Z*Net: 09-Feb-91 #9105From: Bruce D. Nelson (aj434@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 02/19/91-07:43:17 PM Z
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From: aj434@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Bruce D. Nelson) Subject: Z*Net: 09-Feb-91 #9105 Date: Tue Feb 19 19:43:17 1991 ==(((((((((( == Z*NET INTERNATIONAL ATARI ONLINE MAGAZINE =========(( === ----------------------------------------- =======(( ===== February 9, 1991 Issue #91-05 =====(( ======= ----------------------------------------- ==(((((((((( == Copyright (c)1991, Rovac Industries, Inc. PUBLISHED BY ROVAC INDUSTRIES INC. Editor: Ron Kovacs Senior Editor: John Nagy Assistant Editor: Terry Schreiber, Z*Net Canada Contributing Editor: Jon Clarke, Z*Net New Zealand Contributing Editor: Mike Schuetz, Z*Net Germany Contributing Editor: Dr. Paul Keith, Z*Net USA Correspondent: Song Kim, Z*Net Japan CONTENTS - SPECIAL DOUBLE ISSUE EDITORS DESK....................................Ron Kovacs Z*NET NEWSWIRE............................................ MORE ON VIDI AND WHERE TO GET IT.................John Nagy GREG PRATT IN CONFERENCE.............................GEnie BILL REHBOCK IN CONFERENCE......................CompuServe ATARI IN BUSINESS...............................Frank Lowe APE NEWSLETTER...............................Press Release SEURAT VERSION 2.10..........................Press Release Z*NET ONLINE CONFERENCE................................... JRI BOARD PROBLEMS...................................GEnie TRACKER ST UPDATE............................Press Release COMPUSERVE GAINS PORTFOLIO SUPPORT...........Press Release ATARI ONLINE UPDATE - AROUND THE NETS...........Jon Clarke JERRY POURNELLE AND THE TT...........................GEnie ATARI USERS COUPON BOOK......................Press Release EDITORS DESK ============ by Ron Kovacs The transistion is beginning to take place and your comments are appreciated. If there is something you would like us to follow or report on, please let us know. This is also a special double issue of Z*Net Online, enjoy! I am pleased to announce that we have finally received word from Japan and Song Kim. Song will now be (hopefully) reporting on Atari happenings there. He has notified us that there will be a short delay in his first report, but is pleased to join the staff. Song commented, "Atari is alive and well in Japan and I am sure we can expand the communications and reporting and pleased that Z*Net has asked me to join. Z*Net is available here and is looked upon as the real source for Atari News." ATARI STE DEMO CONTEST UPDATE We have been asked to assist those interested in getting their demo contributions to Atari. If you cannot access the pay services like CompuServe and GEnie, Z*Net will assist by uploading your files for you. All you have to do is use FNET and the Z*Net BBS as your devices and will forward ALL contributions to Bob Brodie. Incase you are not aware of this contest, here are the details. Atari is looking for demonstration programs as possible "show off" abilities of their hardware. Atari wants demos that feature DMA sound, digitized speech, and advanced color graphics that will make people want to purchase the STe, MEGASTe and TT series of computers. Your demos might include advantages of teh STe/TT color palette, show off of abilities with Cyber Series products, Deluxe Paint and others. Demos along the lines of Cool STe and Tony Barker's demo. Self running demos that a shopper is a store might interact with. Please note that all submissions to this contest will become the property of Atari Corporation with all rights reserved. Judging will be done by Atari staff members in Sunnyvale California and all decisions will be final. One winner and two runner-ups will be selected from the files uploaded. Entries may also be mailed direct to Atari and postmarked not later then MARCH 26, 1991 and received in house by Atari by APRIL 5, 1991 to qualify. Remember that Z*Net will assist anyone with getting your entry to Atari. Here is the prize list: FIRST PRIZE: 32Mhz, TT030/8-50 1ST RUNNER UP: 16Mhz, MegaSTe/4-50 2ND RUNNER UP: Lynx and 2 Extra Games Atari Corporation Atari Demo Contest Attn: Bill Rehbock 1196 Borregas Avenue Sunnyvale, California 94086 Z*NET NEWSWIRE ============== START MAGAZINE GOES BI-MONTHLY Editor Tom Byron of START Magazine said this week that his magazine would begin a bi-monthly publishing schedule beginning immediately. Thus, the yet-to-be-released FEBRUARY issue will be the first to bear a two-month title, becoming FEBRUARY/MARCH. Tom says the reasons are corporate-wide and not directly related to START's profitability. Computer industry advertising is down dramatically overall, and cuts are being made in several of START's parent company's lines. AMIGA PLUS was discontinued altogether. However, Tom says that he expects that START will return to a monthly schedule at some later date if the industry picks up again. A sister publication to START specializing in PC computers shows signs of being a large financial success, and if so, START may be returned to monthly status soon. Tom Byron adds that subscribers will get the number of issues they paid for, and that he hopes that each issue will be larger and feature more in-depth articles. ATARI AT ALBERTA TEACHERS FEDERATION Atari Canada will be out in force this year at the Alberta Teachers Federation this year scheduled for March 14th,15th, and 16th. Murray Brown, reported to Z-Net that he has very high expectations for the educational market during the next year. Murray formally the B.C. Atari Rep was promoted recently to Western Sales Manager of Atari Canada. PUGET SOUND ATARI NEWS - Press Release With rising costs and dwindling memberships most clubs are unable to publish or maintain their own newsletter. Puget Sound Atari News is a monthly publication by a group of more than fourteen users groups. It is this joint effort that again makes the newsletter cost efficient and newsworthy. PSAN is looking for more clubs to join in this venture to keep the news flowing and the costs down. Interested parties should contact: Jim Chapman (206) 566-1703, P.O. Box 110576, Tacoma Wash., 98411-0576 NEW EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF COMPUTER SHOPPER Ziff-Davis announced this week the appointment of John Dickinson as editor-in-chief of Computer Shopper magazine. Dickinson was most recently editor of Ziff's PC/Computing. Computer Shopper is published monthly with a circulation of 325,000. Dickinson replaces Bob Lindstrom, editor of Computer Shopper since 1989. Lindstrom is returning to the west coast and will continue to write frequently for Ziff-Davis publications. NINTENDO AND SONY JOIN FORCES Nintendo announced this week that it will work with Sony to develop a compact-disc player for Nintendo's "Super Famicom" video-game software. The development of a CD Player will help Nintendo introduce a new generation of video-game computers after "Super Famicom," which was introduced last November in Japan. NEW YORKER ARRESTED A New York City Queens youth was arrested this week on charges of cracking a New York Telephone Co. computer, thereby allowing him to make unlimited free phone calls on a "900" number. The 18 year old youth allegedly used a stolen telephone company credit card to get access to the computer system and was charged with computer tampering, computer trespass, and theft of services. SIMPSONS ANIMATOR ONLINE AT GENIE On February 11th, starting at 9 pm Eastern Time, our very own Sondra Roy (S.ROY4) will be doing a live chat -- a Real Time Conference -- here on ShowBiz. To get to the RTC area, come to page 185, then choose option 2; it's best to show up a minute or so early. Sondra is both an animator on THE SIMPSONS and a character layout artist; she's well informed about the workings of the show, and will be glad to answer any questions about it. (Other than How Do I Get A Job There?) MORE ON VIDI-CHROME - and WHERE TO GET IT ========================================= by John Nagy, Contributing Editor Interest has been high this week in the new color digitizing software for the VIDI-ST unit. Our pictures, in Spectrum format, have been a big download item on the networks. A week of experience with the system has done a lot to improve the pictures. (Read the review in last week's Z*NET for more information.) First and most important, I need to admit that the "squat" pictures were my own fault, not that of the software as I indicated in my review last week. There is an internal adjustment on the back of the VIDI-ST box that adjusts width for proper aspect ratio... and I either forgot it was there or never knew it. Anyway, after a careful reading of the 44 page manual for VIDI-CHROME, I found a reference to the adjustment. Minutes later, I had round rounds and square squares... like they should be. Sorry. Next, I found that small readjustments in contrast and brightness make large changes in the quality of pictures. While most pictures are good, some extra care can make them outstanding. I have uploaded more samples for your inspection. Other Z*NET staff members have been busily comparing the ease of use and quality of color reproduction of VIDI-CHROME against COMPUTER EYES/ DIGISPEC and other software. They report that VIDI-CHROME wins hands down on repeatability and color accuracy... as well as being much faster. We will have more on that comparison in a later issue. I called Pacific Software, distributors for the VIDI products, to see what the plans might be to start importing the VIDI-RGB device. It's an electronic color splitter that replaces the use of the color filters over the lens, and should make even better pictures. Mark at Pacific tells me that they may have the first VIDI-RGB units within the next 3 weeks... I'll keep you posted. Meanwhile, we are being asked WHERE CAN I GET VIDI? Most dealers can order software through Pacific, but if you can't find one convenient to your area, try THE COMPUTER NETWORK. Z*NET has arranged a good price for our readers on both the VIDI-ST hardware and the VIDI-CHROME software. VIDI-ST