Atari Explorer Online: 20-Dec-92 #SE-2From: Bruce D. Nelson (aa789@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 12/23/92-09:12:44 AM Z
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From: aa789@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Bruce D. Nelson) Subject: Atari Explorer Online: 20-Dec-92 #SE-2 Date: Wed Dec 23 09:12:44 1992 :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: :: Special Edition #2 ATARI EXPLORER ONLINE 20 December 1992 :: :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: :: :: :: ATARI .............. News, reviews, & solutions ............ ATARI :: :: EXPLORER ............ for the online Atari .......... EXPLORER :: :: ONLINE ................. Community .............. ONLINE :: :: :: :: Published and Copyright = 1992 by Atari Corporation :: :: """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" :: :: Editor ....................................... Travis Guy :: :: Assistant Editor ....................... Ron Robinson :: :: Assistant Editor .................. Albert Dayes :: :: Assistant Editor ........... Andreas Barbiero :: :: :: :: Editorial Advisory Board :: :: """""""""""""""""""""""" :: :: President, Atari Corporation........................Sam Tramiel :: :: Director of Application Software...................Bill Rehbock :: :: Director, Computer Marketing ........................Don Thomas :: :: Director of Communications...........................Bob Brodie :: :: Corporate Director, International Music Markets....James Grunke :: :: Atari Explorer Magazine............................Mike Lindsay :: :: :: :: Telecommunicated to you via: :: :: """""""""""""""""""""""""""" :: :: GEnie: AEO.MAG :: :: CompuServe: 70007,3615 :: :: Delphi: ABARBIERO :: :: Fnet: AEO Conference, Node 706 :: :: AtariNet: AEO Conference, Node 51:1/10 :: :: :: :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: Table of Contents * From the Editors ....................... We're back... with a Falcon030. * Ron's Random Ramblin' ..................... The Three "R's" - AEO style. * Lexicor GEnie RTC .............. Announcing the Phoenix Object Renderer. * Merry Lynxmas ................. Atari has "Such a deal" for all Lynx wannabyes. The perfect holiday present at a never-before seen price. * Developing News ................. -=- STraight FAX Distribution Change -=- DMC Promotion Extended -=- IAAD Membership List -=- Fair Dinkum Xmas Offer * Computing Heresy! ............................ MORE isn't always better? * AEO Survey Results ............................................... VPVD. * From the Libraries ............. Andreas looks at PhotoChrome3 and OXYD. * Atari Software Catalog ........... Everything you can run on your Atari. All in one book. It's a big book. * CuSTomer Support..................The Continuing Saga of Caveat Emptor reprinted courtesy of GEnie article by Don Harris * A Statement from Atari concerning ABCO Computer Consultants * Shutdown ........................................... Keep on hanging on. --==--==--==--==-- ||| ||| From the Editors ........ Atari Explorer Online: The Next Generation / | \-------------------------------------------------------------------- First, please allow me the privledge of wishing everyone the happiest of holiday seasons. Please, please, please temper that thought with the caution to drive and to boat carefully. The darkest day of the year (well it is, up here in the Northern Hemisphere at least) is upon us, and Things Are Bound To Get Better. <hint, this applies both in the microcosm and the macrocosm> As one example of Things Getting Better, EQ Magazine, The Recording and Sound Magazine, gave the Atari Falcon030 a "Blue Ribbon" Award - nice, for a machine that isn't in the shops yet. American shops that is. Germany has received the first batch of Falcon030s for sale. These machines are the 4 Meg/65 Meg HD version, and early reports indicate great interest. Look for lots more "outside of Atari Corp." raves about the Falcon030 in the weeks to come - and look to Atari Explorer Online to bring them to you. This issue marks our second Special Edition of AEO (AEO Volume 2, Issue 1 should hit the networks on Saturday Jan 2, 1993). In this issue you can find a potporri of items; we're introducing our "Developing News" section with news from Atari developers, Andreas has a quick look at two recent uploads, Oxyd and PhotoChome 3, and purely as an afterthought, we've included the first snapshots of the Falcon030's desktop. Yes. We have a treat for everyone. Assiatant Editor Ron Robinson was the recipent of an Atari Falcon030 computer (poor Ron, he had to promise to slave away at the keyboard to provide Explorer/Explorer Online with valuable insights of the machine). Ron came up with the four Falcon030 snapshots included in this archive; all in Degas/Elite format, and all viewable by ST/STE/TT machines. Their captions are: DESKTOP.PC1: A directory window open alongside the drive icons. Notice the 3-D look to the gadgets on the window. ICONS1.PC1: A selection of "animated" window icons clipped from the desktop. Of each pair, the icon on the left is the unselected state; the icon on the right is how the icon appears when selected. ICONS2.PC1: A few more color icons. SETCOLOR.PI3: For those of you who can't view the color shots, a monochrome display showing the new Set Video Display screen framed in front of a directory window (you get the 3-D gadgets in this shot also). We checked all of the pictures with GEM View 2.0, and they look great! You can even view them with a monochrome monitor. Naturally, they look much nicer in color. We hope to upload 256 color desktop shots (in GIF format) to the nets sometime this week. Also last week, Andreas Barbiero walked out of Atari HQ with a beta copy of ST Sutra/Atari Works/Consierge/Enselmble/Whatever. He also made off with a copy of the SpeedoGDOS installation program to test: Fourteen fonts, ACCs, CPXs, ...and the latest version of SpeedoGDOS. We hope to have a preview of it in AEO and in Explorer soon. Thanks to Bill Rehbock, Director of Applications Software for helping us (and Andreas!) out! I was going to allow Ron, Albert and Andreas to take a moment here to introduce theirselves, but instead, I'll save that for two weeks' time - where you can also meet the rest of AEO's growing staff. Things are happening. Positive things. Enough from me. Let's get on with the issue. --==--==--==--==-- ||| Ron's Random Ramblin' ||| By: Ron Robinson / | \ GEnie: EXPLORER.1 --------------------- SPELLING SENTRY was delivered to me by one of my favorite people - the UPS -------------- person - fresh from Toad Computers this week. Spelling Sentry from Wintertree Software that is a wonderful spell check utility that works on all Atari ST/TT computers. The utility combines "real time" as you type spell checking with very intelligent suggestions for misspelled words and includes a keyboard macro feature. There are many other features such as the ability to check the clipboard which place Spelling Sentry on my "must have" list for Atari owners. Wintertree Software Inc., 43 Rueter St. Nepean, Ontario Canada K2J 3Z9 - 613.825.6271 KODAK PHOTO CD should prove be a very hot item in conjunction with the -------------- superb multimedia features built into the Falcon. To get an advanced view of how Photo CD looks, stop by most any camera store to see Photo CD quality and resolution in action. Photo CD integrates the conventional film technology with digital image storage on CD ROM. The process involves taking a roll of 35mm film to your photo finisher and asking to have them transferred to PhotoCD (about $15-20 for 24 photos). A few days later, you get a CD back with your digitized photographs. Conventional prints can be reproduced from the the PhotoCD images. You can transfer images from several disks to an "album" disk. The CD can then be played on a video disk player capable of displaying PhotoCD format at the baseline television resolution. Consumer players list in the $500 range but I have already seen them advertised for under $350. On the computer side, Kodak's PhotoCD stores images in CD-ROM-XA multisession format. This means each image has its own header, or directory files. Most of the current CD ROM drives only recognize single session (single directory) formats. Images are stored in five 24 color formats with resolutions ranging from 192x128 "thumbnail", 768x512 "baseline television" to 3,072x2,048 "photo quality". The initial film to CD load is 24 images but up to 100 images can be placed on a single CD by returning the disk to the processor with more exposed film you wish to transfer to disk. Atari demonstrated Photo CD on the Falcon and Atari TT at Comdex along with Calamus SL driving 24 bit video cards. Pioneer, Philips, Sony and Toshiba have all announced plans to support the multi-session standards. Eastman Kodak Co., 343 State St., Rochester, NY 14650 1.800.242.2424 VDT GLARE AND RADIATION can be an irritating side effect of using your ----------------------- computer system. Studies show a quality anti-glare filter can eliminate computer induced problems such as eye strain, blurred vision, headaches, and eye irritation. Glare from a monitor bouncing back into your face can force you into uncomfortable postures, resulting in neck pain, backache and shoulder strain. A good filter can eliminate glare, enhance contrast, improve view-ability of text and graphics on the display, enhance colors and reduce screen "flicker". By incorporating a grounded conductive coating into the coating, electric field radiation and static electricity can be eliminated. Experts are recommending that we stay at least three feet away from out TV's to avoid the effects of ELV/VLF and "E" field radiation coming from the front of your monitor. A bad filter can be worse than none at all. One of the best filters I have run across is from a company called OCLI in Santa Rosa California. OCLI has extensive experience with NASA and the military in producing very high quality optical coatings. They offer a wide range of filters for all sizes of monitors starting a prices under $42. A full feature universal fit filter for a 14" monitor runs $69 at CompUSA. Worth checking out: OCLI Glare/Gard, 2789 Northpoint Highway, Santa Rosa, CA 95407-7397 1.800.545.6254 A TOUGH NEW SOFTWARE PIRACY LAW has made software pirating a felony instead ------------------------------- of a misdemeanor. Those pirates now face possible fines up to ten times higher than before, and jail sentences that are as much as five times greater. Offenders can face $250,000 in fines and five years in jails. According to the FBI's Washington unit chief, Charles Owens, "As long as software piracy was only a misdemeanor, we couldn't justify expending lots of resources on it. We don't have that problem any more." Maximum penalties under the new law specifically targets pirates who copy more than ten different programs with a collective value of at least $2,500. According the representatives of business and software associations, this has resulted in pirate electronic bulletin boards that distribute being of particular interest for investigation. DESKJET REFILLS are a great cost effective way of reducing the cost of --------------- using your HP DeskJet printer. The problems of finding a syringe to refill, the legal implications of locating a needle and the mess involved places this operation out of the reach of some people. DGR Technologies has introduced a "neat" refill unit that immensely simplifies the task. The product comes in a twin pack pack with a prefilled syringe/needle unit and is available in red, green, blue or black to spice up your printing. DGR Technologies, 1219 West Sixth Street, Austin, TX 78703 1.800.235.9748 ATARI FALCON030 Having used a Falcon030 for over a week now, I believe --------------- anyone who has an opportunity to work with one will be pleased. My kids love it and are encouraging (yeah, right, how about demanding) me to get the review finished *NOW* so they can get some more time at the wheel. There was more than one "ahhh" experience accompanied by big grins as we discovered new and interesting aspects of the computer. The Atari Falcon030 is flat out a very fun computer to mess around with. The near photographic quality graphics capability has to be seen to be appreciated; "specifications" simply do not seem to do it justice. Just as a reality check, I took a trip to CompUSA today and saw nothing on display with video the quality of the Atari Falcon030. For day-to-day work, the 256 color 640 x 480 mode works wonderfully providing a TT like screen compatible with most applications - I'm using Stalker on the Falcon030 right now in color with full resolution on a NEC 3D. That fact alone is enough to sell me. There are three "ST compatibility" modes built into the video configuration menu - ST low, medium and high. You can now even do ST hi-res on the Atari SC1224 color monitor! Speed in using real world applications is much better than I expected, even in the higher resolution graphics modes. I've been bouncing back and forth between the Falcon and a MSTe installed doing side by side work. The Falcon looks and feels significantly faster in real world use. The digital sound is great. Audio Fun Machine demonstrates how the DSP works with audio to generate special effects real time and will be a big hit at any party. There is no slow down at all as the DSP processes data. One opinion rolling around in my mind is the Falcon030 is not an ST, it is a very different computer - much more different than the TT is from the ST. The Atari Falcon030 is in new ways a greatly improved computer that just happens to be ST compatible. I'd call it the Mazda Miata of computers, fast, fun, inexpensive and flashy. Not a bad combination for an entertainment product. HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL! I truly wish the best for all of you and your ---------------------- families throughout the season. We are very busy on several special projects at Atari Explorer Magazine that I think many of you will enjoy seeing after the first of the year. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to contact me on GEnie at EXPLORER.1. Enjoy yourselves over the holidays and please be careful to remember not to drink and drive. --==--==--==--==-- ||| Lexicor GEnie RTC - Announcing the Phoenix Object Renderer ||| Courtesy of: GEnie / | \ ------------------------------------------------------------ =========================================================================== (C) 1992 by Atari Corporation, GEnie, and the Atari Roundtables. May be reprinted only with this notice intact. The Atari Roundtables on GEnie are *official* information services of Atari Corporation. To sign up for GEnie service, call (with modem) 800-638-8369. Upon connection type HHH (RETURN after that). Wait for the U#= prompt. Type XJM11877,GEnie and hit RETURN. The system will prompt you for your information. =========================================================================== Wednesday Night Real Time Conference December 9, 1992 Host - Brian H. Harvey Guest Speaker - John Cole, LEXICOR John Stanford Ringo Montfort <BRIAN.H> On behalf of the Atari ST Roundtable, I welcome all of you to this LEXICOR Real Time Conference with special guest, John Cole of Lexicor. Many of you will recall the fine products that have been developed for our favorite computer by the Lexicor folks - Prism Paint, Prism Render, Chronos Keyframe Animator, Rosetta, Cybersculpt, Phase 4, Leonardo Board and other fine graphics programs. PHOENIX 512 is the newest product in their catalog and a number of sample files have been uploaded to the GEnie library. If you haven't seen them, you don't know what you are missing! I would also like to take the opportunity to thank our friends at Lexicor for the excellent service they provide here on GEnie - with kudos to Lee Seiler, John Cole and Ringo Montfort. Lexicor - another reason to enjoy GEnie! John, do you have some opening comments to share with us? <[Lexicor] J.COLE18> Ok, here they come... On December 12th, 1992 Lexicor Software will release the Phoenix Object Renderer. This program, written by John Stanford, is a high quality 3D object renderer, with many advanced features. Primarily intended for 'Stills', Phoenix does have Cyber Control and limited key-frame support. Among the main features are Wood and Marble texture maps, Image mapping, object transparency, shadows, and object luminescence. Images can be saved in .SPC, .GIF, or .TGA format. Rendering options allow any size picture with colors ranging all the way to 16 million. Easy object and camera positioning make arranging photo graphic quality pictures simple. Several sample images are available for downloading in various formats, and a demo will be available tonight. The price is $49.95. If John Stanford doesn't have anything to add, we can continue. <[John S.] J.STANFORD2> I'd just like to comment that Phoenix extends the capabilities available in Antic's Cyber line, allowing creation of images never before possible on the Atari, at an accessible price. <BRIAN.H> Ok, the two Johns and Ringo are all available. Chris is first with a question. <[Chris C.] C.CASSADAY> First off, the pictures in the library are absolutely wonderful. I've got a TT030 and I'd like to know which (an unfair question really) graphics card is going to best suit my needs and be the most compatible across the line plus take advantage of the features of Phoenix 512. <[Lexicor] J.COLE18> Hmmm... that's a toughie :-) The only graphics card that we have been approached for compatibility for Chronos or Phoenix is Crazy Dots from Gribnif. Matrix works with Phoenix but not with Chronos (very well :-) I haven't seen a Cyrel card yet. <[John S.] J.STANFORD2> Phoenix should work quite well with the Crazy Dots card in the paletted modes, but hasn't been tested yet. Basically, any card which gives you the greatest color resolution for viewing your images. <[Chris C.] C.CASSADAY> How do all of the Lexicor programs work together, and what benefit can I see from using them? That's it, thanks. <[Lexicor] J.COLE18> It's a 3 step process, you create 3D objects with Cyber Sculpt, render or animate them with Phoenix or Chronos and finish the animations with Prism paint, all fun and easy :-) I should point out that the images in .GIF or .TGA format can be used on another platform, if your standard ST doesn't have the best graphics. <BRIAN.H> Thanks Chris, you are next Ray... <[RAY] R.SYKES2> How does Phoenix talk with CHRONOS <[John S.] J.STANFORD2> At present Phoenix is a stand-alone program from Chronos. The two do not directly interact or exchange files. Phoenix is presently a still frame renderer, but a simple animator is provided and it will render Cyber Control script animation. <[RAY] R.SYKES2> DOES IT READ AMM. FILES <[Lexicor] J.COLE18> Phoenix does not use .ANM files however it does support Cyber Control scripts. <[John S.] J.STANFORD2> We are developing an add-on module to allow Phoenix to render Chronos ANM files which will be available shortly. <BRIAN.H> Anymore Ray?? <[RAY] R.SYKES2> Will it work with Cyber VCR? [John S.] J.STANFORD2> You could convert a series of GIF's into a SEQ file for VCR, but otherwise... <[John S.] J.STANFORD2> Not really. Phoenix will save images as Spectrum SPC, GIF or TGA files <[Jonesy] M.JONES52> Please pardon my naivete, but would Phoenix be suitable for editing photos off a Kodak CD? Say, putting mustaches on a picture of Uncle Henry? <g> <[John S.] J.STANFORD2> Jonesy, No. Phoenix is not a paint program. It is a three dimensional renderer. It creates Phoenix is not a picture editor, it is a 3D object renderer. Lifelike scenes of three dimensional objects with textures, shading, lighting, shadows, etc. You can then edit & modify its images in a paint program. <[Jonesy] M.JONES52> Thanks, John, for clearing up my misunderstanding. <BRIAN.H> Ok, Jonesy. It is my turn for a question. What is the difference between Phoenix and Render 512? <[John S.] J.STANFORD2> Render 512 was an early version of Phoenix. New support for other image resolutions besides spectrum is added, and it is now completely compatible with the TT and Falcon. It has been ported to a new development system and is much faster and VERY solid, which R512 wasn't. Lots of new options and interfaces were added also. <[Lexicor] J.COLE18> It's more fair to say that Render is a distant relative to Phoenix. When you get the chance to use both side by side, you can see the resemblance, however, Phoenix is light years ahead of Render. Speedwise, it's the difference between impulse and warp drive :-) <BRIAN.H> OK, your turn for a question T.Hebel <T.HEBEL> Does Lexicor have a program to generate three D objects or do I have to use Cybersculpt <[John S.] J.STANFORD2> You need to use Cyber Sculpt. Lexicor has numerous copies of Cyber Scupt on hand for sale, the price is ..... Cole? BTW Cyber Sculpt is one of the best modelers I've seen on ANY platform, many costing 10 or 20 times more. <[Lexicor] J.COLE18> I think it's currently ~$30 alone but it is included with Chronos, and there will be a Phoenix bundle with Cyber sculpt and Prism Paint. <T.HEBEL> What would a complete Lexicor bundle cost? <[Lexicor] J.COLE18> Currently Chronos is shipped with Cyber Sculpt and Prism Paint for $199. I'll have to check on Phoenix w/PP and CS <T.HEBEL> Also, how much Hard Drive space would the Software take up? <[Lexicor] J.COLE18> The actual program fits on a floppy, but images can take up a lot of space depending on resolution and # of colors. <BRIAN.H> You are next Richard......... <[Richard] R.LEVY8> John I heard you mention modules... does this mean we can see additional features other then .ANMS added... <[John S.] J.STANFORD2> ANM's only for right now. The ANM "module" will be a desk accessory, ala Cyber Control. All the hooks are already in Phoenix, we just need to finish up the accessory. <[Richard] R.LEVY8> OK.. what is the difference between a texture map and an image map? <[John S.] J.STANFORD2> Phoenix lets you assign textures to an object. You can make an object look like it was made out of wood or marble. These textures are "solid", meaning it looks like you carved the object out of the material. You can also image map an object, wrapping any image around an object. You can put a map of the earth on a globe, a painted face on a man, camouflage and insignia on a tank, the possibilities are endless. <[Richard] R.LEVY8> With an ST what formats can I render? <[John S.] J.STANFORD2> The optimal format on an ST is the Spectrum 512 SPC format, which I'm sure everyone is familiar with. Phoenix will create the typical ST 512 color palette images and STe 4096 palette images which can be viewed with most viewers like DMJ3076. It will also create a GIF file in 2,4,16, or 256 colors. These could be converter to PI? files with other programs. Also true color TGA images for the Falcon and viewing on other systems. <BRIAN.H> Thanks Richard, OK you are up Chris. Thanks everyone for being patient. <[Chris C.] C.CASSADAY> Can you tell me a little about lighting features. When using a Falcon'030, is the use of a TV supported? Lexicor markets the Leonardo card, correct? If so, tell us about some of its features. And price, also. [Ringo] LEXICOR2> The Images that can be map to an Object are SPC, GIF and TGA true color modes the same images can be use for backgrounds. <[John S.] J.STANFORD2> Phoenix has 4 different light types, solar (like the sun), point source (like a lamp), spotlight and ambient (fill lighting). In Phoenix you can have up to 21 lights in a scene, in any location and brightness. All lights can cast shadows. <[Lexicor] J.COLE18> Leonardo is currently undead :-) It will depend on how soon Atari provides a 24bit VDI and Dover Research manufacturing the cards again. <BRIAN.H> OK, you are next Lyre.... <[Lyre] AEO.3> Okay, Although John mentioned what a Renderer is, I am not sure that I understand. Does it allow control of the placement of objects so that they create a "scene" (as in movie sets) and from there the art file can be edited and modified? <[Lexicor] J.COLE18> Leo was dead, but Atari has defrosted a little and may squirt a VDI out after all :-) No guesses on availability thou. <[John S.] J.STANFORD2> Rendering in the sense of our products is creating an image of a 3 dimensionally scene stored in your computer, with realistic lighting and perspective effects. <[Lexicor] J.COLE18> Phoenix is like a photography studio, allowing you to place 3D objects and arrange them so that you can take the picture. Once the picture is taken, or rendered, you use a paint program to edit that. <[Lyre] AEO.3> Ah! Ok, now it makes more sense. <[Lexicor] J.COLE18> If you need to. Some, like REALM's cave don't need much else :-) <[Lyre] AEO.3> There are a number of different Atari computers out now, does Phoenix support all of them? <[John S.] J.STANFORD2> Basically what you seen in the Listerine commercials, Norfolk Southern, 3D computer images stuff. Once you make an image you can paint on it like any other. Phoenix works on every computer in the the Atari 68000 and 68030 line, both released and announced models. 1 meg memory minimum. <[Ringo] LEXICOR2>Like the Photography studio, you can take as many shots as you like, moving objects and lights to your liking. <[Lyre] AEO.3> Do the Lexicor products support the various accelarator boards? Including the math co-processors? <[John S.] J.STANFORD2> The accelerator boards work well with Phoenix and help a lot. Get a computer with an 030/882 combo!!!! Super Speed! Obvously viewing Spectrum images w/ an accelerator is a no/no. <BRIAN.H> Thanks Lyre! <[Lyre] AEO.3> Ok, thank you for the info. <[John S.] J.STANFORD2> The 68882 coprocessor in the TT (and optional in the Falcon) is fully supported and makes an incredible difference. The 68881 on the ST is also supported, but the speed improvements aren't near as great as for the 68882. <BRIAN.H> Ok the moment you have been waiting for. The PHOENIX door prize!!! I will roll a dice and the lucky job number wins.. ** <BRIAN.H> Rolls 1D30 -> 27 = 27 Your roll is 1D30 -> 27 = 27. Ta da............. <BRIAN.H> The lucky winner is R.Hackman1............. <BRIAN.H> Any words, Richard? <R.HACKMAN1> Hey Hey, thanks a lot. <BRIAN.H> Now back to our regular scheduled program. You are next Danny. <[Danny] D.HARTMAN2> I've tried many art programs -not yours- and all the directions seem to have been written by the programmer after pulling an all nighter! How easy is your documentation to decipher for those of us that are computer slow? <[John S.] J.STANFORD2> The programmer did write the documentation, but I spent several weeks at it. I think the tutorial is very good and walks through most of the different options. <[Ringo] LEXICOR2> The program is very easy to use. <[John S.] J.STANFORD2> We are also including a full disk of sample objects to learn from and get ideas on the texturing and lighting. <[Lexicor] J.COLE18> Chronos and Prism Paint have very good documentation, Phoenix will also have excellent docs. <[Danny] D.HARTMAN2> I'll check with my almost local Atari Dealer and check it out. Thanks. <BRIAN.H> Thanks Danny. <[John S.] J.STANFORD2> Danny: The documentation does assume you know how to use the mouse and keyboard, load and copy files, etc. <BRIAN.H> How does PHOENIX compare to similar products on the IBM/Mac? <[Ringo] LEXICOR2> Brian. MAC/IBM program like Phoenix are over priced. Lexicor gives all users excellent products at a very low price. <[Lexicor] J.COLE18> I think the results speak for themselves! Compare REALM's cave and any other computers .GIF files and you will see! Phoenix produces excellent output! The best ever seen on the Atari and is right up there with the best of em! <[John S.] J.STANFORD2> I don't have 3D studio, one of the leading renderers for the IBM. I believe the list price for it is $3000.00. One of our beta testers says, who has it, the images are comparable except that 3D studio has bump mapping which we do not, YET! <BRIAN.H> Thanks Johns,another question from T.Hebel. Go for it... <[Tim] T.HEBEL> How long did it take to render the Cart picture that was uploaded to GEnie? (I use a TT030) Does the software run in Fast Ram? <[Lexicor] J.COLE18> If you going to get a Falcon030, your jaw will drop when you see the quality of Phoenix 16 bit .TGA's <[John S.] J.STANFORD2> Ringo did the cart, can you answer? <[Ringo] LEXICOR2> I render the file on the TT less than 10 minutes. <[John S.] J.STANFORD2> Yes, the software can run in and use fastram. (it will use fastram first and then go to ST ram if you need more memory). <[Tim] T.HEBEL> What additional hardware is needed to videotape an animation? <[Lexicor] J.COLE18> To just go to video tape, you need an Atari or other computer with composit or RF output (STe or Falcon, NOT A TT!) <[John S.] J.STANFORD2> A note on rendering speed...Obvously anyone can create an image that takes forever to render, the times are scene and object dependent. As a benchmark a couple different versions of REALM's Viking object have been uploaded. A Spectrum SPC without shadows on the TT took two minutes. On the ST about 18 minutes. Shadows was about three times as long. <[Tim] T.HEBEL> I am glad to see that _someone_ is taking advantage of the hardware! That's it!! All done. <[Lexicor] J.COLE18> Tim, you need a falcon ;-) <BRIAN.H> Thanks Tim, you are next M.Potter2........ <M.POTTER2> Mike: Can you use procedural texture maps and does the program support "soft" shadows? <[John S.] J.STANFORD2> You can't create your own texture procedures, though you can do almost anything with image mapping. The marble and wood textures can be placed and sized anywhere on the object, and a lot of controls are provided, like some people have done very convincing water and sand dunes with the marble. (snow too). <[Ringo] LEXICOR2> It does very fast rendering and that allows more time for creating scenes. <M.POTTER2> Can you import models from other platforms like DXF or Stratavision? <[John S.] J.STANFORD2> Soft shadows didn't quite make it, I'm playing with it though. You can simulate it using more lights. You need Rosetta to convert other formats to 3D2, Cole, what formats does it support? I know it does DXF, Scupt from Amiga, and a few mac/IBM ones. We'll get back with a complete list. <[Ringo] LEXICOR2> DXF, Amiga sculpt and MAC sculpt AutoCADD 10. For Rosetta, plus 3D1 and 3D2 and R.I.B. files from Rosetta. <[Lexicor] J.COLE18> Off the top of my head, Autocad DXF release 10, amiga sculpt and some mac stuff too... I cant find my feature sheet :-) <BRIAN.H> Thank you for your questions. OK, it is Mike from AEO to ask a question or two..Take your turn at the mike, Mike. <[mike] AEO.8> What input devices are supported, and what plans for additions do you have? <[John S.] J.STANFORD2> The mouse and keyboard are all that are needed, I can't see where a tablet would be of use in this program. One should work ok though. <[mike] AEO.8> ok.. I'm an artist, and still have to have the "pen" in hand.. <[Ringo] LEXICOR2> The Lexicor WIZ graphic tablet works. Specially for object creations. The WIZ tablet is a GOD send for Paint programs. <[John S.] J.STANFORD2> Additions: The renderer of ALL renderers!!!! We plan on going A LOT further with this package, and integrating it further with our other products. Actual features I plan to do is too long a list to get into. ANM support is definitely next. <[Lexicor] J.COLE18> Careful John :-) Don't give away the crown jewels :-) <BRIAN.H> Thank you Mike. We now have Jeff Andrews will to ask some interesting questions. Ok Jeff GO!!!!!! <[Jeff A.] J.ANDREWS23> Ok, here goes a 3 parter... 1) John S., this is a feature I would desperately like to see in a .SPC based program such as PHOENIX in the future - How about a button that turns on and off the CPU cache for us poor folks who have Mega STe's and want to render quickly and then see the results without going to the Control Panel, then the CPX, then the MHz box, for the nth time, as n approaches infinity? <[Lexicor] J.COLE18> Thats a good Idea Jeff, however Atari will NOT give out that information, a lot of people have wanted that for a while. <[John S.] J.STANFORD2> There is a auto folder program from I believe DMJ that lets you switch with a keypress. M.POCHE is one of our BETA testers and thinks the world of this program. <[Jeff A.] J.ANDREWS23> Part 2... Is the demo that's going to be available tonight going to be in 475;3 right after this? <[Lexicor] J.COLE18> It should be up tonight, after the sysops ok it that is ;-) <[Jeff A.] J.ANDREWS23> Thanks for the DMJ info... <[John S.] J.STANFORD2> The keypress prg is I BELIEVE in the libraries. I try to check later. <[Ringo] LEXICOR2> Check the Lexicor library #39. For the demo. <[Jeff A.] J.ANDREWS23> Part 3... Please upgrade the .ANM .ACC from vaporware status ASAP! <[John S.] J.STANFORD2> We realize that is a high priority. We're working as much on an animation player to get full results of the Phoenix images as on the rendering module itself. We have a builder and player to create Spectrum delta animations and this is included w/ Phoenix. We don't have the player finished yet to handle TT LOW res with a different palette for each frame like Phoenix requires for best results. <[Lexicor] J.COLE18> but will soon :-) <BRIAN.H> Thanks Jeff Andrews. OK Chris- another question. <[Chris C.] C.CASSADAY> I had heard in the BB that you guys were working on a videotape demo. What's the scoop? Also, do you still fill up 44meg SyQuest's on request? Could you post an address that we could send in a SyQuest and get some of Lee's pictures and anims. <[Ringo] LEXICOR2> Yes LEXICOR SOFTWARE CORP. 58 Redwood Road Fairfax, CA 94930. Phone 415-453,0271 and FAX 415-453-0533 <[Lexicor] J.COLE18> Call 415-453-0271 next week to order the Demo tape or ask about the demo syquest. <BRIAN.H> Thanks Chris. My turn again... I would like to know what changes are planned for the future for PHOENIX? I know it won't be released until 12th of December, however I am really interested in its future. <[John S.] J.STANFORD2> As mentioned getting things moving with ANM is top priority. Also extended texturing. Several new procedural textures, ability to combine multiple textures on an object. Bump mapping (the surface will look bumpy like any orange). Anti alising is a definite must. Phoenix doesn't now support that. Phoenix already creates an auxiliary file for use with our Falcon paint and image processing program (NOT ANNOUNCED YET :-) ) for depth of field, motion blur and depth-overlaying effects. <BRIAN.H> Thanks. Tim would like to ask another question. What is your question Tim? <[Tim] T.HEBEL> Are there any books that you would recommend to beginners to help them get up to speed in computer animation? <[John S.] J.STANFORD2> I'm just the programmer, I don't get much time to actually use it! <grin> <[Lexicor] J.COLE18> Besides the Chronos or Phoenix manuals, you mean? ;-) Amiga video magazines and general books on animation are good sources, check your bookstore ;-) <[John S.] J.STANFORD2> Lee Seiler is our resident expert and is a professional in the field. He's still off hiding on vacation. you might want to re-ask in Lexicor's cat 25 next week. <[Tim] T.HEBEL> Also, I was still wondering what I would need to hook up my TT to record video? <[Lexicor] J.COLE18> The TT is a nice machine, but lousy for getting animations out. Sorry, we have tried to get a converter, but none is available at this time. A falcon would help :-) <[Ringo] LEXICOR2> But you can send ANM/TGA file for rendering to a service center. <BRIAN.H> Thanks Chris. SAM-RAPP is next. Go Sam..... <SAM-RAPP> This may have been asked up-conference so stop me if it has... What tools should I buy as a complete beginner in animation and computer graphics? I plan on buying a Falcon when available. <[John S.] J.STANFORD2> For Phoenix all you need is Cyber Sculpt to create your models. Depending on what system you have you'll probably want a paint prg to edit the images also (add you name, flames, etc.). On an ST that would be Spectrum, a TT Prism Paint. I haven't surveyed the Falcon Paint market yet. Our future offering is obviously highly recommended. <SAM-RAPP> Is CAD 3-D/Cyber studio necessary? <[John S.] J.STANFORD2> You need something to create objects with. You can use CAD-3D for that, but Cyber Sculpt is the tool of choice and is available from Lexicor. For the masochists in our audience Cyber Control can create very impressive animations with Phoenix. <[Ringo] LEXICOR2> Here are my basic steps for Phoenix animations: Create objects/Phoenix light,map, effects, objects, create a scupt script and render in full true color mode Single frame mode or GIF or SPC format animation. All of that works. BUT with single frames I can create an excellent file for a company LOGO! <BRIAN.H> Thank you Sam. I know Mike has another question. OK, your turn for a question Mike. <[mike] AEO.8> I remember reading several months back that Lexicor was working on a link between the new Falcon and SG. Is Phoenix a part of that? <[Lexicor] J.COLE18> Lexicor is in the process of porting it's animation programs to the SGI, however, currently Phoenix is an Atari only program. <[mike] AEO.8> Thanks! <[John S.] J.STANFORD2> One thing to note is the Phoenix will create TARGA files, which is a standard format on the SGI. <BRIAN.H> Go Jeff. <[Jeff A.] J.ANDREWS23> Is anyone aware if software programs like WARP 9 significantly improve the rendering time on Chronos or Phoenix? <[John S.] J.STANFORD2> It will have almost no effect on the rendering time in Phoenix, it will however greatly speed you scene composition when you're redrawing wireframes a lot. <[Lexicor] J.COLE18> Warp 9 does help Chronos some, and would help Phoenix on screen redraws. <[Ringo] LEXICOR2> Jeff.GIF files with WARP9 load-up very fast with the program even on a TT. Prism-Paint GIF files. <BRIAN.H> Go Richard....... <[Richard] R.LEVY8> John... any clues for future Lexicor programs? <[Lexicor] J.COLE18> clues... Hmmm... Let's see. A fantastic Color image processing package, A 3D object painter, something to do with sound, and finally some nifty genlock stuff :-) Clues enough ;-) <[Richard] R.LEVY8> HUMMMM... sounds like I'll be saving my money. <[John S.] J.STANFORD2> The demo of Phoenix was mentioned earlier. The demo contains all the features and functions of Phoenix, and will load and save all files. The only difference is that several black bands will be rendered into the image. Also the demo doesn't work right on a tos 1.0 machine when loading large objects. This is fixed in the actual program. <BRIAN.H> Thanks Richard. Joe Torres has a question or two. OK, your turn for a question Joe. <J.TORRES17> (I came in late) One thing I'd like to see in an animation pack is the addition of sampled sounds/MOD files... Any plans/hints? (for at least playback) <[Lexicor] J.COLE18> I can't discuss that too much ;-) we will say that we are working on it ;-) <BRIAN.H> How memory intensive is PHOENIX? What is the minimum memory setup? <[John S.] J.STANFORD2> Phoenix will run in 1 meg of memory. To be painfully honest though it is quite memory hungry though. I've never had any problem getting my own images to work in 4 meg, but Lee has created scenes that require more. Phoenix has a lot of options that will let you create good looking images with a small number of faces (sides) in an object. The fewer faces you use the more you can get away with. <[Ringo] LEXICOR2> Lee has a 20 plus meg system and sometimes renders from that one. <[John S.] J.STANFORD2> Shadowing uses more memory than a non-shadowed scene also. Its all very scene dependent. The program itself uses 570K or so. <[Ringo] LEXICOR2> Not that Phoenix needs 20 meg ram BUT it support the extra hardware for your system. <[John S.] J.STANFORD2> That another one of the things on the future list, we think we can reduce the memory requirements significantly in a future version. <BRIAN.H> Thanks John S and Ringo. OK, your turn for a question Richard. <R.HACKMAN1> I wanted to thank you again now that I'm back at my home machine. <[Lexicor] J.COLE18> Your very welcome R.H ;-) <[Ringo] LEXICOR2> Hi, R.HACKMAN1! <R.HACKMAN1> I also wanted to know if the ANM version of Phoenix will be able to "MORPH" like Chronos. <[John S.] J.STANFORD2> Our pleasure Richard. We're very glad to have you on our team now. Yes, morph will definitely be supported, and to a further degree than in Chronos. You will be able to morph the color of an object, so it changes from one color to another during the morph. Morphing doesn't like textures though. <R.HACKMAN1> Thanks John - I'm the one that sent a TGA upside down E-mail to you a while back... Sounds great- <[John S.] J.STANFORD2> Thanks for the reminder on your earlier message. I have a TGA flipper if you're interested send E-Mail. <[Ringo] LEXICOR2> WELL, NO comment for Key-frame animation. Chronos is the BEST!!!! <BRIAN.H> Thanks Rick. Your turn Jeff. Then we will be calling it quits real soon. <[Jeff A.] J.ANDREWS23> Ok... Does Lexicor have anything that does 2D morphing? That seems fashionable lately, I know I saw a mac morph of Bush into Clinton, and the tween frames were eerie 8^> <[Lexicor] J.COLE18> Not yet, that will happen in a future product ;-) <[John S.] J.STANFORD2> Basically no in the immediate future. We have a handle on the technology now, but there are a lot of other steps necessary to tie it all together. <[Jeff A.] J.ANDREWS23> Thanks. <BRIAN.H> Last questions for the night, folks. You have been with the Atari for awhile. What is your vision of the future of Atari ST(E)/ Falcon? Also, what is the future of LEXICOR and the ATARI? In particular, what is coming up in '93? <[Ringo] LEXICOR2> <[Lexicor] J.COLE18> 93 is all about the Falcon. Everything is on Atari and how many and how fast they ship Falcon030's and the timely arrival of future computers. We are poised to enter the high end desktop video market with hardware that will allow us to beat the Video toaster in price AND performance. All we need is computers to develop on and a market to sell to. <BRIAN.H> Great guys!!!!!!! We're drawing to a close for the formal portion of the LEXICOR RTC. Before I put the room into Frenzy Mode, do you have any closing words, JOHN? Ringo and/or John S.? <[John S.] J.STANFORD2> Brian, We'd like to thank you, Lou and Darlah for hosting this conference, and all the great support Genie has provided Lexicor and its users. Thanks! <[Lexicor] J.COLE18> I'd just like to thank everyone for attending. I hope to have a few more product announcements in a short time, so hopefully we can all do this again :-) <[Ringo] LEXICOR2> Well, The Falcon game is now ready and Lexicor has the proper programs, Let ATARI know that this is a new topic. <BRIAN.H> Ok good. I wish to thank you John , John S. and Ringo for making it here tonight. I also wish to thank all the attendees for their questions and patience. ****************************************************************** Be sure to stop by on Wednesday, December 16th for our next RTC with Eric Bitton. This will be a games discussion RTC and Eric will tell you about the latest releases for the ATARI ST. Your host will be Brian Harvey. See you then. --==--==--==--==-- --------------------------------------------------------------------------- -- --==--==-- CompuServe Sign-Up Information --==--==-- -- -- -- -- To sign up for CompuServe service, call (voice call) (800) 848-8199. -- -- Ask for operator #198. You will be sent a $15.00 value CIS membership -- -- kit for free. -- -- -- -- --==--==-- CompuServe Sign-Up Information --==--==-- -- --------------------------------------------------------------------------- --==--==--==--==-- ||| ||| Merry Lynxmas ..... Atari's Lynx - specially priced for the holidays / | \ -------------------------------------------------------------------- A CHRISTMAS PRESENT -- from ATARI! ================================== ATARI LYNX: And a special low price *** $79.95 *** Order now and get your Lynx faster than Santa! Order by December 21 and receive your order by Christmas! Free Federal Express delivery! Hurry! Offer expires 1/31/93! Call 1-800-327-5151 to order now! This Christmas, push your mind to the edge with the Atari Lynx: Backlit screen, stereo sound, 50+ incredible games, "Flip" controls for left handed players, Play with up to 8 friends with "ComLynx", 4,000 brilliant colors (16 bit graphics engine), The worlds largest portable video game screen (3.5" diag.) Atari Lynx has over 50 games - all jam packed with full color graphics, digital stereo sound and radical arcade style action that you won't find anywhere else. Get the picture? You'll find plenty of games at your favorite store (call us for the location nearest you). Many titles available at these fine locations: Electronics Boutique, Software Etc., Babbages, Waldensoftware, Nobody Beats the Wiz, The Good Guys, Toys 'R' Us. Or order all the software you can handle: Xenophobic, Rampage, Batman Returns, Pinball Jam, Gates of Zendocon, Toki, Switchblade II, Steel Talons, Electrocop, Ms. Pac Man, Zalor Mercenary, Ninja Gaiden, Paperboy, Rygar, A.P.B, Awsome Golf, Warbirds, Basketbrawl, Blue Lightning, California Games, Hockey, Viking Child, Xybots, Tournament Cyberball, Shadow of the Beast, NFL Football, S.T.U.N Runner, Turbo Sub, Chip's Challenge, Block-Out, Hard Drivin', Superskweek, Crystal Mines II, Rampart, Checkered Flag, Lynx Casino, Shanghai, Klax, Scrapyard Dog, Ishido, Pac-Land, Roadblasters, Kung Food, Hydra, Robo-Squash, Baseball Heroes, World Class Soccer, Gauntlet--The Third Encounter, Todd's Adventures in Slime World, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, and more! COMING SOON: Joust, Pit Fighter, Dracula, Dinolympics, Power Factor, Dirty Larry, Renegade Cop and more every month. The entire Lynx game library is available from us, by calling 1-800-327-5151. And don't forget to order your Atari Lynx for only $79.95 -- that's $20 off through 1/31/93! And get FREE Federal Express delivery. Or send check or money order to: Atari Lynx P.O. Box 61657 Sunnyvale, CA 94088-1657 (For CA residents, please add sales tax) Call for further information 1-800-327-5151. This offer expires 1/31/93. "Atari", "ComLynx", and "Lynx" are registered trademarks of Atari Corp. Atari: an American company traded on the American Stock Exchange --==--==--==--==-- ||| ||| Developing News: Important items from TOS platform developers / | \ ------------------------------------------------------------- 12/16/92 ===== Important Announcement from the developer of the STraight FAX! ===== As of today December 16, 1992, Joppa Software Development will no longer be the marketing agent for the STraight FAX! FAX Communication Software for the Atari ST, STe, TT/030 and Falcon030 computers. All marketing rights and distribution will be handled by the developer of the software under the company name of NewSTar Technology Management, which is owned by the developer of the STraight FAX! We ask all our registered STraight FAX! users to bear with us during this transition. For the moment all upgrades will be delayed while things settle down. Please look for future announcements as the develop. We ask that this announcement be distributed through the Atari community as it may be impossible for us to contact all registered STraight FAX! users about the change of support. Also, we ask that all any questions be forwarded to the addreses below. Registered users may send us private mail at the addresses below with their complete registration information (please include your registration number, date of purchase, name as registered, address, etc.). NewSTar Technology Management is committed to providing the best possible support for the STraight FAX! customers and ask for your understanding during this transition. We request that all Atari users, dealers and distributors to not purchase any copies of the STraight FAX! from Joppa Software Development or Joppa Computer Products as they are no longer licensed to distribute the STraight FAX! Please look for future announcements from NewSTar Technology Management regarding this matter. Thank You, Charles Smeton Compuserve: 73047,2565 GEnie: C.S.SMETON NewSTar Technology Management P.O. Box 0122 Columbia, Maryland 21045-0122 --==-- --==-- ** An Open Letter to the Registered Customers of DMC Publishing ** I made a mistake, certainly not the first time I have done so, and probably, even with the best of intentions, not the last. I started working on the latest DMC Customer Mailout in October. I handled the mailout to Australia and New Zealand first. We went direct to our customers there this time, rather than using Atari Australia. Due to the right-sizing of Atari Australia, who handled Calamus support for me previously, and its impact upon my own Calamus user base there, they had not received an update since the February release. I am now becoming much more blase over receiving long-distance telephone calls from Australia. I received 4 today alone. I have to get these people online! :-) Regardless, I handled them first and then rewrote parts of the customer mailout for North America. And that's where I made a mistake. It took us three weeks to complete the mailout here. I never anticipated it would take so much time to fold up those posters and stuff from 11-14 pages into an envelope. Day to day operations cannot be allowed to stop simply to stuff envelopes so the actual mailout stretched out longer and longer. The end result is that many customers, important customers (ALL OUR CUSTOMERS ARE IMPORTANT) are only just now receiving their customer mailout, weeks after others received theirs. With the holiday season upon us NOW and the offices of DMC Publishing closing the afternoon of December 24, 1992 and re-opening January 4, 1993, it has become clear that I have done some of my customers a diservice for which I can both apologize and maybe even make amends. I am pleased to announce that I will extend the terms of all the promotions enclosed in our customer mailout. As of right now, the 40% promotional discount on all original typesetter fonts from AGFA Compugraphic, Linotype and URW, the ridiculous clearout prices on VIP, Masterplan and STAcounts, the dynamite sale prices on the Calamus Font Editor, Outline Art, Calamus 1.09N, the Clip Art, the User 2 Users disks etc. is hereby officially extended to January 31, 1993. Please accept this extension as a token of our appreciation to you all, our Registered customers and allow me to take this opportunity to wish you all the very best through this holiday season and a very Happy New Year. Sincerely Nathan Potechin President - DMC Publishing --==-- --==-- Independent Association of Atari Developers Member Listing December 15, 1992 The IAAD is an organization of third-party hardware and software developers supporting the Atari ST family of computers. Unique in the industry, the IAAD works to provide its membership with help in marketing, packaging, technical matters, and other issues of interest to third-party commercial developers. This listing has been prepared to familiarize the public with our members and some of their products. We hope you will find it useful. Each entry has the following format (when applicable): Member Name GEnie Address Company Name Mailing Address Phone(s) Product Names The listing is provided below in ASCII format. An additional file is available in CardFile format. Please note that the product listing is not comprehensive nor detailed, and new products are continually released. Please feel free to contact individual members for information about their listed products. For more information about the IAAD, contact any Board Member. IAAD Board Members: D.A. Brumleve, President James C Allen Nathan Potechin Nevin Shalit Chet Walters Member Listing: James C Allen J.ALLEN27 FAST Technology 14 Lovejoy Road Andover MA 01810 USA 508 475 3810 (fax) 508 475 3810 Turbo25/TinyTurbo030/Turbo030/TurboRAM David Beckemeyer D.BECKEMEYER Beckemeyer Development Tools P.O. Box 21575 Oakland CA 94620 USA 510 530 0451 (fax) 510 530 9637 Hard Disk Sentry/Hard Disk Toolkit/SCSI Tape Kit Robert M Birmingham R.BIRMINGHA4 13630 SW 101 Lane Miami FL 33186-2814 USA 305 385 1942 Dorothy A Brumleve D.A.BRUMLEVE D.A. Brumleve P.O. Box 4195 Urbana IL 61801-8820 USA 217 367 9084 (fax) 217 337 1937 Kidpublisher Professional/Super Kidgrid/Kidpainter/Multiplay/ Telegram/Creative Discovery Packet/Learning Games Packet John Cole, Lee Seiler J.COLE18, LEXICOR Lexicor 415 453 0271 Phil Comeau P.COMEAU1 Wintertree Software Inc. 43 Rueter Street Nepean ON K2J 3Z9 Canada 613 596 1575 (fax Attn) 613 825 6721 The GramSlam Grammar and Style Checker/Grammar Expert/ Spelling Sentry Brad Cox BAREFOOT Barefoot Software 19865 Covellow Street Canoga Park CA 91306 USA 818 727 0632 (fax) 818 727 7143 SMPTETrack/EditTrack/GenEdit/EZ Score+/Hybriswitch Manfred Doewich CYBERCUBE Cybercube Research Ltd. 126 Grenadier Crescent Thornhill ON L4J 7V7 Canada 416 886 3261 (fax) 416 882 0294 CyReL SUNRISE M16-1280 True Color High Resolution Graphics Card/ CyReL SERENADE M16-1280 True Color High Resolution Graphics Card/ CyReL VidiMix8 Desktop Video Module/CyReL Serial Mouse Manager/ CyRel Palette Master Paul Dube P.DUBE Elan Software 550 Boul. 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Box 45 Girard OH 44420 USA 216 539 5623 ScanLite/MVG: MultiViewer Graphica/MVG Modules Disks 1, 2, & 3 William Penner BPENNER Medical Designs Software 3235 Wright Avenue Bremerton WA 98310 USA 206 479 2157 (bbs) 206 373 4840 ECTStat/IOLCALC/MultiWriter/SERIALFX Mario Perdue M.PERDUE M.P. Graphics Systems P.O. Box 501289 Indianapolis IN 46250-6289 USA 317 335 3775 Noids-II Nathan Potechin POTECHIN DMC Publishing 2800 John Street Unit 10 Markham ON L3R 0E2 Canada 416 479 1882 (fax) 416 479 1880 Calamus 1.09N/Calamus SL & modules/Calamus Font Editor/ The Guide to Calamus Desktop Publishing/Outline Art/ INVISION Elite Roger Richards R.RICHARDS2 Synergy Resources 754 N. Bolten Avenue Indianapolis IN 46219 USA 317 231 4158 (fax) 317 356 6946 GEMvelope!/SynthView DW-8000/SynthView K1 George Richardson G.RICHARDSO1 Merlin Group, Inc. 96 Hoyt Street Kearny NJ 07032-3311 USA 201 998 0932 (fax) 201 998 4441 Chris Roberts DRAGONWARE DragonWare Software Inc. P.O. Box 1719 Havre MT 59501-1719 USA 406 265 7300 G Man/Satellite Locator ST/Smoke Art/Dragon Battery/Battery.ACC/ Omikron Basic/FreeWay/DBRS ST/D_Graph ST Eric Rosenquist E.ROSENQUIST Strata Software 94 Rowe Drive Kanata ON K2L 3Y9 Canada 613 591 1922 (fax) 613 591 1922 STalker & STeno (distr. by Gribnif) Nevin Shalit NEVIN-S Step Ahead Software, Inc. 496-A Hudson Street Suite F39 New York City NY 10014 USA 212 627 5830 TrackerST/Tracker For Windows David M Small DAVESMALL Gadgets by Small, Inc. 40 West Littleton Blvd. #210-211 Littleton CO 80120 USA 303 791 0253 (fax) 303 791 6098 Spectre GCR Josh Snyder J.SNYDER7 Cali-Co. Superior Software P.O. Box 9873 Madison WI 53715 USA 608 255 6523 Mah-Jong Solitaire Gene F Sothan EFS Sothan Software / IB Computers 9395 North Wall Portland OR 97203 USA 503 286 8816 IB Harddisk Backup John Trautschold J.TRAUTSCHOL Missionware Software 354 N. Winston Drive Palatine IL 60067-4132 USA 708 359 9565 lottODDS/Printer Initializer/Flash II Melinda Turcsanyi M.TURCSANYI MUSICODE Software 5575 Baltimore Drive Suite 105-127 La Mesa CA 91942 USA 619 469 7194 Clayton Walnum C.WALNUM1 Taylor Ridge Books P.O. Box 78 Manchester CT 06045 USA 203 643 9673 C-manship Complete/ST Assembly Language Workshop/ GFA Basic Toolkit/VDI Quick Reference/AES Quick Reference/ TRB Shareware Companion Chet Walters C.WALTERS1 WizWorks! P.O. Box 45 Girard OH 44420 USA 216 539 5623 Image Cat/Mug Shot!/Coalesce Image Merger/Ma Hubbard's Cupboard/ Mug Shot Data Sterling K Webb S.WEBB7 SKWare One P.O. Box 277 Bunker Hill IL 62014 USA 618 462 2171 (evenings) Seurat/ColorScan/Auto*Art/PS-2GDOS Norm Weinress N.WEINRESS Weinress Consulting 3236 Velma Drive Los Angeles CA 90068 USA 213 876 7704 D.E.K.A. Steve Whitney S.WHITNEY 655 South Fair Oaks Avenue I-103 Sunnyvale CA 94086 USA 815 968 6888 James D Yegerlehner J.YEGERLEHNE Apprentice Software 22205 Swan Road South Lyon MI 48178 USA 313 437 0526 Neural-network Construction Set --==-- --==-- This post reprinted courtesy GEnie. Category 29, Topic 4 Message 105 Fri Dec 18, 1992 FAIR-DINKUM [Hutch] at 21:31 EST ====================================================================== === MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL OUR MATES ON GENIE! ====== ====================================================================== A Christmas present for registered users of CWCII or WSC... ------------------- ---------------------------------------- If you are a registered user of Crossword Creator II (CWCII) or Word Search Creator (WSC), you may now upgrade to the latest version of Puzzle Pack which includes the latest releases of both CWCII & WSC for only $20.00, postpaid! Puzzle Pack normally retails for $49.95 and CWCII and WSC retail for $34.95 each so this is a good deal, folks! This offer definitely expires 31 Jan 93 and is available to registered users of either CWCII or WSC only! This special price includes the program disk and manual only. If you want one of our new viny data folders as well, please add an additional $5.00. Candadian customers no extra charge. Other international orders add $5 extra postage. A Christmas present for NEW customers only... --------------------------------- ------------ Place an order for any Fair Dinkum Technologies product prior to 31 January 1993 and get FREE shipping (priority in the US, first class to Canada). This offer available only to new customers in the US or Canada. A Christmas special... ---------------------- Order any TWO Fair Dinkum Technologies products between now and 31 January 1993 and get a third product FREE! Choose from either Word Search Creator or The Cryptographer as your free gift. The free shipping deal does not apply with this offer. Add $3 s&h. Your free software will be an "Enviro-Pack" (manuals & disks only). And yet Another Special... -------------------------- Since CYBERDROME-THE HOVERJET SIMULATOR is best when played in the 2- player/2-computer mode, you should have 2 copies of the software (if not being played in the same household). So place an order for two copies of Cyberdrome (regular $39.95) for just $70.00, POSTPAID, for the full versions, complete with data folders. The Fair Dinkum Lineup ---------------------- Crossword Creator II........................ $34.95 Word Search Creator......................... 34.95 Puzzle Pack (includes both, above).......... 49.95 The Cryptographer........................... 34.95 CYBERDROME-The Hoverjet Simulator........... 39.95 This message will self-destruct (sorta... I'll delete it) on 1/31/93. Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays to everyone! -Hutch- @ Fair Dinkum Tech ------------ --==--==--==--==-- ||| Computing Heresy! .............. Where "more" isn't always "better" ||| By: Andreas Barbiero / | \ ------------------------------------------------------------------- Before I get any microchips burned on my front lawn, this heresy is of the creative kind; the kind of heresy that Galileo spoke about when he suggested the Earth revolved around the Sun, and when that anonymous inventor made the first bannana and peanut butter sandwich. You know.... the important stuff! Computers are tools. And while they are the most versatile of tools, capable of an infinite variety of electronic tasks, this wonderful power has attracted the oddest sort of person: Enthusiasts. What type of person is an enthusiast? Well, automobile enthusiasts endlessly discuss how to squeeze more horsepower out of bored-out big-block engines, creating high speed monsters that are almost useless for fetching a gallon of milk from the store - all as they idle roughly and spew carcinogens. (Don't get angry, my dream car is a Shelby Cobra 454!) On the other hand, there are very few people who attack the problem of how to keep all those crumbs out from under the baby seat in my Taurus with the same enthusiasm. Computer enthusiasts are much like other enthusiasts. They (we?) are always looking for MORE. MORE speed, MORE storage, MORE colors, and MORE software. More is not a bad thing, but it needs to be balanced with "what is actually needed." Unless you have an unlimited sum of money, the cost is always a factor in the decision making of what to purchase, whether it be hardware or software. So the delimiting question is one of needs versus hyped-up wants. Very few tasks need maximum power, speed, memory, etc. This question might be better answered by considering what the dealer is trying to sell as a NEED rather than a little used option. If we want to find people trying to sell you every possible accessory, we will just have to go to the PC world to get an easy example. The PC clone world has been ravaged by a vicious price war in 1992. Prices have dropped, and consequently profits have shrunk to almost nothing. A $2000 computer sale might not even see 5% profit! Major companies, such as Everex, are falling to this trend and going out of business. Falling prices might be good for the consumer - except in the long run, because with fewer competitors, prices will rise as demand begins to outpace production. AMD has been forbidden to make '486 chips for now, causing chip prices to rise. The Korean memory manufacturers, accused of dumping chips into the market, have been acted against, which has scared the market into almost doubling the price of SIMMS in a few days. Bare bones pricing has driven dealers to look for other additions to the system to help boost a bit of profit. CD-ROMs, huge hard drives, SVGA cards, and the rest all have their definite utility. But does the average PC word processor need SVGA and a 44MHz '486??? Windows is a monster, and 10 or more megabytes of memory set aside in an effort to get those pretty animated icons and useful graphic interface to work is common. Most of the time Windows is a glorified program launcher, and the really cool software is unable to run under it. I know of people who have moved up to a '486 JUST to be able to run Wing Commander under Windows! All that money... but that is never spoken aloud to a person who is shakey on buying a DOS box. To those sold on the idea, the god of memory and SVGA cards is mightily appeased at the money spent on incremental results. Many Atari users have reached a level of productivity on an 8MHz 68000 that is undreamt of by users with '286s and '386s. Why? Books could be written discussing this phenomena, but the main reason is a ROM based operating system which has a mild appetite for RAM, and a CPU which is helped out by custom chips carrying part of the workload. Better a skimpy CPU (the 8MHz 68000 is getting close lately) with a robust support network of helpers than a robust chip (the '486 is a decent number cruncher) with non-existent support on the bus. The best information is useless if it is inaccessable, and the most powerful CPU is helpless when faced with dozens more tasks than it should have to perform. So, what does a good system consist of? I consider my Mega STe to be an excellent example of a decent system. A 50 meg harddrive, a 16 MHz 68000, a superior keyboard, and TOS 2.06 beats out a more expensive DOS box in the '386 and low '486 class. All the add-ons make those machines a liability. I will never have to re-install TOS after goofing up a .INF file - Windows is GONE if the driving files are messed up at ALL. I do concede that the 68000 is a aging chip, and now that the new technology is a couple of generations away, the 68030s are affordable and a welcome improvement. When the Falcon is available in numbers, it will really take over the average users needs with real overkill in the audio and video departments. A 16MHz 030 is capable of speeds up to 5 times that of a 8MHz 68000, and if a 8MHz STe can hold its own against a 16MHz '386, imagine what the Falcon will be able to realistically take on! But what about NOW? The Falcon has still yet to appear at any dealership in the US, and the STe and TT are presently available. A decent system based on a STe really needs to be based on the Mega STe. The venerable ST design really underwent some fantastic transformations with the introduction of the Mega STe. Not only are the standard STe enhancements put into this machine, your favorite ST application software will benefit from the boost of a 16MHz 68000. The built in hard drive, TOS 2.06, 1.44 meg floppy, and VME give the lucky user a platform that can keep up for a few more years. If more storage is needed, a Syquest removable is a good expansion, allowing potentially unlimited storage, and makes a good mate for the internal hard drive. Backups are a snap with one of these units, and you won't have to feel guilty when you download several megabytes of Photochrome pictures or MOD files! Printers are another matter. With the recent introduction of the Hewlett-Packard LaserJet 4, 600dpi printing is available at the cost that 300dpi is sold at! 600dpi is effectively 4X the resolution as 300dpi.... every dot of ink on a 300dpi page is replaced by 4 dots at 600dpi! $1400 is a bit much for the average home user, but the introduction of new technology presents some problems. I purchased a DeskJet 500 last year, and am glad that I went this way. The LaserJet 4 is going to change the face of printing technology, bringing the 300dpi models cheaper, and paving the way for more improvements. For the next year or so, my DJ500 will serve me nicely as I wait for the next generation of laser printers to settle out. The DJ is not the newest or the best, but it, like the Mega STe, is a great deal of versatility for the money. Modems are another story. The high-speed modem (9600/14,400 baud) price wars of 1992 have slowed a bit, and for at least the next year or two, any improvements with new models will not present a big enough jump to warrant the costs. A decent 14.4Kbaud modem with all the applicable protocols is available for under $250, if you shop carefully. This MSTe system will serve even after you decide to move up to one of Atari's newer machines in the future. The modem, Syquest and DeskJet printer are transferrable to a new CPU, and will be able to add some serious value to any computer you buy. If you want to move up a bit in price, substituting a TT for the MSTe will give you a system capable of outperforming the Falcon030, and a '486 DOS box at a reasonable price. The MSTe should be available around $600 to $900, depending upon configuration, and the TT should go for under $1500, for a base model. Monitors are extra, and a standard VGA should work on the TT and on a Falcon machine, if it is in your future. In conclusion, don't overbuy. Decide honestly what your needs are, how far you can expect to expand it realistically, and how soon you expect technology to REALLY overtake you. You will be suprized how long you can stay current and productive with a machine that isn't replaced every six months!! --==--==--==--==-- ||| ||| GEnie Atari ST RoundTable News / | \ Courtesy: GEnie ------------------------------ = DARLAH'S TREAT = *************************************************************** Happy Holidays from the Atari Roundtable and GEnie! Darlah's Holiday Treat of the Month [page 475;9] is PHNXDEMO.LZH from LEXICOR2. This the DEMO version of Phoenix object render from Lexicor Software. The LZH file also includes SPC & GIF sample files. This is a must have program for all ATARI computers. Phoenix support different light sources, 3 different cameras, texture and image mapping: SPC, GIF & TGA are support. This is a very fast render. Look for the second Holiday Treat coming soon on page 475;10 -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- FAIR-DINKUM Technologies have just uploaded a brand new, fully functional DEMO version of CYBERDROME - THE HOVERJET SIMULATOR by Rhea-FX. CyberDrome combines the realism of a real-time flight or tank simulator with arcade action and the exploration of an adventure/maze game. This is a great demo, check it out; File # 26949. *************************************************************** = REALTIME CONFERENCE = = Scheduled Wednesday RTC Guests = Have an idea for an Realtime Conference? Wish to promote a product, show or service? Atari Roundtable Realtime Conference provides an excellent platform for announcements and discussions. Contact RTC$, for requirements and information on holding formal RTCs. We also capture and edit the formal conferences and uploads them into the Atari RT's Library for you. = Monday Realtime Conference = Stop in for Monday's Desktop Publishing Realtime Conferences. Hosted by Lou Rocha with regular guests dealing with all aspects of DTP and associated topics. = Atari ST Help Desk = Atari ST Roundtable holds a Sunday Help Desk to answer your questions on GEnie, Atari ST Roundtable and the line of Atari computers. Stop in and ask questions or just visit the Atari RT staff and users. The Help Desk starts at 9:00 pm EST Sunday on page 475;2. = RTC Transcripts = 26912 LEXICOR.ARC X BRIAN.H 921213 16384 65 13 Desc: LEXICOR RTC 9Dec92 26809 BRODIE3.ARC X ST.LOU 921205 12672 422 13 Desc: Lots of Christmas Specials from Bob 26713 BRODIE2.LZH X ST.LOU 921128 12416 281 13 Desc: RTC Transcript/Bob Brodie For Realtime Conference inquires and comments contact: RTC$ = LIBRARY = Last Week's Top Downloaded Programs/Utilities: --------------------------------------------------- 26831 PCHROME3.LZH X D.HELMS 921206 44800 403 28 Desc: PhotoChrome Version 3.00 !MUST HAVE! 26900 W9_374UP.LZH X CODEHEAD 921212 80896 252 2 Desc: Updates Warp 9 v3.73 to v3.74 26927 W9_375UP.LZH X CODEHEAD 921213 67072 169 2 Desc: Fixes 2 bugs in Warp 9 3.74 26903 DE100102.LZH X ORA.TECH 921212 118656 164 2 Desc: Diamond Edge V1.00 -> V1.02 Patch 26829 DB2V251.LZH X ORA.TECH 921206 107136 161 2 Desc: Diamond Back II V2.50->V2.51 Patch 26866 FORUM36A.LZH X E.BAIZ 921210 32256 147 8 Desc: Tic-Tac-Toe game. Excellent!!!!!!! 26850 STTK1207.ARC X J.SELLERS2 921209 299392 122 8 Desc: Trek space battle simulation. 26891 PROC_123.LZH X D.PANKE 921212 27264 91 3 Desc: GFA PROCEDURES Volume 1.23 --------------------------------------------------- Last Week's New Demos: --------------------------------------------------- 26962 SOLUTION.LZH X P.DUBE 921215 288768 8 10 Desc: Mathematical software for the ST/TT 26949 CBDDEMO2.LZH X FAIR-DINKUM 921215 133632 18 10 Desc: NEW Demo version of CyberDrome!!! --------------------------------------------------- Last Week's Press Releases in the Library --------------------------------------------------- 26964 IAAD_DIR.ASC X D.A.BRUMLEVE 921215 10496 12 14 Desc: Updated IAAD Member Directory 26848 EDGESALE.TXT X MAG.SOFTWARE 921209 2688 44 14 Desc: Diamond Edge still on SALE - $44.95 26847 3DFLPFLY.LZH X MAG.SOFTWARE 921209 104704 25 14 Desc: 3-D Floptical Flyer - .IMG format 26840 LOTSBYTE.CAT X LOTSABYTES 921208 768 87 14 Desc: PLI products, mini & dual systems. 26828 CMCINFO.TXT X S.GARRIGUS 921206 7424 50 14 Desc: Computer Musician Coalition info! 26804 LYNXXMAS.TXT X EXPLORER.1 921205 3584 105 14 Desc: Christmas special on the LYNX! --------------------------------------------------- Contact: LIBRARY$ --==--==--==--==-- ||| ||| The First Annual Atari Explorer Online Reader Survey ... The results / | \ -------------------------------------------------------------------- Wow. I must say that I was overwhelmed by the response to our First Annual Reader's Survey. We've a lot of numbers to grind through. Here are the results: Subject Score (1-5) ------------------------------- Atari News 4.88 Developer News 4.75 User Show Reports 4.36 Trade Show Report 4.53 Computer Industry News 2.89 Network News 3.69 RTC Reprints 3.58 Lynx News/Reviews 3.4 Portfolio News/Reviews 2.08 Editorial 4.1 Product Reviews 4.47 Hardware How-To 3.45 Programming-General 3.46 Programming-Assembly 2.43 Programming-BASIC 2.57 Programming-C 3.21 Programming-GEM 3.07 Programming-MultiTOS 3.27 Programming-Pascal 2.14 Programming-PowerDOS 2.83 Programming-Telecomm 3.85 Programming-UNIX 2.2 Star Trek:TNG 3.5 AEO News Now! 4.63 (Well, I'm personally glad to see that Star Trek received a 3+ score) Expect to see everything that received a 4+ in the ratings. Following the survey results, AEO will stick with an Atari Computer News format. We will occasionally include Lynx material and Portfolio items. Computer Industry News will be featured only when it can be used by Atari Computers (e.g., new SCSI devices, drastic RAM price changes). Network news will be carried as a service to the nets. The programming area was split among people who really wanted it, and those who really wanted to avoid it. We are working in house to find a solution to this dilemma. More in our next issue. As for the comments, I'm glad to say that nearly everyone took the time to jot down a suggestion or two. Here are a sample of the comments (names withheld): --==-- I would like to see AEO cover the "Atarians in the trenches", those of us who are out here in the Real World of Atari. I suggest you support user groups, have news especially on local events, perhaps a quarterly or bi-monthly "User Group and Local Atari Events" That would cover every- thing from a local swap meet to local dealer promotions <The kind that would draw Atarians for a few hundred miles, not a sale, but an EVENT, that kind of promotion, the kind with balloons and hype and the GOOD STuff...