck Steinman

 BIO:  Chuck Steinman, your 8-bit representative here at AtariUser, would
 like to hear from you!  He can be contacted on GEnie at username
 DATAQUE, or Compuserve PPN: 71777,3223.  He is also available at his
 recently opened Audio/Video/Computer sales and service store called
 Lex-Tronics, now the exclusive distributor of DataQue products, from
 1pm-5:30pm ET at 419-529-9797.
 CSS offers an operating system (OS) upgrade which not only adds advanced
 features, but also contains a 400/800 compatibility mode.  The
 UltraSpeed+ OS allows you to communicate with high speed floppy drives
 in their high speed mode, with any disk operating system (DOS).  It also
 lets you reboot from any drive, including a RAMdisk.  There's a built-in
 RAMdisk handler, which emulates a real disk without additional drivers.
 The UltraSpeed+ OS is $69.96 (plus $5 S&H), available from Computer
 Software Services.

 * FOREM-XE PROFESSIONAL                                  by Stan Lowell
 One of the Atari 8-bit Bulletin Board Systems in existence is the FoReM-
 XE Professional program, which I just happen to run <Grin>.  Ron has
 asked me to write a little something up about it, so...here it comes!
 FoReM-XE Professional(XEP or FXEP) has its roots in FoReM.  When Matt
 Singer released FoReM to the public domain, Bob Nabour of Bob's Binary
 Shop in Saint Louis, MO. rewrote much of the code.
 Over time, Bob removed things like Anonymous messages, E-Mail to User
 level, etc.  He added much on the other hand.  Things like larger
 messages, Y-Batch downloading, message networking with threading, and
 MOST of all, it became less prone to crashes than were its ancestors!
 If you ever ran a FoReM, then you understand of what I speak!
 Around July, the SysOps of The Final Frontier in Philadelphia, Bonnie
 and Clyde (Donna and Bob) released the File Module they had been working
 on which allowed Y-Batch uploading.  Binary Bob took his board off line
 in October of 1990.
 The ability to view ARC files was added by a Sysop and user of a BBS in
 Houston.  This was expanded by Len Spencer(Moonbase Alpha in Orlando,
 Florida) to include viewing of ZIP, ALF, and LZH files.
 Len has reworked the AMP(Automatic Modem Processor) to speed it up.  He
 is currently developing numerous other improvements to XEP, including a
 9600 bps version of AMP(released a few days ago for Beta testing).  All
 parts of the FXEP package itself have not been modified for 9600, as Len
 doesn't have a 9600 modem yet.  Testing was done using a null modem.
 Marco Molison Sr.(the Doggie Diner in Sacramento, CA) recently modified
 the File Sig Module.  With his version, you can have up to 19 Sub-sigs
 in each of the Main sigs.  What this does is let you put all types of
 files relating to a platform in one sig with up to 19 types of files as
 its "sub-sigs!"  I am VERY anxious to get this 'mod' on my BBS, but with
 over a thousand files to move around...oh well.
 Throughout the years the "FoReM" 'flavor' has been carried over.  But
 because it is written in BasicXE, you can dress it up, and make it your
 XEP does *require* a 130XE(or upgraded XL), BasicXE, an RS232 interface
 for the Hayes compatible modem, and SpartaDos.  Pains have been taken to
 try and keep it 'runnable' on a minimum of two double density drives.
 But realistically, these two drives hold the system.  For messages and
 files you would need more drives.  However, a hard drive is recommended.
 As a SysOp
 Numerous users in various places have written or modified games for
 FXEP's online games section.  Two of the more prolific of these are
 Jerry T. Gordon and Darrel Schartman in St. Louis.  I don't think there
 is an XEP BBS that doesn't have at least one game by each of them!
 There are even Docs for writing modules and games for FXEP!  Virtually
 any game in Basic can be modified to run with FXEP.
 As you can tell from the above, XEP is SysOp and user supported.  To
 help each other, a SysOp base is networked by all boards across the
 country.  In it, we discuss new ideas, mods, problems, fixes, you name
 it, we have probably discussed it.  There is a helpful attitude among
 us.  Changes are shared freely.
 From the SysOps point of view, once running, the BBS can run error free
 for weeks on end.  The only catch-up maintenance required would be
 validation of new users and uploads.  Everything else is automated.  The
 only thing that could blow you out of the water would be either a
 hardware error or a power hit.  Several SysOps have gone away on
 business or vacation for several weeks and returned to find their boards
 humming right along.
 Number of messages per base is basically determined by the size of each
 message.  When you initialize the BBS, you specify the number of bytes
 which each message base is allocated.  There is a maximum of 999
 messages per base.  I have most of my Networked message bases set for
 200,000 bytes.  This usually means that I have anywhere between 200+ and
 600 messages in most bases at any given time.
 I like messages with threads, and this allows me to be able to see
 threads backwards in case there has been a week or two between
 responses.  All threading is automatic throughout the network even
 though the message numbers on each BBS will of course vary according to
 the local activity.
 The maximum FXEP message size is around 3200 bytes.  There are those who
 prefer to have a set message size for each message so that if you have
 50 messages and your maximum message size is 2k, you know that you will
 always have a base size of 100K-forever!
 With FXEP's setup, the maximum any base will grow is usually only 2-3K.
 At that point, it will usually compress down to its compression size.
 The SysOp determines this when he initializes each base size and number
 of messages to delete when it reaches the maximum size.  My 200k bases
 compress to between 193 & 196K, depending upon the size of the deleted
 One of the things which XEP does not have is read messages To/From a
 user.  This used to be in FoReM but was removed to encourage message
 reading/replying and sending.  There are at least two ways around it.
 The first is to write down any message numbers that you send and read
