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Current Notes 

Vol. 7 No. 7 September 1987 



Your Monitor on the World of Atari 


















NOW! RUN THESE IBM PROGRAMS ON 

YOUR ATARI ST. 


Lotus 1-2-3 
Enable 
Sidekick 
Crosstalk IV 
EasyCAD 
GW Basic 
. Word Perfect 
Graph-in-the-Box 
Turbo Prolog 
The Newsroom 
Supercalc 


Flight Simulator 

Ability 

Superkey 

Carbon Copy 

DAC Easy Accounting 

Managing Your Money 

Multimate 

ProDesign II 

R:base 5000 

Electric Webster 

Javelin 


Framework 
DESQview 
Norton Utilites 
Chart-Master 
BPI Accounting 
Silvia Porter’s Series 
Dataflex 
Microsoft Chart 
FoxBase + 
PC-Outline 
Knowledgeman/2 


Symphony 

Q&A 

dBase 11,111,111+ 

Print Shop 
Turbo Pascal 
pfsProfessional File 
pfsProfessional Write 
Chase Spectrum 
Dollars & Sense 
Exact 
Swift Tax 


And Hundreds More! 


pc-ditto is a software-only utility which taps the power of your Atari ST to imitate an 
IBM PC XT. No extra hardware is required (an optional 5.25-inch drive may be 
required for 5.25-inch disks). All your IBM disks will work "out-of-the-box". 


pc-ditto features include: 

o both the 520ST and the 1040ST supported 
o up to 703K usable memory (1040ST) 
o not copy-protected - installable on hard disk 
o imitates IBM monochrome and IBM color 
graphics adapters 

o access to hard disk, if hard disk used 
o optionally boots DOS from hard disk 
o parallel and serial ports fully supported 
o supports 3.5-inch 720K format, 360K single¬ 
sided format, and 5.25-inch 40-track formats 


$89.95 pc-ditto™ 

by 

Avant-Garde Systems 
381 Pablo Point Drive 
Jacksonville, Florida 32225 
(904) 221-2904 


System requirements: 

o IBM PC-DOS or Compaq MS-DOS version 3.2 or 
above recommended 

o ATARI COLOR MONITOR (Atari mono monitor 
support will be released this Fall) 

o optional 5.25-inch drive is required to use 525- 
inch disks 

o 33-inch 720K DOS disks require a double-sided 
drive (Atari SF314 or equivalent) 

See pc-ditto today at an Atari dealer near you, 
or write for free information! 

i-, 

| Avant-Garde Systems, 381 Pablo Point Dr. J 
i Jacksonville, Florida 32225 (904) 221-2904 J 

! Yes! Please send information on pc-ditto. J 

J Name___ J 

! Address.___ } 

! City_State_Zip_ J 













CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


TABLE OF CONTENTS 

Volume 7, No. 7 — September 1987 

SPECIAL FEATURES 


TORONTO DEALERS SHOW: Preview of the Fall Lineup, Glenn Brown . 10 — 

AN INTERVIEW WITH BILL TEAL: Q & A With pc-ditto Author, Joe Waters.. 14 ST 

INDEXING ON THE 8-BIT ATARI: Tutorial on NOTE and POINT, John Mackie. 28 XE 

ST WORD PROCESSING: Current State of the Art, Frank Cohen . 44 ST 

MS DOS ON THE ST, PART 1: Cultural Shock for GEM Fans, Wm. Price . 48 ST 

REGULAR FEATURES 

EDITORIAL, Joe Waters ..... 4 — 

ST UPDATE: Latest News from the World of ST, Frank Sommers . 6 ST 

ATARI SCUTTLEBITS: A Look at GEnie's Roundtable, Bob Kelly .. .. 18 — 

ITS A SMALL WORLD: The Greatest Hacker of All Time, Dave Small . 20 — 

PIECES OF EIGHT: Atari Junkie, Len Poggiali . 23 XE 

TIPS 1 N' TRAPS: Q & A for Adventurers, Jim Stevenson Jr . 24 XE 

ATARI'S SMALL MIRACLES: Reader Requests, Mark A. Brown . 30 XE 

ADVENTURES IN THE MAGIC SACDOM: Hard Disk Support and the Translator, 

Jeff Greenblatt .. 32 ST 

RELAX AND ENJOY: Arcade Addiction, Joe Kuffner . 54 ST 

ATARI BOOKSHELF: ST Programming Books, Pamela Rice Hahn . 60 ST 

Electronic Computer Projects, Carl C. Hahn . 61 XE 

MUSIC, MIDI, and YOU: Michtron’s Super Conductor, Grant Slawson . 64 ST 

WAACE CLUB NEWS. 76 — 

PRODUCT REVIEWS 

AVANT-GARDE'S pc-ditto: Finally, IBM Emulation, Mike Gibbons . 12 ST 

AUTODUEL: A Mixed Bag, John Godbey... . 26 XE 

STYLE WRITER: Next Best Quality to a Laser Printer, Wm. Price . 36 — 

CYBER STUDIO, PART I: CAD 3D Version 2.0, Bill Moes .. 40 ST 

BARBARIAN: Game of the Month? Kurt Osterman . 52 ST 

DATATRIEVE: An ST File Manager, John Barnes ... 56 ST 

TRUE BASIC? What? Another BASIC for the Atari? Andrzej Wrotniak.. . 66 ST 
LABELMASTER ELITE: Ultimate Mailing Label Program, Milt Creighton .... 70 ST 

ST WARS: Time To Save the World Again, Roger Abram .. 72 ST 

CERTIFICATE MAKER: Certified Ease for Awards to Everyone, Bill Moes.. 74 ST 


CURRENT NOTES (ISSN 8750-1937) is published monthly 
(excluding January and August) by Current Notes, Inc., 
122 N. Johnson Rd., Sterling, VA 22170. Subscriptions 
to CURRENT NOTES are $20/yr. Second-Class Postage paid 
at Sterling, VA. 

POSTMASTER : Send address changes to Current Notes, 

Inc., 122 N. Johnson Rd., Sterling, VA 22170. 


Opinions expressed in this publication are those of the 
individual authors and do not necessarily represent or 
reflect the opinions of CURRENT NOTES or the user 
groups, none of which are affiliated in any way with 
Atari Corp. 


ADVERTISING RATES : Single insertion: quarter page, $40; 
half page, $70; full page, $125. Half-year (5 issues): 
quarter page, $160; half page, $280; full page, $500. 
All ads must be paid in advance. Send photo-ready 
copy, by the 15th of the preceding month , to the 
address above. CN circulation: approx. 3,500. 

The ST EDITOR is Frank Sommers, 4624 Langdrum Lane, 
Chevy Case, MD 20815 (301) 656-0719. The XE/XL EDITOR 
is Jack Holtzhauer, 15817 Vista Drive, Dumfries, VA 
22026 (703) 670-6475. Submissions of articles or 
review copies of products should be sent directly to 
the appropriate editor. Deadline date for articles is 
the 10th of the month. 


3 







































CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


EDITORIAL 


By Joe Waters 

Welcome back frcm the surrmer holidays! I 
trust everyone was able to take at least seme 
time off to get away frcm work (and computers?) 
and relax a bit. As I write this, it is just 
past mid-August, but as you read it, September 
will be here, people will be back at work, school 
will be starting, football will, once more, 
dominate Sundays (Go REDSKINS!!!), in short, it 
will be the start of the "fall season.” And in 
the microcomputer industry, the fall season is a 
very important one indeed for that is when you 
and I and a lot of other computer fans start 
gearing up for an electronic spending spree that 
will take us into Christmas. 

What we finally decide to buy will have a 
major Impact on the fate of software developers, 
peripheral manufacturers, and computer companies 
themselves. What are our choices? IBM shoppers 
must ponder the pros and cons of the latest gen¬ 
eration of clones (both low and high-priced), the 
standard, but vanishing XTs and ATs, and the new 
PS line introduced by IBM. Anyone at all fami¬ 
liar with that market will understand that the 
choice is not at all clear cut particularly since 
many of the "benefits” of IBM's new line require 
a new operating system which isn't here yet. 

Apple fans can consider upgrading to the Mac SE 
or the very impressive, but expensive, Mac II. 


For those who choose to move up to the II or put 
more memory in their Macs, Apple just announc- ed 
a multi-tasking version of Finder along with a 
new program, called HyperCard, which will be 
bundled with all new Macs and provided to current 
owners very cheaply. (HyperCard, by the way, is 
the BEST software product I have ever seen and 
marks a major advance for the industry.) 

What about Atari? Well, while IBMers still 
struggle with their 640K barrier, Atari owners, 
who routinely have 1Mb machines now, will soon be 
boosting them to 2, 3, or 4 Mb by purchasing the 
new Megas, or, more frugally, by expanding their 
current 520s or 1040s. What's more, Atari owners 
are the only ones who can enjoy their native 
GEM-based system, then switch to running 
Macintosh software on their STs, and, now, thanks 
to Avant-Garde, run MS-DOS software as well. 

In this issue you can read all about the new 
IBM emulator for the ST as well as get a peek at 
the fall lineup shown Canadian Atari dealers in 
mid-August. Of course, as you can tell by the 
weight of this issue, there are many more treats 
in store for CN readers. We have produced a 
record 80 pages and I only wish it could have 
been more. Welcome back CN readers. 






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The Pawn 34.95 Infiltrator 24.95 

Light Speed C 34.95 F.S. Scenery #7 24.95 


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Vegas Gambler 29.95 

Vegas Craps 29.95 

Jupiter Probe 34.95 


Leisure Suit Larry 34.95 

Bridge 5.0 29.95 

Knicker Backers 14.95 

Madlibs 19.95 


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APPLIED COMPUTERS Inc. 


EEG-Kfl 


16220 Frederick Road 
Gaithersburg, MD 20877 
(Corner, Shady Grove Rd & Rt. 355) 

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Outside MD 
CALL 

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14506 B Lee Road 
Chantilly, VA 22021 
(1 Block W. of Routes 50 & 28) 

(703) 631-5377 


4 























CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 



5 










CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


ST UPDATE 

By Frank Sommers 

LATEST NEWS IN THE ST WORLD 


The Board Room Hath Wrought 

Wanted Posters — Who was at the meeting? 
Dealers around the country are mounting "Wanted 
Posters" on their walls with clear sharp pictures 
of Sam, Father Jack, Len, seme body called Brown, 
Sig and Niel. Those are the main faces, seme of 
them in the final meetings, that made the deci¬ 
sion. Who are are the dealers? They are the 
^ones that have been supporting Atari for the past 
seven years, the old Atari, the New Atari, just 
plain old Atari. They have established repair 
facilities in their shops to qualify to sell the 
1040 ST's, taking the customer service monkey off 
Atari’s back. They are the dealers who have 
listened hopefully to last winter's announcements 
of the three new products and then have gone thru 
a tense dry spring and an even tenser drier 
summer, hanging on and hoping. What were they 
hoping for? That their stores could make it 
until the new machines were in stock and selling. 
Selling the Mega ST's, the laser printers and the 
Atari PC's, those machines that the American 
press was told about last winter with April 
delivery dates, exception the laser printer. 

Then when the .Mega's were about to ccme out the 
dealers began hearing about the meeting, the 
meeting that established the criteria for who 
would get the new Mega ST's. When it all sinks 
in, when it becomes apparent who will sell Mega 
ST’s and who won't, that's when the "Wanted 
Posters" will go up. 

ESF and Showrooms — The price on General 
Manager J.J. Brown's head will be as high as that 
on Jack Tramiel's. Apparently the former pushed 
the concept of using value-added retailors 
(VAR's) to sell the new line. The last couple of 
years had made it clear that dealers had competed 
so intensely with each other that profits had 
almost evaporated. The cure was clear and 
simple. In fact it was beautiful, slay three 
devils with one sword; what a triad! First get 
the price up there where new VAR dealers could 
identify a serious profit. Secondly, point the 
new line toward a more dignified business market, 
and thirdly restrict distribution of the new 
machines to dealers with an EXTERNAL SALES FORCE 
and "proper sized" show roems, e.g. like Compu¬ 
ter land's. ESF meant dealers who had personnel 
who could be out on the road, making calls on 
small businesses and demonstrating machines. Now 
who could knock an idea as compact as that? 
Eliminate the lack of dealer profit, upgrade the 
image of the product, and advance into a new 
verticle market? 


Complain? Only about 75% or more of Atari's 
current dealers, who have barely been able to 
keep two or three sales personnel on board and 
survive to date, and who now would be required to 
set up an ESF, and in many cases lease new show 
rooms. 

Yes, those dealers, at the end of last month, 
were being "requalified". That doesn't mean 
tested for aides, as they are doing in Washing¬ 
ton, or taking lie detector tests as they also 
want to do here, it only means "show that you are 
qualified to sell our product", and be prepared 
for unannounced inspection visits from Atari. 
Interestingly, most dealers who have commented on 
the matter find it "probably a positive step". 
None of them, themselves, have sensed that they 
might be eliminated as Mega ST dealers. Yet, 
several have commented that "competition" may be 
forced to change its ways. Competition might be 
the discounter or "the other guy", like San Jose 
Computers, one of Atari's biggest sellers. 
Unfortunately, their store front is too small, 
and unless they are able to change .... well, 
everybody should know, "Business is War". 


Hardware 

Mega ST's — Does the news get better? Not 
really. The "New Atari" is changing its slogan 
to fit the new merchandising efforts. "Power 
Without the Price" will have to be reduced to 
"Power". The new Mega ST2 is reported to be 
selling in the mono version for $1,699 with $300 
add-on for the color version. Similarly the Mega 
ST4 ostensibly will list at $2,299 mono and 
$2,599 color. When will they be on dealer 
shelves? Confusion over this matter is at a 
peak. The best of the cogniscenti are in hopeless 
disagreement. One source had them shipping to 
dealers before 1 September; he had seen a ware¬ 
house full of than, and they were only awaiting 
final papers frem the FCC. Another had them 
shipping on or about the same time but to 
developers only. Not only have dealers not been 
certified, but there was talk of distributors 
being realigned also. The market would be 
divided into seven regions, but Atari would 
control the machines going to the dealer by 
having the $$ chain go thru ITT, the financial 
lender inserted between the dealer and Atari. 

That meant that no discounting would be 
tolerated. Whereas Atari would receive its money 
frem ITT the day the machines arrived at the 
dealer, the dealer would then pay ITT in 30-days 


ST 


6 


ST 








CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


or incur brusing interest charges. 

And the Blitter & Rems — Machines are out 
there now with the blitter in them. One is at 
Atari Canada; it works perfectly. Another is at 
BYTE magazine; it has a big "SAMPLE" stamped in 
purple ink on its case to insure its return after 
the review is finished. Mega ST's with blitters, 
300 of them, purportedly cleared customs on 3 
August of last month. Only 25 of them as tested 
by Atari worked. So "quality control" is once 
again an oft heard phrase at Atari headquarters. 
The new ROM's are now in the hands of developers. 
Curiously, the only internal clock that will work 
with them is the one from now defunct Shanner 
International. 

Upgrades — New World Software in San Jose, 
California, in addition to its MULTI-MMdGER 
point-of-sales accounting program, is also 
selling an upgrade board for the 520 and 1040's 
to allow you to install 1 meg ram chips and make 
your own Mega ST2 or Mega ST4 sans detachable 
keyboard and expansion slot. By mid-August, 
after the news of the price of the Mega ST's had 
appeared on Genie, calls to New World increased 
by seme 3000 % in 10 days. The board is $139.95 
and requires you to make eight simple solder 
connections if you go all the way to 4 meg. Its 
advantage is that it can be retrofitted with the 
blitter when the latter finally becomes avail¬ 
able. Cost of a 4 meg upgrade? Board plus chips 
plus installation fee = $139.95 plus $640 (32 
chips x's $20) plus $40 to install it at your 
local Atari service facility = $819.95. Con¬ 
versely, JAF Data Systems of Chicago [2217 West 
109th Street, Chicago, IL 60643, (312) 238-4348] 
will do a total 4-meg upgrade with a snap in 
board plus internal clock for $840. JAF views 
the snap in board as a better solution because of 
height and positional restrictions plus increased 
repair costs for machines with soldered boards. 

So take your pick. When you consider that a Mega 
ST4 costs roughly $900 more and all you currently 
get is a detachable key- board, plus expansion 
slot, your zest for the new machine slacks off. 

We suspect the sales of 1040's and 520's may 
quietly pick-up. 

Music — In mid-summer J.J. Brown, General 
Manager of Atari, announced that Atari would be 
selling the 1040 SLIM in music stores. A sound 
move if you consider that computer music fans are 
increasingly recognizing the ST is the machine 
for the midi and making music with synthesizers. 
Casio now has a synthesizer only, no keyboard, 
which plugs into the midi port of your ST. You 
can then plug in the keyboard or drum machine of 
your choice. The 1040 STEM is a 520 in a 1040 
case with an RF modulator so you can use your TV 
as a monitor. The built-in disk drive is 
currently single-sided. The price will be the 
same as that of the 520 ST, but presumably 


without a monitor. Memory upgrades are difficult 
since it has been "wave soldered" which means all 
holes on the board are filled with solder. The 
single-sided drive can be replaced with a double 
for as little $110. 

Drives & Boards & the PC — For those of you 
who have trouble keeping any free space on your 
hard drives, Supra is coming out with a new hard 
drive with 250 mega bytes of storage capacity 
(the last 58 meg will require a software patch to 
access) for $4000. Indus in a somewhat lower 
price range has a new double-sided drive which 
includes a track counter for $199. However it 
will handle only a flat 80 tracks, i.e. if you 
have a program with protection in track 82, the 
drive will not run it. And Vega, the carp any 
which designed the color board the Atari's PC is 
selling its own EGA board for $199. (JAF sells a 
Boca color board for $149.) Those of you who 
have been tracking and waiting for Atari's PC 
clone to appear may have to give up. The $699 
Atari PC was attractive when priced against other 
clones because it had the EGA color board 
included and the price of then existing color 
boards drove the price of the other clones far 
past Atari's machine. Now with the Vega Video-7 
board out there for clones, Atari has lost its 
price edge, e.g. a clone in the mid-west with a 
built in 10 meg hard drive sells for $799. 

Rumours abound that Sam Tramiel is against 
bringing out the PC, only a few have actually 
been built and FCC approval is way over on the 
other side of the mountain. 

Where is the Laser — In this most confusing 
period, where tying down the facts is apparently 
more impossible than usual, the laser pops up as 
being shipped along with the Mega's as originally 
announced last winter. Word is that it's engine 
is built by a U.S. subsidiary of Toshiba's, TEC 
Corp. It will use the Mega ST's memory and not 
have PostScript. Contrast that with the state¬ 
ment by Soft Logic that they will build a printer 
translation driver for it when it appears, bu£ 
they don't expect that to happen until the end of 
the year? 


Software 

FC-ditto Boosts the ST — Bill Teal, 

Co-presi- dent of Avant Garde, remarks that he 
has received a host of calls frem business houses 
and computer supplier firms about the ST running 
MS-DOS. One of the top ten software companies in 
the country called, echoing the voice and 
questions of the others, "If the ST has that 
powerful an engine and that speed, why haven't we 
heard about it before?" Teal says that people in 
computer-related business are discovering to 
their amazement that a machine of that power and 
low cost is out there. Teal announced earlier 


ST 


7 


ST 












CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


that he and a group plan to push the developement 
of business products, software and peripherals 
for the ST and increase awareness in the business 
community about the machine. He would appear to 
be highly capable of doing this. (See review of 
his product elsewhere in the issue.) For those 
of you who are waiting for the update version of 
PC-ditto that will run on the monochrome monitor 
apparently there is a short patch (not of 
PC-ditto origin) being offered on GEnie called 
PC-Patch, Which can be fed into PC-ditto and 
bingo you have a mono version. 

Exciting & New & Not too Distant — Two new 
drafting and cad programs are on the way, ATHENA 
II and M-CADD the latter with 2D or 3D. SIGNLM , 
the British word processor is about to dock. It 
• supposedly turns your 9-pin printer into a 
machine that can produce laser quality print. 

For sports fan’s the ultimate football game is 
GRIDIRCN distributed by Electronic Arts but 
produced by Bethesda Softworks of Bethesda, 
Maryland. It does not pretend graphics, using 
but mere colored dots to designate players, but 
its tactic, strategy and playability is wounding, 
to your time that is. Another of a similar 
capacity for devouring the minutes is BARMR&N 
(reviewed elsewhere in the issue), an arcade 
adventure that almost makes you think interactive 
CD ROM is here. Releases for the fall include 
JUPITER PROBE by Mindscape who has bought the 
entire lot of Atari arcade machine games that 
were never produced for the 8-bit computers. 
PHMEASJE Illy for the adventure buffs, is living 
up to its billing, and wives are beginning to 
complain, ELEVATOR ACTICNy an arcade special from 
England, and ICE & FIRE , a three disk, two mag, 
art-quality graphic adventure game. Up Canada 
way they claim that GAUNTLET blows away every 
other arcade game extent for the ST. Finally, 
WORD PERFECT , (which Frank Cohen’s article in 
this issue makes clear is not ’’the only word 
processor”) is set to appear on stage with trum¬ 
pets blaring by the end of September. And as you 
read this, the inimitable STWRITER will be out in 
its new GEM suit, version 2.0, together with 
version 1.80 for those who eschew the GEM window 
approach. 


Chastity Belt 

Where Did the Money Go? — Seme of you have 
been reading about a new abuse, not a chemical 
abuse, but an electronic one. It's called 
Mini tel and only the French could have concieved 
of it as artfully as they have. What is it? 
Originally it was to be the first electronic 
telephone directory and distributed free to 
French telephone subscribers. Along with the 
4,500 consumer services that you can access day 
and night, Minitel was a kind of passport to 


romance that created "France's first hightec 
addiction", according to CN author, Florence 
Cusbmen, and writer, Justinne De Lacy, who have 
done extensive research on the phenomenon. The 
core of the addiction are the 400 plus "messa- 
geries" (don't mis-translate) which are direct- 
dialogue message services and function as confi¬ 
dante, confessor, psychiatrist and sometimes 
lover. For the serious devotee there are the 
"rose" message services, with names like "Sextel" 
and "Aphrodite". Sometimes people actually meet 
after spending hours "on line" with each other. 
Wives have sued for divorce, naming a particular 
"messagerie" as the correspondent in the case. 

One husband, suspecting his wife of having "an 
affair" via Minitel cut her wires. She spliced 
them. Then he cut them into inch long pieces and 
threw the set out the window. The phrase now is, 
"Put a Minitel into a bad marriage, and its 
over!" Many Minitelistes are telling their new 
electronic pen pals things they have never told 
anyone. One woman told her friends she was 
leaving her husband for a "wonderful man" she had 
met on Minitel. When asked what he looked like, 
she admitted to never having seen him. Another 
woman who got her Minitel the day her husband 
left her, told a friend she had learned more 
about life in one night at the keyboard than she 
had in twenty-five years of marriage. 

While adults are "big users" they are not 
alone. When a call-in TV show asked children to 
respond by Minitel, instead of by regular tele¬ 
phone, instead of the usual 50, 500 children 
responded. Purportedly, the growing hunger for 
"ccximunication" is replacing the famous French 
"bon appetite" with growing numbers of people 
staying in their offices to "talk" on Minitels 
during lunch. Recently a special "Caimision 
Telematique" was convened to decide whether 
existing pornography laws could apply to Minitel. 
These sessions were characterized as similar to a 
town meeting discussing what to do about flying 
saucers that landed in the town park, much 
chuckling, much laughter and little else. The 
phone company was quick to deny any responsibil¬ 
ity, shifting the blame to the private companies 
who provide the software. The fact is that the 
Minitels are making too much money for anybody to 
want to do anything about them. "Messageries" 
have sprung up all over France. And the short of 
it, many people go into shock when they get their 
phone bills for their addiction, often storming 
the Telecom office, swearing no fool could have 
used the Minitel that long. The record set by a 
single woman in Besancon, was 70,000 francs 
(about $11,666) in a month. It meant she had to 
spend over 500 hours on the service; not bad when 
you consider there are only 720 hours in a month. 
In the next CN, we will explain how the French 
Government actually put a chastity belt on the 
public, one and all, or was it the "messageries"? 


L 


ST 


8 


ST 









When Printers Get Down 

to Business 



■< 


They Gel With the XLint 

PRINTWARE SERIES 

The 8-Bit Atari software that will really give the business to your Epson, 
Panasonic, Prowriter, Gemini, NEC, SG, Citizen or compatible printers. 


Typesetter $34.95 By Dorfman & Young * t 

Get design freedom to create letterhead, posters, title pages, and 
more. Use the joystick or keyboard driven sketch pad to create 
and place clip art, logos and graphics anywhere on a page. Loads 
of graphic, 74-/8 and Printware Series files and lets you control 
your printer, practically down to every dot on the page! Produce 
results that look almost professionally typeset. 48K/128K disk 

Megafont 11+ $24.95 By Dellinger & Rognlie* t 

A complete program lister and graphics dumper. This utility is 
used by most national Atari magazines to print out program 
listings for publication; but it’s much more. Print graphics, 74-/8 
and Koala screens, and Printware Series files in multiple sizes. 
Type direct from the keyboard to the printer in your own custom 
created fonts or one of the 17 fonts that can be down loaded to 
your printer. 48K disk 

P.S. Interface $29.95 By Castell * 

A value-added Print Shop™ interface utility that raises graphic 
output to new levels of clarity and compatiblity. Integrate 
Typesetter icons with Print Shop™ fonts and graphics. Convert 
Print Shop™ fonts to Typesetter icons and select from our four 
sizes of output. Design custom Print Shop™ fonts and graphics 
with the P.S. Interface drawing program. 48K disk 

Picture Disks $19.95 By Brabson 

Use “As is”, or edit any of 31 full screen pictures with the en¬ 
tire Printware series. 

Icon Disks $19.95 By Brabson * 

135 original 1/4 screen sized clip art icons, including seasonal 
holiday scenes. 


Page Designer $29.95 By Dorfman & Young 

A layout utility that lets you plan an SVt^XH" page on your 
screen and then print it. Mix text, graphics and Typesetter fonts 
for fantastic two-column newsletters. Two text modes; 40 col¬ 
umn allows any Atari character set, 80 column puts twice as 
much information on the same page. Page Designer works with 
other Printware Series software. 48K disk 

Rubber Stamp $29.95 By Dorfman, Young & Dellinger * 

A collection of XLEnt creative utilities that let you build a 
library of high resolution icons, including converted Print Sfiop™ 
icons. Create up to four icons at once, and use the only 16X16 
character set and text editors available for your Atari. Control 
the height and width of characters to get 32 different character 
sizes. Print up to 99 graphic labels with the special label printer. 
48K disk 

1st XLEnt Word Processor $29.95 By Castell 

A fully featured, friendly and fast word processor. 1st XLEnt 
Word Processor uses a joystick and icon interface, has toggle bet¬ 
ween full-screen windows, and a very readable 80-column print 
preview to see what your document will look like. According to 
Antic Magazine’s January ‘87 review, 1st Word is, “As good or 
better than any other word processor you’ll find for the 8-bit 
Atari”. 48K disk 


P.O.Box 5228 
Springfield, Virginia 22 150 
(705) 644-8881 
Order number 
(705) 569-8881 
Customer Service 

*ST Versions Available 
t MS-DOS Versions Available 


G 


















CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


TORONTO DEALERS SHOW 

Canadian Atari Dealers Preview the Fall Lineup 

by Glenn Brown 


Toronto, Ontario, August 16. This past week¬ 
end (August 14-16), Atari Canada sponsored a new 
product show and software showcase for its deal¬ 
ers. The press and user groups were also invited 
to attend. The main purpose of the weekend was a 
series of seminars for the dealers and MEGA 
dealers but the software booths were more than 
enough to keep me happy. 

First, the news. The MEGAs are now being 
shipped to Canadian dealers in limited quanti¬ 
ties. Atari Canada has initiated a value added 
approach in granting MEGA dealerships. Each 
potential MEGA dealer must meet three criteria: 
an external sales force, a large retail outlet, 
and an agreement not to discount the MEGAs which 
will sell in Canada for $2,300 for the MEGA 2 and 
$3,300 for the MEGA 4 (Canadian dollars). Ini¬ 
tial units are being shipped without the blitter 
which will be a free upgrade when available this 
fall. Atari was showing all of its announced 
product in production form. The MEGA 4, the 
Laser, the PC, the 7800, and even the XE game 
system. 

Let's take a walk around the show (actually, an 
alphabetically tour) and see whats coning this 
fall. ABACUS was showing their books along with 
FaintPro, TextPro , PoverLedger , and DatatTrieve . 
Caning soon are ChartPak ST, Electra-Spel 1, and 
BeckerText ST, a high-end word processor with 
column math, auto hyphenation and indexing, 
multi-column output and more. 

Analog magazine was there but, unfortunately, the 
magazines that were shipped to the show didn't 
make it on time. 

Antic magazine was displaying a couple of pro¬ 
grams that had everyone drooling: Spec trim 512 
and the extensions to CAD 3D: Cyber Control and 
Cyber Paint, due to be released in October. All 
will sell between $70 and $90. Joe Chaizese 
[Flash] explained the programs to me. Cyber Con¬ 
trol is an interpreter for CAD 3D and Cyber 
Paint is for video processing of animations. 

Cyber Paint also doubles as a very powerful paint 
program. Cyber Studio, version 2.02, adds 
hierarchial motion (it handles connected 
objects). I am not sure if I grasped the 
differences, but the results are spectacular - 3D 
animations that Walt Disney would have been proud 
of! They have an animated skeleton that has to 
be seen to be believed. 


Spectnm 512 is Antic's new 512 color [up to 48 
colors per scan line] paint program. A few of 
the highlights: three types of automatic anti- 
alaising, dithering, Image processing / 
colorizing (brightening or dulling of colors), 
block movement with resizing done using pixel 
averaging (this results in a very smooth 
resizing). The program can read DEGAS, NE0, IFF 
(512 color Amiga pictures with 512 colors), HAM 
(4,096 color "hold and modify" Amiga pictures 
converted to 512 colors) plus it's own SPC 
compressed format. Look for the pictures up on 
the boards: they are worth a look! 

Artworx's display featured Bridge 5.0, their best 
product yet. Baudville was promoting their first 
two ST titles: Video Vegas and Award Maker. 
Beamscope , a Canadian distributor, had a range of 
software. Popular demos included Sierra's new 
Leisure Suit Larry, Fantasy 3, and Psygnosis' 
outstanding Barbarian. Compucable showed their 
SpectraView II information display cartridge, one 
of the few XE products there, while Coursemaker 
showed their educational products including an 
English instruction program. 

In the Data Pacific booth, I finally got to meet 
David Small, creator of the Magic Sac. This 
product has ccme a long way since its intro¬ 
duction. Dave was demonstrating Version 4.5 
which includes automatic error correction, hard 
disk support, (limited) sound, and runs just 
about everything. Also on display was the 
Translator, the Magic Box that allows your ST 
drive to read and write Macintosh disks. One of 
the interesting side benefits of the Translator: 
because the box changes the speed at which data 
are read and written, it was easy for Dave to add 
the code to make it a low-level bit copier which 
means that it should copy just about everything! 
The Translaotor will be available in late 
September for about $199. 

Epyx's booth was packed with manufacturers play¬ 
ing their games. New titles this fall for the ST 
include Spy vs Spy III: Artie Antics and Boulder 
Dash Construction Kit. Alain Plouffe and 
Raymonde Desfreniers were showing off the best 
disk magazine out: FaSTer . Those who haven't 
seen this underpriced disk magazine don't know 
what they are missing. Foresight Resources were 
showing Drafix 1/Atari ST, a high-powered CAD 
program ported from the PC world, due for release 
by the beginning of September. As this and other 
programs mentioned below indicate, the ST is 


XE 


10 


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CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


fast-beccming the computer of choice for GAD 
software. 

General Electric was there promoting their GENie 
BBS while Hybrid Arts brought their complete MIDI 
line featuring their analog to digital processor 
(ADAP) unit, MIDI Track ST series, and their very 
successful DX and CZ Android Programs. 

ICD displayed their new ST hard drive which was 
labeled "F20A ST Hard Drive". (The box, however, 
actually contained two 30 MB drives.) Interest¬ 
ing features include multiple SCSI ports, DMA in 
and out ports, a fan, and a clock! The 20 MB 
unit, due out in about two months, will sell for 
the same price as the Atari drive. 

Inagem Technologies showed Agenda+, a very clever 
calendar/ phone book combination. ISP brought 
the updated versions of VIP: GEM Version 1.2 and 
TEXT Version 1.2 as well as Master Plan (a 1-2-3 
clone without macros or a database). looking 
Glass Software had, of course, their Ad ice 
Pascal on display. MichTron and Microdeal showed 
more ST product than any six other manufacturers: 
Airbally Jupiter Probe, Gold Runner, GFA Basic, 
GFA Vector, etc., etc. They also had their own 
version of the Mitsubishi tablet, (see below) 

Micro D demoed Avant-Garde's, pc-ditto. Of 
interest to adventure gamers, was the fact that 
they had on display the box for Dungeon Master 
(no game, just the box) which will finally be out 
this fall along with Defender of the Cram. 

Migraph had the author demo M/CADD, their soon- 
to-be released 3D CAD package. Not only does 
this program outperform AUTOCAD (the $2,600 IBM 
package), it beats dedicated CAD systems in 
head-to-head comparisons. This program features 
the best user interface I've ever seen and sets a 
standard that will be hard for others to match. 