retails at $199, and The Computer Network will sell it to you for $155, shipping INCLUDED (domestic USA). VIDI-CHROME, which requires Vidi-ST, is a $39.95 retail but only $35 (again, shipping included to US addresses) from The Computer Network. Visa, Mastercard, and American Express accepted, call (818) 500-3900 during West Coast business hours and speak to Mark Krynsky. Canadian and foreign orders available, call for pricing. The Computer Network is at 1605 West Glenoaks in Glendale, California, 91201. Mark assures me that he can do 5-7 day delivery. Be sure to tell him Z*NET sent you! GREG PRATT IN CONFERENCE ======================== Ctsy GEnie ST RT This is an edited version of the captured conference by Terry Schreiber. Sysop JEFF.W: Welcome everyone! Thank you for coming back! We have with us this evening, Greg Pratt, General Manager of Atari Computer Corporation. Last week's conference was complicated by a number of problems so Mr. Pratt has been kind enough to visit us tonight to set some things right. Hopefully, we will have much better luck system-wise than last week. Mr. Pratt, Do you have any opening remarks before we start taking questions? Greg Pratt: Good evening everyone. I am happy to be with you here tonight, and hope that we will have better luck this time in sharing our thoughts with one another. I'd like to start out by telling you a little about myself. I have been an associate of Jack Tramiel's for the past twelve years. During that time frame, we went through the most explosive portion of the home computer growth with the Commodore 64. I was President of the US operations for Commodore during that time frame. After Jack left Commodore, I came with him, and was part of a new start up company called Tramiel Technology. This was the beginning of the company that ultimately purchased Atari. I am one of the six people in the management team that came in when Jack purchased Atari. Since that time, I have held a number of positions with the company, the latest one being the Chief Financial Officer for Atari Corp. I'd also like to fill you in on some of the current happening here at the US subsidiary. We will use our Strategic Partner Program, where we will be working with approximately 100 key dealers located throughout the US. These dealers will be especially qualified to provide high end customers with the type of support that they require. As part of the Strategic Partner Program, we will be working with key developers in each of their areas of application. We will be using distributors as a secondary method of distributing our products. The Lynx, the Portfolio, and the STEs are all in distribution now. The only products that will be held back from distribution will be the TT. We feel this will enable us to have a greater penetration throughout the US market. We have lowered our suggested retail prices on our machines. The new prices are as follows: 1040 STE $599.95 Mega STE $1699.95 (2mb), $1849.95 (4mb) - both w/50mb HD TT030/2-50 $2399.95 TT030/4-50 $2799.95 TT030/8-80 $3799.95 Megafile 30 $599.95 Megafile 44 $899.95 w/cart. Megafile 60 $799.95 SLM605 Laser $1295.95 L.SMITH70: By this time, most of us are aware of the existence of the Lynx II. Two questions: 1) Is it in fact smaller? 2) If so, How in relation to GB? Greg Pratt: The basic unit is smaller, but the screen size remains the same and has all of the functionality of the original unit. Versus the GameBoy, the unit is approximately twice the thickness of Gameboy. W.VARGAS2: My question is: is ATARI really aware of the state of its market and the condition of the third-party companies that support the ATARI computer. For example: START magazine is going bi-monthly, Practical Solutions, Michtron and many others are gone. Companies that we all thought were here to stay...now are history. That should mean something. Greg Pratt: Atari is very aware of the condition of third party companies. We are initiating a Strategic Partner program whereby we will work very closely with important developers to help with current conditions... Our understanding is that Michtron has been sold, not gone out of business, and that Start is re-evaluating its decision to go bimonthly and that we are actively soliciting bundle proposals from developers, so that we are no longer just working with them to build customer bases, we have become a customer ourselves. Mark STACE: The possible introduction of a Mega STE with only 1 meg and no HD confirmed by Sam last week. Couple questions. #1: Retail price? #2: Will this unit require extra hardware (other than the HD itself) to add a HD to it? IE, host adapter..etc? Greg Pratt: The retail pricing is not final, and we haven't made a decision about adding the HD host adapter. Any thoughts on that? UNICORNPUB: I'd like to ask what form the advertising for Atari's computer line will take. Greg Pratt: Advertising will take the form of mainly print media, specializing in computer magazines, however with some general, broad- based coverage. We would anticipate being in Magazines like INC., Forbes, Money, Home Office, Newsweek, Omni, etc... STEVE C.MORTIMER: How are you planning to target the Mega STE considering it is $200 more than a similar but less powerful Mac Classic. Also, do "stable supply lines" mean that shortages of product will be substantially reduced? Greg Pratt: First of all, the Mega STE is a 16MHz machine, not an 8MHz like the Mac Classic. It also has color capability and is more easily expanded. Our machine with no HD will be extremely competitive to the Mac Classic, according to the feedback from the Pacific Rim show in Vancouver. Stable supply lines means shortages of product will be substantially reduced in 1991. STEVE C.MORTIMER: Still just being a Mac means a lot and it has much more software than the Atari. Anyway, will the Mega STE be the main thrust in the general market advertising to go against IBM and Apples? Greg Pratt: In my opinion, a Mac Classic without a HD is not a usable machine, while a Mega STE without a HD is very usable. Apple has a problem, in that their developers are not making software geared for the 68000 anymore. They are now writing mainly for the 68030 machines. Mike-Z*Net Germany: I have two questions : 1.) Can you give some specifics about the Unix system announced last week by Sam? 2.) It was said that Atari would announce two new biggies at CeBIT in five weeks. Will the 2nd one be the new Portfolio ? Greg Pratt: 1) The Unix is based on System V.4 using the Motif standard. We have no final information right now on price and availability, further comment will be made at CeBIT. 2) No comment... Sorry. LRYMAL: Greg, any push into the schools? Greg Pratt: We are currently in the process of recruiting an educational marketing specialist. We continue to work very closely with Computer Curriculum Corporation, a major Integrated Learning System marketeer. LRYMAL: That is great! Apple succeeded largely by investing in the future of America, its students. Can't we begin the same? MIDI music labs, DTPing, etc. Greg Pratt: In 1991, we will focus on specific market segments where we have an advantage. We will aggressively prospect in new markets when the new machines in quantity. ST.REPORT: In light of the terrific success of the Lynx and Portfolio, are similar promotional plans in the works for the computer lines? How soon for full distribution of the new computers & related goodies in the USA? The market disparately NEEDS a strong shot in the arm now. Greg Pratt: I'd refer back to my opening comments. We are overhauling the distribution network. We believe that within the next 30-60 days, we will have a very effective network of very highly motivated dealers. Our Strategic Partner program is in effect our implementation of the "shot in the arm" so desperately needed in the USA. NEVIN-S: Thank you for coming tonight, Greg. I have two questions. The first is, does Atari have any plans to go mass market with the 1040? Commodore has been very successful getting the Amiga 500 into Software, Etc and other chains which creates a nice userbase which developers can survive on. Greg Pratt: Yes, the 1040STE is our mass-market machine. We are targeting that machine to go into mass market retailers now. I agree the additional software base is important, and we have not overlooked that segment. NEVIN-S: My second question concerns public relations. Ever since Neil Harris left Atari, the ST has become the "invisible computer" as far as the US press is concerned. Jerry Pournelle of Byte magazine said on GEnie that since Neil left, he had not heard a peep from Atari. Does Atari have any plans to hire someone to be the point man for the press or do you feel this is not necessary. Greg Pratt: Jerry Pournelle received a TT030-8/50 from us about three weeks ago. If there are other key people you are aware of who should receive a machine, please advise us of them. Contact Bill Rehbock about that. As far as the "point man for the press" goes, we have Sam Tramiel :-> Sheldon S.WINICK: Bob mentioned in a message this week on GEnie that there are now 4 classifications of dealers. Can you explain what those different classifications are? Greg Pratt: In order to simplify matters, we are in the process of reducing the types of dealers to one. This will eliminate all of the confusion, paperwork, and hassle associated with prior plans. As mentioned in my opening statements, we intend to have a number of dealers with whom we will work directly. The remainder of the business will be put through distribution. Sheldon S.WINICK: Perhaps in this light then, you should expound a little on the "Strategic Partner" program that you mentioned earlier. Is this the current program of only one dealer category? And does that mean the concept of the Business Computer Center is a dead issue? Greg Pratt: The dealer program will the subject of a separate conference, where in we will discuss the various market segments. Your dealership is the kind of dealer that will qualify as a Strategic Partner. For us, you are in a strategic location, catering to the CAD and MIDI marketplace. J.ALLEN27: I have 3 