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G.R.A.S.P. GAZETTE 

(G rea ter Richmond A taii Suppor {Program) 

G.R.A.S.P. is an independent Atari users group not affiliated in 
any way with ATARI. INC. Or TRAMIEL ENTERPRISES, INC, 

The opinions expressed in this newsletter are those of the 
individual author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of 
G.R.A.S.P., its officers or members. The Editor reserves the 
riQht to edit any material submitted for publication. 

Unless specifically noted otherwise, other user groups are 
welcome to reprint articles from this newsletter as long as 
credit is given to its author and G.R.A.S.P, 

Please send all correspondence and newsletter for 
exchange to: 

Editor 

G.R.A.S.P. 

1420 Yale Ave. 

Richmond, V a. 23224 
GEnte: TOMMARVIN 

G.R.A.S.P. Officers: All (804) 

President-. 


Mickey Angell 

Nice President-. 

...744-6201 

Farley Barge 

Secretary [Treasurer. 

..379-1935 

Dan Grenoble 

Pubiic fteiations: 

...271-0205 

Jack Richford 

Newsletter Editor. 

..270-2177 

Tom Marvin 

Program Chairman-, 

..233-6155 

Frank Leveque 

Commerciai librarian: 

,..266-8487 

Dave Jones 

..740-7823 

Public Gomam librarian [8 Bit]: 
North of the James 

Bill Rhodenhise/ 

South of the James 

...747-1766 

Carl Dean 

North & South [16 Bit]: 


Mickey Angell 

,744-6201 

Tom Marvin 

,233-6155 


Membership: 

Membership in G.R.A.S.P. is open to all persons interested 
in the Atari computer. Annual dues of $20.00 are payable 
apon entry and are $20.00 for 1 full year. 

Membership will include 11 monthly issues of the G.R.A.S.P. 
GAZETTE, no January issue and access to the Public Domain 
and Commercial libraries, group purchased, club discounts at 
participation retailers, and participation in drawings, 

Meetings: 

Meetings are held the second and fourthWedensday of each 
month from 7:00-09:Q0p.m, at the Lyndale Public Library on 
Hicks Rd. Any and all persons interested in Atari computers 
are welcome! 


NEWS AND GRIPES AND MORE NEWS 
By Wally Wong, BRACE, taken in part 

MAC/65 NO MORE! - How the mighty do die! According to r 
Wilkinson, of OSS (Optimized Systems Software, Inc.} and creato. _, 
ADOS (DOS for the new 8-bit drivers), as of Aug. 1st, '87, OSS will no 
longer be producing the MAC/65! What MAC/65’s are left is what's on the 
dealer shelves and their suppliers' warehouses Sad, Sad, Sad. For those 
unfamiliar with the product, MAC/65 is, without a doubt, the BEST macro 
assembler and editor program for the Ataji 8-bit systems Others may be 
easier to use or provide other features, but none are as complete and as 
powerful as the MAC/65. You'd find one of these cartridges near any 
serious Atari programmer's computer. This may be a sorry indication of 
the future of the 8-bits. Sagging sales of such an excellent product means 
the interest in software development has declined. Yes, we have 
ACTION! and other excellent software development products but still, no 
matter what, language you do use, machine language routines are needed 
to add the necessary punch and power to your programs. The MAC/65 
fits this bill. I suggest if you have any inclination toward software 
development or even if to dabble with assembly language, MAC/65 is 
something worth getting your hands on. I also suggest you hurry, no 
doubt, the prices on the MAC/65 mil probably start to climb; this is going 
to become a collectors item!! 

1Q5Q's NO MORE - Atari has no more 1050's in stock. If you've been 
waiting to purchase a 1050, you may be out of luck. Most ctealers are out 
of stock and probably stopped reordering the 1050‘s anticipating the 
arrival of the XF-551 . 

MAGAZINE GRIPES - Have you seen the last few issues of AN . , 

Gee, where do they find these ideas and images for magazine covers? 
They look like they fell out of a 60's trade magazine. The lack of 
imagination is appalling, what is this, cover art on a shoestring budget? 
The covers remind me of those found on POPULAR MECHANICS - back 
in the early 60's. 

