ST Report: 13-May-94 #1020From: Bruce D. Nelson (aa789@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 05/23/94-08:38:20 AM Z
- Next message by date: Bruce D. Nelson: "ST Report: 20-May-94 #1021"
- Previous message by date: Bruce D. Nelson: "Atari Explorer Online: 10-May-94 #0308"
- Return to Index: Sort by: [ date ] [ author ] [ thread ] [ subject ]
From: aa789@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Bruce D. Nelson) Subject: ST Report: 13-May-94 #1020 Date: Mon May 23 08:38:20 1994 SILICON TIMES REPORT ==================== INTERNATIONAL ONLINE MAGAZINE ============================= from STR Electronic Publishing Inc. May 13, 1994 No. 1020 ====================================================================== Silicon Times Report International Online Magazine Post Office Box 6672 Jacksonville, Florida 32221-6155 R.F. Mariano Publisher-Editor ----------------------------------------- Voice: 1-904-783-3319 10am-4pm EST STR Publishing Support BBS Network System * THE BOUNTY BBS * ITCNet 85:881/253 JAX HUB ~ FNET 350 ~ Nest 90:21/350 904-786-4176 MULTI-NODE 24hrs-7 days 2400-57.6 bps V.32-42 bis 16.8 USR Dual Standard FAX: 904-783-3319 12am-6am EST ----------------------------------------- Fido 1:374/147.3 The Bounty STR Support Central 1-904-786-4176 FNET. 620 : Leif's World ................1-904-573-0734 FNET. 690 : PASTE BBS....................1-206-284-8493 FNET. 489 : Steal Your Face BBS..........1-908-920-7981 MNET - Toad Hall BBS.....................1-617-567-8642 ______________________________________________________________________ > 05/13/94 STR 1020 "The Original * Independent * Online Magazine!" """"""""""""""""" - CPU INDUSTRY REPORT - NetWork Services - Cybermorph Review - Tortoise & Hare - View 2.5 News - AutoCad for SUN - WinWord Speedups - Jaguar Catalog - Jaguar TidBits - STACKER 4 Notes - People Talking - The Old Fishin' Hole -* Aldus Ships Pagemaker 5.0 for Power Mac *- -* FBI INVESTIGATES MEDIA-VISION! *- -* APPLE TO LICENSE PPC TECHNOLOGY? *- ====================================================================== STReport International Online Magazine The Original * Independent * Online Magazine -* FEATURING WEEKLY *- "Accurate UP-TO-DATE News and Information" Current Events, Original Articles, Tips, Rumors, and Information Hardware - Software - Corporate - R & D - Imports ====================================================================== STReport's BBS - The Bounty BBS, invites all BBS systems, worldwide, to participate in the ITC/PROWL/USENET/NEST/F-Net/Fido Mail Networks. You may also call The Bounty BBS direct @ 1-904-786-4176. Enjoy the wonder and excitement of exchanging all types of useful information relative to c o m puters, worldwide, through the use of excellent International Networking Systems. SysOps, worldwide, are welcome to join the STReport International Conferences. ITC Node is 85:881/250, The Fido Node is 1:374/147.3, Crossnet Code is #34813, and the "Lead Node" is #620. All computer platforms BBS systems are welcome and invited to participate. ====================================================================== CIS ~ AOL ~ DELPHI ~ BIX ~ PROWL ~ ITC ~ NEST ~ EURONET ~ CIX USENET ~ USPOLNET ~ CLEVELAND FREE-NET ~ INTERNET ~ FNET ~ GENIE ====================================================================== COMPUSERVE WILL PRESENT $15.00 WORTH OF COMPLIMENTARY ONLINE TIME to the Readers of; STREPORT INTERNATIONAL ONLINE MAGAZINE """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" "The Original 16/32bit Online Magazine" NEW USERS; SIGN UP TODAY! CALL: 1-800-848-8199 .. Ask for operator 198 You will receive your complimentary time and be online in no time at all! "Enjoy CompuServe's forums; where information is at its very best! """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" > From the Editor's Desk "Saying it like it is!" """""""""""""""""""""" Simply amazing! Any other time and nothing would be thought of a car accident down the road that caused a power pole to fall. But because today is Friday the thirteenth.... Nah ...it couldn't possibly be. But here I am at 9:30pm hammering away at the keys trying to get this issue out at a reasonable hour. Coupled with trying to get ready for Comdex... and coding in all the new goodies coming in for review and evaluation, its been very hectic the past few days. Comdex... or, as an old friend used to call it "Calmdex", is the place for all good computerists to be. That is if you like to see the best and the very worst in all of us show right through. The new goodies are enough to drive even the sanest of sane whacky. Expect to see at least three weeks of rambling about all the goodies we were able to get close to. Ralph... """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" STReport's Staff DEDICATED TO SERVING YOU! """""""""""""""" Publisher -Editor """""""""""""""""" Ralph F. Mariano Lloyd E. Pulley, Editor, Current Affairs Section Editors """"""""""""""" PC SECTION AMIGA SECTION MAC SECTION ATARI SECTION ---------- ------------- ----------- ------------- R.D. Stevens R. Niles R. Dean D. P. Jacobson STReport Staff Editors: """"""""""""""""""""""" Dana P. Jacobson Michael Arthur John Deegan Lucien Oppler Brad Martin Judith Hamner John Szczepanik Dan Stidham Joseph Mirando Doyle Helms Frank Sereno John Duckworth Jeff Coe Steve Keipe Guillaume Brasseur Melanie Bell Jay Levy John Donohue Jeff Kovach Marty Mankins Carl Prehn Paul Charchian Contributing Correspondents: """""""""""""""""""""""""""" Tim Holt Norman Boucher Harry Steele Clemens Chin Neil Bradley Eric Jerue Ron Deal Robert Dean Ed Westhusing Glenwood Drake Vernon W. Smith Bruno Puglia Paul Haris Kevin Miller Craig Harris Allen Chang Dominick Fontana IMPORTANT NOTICE """""""""""""""" Please, submit letters to the editor, articles, reviews, etc... via E-Mail to: Compuserve................... 70007,4454 America Online..................STReport Delphi......................... RMARIANO BIX............................ RMARIANO FIDONET..................... 1:347/147.3 FNET........................... NODE 350 ITC NET...................... 85:881/253 NEST........................ 90:21/350.0 GEnie......................... ST-REPORT Internet.............RMARIANO@DELPHI.COM """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" > CPU STATUS REPORT LATE BREAKING INDUSTRY-WIDE NEWS """"""""""""""""" IBM/POWER-PC/PC SECTION (I) =========================== Computer Products Update - CPU Report ------------------------ ---------- Weekly Happenings in the Computer World Issue #04 By: Lloyd E. Pulley, Sr. ******* General Computer News ******* ** Atari Corp. Announces 1st Quarter Results ** Atari Corp. this week reported its financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 1994. Net sales for the quarter of 1994 were $8.2 million as compared to $10.2 million for the first quarter of 1993. During the first quarter, production of the Atari Jaguar 64-bit Interactive Multimedia System was limited due to start-up production problems, which are now resolved. The lower sales and increased marketing costs associated with the introduction of the new Jaguar system resulted in a net loss of $900,000.00 for the first quarter of 1994 as compared to a net loss of $2.0 million for the same period of 1993. Sam Tramiel, president of Atari Corp., said, "Now that the hardware start-up problems are behind us, we are focusing on the development of high-quality interactive entertainment software. At the end of March 1994, we released the award-winning title 'Tempest 2000.' Game players around the country were eagerly awaiting the title and we are happy that 'Tempest 2000' met their expectations. In the second quarter, we expect to release four to six titles for Jaguar, including 'Alien vs. Predator' and 'Wolfenstein 3D.' We currently have over 125 third-party licensees supporting the Jaguar system and between them and ourselves, we expect between 30-50 titles to be available this year." ** Firm Offers Virus Protection ** What is being touted as the industry's first anti-virus software pro- viding centralized detection and repair of Macintosh viruses anywhere on AppleTalk networks has been launched by Datawatch Corp. In a statement from Research Triangle Park in North Carolina, Data- watch says its Virex Administrator "gives network administrators com- plete control over their network's anti-virus protection and eliminates the need to manually police and update virus protection on each Macintosh." Datawatch says the system enables network administrators to remotely scan for viruses in real time or on a schedule, install and update Virex on individual computers or globally across the network and repair virus and Trojan Horse infections. Pricing begins at $200 for a 25-machine license. ** IBM to Change Marketing Strategy ** IBM Corp. is likely to make bold changes in its marketing strategy in an effort to get closer to its customers and sell more computers. Rumors say that IBM will soon outline the realignment of its world- wide marketing force to match the industries of customers. Some of its divisions are already doing this with success. ** Conner Offers New Disk Drives ** Three new high-capacity, high-performance 3.5-inch hard disk drives designed for high-end desktops, workstations and servers have been introduced by Conner Peripherals Inc. Reports say Conner also has introduced the first of "a line of low profile (half-inch-high) 2.5-inch hard disk drives to allow designers to reduce the size of slim line notebooks and sub-notebook PCs with its Filepro Notebook Low Profile 350." Conner says its Filepro Performance drives for desktop PCs offer capacities of 2GB and 4GB, fast seek times of 8.5-9.5 milliseconds and high rotational speeds. ** Microsoft Removes Suggested Price ** Microsoft Corp will no longer publish suggested retail prices for its products in the United States and Canada. The SRPs will be eliminated on July 1 since most customers feel there is no meaningful link between the price they pay and the advertised SRP. Microsoft research revealed the large difference between the two was due to the rapid growth of low-cost distribution, as well as the level of service sold with the product. ** AutoCAD Designer for Sun Debuts ** A version of AutoCAD Designer software for the Sun workstation has been introduced by Autodesk Inc. The program offers UNIX users parame- tric, feature-based solid modeling. Ideal for anyone involved in the design and drafting of mechanical parts, AutoCAD Designer sells for $1,500. AutoCAD Designer for Sun runs on the Solaris 2.3 operating system with 32MB RAM recommended. AutoCAD Release 12 is also required. AutoCAD Designer is also available on PCs running MS-DOS. ** Apple Discusses Tech Licensing ** Officials with Apple Computer Inc. confirm they have entered into discussions with a number of manufacturers about possibly licensing its computer technology. Apple declined to comment on reports that they might strike a deal with IBM, letting Big Blue mass-produce cloned version of the Mac. Apple CEO Michael Spindler told shareholders in January he planned to aggressively license Power PC technology, and indicated that the company might let other manufacturers build Macintoshes overseas. ** FBI Probes CD-ROM Manufacturer ** The FBI says it has launched an investigation into the business prac- tices of Fremont, Calif., CD-ROM manufacturer Media Vision Inc., whose stock price more than doubled last year. In San Francisco, FBI spokesman Rick Smith said the probe involves agents from his agency and from the Security and Exchange Commission and is looking into "security issues with respect to the company." That is all the bureau had to say, but the San Francisco Chronicle quotes an unidentified former company executive as saying the probe dates back to last year and another employee as allegedly telling the FBI he had been informed of a company official altering sales records. ** Panasonic Offers New Notebook ** Panasonic Personal Computer Co. has unveiled its new DX4/75MHz note- book computer, which it says is the industry's first notebook with a "multimedia pocket." A statement says, "In the standard configuration, the pocket holds a floppy disk drive. However, the drive pops out to accept any of three identically-sized optional peripherals, including a 3.5-inch internal CD-ROM drive, an additional battery pack and a TV tuner." The unit, priced from $5,399 to $5,899, come standard with 4MB of RAM, expandable to 20MB, and is available with either 260MB or 450MB hard disk drives. Color screen choices offer 10.4-inch TFT active matrix color or 9.4-inch STN passive matrix color, both supported by Local Bus video. 1MB of VRAM and Windows Accelerator for top-speed performance. ** Motorola to Port Compilers ** Motorola Inc. announced this week that it plans to port its PowerPC microprocessor compilers to Apple Computer Inc.'s Power Macintosh computers. Motorola's RISC Microprocessor Division said its C, C++ and FORTRAN compilers will all be fully compatible with Apple's Macintosh Programmers' Workshop development environment. Motorola said it will begin accepting orders in July 1994 for the compilers and tools at an initial list price of $349. ** Rechargeable Batteries Under Way ** National Semiconductor Corp. and Energizer Power Systems, a subsi- diary of Eveready Battery Co. Inc., have joined forces to develop a new type of rechargeable battery. Reports say that the two companies are developing longer-lasting, fuel-gauging battery packs that are simpler to recharge than other models. The new batteries will be marketed for use in portable computers and cellular phones. National Semiconductor and Eveready said the new batteries will control their charging, eliminating the problem of over-charging. ** Device Stores Terabyte of Data ** A disk array device that can store up to a terabyte of data, the largest capacity available in a single machine, has been unveiled by EMC Corp. A terabyte is equal to the space in 10,000 personal computers with 100 megabyte hard drives. EMC's Symmetrix 5500-9, which links together dozens of hard drives that each store nine gigabytes, is about the size of two refrigerators. EMC is also introducing slightly smaller models that hold 45 to 270 gigabytes of data. The devices are expected to be used by banks, airlines and other com- panies that want to store huge amounts of data in a manner that can be accessed more quickly than data stored on magnetic tapes. ** Aldus Ships Pagemaker 5.0 for Power Mac ** As one of the first vendors to release "native" versions of its ap- plication software for the Apple Power Macintosh computer, Aldus Corpor- ation this week began U.S. and Canadian shipments of Aldus PageMaker 5.0 for the Power Macintosh, the latest version of the world's best-selling page layout application. The shipment of PageMaker for the Power Macintosh marks Aldus' second software package to be recompiled and optimized for this platform. Aldus shipped its first Power Macintosh applications, Aldus FreeHand 4.0, on April 21. _____________________________________________ > STACKER 4 NOTES & TIPS STR InfoFile """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" ----------------------------------------------------------------- STACKER NOTE STACKER NOTE STACKER AND WINDOWS FOR WORKGROUPS 3.11 (Applies to Stacker 4.0 for Windows & DOS) STAC FAX 4201 (03-02-1994) ----------------------------------------------------------------- BACKGROUND Stacker 4.0 works with Windows for Workgroups (WFW) 3.11. WFW 3.11 includes a new feature called 32-bit file access (32BFA), which uses a 32-bit cache called Vcache that resides between Windows and DOS. Stacker 4.0 does not currently support WFW 3.11's 32BFA. Stac is committed to taking full advantage of 32BFA and is working to address this important issue. In the meantime, we recommend that 32BFA be disabled on systems where Stacker is running. 32BFA and Disk Compression Vcache is the only disk cache available under 32BFA. This means that caches such as SMARTDRV are disabled on drives where 32BFA is enabled. Stacker 4.0 identifies compressed drives as 16-bit drives to WFW 3.11 and is therefore not cached under Vcache. Since SMARTDRV has also been disabled, the 16-bit drives are operating without caching. Naturally, performance suffers in this situation. For improved performance under Stacker 4.0 and WFW 3.11, we recommend that 32BFA be disabled and SMARTDRV (or other caches) be used. Improving performance 32BFA typically operates with a 4 MB cache size. Enabling the SMARTDRV (or other) cache with a similar size should improve the performance of your Stacker drives. Non-Stacker drives may perform faster, slower, or the same as they did with Vcache, depending on the configuration of your system and what you use it for, but your overall performance will probably be significantly better than with Vcache due to caching the Stacker drives Modify the disk cache to use the same Windows settings as 32BFA would use In order to change the size of your disk cache, you will need to modify its control line in your AUTOEXEC.BAT or CONFIG.SYS file. See the manufacturer's documentation for your cache for details. For example, SMARTDRV is usually initialized in the AUTOEXEC.BAT file. In order to modify SMARTDRV, do the following: 1. Disable 32BFA if this has not already been done. a. In the Control Panel, double-click the 386 Enhanced icon. b. Click the Virtual Memory button, then click the Change button. c. At the bottom of the screen, note the current cache size listed under the 32-bit file access checkbox. You'll use this number later in the procedure. d. Uncheck the 32-bit file access box. NOTE: This has nothing to do with the checkbox on the left: 32-bit disk access. e. Follow the instructions and restart your system for the changes to take effect. 