A competing CAD package was shown by Northern 
Designs . Their MI:VADDS was described as a 
full-featured three-dimensional computer-aided 
design and drafting package. 

Passport/Musicware entered the ST market with 
their MIDI line. PCS showed off their Cash 
Register Plus. Practical Solutions , creators of 
the Monitor Master which allows you to switch 
between monochorme and color monitors (I wouldn't 
do without mine), brought two new products now in 
beta test. Mouse Master! externalizes your 1040 
joystick connections and VidecKey! gives your ST 
composite output. 

QMI showed off a couple of new products. BB-ST 
is a $49.95 BBS program which allows operation up 
to 9600 baud, is fully programmable, and allows 
remote operation. SI-TALK 2.0, which should be 
out in about six weeks, will sell for $29.95. It 
is a complete GEM program featuring auto-ARCing 


and de-ARCing, the ability to run programs while 
uploading or downloading, a custom screen font, 
which gives it a true 80-column display, and the 
ability to operate at speeds up to 9600 baud and 
a sophisitcated auto dialer. 

Both QMI and MichTron displayed their versions of 
Mitsubishi's touch tablet which sells for $395. 
This tablet is a professional tablet measuring 
17.5 by 11 inches with 250 lines-per-inch resolu¬ 
tion (a Koala pad would fit in one square inch of 
this pad). I was impressed by the fact that it 
is invisible to TOS and thus could be used in 
place of the mouse without any special drivers. 

Sierra-On-Line showed the Quest series (Kings I, 
II, III plus SPACE) and their new adult-oriented 
game, Leisure Suit Larry. Keep your eye out for 
their new 3D Helicopter Simulator coming this 
fall. Softcode displayed accessories fot the ST. 
One item that caught my eye was a cleaning kit 
for your mouse. (If your mouse arrow isn't 
responding correctly to your mouse movements, 
take a look at the metal rollers the mouse ball 
rides on. Chances are they just need cleaning.) 

The Supra 20 MB drive has became the standard for 
the ST. They are now shipping 20, 30, 60, and 
250 MB (that's not a misprint!) drives. Coming 
this fall from Supra is a 2400-baud Hayes compa¬ 
tible modem for $180. (Hey, Atari, by the time 
your modem shows up, nobody will want it!) 

Timeworks proudly showed the latest addition to 
their line, Partner ST, a very impressive set of 
accessories. It will be released in September 
for $69. Also due out soon from Timeworks is a 
desktop publishing package. 

Word Perfect had their pre-release beta of Word 
Perfect 4.1. This fully functional version in¬ 
cludes full GEM integration, footnoting, macros, 
column math, footnotes, mailmerge, outlining, 
spell checking, a thesarus, table of contents / 
index generation, multi-columning, undelete, and 
compatibility with the PC version. Sales of this 
product may very well show show other major 
manufacturers whether or not the ST is a viable 
market. Hie suggested list price is $395, but if 
the Amiga version is any indicator, retailers 
will be asking about $299. 

And finally, Xanth was there with what has became 
an Atari trade show standard: Kill-A-Happy Face . 
This MIDI maze program, which allows up to 16 
competitors to go at each other simultaneously on 
16 different STs, will be available in September 
for $39. Imagine how interesting these tourna¬ 
ments will become when the players can get their 
own copy of the program and sharpening the 
hunting skills! 


- 11 - 


XE 


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CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


AVANT-GARDE 

Finally, IBM Emul 
Review by Mi 

pc-ditto: It Works! 

A whole new adventure has opened up for the 
Atari ST user with the surprisingly functional 
new product, pc-d itto by Avant-Garde Systems. 
Unlike previous software attempts by other com¬ 
panies which were less than useless, this truly 
incredible software emulator actually works. If 
you want to explore the realm of MS-DOS or bring 
hone PC work fron the office, this product ful¬ 
fills these needs at an affordable price. 

The included instructions, although sparse, 
were all I needed to get pc-ditto up and running. 
It helped that I have an IBM-ccrrpatible computer 
and a lot of prior MS DOS experience. The novice 
MS-DOS user, however, must first obtain a copy of 
MS or PC DOS, preferably the 3.2 version on 3.5 
inch disks. Next, of course, the novice will 
have to learn something about the MS DOS operat¬ 
ing system. (If you are new to MS DOS, see Vhi. 
Price on MS-DOS elsewhere in this issue.) 

The current version of pc-ditto , 2.0, only 
runs on a color ST monitor. The exterior package 
reads that you need a color monitor, but inside 
it states that monochrome is supported, a bit 
confusing. The current version supports both IBM 
color and IBM monochrome programs, but only runs 
on a color ST system. Avant-Garde has premised 
that monochrome support is number one on the list 
of improvements in the next version due out this 
fall. The upgrade to the newer version will be 
free to registered 2.0 owners. They decided to 
release only the color version because the mono¬ 
chrome monitor had not been fully tested and they 
did not want to delay the release of the product 
another three to six months. Since I have a 
color monitor, I certainly am happy with their 
decision to release a working color version. 

Do You Need pc-ditto? 

If you want the software you use at home to 
be compatible with (IBM) software you use at the 
office, you need pc-ditto. Seme current ST pro¬ 
ducts can share data between the ST and IBM. For 
example, in the case of Lotus 123 , the ST product 
VIP Professional can read and write Lotus files, 
although there is still the problem of moving 
data from one disk format to another. But most 
ST programs are not, of course, compatible with 
or available on MS DOS computers. 


' S pc-d 

itto 

ation on Your 

ST 

ke Gibbons 



Seme Atari fans may disdain the idea of 
running an "obsolete" operating system like MS 
DOS on their STs. However, without arguing the 
merits or demirts of the IBM and ST worlds, let’s 
just assume that neither machine is better but 
instead, that you just want to use both. "When I 
stepped up from my IBM XT to the 1040 ST, I 
bought Michtron's DOS Shell with the ST computer. 
I felt that since I was familiar with the ccrrmand 
processor, I would like to continue using DOS. 
Uhat was this little thing with a tail for 
anyway? Well, I later found that the mouse and 
GEM interface were as easy to use as the command 
processor and in seme cases preferable. Quite a 
statement from a die-hard IBM user. 


IBM Software on Your ST 

Now that you have decided to buy pc-d itto , 
you will be pleasantly surprised by the software 
this product runs. If you already use MS DOS, 
then you already know how to use this product. I 
have tested over 50 software packages and most of 
them have run without any quirks. 'The only 
drawback I encountered is that of speed. The 
table below provides seme benchmarks to allow you 
to make your own decisions as to whether or not 
this is an issue in your mind. As many of you 
did, I started out with an Atari 800 and a 
cassette recorder. Only after I purchased my 
first disk drive did I realize how slow the 
cassette had been. I propose that an Atari user 
who purchases this product, without having been 
spoiled by a Turbo PC or XT, will find the speed 
acceptable. In the case of game software, 
however, it is quite noticeable that the emulator 
is slower than an actual PC. Arcade software, 
for the most part, runs almost too slow to be 
acceptable. Rather large programs may also 
execute slowly, but again, that is a relative 
thing. I used the Norton Utilities SI test which 
is a computing processor comparison to the IBM 
PC. pc-ditto scored 0.3, a speed of about one 
third that of the IBM PC. I should mention 
another limitation of pc-ditto . It only displays 
four colors. These colors are preselected with a 
setup utility on the pc-ditto disk and I felt no 
need to change frem the default colors. 

In testing the software, I compared pc-ditto 
running on a 1040 ST, to an IBM-compatible lap 
top computer (KAYPRO 2000) with a 3.5 inch drive. 
When I first purchased the KAYPRO, I noticed the 


ST 


1 2 


ST 



CURRENT NOTES 


drives seemed to read more slowly than their 5.25 
inch counterparts. I really didn’t mind since I 
also received 720K of usable space on the 3.5 
inch disk. I tested Lotus 123 version 1A and 
loaded a 180K spreadsheet file on the Atari 1040 
ST running pc-ditto . It was over 1000 rows deep 
and 6 columns wide. The spreadsheet worked and 
loaded only 30 percent slower than on my lap top 
computer. I quickly became excited and started 
porting software from my IBM-compatible desktop 
to the IBM lap top via a null modem cable. In 
the process, of course, I moved the software from 
5.25 inch disks to 3.5 inch disks. I was also 
running pc-ditto on my ST and testing different 
packages as quickly as I could get them into the 
3.5 inch format. 


Comparison of Execution Speeds under MS DOS 
ATARI 1040 ST vs KAYPRO 2000 
(All times in seconds) 



pc-ditto 

KAYPRO 

Compile a 743 line basic 
program with the Microsoft 
Quick Basic Compiler. 

100 

18 

Encrypt a file with The 
Confidant - A DES standard 
encryption utility. 

167 

52 

Turbo Pascal - Run Window, 
a scrolling graphics demo 
to the 50 Line mark. 

36 

13 

Proccmm Terminal Software 
1200 Baud Download 
(21031 Bytes). 

248 

206 


If this product is not to be used for arcade 
software, what is it used for? I would suggest 
business, programming and other applications 
software not available on the ST. For starters, 

I can’t believe how well Turbo Pascal runs on 
pc-ditto. I also enjoyed how some of the editors 
and word processors worked. Wordstar version 
3.31 was too slow, but it also runs slowly on an 
IBM. Word Perfect worked without a hitch, both 
version 3.0 and the newest 4.2 version. (It 
should be noted that Word Perfect Corporation 
will soon release a GEM-based Atari ST Version of 
their program.) The terminal software I tested 
acted fine and downloads went smoothly. I prefer 
Procoim a shareware product, but other ccrrmercial 
terminal packages such as SmartCcm II and Cross¬ 
talk worked quite well. I created pie and bar 
charts with a Lotus compatible MS-DOS spreadsheet 
named ASEASY. This package loaded Lotus-created 
worksheets easily and executed LOTUS macros 
flawlessly. The graphics were as good as any IBM 
or compatible could have done. This program was 
downloaded from an IBM BBS where a wealth of 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


other public domain software awaits a pc-ditto 
user. (Note: Procoim and ASEASY are both 
included in the new Current Notes PC Library 
introduced this month. Ed.) 

Moving Software to a 3.5 Disk 

If you have access to an IBM with a serial 
port and modem communications software, it is a 
relatively simple task to hook it to an ST 
directly to transfer software. Connect a null 
modem cable to your IBM or compatible and then to 
the ST modem port. You can take a standard RS232 
cable and switch pins two and three on one of the 
ends of the cable to make a null modem cable. 
Alternatively, you can purchase a null modem 
cable from your dealer. Run any terminal 
software package on each machine and set them for 
a transfer rate of 9600 baud, 8 data bits, 1 stop 
bit and parity none. It won’t do any good to go 
beyond 9600 baud on the IBM compatible because 
the serial port will not support any faster 
transfer rates. It is now a simple task to 
upload software from the compatible directly to 
the ST using your favorite protocol that is 
supported by both machines. The Atari ST can 
even run under GEM with a package like ST-TERd or 
FLASH, and write directly to an ST disk. Remember 
this process didn’t involve two modems, just a 
cable. Another method of transferring PC 
software is with a modem. Call any friend with 
an IBM compatible or even a PC DOS oriented BBS 
and just download the programs. 

Under GEM, the ST can read frcm and write to 
MS DOS formatted disks. The reverse is not true 
and while running pc-ditto the computer will not 
be able to read a GEM-formatted diskette. For a 
year now I have been copying program source code 
frcm my ST to my MS DOS disks since they both 
have 3.5 inch drives. I have even exchanged 
source code between OSS Personal Pascal and 
Borland Turbo Pascal with almost no modifica¬ 
tions. I simply put my 3.5 MS DOS disk in tip ST 
and used it. As long as it had been formatted on 
the MS DOS lap top computer, it worked fine. 

What about copy-protected software and the 
5.25 inch format? Do you have to go out and buy 
a 5.25 disk for your ST? Since the new IBM line 
of computers are installed with 3.5 inch drives, 
most publishers are now producing software on the 
3.5 inch format. They also are removing copy 
protection and hence removing another one of the 
problems. A 5.25 inch drive will cost you a 
couple of hundred dollars. Unless you have a 
specific need to have your data on 5.25 inch 
format, I suggest holding off buying a 5.25 inch 
drive. Why revert to the older, inferior disk 
drive technology? Besides, the new Current 

(Continued on page 50) 


ST 


13 


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CURRENT 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


xj r NOTES 


AN I 

Most 


NTE RV I EW 

Frequently Asked 


WITH BILL TEAL 

Questions About pc-ditto 


[In preparing for a recent CompuServe online 
conference, Bill Teal, author of pc-ditto, 
compiled a list of answers to his most-often 
asked questions . Unfortunately, not many of the 
questions surfaced during that conference . 
However, I assured Bill that CN readers would 
certainly be interested in those answers . So, 
presented below, is a CN exclusive interview with 
* Bill Teal . — Joe Waters] 

Where can I get pc-ditto and how much does it 
cost? 

pc-ditto is sold thru Atari dealers. The 
suggested retail price is $89.95. 

Why can 't I buy pc-ditto through mail-order? 

We sell thru dealers because most provide a 
better service and value than other market 
mechanisms, such as mail order or direct mail: 

1. The consumer can try before buying. (Some 
dealers even go as far as letting the consumer 
try his own software). 

2. Most dealers have used the product and can 
answer questions and offer advice. 

3. Many dealers offer assistance with transfering 
files on 5.25-inch media to 3.5-inch disks, or 
even rent 5.25-inch drives for overnight use. 

4. Seme dealers are the source for the other 
items the consumer will need, such as the DOS, 
the disk drives, IBM applications software, 
and even supplies. 

5. And, we have found that many dealers provide 
carpet it ive prices, seme to users groups, or 
as part of a bundled machine sale. 

6. Finally, many dealers offer technical service 
after the sale, to help with any problems the 
consumer encounters. To bolster this service, 
Avant-Garde provides support services to 
dealers, to make their task easier. 


What kind of support can dealers expect? 

Primary support service to our dealers is free 
technical advice over the phone. We also produce 
a newsletter that covers information of interest 


to dealers. (This may seem like very little, but 
in the computer industry as a whole, technical 
support (also, known as maintenance) represents 
about 80 percent of the consulting practice hours 
today; and, it is the most expensive service to 
provide). This is a hidden service; one that the 
consumer doesn’t even see. Yet, without it, many 
companies never succeed, because their dealers 
don't succeed. And, why should they? Without 
same incentives such as manufacturer's support, 
the cost of the product increases because they 
(the dealer) have to provide all the support. 

And, sometimes, with a product like ours, that is 
nearly Impossible. 

Also, we are working on newer brochures, and 
other marketing materials for the dealer. 

(Please remember, since we're just starting up, 
these things take time ... and Money). 

And, of course, we have advertising in place 
which will be published this fall, targeted at 
the consumer. Concurrently, we have product 
reviews which should arrive at about the same 
time (if this works according to plan). 

What 's the Norton compatibility of pc-ditto? 

The Norton SI (compatibility, as called by same) 
is 0.3. That means the processing speed of 
pc-ditto , according to Norton, is about 30 
percent of an IBM PC. (.3 x 4.77 MHz = 1.43 MHz 
approximately). 

Although, any yardstick for measurement is 
usually better than none, the SI is not strictly 
indicative of the actual performance of pc-ditto 
for all applications. 

We measured pc-ditto effective speed using a wall 
clock. We broke applications into various 
categories, selected what we felt were the most 
popular applications to represent that category, 
ran each application several times to get an 
average, tested memory-intensive and disk I/O 
intensive speeds (when we could separate them), 
and summarized the results. 

This measurement technique is known as throughput 
measurement. It measures the overall processing 
performed in a period of time. Although we could 
try to measure MIPS, effective MHz, additions per 
second, and so on, this was the best measurement 
suited for the general consumer. This was a 


ST 


14 


ST 






CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


measurement which best reflected his perception 
of the speed of pc-ditto. 

What this measurement says is that throughput 
depends on the application. A word processor may 
run just as quickly on pc-ditto as on a 25MHz 
80386 IDS, such as WordPerfect and pfs: Profes¬ 
sional Write. Reason: most of the time, the 
application is waiting on the user keyboard 
input. This is true of many applications. On 
the other hand, seme applications which require 
significant processing before results are 
rendered, say a statistical analysis using 
mathematical optimization, will be much slower on 
pc-ditto than on even a stock IBM PC. 

Therefore, the speed translates into usefulness 
of pc-ditto, or any ’’hardware processor”; it 
just depends on the application. For example, in 
our own case, we get many calls about using IBM 
games on pc-ditto. We always state that we do 
not feel that games work best on the product. 

Seme seem to be fine, but others are very slug¬ 
gish, and consequently, in our opinion, not use¬ 
ful. Most games require lots of processing and 
intensive graphics. We only have games on the 
product list, because many business users feel 
more confident about pc-ditto compatibility, if 
one of the defacto standards of compatibility, 
such as Microsoft's Flight Simulator , at least 
runs. 

Are you finished new that pc-ditto is out? 

Absolutely not! The first rule in ccximercial 
software development is to get it right. Then, 
make it faster. We're doing just that. We might 
have been able to sell you a much faster, but 
less reliable product. It would only get you to 
the crash point faster. But, that would be 
useless. We would rather gain your confidence in 
our product. Then, improve it; in all areas. 

Hew do I attach a 5.25-inch drive to ny ST? 

Attaching a 5.25-inch drive to the Atari is a 
’’toughy" question. We are not hardware engi¬ 
neers. What we do know is that the drives which 
connect to the ST are off-the-shelf IBM 
compatible drive mechanisms, available frem 
almost any reliable source. The same goes for 
the drive power supply. The problem that arises 
most often is finding a cable to connect the 
drive to the ST. Generally, this is a 34-pin 
edge connector on one end, with a 15-pin DIN 
connector on the other. We don't build our own 
drives. Thus, we are not sure how to overcome 
this cable problem. We purchase our drives thru 
I.B. Computers, located in Portland, Oregan. 

They sell a half-height drive with cable, 
ready-to-go. To date, its the only one we've 
tested. 


We tell anyone who asks, that if they already 
have another drive, then pc-ditto should work 
fine with it, as long as the ST can ''talk” to it 
— as long as the electrical connections are 
sound. 

Hew do I get IBi programs for my ST? 

Commercial IBM applications come on 5.25-inch 
disks. Today, many more are being provided on 
3.5-inch media, as well. Seme companies have a 
product upgrade policy, such as Ashton-Tate, 
whereupon, you return your master disk, or seme 
other product registration, and they will send 
you a 3.5-inch version. 

Also, applications can be simply copied from 
5.25-inch media to 3.5-inch, as long as its not 
copy-protected. This means you must have use of 
a 5.25-inch drive on the ST, or use another com¬ 
puter with both 5.25-inch and 3.5-inch drives. 
(You can modem across the software between two 
computers, but this is messy, and recommended for 
the advanced users with all the tools (including 
a modem program on the Atari)). 

I can 't get my mouse to work . What's wrong? 

Any product which requires the mouse, such as 
AUTOCAD and PC Paintbrush , will not currently 
work. Mouse support will be out this fall. 

What is your upgrade policy? 

The first upgrade is free to current owners of 
pc-ditto. What we will do for later updates, if 
you feel they will be necessary because we don't 
get this one right, is unknown. I do know that 
we are against selling bugs. If we believed 
consumers should buy bugs, we would have built 
seme in, then put out specific add-on fixes, for 
a price, maybe even marketed than as new 
modules. That stinks. 

We believe, instead, that a product should be* 
somewhat like a car (NOTE: I didn't say exactly 
like a car, with the lemon scent). When you buy 
it, with whatever features it has, those features 
should work. Period. If they don't, then take 
it back to the service dept and make 'em fix it 
until it does. Those features may not be the 
best in the world, but whatever they are, they 
should work. (We also feel the buyer be aware, 
in any market.. .that's why we want you to support 
your local dealer; so, you can test pc-ditto 
before you buy). 

In short, we correct bugs we know of with field 
patches. These patches are designed to get it 
working. They are usually sent to owners who 
contact us directly about a problem, to all 
dealers, and if possible, uploaded on national 


ST 


15 


ST 



CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


boards, such as these (as long as our copyright 
is maintained). For example, we have a field 
patch being prepared right new for release- in the 
next couple of weeks. 

Updates, on the other hand, are enhancements. 

Not bug fixes. We think you should get it 
working first, then add features. 

By the way, let us hear from you. One reason for 
the "free” part of the update, is to "entice" you 
to respond to us: Let us know what kind of 
enhancements that would make your product, 
pc-ditto , more useful to you. No matter how 
strange the request. You may find out that your 
"impossible" is indeed very possible. We can't 
guarantee that every idea can or will be 
implemented. Rather, we rank the requests by 
percentage requesting, maybe add a few of our 
own, and check the feasibility of the rest. If 
seme idea is impossible to us, we'll also tell 
you, and why. Hopefully, this is fair. Its your 
money. We've built the cost of the update into 
the price. We'd like to hear from you. 

Where can I get the MS-DOS operating system? 

Where to get the MS-DOS is our most difficult 
question. First, stick with the DOS makers we 
recommend. Seme DOS's have problems. They don't 
just fail on pc-ditto , but they fail on a stock 
PC XT as well. Second, check your dealer. He 
may have the DOS, or be able to supply one from a 
distributor. 

What are your customer support policies? 

Our customer support policies are: 

1. You may call or write to us, if you have 
returned your registration card. (We will 
check our files, before providing any 
technical answers. If you have a general 
question, or just want to notify us of a bug 
or enhancement vote, we'll talk). This is 
primarily because of the piracy, even thought 
its not fool proof. 

2. Current owners will receive a free update this 
fall. You need not call or write. Just send 
in your card, and the update will ccrae 
automatically. 

3. Bug fixes, via patch, will be released as they 
arise. Again, only registered users who have 
contacted us about the problem will receive 
notice. (Dealers and possibly national 
networks will also have the patches). 


Our phone lines are very busy. We apologize. We 
have installed more. Our hours are: Monday 
through Friday, 10:30 AM to 6:30 PM EST. Most of 
the calls ccme around 1 PM to 3 EM (when the West 
coast wakes up?). So, if you can avoid those 
hours, you will have more success. 

What sort of Turbo or speed-up options are 
compatible with pc-ditto? 

We are not familiar with most of the "Turbo" or 
speed up options. We have been told about disk 
caches and screen drivers, tut we are 
concentrating on speeding up the underlying 
emulation process, rather than the superficial 
application mods that seme of these perform (We 
do know that seme of these things are quite 
effective, however, and are glad they exist. 

But, the market is too fast-changing for us to 
test all of them, as well as test the larger 
market-share items, as Framework II 1.1 , etc.) 

We hope you understand. 

That's one reason we support the national 
networks. These systems allow the word to be 
spread quickly concerning such utilities, rather 
than waiting on Avant-Garde to announce them. 

pc-ditto works fine on a color monitor, but fails 
on mono. Is this a bug? 

Atari monochrome monitor support will be out this 
fall. We did not release it sooner because it 
was not tested. When we talked to Atari in New 
York during a March show, they recommended going 
with the color monitor first because the sales of 
those monitors were about 80 percent of U.S. 
monitor sales. With limited time and resources, 
we had to choose between hard disk support and 
the mono monitor. We've even heard from 
reviewers of seme big-name publications. One 
said we made the right call. Everyone in the 
U.S. screams "color,color,color." If we had gone 
the mono route first, most would say we couldn't 
do color. But, by doing color first, most think 
mono is easy. Oh well. Good or bad, the issue 
is moot. 

ATARIFEST 
19 8 7 

Coming 

Saturday, October 24 
Sunday, October 25 


Your phone lines are AIHAYS busy. Hew can I get Fairfax High School 

through? 

FAIRFAX, VIRGINIA 


ST 


16 


ST 






<.•><• 4* <; •> 4; 


.> * + 4 . + <. .y 


NOVATARI XL/XE LIBRARY 

We are introducing 8 new (*) disks this month. Games disk No. 13 has 20 BASIC 
games from back issues of various computer magazines; they are fun to play and 
good examples of programing too. Telecommunications No. 5 is a former 
NPXCNovatari Program Exchange) offering CHAMELEON TERMINAL EMULATOR. The 
documentation on the back of the disk will help explain some of the more 
esoteric communications routines. Education disk No. H is CURRENT NOTES 
editor Joe Waters' contribution from the former NPX programs. Joe's WORD 
BUILDER 1.0 is an excellent example of BASIC programing and a good tool for 
vocabulary building with provision for user modification of the words and 
definitions. Music disk No. 7 has the AMS player program and 16 Oldies while 
Music disk No. 8 offers 18 Classics plus the player. Utility No. 10 is no 
longer the outdated membership list but Daisy-Dot NLQ that this ad is printed 
with using and Epson RX/80. Utility No. 18 is a powerful font and 
player/missile editor called TOUCH EDIT because uses the touch tablet or 
joystick. Demo No. 5 has the Desktop DOS for 8 bits and several graphic 
demos. We have been exchanging library disks with user groups around the 
country and welcome any disk librarians the exchange lists and disks with our 
library. Please write the Roy Brooks, PD libraian, H020 Travis Pkwy., 

Annandale, Va. 22003. 

Price for WAACE members and CURRENT NOTES subscribers is $3/disk plus SI for 
postage and handling for every 3 disks. Otherwise, cost is a flat $5/disk 
(includes postage and handling). Send checks, payable to N0VATARI, to Alan 
Friedman, 5951 Heritage Square Drive, Burke, VA 22015. We thank Evan Brooks 
for many years of service as club librarian and mail order agent but please 
don't order disks from Evan because Alan Friedman has taken the mail order 
tasks. 


mm 


8AHE DISKS 

1 TEXT ADVENTURES 

2 SAH8LIN8 

3 SINULATIONS 

4 HAZES 

5 PARLOR 6AHES 

6 SRAPHICS 

7 ACTION! Oases 

8 ARCADE L00K-A- LIKES 

9 TEXT ADVENTURES 2 

10 TEXT ADVENTURES 3 

11 SURF’S UP 

12 SKI KINS with slope editor 
13*20 BASIC Bases 
TELECOMMUNICATIONS DISKS 

1 050 INTERFACE 

2 835/1030 HODEH 

3 HPP HODEH 
4A AHODEH 7.2 

5*CHAHELE0N TERMINAL EHULATOR 
6 1030 EXPRESS and 050 EXPRESS 
EDUCATION DISKS 

1 MATHEMATICS 

2 PRIHARV LANGUAGE 

3 TEACHER'S TOOLBOX 
4*W0RD BUILDER 1.0 


HUSIC DISKS 

1 TV/MOVIE THEMES 

2 ROCK 

3 JAZZ 

4 BASIC HUSIC PROGRAMS w/desos 

5 AMS 12 Rock Songs 

6 AHS 14 Movie/Video Theses 
7*AMS 16 Oldies 

8*AMS 18 Classics 
LANGUAGE DISKS 

1 Fia-Forth version!.i 

2 Action! Games: source code 
for Games No. 7 

3 Action! Graphic Demos 

4 Action! Utility Programs 

5 Action! Nodules No. 1 

6 Action! Nodules No. 2 

7 BASIC XL Reference Base 

8 Action! Nodules No. 3 

9 Action! Telecom Kermit source 
code 

10 Turbo Basic/Compiler 


UTILITY DISKS 

1 Miscellaneous Utilities 

2 Printer Utilities 

3 DOS 2.5 

4 Directory and Label Printer 

5 Graphics Trilogy 

6 Copymate 130 and 4.3 

7 Sector Copier 

8 Translator 

9 256k upgrade for 800XL* 
10*Daisy-Bot NLQ 

11 DOS 2.6 

12 HACHDOS 2.1 

13 Print Shop Editor 

14 Easy Find 

15 Print Shop Icons 1 

16 Textpro 1.1 

17 Print Shop Icons 2 
18*Touch Edit 

DEHO DISKS • 

1 Animation Demos 

2 Moviemaker “Clips" 

3 Heavy Metal Art 

4 Graphic Picture Show 
5*Qesktop DOS and Demos 









CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


ATARI SCUTTLEBITS 

By Bob Ke11y 

A LOOK AT GENIE'S ROUNDTABLE 


After an all too brief vacation, I am back at 
the typewriter.... oops, keyboard! It was an 
enjoyable reprieve, spent mostly in Canada. Of 
particular interest on the trip was James Bay 
where the first English settlers arrived at Moose 
Factory, Ontario during the 16th Century. The 
Canadian people, as always, were very hospitable 
(this is rny fourth vacation in Canada). If 
you’ve never been, go while the exchange rate 
remains favorable. My only regret while in 
Canada was that Glen Brown from the Ottawa Atari 
users group visited Washington, D.C. I never met 
Glen in person although we talked numerous times 
over the telephone. I was informed Glen is an 
amateur magician of some acclaim and look forward 
to his next trip or rather performance in this 
area. He is so good that he even made a Mega ST 
appear while in town (not only Atari can create 
illusions). 

Preparing for this column was difficult not 
only because of the vacation blues, but also the 
Atari market is rather uninteresting. No Mega ST 
has appeared in the U.S.A., no laser printer, no 
Atari IBM/PC compatible, and no 80-column 
cartridge nor 360K disk drive for the 8-bit 
enthusiasts. Atari has maintained in their 
public statements that the hardware will be 
ccming any day (I hope before the holiday buying 
season). Atari's pronouncements and the 
unswerving loyalty of many users reminds me of a 
quote from Shelley: 

"Life may change, but it may fly not; 

Hope may vanish, but can die not; 

Truth be veiled, but still it bumeth; 

Love repulsed, - but it retumeth!" 

GEnie's Atari ST-Roundtab1e 

Over the past year or so, several individuals 
have said to me in one way or another, "Bob, 
learn while having fun, join one of the real time 
conferences (RTC) either on CompuServe or GEnie. 
There are conferences/forums for almost any 
interest a person may have." As you probably 
know, Atari is now directly associated with GEnie 
and runs the Atari 8 and 16 bit forums. If what 
I heard was true, it was time to stop doing 
research for this column the hard way - 
magazines, newspapers, and books. I downloaded 
several files of past ST Roundtables. Once 
printed, the few files amounted to hundreds of 


pages of text. I was mcmentarily dismayed, but 
doggedly determined to continue. 

After reading the material, I had to ask 
myself whether this was an easy method of 
obtaining information? Further, were 
particularly insights gained which could help an 
individual user or supply more time sensitive 
material for this column. 

In order to evaluate opinions I will present 
later, the reader must first be familiar with the 
dialogue, RTC text. A caveat, Atari recently 
attempted to improve both the quality and 
organization of the weekly ST RTC. Depending on 
individual likes, the change may be viewed as 
positive, away frcm total chaos, to negative, 
corporate propaganda. Let’s begin by looking at 
seme old dialogue frcm the ST Roundtable of May 
27, 1987. 

<TP> Is there a list of Magic Sac Public Dcmain 
software posted? 

<G> Check with us at the end of June ok? 

<DS> uploaded a test rev., tonight; we will see 
how it does. Probably more 
<HH> 1989 right? 

«R> Why can't I de-arc ST_Index.ARC on one disk 
without getting a disk full message 
<DS> fixes to put in before it's ready. 

<GM> Thanks G, I will do that 

<JK> F... what's the progress in splitting up 

the phone lines at Atari BBS? 

<G> I was really hoping for the year 2000. 

<DS> I don't think so. Current Notes probably 
has the best one right at the moment. 

<D> Hi guy... 

<DS> That you Billie joe? 

<JH> Hi! 

<MJ> Hi! 

<SJ> R.... the file may be dearcing into a file 
that's too big for the disk, use a ramdisk an 
dearc frcm that/ 

After reading this short excerpt, are you 
confused? Imagine reading for hours pages of 
text structured in this form. In reality, this 
is a particularly good excerpt since two 
questions were answered in a short period (the 
general rule appeared to be one answer to a 
substantive question every five pages). Can you 
find the Q & A's? (Remember when you use to draw 
lines between the dots.) 


XE 


18 


ST 





CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


Now, along canes Neil Harris for Atari. 

There is no doubt, reading the transcript is 
easier. The text is coherent, consistent, and 
surprisingly, information is readily available to 
the user. Again, a few representative examples 
of dialogue frcm the conference conducted on 
August 5, 1987. 


<[Andy Eddy} KIDX> 

Thanks, Neil. Two quick ones: Has the Mega 
pricing been set? And what effect will the new 
Tandy PC-ccmps have on the Atari PC strategy? 

<NHARRIS> 

Yes, we’ve set the retail pricing on the Mega ST 
computers ... the Mega ST2 will sell for $1699 
with monochrome, $1899 with RGB; the Mega ST4 is 
$2399 with mono and $2599 with color. Please 
keep some things in mind regarding these prices: 

1. they are suggested list. 

2. we’re improving dealer margins, so the 
numbers may seem.. a little high now. 

3. These are the numbers today. 

I really can't comment on the new Tandy systems 
until I know more about them. 

<[Steve] STAPPLIO 

Two questions: Any info on the new ST 
resolutions and is the TI graphics co-pro. being 
considered for use in the ST. 2) Will Business 
Land carry the Mega as reported? 

<ttHARRIS> 

Sorry Steve, nothing to announce at this time. 

And we're talking to several chains, but, again, 
we're not ready to announce any deals at this 
time. 

