Atari Explorer Online: 15-May-92 #9202From: Bruce D. Nelson (aj434@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 05/17/92-11:28:39 AM Z
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From: aj434@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Bruce D. Nelson) Subject: Atari Explorer Online: 15-May-92 #9202 Date: Sun May 17 11:28:39 1992 ** ** ** Atari Explorer Online Magazine ** ** ** ** ** ** ------------------------------ ** ** ** ** ** ** --------------------------- ** ** ** ** ** ** ----------------------- ** ** ** ** ** ** ------------------- ** ** ** *** ** *** --------------- *** ** *** *** ** *** ----------- *** ** *** May 15, 1992 - Issue #92-02 The Official Atari Online Journal (c)1992, Atari Corporation | | | Atari Explorer Online Staff | | | Publisher..................................Bob Brodie Editor In Chief............................Ron Kovacs Columnist...................................Ed Krimen Columnist..............................Ron Berinstein | | | CONTENTS | | | |||> The Editors Desk.........................Ron Kovacs |||> The Z*Net Newswire................................. Latest Atari News and Community Update |||> Atari User Group Show Update....................... Connecticut AtariFest 1992 |||> Perusing GEnie............................Ed Krimen Messages updating Gemulator, Atari Laser printers, ISAC and AlbertTT and more.... |||> Migraph OCR......................John L. McLaughlin Review of a New Migraph product. |||> Consider The Alternatives............Sheldon Winick Reprint from GEnie Lamp. Interesting comments from the Atari dealer point of view. |||> What's New In PD For The Portfolio.......Ron Kovacs New files available from the Official Atari Support site for the Portfolio. |||> Building A Scan-Board..................Marvin Purdy An article for hand-scanner owners! |||> ST Format News Pages............................... Latest Atari happenings from the UK. |||> New ST Online Magazine............................. STe News |||> 8-Bit Update....................................... Z*Magazine Issue #207, Contents. |||> AEO Featured File...................John Jainschigg View Degas Pictures. (File Attached to Issue) | | | THE PUBLISHERS WORKSTATION | | | By Bob Brodie | | | --------------------------------------------------------------- Welcome to the second edition of Atari Explorer Online. Thanks for making the first issue of our new magazine such a roaring success. The inaugural edition of Atari Explorer Online achieved record downloads on GEnie. Last time I checked, it was way past the 1200 download marker! Thanks for your backing of our efforts. This edition marks a significant change from our initial plans. Atari has long planned to bring Atari Explorer back to Sunnyvale from the east coast. We've always believed that having the staff in house would be more cost effective, as well as make access to the latest technology easier for our journalists. The time for this move has come. With the transition to the West Coast comes other changes as well. Publisher John Jainschigg has decided to stay in New York, and will put out one more issue of the print version of Atari Explorer. We had hoped to be able to convince John that California is a great place to be, but he loves New York. John, I know that everyone that has ever read one of "your" issues of Atari Explorer will miss you. You have set new standards of excellence in the past few issues of Atari Explorer. I have admired your work, appreciated you as a colleague, and enjoyed our friendship in all of the activities that we've shared. We have to find a new editor, but no one will replace you my friend. Who else would have the audacity to start a topic for the magazine on GEnie entitled "Subscribe to Atari Explorer - The best magazine in the Universe"! Or to respond to some of the online barbs by saying that you would rather discuss the latest PRINCE video? Your glib sense of humor, and intellectual prowess will be a tough void for anyone to fill. Thanks for everything, you will be missed. Lest all of our readers worry, my taking over as publisher of Atari Explorer Online is only a temporary situation. We are actively recruiting for someone to follow in the substantial footsteps of John Jainschigg. This challenge is sure to attract a lot of interested people. If you're one of them, let me know! I've merely jumped in here as a stop-gap measure until the new leadership is in place here in Sunnyvale. Our goals haven't changed, and they won't. We still want Atari Explorer Online to be the best way to get information off of our Atari's, and onto to yours. Thanks to the considerable talents of Ron Kovacs, that will be an easier task than if I was having to do it myself. Thanks for reading Atari Explorer Online. Here's how you contact me to convey your impressions of our latest offerings: GEnie: BOB-BRODIE Delphi: BOBBRO FNET: Bob Brodie at Node #706 BBS: 510-373-6792 CIS: 70007,3240 Voice: 408-745-2052 FAX: 408-745-2088 | | | THE EDITORS DESK | | | By Ron Kovacs | | | --------------------------------------------------------------- Although I have worked with John Jainschigg a short time, I enjoyed it and found the news a surprise, but I am sure John made the best decision. His talents will be missed. While we continue to construct this magazine, please keep the comments coming as we feel they are important and let us know where to tweak future releases. All Atari Explorer Online issues may be carried in User Group libraries and articles reprinted in User Group Newsletters. The only reprint not permitted are in commercial publications or where it is stated at the top of articles. Again, thanks for the encouraging response to Issue #1. See you in 2 weeks! | | | Z*NET NEWSWIRE | | | From the Z*Net News Service | | | --------------------------------------------------------------- AUA RETURNS Eric Lambeth, former Librarian and columnist for the AUA has taken over the Atari Users Association. In a press release earlier this week, Eric detailed the problems that have been occuring within the organization. Quoting the release, Eric stated: "Last summer, the AUA undertook a very strong anti-piracy campaign, which included, among other things, the forwarding of certain information about certain pirate BBS's/individuals to the authorities. Although it may be a coincidence, it appears that someone did not like this campaign very much. The next month, A total phone bill of $1864 was received due to phone "phreaking." Of this amount, we settled for aproximately half of it with the PUC and Ma Bell. The AUA budget, including all membership dues, was paid out to cover the phreaked phone charges. On March 10 of this year, I returned from a 9-month stay in Germany. Shortly thereafter, Derek Signorini told me the basics of what had happened. I offered to take up the operation of the AUA, as I still have faith in the Atari community and would like to try to breathe some life back into the organization." CODEHEAD ANNOUNCES CALLIGRAPHER CodeHead Technologies has announced exclusive representation in the US and Canada of Calligrapher, developed in Great Britain by Working Title. Calligrapher runs under all versions of TOS in all resolutions except Low. Standard GEM interface includes a complete desktop, with moveable icons for your documents, trashcan, clipboard, etc. Editable dictionary and spell checker, tables and formulae, mail merge with personalizing and conditional selectivity, hyphenation with configurable rules, headers, footers, and footnotes. Calligrapher supports a number of printers, including 9-pin, 24- pin, NEC P6, HP Laserjet+, Laserjet II, Epson GQ3500, and Atari SLM804/605. Calligrapher will be available on May 15th. For more information contact CodeHead Technologies, PO Box 74090, Los Angeles, CA 90004, (213) 386-5735. NEW SILHOUETTE VERSION RELEASED Maxwell C.P.U. has announced Version 1.37 of the bit-image, vector graphics drawing program Silhouette. For registered users of versions 1.25 or higher, this release is offered as an update - free of charge. Enhancements to Version 1.37 include: Advanced bezier curve handling, shipment of Silhouette with FONT-GDOS, direct Silhouette print function and convertibility of FSM outline fonts to vector objects. Silhouette will soon offer the option of interfacing with the ScanLite desk accessory by the WizWorks. This will allow owners of handscanners and ScanLite to scan images directly into Silhouette. For more information contact Maxwell C.P.U., PO BOX 576, Louisville, CO 80027-9998, (303) 666-7754. GEMULATOR SEPTEMBER RELEASE EXPECTED Gemulator, the Atari ST emulator for DOS based PC clones, is expected for a release in September at the Glendale Atarifest. Darek Mihocka announced that production of plug-in boards for beta testing has begun and may be pre-ordered for $199 (U.S. funds) until August 31, 1992, after which time the regular price