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

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Allentown Bethlehem Easton's Atari Computer Enthusiasts' 

September 1987 



I, for one, am impressed. I 
mean, really. Here we take a simple 
idea like like the Atari Safari, and 
with only a minor amount of 
prodding from the e-board, we have a 
great show. Those people who 
participated are to he commended for 
a job very well done. 

We had only two e-hoard run 
d isplays going (Puhlishi ng Partner 
and the cluh's BBS). The rest of the 
show was put on hy general 
members and some invited guests to 
make for a very educational and 
worthwhile event. This is what cluh 
meetings are all about -- a little 
planning by the e-board, a lot of 
participation from club members, and 
some interesting topics to explore. 

I have only two minor 
complaints about the Safari. First, 
since I was demonstrating on one of 
the systems, I couldn't get around to 
see some of the other systems . I d id 
see a few and what I saw was great. 
The other thing is that I would have 
liked to have seen a little better 
turnout from the general 
membership. There was a lot to see, 
but not very many people saw it. 
Well, it was their loss — this was the 
next best thing to another Expo this 
club is likely to see for a while ... 
unless we do another Safari again 

Onward. Once again, we have 
very few articles being submitted by 
the general membership. At least 
this month 1 had one to choose 

from. It’s a good article, one that we 
are very happy to have. But where 
are the rest 1 ? So far for the contest, 
we have a grand total of one (count 
'em, one) name in the hat for the 
random (haf) d rawing. And there are 
three prizes to give away. I’ll tell 
you, this Eric Brodeur fellow has it 
made in the shade if this keeps up. 
He is assured up to this point of 
having his choice of a 520 ST system 
or a hard disk -- all he has to do is 
show up at two more meetings before 
January* Please remember folks, 
there's no need to wait until 
December to submit those articles — 
I'll take them anytime ... really, just 
ask anyone. I'm easy. So, until we 
get a few more submissions, Eric is a 
shoe-in and this newsletter will 
remain short (but sweet). 

Speaking of short newsletters, 
did you know that really short, 
empty newsletters cost more to mail 
than nice, normal sized ones'? Yep, 
that’s because light mail has 
maximum size restrictions. If a 
package is large but light, it is 
classified as odd -shaped , and costs 
more for special handling. Whether 
it actually receives any special 
handling or not is another story, but 
the extra stamps go on it, 
nonetheless. That's why the last 
newsletter you received had 
thirty-two cents of postage instead 
of twenty-two. Hmm, maybe we 
could include complementary bonus 
bricks In our next light issue ... 

As for this newsletter business, 
we're still making a go at desktop 
publishing in the hopes that it will 
improve the quality of its content. 
In this issue, we have some good 
reviews and an excellent piece of 
comedy from another club's 
newsletter I really like this sort of 
( eonljnued , paged) 

Page 2 


V J 

I've got good news, and bad news. 

Lei me start with the good news 
by thanking all of the members who 
took the time to bring their 
equipment and something of interest 
to show at last month’s Atari Safari. 
There was a lot more to see this year 
than last, and that was because so 
many members helped out. I'd also 
like to thank Steve Jones (Jonesware) 
and his associate for coming all the 
way to our meeting to give us an 
advance look at the 8-bit Atari and 
Apple emulators they are working on 
for the ST. I was very impressed 
seeing Atariwriter Plus up and 
running with all those extra memory 

Several members mentioned that 
they would like to see another Safari 
soon. As long as we can get enough 
members interested in bringing 
something (or what about different 
members?) then I see no reason why 
we can't do this twice a year. Let's 
shoot for early 1988- 

The remote cal 1- f o r wa r d i ng 
station for our BBS is working out 
very nicely. Since it went in 
operation the first week in June, 
we've been averaging fifty calls a 

For those who haven’t heard, 
this is a number in Allentown 
(821-9222) that forwards to our BBS 
in Nazareth. It allows members who 
are long distance to Nazareth, but 
local to Allentown, to call the club's 

BBS without long d jstance charges If 
you're one of those people, please use 
the new number. If Nazareth is a 
local call for you, please continue to 
use the direct number (759-2683). 
Also, be aware that this is NOT a 
second phone line to the BBS- If one 
number is busy, the other number 
will also be busy. 

