Skip to main content

Full text of "Atari User Group Newsletter June to December 1987 Part 7"

See other formats


Volume Two, number Seven 


Best Foot Forward 

by John King Tarpinian 

Our September issue of fl.A.C.K.5. will be the 
one that is handed out to exhibitors and 
attendees at the Southern California ATARI 
Computer Eaire, Version 2.0. Why should you 
care? Because this issue will be the one that 
many people will use to compare us against 
other clubs nationwide. 

Thanhs to Kitts and lew we have the best 
looking newsletter there is. But, looks ain't 
everything. (You don't know how many times I 
have used that line, unsuccessfully.) We need 
contents. Please, if you have any literary talent 
^at all show it. 

We cannot depend on Alan. Ross and the 
other regular contributors all the time. IT you 
write only once this year, please write It now. 
When are the articles due? Yesterday. Actually 
the deadline is August 1st. So get cracking, 
please. 

Something to Do 

by rootbeers 

Sometimes a good way to learn to program in a 
language Is to translate a short program from a 
book. I think it was David Ahl who compiled 
"101 BASIC Computer Games" which is where 
some of my friends learned to program in high 
school. Mind you, the programs didn't always 
work the first time, but ft served to give you an 
idea of something to do and a starting point. 

Anyway, I was doing some research a few 
days ago {trying to answer the musical 
question: "What are the three common English 
words which end in — gry?" when I came 
across "Create Word Puzzles with Your 
Microcomputer" by Ernest E, Mau, Thumbing 
through it l was struck by a number of things. 

first of all, these programs were written for 
professional purposes; Ernie used them at some 
point to try to make money. Second, and more 
_ importantly, an integrated approach was taken, 
^11 of the programs use the same set of files to 
generate their specific puzzle. What this means 
to the novice is that some programs will be 
used to edit the word lists and puzzle programs 


Studium Omnibus Habendum Est 


will use the generated word lists. If you are 
interested in learning file accessing techniques, 
this might be a good place to start. The preface 
claims 1 7 programs which produce 25 types of 
puzzles, which is quite a bit of variety, in 
addition, each puzzle can be printed with and 
without answers, just as if you were going to 
send them to a publisher. 

The bad news is that these programs were 
not written for the Atari, so the amount of 
translation required may be quite high, but 
usually that's a simple learning curve— you 
learn the equivalent expressions on the Atari, 
and then it's just a matter of direct conversion. 
The book was published in '82, 1 Found it in a 
library (GV 1507 .W8 M38). if puzzles and 
programming are your interest, by all means 
check it out 

Programming 

Finesse 

by rootbeers 

One question software engineers are trying to 
resolve is how to cut down on the costs of 
producing software. As the cost of hardware 
plummets, so the cost of larger and larger 
software projects soars, faster processors mean 
larger programs. 

One of the key concepts is known as 
modularity. Take a programming task and do it 
once, do it right, and do it so that it doesn't 
involve anything it doesn't need, then always 
use that code when you need that task done, 
note that this is an easy thing to do if you write 
in a language that supports this kind of 
thinking. 

Another key concept is the idea of readability. 
A program is written only once but it is read 
many times. Structured programming is really 
an attempt at this. Standardize the control 
structures so everyone can agree where a loop 
begins and ends. etc. Combine the idea of 
readability with modularity, and you can read 
through a module, and once you have verified 
that it does what it's supposed to do, you can 
check it off as correct and never think about it 
again, at least in theory. 

So far though, these are ideas we can enforce 
or encourage in the language, but I'm sure 


July 1987 

many of you have seen structured modular 
code you could not make head or tail of if you 
were given a million dollars and a year's time. 

So then software engineers had to decide how 
to impose arbitrary restrictions on 
programmers in an effort to write more 
readable code. Such vile things as 
"documentation". Where 1 work, if you need to 
know how something is done, you look at the 
code, because that is the definitive answer. 
Consequently, any documentation of a routine 
consists of the comments in the code and 
that's about it. But documentation doesn't 
quite fit the bill when the code itself is garbage, 
so on large projects there is now an attempt to 
limit the size of the software modules. 