will be $399. The price includes the Gemulator plug-in board and emulation software. TOS ROMs may also be ordered. For more information, you can contact BAS between 8 pm and 11 pm Pacific time Monday through Thursday nights. Branch Always Software, 14150 N.E. 20th St., Suite 302, Bellevue, WA 98007, Phone/ FAX: 206-885-5893. NEW PROSPECTIVE UPI OWNER Pat Robertson, prospective new owner of UPI intends to maintain the wire service as an independent operation free from his personal views. Robertson entered a high bid of $6 million for UPI at a bankruptcy auction this Tuesday and has until June 30 to finalize the purchase of the 84-year-old news agency. | | | ATARI USER GROUP SHOW UPDATE | | | Location: Windsor Locks, Connecticut | | | --------------------------------------------------------------- Local Atari computer user groups are joining forces to stage a two-day computer show later this year in Hartford, Conn. An umbrella organization representing Atari users in Fairfield County and the Danbury and New Haven regions has announced dates and site for Connecticut AtariFest '92. The event is scheduled for August 15 and 16, 1992 at the Sheraton Hotel at Bradley International Airport, Windsor Locks, Conn. The show is being sponsored by the ACT Atari Group [Affiliated Connecticut (CT) Groups], an umbrella organization comprised of these Atari user groups: F.A.C.E. (Fairfield County) S.T.A.R.R. (New Haven area) D-BUG (Danbury area) A.U.G.O.G.H (Greater Hartford) To date, the following exhibitors have agreed to participate in Connecticut AtariFest '92: Atari Computer Corporation, Atari Explorer magazine, the Boston Computer Society, The Computer Zone, GEnie, Gribnif Software, GFA Basic, Joppa Software Development, Sam Ash Music Inc., Step Ahead Software, Soft-Logik Publishing, Tidbit Software, Toad Computers, and ICD Inc. The show will showcase the latest Atari products and services, and will include seminars on desktop publishing and video production, hands-on instruction from manufacturers and software developers, MIDI demonstrations, giveaways, 8 bit support, a petting zoo, a swap room and much more. The ACT Group has just announced that there will be an exciting dinner dance Saturday evening featuring luminaries from the Atari market. The core band will be composed of Atari Explorer's John Jainschigg and Peter Donoso, as well as Sam Ash's Fadi Hayek. Interested musicians are invited to sit in. At the cocktail hour, during the buffet, and between the live sets, pre-recorded Atari produced synthesized music will be played for your listening pleasure. With a spacious dance floor, cash bar and plenty of room for schmoozing, this should be a wonderful and fun evening. With some of the best names, latest products, and top vendors in the Atari market, we think you'll find the CT Fest to be both thrilling and educational. With a major emphasis on the musical side of the ST/TT (via major vendors like Sam Ash and Manny's Music). We'll have non- stop performances by live and studio musicians both days. Of course, other aspects like DTP, graphics, video, telecomm, etc will be equally represented. Raffles, door prizes, swap rooms, hands on DTP classes, desktop video classes and more! Smack dab between New York and Boston, this may be the highlight of the summer! The following are some of the special interest areas we will be highlighting: MIDI - In addition to the Sat. night entertainment, we will have continuous musical activities, involving both performance and classes. Representatives from Sam Ash Music Stores and Manny's Music will be on hand, as will several important software vendors. We will have a synthesizer set up for all who wish to bring in any pre-recorded samples on floppy disk or casssette tape. DTP - Representatives will be on hand to demonstrate Pagestream, Calamus and Publisher 2 in both a booth setting as well as in a classroom environment. Come see some of these exciting new products! Port - The Atari Portfolio will be spotlighted as an exciting link to the desktop environment. Its size, portability, convienience and extensive capabilities will be demonstrated throughout the show. Telecommunications, word processing, P(ersonal) I(nformation M(anagement), file transfer and many other features will be shown. Atari Petting Zoo - Representatives from dozens of User's groups will be showing a wide variety of their created applications, ranging from business to entertainment. Several workstations will be in continuous operation, allowing attendees to work with the systems directly. Come see what your fellow Atarians have created! 8-Bit- We have a strong 8-Bit presence here in New England, and we will be making every effort to support our friends. With the noted 8-bit hardware vendor ICD Inc. present, we expect there will be some wheeling and dealing going on. Finally, we will be having tons of prize giveaways, and a very exciting raffle for the grand prize! For more information about attending or exhibiting at Connecticut AtariFest '92, contact Brian Gockley, chairman, 18 Elmwood Avenue, Bridgeport, CT 06605 [Phone (203) 332-1721], or Doug Finch @ (203) 637-1034. | | | PERUSING GENIE | | | Compiled by Ed Krimen | | | --------------------------------------------------------------- The following messages have not been edited and were captured from the GEnie Telecommunications Service. Each topic contains the category where the message was taken and the topic. ALBERTTT & ISAC UPDATE -=> In the "Hardware" category (4) -=> from the "Dover Research Corp. (AlberTT & ISAC)" topic (28) Message 125 Sun May 10, 1992 J.CRASWELL at 14:57 EDT Great news for those who want the STANDARD in high res for the MegaST. Thru a new series of wheeling and dealing we are offering the ISAC card for the new price of $299.95!! Yeow! Yippie, watch out asimo!! This is the right one baby! Compatability like nothing else. Not to mention that optional FPU socket for DynaCad. Non-interlaced output for those who don't like to "twitch" while they type! Requires a 48Khz Monitor to run. Works with MegaST 2 or 4. Full 90 warranty (of course) Act (or Ack if your Bill the cat) now as this is a limited offer. When these are gone its a new story baby! Operators are standing by .... Well at least one is <grin> ======================================= ATARI LASER PRINTERS - UPDATE -=> In the "Atari Corporation Online" category (14) -=> from the "Atari Laser Printers (SLM804 & SLM605)" topic (11) Message 123 Mon May 11, 1992 S.SANDERS2 [SDS] at 05:05 EDT V.CROSS1: The SLM605/804 is a 'dumb' printer. That means that it uses no onboard memory. It requires a controller to work and it utililizes the ram onboard the computer meaning you need an extra meg reserved in RAM to print. The controller itself is not 'dumb' but can't handle font requests, etc... Essentially, all page construction is handled in the computers' memory before anything is printed and then it's dumped as one big page image at one time. It has a standard 300x300 DPI and is comparable in print quality to a standard Laserjet. -Scott @ SDS Member IAAD ---------- Message 124 Mon May 11, 1992 ISD [Nathan] at 15:57 EDT Further, programs such as Calamus have beautiful printer drivers that when combined with the DMA port on the SLM605, result in the fastest output ever seen, far and away faster than a laserjet for example. If you do require PostScript, there are a few software-based PS emulators currently available such as Ultrascript. 6 pages per minute but I repeat, that first page gets their real fast. :-) The DMA port has a transfer rate of something slightly under 10 MIPs. I hope this helps. Nathan @ ISD (Also proud member of the IAAD) :-) ---------- Message 125 Mon May 11, 1992 D.FLORY [ALERTsys*Cop] at 21:06 EDT Nathan is right, the main reason I bought an Atari laser, besides the price is that I was spoiled by using an SLM804 with Calamus 1.09 for a long time. Then I had to sit their listening to my whiskers grow for about a year waiting for my Mac/HP laser to print straight text, you definitely age waiting for a complex grapics page. Instantly is when straight text comes out of the SLM and seldom _ever_ more than 45secs for graphics. Its really a spoiler. ======================================= GEMULATOR UPDATE -=> In the "Emulation for the ST" category (19) -=> from the "GEMULATOR (Atari ST emulator)" topic (15) Message 105 Tue Apr 28, 1992 CHERRY.FONTS [Todd] at 01:42 EDT Darek brought his 486 laptop and Gemulator over to my house a couple nights back and let me try anything I wanted with it. I ran (and actually really utilized) the following software with NO crashes or bugginess noticed at all: Avant Vector (Codehead's Autotracing program) Warp-9 Genus (The Calamus font editor I use to creat Cherry Fonts) Calamus 1.09N Cardfile (Gribnif's desk-acc phone/address database) Proflight (HiSoft's flight Simulator) * It ran fine in both low and high resolutions! STeno (Gribnif's desk-acc text editor) Searcher (my own Aladdin datafile string-search desk-acc/prg written in GFA Basic.) Then I ran out of time. Bummer, I had lots more to try. The only 'problem' I found was when I ran a demo version of MegaType's Font Designer. Darek quickly found Gemulator's problem (with his debugger) and fixed it on the spot. The Font Designer demo now runs like a charm. The speed wasn't overly amazing; it ran slower than a stock 8 mhz ST on his 486 for calculation intensive software (Avant Vector), and video/ mouse interaction was a bit sluggish which Darek explained as an artifact of using a cheap 8-bit VGA card (which he had installed in his laptop.) He assured me that speeding these items up to their maximum before the product is released was priority-one for him now. Thanks for the boo, Darek! ..Todd ======================================= MULTITOS -=> In the "Atari Corporation Online" category (14) -=> from the "MultiTOS" topic (34) Message 199 Sat May 09, 1992 G.T.GRAY [Gary Gray] at 14:49 EDT It has been reported several times in the European press and elsewhere that Sack the German developers of AT-Speed were working with Atari to develop DOS emulations as original equipment. PC emulation on the ST family machines is quite well understood. Unfortunately there have been 3 main problems. (1) No proper installation. A processor direct slot on new machines, would allow a reliable end user installation. (2) Limited video capability. Rumours of Falcon's 16 bit color with a pallette of 262,000 colors is the same as many modern SVGA cards. This would allow SuperVga DOS emulation. I also read reports of a blitter on these machines, a good fast blitter aid screen speed could also help an emulator run VGA well. (3) Price performance. DOS emulators on the ST have always suffered from being to slow at to high a price. Atari's quantities make the board inexpensive to manufacture. Recent drastic price drops on SX386 parts also help. Finally, new processors like the Cyrix 486SLC offer 486 performance in a 386SX package, at prices close to a hundred dollars a chip. These parts will be fifty bucks each in 6 months. Atari could therefore offer 486 level emulation cards for $299 retail. There are other reported features of the new machines that also make emulation easier and more attractive. The new machines have IDE hard disks internal. Reports of a more standard printer port design, could help with compatability issues. But the most interesting would be MultiTos. DOS emulation in a Window under MultiTos would be big plus. Why would Atari bother with PC emulation in the first place? Because properly done it would sell a lot of machines. The Amiga offers factory PC emulation, and it sells machines for them. I suppose also that Atari would like a box that they can sell of the shelf at Computer City or CompUSA type of stores. Excellent PC emulation would make the product much more saleable in those stores. ======================================= FSM-GDOS -=> In the "Atari Corporation Online" category (14) -=> from the "Font Scaling Module -- The New GDOS" topic (18) Message 165 Wed Apr 15, 1992 M.ABDULKAREE [ASX] at 21:45 EDT Yes FSMGDOS output is astonishing.. I was seriously amazed at the quality on my NEC P2200 even at small font sizes! Compared to Calamus 1.09N it was VERY clean! And nope, FSM does work on the Multitasking AES.. come on it is not like Atari works on one project at a time! Most likely the multitasking OS was simultaneously developed. Besides, I was shown a demo of FSM's full capabilities down there thanks to Mike Fulton. ---------- Message 166 Wed Apr 15, 1992 S.SANDERS2 [SDS] at 23:10 EDT SDS has some very exciting new projects coming that will take advantage of any GDOS system. We will be making specific product announcements when they become available. -Scott @ SDS Member IAAD ---------- Message 167 Thu Apr 16, 1992 TOWNS [John@Atari] at 14:03 EDT There are a number of issues that have to be settled before we can release a version of FSMGDOS to the retail channel. There is no truth to the comments made here. Atari is not "bored" with the product, we aren't waiting for applications to appear that use it, nor is FSMGDOS broken under MultiTOS. All of these comments are completely false. I am not at liberty to discuss the issues at hand. But, please allow me to say that we are working on solving those issues and our first concern is with regard to our customers. We want to make sure that everything is complete and in order before shipping the product. I am sorry that I can not provide you with more information. I will do my best to keep you updated. -- John Townsend, Atari Corp. ---------- Message 168 Thu Apr 16, 1992 R.MONFORT1 [LEXICOR] at 15:29 EDT Towns. Lexicor is or will be developing applications that will use FSMGDOS. We cannot talk about them but you will be seeing them in the future. Ringo. ---------- Message 170 Thu Apr 16, 1992 G.T.GRAY [Gary Gray] at 19:28 EDT John, All my comments maybe incorrect speculation. They are totally logical suppositions based on the comments made upto this point. For all I know Atari is holding FSM back to support type 1 fonts. They could be planning to use some hardware maybe even a DSP available on future machines to do high speed font rendering in a high color enviroment. That would be very nice, antialiased real time fully scaled fonts. Not only that imagine a fast SCSI port hooked to a 600x600 or better controller for SLMs. All these things are very possible and realistic things to do with a system wide font imaging system. But I will bet the issue are legal, economic or just bugs. Anyway the longer FSM is in getting to market, the less likely developers are to get behind this scheme. It is proprietary and it very late. Unfortunately Metados an operating system extension that ought to come in the box of every ST family machine shipped in recent years is still not available. No expalnations. I have figured it out. The reason FSM has not shipped is the packaging Atari was waiting to ship it in can't be designed because layout and design software they want to use for the packaging requires FSM which is not yet available. ======================================= LEXICOR UPDATE -=> In the "Lexicor Product Support" category (25) -=> from the "Lexicor-Newsletter" topic (10) Message 112 Sat May 09, 1992 J.COLE18 [John Cole] at 22:09 EDT I would like to welcome N.STEEL to Lexicor's Silicon Graphics development team. Lexicor Software has recently become official Silicon Graphics developers and has a separate development team from the Atari software division. We hope to have our prouducts available on more than one platform soon, starting with SG and N.STEEL will be a key figure in making that possible. Welcome! John Cole Lexicor Software ---------- Message 114 Sat May 09, 1992 LEXICOR [Lexicor] at 23:01 EDT JC-18 Just an additional comment or two. For those who are interested, we are in effect cross developing on both platforms. Many of the advanced rendering tools used on the SG platform will also be found in our Atari applications. As the new machines that will inevitably become available on the Atari platform, they will be able to handel more complex software. In fact atari users may be surprised to learn that many of the features of Chronos are very simular to SG applications. If you are doing well with chronos then you would do well running SG software given the chance. I would like to add my personal welcome To Bob Steel as the newest member of our Silicon graphics Indigo development team! In closing just a bit of a tease.....The next upgrades to Phase-4 will take the Atari user in to both high quality and full true 15/24 Bit color worlds. There will also be some very interesting Spectrum like applications for the traditional ST user as well. Lee Seiler ---------- Message 115 Sun May 10, 1992 N.STEEL at 02:41 EDT In addition to my previous post, I would just like to add the following comments and observations. I seriously considered selling my Atari equipment and buying an Amiga setup. You can do some nice work on an Amiga, but the truth is that most people using them for MTV etc, are using banks of accelerated machines, usually 10-15. That doesn't seem very cost effective to an individual like myself. A single, low-end, SG machine runs twice as fast as a top of the line Mac Quadra, and almost 85% of current professional graphics work is done on SG equipment. That last fact alone, makes learning with Lexicors software a perfect stepping stone. N.Steel ======================================= CODEHEADS WARP 9 -=> In the "CodeHead Software" category (32) -=> from the "Warp 9, the Accelerator" topic (31) Message 192 Thu Apr 23, 1992 R.MORROW10 [Bob M.] at 22:01 EDT Is there any particular place in AUTO that W9 needs to be? With the old Quick ST, it had to be at the back of the AUTO folder. Is this still