> Also, I putter around a little at GFA Basic 3.0 programming... AEO should offer to showcase and promote shareware/PD programmers, perhaps showcasing the work of a different amateur programmer on occasion, complete with "interview" and a with info on how to get the program. --==-- "I would like to see AEO cover...." programming on the ST. None of the online magazine seem to cover programming at all. I would also like to see something where you select a freeware/shareware "program of the week" and have its author write a small article about it. --==-- "I would like to see AEO cover...." Any Atari related news. I am a stockholder and computer owner/user and I demand that the online news magazine carry EXCLUSIVE Atari related news. There is no reason that Explorer, print or electronic, must "defer" to the other Atari magazines. There are NO other Atari magazines and as such absolutely NO reason that Explorer should not have the exclusive first news on anything Atari. You people are the publicity arm of Atari Corp and if nobody in management can see the value in having EXCLUSIVE Explorer coverage of such things as the Falcon or new game machine etc., then they can take their magazine, computers and stock and shove it some where I won't mention, because it does no one any use to have this type of news in any other magazine than EXPLORER. --==-- I would like to see AEO cover Atari news. Other stuff that I have reflected in my survey is fine, but there is a real lack of good, credible Atari news. Several print magazines have destroyed their credibility with me because their information is irresponsibly incorrect; I know better because I spend time on the networks where I get to communicate with the newsmakers, not just the people that "report" it. I want news of products, both hardware and software. I want news that tells me that there are products on the ST that compare well to those on other platforms. I want news that tells me that the ST has unique products that are rarely found on other machines, such as the Stitchmeister. For example, tell people about Gene Mosher's ViewTouch stuff. I know about it from Fidonet, and I doubt there are many others that out there that know about it, who would like to. --==-- "I would like to see AEO cover...." ... technical issues (GEM programming, etc.), 3rd party product reviews, "hints and kinks," compatibility lists and dealer/service availablity. --==-- "I would like to see AEO cover...." New library uploads available from GEnie and CompuServe. I would also like to see a revised version of Atari Explorer's BEANCALC.ACC desk accessory program attached to some future issue. The previous editor, John J. was planning to do this. --==-- "I would like to see AEO cover...." ... both news and views of Atari products, and possibly interviews with on-line personalities about Atari products. There are a lot of interesting people on services such as GEnie that could be asked why or how (or when! (g) ) they use Atari products, and outside sources could be asked to present their views as well. --==-- "I would like to see AEO cover...." international Atari news and something besides gloom & doom. "...descriptions of 'selected' (your choice) files uploaded to GEnie and all those things marked 5 & 4 in Part I." --==-- I would like to see an upgrade section monthly. It would list the latest versions of the most popular software and their upgrade fees. --==-- "I would like to see AEO cover the people and things they do or make that contribute to the betterment of the world Atarian, specifically viz. Atari, developers, and tips from users. In addition to news of people, product, and services, include information on dealers and developers, and reviews of useful hard- and soft-ware, with online service file numbers as applicable." --==-- "I would like to see AEO cover...." the possibility of Atari doing national advertizing to help get the word out to people other than people that already own Atari equipment. Word of mouth advertizing may have worked 10-20 years ago but is not a viable means of conviencing people to purchase Atari equipment. --==-- That's it! Thanks to all of you who responded to our survey. We are already beginning to impliment some of your suggestions already. Look to AEO for the best in news from Atari. --==--==--==--==-- --------------------------------------------------------------------------- -- --==--==-- GEnie Sign-Up Information --==--==-- -- -- -- -- 1. Set your communications software for half duplex (local echo) -- -- at 300, 1200, or 2400 baud. -- -- -- -- 2. Dial toll free: 1-800-638-8369 (or in Canada, 1-800-387-8330). -- -- Upon connection, enter HHH. -- -- -- -- 3. At the U# prompt, enter XTX99436,GENIE then press <Return>. -- -- -- -- 4. Have a major credit card ready. In the U.S., you may also use -- -- your checking account number. -- -- -- -- For more information in the United States or Canada, call 1-800- -- -- 638-9636 or write: GEnie, c/o GE Information Services, P.O. Box -- -- 6403, Rockville, MD 20850-1785. -- -- -- -- --==--==-- Atari's Official On-line Resource! --==--==-- -- --------------------------------------------------------------------------- --==--==--==--==-- ||| ||| Atari Software Catalog / | \ ---------------------- The 1992 International Software Catalog (Item# C303288-001) is now available from Atari Corporation. If you haven't heard about it yet, check out the messages on GEnie in category 14, topic 42. The catalog has more than 400 pages, contains nearly 500 entries, and features almost 175 screen shots. Categories covered include Publishing and Graphics; Multimedia and Hypertext; Personal Productivity; Connectivity and Communications; Music; Business; Education; Entertainment; Computer Aided Design; Medical; Development Tools and System Software; and Peripherals. Atari Falcon030 listings are also included. Along with the product description the reader is provided with developer information designed to help them acquire the product if it is unavailable from their local dealer. Suggested retail prices are also listed. If your local dealer runs out of catalogs you may order your catalog directly from Atari by writing to: Atari Customer Relations International Software Catalog P.O. Box 61657 Sunnyvale, CA 94088 The price is $12.00 per book. Add 8.25% sales tax if ordering from California, Illinois, or Texas. Also include $5.00 shipping and handling per order. Payment may be made by check, money order, MasterCard, or VISA. (Allow 2-4 weeks additional if paying by personal check) If you would like to order by VISA or MasterCard you can also leave Email on GEnie to G.LABREC with your name, address, phone, card number, and expiration date - I will forward the order to customer service. ******************** SPECIAL USER GROUP OFFER ******************** For a limited time, any registered user group may purchase the catalog in lots of 10 books. When ordering a lot of 10 books the cost would be $10.00 per book plus $8.00 shipping for the lot. --==--==--==--==-- ||| From the Libraries: PhotoChrome 3 and OXYD ||| By: Andreas Barbiero / | \ Delphi: ABARBIERO; Genie: AEO.1 ------------------------------------------ --==-- PhotoChrome 3 --==-- Lately, my only real gripe with my Mega STe has been the aging effectiveness of the STe's native color resolutions. The addition of a 4096 color palette to the ST gave some subtly to the shades of color that could be displayed. Unfortunately, the 16 and 4 color limitations in low and medium resolution remain. The standard resolution for the rest of the computing industry has moved to 640X480 in 256 colors from a 24bit (16 million colors) palette. A bit larger than the Atari standard resolutions. There have been many good and effective fixes for this, both with software, and lately with some powerhouse hardware. On a stock ST/STe the best way to squeeze more color out of that SC1224 is to get one of the graphics boards available. Heavy modifications to the computer is required for most of the graphics add-ons to work. For instance, the SST 030 accelerator board from Dave Small will support the addition of a graphics board giving those of you who do not have a Mega Bus or a VME bus in your machine the ability to run higher resolutions. Unfortunately, for me, most of these hardware add-ons can't justify the price for my non-professional use. Even with the new affordability of the ISAC and AlberTT cards, running for around $299.00, I would still need to buy a better monitor. Matrix, Cyrel, and others have very impressive products to sell, and with the empty VME bus in my MSTe, any one of them is just waiting to be bought. Though I cannot afford these options as yet, my DTP software is just crying out for something like 1280X960. Even in monochrome, this would revolutionize the way I work with Calamus, and deal with most of my computing, which takes place on my mono monitor anyway. The addition of a better monitor to view that kind of resolution is also needed. There are other hardware options around, most of them are of the 'overscan' variety, allowing someone to replace those black borders with usable desktop. Resolutions up to 768x528 are available in monochrome, not any more useful for color images, but better for those DTP sessions. The TT and Falcon 030 could fill most of these needs. The TT supports the 1280x960 monochrome and a 256 color low resolution. With the VME-bus and the stock resolutions, the TT is your best bet for any serious DTP or graphics work. With the VME cards available, if and when the built in resolutions are not enough, the only limit to the expansion is your need... or your wallet. The Falcon is better for video and audio manipulation, and with 65,000 colors, near photographic quality is available. A programming video hack should be possible, along the lines of Spectrum 512 for the ST, to allow at least 262,000 colors. Already there's talk of a German company with an overscan modification for the F030 allowing for 806x600! But all I need is to pull up GIFs I download off bulletin boards and view them the way they were intended. Conversion of the GIF into the Atari's native formats can leave something to be wanted - even Spectrum 512 leaves artifacting and other anomalies in the process. There are just not enough colors per scan line to render a 256 color image correctly in Spectrum 512, even with an STe's 4096 color palette. DMJ Software has had an excellent product in DMJ-GIF, which through converting a GIF to a SPC file, can make the millions of GIF files out there accessible by the average Atari user. This processes is time consuming, and sometimes the output, as I said earlier, is less than perfect. The combination of size resolution and a 16 million color palette present in a GIF conspires against us. The point still remains, HOW does an Atari user overcome this problem? Short of buying a Falcon 030, a TT, or one of those cards, there is but one acceptable solution. And it will cost you less than twenty dollars. THE SNAKE OIL PITCH As enticing as some of these monster hardware options are, it looks like the software option is the only one left for the rest of us. Atari programmers have been notable for playing tricks with the hardware to get the machine to do things the designers at Atari had never considered. A couple months back, one of the British computer magazines distributed a little gem called PHOTOCHROME. This program allows you to view images in an astounding 19,200 colors out of 32,768 on an STe! On older STs you can view 4096 colors out of 4096 by using a HAM (Hold and Modify) mode similar to the Amiga. This wasn't enough. Although viewing 24Bit raytraced pictures in 19,200 colors was great, the ability to directly view a GIF was not included in the original release of PhotoChrome. My attention was not really piqued by this until another little program came on another ST Format cover disk. This tiny program GIF2RAW allows an interesting metamorphosis to occur. A GIF file can be reduced to 320X200 and set up as a 24Bit RAW file. RAW files are the native format of Quick Ray Trace, and the PhotoChrome renderings of these raytraced images were amazing. So I tried it. I took a GIF, ran it through GIF2RAW, and in a fraction of the time DMJ-GIF took to convert a GIF to a Spectrum, I had a 192K .RAW file. Big, but promising. As exciting as it was, this was time consuming, as well as disk intensive. I don't want to spend minutes to view an image, no matter how remarkable the result. PhotoChrome took a few minutes to render the picture with the high color output. You might have noticed that I slipped a "took" in that last sentence. There is now a new version of PhotoChrome - with the arrival of PhotoChrome 3 all these intermediate steps are not needed. Direct viewing of Targa and GIF files are now directly implemented. No more need to keep those 192K files around! For those who haven't seen a Targa file, Targa is a file format for 24bit color, and looks spectacular in their native resolutions - and nearly as fantastic, even in 320X200. These files are HUGE, dependent on the screen resolution. Even reduced to 19,200 colors, a file can get quite big. When outputing a file into this high color format, there is more flicker, and a larger file saved. I find for most 256 color GIFs that the SuperHAM level of rendering is more than sufficient. In 60Hz, with either of the three other rendering options selected (I have not noticed a difference between them with the GIFs I have used.) the final picture is clear, and in realistic colors. After you have finished playing with the options, and you have the picture on the screen using PhotoChrome, pressing 'S' will give you a file selector and allow you to save the image, in the PhotoChrome resolutions, compressed, to disk. The PhotoChrome 3 archive has fixed the nasty need to have the PCS files on floppy. All you need to do is install the PCSCLICK program with the .PCS option selected, click on the PCS file and away you go! Instant slideshow! The money comes in here. These programs are shareware, and the author is only asking less than $10 American for them. If you can't find them (I uploaded them to Delphi), you can purchase copies plus sample PCS files from the Bay Area Atari User Group for only $6.00 (shareware payment NOT included). The author of PhotoChrome lives in Scotland, and the best way to get him the money would be to airmail the cash to him. I know, the standard message is, "don't mail cash," but until someone picks up distribution of this program in the US, mailing him a check could cost him more than the amount you are sending him! The cost can't be beat, and if you like graphics you don't have to qualify when your Mac and PC friends look at them, try PhotoChrome. I also will trade the PCS files I have made with anyone who has done the same with their GIFs. PCS files can be found on both Delphi and Genie. Happy conversions!!! You can obtain the BAAUG PhotoChrome disk by writing to: Steven Lee; C/O BAAUG; 3691 Eastwood Circle; Santa Clara, CA 95054. BBS: 1-408-986-0215 --==-- OXYD --==-- (or: Marble Madness meets Concentration) This month on GEnie, Darlah Potechin placed a rather large game in the "Treat of the Month" free download section. This was a good idea, not only is the file very large, but REALLY worth it. (Don't worry, it will fit on a double sided disk uncompressed!) DongleWare