questions: Will the UNIX be available for 030'd STs in general or TT only? What mass market outlets are being looked at, type, etc.? There is a rumor about the addition of an "ATspeed" like appendage to the 1040STE, can you comment at all? Greg Pratt: To be honest, I don't know about Unix on other machines than the TT. We are having discussions with consumer electronic stores, regional department stores, and computer superstores. Re: ATspeed rumor, do you think it's a good idea? M.HILL13: When the TT gets class B certification will Atari start shipping a large quantity of them to the US or will Europe be the market to be pushed? And in the Electronic Engineering times there is an article that Atari's TT will be marketed towards CAD/CAM. Is this your major focus for the TT Line? Greg Pratt: We will start shipping large quanities in the US immediately upon FCC Class B approval. The CAD/CAM market is an important market for the TT, as we are positioning it as a low-cost graphics workstation. Sheldon S.WINICK: With essentially the entire line of Atari products going into general distribution, how do you propose maintaining minimum standards for Atari dealerships or do you now feel that any retailer or mail-order discounter should be able to market Atari computer systems? BOB-BRODIE> The TT product line will not be available through distribution, and as you know, the TT is our crown jewel. On the other hand,the 1040STE is a mass market machine and we want to have it sold everywhere. The real concern, then, is how to manage the mid-range MEGA STE product. We will make sure that our Strategic Partners receive priority shipments, priority allocations, market development funds, to enhance their profit opportunity. We will be very selective in appointing distributors. We also are installing a system which will enable us to track serial numbers which will allow us to identify the path a machine took to the user. James J.VOGH: What types of VME products do you know of that work with the Mega STE and TT (TOS and UNIX) Greg Pratt: The Green Springs computer products INDUSTRY-PAK 3U cards (octal serial port, ram expansion, A/D - D/A converters) all work quite nicely, however, they are a bit pricey. There are over 3000 VME cards on the market. Contact B.REHBOCK via EMAIL for more specifics on which ones work in the TT. D.A.BRUMLEVE: Atari UK has enjoyed some success with power-packs featuring the 520ST and 520STe bundled with various commercial software offerings. Are there any plans to bring the 520STe to the US market? Are there plans to continue to sell the 520ST? It seems to me that these machines would be more appropriately mass-marketed than the 1040STe. Well, I see your point, but... Greg Pratt: We are currently discussing bringing over certain packages from the UK. With the recent price reduction on the 1040STE we feel it is a very affordable machine for the masses. The utility of a 520STE in the US market is suspect. The differential in price due to RAM is minimal, therefore, we prefer to give more. M.WEILERT2: Gregg, with the unification of Europe in '92, how do you see Atari's dominance in Germany and positive track record on the continent fueling Atari USA's growth in a business platform? Greg Pratt: While we will be the recipients of some positive press due to our German success, a major re-education program must be initiated in the US in order to create the proper environment for Atari to be accepted as a business machine. We feel that the next generation of Atari machines will once again establish us as a platform offering incredible capabilities at reasonable prices. These machines will be so powerful, so fast, with such great graphics that we will grab the attention of the computing world. These products will be available in 1992. BILL REHBOCK IN CONFERENCE ========================== Ctsy CompuServe Atari Forums, Ron Luks Pattie: Welcome to the CIS Thursday Night CO! Tonight we have Bill Rehbock, Atari's developer coordinator, with us. Bill joined the Atari staff a few months ago, and is an avid Atarian in his own right! Welcome Bill Rehbock, and thank you for joining us. Before we take questions, please tell us a bit about yourself and any opening remarks you may have. Bill@Atari: Thank you Pattie. My title is actually Director of Technical Services. I have been with Atari since September of 1990. I have been an Atari user since the 400 & 800 days... When I worked security at McCormick place in Chicago at CES when they were unveilied. I have been a registered ST developer since July of 1985 when I purchased my dev kit with 520 ST for ~$4000 :-) Jim Ness: Hi, Bill. I have seen a lot of Bob B...and even some John T. here lately... Can I dare to hope that this could mean that non GEnie services will be getting a larger share of time from you folks? Or don't you know? ga Bill@Atari: After I get fully settled in here in CA (I'm going back to Chicago next week to help my wife finish up with getting things ready to make the 'big move') I intend to keep up a little more here. Keep in mind that my primary responsibiltites are to get the Software tap open again so we have something to do with the machines we've spent our pennies on. Ron Luks: Bill: Speaking about the PORTFOLIO for a minute....There are a large number of machines in the users hands now....but they are all based upon a non-industry standard memory card.....Has ATARI made any decision whether to keep supporting.... the current format card or somehow switch over to the new industry standard? (and will this affect any software now under development) Bill@Atari: It _is_ possible to do a JEIDA-BEE CARD adapter so that one can use the JEIDA cards with the Portfolio. Atari was involved on the PCMCIA committee that came up with the JEIDA standard, and obviously we are looking at supporting the standard we were instrumental in creating. HOWEVER, there is nothing stopping a clever third party enterpreneur from beating us to the punch and building an adapter. :-) John Barnes: Bill, could you please elaborate on the role of "Technical Services and the personal experiences that brought you to your current position? Bill@Atari: The positition is actually a new one for Atari, my predacessors all worked for Atari Corporate... and my role is much, much more closely situated to the sales side of things... John Barnes: Are there plans for further enhancement of developer support? Bill@Atari: Yes, we have instituted a two-tier developer program...that will enable _anybody_ to purchase the software developer documentation with periodic updates. for $125.00. The Tier-1 developers _do_ have to have a commercial product on the market, or must submit a plan that describes what they are working on. Bob Retelle: Bill, we get a lot of questions here on CIS from people who would like to become registered developers.. the "top tier", I guess it would be under the new program... usually we just refer them to Gail Johnson to get the details, but could you briefly elaborate a little on what qualifications are necessary, and what the benefits to the developer are? Bill@Atari: The main reason for instituting the two-tier plan was simply that the commercial developers whose living depended on Atari needed _a lot_ more support than they've ever received... In the past, most devs couldn't get answers very often... Because I've been a beta-tester for so many products and an Atari user so long, I can't help take advantage of the position to get all the things I need fixed fixed and to get the software I need (and you need :-) written. However, I'm a flexible guy and realize that there are some cases of devs that don't produce commercial products, but still are invaluable to other developers...programming tools, etc) and they can be Tier-1 also. Ron Hunt: Bill> I was wondering if there were any other advantages for tier 2 developers besides the updates, access to developer areas, breaks on hardware etc. Bill@Atari: We intend to set up a Tier-2 dev area. Do you think that the Tier-2 'hobbiest' developers shouldn't support their local dealers? In the past, one of the complaints of developers was that the old program simply gave people a way to spend $250 to get $500 off on a piece of hardware. That must stop now. The documentation is pretty expensive to reproduce and Alan Pratt's debugger is a very nice piece of software. The kit by itself is _definitely_ worth $125. It also comes with the Resource construction set, Alcyon C compiler, etc. Ron Hunt: then "regular" developer areas won't be open to Tier 2 people? Bill@Atari: I need a place to communicate (with a high degree of confidentiality) with the commercial developers whose mortgage is at the mercy of the next turn Atari takes. Most querys a Tier-2 developer would have should be able to be answered E-mail, don't you think. (This is one of the most difficult issues I wrestled with during construction of the plan :-) Anthony Arnoldi: Well Bill, me and a friend were discussing Atari and how these new systems are being released by Atari. This would mean that alot of new software would have to be written over for the new systems. Will this effect the regular users of the ST of companies abandoning the ST. Because with the new hardware features in the new systems new software is needed. Will the ST lose support or will it continue for us regular users? Bill@Atari: No, by no stretch of the imagination. Easy Draw worked perfectly and took advantage of everything the new video of the TT had to offer because it was written correctly. The system software is written (and is being written) with backward compatibility in mind. One of the main things that I have to do is to keep developers on track so that when they want to do 'enhancements' that at one time was considered breaking the rules, they do it in a way that will make life more pleasureable for all of us :-) Bill Rayl: First, Bill, thanks for coming to visit us... For the past couple of years, most developers have found it increasingly difficult to keep going. What plans, if any, does Atari have to turn things around for them? Is it going to get better or still