true? ---------- Message 193 Thu Apr 23, 1992 C.F.JOHNSON [CodeHead] at 22:49 EDT Bob, If you use the Warp 9 Control Panel desk accessory, it doesn't matter where the Warp 9 program runs in the AUTO folder. In fact, it's best to have it run as early as possible; I have it running right after PinHead on my system. When Warp 9 runs early in the AUTO folder, it can actually accelerate the bootup process significantly. The Control Panel desk accessory sends a special message to the resident program after everything else has loaded, telling it to reinstall itself in the exception vectors. (Sorry if I'm getting too technical -- but to boil it down, the whole point of this "reinstallation" business is to let Warp 9 operate at its optimum peak efficiency.) If you don't use the Warp 9 Control Panel, the Warp 9 program should run as close to the end of the AUTO folder as possible, so that it installs its exception vectors after everything else, and can run as fast as it can (without the extra boost provided by the Control Panel). Note that Warp 9 itself _does_not_care_ about its AUTO folder position; it can run before or after GDOS, before or after big screen drivers, etc. One of the primary goals in creating Warp 9 was to free the program from dependency on AUTO folder order, and to achieve the ultimate acceleration no matter what its AUTO position. However, some other programs may be sensitive to their position in the AUTO folder, and may need to run before or after Warp 9, for reasons of their own. The only examples I know about right now: Hisoft's AMON debugger needs to run BEFORE the Warp 9 AUTO program, and some versions of UIS 3 also need to run before Warp 9. The current version of UIS 3 (v3.3) doesn't care about its AUTO folder position; if you don't have this version, you should upgrade for full compatibility with Warp 9. ======================================= WORDUP -=> In the "Word Processing" category (13) -=> from the "Word Up" topic (6) Message 91 Mon May 11, 1992 JEFF.W [ST Sysop] at 11:46 EDT David, Charles beat me to the punch about Calligrapher. But on the subject of WordUp, you said you're getting tired of waiting for Atari to update WordUp. You sound like you had expected them to update it. While it is common knowledge that Atari bought the source code of WordUp from Neocept, there has been no announcement from Atari that ever indicated they planned to do an update of WordUp. Waiting for an unannounced, and possibly unplanned, update of WordUp from Atari will likely be very tiring for anyone engaging in such an expectation. I'm sure Atari has intentions for the source code they purchased from Neocept, but they have never shared that by way of public announcement with us outsiders. Sadly, too many people tend to take a little information and fill in the blanks and then hold Atari responsible for not accommodating their fantasies. This can happen both inside and outside of a company like Atari. After a while, fancy seems to become fact when people don't know the whole story, accepting whatever is fed to them at face value. ======================================= | | | MIGRAPH OCR | | | By John L. McLaughlin | | | --------------------------------------------------------------- Requirements: Any ST/STe/TT computer with 2 MB or more RAM and hard disk. Hand- or full-page scanner optional. Summary: Sophisticated, trainable optical character-recognition (OCR) package, capable of making short work of data-input. Manufacturer: MiGraph, Inc., 32799 Pacific Highway S., Federal Way, WA 98003 (206) 838-4677 Price: $299.00 Though paper provides a convenient and tangible medium for human communication, it's not great for talking to machines. Scanning has solved the problem of how to get images from paper into computer memory. But because computers store images and text in completely different ways, images of text, such as a scan of this magazine page, require further processing before the information they contain can be used by word processors, spreadsheets, and other "text-handling" applications. MiGraph OCR (short for "Optical Character Recognition") provides the missing link -- converting scanned text to ASCII files that can be used directly by a wide variety of applications. The program can accept previously-scanned monochrome .IMG or TIFF files; or process input directly from a MiGraph or compatible hand-scanner. The OCR Process MiGraph OCR begins its job by methodically chopping up a scanned image: first into discrete lines of text, then into masses identified as words and subdivided into characters. This, alone, is a fairly complicated process, involving raster image-processing (to remove spurious background shading and stray pixels, improve contrast and separate characters, etc.) and geometric analysis (to correct for text misalignment). Next, using a font-recognition engine licensed from Omnifont (world leaders in OCR software design), MiGraph OCR turns the bitmapped image of each character into a vector expression describing its shape in terms unrelated to size or resolution. Characters are recognized by comparing their vector descriptions against a dictionary of character forms in different fonts and point sizes -- a process that yields a far higher percentage of "hits" than prior OCR techniques involving bitmap comparisons. Additional refinement is obtained by referencing against a user dictionary, created by "training" the device on text with particular characteristics. As a last step, MiGraph OCR performs a complex lexical and syntactic analysis, using one of four supplemental dictionaries based on the Proximity/Merriam-Webster Linguibase. This further assists the program in making intelligent "guesses" about characters whose forms remain ambiguous. Using OCR Installing MiGraph OCR is simple. An INSTALL program is included on the main disk that lets you specify the folder into which you want program files stored. The utility also lets you identify which of the four supplemental dictionaries you wish installed: versions for English, German, French, and Dutch are included on two support disks. A minimum of 2 MB free space must exist on the target partition, prior to installation. OCR's main control screen is simple and well-designed, and a little random button-clicking quickly reveals how most of the program works. Nevertheless, to help get you started, the manual includes several step-by-step, hands-on tutorials. The general control panel, accessed by clicking on the "hammer" icon, lets you specify input source (scanner or file), output format, and set refining parameters for the OCR process. Selecting "scanner" as the input device causes the appearance of a secondary scanner configuration dialog which lets you define resolution, area, and direction of input scans. Select "Get Image," and you're flying. If you've elected to scan, the hand scanner is activated and managed automatically -- all you have to do is move it down (or across) the page. OCR performs best when presented with a straight scan, so a scanning tray is recommended. The only glitch I noticed was caused, as it turned out, by the fact that I was running MiGraph OCR on a Mega STe at 16 MHz, with blitter and caches enabled. Apparently, some combination of these features throws off the sample timing, so that illegible scans are produced. The fix, at least until MiGraph issues an upgrade, is to use the Control Panel to turn off all enhancements while scanning is in progress. They can (and should) be turned on again, afterwards, since OCR processing benefits from the increased system throughput. Once scanning is complete, the scanned image appears in OCR's work window. Your first job is to assess the quality of the scan, to determine if it is appropriate for OCR processing. Because low-quality scans take unnecessarily long to process, and produce a large number of errors, it's best to repeat doubtful scans at this point. The next step is to select regions of the scanned image for input to OCR. This is done in very straightforward fashion, by dragging rectangles or drawing polyline boxes around desired portions of the image. Multiple regions can be sorted so that they are processed in any desired order. An added plus: to avoid having to make duplicate scans of the same material, MiGraph OCR also lets you define the graphic regions of any scan, saving them as .IMG or TIFF files. When OCR is initiated, the program performs several unattended passes: rectifying the image, segmenting it, and generating a first interpretation of its content. Because the process can take a while, you are kept appraised of progress by a succession of dialog boxes. If automatic processing has been selected, output text is then saved transparently to the designated file. Otherwise, the interactive learning phase begins. During interactive learning, the system presents you with problem areas of your scan, in greatly enlarged form, and asks