One approach is to put a fixed limit on the 
number of lines in a module, commonly to one 
screen or printed page. I happen to dislike that 
notion because it promotes NOT putting in 
blank lines, which increases readability. Also, 
the poor programmer who needs to put In one 
extra line when there is no mom gets the task 
of splitting the routine into two new routines. 

The best idea I have heard of comes from 
analysis of the code written by hot 'Shot 
programmers and the idea fits in nicely with 
the concept of modularity. The idea is that a 
module should perform only one task. Length is 
not at stake here, and yet. a founpage routine 
that only does one task is rare. The term 
coming in vogue for this "singleness of 
purpose" is "strength". 

So when you program, whether the program 
is large or small, remember to do ail the normal 
commenting and whatnot that you normally 
do. but now add the ideas of modularity and 
strength to the list of things you think about 
when you program under the heading of 
"readability". Someday you will hunt down a 
program you wrote six years previous and you'll 
be glad you kept these concepts in mind. 
Readability and documentation are like castor 
oil— you don't drink it because you like the 
taste, but because it's good for you. 




The President's 
Comer 

by John King Tarpinian 

Last month i asked for a volunteer to lead an ST 
Graphics 5IG, Well l got lucky. And it has been 
a while. Nike Malloy has volunteered to run the 
SIG. This 51G will normally be held the FIRST 
Tuesday of the month. It will be at the same 
place as the other three SIGs, Logical Choice. 
The meeting will begin, promptly at 7,00 PM. 

You know what they say about I before E, 
except after C Well this applies to our first ST 
Graphics 5IG. Mike is going on vacation the first 
week in July and wilt not be able to prepare a 
meeting by the first Tuesday, Soooooo, the 
meeting will be on Thursday the 16th, After 
this meeting we will revert back to our first 
Tuesday schedule that we have not had yet. 

With the addition of the ST Graphics SIG we 
now have five meetings a month, A quick 
review is: 1st Saturday— Genera! Meeting, 1st 
Tuesday— Graphics SJG (except this month), 

2nd Tuesday— ST SIG, 3rd Tuesday— 6502 SIG, 


HOOKED OH ATARI COMPUTER KEYBOARD SOCIETY 



President: John King Tarpinian 
newsletter Editor: Kitts Anderson 


Public Domain Editor: Alan Magge 
Telecommunications Editor: Dave Evans 
Contributing Editor: Ross Beers 
ST SIG Chairman: Tony Lee 
I'lidi'SIG Leader; Glenn Fert 
Graphics SIG: Mike Malloy 
8 Bit Librarian: Ron Baxter 
16 Bit Librarians: Kevin Gallagher and 
Steven 61 ac Kb urn 
Graphics and Layout: Lew Marches* 
Founder: Greg hiscott 
Founded: June, 1981 /S 


This newsletter is pushed by the HOOKED ON ATARI L W? 
COMPUTER KEYBOARD SOCIETY. HACKS, an informal 
association or individuals This group is not affiliated with 
ATARI or any other commercial orgartiialkm. Any trademarks 
or company names are used either with permission or as an 
informal way of referring to a product or an organisation 

Articles arc written and donated try members. Opinions 
expressed In this publication are those of the individual author 
and do not necessarily represent or reflect the opinions of this 
group or any other organization or company 

Articles appearing in this newsletter may be reproduced 
provided credt is given to the author and to the HOOKED ON 
ATARI COMPUTER RET BOARD SOCIETY’. 

Subscriptions to this newsletter are available for $ 20-00 per 
year, issues of this newsletter will be sent at no charge in 
exchange for any newsletters sent to us at no charge. 

Advertising space is available in this newsletter, and can be 
submitted as camera-ready art or as a preprinted insert. The 
advertising will be published in the next available issue upon 
acceptance of the advertising and payment of the appropriate 
charge. Advertising rates are: Tull Page Ad $4000. Half Page 
Ad $25,00, i A Page Ad $1 5 00. Business Card" foe M 
SkO.OO. 