2. At the DOS prompt type: ED /A <enter>. This starts the Stacker Editor and opens your AUTOEXEC.BAT file. 3. Change the SMARTDRV line. For example, it may look like this: C:\WINDOWS\SMARTDRV /X 4096 xxxx Insert the number you wrote down earlier in place of the xxxx. This is the cache size for Windows. 4. Save the file and restart your computer. Please note that 32-bit disk access is not the same thing as 32- bit file access. Stacker 4.0 is compatible with 32-bit disk access. For more tips on increasing your Stacker system's performance, see StacFax 4509. ----------------------------------------------------------------- Copyright 1994 Stac Electronics ----------------------------------------------------------------- STACKER NOTE STACKER NOTE STACKER 4.0 & DISK CACHES STAC FAX 4409 (05-02-1994) ----------------------------------------------------------------- BACKGROUND Stacker is compatible with most popular disk caches such as SMARTDrive, PC-Kwik, PC-Cache, Norton Cache, and HyperDisk. These programs will cache the Stacker drive, but not directly. A Stacker drive is actually a large STACVOL file that resides on the physical disk. The disk cache will actually cache the physical disk, and therefore the STACVOL file. As a bonus, by caching this file and its compressed data, the cache size is effectively doubled. Which drive is actually cached? The "host" uncompressed drive for the Stacker drive (the STACVOL FILE) is cached. You can use the Stacker program to determine the uncompressed drive. Type: C:\STACKER\STACKER <enter> The output concerning your compressed drives will look similar to: Drive C was drive x at boot time [ D:\STACVOL.DSK = 123.4MB] Drive D was drive x at boot time (Drive x will be either C or D depending on whether Stacker is Preloading. See StacFax 4516 for details.) Note the drive letter in brackets, in this example drive D. Drive D is the host uncompressed drive for Stacker drive C. When you write to, or read from Stacker drive C, you are really accessing STACVOL.DSK on the D drive. By caching D, the programs are caching this STACVOL.DSK file and therefore your C drive. Do I need to tell the caching program not to cache the Stacker drive? Most disk cache programs will only cache the physical drive. Normally, they will not cache the Stacker logical drive by default, so you will probably not have to add any special parameters. In fact, if you attempt to force the program to cache the Stacked drive, you will probably receive an error message such as "unable to cache specified drive". If you are given the option of drives to cache, specify the uncompressed drive. For example, if you wish to tell SMARTDrive 4.0 to cache only the D host drive, the command in AUTOEXEC.BAT would be similar to the following: C:\WINDOWS\SMARTDRIVE.EXE D See the disk cache's documentation for details on its configuration. NOTE: If your caching program loads in CONFIG.SYS, make sure its device driver loads BEFORE the Stacker device driver. This insures caching of the host drive only. How do I cache a "replaced" Stacker drive or removable drive? A "replaced" Stacker drive is one which has replaced its drive letter with that of the host drive. Removable drives such as floppies, Bernoulli drives and Syquest drives are mounted this way. In order to cache these replaced drives, they must be mounted and replaced after the cache has been loaded. This can be done by: 1. Placing the cache device driver (if it loads in CONFIG.SYS) before the Stacker line. This procedure only works for non- preloading DOS versions. OR 2. If the cache loads in AUTOEXEC.BAT, then type ED /I <enter> to edit the STACKER.INI file. Add the line /RP=n to the file (where n is the number of replaced drives). Press CTRL-Z to save the file. Then, in AUTOEXEC.BAT, after the command to load the cache, mount each drive (one line for each drive) with: C:\STACKER\STACKER X: where X: is the Stacker drive you wish to mount as replaced. Is it safe to use a cache's write delay feature with Stacker? Most caches, such as SMARTDrive 4.0, incorporate a write delay feature. A write delay, also known as a write back, write behind, or lazy write, causes the data to be held in memory for a period of time before it gets stored to disk. This technique makes the cache more efficient. But if the machine hangs or is rebooted before the information is written to disk, data may be lost or corrupted. A Stacker drive will not increase the likelihood of file corruption. However, it is just as susceptible as any other DOS disk. You must decide if the extra speed is worth the risk. The write delay feature is usually selectable, and can therefore be disabled. The version of SMARTDrive that comes with MS-DOS 6.2 has the write delay feature, but it is disabled by default. See your cache's documentation for information on disabling the write- delay feature if you desire. ----------------------------------------------------------------- Copyright 1994 Stac Electronics ----------------------------------------------------------------- STACKER NOTE STACKER NOTE PKZIP 2.04 AND STACKER 4.0 (Applies to Stacker 4.0) STAC FAX 4510 (03-03-1994) ----------------------------------------------------------------- BACKGROUND You may experience difficulty using PKZIP 2.04 and Stacker 4.0 if you have a '386 or better computer, have at least 1MB of RAM, and are using pre-loaded compression (DOS 6 or higher). The difficulty is caused by the way in which PKZIP uses DPMI services. Use the -) option on the command line when using PKZIP. If you wish to permanently disable PKZIP's use of DPMI, use this option in your PKZIP.CFG file. See your PKZIP documentation regarding making changes to the PKZIP.CFG file. ----------------------------------------------------------------- Copyright 1994 Stac Electronics ----------------------------------------------------------------- STACKER NOTE STACKER NOTE STACKER 4.0 SPACE REPORTING (Applies to Stacker 4.0) STAC FAX 4603 (05-02-1994) ----------------------------------------------------------------- BACKGROUND. Use Stacker's CHECK /D utility to see exactly how the space has been used in the Stacker drive. Type: CHECK /D drive: <enter> for a report on the desired Stacker drive. Here is an example of a CHECK /D report: Volume in drive C is STACVOL_DSK No errors found Saving header information... C: Stacker Drive Statistics: STACVOL File Stacker Drive D:\STACVOL.001 Drive C: ----------------------- ------------------- Total Bytes: 33,447,936 16,078,848 Bytes Used: 28,844,032 ( 86.2%) 13,862,912 ( 86.2%) Bytes Free: 4,603,904 ( 13.8%) 2,215,936 ( 13.8%) Bytes per Cluster: 8,192 4,096 Stacker Drive Compression Ratio = 2.1:1 Projected Bytes Free = 4,603,904 Fragmentation Level = 0% What does it all mean? The Left Hand Column: This column displays "logical" data in the clusters on the Stacker drive. In this example, it tells us that there are enough allocation units (clusters) for 33.4 MB of data. There are enough clusters left to accommodate 4,603,904 bytes of data. The DOS CHKDSK program reports these numbers because it looks at allocation units. The Right Hand Column: This column shows the usage of actual physical hard disk space inside the STACVOL.DSK file. The Stacvol file contains all of the data and free space for the Stacker drive C. Its name and location are shown in the column title. In our example, D:\STACVOL.DSK is 16 MB in size and has used all but 2,215,936 bytes of that 16 MB. Therefore, there are 2,215,936 bytes of physical free space left in D:\STACVOL.DSK. Compression ratio. The Stacker drive compression ratio indicates the average compression of the files in that drive. The compressibility of the files is generally dependent on their contents. In the above example, the 2.1:1 ratio tells us that the files in this Stacker drive are taking up somewhat less than half the space they would take up on an uncompressed drive. (A 2.1:1 ratio is lower than the Stacker 4.0 default of 2.5:1. It indicates that some of the files on the drive do not compress well.) A drive full of graphics files may achieve an average compression of 8.0:1 or more. An 8.0:1 ratio would mean that the files are taking up 1/8 the space they would on a standard drive. Conversely, some files are already compressed, such as "zipped" files. Stacker will not attempt to compress previously compressed files, so they will bring down the overall compression ratio of the Stacked drive in which they reside. NOTE: The drive compression ratio does not display if the drive is empty. Projected bytes free. This number is Stacker's estimate of the available space left on the Stacked drive. It is determined by multiplying the physical free space (right side) by the compression ratio, OR by the number of clusters left unallocated (left side). The projected bytes free is limited to the smaller of these two values. In our example, physical space free multiplied by the compression ratio would be: 2,215,936 x 2.1 or 4,653,465 bytes. However, we only have 4,603,904 bytes worth of unallocated clusters. Since the projected bytes free is the smaller of these two numbers, it is 4,603,904. Notes: When the number for physical bytes free goes to zero, the drive is full. You cannot "grow" the drive to create more physical space. Also, if the drive is less than 12% full, the projected bytes free will equal the "logical" bytes free number (left column). ----------------------------------------------------------------- Copyright 1994 Stac Electronics ___________________________________________ > STR Review """""""""" Kids' Computing Corner ---------------------- THE TORTOISE AND THE HARE ========================= by Broderbund by Frank Sereno Before I begin the review of this week's software selection, I would like to explain the new numerical rating system which I am implementing this week. Reviews are always subjective, but I hope that this system gives the reader more insight into my views of the software and that the reviews will be more analytical. Scores will range from 0 to 10. I will be grading each program on its graphics, sounds, interface, play value, educational value and bang for the buck. Finally, I will post an overall average score. Eventually I will apply the numeric ratings to all the products I have reviewed so far and list them in this column. If anyone would be interested in sending in scores on children's software, these scores could be tracked in this column also. Contact me at the e-mail addresses that I will post at the end of this article. In the area of graphics, I will be grading the program on the beauty and detail of the graphics as well as the level of interest the graphics will create in children. If the program uses animations, I will judge the smoothness. The animations must also entertain or hold the attention of children. For sounds, I will judge the program on its use of music, sound effects and voice tracks. Music must be varied, lively and entertaining to gain a high score. Sound effects will be judged for appropriateness, clarity and realism. Voice tracks will be graded on the voice actor's performance and clarity. Ratings on interface will be based on ease of use of the program, the availability of audible help, the nature of positive and negative feedback for the child and screens for the parent to judge his child's progress with the program. The play value rating is my judgment of the level of enjoyment the child will have when using this software. While we wish for our children to learn at the computer, we also want them to enjoy that experience. Also factored in will be a score of the replay value of the software. Nobody wishes to buy a product which is only used once. Educational value will be a rating of how well the program accomplishes its goals of teaching children. A high score will indicate that a program was intended to teach several lessons and that the lessons were accomplished with high proficiency. Bang for the buck will probably be the most subjective category. This is my estimation of the program's value to the child's education as compared to the retail price. Finally, I will average all the scores together for a combined score. At regular intervals I will post a listing of all the reviewed programs so that parents can compare the scores. Needless to say, a perfect 10 would be my highest possible recommendation while anything under 5 would not be recommended. I must say that all opinions expressed in this column are my own and I do recommend that you seek several qualified opinions before purchasing software for your children. And now for this week's review. The Tortoise and the Hare is another of Broderbund's Living Book series of CD-roms. Each of the Living Books is an animated, interactive multimedia book. The program requirements are a CD-rom drive, a 386 or greater CPU with at least 4 megs of ram, Windows 3.1, a 256 color 640 by 480 display, a Sound Blaster or compatible sound card, a mouse and about a meg of free hard drive space. This product can be found at many retailers for under $40. The pages of the book are illustrations shown upon the computer monitor. A narrator will read the page aloud to the child. Each word will be highlighted as it is pronounced. Once the page has been read, the child is free to use the mouse to click on the objects in the screen to be rewarded with the display of humorous animations. The book can be read in Spanish or English. This Living Book is the story of The Tortoise and the Hare as narrated by Simon, a friendly purple bird. The book has twelve pages, each page containing at least a half dozen animations. The graphics are quite exellent in a style comparable to the illustrations of most children's books. Each page is very colorful and has many small details. One page is devoted to six different methods of self-propelment by the hare and another is devoted to the tortoise. This should teach the child a few more words in his vocabulary as each word has an animated definition. The animations are very smooth and entertaining. Even I laughed at some of the action sequences. The sounds in this program are very good. A great variety of music is used throughout the book. Various characters speak to each other in the story and the voice acting is quite good, better than most Saturday morning cartoons. Sound effects are used quite liberally and are quite appropriate. All of the sounds, music and voices are very clear, distinct and easy to understand. Any choices that need to be made during the program are done by moving and clicking the mouse. If a decision must be made, audible help aids the child to make his decision. Some keyboard commands supplement the mouse driven commands but these do not need to be used to successfully operate the program. This program does not have a parent's screen or track progress because the child is not tested. The intent of the program is to allow the child to explore the story, hopefully learn some words and gain a love of books. Most children will run The Tortoise and the Hare again and again. The combination of sounds and graphics are very interesting. The music is quite entertaining and the animations are very amusing. This program is fun! Educational value is hard to determine. The program is intended to teach word and phrase recognition, but more than that it is intended to inspire children to love reading. It is difficult to place a value on the love of books and reading. I feel this program does have very good educational value because it makes the learning fun. I think the child and parent get a lot of total value from this package too. And now to wrap it up, here are the scores: Graphics .................9.0 Sounds ...................9.0 Interface ................8.5 Play value ...............9.0 Ed. value ................8.5 Bang for the buck ........8.5 Average ..................8.75 This is a very good program. If you have pre-readers in your family, The Tortoise and the Hare would be an excellent addition to your software library if you have the required hardware. Finally, if you wish to contribute your own scores or would like to send comments or suggestions, I can be reached at the following addresses: Netmail via Fidonet Frank Sereno at 1:2235/10 Internet E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org As always, I thank you for reading! ____________________________________________ > OPTIMIZING WFW 6.0 STR FOCUS! """"""""""""""""""""""""""""" MICROSOFT WORD FOR WINDOWS ========================== Version:6.0 Product Support Services Subject: How to Optimize the Performance of Word 6.0 Application Note INFORMATION PROVIDED IN THIS DOCUMENT AND ANY SOFTWARE THAT MAY ACCOMPANY THIS DOCUMENT (collectively referred to as an Application Note) IS PROVIDED "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND/OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. The user assumes the entire risk as to the accuracy and the use of this Application Note. This Application Note may be copied and distributed subject to the following conditions: 1) All text must be copied without modification and all pages must be included; 2) If software is included, all files on the disk(s) must be copied without modification (the MS-DOSr utility diskcopy is appropriate for this purpose); 3) All components of this Application Note must be distributed together; and 4) This Application Note may not be distributed for profit. Copyright c 1994 Microsoft Corporation. All Rights Reserved. Microsoft and MS-DOS are registered trademarks and Windows is a trademark of Microsoft Corporation. Western Digital is a trademark of Western Digital Corporation. PC Tools is a trademark of Central Point Software, Inc. This document was created using Microsoft Word for Windows. Table of Contents ----------------- Introduction 1 WINWORD6.INI Settings: BitmapMemory and CacheSize 2 Configuring Hardware for Optimal Performance 2 Configuring MS-DOS for Optimal Performance 3 Maintaining