We have interesting meetings on 
computing your roots, computer 
chess and some guest speakers in the 
works. And don’t forget, to be part of 
our new contest, you must attend at 
least three out of the next four 
meetings. (Sept/Dec) 

And now the bad news. We need 
some help. I don't want to unduly 
alarm any members, especially those 
who have just joined in the last 
month or two BUT. .. 

We need someone with a van or 
station wagon to help transport our 
projection TV screen to the meetings. 
Without the screen, our projection 
TV isn't worth the space it takes up 
Without the TV, members won't be 
able to see live computer demos or 
canned video presentations. That's a 
MAJOR problem! 

Gene C elebus k i has been kind 
enough to bring the screen for the 
last year. Prior to that, I took care of 
it. Unfortunately 1 sold my van last 
year and Gene would like to give 
someone else a chance to help out. 
Personally, I think a year is more 
than enough for any one member to 
be expected to do this. Can you help 

The screen is about four feet by 
six feet and just a few inches thick. 
It’s very light and can easily be 
handled by one person. Once again I 

(continued on page 9J 

Page 3 


with Leon Bonam 

^ -J 

Hello out there * This is your 
vice-president speaking . 

You may ask who I am and just 
what do I do for your club, so. I’ll tell 
you . 

Besides being around to run the 
meeting when the president is not 
available, the most pressing business 
of the V-P is to line up speakers and 
demonstrati ons for the monthly 
meetings . 

It sounds a simple task , and once 
it may have been, when club members 
were eager to share new found 
software and hardware with 
everyone else A while back people 
actually volunteered to show new 
found or very useful, or just plain 
fascinating things at club meetings. 
A las, no more . 

Now most of you folks own 8-bit 
systems, and I do too, as well as 
having an ST . The 8-bit systems are 
quite powerful and useful for what 
they are, but do have certain 
limitations, in particular the amount 
of memory that is directly 
addressable. If you wonder what this 
has to do with my task it is simply t 
his: there is very little in the way of 
new products for the 8-bit, and, what 
there is is not easily demonstrated. 
Ram disks no matter how large do 
not make a good show, neither do 
hard disks. New games and utility 
software are hard to find because the 
programmers want to work with 
larger memory systems that allow 

them to put more action and realism 
in their games and give greater speed 
and power to their utilities. 

The 8-bit is not dead, and will not 
die as long as people take an interest 
in it, but you must demonstrate that 
interest. People have criticized some 
of our latest presentations for 
showing too much professionalism 
but will not do one of their own. We 
do not expect slick shows, but all of 
us on the executive board are more 
than willing to help anyone who 
wants to do a demonstration, or we 
will do the demo if you will provide 
us the materials needed (hardware or 
software} and some idea of what it 
does. So you don't even have to do 
any public speaking, and if you're 
very shy we won't even tell anyone it 
was your idea. 

Finding a good speaker from the 
industry is also becoming difficult as 
most of the top guns are in the 
midwest, or on the west coast, and 
are reluctant to travel just to give 
one talk. It becomes a matter of luck 
and timing to find someone coming 
east on business at the right time and 
with the right commuter connections 
who is willing to divert for a while 
and brighten our our lives with his 

I feel a certain tension among 
club members dividing the 8-bit users 
from the ST users and I can't help but 
wonder why. This is an Atari club 
and anything from a game machine 
to an MS-DOS machine should be of 
interest to all members. If we reach a 
point where the only demos available 
are specific to an ST or PC or even 
the long rumored TT, we will use 
them despite the sure chorus of 
"You're forcing that expensive stuf f 
on us, we want 8-bit stuff 
(continued on page 9) 

Page 4- 


an ST Review by Eric R. Brodeur 

What is this thing called the 
"Magic Sac"? It is a cartridge and 
software combination from Data 
Pacif ic that turns your Atari into 
an Apple Macintosh. "How can it be 
done" you ask 1 ? Well, when you 
buy the Magic Sac + (referred to 
hereafter as the 'Sac') there is a 
real-time clock and chip sockets in 
which you must insert the 
Macintosh 64-k ROMs. If you already 
own a Mac there is no problem since 
all you do is remove the chips from 
the Mac, but if you don't own a Mac 
then you must buy the ROMs from 
an Apple dealer. They are priced 
around $60-$70 and the cartridge 
itself is $100-$110. There are some 
retailers that will sell both the 
ROMs and cartridge together but this 
is rare. 

