Z*Net: 11-May-90 #519From: Kevin Steele (aj205@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 06/10/90-09:35:32 PM Z
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From: aj205@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Kevin Steele) Subject: Z*Net: 11-May-90 #519 Date: Sun Jun 10 21:35:32 1990 ======================================================================= ////// // // ////// ////// Z*Net Atari Online Magazine // / /// // // // --------------------------- // /// // // // ////// // MAY 11, 1990 // / // /// // // --------------------------- ////// // // /////// // Issue #519 ======================================================================= (=) 1990 by Rovac Industries, Inc. Post Office Box 59 Middlesex, New Jersey 08846 Z*Net Online BBS: (201) 968-8148 ======================================================================= Celebrating "5 Years" of Weekly Atari Online Reporting ======================================================================= TABLE OF CONTENTS -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- - EDITORS COMMENTARY/THIS WEEK 5 years and commentary.......................Ron Kovacs/John Nagy - Z*NET NEWSWIRE Expanded coverage and Hot Atari News!............................ - Z*NET DOWN-UNDER Support??..............................................Jon Clarke - NEW PRODUCTS FROM SPROKITS Part 2..............................................Press Release - ARCIT/ARCIT SHELL New products from IC................................Press Release - PD/SHAREWARE STOP .......................................................Mark Quinn - ST STACK ......................................................Alice Amore - SEX,SCANDAL,MINITEL ....................................................Marion Carter =============================== EDITORS COMMENTARY/THIS WEEK =============================== by Ron Kovacs and John Nagy 5 YEARS AND COUNTING This week marks the 5th year of publishing an Atari online magazine. It has been an interesting 5 years and may things have changed within the community and personally. Numerous Atari products which most should know about by now, Atari employees also too numerous to mention, and online magazines have come and gone. ZMagazine, our original online has stopped production, ST-ZMagazine has been renamed to Z*Net and our other magazine ST-REPORT is now under the wings of another editor. John Nagy and Alice Amore have been around for a few years covering the Atari arena, John Nagy has left Michigan and moved to California, Michigan Atari Magazine has been replaced by AIM, numerous Atari publications have ceased production including, ST-Applications, ST-Xpress, Compute, Family Computing, and Analog to name a few. I have two children who are younger then ZMag and who have grown without knowing what life would be without online magazines and Atari in it. I have changed jobs, sold my 8-bit systems, sold a car and continue performing this task of weekly and monthly publishing. I can only hope that someone has received something from all the work we have all put into producing the 300 plus issues released. The staff and I thank you for your support and look forward to celebrating our 6th anniversary next year. DOWNLOAD NUMBER FALSIFICATION - HERE AND NOW Notice: Numbers CAN lie. It isn't a pretty thing to have to bring up, but it seems that the people inside all agree - the total download numbers you see next to the online magazine on the major telecommunications services are being tinkered with. Before we go any further, let us state that this is NOT in any way intended to be an attack or an accusation of any specific person or publication. We are certain that the observations and concerns we will present here are just as aggravating and frustrating for the other parties involved. For some (and formerly to us, too), the download numbers reported on the major telecom services represent a kind of weekly popularity poll or election results, and we used to track the hourly accumulation of "counts" with eager anticipation. Lets face it, in this "business" of online magazines, the only "profit" is had by the networks that collect by the minute. Z*Net and the other magazines get no share of it, so "winning" in the weekend numbers is about as good as it gets. But almost a year ago, we noted oddities in the accumulation of download numbers on the GEnie system. It seemed that somehow, regardless of the popularity, content, or quality of the ST*ZMAG of the week, it was literally impossible to ever pass the counts of "the competition". (Since he gets mad when we use his magazine's name, so we won't refer to it directly - not that there could be any mystery!) We began to suspect that someone took it upon themselves to adjust the numbers. It turns out that it is a simple matter that any GEnie user could do at home. Since GEnie counts a download as soon as a listing or xmodem transfer begins, anyone can ask for a list, break, repeat, and knock in numbers at the rate of up to six a minute. In September '89, Z*Mag's staff decided to press the issue. In a single week's issue, we "pumped" the ST*ZMAG numbers all weekend. We also let GEnie's manager, Neil Harris, know what we had done. At the time, a "normal" week count might have ST*ZMAG at 350-400, and the competition a comfortable 60 or so ahead. The week in question, we pressed ST*ZMAG to an absurd 700 plus. And guess what? The "other" magazine stayed... 60 ahead. What followed were a set of accusations and repercussions that have not yet been settled. Rather than GEnie dealing with the obvious problem that was demonstrated by our action, ZMAG was instead "gently threatened" with removal from the GEnie system if we continued to "falsify" our download counts. Point made, we stopped. But it then looked like someone else was doing it... to both magazines. Some weeks the totals have been out of line with reasonable expectation. Sometimes, impossible leads are garnered in minutes or in spurts. And the only thing that everyone, including Z*NET, GEnie sysops, and R... (oops!) can agree on is that it is happening, and none of them know anything about who is doing it. And this might be true all around. There may even be several people out there thinking that they are "helping". They aren't. At best, the fake numbers mislead the public as to the actual popularity of a file. At worst, they are the basis of deep seated anger and frustration that erupts in needless cross-magazine bashing and competitiveness that crosses over into grudge matches and feuds. Two weeks ago, Saturday logged the performance of both magazines in virtual lock-step, counts within 5 of each other and bobbling back and forth, increasing by counts of 2 to 15 an hour. Then, one magazine logged a mid-Sunday spurt, distancing itself by 120 counts in exactly 21 minutes. The rest of Sunday was as before... 