Membership dues are 520.00 per year per person, We also have 
a family rate of $30.00 per family. Payment of dues entitles 
members to attend genera! meetings, access to our public 
domain library, subscription to this newsletter andl discounts at 
participating retailers 


4th Tuesday— NIDI SIG. That is about ten hours 
a month of meetings. 

The 6502 SIG will slow down someday. When 
it dies out we will either move the Graphics SIG 
to that spot or, if I get someone to lead an 
XL/XE 5lG r then we will make that the 3rd 
Tuesday of the month. You people are lucky 
that conscription is not allowable. Do I see 
someone taking two steps forward? I hope so. 
Hot to repeat myself but, we MUST look to 
ourselves for 8-bit support. 

We had an ACEHET meeting last month. The 
Southern California ATARI Computer Faire, 
Version 2.0 is going foward very smoothly. How 
you men out there do not have to do what I did 
last year. Which was to send the little woman to 


ST NIDI SIG 

by Ben D\ Tost I 

The 2nd H.A.CK.S. ST-MIDI SIG meeting took 
place on the last Tuesday of Nay at Logical 
Choice for Computing, Those attending were 
treated to a demonstration of some rather 
innovative music software developed by the 
fast-rising company, COMPU-MATES, who 
design and implement truly easy-to-use 
programs. Founder Charles Paris, who 
incidentally is a record producer with 36 
platinums to his credit, stated that his company 
would continue to design music software for 
the 51, which would allow all musicians to ease 
into the creative use of his/her midi-studio 
setup. 

Current COMPU-MATE5 products demoed were; 

Hawaii RlOO DRUMDROID— an 
editor/ librarian for the Hawaii tuneable drum 
machine which facilitates creation & storage of 
drum patterns and tracks. 

Hawaii K 3 SYHTHDR01D— a wave 
table/patch editor and librarian for both the K3 
and K3M synths. 

Korg DS5-I 5YNTHDROID— a waveform 
sampler editor/patch librarian. 

GEH-FEDAL3— a really useful program that 
provides for midi reassignment of your pedal 
controllers such as volume, modulation, pitch 
bend etc. For example, one pedal might start as 
a volume control device, and at bar 9 it would 
convert to pitch bend. 

Ail of the above programs run under an 
accelerated version of the ST H s easy to use GEN 
environment with the following features: 
controls are completely mousedriven with pop- 
down menus for easy access to all of the 
program functions. The user can paint 
waveforms of harmonic attributes and 
immediately hear the result in real time! Heat! 

In addition, artificial intelligence droid patterns 
or sounds can be mouse-clicked instantly and 
those that sound useful can be stored to disk 


Qmi-. 



the Virgin Islands during the Faire. But make 
sure you have the lawns mowed and the garage 
cleaned out by September 19th and 20th. 

Maybe a trip to her mother's, with the kids, is^ 
order for that weekend? 

This month is our tri-annual Swap Meet, 
Remember the rules. Originals only, with 
manuals. At 300 pounds I do not that that last 
statement lightly. 

June 19th & 20th is/was the World of ATARI 
show in Santa Clara. This event was, as will be 
our show, cosponsored by ATARI and the local 
users groups. I plan on giving a slide show blow 
by blow of the show. 

See you at the meetings. 


for later retrieval and manipulation. The author 
claims resultant patches are 95% usable. 

Kudos to COMPU-MATES for HOT copy 
protecting their software, thus allowing for the 
convenience of hard disk and ram drive use. 
Unfortunately, some of the competition has yet 
to get the message. Dr. T goes so far as to warn 
their customers that any attempt to copy their 
programs may result In damage to their disk 
drives. So much for “worm-ware!" 

The learning curve of COMPU-MATES' music 
programs appears to be considerably briefer 
than other software products I've worked with, 
and you won't believe the speed of these 
productive program tools. I can't wait to see 
their FIHAL TRAK ST (sequencer) & FIHAL 
SCORE (real-time scoring tool) which will be 
announced at the HANM show in June, 


YOUR 

ARTICLE 

BELONGS 

HERE. 