you to correct or approve of its interpretations. The process is easily managed, though it can be time-consuming if many problems exist (the process can be aborted at any point, however, and the resulting text file saved to disk with markers inserted to indicate ambiguous characters). When correcting a problem, it's important to determine whether it's a result of poor scan quality or from an unfamiliar font or point size. When scan-quality is at fault, you should correct the problem in text, without updating the current user dictionary. Entering a correction is usually a matter of typing a single letter, though occasionally, the program will present you with groups of several adjacent letters for identification. Very rarely, the program will assume that two adjacent characters are one, and will not accept multiple characters for insertion. Alternatively, when you've identified a legitimate "training" situation (i.e., the program has failed to recognize text because it contains some regular feature (e.g., font, point size, or special letterform) which is unfamiliar) you can "train" OCR to recognize the character in the future. A vectorized image of the new letterform is added to the current user dictionary, which can be saved back to disk at the end of the session. Over time, dictionaries can be developed and refined for each type of text you regularly use as input, and these can add remarkably to the accuracy of OCR's interpretation. When you tell OCR to "learn" a new character, you must take care to input the correction properly. OCR immediately applies any corrected interpretation to similar ambiguities throughout the text -- a process designed to prevent your having to correct the same mistake more than once. Unfortunately, however, this also means that an erroneous correction can easily be propagated through your output, and -- if unrecognized at the end of the session -- perhaps even entered accidentally in the current dictionary when it is saved back to disk. Unfortunately, there's no way to "edit" the updated dictionary after a training pass, nor to return to a problem area during the pass, to re- enter a correction. So a fair amount of dictionary-refinement can be lost, if you're not careful. While I've described using OCR to process only a single scanned unit of text, it's also very easy to append the results of several OCR sessions to the same output file, creating a single result document that can be imported to a word processor. Alternatively, however, I've had good luck employing utilities such as WizWorks!' Scan-Lite to conjoin several scans into one uniform image before importing into OCR. Unfortunately, I have no means of testing how well MiGraph OCR would perform on input from a full-page flatbed scanner; but I suspect that for serious applications, this option should be thoroughly explored. Performance Once a sufficiently-refined user dictionary has been created for text from a particular source, MiGraph OCR is very accurate. It's also fairly quick, at least when processing in automatic mode: a page of Courier 10-pitch type, scanned at 300 dpi, can be output as ASCII in something like three minutes, which is marginally faster than an average-to-good touch typist could enter the same material. Naturally, text output by OCR must be further processed before it can be considered correct. At least part of this process (i.e., spell- checking) can be automated, however. Because performance accuracy is so dependent on user dictionaries, MiGraph OCR is most useful when input is derived from only a limited range of text-types. Even with this constraint, however, it's easy to imagine a broad range of applications. Particularly intriguing is the idea of using MiGraph OCR to convert faxes, received via faxmodem, to ASCII files -- providing a wholly "paperless" solution to fax correspondence in the computer context. Only one significant feature is lacking: the ability to queue multiple files for input and unattended processing. Hopefully, this feature will be added in a future upgrade, since it would make the program highly competitive with Kurzweil and other dedicated OCR systems, particularly in the small office environment. | | | CONSIDER THE ALTERNATIVES | | | By Sheldon Winick | | | --------------------------------------------------------------- Reprinted from The GEnie Lamp Online Magazine (c) Copyright 1992 T/TalkNET OnLine Publishing, GEnie, and the GEnie Computing RoundTables. Many Atari owners seem to find it difficult to maintain an upbeat attitude towards the Atari platform, especially when one of those periodic complaining discussions erupts. There never seems to be a shortage of someone or other urging an abandonment of the Atari platform because of a shortage of dealerships, Atari's periodic shortages of equipment, Atari's lack of advertising, or some developer not supporting the Atari platform. What they seem to lose sight of is why we chose the Atari platform in the first place. Perhaps we should periodically go back and re-evaluate our computer needs and desires, take a clear look at what we use our systems for, how we use it, and what we really need it for. And, of course, it would always be a good idea to take a closer look at the alternative platforms. I can't help but be somewhat amused when I hear complaints about various software and hardware incompatibilities on the Atari platform. Think we have it tough? Try talking to someone who owns a MeSsyDOS machine. Try adding Windows to attempt to get a more user friendly interface and see what happens to your software compatibility and system speed. Try installing virtually anything and see what a chore it can be to resolve all the conflicts and get the system to perform properly. Anyone who complains about having to reorder the programs in an Atari 'AUTO' folder, obviously has never been exposed to the 'fun' of having to revise a 'AUTOEXEC.BAT' and 'CONFIG.SYS' file whenever adding a new piece of hardware or software to a system. It's really easy to let those little irritations get out of hand and turn into serious complaints. I guess it's human nature to take the familiar for granted, and lose our perspective when something irritates us. I suspect those feelings can be compounded by the media hype we're continually exposed to advertising the alternative platforms, as well as finding ourselves surrounded by a plethora of IBM clones and clone owners constantly bragging about their machines. Perhaps, as a dealer, my perspective is a little different as I hear the complaints from computer owners on both sides of the fence. Perhaps I benefit from the opportunity to listen to the owners of IBM clone machines complain about how difficult everything is on their machines compared to what they see us doing on our Atari systems at Computer STudio. Perhaps I'm also in the unique position of being in a small town where software isn't as easy to find as in a major city, so our local Atari owners find themselves with as good or better selection as anyone else. I also find myself selling a lot of software to clone owners who enjoy browsing through our software racks to get ideas of what is available for all personal computers. And I also get the opportunity to listen to 'them' complain about the complexity of their software and hardware, and the lack of those great productivity titles we take for granted. I also get a great joy out of watching the expressions change on the faces of the 'walk-ins' who just happen to be walking through the mall and wander into the store along with their 'attitude' --- you know what I'm talking about --- they have a such-and-such with 4 bookoodles of RAM, SVGA, 6 gazillion titles of pirated software, and walk in the door feeling they can sneer at the 'inferior' platform. I usually just let them talk, don't argue with anything they say, but while listening, crank up something like Calamus or DynaCADD and whiz through something creative while they continue to ramble. It doesn't take long before that rambling turns into a 'Wow' or 'How did you do that?'