To use the Sac all you do is insert 
it in the cartridge port and load the 
emulator software from the disk 
supplied to you from Data Pacific. 
After it partially loads there is a 
window in which you can select the 
memory size of the emulated Mac 
(it is dependent on the amount of 
RAM in your ST. A standard 520ST 
can emulate either a 128k or 256k 
Mac and a 1 meg ST can be set at 
512k or 828k- If you have even more 
memor y than that available there 
are other memory size options. 
Other selections include where the 
port in which printer output will go 
(parallel or serial), and Hard Drive 
options (if one is connected). If you 
own a hard disk drive you have the 
option of booting from it and also 

selecting which partitions have Mac 
software on them. Once these 
options are set you click on the 
button called "MAGIC" and the rest 
of the emulator loads. Once this is 
done, you insert a Macintosh Boot 
disk and press any key. From here 
on, you are in Mac 
te r r it o r y . . . n ot h i n g of the ST is 

About 75-80% of all Mac 
software will ru n under the Magic 
Sac and 20 times faster. I am 
building up a considerable sized Mac 
library and have only had to delete 
about ten files that wouldn't run 
under the Sac A lot of commercial 
software runs (like Excel, MS Word 
3.0, Ready Set Go!, PageMaker and 
more) and even more public domain 
software does too (there is a list on 
the Help Key II BBS of software that 
runs with the Sac, but it is very 
small in comparison to all the 
software titles that do work 

Among other files on the Sac 
disk are disk copiers, a formatter, 
and clock programs. The Magic Sac 
disks must be specially formatted 
before they can be used with it, but 
they can be either single or double 
sided depending on the ST drive you 
have. However, because of the 
special format, you must use the 
disk copiers supplied to copy the 
specially formatted disks. Other 
copiers may work also but their 
reliability is definitly lower. The 
two clock files supplied on the Sac 
disk let you set the internal clock of 
the Sac cartridge and also read it 
back into the ST (thus allowing you 
to use the Sac's clock whether you 
are just using the ST or running Mac 

Right now there is no way for 

Page 5 

the ST d rives to d i redly read Mac 
disks, so you must either download 
Mac files yourself from BBSs and 
commercial services or do a Mac to 
ST disk transfer with a null modem 
cable. The cable and software to do 
this is supplied in the Magic Sac 
package and is very easy to do tut 
only unprotected disks can le 
ported over, copy protected disks 
will not function correctly. FYI:the 
whole disk transfers take about 12-15 
minutes. This brings up the question 
of "How do I boot up the needed 
Macintosh system files'?" The 
answer is that you need to use a 
Macintosh at least once to transfer 
over the System files. An 
alternative is to copy a Magic disk 
that already has the needed files 
from a fellow Saccer (Apple is touchy 
about the aforementioned coping 
of the System files so do it at your 
own risk). 

Soon, however, this task will 
be eliminated since Data Pacific 
will be releasing a product called the 
"Transformer" which will directly 
read and write Macintosh style disks 
(as well as the current Magic disks). 
This means that you can put in either 
a Mac or ST disk and the 
Transformer will configure itself 
automatically to that disk format. 
This piece of hardware will cost 
about $200 and only one is needed 
per ST system., not one per drive. 

Among other things that you 
must be aware of is that the Sac does 
not support the Mac sound chip or 
the MIDI ports (the reason being that 
the Mac software makes d irect calls 
into thesound and I/O chips for 
these options , a big no no with the 
Magic Sac). For the best screen 
output you should use a monochrome 
monitor but the Sac will operate 
with a color monitor. There are two 

modes in which the color version 
operates. Either with a full screen 
(but reduced resolution) or two 
split screens that can be flipped 
between with the arrow keys (but 
with the same resolution as a Mac 
screen). As for printing 
capa bil it ies . . . no rm al 1 y the Mac 
outputs to an A pple ImageW r iter 
but a regular dot matrix printer may 
be used The printer drivers 
enabling you to use a regular printer 
cost $4-5 from Data Pacific. 