J 



VALLEY’S LARGEST 
SELECTION OF 
ST SOFTWARE 


A ATARI ST, XL & XE 


DEALING 


EXCLUSIVELY WITH 


ATARI SOFTWARE AND 

HARDWARE 


YOU’RE NOT MAKING THE RIGHT CHOICE 
IF YOU’RE NOT MAKING THE LOGICAL CHOICE 

ADDITIONAL 


mm 



DISCOUNT 

FOR USER GROUP 
MEMBERS 


LOGICAL CHOICE 

OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK 


6116 LANKERSHIM BLVD. 
NORTH HOLLYWOOD 
(818) 760-0738 


i 






15737 LEMARSH STREET, SEPULVEDA, CA 91343 (818) 893-9664 



FACTORY AUTHORIZED SALES AND SERVICE FOR ATARI 
COMPUTER SYSTEMS AND DISK DRIVES: 

800 • 800 XL • 130-XE • 810 • 1050 • 850 • 

& TANDON STANDARD DISK DRIVES 


AND COMPLETE SALES AND SERVICE FOR 


ST 


COMPUTER SYSTEMS 


520 ST 


RGB COLOR SYSTEM 


CALL 


1Q4QST RGB COLOR SYSTEMg^[_|_ 


INCLUDES: DISK DRIVE-MONITOR- 
MOUSE-GEM/TOS Operating System (in 
ROM)— ST-BASiC (With 240 Page 
Manual)— 90 Day Warranty 


ONE MEGABYTE MEMORY UPGRADE— $175.00 
1-YEAR EXTENDED SERVICE WARRANTY-$180.00 


BOLT'S ELECTRONIC REPAIR SERV- 
ICE isihe longest established, best 
equipped and moss experienced 
ATARI SERVICE CENTER iff Soultem 
California- Since 1979. we have serv. 
iced and repaired over 6000 ATARI 


Computers and Disk Drives al an 
AVERAGE Repair Cost oi $34 QQ 
Including Paris and LatK>r (Records 
on File). 90 Day Warranty on All 
Service. 


£ 


A,* . ■ w ■■ ■ ' * _ ■ ' ■ p f * * Bfl 

1 # 

: b m : : 


'J / 1 , 'J 


QUALITY SERVICE WITH INTEGRITY-WE CARE 


Panorama City Mall 

Your club has been given booth space at the 
Fanorama City Mall computer show. The show 
wilt be Saturday & Sunday, July 18 & 19. Your 
president does not want to sit there by himself, 
he would enjoy anybody's company. 

Slide Show (Yawn) 
in July 

Your president will be showing slides from the 
World of ATARI show in Santa Clara, Expect to 
see all types of candid shots. Ho, there will be 
no slides of ex-presidential candidates and their 
paramours. 


A Month of Tuesdays 

What, another one? Mike Malloy has 
volunteered to lead an ST Graphics SIG, Come 
see Mike make grass with DEGAS Elite, Starting 
in August this meeting will be on the first 
Tuesday of the month. But due to a vacation 
beyond my control this meeting will be on 
THURSDAY July I6th + The Second Tuesday is 
our general ST SIG. Our main topic will be 
telecommunications. The Third Tuesday is for 
you people wanting to learn 6502 
programming. Mark has kept you captivated for 
some time. Come and be mesmerized. The 
Fourth Tuesday is the MIDI SIG. Good ole Hybrid 
Arts will be showing off ail the new and 
completed stuff they had at HAMM. ALL of our 
Tuesday night meetings are held at 7:00 PM at 
Logical Choice, 6116 Lankershlm BL, one block 
south of Victory in the Safeway shopping 
center. 



flCENET 


ATARI 

COMPUTER 

ENTHUSIASTS 

NETWORK 


CHARTER MEMBER 


4 



M<!()l;inj|8 Schedule 


SUN 

MON 

TUE 

WED 

THU 

FRI 

SAT 

’ 