 those messages when you go to a base.  The other way is to do a "R N"
 when you enter the base and then after reading the first message do a
 "B" for backwards.  The last message that you read should have been
 yours.  This only works on your very next call though.
 FXEP *can be* a bear to setup, especially if you have never run a BBS
 before.  It is VERY IMPORTANT that you read ALL documentation before you
 do *anything!*  Several SysOps have set it up without any problems
 whatsoever, but they were quite familiar with SpartaDos 3.2, Basic, and
 running a BBS.  Patience is the operative word here! <Grin>  It has been
 successfully setup and run by first-timers too!  As with most
 complicated things, you should understand what it is you are doing and
 think about it *before* you do it!
 From the users point of view
 FXEP can have up to 20 message bases.  Most boards have local and
 networked message bases.  For anyone who is not familiar with 'what' a
 networked message base is, let me explain.  When you enter(post) a
 message to someone in a message base, that message is not only read by
 everyone local, but at a predetermined time, it is sent to all other
 bulletin boards in the network who share that base.  This is of
 particular advantage when you have a question or problem.  Your message
 goes out to other parts of the country and is seen by many, MANY more
 people.  You could get an answer from a 'local' user, or you could get
 several answers from 'remote'(to you anyway) users.  This is what makes
 networking so great!  The people in the FXEP network are some of the
 friendliest, most helpful around!
 Some of the options concerning networking being investigated and
 discussed at this time are inter-Atari 8-bit networking, Forem-ST
 networking, and networking with a PC based network.
 FXEP tries to be user friendly.  That is, most of the commands are
 logical extensions of what they do.  In most places a "?" will bring up
 a menu of commands valid at that point and what they do.
 The only confusion might be in cases where you  are 'used' to hitting an
 "E" to enter a message.  In a FXEP message base "E" will let you send an
 E-mail message to another user.  You would press "S" in a FXEP BBS
 message base to <S>end a message to another user.  If you are in the
 process of reading messages and you pressed "R", you would <R>eply to
 the current message.  When reading messages, pressing the "<" will show
 you the 'originating' message that generated the reply which you just
 read.  Pressing ">" will show you any replies to the message which you
 are reading.
 There are a plethora of online games available for the program.  This
 is a very popular feature for those boards which have lots of local
 callers who enjoy them.
 Other features available on FXEP are the online survey where users can
 answer a variety of questions and see the answers, the Database area
 where just about any text file you wish can be offered for online
 Another feature is the "Birthday Module"  where users enter their
 birthday.  When anyone logs on, the list is checked to see if anyone has
 a birthday on that day.  If there is someone, a message tells everyone
 that it is your birthday!
 Each user has a 'Profile'.  It contains personal information about the
 user as well as some of his preferences: page width, length, message
 bases he wishes to scan on each call.  If there are new messages in any
 of them, he is taken to each base in turn to read them.  These can be
 accessed from the main menu by pressing the letter "Q" for Quikscan.  Of
 course, ANY base can be accessed by "Z"ipping to it from the main menu
 prompt or at the end of a message base.
 Pressing the <F>iles from the Main Prompt will load the File Sig Module
 where uploads/downloads are done.  Once there, you pick the File Sig
 area you wish and then do a browse of: all files, from a file number, or
 from a particular date or the date of your last logon.  You can also
 search for part of a filename(sans extender).  Or just look at new files
 since your last call.  If you see something you want you can either
 "Flag" several files for Y-Batch download, or download them one at a
 time.  As for protocols.  you have X-modem, 1K-Xmodem(aka. Y-Modem),
 Ascii, and Y-Batch for either Uploading or Downloading.
 Unfortunately, one of the warts of FXEP is the skimpy file descriptions
 possible.  Only 40 chars are there for you to describe a file.  Some
 SysOps have an Upload Message base for more detailed descriptions.  On
 my board, I have a Message File Base for all three Systems which I
 support.  Of course, users must actually GO there and send a message
 about their uploads!  I am probably as bad as many others when it comes
 to this.
 Where can you get it?
 Where can you get a copy?  All FoReM-XEP boards have the Basic program
 available for download as 3 Discomm'ed double density disks.  Most of
 us also have an assortment of games, mods, etc.  The latest version as I
 write this is version 5.0 for FoReM-XEP and 3.1 for the File Module.
 None of us(we SysOps) know why FXEP isn't on CIS or GEnie??  It will be
 uploaded there one day, but is not there at present.  When it does make
 it onto the service(s), the SysOps who have accounts on the service will
 check for any questions about the program.
 We have recently gone through a "shrinkage" when we lost both the Final
 Frontier in Philly and the Atarian Domain in Orlando to PC platforms/
 BBSs.  Numerous mods were written by these two boards.  Both SysOps have
 sold their hardware, but as far as we know, only the "Atarian Domain"
 hardware will re-surface as an FXEP BBS at this time.  We also have two
 other boards 'pending' on the network.  For now, the FoReM-XE
 Professional Bulletin Boards which are in the network are:
 *Blank Page BBS - S. Bound Brook, NJ  (My Board)            908-805-3967
 *Gateway City - St.Louis, MO          (Support Board)       314-647-3290
 *Moonbase Alpha - Orlando, FL                               407-578-2811
 The Outhouse BBS - Belleville, IL                           618-398-0335
 *The Doggie Diner -Sacramento, CA                           916-921-1935
 The Graveyard BBS - Sacramento, CA                          916-568-1712