get worse? Bill@Atari: I think the best thing that Atari can do is get product back out in the market. It's one of the reasons that I am _very_ closely tied into pricing decisions, etc. I truly believe that things are headed in the right direction. The 1040STE is now available to dealers through distributors... The "It takes $20,000 to be an Atari dealer" crap is gone...and the new pricing is right. On the developer side... I need APPLICATIONS. Nothing against anyone, but we've got more darn utilities than Peter Norton would ever know what to do with ...:-) If the effort was spent in developing application software, the world would be a better place. Bill Rayl: As a followup, are there still plans to release a SoftSource CD ROM disk to dealers (and possibly user groups) filled with developer demos? If so, any specific dates? Bill@Atari: SoftSource is Dan MacNamee's puppy, and he works for corporate, SoftSource is definitely alive and well. We are waiting for the entries to come in from Austrailia... and the rework of the CDAR504 to be finished. Chinon discontinued the mechanism that we were using in the 504, but we WILL have a replacement very soon. Until then....there is no reason why developers can't take advantage of MetaDOS (the device driver for things like CDROM players, CDROM Juke Boxes, etc.) and do software for anybodies CDROM drive. SoftSource should be live withing 30 days by the way. John Barnes: Bill, I applaud your sentiment about APPLICATIONS. I would personally like to see a port of something like Kaleidagraph and a good LaserJet emulation for the Atari Laser printer. Is there any prospect that Atari could seed such things? Bill@Atari: I've got some good Presentaion Graphics in the pipeline (Atari will not be selling or marketing it, a well known developer will:-) and UltraScript is going back in full swing. TT-compatible, one version for everything, etc... FSM (FontScalingModule) GDOS is really, really great, and will solve a lot of problems for everyone. Ron Hunt: Bill> just a short followup to what I asked before.....first of all. I think the two tier developer system is very positive. Also, I didn't mean to suggest that tier 2 people receive all the perks of the top line guys, however, in light of the current Atari software market thought that perhaps some "extras" might entice developers on other systems to give the Atari a try. Bill@Atari: Extras such as? Ron Hunt: small......tiny (grin) price breaks on hardware. Bill@Atari: What developers from other platforms are we talking about? Ron Hunt: I was speaking in general. Bill@Atari: Microsoft has been _GIVEN_ lots of hardware and it's gotten us nowhere :-) Seriously, the thing that will entice COMMERCIAL developers to write for the Atari is sales figures, the 1040STE going back into wide distribution is ALREADY making that a reality... We can't afford to damage dealer sales any longer with the developer program. The amount of equipment purchased is sooooo out of line with what is being written, it's ridiculous. Any other q's? Anthony Arnoldi: Bill, I was wondering what's going on about the STE demo contest right now? Bill@Atari: I'm glad you asked that question. We have received many responses from here and on GEnie. Some have been quite good, and I can hardly wait to see what the demos that are coming look like. It seemed like a neat thing to do, I mean GIVING AWAY the most sought after computer of the decade :-) The dealers are very hungry for demo software and I saw the contest as a good way for Atari to give the STE & TT some attention, and an excuse for getting the STE DMA sound & scrolling documentation released to the public so that software can be written for the machine. :-) (in the past, as you know it has been difficult:-) It should be in the Software Library here on CIS, btw. The information from upstairs (SW Engineering) is flowing rapidly and Leonard and the rest of the guys have neat stuff in store for all of us. In closing... Keeping the computers in stock is a very high priority now, the dealer program for the first time in 4 years makes sense, dnd if I'm crazy enough to relocate from Chicago to Sunnyvale (I _really_ like pizza :-) you should all hang in there just a little longer to see how Atari performs. There are no promises this time, just action :-) The TT runs rings around a 386 with Windows-3, Microsoft is starting to get the 'emporer has no clothes' press it deserves, and Macintosh dealer margins are falling. We could suprise a few people very soon. Thank you very much. JUST SAY NO TO DOS, ATARI IN BUSINESS ===================================== A CHOICE BETWEEN IBM, MAC & ATARI by Frank R.H. Lowe Yes, we had a choice. It was not an easy decision to make because all three contesting systems gave us the same end result. We are a Canadian distributor of Commercial 2-way radio products that we market through a dealer network and directly to the Federal and Provincial Governments. Our 2-way radio supplier is an American organisation called Icom and they have been producing their price catalog using a Mac computer and DTP. They would normally send us a copy of the file and we would farm it out to a local Mac Entrepreneur who, in turn, would change all pricing to our standard mark-up in Canadian dollars as well as minor changes to certain products. For reasons unbeknown to us Icom have decided to move from the Mac Platform to the IBM machine and the corresponding DTP program. This gave us three choices. 1. Utilize our IBM 286 accounting computer (which would greatly interfere with all our invoicing procedures) as a DTP system, add windows and buy an incredibly expensive DTP Program then train an operator. 2. Convert the file to Mac and continue with our local person. 3. Buy an Atari ST system with Calamus and do it myself. WE WENT ATARI ST We purchased a 1040 ST upgraded to 2.5 Megs; a 20 Meg SH205 Atari Hard Drive, Printer, Modem and Interlink, Calamus 1.09N, Word Writer ST and a few odds and ends for fun. I did forget to mention that I am an avid ST user and love playing with Calamus in my spare time at home. I convinced all concerned that we would be more comfortable with Atari and Calamus simply because there would be no learning curve as I would do the job myself. On a cold and wet Monday morning I made my first mark on page one of the 1991 Price catalog. I designed the layout for each and every product (all were different, unfortunately, resulting in a great deal of design work). By Thursday I had completed the whole catalog except the actual prices that will be available for Jan 1, 1991 and should take no more than one days work to enter. I actually spent less than 16 hours on the job and grew to love and hate Calamus. The love grew with understanding and the hate faded as I learned the finer points of the program. THE JAM ON THE BREAD I can now add a new price page in a matter of minutes. Special offers and the introduction of a new product can be achieved "In-House" instantly. We also have a second business that distributes Marine and Avionics equipment; guess who will be doing the price catalog for them?. You may ask, where will I find the time to do all this extra work that I have created for myself. Well, our winter months are normally quiet thereby allowing me time to take care of a project or two. Apart from DTP we will be training staff to use Word Writer St and Interlink. One for Form letters and the other for our daily communications with our Federal bidding system in Ottawa (which I used to have to do at home). When IBM was introduced into our organisation no one was interested, but ten minutes after the ST was fired up I had to fight to maintain any semblance of order around my desk. Even Margaret, our dyed in the wool computer hater admits that the ST is a different kind of machine and that the funny little 'rat thing' (mouse) sure moves around quickly and the buzzing bee looks quite attractive. In one hour on a Friday morning I produced a new expense account form and a new order control form. Looks like the system is paying for itself already. ATARI IS ALIVE AND WELL IN OUR BUSINESS HOW ABOUT YOURS?? FRANK R.H. LOWE (604) 271-0361 4291 Fortune Ave. Richmond B.C. Canada V7E 5P6 APE NEWSLETTER ============== Press Release The Lynx is very hot and getting hotter thanks to new games and the forthcoming release of the low cost Lynx. But where can you turn to keep up to date on the Lynx? Certainly not any of the major video game magazines. Since the majority of their readers own the NES, Gameboy ,or Genesis, that's what they concentrate on. They may have a review or a news tidbit on the Lynx, usually a page and sometimes not even that much. You want more than a page! And that's what the APE (Atari Portable Entertainment) Newsletter provides. Pages full of the latest Lynx news and information, hidden secrets in Lynx games (many provided by those aces at Star-Linx BBS), and in depth tips for the latest Lynx releases. APE is currently published 4 times a year (maybe bi-monthly soon, depending on how things go) by me, Clinton Smith, an avid Lynx enthusiast. Would you like to check out an absolutely free copy! If you're up on the GENIE service, you can leave me a message (my E-mail address is C.SMITH89) or drop a line in the APE Newsletter topic (ST Roundtable BBS, Category 36, Topic 17). Give me your mailing address and I'll send you out an issue along with subscription info. Or you can send your mailing address to me at: APE NEWSLETTER 2104 NORTH KOSTNER CHICAGO, IL 60639 If you're already convinced and want to subscribe, send your check or money order for $6 to the previously mentioned address. Be sure to include your mailing address (I can't send it to you if I don't know where you are). Along with the 4 subscription issues, you will also be getting 1 issue free (just as if you had requested a free issue). Please make checks and money orders payable to Clinton Smith (my bank gives me funny looks when I try to deposit ones made out to APE). Don't be a banana! Subscribe to APE (ok, ok, I'll work on it) SEURAT VERSION 2.10 =================== Press Release The Best Bargain in