WE know ANTIC is about Atari, but if you were a computer enthusiast - 
neophyte or advance - not familiar with the Ataris (I know, a contradiction 
in terms - how can any computer enthusiast not be familiar with the 
Ataris!!??) browsing through there favorite newsstand or bookstore, they 
would tend to overlook magazines that do not attract their attention. Not 
to preach about "telling a book by it's cover", but there a/e a few basics 
in marketing and advertising and Dne of them has to do with attracting 
attention to your product If we a/e to spread the gospel about how great 
and wonderful the Ataris are, we could at least present it with a 
respectable cover. 

i UPDATE ON THE XF-551 DISK DRIVE - Bill Wilkinson, of 
OSS, is writing ADOS, the new Disk Operating System for the 
new, double sided, double density, 5 1/4", up to 3 times the 
speed of the 1050, soon to be shipped, soon to be on the 
dealers shelves XF-551 disk drive. The new drive WILL be 
100% compatible with SpartaDos! A patch by ICD will enable 
the "ultraspeed" read/write on the new drive. It will have a 
suggested list price of $199.00 and probably bo discounted ‘n 
around $169.00. 


fi.R.d.S.P. Mian 


DCfDBCR 1987 


ATARI HEMS 

Complied by John Nagy 
■“■‘'Chigan Atari Magazine Sept. 1987 
JNO MONITOR BARGAIN: How about a ST mono monitor 
for $79? I read in ABACUS user group newsletter from SAN 
FRANCISCO that the FEDERATED stereo chain has them at 
$79, regular price. From the prices I've seen, that almost is 
worth the airfare to go pick one up. Check it outl 
On the games front; M1NDSCAPE will publish "home computer" 
versions of ATARI ARCADE games such as PAPERBOY, 
GAUNTLET, ROAD RUNNER (ED;Now Out), and others. 

You read about the hot upcoming STAR TREK (E drin our 
newsletter also) for the ST in my column a few months 
bac,.. . well, it may NOT be forthcoming after all. Says STEVE 
DUNPHEY of the Rhode Island ACE club, SIMON and 
SHUSTER game division folks are incensed that beta copies 
got out and circulated in that cesspool of pirates called 
BBS's... so much so that they have threatened to pull the 
game entirely. Steve saw a copy and wrote about it, all very 
positive and eagerly awaiting the commercial release so he 
could have a copy, and his article was widely reprinted. Ne<t, 
he was on the hot seal for "participating" in the piracy. Hey, 
he saw it and tried his best to help promote the company and 
the upcoming product. Lets hope that 1) The thing actually 
gets released and is as good as it looks, and 2) that priates 
don't kill the marketplace. I comment Steve for not keeping 
nor passing a hot copy, and thank him for his consistent help 
ATARI news gathering, 

D Parsons, in his Aug, ‘87 column for the NORTH TEXAS 
ATARI COMPUTER TEAM (NTACT), discussed some 
distasteful front-row piracy at their ATARIFEST. It seems that 
BEST ELECTRONICS sells a ROM cart for the ST that is 
"MAGIC SAC COMPATIBLE".., David Small, creator of the 
MAGIC SAC (a MACINTOSH EMULATOR cart and software), 
doesn't get one cent of the sales made by BEST of this 
blatently copied EPROM, as he stated in CURRENT NOTES 
magazine a few months back. David actually spoke at length 
with the BEST sales rep at the D.C. ATARIFEST. The rep 
went into great detail about how much money you could save 
by buying the BEST version instead of buying the "too 
expensive" REAL MAGIC-SAC... little knowing who he was 
talking to 

lit appears from these reports that BEST is actually proud of 
ripping off the work of some of our BEST, er, sorry, most 
inventive programmers. Yet BEST continues to appear at 
ATARIFEST after ATARIFEST, and countless club newsletters 
carry their ads. ATARI stepped in and absolutely FORBADE 
the Pittsburg Atarifest from allowing BACK PATCH SALES 
from having a booth, even though they wanted a lot of room 
and offered to pay all in advance. BLACK PATCH had 
angered too many buyers with "PAY NOW, DELIVER 
SOMEDAY" problems... and has since gone bankrupt, We 
s hf 'uld hope that ATARI would say SOMETHING about BEST... 

i though BEST has a fascinating collection of bizarre and 
hard-to-find ATARI m iscellanity. Personally, I don’t need an 
ATARI belt buckle (or an ad for MAM'} so badly that l will 
support a company that steals from the rest of the industry. 