 * - Carries Znet Pubs Networked message base.

 I have only touched on a few points of FXEP.  For more information, call
 one of the BBSs listed above.

 Commodore 1702 Monitor Cable
 It's no secret that the 1702 is about the best thing that's happened to
 Atari computers since their birth.  However, in keeping with the
 Commodore tradition, a few tips will help those who use or plan to
 purchase this product.
 First, as with any color TV it needs a few days to "burn-in".  Second
 the unit I purchased was way out of alignment.  Get a "techie" to open
 the back and tweak the centering, sub contrast, screen, and focus
 controls.  Do this with the front controls set at their detent position.
 Have someone make you a cable to enter the monitor through the back
 door.  Forget the composite, go for the chroma and luma ports.  Lastly,
 the product is made by JVC for Commodore, uses a high quality Hitachi
 tube and does a damned fine job with a VCR or VDP as well.  At $225.00,
 its street price, it can't be touched.  That said, look for more
 details when I Test LAB the unit in Electronic Games Magazine.
 I may even do a show and tell on making the cable, but for now suggest
 those in the know go to Radio Shack for the requisite parts.  Total cost
 is under $10.00 if you can strip leads and solder.
 Go to a Radio Shack and purchase a five-pin DIN Male connector.  Also
 get hold of their 3 or 6 foot audio cable terminating with in four RCA
 (phono) plugs.
 Next clip off all the plugs at one end and strip wires.  The center of
 each of the four cables goes to pins 1, 3,4, and 5 of the DIN plug.  The
 shields connect together and go to pin 2.  Three of the four connections
 will be used.  Depending on color you can experiment safely until you
 find the right connections.
 Sorry but I can't locate the pin out chart or I'd be more specific.
 Anyway mis plugging them won't do any harm and if you can solder
 professionally, you needn't worry about shorts.  The results will
 astound you.  And if you can't handle an iron, have a "techie whip it
 up for you.  Shouldn't cost more than $25.00.  The parts cost furnished
 is under $10.00.

            ***** ATTENTION ATARI DEALERS and DEVELOPERS *****

 We at Atari Advantage Magazine have an offer you just can't pass up...
 Here's the deal.  If you are going to advertise with us in our first few
 issues, with at least a 3 time contract, we will run your ad for free in
 our first issue.  If you decide not to sign a contract with us, we'll
 only charge half price for the ad.  Also, we're asking that you submit
 an ad similar in size to what you are going to be running in the future.
 We've spent the last couple days trying to call everyone with this
 offer, but we're not reaching everyone fast enough.  We want to give
 anyone interested in advertising with us a chance to take advantage of
 this offer.  If this sounds like the deal for you, call and let us know
 what size you are going to send in, and then get your ad in the mail to
 us!  We are trying to  put our first issue out by February 19-21, so we
 need to know RIGHT NOW if you are interested in this offer!  We only
 have so much space to give away, so ads will be placed on a first come
 first serve basis--don't be the last one in!
 Atari Advantage can be reached in the following ways:
 Phone: (503) 476-3578
 FAX : (503) 476-0719
 CIS : 70007,3615
 U.S. Mail:
     Atari Advantage Magazine
     P.O. Box 803
     Merlin, OR 97532
 UPS, FedEx:
     Atari Advantage Magazine
     400 Galice Rd.
     Merlin, OR  97532