2 to 10 downloads for BOTH each hour. By the end of the week, the numbers remained about 100 apart. Last weekend, the scene was repeated, but the lump-lead of about 80 came on Saturday night in about 20 minutes. And yes, on occasion we have watched while nearly as absurd performances have been executed upon the OTHER magazine. And we truly don't know who is doing it or why. We DO have user logs showing who was present and in download position during the "lumps", which also demonstrate that numbers are being accumulated at a rate far faster than legitimately possible. How do 120 downloads divide legitimately into 26 people? Getting the log is easy enough for anyone. Just type "u" at the GEnie page prompt. You will see who is in the ST area. Do a locate ("L Username") and find what page they are at. The library is 476. Messages and the RTC are 475. While we have the logs, we won't print them here because most of the users on the lists are minding their own business and should not be singled out. GEnie Sysops are at a loss as to what, if anything, to do. Darlah Pine has said that this situation does not occur in any other RT. She has told us that it is not her concern, but that it may be resolved somewhat by the end of the year, when software changes that both magazines have lobbied for will be made. That might include a count only of COMPLETED downloads. While falsification by extra download cycles would still be possible, it would be much more time consuming, more expensive to do, and probably not as much fun. But a few recent episodes on CompuServe (where a DL has to be complete AND can't be by the uploader account) show that it even might happen to some degree under the new software. So the "popularity piracy", if you will excuse the term, may for now, continue unchecked. Part of the fun of producing a free magazine has been drained away by the bickering and accusations, and more has been lost to the frustration of not having a reliable measure of our acceptance. Fortunately, in our more lucid moments, we remind ourselves that GEnie and CIS are just the tip of both magazine's icebergs. We both have BBS networks with 500 to 1,000 systems carrying one, the other, or both mags. But we can't really catch the pulse of that network and get a feel for actual "ratings". And now we know we can't use the GEnie numbers either. What does this all mean? we're not sure. But we can ask our readers for three things: 1. Don't believe the numbers. Download on your own judgement. 2. Don't try to "help" the numbers. It's not a "900" number poll! 3. DO take note of oddities you might spot in the progress of the counts. Maybe even check to see who is online. And let us know what you find. We personally do not believe that either magazine staff (or sysop for that matter) has direct knowledge of who is doing the tweaking. This is NOT an accusation of anyone. It is an acknowledgement of SOMEONE. Thanks for your patience and cooperation. If the "helpers" were to quit their activities, it might even reduce tensions between the magazines. And we'd like that. And probably so would R... Oops! THIS WEEK This week, Z*Net is pleased to present a reprint from the brand new ST- JOURNAL magazine. SEX, MURDER, MINITEL is a feature article by ST- JOURNAL Senior Editor Marian Carter, and is a chilling forecast of what the USA might be moving towards as telecommunication becomes universal. It is about the free government supplied video terminal system in France that brings both convenience and corruption into every French home. See the ST-JOURNAL Magazine offer in our NEWSWIRE this week as well. =============================== Z*NET NEWSWIRE =============================== ATARI POSTS INCOME OF $1.5 MILLION Atari reported net income of $1.5 million or $.03 per share on sales of $85.5 million for the quarter ended Mar. 31, 1990. This compares with net income of $3.3 million or $.06 per share on sales of $88.8 million for the first quarter ended Mar. 31, 1989. The results for the quarter reflect continued revenue growth for the Atari ST and Atari PC compatible product line, and the new Lynx video game machine. The decline in revenue from last year is attributable to the impact of intense competition in the company's traditional 2600 and 7800 video game market in the United States. ATARI CORPORATION Condensed Consolidated Statements of Operations (in thousands, except per share data) Quarter ended Mar. 31, Mar. 31, 1990 1989 Net Sales $85,547 $88,776 Income (loss) from continuing operations before income tax 1,377 3,411 Provision (credit) for income taxes (171) 123 Income (loss) from cont'g operations 1,548 3,288 Discontinued operations(i) --- --- Net income (loss) $ 1,548 $ 3,288 Earnings per common and equivalent share: Continuing operations $ .03 $ .06 Net income (loss) $ .03 $ .06 Number of shares used in computation 57,987 57,781 (i) -- Represents operations of the Federated Group. In Mar. 1989, the company decided to discontinue its operation of Federated and reflected this decision in by writing off its remaining investment in Federated and providing for anticipated financial obligations and losses arising from this investment. COMPUTER SHOPPER EDITOR REFUTES RUMOR Reports and rumors of COMPUTER SHOPPER magazine's plans to drop ATARI ST coverage are false, says CS Editor Bob Lindstrom. "It's just crazy. Why would anyone start that kind of story? We have 13 editorial items in que right now for the ST." Lindstrom was obviously angered by the rumors, which may be leftovers from the 1989 decision to eliminate 8-bit Atari and other "classic computers" from the CS coverage lineup. He assured Z*Net that ST coverage is not to be curtailed in the foreseeable future. Computer Shopper is an 800 page oversize format monthly magazine that features an amazing array of computer advertising as well as excellent reporting on IBM, MAC, AMIGA, and ATARI ST products. Regular Atari writers include John Nagy, Ron Luks, D.F. Scott, and Gary Futral. NEW ATARI MAGAZINE "Enthusiast" is a soon to be released Atari magazine covering support for the ST, 8-Bit, Portfolio and Lynx computer systems. Each issue will provide support in telecommunications, desktop publishing, word processing and entertainment. Free trial subscriptions are available and one year subscriptions cost only $6.00 or .50 cents per issue. For more information contact: Enthusiast, PO Box 33411, Raleigh, NC 27636. (919) 851-5134. ATARIFEST ANNOUNCED A group of local Atari activists and user group members, under the auspices and with the support of the Boston Computer Society, have begun to organize New England Atarifest '90. The show is planned for October 27, and will be held at the Harbor Campus of the University of Massachusetts in Boston. The New England AtariFest '90 is planned to coincide with the scheduled visit by Bob Brodie, Atari's Manager of User Group Services. Bob is currently travelling around the nation visiting Atari user groups