This sums up a general 
overview of the Magic Sac and has 
hopefully helped explain to you 
what it is and how it works as well 
as how well it works. I am very 
pleased with the Sac and use it 
greatly and the customer support is 
EXCELLENT. You may either call 
Data Pacific by voice and get great 
help, or logon to GEnie and get 
online help from other people with 
the Sac and from David Small 
himself who created the Magic Sac 
Also available there are files that 
are guaranteed to work with the Sac 
and thousands more files from the 
Macintosh SIG Besides this, you can 
download the newest system files 
from Apple Computer for the Mac as 
well as the latest beta-test versions 
of the Mac emulator. 

If you have any questions or 
need help I may be reached via the 
club's BBS (Help Key II), Nak-Ack 
BBS, and GEnie (at the address 

Where’s Your 
Newsletter Article? 

Page 6 

by Warren Farina 

(reprinted from LA -ACE, June 1967) 


These programming languages are 
well known and more or less 
well-loved throughout the computer 
industry. However, there are 
numerous other languages which are 
less well known, yet still have ardent 
devotees. In fact, these little-known 
languages generally have the most 
fanatic admirers. For those who 
wish to know more about these 
obscure languages, and why they are 
obscure, I present the following 

SIMPLE... is an acronym for 
"Sheer Idiot's Monopurpose 
Programming Linguistic 
Environment." This language, 
developed at Hanover’s College for 
Technical Misfits, was designed to 
make it impossible to write code with 
any errors in it. The commands of 
this language are therefore confined 
to BEGIN, END and STOP. 
Furthermore, no matter how the 
commands are arranged, it is 
impossible to receive a syntax error. 

Programs written in SIMPLE do 
nothing useful. Thus, they achieve 
results similar to programs written 
in other languages without the 
tedious frustrating process of testing 
and debugging. 

SLOBOL... is best known for its 
tremendously slow compiler. While 
many compilers allow you to take a 
coffeebreak while they compile, 
SLOBOL allows you to travel to 
Bolivia to pick up the coffee. 

Forty-three programmers are known 
to have died of boredom while 
sitting at their console and waiting 
for a SLOBOL program to be 
compiled. Weary SLOBOL 
programmers often turn to a related 
(but infinitely faster) language, 

VALGOL... was developed in 
Southern California's San Fernando 
Valley in the hope of educating 
Valley girls in programming. 

VALGOL commands include 
Variables are assigned with the “LIKE 
and “TOTALLY operators. Other 
operators include the "California 
Booleans" FERSURE and NOWAY. 
Repetitions of code are handled in 
FOR-SURE loops. Here is a sample 
VALGOL program: 





4K (FERSUR E)**2 18 THEN 


86 DO WAH + (DITTY**2) 


17 SURE 



VALGOL is somewhat declaimed 
by its users for its unfriendly error 
messages. For example, when the 
user makes a syntax error, it replies 
with the message "GAG ME WITH A 

LAIDBACK... was developed at 
the (now defunct) Marin County 
Center for T'ai Chi, Mellowness and 
Computer Prog rammi ng - 

(continued on page 9) 

Page 7 



an ST review by Chris Scullion 

Desktop publishing. It's all the 
rage these days. Everybody who's 
anybody is doing it, talking about it, 
or needing it desperately. It's selling 
Macs left and right (about the only 
thing you can do with those silly 
things, anyway). It's selling laser 
printers like they were going out of 
st yle. 

Well, now the Atari ST can do it, 
too. There's no real trick to it. All 
you need is a nice piece of software 
that lets you manipulate text with 
proportional character spacing, add 
pictures in the middle, and otherwise 
compose pretty pages for printing on 
a good quality printer (impact or 
laser). Publishing Partner from 
SoftLogic does all of this, and more. 

It's the first of it's kind on the ST, 
so I can forgive some of its faults. It 
does evrything you NEED a 
publish ing package to do. It's fully 
GEM based ... that's nice. It has lots of 
text formatting and modification 
options ... that's nice. It can take 
DEGAS and NEOCHROME pictures, 
crop them, size them, and put them 
anywhere on your printed page ... 
that's nice Youe can draw with it 
directly ... that's nice. You can even 
use it as a word processor if you 
have to that's nice, too. It crashes 
occassionally .. that's, uh, no, that’s 
NOT nice 

The fact is, jt has a few bugs left. 
I've found that trying to route text 
f rom one page to the next can cause 
the occasional bombs on the screen. 