Optimal Hard Disk Performance 3 Configuring Windows for Optimal Performance 4 Swap Files 4 Windows for Workgroups 5 32-Bit Disk Access (FastDisk) 5 Steps to Create or Enlarge a Permanent Swap File 6 For More Information 7 Introduction This Application Note describes how you can increase the operating speed of Word 6.0 for Windows running under Microsoft Windows version 3.1 or Windows for Workgroups version 3.1. Word 6.0 is larger and more robust than previous versions of the application. As a result, performance may be slower simply because your computer is working harder. However, if you optimize the performance of Windows, you will also speed up Word's performance. Optimizing Windows involves both your software and hardware (for example, processor type and speed, amount of memory, and available hard disk space). You can use this Application Note as a checklist to optimize both your software and hardware configurations for Word and other Windows-based applications running under Windows 3.1 or Windows for Workgroups 3.1. For more information about each topic in this Application Note, see your MS-DOS or Windows documentation; for specific references, see the "For More Information" section on page 7 of this Application Note. WINWORD6.INI Settings: BitmapMemory and CacheSize To increase bitmap-redrawing speed and scrolling speed in Word, you can add the following two settings to the [Microsoft Word] section of your WINWORD6.INI file, located in your Windows program directory (usually, C:\WINDOWS): BitMapMemory: Sets the amount of memory (in kilobytes) reserved for cache memory for bitmaps. Increasing this number increases the size of the bitmap cache that Word uses for redrawing pictures quickly. The BitMapMemory setting should not exceed the amount of available free random access memory (RAM). The default setting in Word 6.0 for BitMapMemory is 1024K. Insert the setting in the [Microsoft Word] section of your WINWORD6.INI file using the following syntax: [Microsoft Word] BitMapMemory=xxxx CacheSize: Sets the amount of memory (in kilobytes) reserved for cache memory for Word documents. The default value for CacheSize is 64K. Increasing this setting (in multiples of 64K) improves the speed of scrolling, searching and replacing, the Go To command, and document opening and saving. If your system has plenty of memory and you work with many large documents, consider changing the CacheSize setting to 256K or 512K. Insert the setting in the [Microsoft Word] section of your WINWORD6.INI file using the following syntax: [Microsoft Word] CacheSize=xxx Configuring Hardware for Optimal Performance Install additional extended memory. Because Windows 3.1 uses extended memory, the more extended memory available, the better Windows 3.1 performs. Install the largest hard disk that you can afford, and delete unnecessary files on a regular basis. Set the optimal hard disk interleave for your system, using third-party software such as SpinRite, by Gibson Research. Sometimes a hard disk is not formatted with the optimal interleave by the dealer or at the factory, so changing the interleave for your system may help improve performance. Some utilities can correct the interleave without formatting your hard disk. For more information about the correct interleave setting for your computer, refer to your hardware documentation or contact your dealer. Information: The interleave is a setting that specifies how data loads onto the sectors of a hard disk. An interleave of 2 uses every other sector. An interleave of 3 uses one sector, then skips two, loads one, skips two, and so forth. Slow processors may require higher interleave settings to successfully read a hard disk. If your system has a memory expansion board that can be configured as either expanded or extended memory, configure all the memory as extended. You can then use the EMM386 program to emulate expanded memory only as needed by non-Windows-based applications that require expanded memory to run. In this case, place the expanded memory driver before the device lines that load HIMEM.SYS and EMM386.EXE. For information about configuring the memory on your add-in board, see its documentation. Note: Some expanded memory boards are incompatible with EMM386. Tip To quickly view, save or print hardware and software information about your computer, use the System Info feature in Word. To open the System Info dialog box in Word, choose About Microsoft Word from the Help menu, and then choose the System Info button. Configuring MS-DOS for Optimal Performance Upgrade to MS-DOS version 6.2 so that you can load MS-DOS into the high memory area (HMA) using the dos=high or dos=high,umb setting in your CONFIG.SYS file. When you load items into the HMA, you free up conventional memory that your system can use to run MS-DOS-based applications. If, however, you are only running Windows-based applications, you don't need to conserve conventional memory, so you don't need to bother with loading drivers, programs, TSRs, or MS-DOS itself into the HMA. Furthermore, MS-DOS 6.2 provides the Defragmenter (defrag) and ScanDisk (scandisk) disk-maintenance utilities. For information about using defrag or scandisk to improve Windows performance, see the "Maintaining Optimal Hard Disk Performance" section on page 3 of this Application Note. Make sure you have the most recent versions of HIMEM.SYS, EMM386.EXE, RAMDRIVE.SYS, and SMARTDRV.EXE in the location specified in your CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files. (Placing these files in your root directory does not improve performance.) Make sure the device=path\himem.sys line in your CONFIG.SYS file is located before any commands that load applications or drivers that use extended memory. Load the EMM386 memory manager (EMM386.EXE) if you are running non-Windows-based applications that require expanded memory or if you want to load terminate-and-stay-resident programs (TSRs) and drivers in upper memory blocks (UMBs). Load SMARTDrive in your AUTOEXEC.BAT file and allocate the largest amount of memory possible. The SMARTDrive disk-caching program (smartdrv) can produce the single largest Windows 3.1 performance improvement. Make sure the InitCacheSize and WinCacheSize parameters are set in accordance with the amount of memory installed on your computer. If you use the smartdrv command with no parameters, Windows bases the size of the SMARTDrive disk cache on how much available extended memory your system has. See your Windows documentation for complete information about SMARTDrive. Set files=60 in your CONFIG.SYS file unless you have a software application that requires a higher setting. Set buffers=10 in your CONFIG.SYS file if you use SMARTDrive. Using a high number of buffers with SMARTDrive will decrease efficiency. If you are not using SMARTDrive, set buffers=30. While more buffers may improve disk-access time, they use more conventional memory. Load only the necessary TSRs, drivers, and programs. Wherever possible, load TSRs and device drivers into the UMBs. In your AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS files, remove or disable all lines for device drivers and TSRs that are not required to start your system. These may include virus-detection programs, disk-imaging programs, undelete utilities, caching programs, CD-ROM drivers, multimedia drivers, terminal-emulation software, and so on. (To disable a line, use a text editor, such as MS-DOS Editor, open your AUTOEXEC.BAT or CONFIG.SYS file, type rem at the beginning of the line, and then save the file and restart your computer so the changes can take effect.) Note: Do not disable lines that load network files if the Windows files are on a network server. If the environment space is set by a shell statement in the CONFIG.SYS file, specify a smaller environment. Remove any commands for mouse drivers in your AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS files if you use the mouse only in Windows and don't need mouse support when you run non-Windows-based applications in 386 enhanced mode. Maintaining Optimal Hard Disk Performance Delete unnecessary application and system files, including backup (.BAK) files, temporary (.TMP) files and files created by undelete disk utilities. The fewer files your hard disk has to sort through, the quicker the access time. Important: Make sure Windows is not running when you delete .TMP files. Make sure the set temp setting in your AUTOEXEC.BAT file points to a valid location on a drive with at least 6 to 8 MB of available disk space. If the temp setting is invalid or missing, modify your AUTOEXEC.BAT file. Consider the following when you choose the location for your set temp setting: You should avoid a temp setting that points to the root directory of any drive (there is a limit to the number of files and directories the root directory can hold). Avoid a temp setting that points to a drive that has been compressed using disk-compression software such as MS-DOS DoubleSpace. Each time your system accesses a .TMP file on a compressed drive, it must spend time decompressing and then recompressing the file. Instead, choose a directory on an uncompressed drive (such as the DoubleSpace host drive) for your temp setting. If the set temp statement is pointing to a RAM drive, make sure the RAM drive is large enough to hold the .TMP files your applications create. Run scandisk or chkdsk frequently to find lost chains or clusters, and fix them with scandisk or run chkdsk /f and delete the .CHK files it creates. Important: Make sure Windows is not running when you run scandisk or chkdsk /f. Memory optimization and hard disk maintenance play major roles in how Windows performs. You can use the MS-DOS MemMaker program (memmaker) to free conventional memory and optimize your system's memory. To regularly optimize or defragment your hard disk, use a utility program such as the MS-DOS Defragmenter (defrag). A fragmented hard disk greatly impacts how Windows performs, especially if the SMARTDrive program is installed or if you're using a temporary swap file. Important: Make sure Windows is not running when you run disk- or memory-optimization utilities. Configuring Windows for Optimal Performance Use a color or a pattern for the Windows desktop background instead of wallpaper to free memory for running applications. Bitmaps consume more memory than colors or patterns do. Using a text editor, modify the [Windows] section of your WIN.INI file and remove or disable the load and run lines in by typing rem at the beginning of each line. The load and run lines start the listed programs, which all consume Windows resources and processor time. Disable the items in the Startup group by deleting the icons, by moving them to a different group, or by renaming the Startup group. Each application in this group starts when you start Windows, which affects how Windows performs. Choose the lowest-resolution display driver that will meet your needs. A high-resolution video driver that supports many colors can consume twice as much memory and processor time as a lower-resolution driver that supports fewer colors. For example, use the standard VGA driver supplied with Windows instead of a super-high-resolution, 256-color VGA driver. Swap Files The only reason not to use a permanent swap file is if hard disk space is at a premium. A permanent swap file, which creates virtual memory, usually increases performance speed because it uses contiguous disk space. A temporary swap file attempts to use contiguous disk space, but because of its dynamic nature, it can't always do so. Therefore, a permanent swap file usually provides greater performance gains than a temporary swap file. In either case, you should create the swap file on your fastest hard disk for best performance results. Depending on the amount of available extended memory and free disk space, you may be able to increase performance by increasing the size of an existing permanent swap file. If you don't use a permanent swap file in 386 enhanced mode, set the temporary swap file on your fastest hard disk by modifying the PagingDrive or PagingFile setting in the [386Enh] section of your SYSTEM.INI file. If you run Windows in standard mode, set the application swap file on your fastest hard disk by modifying the SwapDisk setting in the [NonWindowsApp] section of your SYSTEM.INI file. To create or enlarge the size of your swap file in 386 enhanced mode, choose the 386 Enhanced icon in Windows Control Panel and fill in the options in the Virtual Memory dialog box. For step-by-step instructions, see the "Steps to Create or Enlarge a Permanent Swap File" section on page 6 of this Application Note . Windows for Workgroups If you are using Windows for Workgroups, you can further optimize your Windows performance by taking the following additional steps: To optimize the performance of Windows for Workgroups on a workstation that is sharing resources, do not use a screen saver. Screen savers can degrade performance on a workstation that is sharing resources. If you must use a screen saver, use one that accesses the processor infrequently, such as the Marquee screen saver supplied with Windows. If your workstation only shares resources (that is, it is a dedicated file or print server), you can allocate more processor time to the sharing of resources; to do this, choose the Network icon in Windows Control Panel, choose the Startup button, and then drag the Performance Priority marker closer to Resources Shared Fastest. Important: If you are sharing a locally connected printer, Print Manager (an application) must be running on the workstation. In this case, you must leave some processor time allocated to applications so Print Manager can run. In other words, do not drag the Performance Priority marker all the way to the maximum Resources Shared Fastest setting. If you are using a separator page for print jobs, use a less-complex separator for faster printing. To modify the separator page, open the Options menu in Print Manager. Consider upgrading to Windows for Workgroups version 3.11, which supports 32-bit file access (in addition to the 32-bit disk access described in the next section). The 32-bit file access feature may improve the speed of file opening and saving and other operations that involve swapping memory to disk. For in-depth information about 32-bit file access, see Chapter 1 of the Microsoft Windows For Workgroups Resource Kit, Addendum for Operating System Version 3.11. Note: 32-bit file access may not improve performance in low-memory situations, if you use a real-mode network redirector, or if you use invalid cache settings. 32-Bit Disk Access (FastDisk) In 386 enhanced mode, 32-bit disk access (also known as FastDisk) provides improved system performance for running MS-DOS-based applications. It also improves the performance of Windows by speeding up hard-disk and RAM access. Specifically, it carefully conserves the RAM each application uses and controls the frequency with which Windows must access the hard disk (hard-disk access consumes considerable processor time). If the 32-Bit Disk Access option is available in the Virtual Memory section of Windows Control Panel, your hard disk controller is (or appears to be) compatible with the Western Digital 1003 controller interface standard (WD1003) and can use this option. Windows 3.1 ships with WDCTRL, a virtual hard-disk controller device driver that provides 32-bit disk access on hard-disk controllers that are compatible with the WD1003 standard. The 32-bit disk access feature enhances the performance of your system's BIOS by filtering interrupt (Int) 13H calls to the hard-disk controller and directing them in the most efficient way for the system_either through the 32-bit interface with the hard-disk controller or through the system BIOS. 32-bit disk access works directly with the hard-disk controller, not with the hard disk itself. Warning: On some computers where the hard-disk controller appears to be, but is not, WD1003 compatible, 32-bit disk access can cause your computer to hang (stop responding). Furthermore, 32-bit disk access may be unreliable (data loss may occur) on some battery-powered portable (laptop) computers when the computer's power-saving features are enabled. Steps to Create or Enlarge a Permanent Swap File Before you create a permanent swap file, you should maximize the amount of available contiguous disk space; therefore, the instructions below include hard-disk optimization procedures. Note: You may need to decrease the size of a compressed drive, thereby increasing the size of the uncompressed drive, before you can create a larger permanent swap file. In Windows Control Panel, choose the 386 Enhanced icon. Choose the Virtual Memory button, and then choose the Change button. Under New Swapfile Settings, in the Type box, select None. Choose OK and then choose Yes when Windows asks if you are sure you want to make changes to virtual-memory settings. In the dialog box that asks if you want to restart your computer, choose the Continue button. Choose OK in the Virtual Memory dialog box, then choose Exit from the Settings menu in Control Panel. Open the Startup group and temporarily move any items to another group or rename the Startup group. Quit Windows. At the MS-DOS prompt, run a disk-maintenance utility such as MS-DOS chkdsk or scandisk (MS-DOS 6.2 and later). If chkdsk or scandisk finds errors, convert the lost clusters or chains to .CHK files. Review the .CHK files to see if you need the information they contain. You can delete the .CHK files you do not need. Run a disk-defragmenting utility such as MS-DOS defrag (MS-DOS 6.2 and later), Norton Speed Disk by Symantec, or PC Tools by Central Point Software. These utilities defragment your hard disk, which creates more contiguous disk space. Use a text editor such as MS-DOS Editor to