<[Darin] D.L.ELEGAL> 

Any news on the 32bit unit(s)? And will they run 
Unix or the like 

<NHARRIS> 

Ccme on folks, ask seme thing we can answer!!! 
We're not really able to comment on unannounced 
systems... 

<[Nevin] N.SHALIT> 

Now that WordPerfect is almost out, is Atari 
aware of or helping any other big name and 
powerful SW developers for the ST... I love my 
Hardware but have to use ray Magic Sac or PC Ditto 
when I want to use powerful software. I don't 
need a mega ST I need better software and am 
willing to pay... I know Atari is hardware but 
you should help for better software. Thanks. 

<[Julius] J.OKLAMCAK - Atari> 

Nevin, we are "working on it" <big grin> 


Well, the difference is pretty obvious, isn't 
it? The old format was a sure prescription for 
developing a migraine. Now if you want 
information on Atari's current line of products, 
you will get answers both from the technical and 
market perspectives. If you want answers on 
future products and/or market strategies, don't 
bother to ask the question. If you want to talk 
about rumors, this is not the place. Quite 
frankly, this policy makes sense. Why should 
Atari discuss its corporate strategy for new 
products in a public forum? 

Finally, some further clarification to 
questions posed implicitly or explicitly. Is 
this an easier way of obtaining information? For 
95% of my needs the answer is .. .no. Would I 
frequently participate in real time conferences? 
It is doubtful. Would I download the transcripts 
from the Atari RTC's in the future? Yes, but 
only under specific circumstances e.g. when new 
Atari products are introduced to the market and 
information needs are time constrained. 
Incidentally, I have assumed experienced Atari 
users most often read this column; new ST users 
might find more utility in the RTC's. 


Nibble Bits 

- Whats with ANALOG magazine? Have you received 
an issue at HOME since May? A few newsstands 
received an issue in early August. The front 
cover was labeled July/August. Guess it is a 
bimonthly publication or... is something else 
afoot? 

- INDUSTRY WEEK in the July 27 issue has an 
excellent article on the growth in workstations. 
It is truly the wave of the future and big bucks 
will be spent. 

- Computer hardware firms continue to perform 
well on the stock market. ATARI'S success in the 
market is largely the result of the excellent # 
reception its products have received in Europe 
(see: Paine Webber analysis published in early 
August for more details). 


PLEASE REMEMBER TO TELL OJR 
ADVERTISERS IHAT YOU SAW THEIR 
AD IN CURRENT NOTES! 


XE 


19 


ST 








CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


ITS A SMALL WORLD 

By Dave Sma11, (c) 1987 

THE GREATEST HACKER OF ALL TIME 


The question comes up from time to time. 

"Who’s the greatest hacker ever?". 

Well, there’s a lot of different opinions on 
this. Seme say Steve Wozniak of Apple II fame. 
Maybe Andy Hertzfeld of the Mac operating system. 
Richard Stallman, say others, of MIT. Yet at 
such times when I mention who I think the 
greatest hacker is, everyone agrees (provided 
they know of him), and there’s no further 
argument. 

So, let me introduce you to him, and his 
greatest hack. I’ll warn you right up front that 
it’s mind numbing. By the way, everything I'm 
going to tell you is true and verifiable down at 
your local library. Don't worry — we're not 
heading off into a Shirley MacLaine UPO-land 
story. Just seme classy electrical 
engineering... 

The Scene: Colorado Springs, CO 

Colorado Springs is in Southern Colorado, 
about 70 miles south of Denver. These days it is 
known as the heme of several optical disk 
research corporations and of NORAD, the missile 
defense ccrrmand under Cheyenne Mountain. (I have 
a personal interest in Colorado Springs; my wife 
Sandy grew up there.) 

These events took place some time ago in 
Colorado Springs. A scientist had moved into 
town and set up a laboratory on Hill street, on 
the southern outskirts. The lab had a two 
hundred foot copper antenna sticking up out of 
it, looking something like a HAM radio 
enthusiast's antenna. 

He moved in and started work. And strange 
electrical things happened near that lab. People 
would walk near the lab, and sparks would jump up 
from the ground to their feet, through the soles 
of their shoes. One boy took a screwdriver, held 
it near a fire hydrant, and drew a four inch 
electrical spark from the hydrant. Sometimes the 
grass around his lab would glow with an eerie 
blue corona, St. Elmo’s Fire. 

What they didn't know was this was small 
stuff. The man in the lab was merely tuning up 
his apparatus. He was getting ready to run it 
wide open in an experiment that ranks as among 
the greatest, and most spectacular, of all time. 


One side effect of his experiment was the 
setting of the record for man-made lightning: 
seme 42 meters in length (130 feet). 

The Man: Nikola Tesla 

His name was Nikola Tesla. He was an 
immigrant from what is now Yugoslavia; there's a 
museum of his works in Belgrade. He's a virtual 
unknown in the United States, despite his 
accomplishments. 

I'm not sure why. Seme people feel it's a 
dark plot, the same people who are into 
conspiracy theories. I feel it's more that 
Tesla, while a brilliant inventor, was also an 
awful businessman; he ended up going broke. 
Businessmen who go broke fade out of the public 
eye; we see this in the computer industry all the 
time. Edison, who wasn't near the inventor Tesla 
was, but who was a better businessman, is well 
remembered as is his General Electric. 

Still, let me list a few of Tesla's works 
just so you'll understand how bright he was. He 
invented the AC motor and transformer. (Think of 
every motor in your house). He invented 3-phase 
electricity and popularized alternating current, 
the electrical distribution system used all over 
the world. He invented the Tesla Coil, which 
makes the high voltage that drives the picture 
tube in your computer's CRT. He is now credited 
with inventing modem radio as well; the Supreme 
Court overturned Marconi's patent in 1943 in 
favor of Tesla. 

Tesla, in short, invented much of the 
equipment that gets power to your heme every day 
from miles away, and many that use that power 
inside your heme. His inventions made George 
Westinghouse (Westinghouse Corp.) a wealthy man. 

Finally, the unit of magnetic flux in the 
metric system is the "tesla". Other units 
include the "faraday" and the "henry", so you'll 
understand this is an honor given to few. So, 
we're not talking about an unknown here, but 
rather a solid electrical engineer. 

Tesla whipped through a number of inventions 
early in his life. He found himself increasingly 
interested in resonance, and in particular, 
electrical resonance. Tesla found out something 
fascinating. If you set an electrical circuit to 
resonating, it does strange things indeed. 


XE 


20 


ST 







CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


Take for instance his Tesla Coil. This high 
frequency step-up transformer would kick out a 
few hundred thousand volts at radio frequencies. 

The voltage would come off the top of his coil as 
a ’’corona”, or brush discharge. The little ones 
put out a six-inch spark; the big ones throw 
sparks many feet long. Yet Tesla could draw the 
sparks to his fingers without being hurt — the 
high frequency of the electricity keeps it on the 
surface of the skin, and prevents the current 
from doing any harm. 

Tesla got to thinking about resonance on a 
large scale. He’d already pioneered the elec¬ 
trical distribution system we use today, and. 
that’s not small thinking; when you think of 
Tesla, think big. 

He thought, let’s say I send an electrical 
charge into the ground. What happens to it? 

Well, the ground is an excellent conductor of 
electricity. Let me spend a moment on this so 
you understand, because topsoil doesn’t seem very 
conductive to most. 

The ground makes a wonderful sinkhole for 
electri- city. This is why you ’’ground” power 
tools; the third (round) pin in every AC outlet 
in your house is wired straight to, literally, 
the ground. Typically the handle of your power 
tool is hooked to ground; this way, if something 
shorts out in the tool and the handle gets 
electrified, the current rushes to ground instead 
of into you. The ground has long been used in 
this manner, as a conductor. 

Tesla generates a powerful pulse of electri¬ 
city, and drains it into the ground. Because the 
ground is conductive, it doesn’t stop. Rather, 
it spreads out like a radio wave, travelling at 
the speed of light, 186,000 miles per second. 

And it keeps going, because it’s a powerful wave; 
it doesn’t peter out after a few miles. 

It passes through the iron core of the earth 
with little trouble. After all, molten iron is 
very conductive. When the wave reaches the far 
side of the planet, it bounces back, like a wave 
in water bounces when it reaches an obstruction. 
Since it bounces, it makes a return trip; 
eventually it returns to the point of origin. 

Now, this idea might seem wild. But it isn't 
science fiction. We bounced radar beams off the 
moon in the 1950’s, and we mapped Venus by radar 
in the 1970's. Those planets arem j, 11 ionsof. —■ &OQQ 
miles away. The earth is a mere 3,000/miles in 
diameter; sending an electromagnetic wave through 
it is a piece of cake. We can sense earthquakes 
all the way across the planet by the vibrations 
they set up that travel all that distance. So, 
while at first thought it seems amazing, it's 
really pretty straightforward. 


But, as I said, it's a typical example of how 
Tesla thought. And then he had one of his typi¬ 
cally Tesla ideas. He thought, when the wave 
returns to me (about l/30th of a second after he 
sends it in), it's going to be considerably 
weakened by the trip. Why doesn’t he send in 
another charge at this point, to strengthen the 
wave? The two will combine, go out, and bounce 
again. 

And then he'll reinforce it again, and again. 
Hie wave will build up in power. It's like 
pushing a swingset. You give a series of small 
pushes each time the swing goes out. And you 
build up a lot of power with a series of small 
pushes; ever tried to stop a swing when it's 
going full tilt? He wanted to find out the upper 
limit of resonance. And he was in for a 
surprise. 

The Hack: The Tesla Coil 

So Tesla moved into Colorado Springs, where 
one of his generators and electrical systems had 
been installed, and set up his lab. Why Colorado 
Springs? Well, his lab in New York had burned 
down, and he was depressed about that. And as 
fate would have it, a friend in Colorado Springs 
who directed the power company, Leonard Curtis, 
offered him free electricity. Who could resist 
that? 

After setting up his lab, he tuned his 
gigantic Tesla coil through that year, trying to 
get it to resonate perfectly with the earth 
below. And the townspeople noticed those weird 
effects; Tesla was electrifying the ground 
beneath their feet on the return bounce of the 
wave. 

Eventually he got it tuned, keeping things at 
low power. But in the spirit of a true hacker, 
just once he decided to run it wide open, just to 
see what would happen. Just what was the upper 
limit of the wave he would build up, bouncing 
back and forth in the planet below? 

He had his Coil hooked to the ground below 
it, the 200-foot antenna above it, and getting as 
much electricity as he wanted right off the city 
power supply mains. Tesla went outside to watch 
(wearing three inch rubber soles for insulation) 
and had his assistant, Kolman Czito, turn the 
Coil on. 

There was a buzz frcm rows of oil capacitors, 
and a roar frcm the spark gap as wrist-thick arcs 
jumped across it. Inside the lab the noise was 
deafening. But Tesla was outside, watching the 
antenna. Any surge that returned to the area 
would run up the antenna and jump off as 
lightning. 


XE 


21 - ST 







CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


Off the top of the antenna shot a six foot 
lightning bolt; the bolt kept going in a steady 
arc, through, unlike a single lightning flash. 

And here Tesla watched carefully, for he wanted 
to see if the power would build up, if his wave 
theory would work. 

Soon the lightning was twenty feet long, then 
fifty feet. The surges were growing more 
powerful. Eighty feet — now thunder was 
following each lightning bolt. A hundred feet, a 
hundred twenty feet; the lightning shot upwards 
off the antenna. Thunder was booming around 
Tesla now (it was heard 22 miles away, in the 
town of Cripple Creek). The meadow Tesla was 
standing in was lit up with an electrical 
discharge very much like St. Elmo's fire, casting 
a blue glow. His theory had worked! There 
didn't seem to be an upper limit to the surges; 
he was creating the most powerful electrical 
surges ever created by man. That moment he set 
the record, which he still holds, for manmade 
lightning. 

Then everything halted. The lightning 
discharges stopped, the thunder quit. He ran in, 
found the power company had turned off his power 
feed. He called them, shouted at them — they 
were interrupting his experiment! The foreman 
replied that Tesla had just overloaded the 
generator and set it on fire, his lads were busy 


putting out the fire in the.windings, and it 
would be a cold day in hell before Tesla got any 
more free power from the Colorado Springs power 
company! All the lights in Colorado Springs had 
gone out. 

And that, readers, is to me the greatest hack 
in history. I've seen seme amazing hacks. The 
8-bit Atari OS. The Mac OS. The phone company 
computers — well, lots of computers. But I've 
never seen anyone set the world's lightning 
record and shut off the power to an entire town, 
"just to see what would happen". 

For a few moments, there in Colorado Springs, 
he achieved something never before done. He had 
used the entire planet as a conductor, and sent a 
pulse through it. In that one moment in the 
summer of 1899, he made electrical history. 

That's right, in 1899 — dam near a hundred 
years ago. 

Well, you may say to yourself, that's a nice 
story, and I'm sure George Lucas could make a 
hell of a movie about it, special effects and 
all. But it's not relevant today. 

Or isn't it? Hang onto your hat. Next 
month: The Strategic Defense Initiative and the 
Tesla Coil. 


EZRAM™AN D Z-Time 

by Terrific Corp. 



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XE 


22 


ST 









CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


PIECES OF EIGHT 

By Len Poggiali 

ATARI JUNKIE 


[Each month, this column will contain anecdotes, 
tips, revises, and such focusing on seme day-to- 
day aspect of Atari 8-hit ownership. The art¬ 
icles will stress the "hunan interest" side of 
8-bit computing. I do not pretend to he a pro¬ 
grammer, nor am I an electronics expert. Rather, 
I am a husband and father, an educator, a writer, 
and avid game player, and a committed Atari en¬ 
thusiast, and it is from this perspectives that 
this colimn will be written. By way of intro¬ 
duction, I offer the following. ] 

I have a confession to make. Actually I have 
a number of confessions to make. The first is 
that I am an Atari 8-bit junkie. Although I am a 
forty-year-old teacher/administrator and "should 
know better", much of my computer time is not 
spent in making out exams, creating lesson plans, 
or writing pithy articles for seme indigestible 
educational journal. Rather, at least fifty per¬ 
cent of my computer hours are spent playing 
games, writing hopelessly trivial (hopefully 
entertaining and informative) articles for Atari- 
specific publications, running utility programs I 
don't, nor ever will, understand, looking for 
bugs in each of my three word processors, and 
testing out every piece of software that comes my 
way, regardless of its function. 

When I am not in front of my screen, my nose 
is closely pressed against the pages of one of 
those Atari-specific magazines, instead of making 
headway on reading the complete GREAT BOCKS which 
I premised myself I would someday consume. If I 
ever decide to work on my doctorate in English 
literature, I doubt my mentor will accept a 
ccmparison/contrast paper on the various merits 
and demerits of ANALOG, ANTIC, ATARI EXPLORER, 
and CURRENT NOTES as a valid dissertation topic. 
Oh well, who wants a Ph.D. anyway? 

Away from my 800XL and my plethora of back 
issues, I am a staunch Atari 8-bit advocate. 
Whenever possible I will swing any conversation 
around to the subject of computers so that I can 
inject seme pro-Atari statement into it. "My 
Atari computer, disk drive, tape recorder, and at 
least sixty pieces of software cost me less than 
the price of an Apple HE with nothing but a 
plug, and the sound and graphics in my 800 XL put 
Apple and IBM to shame." This and other such 
statements have not won many Atari converts over 
to the cause, but they have lost me a few 
friends, thereby freeing up more of my time for 
computer usage. 

My love affair with Atari began in 1983, long 
after many other disciples had had time to become 


firmly entrenched 800 devotees. Although two 
more years would pass before I would buy my first 
Atari 8-bit, in '83 I became the owner of a 2600 
game machine. Ostensibly purchased for my 
children, the 2600 provided me with many hours of 
enjoyment during the bleak Syracuse, New York 
winters. There was no game I wouldn't play, 
regardless of whether the graphics were blocky, 
the story line absurd, or the play mechanics 
beyond the limits of my ageing reflexes. 

As a child I had loved Flash Gordon movies, 
penny arcades, and games of all types. Atari 
apparently had produced something which appealed 
to all three of those long-forgotten interests in 
me, and now as a man I was able to take renewed 
interest and pleasure in them. 

Like any other "kid", seme of the initial 
thrill of seeing cartoon characters climbing 
ladders, triangles of color firing flashes of 
light at space rocks, and wedge-mouthed cuties 
gobbling up dots wore off in time. Nevertheless, 
I always will have a very soft spot in my heart 
for the company that made it possible for me to 
experience what it is like to fly a space 
shuttle, to survive twenty minutes in PITFALL, 
and to see my children laugh and learn with BIG 
BIRD'S EGG CATCH. 

After "outgrowing" the 2600 I purchased an 
800XL so that I would have a machine on which to 
do my writing and to play more sophisticated 
games which the 4K memory of the 2600 couldn't 
support. "More sophisticated" at first meant 
climbing games with more screens (L0DERUNNER, 
JUMFMAN and such); then adventure games of the 
APSHAI ilk; later text and text/graphic programs; 
and now military, sports, and financial • 
simulations, and various construction sets. 

I've begun to realize recently that my Atari 
computer took up where my 2600 left off in 
affording me opportunities to find gaming outlets 
for other childhood, teenage, and adult interests 
of mine. Military simulations, for instance, 
appeal to the Civil War buff in me; text 
adventures often remind me of the TREASURE 
ISLANDS and TOM SWIFTS I read as a boy. 

In the non-gaming world, Atari has helped me 
to explore the realms of the much-feared Dos 3.0, 
the inscrutable SYN-FILE data base, and the 
enigmatic FIRST XLENT WORD PROCESSOR, and to 
emerge relatively unscathed. In short, Atari 
machines have made the "total experience" 
possible. It is no wonder then that I am and 
hope to remain an Atari junkie. 


XL 


23 


XE 





CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


TIPS 1 N' TRAPS 

By Jim Stevenson Jr. 


Q&A FOR ADVENTURERS 


Thanks to Sara Wright, the SysOp of Merlin's 
Litterbox, and "The Necromancer", seme of the 
unanswered questions from the June issue of 
Current Notes have finally been answered this 
month. Have problems? Call these numbers: 


Q. Did you get to the terminal by destroying the 
Gush-o-Slush (R) Spam-for-the-Ears (TM) speaker? 
Also, how do you get your address book back? 

-"Max Quordlepleen" 


(modem) Electronic Age==> (703) 620-0851 
( " ) Merlin's Litterbox=> (703) 250-7303 
( " ) ARMUDIC——= ====== > (703) 569-8305 

(voice) me (Jim) (703) 378-4093 

Bureaucracy 

Q. How do you get in the castle 3 doors down from 
you? 

-"Max Quordlepleen 

A. Notice the voice on the intercom is awaiting 
your response to the password? Since you don't 
know it, perhaps someone else does... 

-Sam Wright 

Q. How do you get past the matron with the 
elephant gun? 

-"Max Quordlepleen" 

A. You can't, not to my knowledge. However, you 
CAN distract her... 

-Sam Wright 


Q. How do you get seme cash? 

-"Max Quordlepleen" 

A. Since the mailman delivered all the mail to 
the wrong houses, it'd be safe to assume that he 
delivered your $75 money order to a wrong house, 
too. 

-Sam Wright 


A. Yes, I destroyed the speaker. I don't know 
about recovering the address book. It seems lost 
forever. But try dialing your house (that's the 
only number that stays the same - if you noticed, 
the numbers changed whenever you RESTOREd a game) 
on the airplane. 

-Sam Wright 


Hollywood Hijinx 

Q. Does anyone know how to get the ladder off the 
ledge? It refuses to let me PUT the ladder 
against the cliff.. LEAN it... everything. I'm 
pretty sure I need the ladder to cross the 
bridge. 

-"Jack Flack" 


A. You don't need the ladder to cross the bridge. 
All you need is what's in the house... explore it 
seme more. 

-Sam Wright 

Q. Does anyone know how to get around in 
Hollywood Hijinx? I would really like to know 
more about it. The farthest I've ever gone was 
to the beach below the cannon enplacement. Any 
help would be appreciated. 

-"Zor Prims" 

A. At the beach, try swimming. How do you get 
around? Try N,S,E,W,NE,NW,SE,SW,U, & D. 

-Sam Wright 


Q. Where's the terminal? 

-"Max Quordlepleen" 

A. You can either find the terminal by trial and 
error or by the special pattern they have. 

You'll notice it as you walk east and west. 

-Sam Wright 

Q. Where's the white courtesy phone? 

-"Max Quordlepleen" 

A. Ignore the white courtesy phone. It's there 
for ccmedic purposes. "Would anyone who knows 
where the white courtesy phone is please pick it 
up?" Or seme thing like that. 

-Sam Wright 


Leather Godesses of Phobos 


Q. I need a hint to the riddle the Sultaness 
gives you. 

-Bill Mehojah 


A. "Riddle"? 


-Sam Wright 


Q. Anyone know how to get the headlight from the 
Ford car? I can't figure out how to get the 
headlight from the bedroom. 

-Del Whetter 


XL 


24 


XE 






CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


A. To get the headlight, you have to have the 
sheet, rip it, and make a rope out of it. Then 
tell Trent to go get the headlight. 

-"The Necromancer" 

Cutthroats 

Q. So far, I have 230 out of about a possible 250 
points. How do I not get killed when I ccme up 
frcm getting the treasure at the end? 

-"The Necromancer" 

Asylum 

Q. What do you tell to the Hypochondriac? 

-Craig Waive 

A. You dont tell the Hypochondriac anything. You 
give her the stethoscope and while she is 
listening to her heart you try to fight her, or 
kill her, or hit her or something, and she will 
drop seme pills. That is as far as I have 
gotten. 

-Bill Mehojah 

Transyvania 

Q. How do I get the girl out of the statue after 
I get into the cave? Can I ride the brocm 
anywhere useful? 

-"Sci-Fi" 

A. To get the girl out of the statue, you will 
need something you will find in Dracula's Castle. 
It's in the silver coffer. I'll let you figure 
out what you need to get it out. The brocm is 
only for sightseeing. Sort of a side-trip. It 
cant be used for anything. 

-Bill Mehojah 

Pawn 

Q. I got the potion, and killed Kronos. How do I 
get his soul to the devil? An I supposed to kill 
him? Maybe I should blackmail him? 

-M.C. Fresh 

A. To get Kronos’s soul to the devil, you have to 
use the arasol can. 

-"The Necromancer" 

Borrowed Time 

Q. I have the briefcase with the money and 
papers, but I can't escape from the thugs without 
dying! 

-Diallo Evans 

A. Go past the pile of trash, hide and give the 
bone to the dog. 

-"The Necromancer" 


Trinity 

Q. I can control the sun and all, and I've gone 
to the various other "worlds", but I can't seem 
to get anywhere in them. I got the stuff from 
the Underground, but that's about it. I can't 
find the milk or the lizard either to put in the 
cauldron. 

-"Degas" 

A. Be sure to explore all of the mushrooms, and 
don't leave until you've accomplished something 
(namely, gotten something). You'll find what you 
need and more in the mushrooms. 

-Sam Wright 

Phantasie 

Q. What are on scrolls? Normal spells? 

-Jan Meisler 

Q. How do you get to the magical pool that is in 
the water? I can't figure it out. Also, how do 
you ressurect someone? When I cast the spell it 
doesn't really do anything. 

-Jan Meisler 

Q. Where are rings G & H and where is the wand? 
Also, how do I get into the dungeon by the bay? 

-Terry Munson 

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy 

Q. How do I get the Babblefish out of the 
machine? 

-K. Seckinger 

Starcross 

Q. How do I get the pink rod from the alien's 
hand? 

-Keneth Wise 

Wizard's Crown 

• 

Q. I'm (I guess you can say) 3/4 finished. I'm 
in the palace on the second floor. My party is 
stuck there and keeps getting their butts kicked 
by the demons in the wizard's bed chamber. Is 
anyone past or up to this point of the game? 

-Craig Waive 

Lapis Philosophorum 

Q. I have found the key, flowers, bird's nest, 
put the pig in the stable,. and found a number in 
a drawer. Now where do I go, and do I need to do 
something to the bird's nest, or leave it alone 
and just take the feathers? 

-"Ekim" 


XL 


25 


XE 



CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


AUTODUEL 

A Mixed Bag 
Review by John Godbey 


According to the June Current Notes , 

Autcduel is one of the best selling Atari XL/XE 
programs. I bought a copy at a local store for 
$39.99. 

So what kind of games are Atari owners buying 
these days? If Autoduel is representative, the 
ones they are buying today have seme unfortunate 
similarities with those they were buying in the 
earliest days of the Atari. In those days, many 
Atari games were mere translations of Apple 
programs. Little or no effort was made to adapt 
the game to the Atari by using the Atari's 
strengths. There were three sure marks of these 
translations: the instruction manuals told how to 
use the Apple computer, not the Atari; the 
graphics were poor; and the sound was pathetic. 
Well, the Autoduel manual contains numerous 
references to Apple computers and Apple controls, 
and no references to Atari computers. Autoduel 's 
graphics are quite ordinary. And its sound is a 
series of pings and pops —■ the familiar sounds 
of early Apple translations. (One of the most 
amusing things about the game is that there is a 
control to turn the sound off. For large parts 
of the game there is absolutely no difference 
between having the sound off and having it on.) 

Included with the program is a "Player 
Reference Card" which is supposed to give the 
"Atari Version" of the game controls, etc. It 
doesn't. For example, it says that to duplicate 
one of the program disks, one should use the "D" 
command in DOS. As we all know, in Atari DOS the 
"D" command DELETES. 

Autoduel advertises itself as "A real-time 
strategy role-playing game." The game box 
contains a 32-page manual, a four-page "Player 
Reference Card," a large map of the Northeast 
Sector of the United States, and two disks. The 
game uses three disk sides, and even with two 
drives it requires seme disk swapping or 
flipping. NOTE: Autoduel requires 64k, so it 
will not work on the old Ataris. 

When you begin Autoduel , you are a driver 
with a little money, no car, and an unknown 
personality. You choose a combination of 
characteristics for your driver, and try to 
gamer enough additional money to buy and outfit 
(with various kinds of guns, armor, and 
arrmunition) a car. The object is to produce a 


car that is powerful enough and fast enough to 
duel other cars either in an arena or on the open 
road between towns. 

You can get money by borrowing a car and 
entering "Amateur Night" at the arena or by 
performing courier tasks for the "American 
Autoduel Association" (AADA). As you win 
Autoduel contests or complete tasks for the AADA, 
your driving skill, marksmanship skill, mechanic 
skill and prestige increase. This, in turn, 
increases your chances of being successful in 
combat, and of receiving large paying tasks from 
the AADA. As your money increases you can buy 
additional guns, arrmunition, and armor for your 
car, or even another car. 

The strategic part of the game is to figure 
out the proper way to spend your money in order 
to get a car with the most bang for your tucks, 
and to determine which arena events or courier 
tasks you can take on with a decent chance of 
survival, given your car and skills. Once you 
enter an arena event or set out on the road 
between two towns the game is more arcade like 
than strategic: using the joystick (and 
occasionally the keyboard) you engage other 
vehicles in combat. 

The actual ccnibat is well done. The joystick 
gives you good control over the car, and by 
pressing keys 0-9 you can switch to any of ten 
different guns. Depending upon the nature of the 
ccmbat, your opponents range frem easy prey to 
impossible to destroy (at least for me). 

This brief summary doesn't do justice to the 
complexity of the game. For example, there are 
over a dozen different cities you can drive 
between and visit. Each has a different layout 
with different stores. In addition to getting 
money by performing courier tasks and 
autodueling, you can gamble in a casino, or sell 
items you own. There are bars where you can buy 
drinks and listen for rumors, and truck stops 
where you can spend the night or buy body armor. 
Finally, the computer keeps track of time as you 
play. The game starts on January 1, 2030. Seme 
stores are open 24 hours a day; seme are not. 
Since seme activities are time sensitive, careful 
planning is sometimes required. 

(Continued on page 29) 


XL 


26 


XE 






HEN.' From The IMQG1STS Group/ 


An Action—Adventure tor 48K, ATARI 8—bits. 



You were the epitome ot the word "loser". Your sole source of 
fulfillment came from advising the locals. Advice that was almost 
always correct, except when it came to yourself. It seemed as if 
nothing ever worked out for you. Then, one day, a small boy, with 
jet-black hair, sought your advice. In return, he gave you a gift; a 
magic stone. It would show you the road to riches and power. Only, 
there was one small problem with the stone — it was pure evil. Every 
time it’s powers were invoked the Devil's claim on your soul increased. 
Years of use passed before the stone’s true origin was discovered. 
Determined he should never again use the stone on unwittig prey, you 
destroyed it by throwing it into an active volcano. Then, you decided 
to beat him at his own game. So, giving up everything, you wandered the 
continent helping those in need, never asking for more compensation than 
food and shelter. This infuriated the Devil because each good deed 
reduced his claim on your soul so, he made a plan too. The next town 
you stopped in was your last. The people were friendly enough, until 
things started going wrong only when you were nearby. The townspeople 
decided to make you their scape-goat and while being run out of town you 
were accidentally killed by a blow to the head. His victory seemed 
secured until Bod decided to step in and give you a chance at 
redemption. After all, Satan had cheated you twice for your soul. It 
was decided that a borderland would be constructed by the Devil and 
thirteen riddles placed inside. A challenge was then made; if you could 
solve the riddles, confront, and banish Satan, your slate would be 
cleared, voiding any evil on your soul. However, should you expire in 
this land, he would command your soul’s energies forever. In order to 
enshure failure Satan has filled this borderland with monsters, traps, 
tricks, secret portals, mazes, and smaller riddles that need to be 
solved to help conguer the main thirteen. Also, the main thirteen are 
difficult and varying enough to give him plenty of time to reek havoc 
with the extra power the evil part of your soul gives him. Can you beat 
him in the highest stakes challenge of your existence?...Do you have a 
choice!? Play CLASH: ETHEREAL and find out just what kind of adventure 

stuff you’re really made of.Come on, pick up the gauntlet 

today!....(He awaits you with open arms!) 



orbeEME IRFOEMIJOR 

Send 12.95 (CHECK or MONEY ORDER) 

To: THE IMAGISTS GROUP 

Box 1428 

Fairfax, VA 22030 

C.O.D.’s also accepted. Call 
(703)-764-0835 for C.O.D.s or more 
information on "CLASH: ETHEREAL", 
Our customer assistance line will I 
open Mon-Fri (9 am-12 pm). Please 
allow 2 to 4 weeks for delivery. 
Price uncludes tax and delivery 
(except on C.O.D.s). 









































CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


INDEXING ON THE 8-BIT ATARI 

A Tutorial on the NOTE and POINT Commands 
By John Mackie 


The Atari 800XL is a very fine computer bat 
its limited memory precludes holding a large 
database in RAM. A large database can be 
accessed by the 800XL, however, if the records 
are indexed and only the index is stored in RAM. 
This article will illustrate how this can be 
done. 

Atari BASIC has two ccrrmands, MOTE and POINT, 
which can be used to create and utilize an index. 
The NOTE ccrrmand records the disk sector and byte 
address of the record that will be read or 
written next. Correspondingly, the POINT ccrrmand 
directs the drive to a specific sector and byte 
address on the disk. If the starting sector and 
byte address of each record in the database is 
NCGEd and this information is included in an 
array, the array can be searched for a particular 
record and the disk drive ccrrmanded to POINT to 
the sector and byte address of the chosen 
record. 

For purposes of this article let us assume 
that we already have an address database 
containing 600 records, each record (T$) of which 
is set up as follows: 


hexadecimal digits. The byte value is between 0 
and 127 in single density (or 0 and 255 in double 
density) which can be converted into one 
hexadecimal digit. Thus we must allow three 
bytes for the address of each record and so 
dimension REF$ to 28. INDEX$ will hold the 
entire index and should be dimensioned to 
LEN(REF$) (i.e. 28) times the number of records 
in the database (i.e. 600). The following 
program will create the index using the CHR$ 
function to convert the sector and byte values 
into atasci characters which can then be inserted 
into REF$: 

10 DIM INDEX$(16800) ,T$(100) ,REF$(28) 

30 INDEX$=" ": REF$=" H 

40 OPEN #1,4,0, "D:MYFILE.DTA":TRAP 120 :REM 
substitute the name of your data file 
50 NOTE #1, SECTOR, BYTE 
60 INPUT #1;T$ 

70 REF$(1,25)=T$(1,25) 

80 H=INT(SECT0R/256) :REF$(26,26)=CHR$(H) 

85 REF$(27,27)<HR$(SECTOR-H*256) 

90 REF$(28,28)=GHR$(BYTE) 

100 GOTO 50 

120 CLOSE #1 :NUM=LEN(INDEX$)/28 


Name: T$(l-25) 

Address: T$(26,50) 
City: T$(51,65) 

State: T$(66,67) 

Zip Code: T$(68,72) 
Blanks: T$(73,100) 


(Note: I find it useful to make rry initial 
strings a little longer than necessary in order 
to allow for the later inclusion of additional 
fields.) In this example each record is 100 
bytes long. Name, the field on which the index 
will be established, is contained in the 
substring T$(l,25). 