Software has produced a fully commercial quality game, released into the worldwide shareware circuit, that will allow you to play 10 landscapes without needing to register the software. This game runs on a ST, MSTe, TT and Falcon030! So what do you get for your ~$40 shareware fee? Well, let's talk about what you get BEFORE you pay. OXYD is a game that has all the smooth grace lacking in many amateur and commercial games. In OXYD, you manipulate a small, black marble, that you must navigate through a playing field, or landscape, of obstacles, and useful objects. The object is to locate matching colored 'atoms' hiding within boxes. These boxes are opened by hitting them with your marble, revealing whatever color they may be, and if you hit it too hard, the rebound could send you careening around the screen. The landscape can encompass more than one screen, requiring you to do things, like activate switches, which can cause actions to take place several screens away. Lasers and doors are just some of the objects you manipulate in this game, either directly or indirectly in order to get that elusive match. On one level, there is a bottomless pit separating you from the atoms and their boxes, leaving you to move a mirror, and switch on a laser. If everything is lined up, two screens away, the laser will hit and open a box for you. The crisp audio clues are a must for saving time going back and forth between screens. You can either open the boxes, in a hit or miss fashion, or roll back and forth between the screens to line up your shot. Combinations of pits, disintegrating floor panels, bombs, dynamite, lasers, doors, movable blocks, umbrellas, quicksand, mirrors, and tipsheets define puzzles that require some thinking and a steady hand. OXYD's first 10 levels are interesting and challenging, but not TOO difficult. When you reach the 11th level, the hints left on the playfield are gone, and the book sent back after paying your fee is the only way to get the clues necessary for your success over the next 90 levels. Is it worth the money? That's for you to decide, and to playtest for yourself!! Well worth the time spent to download it. --==--==--==--==-- ||| From GEnie's Libraries ||| By: Don Harris / | \ Genie: D.Harris8 ------------------------------------------ CuSTomer Support- The Continuing Saga of Caveat Emptor The Introduction... Hi. My name is Don. Some of you know me as Laser's Edge Graphic Design. A sampling of my work has been on GEnie and on a few local bulletin boards. I'm the one who gratefully received an honorable mention in the '92 Outline Art Contest with "Flowers of the Mind" (I like to tell people I was "one of the winners" in an international art contest). I've been using and supporting Atari and its computers ever since the 1040ST first came out. It was my first computer and I bought it for music sequencing and, yes (sigh), for games. I later bought a Mega 4 ST with a 20mb hard drive and Atari Laser Printer to begin typesetting and desktop publishing, and also kept the 1040 for the kids to use (and, yes (sigh), for games). I love the Atari computers. I believe in Atari so much, that I have talked most of my family into buying Ataris (Ataries?) when they were ready to go computer hunting. My mother even started doing DTP so she could publish a newsletter where she works. Even though she prefers Pagestream, whereas I am a devoted Calamus disciple, I don't hold it against her. She does use an Atari. The Ecstasy... My mother decided she needed a hard drive and a faster computer to do her DTP more efficiently. I most heartily agreed. Working off of floppy drives is extremely inefficient, but it works. Once you start working every day on it, though, a hard drive can save hours in disk access time alone and CPU speed is especially important when you start handling complex graphics. Anyway, Mom told me she wanted a new Mega 4 STe with a hard drive like she had seen in ST Informer, and asked if I knew where to get one. She knew there was no Atari store in town, but I told her that I had been buying my laser printer cartridges from a guy who works out of the back room of his house, and who I thought was an Atari dealer. So, I told her I would ask about pricing and, if the price was right, get her one. She asked me if I wanted one, also! "MOM! Do I WANT one? Of COURSE I want one!" I nonchalantly exclaimed. "Well then, get one for yourself, too!" WOW! I had really been wanting a new TT (giggle), but my finance department said no. And, of course, I wasn't about to turn down a new STe if it was offered. So, with Mom's blank check in hand, I scurried over to the local Laser Printer Cartridge Supplier and Almost- But-Not- Quite Atari Dealer. I managed to keep the drool from running down my lip and into my beard as I casually told him I wanted TWO, count 'em, TWO, not ONE but TWO brand spanking new never-been-used-before fresh-out -of-the-box Mega 4 STe's. We talked pricing, features, goodies, all the normal computer stuff, and wrote up an order for those TWO brand spanking new, never-been-used- before, etc., STe's. He told me it would probably take a week to ten days to get them in. "Great", I said. I was already anticipating the increase in speed I would experience while watching screen redraws in Outline Art (and the great sound of the games), not to mention the increase in hard drive space over my trusty 20 megger. Then my local Laser Printer Cartridge Supplier and Almost-But-Not-Quite Atari Dealer, whom I'll call Ralph, which could be but isn't necessarily his real name, asked if I would rather have a TT (giggle) if he could get it for the same price. "RALPH! Do I WANT one? Of COURSE I want one!" I nonchalantly exclaimed. Ralph told me that the STe was a discontinued computer (I was later told that the TT [giggle] was also discontinued) and that I would be much better off with a TT (gig... well, you get the point). And besides that, he said, the prices have come WAY down on the TT's. "What about compatibility problems with my music software, Notator." "Oh, there should be no problem. It'll run great." The price wasn't exactly the same, but for the extra three hundred dollars (each) it seemed worth it. So, we wrote up another order, this time for TWO, count 'em, TWO, not ONE but TWO brand spanking new, etc., etc., TT's, with two megabytes of TT Ram, four megabytes of ST Ram (I had to run my Atari laser printer), a 50 megabyte internal Hard Drive and a 15 inch (I think) Magnavox color monitor. He told me it would probably take two to three weeks to get them in. "Fine," I said, and wrote out the check for the full purchase amount in advance, up front, 100% down with no long term financing options. I was elated. That was Wednesday, September 23rd. The Waiting... I called to check on the progress every week to ten days. "Be patient," I was told. I'm not going to settle for (Unpostable Word = UPW)! "What?" my inquiring mind wanted to know. Does that mean that a lot of the TT's out there are (UPW)... well, not quite right? I was glad I was going to get a good one, or two. I continued to call every week to ten days. "Don't worry, I'll keep in touch. I'll let you know when it comes in," I was assured by my Local Laser Printer Cartridge Supplier and Almost etc., etc., etc. Three weeks passed. My mom wanted to know where her computer was. I called Ralph. "I placed the order Friday, and the good news is we got it in before the price increase. We're in good shape! Don't worry, I'm treating you right," I was told. October 22nd. Four weeks. Mom wanted her computer. I called Ralph again. "We've got one ordered and I'm looking for the other one," Ralph said. "I'm not settling for no (UPW)!" There it was again. I was beginning to feel sorry for all those poor Atari users out there who did settle for (UPW)..er, something that wasn't quite right. But why STILL looking for another one? Are they that hard to find? Is Atari out of business? Did I buy a pig-in-a-poke, or what? I should have told him to forget it, but I didn't. He had my (mom's) money. I decided to call a bona fide Atari dealer just to ask a few questions, so, on October 23rd, I gave Sheldon Winick, of Computer Studio in Asheville, NC, a call. "Computer Studio. May I help you?" "Good morning, is Sheldon in?" I asked. I wanted to talk to the boss, the big man, the top guy, the head cheese. I've learned if you ask for him by his first name the person who answered the phone usually thinks you're a personal friend, so they put you through faster. "This is he." So much for the personal friend stuff. "Mr. Winick, this is Don Harris in Jacksonville, Florida. I don't know if you remember meeting me over at Ralph's (which could be but isn't necessarily his real name) several months ago. Laser's Edge Graphic Design?" "Yes, Don, what can I do for you?" I began to tell Sheldon the story of ordering the TT's, and asked him if he sold them and, if so, how much trouble he was having in getting them. "Oh, we sell them all the time. No trouble getting them at all." I asked if he knew why Ralph might be having a hard time getting them. I was told Ralph isn't an Atari Dealer, so that might explain it. The Agony... I had read some messages in the MIDI RTC on GEnie about Notator not running on a TT, so I asked about compatibility problems with Notator. He said he didn't think Notator supported the big screen monochrome or color monitor, but that other MIDI packages had no trouble. I felt dark clouds moving overhead, but figured I could keep my Mega 4 for Notator until it supported the TT. I asked about pricing. Computer Studio's prices were higher than what Ralph wrote my order for, but that was for a different configuration with more RAM. In fact, according to Sheldon, they don't even sell TT's in the configuration that I was supposed to be buying. Gloom and Doom, those two sisters of despair, began to stir a large, boiling cauldron in the nether regions of my brain. November 3rd, six weeks. Mom wants her money or her computer. I called Ralph. "It's being shipped UPS Brown Label. Be here in a few days. I'm still looking for another one." I didn't tell him mom wanted her money back. I knew she would be glad she waited when she got her new TT (giggle). November 12th, seven weeks. Mom's mad. Her 1040 ST broke down and she can't do her newsletter. I called Ralph. "It'll be here next Tuesday. They shipped it UPS Brown Label and it takes about a week. Don't worry, I'm taking care of you. I'll let you know. I'll keep in touch... etc., etc." "That'll be good if it does, but now my mom's ST is not working and she can't work on her newsletter," I informed him. I told him what it was doing. "Ah, (UPW). Sounds like the power supply. Just bring it in and I'll fix it." Right. I managed to get mom's ST running. Seems it was the power supply on the external floppy drive, so I gave her mine. Next Tuesday, November 17th, arrived. I called Ralph. I spoke briefly and courteously to his answering machine. "Ralph, this is Don Harris. Please call me at ###- ####." Ralph called. "Don Harris, please." "Speaking." "Don, here's where we are. I have gone through six TT's already, and..." "What do you mean 'gone through six TT's' ?" "Oh, they weren't the configuration, or the price, especially, that we're looking for." "Well, I've talked to several dealers (NOTE: I lied. I only talked to Sheldon) and they said they haven't had any problem getting TT's." "Sure, but did you ask them the price? They can get them, but you're talking long dollars here." "That's true, they were a little more. But, here's where I am with it. My mom wants her money back." "That's impossible at this point. I've got too many irons in the fire, too much going towards it. Besides, I should have one if not both of them within ten days." I thought I heard the faint refrain of an old familiar song playing in the background. "Well, it's like this. My mom is mad, and I don't blame her. We gave you almost four thousand dollars ($4,000!!!) over two months ago, and haven't seen anything for it." "That's nothing (NOTHING?!). A custom deal like this can often go six to eight weeks. I've had it take as long as three months before." "But you didn't tell me that. You said two to three weeks." "Well that's something you just never know." We talked for a few more minutes with the gist of the conversation being that I would take delivery of the first TT if it came in, but I cancelled the order on the other one. He said he could not return our money until he actually got the units in and then resold them, but that we would have the whole thing resolved one way or the other within ten days. Advertisements for various and sundry Atari products that were announced as coming out "Real Soon Now", but never arrived, began scrolling across my memory monitor. I decided to do nothing but wait a while longer. Besides, it would all be resolved... uh, real soon now. More Waiting... November 24th, one week past next Tuesday. If you're confused, that means that last Tuesday was the next Tuesday that was cited earlier as the delivery date. So now it's one week later. Okay? Good. Now, where was I? Oh, yea. I have spoken to several people about this situation. I have, of course, been advised to hire a lawyer (you know what's black and white and looks good on a lawyer? A Pit Bull! hahaha.. Do you know what you... well, never mind.) and sue the guy; call the Better Business Bureau, etc. One friend said he could call his Uncle Louie in Chicago and he'd guarantee I'd get double my money back. But, that didn't sound like a very Christian thing to do. I might have to do something (something spelled L-E-G-A-L) in time, but I wanted to give Ralph a chance to come through. I refused to believe that he was purposely trying to take me (and Mom). I always try to believe the best about people until they give me reason to think differently. I figured I'd give him the ten days. Now, was that ten calendar days, or ten business days? December 1st, another week past next Tuesday, which means it's been ten weeks since I ordered and paid for our computers. Still with me? Okay. It has now been two weeks since the latest promise of delivery, unless of course you subtract the Thanksgiving holidays, which means it has been twelve days, unless you only want to count business days, in which case it would be eight days. So, I'm waiting until Thursday. That would be at least ten days any way you want to count them. If I haven't heard from Ralph, which could be but isn't necessarily his real name, I'm going to call him to see if he has my computer or my money, which I know he won't because if he did he would call me. Right? I decided it was time to call my attorney to see what action should be contemplated, just in case Ralph didn't come through (I was still holding out hope he would). I had to wait for him to get