 * ADVENTURES IN STRUCTURED PROGRAMMING - Part 4        by Michael Stomp
 (Continuing a sketch of different methods of structured programming,
  which follows a characterization of methods by P.J. Plauger in a series
  of articles in Computer Language magazine.)
 The method is applicable when both input and output data structures are
 non-trivial, and they clash, so that neither right-to-left or left-to-
 right designs fit.  You must approach the center from all directions at
 once, hence the name of this method.
 One approach is to try to 'marry' the two conflicting data structures
 into a program structure that accommodates both; a program that is
 neither a 'parser of input' nor a 'report generator', but combines the
 logic of both.  Depending upon the details of the structures involved,
 the final product might look more like one or the other, but by
 considering both structures in the design you can be relatively sure
 that you will accommodate both.
 Sometimes such a 'marriage' just won't work; the alternative then is a
 'divorce'.  That is, break up a difficult problem into two or more
 simpler problems.  Break the original module into two, a 'front end' to
 process the input, and a 'back end' to handle the output, and connect
 the two with a data stream whose structure is a simple repetition of the
 common atomic structure.  Now you have two simpler problems.  The front
 end is a classic input driven form, reducible by left-to-right design.
 This module unpacks the input into the simpler intermediate data form.
 The back end is a classic output driven form, reducible by right-to-left
 design, which composes the more complex output structure from these.
 (It may be convenient to include additional data transformers in the
 A couple of examples: Consider the reading of data from disk files.  The
 input structure is zero or more fixed length blocks (sectors), with the
 last block possibly shorter than the rest.  The output structure is
 either (1) a repetition of single bytes, or (2) a repetition of records
 (zero or more bytes followed by an End-Of-Line character).  You don't
 generally write such a program; it is DOS, which reads each sector into
 a buffer and then unpacks it as needed.
 The second example is one you might consider writing yourself; a text
 formatter.  The input data structure is zero or more records of
 indeterminate length, while the output may be more complex, such as:
 one or more pages, each consisting of 1) a header, 2) from zero to
 MAXLINES lines, each less than WIDTH in length, and followed by an EOL,
 3) a footer.
 The structure clash is pretty obvious; there is no relationship between
 the words in any one input record and the output lines they generate.
 Resolving this clash is equally obvious.  You want an input module that
 reads input records and delivers separate words.  You also want an
 output module that eats words one at a time and produces lines to be
 written out.  The intermediate data stream you introduce is a sequence
 of zero or more words.  With more complex structures to resolve, or in
 cases with multiple inputs or outputs, you may need additional
 intermediate data streams and more modules.  In the example of the text
 formatter, one might want the output lines to be right-justified and
 word-wrapped, additional complications.  Then it would be advantageous
 to introduce a third module which would take words as input and produce
 the desired lines as another intermediate data stream.  The lines, in
 turn, would be the input to the final module which would format the
 entire page.  But the idea is the same; break up complex modules into
 simpler modules so that each module is easier to implement.  Then the
 individual modules are organized by top-down design into a single
 program, a 'tree' of modules with the controlling module at the top.
 But which module is to be the one at the top, the 'boss module' which
 calls the others?  The answer is: any one can be the boss.  However, the
 form in which a module is written depends upon where in the tree it is.
 To illustrate this, let's consider a case for which the data flow
 diagram is:
     =>[A] -> [B] -> [C]=>

 Each [] is a data transform module which consumes input and produces
 output.  From this, one could make three different program structures,
 depending upon whether [A], [B], or [C] is to be the main (controlling)
 module.  Let's consider the effect on the form of [B] for each case.
 1) [B] is the main module.  It is built around a loop which calls [A]
    when it needs data to process, and calls [C] when it has put together
    a record to pass along for disposal.  In an ACTION!-like pseudo-code
    it would look like:
    WHILE (more_input)
      transform(input, output)

 Note that [B] must 'look ahead' via the condition more_input to check
 when [A] has reached the end of its input data in order to know when to
 terminate its loop.
 2) [C] is the main module.  [B] is now an input module called by [C]
    whenever it needs another record.  In turn, [B] repeatedly calls upon
    [A] until it has assembled a complete record.  [B] then returns
    control to [C] with the record as the function return value.  Thus,
    [B] is now written as a function, such as:
    FUNCT Get_Transformed()
    RETURN (output)

 In addition, [B] must be able to detect when [A] has reached the end of
 the data and pass that information along to [C].
 3) [A] is the main module.  [B] is now an output module called by [A]
    whenever it has data ready.  [B] must maintain enough private memory
    (like the disk buffer in the DOS example above) to hold a complete
    record, along with information about the current state of that
    record.  [B] adds the newest data to the record, calls [C] for output
    if the record is complete, and then updates its private memory so
    that it knows where to start the next time it is called.  [B] then
    returns control to [A].  The pseudo-code looks like:
    PROC Put_Transformed(input)
      transform(input, output)

 In this case, [B] need not worry about looking ahead, since [A] is in
 control, and knows when the input data is exhausted.
 A similar analysis can be done for each of the other modules for the
 three cases.  The form for any module is given in the following table:
 ('Position' is relative to the main module.)
 Position          Form
 --------     --------------------------
  main         Loop structure
  input        Function that returns value
  output       Procedure with input value