. Within minutes they're usually sitting down watching in total amazement. Then there's the 'I didn't know Atari still made computers' and finally the 'So how come more people don't own an Atari'. You'd be surprised how many of those visitors wind up coming back with computer shopping friends to show them 'our' alternative platform. Yes, Virginia, MS-DOS "IS" a curable disease! I also hear the horror stories from the other side when it comes to support, service and repair for 'their' systems, the prices they had to pay, and how long it took. Then there's the novice clone owner who benefited from a 'friend' who advised them what to buy and found them a 'great' deal on a mail order clone system. They reel off a list of features their system has ---- you know, 89 megabytes of RAM (you'd be surprised how many folks STILL don't know the difference between RAM and hard drive size), 5-1/4" floppy drive, 3-1/2" hard drive (they usually are referring to the 3-1/2" floppy drive), super VGA monitor, etc. And.... they love the system!! They've only had it for about 6 months and they already know how to use the word processing software a little and play some games. Wow!! And whenever they buy a new game, they get their friend to come over to install it on their hard drive 'cause they haven't learned how to do that yet. Then we see the those IBM PS-1 owners wandering in looking for anything for their systems, and listen to their complaints about the cost of upgrade boards, and lack of support for their micro-channel architecture. Think they are a very happy camper after the reality of the situation sets in? How 'bout all those parents who, even recently, ran out to get Johnny an Apple 2 or Apple 2 clone 'cause that's what he was using at school, and now finds his system totally unsupported by anyone, including our only local Apple dealer. Or the young fellow whose friends talked him into an Amiga, and now finds the only place he can get software is mail order or by special order from his local Atari dealer <big grin>. It's easy to go through life with blinders on, but it can sometimes be a good idea to step back and look at the world from someone else's viewpoint. It's also easy to take the familiar for granted. Things like our Atari's dependability and durability, its' fantastic GEM-based user interface, and the excellent software that is so easy to learn and use. You really can't appreciate how easy memory upgrading is on an STe, Mega STe or TT030 until you've experienced the hassle of doing that on one of those 'other' systems. And no matter how much Microsoft advertises Windows and Window applications, they are still much more complex and difficult to learn and use than our trusty 'ol Ataris. But Microsoft does know one thing --- with enough money and enough media hype, you can sell anything! Happy (Atari) Computing, Sheldon Winick (GEnie address: S.WINICK) Computer STudio - Asheville, NC Sheldon owns and operates Computer STudio, a full-service Atari dealership in Asheville, North Carolina. Sheldon is also a registered architect (licensed in Florida, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Colorado, as well as holding a National NCARB certificate). His current architectural drawings are, of course, being prepared on his Atari-based CADD system, using DynaCADD software. | | | WHAT'S NEW FOR THE PORTFOLIO | | | Compiled by Ron Kovacs | | | --------------------------------------------------------------- New Uploads to the Atari Portfolio Forum on CompuServe (Go APORTFOLIO) MAKSND.ZIP MakeSound: Create standalone, compressable sound This is the sound equivalent of PREAD and MAKERT. Use this to create a sound file. Faster than VOICE.COM! Includes a sample file. PSND1.ZIP PSOUND: Portfolio digital sound player Here's another version of PSOUND, now *faster* than VOICE.COM. Includes two samples, including: "Help, I'm trapped!" and "Don't panic!" from Hithhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. PGCPZL.ZIP PGC Puzzle 1.0 - PGC Graphics Tile Puzzle PGC Puzzle is similar to TILES, except it lets you play a sliding tiles game with any PGC graphic image. Features include SAVE/LOAD game in progress, set number of tiles, and much more. Documentation is in PREAD format. FREEWARE by Don Messerli DU1.ZIP Diary Utility 1.0 This is a sharware utility that allows TODO Notes to be included within your Port diaries. TODO Notes can be viewed for a specific date. This version has been re-zipped with version 1.1. VOICE.COM Speech Output on the Portfolio, Demo. Found in England: Hey, there is someone trapped in my computer! Speech output on the Portfolio! LISTER.ZIP This is a program to work with lists. You can create, save, view lists and import text files into the program. This is freeware by Tom Showers. FNDADR.EXE Search the Address files for a Name As requested, here is a program that will search all your address files for a particular phrase. Written and Uploaded by BJ Gleason. VIEW.ZIP Greatly enhanced. This is a must for Portfolio graphics admirers. Requires desktop PC clone with 640K RAM minimum and VGA capabilities. Written and uploaded by Don Thomas; Artisan Software. (c)1992 REPORT.EXE Re:Port animation This is an animation of the Re:Port logo, pretty neat. Created with Windows 3.1 PaintBrush, my new WinPGC converter, and Don Messerli's PGFLIX. Hit ESC to stop it. GOLF10.ARC BGCC Golf Simulation Game v1.0 The Brooklyn Golf & Country Club is a nine hole golf simulation game. It uses PGC graphics to show overhead views of the course and each shot. The golfer must choose the right club and power setting. There are water hazards and sand traps to deal with. This is a single player version. The back nine are currently under construction. Requires PBasic 4.91 to run. BDAY.EXE Birthday Animation Run this graphics file when you have a birthday -- or for someone else who is having one! Written by David E. Stewart RECIPE.ZIP Recipe Mate Recipe Mate is a PBasic program which scales recipes. If you have a recipe to feed six but need to make a meal for three, Recipe Mate will make the conversion for you. ROMAN.ZIP This is a little novelty pbasic program for the programming competition which deciphers roman numerals. PRTBIB.ZIP Medline and Psychlit adr files If you have to constantly collect references which later have to be entered into a bibliographic database, you may find these address file templates useful. Following the example at the start of each file you can enter in your references which will then be in a format for bulk input into your database. Most bibliographic databases will import in medline or psychlit formats and the process can save a lot of time. WSH10.BAS W Shape Calculator v1.0 A database of Steel shapes useful for dimensioning and detailing for Architects and Builders. Includes 187 entries ranging from W4x13 to W36x300. Provides information on depth, width, flange thickness and web thickness of each W Section. Requires PBasic 4.91. (This file is compressed) Please send any comments or bugs to Hugh J. Campbell (70611,3212) STAIR.BAS Stair Calculator v1.1 A PBasic program to calculate the design requirements for stair construction. Useful for Architects and Builders to establish number of riser & treads to rise to an entered floor to floor height. Also calculates the size of the enclosure required. Can help design 1,2,3 or 4 run stairs as well as doughnut stairs and enclosures. Requires PBasic 4.91 (Compressed file). SCARD.BAS Golf Scorcard v1.1 Electronic golf scorecard program for the Port. Will keep scores for a foursome and will display statistics (birdies,pars). Can continue a saved game at any point. Requires PBasic 4.91 to run. CSH10.BAS Channel Calculator v1.0 Database of American Standard Steel Channel sections. Useful for Architects, Engineers and Builders in dimensioning and detailing steel drawings. Includes 30 different channels ranging from C 3x4.1 to C 15x50. Requires PBasic 4.91 to run (This is a compressed file). STOCK.ARC Stock Watch A spreadsheet for tracking and evaluating a portfolio of securities. This archive contains 3 files: the documentation and two spreadsheets, one a bit shorter than the other. This "system" allows you to price your securities, compute capital gain, annual yield and total return. STHNGE.ZIP The Stonehenge Collection This is a collection of pgc graphic files featuring Stonehenge and a moody animation. Created using Graphics Workshop, Windows Paintbrush and Don Messerli's graphics tools. FONTS.ZIP Sample of what you can do with Win 3.1's new PaintBrush program and the Portfolio, with a little help from my WINPGC program. Contains 5 .PGC files DSPPGC.ARC A bare bones PGC viewer for the Atari ST computer. Will display Portfolio graphic compressed files in any of three ST resolutions. DOES NOT RUN ON PORTFOLIO. A bare bones PGC viewer for the Atari ST computer. Will display Portfolio graphic compressed files in any of the three ST resolutions. LOCK.ZIP These programs are from the PCMag utils disk and enable file encryption and decryption. As each program is only 620 bytes in length, they are ideally suited to the Portfolio. TMW11.ZIP Port diary utility Portfolio diary utility. TMW version 1.1 provides easy and quick access to todays, tomorrows and any dates appointments. The zip file contains the Pklited executable and a document file describing TMW's capabilities. | | | BUILDING A SCANBOARD | | | By Marvin Purdy | | | --------------------------------------------------------------- Hand scanners are becoming a beneficial peripheral for computer users. Applications include scanning images for use as clip-art, scanning pictures for a base of family photographs, scanning text for Optical Character Recognition (OCR), or many other uses. But no matter what idea comes to