— — 


1 

£ 

3 

4 

HOLIDAY 

5 

6 

7 

S 

9 

10 

11 

GENERAL 

MEETING 

IN 

BURBANK 

12 

13 

ST SIG 

14 

15 

16 

GRAPHICS 

SIG 

17 

18 

19 

20 

6502 

PROGRAMMIN 

CLASS 

21 

22 

23 

24 

25 

26 

27 

MIDI SIG 

28 

29 

30 

31 




WED 


THU 



Schiidult 


SUN MON TUE 


FRI SAT 



1 

GENERAL 



HERTIrNG - 


£ 

3 

4 

GRAPHICS 

SIG 

5 

6 

! T 

i 

8 

9 

10 

ii 

ST SIG 

12 

13 

14 

15 

IE 

17 

18 

6502 

PROGRAMMIKC 

SIG 

19 

£0 

£1 

££ 

£3 

£4 

£5 

MIDI SIG 

£8 

£7 

£8 

£9 

30 

31 






What... Again? 

i, our general meeting will be on the second 
Saturday of the month. Why, because the first 
Saturday is the 4th. Yes, THE FOURTH. So 
expect us to return to our normal schedule in 
August, I hope. The meeting is still at the 
Golden Mall Pavilion, 200 H. Golden Mall, in 
Burbanh. Doors open at 10:00 AM and the 
meeting starts promptly at 10:36 AM, 

Second Tri-Annual 
Swap Meet 

Yes friends, it is time to get rid of the dumb 
software that you could not live without not too 
long ago. Rules are rules. Only ORIGIHAL5 with 
their documentation will be allowed. Anyone 

caught doing anything otherwise will be 

formatted!!! 

Southern California 
ATARI Computer 
Faire 

We will need volunteers to help. How don't step 
over somebody getting in line to sign up. Be 
patient. There is enough work for you, you, you 
and even you. Remember this is Version 2.0 
^and that means it will be better than last year. 





Do We Still Need a 
General Meeting? 

by John King Tarpinian 

One of our members asked me this question 
the other day. The only answer I could come up 
with, at the time, was that we had to have one 
because it was traditional. I thought about my 
answer for a while and could not come up with 
any other answer. Do we need the General 
Meeting anymore? 

Let us think this through. We have a general 
meeting the first Saturday of each month. We 
are lucky enough to have guest speakers ten 
out of twelve months. Most of the guest 
speakers are ST oriented. This is also the 
meeting at which we give out the fabulous door 
prizes. We then have four Special Interest Group 
[SIG) meetings a month on Tuesdays. Three are 
for the ST and one is for the XL/XE. 

That makes five meetings a month. I am 
noticing a drop off in general meeting 
attendance and an increase in SIG attendance. 
The majority of new memberships are coming 
from the ST meetings. Our club is still growing 
at about five percent a month. With norma! 
attrition this is a very healthy growth rate. 

Our XL/XE meeting is currently going over 
6502 programming. This class is winding down 
and I have not gotten a volunteer to lead a 
general XL/XE SIG, If ! cannot get a volunteer 
this SIG will cease to exist. This means that the 
only real information for the 8-bitters will come 
from the General Meeting. I hope this does not 
happen. ! am sure that you XL/XE owners enjoy 
having a meeting you can call your very own' 
Please take one step forward. 

As far as the ST-SIGs go they are doing very 
well. We are starting a Graphics SIG this month. 
We have the General 5T-SIG. This is where we 
get the majority of our new members from. 

And the MIDI SIG is a unique animal. If I can 
get the musicians to show up on time we coutd 
end the meetings before midnight. We have 
gold and platinum album winners in 
attendance. Hot to mention our humble 



Grammy-winning SIG leader. 

Please think about what I have said here. Do 
we need the General Meeting? If yes, please give 
me some ideas on how to revitalize the 
meeting. As always, 1 ask you what you want 
and the silence is deafening. Please roar a little. 





HACKS 

HOOKED ON ATARI COMPUTER 
KEYBOARD SOCIETY 

6055 Cahuenga Boulevard, # 2 
North Hollywood, CA 91606 
818-760-1831 




L - C. C 

NEWSLETTER pv , 

BOX lS0A CHflNGe 
SflN LE And ^B