and this will be his first visit to the Boston area. This is the first time an Atari show has been planned for the Boston area since the BCS-sponsored AtariFest held in 1987. Tentative plans for New England AtariFest '90 include invitations to area Atari dealers, software dealers/distributors, vendors, user groups and other interested participants. Although details are indeterminate at present, those interested in reserving booth(s) should contact Harry Steele at the Boston Computer Society's main office as soon as possible. All correspondence should be sent to: The Boston Computer Society, New England AtariFest '90, One Center Plaza, Boston, MA 02108. STE TO BE FURTHER DELAYED The STE computer from Atari was approved by the FCC for US distribution some weeks back, but may not see availability in the US for at least another month. The substantial internal shields required to pass FCC rules are said to have been causing production delays, adding to the frustration of the Atari product-starved US dealers who see the STE in full flower on all other shores. DEALERS' RUMOR MILL Warning: Stories circulating through the Atari dealer network are sometimes more reflective of frustration than of fact. Currently, the "story" in progress says that the Atari TT 68030 computer will never see sales in the USA under the Atari nameplate, nor will it be available to current dealers. Although there is not an accompanying rumor as to what the nameplate might become, dealers we talked to cited what they saw as a trend: Portfolio- direct sales through Atari; LYNX- upscale department stores; Stacy- unavailable, but sold only by music stores; Atari Advantage (forthcoming 520ST bundle)- downscale department stores; STE- unavailable; 1040ST- obsoleted by the STE and out of stock anyway; MEGA 2- pre-obsoleted by VME-equipped MEGA STE concept, but out of stock anyway; MEGA 4- same as MEGA 2 but available for dealers. Will the TT be a "real computer store computer" and bear a non-Atari name? We don't know, but dealers aren't holding their breath. They do appear to worry that they are being phased out. ATARI ANNUAL MEETING PREVIEW Atari stockholders will gather next Tuesday, May 15, in Sunnyvale California. It will be the 1990 annual shareholders meeting, and although we don't know if there will be any surprise announcements, Atari will certainly have to do some explaining of their current situation. All shareholders are invited to the 2PM meeting in the Atari headquarters General Meeting Room, 390 Caribbean Drive. The proxy forms that were sent to all stock holders include the following agenda items: Election of the Board of Directors (a slate renewing the current members is proposed); ratification of the appointment of the independent auditors; and "other business". Information provided to shareholders included some interesting ownership and control statistics. Jack Tramiel now owns 43.8% of Atari stock, while Warner Communications holds 24.6%. The 16-member group including all directors and executives of Atari Corp hold an aggregate of 51% of all stock. CODEHEADQUARTERS OPENS The Codeheads, John Eidsvoog and Charles Johnson, have opened a multi- line BBS in Los Angeles, California. It is a general access and wide- interest system that will also serve as the main telecommunication depository of information and discussion of the many Codehead products, including Maxifile, Multidesk, Codehead Utilities, MIDIMAX, and more. Charles's line of shareware titles under the Little Green Footballs label will also be available. CODEHEADQUARTERS invites your calls at 213-461-2095, 24 hours a day. CODEHEADQUARTERS carries Z*Net Online Magazine each week. ST-JOURNAL PREMIER ISSUE OFFER The first issue of ST-JOURNAL is in distribution now, but publisher Steve Lesh reports that most are selling out as soon as they reach the stands. Z*Net pointed out to Steve that many of our readers may not even be near a dealer, but will probably want access to the new magazine. So, as a favor to Z*Net readers, Steve will first-class mail a copy of the introductory ST-JOURNAL to anyone mentioning this offer for just the cover price of $4.50. You will be assured quick and certain home delivery of the issue for exactly what you would pay in a store. This issue features 74 slick and two-color pages of news, reviews, opinion, and comparisons. Features include: > OVER THE WALL, the joys and pitfalls of working at home > SEX, MURDER, MINITEL, national free telecom in France > 1990 NAMM REPORT, by MIDI master Robert Higgins > TAMING THE CREATIVE PROCESS, hints on writing a masterpiece > FINDING THE RIGHT WORD, a nine page comprehensive cross-comparison of nine of the best known Atari word processors > INTERVIEW WITH BOB BRODIE, done by Tim Lewis > MOONLIGHTING, a review of the movie-takeoff game genre > IS THERE LIFE AFTER ATARI, by Andy Reese, former START editor ...plus continuing personal journals from John Nagy, Jim Allen, John King Tarpinian, and Norm Weinress, an 18 page news section, a reader service section, and more. To get this issue of ST-JOURNAL, see your dealer or send $4.50 to: Z*NET ST-JOURNAL OFFER, QUILL PUBLICATIONS, 113 West College Street, Covina, CA 91723. Or, subscribe for $29.95 a year. Make checks payable to QUILL PUBLICATIONS. Advertising and contributor information can be had by phone at 818-332-0372. WORDPERFECT 5.x FOR THE ST Although no formal announcements have been made by WordPerfect, it is being treated as common knowledge that the premier word processor will be upgraded "on all platforms" to the 5-point-something level this summer. A major selling point of the Amiga and Atari versions of WP included the portability of files between IBM and other platforms, but with the IBM currently at 5.1 and the Atari and Amiga at 4.1, that compatibility is gone, or at least limited. Z*Net will continue to follow the story. NOLAN BUSHNELL RESURFACES Commodore has named Nolan K. Bushnell to head a team to develop and coordinate Amiga products. As general manager of the Consumer Interactive Products, Bushnell and team will provide direction concerning these products to the consumer sales and marketing of Commodore. Bushnell's achievements include the founding of Atari, Inc. and the introduction of Pong, the first video game system. Recently, Bushnell founded Vent Inc. to develop multimedia products. NEXT OFFERS 68040 COMPUTER NeXT announced plans this week to offer a version of its computer based on the Motorola 68040 microprocessor in late 1990. NeXTs current customers will be able to purchase an upgrade to the 68040 for a retail price of $1,495. All of the current NeXT computers use the 68030, the most powerful member of the 68000 family. The 68040 is Motorola's fourth generation of the 68000 family and is binary-compatible with its predecessors, providing a smooth upgrade path for existing software. Motorola claims that the 68040 significantly