ZMAGAZINE 67 
August 21, 1987 
(c)1987 Syndicate 
ACTIVISION COMING BACK, 
CEO SAYS 

Activision is "back on the 
comeback trail," the software 
publisher's new president/CEO 
told his shareholders this week at a 
meeting in Palo Alto, Calif, 

The company last month announced its first quarterly profit 
in four years, and "most of our markets are strong," 
President/CEO Bruce L. Davis said, according to The 
Associated Press. "Industry sales of consumer software are up 
substantially and the demand for video games ... is up by 
more than 100 percent." 

Davis, who last month was named to replace James H. 
Levy in the top seat, told his investors that company plans to 
launch a joint promotional campaign with Sports Illustrated 
next month to, says AP, “cross merchandise the Gamestar 
label's sports simulation software with a subscription drive." 

Davis, who said the firm also has signed with Micro Illusions 
to sell its arcade/fantasy role-playing/"home enrichment" 
titles, said, "Our greatest challenge is to grow in a measured 
way that does not overtax the organization as the 



ZMAGAZINE 69 
September 4, 1987 
(c)1 987 Ron Kovacs 


ATARI'S TRAHIEL READY FOR BATTLE 


Quoting Gen. George Patton and sounding a lot like a 
coach psyching up for the big game, Jack T ram tel says his 
Atari Corp, is ready to become America's consumer electronics 
supplier. 

Speaking with business writer Bob Webster of United Press 
International, the 59-year-old Tramiel says, "One of the 
people I admire is Gen. George Patton. In business, whatever 
we do we go out there to win, not to play the sport. We have 
the best product, the best personnel and the best locations to 
make sure we win." 

Atari has made headlines last week with its plans to buy out 
the 67-siore Federated Group retail electronics store. 

Tramiel tells Webster that the chain will be a key to his 
dream of turning Atari into a "vertically integrated" consumer 
electronics company. 

"There are no companies of that nature left in the United 


3 


G.R.d.S.P. Bil^TTC DCfOBCR 198? 


States," Tramiel said. “General Electric was the last one. We 
are going to be an international consumer electronics company 
...Computers are one of the products. Hitachi and Panasonic 
do not only make computers. I want to share my (research and 
development} costs, from designing and planning a product 
from the component to the shelf. This is the way my 
competitors in Japan have done it for a number of years." 

Of course, Tramiel is not talking a gieat deal about future 
products, but he did tell UPl he now plans to oversee Atari's 
development of a CD-ROM product to be introduced this fall. 
He also said Atari is negotiating with several semiconductor 
companies for a possible acquisition. 

Of the Federated acquisition, Tramiel says the company 
hopes the chain will strengthen its sagging distribution. 
"Instead of waiting for three or four months to get a reaction 
from retailers, by having an outlet ! can teil In six days," 
Tramiel said. 

Webster comments that "most previous ventures by 
computer companies into distribution have failed, except for 
Tandy Corp.'s efforts through its Radio Shack outlets. Rut 
distribution alone does not appear to underscore Tramiel's 
pursuit of Federated." 

That's the view of Jan Lewis, president of Lewis Research 
Group of Sunnyvale, Ca., who told the wire service, "On the 
most simplistic level, (Tramiel) wants to buy distribution. But I 
think his plans may be broader than that. Tramiel comes from 
retailing and I think he may see farther than others in the 
marriage of computers and consumer electronic 
products, “--Charles Bowen 

ft ^ 


(3PP T HE astern 

\^J MARINE »c 

FRANK LEVEQUE 

3819 WILLIAMSBURG ROAD (804) 228-1111 

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23231 (804) 228-0144 


August 28, 1987 (c)1987 Syndicate 
ZMAG ATARI NEWS UPDATE.. 

From CIS Online Todav/APAugust 24, 

ATARI CORP. TO BUY CHAIN 
Atari Corp, wants to buv me Federated Group Inc.'s 
65-store retail electronics ^.*,11 for $67.3 mill . By this 
Friday, it will tender an oiler for the 10.7 million ling 

shares of Federated slock, seeking to gain r 


California. Arizona, Texas and Kansas. 

According to The Associated Press, Federated's 
seven-member board unanimously approved the $6. 25-a-s' n 
offer, noting the firm "has had trouble finding retailers fo. j 
products. Among other things, the merger hinges on the 
approval of Federated's lenders." 