Atari ST Graphics Programs just keeps on getting better! SEURAT Version 2.10 adds more Image Power to what was already a great deal!! * Create and Edit Degas, MacPaint and GEM IMG files (any size!) Largest workspace onto IMG's of ANY program! (reqs. mono mon.) Now, you can use the full resources of SEURAT to create and edit images for your Desktop Publishing, using powerful raster tools and working in a familiar Paint Program environment! Enjoy the best of both worlds! * EIGHT Picture or .IMG Buffers on a 1-Meg ST! Instead of having to work on only a single .IMG file in a single image window, with SEURAT you can edit and exchange between up to eight .IMG files at the same time! * FASTEST Multi-Ratio Zoom (2X to 8X) there is for the ST! SEURAT V2.0's zoom is 121 times faster than Vers. 1.0 and TWICE as fast as Degas! * SEURAT PRINTS TOO! With built-in drivers for Epson-comp. 9-pin and HP DeskJet (and LaserJet & all HP-compatibles). DeskJet driver outputs at 75/150/300 dots-per-inch in BOTH Portrait and Landscape orientation, and it's positionable on the page to the dot! But that's not all. * NEW! GDOS OUTPUT with the PRINTIMG.PRG (it's included with SEURAT)! Unlike other GDOS outprint programs, PRINTIMG.PRG offers virtually the same capabilities (for a single image) as desktop publishing programs like PAGESTREAM and CALAMUS. File images can be scaled to ANY size, from full-page printing down to "thumbnail-sketch" size. Images can be re-proportioned, stretched or squished to fit any rectangular shape. The printed image can be placed anywhere on the page you want it, and PRINTIMG.PRG will generate either portrait or landscape oriented output on any printer for which a GDOS driver exists, whether the printer has a landscape mode or not! (GDOS program not supplied with SEURAT.) * Besides loading/saving Compressed & Uncompressed Degas, MacPaint, and GEM .IMG files; IFF (Degas) and GFA blocks; fill, brush, dither, and palette files, SEURAT will load lo-rez COLOR pictures directly into the MONO program and convert them to GEM .IMG files! * PRINT CONVERSIONS! Convert low- and medium- resolution color pictures (.P?1 and .P?2 files) into .IMG files with stretched-histogram dithers for superbly detailed printing of color images! SEURAT re-scales color pix to correct for monitor aspect ratio, automatically reproducing the true proportion of color images. No more squashed conversions! * TEXT Options: System, Degas and GDOS fonts on-line (does NOT require GDOS.PRG). You can Scale, Style, Color and Rotate Text! * Automatic Smooth-Curve SPLINE DRAWING Tool lets your ST draw for you, and flexible, repositionable controlled BEZIER CURVES produce a virtually infinite variety of natural-looking curved lines. Quick and easy-to-use, they really speed up your drawing! * SlowMouse! Variable-Speed mouse makes Free-hand Drawing Easier! * ANTI-ALIAS (and it's goof-proof)! Powerful Palette Editor with video- like color controls! Modify whole palettes with a single mouse stroke! * SO MANY FEATURES! 11 block shapers & twisters to modify image blocks (now full-screen, too); 92 color & mono fill patterns; 42 brushes including user-defined and multi-colored; 4 graphic write modes & 21 block & mask write modes; circle, ellipse & filled disc in free, repeat & concentric modes; round- & square-cornered rectangles & solids; rays; airbrush; clear-circle & clear-box; vertical, horizontal & free lines; polylines & polygons in line-edge or spline-curve; area & seed fill; user-set clipping ("invisible windows"); color remap; mirror; screen shift, flip, invert & rotate; fill editor; brush editor; line editor; gobs of great disk functions like Format and a Super File Directory; and a hundred or so other features & tools that there's no room to mention here... Whew! * INDISPENSIBLE for GEM .IMG graphics for your Desktop Publishing! More graphic tools and operations for creating and editing .IMG files than ANY OTHER PROGRAM (no matter how much it costs)! * DON'T BE MISLED by SEURAT's low price! VERSION 2.10 is a POWER TOOL, with fast compact code, that out-performs the "big-name" programs! You can still buy SEURAT VERSION 2.10 at its pre-mass-distribution price of ONLY $35.00! Two-disk set, with 38,000-word User's Manual on-disk: COLOR AND MONO Programs! You Get BOTH! Plus 195 utility and application files (fonts, fills, etc.)! (Requires 1-Meg ST with doublesided drive) MasterCard/VISA accepted. THE ONLY WAY to get a copy of SEURAT is send your check, money order, or credit card info to: SKWare One / P. O. Box 277 / Bunker Hill, Illinois 62014 USA SHIPPING: SKWare One pays postage on all USA AND CANADIAN orders. For overseas orders (not on North American continent), include an additional $3.00 for surface mail or an additional $4.00 for air mail delivery. (All prices are in US dollars.) DeskJet DOC Printer Disk Also Available: You can print out a self- collating two-sided copy of the 38,000-word User's Manual on the Hewlett-Packard DeskJet in draft mode with this print package. (You just print the LEFT.DOC, put the stack of paper back in without re-arranging it, then print the RIGHT.DOC, and end up with a collated copy of the User's Manual printed on front and back sides, with staggered margins, ready for binding. If you want a copy of this print package, just ask for the "DeskJet DOC Printer Disk" and include an additional $3.00 ($4.00 overseas air mail). UPGRADE POLICY: All Upgrades Are Free For Six Months From Date of Purchase! (We don't try to hit you up for another $5.00 every six weeks or so...) UPGRADE HOTLINE: Okay, all you SEURAT users know the Vers. 2.06 up-grade promised for December, 1990, didn't arrive. (Shame on you for all those negative thoughts! You were sure this upgrade policy was too good to be true, weren't you?) The upgrade to Version 2.10 HAS BEEN SHIPPED to all SEURAT owners, whether they were previously upgraded or not. Any SEURAT owner who has not received his/her upgrade disk by February 15, 1991 (this includes all SEURAT owners in Canada, Germany, Sweden, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Costa Rica), or any owner who has changed his/ her address since purchasing SEURAT or the last upgrade mailing, should update their current address with SKWare One / P. O. Box 277 / Bunker Hill, Illinois 62014 USA. Z*NET ONLINE CONFERENCE ======================= Captured from the Z*Net Online BBS * BYTE MAGAZINE - READER RESPONSE * MIDI NEWS * ATARI CANADA UPDATE Conf : General - Local Conference Msg# : 189 Lines: Extended Read: 13 Sent : Feb 3, 1991 at 2:47 AM To : RON KOVACS From : MIKE MEZAROS Subj : AUA Article in New Z*Net Ron, Regarding the AUA article in the new Z*Net issue, I think that the author has made a serious mistake while querying his CD-ROM. I'm not sure which CD-ROM search engine he's using, AND I admit that I am not familiar with many, but I think it is painfully obvious that he is mistaken... Why? Because Byte is correct. Byte covers Atari *at least* every other month. As the form letter stated, Atari isn't covered with big, splashy cover stories, or anything like that. But essentially, they were correct. I read Byte every month. Jerry Pournelle's Computing at Chaos Manor column is one of my favorite columns. Mr. Pournelle owns and writes about IBM, Mac, and Atari machines. In the past year, Mr. Pournelle has covered the state of Atari in the Soviet Union (where he visited during the summer, I believe), the Spectre-GCR, several Atari ST shareware products, and a few other things that do not immediately come to mind. He consistently mentions his Atari ST and the products he uses with it. Sure, there aren't any full-page photos or cover shots. But Byte WAS correct: They DO cover Atari, at least to some limited extent. And the word Atari has appeared in the magazine numerous times in 1990. Also, the author should have realized that something was wrong when he saw that IBM came up in his search only "several" times. IBM should have appeared HUNDREDS of times, considering that the words "IBM Compatible" appear in almost every article! And they certainly appear in the dozens of reviews of actual IBM products (such as the PS/2 Model 70-486, Models 90 and 95XP, the newest IBM laserprinter, etc.) that have appeared in the pages of Byte during 1990. IBM references should have been overwhelming. I'm not saying his cause is wrong (trying to get Byte to cover the ST more aggresively), but his comments about Byte -- and his disclaiming of Byte's comments in their reply -- are unfounded. Thanks, ///Mike P.S.: Just in case anyone reading this wants some proof, here's a typical example... "Finally, there's a game, Perestroika, for the Atari ST." A description follows. Page 73, Byte August 1990. Jerry Pournelle's Column *********************************************************************** *********************************************************************** Conf : Z*Net Online Conference Msg# : 1793 Lines: 8 Read: 7 Sent : Feb 5, 1991 at 4:47 PM To : All From : DAVID PISCHKE at LEFTOVER HIPPIES 1:250:744 Subj : Major MIDI developers to drop Atari support! Hey everyone out there ... I have the latest rumour ... this is unconfirmed but comes from a reliable source! Apparently, in the next few weeks a couple of major MIDI developers are going to announce that they will no longer support the ST and will discontinue all development of their ST lines of products! Just pay attention and take NOTE and it won't take a MASTER to TRACK down the truth! Gaius @ Fnet 523 -- Toronto! *********************************************************************** *********************************************************************** Conf : Z*Net Online Conference Msg# : 1786 Lines: Extended Read: 9 Sent : Feb 4, 1991 at 6:00 PM To : ALL From : SHERVIN SHAHREBANI at LEFTOVER HIPPIES 1:250:744 Subj : Atari Canada on the Move! I called Atari Canada today, again! This time I asked all the right questions. I spoke with Mark Cambell and asked him why the layoffs. He said the layoffs were in the Accounting Department and that will be handled by Atari U.S. from now on. This streamlines operations (for some reason or