outperforms all other CISC microprocessors on the market (including the Intel 80486) as well as many of the RISC offerings currently available at similar clock speeds. TWO DOZEN WARRANTS Two dozen search warrants have been served in 15 cities across the country in a probe of computer hackers who are responsible for white- collar crime wave of the 1990s, federal and Arizona authorities announced earlier this week. Agents from the U.S. Secret Service and the Arizona attorney general's office served 28 search warrants and told a news conference that 42 computer systems were seized along with thousands of computer disks that will have to be analyzed for possible criminal wrong doing. The warrants were served in San Francisco; Los Angeles; San Diego; Phoenix Ariz.; Tucson, Ariz.; Plano, Texas; Miami; Saginaw, Mich.; Chicago, Detroit, Cincinnati; Richmond, Va.; Newark; Pittsburgh and New York City. SEGA TEAMS WITH BUSTER DOUGLAS Sega has signed the first-ever licensing deal with boxing heavyweight champion James "Buster" Douglas to create a new state of the art boxing video game. This multi-million dollar agreement follows Sega's recently announced licensing agreements with Joe Montana and Michael Jackson. The agreement gives Sega exclusive worldwide rights to Douglas for all home video game systems, arcade games, portable games and computer software. LOTUS RELEASES 1-2-3 3.1 Lotus this week announced 1-2-3 Release 3.1, an enhanced version of 1-2-3 that combines the power of 1-2-3 Release 3's advanced spreadsheet technologies with the ease of use of an interactive graphical environment, improved memory management, and support for native DOS, OS/2, and the upcoming version of Windows. The product incorporates the Impress technology obtained by Lotus through the acquisition of Aleph 2, a software application development firm based in Paris. 1-2-3 Release 3.1 is scheduled to begin beta testing later this month and to ship later this year. New features include: WYSIWYG display and printing; mouse support; advanced worksheet formatting; text editing and graphic drawing tools; business graphics (.CGM) support; page layout and preview facilities; and publishing-quality output. MORRIS AGENCY DEBUTS NETWORK The William Morris Agency announced it has developed and put into operation a computer-based executive communication and information network that is a first for the entertainment industry. When fully operational by year end, the 250-computer network will offer all agents real-time access to its totally integrated database. It already is in use, with nearly 80 computers installed. William Morris selected the advanced NeXT Inc. computer as the key element for its network after an evaluation of all available standard computers against agency requirements. WORDPERFECT UPDATE WordPerfect is working on a version of WordPerfect for Microsoft's Windows 3. WordPerfect for Windows will be released as version 5.1, the latest version currently available for PC/MS-DOS. Windows documents will be compatible with the most recent DOS and OS/2 versions of WordPerfect. The feature list is expected to be nearly identical with those versions. MEDIAGENIC LOSES $19 MILLION Mediagenic, formerly Activision, is predicting a loss for its fiscal year of $19 million on sales of $65 million. The loss is attributable to "discontinuing unprofitable product lines in a stagnant US market for games software and strong competition." Mediagenic also has to pay $6.4 million in damages, as a result of a 1986 patent infringement suit brought by Magnavox Co. FUTUREBYTES Beginning May 12, both computer buffs can get a hands-on look at the newest, most innovative and useful software and hardware available for personal computer users during "Futurebytes," a new feature of CNN's weekly program FUTURE WATCH. The program airs Saturdays at 4:30 p.m. and again late Sunday evenings at 3:30 a.m., presenting viewers with the compelling issues and major challenges of the 21st century. The first feature takes a look at "Eye Relief," a word processing program for people who are visually impaired or tired of the eye strain from working behind a computer. The second, on May 19, features "PC Globe" and "PC Nation," two database programs that house a wealth of information on 177 countries, including maps of each country. "FADING" SYSTEM INTRODUCED Kick the Habit(TM), a highly successful new smoking withdrawal product, is being introduced to consumers by Vipont Pharmaceutical. The quit smoking system is based on "nicotine fading." The fading method is recognized as an effective stop-smoking technique by the U.S. Surgeon General. Kick The Habit includes a three-week supply of disposable nicotine-fading filters and psychological support aids. Now available at leading drug chain stores across the US. Its retail price is $29.95. NEC SHIFTS RESOURCES TO HOME ENTERTAINMENT In a strategic move designed to intensify efforts in the home entertainment category, NEC Corporation announced plans to shift resources in the U.S. from conventional audio/video products to the TurboGrafx-16 family of home entertainment products, professional and home information systems, and its full line of personal computer products. In the nine years since NEC entered the U.S. conventional audio/video market, the company has lead the industry by providing innovative technologies to consumers including component television receiver/monitors, Dolby Pro-Logic, and digital noise reduction. NEC successfully entered the home entertainment market last year with the introduction of the TurboGrafx-16 family of products and has continued to aggressively develop the product line. As NEC refocuses on high growth opportunities, it will continue to provide dealers and end-users with a high level of service support for all NEC audio/video products. EDITOR's NOTE: NEC has been known to be "shopping" for companies in the computer marketplace for several years. Although their acquisition of PROTON as their PC-CLONE manufacturer has resulted in great success in Japan, it has sold slowly in the USA and terribly in Europe. NEC has been also searching for a product or company to enhance their European image, and is particularly interested in a means of getting attention, respect, and market share in Germany. ========================== Z*NET DOWN-UNDER ========================== by Jon Clarke Support, What Support? =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- What a neat word "support" is. Lets think about that for a few moments shall we. "Ah a Sunday sermon" did someone say? Well not quite, but food for thought. "Support": Carry (part of) weight of, hold up, keep from falling or sinking, enable to last out, give strength to, to encourage, lend ASSISTANCE. It is all to often these days when speaking of Atari computers that we hear the old adage "NO Support", and "We want more!" More of what? What do we want when we say we want MORE support? I think the beST comment I have seen any where is a VT52 cartoon by "Tim productions" called 'Commando'. As the story goes in the cartoon. This little chap back from 'Nam' and watching TV, he spies an add for a brand of computer. To say the least it got to him. So off commando went, as a one man fighting machine. To ensure that Atari was still #1 in the market place even if he did have to blow up the other computers Head Quarters. This may sound fun, and watching it in colour is indeed fun. If you have not seen this program I suggest you look on a BBS or on-line service near you, we have it running live on our BBS and the response has been brilliant. You see this little program seems to generate alot of questions and soul searching in many users. So what can you do to support Atari computers? Let me count the ways.....  