modify your CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files to include only those device drivers and TSRs that are needed to run your computer and Windows. Do not load MS-DOS or any other items into the HMA. These steps free as much extended memory as possible when you restart your computer. Using a text editor, modify the [Windows] section of your WIN.INI file and remove or disable the load and run lines by typing rem at the beginning of each line. Restart your computer and start Windows. Choose the Control Panel icon in Program Manager. Choose the 386 Enhanced icon and then choose the Virtual Memory button. In the Virtual Memory dialog box, choose the Change button. From the Drive list in the New Swapfile Settings section, select the drive with the largest Maximum Size value. (Remember, you cannot create a permanent swap file on a compressed drive.) If the 32-Bit Disk Access option is available, select it so that an X appears in the check box. For more information about this option, refer to the "32-Bit Disk Access (FastDisk)" section on page 5 of this Application Note. Choose OK, and then choose Yes when Windows asks if you are sure you want to make changes to virtual-memory settings. Choose Yes in the dialog box that informs you about using 32-bit disk access. In the dialog box that asks if you want to restart your computer, choose the Restart Computer button. For More Information Microsoft Windows Resource Kit, version 3.1, pages 258-263, 520-523, and Chapter 5, "Windows 3.1 and Memory Management" Microsoft Windows User's Guide, version 3.1, Chapter 14, "Managing Memory and Performance" (document no. PC21669-0492) or "Optimizing Windows" (document no. WI52207-0393) Microsoft Windows for Workgroups Resource Kit, version 3.1, Chapter 9, "Tips for Configuring Windows for Workgroups" Microsoft Windows for Workgroups Resource Kit, Addendum for Operating System Version 3.11, Chapter 1, "Windows for Workgroups 3.11 Architecture," and Chapter 11, "Tips for Optimizing Windows for Workgroups 3.11" Microsoft Application Note Number WW0335: "Memory Management with Windows 3.0 and 3.1" Microsoft Application Note Number WW0530: "SMARTDrive and 32-Bit Disk Access" The SpinRite, Norton Speed Disk, and PC Tools products included here are manufactured by Gibson Research, Symantec, and Central Point Software, respectively, vendors independent of Microsoft; we make no warranty, implied or otherwise, regarding these products' performance or reliability. Page 7 Microsoft Product Support Services """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" :HOW TO GET YOUR OWN GENIE ACCOUNT: _________________________________ Set your communications software to Half Duplex (or Local Echo) Call: (with modem) 800-638-8369. Upon connection type HHH (RETURN after that). Wait for the U#= prompt. Type: XTX99587,CPUREPT then, hit RETURN. GEnie Information copyright (C) 1991 by General Electric Information Services/GEnie, reprinted by permission """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" ___ ___ _____ _______ /___| /___| /_____| /_______/ The Macintosh RoundTable /____|/____| /__/|__| /__/ ________________________ /_____|_____|/__/_|__|/__/ /__/|____/|__|________|__/ /__/ |___/ |__|_/ |__|_/____ Managed by SyndiComm /__/ |__/ |__|/ |__|______/ An Official Forum of the International Computer Users Group *** STReport available in MAC RT *** ASCII TEXT for ALL GEnie users! MAC/APPLE SECTION (II) ====================== R. Dean, Editor (Temp) (still looking for a MAC Editor) > NETWORK Services STR Spotlight An Overview, Analysis and Compilation """""""""""""""""""""""""""""" of User Opinions NETWORK SERVICES; WHICH IS BEST? ================================ EACH HAS SOMETHING "SPECIAL" Part One -------- by R.F. Mariano Through the course of the next few weeks, we'll be taking a good look at the various "PAY" Network Services ie.; CompuServe, Delphi, GEnie, AOL and Prodigy. Then we'll examine the "complimentary" networks such as the international giant; Internet, ITCNET, Usenet and Fido. For now though, let's look at the pay network services most computer owners use on a daily or weekly basis. Over the last four months, input has been gathered from a number of users. We've taken this input and once combined with our own impressions which have been accumulated over the last six years, tried to take an objective view of the various services and the manner in which they... treat their users, schedule their rates, offer real value and finally, probably the most important, the manner in which they handle "hot or touchy" topics, issues and subject matter. Hopefully, by the time the series is completed, our readers will have enough up to date information at their disposal to ensure they go with the "right" service for their particular needs. After all, it is you, the user, who must always come first. We shall strive to emphasize that fact throughout this upcoming series of insightful articles. ON THE SUBJECT OF RATES ----------------------- Instead of actually going with dollar amount comparisons, they really are far too close to show an appreciable difference to accurately do so. Let's look at the actual value for the user's time spent online. In this area of consideration, CompuServe, Delphi and GEnie have a large advantage over the other services. It appears at this time, CompuServe Information Services has more true, high speed 14.4bps nodes with true high speed throughput, actual operating experience and more seasoned professionals in its executive corps. available to expertly serve its users than most all the other services. As such, it stands to reason the online user is in an excellent position to take advantage of this service offering the most benefits in covering a vast online territory. Among the three mentioned, combined they have the most files available and online longevity strongly going for them. As such, these services draw the largest number of new users. Of course, the trick is to attract and keep the new user. As far as we can determine, this is indeed the case with the "Big Three". One major factor becomes a very strong value point, that's when one employs the use of a "Auto-Navigator/OLR" type program to interface with the service. At that point, the online user who employs the use of such a Auto-Navigator/OLR is able to _efficiently_ take advantage of the high speed nodes (if available) to avail themselves of more of the features and benefits the Online Service offers. Thus saving online time and money by doing so. CompuServe, prevails mightily in this department. One is able to find no less than eight different types of Auto-Navigators on CompuServe. Many of the Auto-Navigators are superb third party solutions written for the popular platforms available and in use on CompuServe. WINCIM ver. 1.2 with AUTOPILOT activated seems to be the popular choice among the many Windows users on CompuServe. Again, when a quality "front-end" Auto- Navigator type program is used, the Service is put to use far more efficiently and deeply thus affording the user a much higher value for his online fee. In this area, CompuServe is, at this time, the leader in perceived "value for money spent for online time". Auto-Navigator/OLR IMPLEMENTATION ---------------------------- Most online services are either "touting" they have or "will have" at least one platform specific Auto-Navigator/OLR for the popular platforms. The truth is; only a few DO have a working reliable front end and/or Auto-Navigator-OLR available and in use. That does not mean that those services that do not have a good Auto-Navigator/OLR for your platform are not working on one. As long as you are part of a thriving platform, you can be sure they are feverishly working one. These fine, easy to use programs make available to the user every facet of an Online Service with little or no "interface" difficulty. Difficulties that so often pop up when newcomers are calling these services with ordinary comm programs. The true indicator of Auto-Navigator/OLR popularity is provided by those users who have made the change from their favorite comm program to a Auto- Navigator/OLR. One hears nothing but praise. Auto-Navigator means a program that assists the user either automatically or with controlled input in getting from one place to another on a large service that offers many areas and benefits. OLR meaning Off Line Reader, this means the user instructs the program to call the service obtain Email and messages from areas so designated by the user and disconnect. The user can then read the mail and reply offline. Once completed, the user directs the program to call the service and send the replies, file requests, Email etc.. One can easily see the online time savings to be enjoyed. VENDOR ACCESSIBILITY ------------------- A major goal of all online services is to have as many of the vendor/ manufacturers available to its subscribers as possible. Most of the services have addressed this factor well. As a result, the competitive edge still relates completely on true value. If a network subscriber is able to contact more of the vendors/manufacturers in a given amount of time, that subscriber has received more real value for his/her online dollar. Also, certain of the newer, "johnnie come lately" online services are suffering either from a case of the "cheaps", lack of facilities or a lack of public relations and marketing expertise a significant number of popular vendors have complained of not receiving flagged (free) high speed access accounts in order to better serve their users/customers. On the other hand, services like CompuServe, Delphi and GEnie are very busy and I might add, aggressively seeking as much vendor participation as they can garner. As a paying user, one must pursue the service offering the best access to the most vendors as this is the lifeblood of economical product support for both the vendor (hardware and software) and the user. Therefore, thoughtful consideration of this benefit must play an important role in choosing the right service for yourself. In addition, the most important factors to observe are the comments of other users relative to the overall "attitude" of the online service and user satisfaction with a given service. There are a few complaints ranging from gripes about snooty section leaders, ego-stricken SysOps, to ultra conservative SysOps using too much heavy handed censorship. I have really seen none of this myself. I have seen a great deal of politics good and bad but that's what makes it all very interesting. <g> Thankfully, these types of complaints is are usually few and far between. In most cases, the upper management of the better online services are quick to correct such matters. The overall consensus is the services are providing a real benefit and they are indeed evolving. The time will come when services are truly serving as vast information sources that are fully automated with little or no user to user interaction except in specially designated areas. Its already happening but on a very gradual basis at this time. Next time... A look at the rate structures, layouts and popularity. Remember, if you have a unique experience or comments about the service you use, good or otherwise, let us know so that others may know too. ********************************************************************** IMPORTANT NOTICE! ================= STReport International Online Magazine is available every week for your reading pleasure on DELPHI. STReport's readers are invited to join DELPHI and become a part of an extremely friendly community of enthusiastic computer users there. SIGNING UP WITH DELPHI ====================== Using a personal computer and modem, members worldwide access DELPHI services via a local phone call JOIN --DELPHI -------------- Via modem, dial up DELPHI at 1-800-695-4002 then... When connected, press RETURN once or twice and... At Password: type STREPORT and press RETURN. DELPHI's 20/20 Advantage Plan 20 Hours for Only $20! ----------------------------- Advantage Members have always enjoyed the lowest DELPHI access rates available. On the new 20/20 Advantage Plan, members receive their first 20 hours of access each month for only $20. If you happen to meet someone online or find some other diversion, don't worry because additional usage is only $1.80 per hour. 20/20 Advantage rates apply for access via SprintNet or Tymnet from within the continental United States during home time or via direct dial around the clock. Home Time is from 6pm to 6am weekdays. Access during business time carries a surcharge of $9 per hour. These rates apply for most services, but note that there are some surcharged areas on DELPHI which are clearly marked with a "$"sign. Who is eligible to take advantage of the plan? Any DELPHI member in good standing. Applications are reviewed and subject to approval by Delphi Internet Services Corporation. It's easy to join. If you meet the eligibility requirements, you can apply online -- at any time -- for membership in the DELPHI 20/20 Advantage Plan. Your membership becomes active at 4 a.m. Eastern Time on the first billing day of the following month. The $20 charge will be billed to you at the beginning of the month to which it applies. Any portion of the 20 hours not used in any month does not carry forward into the next month. -- Advantage rates may be changed with 30 days notice given online. TRY DELPHI FOR $1 AN HOUR! For a limited time, you can become a trial member of DELPHI, and receive 5 hours of evening and weekend access during this month for only $5. If you're not satisfied, simply cancel your account before the end of the calendar month with no further obligation. If you keep your account active, you will automatically be enrolled in DELPHI's 10/4 Basic Plan, where you can use up to 4 weekend and evening hours a month for a minimum $10 monthly charge, with additional hours available at $3.96. But hurry, this special trial offer will expire soon! To take advantage of this limited offer, use your modem to dial 1-800-365-4636. Press <RET> once or twice. When you get the Password: prompt, type IP26 and press <RET> again. Then, just answer the questions and within a day or two, you'll officially be a member of DELPHI! DELPHI-It's the BEST Value and getting BETTER all the time! ************************************************************ ATARI/JAG SECTION (III) ======================= Dana Jacobson, Editor > From the Atari Editor's Desk "Saying it like it is!" """""""""""""""""""""""""""" If you missed the eclipse earlier in the week, you really missed a spectacular sight!! I remember seeing an eclipse as a youngster; and couldn't miss this one! On the news later that day, I saw various methods used to view and record this sight - some were accomplished using a computer and were truly unique. It's been a hectic week here at the northeast "headquarters" of STReport's Atari section. Unfortunately, it had little to do with gathering news for this week's issue but more focused on work-related stuff. It's also been very quiet in the online community the last week or so. Perhaps it's been due to the good fortune of pleasant weather and people are getting outside more getting their homes spruced up for the Spring. It happens. Hopefully, our two vacationing staffers, Joe and John, are back and relaxed. We should be seeing them back in this issue next (I'm writing this piece earlier than their usual deadline, so haven't talked with them both yet!). Well, let's get to the interesting stuff; I've got to find a better way to ramble early on... Until next time... ________________________________________ > View 2.5! STR InfoFile! - A Look at View 2.5 - Part 2! ====================== From Greg Kopchak: I apologize for not posting the rest of the View 2 1/2 revision list. On Wednesday the UPS man brought Damien a new TT, and he has been slightly distracted. ;-) A Falcon is due next week so he will get distracted again I thought today I would post the planned revision list for the picture viewer in View 2 1/2. - Will allow mouse selection of options from Help screen. - Can call up a fileselector to load another file. - Exits on keypress or mouseclick [even with a Spectrum image]. - Supports graphics cards. - Dithers much faster in monochrome, whichever dither is used. - The fast monochrome dither has been adjusted slightly to give better results. - If enough memory is available, the "mush" screen will not appear in monochrome. - Now displays these formats, in addition to the old ones: TN4 Mutated Tiny picture (TN1 with color cycling) IMG GEM Image PNT Prism Paint FTC Falcon True Color (from Photo Show) IFF Amiga & Atari IFF LBM PC IFF BL DEGAS Elite Blocks RAW QRT Raw (24-bit) PCX Z-Soft PCX GIF CompuServe GIF BMP Windows BMP TGA Truevision Targa - If the image is larger than the screen, the view can be scrolled with arrow keys or the mouse. - If the image is a 24-bit image being displayed with more than 256 colors, gamma correction can be applied. Here is the rest of the proposed revision list. There are several new programs listed here; they represent additions to the package. VIEWFILE.ACC (accessory file viewer) -- New program - Displays any file using View 2.5 modules whenever you can get to the GEM menu bar. - Can "slideshow" files, either all types or just specific families, as long as the viewers support it. (Currently only the text and archive viewers do not.) - ST Zip's View function can also be redirected to View 2.5. VIEWFIND.ACC (accessory file finder) -- New program - Can locate any file by name or content; permits wildcards, Boolean conditions, and phrase searching. - Can refine or expand searches. - Can search all files or just specific families. - Can search for files on multiple drives. - Will display file(s) using View 2.5 modules, if VIEWFILE.ACC is installed. - Can print search results. - Can save