" Routing" means that, if an ASCII file 
doesn’t fit in one text column, you 
can " pick up" the overflow text and 
put it down in another column. PP 
will then keep track of where one 
column ends and the next begins. 
However, when these text columns 
are on different physical pages, it 
seems to have a little trouble. After 
a few attempts, it did work, but the 
eventual solution was by no means 

Another problem we noticed 
("we" meaning Ralph and I) was that 
"what you see is ..." not necessarily 
what you get. One of the primary 
reasons for the delay of the last issue 
of this newsletter was that, what 
appeared to be a normal PP document 
would not print at the laser printer. 
Upon further experimentation, I 
discovered that it didn't print 
correctly on a dot matrix printer 
either- And yet, the document 
appeared fine on the screen. In 
general, I found it difficult to get a 
good printout started. But once it IS 
started, it goes off without a hitch. 
Figuring out exactly where the 
printer drivers and font files have to 
be on a disk is not made too clear in 
the otherwise good documentation. 
But it DOES work, and that's 
important to note. 

This is typical of all the minor 
bugs in PP. They ARE minor, and 
they can all be "worked around," 
avoided- So, that makes It a very 
workable program, overall. The 
biggest problem with the program is 
not the program itself, but the lack of 
character fonts available. SoftLogic 
provides only the Helvetica font for 
actual printing ... well they provided 
others, but the manual warns you 
that the others don’t work too well, 
end that's no lie! SoftLogic says they 

(continued on page 10) 

Page 8 


( 'EditoriaJ , continued from page 2) 

thing... anytime we can have a little 
fun with our computers, whether it 
he games or jokes, it helps -- helps 
break the self-induced pressure to 
understand these beast ies and helps 
remind us that they ARE tools, not an 
end in themselves. I sometimes 
have trouble keeping that in mind 
since I am surrounded by them all 
day at work, but an article like 
"Watch Your Language," and games 
like “ Hitchhi ker's Gu ide.. help to 
bring things back into prospective for 

Till next time. 

G President's, continued from page 3) 

ask, can you help us? If you don't 
step forward, no one else will. 

More bad news. Two of our 
E-Board members have had changes 
in their jobs that involve weekend 
work- Neither will be able to make 
many, if any, of our general 
meetings. For that reason both Ralph 
Fenner (membership! and Curl Lopez 
(secretary) have submitted 
resignations. We need two club 
members, at least 18 years of age, to 
take these two positions. PLEASE, 
contact me now and get involved 
with the running of this club- If we 
lose a few more board members, we 
will have no choice but to seriously 
consider the disbanning of ABE'S 
ACEs. The club's not perfect but do 
you really want to see it cease? If so, 
do nothing. If not, GET IN VOLVED! 

(On Board, continued from page 4-J 

Nothing in this world is static, 
new things come along and we must 
accept them. Remember that most of 
the ST users had or have 8-bit 
machines, and while they are now a 
minority, they also deserve our 
attention in terms of doing a meeting 
or two for them. 

I would like to thank ell who 
volunteered their time and 
equipment for the Atari Safari. I 
didn't really thank you all at the 
meeting, but if you were as busy as I 
was, you probably didn't get a chance 
to see it all either. If we can keep this 
kind of sharing alive, I see this 
becoming an annual event. 

For any of you who shop at the 
Micro-Cottage, be sure to bring your 
club ID card along and use it for an 
extra discount. 

See you soon. 