back to me (isn't that just like a lawyer?), but in the meantime, his secretary told me to go ahead and call the Better Business Bureau to see if they had received any complaints against Ralph and his business. So, I called. The Bad News... Bingo! The man I talked to said Ralph and his company have an "unsatisfactory" rating with the Better Business Bureau because of not responding to customer complaints. I asked him if that was just one complaint, or many. He said he didn't know, they just had the unsatisfactory rating down for that reason. It would be interesting to see what my attorney had to say. (Actually, I have a pretty good attorney. When he told me he has no respect for lawyers, I knew he was alright.) Wednesday, December 2nd. I talked to my attorney and explained the story. He said we could, of course, sue him (I wonder if lawyers name their daughters "Sue") to get our money back, plus court costs and attorney fees. He asked me if I thought Ralph, which could be but still isn't necessarily his real name, had in mind to take our money and never come through with the product at all, in other words, to defraud us. "Well, I don't think so," I said. "Or maybe I should say 'I don't want to think so.' " "Because if that's what it was, and we can show fraudulent intent, we can recover triple damages from him, assuming he has something to recover, that is." He said that, because it was a special order, if the computers came in and they were right, we would be expected to accept them. That was fine with me. We just wanted our computers. He also said he didn't understand why Ralph could not give us our money back. If he hadn't actually bought our equipment yet, then he should still have our money, unless he used it for something else. We talked for a few more minutes and decided I should pull together some of the pertinent information to see which way to go. I got the informatin on the check and the date it was deposited in Ralph's account (September 24th, the very next day). I called Ralph, but his machine answered, so I just hung up. I figured if anything had come in (i.e., a computer or two) I would have gotten a call. Still More Waiting... Thursday, December 3rd. No phone call telling me the computers had miraculously arrived by UPS... which causes me to wonder. Didn't Ralph say that one was "on the way" by UPS Brown Label? Why, yes, I believe he did. That's it. It must be UPS' fault! Either that, or it was one of the ones that he got in with a bad memory board and he sent it back. Didn't even let me look at it or touch it first. I called Ralph after I got home from work and left a message on his answering machine. He didn't return my call. Friday, December 4th. Another call to Ralph. Another brief but courteous message on his answering machine. About 15 minutes later, he returned my call. "I've gotten two more TT's in and I've rejected them both. I can't believe how many bad memory boards these things have in them. No wonder Atari is in trouble. But, I have another TT ordered from Washington. It's been fully tested and it's a good one. I've also got two monitors on the way, one Magnavox and one CTX, so you should have one of your computers by next Wednesday (is this the same song?). I can't wait to get you in one 'cause I know it's gonna blow your socks off. I'll call you Monday or Tuesday and keep you up on the latest." If the TT's are truly having memory problems, then Ralph may really be doing me right by making sure I get a good one and most, if not all, of my fears may turn out to be unjustified. If not, and these are just all excuses for non-delivery, then... well, we'll just have to wait and see about then. The Thickening Plot... On Monday, December 7th (Happy Pearl Harbor Day), I called DMC Publishing (formerly ISD) to upgrade my Calamus 1.09n to Calamus S (Yaaaayyy!). I asked if Nathan was in so I could say "HI", but he had just stepped out to lunch. About five minutes later, Nathan called me. Bright and early that morning I had been on GEnie trying to find out about the bad TT memory boards and had sent E-mail to Sheldon Winick asking him about the situation (I copied it to Nathan, which is how he knew about it). He basically told me that Sheldon's reply to my inquiry, which he agreed with, was that Ralph is not an Atari dealer, Atari will not sell him any equipment and the TT's are NOT having memory board problems. He also told me about two new posts in the Mail Order RTC about Ralph that I might be interested in reading. That night I got on GEnie again to read the Mail Order posts. It seems three other people had been having problems getting satisfaction from ABCO (which could be but isn't necessarily... well, you know). One of them, Joey Sherman, had been trying for almost two years to get something done. I sent the three E-mail requesting details of their dealings with Ralph and ABCO, indicating that the information may be needed to bring suit against him, if it came to that. Tuesday, December 8th. Ralph called me. No, he didn't have my computer or my money, so don't get your hopes up. He had been on GEnie, read my posts inquiring about the TT memory board problems and wanted to explain everything to me. He said that nobody is going to put what really happens on a public board such as GEnie, I guess because nobody wants anybody else to know how bad a shape Atari is really in (?). He went on to explain the history of the TT and how the early ones were 16 megahertz machines, not 32. He said the motherboards have been redesigned numerous times and that is the source of the problems. He assured me that he was looking out for my best interests; that he was only trying to get me a good machine. I honestly appreciated that. Ralph is nothing if not convincing. He is a salesman. Then I asked Ralph about the complaints against him in the Mail Order RTC. He explained them away. They have either been taken care of or else they were just misunderstandings. I asked about the TT not being sold for residential use. He said that laser printers are in the same boat, and there wouldn't be any problem because they weren't going to interfere with the neighbors' TV, which is the bottom line. Ralph said my computer would be ready by the end of the week if not tomorrow, Wednesday, December 9th. More music. I reminded him of cancelling the second computer. He remembered. He said he'd have one ready and cut me a check for the second one by Friday (December 11th). I quietly wondered if I should request a cashier's check. Friday, December 11th. The big day. The day Ralph said would be the finalization of this whole fiasco. I have been on GEnie several more times, and gotten several more letters about this situation. The consensus seems to be that there are plenty of TT030's available and they are not having memory problems. I also found out that, because Ralph is not an authorized Atari dealer, Atari will not sell him any TT's. That means that if he comes up with one, he will have bought it from someone else (not Atari), so it will be considered USED. Furthermore, according to the warranty, if anything goes wrong with it, I have to take it back to the authorized Atari dealer I bought it from, except that I won't have bought it from an authorized Atari dealer. Sounds like problems waiting to happen. To really put the icing on the cake, the TT030's are not available in the configuration I ordered (4meg ST RAM/2meg TT RAM). So, is there any way possible that Ralph can deliver what he ordered for me? I called Ralph and left another brief but courteous message on his machine. I waited but he did not return my call. I tried again several hours later. He answered the phone. "Ralph, this is Don." "Hello, stranger. Haven't seen UPS yet today." "But we're going to get this finished today one way or another, right? "Either today or after the first of the week." I couldn't believe he said that. "Well, I need it to be finished by Monday." I was planning on seeing my attorney Monday. "Or what?" I started to tell him about the impending suit, but flagged. "I'm going out of town next week, and I need to get this over with. It looks like I might need the money to get some transmission work done on my car." That was true, I didn't lie. "Vacation, eh? Where you going?" I gave a brief outline of my vacation, then said, "So anyway, I need to get it over with by Monday." I wanted to reiterate that Monday was the deadline. "Well, I'll do what I can." Strangely enough, I didn't think anything would be any different Monday. But, I still could not bring myself to be unkind or threatening, or even to tell him about the suit. I figured a letter from my attorney would be more convincing than I could be. The Moral... This was not meant to be an indictment of Ralph, which could be but isn't necessarily his real name, nor his business, which could be but isn't necessarily ABCO computers. If anything, it's more an indictment of my consumer savvy, because first of all, I should never have agreed to pay the full price in advance. I guess I have to consider the prospect that if it had been my four thousand dollars, I probably would have been a little more discerning. Aside from that, any business of good repute should have a good enough record with its suppliers, or failing that, to have enough cash surplus to be able to get merchandise without having to make the customer pay full price up front. I've been doing graphic design and typesetting for several years now and none of the printers I do business with hesitate to let me take the merchandise and wait for their money until I get mine from my client. That's just good business. If a store wants you to pay full price up front on promise of delivery, you should probably check out another source. Granted, the lack of Atari dealers makes that a little more difficult, but not impossible. I guess the Better Business Bureau could have steered me away if I had been smart enough to call them before handing over large sums of money. Then again, maybe all special orders, if this was one, are handled this way. I don't know. Secondly, I should have heeded the voices of warning. As B'rer Fox used to say, "You kin hide de fire, but what you gwine do wid de smoke?" I chose to ignore the criticisms and complaints I had heard against Ralph and his business, thinking that it was just his endearing personality that people didn't like. I thought that, though others had been burned, I would be a most notable exception and, as I raised one eyebrow and curled my lip into an almost- but-not-quite- noticeable sneer, I would be able to smile and say, "I haven't had any problems. It must have been you." Is it too much to hope that Ralph has learned anything from this Episode of Caveat Emptor? I can only hope he has. I hope he has learned to give a more realistic time frame to his customers, or to at least expose the possibility of delay when they order through him. A customer that has been told the goods he ordered and paid for will arrive in two or three weeks isn't going to be a happy customer when he's still waiting eight (or nine, or twelve) weeks later. One valid maxim of business is "A Happy Customer is a Repeat Customer." If that one is true, then it's logical that the obverse of that statement is also true. You don't stay in business by ignoring legitimate customer complaints. If the circumstances are beyond your control you bite the bullet and satisfy the customer! If you don't believe in doing business that way then you have no business being in business. Copyright 1992 D P Harris --==--==--==--==-- A Statement from Atari Corporation Regarding ABCO Computer Consultants --==--==--==--==-- After reading Don Harris's article, Atari's legal department was contacted regarding messages found on on-line networks concerning ABCO Computer Consultants. The following is the statement from Atari's legal department: "It has come to our attention that ABCO Computer Consultants is conducting their business in a fashion that displeases some of their customers. STReport International Online Magazine and ABCO Computer Consultants are both operated by Ralph F. Mariano. According to the Better Business Bureau of Northeast Florida, ABCO Computer Consultants has an 'UNSATISFACTORY' rating due to failure to deal with customer complaints. Customers may wish to take this into account when reading STReport International Online Magazine, or deciding to do business with ABCO Computer Consultants. ABCO Computer Consultants is not an authorized Atari dealer." --==--==--==--==-- ||| ||| Shutdown ............................ Power off, EXIT, BYE, Logoff / | \ ------------------------------------------------------------------ On the overseas front... Atari Falcon030s are for sale for real in Germany, but have you heard that there are knockoff Falcon030s being sold in Korea? According to a rumor I heard, that is the case. How about Tandy selling Atari computers? Yes... in Tasmainia! (lucky devils). In any rate, 1992 is almost behind us now. One lesson I've learned in my short 30-something years is not to let the past blind you to what the future can hold. 1993 can mark the resurgence of that little computer company from Sunnyvale whom we all love. There is some amazing hardware on the horizon. Be constructive, and let's all work to make it a success. Let me once again urge caution and restraint during the holiday season. I hope to see y'all here next year. God Bless. Until the next issue of AEO, I remain, Your Editor Travis Guy <Press all keys to continue> --==--==--==--==-- Atari Explorer Online Magazine is a bi-weekly publication covering the Atari computer community. Material published in this issue may be reprinted under the following terms only: articles must remain unedited and include the issue number and author at the top of each article reprinted. Reprint permission is granted, unless otherwise noted at the beginning of the article, to registered Atari user groups and not for profit publications. Opinions presented herein are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the staff, or of Atari Corporation. --==--==--==--==-- Atari is a registered trademark of Atari Corporation. ST, Mega ST, STE, Mega STE, Atari Falcon030, TOS, MultiTOS, NewDesk, BLiTTER, Atari Lynx, Atari Portfolio, and the Atari Fuji are all trademarks of Atari Corporation. All other trademarks mentioned in this issue belong to their respective owners. --==--==--==--==-- Atari Explorer Online Magazine "The Official Atari Online Journal" Copyright = 1992, Atari Computer Corporation * * * * * * * * * * * * :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: A E O ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: :: Special Edition #2 ATARI EXPLORER ONLINE 20 December 1992 :: ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
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