Federated lost $895,000 in the first quarter ended May 31, 
compared with a profit of $662,000 for the same period last 
year, the wire service says. Sales rose 2 percent to $91.1 
million. 

Atari's own financial picture has improved lately. In the 
latest quarter, its profits were up 39.3 percent to $13.54 
million, while revenue rose 16.4 percent to $70.69 million. 
August 25, ATARI NOT RULING OUT 

Atari Corp.'s move this week to acquire a retail electronics 
chain is not an isolated event. "II other transactions come 
along that fit into our business plans, we'll do additional 
acquisitions," says Atari treasurer Steve Kawalick. 

Atari Corp. wants to buy the Southern California-based 
Federated Group Inc.'s 67-store chain for $67.3 million, a 
move that would give it control of stores in California, 
Arizona, Texas, Kansas and New Mexico, 

The Associated Press reports that the deal, which is subject 
to approval by a five-bank consortium that has extended 
Federated a $48 million line of credit, was worked out with 
Federated founder/chief executive Wilfred Schwartz, who will 
continue to run Atari's Federated subsidiary. 

Sch waitz told AP, "It's a marriage made in heaven. W' 't 
we wanted to augment our resources with the human -,id 
financial resources available through a union with an extremely 
strong winner." 

The wire service notes, "Most of Federated's stores cover 
half an acre and boast a vast selection of electronic specialty 
merchandise, including Atari's bottom-line personal 
computers." 

Atari’s Kawalick comments, "This particular acquisition 
gives us additional distribution channels in certain parts of the 
country." 

August 28, TRAMIEL SAYS PURCHASE ... 

Atari Corp. Chairman Jack Tramiel says his firm's 
acquisition of the 67-store Federated Group electronics store 
chain will be a mighty tool against Japanese competitors. 

Tramiel told The Associated Press, "Our Japanese 
counterparts all have their own stores in Japan. I like to copy 
success." 

He also said that there are "no consumer electronics 
companies today in the United States. We need to rebuild that 
and I think we can do it." Atari revealed Monday that it is 
acquiring Federated, which has stores in five Western states, 
lor $67.3 million. 

AP quotes Tramiel as saying that Federated was bought in 
order to reduce the time it takes for products to be accepted 
by dealers. And "the move will also spread research d 
development costs over a larger organization," the .^,ie 
service said. 

Federated has lost money recently to the tune of $5.2 
million in the fiscal year ending last February, but Tramiel 
says it will start making a profit now "by slowing its recent 



G.R.d.SJ 




II G Q iu .K. 1 S b i 


expansion drive and gaining from more advertising and the 
addition of new Atari products," AP reports. —Charles 
Bowen; Online Today 


NEWSLETTER EXCHANGES AS OF SEPT. '87 

1) A.C.E. of Syracuse Syracuse, N.Y. 

2) ACE Cleveland Newsletter Cleveland, OHIO 

3) ACORN Fort Wayne, INDIANA 

4) ANALOG Computing Group Listing Worcester, MA 

5) ANTIC MAGAZINE San FransiSCO, CA. 

6) Atari Users of GHA Manchester, CT 

7) B.A.C.E. Newsletter Waterloo, IA 

8} Boston Computer Society Boston, MA 

9) C.A.A.U.G. Costal Area Bilozi, Ml 

10) CHARLOTTE Atari Users Group Charlotte, NC 

11) CURRENT NOTES Dumpfies, VA 

12) D'BUG N.L. LaGrangeville, NY 





13JDUST Las Vegas, NV 
14JFUJI FACTS N.L. Columbus, OH 
15)H.A.U.G. Huntsville, AL 
ie)H.l.S.U.G.High Sierra Sparks, NV 

17)HOUSTON Atari Computer En. 

Houston, TX 


1 8) f C C C Mattoon. IL. 