( Language , continued from page 7) 

This center was ideal for 
programmers who liked to soak in 
hot tubs while they worked 
However, and unfortunately, few 
programmers could survive there 
long, since they outlawed Coca Cola 
and pizza in favor of bean curd and 

Many mourn the demise of 
LAIDBACK because of its reputation 
as a gentle and non-threatening 
language For example, LAIDBACK 
responded to user syntax errors with 
the message "SORRY MAN, I CAN'T 

Page 9 

C-.. was named for the grade its 
creator recevied when he submitted 
it to his professor in 
Graduate-Programming Class. C- is 
best described as a low-level 
programming language. In fact, the 
language generally requires more C- 
statements than machine code 
statements to execute a given task. 
In this respect, it is very similar to 

FIFTH... is a precision 
mathematical language in which data 
types refer to quantities. The data 
t ypes range from CC, OUNCE, SHOT 
and JIGGER to FIFTH (hence the name 
of the language,) LITER, MAGNUM, 
and GROTTO. Commands refer to 
ingredients such as CHABLIS, 

There are many versions of 
FIFTH, each of which reflects the 
sophistication and financial status of 
its users. Commands in the ELITE 
dialect include VSOP and LAFIATTE, 
while commands in the GUTTER 
dialect include HOOTCH and RIPPLE. 
The latter dialect is a favorite of 
frustrated FORTH programmers. 

LITHP . ith unremarkable, lhave 
for the abthence of the letter ETH in 
itth character thet, yet it ith thaid to 
be utheful in proceththing lithtth. 
Now ithn't that thpecial'? 

ct c • r 

_i i _JiU- 

mccTih ire 


Starting in October, the ST 3fG mill meet 
immediately following our general meetings 
at the community college. 

(Publishing, continued Prom page 8) 

will be providing more fonts and a 
font creation program in the near 
future, but I haven’t seen it yet. 
There are some public domain fonts 
available, and they seem to work 
quite well, so I guess you can "work 
around" this problem, too- 

I like Publishing Partner. It does 
everything you need a desktop 
publishing program to do. But, I'm 
afraid that, once I see Fleet Street 
Publisher, I may become less lenient. 

ABEs ACE’s 1 


September 12 

October 10 

November 14 

December 12 
Cafeteria i. 

Page 10 


Don’t forget about the new club contest? It could prove VER /'profitable for you! 

First Prize: your choice of an Atari 520 ST (monochrome) or 
a 20 M byte hard d isk d rive 

Second Prize: an Avatex 1200 baud modem 

Third Prize: A gift certificate at Gemini 

A 11 you have to d o to get your name i n the random d rawing is attend three of the 
four club meetings between September and December and write a 500 to 1000 
word article for this newsletter. It's that simple! 


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Page 11 


Executive Committee 

Allentown Bethlehem Easton's 
Atari Computer Enthusiasts is an 
independent user group organized and 
run by owners of Atari Computers. 
Atari is a trademark of Atari Corp.; all 
references should be so noted- 

If you would like more 
information about ABE'S ACEs, write 
us at the club's add ress or call the club 
Hotline at the number listed below. 


This newsletter is published by 
ABE'S ACEs on a bi-monthly basis (six 
issues per year). Opinions expressed 
in this newsletter are those of the 
author and not ABE'S ACEs. All 
unsigned articles should be attributed 
to the Editor. This newsletter is 
provided free to our membership and 
on an exchange basis to other user 
groups. Original articles from our 
newsletter may be reprinted in other 
newsletters provided credit is given to 
both author and source. 

Submissions to the newsletter 
may be made via the Help Key II, at 
the general meetings, or by mail to 
the club's P.O. Box. For more 
information, leave messages on the 
Help Key II or call the club Hotline. 

President Dennis John 

(215) 759-8151 

Vice-President LeonBonam 

(215) 266-1521 

Secretary Curtis Lopez 

(201) 475-4854 

Treasurer John Slaby 

(215) 252-1991 

Membership Jace Gill 

(215) 395-8271 

Librarian Chris C. A ndrews 

(215) 866-2459 

Newsletter Editor Chris Scullion 


Library Staff 

John Douglas 
Robert MacGregor 

16-Bit Disks Chris C- A ndrewr 

Paper Library Open 

Meeting Set- lip 


Club Phone Numbers 

8-Bit Disks 

Special Projects 

Ralph A . Fenner (215) 868-6469 

Help Key II BBS (215)759-2683 

Club Hotline (Voice) (215) 759-3336 

Allentown Bethlehem Easton's 
Atari Computer Enthusiasts 
P.O. Box 2830 
Lehigh Valley, PA 18001 

San Leandro Computer Club 
Newsletter Exchange 
P„ 0. Box 1506 
San Leandro, CA 94577