Support your local user group.  If you do not have a local user group get the support of other Atari users near by and STart one.  If there is only a handful of users near you and a user group is not your answer, try meeting in an informal basis together. There will be others with Atari computers following after you. You never know what could STart up.  Never be afraid to ask or answer questions. By asking a question about your computer you are seeking the support of another person. Treat this like the "Domino Theory", you ask and get the answer, you get asked and give an answer, and so on and so on.  If you are an ex-8 bit owner and some one with an 8 bit asks you something. Do not look down on them as 'poor cousins' and help where you can. I have found that in most user groups I have visited there seems to be this 'them and us' scenario between the ST and 8bit users. Support each other and support the 'user group' as a whole.  If you have a local BBS with an Atari section or a BBS for the Atari computers support the BBS. Put as twice as much as you take out of it, in the message bases, files sections and the likes. Remember an Atari voice on an IBM BBS can be heard.  If you are lucky enough to have a local dealership in your area, lend them your support by buying from the dealer. By telling others about the goodies they have in stock.  Get your local dealer(s) to support your user group, or BBS. This does not have to be in monetary terms, get them to demo products, sponsor a door prize or raffle and the list goes on. This gets the support working both ways.  On a 'one on one' basis help each other by swapping the latest Public Domain files, programming ideas, hints and tips about your favourite programs. There is a lot you can do.  The bottom line is you can do anything you wish to support other users. All you have to do is WANT too. On the other side of the coin are the people who 'take, take, take' and do not give. Met any of these people lately:  "All information is or should be free!" Sounds good, but how often have you had to pay for some knowledge that is free, or pay for a PD program and find out later it is free. I don't necessarily mean in the dollars sense either. How often have you had to do a 'BIG' favour to get that information. So who is supporting who here?  "I am the BOSS". Yes, well sure if I was at work and told that I could understand. But at a user group meeting, "where we elected you?" This does not go down well at all. In this area you will find all the traits of the proverbial 'Empire Builder'. So is the User Group getting his/her support or are you supporting their EGO's.  "But they said it can not be done", or " the local tech at ABCDE company said I could not do it, so why should I tell you?" or "We told them that" and all of a sudden you are them. Who is them and why do I get placed in a pigeon hole over something not relating to me? Well we all get like this when we fall out of bed on the wrong side some times. But to the person who does act like this all the time who are they supporting? They fall into a combination of all the above. Get the idea, is it specific help or support we need from each other or is it from the guys who made the machine? Support, lets all support each other. One comment thrown at me today was a bit over the top but he had just seen the "Commando" cartoon, so we can forgive him for it <grin> -Support a National Hate A_i_a Week- ================================= NEW PRODUCTS FROM SPROKITS PART 2 ================================= Sprokits Computer Products 417B Foothill Blvd., Suite 381 Glendora, CA 91740 (818) 914-2400 PRESS RELEASE Sprokits Megamater Cable Sprokits Computer Products is proud to introduce the Sprokits Megamater Cable for the Atari 520ST/520STFM/1040ST/STE computers. The Megamater Cable is priced at $19.95 and is offered in two models: Model 18 - for the Atari 520ST, and Model 8 - for the Atari 520STFM/1040ST/STE. The only difference is that the original 520ST has an eighteen-pin connector, where the 520STFM, 1040ST, and STE have an eight-pin connector. The Megamater Cable allows you to plug a Mega ST keyboard into the 520ST, 520STFM, 1040ST, and STE as a replacement for the built-in keyboard. Installation is simple, and there is no soldering required. Mega ST keyboards can be purchased from any authorized Atari dealer. Look for Sprokits Computer Products at your favorite dealer or order direct if you don't have a local dealer in your area. Sprokits Computer Products distributes its products directly to dealers. Call or write if you would like to become a Sprokits dealer. Sprokits Distributes GE-SOFT Products in the U.S Sprokits Computer Products is proud to announce that we have become the exclusive American distributors for GE-SOFT products. GE-SOFT is a West German company that specializes in mass storage products for the Atari ST. The foundation of the GE-SOFT products line is the Megadrive SCSI host adapter. The Megadrive SCSI host adapter is priced at $149.95, including the adapter card, software and manual, and a two-meter DMA cable. The Megadrive measures ten centimeters by eight centimeters and draws all of its required power from the hard drive itself so there are no external power connections on the adapter. The Megadrive features onboard DMA IN and DMA OUT connectors, and can be modified to work with the internal DMA connector on the Mega ST motherboard. Up to 8 SCSI devices can be connected to the Megadrive adapter, and the DMA cable can be up to two meters in length. If longer DMA cable lengths are required, a different chip set can support cable lengths of up to six meters, and can be provided at a nominal upgrade cost. The installation software that comes with the Megadrive adapter is very easy to use, and provides all the pertinent information on the screen at the same time. The software also reads the drive configuration from the drive itself, making it even easier to use than software that requires knowing the specific hard drive parameters and then manually typing them in. The