search results to a file for later use. - Runs as a program or accessory. VIEWRAMD.ACC (accessory RAM disk) -- New program - Can install a RAM disk at any time, as large as available memory. - Can install a RAM disk in place of an existing drive. - Can remove its RAM disk at any time. - Uses the same RAM disk drivers as the AUTO folder RAM disk. - Allows any disk to be write-protected, not just RAM disks. VIEWBOOT.PRG (cookie installer / RAM disk / file copier) - Now installs a cookie in the cookie jar. - RAM disk can use TT RAM, if available. - RAM disk can be reset-proof, if desired. - Folders can be created on the RAM disk. - Files can be copied into folders on the RAM disk. - If a file already exists on the RAM disk, it will not be overwritten, if desired. - The RAM disk can be write-protected after files are copied onto it. - ViewBoot can boot "silently"; that is, not list everything it's doing while it's doing it. - If you attempt to write to the RAM disk while it's write-protected, it displays the familiar "Retry/Cancel" alert, rather than failing right away. (This is sort of a bug fix.) VIEW_SND.TOS (sound viewer) - Can call up a fileselector to load another file. - Exits on keypress or mouseclick, but not with mouse movement. (This is sort of a bug fix.) - Handles 16-bit and stereo samples properly, playing them to the best ability of the machine. (This is sort of a bug fix.) - Now restores the speed setting of Falcon sound. (This is sort of a bug fix.) - Now supports SoundBlaster .VOC files. - Will resample sound "on the fly" to allow playback at _any_ speed on STes, TTs, and Falcons. VIEW_CFG.PRG (configuration / installation program) - No longer requires a separate .D8A file, but always requires a reboot to complete first-time installation. - The interface was completely changed, to incorporate the large number of new features and future expansion. - Smart Install is now even smarter. - Now runs in a window, and allows access to the menu bar. - Is now multitasking (Geneva & MultiTOS) friendly. - Reports the individual version numbers of the viewer modules. - Allows new viewers to be added with little effort by the user; definition files for many popular programs are included with View 2.5. - Allows existing viewers (including the text viewer) to be easily replaced. - Makes backups of important configuration files before altering them. Overall Changes - Steps were taken to make the viewers' interfaces more consistent, both with themselves and with each other. This should make the programs even easier to use. - Many changes were made internally, mostly to make View 2.5 callable from other applications; the files in the HOW_TO folder are a direct result of this increased capability. [The HOW_TO folder is on the View 2.5 disk.] - All of the viewer programs have various command-line parameters, mostly to override defaults. See PARAMTRS.TXT for more information. (These are provided for the "expert" user using View 2.5 from a CLI or in their own programs.) [PARAMTRS.TXT is on the View 2.5 disk.] - With the addition of the accessories, "full" installation will use some memory. However, the accessories are optional and do not affect the main functions of the package. - The viewer programs are, of course, larger to accommodate the new features. If you are using View 2.5 on a RAM disk, your RAM disk will need to be a little larger. - Rather than use a cumbersome manual addendum, a completely new manual was written to address all the new features. - Spc-3375 is no longer included, as VIEWFILE.ACC provides a better slideshow capability. - New programs (VIEWFILE, VIEWFIND, and VIEWRAMD) were added to extend the functionality of the system. - TROUBLE.TXT and SCRUTNIZ.PRG were included to assist in troubleshooting. [These are a troubleshooting guide and a system interrogation utility.] -----8<----- Please note, these are the _planned_ changes. Some of these items may not make it into this version (although I expect just about all will). There are also some things I have _not_ posted here, because they most likely will not appear in this version (but I will certainly try to get them in). You can see View 2 1/2 at the Texas Atari Festival in San Antonio, June 4-5. We will have it for sale there. If you've already purchased View II, bring your disk and manual along and we'll give you a good deal on upgrading! __________________________________ > The Old Fishin' Hole STR Feature """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" THE OLD FISHIN' HOLE ==================== -A Guide to the Online PD/Shareware Waters. by John R. Duckworth Well, my vacation at The Magic Kingdom has come and gone. I expected to come back online to find a plethora (my special salute to the The Amigos!) of new public domain and shareware programs just waiting to be downloaded. I wasn't too disappointed. This week I'll take a look at three of the most promising (I had hoped) packages, all of which will run on any Atari TOS system. First up is a nifty modular screen saver system by Steve Pedler called "Darklord". For those who don't have Warp 9 and its wonderful Extend-O-Save system, "Darklord" is a package designed to fill most (if not all) of your screen saver needs. At one time, users were happy to have a screen blanker...but times have changed and so have the requirements of computer users. "Darklord" is capable of loading in any one of many different screen saver modules...or if none fill your needs a complete module design kit is included to help you get started coding your own "dream" screen saver. The core of "Darklord" is an accessory which must be loaded in order for the saver to work. The accessory is designed so well, I was able to set up the system without ever reading the documentation (But of course I ALWAYS recommend reading the docs completely just in case there are any warnings or hidden features). On the "darklord" main selection screen the user is presented with several icons...each to serve a different function. The disk icon loads in a "Darklord" module . The hourglass icon allows the user to select when and how the screen saver is to be run. Also present is a "Darklord" configuration icon which sets the basic system defaults, a module configuration icon which allows the user to set module specific defaults along with the module flag icon. While none of the modules are quite as fancy as the "flying thrones" or "puzzle" modules of Warp 9, perhaps we'll see some more creative "Darklord" modules in the future. If you don't use Warp 9 and have a need for a good modular screen saver, "Darklord" is the answer. The second most promising program I received this week is a pinball game named "No Limit". I have always loved pinball and have often wondered why some industrious programmer hasn't made a nice pinball game for the TOS platform. I remember playing "Pinball Construction Set" for hours on the 8-bits...nothing on the ST quite matched that experience. After loading up the game and pulling back the plunger for the first time I had high hopes for "No Limit". But when the ball (a tad too big for the size of the board I might add) hit the flippers my hopes were dashed. It seems the game needs quite a bit more playtesting, as the ball's reaction to the flippers isn't quite what it should be. In fact, it is close to impossible to get the ball to the left side of the board when hitting it with the right flipper (and that is where it will go 90% of the time on a real pinball machine when hit near the tip of the flipper...I should know...after pumping $20 worth of quarters into Williams Indiana Jones machine last weekend). The board is also a bit too short for a standard machine, the game would be much better with a taller board (like twice as tall) that scrolled with the ball's vertical movements. I'm glad this crew from Europe decided to program a pinball game for us TOS users, and hopefully they'll continue to refine it to a point where it is worth playing. The last program I downloaded is a Dave Munsie port of the classic arcade game "Berserk". This version is almost a clone of the arcade machine complete with digitized voices and the bouncing happy face. If you have never played "Berserk" or (gasp) are too young to have ever seen it, the object of the game is to guide a human through a series of maze-like rooms while avoiding walls, enemy robots, their shots, and the happy face which comes to destroy you if you linger too long on any one screen. Do yourself a favor and grab this game...the $5.00 Dave is asking for is worth shelling out for the memories his port brings back to us old timers. Now if he'd only do a "Crazy Climber" port... Adios for this week Fishin' fans...catch me again, same place next week. E-mail: JDUCKWORTH@delphi.com. +----------------------------------------------------------------+ | Old Fishin Hole Tackle Box * | +----------------------------------------------------------------+ | Darklord | | GEnie: Atari ST RT- #32752 | | No Limits | | GEnie: Atari ST RT- #32766 | | Berserk | | GEnie: Atari ST RT- #32760 | +----------------------------------------------------------------+ * The Tackle Box is meant to provide assistance in finding files mentioned in the column. It should not be considered a COMPLETE listing and is provided for convenience only. Delphi Atari Advantage files should be found in the Recent Arrivals section of the database until moved to their appropriate sections. __________________________________________ JAGUAR SECTION -------------- Featuring; Cybermorph Review, T2K cheats, and much, much more! > From the Editor's Controller - Saying It Like It Plays! """""""""""""""""""""""""""" It almost seems like the calm before the storm, lately. Tempest 2000 has been out for awhile now and the initial excitement is starting to die down. It appears that as soon as the Jaguar community gets a new game, they're out there looking toward the next one. Word has it that "Wolfenstein 3D" is almost ready to go into production, meaning another 6-8 weeks before the users see it. Can the users wait that long for another dynamite game? Frustratingly, they will. Everybody's hoping that June and July will see a massive outpouring of 3rd party games to keep the excitement alive. Of course, the Jaguar staff here are anxiously awaiting these new games also so we can test and review them for you as quickly as possible! Speaking of testing and reviewing games, we've decided to review Cybermorph, the Jaguar "pack-in" game as there's always a chance that another game will replace it in the future. That would mean that Cybermorph would become a salable item; and a review seems worthwhile. So, further on in this section, Dom Fontana takes an extensive look at the game. We're also including some background info on Dom. We hope that you enjoy them! In the last few weeks, I've had the opportunity to check out the remaining games currently available for the Jaguar. Overall, I'm pleased with the majority of them. I wanted to make some remarks about each, and personally "rank" them. By all means, this is just my opinion based on my likes and dislikes. Naturally, you may strongly disagree with me. If so, please let me know, and why. Here's how I've rated the _currently_ available games: 1) Cybermorph (tie) Tempest 2000 3) Raiden 4) Evolution: Dino Dudes 5) Crescent Galaxy I've found that Atari made an excellent choice for the pack-in with Cybermorph. It's an excellent game that is challenging, yet with practice, is capable of being beat (I haven't done it yet, but I will!) I can't find anything noteworthy to say negative about this game except that the manual, like most of the games, could contain some more information pertaining to gameplay. I was hesitant about Tempest 2000, at first. I haven't played arcade games in years as I found that they were becoming much too difficult and thus, expensive to master! Arcade ports to consoles, if done close to the original, would not likely make it any more enjoyable. I found that with the Jaguar version of "Tempest", I enjoyed the "classic" version the least. "Tempest Plus" was fun to play with the aid of the droid. I'm waiting on a second controller, so I can't comment on the "Tempest Duel" version. I really enjoy the "Tempest 2000" mode! While it is more difficult that the classic and plus versions, I've found that it's more entertaining (and frustrating at times) to obtain various power-ups. And, being able to play with my droid buddy certainly helps! On the down side, I wasn't overly impressed with the graphics to the degree that I anticipated with the early hype. Maybe it's me, but other than the web changes, everything else is repetitious and expected. I must admit that the bonus warp levels are very well done, and pleasing to view. The sound effects, music, and special effects are very nice as well. However, I _am_ getting tired of seeing CAUGHT YOU!, SHOT YOU! and FRIED YOU! messages! Another negative are some of the special effects "messages" that come on the screen _during_ gameplay and making it difficult to see oncoming enemies and missiles. Cursing a "1-UP!" message is a common verbal assault at my house lately! But overall, I love this game as much as I do Cybermorph. I rated Raiden third because I can play it fairly well. It reminds me of games that I've seen on my ST in various formats. I haven't beat it yet, but it seems possible for the average player to do. I like the graphics and sound effects; both usually take my mind off of what I'm doing, but I get past that the next time around! I was disappointed with Dino Dudes, mostly because I find it difficult to see what's on the screen. I've found the gameplay to be more difficult than the Lynx version, even on early levels. I need to spend more time with this game, but Cybermorph and Tempest 2000 has more of my attention these days. Crescent Galaxy was near impossible for me to play! Maybe it's the horizontal scrolling, or the fact the play area is just to small for me to maneuver well - I don't know. The graphics were nice as well as the special effects. My negative feeling is primarily toward gameplay. Well, that's it in a real quick summary. If you have different ratings for the games, please let me know. Maybe I'm missing something that would heighten my enjoyment or ability to play the "bottom" couple of games. Okay! We have some interesting news and information for you this week so I want to get to that. By the way, we're including some game cheats for Tempest 2000 this week. If you don't want to view these, please scroll past that section so you don't get tempted! In future issues, we'll provide you with more various tips, cheats, and Easter Eggs for other games. We don't want to spoil everything for you all at once! Let's get to it! Until next time... > Jaguar Catalog STR InfoFile - What's currently available, what's """"""""""""""""""""""""""" coming out. Current Available Titles ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ CAT # TITLE MSRP DEVELOPER/PUBLISHER J9000 Cybermorph $59.99 Atari Corp. J9006 Evolution:Dino Dudes $49.99 Atari Corp. J9005 Raiden $49.99 FABTEK, Inc/Atari Corp. J9001 Trevor McFur/ Crescent Galaxy $49.99 Atari Corp. J9010 Tempest 2000 $59.95 Llamasoft/Atari Corp. Available Soon ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ CAT # TITLE MSRP DEVELOPER/PUBLISHER CatBox $49.95 ICD Hardware and Peripherals ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ CAT # TITLE MSRP MANUFACTURER J8001 Jaguar (complete) $249.99 Atari Corp. J8904 Composite Cable $19.95 J8901 Controller/Joypad $24.95 Atari Corp. J8905 S-Video Cable $19.95 _____________________________________ > Industry News STR Game Console NewsFile - The Latest Gaming News! """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" The Summer Consumer Electronics Show (CES) will be held at McCormick Place in Chicago June 23-25. Atari Corporation will be showing the 64-bit Jaguar system as well as the latest software, hardware and accessories. The Jaguar booth will be at the front entrance of McCormick North Upper. The Jaguar booth (#6900) will host a minimum of 10 to 15 third party company representatives... many of whom may not have representation elsewhere in the show. The Summer Consumer Electronics Show is THE major "dog and pony" presentation of hot new consumer electronics products ready for immediate shipping or available through the 1994 Holiday Season. It is at this show that buyers of the country's most prominent retail stores as well as thousands of ambitious one or two location resellers make the big deals that will directly affect the fiscal success of their business. Atari Corporation has already scheduled virtually all available appointments for personalized demonstrations and private meetings with buyers. Arrangements have been made to accommodate everyone stopping by the booth unexpectedly. Members of the press should call their contact at Atari's public relations firm immediately. Those interested in immediate feedback pertaining to the events at the show may wish to consult popular online publications such as Atari Explorer Online and STReport immediately following the June show dates. News Flash: *** MAY 10 *** ACCOLADE JOINS VIDPUB! You can write to Accolade in Message Section 9 at User ID number 76004,2132. Also, visit the Accolade Library (#9) to view screen shots of PELE 2, HARDBALL 3, and the soon-to-be-released BUBSY 2: CLAWS ENCOUNTERS OF THE FURRED KIND. ELECTRONIC ARTS AND EA SPORTS JOINS VIDPUB! Join us in Section 5 for related discussions. You can write to Electronic Arts here at User ID number 76004,237. KONAMI JOINS VIDPUB! Please read file KONAMI.TXT in their Library (#7) for a complete listing of their video game titles. You can write to them at User ID number 76004,3530. >Atari 1st Quarter '94 Finances! STR InfoFile! """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" 05/12 1927 