 In general, any module is simplest to write as a main module.  In
 addition, an output module will need private memory (unless it is the
 last in the chain), and main and input modules will need to look ahead
 for the end of the data (unless the first in the chain).  All these are
 factors which one should weigh when deciding which module to make the
 main one.
 Splitting modules this way is an application of the principle of
 information hiding.  Each module is responsible for the detailed
 knowledge of one, and preferably just one, data stream.  Ideally,
 everyone else calls upon one module to generate data for that stream and
 upon a companion module to consume it.  Information about the structure
 of the stream is shared between these two modules but hidden from the
 rest of the universe.  That way, changes in the structure of the stream
 can safely be made by changing just the producer and consumer modules --
 nothing else should be perturbed by the change.  That's structured
 programming at its best.
 An interesting exercise is to consider the effect on such a structure
 for a text formatter when an additional input data stream is introduced.
 To be specific, if the output is paused at the end of each page awaiting
 user response before proceeding, or (in the case of a BBS program)
 checked for a user command to pause, resume, or abort the output.  How
 does that affect the choice of which module should be the main module?
 What additional data must be passed around for each case?  Does it make
 a difference if a pause is allowed at the end of each line?  Each word?
 Each byte?
 Outside-in design is sometimes referred to in the literature as the
 Jackson design method, after Michael Jackson (not the singer), who has
 written quite a bit on the subject.
 I see that I have filled my allotted space and only covered one method
 this time.  With any luck I will be able to finish up in one more
 installment.  See you, same place, next month.

 * SOFTWARE ABUSES                                         by John Navas
 Some industry figures have argued that public education and support are
 important steps in controlling software piracy.  However, as the debate
 over piracy continues, I am reminded that there is a powerful force at
 work which undoubtedly erodes sympathy with the plight of software
 publishers.  That force is public anger, anger which is fueled by the
 practices of many software publishers.  Here are some of these
 To quote from a typical software agreement:
 "User acknowledges that user accepts this package AS DELIVERED, AS-IS,
 Consider that wording carefully; it's NOT just legal jargon!  The vendor
 is clearly refusing to stand behind its product in any way.  If the
 product doesn't work, no matter how bad it is, you're out of luck, you
 can't even get your money back (unless the retailer does it
 voluntarily).  As a practical matter, how can you even find out if most
 software works without buying it and trying it?  (Any time that you hear
 a software vendor complaining about the cost of support, just take a
 look at the warranty.)  I submit that this "wash our hands of it"
 attitude inevitably erodes customer respect for the rights of the
 Is there any legitimate reason for such a TOTAL warranty disclaimer?
 Some vendors argue that it's needed to protect them from lawsuits
 demanding damages far in excess of the value of the software (or a
 vendor's ability to pay).  Such lawsuits ARE a legitimate business
 concern, but a complete warranty disclaimer is NOT the right way to
 solve the problem!  Rather the vendor should simply limit liability to
 the value of the software and disclaim any liability for consequential
 (A further source of customer anger is that this agreement is extremely
 one-sided.  Liability limits are NOT applied to the customer.  Instead,
 elsewhere in this same agreement it says: "User acknowledges that
 violations of the provisions herein may cause damage ...  WHICH MAY
 APPROPRIATE...."  [emphasis added])
 Whatever happened to "satisfaction or your money back"?  I do my best to
 avoid software distributed without a reasonable warranty.
 A less charitable reason for warranty disclaimers is poor software
 quality.  Our industry has an appalling record of releasing software
 which is poorly designed, poorly documented, and, worst of all,
 inadequately tested.  Users are expected to find the bugs the hard way.
 And when they inevitably find those bugs, the warranty makes it clear
 that they are on their own.
 Of course, ignorance of any problems might be an excuse for defective
 software, but all too often, software is distributed with KNOWN
 PROBLEMS.  At least problems are known to the vendor: rarely are known
 problems disclosed to a customer after purchase.  Even more rarely is a
 prospective purchaser warned of known problems before purchase.  What
 excuse can there possibly be for this practice?
 Protection schemes are a major source of bugs.  The worst examples are
 programs that load correctly on an old, unmodified Atari, but fail to
 load from an otherwise plug-compatible disk drive (or even a different
 model Atari disk drive), or with a different version of the operating
 system or floating point ROMs.  Protection schemes also are a major
 source of frustration.  They usually make it difficult or impossible to
 do such important things as to make legitimate backups, modify the