the other). I asked him when they will advertise for the STE/TT and he said that the TT is a more specialized machine and will not be as heavily advertised as the STE line. He said that as they recieve more shipments they will gradually begin advertising. He also mentioned that a company in Markham is now responsible for translating all the shnazzy software from Germany and France and introducing it into the North American market. Atari Canada also has a consultant from Germany here to help them with their marketing (Atari Germany that is). He mentioned some of the VME cards coming out for the TT/Mega STE from Germany and also said that Atari is planning to introduce 8 or so new machines in the next 2 years! One will be a stripped down version of the TT with optional hard disk and 2 megs, 16 Mhz 68030. They will be introducing 68040 and RISC based computers. I was quite surprised at all this. He took my address down and I will soon be recieving info on the TT and Mega STE. I also told him about the letter I wrote to Greg Pratt two months ago and I got no reply. He suggested I mail the letter again and he said he would make sure it got to him. I think if anyone else here has any concerns, this is the time to address them. All this made me realize that Atari is not going down by a long shot. They are just reorganizing. They may not be doing as well as some other computer companies but they are taking almost all the right steps. They are going to be introducing new computers and software from Europe. This should not be taken lightly. JRI BOARD HAS POSSIBLE PROBLEMS =============================== Ctsy GEnie ST RT February 5, 1990 TO: Potential Buyers of the JRI ST4096C 4096-color Board After reading all the glowing comments about the JRI ST4096C 4096-color board in Category 4, Topic 6 of the BBS, I felt compelled to give the following account of my experiences with this device. I hope this will help people to make an informed decision on whether to upgrade their ST or buy a new STe or TT. In March of 1990, I bought a "pre-owned" ST4096C for $50. After several hours of work (because my shifter chip was soldered in!), I had the board installed and working in my Mega ST4. The JRI demonstration program (DEMO4.PRG) worked fine, and showed a nice vertically scrolling rainbow display. The 4096-color versions of NeoChrome (NEO4K05.PRG) and the control panel (CONGO.ACC) supplied with the ST4096C also worked well. But, the main reason I bought this product was to give my ST a true 16-grayscale capability for use with digitized images. When I began to convert 8-grayscale images to 16, I noticed that small (~1-pixel) artifacts appeared between adjacent gray levels. Further investigation showed that these defects only appeared between horizontal grayscale transitions (within one scan line.) The vertical transitions (between scan lines) were smooth. To study this effect, I drew several concentric ellipses using adjacent colors from a 16-grayscale palette. This image produced several unsightly "islands" and other artifacts when viewed with my Mega4/ST4096C combo, but it displayed perfectly on a dealer's STe. (GEnie users can see this effect by downloading file number 18148, "JRI_TEST.LZH"). When I first discovered the ST4096C display problem, I thought there must be something wrong with my computer or my installation. I tried 4 different shifter chips and also put the unit in my club's 1040, but the problem remained. Therefore, I concluded that the fault must lie in the ST4096C itself. On June 5, 1990, I sent a letter to John Russell Innovations (JRI) which described the problems mentioned above. About a week later, John Russell called me (at his own expense) to discuss the matter. He said that my unit was not defective, because all of his boards displayed similar behavior. He said that he would have had to include much more expensive hardware in the ST4096C to prevent this. He also said that he had a software patch to correct the problem, but he had decided not to release it because of conflicts with the monochrome display. I thanked Mr. Russell for supporting a second-hand owner of one of his products (not every developer would do as much) and I offered to pay him for the software patch and take my chances with the monochrome display. However, I never got a reply to this offer. CONCLUSION: Until and unless the software patch is actually released (and proven to work), I believe that the ST4096C is to the STe that it gives you an idea of what to expect, but it isn't as good as the real thing. Of course, I only have "first-hand" knowledge (so to speak) of 3 of these 4 items (can you guess which?). If you are willing to accept some display glitches, the JRI board may be worth the money. However, if your shifter is soldered, I hardly think it's worth the trouble. Sincerely, Ray Perry (GEnie address R.PERRY6) Director - Atari Special Interest Group McDonnell Douglas Recreational Computer Club St. Louis, Missouri ANNOUNCING TRACKER/ST 2.5! ========================== Press Release Step Ahead Software is pleased to announce TRACKER/ST v2.5, the latest update to our popular mailing list/mail merge/person tracking software. Version 2.5 of Tracker/ST incorporates many of the suggestions we've received from our registered owners. Here is a summary of some of the more important improvements we've made to our program: * Tracker/ST now supports WordFlair II! - The biggest change to Tracker/ ST is that our program now fully supports WordFlair II, the exciting new document processor from Goldleaf Publishing. Now you can use Tracker/ST to print mailing labels and keep track of people for business or home needs, and then export your names from Tracker for use with WordFlair II's powerful merging capabilities (which allow you to incorporate various fonts, images, and dynamic graphic and calculated regions). The combination of Tracker/ST and WordFlair II just can't be beat! Of course, Tracker still has its own powerful mail merge system for those times when you don't need the features of WordFlair II. WordFlair II owners: look for a SPECIAL OFFER coupon for Tracker/ST in your WordFlair II package. * Tracker/ST now supports the Atari TT in all resolutions! - We've just finished new screens for the Atari TT's new higher resolution color screens (640 x 480 in 16 colors). The new screens are beautiful! Tracker/ST runs perfectly on the TT and at a much faster clip. * Tracker/ST's convenient Quick Letter has been improved! - By order of Bill Rehbock at Atari, it is now possible to add a template while in Tracker's Quick Letter area, and not just from the Power Station. Also, the Quick Letter now makes use of the offsets you've selected for a mail merge. This makes using Quick Letters with printed letterhead even faster than it was in the past. * Tracker/ST now incorporates the Country field in mail merges and Quick Letters! - Bowing to the will of our international users, Tracker/ST's automatic Merge and Quick Letter functions now include the Country field. * CodeKey files included free of charge! - We've worked overtime to create a bunch of nifty CodeKey files which make Tracker/ST even faster to use. Now, by purchasing CodeKeys from CodeHead Software and using our TRACKER.KEY files, you can string together a series of Tracker actions so they'll run with a single keypress! No, we don't get a commission on CodeKey sales, but we do think it's a nifty program and one which makes Tracker/ST even more wonderful to use. CodeKey files are included for every single resolution (Monochrome, ST Medium Res color, Moniterm and TT Hi Res, and TT Medium Res), and separate files are included for floppy and hard drive users. In addition to these changes numerous tweaking has been done to our code to make Tracker/ST sleeker and more solid than ever before. The update is completely finished and we will begin shipping v2.5 on Wednesday, February 13th, 1991. Best of all, Tracker/ST's suggested retail price remains only $79.95. UPGRADE POLICY: After 2 free upgrades, we will now begin charging a very small processing fee for new versions of Tracker/ST. Registered users may upgrade by sending a check for $7.50 along with their name, address and daytime phone number (phone number required), along with their Tracker/ ST serial number, to: Step Ahead Software Tracker/ST Upgrade 496-A Hudson Street, Suite F39 New York City, NY 10014 If you wish to upgrade and have not sent in your registration card, include your card with your upgrade order. Those who have purchased Tracker/ST in the past 30 days will be upgraded free of charge. Please enclose a dated sales receipt, filled in registration card, and your phone number with your free upgrade request. Tracker/ST is the leading mailing list/mail merge/person tracking software for the Atari ST and TT series of computers. Ideal for home and business use, the program features an unlimited number names in its mailing lists, unlimited notes for each person in those lists (notes are not limited to a few words), label printing to all dot matrix, daisy wheel and laser printers, a built in mail merge system, a unique "almost form letter" Quick Letter function and much much more. For a demo disk or for answers to any questions about Tracker/ST please contact us at 212-627-5830. Nevin Shalit President, Step Ahead Software, Inc. February 7th, 1991 COMPUSERVE GAINS ATARI PORTFOLIO SUPPORT ======================================== Press Release In recognition of the wide ranging support for the ATARI PORTFOLIO computer system, ATARI Corporation has designated the PORTFOLIO FORUM on the CompuServe Information Service as an OFFICIAL SUPPORT SITE for PORTFOLIO owners. The forum staff, managed by head sysop Ron Luks, provides online support via an interactive message board, conferencing facility, and extensive data libraries with over 200 public domain and shareware programs and files for the PORTFOLIO computer. In addition, representatives of ATARI Corporation can be contacted onine tghrought the forum facilities and CompuServe's Electronic mail network. Topics covered in the forum include, COMMUNICATIONS, DATABASE