Since the index field contains alphanumeric 
data and Atari BASIC does not support string 
arrays, we will have to set up a pseudo string 
array taking advantage of Atari BASIC's ability 
to support very long strings. To do this we 
first create a temporary string variable (REF$) 
to hold a single index reference. REF$ must 
include 25 bytes for the name and sufficient 
bytes for the values of the sector and byte 
address. The sector value is always a number 
between 4 and 707 which can be converted into two 


The following program lines will search the index 
for an individual record: 

12 DIM R$(25) 

200 ? "NAME TO BE SEARCHED": INPUT R$ 

210 FOR P= 1 TO NUM 

220 REF$=INDEX$(P*28-27, P*28) 

230 IF REF$(1,25)=R$ THEN POP:GOTO 260 
240 NEXT P 

250 ?"NO RECORD FOUND": FOR 1=1 TO 250:NEXT 
I: GOTO 200 

260 B$=REF$(26,26): SE)CIOR=ASC(B$)*256 
263 B$=REF$ (27,27): SEXITOR=SECTOR+ASC(B$ ) 

265 B$=REF$(28,28): BYTE=ASC(B$) 

270 OPEN #1,12,0,"D:MYFILE.DTA" 

280 POINT #1, SECTOR, BYTE 
290 INPUT #1; T$ 


The record can now be read, changed, etc. and 
then rewritten to disk with the following lines: 


400 POINT #1, SECTOR, BYTE 
410 PRINT #1;T$ 

420 CLOSE #1 


- 28 - 


XL 


XE 








CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


In order to sort the records by name just sort 
the index. The sorted records can then be read 
by the following program lines: 

500 OPEN #1,4,0, "D:MYFILE.niA" 

510 EOR P=1 TO LEN(INDEX$) STEP 28: REF$=IN 
DEX$(P,P+27) 

520 B$=REF$(26,26):SECTDR=ASC(B$)*256 
525 B$=REF$(27,27):SECTOR=SECTOR+ASC(B$) 

528 B$=EEF$(28,28):BYIE=ASC(B$) 

530 POINT #1, SECTOR, BYTE 
540 INPUT #1:T$ 

550 REM do something with the record 
560 NEXT P 
570 CLOSE #1 

Finally, if your database is on more than one 
disk drive, add another byte to REF$ to indicate 
which drive the record is on. The following lines 
show one way this might be accomplished: 


10 DIM INDEX$(17400),T$(100),REF$(29),A$(1) 

30 INDEX$=" 11 :KEF$= n " 

35 IF N=2 THEN OPEN #1,4,0,"D2:MYFILE.DIA: 

TRAP 120:G0TO 50 

40 OPEN #1,4,0,"D:MYFILE.DTA":TRAP 120: REM 
substitute the name of your data file 
50 NOTE #1, SECTOR, BYTE 
60 INPUT #1; T$ 

70 REF$(1,25)=T$(1,25) 

80 H=INT(SECrOR/256) :REF$(26,26)=<HR$(H) 

85 REF$(27,27)=CHR$(SECIOR-H*256) 

90 REF$(28,28)=CHR$(BYTE) 

95 REF$(29,29)="2" :IF N=2 THEN REF$(29,29)= 

«> 3 «» 

100 GOTO 50 

120 CLOSE #1 :NUM=LEN( INDEX$) /29: IF N=2 r IHE 
N go someplace 

130 ? '‘Second address file on drive two";:I 
NFUT A$ 

140 IF A$="Y" OR A$="y" Then N=2: GOIO 35 

The drive number contained in REF$(29,29) can be 
converted back to a numeric value by using the 
VAL function which returns the numeric value of a 
string. The following lines illustrate how the 
search routine could be modified for searching 
multiple drives: 

190 DIM R$(25) 

200 ? "NAME TO BE SEARCHED": INPUT R$ 

210 FOR P= i TO NUM 

220 REF$=INDEX$(P*29-28,P*29) 

230 IF REF$(1,25)=R$ THEN POP:GOTO 260 
240 NEXT P 

250 ?"NO RECORD POUND": FOR 1=1 TO 250: NEX 
T I: GOTO 200 

260 B$=REF$(26,26):SECT0R=ASC(B$)*256 
263 B$=REF$(27,27):SECTOR=SECIOR+ASC(B$) 

265 B$=REF$(28,28): BYTE=ASC(B$) 

268 G=VAL(REF$(29,29 ): IF G=3 THEN OPEN #G, 1 


2,0,"D2:MYFILE.DIA": GOTO 280 
270 OPEN #G, 12,0,"D:MYFILE.DTA" 

280 POINT #G, SECTOR, BYTE 
290 INPUT #G;T$ 

300 REM do something with the record 
400 POINT #G, SECTOR, BYTE 
410 PRINT #G;T$ 

420 CLOSE #G 

Similar instructions can be added to the routine 
to read all the records. 

If the index were based on a numeric data field, 
either a numeric array or a pseudo string array 
could be used. The latter may prove to be more 
memory efficient, however. Each element in a 
numeric array costs 8 bytes whereas each 
character in a string costs only one byte. Thus 
the sector and byte values for one record would 
cost 16 bytes if stored in a numeric array but 
only 3 bytes if stored in a pseudo string array. 
For an index based on social security number, for 
example, a pseudo string array would require 12 
bytes per record (9+2+1) whereas a numeric array 
would require 24 (8+8+8) bytes per record. 

************ 

All t Oduel (Continued frcm page 26) 

But it is in building and arming your car 
that you are offered the greatest number of 
choices. There are seven different vehicle types 
available. For each of these, a variety of 
suspensions, tires, and motors are available. 
There are 12 different guns to choose among, and 
they can be mounted on the front, back, or sides 
of your vehicle, and there are different levels 
of armor available for all sides. It would take 
a lot of hours of play to investigate all of the 
available possibilities in this game. 

Only one driver can play at a time, but games 
can be stopped at any time and the driver saved 
to another disk allowing for other players £nd 
other games. 

Once I had played this game enough to master 
the controls and the rudiments of a good 
strategy, I found it quite addictive. The 
choices you make seem to make a difference in the 
play of the game. The strategic part of the game 
is rich in detail, and the arcade part fast and 
well done. To me, these make up for the ordinary 
graphics and poor sound. But at $39.99 you might 
want to carefully consider this purchase. 


XL 


29 


XE 






CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


ATARI'S SMALL MIRACLES 

By Mark A. Brown 


READER REQUESTS 


We leone back to Atari's Snail miracles, the 
column of short programs that you, yes YOU, can 
type in and complete in your lifetime! Hopefully 
this month's programs will teach you a little, 
occupy seme of your time, and otherwise fill up 
space in your dull, dreary lives. 

There is no real theme this month, just an 
answer to frequent reader requests. "Frequent" 
means two or more people have asked for it. So 
without further introduction, here we go. 


BARRIERS 

Seme people have requested programs that are 
fun, like the graphic demos, but that you 
actually participate in, like seme of the other 
programs. This means games, and they don't want 
to say it outright because they know that they 
are difficult programs to work with, requiring 
ingenuity, patience, and a lot of time and 
frustration in the programming. So I yelled at 
myself for even thinking about asking myself to 
write one, sat down at my computer, and wrote 
BARRIERS. The rules are simple: you are the 
moving ball; you try to get the diamonds that are 
standing still, 18 of them; you can alter the 
course of the ball by pressing the "/" key, which 
will put a barrier of that shape in front of the 
ball, altering its course accordingly; you try to 
do so with as few barriers as possible. That's 
it! The final score is a ratio of barriers to 
diamonds caught. If your score is greater then 
three, you need LOTS of practice; between two and 
three you should get no more then once or twice 
when you first play; between one and two should 
be a consistantly achievable score; if you get 
less then one (a theorhetically possible score) 
you're doing incredibly well. Enjoy it! 


DATAENTR 

Somebody recently accused me of going back on 
my word; the very first column of Atari's Small 
Miracles contained a phrase that (in effect) said 
I would never throw eye-straining hex data 
listings your way that would drive you nuts. I 
lied. So the least I could do would be to give 
you a little help in entering those programs. So 


here I present DATAENTR, a program that saves you 
a little typing by automatically putting in the 
line numbers and the DATA statement for you, 
letting you just type the data continuously. 

Type in and RUN the program, telling it the 
beginning line number, increment, and final line 
number of the data. Thereafter you can simply 
type in the data (either hex or decimal), 
pressing space or comma to put in a comma, RETURN 
to enter the line. The program will not let you 
press any other keys, banning the bane of all 
mass typists, the clear screen key. You can edit 
the line if you press the back space key, but 
thats it! 

You can quit any time just by hitting BREAK 
and saving the whole program, reKUNing it when 
you load it up again. 

TFSVLD 

The cryptic name of the program above stand 
for "Tiny Font SaVe & LoaD". A few issues back I 
provided a font editor that let you edit the 
characters of the Atari internal character set, 
making your alphabet greek, russian, a series of 
spaceships, or whatever. The program was rather 
powerful, but because it had to fit in less then 
ten lines the ability to load and save the fonts 
was left out. 

Well, the following lines of code added to 
TinyFont will add the appropriate cormands to 
load and save your masterpiece fonts to disk. 
Pressing the control plus a letter of the 
alphabet will save the font under that letter 
(actually, TINYFCNT.NQX, where the last 
character, the X, is the letter you type in). 

This lets you save up to 26 fonts on a disk. To 
re-load your font, just press the same letter, 
but without the control key. Its a somewhat 
crude human interface, but it adds very few lines 
to the program (only four) and it maintains the 
integrity of the original program, both good 
practices to follow when expanding a program. 

So here is both the original TINYFCNT and its 
expansion, TFSVLD! 


XL 


30 


XE 








CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


BARRIERS 

10 CLOSE #6-.OPEN #6,12,0, "S" :POKE 752, 
1:POKE 710,2:FOR Y=1 TO 22:POSITION 1, 
Y:? CHR$(160);:POSITION 38,23-Y 
20 ? CHR$(160);:NEXT Y:FOR X=1 TO 37:P 
OSITION 38-X,1:? CHR$(160);:POSITION X 
,22:? CHR$(160);:NEXT X:FOR Y=3 TO 20 
30 POSITION INT(33*RND(0)+4),Y:? CHR$( 
96):NEXT Y:X=2:Y=X:DX=1:DY=0:C=0:U=0:F 
OR A=1 TO 256 STEP 0:LOCATE X,Y,Z 
40 POSITION X,Y:? CHR$(20):IF PEEK(764 
)0255 THEN POKE 764,255:IF Z=32 THEN 
Z=6:U=U+1:POSITION 1,23:? "Used:";U; 

50 IF Z=6 THEN A=DX:DX=-DY:DY=-A 

60 IF Z=160 THEN DX=-DX:DY=-DY 

70 IF Z=96 THEN C=C+1:POSITION 10,23:? 

"Caught:";C;" ";:Z=32 
80 POSITION X,Y:? CHR$(Z);:X=X+DX:Y=Y+ 
DY:IF C<18 THEN NEXT A 
90 POSITION 21,23:? "ScoreDIM N$(3 
):N$=STR$(U/C):? N$;:FOR A=1 TO 2 STEP 
0:NEXT A 

DATAENTR 

0 GRAPHICS 0:? "Starting 1ineINPUT 
B:? "Increment by:";:INPUT I:? "Last 
line number:";:INPUT E 

1 OPEN #1,4,0,"K":FOR L=B TO E STEE I: 
GRAPHICS 0:POKE 842,12:? :? :? :? :? : 
? L;" DATA 

2 POKE 702,64:POKE 694,0:GET #1,A:IF ( 
A>=48 AND A<=57) OR (A>=65 AND A<=70) 
THEN ? CHR$(A); 

3 IF A=32 OR A=44 THEN ? 

4 IF A=126 THEN ? CHR$(126); 

5 IF A=155 THEN ? :? :? "POKE 842,12:N 
EXT L":POSITION 2,0:POKE 842,13:STOP 

6 GOTO 2 

TINYFONT 

10 GRAPHICS 0:POKE 752,1:? "Setup...": 
DIM A$(2048):Z=INT(ADR(A$)/1024)*1024: 
Z=Z+1024*(Z<ADR(A$)):FOR A=0 TO 1023 
20 POKE Z+A,PEEK(A+256*PEEK(756)):NEXT 
A:POKE 756,Z/256:POKE 82,13:? CHR$(12 

5);" TINYFONT":? " _"; 

30 ? :? :? "<Arrows>Choose":? " <+*-=> 
Moves":? " <SEACE>Marks":POSITION 15, 
17:? "Edit - ' 1 ":POKE 82,2 
40 S=PEEK(88)+256*PEEK(89):FOR B=0 TO 
3:FOR A=0 TO 31:POKE S+764+40*B+A,B*32 
+A:NEXT A:NEXT B:OPEN #1,4,0,"K" 

50 X=1:Y=1:POKE S+703,C:FOR B=1 TO 256 
:D=S+255+40*Y+X:E=PEEK(D):POKE D,E+128 
:GET #1,B:POKE D,E 

60 IF B<32 AND B>27 THEN C=C-(B=30)+(B 
=31)-32*(B=28)+32*(B=29):C=C+128*(C<0) 
-128*(C>128):GOSUB 90:GOTO 50 


70 IF B=32 THEN EOKE Z+C*8+Y-l,PEEK(Z+ 
C*8+Y-l)+((2 A (8-X))*(E=0))-((2 A (8-X))* 
(EOO) ) : POKE D, 3*(E=0) :NEXT B 
80 X=X-(B=43)+(B=42):Y=Y-(B=45)+(B=61) 
:X=X-8*(X=9)+8*(X=0):Y=Y-8*(Y=9)+8*(Y= 
0):NEXT B 

90 FOR B=0 TO 7 POSITION 16,B+7:A=PEEK 
(Z+8*C+B):D=127:FOR E=1 TO 8:? CHR$(32 
+3*(A>D));:A=A-(D+l)*(A>D) 

100 D=INT(D/2):NEXT E:NEXT B:RETURN 

TFSVLD 

5 DIM FN$(15):FN$="D1:TINYFONT.NO#" 

35 POSITION 9,6:? "<A-Z>/< A A- A Z>Load/S 
ave" 

73 IF B<27 AND B>0 THEN FN$(15)=CHR$(B 
+64):OEEN #2,8,0,FN$:FOR A=0 TO 1023:P 
UT #2,PEEK(Z+A):NEXT A:CLOSE #2 
77 IF B>64 AND B<91 THEN FN$(15)=CHR$( 
B):OPEN #2,4,0,FN$:FOR A=0TO1023:GET#2 
,B:POKE Z+A,B:N.A:CLOSE#2:GOSUB90 


Can't find the 1050? 
PERCOM PRODUCTS 


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Upgrade ROM: Corrects time problems in Perccms 
used with XL/XE series computers. Specify 
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listing: $30. Also 600XL 64K Upgrade: $30. 

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Epson, Citizen, Carmodare, Zenith 

COMPUTER SERVICELAND 

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(703) 631-4949. 


XL 


31 


XE 
















CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


ADVENTURES IN THE MAGIC SACDOM 

By Jeff Greenblatt 

HARD DISK SUPPORT 


and the T 


In my July/August column, I thought that a 
higher version of the Magic Sac would be 
available; the Disk Drive (officially named The 
Translator) would be available; and that I would 
lose Pagemaker 2.0 with the Sac to produce this 
month's article. Well, I was correct on at least 
one of the three. 


Version 4.36 

By now you all should know that version 4.36 
of the Magic DRXVER4.PRG is available. Again, 
this is an upgrade to version 4.2 purchased frcm 
Data Pacific. It replaces the original 
DRIVER4.PRGon that disk or previous versions 
(4.32 and 4.34) which were uploaded to GEnie and 
CompuServe. This version is the most impressive 
version issued to date. As a direct result, the 
Current Notes Magic Library has increased by 10 
new disks. A listing and description of these 
disks is included in the latter part of this 
article. If you don't have this latest version, 
it is available on GEnie in the ST Library as 
file #3304 or it can be obtained frcm Current 
Notes on disk //MO. 


The Translator 

The Translator is still in the development 
stage. Dave Snail is currently fine tuning the 
device. The reason why it has been delayed is 
that much of the software to make the ST drive 
behave like a Macintosh drive is contained in 
EPROMs, so all the bugs must be worked out before 
it is released. Unlike software contained on 
diskettes, EPROMs have to be erased and returned 
in order to upgrade the code they contain. This 
would be a very time-consuming and costly process 
for Data Pacific. When it is released, it will 
ccme with version 5.0 of the Magic Sac. In a 
recent conversation with Dave Snail, he indicated 
to me that version 5.0 will support the HFS file 
management system. If this is included, look for 
a whole new realm of software to run on the Magic 
Sac. 

The tentative price for The Translator is 
$199. My guess is that it should be released in 
the latter part of September or early October. I 
should have a prototype for beta testing in late 
August (the deadline for articles is the 10th of 


RANSLAT0R 


the previous month), so I will most likely be 
able to report on it's performance in the October 
issue of Current Notes. To quote Dave Snail "... 
the Translator can read and write Mac disks. For 
instance, you can bring a Mac disk hone frcm 
work, work on it, and take it back to work — 
it'll read fine on your Mac at work." 


Version 4.5 

As I write this article I'm waiting for 
version 4.5 of the Magic Sac. This version will 
clean up a few more bugs allowing even more 
programs to work. The major differences between 
this version and previous ones is that it will 
support a hard disk and you will be able to 
preconfigure the software so that it will run 
automatically from an Auto folder to the point 
where the Mac startup disk is inserted. This 
includes the printer port configuration set to 
default to parallel. On the other hand, if you 
have a hard disk, you will be able to boot the 
entire system up to the Mac desktop "in 5 seconds 
flat". Other interesting goodies included with 
version 4.5 will be a routine to warn you that 
you have a Bad Finder and a new utility to 
transfer files between TOS and MAGIC formatted 
disks in either direction. 

The following is an excerpt frcm a message 
which Dave left on the Product Support round 
table of GEnie: 


I spent last night until 3 and all day today 
bringing up the new cut of the hard disk driver 
(version 4.40). We brought it up, got the disk 
icon, and started copying files into it. So, we 
copied in MacPaint and System. And we ran 
MacPaint. 

When you do this with floppies, it takes, oh, 
18 sec to load MacPaint. It took the hard disk 3 
sec. As soon as I picked my jaw off the floor, 
we tried going back to Finder. 20 sec or so off 
floppy; 3 1/2 sec on hard disk. The only thing I 
know of that runs at this speed is a Ramdisk, 
like Ramstart. But this is a 16 megabyte 
Ramstart. So. It blew my socks off. 

Current plans are to include the HD driver 


ST 


32 


ST 








CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


and partitioner with version 4.5, which we'll 
release after a little beta testing to make sure 
it doesn't eat hard disks. It requires you to 
assign one, or more, of your partitions from GEM 
to Magic Sac, which then is lost to GEM for good 
(unless you reformat). There's a partitioner to 
do that. 

We'll support up to four hard disk partitions 
active at any time, which ought to be enough for 
anyone. We're going to try for twin drive 
support as well, for those of us with two HD 
mechanisms; I want to assign my 40 to GEM and a 
20 to Magic Sac. Particularly, I really want to 
build up my PD library on the HD. 

The filing system we are all using is the 
original Mac Filing System. It controls the low 
gut-level mechanics of how data is written to the 
disk and organized. MFS "fakes" folders, they 
aren't really there. It is also constrained to 
112 files per disk; today we hit 99 and could 
save no more. As you know, 99 files per disk is 
fine for floppy and bad for HD. So, for right 
now , you'll need to use lots of little 
partitions; 3-5 megabytes is fine. 

Apple also knew that MFS was limited 
(particularly when they released their Hard Disk 
20). So they dreamed up a new filing system, HFS 
(Heirarchical (sp?) Filing System). HFS does 
true folders and the like. It isn't as speedy as 
MFS, but you can have lots more than 112 files, 
too. 

Now, Finders 1.0 through Finder 5.5 run just 
fine with MFS, as you all know by now. Apple 
released the HFS System with the 128K ROMS with 
Finder 5.0. HFS only works on Finders 5.0 and 
above. 

Does this mean we'll never get HFS, because 
it's in the 128K ROMS, and we use 64K Rems? No. 

A file called "Hard Disk 20", which you can find 
on Apple's Developer Release disks and many other 
places, patches the 64K ROMS for HFS, so HFS 
works. All you do is put Hard Disk 20 in your 
System Folder, and it's loaded automatically at 
bootup. (You'll get a little message at 
startup). After that, you're an HFS machine. 

So next time someone tells you the 64K Rems 
are obsolete, just smile. You have Hard Disk 20. 
Now Hard Disk 20 does not yet work with revision 
4.36, and I have a couple of tweaks to put into 
it; remember, HD-20 does three things: 

1) HFS on 64K ROMS 

2) 800K disk drives on 64K ROMS 

3) Hard Disk 20 support 


Since we already have 800K disks and Hard Disk, 
we only need (1). So there's a little judicious 
shorting out to do. 

ALSO: If you see an 800K disk formatted by a 
Mac, it is formatted into HFS. You'll see a tiny 
dot between the left side of the two horizontal 
bars, at the left side, on the disk window. 400K 
disks are always MFS. Our 800K disks are MFS, 
and right now, the hard disk is MFS. HFS has to 
wait until Hard Disk 20 ccmes up. 

Consider this. Apple fixed the video 
interlace so the Mac SE, the new one, runs at a 
true 8 Mhz (well, close enough). So now they're 
as fast as an ST at native clock rate. The hard 
disk we just brought up blows the Apple SCSI 
drive into the weeds, and the serial drives 
aren't even in the same league -- that ol' Atari 
hardware in action. Folks, what we got us here 
is a Mac SE. 

If I sound psyched up, it's because I saw 
that HD in action. I am awed. We did no 
optimizing, just the first, hack it together test 
— and it was so fast we couldn't believe it. I 
still can't. It makes GEM look like a slug, 
honestly. We're planning on 4.5 being out in a 
couple of weeks, after seme insurance-type beta 
testing, so get ready, HD owners... Mac Sacking 
will never be the same after you try it off the 
HD. 


Dave is obviously very excited about the Hard 
Disk support about to be released. I'm pretty 
excited about it too, but not enough to go out 
and bust my budget on a Hard Disk. If you plan 
on buying a Hard Disk and intend to use it for ST 
and Magic use (or even PC-Ditto), don't bother 
with a 20 meg, you'll need a minimum of 30 meg. 
Since I don't have a Hard Drive and as I said 
before, my budget won't allow me to purchase one 
in the foreseeable future, I won't be able to * 
report on its performance. If anyone out there 
wants to write an article on version 4.5 in 
conjunction with Hard Disk support, I will 
include their article in a future issue of this 
column. 


Pagemaker 2.0 

As far as Pagemaker 2.0 is concerned, I found 
the program cumbersome to use, slow and it 
doesn't support the Print Adjustment DA of 
Epstart for high quality dot matrix printing. 
Given a choice between Ready, Set, Go! 3.0 and 
Pagemaker 2.0 , I prefer RSG 3.0 for my all around 
use. While it doesn't have all the bells and 
whistles of Pagemaker 2.0 , RSG 3.0 is more user 


ST 


33 


ST 









CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


friendly and can actually be used as a word 
processor. Incidentally, Ready, Set, Go! 4.0 is 
supposed to be released on August 17th, and 
according to a friend who has seen it, it appears 
to put Fagemakar 2.0 to shame. We'll see!!! 

New Library Disks 

As I mentioned earlier, version 4.36, now 
available on disk MO, was an incredible release. 

I was storing an awful lot of Macduds hoping that 
Dave would improve the code sooner or later so 
that we can all enjoy these shareware or public 
domain programs. The new disks are MIC, and Ml9 
through M27. All the files on these disks have 
been thoroughly tested and work fine with version 
4.36 of the Magic Sac. Most will crash if you 
are using anything less the version 4.36. 

MIC: Finder 5.3 contains a complete version of 
Finder 5.3 with System 3.2 and all the support 
files including Chooser, system fonts and desk 
accessories. Finder 5.3/System 3.2 is needed to 
run certain applications that won't run with 
Finder 4.1/System 2.0 such as OverVUE, More 1.1, 
Thunder and Microsoft Word 3.0. This disk should 
only be used with a 1040ST or 1 meg upgraded 520 
ST. 

M19: PCS Player contains a Pinball Construction 
Set Player with five construction set games 
templates. These will provide many hours of 
enjoyment. A friend of mine with access to a Mac 
ported it back to the Mac to see the difference. 
Aside from sound on the Mac, he reported it 
appeared to run faster on the Magic Sac. 

M2Q: Ganes No. 5 contains six new games for you 
gamers. In Crystal Raider you must gobble up 
stars while trying to shoot down aliens or 
avoiding than. Daleks is the same as the ST 
version-, avoid robots and make than crash into 
one another. Qn-The-Contrary is a variation of 
the game concentration. In Stuntcopter , you 
maneuver your copter so that your stuntman can 
jump on the moving hay wagon; the higher you jump 
frcm, the higher your score, but watch out for 
clouds. Chase'Bn is a very challenging game in 
which you have to release a moving ball down 
slots to hit targets. Golf MacWay is a full golf 
game including tee, fairway and green scenes plus 
you must choose your club and swing strength. 

M21: Games No. 6 contains five additional new 
games to blow your mind. Guess is a variation of 
mastermind only the computer uses four-letter 
words instead of colored marbles; lots of fun. 

In Hot Air Balloon , you must maneuver your 
balloon over trees, cars, and telephone poles 
while trying to avoid a pesky bird trying to 
punch a hole in your balloon. Match is a simple 


game in which you must match graphic shapes; this 
one is for young children. Ranro 1.0 is a 
variation of the game of snake only tough to 
beat. Trick-Track is an English-pub card game 
best played with two or more players. Utaan 
Attack is a space shoot' em up game which is 
somewhat similar to Missile Ccrrmand. 

M22: Graphics No. 2 contains six really super 
applications. BlowUp 3.0 enlarges MacPaint 
documents by a factor of two. It creates four 
MacPaint documents for every one it does; it's 
great for posters. CalendarMaker 2.2.1 is the 
latest version of this super calendar creator 
program. Import MacPaint pictures into your 
calendars and create custom calendars for friends 
and relatives. Vanlandingham is one of the best 
renditions of the bouncing ball (a la Amiga) I've 
seen on the Mac. Graphic is a variation of the 
bouncing ball only a double donut is used. In 
Math21 you create really interesting graphic 3D 
and 2D Images using a variable math formula of 
your own making; anything goes on this one. In 
Spiro you create spirograph-type effects using 
menus of your choice. 

M23: Vampire Castle contains version 7.7 of this 
graphic text adventure. If graphic text 
adventures are your thing, this one will keep you 
going for weeks on end. (FOR 1 MBS MACHINES 
ONLY.) 

M24: Deep Angst , is by far the largest and best 
PD graphic text adventure I have seen around. It 
is so large, it consumes 328k of a disk which 
doesn't allow for a finder and system on 
single-sided disks. This program was created 
with World Builder which is an adventure 
construction set type program. Note: a line of 
little squares appear on the screen and sometimes 
scramble the text. The fix is to relocate the 
text block by dragging it or click on the lower 
right hand block to restore the scrambled text. 
(FOR 1 MEG MACHINES CNLY - TWO SINGLE-SIDED 
DRIVES OR A DCXJBLE-SIDED DRIVE RECOMMENDED.) 

M25: Games No. 7 contains four new games worth 
playing. Billiards is one of the best PD pool 
games I have ever seen. Hangman is a Mac version 
of the old standby game and can be played against 
the computer which has a pretty good set of words 
in its vocabulary. Safari is a simple game with 
excellent graphic animals. As the name implies, 
you shoot animals on the run to score points 
(here ccme the complaints frcm the humane 
society). CrossMaster is a demo version of a 
crossword puzzle generator and player. 

M26: Graphics No. 3 contains six new graphic 
applications. MakePaint is a handy little 
application that converts Piet (MacDraw) files 
and clipboard files to MacPaint documents. With 


ST 


34 


ST 







































CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


Shapeart , you can create designs using 12 
different primitive shapes and print them out. 
Star Flight creates seme visual effects that are 
dazzling. With Faintmover you can manipulate and 
print out MacPaint documents. 3D Sketch is a 
demo version of a CAD program; you can load and 
save files, but can't print them. Smallview is a 
very nice appointment calendar program complete 
with a month at a glance plus printout features. 

M27: Utilities No. 3 contains nine very useful 
applications. FEdit 3.0 is the last PD version 
of this application before it became carmercial. 
This is a real handy file and volume editor with 
many uses. Lazymenu is another one of those 
programs that make the pulldown menus behave like 
they do on the ST. Menu Editor allows you to 
edit menus of any application, cut and paste 
menus between applications and create new ones. 
RamStart 2.0+ is a fully configurable ramdisk 
program. Put it on a disk by itself for 
downloading files. Save the files to the ramdisk 
using Free term or Temworks and improve xmodem 
transfer by 20%; save $$$ on GEnie, CompuServe, 
Delphi and other information services. 

ShrinkToFit is an application program similar to 
Packit, it allows you to combine files for 
archiving or mass uploading and downloading. 
SuperFinder 4.0 and WayStation are alternative 
finders which replaces the finder and basically 
has the same features as the finder. Each is 
somewhat different from the other. With Unpit 
you don't have to use Packit to unpack archived 
files; this one takes up a lot less disk space 
and runs faster than Packit. Try it using 
RamStart for a super fast job. Road Atlas is one 
of the most unique programs I have ever come 
across. It really doesn't fit in as a utility or 
anything else for that matter. With this program 
you choose the city you want to start your trip 
from and your destination. The program then 
plots a course for you and lists the roads to 
take from city to city and the distance of travel 
on each road plus the cumulative total mileage. 
This one is fun to play with, maybe I should have 
put it on a games disk. 


TIPS 

This months tips concern seme odd things that 
have been reported. 

All of the Current Notes Magic Library disks 
from M2 through M18 have Finders on them that 
have become what is called "frozen" so that they 
only work on 1 meg machines (configured to 512k 
or 828k). The way the Finder gets "frozen" is to 
copy the finder frem the desktop by dragging it 
to another disk. When this is done the Finder is 
encoded so that it will only boot up on the 
system size it was copied frem. If you have a 1 


meg machine you shouldn't have any problems using 
these disks as startup (boot) disks in either 
512k or 828k modes. For those of you who are 
still using a 520ST, the fix is to copy the 
Finder from a disk that is known to boot on the 
520ST by dragging it to the offending disk. 

Disks Ml 9 through M2 7 have Finders on them that 
have not been "frozen". They should boot up on 
any size configuration. Please note that not all 
Current Notes Library disks have a Finder and 
System on them. 


I have occasionally heard that the Finder on 
disk Ml of the Current Notes Library is bad and 
does not boot up. If you think you have an Ml 
disk which is not performing properly, please 
return it to me in care of Current Notes for a 
free replacement. Please include a short note on 
what the problem is and whether you have a 1 msg 
ST or a straight 520ST. 

Seme application programs will not work 
properly with Epstart. An example of this is 
Microsoft Word 3.0 which doesn't give the proper 
dialog box to use High Quality dot matrix 
printing. In order to get the proper dialog box, 
rename the Epson FX driver to Imagewriter. It's 
as simple as that!! 



The only multitasking terminal emulator for the Atari ST. 


Now you no longer have to wait for 
those long downloads to finish. With 
AnsiTerm you can start an operation, 
and still use your computer to edit, 
print, or perform other tasks. 

You could pay more for a 
communications package, but why? 
Compare these features: 

• Full GEM interface. 

• ANSI X3.64 (VT100, VT102), with UK 
and graphic fonts, underline, bold, 
blink, reverse-video, VT100 or VT52 
keypad, VT52 emulation, and more. 

• Extensive file transfer system 
offering KERMIT, XMODEM, 
CompuServe 'B', and ASCII 
protocols. 

• “Hot Key” and GEM Menu toggle 
between host session and Micro 
C-Shell*. 



• Fully multitasking — download 
while you keep working. 

• Flash compatible “script” files and 
“macros”. 

• Programmable function keys. 

• NOT COPY PROTECTED. 



Beckemeyer Development Tools Phone (415) 452-1129 BBS (415) 452-4792 


ST 


35 


ST 




























CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


STYLE WRITER 

The Next Best Quality to a Laser Printer 


Review by 


Laser typeset copy is elegant, but so too are 
prices for the printers. For those of you that 
don't have a laser printer in your tea leaves 
yet, there is hope. It's not a super low cost 
laser engine, it's Style Writer from Carolina 
Engineering Labs (CEL). It is low cost, it pro¬ 
duces the next best output to a laser printer and 
does it on your own dot matrix printer. Style 
Writer is an active interface device that con- 
* nects between your Atari XL/XE, ST or any other 
PC and any dot matrix printer. Style Writer 
produces Near-Typeset-Quality from a set of font 
ROMS contained in the interface. The device has 
sockets for five ROMs while two are supplied as 
standard. 

17 fonts such as Reman, Reman Bold, Reman 
Italic are available. Most of the fonts are 
proportionally spaced in the same manner as 
typeset copy. However, Courier and Prestige are 
monospaced typewriter fonts and will not add 
quality beyond that available frem a daisywheel 
printer. Font sizes range from 6 to 14 points 
for Reman while others like Century are 6 to 12 
points. 

A ROM contains a full upper and lower case 
character set for one font, type face, and size, 
e.g. Reman font, in Normal face, and 14 point 
size occupies a single ROM. If italic or another 
size is needed, this requires a separate ROM. 
Although ROMs are available for bold face, bold 
can be produced from normal face with a keyboard 
command. This synthesized bold is very accept¬ 
able although ROMs with specifically designed 
bold character are less "thick" and somewhat 
better in quality. For those who desire a vari¬ 
ety of fonts, additional capacity beyond five ROM 
sockets would be welcome. 