19) J.A,C.G. Pine Brook, NJ 

20) J.A,C.S. Clementon, NJ 
21 JL.A.A.C.E. Van Nuys, CA 

22) L.A.C.E. Shreveport. LA 

23) L.A.U.G.O.N. Lincoln, NE 

24) L,C.A.C.E. Lake County Waukegan, IL 

25) L.O.C.Q. Charleston, SC 

2G)LI ACE Long Island Bel Iport, NY 

27) M.A.A.U.G. Madison, Wl 

28) M.A.C.C. Modesto, CA 

29) M,A.C.U.G. Minot AFB, ND 

30) M.V.A.C.E. NewsKettermg, OH 

31 )MID-M1CHIGAN Atari Magazine Lansing, Ml 

32) N.E.A.T. Atarian Philadelphia, PA 

33) N.O.A.U.G.S Metairie, LA 

34) N.W.P. A.C. Phoenix, AZ 
35}P,A,C.E. Pittsburg, PA 

36) P.A,C.E, Dispatch Superior, Wl 

37) P.A.C.E. World Hampton, VA 


A ECB COMPUTER PRODUCTS A 


ON-LINE CATALOG 804-379-9239 300/1200 BPS 


JK SPECIAL Jk 


MAXELL 3.5" SSDD DISK $10.99 

PER BOX OF TEN 


AVATEX 2400 MODEM $230,00 

AVATEX 1200HC MODEM, 4110.00 

MASTER TYPE CART $15.00 


GFA BASIC LANGUAGE $59.95 

GFA BASIC COMPILER $59.95 

LDW BASIC COMPILER $44.95 

FOR ATARI ST BASIC 


WEBSTER THE WORD GAME $15.00 

CHIPMUNK $24.95 

SOFTWARE BACK-UP PROGRAM 

NEWELL 256KXI $49.95 

RAM UPGRADE FOR 800/1200XL 


VOICE ORDERS 804-379-1935 9-5 EST 


* ******* COMPANY POLICY ********* 

All ORDERS ARE SHIPPED C.O. U. UPS SUBJECT 
TO MANUFACTURERS AVAILABILITY, 
APPROPRIATE SHIPPING CHARGES APPLY 
VIRGINIA RESIDENTS ADO 4.5% SATES TAX 
PRICING SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT 
NOTICE, 


E.R.d.s.p. g ateife nmnfR taa? 


38JPOKEY W.N.Y. Buffalo, NY 
39)POKEY PRESS Boynton Beach, FL 
40JR.A.M. Red Rose Lancaster, PA 
4t)S,B.A.C.E, Santa Barbara, CA 

42) S.L.C.C, San Leandro, CA 

43) S.M.L.A.C.E. Santa Maria, CA 

44) S.P.A.C.E. Harrisburg, PA 

45) S.P.A.C.E. Seattle-Puget Tacoma, WA 

46) S,T.A.T.U.S, Va. Beach, VA 

47) S,T.U.N. Murray, UT 

4 8JSAIL of Louisiana Houma, LA 

49}T,A,F. Toronto Federat Toronto, Ontario, Canada 

50)W.A.C.O. Newsletter Warrensburg, MO 

There you have it folks, what you have been asking for. I take 
the best from all the N.L.'s I receive and pass the information 
on to you in this N.L. All the above N.L.'s are yours to look 
over at each meeting, just please return them if you take any 
home. Our exchange with other groups is very valuable 
because of the information exchange and keeping the channels 
of communication open. Thank you all! Tom Marvin 



LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:- 
From:THE DISK ORGANIZER 

8307-27th N.W.Seattle, Wa.U.S.A, 98117(206)782-3691 
Aug 26, 1987 
Greetings Tom, 

Last time we communicated, you were purchasing some Disk 
Organizers. I'm really glad you liked The Disk Organizers! If 
you could improve them, how would you do it? 

Anyway, what brings me to write to you again, is our latest 
release. Trac-Feed Labels were originally designed with The 
Disk Organizer user in mind. Major releases have their titles 
printed on the edge, but your own disks don't. Using 
Trac-Feed Labels and our helpful way of lining up your print 

head, this is no longer a problem! You too, can have all your 

private titles, printed on each disks edge. 

Trac-Feed Labels also work well, when needing a label for a 
5.25" disks jacket. This just adds tD their flexibility, ! hope 

you'll give them a try. The roll of 1000 is very popular with 

user groups. Belonging to one, I think I know why. Our group 
goes through lots of disks and labels! 

Hope to hear from you soon. 

Sincerely, Steve Drake 


(Editor's Note: The labels measure 2-3/4"x2-3/4", have a 
semi-gloss surface, and comes with a red, yellow or blue strip 
down the left side. (For those of you that are built backwards, 
left-handed, or stand on your head, the strip is down the ‘ t 
side.) Pack of 50= $4.00; pack of 100= $7 00; Roll ol 1u ✓= 
$40.00; minimum order of 12 packs or 1 roll. (Add $4 S&H on 
12 packs, and/or $6 per roll]. 




LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: 

From Russell Will, G.R.A.S.P. Member (Sept. '87) 

Well, here I go again, trying to do something I know little 
about. I was thinking the other day that Tom is right. If we 
don’t take an interest in the newsletter, it will sureiy die. 

Of course this goes for the club, too and everything else we 
do in life also for that matter. So just bare with me while l 
write this article. 

I want my computer to do someth -g but I know it's only a 
machine and you have to put the rig..: thing into it to make it 
work. I'm working on the SYNFILE+ pi .gram now. I have some 
files that I want to put in i: but I cac't seem to find the t 
way. I get very frustrated when I can't get the program^. ,o 
work, but I keep plugging on-and-on-and-on. 

I guess I'm like a lot of people just starting out in 
computers. We just do not know enough to ask questions. But 
we also know that if we don't ask questions, we will never 
learn. I, for one do not want to be a 46 year old dummy. 

We probably need some demos of SYNFILE+ etc. at the club 
meetings. I for one wouid like to see it used and try to learn 
fiom the presentation. 

Well, I hope I have not put anybody to sleep on my first 
article for the newsletter. Let's get on the bandwagon and 
start writing articles for OUR newsletter and stop reading 
some other club newsletters in OUR paper. Russell Will 
[Editor's Comment: Now that's the spirit I'm trying to get 
across to "our" membership! - "if we don't take an interest in 
the newsletter" - what more can I say!!!] 



6 


r ] 


G.R.d.S.P. Mltllt 

ST-REPORT 7 
September 12, 1987 

from Zmagazine Information Network (c) 1987 
'■•lished/Edited by: Ron Kovacs 

Lake Monroe, Fla.: Computer Fenestrations today 
(September 4, 1987) announced the availability of EASEL/ST 
for Atari Corp.'s ST series of computers. A software add-in, 
EASEL/ST enhances the ST's integral GEM Desktop, allowing 
the user to control the appearance of the Desktop's 
background, without otherwise affecting the Desktop's 
operation. For the first time, users can substitute a picture or 
other graphics for the normally plain background. 
Both D.E.G.A.S, and Neochrome picture file formats are 
supported. 

Three groups of buyers are targeted for EASEL/ST, 
according to the company, Most buyers will be casual users 
who desire to personalize their computer. Also expected to 
show interest are retailers who depend on customers' 
hands-on experience with ST computers in their showroom for 
sales. These dealers can use EASEL/ST to display 
promotional messages and new product announcements even 
as the customer test-drives the machine. Finally, systems 
houses face the problem of getting their customers past the 
GEM Desktop, which is always the first GEM application run 
whenever the computer is reset, and into the customer's 
specific application(s). With EASEL/ST, the vendor can place 
detailed operating instructions right on the GEM Desktop, 
're they cannot be lost or overlooked. 
cASEL/ST was designed to be compatible with all ST 
configurations, including early ST models in which the 
operating system was soft-loaded, and the new MegaST 
models, with the latest ROM revision. It is provided on a 
single-sided diskette, and it is not copy-pfotected. EASEL/ST 
operates in all of the ST's various resolutions. On color 
systems, it adapts automatically to resolution changes, and it 
overrides Atari Corporation's Control Panel in order to 
maintain the palette of the user-selected picture. EASEL/ST 
does not compete with Dther software for one of the six desk 
accessory menu slots; instead, it is loaded by means of the 
AUTO folder when the system is reset. EASEL/ST is GDOS 
compatible. 

Price: $19.95. 

Contact publisher for dealer/distributor pricing. 

D.E.G.A.S. is a trademark of Electronic Arts/Satler ies 
Included. GEM and GDOS are trademarks of Digital Research, 
Inc. ST, TOS, and Neochrome are trademarks Df Atari 
Corporation. 

Publisher: Computer Fenestrations 

Post Office Box 151 

Lake Monroe, Florida, 32747-0151. 

Telephone: (305J-322-3222. 

Electronic mail: BIX -bob_breum 
“CompuServe - 175116,22621 . 