APPLICATIONS, TEXT PROCESSING, ENTERTAINMENT, PROGRAMMING, and much more. The data libraries include programs for TELECOMMUNICATIONS, updates to the ROM-based operating system, UTILITIES, programming examples and tutorials, and a wide variety of games including chess and casino games. A special area has been set up for new hardware and software press releases and online representatives of most of the popular PORTFOLIO developers are available to answer questions on their products. The PORTFOLIO Forum is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a week at regular CompuServve connect time charges. There is no surcharge for downloading diles or daytime access. Connect time charges for 2400 baud are the same as 1200 baud. As a special to Portfolio users and potential buyers, CompuServe is providing a free Introductory Membership to the CompuServe Information Service to investigate the PORTFOLIO forum. To obtain a free CompuServe Introductory Membership with an initial $15.00 usage credit, call (800) 848-8199 and ask for Representative 198. The OFFICIAL 8-BIT/ST/MEGA/TT support area remains at The GENIE Information Service where you can talk live with Atari Corporation representatives and find direct support with Atari Developers. ATARI ONLINE UPDATE =================== Around the Nets... Compiled by Jon Clarke, Contributing Editor * Please note these message are posted as is and spelling is _not_ corrected. FORMATTING IBM/ST FLOPPY DISKS ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Tony Reynolds) Organization: University of Mississippi, Dept. of Computer Science Okay, as long as the PC has a 1.44MB disk (haven't tried with 720K), and the disk has had an IBM boot sector written to it, you can read/write twister formatted disks! You can add a line like: drivparm=/d:1 /n:10 /t:82 This makes a new device at boot time, drive x: (x is one letter greater than the last drive that was installed), assumes your 1.44 is drive B: to start with, and sets the new drive up as 10 sec/track and 82 tracks/ disk. When Mess-Dos comes up, it will say something like: INSTALLED NEW DEVICE FOR DRIVE D: (I just tried it with MS-DOS 3.3 and it said "Unrecognized command in CONFIG.SYS," but I know it works with DOS 4.01) Then you can type "dir d:" and the computer will say "Put disk for drive D: in drive B:" You slip it the disk, and bingo, r/w twister disks, no problems. Note that I make no guarantees that this'll work; I had no problems, and used it AT MY OWN RISK. Please consult your Mess-Doss manual for information on DRIVPARM. I have not tried it with the disks produced by FORMAT11, as my system cannot reliably r/w these disks. Sorry. Also note that there is NO E in DRIVPARM! It stung me three times! PORTFOLIO TRANSFERS ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ From: email@example.com (Wolfram Roesler) larserio@IFI.UIO.NO (LarsErikOsterud) writes: >Does any one have a program to tranfer files to/from Portfolio using the parallell port on an Atari ST ??? If NOT - Does any one have enough info on the Portfolio paralell transfer protocol and on the St centronics interface to make such a program? There is a program for parallel communication available in Germany, but I don't know the name or where to obtain it. Sorry, but keep looking. There is however a program for serial communication using xmodem. It is very small (about 2K) but useful program. It can transfer text (thus turning the portfolio into a serial terminal) and binary files. All you need is a terminal program on the ST (Uniterm works) and a serial cable. The program comes from Holland and is part of a book called "Das Portfolio Praxisbuch" which is available in Germany. DO YOU KNOW ALL THE GEM DESKTOP KEY STROKES? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ From: wright@hpcc01.HP.COM (Jeff Wright) Here is a summary of information I got from a question a few months ago (sorry to take awhile; didn't get the feeling anybody was too interested). Basically the question was "what key sequences does GEM respond to?": "Classic" GEM keys: alt-help screen dump esc re-read disk for active window mouse left + shift select additional files TOS 1.4 GEM keys: mouse left + ctrl move instead of copy ctrl-alt-del warm reboot ctrl-alt-shift-del cold reboot dbl-click+shift on back window run program with cwd == top window (no tos1.4: cwd == back window) click+shift toggle selection Show file keys: space page forward return line forward q exit show THE ATARI CD-ROM ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ed Krimen) - I think I soon will need a CD-ROM. - So please everybody having knowledge and/or experience about - CD-ROMs + ST, please answer. - What drives available? Where? Prices? Compatibility? I've seen the Atari CD-ROM. It's strange seeing the Atari logo on such an exotic device. Computer Rock in San Francisco advertises them in ST Informer, but they haven't had them or have been able to get them for months and months. I overheard the tech saying to a customer on the phone that Atari is redesigning it or something. (How's that for a big fat rumor? :^) I'm sure you can get them over in Europe better than we can here, but then you probably knew that already. I guess you don't need to know about prices (around $600) and compatibility (I think High Sierra and ISO-something-something -- the major ones) since they're difficult to get. MEGASTE REVIEW ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ From: gaudreau@juggler.East.Sun.COM (Joe Gaudreau - Sun BOS Software) Since there has been a lot of interest lately in the Mega/Ste line, I figure it's time to add my two cents worth. Being a developer, I really wanted one of these machines, so I went for it and the machine arrived on the 22nd of January. A day to remember fondly :-) Gregory Carter has recently given a good overview of the hardware and hopefully, he'll tear his machine apart and let us know more about it. Since software is my main bent, I'll describe the new desktop features of TOS 2.05. General details of the machine include a "wedding cake" box (it's not a pizza-box). The case is the standard Atari grey which matches the SF314 floppy drive and the new SC1435 stereo color monitor. The CPU box is really quite attractive and I'm very pleased with the way it turned out. In all ways that I'm familiar with, the Mega/Ste looks just like a TT. The only details that may differ are: Color of letters on the keyboard is dark Navy blue (TT is reported to have green keys) and the mouse ball is grey (TT has white?). Other details: The keyboard is excellent. It is somewhat like the new keyboards found on Sun Microsystem's Sparcs. Pretty nifty since I use a Sparcstation daily. The CPU box has a nice fan which isn't too loud and hopefully will keep things cool. The top of the case is WELL ventilated as is the HD section. I should point out that the smaller part of the CPU box contains the HD, which is supposed to be a Seagate 157N, 48.6 MBs. No known specs on ms. Atari has recently upgraded the HDX software to version 402. While the Mega/Ste HD is shipped formatted, partitioned and ready to go, mine didn't come with the HDX utilities (you still need to install the HD), so I had a few days wait to get them from Atari. The tech support crew were very helpful in this regard. The VME port is vacant on my machine although the slot cover has been used to add the serial 2 connector. Something would have to be done if ever a card is added... The serial 2 and the LAN port are one and the same, even though there are two different connectors, I'm told that they cannot be used simultaneously. Hmmmm. Right now, the desktop. Looking from left to right, the pull-downs are as follows: Desk, File, View, Options. There is also the new control panel under Desk and the help key menu. Desk - Desktop Info... ...various .acc as usual Control-Panel File - Open [O] Show Information... [S] Search... [L] Searches thru all selected devices for filename, wild cards work. --- Delete Item [!] --- Create Folder [F] Close Directory [B] Close Top Window [C] Bottom to Top [W] Select All Items [E] Set File Mask [X] --- Format Floppy Disk View - Show as Icons  * Show as Text  * --- Sort by Name Sort by Date Sort by Size Sort by Type No Sort --- Size to Fit --- Set Color & Style Options - Install Icon Select your choice of icon for device, file, etc. Install Application... Install an application to desktop (&/or func key) path names, auto boot, tos/ttp/gem/prg, args, doc type, default dir, parameter (full or local file name), etc. Install Devices Remove Desktop Icon [R] Includes anything you can drag onto desk top. It is quite cute to have emacs on the desktop, drag a file on the icon (which looks like a pencil & paper - thanx to TOS 2.05) and edit it. Emacs knows to install application default dir. --- Set Preferences... Confirmation for delete, copy, overwrite, and of course, low, medium, and high. Read .INF File... Allows for multiple .INFs for different rezs, work styles, and projects, etc... Desktop Configuration [M] Global settings for default dir and parameter (these are overriden by install application), Function key assignments (view or edit from install application, or whatever you like), Define single keystrokes for anything that is on menus... Change, clear, etc., show free mem. --- Save Desktop [V] Print Screen --- Blitter * ==> Keys that I assigned (ie not default). The [HELP] key gives you two boxes of text: [ALT]+Open Folder - Open new folder into a new window [CTRL][?] - Replace top window with drive ? [ALT][?] - Open drive ? into a new window arrows - Scroll window contents [ESC] - Update top window [HELP] - Show help menu [UNDO] - Stop any file operation [CTRL][ALT][RSHIFT][DEL] - Cold boot [CTRL][ALT][RSHIFT] - Warm boot [CTRL]+Drag Files - Move files [CTRL][ALT]+Drag Files - Move and rename files [ALT]+Drag Files - Copy and rename files [ALT][HELP] - Screen dump to printer [ALT][1..6] - Change resolution [No the Mega/STe doesn't have 6 rezzes normal 3, extra 3 for TT :-(] [CR] - Deselect all items [>] - Print top window contents The Control-Panel is pretty slick. It has the following