mind the hardest part of using hand scanners is pulling the scanner in a straight line. Scanboard to the rescue With enough practice most hand scanner users can pull a fairly straight line, but help yourself by constructing a simple guide. The parts list is only five tems: a long, wide clipboard for enough working surface; a flat edge ruler at least 1/4 inch thick for guiding the scanner; a couple of pop rivets for attaching the ruler to the clipboard; several thin washers for spacing and support; and several small, hard plastic, adhesive backed, 1/4 inch thick stand-offs. NOTE: If using a steel or aluminum ruler ensure the edges are smooth and slightly rounded to prevent an abrasive effect on the scanner's plastic housing while being pulled. Construction Place the ruler along the left edge of the clipboard (or right edge for left handed users) and use a couple of small C-clamps to hold the ruler in place. Be sure the ruler is at a right angle with the paper holding clip on the top of the clipboard. Drill a hole the size of the rivet one-half inch from the top and bottom of the ruler's centerline. Insert the pop-rivets and secure them into place. Since the pop-rivets will cause the clipboard to sit at an angle on the desktop it is beneficial for the user to attach small, hard plastic stand-offs to back of the clipboard. These stand-offs will keep the rivets from gouging the desktop and the clipboard from sliding around while pulling the scanner. Also, it is beneficial to place very thin washers as spacers between the ruler and clipboard. These spacers will allow sliding of oversize papers or photographs under the ruler's edge for a better scanning alignment. Additional washers are beneficial between the pop-rivet to ruler and pop-rivet to clipboard, since these washers add strength to these joints. The cost of all the necessary parts will be less than twenty dollars. The only problem some users will encounter is the availability of a pop-rivet gun, a friend can usually help those users. Benefits The hand scanner user now has a large, flat surface to work on with a straight, thick edge for guiding and pulling against. With the large surface to work the user can place the ScanBoard anywhere and obtain good results. With the thick edge of the ruler to pull along straight scans are obtainable and measurements are easily made for correct scanning program setups. Users with good construction skills can produce a few for their friends as wonderful gifts. Some users can construct a few to sell to other computer club members (at cost of course, since clubs are for computer friends to get together). No matter how the ScanBoard is obtained, hand scanning can now be enjoyable and rewarding. | | | ST FORMAT NEWS PAGES | | | Extracts from June 1992 Issue | | | --------------------------------------------------------------- Extracts taken from the June issue of the UK s best-selling ST magazine. For full details, catch next month s issue of ST FORMAT - on sale 14th May. Alternatively, call 0458 74011 and speak to Trevor Witt about how to subscribe. Failing that, write to Trevor Witt, ST FORMAT, The Old Barn, FREEPOST, Somerton, Somerset, TA11 7BR. ENGLAND. ATARI TAKES THE LEAD WITH STE-ONLY GAMES Since the release of the STE over three years ago we've been waiting to see new games which take advantage of all the enhanced features of this incredible machine. Atari is finally taking the lead and writing a series of games which fully exploit the potential of this new machine. According to Product Manager, Bob Katz, the decision to produce STE- only games came from the top. Sam Tramiel, boss of Atari US, wanted to produce STE-only games in a move to increase programmers awareness of the hardware potential of the machine. Atari has acquired the rights to several major coin-op games for conversion for use on the STE only, taking full advantage of the machines custom hardware. The first two games to be converted are Road Riot Four Wheel Drive, an off-road driving game, and Steel Talons, a 3D polygon based helicopter simulator. The arcade coin-ops use 256 color hardware graphics boards. Though the STE comes with a palette of 512 colors, only 16 can be displayed on screen at once but Atari are using a palette switching technique to overcome this hurdle and give 48 colours per line, achieving an accurate representation of the arcade graphics. The games will take full advantage of the blitter chip to shift graphics around the screen at high speed and they will come with full 8 channel DMA stereo sound. More importantly, the STE's built in hardware scrolling abilities will be supported so these games are certain to be some of the fastest you've ever seen on the ST. Each game will be fully compatible with the Mega STE and TT range, automatically detecting which type of machine it is running on and adjusting itself to take advantage of increased clock speeds and the 68030 processor. Bob Katz of Atari said these games will be the first that really thrash the STE s hardware. The games are being developed under the Atari Games umbrella and they will only be produced for Atari machines, with no other formats planned for release. Each game has a dedicated development team working on it. More STE-only games are planned for the future, both coin-op conversions and original designs. If Atari can prove that there is an eager market for STE only games, other software publishers are likely to follow suit. FSM GDOS READY FOR RELEASE A cut-down version of FSM GDOS is available for release here with the full version expected in about a month. Atari is poised to release the full version of their revolutionary new GDOS replacement first in America and then in the UK. The official price for the US version has been set at $49. A cut-down version of FSM GDOS is already available here. According to Atari US Director of Communications, Bob Brodie, the US version of FSM GDOS will be available for sale as a separate package as soon as possible. Atari UK's Bob Katz told ST FORMAT that Atari is looking for ways to distribute the package in the UK with a minimum amount of fuss. FSM is a direct replacement for GDOS which has been marketed for the ST since it's conception. GDOS offers a range of fonts for any ST but has been heavily criticised for being too slow. As a result very few fonts have been created and only a handful of programs make use of GDOS. That is set to change once FSM GDOS is officially released. This re-written version is faster and much easier to use and according to Bob Brodie, the output speed of FSM GDOS on an Atari Laser printer is very fast, as fast as Calamus. Any program which already uses GDOS will work perfectly with the new FSM GDOS. Word processing and Desktop Publishing packages are certain to be the main beneficiaries, though programs like Degas Elite are already geared up to make use of the new technology. The full version requires at least 1MByte of memory to run but Atari has produced a cut down version for 512K machines. The cut down version, called Font GDOS, will run on all 512K machines. This program is a direct replacement for the old version of GDOS and is substantially faster in operation and much easier to set up. All the currently available GDOS fonts will work with Font GDOS. New printer drivers have been written finally enabling owners of the Deskjet 500, Canon BJ-10e and other high resolution output devices to use the program. Font GDOS and the full range of printer drivers is immediately available from the ST Club on GDOS Disk E for 2.95. The ST Club has a GDOS distribution licence from Atari and can be contacted at 0602 410241 for more information. In the US, the full FSM GDOS is supplied with Wordflair 2 a word- processor which makes extensive use of the features of this font scaling module. An earlier version of Wordflair is distributed by Hisoft (0525 718181) in the UK. Hisoft's David Link confirmed to ST FORMAT that they intend to release Wordflair 2 in the UK very shortly for 99.95 though Atari UK may insist that FSM GDOS is removed from the package. WHAT CAN FSM GDOS REALLY DO? FSM GDOS is a program which brings high resolution scaleable outline font technology to ST owners. Outline fonts enable characters to be enlarged to any size with no loss of resolution because each letter is stored as a set of data. If a letter is required at a larger point size it is simply redrawn at the larger size from the basic data. Only one set of files is required for all sizes of a font instead of a different file for each point size. Another point to note is that because the screen and printer fonts use the same information, the resultant printout is exactly the same as the screen display. The basic package contains the installation program, standard bitmapped Dutch and Swiss fonts, the 13 font Lucida family, FSM accessory and CPX, FSMPrint printer selector accessory and CPX, FontGDOS accessory