driver software offers several unique features. The driver supports GEM partitions larger than 16 megabytes and up to 1 Gigabyte. This means that almost any hard drive can completely reside on one partition. This makes using Syquest cartridges as simple as inserting a floppy disk. The driver provides for a selectable software delay to allow the hard drive to come up to speed before the computer boots. The driver provides for virus protection on the hard drive and write protection on the hard drive. At bootup, by holding down the left and right shift keys simultaneously, the end-user may select what partition to boot from, what auto programs to execute on the selected partition, and what accessories to execute on the selected partition. The GE-SOFT hard drive software disk also includes a hard drive backup program for keeping data secure. The Megadrive Case is priced at $399.00 and features a built-in Megadrive adapter, built-power supply with connections for two drives, illuminated front power switch and hard drive access L.E.D., side and bottom ventilation, mounting holes for two drives and a direct current cooling fan, and all cabling. The Megadrive Case is the same width and depth as a Mega ST, is just tall enough for a half-height device, and stacks nicely under a monitor or above or below a Mega ST. This configuration is perfect for people who want to build their own hard drives. Completely assembled hard drives and tape drives will also be available soon. Look for Sprokits Computer Products at your favorite dealer or order direct if you don't have a local dealer in your area. Sprokits Computer Products distributes its products directly to dealers. Call or write if you would like to become a Sprokits dealer. =============================== ARCIT/ARCIT SHELL =============================== Press Release Innovative Concepts (I.C.) 31172 Shawn Drive Warren, MI 48093 USA Phone: (313) 293-0730 BBS: (313) 978-1685 GEnie: I.C. CompuServe: 76004,1764 We at I.C. are pleased to announce the release of the Commercial Version 1.20 of ARCIT & ARCIT SHELL. For those unfamiliar with the previous versions of ARCIT/ARCIT SHELL; It is a utility for handling all those compressed files you see on - BBS's, PD disks, CompuServe, GEnie, and other data base services, using the extenders "ARC", "LZH", "ZIP", and "ZOO". The corresponding compression programs are made to save upload & download time, as well as space on disks. What does ARCIT & ARCIT SHELL do for me, you may ask. IT SAVES TIME! It allows you to call up all the popular compression programs, from one, EASY-TO-USE program! The following compression/decompression programs are supported with this commercial version: ARC (5.12), ARC 5.21 (5.21 A, B, or C), ARC 6.02, Turbo ARC, DCOPY (any version), LHARC (any version), FASTLZH, ZIP, UNZIP, and ZOO (any version). What's the difference between ARCIT and ARCIT Shell, you may ask. Well, ARCIT is the Command Line type of program, whereis ARCIT SHELL is a GEM based point-and-click type of menu system, for even easier use! Also included is an ACCessory version of ARCIT SHELL, for the ultimate in convenience! The ShareWare story: ARCIT & ARCIT SHELL (ALL versions) was written by G.A. Szekely. Previous versions of these programs were released as shareware. ShareWare, in it's concept, is a neat idea, when it works. An author provides quality software to the public, free to TRY-OUT. If you like the software and continue to use it, you are supposed to send in a registration fee or "donation". Enough contributions will keep updates and new programs flowing to the community, at really great prices! (Most authors only ask for $15 or $20) However, many people take advantage of this concept, and don't send any money! Well, to make a long story short, we at I.C. contacted Mr. Szekely (turns out he was local, living just a few miles away!), and asked him if he would be interested in updating his programs, and then we would market them. Here they are! However, rather than being shareware, ARCIT & ARCIT SHELL (starting with version 1.20) is now a COMMERCIAL product, of what I'd like to term as FairWare. You get a GREAT DEAL, on a GREAT set of programs! And, rather than reading "DOC" files on a disk (now reserved for update info), you get a nice little printed manual, for easy reference! Main Features * ADD - For adding files to an existing compressed file. * EXTRACT - For extracting and decompressing files. * MOVE - Similar to ADD, except source file is deleted. * EXT & DEL - Similar to EXTRACT, except source compressed file is deleted. * UPDATE - Adds to a compressed file, if the file is new or revised. * VERBOSE - Similar to LIST, with added file and compression info. * FRESHEN - Adds newer versions of existing files to a compressed file. * LIST - Shows filenames, their original sizes, and date of compression. * DELETE - For deleting files in a compressed file. * TEST - For checking integrity of compressed file (CRC checks). * TO STD OUT - Similar to EXTRACT, except results are to screen or printer. * CONVERT - For converting from one compressed form, to another. Secondary Features (These can be combined for desired results) * HOLD SCREEN - For pausing in-between operations. * NO COMPRESION - Does not allow any compression routines on archives. * NO WARNING MSGS - Does not print warning messages <use sparingly!>. * NO COMMENTS - Suppresses comments/messages to a compressed file. * ENCRYPT PASSWORD - For encoding a password in a compressed file. Other features In addition to minor bug fixes (from the shareware versions), additional support for newer compression programs, ARCIT SHELL also has a NEW save configuration option! Allows you to save your most-used options as defaults, each time you use ARCIT SHELL! Supports: Ramdisks and Hard Drives, as well as acclerater boards, for LIGHTNING FAST compressions/ decompressions! Want more? Well, let us here from you! If there is some neat/useful feature you would like to see added to the next update, let us know! Compression Programs Supported (As mentioned earlier) ARC 5.12, ARC 5.21 (A, B, or C), Turbo ARC, DCOPY (any version), LHARC (any version), FASTLZH, ZIP, UNZIP, and ZOO (any version). And, if any other new or revised compression program comes along, we will do our best to support it as well! Suggested Retail Price: Only $14.95 SPECIAL! From now, until May 31st 1990, our SALE price is ONLY $9.95 ! SAVE $5! <That's a dollar for each exclamation point above - grin> BONUSES: Also included at no extra charge, are a collection of the compression programs (with docs), on a separate disk! And, if that were not enough, we also include other bonus programs as well! However, to find out what they are, you will have to order ARCIT & ARCIT SHELL! Ordering Information: <Address & Phone at top> $4.00 S&H for USA and APO/FPO addresses. COD is available (USA only) for $3.50 extra. Canada and MEXICO add $7 S&H. All other countries add $10 S&H. Sorry, but to keep our prices low, we do not accept charge card orders at this time. Catalog requests: We make several other products for the ST/Mega, as well as MANY products for the Atari 8-bit lines. Our Catalog is included FREE with each order. If you would like one before a purchase, just send us a S.A.S.E. (self addressed stamped envelope - business size), with sufficient postage for a 1 ounce mailing (25 cents in USA, 30 cents in Canada, etc.). OR, you can download our Catalog Files (ASCII text form), from CompuServe, GEnie, or our own BBS (phone # at top). Dealer, Distributor, and User Group Inquiries Welcome! =============================== SEX, MURDER, MINITEL =============================== by Marian Carter This feature is a reprint from the April/May ST-JOURNAL MAGAZINE, presented here by permission. THIS ARTICLE MAY NOT BE REPRINTED IN ANY OTHER PUBLICATION OR NEWSLETTER WITHOUT EXPRESS PERMISSION FROM ST- JOURNAL, 113 West College Street, Covina, CA 91723, 818-332-0372. Also see the ST-JOURNAL order information, elsewhere in this issue of Z*Net. Less than a decade ago, the phone company, France Telecom, a utility owned by the French government, launched its new phone system, "'Minitel", and gave its citizens wonderful magic gadgets - video display terminals. This was so they could summon all kinds of services from the comfort of their homes merely by pushing a button-something like commanding Aladdin's genie. The citizens loved the free terminals: They could buy new shoes for the baby, order groceries, bet the horses, book train reservations, pay bills, and do all kinds of things. As time went by and the system became more successful, they found they could use it for even more sophisticated services such as obtaining horoscope readings, baseball scores, and other, less innocent, functions. By the time 1989 had rolled around, Minitel wasn't so mini; it had a videotext (electronic phone book) numbering 25 million entries, offered more than 8,000 services, and had something like 5 million terminals scattered throughout the nation and its territories. As of this writing, the Minitel videotext system is the biggest network of telephone-linked home computers in the world. It may also be one of the world's biggest networks of pornographic services. PINK MINITEL The French, always innovative when it comes to affairs of the heart, have found numerous ways to employ Minitel in creating any number of erotic services. All this, to the chagrin of the government, which, because of the anonymity Minitel provides, has found itself sheltering a whole spectrum of per-versions called "pink services." These services, aside from more innocent diversions - video games and horoscope features - range from explicit graphics that go way beyond the fabled French post card to prostitution, and much more, including murder, and are a part of that notorious segment of Minitel called "Pink Minitel." Had the Pink Minitel bunch confined themselves to the kind of 976 party line services offered in the United States or, at least, stopped with the trollop trade, the French government very likely would have shrugged its collective shoulders and dismissed the whole thing as none of its concern. After all, considering the money these services have earned them (millions of dollars in revenue), questioning the source might be somewhat ungracious, if not, unprofitable. Unfortunately for both the government and its law abiding citizens, the Pink Minitel has also given birth to a host of criminal activities of a much darker nature; various elements of society have crawled out from under their rocks to spawn robbery and extortion rings, deal drugs, and sell the sexual favors of children. All kinds of perversions and criminal activities have flourished under Minitel's umbrella, including that of murder. IN THE HOTSEAT Meanwhile, the government is still denying responsibility by arguing that Minitel is simply a medium provided as a service to the public, that it should not be held responsible for the way the system is used or abused, nor should it be put in the position of having to dictate morality. But, shrugging its shoulders, it's not. Because of its unwitting link to these elements and the position it has taken, i.e., non-involvement, France Telecom now finds itself in the hotseat. It's going to have to defend itself against lawsuits filed by a couple of family organizations: the National Confederation of Catholic Family Associations, and the Federation of French Families. Charges include child prostitution and range from extortion to murder. Prompting the lawsuits was the discovery that adults are using the Minitel services to hire out children for sexual purposes. According to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times, a 40 year old man in the region of Bordeaux was using Minitel to lease out the 6-year-old son of his common-law wife for sexual purposes. However horrifying this may be, it's only one of the cases that have come to public attention. Because of the large and growing number of users of the service and the cloak of anonymity provided by the French government, it's anyone's guess as to how many children have been abused in a similar manner. A national scandal involving the death of a 24 year old call girl also played its part. Anne Trinh, tortured and killed, had been contacted by her sado-masochist killer through a Pink Minitel message service. The Trinh case, ironically enough, was also partly solved through the use of the Minitel electronic telephone directory. Trinh's dentist, located through the directory, was able to aid police in identifying her badly burned body. Again, as with the case of the sexually abused 6-year-old, French authorities have no way of knowing how many murders, directly or indirectly caused through misuse of Minitel, have come about. Complaints and legal problems involving Minitel and its operators are nothing new. In 1987, the government created an advisory commission to hear and respond to charges made against it. France Telecom then drew up a new contract with Minitel that requires all of the operators to identify themselves by name and address. A lawsuit against five operators employing Minitel's services was previously filed but dismissed on the basis that the legal grounds to which the complaint referred, employing literature that incited the corruption of morals, could not be invoked since it had been many years since that statute had been enforced. The government can't say that it hasn't been warned. Its prestigious budgetary agency, The Court of Accounts, has cautioned the administration against compromising itself by (in the agency's words) "furnishing the means for activities that might be declared illegal by a criminal judge, for which the Minitel network forms the base." The agency has also recommended legislation governing