Style Writer also contains a printer buffer 
making it a bit more of a bargain. Standard is 
8K with options for 64K and 128K. Depending on 
buffer size, retail prices are $99, $169, and 
$199. Dont' wince at the jump in price for 64K 
because two TI processor chips are provided to 
handle the additional RAMs. The 8K model is 
fixed in size where the 64K version can be ex¬ 
panded. Many plain printer buffers can easily 
cost more than this. Extra font ROMs are 
available for $13.95. Do fill all five ROM 
slots, and since these ROMs are easily replaced, 
get extra fonts to fill your near-laser-quality 
needs. Suggested are Roman and Reman Italic in 


XE - 


Wm. Price 


12 and 14 points, and Century and Century Italic 
in 12 points. Although smaller sizes may be 
useful for footnotes, etc., sizes less than 10 
points are pressing the limits. Sans Serif and 
Sans Serif Italics are also good choices. Sans 
Serif is similar to Helvetica but with more 
variations in thickness of character lines and 
curves. Since bold face can be generated by a 
keyboard command, separate bold ROMs should not 
be needed. Fancy output is offered with Old 
English in sizes to 16 points, Invitation at 18 
points, and Jazzy at 14 points. 

How Style Writer Works . Style Writer oper- 
ates in NLQ (Near Laser Quality) or bypass modes. 
In bypass, the ASCII character stream or graphic 
dumps from your computer are sent through the 
buffer to your printer. For NLQ, the font ROMs 
are accessed to generate "typeset" output as 
graphics. The character generator internal to 
your dot matrix is bypassed as it is with any 
graphic output. You don't buy speed with Style 
Writer , you get quality. Output in draft quality 
or NLQ takes at least two passes to form a normal 
typeset line and three to form bold face. For 12 
point and larger sizes, the letters exceed the 
print head's height; so two or more graphic line 
passes are made to form a full "typeset" line. 

If it's speed that's important, laser printers 
are still the best answer, but there is a price 
for this feature. 

Style Writer works with most printers, either 
serial or parallel vrtiich you must specify. Epson 
compatibles are the best bet, with the Epson 
FX-85 permitting a high quality print with six 
passes per line. Connections are straight for¬ 
ward. All commands for Style Writer fonts are 
preceeded by a reverse slash. Fonts are 
specified by the commands \1 through \5. If you 
don't remember the fonts that are installed, \? 
will list them to the printer along with their 
numbers. High quality is directed by \Q and bold 
emulation with \B. Although \B and \Q can be 
used in combination, \B alone gives a better 
defined bold face. Margins values set with \L 
and \R are relative to the left margin defined in 
your word processor set-up. Style Writer can 
also tab text with a \T and a number for the 
column or position relative to the left margin. 
However, this does not create tab settings. Tab 
ccrrmands must be imbedded in-line with text at 
every point a tab skip is required. 


6 - ST 





CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


Other format ccrrmands are \C for center and 
\J for justified lines. Text can be highlighted 
with a grey screen, printed in inverse, or under¬ 
lined. The eye opener is \X which produces 
horizontally expanded type which is useful for 
headers. Excepting font selection corrmands and 
margin settings, ccrrmands toggle on and off. All 
settings are erased with \E. Unlike ST Writer, 
ccrrmands are not followed by a space. 

Style Writer Uses . Style Writer produces 
proportionally spaced characters like those gen¬ 
erated by typesetting. For the 93 characters, 
numbers, and punctuations that are printed, seme 
22 different widths are used. Therefore, Style 
Writer works best with a word processor that al¬ 
lows you to define horizontal spacing or escape¬ 
ment values for characters displayed on the moni¬ 
tor. Later versions of Word Star 2000 provide 
thik capability. Although normal monitor dis¬ 
plays use characters of equal width, variable 
escapment will spread these characters to present 
lines in the same lengths as they will appear in 
the printed version. This is not a WYSIWYG dis¬ 
play, but it works wonders in determining printed 
line lengths frem the monitor display. Yes, you 
must put in hard carriage returns at the end of 
lines. The word processor doesn't automatically 
control printed line lengths. Style Writer works 
on the lines that you send. If too short, they 
won't justify; if too long, they will exceed the 
right margin. 

Unfortunately, word processors that support 
variable character spacing or escapement defi¬ 
nitions are not currently available for the ST or 
XL/XE. But Microsoft's new entry for the ST may 
include this feature. You recall that many WPs 
on the Mac are claiming desktop publishing cap¬ 
ability with such minimal but essential features. 
Another solution may be to run your text file 
through Publishing Partner using the same margin 
settings and font sizes that will be used for 
Style Writer output. This will give variable 
spacing and automatically break lines at appro¬ 
priate lengths. Hard carriage returns can then 
be placed in the original file for printing 
through Style Writer. 

Without this WP support, you can turn out a 
paper in about three tries after making line 
adjustments. The first try gives you a good idea 
of line lengths on the screen as they relate to 
printed lines. The next two tries are for 
tweeking those that are slightly short or long. 
Depending on the use of your presentation, the 
quality can be well worth the patience. Resumes 
are given a professional look. 

My easiest and most productive use of Style 
Writer has been for generating disk labels. The 
four dimensions are defined with ST Writer , and 
the left and right margins are additionally 


defined within these bounds with Style Writer 
ccrrmands. All lines are centered — it's easy. 
Reman Bold in 14 point is used for the disk I.D. 
at the top, 12 point Reman Italic for annotations 
such as "Magic", 14 Reman Bold again for the disk 
title and version, and then 12 point Reman for 
remarks such as "DOUBLE SIDE", "INCLUDES FINDER 
4.1", etc. The results are superb — so much so 
that demands from friends for elegant labels have 
consumed time at the expense of exploring other 
good uses. Over 1500 disk labels have been 
printed with Style Writer. This has been a real 
production operation. From now on when other 
uses are discovered, they will be held in tight 
secrecy in my local environment. 

Last December, Family Computing picked Style 
Writer as one of the six best products of the 
year and singled it out as the best accessory. 

Now that you are an expert on how to use Style 
Writer check it out. It will be a great gift for 
your printer, a worthy addition to your system, 
and an interim measure until a low cost 
PostScript laser printer hits the market. 


ProCopy 


ST 

BACKUP 
UTILITY 

You can’t backup your software 
because copy protection locks 
you out. ProCopy is the key! 

■ Protects against the accidental loss of 
expensive software 

■ Works with all Atari STs 

■ Copies both S/S & D/S disks 

■ Use with 1 or 2 disk drives 

■ Not copy protected 

■ FREE shipping and handling 

■ TOLL-FREE telephone number 

■ Updates are only $12 with return 

■ Orders shipped same day 

■ Disk analyze function included 


Dealer 

Inquiries 

Welcome 


and C.O.D. 
orders 


$ 34-95 


Call (800) 843-1223 

Send check for $34.95 (overseas add $2.00 for air mail) to: 

PROCO PRODUCTS 

P.O. BOX 665, CHEPACHET, RHODE ISLAND 02814 USA 
(401) 568-8459 
Available the moving finger co. 

Internationally Building 2 
in Europe « Shamrock Quay 
and 


Southampton, SOl-IQL 
England 

Australasia Tel. 0703-227274 


TECH-SOFT 

COMPUTER WHOLESALE 
324 Stirling Highway 
Claremont 

Western Australia 6010 
Tel. 09-385-1885 


- 37 - 


XE 


ST 














CURRENT NOTES ST LIBRARY 


1 


[Note: Programs are either public domain, 
copyrighted but distributed freely (e.g. ST 
Writer), or shareware products where the authors 
would like an additional payment if you like 
their products. ST and MAGIC disks are $4 each. 

ST disks marked with "**" require a double-sided 
drive. PC disks run only on DOUBLE-SIDED drives 
and are $5 each. Add $1 per every 6 disks for 
postage. Order from CN Library, 122 N. Johnson 
Rd., Sterling, VA 22170. VA residents add 4.5% 
sales tax. NOTE : new titles this month are 
underlined.] 

#172: JUGGLER GRAPHICS DEMO : A juggler in low rez 
converted from the Amiga. 

#171: "C" PROGRAMS NO.6 : BMODEM, SEALINK, and two 
unix type utilities, SED and CTAG. 

#170: DIOX v0.9: Easy user interface simplifies 
the construction of dialog boxes in GFA 
BASIC. Program outputs GFA source code. 
.#169: GFA BASIC HELP DISK : Lots of "tips" on 
using GFA BASIC. Includes graphics 
tutorial. 

#168: GFA BASIC PROGRAMS NO.2 : Source to Boulder 
Dash variant, Battleship, and RECALBDB (a 
record album database program). 

#167: TERMINAL PROGRAMS NO.6 : WTERM, TRANS100 and 
the AMULTI compatible version of BMODEM 
that allows file transfers in the 
background. 

#166: ST UTILITIES N0.19 : ICD utilities including 
one that preserves the time/date stamp in 
the copying process. Includes several 
files for altering the step rate of 5 1/4 
inch drives for use with the ST. 

#165: DISK LIBRARY PROGRAMS: DISKCAT vl.3 and 

MENU.PRG (Pasca source to MENU included). 
MENU is the BEST PD disk library program 
avai1able . 

#164: ST GAMES NO.9 : Boulder Dash variant, 
Battleship, Lunar Lander. 

#163: PROGRAMMER'S EDITOR DISK 

#162: UTILITY NO.18 HARD DISK UTILITIES 

#161: TINYPICS NO.9 VEHICLES-2 (MONO) 

#160: CLIP ART Monochrome No. 3 

#159: CLIP ART Monochrome No. 2 

#158: CLIP ART Monochrome No. 1 

#157: MULTI-LINGUAL WORD PROCESSOR DEMO 

#156: SAMPLE "C" PROGRAMS NO. 5 

#155: UTILITY DISK NO. 17 

#154: UTILITY NO.16 MODULA-2 UTILITIES 

#153: EAMON ADVENTURE GAMES 

#152: PD 3-D CONTROL ACCESSORY 

#151: ** ANTIC DEMO "SPACE PROBE" 

#150: FIRST WORD PRINTER DRIVERS 
#149: TIM OREN'S GEM PART-II 
#148: TIM OREN'S GEM PART-I 
#147: TINYPICS NO.9 CLIP ART 
#146: TINYPICS NO.8 FAMOUS FOLK 
#145: ST UTILITY DISK NO. 15 
#144: ST UTILITY DISK NO. 14 
#143: CITADEL BBS 
#142: ST TERMINAL DISK NO. 5 
#141 : ST GAME DISK NO. 8 
#140: ST GAME DISK NO. 7 
#139: MONOCHROME GAME DISK NO. 3 
#138: TINYPICS NO. 7: ANIMALS 
#137: TINYPICS NO. 6: CARTOONS #2 
#136: MICRODEAL DEMO PROGRAMS 
#135: SHANGHAI DEMO PROGRAM 
#134: ST-REPLAY by 2-BIT SYSTEMS 
#133: SAMPLE C PROGRAMS NO. 4 
#132: ST UTILITY DISK NO. 13 


#131: ST UTILITY DISK NO. 12 
#130: SAMPLE GFA BASIC PROGRAMS #1 
#129: SPHERES! DEMO 
#128:** STEELYBOINK! DEMO 
#127: ST FONT EDITORS/LOADERS 
#126: PUBLISHING PARTNER UTILITIES 
#124: ATARI ST ICON LANGUAGE, V6.3 
#123: SHAREWARE C COMPILER 
#122: ST GAME DISK NO. 6 
#121: UTILITY DISK NO. 11 
#120: TINYPICS NO. 5: CARTOONS 

#119: TINYPICS NO. 4: TRANSPORT 

#118: TINYPICS NO. 3: SCI-FI 

#117: ST DESK ACCESSORIES NO. 2 

#115: AEGIS ANIMATOR DEMO DISK 
#114: MUSIC STUDIO SONGS NO. 2 
#113: ST UTILITY DISK NO. 10 
#112: ST GAME DISK NO. 5 
#111: SAMPLE PASCAL PROGRAMS NO. 3 
#110: SAMPLE M0DULA2 PROGRAMS NO. 3 
#109: TINYPICS NO.2 EMPIRE / SHUTTLE 
#108: TINYPICS N0.1 GH BUSTERS/RAIDERS 
#107: ST RAM DISKS 
#106: FIRST BYTE SMOOTH TALKER DEMO 
#105: CN MOVIE MAKE IT MOVE DEMO 
#104:** ALADDIN ST VOL. 1.0 DEMO DISK 
#103: (M) SKY-MAP: STAR CATALOG PROGRAM 
#102: ST UTILITY DISK NO. 9 
#101: ST GAME DISK NO. 4 
#100: ST GAME DISK NO. 3 
#99:** DIGITAL SOUND DEMO NO. 3 
#98: XLISP VERSION 1 .7 
#97: LITTLE SMALLTALK 
#96: TINY COLOR SLIDES NO. 8 
#95: ST UTILITY DISK NO. 8 
#94: ST UTILITY DISK NO. 7 
#93: SAMPLE PASCAL PROGRAMS NO. 2 
#92: SAMPLE MODULA2 PROGRAMS NO. 2 
#91 : BOFFIN DEMO DISK 
#90: SHINY BUBBLES 

#88: UNITERM VT102 EMULATOR, VER 1.7B 

#87: CP/M-80 PROGRAM DISK NO. 1 

#86: CP/M-80 V 2.2 EMULATOR TOS DISK 

#85: SOUND AND GRAPHICS DEMO NO. 3 

#84: ST TERM V 2.1 DEMO DISK 

#83: SAMPLE MODULA2 PROGRAMS NO. 1 

#82: SAMPLE "C" PROGRAMS NO. 3 

#81: ST UTILITY DISK NO. 6 

#80: MONOCHROME GAMES DISK NO. 2 

#79:** DIGITAL SOUND DEMO NO. 2 - 

#78:** DIGITAL SOUND DEMO NO. 1 

#76:** PRINT-TECHNIK SOUND DIGITIZER 

#75: TINY COLOR SLIDE SHOW NO. 7 

#74: ST SAMPLER DISK NO. 1 

#73: ST UTILITY DISK NO. 5 

#72: ST UTILITY DISK NO. 4 

#71: FORTHMACS VERSION 1.1 

#67: BALL/BIRD DEMO DISK 

#66: GLOBE DEMO DISK 

#65: TINY COLOR SLIDE SHOW NO. 6 

#64: ATARI DOLL ANN IMAT ION DEMO 

#63: ST UTILITY DISK NO. 3 

#62: HACK ADVENTURE GAME 

#61 : PRINTER DRIVER FILES 

#60: MUSIC STUDIO SONGS 

#59: VIP TEMPLATES 

#54: MONOCHROME PUZZLE 

#53: ATARI ST FORTH-83 MODEL 

#52: TINY COLOR SLIDE SHOW NO. 5 

#51: TINY COLOR SLIDE SHOW NO. 4 

#50: GRAPHICS DEMOS NO. 3 

#49: SAMPLE PASCAL PROGRAMS NO. 1 

#48: TINY MONO SLIDE SHOW NO. 1 

#42: TINY COLOR SLIDE SHOW NO,. 3 


ST - 38 - ST 


















CURRENT NOTES ST LIBRARY 


#41: TINY COLOR SLIDE SHOW NO. 2 
#40: TINY COLOR SLIDE SHOW NO. 1 
#37: ST GAME DISK NO. 2 
#36: ST DESK ACCESSORIES NO. 1 
#33: SAMPLE "C" PROGRAMS NO. 2 

#31: PASCAL AND MODULA-2 

#30: ST UTILITY DISK NO. 2 

#29: MICROEMACS TEXT EDITOR, V3.7I 

#25: DEGAS UTILITY DISK 
#21 : ST GAME DISK NO. 1 
#18: ST UTILITY DISK NO. 1 
#15: ST WRITER VERSION 1 .71 
#14: NEOCHROME PAINTING PROGRAM 
#11 : RAMDISK AND DOC FILES 
#8: SAMPLE "C M PROGRAMS NO. 1 
#7: GRAPHICS DEMO PROGRAMS 


CURRENT NOTES PC LIBRARY 

We are introducing this month a library of PD and 
shareware products for the IBM PC and 
PC-compatible market, including the Atari ST 
running under pc-ditto. These disks are all on 
3.5" format. They are formatted for 360K on a 
DOUBLE-SIDED DISK. You will need a double-sided 
drive to read these disks even though they only 
are formatted for 360K. All disks are $5 each. 

# P10: ZJMP: The Ultimate Utility, (c) 1 985, 1 986 

by Edward Dong. Complete file manipulation 
utilities including ARC and deARC as well 
as an ascii terminal with XMODEM transfer. 

#P09: DRAW POKER VI .0 simulates the Nevada video 
draw poker machine, and MS-TREK 1.0 , one of 
the best Star Trek adventure games. 

#P08: TIME SAVER calendar and appointment book; 

and PFM , Personal File Management System to 
help you deal with DOS. 

#P07: EASY BASE , this easy to use data base helps 
new users create and manage medium size 
data base applications; and HOME BANK BOOK 
helps you keep track of your funds in a 
bank-book style system. 

#P06: PC-DBMS , Verson 1.2, data base program; 

FLOW CHART UTILITY , create your own 
organizational flow charts; and MORTGAGE 
CALCULATOR . 

#P05: AS EASY A S, a powerful spreadsheet (1,024 
rows by 256 cols) with a large set of menu 
command features. 

#P04: PC-OUTLINE , V.1.05. An outlining and 

planning program, allows you to randomly 
enter info of almost any type and then 
organize it into a hierarchial structure. 
#P03: QEDIT , the Quick Editor. A fast text 

editor, uses all available memory, multiple 
file editing, split screens, only 39K of 
disk space . 

# P 0 2: PC-STOCK , a general purpose stock trend 

analysis program developed with ease of use 
and graphic presentation of data as primary 
objectives; and CARDEX , create a rotary 
index card file equivalent of a ROLODEX. 

#P01: PROCOMM , v2.3 Excellent shareware terminal 
emulation program; and MIN I HOST , a host BBS 
system. 


CURRENT NOTES ST MAGIC DISKS 

These disks contain Macintosh programs for use 

with the Magic Sac Cartridge on the ST. Disks 

are already in Magic format. 

#M27: UTILITY DISK NO. 3 . WayStation, lazymenu, 
SuperFinder 4.0, Unpit, ShrinkToFit, FEdit 
3.0, RamStart 2.0+, MenuEditor, Road 
Atlas. 

#M26: GRAPHICS DISK NO. 3 . MakePaint, ShapeArt, 
StarFlight, PaintMover, 3D Sketch, Small 
View. 

#M25: GAME DISK NO. 7 . Billiards, Hangman-9.0, 
Safari 1.0, CrossMaster Demo. 

#M24: DEEP ANGST . Graphic adventure game. 1 Mb 
ST only. 

#M23: VAMPIRE CASTLE. Graphic adventure game. 

#M22: GRAPHICS DISK NO. 2 . BlowUp 3.0, BlowUp 
Notes, Ca1endarMaker 2.2.1, Graphic, 

Math21 , Spiro, Van1 andingham. 

# M21 : GAME DISK NO. 6 . Hot Air Balloon, Guess', 
Match, Trick-Track, Ramml.O, Utaan Attack. 

#M20: GAME DISK NO. 5 . Crystal Raider, Daleks, 
On-The-Contrary, Golf MacWay, ChaseEm, 
StuntCopterl .2. 

#M19: PINBALL CONSTRUCTION SET GAMES . 5 games: 
apple, face, madonna, patchwork mess, 
samurai; includes pinball construction set 
pi aye r. 

#M18: DESK ACCESSORIES NO. 2 . Alarm clock, 

calculator, choose scrapbook+, DA File, 
Disk Labeler, Explorer, Hex Calc, 
LabelMaker, MemWindow, MockPackage+, 

Mu 11i-Scrapbook, Popup, ProCount, 

ReadiPrinter, Ruler, Skipfinder 6.1, Sleep, 
Stars 1 .6 and Timer. 

#M17: DUNGEONS OF DOOM 4.0 . Graphic adventure 
game. 

#M16: FONT DISK NO. 3: 24 fonts. 

#M15: GAME DISK NO. 4: Space Attack, Amps 3.0, 
Jago, Nim, Macheads, Canfield, Lets Get 
Tanked, Bricks. 

#M14: FONT DISK NO. 2: 11 fonts. 

#M13: FONT DISK NO. 1: 18 fonts. 

#M12: MACBILLBOARD. Enhanced MacPaint clone. 

#M11 : PRINT UTILITIES: 8 utilities, 3 fonts. 

#M10: GRAPHICS DISK NO. 1: 12 programs, 5 pics. 

#M9: UTILITY DISK NO. 2: 7 utilities. 

#M8: DESK ACCESSORIES NO. 1: 29 accessories. 

#M7: GAME DISK NO. 3: MacYahtzee, Wiz Fire, • 
MacCommand, MacBUGS, GO, Break the Bricks. 

#M6: GAME DISK NO. 2: Ashes, Wall Game, Wheel of 
Fortune, Black Box, Snake, Destroyer, Hex 
Puzzle, Office Attack, Symmetry Demo. 

#M5: DISK LIBRARIAN. Disk Lib. Ver 1.82A. 

#M4: GAME DISK NO. 1: Missile Command, 

Solitaire, MacLuff, Space Bubbles, 
BackGammon, Smile, Bash Big Blue, Munch, 
Meltdown, Maze 3D, Snow, Curves. 

#M3: UTILITY DISK NO. 1. Switcher, Packlt_ 

#M2: TELECOM DISK N0.1. Free Term 1.8 

#M1 C: FINDER 5.3 BOOT DISK . Show Version, 
ReadmacWrite, MakeScreen, Dead Calc 

#M1B: FINDER 1.1 BOOT DISK. 

#M1A: FINDER 4.1 BOOT DISK. 

#M0: MAGIC SAC. Version 4.36 






































CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


CYBER STUDIO: PART I 

CAD 3D 2.0, Cybermate Animation, and Their Universe 

Review by Bill Moes 


Three-dimensional video modeling. Dazzling 
and sophisticated animation of those 3D images. 
The cover name: Cyber Studio. 

The software includes two main programs. The 
first, CAD 3D 2.0 , was written by Tan Hudson as 
an enhancement of his earlier (v.1.0) release. 
Cybermate , the second program, was written by 
Mark Kimball and is a computer language for edit- 
• ing and presenting the animations. 

When combined, Cyber Studio offers a powerful 
3D video modeling tool with extensive possibili¬ 
ties in a wide variety of applications. Now, a 
look at the separate components. 


CAD 3D 2.0 

Much of CAD 3D (which is the way I'll refer 
to v.2.0 unless noted otherwise) will be known to 
users of the previous release of the program, 
although there are seme notable enhancements. 
Those not familiar with the original program, 
will find much to fascinate. 

Screen . The GEM screen is divided into 
thirds. On the right two-thirds you'll see four 
mini-screens, each showing a view of the 3D 
objects. The camera screen and the top view are 
on the upper section; the right and front views 
on the lower part. The top, right, and front 
views may be switched to bottom, left, and back. 

Figure 1: The GAD 3D GEM Screen 


Desk File Colors Uievs Objects 


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The left third of the main screen is 
sectioned for 20+ icons, allowing you to easily 
and quickly select the tools you'll be working 
with in creating your ob- jects. GEM drop-downs 
are generally used only for disk files and access 
to color menus. 

Each of the four windows may be separately 
set to show the objects you are working on in one 
of four modes: wireframe, wireframe with hidden 
line removal, solid, or solid-outline. Each win¬ 
dow can automatically update its view as you 
change objects, or turn off this update to speed 
the program along. Each window may be expanded 
to fill that right two-thirds of the screen. 

Creation . Six primitives, or basic building 
shapes, are part of the program: cube, wedge, 
torus (doughnut), and three spheres. The choices 
in selecting a sphere offer three levels of com¬ 
plexity or actual roundness. The most complex 
(round) one also takes the most time to create 
and alter. 


Figure 2: CAD 3D Primitives 



It's also possible to develop your own unique 
building blocks with either a spin or extrude. 
These are each drawn on a separate full screen. 
The spin is much like a lathe. You draw one 
segment of the shape and the entire shape will 
then be spun around a central axis. The objects 
will be, as the documentation puts it, radially 
symmetrical. For example, draw a small circle 
and it's spun into a wheel. The actual detail of 
the shape will be limited by the need to draw 


ST 


40 


ST 















































































































CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


clockwise with no intersections. You're able to 
set the number of segments in the spun shape, 
which sets the smoothness of that shape. 

You can spin just part of a shape, either by 
degrees or percentage. Perhaps you'll want just 
75% of an object spun so that an inner area is 
available for view. The actual section spun may 
be set. It does not necessarily have to be the 
first 75%. Seme objects may be more useful if 
shown from the 20% to the 95% marks on the shape. 
The creation of 3D pie charts is suggested and 
other uses ccme quickly to mind. 

Extrude, which acts like a jigsaw, cuts a 
shape from the front to the back. It is made 
with a variable number of layers. The extrude 
must also be drawn clockwise without intersects. 
The templates, or original drawings you do for 
the spin and extrude, can be saved to disk. 

Both spin and extrude offer the option of 
using rubber band lines as you place the dots to 
be connected. A dot grid is available to help in 
defining your shape. Placement mistakes may be 
corrected by the elimination, addition, or 
movement of points. 

Together . After you've created a couple of 
shapes, you may wish to join than. This will 
mean that the joined shape will be treated as a 
single unit in the CAD 3D universe and it is in 
this way that complex objects are developed. 

Several methods of joining are offered. The 
most direct is to simply put them together (Add), 
although the shapes don't actually need to touch 
to do this one. Another (Subtract) takes the 
second named shape away from the first wherever 
they overlap. The third (And) will remove 
everything except the area where the two shapes 
overlap. The fourth join available (Stamp) will 
stamp the second object onto the first and is a 
possible way to add detail and additional color 
to the first object. 

Groupings . The objects you create and have 
in memory are placed in four selection choices. 
Within each, you can have seme objects selected, 
others not. Then, by simply clicking on the 
selection letter (A-D), you can call up a varied 
grouping of your created objects. 

Drag . When placed on one of the three view 
screens (not the camera screen), objects may be 
moved or dragged, either individually or as a 
group. You can set the drag to vertical, hori¬ 
zontal, or both. By thoughtful use of this, and 
using the views in all screens along with the 
other object movements possible, you are able to 
place each object where you want it. It is a 
process to do carefully. If objects seem to be 
getting away frem you, click on the Heme icon and 


they'll all scamper back around the imaginary 
center of that screen. 

If you try to move or resize objects beyond 
the universe of the program, you'll be told to 
make the objects smaller or make different plans. 
Objects can be easily cloned (duplicated) and the 
clone will then be manipulated as a separate 
object to be moved or reshaped. 

Rotate . In the three view windows, objects 
may be rotated around three types of pivot 
points: the center of the CAD universe, the 
center of the object group, or an arbitrary point 
you set. As is true with other choices, you can 
select only the objects you wish to rotate, 
leaving the others unselected for that change. 

Sizing . Once you've developed a shape or 
two, you may find yourself wishing to change the 
size. No problem. Select the Size icon and set 
the slider to the percentage (50%-2Q0%) change 
you're after. Click. It's changed. This 
process may be repeated and, for example, you can 
continue to reduce the object or group to 50% of 
the previous size until it has achieved those 
truly tiny characteristics. 

Scale . To set the size of objects relative 
to other objects, select a master object and set 
one value of its size, either in metric units 
(meters and centimeters) or in U. S. standard 
(feet and inches). After setting the master 
unit, you can set the measurements (length, 
width, height) for each object you've created. 

All objects will then be shown in correct size 
relative to the master unit. With this you can 
also dramatically alter the shape of an object. 
Example: take the sphere you just created and, by 
reducing the height, flatten it into a pie. 

A tape measure is available which allows you 
to measure sizes or distances with a click on the 
beginning and ending points. This is only 
accurate in the three location view windows. 

Let There Be... . The use of light represents 
one of the most powerful aspects of 3D modeling 
in CAD 3D. Properly used, light creates the 
mood, enhances the depth. Its use in v.2.0 has 
been simplified, but its power remains. There 
are three movable light sources. Each source is 
represented by icons on a screen. Simply move 
light bulb icons around blank squares which 
represent the views in a 3D universe, setting the 
light to shine frem the exact direction. These 
light sources are each set to a variable level of 
brightness or turned off. An ambient light is 
available which lights all sides equally. The 
changes in the lighting process for v.2.0 have 
greatly simplified a process many found a bit 
difficult in the early version. 


ST 


41 


ST 











CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


Roy G. Biv . The illusion of three dimensions 
in CAD 3D is created by the color shading of an 
object. You are offered sets of seven or 14 
preset shades of colors. Now, however, you can 
also customize your own colors. Set each of the 
16 lew-res colors to a dramatically different 
color, if you wish, creating objects of vastly 
varying colors, although this may negate the 3D 
illusion. You can also set any two end colors 
and click for the set of intermediate hues, much 
like you do in seme paint programs. The edge 
color of a solid-outline object may now be any of 
the 16 colors, not necessarily the background 
color. The wire color can also be set. You can 
group any number of colors, not just seven (or 
14) in a group. When it's time to select a color 
„ for an object, you specify the beginning (usually 
lightest) color used from a set of colors. It’s 
not necessarily the first one in a set. In this 
way, you can use darker shades as the only colors 
for an object. You can change the color of 
objects, also. Colors are adjusted by the 
familiar RGB sliders. 

The Kodak Section . You'll be spending a lot 
of tine with the camera view. In the camera 
window you can change the zocm (apparent size of 
your objects) or the perspective (how far away it 
seems when you're looking). You'll also be ad¬ 
justing the camera's horizontal and vertical 
rotation around the scene and, by using the 
rotation icon, the camera banking angle. You 
can, thereby, go around or through the scene 
you've created. Window slider controls and 
numerical readouts make this reasonably easy. 

When you're ready for a look at the final 
image, click on Superview and you'll see the 
full-screen illustration for the viewing mode the 
camera view is set, including glorious STcolor if 
you're set for solid or solid-outline modes on a 
color monitor. If you're in the wireframe mode, 
you can make zoom, rotation, perspective, and 
camera bank angle changes while in Superview. 

This real-time update affords seme quick idea on 
how camera changes you're thinking about will 
affect the view. 

The CAD 3D object file may be saved to disk, 
permitting those objects to be used again. It's 
possible to load a Degas file as background for 
your 3D objects. This background will be un¬ 
affected by changes to the objects. After 3D 
images are added, you can save the new Superview 
screen (with background) to disk in a low-res 
format (Degas, Neo, or C.O.L.R.). On a color 
monitor, the program itself runs in medium 
resolution but Superviews are in low-res. If 
you're using a high-res monochrome monitor, the 
Superview will be saved in high-res Degas 
format. 


The 3D images can be "painted" onto the back¬ 
ground screen. The 3D data images will then 
become pixel images and you will not be able to 
manipulate them. This opens numerous creative 
opportunities: show different modes on a single 
screen, change the lighting, or build layers of a 
scene. 

You can send the 3D images to a printer or 
plotter, using the GDOS and the Hardcopy programs 
provided, for a high-resolution printout. An 
Epson FX-80 driver is included. I had seme 
occasional problems with this and found that it 
worked best using wireframe and/or a limited 
number of objects. Try doing joins to end up 
with just one object. Set the Superview (not 
just the camera) to the mode you want. You can 
save multiple frames for a sequence of those 
Hardcopy prints. The documentation claims the 
program will pause between each frame printed, 
allowing you to cancel further printing; it 
didn't pause. 

Disney Calls . Recording animations may not 
be a difficult process within CAD 3D } but it's 
not a quick process either. You begin by opening 
an animation file which saves the first animation 
screen as a full-screen Degas file (about 32000 
bytes). Then, to create the actual motion, you 
move or alter the objects, move the camera, or 
select/deselect objects. Finally, you click on 
the recording icon to record the frame. 

The screen will be redrawn for a Superview 
with each of those recorded frames. You can 
choose to have the Superview in either a draft or 
final version. The final version, with its more 
correctly drawn screen, is recommended for 
animations. Having each screen redrawn in final 
version is a time consuming process, but you are 
able to see each subtlety in your animation as 
you proceed. The animations may be recorded with 
the objects in any one of the four object modes 
(wireframe, etc.). 

These animation changes are then saved in a 
file separate frem your first full-screen file. 
The size of that file depends, of course, on the 
length of your animation and how dramatic the 
changes are which you make during the animation. 
Each frame saved shows the differences between it 
and the preceding one, so if there are only minor 
changes or if the objects are very small, the 
size of the save for that frame may be only a few 
hundred bytes or less. A somewhat major change 
could result in a save of 10K-12K or more. 

Changes which are too dramatic will be jumpy when 
animated. The amount of remaining free disk 
space is shown at the top of your screen, along 
with the memory used for the most recently 
recorded frame. 


ST 


42 


ST 








CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


Words . The documentation goes 134 (about 5" 

X 8") pages and is enclosed in a three-ring 
binder. The tutorial section explains the tools 
and leads you through the program. It would have 
been help- ful if it had included drawings of the 
icons as they were initially being discussed, 
however, as I semetimes found it necessary to 
turn back a number of pages to a labeled screen 
drawing. Overall, though, it's a very acceptable 
introduction to the software. The documentation, 
of course, cannot cover every possibility with 
software this complex. Additional tips and 
suggestions are available on supplemental disks. 
As you become more familiar with the software, 
you’ll be studying the work of others and 
becoming more comfortable as you try new ideas. 