and CPX and 12 printer drivers. Printers covered include Atari Lasers, Canon and HP inkjets, Epson FX, HP Laserjet, the NEC P-series, HP Paintjet, Okimate 20 and Star printers. MULTITOS UPDATE In a fresh mood of openness, Atari UK demonstrated their new MultiTOS to ST FORMAT, confirming many of the details we revealed exclusively last month. MultiTOS enables you to run several applications at once in separate windows on an ST or TT. Several programs were demonstrated running simultaneously in five separate windows on a TT. Well behaved ST programs will run under MultiTOS but most applications will have to be tweaked slightly to respond to MultiTOS commands. Most major UK software developers have already started to upgrade their major applications to run under MultiTOS. Compo Software, creators of That's Write are known to be updating their forthcoming update. On 68030 machines (the TT and the Falcon) MultiTOS takes advantage of built-in memory protection commands. This means a program will not try to use an area of memory being used by another application or process, thereby preventing any loss of data. However, on the 68000 based ST machines memory protection is not available so software needs to be converted to recognise these commands. The MultiTOS program itself is still under development and is not likely to be available until late in 1992. It will be available to all existing Atari owners as a disk based upgrade. Atari US is still insisting that the Falcon 030 is due for release in late autumn in which case Multi TOS is unlikely to be included on ROM as part of the operating system. | | | NEW ONLINE MAGAZINE | | | STe News | | | --------------------------------------------------------------- P R E M I E R E I S S U E ! /|\ /|\ /|\ /|\ /|\ /|\ /|\ /|\ /|\ /|\ /|\ /|\ ............................................................... ................................................................. ....... .... .... ..... *********\ .. *********************\ ********\ .... ... *************\ . *********************\ ********\ .... .. ******\\\\\******\ \\\\\\\\******\\\\\\\\ ****\\\\\ .... .. ******\ \\******\ ******\ ****\ ..... .. ******\ . \******\ .... ******\ ..... *******\ ..... .. \\******\ . ******\ .... ******\ ..... *******\ ..... .... \\******\ .\\\\\\\ .... ******\ ..... ****\\\\ ..... ...... \\******\ . .... ******\ ..... ****\ ..... ........ \\******\ .......... ******\ ..... ********\ .... .......... \\******\ ....... ******\ ..... ********\ .... .. . \\******\ ..... ******\ ..... \\\\\\\\\ .... .. ******\ . \\******\ .... ******\ ..... .... .. ******\ . ******\ .... ******\ ...................... .. \\******\ ******\\ .... ******\ ...................... ... \\*************\\\ ..... ******\ .........# ## # ...... ..... \\*********\\\ ....... ******\ .........# ## # ...... ....... \\\\\\\\\\ ......... \\\\\\ .........# ## # ...... ......... ........... ........## ## ## ..... .................................................### ## ### ... ............................................................... The STE*Net (Intergalactic) On-Line Newsletter Bringing You The Latest News And Information About Atari STE-68000 and TT-68030 Computers Issue #1 Spring 1992 "Because ST Is Just Not Good Enough!" (and Neither Is IBM!) "From The Publisher's Desk" Hello everyone. Welcome to the first issue of "STE*Net", in electronic on-line form. The ST is a nice computer, but if you want some serious computing power, and a reasonable price, the STE is the way to go. Or, if you got bucks to spend, and want a truly amazing system, the TT is your answer! This seasonal publication is designed to help you set up your computer system for the most efficiency and power, while paying a price that's fair. You'll learn how to take full advantage of your 1040 STE, Mega STE, and/or TT030 system. Like, how easy and inexpensive it is to upgrade RAM on an STE (compared to a regular ST). What are those funny looking new controller ports on the left hand side of my STE, and what can I plug in there to make use of them? How do I take advantage of the extended color pallette in my STE? What TOS version should I be using? What STE-specific software is out there for me to run? These are some of the questions this newsletter will try to answer for you about your STE, as well as other logical solutions that are expected to arise in the future. STE*Net will also try to cover information on the new TT030 system, and the new Atari Falcon computer when it's released in Germany this spring. If you own an STE (or TT), and would like to write articles for STE*Net, see the end of this text file for details on how you can participate! I need all the help I can get from my fellow Atarians! Thank you all, and let's get this thing going! (Editor Note: You can find future releases of STE on: 209-636-2RAD The -=Rad=- BBS, 408-745-2191 AtariBase BBS, 213-461-2196 CodeHead Quarters BBS, plus CompuServe, GEnie, DelPhi, and many many other networks. | | | 8-BIT UPDATE | | | Z*Magazine Issue #207 Contents | | | --------------------------------------------------------------- The lastest Issue of Z*Magazine, the original Atari online magazine continues production with Issue #207. In this edition... * ATARI EXPLORER ONLINE MAGAZINE DEBUTS Press Release announcing the merger of Z*Net Online and Atari Explorer tp produce Atari Explorer Online Magazine. Also, a full transcript of the recent Atari Explorer Conference on GEnie. * STAR*LINX BBS - GAME RATING & REVIEW SYSTEM APB is reviewed by a number of user of the Star*Linx BBS. Comments and ratings by all who commented are included. * BILL & TED'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE A complete solution to the game. * PERUSING THE INTERNET An overview of various topics including... o Recent postings on the net indicate that an alpha copy of Bob Puff's LZH extractor (v0.1) is in circulation. o COLRDUMP.BXE that prints the Colrview RGB pictures to a 24 pin Epson compatible color printer. o Digi-Studio o Mail Order Companies o CSS Wants a 6502 Programmer o Cold Only Power Supply o Cheap 360K DS/DD Floppies o Percom Drives | | | AEO FEATURED FILE | | | By John Jainschigg | | | --------------------------------------------------------------- A DA for Viewing Degas Pictures Articles for Atari Explorer are edited on word processors. The only thing lacking with this setup is that it requires us to keep installed one of the popular DA "file viewers," in order to examine illustrations -- frequently saved as Degas .PI? or .PC? files -- while writing captions, etc. What these "file viewers" do: loading an image into a window, covers most of the essential themes of GEM programming. That said, this issue's add-in program restates those themes in simpler fashion. It's a Desk Accessory that loads Degas .PI? and .PC? files into a resizeable viewing window. Scroll bars let you "pan" the window over the face of the illustration, and a new illustration can be loaded by clicking the "fuller" button in the window's upper-right-hand corner. Most of the essential techniques of GEM programming are used, and very little else. Covered are a list of topics including: application launching, the ST boot process, desk accessories, evnt_multi programming techniques, window creation and management, the VDI interface, bit-blitting, the File Selector ... and (as they say) more! C-language source code (PVIEW.C) and an executable version of the accessory (PVIEW.ACC) are compressed with this issue of Atari Explorer Online. The source code can be reviewed with any text editor. To use the accessory, just place the file PVIEW.ACC in the root directory of your boot drive, and reboot to install. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ To sign up for GEnie service call (with modem) (800) 638-8369. Upon connection type HHH and hit <return>. Wait for the U#= prompt and type XTX99436,GEnie and hit <return>. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ To sign up for CompuServe service call (with phone) (800) 848-8199. Ask for operator #198. You will be promptly sent a $15.00 free membership kit. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Atari Explorer Online Magazine is a bi-weekly publication covering the Atari computer community. Material published in this edition may be reprinted in non-commercial publications unless otherwise noted at the top of the article. Opinions presented herein are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the staff. Atari Explorer Online Magazine is Copyright (c)1992, Atari Computer Corporation. Z*Net and the Z*Net Newswire are copyright(c)1992, Z*Net News Service/Ron Kovacs. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Atari Explorer Online Magazine "The Official Atari Online Journal" Copyright (c)1992, Atari Computer Corporation ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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