Minitel and advised that France Telecom cease distribution of the free terminals which, it stated, has created an "artificial demand' for Minitel's services. CHOOSE YOUR PERVERSION In spite of all of these problems, France Telecom has done very little to clean house or enforce the new regulations, All a user has to do is choose his perversion and punch a button. An operator answers the summons; no name or address is given, and no questions are asked. As of late 1989, not a single one of the controversial services offered on the Pink Minitel network had been terminated. The agency will probably begin charging for the terminals sometime this year; whether it will do much, voluntarily, in the way of regulating Minitel's pink services is another matter. When Minitel first came out, the government had expected to cover the cost incurred from distributing free terminals by the savings realized in lower printing costs. (Minitel's subscribers receive an electronic phone book in place of the regular book along with a paper directory of business listings.) It was also relying on service charges to help cover costs. MISLAID A FEW BUCKS? Apparently, however, someone didn't do his math (maybe he didn't know how to use a spreadsheet), because the gap between expectations and actuality is big enough to bury the Louvre; savings have been so far below costs that recent budget figures projected to 1995 indicate a potential deficit of about 1.3 billion dollars. Without the revenues from the Pink Minitel services, the projected deficit would have been even more horrifying. According to some critics, revenues from the sex services alone bring in around 100 million per year. Pink Minitel might be a festering thorn in the side of France Telecom, but it's an extremely profitable thorn. According to the smart money, the agency isn't going to be in any hurry to pull it out. So what are a few dead prostitutes, anyway? A central issue, however, is neither financial nor moral, but involves the problem as to whether or not the state should be involved in the business of determining a nation's morality. Mention government control and immediately that old hydra-headed monster, censorship, jumps out of the bag. Ugly pictures of bureaucratic eavesdropping and surveillance come to mind. HOW DO I LOVE THEE Complicating the matter further is the lack of a definition as to what pornography is, and isn't. There exist no precedent legal decisions for France to follow, no firm guidelines to support judicial opinion. Such opinion, once it is rendered in the cases now pending against France Telecom, will most likely constitute a landmark decision. Because of this judicial wasteland, litigation, if allowed to proceed to a legal conclusion, will probably be lengthy, extensive, and costly to all parties involved. BEAT THE BRAT Whatever the course of the actions, whether settled out of court, or by legal findings, France Telecom will almost certainly be forced to undertake a restructuring of the Minitel services. It can't very well kill off Minitel - that agency has become too dear to the hearts of the French people - but it created the monster and it's going to have to take some responsibility for making it a more socially acceptable creature. But how can that be done? IS MINITEL US? There are, however, other issues to consider; ones directly pertinent to the citizens of this country. At this writing, there is no clear indication of a criminal element being linked to the 976 services being offered here. But there has been a lot of controversy concerning those so-called party-line and sex services. And, like Minitel, phone companies in this country have been shying away from imposing any kind of regulation. Again, like Minitel, they argue that they're only the medium, not the message, and they shouldn't be put in the position of having to censor and regulate that message. Bulletin boards are another field ripe for the peddling of sex related services. In fact, a logon now to some of those boards can provide a user all kinds of titillating information. Some of it leaves little to the imagination, Like our phone companies and Minitel, most SysOps will probably have the same defense. They're not the message; they're only providing the medium for that message. But there is a primary difference between the French phone company and the American phone and bulletin board services. It's that cloak of anonymity as shield that's not nearly as available to the American user as it is to the French. Just try logging on to a bulletin board in this country without leaving some kind of a record of your communication! So what are the issues here? Simply these: Minitel's problems may become ours, and, if that happens, we're going to have to decide what to do about them. The French company's problems, as they stand now, may be representative of some of the major thorns that will be plaguing the future of our own communications systems. Minitel, minus the protective cloak, could be us a few years from now. There's already been controversy over some of those 976 services, and we may, even now, have more serious problems of which we're unaware. Eventually, we're going to have to face them-and when we do, we may also have to face the problem of agency censorship. Most people don't like that idea; it smacks of government snooping, book burning, and the heavy hand of bureaucratic control. But if lives become an issue, as they have with French Minitel, then the American people may have no other choice than to employ and accept such control. In other words, if our public sector agencies-telephone companies, bulletin boards-can't find some way of regulating themselves, it may have to be done for them, and nobody's gonna like that. - Marian Carter PLEASE NOTE that this article was reprinted in Z*Net Atari Online by permission of ST-JOURNAL Magazine and MAY NOT be reprinted elsewhere except by permission of ST-JOURNAL. ======================================================================= ======================================================================= Z*Net Online Magazine is a weekly released publication covering the Atari community. Opinions and commentary presented are those of the individual authors and do not reflect those of Rovac Industries. Z*NET and Z*NET ONLINE are copyright 1990 by Rovac Industries. Reprint permission is granted as long as Z*NET ONLINE, Issue Number and author is included at the top of the article. Reprinted articles are not to be edited without permission. ======================================================================= ======================================================================= ZNET ONLINE Atari News FIRST! Copyright (c)1990 Rovac Industries, Inc.. ======================================================================= -- Kevin Steele (aj205.Cleveland.Freenet.Edu) --
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