features: o Shows time and Date o Options/About o Options/Setup - 12/24 hour time display, # cpx slots, cpx dir o Color Setup - RGB sliders define what color you have for this rez on the desktop (2/4/16 for high/medium/low). o Configure CPXs - Text/Icon color, RAM resident or not. o General Setup - Status TOS version 2.05, TOS date 12/05/1990, free ram// Set response rate, Set repeat rate, Set mouse click speed, blitter on or off, CPU speed (8, 16, 16 w/cache). o Mouse accelerator & screen saver/black-out (with modem activity setting). o Modem stuff - the usual. o Sound - L/R balance, bass, treble, volume o Window Colors - 16 color windows in low - anything about window can be set, only 4 colors in medium, but it looks cool, change the color and pattern for almost everything. No more icky Atari green. There might be a way to set individual colors for each icon on the screen but I haven't figured out how (yet). Anybody? Disk operations seem a lot faster than what I was used to with TOS 1.4. The disk copy operation (I tried it once, okay? :-) reads the whole disk into memory before writing it out. File copies are read file by file but the whole file is read. With this "new" TOS/desktop, I have to wonder why I'd want to run a replacement desktop (that's not to say that they aren't handy for some). TOS now functions in a way that is useful, which is a treat to say the least. F10 has Gulam-*07 hooked into it for any shell things I want to do, F9 is hooked into Emacs 3.10s (which is also pretty cute) and also tied in as a desktop icon. I suppose I'll put Turbo-C onto F8. With the new key mappings and such, you don't have to touch the mouse if you don't want to. Being used to Emacs, using keyboard accelerators is quite natural and desired. Nice move by the Atari programming crew. Now only if I could run Star Raiders... Oh yes, as far as problems with TOS incompatibility, I have run across a few programs that don't play nice, but overall I'm not worried by it. HOW DO ATARI GAMES RANK? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ From: email@example.com (Eric Ng) For information on the list format and on submitting your ratings, see the end of this posting and the article entitled "ABOUT THE VIDEO GAMES RATINGS REPORT" in the newsgroup rec.games.video. ATARI GAME RATINGS REPORT ATARI LYNX New Distribution Votes Rank Title ..00111120 41 7.0 Blue Lightning 0.01113100 54 6.3 California Games ..00001221 44 8.0 Chip's Challenge .00112110. 36 5.7 Electrocop 0.0002121. 37 6.4 Gates Of Zendocon 0.0123200. 39 5.7 Gauntlet III ......0134 30 9.1 Klax ..1..1.6.. 6 6.8 Ms. Pac-Man ..1.4.13.. 9 6.0 Paperboy ......2422 5 8.4 Rampage ....0.0520 12 8.1 Roadblasters ..1.2212.1 9 6.4 Robosquash ......55.. 2 7.5 Rygar ...0013110 27 7.1 Slime World ....002121 17 8.0 Xenophobe ......1152 8 8.9 Zarlor Mercenary ATARI ST New Distribution Votes Rank Title .........* 1 10.0 A Day At The Races .3.....3.3 3 6.7 Airball ..22.5.... 4 4.8 Arctic Fox ....3.33.. 3 6.7 Arkanoid ....*..... 1 5.0 Artura ........*. 1 9.0 Baal ....5..5.. 2 6.5 Barbarian .......*.. 1 8.0 Bard's Tale I .....*.... 2 6.0 Batman * .......*.. 1 8.0 Block-Out ........*. 1 9.0 Blockbuster .....5...5 2 8.0 Blood Money .......*.. 1 8.0 Bloodwych *......... 1 1.0 Breakers ........*. 1 9.0 Cadaver .......135 6 9.3 Chaos Strikes Back .....*.... 1 6.0 Demon's Winter ......*... 1 7.0 Dogs Of War .......135 13 9.4 Dungeon Master .....*.... 4 6.0 Empire Strikes Back, The .....1142. 7 7.9 Falcon ......4.6. 5 8.2 Flight Simulator * .......*.. 1 8.0 Full Metal Planet .........* 1 10.0 Gold Of The Aztecs ..2..422.. 5 6.0 Goldrunner ........55 2 9.5 Gunship ......*... 1 7.0 Heroes Of The Lance .....*.... 1 6.0 Jinxter ...1..313. 6 7.3 Joust .....55... 2 6.5 Leisure Suit Larry I .....5.5.. 2 7.0 Leisure Suit Larry II .......*.. 1 8.0 Lombard Rally .....5.5.. 2 7.0 Mean 18 ........*. 1 9.0 Microleague Baseball ......3..6 3 9.0 Midimaze .....55... 2 6.5 Mission Impossible II ..*....... 1 3.0 Moebius .*........ 1 2.0 Nine Princes In Amber .......*.. 1 8.0 Obliterator ..22.2.2.. 4 5.2 Pawn, The ........*. 1 9.0 Phantasie III .......521 7 8.6 Populous ........*. 1 9.0 Pro Tennis Tour ........*. 1 9.0 Questron II .....244.. 5 7.2 R-Type ....424... 5 6.0 Return Of The Jedi, The .....*.... 1 6.0 Rings Of Zilfin .11..131.. 6 5.5 Roadwar 2000 ......*... 1 7.0 Rocket Ranger ....2242.. 5 6.6 Rogue ...5..5... 2 5.5 Rolling Thunder ....*..... 1 5.0 Shadow Of The Beast .....2242. 5 7.6 Shanghai .....2222. 4 7.5 Silent Service ......2.52 4 8.8 Simcity ..*....... 1 3.0 Sorcerer Lord .....63... 3 6.3 Space Harrier II .......*.. 2 8.0 Space Quest III * .......*.. 1 8.0 Speedball II .....55... 2 6.5 Star Wars ...1.51.1. 7 6.3 Starglider .......*.. 1 8.0 Starglider II .....5.5.. 2 7.0 Sundog .......*.. 1 8.0 T.V. Sports Football .*........ 1 2.0 Terrorpods ...*...... 1 4.0 Tetris .....513.. 6 6.8 Time Bandit .........* 1 10.0 Ultima IV .....55... 2 6.5 Wargame Construction Set .......*.. 2 8.0 Wayne Gretzky Hockey ...3...3.3 3 7.3 Xenon .......55. 2 8.5 Xenon 2 .5..11.1.. 6 4.2 Xevious In this list, games have been rated on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the best and 1 being the worst. For each game, the total number of votes, the average rating, and the vote distribution are shown. New games are indicated by a "*" before their entry. If a "(C)" appears after the title it means that the game is a CD-ROM or disc system title. If a "(J)" appears after the title it means that the game is currently only available in Japan. The general guideline for ratings is: 8-10 worth buying at full price 6-7 worth buying at a discount, or if you're particularly interested in this kind of game 3-5 only worth renting 2 only worth playing for free, and only for a few minutes 1 worthless The vote distribution uses a single character to represent the percentage of votes for each ranking. The following character codes can appear: "." no votes cast "3" 30-39% of the votes "7" 70-79% of the votes "0" 1-9% of the votes "4" 40-49% of the votes "8" 80-89% of the votes "1" 10-19% of the votes "5" 50-59% of the votes "9" 90-99% of the votes "2" 20-29% of the votes "6" 60-69% of the votes "*" 100% of the votes Please consult the article entitled "ABOUT THE VIDEO GAME RATINGS REPORT" in the newsgroup rec.games.video for more details, including information on how to vote. Questions, comments, problems, and errors should be directed to the list maintainer at either of the below addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org ..!uunet!irss.njit.edu!video-request JERRY POURNELLE AND THE TT ========================== Ctsy GEnie JERRY RT Category 4, Topic 15 Message 1 Tue Feb 05, 1991 JERRYP There will be a short writeup of the Atari TT030 in the May BYTE. My first impressions of this machine are very favorable. It's fast and smooth. What I don't have is a lot of Atari software. Somehow nearly my entire collection has vanished: business software and games alike. Alas, even Sundog and Dungeon Master seem to have found their way into the Chaos. (Please do not infer that I consider the Atari tt030 primarily a games machine. It isn't, and I don't.) Anyway, I will be colleting Atari software for the next few months; let me know if you've got something you think I should look at. ATARI USERS COUPON BOOK ======================= Press Release A Valuable New Resource for ST/MEGA Enthusiasts Spring of 1991 will bring a new source of purchasing power to ST users in the form of the ATARI USERS COUPON BOOK brought to ST/MEGA users by Computer Publications, Unltd. and the ST Connection. The ATARI USERS COUPON BOOK will include valuable coupons with dollar discounts and special offers on a variety of ST software and hardware from respected companies and dealers across North America. Over 8000 copies of the coupon book will be distributed (primarily to Atari ST User Groups) beginning in May. Copies will also be made available to other ST enthusiasts as quantities allow. (More information on how you can make sure that you receive a copy of this valuable booklet will be provided as required...) ST/MEGA PRODUCT DEALERS: The cost of including a coupon in the ATARI USERS COUPON BOOK is quite reasonable. Promotional packets were mailed out to Atari-related companies and dealers in January. If you did not receive a packet, please contact us for more information. We think that the ATARI USERS COUPON BOOK will be a "shot-in-the-arm" for what many feel is a very lethargic marketplace. Contact us soon. Coupon deadline is March 1, 1991!!! ST USER GROUPS: Atari user groups will be the main recipients of the coupon book. Forms were recently mailed out to user groups and also appear in the February issue of the ST Connection. To ensure that your group receives copies of the ATARI USERS COUPON BOOK, please supply the required information as soon as possible. CONTACT INFORMATION: COMPUTER PUBLICATIONS, UNLTD. (CPU) P.O. Box 2224, Arvada, CO 80001 Phone: 303/423-6805 GEnie: S.SWANSON1 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Z*NET International Atari Online Magazine is a weekly publication covering the Atari and related computer community. Material contained in this edition may be reprinted without permission except where noted, unedited and containing the issue number, name and author included at the top of each article reprinted. Opinions presented are those of the individual author and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the staff of Z*Net Online. This publication is not affiliated with Atari Corporation. Z*Net, Z*Net Atari Online, Z*Net Newswire, and Z*Net News Service are copyright (c)1991, Rovac Industries Incorporated, Post Office Box 59, Middlesex, New Jersey 08846-0059. Voice (908) 968-2024, BBS (908) 968-8148 at 1200/2400 Baud 24 hours a day. We can be reached on Compuserve at PPN 71777,2140 and on GEnie at address: Z-Net. FNET NODE 593 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Z*Net International Atari Online Magazine Copyright (c)1991, Rovac Industries, Inc.. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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