ATARI CORP. ANNOUNCES FIRST QUARTER 1994 RESULTS SUNNYVALE, Calif., May 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Atari Corp. (AMEX: ATC) today reported its financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 1994. Net sales for the quarter of 1994 were $8.2 million as compared to $10.2 million for the first quarter of 1993. During the first quarter, production of the Atari Jaguar 64-bit Interactive Multimedia System was limited due to start-up production problems, which are now resolved. The lower sales and increased marketing costs associated with the introduction of the new Jaguar system resulted in a net loss of $900 thousand for the first quarter of 1994 as compared to a net loss of $2.0 million for the same period of 1993. Sam Tramiel, president of Atari Corp., said, "Now that the hardware start-up problems are behind us, we are focusing on the development of high-quality interactive entertainment software. At the end of March 1994, we released the award-winning title 'Tempest 2000.' Game players around the country were eagerly awaiting the title and we are happy that 'Tempest 2000' met their expectations. In the second quarter, we expect to release four to six titles for Jaguar, including 'Alien vs. Predator' and 'Wolfenstein 3D.' We currently have over 125 third-party licensees supporting the Jaguar system and between them and ourselves, we expect between 30-50 titles to be available this year." Atari Corp. designs and markets interactive multimedia entertainment systems, including Jaguar, the world's only 64-bit system. Atari is headquartered at 1196 Borregas Avenue, Sunnyvale, CA 94089. _____________________________________ > Jaguar Dealers! STR InfoFile! CatNip (Jaguar tidbits from Don Thomas) """"""""""""""""""""""""""""" It is not thought that anyone should have any problems finding the Atari Jaguar 64-bit video entertainment system available near them for purchase. Just the same, we at Atari Corporation certainly would not want that to be an excuse not to get one. This list includes an abridged list of Atari Jaguar resellers across the country. Many dealers buy through distributors and Atari Corporation does not service them directly. Consequently, a comprehensive list of dealers is difficult to assemble. Please feel free to contact Don Thomas at Atari if you know of another fine reseller in your area that should be added to the list. This list does not include a verbose listing of chain store locations. The Jaguar is available for demonstration and sale at Toys R Us, Good Guys, Babbages, Nobody Beats The Wiz and many other national or regional chain store locations. Look for the Jaguar to rent at select BlockBuster locations too. If you are a store manager or store owner who is not included on this list, please fax your request to be included to: 408/745-2088. Many of the locations below are delighted to fulfill mail and phone orders. Many also accept preorders to assure express delivery when new titles are released. Please note that this is NOT an "official" list. It is being maintained informally for the benefit of Jaguar enthusiasts. Independent dealers are solely responsible for delivery and pricing advertised and/or promised by them. FAR NORTH COMPUTERS/ARARI FAIRBANKS AK 907-456-3700 FAR COMPUTERS BIRMINGHAM AL 205-785-4192 MIDCITIES COMP SOFT BELLFLOWER CA 213-867-0626 THE COMPUTER NETWORK GLENDALE CA 818-500-3900 COMPUTER PLUS CHULA VISTA CA 619-691-7844 DEMAND SYSTEMS CARMARILLO CA 805-389-0059 COMPUTER ROCK SAN FRANSISCO CA 415-751-8573 STUDIO RESOURCE CENTER EL CERRITO CA 510-559-8618 LEO'S AUDIO OAKLAND CA 510-653-1000 ATY COMPUTER OAKLAND CA 510-482-3775 TEDDY BEAR TOYS APTOS CA 408-688-6538 B & C COMPUTERVISIONS SANTA CLARA CA 408-749-1003 SAN JOSE STORE SAN JOSE CA 408-249-0455 COMPUTERTIME CITRUS HEIGHTS CA 916-969-4111 STEVES SOFTWARE SALES WOODLAND CA 916-661-3328 COTTONWOOD COMPUTERS COTTONWOOD CA 916-347-0416 HORIZON COMPUTERS DENVER CO 303-777-8080 RUN PC FORT COLLINS CO 303-356-2344 MORRISON COMPUTERS ORLANDO FL 407-649-8733 PALM BEACH MUSIC NORTH PALM BEACH FL 407-842-7451 A-ONLINE TAMPA FL 813-237-1656 NEUTRONICS HONOLULU HI 808-423-0122 IMPACT MARKETING HONOLULU HI 808-833-1893 DATA BASE DYERSVILLE IA 319-875-8711 COMPU-SELLER WEST SAINT CHARLES IL 708-513-5220 COMPUTER CORNER FT WAYNE IN 219-493-6505 COMPUTER ZONE N. ATTLEBORO MA 508-699-0430 TOAD COMPUTERS SEVERNA PARK MD 301-544-6944 SYSTEMS FOR TOMORROW INDEPENDENCE MD 816-252-4738 POWER COMPUTERS KLINTON TOWNSHIP MI 313-445-2983 SOFTHOUSE COMPUTER CENTER GARDEN CITY MI 313-422-6760 TWIN CITIES (339) ROSEVILLE MN 612-631-9420 COMPUTER STUDIO ASHEVILLE NC 704-251-0201 HOBBYTOWN USA LINCOLN NE 402-465-7500 SOFTWARE SPECTRUM NORTH PLAINFIELD NJ 201-561-8777 THE SOFTWARE-HOUSE FAIRPORT NY 716-223-7658 WISER ELECTRONICS LAS VEGAS NV 702-385-7782 ANTHILL COMPUTING MT VERNON OH 614-393-1524 THE COMPUTER SHOPP WADSWORTH OH 216-336-2215 BACK STAGE PASS STUDIOS WEST CARROLLTON OH 513-847-8364 SHELTON COMPUTERS TULSA OK 918-446-5941 IB COMPUTERS BEAVERTON OR 503-297-8425 VISION COMPUTERS EUGENE OR 503-485-1424 COMPUTER GARDEN EDWARDSVILLE PA 717-288-6140 MICRO-COMPUTER DEPOT SUMTER SC 803-775-5165 COMPUTER DISCOVERIES DALLAS TX 214-484-9104 BITS 'N BYTES COMPUTERS ST GEORGE UT 801-628-5755 XANTH BELLEVUE WA 206-643-9697 RALEIGH COMPUTERS LODI WI 901-377-9068 ELDEN COMPUTERS CHARLESTON WV 304-344-2335 CHAING COMPUTER SERVICES ONTARIO, CANADA 613-258-1497 FALCON SYSTEMS NEW W.MINISTER, BC 604-522-2915 EAGLE SYSTEMS KELOWNA, BC V1X 6A1 604-763-4032 ### END OF LIST ### > Jaguar Developers STR InfoFile - Current Developer Lists & Titles """""""""""""""""""""""""""""" * This list is currently being compiled and updated. We hope to have the most current and accurate information in our next Jaguar edition. > Jaguar Staff Bio! STR BioFile!! - Dom Fontana Tells It All! """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""" New Writer Joins STReport Magazine! My name is Dominick J. Fontana and I have just joined STReport Magazine as a staff writer. I will be writing articles on the Jaguar 64-Bit Entertainment System. My initial articles will be software reviews, but I will also be writing articles on other aspects of the Jaguar. Following is a bit of information about myself, so that you'll know the experiences I bring to the table when writing about the Jaguar. I have lived in New York for my entire life. I originally owned the Atari 2600 and 5200 game systems. Thereafter, I owned the Atari 800XL and 130XE computers. I sold the 130XE in 1988, when I bought an Amiga computer, which I still own and use today. Aside from the Atari classics, most of my current gaming experiences come from the Amiga. I am not that familiar with the current arcade games. Nor am I that familiar with the games available on the other gaming systems, such as the SNES and the Sega Genesis. I basically have a knowledge of the old Atari games and the current Amiga games and have been playing video games since 1979. So I do know all the genres of games and have played them, but I can't really compare the Jaguar games with the games on other platforms, unless those games also appeared on the 2600, 5200, or the Amiga. For instance, I have read much about Doom and Mortal Kombat, but I have never seen nor played them. However, I do have a good knowledge of all the classic games and many, but not all, of today's popular games are available on the Amiga, such as Lemmings, SimCity, and Civilization. I don't think my lack of knowledge of non-Amiga games should make my Jaguar reviews any less valid. I also believe that when it comes to video games, that the gameplay is the most important aspect concerning the enjoyment of the game. As such, I will concentrate primarily on the gameplay and report if the game was actually fun to play. To me, the bottom line is whether or not the game is fun. I will also comment on other aspects of the game, such as sound and graphics. However, I will not stress technical details of the games nor compare them to the games available on 3DO or other systems, unless there is a good reason for doing so. While I like great sound and graphics, they alone do not a good game make. However, since the Jaguar is ostensibly a 64-bit system, I think people want to know more than if the game is just fun to play, since there are a lot of fun games on the 16-bit systems. People also want to know if the Jaguar lives up to its advance billing and if the games look like 64-bit games. To that extent I will include the appropriate information in my reviews. However, I have read too many reviews of Jaguar software where the reviewer appeared to be trying to justify the Jaguar's existence and in effect became a Jaguar "cheerleader". My reviews will not be written in that fashion. I will try to be as objective as possible and will report the good as well as the bad. I will include ratings in a number of categories with each of my reviews. This should add some consistency to the review process and make it easier for people to compare the relative merits of the games I review. Right now I plan to write my reviews in the following format: Title; Basic Information; Opening Comments; How To Play; Opinion; Closing Comments; Ratings; Quick Ratings Comments; and Summary. Sometimes I will include a Bonus section containing cheats, codes, easter eggs, or hints and tips. My ratings will be based on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the best, and half-points will be used, such as 7.5. The planned categories for the ratings are: Graphics; Sound FX/Music; Control; Game Manual; Entertainment Value; and Reviewer's Overall Rating. The review format and the ratings are subject to change in the future in order to improve the reviews. I look forward to writing about the Atari Jaguar for STReport Magazine. I am hoping for a long and enjoyable relationship with the Atari community and with the STR readers. Let the games begin! Dominick J. Fontana CompuServe: 74766,2154 ____________________________________________ > CYBERMORPH STR Review """"""""""""""""""""" CYBERMORPH ========== - Available Now - by Dominick J. Fontana Basic Information: Difficulty Level: Difficult Type of Game : Arcade (with some strategy elements) Format : Cartridge Developed by : ATD Published by : Atari Corporation List Price : Included with Jaguar game console Opening Comments: Cybermorph is the first game available for the Jaguar and it is included with the Jaguar game console. Overall I like the game, but there is just something about it that keeps it from entering the realms of a great game. It is a decent first effort for a Jaguar game, but I am expecting a lot more from future Jaguar games. I found the game fairly difficult to play, but my level of proficiency with it increased the more that I played it. The sound and graphics were okay, but not what I expected from a 64-bit game machine. Certainly the sound was not CD-quality, but the speech in the game was surprisingly good. I also found the green text in the Message Window difficult to read. Finally, I give the manual a poor rating since it did not explain the basic operation of the game in sufficient detail. How To Play: You control the Transmogriffon, or T-Griffon, a morphing attack craft that can fly anywhere within a 360 degree radius. It changes shapes as you perform different maneuvers. Your enemy is the Pernitia Empire. There are five sectors in the game and each sector has eight planets. After you complete the eight planets in a sector, you must complete a ninth final planet in order to complete the sector. Then you are given a four-digit code for the next sector. There is one code for each of the five sectors. Whenever you play the game, you can enter any of the four-digit codes on the Planet Selection Screen, so that you can start playing at any sector. In order to finish the game you must complete all five sectors. It is unlikely that you will be able to complete all five sectors in one sitting. Although you cannot save your position in the game, you can start at any sector, as previously mentioned. However, you must finish an entire sector in any one sitting in order to complete it. Generally, you will complete all eight planets in a sector, then complete the ninth, end of level planet, and then be given the code for the next sector. The next time you play, you will enter the code for the next sector and then try to complete that. So it's likely, at least at first, that you'll be trying to complete one sector at a time, each time that you play. Since there are nine planets per sector (including the end of level planet) and five sectors in the game, that makes a total of forty-five planets that must be completed. The general gameplay consists of flying the T-Griffon over the surface of the planets and trying to collect a certain number of Pods, while at the same time destroying or avoiding the enemies. You collect a Pod by flying directly over it. In order to complete a planet you must collect the requisite number of Pods and then fly through the Portal, which will transport you back to the Planet Selection Screen. The Portal only appears after you have collected all the required Pods. You can also increase your weapon arsenal by collecting Weapon Coins. These Coins appear after you destroy certain enemies or after you destroy Cargo Carriers that carry these Coins. You start with a Single Shot weapon that has unlimited ammo. You can collect five additional types of weapons, each having a maximum of fifty rounds. When you deplete a weapon's ammo, it is no longer available for use. The five additional weapons are: Twin Shot, Three-Way Shot, Cruise Bombs, Incinerators, and Mines. When you acquire the Twin Shot, it will replace the Single Shot. When you deplete the Twin Shot ammo, you revert back to Single Shot with unlimited ammo, which at the bare minimum will always be available to you. You can also acquire Rapid Fire, which allows you to fire shots much faster. Finally, you can also collect Super Weapons, but you can only carry one type at a time, and only five rounds of each type can be held. The Super Weapons are: Thunderquakers (destroy all nearby enemies), Nitros (give extra speed and protect ship), and Detonators (destroy most nearby buildings). The Main Screen displays the following: Score, Number of Ships Remaining, Skylar (to be discussed), Cross-hair and/or T-Griffon, Speed, Shield Meter, Available Weapons, Super Weapon, Message Window, Pod Counter, Altimeter, and Scanner. All these appear over the surface of the current planet. Each planet is different, with different types of terrain and objects. You start with only three ships and your Shield Meter at full strength. Every time you are hit by enemy fire or you crash, the meter is depleted. Some crashes destroy you instantly. When the meter is fully depleted, you lose your current ship. When you lose all of your ships, the game is over. You receive an extra ship every 50,000 points, but you only receive the ship after you complete the level. That means if you reach a multiple of 50,000 points, but lose your last ship before completing the level, then you don't get the extra ship. You can also receive an extra ship by collecting an X Coin. You have a number of ship display options. You can use Cockpit View, which does not display your ship on screen, or you can choose to have the ship displayed. If the ship is displayed, you can toggle the Cross-hair on or off and select from forward, rear, left, and right views. Your ship can fly forward at high speeds or fly in reverse at a slower speed. The Speed Indicator indicates how fast you are flying and in what direction you are flying. The Altimeter tells you how high you are flying and also indicates the height of the surrounding terrain. The Scanner shows hostile and passive enemies, Vortex Towers, Pods, Exit Portals, and Teleporters. Vortex Towers emit raw anti-matter which turns the terrain around the tower a black color. As time progresses, a greater and greater area of the planet turns black. If a Pod is touched by this black anti-matter, it is destroyed and you will no longer be able to collect that Pod. If enough Pods are destroyed making it impossible to collect the minimum number of Pods needed for that planet, then you will have to start that planet over, but you do not lose a ship. You can temporarily stop the Vortex Towers from emitting the anti-matter by shooting them down to a stub, but you cannot totally destroy them. After the passage of time, the towers will grow back to full height and emit anti-matter again, so they are a continual threat. There are no time limits, per se, to completing the planets; but on some planets with Vortex Towers, time is of the essence, since if even one Pod is destroyed, you will have to start playing the planet over from the beginning. Only some planets have Vortex Towers. Teleporters are spinning colored circles that appear on some planets. If you fly into them, your ship will be transported to a matching teleporter on another part of the planet. For instance, if you fly into a red teleporter, you will come out of a red teleporter on a different part of the planet. Flying back into that second teleporter will bring you back to the part of the planet where the first teleporter is located. Sometimes you must use teleporters to reach certain parts of the planet, which would otherwise be "hidden" from you. On the Planet Selection Screen, you are advised of how many Pods are on a planet, how many you must recover, and how many Vortex Towers, if any, are on that planet. You must recover the minimum number of Pods in order for the Portal to appear. The Portal is always a red and blue spinning circle that looks like a regular teleporter, however, the teleporters are always a solid color. You must fly through the Portal in order to complete the planet and return to the