There's an animation recording tutorial, with 
3D object files provided on the disk. You'll 
need to do the tutorial to create files for use 
in the Cybermate tutorial later. It's well worth 
doing, anyway, as several helpful techniques are 
used. A card-stock page is part of the package, 
showing the keyboard alternatives to mouse use. 
Nearly all of CAD 3D may be accessed through the 
keys and the stretch has been made to give them a 
mnemonic reference. Advanced tips and a bibliog¬ 
raphy are included. No index, though. 

Putting it all together, then, you set up the 
scene by using the three view windows to place 
individual objects, rotate and resize, scale the 
horizontal/vertical for that view, and drag and 
join. This actual movement, resizing, and rota¬ 
tion of objects is done only in the three view 
windows. The camera window can be used to travel 
around and right through a scene for a single 
screen save or for recording your animation 
frames. The camera window cannot be used to 
actually move anything otiier than the camera 
(your view). 

By thoughtfully using the tools, you could, 
for example, move separate planets in a solar 
system (doing this in the three view windows) 
while directing the camera for a stride right 
through that moving scene, much like a Voyager 
fly-by you've seen on NASA animations. The 
knowledgeable use of each tool will, in concert 
with the other tools, provide an amazing amount 
of flexibility and power. 

Tern Hudson, the author of CAD 3D> is well- 
known for his attention to detail, his standards 
of high quality, and his concern for the user of 
his software. This v.2.0 is a well-designed 
improvement and follow-up to the popular (and 
still available) original. 

Motion Control Accessory 

Although the initial look at CAD 3D may leave 


you with the feeling that everything is there, 
it's possible to add that kitchen sink. By using 
desk accessories tied to the software, you can 
add other features to the program. This process 
is also available for other GEM software designed 
to take advantage of the potential. 

Realizing that creating an animation within 
CAD 3D can be tedious, Hudson has written a 
motion control desk accessory and placed it in 
the public domain (CN ST Library disk 152). 

First make your plans and use CAD 3D to 
create the objects. Then, using a word processor 
(F. Gregory Schneller's Word 400 (CN June 1987) 
is included on the disk), create a text file 
telling CAD 3D how you want the ani- mat ion file 
developed. Once this text file is saved, call 
the motion control accessory within CAD 3D and 
select the control text file you created. The 
recording process will be directed by that desk 
accessory. 

You can leave the computer alone, overnight 
if necessary, while the animation file is written 
to disk. It's important, of course, to make sure 
there's enough disk space available for the 
animation file you're letting the accessory 
create. It's not always easy to tell how much 
space you'll end up using, although experience 
will definitely help. The use of this accessory 
doesn't always end up being as easy as it may 
sound, though. You'll need to develop the 
objects and make your plans very carefully for 
the control accessory to be used effectively. 

This 3D control accessory, PD3DCFL.AOC , is 
really an elementary computer language. Conmands 
are available for the CAD 3D viewing operations, 
such as zoom, rotation, and perspective. Other 
commands control the actual recording and the 
selection of objects, either individually or in 
one of the four groups. Loop commands are also 
available. A disk file is provided as documen¬ 
tation, printing out to eight pages. Several 
example motion control animation files are also 
on the disk. 

At the price of a public domain disk, owners 
of CAD 3D can't go wrong by adding this one to 
the collection. A commercial version, one with 
additional features to create more sophisticated 
animations, is scheduled for release this fall. 
Other desk accessories are also in the develop¬ 
ment stage, to further enhance the potential of 
the CAD 3D software. 

More in the next issue on Cybermate 
Animation. 

[The Catalog, Antic Publishing, 544 Second 
Street, San Francisco, CA 94107 (415) 957-0886J 


- 43 - 


ST 


ST 








CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


ST WORD PROCESSING 

A Look at the Current State of the Art 
By F rank Cohen, President Regent Software 


The July issue of Current Notes reported on 
the state of the world of Atari. The article 
gave a brief synopsis of the availability of word 
processors and indicated that Word Perfect (Word 
Perfect Corp.) is the program to wait for. In 
reality, there are many other word processors 
that are currently available or will shortly be 
available that will probably do more than Word 
Perfect at a lower cost. 

Word processors have become the bread-and- 
butter software product for the personal computer 
industry. In the early 1980's, personal compu¬ 
ters were considered to be a necessity to those 
people that felt they might be left behind in the 
computer revolution. This group of computer buy¬ 
ers bought their systems without a clear under¬ 
standing of what they would use the computer for. 
The outside of the Atari 800 shipping carton 
showed a house wife using her new computer to 
keep track of recipes. Databases, spreadsheets, 
word processors and utility programs were still 
unknown, leaving most home computers as game 
machines. 


Mac's font and graphics handling capabilities. 
Why couldn't the Atari ST and GEM support the 
same functions? 


Where is Macwrite ST? 

The Macintosh operating system took several 
years to develop. The amount of time that Apple 
spent developing the Mac's visual interface was 
both expensive and exhausting. As a result of 
the development of the Macintosh, Steven Jobs, a 
founder of Apple, was forced to leave the company 
because the Mac had weakened Apple so much. How¬ 
ever, the resulting Macintosh operating system 
was both powerful and complete. 

The Macintosh operating system is oriented 
towards graphic applications such as desktop 
publishing, CAD (Computer Assisted Drafting), 
painting and word processing programs. The 
operating system has a vast libraiy of programs 
that handle fonts and graphics. The result of 
all of Apple's work is an operating system that 
handles most of the font and graphics 
capabilities necessary to produce very 
professional applications. 

The GEM (Graphics Environment Manager) system 
by DRI (Digital Research, Inc.) is an operating 
system originally developed for the IBM E*C and 
compatible computers to implement a visual inter¬ 
face on these otherwise keyboard / command driven 
computers. The GEM system is comprised of three 
pieces of software: AES (Applications Environment 
Services), which handles all of the drop-down 
menus, windows, desk accessories, and other 
applications, VDI (Virtual Device Interface), 
which performs all of the graphic and font 
drawing functions, and GDOS (Graphic Device 
Operating System), which allows VDI to draw fonts 
and graphics on printers, plotters, laser 
printers, etc. 

Rumors have it that one of the contenders for 
the Atari ST operating system was Microsoft's 
Windows program. At a later time, Atari decided 
on the GEM system and DRI wrote a special version 
of GEM to run in the Atari box. There are many 
problems with the ST version of GEM. However, 
none of these problems are too great for a good 
programmer to overcome (the problems are just 
apnoying). 


In the mid-1980's several new pieces of soft¬ 
ware became available which gave the personal 
computer a wider audience. Spreadsheets are uni¬ 
versally useful to managers and small business¬ 
men. Databases gave small businesses the ability 
to develop applications that had previously only 
been available on main-frame systems. But, the 
most widely accepted piece of software is the 
word processor. 

When the Macintosh computer began to command 
a significant portion of the personal computer 
industry, desktop publishing software became 
available because of the Mac's visual interface 
operating system and potential for complex 
graphics. A fusion between desktop publishing 
and word processing ocurred in which both types 
of programs began to share certain qualities. It 
is not uncommon to find a word processor that can 
print multiple-fonts or change type styles as 
most desktop publishing programs can do. 

When the Atari ST was released with the GEM 
operating system, most potential buyers first saw 
the similarities between the GEM Desktop - mouse, 
drop-down menus, windows, etc. - and the Macin¬ 
tosh Desktop. The popular word processors on the 
Macintosh - Macwrite and MS Word - support the 



ST 


44 


ST 




CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


The GEM system can produce many of the same 
functions as the Macintosh operating system. 
However, the Mac has an advantage over GEM as the 
Mac operation system has a more complete set of 
ccnTnands and functions availabile to Macintosh 
programmers. The Mac's drawing ability appears to 
be better than GEM in speed and utility. 

This brings us back to the question, "Why 
aren't there word processors like Macwrite and MS 
Word on the ST?" The answer has to do with sev¬ 
eral functions of the GEM system and the 
abilities of programmers developing software for 
the ST. The Mac word processors use a standard 
interface through which the user may use windows, 
fonts, a menubar, etc. to create a document that 
includes text and graphics. 

Fonts 

The GEM system on the Atari ST computer does 
not include GDOS, the part of the GEM system that 
allows you to print fonts and graphics onto a 
printer, plotter, etc. Although GDOS is a very 
small portion of the overall GEM system, without 
it, printing multiple fonts becomes difficult 
(but not impossible). 

When GDOS is being used on an ST computer, a 
special text file must be included on your "boot" 
disk (the disk with which you turn on your sys¬ 
tem). This text file is called ASSIGN. SYS and 
contains the font names and sizes that you will 
be using while the ST is turned on. For example, 
suppose you want to use a font called SWISS in 14 
point size (12 point is the standard size of 
typewriter printing). You would have to include 
the font file name in the ASSIGN.SYS text file. 
When your ST system is turned on, the SWISS font 
will be loaded into your computers memory for 
later use by the VDI and GDOS. 

The problem with the GDOS system is that 
every font that is to be used must be loaded into 
the ST's memory when you turn on the computer. 
GDOS does not have the ability to scale a font to 
a different size. If you want to use the same 
SWISS font in a 12 point size, you will have to 
include another entry in the ASSIGN.SYS file. 

This limits the number of fonts you can use and 
seriously limits the amount of memory your system 
has to use. 

The Macintosh allows you to load only the 
currently needed font data into the system's 
memory. Once loaded, the font resides in memory 
until another font is needed or your application 
needs seme extra memory. The Macintosh operating 
system may also scale a font in memory. If a 14 
point SWISS font is not available, but a 12 point 
SWISS font is available, the Mac will load the 12 


point SWISS font and mathematically convert the 
font into the larger 14 point size. 

The deficiencies in GEM make it more diffi¬ 
cult for a programmer to develop an application 
like Macwrite for the ST. However, several 
non-GDOS word processors have been developed. 
Hippoword (Hippo Systems) developed a multi-font 
word processors shortly before going out of 
business. Boffin allows fonts and graphics to be 
used within a document. 


Printer Support 

Another problem that GEM faces on the Atari 
ST is the support of a vast number of different 
printers that have been sold to ST users. Most 
printers use their own special technique in 
printing graphics. A word processor for the 
Atari ST must support the popular printers 
(Epson, Panasonic, Citizen, etc.) Atari has 
premised support of most of the popular word 
processors by saying that GDOS drivers will be 
released when GDOS becomes available. 

Printers fall into three categories: dot 
matrix, daisy wheel, and laser printers. Each 
type of printer has its own unique abilities and 
functions. For example, daisy wheel and most 
laser printers have the ability to change the 
amount of spacing between each letter in a docu¬ 
ment which makes professional kerning and 
micro-dot justification possible. Dot matrix 
printers offer multi-pass printing which 
increases the printing resolution to be even 
greater that a laser printer in seme instances. 
The difference between an good word processor and 
a great word processor is the ability to handle 
all of these special printer nuances. 

Another problem that must be overcome is the 
difference in aspect ratios between the ST's 
screen and a printer. State-of-the-art word pro¬ 
cessors attempt to display and edit a document as 
close to the finished printed document as 
possible. This ability is called WYSIWYG 
(whiz-e-wig), which stands for "What You See Is 
What You Get." 

The Macintosh system was designed as an inte¬ 
grated computer and printer. The dots on the 
Mac's screen are the same size as the dots that 
may be printed on a Macintosh Imagewriter. 

Because the dots are the same size, any image 
that appears on the Mac's screen may be easily 
converted to the Imagewriter printer's resolution 
and printed. 

The Atari ST is not so lucky. The ST sup¬ 
ports three completely different screen 
resolutions (low, medium and high). In addition 


- 45 - 


ST 


ST 









CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


to this, most printers used on an ST have a 
different aspect ratio (the size of the dots on 
the screen are not the same as on the printer). 

A programmer trying to develop a graphic word 
processor for the ST must also overcome this 
problem. 

Fear not! Several companies have announced 
graphic word processors that hopefully resolve 
all of the problems mentioned above. Atari has 
licensed Microsoft's popular word processor MS 
Word for the ST, to be released as Microsoft 
Write. MS Write uses GDOS and supports mul¬ 
tiple fonts and styles and the standard GEM 
interface (i.e. windows, menus, etc.) Regent 
Software is working on Regent Word III which will 
use its own RDOS software. RDQS allows you to 
display and print GEM fonts, of which there are 
more than 1500 fonts now available. 


The WP Future 

Where does all this leave us? Word process¬ 
ing products for the Atari ST are becoming more 
diverse as the user base becomes more specific in 
their needs for a word processor. With the 
release of MS Write , Word Perfect and Regent Word 
Illy the heme and business user will have several 
very good products to choose frcm. Word Perfect 
offers a number of powerful functions (e.g. 


thesaurus, outliner, spelling checker, etc.) 

While MS Write and Regent Word III will offer 
multi-font and graphic capabilities. 

The lower-ended word processors will probably 
remain a choice between the existing competition: 
Word Writer (Timeworks) and Regent Word II. Both 
of these products offer basically the same func¬ 
tions and cost less than $55 through discount 
stores. 

The high-end word processors cost more: Word 
Perfect will probably cost $140-$160 (although 
the list price is $399), Microsoft Write will 
probably cost $130, and Regent Word III will 
probably cost $100. 

International software companies might also 
make a splash in the word processing market with 
products such as 1st Word Plus (GST) which sup¬ 
ports graphics, mail-merge and spell checking 
abilities. Tempest began as a text editor for 
programmers but is rumored to have grown into a 
full-blown very quick word processor. Steve 
(Pharma Data of Holland) is an incredibly complex 
word processor (300 page manual) which includes 
an integrated drawing program and database. 

In summary, the heme and small business word 
processor user has and will continue to have many 
choices available in ST software. 


THE 



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ST 


46 


ST 






























CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


THE ELECTRONIC CLINIC 

4916 Del Ray Ave. Bethesda, MD 20814 

(301) 656-7983 

SEPTEMBER 1987 


ATARI ST COMPUTERS AND ACCESSORIES 


1040 COLOR SYSTEM- 899.95 

1040 MONOCHROME SYSTEM 749.95 

520 COLOR SYSTEM 749.95 

520 MONOCHROME SYSTEM 499.95 

SF314 720K DISK DRIVE 224.95 

SF354 360K DISK DRIVE 149.95 

SHD204 20 MEG HARD DISK DRIVE 599.95 

INTERNAL CLOCK/CALENDAR w/CAPS LED 49.95 
ST COMPOSITE MONITOR CABLES 19.95 

520ST MEMORY UPGRADES TO 1 MEG 170.00 

UPGRADES TO 2.5 MEG 499.00 

UPGRADES TO 4 MEG 799.00 

520ST MEMORY UPGRADE BOARD OK RAM 150.00 
USE WITH 256K or 1 MEG CHIPS 
ST/IBM PRINTER OR MODEM CABLE 17.50 

ST MOUSE 60.00 

520 POWER SUPPLY w/o TRADE 90.00 

w/ TRADE 65.00 

ST DRIVE SUPPLY w/o TRADE 75.00 

w/ TRADE 60.00 

ST 6' DISK DRIVE CABLES 19.95 

ST 13 PIN MONITOR PLUGS 5.50 

MOUSE MATS FOR ST MOUSE 9.95 

COVERS FOR 1040ST 9.95 

ATARI 8-BIT COMPUTERS AND ACCESSORIES 

B'5.XE COMPUTER --CALL 

130 XE COMPUTER CALL 

1050 DISK DRIVE CALL 

1027 PRINTER CALL 

1802 COLOR MONITOR 229.95 

XETEC GRAPHIC PRINTER INTERFACE 59.95 

800/XL/XE/1050 POWER SUPPLIES 25.00 

ATARI 6’ DISK DRIVE CABLE 12.00 

ATARI COMPOSITE MONITOR CABLE 10.00 

850 PRINTER OR MODEM CABLE 14.95 

5200 JOYSTICKS 32.00 

2600 POWER SUPPLIES 12.00 

COVERS FOR 800XL, 130XE, 1050 8.95 


PANASONIC PRINTERS 

KX-P1080i 120 C.P.S. DOT MATRIX 224.95 

KX-P1092i 180 C.P.S. 399.95 

KX-P1592 180 C.P.S. Wide Carriage 499.95 

KX-P1595 240 C.P.S. . 699.95 

KX-P3131 LETTER QUALITY 299.95 

KX-P3151 . . " 499.95 

The Electronic Clinic is a completely 
bonded, licensed, and insured repair shop 
that has been serving the Washington 
Metropolitan area since 1969. 

We are an ATARI factory repair center. 
Professional service on: Astra, Indus, Rana, 
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We accept govt. & school purchase orders. 


47 














CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


MS-DOS ON THE ST: PART I 

Cultural Shock for GEM Fans 
By William Price 


For those #10 have never used CP/M or MS DOS, 
the new IBM PC emulation facilities provided by 
pc-ditto are akin to cultural shock. 

True, it does not support the mouse; so 
there's none of this laid back clicking on icons 
that characterizes the ease of use provided by 
Digital Research's GEM interface on the ST. But 
in the future, the mouse will be supported so 
that you can use the full features of GEM PC and 
Microsoft Windows. For now, it's keying commands 
and making all the syntax and typo errors that 
are the hallmark of a hunt-and-peck typist like 
myself. Frustrating is one reaction, but another 
view will recognize the power, versatility, and 
flexibility provided by a command language. GEM, 
despite its ease of use and convenience, does 
have its limitations. 

Bill Teal, the developer of pc-ditto y is an 
ex-IBMer from the D.C. area. He has done a 
remarkable job in delivering a software emulator 
for the Intel chip. Hardware co-processing, ala 
the ATR 8000, is much easier to accomplish as 
well as more expensive. Developing a software 
emulator that performs like this one requires 
seme real smarts. And you haven't seen all of 
them that Bill has. Apparently, he has a bundle 
of tricks up his sleeve that will raise a lot of 
eyebrows. So go all out to support this unpro¬ 
tected system. Else the effort will not be worth 
his time and we will not benefit frem his clever 
innovations. If you like pc-ditto and don't own 
it yet, go out now and buy it! More goodies are 
on the way for its owners. 

For those that have been initiated to MS DOS 
through the facilities of pc-ditto y I'll try to 
give seme tips on how to get the most out of MS 
DOS on your ST. Mike Gibbons, elsewhere in the 
issue, will tune you to how and what pc-ditto can 
do. Putting aside the slowness of operation that 
is a consequence of emulation (and this will 
change), the ST offers several significant 
improvements over the IBM PC XT. First is the 
higher capacity 3.5" double sided disk drive that 
doubles the storage available on IBM's 5.25" 
drive. Second is RAM expandibility beyond the 
640K offered on the PC. This and the disk 
capacity are severe limitations to running large 
systems like PageMaker and Ventura Publisher on 
the PC. The ST provides a better vehicle for 
operating both of these systems. Third is the 
ST's color monitor which is sharper and crisper 
than the standard IBM color monitor. And of 
course there is the difference in price. After 


running a few PC applications on your ST, it will 
really make you appreciate — even be ecstatic — 
about the architecture of the ST and what GEM 
really does for you. Now, let's get on with 
setting up MS DOS. 

Discovery — 3.5" Disks . MS DOS 3.2 was the 
first version to support 3.5" drives. These 
drives have only been recently discovered by IBM 
and are defined as High Density. The older 5.25" 
drives, standard on PCs until the advent of the 
PS/2 series, had a rnaximum capacity of 360K frem 
40 tracks, 9 sectors each, double sided format. 
With 3.5" disks, the maximum capacity is 720+ 
with 80 tracks, 9 sectors, double sided. IBM 
also provides a 3.5" Quad Density floppy drive 
with 1.2 megabyte capacity. A similar drive will 
soon be available for the ST from Diverse Data 
Products in Miami. Their drive is currently 
running with 1.4 Meg capacity, and semetime in 
the Fall, they hope to have a 2 Meg unit running 
with utilities developed by David Beckemeyer of 
Micro-C Shell fame. 

DOS 3.2 & High Density Disks . Although MS 
DOS 3.2 can handle the 730K density, it must be 
configured for this format since the default is 
still 40 tracks for the 5.25" floppy. To do 
this, a CONFIG.SYS file must be created on your 
DOS 3.2 disk. When booted, DOS first looks for 
the presence of this file and tailors the system 
according to the parameters that are specified. 

To set up the High Density configuration, with 
DOS 3.2 in Drive A, type the following at the A> 
prompt (which is shown in the example). Commands 
are not case sensitive, so upper or lower case 
will do. 

A> COPY COT CONFIG.SYS 
DEVICE=DRIVER. SYS 
DRIVPARM=/D:0 /F:2 
DEVICE=DRIVER. SYS 
DRIVPARM=/D: 1 /F:2 
[F6] 

The COPY command creates a file called called 
CONFIG.SYS and then copies the ASCII text you 
enter on the CCN(sole) — your keyboard — to 
this file. DEVICES equates the disk drive to the 
utilities provided by DRIVER.SYS. The drive 
parameters are then defined for D:0 (Drive A) and 
in the last line to D:1 (Drive B). The F:2 
parameter defines the format of these drives as 
High Density or 730K (80 rather than the default- 
40 tracks). The above format, punctuation and 
spacing is correct. There are no spaces before 


ST 


48 


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CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


or after the equal signs. But a space before the 
/F:2 switch is essential. There must be no 
spaces between the statement and the [Return] key 
entry. The last line must be closed with the 
[F6] or Function Key 6. This generates a Control 
Z [ A Z], an End-of-File marker, executes the COPY 
ccrrmand, and writes the file. As you are working 
with copying to CONFIG.SYS, you will discover 
that each time this is done, it overwrites the 
previous file — it does not add to that file. 
Whatever you type must be the entire 
configuration set. 

You can examine this file by typing the 
following at the A> prompt: 

COPY CCMFIG.SYS CCM 

This command copies the contents of the file (any 
ASCII file) to the CCN(sole) which in this syntax 
position is the monitor. When CCN is the 
subject, it’s the keyboard. As an object, it's 
the monitor. PRN can be used in lieu of con to 
direct the file to your printer. But make sure 
it is on-line first. Sometimes DOS gets nasty 
with errors and may require rebooting the system. 
You can also use SHIFT * print text. This is an 
ASCII character print and not a graphic screen 
dump. Using CTL *[RET] will toggle the printer 
on and off. The asterisk must be the one to the 
far right of the keyboard over the numeric 
keypad. You may also use PRINT filename.ext PRN 
to direct a text file to the printer. Using TYPE 
filename.ext will display text in that file to 
the screen. In these examples, the file must be 
on the drive indicated by the prompt, otherwise 
the drive letter must be entered before the 
filename. 

These newly created CCMFIG.SYS parameters 
must be installed by the system, so simultaneous¬ 
ly press CTL ALT and DEL to quit DOS. This 
returns you to the pc-ditto start-up screen where 
you press RET to re-boot DOS. Two messages 
should appear after boot-up to indicate that High 
Density drives C and D have been installed. C is 
Drive A, and D is B. DOS makes this equation and 
you continue to specify A and B in your commands. 
If you have a hard disk, identify it as E. 

Formatting and Copying . With the system now 
configured, the FORMAT command will default to 80 
tracks and 730K. This can't be used to format a 
5.25" drive. (If this is a constant requirement, 
use only the first set of DEVICE^ and DRIVPARM= 
statements for the CCMFIG.SYS file.) If FORMAT 
B:/S is used, the 3.5" disk in Drive B will be 
formatted and the hidden DOS files in Drive A 
will be copied to the disk to make it bootable. 
The system takes over 64K of the available disk 
space. FORMAT alone will generate a disk with 
730,112 byte capacity. The COPY command can be 
used to copy files to the new formatted disk. 

For example, COPY A:*.* B: will copy "all" files 


frcm Drive A to B, but not quite all. This 
ccrrmand will not copy hidden files or 
sub-directories. Since two of the critical 
system files are hidden, they can only be copied 
with the /S switch on FORMAT or with the DISKCOFY 
command. Both also copy sub-directories, or in 
ST parlance, folders. The DOS 3.2/3.3 XCOFY 
ccrrmand will also copy folders, but not hidden 
files. 

At this point, let me apologize to sore for 
being so pedantic. This detail is provided in 
the pages of Current Notes for two reasons. 

First, the Avant Garde instructions are not clear 
.in some instances, and there are a few minor 
errors in the examples. It took me several hours 
by trial and error, and reading three DOS books 
to finally succeed with this configuration file. 
Secondly, I've been on the phone with four 
different perplexed STers walking through this 
sequence. If nothing else, this should help a 
few that are struggling and save a lot of time on 
the phone. 

Single-Side 3.5" Drives . What if you have 
single side 3.5" drives? DOS only supports 40 
tracks on a single side drive. It cannot format 
or read 80 tracks from this type of device. I 
recommend that financial priorities be adjusted 
to purchase double side drives or possibly try 
upgrading your drive by swapping out the SS 
mechanism for DS one. This can be done with the 
ST Epson drives — the ones with an eject button 
on the lower right. However, this may not work 
with the Chinon or other type drives with the 
eject "tongue" under the disk slot. This style 
faceplate may prevent insertion of another drive 
mechanism. But do call seme of the advertisers 
in Computer Shopper and other ST magazines to 
inquire. If double sided drives are a long shot, 
Avant Garde has provided a solution. Here's how 
to do it using pc-ditto utilities. 

First you must make a single sided 40 track 
3.5" disk which includes DOS. One method is to 
use a 5.25" 360K DOS disk to perform this 
function. To do this, go to the pc-ditto menu 
and define Drive A as EXTERNAL and then define 
the external drive as as 5.25". Your 3.5" drive 
will automatically default to Drive B. Booting 
DOS frcm the the 5.25" drive, format Drive B with 
the following command: 

FORMAT B:/l/S 

The /I defines single side, and as you recall, /S 
copies the DOS system files to the formatted 3.5" 
disk. You will now have a disk with a capacity 
of 179,712 bytes. However, DOS 3.2 will take 
approximately 69K leaving 110,592 available on 
the disk. 

(Continued on page 51) 


- 49 - 


ST 


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CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


AVANTE-GARDE ' S pc-di11 o 

(Continued from page 13) 

Notes PC library will carry a selection of top 
notch PD programs on 3.5" formats. 

DOS & DITTO Survival Kit 

pc-ditto emulates an IBM or IBM-ccrrpatible 
computer. But to use it, you must have the IBM 
Disk Operating System (PC or MS DOS). Where does 
the DOS cone from? Well, you have to buy it. 

You will also need the DOS documentation as it 
doesn’t ccme with pc-ditto . You should be able 
to get your dealer to sell you MS DOS. If the 
dealer can format a 3.5 inch DOS disk for you, 
then you are set! You get the operating system, 
the documentation, and with many of the MS-DOS 
systems, a working BASIC language and manual. 

pc-ditto cones with a utility to format DOS 
disks called PC_DEMT.COM. I had seme trouble 
with this format program, but if I got the 
message "Abort, Retry, or Ignore", I simply hit R 
for Retry a few times, and it worked fine. I had 
trouble trying to make single-sided DOS disks 
with the IBM DOS 3.2 format program running under 
pc-ditto. Even though I used the correct format 
switch, /l, it would format 40 tracks on both 
sides instead of 80 tracks on a single side. The 
program PC_DFMT.COM worked and made single-sided 
PC DOS Disks. Double-sided disks were never a 
problem on either utility. I also noticed a 
problem when changing from a double-sided disk in 
a drive to a single-sided disk. It would not 
recognize the drive file allocation table and 
sometimes I had to abort the program. To re-boot 
under MS DOS, you hold down the [Control], [Alt] 
and [Delete] keys at the same time. This brings 
you quickly back to the pc-ditto main screen 
before DOS was loaded. 

If you are new to MS DOS, you have a whole 
operating system to learn, much more than could 
every be covered in a magazine review. However, 
it might help new users a bit if I explained seme 
of the most-used MS DOS ccrrmands. 

When you load MS DOS, it looks at the BOOT 
disk and loads two "hidden" files. A hidden file 
does not appear in the listing when you ask for a 
directory using MS DOS. However, if you look at 
the MS DOS disk under GEM, these two files are 
not hidden (although they are set to READ ONLY). 
They are placed on a DOS disk when it is 
formatted. During the boot process, MS DOS loads 
these two hidden files and then looks for the 
program COMMAND.COM. After it loads this command 
processor, it looks for a file named CONFIG.SYS, 
and then a file named AUTOEXEC.BAT. These two 
files are ASCII text files you create from the 
console or any word processor that can save the 
file in an ASCII format. 


For example, you might create a typical 
CONFIG.SYS file frern the console by entering the 
following lines: 

A>C0PY CCN:CONFIG.SYS [RET] 

DEVICE=ANSI. SYS [RET] 

FILES=20 [RET] 

BUFFERS=15 [RET] 

[F6] [RET] 

The [F6] key sets an end-of-file marker, 
closes the file and writes it to the name you 
indicated after the copy CCN: = statement. You 
can also use this method to quickly make up an 
autoexec or any other "batch" file. So when you 
see documentation instructing you to add 
something to your CONFIG.SYS file, you can use 
this method. Note that you have to type the 
whole file in, as it does not append to the 
original file but overwrites it. 

If a filename has one of the three extensions 
COM, EXE or BAT, it is executable. When you 
enter the filename, DOS will try to load and 
execute the file. Any BAT file is an ASCII text 
file which can be created as above and is used to 
execute a series of commands (for example, 
entering the time, date and then running your 
favorite program at start up). COM and EXE files 
are similar to PRG and TIP extensions under GEM. 

To format a new disk , use the FORMAT ccrrmand. 
For example, "A>F0RMAT B:" will format the disk 
in drive B. However, I suggest you use the 
pc-ditto program PC_DFMT.COM and follow the 
prompts. What could be easier? Of course, your 
MS DOS disks must all be formatted before you can 
copy programs to them. 

To list the files on your disk , enter the DIR 
(directory) ccrrmand. If there are a lot of 
programs, try "DIR /P" or "DIR /W" and see what 
happens. It is easier to see the display with 
these ccrrmands than with DIR. 

To copy a single file, use the COPY ccrrmand: 
"A>C0PY A:PROGRAM.EXE B:PROGRAM.EXE". If you 
only have one disk, MS DOS will prompt you to 
insert disk B into drive A as needed. Wild card 
characters allows you to copy several files at 
once. For example, "A>C0FY A:*.EXE B: " will 
copy all files with an "EXE" extension from drive 
A to drive B. 

To copy an entire disk, use the DISKCOFY 
program on your MS DOS disk: "A>DISKCOPY A: B: ". 
Note that you can also use ST copy programs such 
as PROCOFY to copy complete MS DOS disks, 
although I have had some problems with 
single-sided disks. 

To delete a file, use the DEL (delete) 
ccrrmand: "A>DEL A:FILENAME.XXX" (any filename 
with its extension). Be sure to be careful using 


ST 


50 


ST 











CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


wild cards or you can easily trash a disk. DOS 
will ask you if you are sure if you use a *.* 
wild card. You had better be sure or say good 
bye to all you files on that disk. 

To view an ASCII file , use the TYPE ccrrmand: 
"A>TYPE A: FILENAME. XXX". This will show the file 
on the screen. If is is long you can stop and 
start the file from scrolling with a [Control]+S 
toggle. You can use MS DOS to redirect the 
output frcm the screen to the printer by 
entering: "A>TYPE FILE.TXT >PRN". This lets you 
send an ASCII text file to the printer. Be 
careful in that if you try to send a file created 
with a word processor or an executable program, 
you may get garbage sent to the printer. I once 
unknowingly sent a file full of formfeeds to my 
printer and left my printer unattended. I found 
a nice pile of paper on the floor. 

To MaKe a DIRectory , use the MD or MKDIR 
command: ,f A>MKDIR dimame M . This creates a 
directory, "dimame", which is the same as a 
folder in GEM. Use up to eight characters to 
name your directory. To MOVE to a directory , 
just type "A>CD dimame". (CD is short for 
Change Directory.) This will place you down into 
the subdirectory or folder. Subdirectories can 
continue downward, but it is best to keep it 
simple and limit your subdirectories to only one 
or two levels deep. To get back to the topmost 
directory , called the ROOT directory, type: 

"CD\". This returns you up to the top directory 
much quicker than in GEM. 

To remove a directory , first delete all the 
files in it, then move to the parent directory 
(the ccrrmand "A>CD .." will move you to the 
parent directory of whatever directory you are 
in) and type RD or RMDIR (for ReMove DIRectory) 
and the directory name. 

That's All or Is It? 

This new adventure I premised you is just 
beginning. If you really want to have seme fun, 
just invite that die-hard IBM neighbor over and 
boot up Turbo Pascal for him. I have been 
waiting a long time for a product like this, and 
based on this initial offering, I have every 
confidence in AVANT-GARDE SYSTEMS. GINNY and 
BILL TEAL run this small, Florida based company 
and I am sure they will continue to improve our 
ST libraries with quality products like 
pc-ditto . 