OCTOBER 19 87 

Garbage-On-The-Line 
by Calamity Jane 
Diary of a Mad SysOp 

I don't know what qualifies one as a SysOp?? I wonder if all 
SysOp's are unhinged, obsessed, or just a wild, deranged, 
raging, lunatic? Why does one spend a whole heck of a lot of 
ones personal time and money on this leisure- time activity?? 
Not only time and money, but the speculation, reflection, 
brainstorming, anxiety, conviction, and determination!! 

Something... maybe it's in the air, or at least on the phone 
lines II 

As The Prairie Chip goes for an on-line time of three years, 
it has been thru a lot of changes and growth. Fast. Amis, 
Tod.Amis, OASIS and now FoReM. Onward & upward, so they 
say. Some of the callers have been with me since the 
beginning, others come and go, Every SysOp appreciates, you, 
the caller. Some of you I appreciate more than others. The use 
of handles vs. real life names is usually up to the SysOp. I like 
handles, lets have some fun!! The Chip gets the usual handles 
(several Joe Cool's in various stages of spelling) but some of 
them.,..) have to ask, as to what the heck IT is, where the 
heck did you come up with IT, and whether or not IT is 
dangerous. Some very clever handles, and I always wonder 
how alike you are with your handle? After all, IT is an 
extension of your personality. Virgin Killer??? hmmm... 

Nothing exasperates me more than when the ever present 
YELL is activated and before l can physically move to the 
computer the caller has logged off. Hmmmm, I get tired of "se 
callers and make a mental note. SysOp's do not sit at 
command headquarters waiting to answer your chat. Some 
SysOp's (sls-op's <long \> in England) do not chat. I chat, I 
have found it another way to get to Know people and I like it. I 
am more than happy to help. Be it looking up that forgotten 
password, helping the new caller with logging on (with out 
adding 5 names to the hard disk), making your way around the 
system or comparing the MPH of the wind or the depth of the 
latest snow. Yes, my BBS is a friend, and very much a 
companion. I care about several of you very much, you are 
good company!! 

When all goes well, running a BBS is fun, challenging, 
satisfying, captivating, amusing and exciting. When all goes 
bad, a SysOp's job is boring, frustrating, tiresome, tedious 
and annoying. <FoReM has improved on this situation 
tremendously> One can go from a star to a bum in one 
afternoon. Nothing much (besides equipment failure) is worse 
than a hard disk crash or heaven forbid, the message bases 
crashing. Remember, the first rule is there are no rules, but a 
good one could be: Make A Back-Up!! What I am getting at 
here, is if you encounter a problem using a system, be patient. 
And be kind!! Leave a message tD the SysOp with as much 
information as possible, What the error was, what you were 
attempting to do, anything helps really. I know a certain 
things mean certain things!! I do the dumb and stupid, I just 
try not to let you catch me at it II 

One of my biggest peeves, is, those who are done on the 
system and just drop carrier. ARGGHH !! This irritates me 
more than a dumb message that makes no sensei! Please 
log-off properly. A system remembers you!! What does it say 


7 


b.K.d.S.r. h'd^CTH 


ULTUutR Uitii' 


about you as a caller, when your stats show 47 downloads to 0 
up loads??? You could be treading on shaky phone lines here!! 
Remember, there is more to most BBS's than the [F] and [Y] 
commands!! Don't be a computer wimp. 

This can be thankless job. But I guess I don't do it for that 
reason. I'll tell you who has the truly thankless job. The 
Co-SysOp's of the world. I try to show my appreciation as much 
as I can, but it just never seems enough. So, to the Co-SysOp's 
of the BBS world, this is a thank-you from everyone who doesn't 
realize what it is YOU doll 

Tele-computing is a fasinating way to communicate and in 
theory, quite simple. The ability to get two machines to 
interact, whether they are across the room or across the world. 
I am always interested in whose been on the BBS, always glad 
to see someone who has been away, and always glad to meet 
someone new. On top of the desk a picture of my 
Great-Grandfather, taken in 1913, sitting at one of the first 
telephone switchboards in the Rocky Mountain area. He 
operated this switchboard out of his home just West of Denver, 
and probably felt the same way as I do operating my electronic 
gadgets, i feel a deep kin-ship with him and try to offer the 
same satisfying service the look on his face projects. Till 
then. ..be chattin' at ya’I! 

-=-CJ-=- Permission Granted to Reprint... with proper credit 



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