 software, store programs on a hard disk, use a different DOS or a
 RamDisk, or add in non-standard device handlers.
 If protection schemes did not get in the way of legitimate uses, there
 would be much less incentive to crack them.  But they do and so they
 inevitably create a negative, contentious relationship between the
 vendor and the customer.  (Remember how people overwhelmingly rejected
 seat belt interlocks on cars?)  As a result, a hacker who breaks
 protection schemes has become a kind of folk hero.  Since this kind of
 person enjoys the challenge of an elaborate protection scheme, I believe
 that such schemes are actually counterproductive.
 Software bugs are often fixed sooner or later in a "new release".  In
 the best of all possible worlds, the vendor would promptly notify
 existing customers and supply the update at little or NO cost.
 Unfortunately, this is the exception and not the rule.  All too often
 the update charge is a substantial fraction of the original cost.  (I
 think a "little" charge is something like $5.)  Worse, often the update
 is characterized as a "new product" and only a modest trade-in credit
 (if any) is allowed.  And of course it's the lack of any warranty that
 allows the vendor to get away with this practice.  This doesn't seem
 fair to MANY customers!
 Let's go back again to the typical license agreement:
 "All ...  packages are licensed for use on a SINGLE COMPUTER SYSTEM
 ONLY.  The licensee (user) has not purchased any rights to copy,
 The single system is to be designated by SERIAL NUMBER.  Now wait just a
 minute!  Even if I don't copy the program, you mean I can't LOAN the
 program to a friend who wants to try it?  You mean if I buy a second
 Atari computer I can't use the program on both machines at different
 times?  You mean if I sell my old Atari I still can't use the program on
 the new one?  And I can't even SELL it with the old system?  In my
 opinion, these provisions are simply OUTRAGEOUS!  Is it any wonder that
 reasonable restrictions get ignored along with the unreasonable ones?
 The computer industry has a long history of declining prices.  As
 technology has improved and production costs have come down through
 economies of scale, prices have followed.  Except for software.
 Consider the example of VisiCalc.  Even though it was one of the biggest
 selling (most profitable) packages of all time, VisiCorp treated us to a
 significant price INCREASE when the new company name was adopted.  Other
 successful packages have either held or increased prices; few have gone
 down.  Since the economies of scale in software are MUCH greater than
 those in hardware, this is hard for many people to understand or accept.
 On the other hand, we see software given away (bundled) with hardware,
 either as a promotion or as a standard practice.  This is in sharp
 contrast to the retail pricing of the same software and it wrongly
 communicates to customers that software doesn't really have much value
 no matter how it is priced.  The obvious conclusion is that much
 software is overpriced.  It probably is!
 Another problem is the hidden extra charge.  Only after the customer
 purchases a presumably complete package is it discovered that something
 else must be purchased.  Like an expensive "warranty registration" and/
 or a backup copy.  Like a printer driver for a word processing program.
 Like a run-time package for a compiler.  Or a substantial extra charge
 for "commercial use".  Is it any wonder that many customers feel more
 like victims?
 Many software vendors are also insensitive to the needs of multiple
 users, especially educational institutions and businesses.  If a
 business buys a program for a multi-user system, the program can be made
 available to all users at the same time for a single charge.  The cost
 per user can be quite low.  On the other hand, if the business installs
 individual workstations, the software vendor expects the business to buy
 a copy for EVERY work station.  (They don't even want them to be traded
 around.)  Some vendors offer an appropriate volume discount, but many do
 not; one suspects that greed gets in the way.  The potential problem
 becomes even worse if the workstations are networked with programs
 stored in a single file server.  If a program is downloaded to
 individual workstations on demand, should the charge be more like the
 multi-user system example or more like the individual workstations
 example?  Until there are fair and reasonable answers to these
 questions, customers will continue to be frustrated.
 Of course, not all software publishers are guilty of these abuses.  In
 fact, a few are remarkable by their enlightened approach to the market.
 And, in the long run, the competitive process will tend to weed out the
 worst ones.  Unfortunately, in the meantime we all suffer from these
 widespread vendor abuses.  Perhaps it's time for responsible software
 publishers to get together to establish a (voluntary) code of conduct
 for the industry.  Personally, I think some self-policing is LONG
 OVERDUE: if we don't do it, the government may wind up doing it for (to)
 I want to make it clear that I do NOT believe that these vendor abuses
 justify customer abuses (piracy)!   But, to the software publishers
 crying about piracy, I say "clean up your act".  Only then will you
 build the public support you need.