[pc-ditto, AVANT-GARDE SYSTEMS, 381 Pablo 
Point Drive, Jacksonville, Florida 32225 . (904) 

221-2904 .7 


MS-DOS ON THE ST: Part I 

(Continued frcm Page 49) 

Exit PC emulation and boot your pc-ditto 
disk. From the directory, drag the two files 
PC_DFMT.PRG and PC_DDRVR.SYS over to your newly 
DOS formatted disk. This procedure may sound 
strange, but as both Avant Garde and David Small 
have previously pointed out, the ST and IBM 
formats are virtually identical. More on this 
later. Back to pc-ditto emulation. Boot your 
DOS disk containing the two transferred programs. 
Now you must configure the system by entering the 
following: 

COPY (XM CONFIG.SYS 

DEVICE=PC_DDRVR. SYS 

To execute this configuration, reboot the disk 
and enter: "ASSIGN A=C,B=D". Without the assign 
command, the special features of PCJDEMI will not 
be available. If you want to increase your 
techno-stress, enter this ccrrmand with a space 
after the comma, or emit the ccrrma and use a 
space only. Also, don't use ASSIGN on your 
standard DOS disk. It kills execution of the 
regular FORMAT ccrrmand. DOS will not format an . 
assigned drive. 

To use these special pc-ditto utilities, 
after the A> prompt, enter PC_DFMT. This will 
present a menu screen where the UP and DOWN 
cursors move between menu items, and the LEFT and 
RIGHT toggle selections in each item. For those 
that have High Density support with DOS 3.2 or 
3.3, these utilities will be of little value. 

But for those with single sided drives, this is 
your only hope. Identify your target drive as A 
or B (not C or D), and select 80 tracks, 9 
sectors, 1 side. You may also elect to copy DOS 
to the disk you are formatting. Then press F5 to 
execute. Sometimes DOS gets cranky and doesn't 
recognize the drive. Just keep pressing an R for 
Retry and it will eventually execute. H 
when completed, it may not return to DOS; so a 
"warm boot" will be needed. When formatting * 
multiple disks, you may get "Fatal stack error". 
This one is indeed fatal, and a reboot frcm 
pc-ditto will be required. However, the above 
ASSIGN format should not produce this problem. 

The formatted disk will contain 362,496 bytes. 
With DOS 3.2 copied, it will leave 292,864 
available — the same as for a standard double 
sided 40 track disk. PC_DDRVR.SYS allows you to 
use this nonstandard single sided 80 track disk. 
Avant Garde has been sensitive to the needs of 
users with SS drives and has provided a solution 
that works. You're in business. 


- 51 - 


ST 


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CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


BARBARIAN 


Game of 
Review By 


At the recent surrmer Consumer Electronics 
Show Psygnosis was showing off, much to the de¬ 
light of the crowds, a new game called BARBARIAN. 
Although the game was demonstrated on an Amiga, 
they were quick to point out that this title 
would be simultaneously released on the ST, and 
that the two programs were nearly identical in 
both graphics and game play. I am happy to 
report that they were correct on both counts, 
except that, in my perhaps biased opinion, the 
graphics of the ST version are maybe a little bit 
better. BARBARIAN can best be described as an 
interactive cartoon where the player assumes the 
role of 'Hegor the Barbarian” in his quest 
through the underworld to destroy the evil 
crystal. 

But before I get ahead of myself, let me tell 
you what you get for the $39 investment. When 
you open the box, you'll find a 15-page manual 
that contains brief loading instructions but is 
for the most part, the legend of Hegor. This 
novella, as it's called, reads fast and contains 
hints to help you on your journey. Also, a 16" X 
27" poster of the original artwork by Rodger Dean 
is enclosed, as well as a quick reference card 
for game play. Finally, not one but two disks 
are enclosed. Although the game is contained on 
two disks, no disk swapping is necessary because 
before the game starts, the entire contents of 
the first disk are loaded into memory and then, 
after the user is prompted to place the second 
disk in drive ”A”, there it remains. This 
probably sounds like a long process (see Ed. 
Comment), but three nicely done graphic screens 
are presented along the way, so even the loading 
time is enjoyable. 

Once it has booted, you see Hegor ready to 
enter the underworld and a strip of icons at the 
bottom of the screen. To control Hegor the 
player can use either the keyboard or the mouse 
or both at the same time. (There is seme 
advantage to experimenting with these; 
occasionally you get a different "play” 
reaction.) I prefer to use the mouse and this is 
where the icons come into play. These icons 
provide for control over the direction Hegor is 
walking, running, to ccme to a stop, to attack 
someone, to defend himself, and to flee. Also 
the right mouse button toggles between a second 
set of icons which allows the player to pick up, 
set down or use an object he has acquired. The 
second set of icons also displays which weapons 
Hegor has, as well as a clock which shows how 
long you have been playing. The player can also 


the Month? 
Kurt Osterman 


simply click on the screen placing the arrow in 
the direction he wants Hegor to move, putting in 
a second "click" carmand after the first. The 
versatility of input shows how much effort has 
gone into the game. 

Game play? Simply click on the "right arrow" 
icon and Hegor starts to walk to the right. If a 
ladder or staircase ccmes up, click on the 
appropriate directional icon and Hegor will climb 
or descend when he gets there. Sounds simple, 
huh? Well, it's not that easy. There are 
monsters and henchmen everywhere to do battle 
with. And if that's not enough, how about adding 
falling rocks and disintegrating bridges just to 
mention a couple of the obstacles you will 
encounter. Seme of these obstacles may require 
sane thinking, if not experimentation, to survive 
thou. 

All right .... All right. This is all great, 
but how does the game look and feel? BARBARIAN 
has excellent graphics, extremely smooth 
animation, digitized sound (mostly grunts), and 
responds well to user input. As an example of 
the detail of the graphics, the expression on 
Hegor's face changes from absolute confidence 
when walking into battle to pure terror as he 
squirts away, if you click on the "flee" button. 
Once you have lost all three of your lives, the 
screen flashes the percentage of the game that 
you have completed. Then with no arguing, you 
are returned to the beginning of the game to face 
the same hazards in the same places as before. 
There is no "save game" option in the program 
but the true challenge is to battle your way 
along to get just a little bit further, just a 
little bit better each time, Which often involves 
new and creative strategies. 

There are very few things I would criticize 
in this game, but if I were to "nitpick"... 

Well, the game works only in color. While the 
dazzling graphics would suffer in translation to 
monochrome, there are, indeed, a lot of those 
sets out there missing a superb game. Secondly, 
although the animation is outstanding, seme times 
Hegor's feet distract you as they descend, 
missing the actual steps (I said I was 
nitpicking). 

I highly recommend BARBARIAN. It is packed 
with action, yet has the feel of an adventure. 
Psygnosis is to be congratulated, "A job well 
done!" 


ST - 52 - ST 


F" 






CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


ATARI 8-BIT . 

130XE. 139.99 

65XE..... 89.99 

NEW ATARI DRIVE. CALL 

U.S. DOUBLER. 29.99 

HAPPY DRIVE. 129.99 

NEWELL 256 UPGRADE. 59.99 

INSTALLED. 89.99 

RAMBO 256K NO RAM INCLUDED. .. . 39.99 

MPPPRINTER INTERFACE. 49.99 

PR CONNECTION. 59.99 

PR CABLE R6282 OR PRINTER. 12.99 

XETEC PRINTER INTERFACE. 39.99 

ATARI JOYSTICKS. 5.99 

COMPUTER EYES. 129.99 

COVOX VOICE BOX. 69.99 

MODEMS . 

AVATEX 1200. 89.99 

AVATEX 1200HC. 119.99 

AVATEX 2400. 249.99 

ATARI XM301. 49.99 

LANGUAGES . 

LIGHT SPEED C. 39.99 

OSS BASIC XL. 39.99 

OSS BASIC XE. 49.99 

OSS ACTION. 49.99 

OSS MAC 65. 49.99 

MICROSOFT BASIC. 39.99 

WORDPROCESSOR . 

XL ENT'S 

FIRST WORDPROCESSOR.. 24.99 

ATARI WRITER PLUS. 39.99 

PAPERCLIP. 39.99 

BUSINESS . 

SYNCALC. 32.99 

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CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


RELAX AND ENJOY 

By Joe Kuffner, (c) 1987 

ARCADE ADDICTION 


Well? You say you're burned? Are you burned 
from too much glorious sunshine of this recent 
heat wave? How about from too much TV radiation 
frcm watching Iran-Contra hearings day and night? 
Or, as usual, do the bum lines this summer ccme 
from spending so much time working on your com¬ 
puter. If your reason is any of the above, then 
its time to Relax and Enjoy. 

A brand new release, frcm Atari, is going to 
Jmock your socks off, literally!! I'll be taking 
a look at AFK/NOID, the game that takes BREAKOUT 
into the third dimension. This program is so 
addicting, that those in the know, say that AA 
(Arkanolics Anonymous) groups will be popping up 
around the continent to ccmbat this new, and 
potentially lethal (and very enjoyable) pastime. 

We'll also look at my selection for PD-of- 
the-Month, SUPER SENSORI , a classic tone / memory 
tester that will have your family begging to give 
it a try. 


ARKANOID 

What can I say about the most addicting com¬ 
puter arcade game that I've ever played? Every¬ 
thing! ! Hang on to your hat (and mouse) and en¬ 
ter the space warp frcm which you may never re¬ 
turn. Welcome to ARKANOID, programmed by Imagine 
Software of Europe, and distributed by Atari. 

The mothership "ARKANOID" was destroyed; you 
were left to defend yourself in these rounds of 
ME^CUT-style challenges. 33 rounds of brick- 
smashing, ghost-busting, ball-chasing fun. All 
wrapped up in a superbly programmed, colorful, 
entertaining package. Playing this game is 
definitely what I call relaxing! 

All you need, to enjoy this game, other than 
the program, is the basic color ST system. After 
booting the system, and clicking the mouse you're 
thrust into the very short history of how you 
ended up as the character in this game. However, 
ARKANOID is much too good a game to have to be 
bogged down with seme contrived story on why you 
are playing. The simple fact is that you're 
addicted to it, or soon will be. 

Using your mouse to control your "ship", act¬ 
ually more like a paddle, you control a bouncing 
ball. Keeping it in play, keeps the ball banging 
into bricks (thus eliminating them), scoring 
points, and knocking off your foes. You start off 
with a few lives, accumulating more with points 


and "pills" (I'll explain "pills" in a moment), 
with the object to seek freedom by getting 
through all 33 rounds. Well, I'll tell you right 
now, if you get to 33, let alone through it, 
you're the greek God of Arcadia, master of your 
wits! 

You see, several factors are stopping you 
frcm completing your objectives. The first, and 
the most obvious, is your lack of coordination. 

As with all true arcade games, hand/eye coordi¬ 
nation is a mandatory requirement. But what 
makes this game more fun (and also separates it 
frcm its grandmother, EREMOJT) is the 
introduction of small amounts of luck and 
"assists". 

Seven types of power "pills", which fall ran¬ 
domly on the playing surface, provide you with 
the extra tools and traps to get you through each 
round. These pills can provide you with a ball 
multiplier (light blue), a brick-blasting gun 
(red), a ball catcher (green), a "ship" enlarger 
(dark blue), a "slow-things-down" pill (yellow), 
and two very special assists: extra player (grey) 
and gateway to the next level (pink). With the 
exception of the last two, a little bit of 
strategy is required before "grabbing" the pill. 
By the way, these pills also distract you frcm 
your real objective - keeping the ball in play! 

As a result, you may find that they are not 
always assists but sometimes hindrances. 

Working against you are the occupiers of the 
space warp. These "babies", although destroyed 
when hit by your ball, cause your ball to deflect 
in random directions. Keep your eyes on the 
ball!!! These intruders take the form of wizard- 
capped ghosts, rolling block balls (think about 
that one!), rolling ball-infested wire pyramids 
(you've got to look carefully) and last but 
certainly not least, colorful trios of balloons. 
All of than make genuine nuisances of themselves. 
One bright side of their existence is that they 
make wonderful scapegoats to cover up your own 
ineptitude! Also, the ball speeds up, the longer 
it stays in play. This speed has different 
effects in each round (that is, depending on when 
and where speed changes occur, it may or may not 
help you). At seme levels, the ball simply 
travels so fast that closing your eyes actually 
helps!!! 

If that isn't enough for you, read on. Other 
than being colorful, these bricks, on the three 
dimensional backdrop, have other characteristics. 
Grey bricks must be hit two or more times in 


ST 


54 


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CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


order to be destroyed. Glittering gold bricks 
cannot be destroyed at all. This fact makes it a 
requirement, that by the time you get to higher 
levels, you must have acquired enough paddle 
dexterity to "aim" your shots. Without this 
skill, luck won't help you one snipit! 

I hope that you're getting the impression 
that this game is an animation and graphics para¬ 
dise. It is. Even the backdrops contain out¬ 
standing detail (and hence distraction). More 
than once, I've found myself staring at the back¬ 
drop instead of watching the ball. Beware! Ade¬ 
quate sound effects and intuitive playing fea¬ 
tures round out the program's brilliant program¬ 
ming. The only minor drawback in the program is 
the lack of game-save feature. This forces you 
to to start at Round 1 each time you lose your 
final life! However, practice makes perfect. 
There is, however, a game pause feature (space 
bar) which allows you to take breaks for meals 
(yes, starvation forces you to step away frcm the 
game, periodically). 

As a yardstick to your playing prowess, my 
top score is 263,410 at round 19. For newccmers, 
don't be discouraged if level 3 proves frustrat¬ 
ing. A little later in this review I'll provide 
a couple of quick and dirty tips that should 
improve your game. I figure that if you get past 
level 5 you should consider yourself to be above 
average, similar to breaking 100 in golf, and 
well on your way to coipleting all the rounds. 

Do not interpret this to mean that the worst is 
over by level 5, because it certainly isn't. 

I'll leave it to you to discover for yourself. 

Since everyone must get past at least the 
first three rounds to start having fun with the 
game (I guarantee you that you'll find Round 3 
frustrating!), I'm going to list a few tips on 
strategy for your perusal: 

Round 1 : (a) Grab as many pills as possible. 

This will help your score and give you practice 
timing the fall rate of the pills, (b) Avoid 
destroying the grey bricks until all of the 
colored bricks are gone. This reduces the 
interference caused by the ghosts. 

Round 2 : (a) Use the Brown Maneuver (so named by 
its inventor). When starting the screen, line 
your paddle up under the 3rd brick frcm the right 
and release the ball. Leave the paddle in the 
same place for one more hit. This puts the ball 
above the bricks for maximum pill-grabbing time 
without the worry of chasing the ball! (b) Re¬ 
frain frcm taking the multiplier on this level. 
Valuable pill-grabbing time is lost by too 
quickly eliminating the bricks. 

Round 3 : (a) Use the Kuffner Move (I wonder who 
discovered this one?). After eliminating the 1st 


3 bricks, you can always enter the maze of bricks 
by starting at the right-hand wall and releasing 
the ball. Leave the paddle still and presto, on 
the second hit, it enters the maze, (b) Stay 
away frcm Early Blue Syndrcme, or EBS, named by 
the inventor of the Brown Maneuver. There is no 
perfect time to grab the light blue multiplier. 
But, there certainly are lousy times. Show 
discipline and wait until you've cleared the 
first and second rows of bricks. The longer you 
wait, the better! (c) Take green but not Red. 

The catcher pill is very useful. The Red gun 
pill is totally useless! 

General : (a) Don't always exit immediately after 
grabbing the pink! Although most forces are 
erased by grabbing a new pill, the gateway to the 
next level is not erased by pills. Only by loss 
of your player. (This strategy is not without 
risk!) (b) Always, and I mean always, go for the 
ball. Just like going for the body in Hockey! 

(c) Don't play for more than eight hours in a 
row. You might get fired - or divorced - or 
both. 

I hope that you find this game as exciting 
and challenging as I have. This month's under¬ 
statement is: I LOVE AFKANOID. When you go to 
buy it, buy two and give one to your best friend. 
Otherwise you may have to turn over your machine 
to him/her. Have fun. This one is definitely a 
BEST BET! 


PD-OF-THE-MONTH 

Even public domain games can prove addicting 
to a wide variety of users. SURER SENSORI , a ED 
release frcm Magic Software of Europe, using 
compiled GFA Basic , provides the ST version of 
the classic memory game of lights and tones. The 
game was popularized by Milton Bradley in their 
S'JMCN series of toys. 

Six colors and corresponding tones are * 
sequentially played for you to repeat. You may 
select keyboard or mouse interaction. The game 
plays quickly and accurately. The graphics and 
colors are complimentary as is the music played 
during intermissions. The interface is so simple 
that you find yourself playing for hours, 
painlessly, yet with a certain amount of 
frustration. My best was correctly playing 21 
tones in a row. A must-have program for your 
software library. 

As you have probably noticed, this month's 
moral, so to speak, is that relatively simple 
concepts, coupled with excellent prograrrming can 
prove to be enjoyable masterpieces that earn 
their way into your software library, whether 
they cost money or not. Relax and Enjoy, and 
welcome back! 


ST 


55 


ST 








CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


DATATR I E VE 

An ST File Manager 
Review by John Barnes 


File Management Software 

I came away from Atarifest 86 convinced that 
the great majority of database users for the ST 
would be satisfied with a program seme thing like 
SYNFILE or FIJEMANACER 800 +, file managers for 
8-bit Atari computers. These people do not need 
or want the power of cLEMJN or similar programs, 

* which implement seme features of true relational 
database management software. The speed and 
capacity afforded by the ST are compelling 
reasons for upgrading to a 16-bit machine if you 
need to do a lot of database management. 

A File Management program is used to maintain 
simple lists of the sort you would keep on index 
cards in a box. Examples of such lists include 
mailing lists (the big favorite), inventories, 
recipe files, and the like. Indeed, if you have 
no need to update the contents of the individual 
cards (records in computer parlance) and if you 
have no need to print out subsets of the data or 
to order it in different ways, you would be well 
advised to stick with the old-fashioned 
approach. 

The Product 

DATATRIEVE y frem Data Becker via Abacus 
Software, should meet many of these needs. 
DATATRIEVE comes as a copy-protected disk with an 
attractive manual. ACA quoted me a price of $64, 
which makes it a relatively expensive package 
considering what it does. You can copy the 
program to a hard disk or a Ramdisk, but the 
original must be in drive A when you start the 
program up. The copy protection on the original 
is relatively effective. I understand that 
registered users can obtain a backup copy for 
$10. The original disk also includes several 
applications: a mailing list, an auto maintenance 
file, a stamp and coin file, and a recipe file. 

For those who insist on GEM applications, 
DATATRIEVE is quite a pretty one. On the other 
hand, those who like to work with the keyboard 
when doing database management will find that 
many of the most repetitive functions in 
DATATRIEVE can be done with function or control 
keys. 

You will want to make a working disk with 
your own desktop, folders for your applications, 


a proper printer driver, and perhaps a print 
spooler. Abacus supplies Ram disks of various 
sizes and they recommend using them, tut I prefer 
to use RMDSK1 frem the CN library and I install 
this together with a print spooler from an AU10 
folder. A calendar and a calculator might be a 
handy desk accessories for those who can afford 
the memory. 

Building a new application is not hard, tut 
the canned applications are a big help in showing 
how best to realize the glamor of DATATRIEVE. 

The canned applications may vrell be enough for 
the user who simply wants to maintain a similar 
application. 

Defining Your File 

There are three parts to any application: The 
file, the queries, and the reports. 

The record structure of the file is defined 
by a list of FIELDS that the user provides at 
startup time. The attributes (text, numeric, 
date) are defined when the field name is entered. 
Interestingly enough, DATATRIEVE does not seem to 
care about the length of a text field, so that 
the user is not really restricted in the number 
of characters entered in a text field. The 
records appear to be stored in a squeezed format 
so as to occupy minimum disk space. 

DATATRIEVE stows each application in a folder 
of its own, which makes for tidy disk maintenance 
because you will create a plethora of files for 
report forms, printer and screen masks, etc. and 
it is best to keep each application separate. 

. I feel that DATATRIEVE's lack of a 
Calculated field type is a serious drawback. 
SynFile possessed this capability and it let the 
user do certain kinds of simple statistical wrork 
and accounting. I cannot, for example, implement 
the Yacht Race Scoring application described in 
the December 86 Current Notes . People who need 
this functionality for Inventory Control, 
Subscription Fulfillment, or similar applications 
should consider using a relational database 
management product. 

Advanced users are able to import records 
frem another database into a DATATRIEVE file with 
a rrodest amount of ingenuity, so that conversion 


ST 


56 


ST 






CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


of a list from one program to another should not 
be too difficult. 

In DAIATRIEVE you maintain the file by 
editing data records that are presented on a 
screen one record at a time. If records are to 
be updated you bring them up by using 
Search/Select criteria. New records to be added 
and modified records are dealt with with the 
screen in Input mode. The order and appearance 
of the fields on the screen can be controlled by 
editing a SCREEN MASK. A default screen mask is 
generated at file definition time, so that you do 
not have to worry about building a screen mask 
unless you want to. The editor for screen masks 
makes excellent use of GEM capabilities and you 
can make very glamorous forms. 

Horizontal and vertical slider bars allow the 
user to expand the screen mask beyond a single 
monitor screen. 

Mouse button controls on the file maintenance 
screen provide a neat way to move through the 
file and to control searching and selecting. 

There is a "gearshift" icon for toggling between 
Search/Select and Input modes that I find kinky. 

DAIATRIEVE lets you use four GEM windows at a 
time for record editing. This would be really 
nifty in a relational database, but I do not see 
much reason for it in a file manager, because 
there is no provision for sharing information 
between files. 

Indices 

Indices are used to facilitate file 
maintenance and query functions. Indices are 
also important at report generation time. The 
file management program maintains an ordered list 
of KEYS that point to each record in a file. 

This array of keys is usually RAM resident to 
facilitate speed in searching. Queries that use 
the key will usually be very fast. 

DAIATRIEVE does something really sweet with 
indices. It allows you to access the list in a 
window with a slider bar. This provides a very 
quick way to view the index, and retrieval of a 
record containing a given key is very quick. 

Unfortunately, I have not found a way to 
cause DAIATRIEVE to order records on a key that 
is a function of more than one index field. I 
find this to be a disadvantage because I often 
work with lists whose overall order is a function 
of multiple keys. This can be done while working 
with "Subranges*’, but I have not found a way to 
do it for the file as a whole. The Current 
Notes mailing list, for example, is often sorted 
by Club, then by member within Club. Good old 


SynFile could do this as a matter of course even 
if its speed and capacity were limited. 

Query Functions 

DAIATRIEVE allows the user to pull up records 
that match certain selection criteria in a couple 
of ways. First, there are the indexes. These 
can be used, as mentioned previously, to point to 
any record or group of records. The subrange 
function allows the user to restrict the range of 
records that he is working on within a file. I 
have not yet found an easy way to create a new 
database consisting of records meeting certain 
selection criteria, as would be done, for example 
if the circulation manager for Current Notes 
wished to send AURA a database with only AURA 
members on it. 

Report Generation 

Reports from DAIATRIEVE take two forms, lists 
and printer pages. The user defines the format 
of these outputs using appropriate mask editors. 
These are rather inelegant, but functional. The 
mouse is used to define column widths and field 
placement. An additional page layout menu must 
be used to complete the definition of printer 
masks. 

DAIATRIEVE's report generation capabilities 
seem rather inflexible. I do not, for example, 
find a way to generate "two-up'* mailing labels. 
This may be asking a lot because I had to write 
an application program to do this from cLEMAN. 

Most on line report generators share this problem 
and you may want to consider a database system 
like dMAN or REGENT BASE that provides an 
application writing language. In the SYNFILE 
days I wrote the data out to an ASCII file and 
then operated on that with a BASIC program. 

Files in ASCII format for mail merge and 
table inpat to word processors can be output to 
disk using the PRINT FORM or PRINT LIST options. 
This might also be a good way to create modified 
databases. The screen option for viewing the 
output of these commands is very handy. 

Modifying the Database 

DAIATRIEVE is a little unusual in that you 
cannot delete or rename fields. Therefore, if 
you wish to modify the record format of your file 
for seme reason you will be faced with a good 
deal of work. DAIATRIEVE also cares a great deal 
about the order in which you entered the field 
names during the definition phase. If you find 
that these things are creating problems you may 
wish to print the file to disk using an 
appropriate report form and then use the Read 
Text File option to import the data into a 


- 57 - 


ST 


ST 









CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


revised file. I consider this approach awkward compared to the 
procedures in SYNFIIE or dREN for modifying a database. 

Documentation 

The 120 page booklet that describes how to use DATATRIWE is not 
a good description of the product, it is not a good tutorial, nor is 
it a good reference work. What text there is is well written, but it 
seems largely confined to describing options on the pull-down menus 
and those descriptions are often terse, lacking adequate examples. 
There is, for example, an intriguing item under "Other Block 
Operations" about copying between two files, but I could not make 
enough sense of it to try it. The developers of GEM based programs 
seem to feel that the screens tell everything and I am waiting for 
them to learn that people also want to understand what they are 
doing. 

Conclusions 

As a sophisticated user of ST database management techniques I 
would not take DATAFRIEVE seriously. If I had to set scmeone else up 
with a simple system for maintaining a simple list I might consider 
using it for the pizazz of its data entry forms and its relative ease 
of use within the GEM environment. I would, however, like such an 
application to be closed, so that the user is kept to a straight and 
narrow path with minimum distractions. 

My feelings about this product can be summarized by comparing 
with seme Hollywood actresses: lots of glamor, short on sex, and a 
disaster in the kitchen. 


LDW BASIC REV. 2.0 only $89 95 
compiler for the Atari ST y * 


Create your own windows, menus, dialog boxes, buttons, edit fields, and check boxes.] 
Use desk accessories while running your Basic program. 

Design your own mouse shapes and icons. 

Use alert boxes and file selectors. 

Develop ‘event-driven’ applications. 

All this and more without any additional GEM documentation. 

Explore more than 50 new high level GEM access statements. 


SPEED COMPARISON 
BENCHMARKS: 

A) 1 million empty FOR/NEXT loop. 

B) Integer calculations. 

C) Floating point benchmark. Please note 
that some ‘C’ compiler use double 
precision internally. 

D) Sieve benchmark. 

LDW FAST GFA GFA ST Alcyon Megamax MWilliams 
Basic Basic Basic Comp Basic 'C' ‘C’ ‘C 


A) 67 66 48.1 17.1 

B) 4.3 526 527 168.2 

C) 3.5 6 10.2 8.7 

D) 0.55 16 14 1.3 


303 5.7 5.7 

1100 5.9 6.1 

15.5 3.4 58.8 

38.3 0.43 0.46 


LDW BASIC rev. 2.0 is fully compatible with the new ST BASIC 
intepreter, the old ST BASIC interpreter, and functionally compati¬ 
ble with Microsoft BASIC for Macintosh. 

Not copy protected! No license fees 1 


OTHER LDW BASIC FEATURES 

* Ability to edit, compile, and execute programs without 
leaving LDW BASIC. 

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» Binary or assembly source output. 

* Single and double precision floating point. 

» Short and long integers. 

» Static and dynamic arrays. 

» Multi-line functions and procedures with parameters and 

local variables. 

* Hooks to BIOS. 

* And many more. 


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ST - 


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ST 











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CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


ATARI BOOKSHELF 


ST PROGRAMMING BOOKS 

Review by Pamela Rice Hahn 

I do not consider myself a programmer. I am 
a dabbler. And, I'm very curious. I want to 
know how and why things work. Not mechanically. 
In my opinion, that's for the techies. I enjoy 
examining a program's (programmer's) logic. To a 
certain extent the code reflects the programmer's 
personality. (There are easier ways to study 
human nature, I know; but, I'm ecentric by 
choice. At least in this instance.) 

So, rather than considering myself a full¬ 
-fledged programmer, let's just say I'm a modifi¬ 
er. Trial-and-error and assistance from my 
ever-present reference library help make these 
modifications possible. This month we'll take a 
look at two such "reference libraiy" books. 

CCMETOE! SI Programmer's Guide . This book is 
an amplification of the documentation that ccmes 
with the ST. As such, it covers a broad area: ST 
BASIC, Logo, GEM/ccnplete with C program exam¬ 
ples, and TOS. Unlike the COMPUTE! book reviewed 
in the May '87 issue of CN, at publication this 
book contained all original material. 

The first three chapters are devoted to 
learning to program in ST BASIC. "An Introduc¬ 
tion to ST BASIC" is just that — a concise 
15-page overview of the language. In this case, 
however, don't let the number of pages fool you. 
COMPUTE! 's editors pack a lot of information in 
these pages. Not only is it easy to comprehend, 
but this intro is so much simpler than wading 
through Atari's muddled ST BASIC manual. These 
few pages provide enough information to allow the 
novice to either begin LOADing in PD examples 
(from the CN library, of course) or to start 
writing his own simple BASIC programs. Chapter 
2, "BASIC Keywords", contains explanations of the 
(alphabetically-listed) keywords used in ST 
BASIC. Examples are given showing mandatory 
parameters and syntax. Chapter 3, "Writing Your 
Own Programs", walks the user through typing in 
the variety of programs given in the book, gives 
the novice the instructions necessary to SAVE 
then RUN those programs, and then explains how 
the program(s) work. 

The next three chapters cover Logo: "Logo 
Programming Concepts", "Logo Primitives", and 
"Creating Your Own Procedures". 

Chapter 7, "Introduction to GEM and TOS", is 
an introduction to the routines that make 
possible the ST point 'n' click ease-of-use that 
most of us already take for granted. 


Chapter 8, "Writing a GEM Application", 
explains the steps necessary to make a window, 
adding a desk menu, and creating a desk accessory 
shell. Because parts of GEM are written in C, 
examples are given in that language, C also 
provides a compromise between the ease of 
understanding afforded by BASIC and the speed 
possible using machine language. While this 
chapter does explain the steps used in these 
examples, seme knowledge of C is assumed. 

The "Appendices" comprise the next 61 pages. 
Appendix A displays the ASCII codes and their 
equivalents. Appendix B is an explanation and 
listing of BASIC Error Messages and Appendix C 
explains Logo Error Messages. Appendix D pro¬ 
vides a sampling of software and hardware manu¬ 
facturers supporting the ST. Appendix E explains 
and lists selected GEM VDI opcodes. 

Finally, this book has one of the best 
detailed indexes I've seen. Instead of just 
containing a few random selected keywords and 
then generating the multitude of numbers that 
refer to each and every time that word is even 
briefly referred to, this index (so far) seems to 
be complete. For example, check out 'variables' 
and you'll find "variables, BASIC 7-10" as well 
as "variables, Logo 135-136." 

The only complaint I have regarding a 
possible source of confusion is that on pages 3 
and 104 the book assumes TOS is still RAM-based; 
however, by page 245 the book recognizes that TOS 
can be either/or. 

As a final added bonus, this book is spiral 
bound. CQMEUIE! BOCKS has managed to impress me 
again. 

[CCMEJTE! ST Programmer's Guide , CCMJEUTE! BOCKS, 
P.O. Bax 5406, Greensboro, NC 27403. 

919/275-9809 ISM/0-87455-023-8, $16.95. 356 
pages. ] 

ATARI ST Programmer's Guide . The first 153 
pages of this book duplicate the 153 pages of 
text in the ATARI ST User's Handbook by the same 
author and reviewed last month. The substance in 
this book is on the remaining pages. The last 
chapter, Chapter 10, "ST BASIC Reference Guide", 
is an alphabetized listing of the keywords and 
their ccmmands, operations, and functions. 
Definitions and examples, syntax, and (mini) 
program samples are given. 

The four previous chapters — "Introduction 
to ST BASIC", "BASIC Programming Concepts", "File 
Handling", and "BASIC Graphics" — are all well 
written. The author's tutorial style is not only 


XE 


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CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


easy to understand, but the examples given are 
usually also accompanied by illustrations of 
example screens. This approach, used often in 
ABACUS books as well, not only facilitates 
understanding of the subject(s) being presented 
but also means the reader doesn't necessarily 
have to read this manual while seated in front of 
a computer to reach that level of understanding. 
Since I never go anywhere without taking along 
something to read (unless it's a quick trip to 
the front porch to retrieve the morning paper), I 
really appreciate this feature. 

It's too bad, considering the quality of the 
material in chapter 6-9, that I really can't 
recommend this book. If Weber Systems had emit¬ 
ted the first 153 pages and published the last 
half of this book under its present title at 
$9.95, I'd endorse this book and call it a 
bargain. Since they didn't, it's my opinion you 
can find better ways to spend your $17.95. 

[ATARI ST Programmer f s Guide , by Gilbert Held, 
Weber Systems, Inc ., 8437 Mayfield Road, 

Chester land, CH 4 4026 216/729-2858. 
ISM/0-938862-79-0, $17.95, 351 pages, Index.] 


ELECTRONIC COMPUTER PROJECTS 

Review by Carl C. Hahn 

Seme new houses are controlled by a computer. 
A group of engineering students build a robot. 
Have you wanted to try something like that, but 
were in awe of electronics? Then I have news for 

you.... 

This new book from COMPUTE! won't tell you 
how to control your house, or build a robot, but 
it will give you a chance to see your computer in 
a new way. If you have an Atari 400/800/XL/XE, 
you should find something of interest. The book 
contains enough information to give an amateur 
the confidence to try something that sounds 
difficult, providing some good information about 
your computer as well. 

The Preface tells you what tools you'll need 
to get started. The list isn't long and your 
supplies won't cost much. You probably even 
already have seme of the items. It also explains 
how to solder so you get a good connection, but 
most of the projects don't require a lot of 
soldering. 