Planet Selection Screen. Some planets contain more Pods than are needed to open the Portal. You don't have to collect these extra Pods, but you receive a bonus for each extra Pod collected. The Pod Counter counts down and tells you how many Pods remain to be collected before the Portal will appear. The Message Window gives you progress and status information during the game and in its normal state tells you the total number of Pods remaining on the planet. In the upper left of the screen is a holographic intelligence agent named Skylar, who gives you crucial battle information and newly downloaded intelligence about the planet's surface. Normally, there is a small triangle in the upper left of the screen. When Skylar has information, the triangle turns into a picture of a green, bald-headed woman named Skylar and she then literally speaks to you. The speech quality is quite good and Skylar's face is animated, so it appears as if she is actually speaking to you. She gives you information about the game and tells you when the Portal is open, but she also ribs you if you crash or start flying poorly. You can turn off Skylar's voice so you don't hear her, but she will still appear at various times. Cybermorph also has a High Score table that holds the ten highest scores, together with your name, and the scores are retained in the cartridge even after the power is turned off. In addition to the Joypad, the A, B, C, and Option buttons are used, as well as the keypad. The game cartridge comes with one plastic keypad overlay and a 12 page manual. In the default mode, the A button gives Forward Thrust. The amount of thrust is displayed on the Speed meter as a green bar graph above the zero point. You do not have to keep the button pressed down. The C button is for the Brake/Backward Thrust. When you press it, the speed goes down to zero, which is indicated by the absence of green on the meter. This acts as a Brake and your ship will not move. If you continue to hold the C button, the ship will move in reverse, which is indicated by a blue bar graph below the zero point. The longer the graph, in either forward or reverse, the faster the speed of the ship. The B button will fire one of your main weapons. Holding the button down does not result in repeat fire. You must continually press the button in order to fire. Since you can carry up to five different main weapons at a time, you select which weapon will be fired by using the Option key. Each press of that key highlights a different main weapon. I found the use of the Option key to select a main weapon to be a bit awkward. The Pause button will also pause and unpause the game. While in Pause Mode, you can also change the volume of Skylar's voice, the sound effects, and the engine. Joypad left and right will turn the ship left and right, respectively. Joypad Up makes the ship Dive (go down) and Joypad Down makes the ship Climb (go up). This arrangement is similar to how flight simulators work and some people might prefer this method, but it is contrary to how your ship actually moves on the screen. When you press up, the ship goes down and when you press down, the ship goes up. Maybe if I were holding a stick in my hand, this arrangement would make sense, but with the Joypad, I didn't like this arrangement. Fortunately, it can be changed. As you press Up or Down, the ship's altitude is displayed on the Altimeter. The height of the surrounding terrain, such as a mountain or building, is also sometimes displayed. Your ship hovers above the ground, so even at minimum altitude, you normally won't crash into the ground. However, as the terrain rises, you can crash into it, if you don't raise your altitude accordingly. However, there is a limit as to how high you can fly and sometimes it is not possible for your ship to fly above the terrain. In that instance, you must either fly around it or use a teleporter to enter the section of the planet that you cannot reach by directly flying there. Then you use the same colored teleporter to get back to the section of the planet that you originally came from. The keypad allows you to fire your Super Weapon, Toggle the Cross-hair, select Cockpit, Forward, Rear, Left, or Right views, Reset the game, and Toggle the main music on and off. The music only plays before the game begins. There is no music during gameplay. While on the Title Screen, you can press the Option button to reconfigure the A, B, and C buttons, as well as the Up and Down functions of the Joypad. Every combination of the buttons is possible so that any button can control forward, brake/reverse, or fire. Up and Down on the Joypad can also be swapped. The volume information, control configuration, and the high scores are retained even after you remove the cartridge and turn the power off. There are a few other features that add interest to the game. Besides Weapon and Super Weapon Coins, there are also Energy Coins and X Coins. Energy Coins recover 1/4 of your total power and X Coins give you an extra ship. There are also Power Rings on the planets that give you full power when you fly through them. There is also one Bonus Ring for each sector. If you fly through it you are given a Bonus World to explore. However, it is not really similar to the other planets. When you enter the Bonus World, there are a few rows of powerup coins in front of you together with a countdown timer and an exit Portal. You must collect as many powerups as you can and exit the planet before the timer runs out. If you do, then you keep all the powerups that you collected. If you don't exit in time, then you don't keep any of the powerups. There are also a number of buildings and other surprises on the planets. Some Pods are housed in Pod Prisons, which must be shot open in order to collect the Pod. Pods in prisons do not show up on the Scanner. Force Fields prevent your ship from flying through them. Power Stations power the Force Fields. You must destroy them in order to destroy the Force Fields. Spikes prevent you from capturing Pods. Spike Stations control the Spikes and must be destroyed in order to deactivate the Spikes. Bunkers can contain a number of different surprises and you must shoot them open to see what is inside. Finally, Radar Stations help the enemy navigate, and if they are destroyed some enemies will be frozen. There are also other surprises that are not mentioned in the manual. Opinion: -------- I like Cybermorph, but I wanted to like it even more. The first few times you play it, you may not realize all that it has to offer. With repeated play and experimentation, you'll come to realize that this is a sophisticated game that has much more to offer than originally meets the eye. There is a level of strategy involved, which is not at first readily apparent. There are actually some puzzles involved within the gameplay itself. Not puzzles in the traditional sense; but clever ways of figuring out how to rescue the Pods. So I do consider Cybermorph to be a good game. But while I like it, there is some indefinable quality that it's missing, that prevents it from being a great game. I hesitate to say that the game isn't fun or that it lacks staying power because I do keep returning to play the game. The problem is that I have not been driven to play the game on a continual basis, as I was, for instance, with "Lemmings". I bought the Jaguar in mid-January and to date, about 3-1/2 months later, I still haven't completed it. And it's not because of the difficulty level, but because I haven't played it every day. With some new games, I'm so excited and find them so much fun to play that I play them virtually every chance I get until I complete them. Cybermorph did not have that effect on me. It is not an addicting game. I still look forward to playing it and I have fun and am satisfied after I play it, but I'm not driven to play it again the very next chance that I get. For me, it has not been one of those games where I stayed up until 2:00 in the morning thinking that I have to complete one more level. I play it periodically, but not continually. I don't know exactly what is lacking in Cybermorph that causes me to feel this way. Maybe I find it to be a bit repetitious. There are a few surprises along the way, but basically you fly around a planet looking for Pods and destroying or avoiding enemies. And although each planet is different, I found that there wasn't enough variety in the scenery or terrain to make each planet seem like an entirely new experience. For instance, on many planets, even though the mountains and buildings are in different places, they still look like the same mountains and buildings. Most of the planets just look like a variation of the same planet. I think that having different types of terrain and buildings on each planet would heighten the effect of visiting a brand new world and would enhance the gameplay. While I consider the gameplay to be the most important element of a game, the sound and graphics can enhance a game, if it has good gameplay to start with. Cybermorph has good gameplay, but I didn't like the polygon graphics. I also found that the colors were rather dull and that there wasn't enough variety in the colors that were used. There is no music soundtrack and the sound effects were of less than CD-quality. Also, certain sounds, such as the engine and the laser shots, did not sound like digitized samples of the real thing, which is what I was expecting. They sounded like synthesized sounds. On the plus side, the stereo effect was very nice. If you are shot or crash on the left side of your ship, the sound comes out of the left speaker and vice versa. At first I had trouble controlling the ship. Since it was my first Jaguar game, I had to get used to using the Joypad, since I am accustomed to using a joystick. But I would have had this problem with whatever was the first Jaguar game. Then after becoming accustomed to the Joypad, I still had trouble controlling the T-Griffon at high speeds. With a little practice though, I am now very adept at using the controller to control the game. However, I still find it awkward to use the Option button to change my weapon selection. That is difficult to do in the heat of battle and it is something that needs to be done quite often during the game. I also find it difficult to use the keypad during play. A keypad is excellent for selecting options before the game or for making selections during the game, where time is not a factor, such as selecting what pitch to throw in a baseball game. But I have trouble using the keypad during the heat of battle or when flying very fast, when it's difficult to take your eyes off the screen to glance at the keypad. Fortunately, with Cybermorph the main function of the keypad is to fire your Super Weapon and since the top 1, 2, and 3 keys all perform this function, it's not that difficult to do. Most of the other keys are for selecting your view and that does not have to be done that often, if at all. I did not like the Game manual at all. Not counting the covers, title page, illustrations, and credits, it only contains less than six pages of text. That is not enough to adequately describe the game. The bulk of the manual just contains a series of lists that itemize the Game Controls, Weapons, Powerup Coins, Main Screen, Buildings, and Scoring. There is very little text covering how to actually play the game. There is less than one page devoted to Strategy and Hints and this is the most helpful part of the manual. Much of the information contained in this section is actually integral to the basic gameplay and should not have been classified as strategy or as hints. There was too much left out of the manual. For instance, the manual never mentions exactly how to pick up a Pod or how to pick up a Powerup Coin. It never mentions that many items require more than one shot to destroy them or that the Vortex Towers cannot be completely destroyed. It fails to mention that your ship can be destroyed, even with full Shield Power, if you crash into certain items. It doesn't tell you how or when to enter the four-digit code to go to another sector. Other than a brief mention that High Scores are retained in the cartridge, it says nothing about the High Score Table or how to enter your name into it. There also should have been more illustrations. The manual only contains figures for the controller, keypad overlay, and the Main Screen. Items such as Powerup Coins, Vortex Towers, and Teleporters should have also been illustrated. The manual just got me started, but I really didn't understand what to expect from the game until after I had actually played it for some time. Closing Comments: ----------------- Since Cybermorph is included with the Jaguar console, every Jaguar owner already has it. There is no option as to whether or not a person wants to buy it. However, maybe it won't be included with the Jaguar in the future and someone reading this review will want to know if they should buy it separately. Despite the negative points that I have brought up, I still recommend Cybermorph. Not every game can be a "10". The negative points I made about Cybermorph were the reasons that I felt that it wasn't a "10". However, a game doesn't have to be a "10" to be a lot of fun. Cybermorph is a fun game and the gameplay is very good. It may not be as addicting as some other games I have played, but I do continue to play it and to enjoy it. And I will continue to play it until I have completed it and then I'll probably play it some more just to fly around and explore. While I don't feel that the sound and graphics take full advantage of the Jaguar's capabilities, they are still good, nonetheless. Once you get used to the controls, they are generally very good overall. And since I always read my manuals, I feel cheated if they are not complete. But once you play the game for awhile, the completeness of the manual is not that important. So many of the negative points that I mentioned in this review are relatively minor. I think a lot of what I didn't like about Cybermorph was not so much that it wasn't a fun game, but that I was expecting more from the Jaguar. I had very high expectations due to the sophistication of the Jaguar's hardware and I was probably letting myself in for a letdown. However, upon reflection, it's a very good effort for the Jaguar's first game and it is a lot of fun. Be aware that it will take some time for the programmers to become familiar with the Jaguar and to produce games that take full advantage of its power. Overall, Cybermorph is a good game and I recommend it. Ratings (based on 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest): Graphics: 7.0 Sound FX/Music: 6.5 Control: 8.0 Game Manual: 4.0 Entertainment Value: 8.0 Reviewer's Overall Rating: 7.5 Quick Ratings Comments: Graphics: --------- I don't like polygon graphics and there wasn't enough variety in the graphics nor in the number of colors used. Sound FX/Music: --------------- The sound effects didn't have the quality of 16-bit sampled sounds and there was no music during gameplay. But the sound effects used were appropriate and the stereo effect was very nice. Plus, Skylar's speech was very good. Control: -------- After some practice, the joypad and 3-button control was second nature. The use of the Option button and the keypad was still a bit awkward. Game Manual: ------------ The manual was incomplete and didn't go into enough detail about how to actually play the game. Many important items were not even mentioned and there should have been more illustrations. Entertainment Value: -------------------- The game was fun and interesting whenever I played it. However, it was not really an addicting type of game that beckoned me to continue playing for hours on end just to try and complete one more level. I played the game at my leisure. Reviewer's Overall Rating: -------------------------- This rating is not meant to be an exact mathematical average of the above ratings, since some aspects of the game represented by the above ratings are more important to the quality of the game than others. The low rating for the Game Manual doesn't lower the overall rating that much, since you can learn what the manual omits, over a short period of time, by repeated play. Overall, Cybermorph is a good game and is fun to play, with enough variety to hold your interest and to keep you coming back for more. Summary: -------- A good solid first offering for the Jaguar that became more interesting and fun the more that I played it. Every time I played it, I discovered something new about the game. The sound and graphics were adequate, but not as good as I expected from a 64-bit interactive multimedia system. Overall, I recommend Cybermorph, but I am expecting more from future Jaguar games. BONUS: CYBERMORPH SECTOR CODES As a special bonus, I have included all the Sector Codes for Cybermorph. Use these codes to enter any sector at any time. The codes are entered on any Planet Selection Screen simply by pressing the appropriate numbers on the keypad. Any completed planets in a sector will not reappear if you leave that sector and then return to it. The Sector Codes are as follows: Sector Code 1 1008 2 1328 3 9325 4 9226 5 3444 Unknown 6009 Note: For the Unknown Sector, there are four identical looking planets. Three of the planets only contain massive enemy forces. One planet contains nothing but Bonus Powerups. The Bonus Powerup Planet is located on the lower right-hand side of the Planet Selection Screen. You can enter the code for the Unknown Sector, go to this planet and collect all the bonus powerups, and then exit the planet. Then you can enter a code for another sector and begin playing the game with all your bonus powerups intact. ________________________________________ > Jaguar Easter Eggs, Cheats, & Hints STR InfoFile """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" Tempest 2000 Easter Egg Controller Type Selection Plug in two Jaguar controllers into their controller ports on the front of the Jaguar. Insert the Tempest 2000 game cartridge into the Jaguar console. Press the POWER button. After the startup sequence, the Tempest 2000 title screen will start. Press any fire button on controller one to enter the Main Game Menu Screen. To enable the Controller Type selection, hold down [PAUSE] and [OPTION] on controller two and hit [PAUSE] and [OPTION] on controller one. You should be able to hear an audible confirmation of "Excellent." On the Tempest 2000 Game Option Screen, you should now have a third option called controller type. The option allows the player one and two controllers to be configured as a joypad or rotary type controller. Without the use of a rotary type controller, configuring a joypad controller as a rotary renders the game unplayable. Please Note, the following easter egg is permanent and will remain in effect forever, unless you physically reset your Tempest 2000 game cartridge as described in your game instruction booklet. Web Rotation Insert the Tempest 2000 game cartridge into the Jaguar console. Press the POWER button. After the startup sequence, the Tempest 2000 title screen will start. Press any fire button to enter the Main Game Menu Screen. With the joypad select a game and press any fire button. On the web select screen, UP and DOWN will select web levels, but LEFT and RIGHT will rotate the web on the screen allowing full control of your view of the web. ________________Joypad_______________ Increase Web Level O Rotate | Rotate Web Left O-*-O Web Right | O Decrease Web Level Web Level Tempest 2000 Game Cheat Level Warp and Bonus Level Select Insert the Tempest 2000 game cartridge into Jaguar console. Press the POWER button. After the startup sequence, the Tempest 2000 title screen will start. Press any fire button to enter the Main Game Menu Screen. With the joypad, move the pointer to the game you wish to play without selecting it. At this point, hold down the following keypad keys simultaneously --. Next, Press the [A] fire button to select the game while holding down the previously mention keypad keys. You should be able to hear an audible confirmation of "Yes" for the game selection and an "Excellent" for the level select and bonus level select code acknowledgment. The game will appear to play and act normal except for the behavior of the [OPTION] and  key. On any level at any time, when the [OPTION] key is pressed, the message "Outta Here" will appear and you will immediately be warped from the current web to the next web and given 5000 bonus points (9000 points in Beastly Mode). To use the bonus level select, press  at any time during the game play and the "Warped Enabled" message will appear. Now, upon completion of the web (or [OPTION] for "Outta Here") you will automatically enter one of the three bonus levels. Cheat Codes Outta Here........To enable, on Game Menu press -- and [A]. Outta Here........To use, during game play press [OPTION] to warp from current web to next web. Warp Enabled......To use, during game play press  and [OPTION] to warp to one of the three bonus stages. _________________________________________ > ONLINE WEEKLY STReport OnLine The wires are a hummin'! """"""""""""""""""""""""""""" PEOPLE... ARE TALKING ===================== On CompuServe ------------- compiled by Joe Mirando Hidi ho good neighbors and neighborettes. Well, I'm back from my honeymoon and ready to resume this column. I had a column ready for the issue before last but the old (as in early production model) STe decided to trash my hard drive. While I have a decent backup of just about everything, that column just wasn't destined to be seen. Its too bad too. There was a lot of good stuff in that column. Fortunately, there's lots of good stuff to be found on CompuServe every week. So let's take a look... From the Atari Productivity Forum ================================= Chris Filby asks: "Is it possible to obtain an IBM version of the game FROGGER which was available for the original Atari computer? What about other Atari games?" Sysop Bob Retelle tells Chris: "I don't ever remember seeing a version of Frogger for the IBM, either an "official" version, or a shareware conversion... I know there were a few "AtariSoft" versions of early Atari games released a long time ago for the IBM, but that was a long time before I was involved at all in the PC world. You might try asking in the Atari Gaming Forum (GO ATARIGAM) to see if anyone there remembers any of these games, or the IBM New Users Forum (GO IBMNEW) where most of the IBM specific gaming folks are... also the Gamers Forum might be a good place to ask, in their "Arcade Games" section, (GO GAMERS)/ It's been a long time since Atari has released any software of its own. Have you checked out the MicroSoft Arcade for Windows..? It has 5 conversions of original Atari games in it that are pretty good..!" Meanwhile, Mike Myers tells us: "I downloaded Gview2, but all the instructions are in German. Is there an English translation? What I really want is some program that will handle pictures and maps for me. I don't have the equipment to put some one else's in, nor am I skilled enough to create my own, so it can be simple." Bob Retelle tells Mike: "I don't remember the exact layout of the menus in Gemview, but it should be fairly easy to just get it to load and display a picture file, unless the menus themselves are in German.. (I've run into a few programs that are like that, and it can turn into an "adventure game" just trying to get it to do anything at all..!) I'll try to remember to take a look and see if I can give you some help in getting the basic functions going..." Russell Yonkers asks: "Where can I get a copy of the AtariWorks software? How much does it cost?" Rob Rasmussen tells Russell: "Among other vendors, you can call Computer Studio (800-253-0201) or Toad (800-448-TOAD) to order Atari Works. I recently did this myself. It costs around $110." Russell asks: "Are there any Atari Dealers in the South Bend IN or Kalamazoo Mi areas? Is there any good listings of mail order houses for Atari stuff?" Sysop Bob Retelle tells Russell: "We have a little database ACCessory program in the Atari Computing Forum called ADB (Atari Data Base) that comes with a data file containing a lot of the still remaining Atari dealers and sources for hardware/software support... check it out for some names and phone numbers to try..." Mike Myers asks for help in locating a particular program: "I've been looking for animap.lhz. Do you know if it has been purged. I need a program to handle weather maps. Any suggestions?" The big Kahuna himself, Chief Sysop Ron Luks, tells Mike: "ANIMAP.LZH is alive and well and available for downloading from LIB 5 of this forum." Mike tells Ron: "First, my apologies, I think. I wrote last night asking what happened to animap. I had been trying to get it earlier, using the download function. I got a "no file" response. After I wrote to you, I tried it thru "browse" and it turned up, alive and well. But, it's a demo. Do you know if there are any free or shareware programs that can decode the weather maps in the Weather section? or is there a way to download them and open them with the unassisted computer. There was earlier a direction in the Weather section to download a program from the GIF section, but I couldn't find it." Sysop Jim Ness jumps in and tells Mike: "If you're talking about the result you get when you download the maps at GO WEATHER, you can use any of a bunch of utilities in ATARIARTS. Those are GIF files. I recommend GEMVIEW. It's a huge download, but it does everything you'll ever need a graphics utility to do. But there are several other, smaller utilities, too." Walter Pettway tells us: "I'm new to this forum, so I've probably got the wrong place, but here goes. I have an old Atari 800 computer which I used to create an large data base using the Synfile+ program. I've just purchased a IBM compatible(486) and would like to know if there's any way to convert my Atari Dos files to MS Dos. IF I can"t , I've got months of data input in front of me. Can anyone help?" Mike Mortilla tells Walter: "If you can save the old Atari files as ASCII files and then upload them (or e-mail them to yourself) from the Atari, you could then download them to the IBM. You might also be able to use a null modem canle but I'm not sure of the old Atari set-up in this regard. Maybe others are better informed and can help you." Walter tells Mike: "Thanks for the reply, I'll have to look at the old Atari manuals to see if there is an ASCII files save option. It would cetainly save me a lot of tedious work if it works." Matt Carter asks about cross-platform compatability: "I'm looking for a program that will run on my Mac, but allow me to read and use my Atari 520 ST discs...does anyone out there know of such an animal and where I can find it." Sysop Ron Luks tells Matt: "Sure dont know of any such program. Sorry. You can read your Atari disks with a MAC running a PC Emulator or a progrtam that simply reads PC disks, but you wont be able to run the programs." Lou Trapani tells Matt: "Apple supplies the Apple File Exchange program bundled with all Macs. This is an excellent program for transferring files to and from Atari ST disks from the Mac. Just have to make sure that the Atari disks were formatted in a MS-DOS compatible format (not Twister or such...). There are other programs as well that read PC/Atari disks on the Mac, such as PC Access." Mitch Crane tells us: "I've had this new PowerMac for a few weeks now -- it emulates the 68k CPU at blazing speeds -- and I was just sitting here looking in my drawer full of hundreds of disks full of useless ST software (I no longer have a working ST) and I thought 'Wouldn't it be great'. So are there any software wizards out there whom I might could talk into doing a PowerPC ST emulator? Where is Dave Small? I know Darek has his Intel based emulator thingy. It's been a while since I was heavily involved with Atari computers, but I would sure love to be able to play some of my old ST games on the PowerMac; I really do miss my ST." In a related message, Brian Huff posts: "I'm working on an emulator for Macintosh that will run Atari programs.(I can't get enought of the old Atari!) I'm able to get the Biox and Xbios routines to work, but am having some problems with GEM. Does anyone know where I might be able to find any kind of source or reference to GEM? Any help in this matter would be greatly appreciated! I'm going to post the emulator once I get a good beta version running. Any and all comments are welcome!" Sysop Ron Luks tells Brian: "Since DRI dropped GEM you wont be able to get much support from them. However, the Atari Development team is still up and running. Drop an EMAIL to J Patton 70007,1072 and see if he can point you in the right direction." Michael Stacie tells Brian: "GEM was made for dos and various other systems. You can sometimes find books on GEM in large bookstores if you live in a big city (Barnes and Knoble). Also, try the library there is usually one dusty volume somewhere on GEM. Mitch Crane comes back and yells: "Hey! You're just the guy I've been looking for. I would kill for an Atari emulator for my MAC. Just make sure it works on the PowerMac! Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeez." Brian tells Mitch: "Not to worry, it'll be ported to the PowerMac. Just as soon as I finish the GEM routines. I'll be posting a beta version in a few months. So far, the emulator will only run some TOS and TTP programs. (Having some problems with getting the GEM desktop to come up.) Keep an eye out, I'll post a message here, and in the MACDEV forum when I'm finished. If you 'd like, I'll add your name to my mailing list of beta testers. Just send me a message using CompuServe Mail. Make sure to send it to the following address: 111111,23" Kevin at PG Music tells Brian: "I'm interested in your Atari emulator. :) I've got a Quadra 660av 8/230CD I could test it on. Also, I've got a Falcon030 and 1040STf to compare with. :) For a good Atari GEM book, try the Atari Compendium by Scott Sanders. If, somehow using the MMU and other 030/040 features, emulate the Atari hardware, you should have few problems getting GEM up & running, except in interleaved bitplane modes. I don't think the mac uses interleaved bit planes." Boris Molodyi tells Brian: "If you would be interested, I wouldn't mind helping you betatest your program. We have a Mac Classic with System 6.0.7 and PowerBook 145 with 7.1..." Well folks, its been a looong couple of weeks, so I'm going to sign off now and get some much-needed sleep. As an added bonus, I'll leave you with a few of the phrases that I learned while I was honeymooning in Jamaica. The most popular phrases in Jamaica are: "No Problem, Mon", "Irie" (pronounced like Irene without the "r"), and "Respect" (sort of a catch-all meaning anything from "rightious" to "Cool". Well, its time for me to go. C'mon back next week and be ready to listen to what they are saying when... PEOPLE ARE TALKING """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" STReport's "EDITORIAL CARTOON" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""" > A "Quotable Quote" This guy is gonna run for President??? """"""""""""""""" YIKES!! March 23, 1990 -------------- Quayle declares, "If we do not succeed, we run the risk of failure." May 1, 1990 ----------- Quayle warns of danger of asteroids crashing into Earth..... "It would certainly benefit all nations to know when such a natural event might occur ... Those same asteroids which promise material riches can be a threat as well." Quayle "EGGS" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" > DEALER CLASSIFIED LIST STR InfoFile * Dealer Listings * """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" --------------- ABCO Incorporated ================= P.O. Box 6672 Jacksonville, Florida 32221-6155 Est. 1985 1-904-783-3319 1994 SPRING SPECIALS NOW IN EFFECT! ------------------------ ABCO manufactures custom storage devices! INTEL 32 BIT 486/66, VLB w/Math CoProcessor 8MB ram upgradable to 32MB 1MB SVGA VESA VIDEO CARD Sound Blaster Compatible Stereo Sound Card DOS 6.2 - Windows for Workgroups 3.11 Included 128K CACHE - 1.44/1.2 FLOPPY Drives, Mouse & 101 deluxe Keyboard 250MB IDE hd - 2 SERIAL, 1 PARALLEL, 1 GAME PORTS 250W POWER SUPPLY TOWER SYSTEM 14" Non-Interlaced SVGA 1024x768, 28dpi Monitor 40Mhz VLB, S&H Incl 1595.00 595.00 with order, balance COD other higher powered packages available or, design your own! Call for value added pricing! Call: 904-783-3319 Anytime, Voice Mail =====******===== Syquest Removable 44-105-270mb SCSI Drives All Size Platters Available Diamond Speed Star 24x SVGA/VGA Video Card w/1mbVRAM Diamond Stealth & Viper 1mb & 2mb - Call for prices Enhances Windows SPEED and EFFICIENCY Diamond High Performance Sound Cards Available Soundblaster Cards and compatibles 8 & 16 bit Pro Audio Spectrum STUDIO 16 - 16bit - Midi - Audio Recognition Top of the Media Vision PAS Line - True Multi-Media IDE Super IO cards & 16550 UART 2 & 4 Port Cards Call: 904-783-3319 Anytime, Voice Mail """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" COMPUTER STUDIO =============== WESTGATE SHOPPING CENTER 40 Westgate Parkway -Suite D Asheville, NC 28806 1-800-253-0201 Orders Only 1-704-251-0201 Information FULL LINE COMPUTER DEALER """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" EAST HARTFORD COMPUTER ====================== 202 Roberts St. East Hartford CT. 06108 1-203-528-4448 FULL LINE COMPUTER DEALER """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" MEGABYTE COMPUTERS ================== 907 Mebourne Hurst, TX 76053 1-817-589-2950 FULL LINE COMPUTER DEALER """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" SAN JOSE COMPUTER ================= 1278 Alma Court San Jose, CA. 95112 1-408-995-5080 FULL LINE COMPUTER DEALER """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" CompuSeller West ================ 220-1/2 W. Main St. St. Charles, IL., 60174 Ph. (708) 513-5220 FULL LINE COMPUTER DEALER """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" (DEALERS; to be listed here FREE of Charge, please drop us a line.) """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" STReport International Online Magazine -* [S]ilicon [T]imes [R]eport *- AVAILABLE ON OVER 20,001 PRIVATE BBS SYSTEMS """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" STR Online! "YOUR INDEPENDENT NEWS SOURCE" May 13, 1994 Since 1987 copyright (c) 1987-94 All Rights Reserved No.1020 """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" All Items quoted, in whole or in part, are done so under the provisions of The Fair Use Law of The Copyright Laws of the U.S.A. Views, Opinions and Editorial Articles presented herein are not necessarily those of the editors/staff of STReport International Online Magazine. Permission to reprint articles is hereby granted, unless otherwise noted. Reprints must, without exception, include the name of the publication, date, issue number and the author's name. STR, STReport and/or portions therein may not be edited in any way without prior written permission. STR, STReport, at the time of publication, is believed reasonably accurate. STR, STReport, its staff and contributors are not and cannot be held responsible in any way for the use or misuse of information contained herein or the results obtained therefrom. """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""
- Next message by date: Bruce D. Nelson: "ST Report: 20-May-94 #1021"
- Previous message by date: Bruce D. Nelson: "Atari Explorer Online: 10-May-94 #0308"
----------------------------------------- Return to message index