 * DRIVE TESTS                                        by Mark D. Elliott
 Contrary to rumors I heard on CompuServe, about the XF551 (and XF35 Kit)
 as being only half as fast as the Happy or Doubler equipped 1050, I
 decided to do a little bench testing myself, just to get an idea of just
 "how fast" these drives really are.  Since I just "happened" to have all
 the drives below, just laying around, here's what I found:
                     Test#1  Test#2    Test#3 
 Disk Drive          (Read)  (Write)  (Format)
 -----------------   ------  -------  --------
 Atari 1050 (SD)       88     100        35
 Atari 1050 (ED)       84      95        36
 Doubler 1050 (SD)     50      64        22*
 Doubler 1050 (ED)     47      58        22*
 Doubler 1050 (DD)     37      44        22*
 Happy 1050 (SD)     42(50)  83(63)   23(22*)
 Happy 1050 (ED)     39(47)  73(58)   25(22*)
 Happy 1050 (DD)     35(36)  54(43)   25(22*)
 Atari XF551 (SD)      70      75        26
 Atari XF551 (ED)      80      85        26
 Atari XF551 (DD)      45      50        50*
 Atari XF551 (DSDD)    45      50        50*
 XF35-XF551 (SD)       85      90        67
 XF35-XF551 (ED)       80      85        52
 XF35-XF551 (DD)       45      50        67*
 XF35-XF551 (DSDD)     45      50       130*
 XF35-XF551 (DSQD)     45      50       130*
 * = High Speed Skew was available and used for that set of tests.
 Density: SD = 90K, ED = 127K, DD = 180K, DSDD = 360K, and DSQD = 720K.
 Notes: All times above are given in seconds, and are accurate to within
 1 second.  All disks used were formatted in the SpartaDOS mode.  The
 Happy 1050 cannot format disks in the U.S Sector Skew (Standard format
 time given).  However, with the help of our Happy Doubler program, the
 Happy 1050 can be be programmed to fully emulate the U.S. Doubler,
 including formatting in the U.S. Skew.  The times for the Happy Doubler
 programmed 1050, are shown in parenthesis.  For the normal read/write
 tests on the Happy 1050, a disk formatted under the Happy Doubler
 program was used.  Skewing was used (where applicable), to show the
 fastest times, under these test conditions.
 Test Equipment Used: A 576K-130XE with SpartaDOS X (4.20), the Happy
 Doubler program, standard 1050, Doubler 1050, Happy 1050, XF551, and
 XF35-XF551 drives.
 Test # 1: Read a file that is 85,750 bytes, copied from the specific
 drive to a SpartaDOS X RAMdisk.
 Test # 2: Write a file that is 85,750 bytes, copied from the SpartaDOS X
 RAMdisk to the specified drive.
 Test # 3: Format a disk, in the specified density.
 Obviously, the read and write times, for the XF551 or XF35'ed drive is
 NOT half this speed of the Happy or Doubler!  In fact, they are pretty
 darn close!  (Don't want to mention any names, (like Bob Puff, or Tim
 Patrick! - <just kidding>).  I would have tested the Super Archiver as
 well this time, but one was not handy at this time. However, tests I
 performed on it earlier this year, showed it being just a tad slower
 than the U.S. Doubler.  The only "slow" time I see, is when formatting
 the 3.5" XF35 drive.  But, there is soooo much storage there (720K),
 that you will hardly be formatting disks that often, to begin with!
 Even when backing up hard drives, the amount of disks required would be
 a real time saver!  And, those 3.5" disk are soooo neat!  You Never have
 to worry about finding a disk sleeve.
 So, what do all these tests mean?  Obviously, this is by NO MEANS as
 complete as possible!  Other factors, such as; DOS used and the size of
 it's copy buffer, sector copying, copying small files, and your other
 peripherals, will have an effect on the outcomes.  However, these should
 at least give you an idea, of just how fast these drives are (especially
 when compared to a standard 1050, or even an old 810 drive, which is so
 Other things to consider - Up until this year, the price of the 5.25"
 blank disks were much cheaper to buy than the newer 3.5" disks.  Until
 this year, the 3.5" disks cost about $1 each.  Currently, you can
 usually find decent bulk 5.25" disks, for about 40 cents or less each.
 However, since more and more IBMs nowadays, are sold with the 3.5"
 drives (in addition to the Atari ST, Amiga, and Macintosh), the price
 has come down to reasonable levels.  Careful shopping can get you the
 3.5" disks, for as little as 70 cents (or less) each.  As far as using
 this guide to purchase a new drive or add-on for your system, these are
 my personal recommendations:
 1) For a casual user, a U.S. Doubler 1050 is fine.
 2) For routine disk maintenance and sector copying, 2 - U.S. Doubler
    1050s should fill the bill.
 3) For a person who wants to back-up their commercial software, a Happy
    1050 will work.  Our Happy Doubler is also highly recommended.
 4) For a person that does a lot of disk copies, a Happy 1050 (as D1:),
    and a U.S. Doubler 1050 will work great.
 5) For someone that wants the ULTIMATE in disk copying, then 3 or 4
    Happy 1050s cannot be beat!
 6) For someone that wants a low-cost add-on drive, that offers a lot of
    storage, the XF551 is a great buy!
 7) For someone that wants the ULTIMATE in storage capability per drive,
    or for backing up a hard drive, then a XF35-XF551 will do well.
 8) For someone that runs a BBS, a couple of XF35-XF551s should do just
 9) For a power-user that wants the most storage and the fastest read/
    write times, then you should consider a hard drive, as well.
 Notes: The XF551 or XF35-XF551 is not recommended to be used as D1: with
 commercial software, especially protected ones.  (because they spin at
 300 RPM compared to 288 for most other drives, among other things)
 Costs per Drive
 Atari 1050 - $179.95 (hard to find these days!)
 U.S. Doubler 1050 - $39.95 + $179.95 for the 1050 = $219.90
 Happy 1050 - $149.95 + $179.95 = $329.90 (Happy board is no longer made!)
 Atari XF551 - $199.95 (great buy!)
 XF35-XF551 - $34.95 + $100 (3.5" w/cage) + $179.95 = $334.90
 Note: The above are the suggested retail prices.  Careful shopping can
 get you an even better deal!  So, upon closer look, the XF35-XF551 is
 not really as expensive (compared to the others), as one might think!
 And, it offers the MOST storage per dollar!
 Hmmmm, I started out just testing the speeds of the drives, and here I
 am, writing a review of them! It may seem I am a little biased towards
 our products, however, I am only human! <grin> Oh-well.....
 Atari 1050 - Single or Enhanced Density.  Maximum storage = 127K.  Well-
 built and very dependable.  Uses industry standard ICs on it's circuit
 board (except for ROM), meaning replacement parts are easy to find.
 However, the drive mechanism is NOT a typical IBM type part, and can
 only be found at Atari-type stores.  The 1050 is getting harder and
 harder to find these days!
 Atari 1050 w/U.S. Doubler - Single, Enhanced, or Double Density.
 Capable of formatting disks in U.S. Sector Skew, for added speed.
 Maximum storage = 180K.  Easy to install.  Excellent capabilities, at a
 low price.
 Atari 1050 w/Happy - Single, Enhanced, or Double Density.  Capable of
 backing up commercially protected disks.  Maximum storage = 180K.  Easy
 to install.  Getting harder and harder to find!  Happy Computers stopped
 making them awhile back, and the ones they do have, were raised in
 price, back to $149.95!
 Atari XF551 - Single, Enhanced, Double Density, or Double Sided Double
 Density.  Capable of formatting disks in a special skew (similar to the
 U.S. Doubler).  Maximum storage = 360K. Very easy to service (if
 required), since it's circuit board is small an easy to follow.  Uses
 industry standard ICs (except ROM).  Also uses an industry standard
 drive mechanism (finally!).
 Atari XF551 w/XF35 Kit - Single, Enhanced, Double, Double Sided Double
 Density, or Double Sided Quad Density.  Capable of formatting disks in
 the skew also.  Maximum storage = 720K.  Uses a industry standard 3.5"
 drive mechanism.
 Copyrights: Atari, 410, XM301, 130XE, 1050, and XF551 are trademarks of
 Atari Corp. ICD, P:R Connection, U.S. Doubler, and the U.S. Sector Skew
 are trademarks of ICD Inc.  Happy is a trademark of Happy Computers.
 Super Archiver, and Bob Puff <grin>, are trademarks of Computer Software
 Services (C.S.S.). I.C., Happy Doubler, Immitator Controller, IC1050
 Controller, SIO Port Box, SIO Switch Box, and XF35 Kit are trademarks of
 Innovative Concepts.
 While I got your attention, I might as well plug some of products that
 are related to this article:
 XF35 Kit - Contains Upgrade ROM and adapting cables, for converting the
 Atari XF551 to the newer 3.5" - 720K format.  (3.5" drive and mounting
 cage optional).  Supports high speed skew, and works in 720K format
 with; MYDOS, SpartaDOS, and the SpartaDOS X cartridge.  Also works with
 all other DOSes in lesser formats.  Some soldering and desoldering
 required.  Sale Price (until 8/31/89): $29.95 (+ S&H).
 Happy Doubler - Allows you to program your Happy 1050 drives to fully
 emulate ICD's U.S. Doubler, including formatting disks in the U.S.
 sector skew (which is not normally possible!).  Also allows you to re-
 program your drive numbers up to D8:, without touching the switches in
 back!  This way, up to 8 - Happy 1050s can be used at once! (4 -
 programmed as Doublers 5-8 and another 4 - as normal).  Completely
 software based, no installation required! Price: $19.95 (+ S&H).
 IC1050 Controller - Write protect module for the Atari 1050 drive
 (including those equipped with the U.S. Doubler, Happy clone, or Super
 Archiver).  No more notching disks! Has a 3 - position switch for write
 protect mode; 1) As normal, 2) Do not write, and 3) Will write to any
 disk.  Also has a two color LED, for monitoring the write protect
 status.  Easy to install, no soldering required. Price: $29.95 (+ S&H).
 Immitator Controller - For Genuine Happy 1050 drives; All the features
 of our IC1050 Controller, plus; An extra 2 position switch, for fast/
 slow modes. Price: $39.95 (+ S&H).
 SIO Port Box - Solves the problem of "dead end" peripherals, like the;
 410 Recorder, XM301, and most printer interfaces.  Also solves weak
 signal problems, by allowing you to distribute your system better.  Easy
 to use, just plug-in!  No power required.  Price: $34.95
 SIO Switch Box - Allows you to switch between either; two computers and
 one peripheral set-up, OR one computer between two peripheral setups
 (example: two drives set to D1:).  Also solves the problem of using two
 devices that draw their power from the computer, like the; XM301, P:R
 Connection, and most printer interfaces.  Easy to use, just plug-in!  No
 power required.  price: $49.95 (+ S&H).
 For more information on the XF35 Kit, please see the article by Matthew
 Ratcliff, in the September 1989 issue of Antic. Or, you can call or
 write (we have many other products):
 Innovative Concepts (I.C.)
 31172 Shawn Drive
 Warren, MI 48093 USA
 Phone: (313) 293-0730
 CompuServe: 76004,1764

 Final Note: This article on drives first appeared in the 8-bit section
 of CompuServe.  It may be freely distributed to BBS's or other
 informational services, as long as it remains intact and unchanged.

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