There are 182 pages including a good Index. 
The book is even wire-bound so it will lay flat 
while you work. There are a lot of illustrations 
and diagrams. The reading is easy to understand, 
and tells you just what you need to know. 

Once you add a component to your ccmputer, 
you need a program (application) to make it work. 


DOS is a good example of an application. Without 
DOS your disk drive is just an expensive paper¬ 
weight. This book includes the application that 
you type in for each of the projects. COMPUTE! 
also knows people have trouble typing programs 
from a listing, so they have included a program 
called "Proofreader" to check your program 
typing. When you type "Proofreader" the first 
time be sure you SAVE it!! If you HUH it, it 
merrily installs a machine language routine and 
vanishes. 

Each project is provided with a list of parts 
.(complete with the appropriate Radio Shack part 
number) you will need. This way, not only do you 
know you have the right parts and can pick them 
up in one trip to the store, you can also check 
the catalog in advance so you know how much money 
you'll need to take with you. 

Although it starts with a brief explanation 
about how your ccmputer works (bits, and bytes, 
and switches), by page 9 you are ready to start 
your first project: a simple Logic Probe. While 
you follow the instructions, you learn about 
resistors. Then you build a connector for your 
joystick port, type in an 11-line program, and 
use the logic probe to check which pins have 
current. Since you are working with current from 
the ccmputer, there is no danger of electrical 
shock. 

The second project is making a simple 
joystick in a plastic box (Radio Shack), with 
five switches for up, down, right, left, and 
fire. This one requires more soldering, but 
gives you a lot of experience. You can also 
build a gravity joystick with mercury switches, 
if you want. Next you make seme paddle 
controllers, and test them on your ccmputer. 

Each of the projects and subsequent 
applications get more and more complex, but each 
builds confidence. You also get experience in 
using a solderless breadboard for your circuit^. 
You can begin wire wrapping the connections, 
which makes it possible to take your projects 
apart and reuse the breadboard. 

Since we are only up to page 45, I'll fast 
forward through seme of the next projects. 

There's an Analog Light Sensor using a photocell, 
and a Light Pen using a phototransistor and a 
NAND gate IC. 

How about making a Variable Digital Light 
Sensor (to tell when someone opens the 
refrigerator door), or a Digital Light Beam Timer 
(to time slot cars as they circle the track)? 

You learn how your computer can send signals 
to the outside while you build an Electronic 
Switch. Using the information from the joystick, 


XE 


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CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


digital light sensor, and electronic switch 
projects, you can even build a Burglar Alarm. 

You learn about Digital Logic and how to make 
a Better Logic Probe. There's a chapter that 
shows how you can build on the earlier projects, 
with diagrams and pictures. 

The last chapter is about Robotics. It does 
show how you can control one motor (such as 
raising and lowering an arm) with a computer 
program. 

This would be a good book for a Father-Son 
team. Most of the projects can be completed in a 
couple of nights, including typing in the 
programs. 

[ELECTRONIC CCMRJIER PROJECTS for Commodore and 
Atari Personal Computers, by Soori Sivakunaran, 
COMPUTE! BOCKS, P.0. Box 5038, F.D.R. Station, 
Nov York, NY 10150, ISBN/0-87455-052-1, $9.95. ] 



Up to 20 times faster than normal system. 

Works on both floppy and hard drive systems. 
Wrlte-thru cache, so no danger of losing data. 
Includes GEM configuration program for easy setup. 
Options allow customization for any system. 
Reduces wear on drives In several ways. 
Transparent to most software. 


$ 23.05 


PLUS $2.00POSTAGE & HANDLING 
RESIDENTS PLEASE ADO 5% SALES TAX 
DEALER INQUIRIES WELCOME 



Amgem, inc. 

Bethesda! 3 MD 20B17 
C3Q13 654-0*707 


i*«UY«yi*lvl‘fVi*>' 


■BL 



W 


MODULA-2 

the successor to Pascal 


* 7 # 

w 


i FULL interface to GEM DOS, AES 
and VDI 

i Smart linker for greatly reduced 
code size 

i Full Screen Editor linked to compiler 
locates and identifies all errors, 
i True native code implementation 
(Not UCSD o-Code or M-code) 
i Sophisticated multi-pass compiler 
allows forward references and code 
optimization 
i Desktop automates 
Edit/Compile/Link cycle 
i FiteSystem, ReallnOut, LonglnOut, 
InOut, Strings, Storage. Terminal 


i Streams, MathLibO and all standard 
modules 

i Directory search paths 
i Supports real numbers and 
transcendental functions ie. sin, cos, 
tan, arctan, exp. In, log, power, sqrt 
i 3d graphics and multi-tasking 
demos 

i CODE statement for assembly code 
i 370-page manual 
i Installs on Hard disk and RAM disk 
i No royalties or copy protection 
i Phone and network customer 
support provided 


Pascal and Modula-2 source code are nearly identical. Modula-2 should be thought 
of as an enhanced superset of Pascal. Professor Niklaus Wirth (the creator of 
Pascal) designed Modula-2 to replace Pascal. 


Added features of Modula-2 not found in Pascal 

■ CASE has an ELSE and may contain 

■ Dynamic strings that may be any 

subranges 

size 

■ Programs may be broken up into 

■ Multi-tasking is supported 

Modules for separate compilation 

■ Procedure variables 

■ Module version control 

■ Machine level interface 

■ Programmer definable scope of 

Bit-wise operators 

objects 

Direct port and Memory access 

■ Open array parameters (VAR r: 

Absolute addressing 

ARRAY OF REALS;) 

Interrupt structure 

■ Elegant type transfer functions 


Ramdisk 

Benchmarks (secs) 

Compile 

Link 

Execute 

Optomized 

Size 

Sieve of Eratosthenes; 

6.2 

4.3 

3.5 

2600 bytes 

Float 

6.4 

4.8 

8.3 

4844 bytes 

Calc 

5.5 

4.2 

3.3 

2878 bytes 

Null program 

5.1 

3.2 

— 

2370 bytes 


MODULE Sieve; 

MODULE Float; 

CONST Size = 8190; 

FROM MathLibO IMPORT sin. In, exp, 

TYPE FlagRange = [O.Size]; 

sqrt, arctan; 

FlagSet = SET OF FlagRange; 

VAR x,y: REAL; i: CARDINAL; 

VAR Flags: FlagSet; 

BEGIN ("$T-,$A-,$S-') 

i: FlagRange; 

x:= 1.0; 

Prime, k, Count, Iter: CARDINAL; 

FOR i:= 1 TO 1000 DO 

BEGIN (*$S-,$R-,$A+ ') 

y:= sin (x); y:= In (x); y:= exp (x); 

- FOR lter:= 1 TO 10 DO 

y:= sqrt (x); y:= arctan (x); 

Count:= 0; 

x:= x + 0.01; 

Flags:= FlagSet(); (* empty set *) 

END; 

FOR i:= OTO Size DO 

END float. 

IF (i IN Flags) THEN 


Primes (i * 2) + 3; k:= i + Prime: 


WHILE k < -- Size DO 

MODULE calc; 

INCL (Flags, k); 

VAR a,b,c; REAL; n, i: CARDINAL; 

k:= k + Prime; 

BEGIN (*$T-,$A-,$S-*) 

END; 

n:= 5000; 

Counts Count + 1: 

a:= 2.71828; b:= 3.14159; c:= 1.0; 

END; 

FOR i:= 1 TO n DO 

END; 

c:= c*a; c:= c‘b; c:= c/a; c:= c/b; 

END; 

END; 

END Sieve. 

END calc. 


Product History 

The TDI Modula-2 compiler has been running on the Pinnacle supermicro (Aug. 
’84), Amiga (Jan. ’86) and will soon appear on the Macintosh and UNIX in the 4th 
Qtr. ’86. 


Regular Version $79.95 Developer’s Version $149.95 Commercial Version $299.95 

The regular version contains all the features listed above. The developer’s version 
supplies an extra diskette containing a symbol file decoder - link and load file 
disassemblers - a source file cross referencer - symbolic debugger - high level 
Windows library Module - Ramdisk ana Print Spooler source files - Resource 
Compiler. The commercial version contains all of the Atari module source files. 


Other Modula-2 Products 

Kermit - Contains full source plus $15 connect time to CompuServe. $29.95 
Examples - Many Modula-2 example programs to show 

advanced programming techniques $24.95 

GRID - Sophisticated multi-key file access method with over 

30 procedures to access variable length records. $49.95 


TDI 


10410 Markison Road 
Telex: 888442 


SOFTWARE, INC. 

Dallas, Texas 75238 ■ (214) 340-4942 
CompuServe Number: 75026,1331 


XE 


62 


ST 





























































CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


1 2 hours per day* 

7 days a week 

(^Sundays: 12-5 ) 

GURRRflTEED. 

We'll have your ribbon 
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open with a wide selection of computer software and high quality 
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EX, MX, RX and 
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LX & Home^riter 


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1090. 1091 & 1092 


Apple 

Image^riter 

C.Itoh 

Pro’&Yiter 



Seikosha 

SP-1000 


Atari 

SMM 801 & 804 


63 













CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


MUSIC, MIDI, and YOU 

By Grant Slawson (c) 1987 

MICHTRON'S SUPER CONDUCTOR 


Hello again from the world of midi! Since I 
received so many phone calls on my Dr. T KCS art¬ 
icle in the April CN, I decided to do a review on 
another sequencer, MichTron 1 s Super Conductor. 

To begin, I want to point out that this se¬ 
quencer uses an entirely different system of re¬ 
cording and editing than does any of the DR. T or 
Hybrid Arts software. It took me a little longer 
to get comfortable with this system than with the 
other sequencers I have used. My belief is that 
Michtron has tried to make this package a musical 
version of a word processor rather than a word¬ 
processing-style recording studio. I find this 
difficult to deal with since I have spent years 
writing music measure by measure, rather than 
block by block, but I think the folks at Michtron 
have found a way to make music editing for the 
non-musician a feasible reality. 

The GEM-based program consists of recording 
and editing sections, with all the facilities of 
a good word processor at your command. Recording 
on any of the 16 tracks is the same as other 
sequencers: selecting tempo, time signature, and 
quantization amounts, and playing in ’'real-time" 
to accomplish the recording. 

At this point the similarities between Super 
Conductor and most other sequencers end. Super 
Conductor is based on the principal that most 
music is made up of repeated "blocks" or pat¬ 
terns, and therefore does its recording in this 
manner. You then string together all the blocks 
that have been recorded to form a song, much the 
way you would put tracks together in other 
sequencers. On the surface it appears to be 
similar to other programs, but the blocks that 
are recorded are not broken down by measures, or 
any other visible means of seperation during the 
recording process. This style of recording 
basically demands that the user record in small 
blocks, in order to make editing a reasonably 
painless task. This also provides a much easier 
method of recording for the person who wants to 
tinker with music, but is not driven by the need 
to produce the next Weekly Top 40 Countdown Hit . 

A quick glance at the manual reveals a well- 
written and comprehensive document which makes it 
very simple to achieve positive results in your 
first recording effort. Michtron has taken care 
to include features found on more costly sequen¬ 
cers such as the ability to configure synthe¬ 
sizers for a particular song by building files in 
the System Exclusive section using the word 


processor of your choice. This enables the user 
to send a single patch (sound), a bank of 
patches, or patches and special performance data 
to all the instruments in the system from one 
keystroke. This is very handy for performance of 
material, and especially useful if the user has a 
number of synthesizers with limited patch memory. 
They also include a section for using the inter¬ 
nal speaker in the ST monitor as a 3-voice synth. 
You can even alter the sounds that are produced 
by changing the envelopes for the voices frcm 
within the Super Conductor pregram. The use of 
the internal speaker can be very handy for those 
with the desire to experiment with musical 
recording and editing, but don't want to incur 
the expense of a synthesizer right away. A very 
nice feature I must admit. 

The options available in Super Conductor 
looks much like our trusty word processor: Record 
Block, Delete Block, List Blocks, Mix Blocks, 

Copy Blocks, Split Block, Filter Block, Transpose 
Block, Quantize Block and Edit Block. Note the 
Filter Block and Split Block options, as these 
are very interesting features. Filter Block 
allows the user to eliminate certain types of 
data frcm the block both during and after record¬ 
ing. Velocity, pitch and other control-type 
changes can be selectively eliminated frcm the 
block, leaving the rest of the data unchanged. 
Split Block lets you take one block of data and 
chop it up into smaller blocks for easier editing 
or in case you forgot you wanted two seperate 
brass parts and got carried away with your 
brilliant performance and the block ended up 
twice as long as the rest of the tune. 

What about the editing screen? I should 
point out that while this program does not list 
by the measure, it does list by the bar (not the 
local tavern type of bar). Bars and measures are 
synonyms in the music world, but while other se¬ 
quencers give a listing of the measures (or bars) 
as you record and playback, Super Conductor only 
lists the bars when you enter the edit screen. I 
consider this a drawback as there is no visible 
means to determine where a mistake may have been 
made while you are listening to the playback of 
the block. The only way to keep track of where 
you are is to count the measures as they go by, a 
practice which you will soon learn to dislike. 
Again, keeping the block to 2 or 4 measure size 
will make this problem unnoticeable, but I for 
one don't want my blocks of creativity to be 
limited by the tediem of editing. 


ST 


64 


ST 





CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


The rest of the editing is done by the block 
in a Bar/Beat/Click format, with each beat or 
click being divided into 96 parts. This nomen¬ 
clature sets up the editing screen to look like a 
directory for a file inside a folder, inside a 
folder, inside a folder! As I mentioned earlier, 
Michtron seems to be appealing to the experienced 
computer user-novice musician market. The event 
of a C# played on the first beat of the first 
measure and slighlty behind the beat would look 
like this: 

ah 061 v64 00001/001/024 off:v064 00001/002/48. 

A Clt with the numeric value of 61 was played 
with a velocity of 64, 1/4 of a beat into the 
first beat of the measure, and held until the 
middle of the second beat, when it was released 
with the velocity of 64. In "normal terms", a C# 
with a value of a dotted eigth note was anticipa¬ 
ted on the upbeat of one. I hope this example 
will demonstrate my point about this program. 

I 'm sure I lost alot of readers with my "normal 
terms" description, but those same readers 
probably can understand the numerical values set 
up in the example. 

Something else Michtron has included is a 
CXMPLEEE midi implementation chapter at the back 
of the manual which includes a list of the most 
popular midi instrument manufacturers and their 
identification and source codes. This is to 
facilitate usage of the System Exclusive Editor 
in the Super Conductor . It’s a good thing they 
give you this information, as you could wait 
until Washington D.C. gets snow in August before 
wangling these codes from the instrument 
manufacturers themselves. 

Super Conductor was a difficult program, (or 
utility as it is called by Michtron), for me to 
review as it is not the style of sequencer I was 
accustomed to using. I find the basic recording 
premise simple to use and perfect for someone 
desiring to chain short sections of ideas togeth¬ 
er to create a song, but I find the editing fa¬ 
cility tedious and verbose in its structure. I 
prefer an editor that lists everything in seper- 
ate columns like the KCS or Midi Recording Stu¬ 
dio, but I am also used to that format! I think 
the editing facility can be easily learned by 
anyone using a sequencer for the first time, and 
I think Michtron should be applauded for making 
the musical capabilities of the ST a little less 
forboding to the non-musician. 

The program did crash on me twice during my 
usage, once locking me up in my "load file" 
window, and the second returning me to the 
desktop. I won’t profess it may not have been 
user error, but it seemed that the program was a 
bit buggy, and had sane occasional problems 
coping with the onslaught of information that 
midi is capable of delivering. The program 


retails for $99.00, and is in a price range that 
is between the Dr. T Midi Recording Studio and 
Hybrid Arts E-Z Tracks on the lower end (approx. 
$40.00), and Dr. T's KCS ($199.00) on the upper 
end. That is not to say that the less expensive 
items are lesser quality, they are just different 
in their approach. 

I liked Super Conductor and the approach 
Michtron has taken towards Midi recording and 
editing. Even given my personal biases toward 
the editing style, I reccmmend this program to 
anyone desiring to get involved in music, but not 
stray too far frcm their familiar ground of word 
rocessing, data bases and programming. The 
99.00 price tag is a little stiff in the Atari 
world for a program to "dabble" with, but the 
smart shopper should be able to find a good deal 
on it. 

Coming Next Month. Dr. T has sent me all new 
updates of their KCS 1.5 and it is wonderful, as 
is their user support program. I always get a 
fast response to my calls, and the right answer 
to my problem, and a complete update on their 
product line each time I call. Next month I will 
be reviewing the 1.4 version of their Copyist 
which I demo’d at the June Novatari meeting, and 
I’ll see you all at the Midi roan at the 
Atarifest in October. 


The Hard Disk Solution 

from Berkeley Microsystems 



With the BMS-100 Hard Disk adapter you can 
affordably add a Hard Disk to your Atari ST™. 

•Connects to the DMA port of your Atari 520 
or 1040ST 

•Hardware and software compatible with Atari's 
hard disk 

•Includes a battery backed up time/date clock 
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CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


TRUE BASIC? WHAT? 
ANOTHER BASIC FOR THE ATARI 


(And a very. 
Review by 


very good one, too) 
Andrzej Wrotniak 


ST? 


Look, what is going on: everybody seems to be 
writing BASIC for our computer! After the origi¬ 
nal ST BASIC , we've had UW BASIC , Fast BASIC/M , 
Fast ST BASIC , Sof Works BASIC , GFA BASIC , and 
sane others - do we need yet another 
implementation? 

Yes, I think we do. This one. Here is why. 

The BASIC Family Tree 

Advocates of the structured approach to pro¬ 
gramming compare BASIC to the Communist system: 
you may try to "improve", or "reform" it, but it 
will always remain a kludge. 

In 1975, Edsger Dijkstra (co-author of Algol 
and a big name in computer languages) wrote: 

"It is practically impossible to teach 
good programming to students that have 
had a prior exposure to BASIC: as po¬ 
tential programmers they are mentally 
mutilated beyond hope of regeneration". 

At least seme things can be said in BASIC's 
defense: it can be implemented on machines with 
very small amounts of memory (remember the times 
of 8K number crunchers?) and it is easy to 
learn. 

Now, times are changing. Memory is cheap and 
simple does not have to mean primitive or harmful 
(would you mutilate your child mentally "beyond 
hope of regeneration"?). 

Since 1964 (when BASIC was first introduced), 
many new dialects have been introduced. More 
recently, a number have claimed to be "structur¬ 
ed". These claims are usually exaggerated (like 
"glasnost"): the implementors throw in a couple 
of new language constructs, as IF.. .THEN.. .HNDIF, 
or WHILE.. .WEND, and announce a programming 
revolution to the world. 

Structured syntax alone does not make a 
structured programming language, which needs also 
a well-designed procedure/function formalism 
(local variables, passing information via 
parameters), and - preferably - the concept of 
modules (as in Modula-2 and Ada). 


These features allow us to build our own 
libraries of subroutines, which later may be 
accessed frem any program as "black boxes". Do 
you need to know how the LOG function (or a CD 
player) works inside? As long as it returns the 
logarithm of its positive argument (or the 
music), it does its job and that's all you care. 

All right, but can we eat our cake and still 
have it? Can we allow for democracy and still 
have a one-party, centrally-planned state? Can 
we have a really structured BASIC and still be 
able to learn it in two hours? Enter True 
BASIC. 

True BASIC Standard 

Do you think that listening to opinions like 
Dr.Dijkstra's is fun? Twenty years after invent¬ 
ing the original BASIC its authors, Messrs. 

Kemeny and Kurtz, rolled up their sleeves and 
went back to the drawing board. In 1985 the 
standard of True BASIC (registered trademark of 
True BASIC Inc.) was published, and in 1987 we 
have implementations for the IBM PC, Apple Mac¬ 
intosh, Ccrrmodore Amiga and, now, the Atari ST. 

Yes, the code is portable between all these 
machines (including sound and graphics), and 
more: True BASIC claims to be compatible with the 
proposed ANSI I standard (Dr. Kurtz was the chair¬ 
man of the ANSII ccmmittee). 

And the standard itself is very, very good. 

It sets not only general syntax, but also graphic 
commands, standard libraries, modular features 
and - last but not least - the programming envir¬ 
onment (with extensions possible for particular 
machines). Let me give you a guided tour. 

Syntax and Standard Functions 

Most recent BASIC dialects have a decent set 
of control structures. Still, True BASIC looks 
here as good as (or better then) anything else. 
The IF construct has the advanced form: IF.. 

THEN.. ELSEIF.. ELSE.. END IF. The DO... LOOP 
may have a WHILE clause on the top, or UNTIL at 
the bottom (or none, or both), and EXIT DO may be 
used for jumping out of the DO scope. There is a 
SELECT CASE statement (like CASE in Pascal), and 
- of course - a regular FOR loop (with EXIT FOR 
for jumping out). Efficient, readable and 


ST 


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CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


consistent control structures: Pascal and 
Modula-2 could borrow seme. 

The GOTO statement may be used only when the 
program is written using line (optional, not 
recommended and included only for compatibility 
with old BASIC code). 

Arrays can be easily re-dimensioned and mani¬ 
pulated; there is a whole family of powerful - if 
you need them - matrix and vector handling 
statements. 

Standard functions: you’ll find all you would 
expect and then seme. Among those: Round(x,n) - 
round x to n decimal places, Eps(x) - the largest 
value negligible when compared with x (more 
useful than it may seem!). Time, Date and about 
50 others. 

String handling is good, too. In addition to 
a comprehensive set of string functions, there 
are sub-strings, which may be used on both sides 
of an assignment (much like in Sinclair Basic or 
VAX/VMS FORTRAN). 

Graphics and Sound 

True BASIC was designed as a machine indepen¬ 
dent standard and as such cannot make any expli¬ 
cit use of GEM VDI. GEM AES features (standard 
GEM windows, menus, alerts and dialog boxes) also 
could not be included (see below for more on this 
subject). 

Most users will not miss those, as True 
BASIC includes a good number of well-designed 
graphic primitives for plotting points, lines, 
boxes, or ellipses, filling them, setting up 
colors etc. 

Graphic operations take place in windows; if 
you do not care about windowing, the better: a 
default full-screen window will be opened for 
you. Coordinates are resolution-independent; you 
may, for example, specify that your window ranges 
from -100 to 100 and frem 0.5 to 1, and then re¬ 
fer to all the coordinates in these terms. In 
other words, you do not have to recompute every¬ 
thing from the coordinate system in which your 
problem is stated to the screen pixel coordi¬ 
nates; this work is done by the system. 

Another feature - quite unique - is a PIC¬ 
TURE, a kind of graphic subroutine. Thus, the 
code between a PICTURE header (with name and 
optional parameters) and END PICTURE defines an 
object to be drawn. Actual drawing takes place 
during the picture invocation: DRAW PICTURE with 
name and parameter values. But wait, only now we 
get to the real fun: the invocation may be sup¬ 
plied with one or more clauses, defining change 
in scale, position shift, rotation or slant. 


This is a very powerful tool and easier to use 
than to write about. 

A necessary degree of mouse control and 
tracking is provided, as well (checking the 
position and button status). 

The sound control is only rudimentary (for 
the sake of portability, among others), but very 
easy. The PLAY ccmand takes a string, specifying 
the notes (and their values), as e.g. "B2BGB4”. 
Alternatively, with use of the SOUND ccrrmand, the 
frequency and length of the sound can be expli¬ 
citly specified. The sound can be played while 
other instructions are being executed. 

Functions, Subroutines, Modules 

As I’ve stated above, syntax does not alone 
make a good language. In painless design, coding 
and maintenance of large programs, modular 
structure is what makes the difference. 

Tine BASIC allows for writing laser-defined 
functions and procedures. And by this I mean 
real ones, not a poor substitute frequently met 
in many ’’street BASICs” (to use the derogatory 
terminology of Messrs. Kurtz and Kemeny). 

External procedures and functions are intro¬ 
duced, placed below the program’s END directive 
or even in separate files, so that they 
constitute independent entities and can be 
invoked from different programs. Their local 
variables cannot be accessed frem outside; all 
information is passed to a function, or to and 
frem a procedure, via its parameters, which can 
be simple variables or arrays. If necessary, 
variables in non-external subroutines or 
functions can be also isolated from outside by 
declaring them as LOCAL. 

Procedures and functions may be kept sepa¬ 
rately in (source or compiled) library files. 

And now I'm getting close to the beef: mod¬ 
ules . Briefly, a module is a set of subroutines 
and functions (plus initialization code, which 
will be executed just once). Seme of them may be 
hidden frem the outer world. Similarly with 
variables: seme of them may be hidden inside 
individual procedures or functions, same shared 
between them, and seme - explicitly - made 
accessible to the other modules. You are in full 
control. 

You may not need this feature. Not now. But 
sooner or later almost everybody who programs 
will. Modular structure makes a difference be¬ 
tween hacking and programming. 


- 67 - 


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CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


True BASIC Environment 

True BASIC is something between an inter¬ 
preted and compiled language. Invoking the RUN 
command will cause a quick translation of your 
source program into seme kind of intermediate 
code, which only then will be executed. Syntax 
errors are detected at the translation stage. 

This way the user has the ease of interactive 
editing, running and debugging, but also the 
speed of a compiled language. Files can be also 
compiled separately and stored in compiled form, 
but this does NOT result in executable stand¬ 
alone programs (as in case of Pascal or C). 

The system uses three windows: edit, command 
and output. Mercifully, the windows are designed 
• much better than in ST BASIC y thus being a help, 
rather than a hindrance. The GEM-based editor is 
slow, but convenient to use. You may use the 
mouse, but only if you wish: every option is ac¬ 
cessible from the keyboard. For typing in long¬ 
er programs any ASCII editor may also be used. 

The system commands are also dual: menu- and 
keyboard-driven. In addition to on-line help, a 
couple of powerful extensions were added here. 
First, SCRIPT files. Enter SCRIPT-filename and 
the file will be interpreted as a series of True 
BASIC system commands. Second, DO files. These 
(written themselves in True BASIC) take your 
current program file as input and do to it what¬ 
ever you’ve requested. In other words, your 
BASIC system may be to some extent customized 
(carefully!) by yourself. 

Seme DO files are included for adding and 
removing line numbers and for line re-numbering. 
Another one does program reformatting: indenta¬ 
tion, capitalization of keywords etc. The source 
code is supplied, as well, so you may (carefully, 
again!) customize them to your liking. The sky 
is the limit. 

ST Implementation 

The True BASIC for the ST comes on a single 
one-sided diskette. It contains, in addition to 
the BASIC ccmpiler/editor itself, a folder with 
DO files, another with HELP files (you may add 
anything there, undocumented but works! ), a 
folder of example programs, and yet another one 
with seme extra True BASIC libraries. 

The libraries are no big deal, as with the 
excellent modular features of True BASIC you will 
be able to create your own libraries easily. On 
the other hand, the libraries are (with one 
exception) in the source form, so that they may 
be used for learning the ropes. 


One library, however, deserves special atten¬ 
tion. It contains the ST-specific, low-level 
bindings to VDI, AES, DOS, BIOS and XBIOS - all 
the raw and unharnessed power of the ST. These 
are provided with use of the Chinese restaurant 
approach: calling by numbers (Combination number 
four, please...), after previously setting up 
appropriate global arrays. Nine different PEEK 
and POKE routines are supplied to make it 
feasible. 

This approach was used in the original ST 
Basic ; many of the published examples should even 
work here. Still, using GEM from True BASIC is a 
pain. Luckily, for most uses you will not need 
it, as you may do graphics without any explicit 
reference to GEM. 

The situation can be, however, easily 
remedied. For each particular GEM use you only 
need to POKE your way through once, enclosing the 
resulting spaghetti (or lo mein) code into a 
high-level library procedure. 

On the other hand True BASIC, Inc. is selling 
’’The Developer's Toolkit” - a library of high- 
level GEM VDI and AES procedures for GEM windows, 
menus, alerts, etc. My friendly Atari dealer 
does not have it yet, but let us hope. 

Documentation 

The documentation consists of two readable 
and well-arranged volumes: a True BASIC Reference 
Manual (published by Addison-Wesley in 1985 and 
machine-independent) and the True BASIC Atari ST 
Guide , fresh from the oven. Together more than 
400 pages of well-written text, although the 
former noticeably better than the latter. 

The ST Guide contains, in addition to the 
Atari-specific information, the updates to the 
language standard - first of all the concept of a 
module, which seems to be an addition to the 
original True BASIC (and a very welcome one). It 
would be nicer to have all machine-independent 
information in one volume, and only Atari-orient¬ 
ed one in the other, but let us not be too 
picky. 

Performance 

I've played with the Atari True BASIC for 
just five evenings now, having written in it a 
part of a statistical library package with seme 
graphic utilities. All things seem to work as 
documented (with a single exception: the 
STARTUP.IRQ file is not automatically executed 
upon entering True BASIC y but this is a very 
minor flaw). This is a vast improvement from the 
times of "great compilers with not too many 
bugs”. Still, I need a month or two more to be 
more convinced. 


ST 


68 


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CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


In the case of BASIC, compiled or not, I 
wouldn’t pay much attention to the program 
execution speed (unless it is really slow). 
Nevertheless, I ran a simple benchmark to compare 
the True BASIC, GFA BASIC , and ST BASIC: 

* Evaluating of EXP(SIN(SQR(x))) with x ranging 
frcm 1 to 200 (in radians): ST 0.93 sec, GFA 
0.60 sec, True 2.40 sec; 

* Primitive bubble sort of these 200 numbers: ST 
103 sec(!), GFA 17.4 sec, True 11.4 sec. 

The relatively slower performance of True 
BASIC math libraries may be, partly at least, 
justified by the 14-digit number storage 
accuracy, as compared with 11-digit accuracy in 
the case of the two other BASICs (incidentally, 
the fine performance of the interpreted ST BASIC 
in case of built-in functions is nothing strange: 
they are binary code, anyway). 

Too Good a BASIC To Be True? 

Let’s face it. This is the first BASIC I am 
reccrrmending to my friends (the CN readers 


included). It lists for $100, and sells much 
cheaper: my dealer sells it for considerably 
less. The language standard is excellent, 
documentation very good, seems to work flawlessly 
- too good to be true; so where is the hitch? 

Price. True BASIC itself is not expensive. 
But in order to create stand-alone programs 
(which anybody could run directly frcm the 
desktop) you’ll have to buy the real 
ccrrpiler/1 inker (which lists separately for 
another $100 and does not yet seem available). 

The GEM library lists for an extra $50, so the 
total expense at list price would be $250. 

This still may not be too much for something 
well-designed and working nicely - but beware! 

The True BASIC standalone compiler cones only 
with a noncommercial license agreement. You will 
not be able to sell your programs without paying 
True BASIC, Inc. their share. 

If this does not deter you, then there is 
nothing to think about: go out and buy it. But 
don’t forget to turn off the stove. 


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ST 


69 


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CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


LABELMASTER ELITE 

The Ultimate Mailing Label Program 
Review by Milt Creighton 


In an earlier article I said that most of my 
database needs are met by any uncomplicated pro¬ 
gram that will automate my address book and throw 
in a mailing label capability on the side. 'When 
I said that, I didn't exactly have LAEEIMASTER 
ELITE in mind but I might as well have. This 
one, folks, is a dandy. 

LAEEIMASTER ELITE is by Migraph, the company 
that brought us EASYWAf. The quality shows. 

• Initially, I bought IAEELMASTER f the earlier ver¬ 
sion of the program and I found myself excited 
and disappointed at the same time. I was excited 
at the prospect of being able to put high quality 
clip-art on my mailing labels, and disappointed 
it would not support my printer (a 24-pin NEC 
P6). I called the company to ask if anything 
could be done and learned they had just released 
a version which supported 24-pin printers as well 
as 9-pin dot-matrix printers. 

Once I got the updated version, I found my¬ 
self quite happy with it. The basic program 
permits one to create an address listing, load a 
graphic image from the clip-art library, edit the 
Image in the graphics editor or even draw one 
from scratch, and place it on the mailing label 
along with the text. LAEEIMASTER ELITE adds to 
these features by increasing the power of the 
graphics editor, permitting more data manipula¬ 
tion functions within the database, and proving 
the option of printing disk labels and index 
cards in addi- tion to mailing labels. Natur¬ 
ally, LABELMASTER ELITE supports both 9-pin and 
24-pin printers. 

One of the nicer features of LABELMASTER is 
that it uses a graphics format compatible with 
PRINIMASTERy so the graphics images frcm both 
programs can be used on your labels. In addi¬ 
tion, many of the bulletin boards post public 
domain clip art which can also be used in 
LAEEIMASTER ELITE. Then, with the improved 
graphics editor, your clip art will be limited 
only by your imagination and artistic ability. 

LABELMASTER ELITE has all the basic file ma¬ 
nipulation functions you would expect. You can 
load a label file into memory, update or edit it 
and then save it back to disk whether or not you 
print labels. 

Another nice feature of the program is that 
you may specify whether a record is a personal or 
business address. This will later affect whether 
the address is printed in three or four line for¬ 


mat. In the basic program, only the standard 
printer font is accommodated (including wide and 
condensed forms of the font in the Freestyle 
mode). In LAEEIMASTER ELITE, however, if your 
printer is capable of using other fonts (such as 
pica, for example), you can now send the appro¬ 
priate ccmmands to your printer and use those 
fonts along with their condensed and expanded 
forms. You can even change fonts frcm one line 
to the next. 

Data manipulation features include the abil¬ 
ity to sort by fist name, last name, address, 
city, state, and zip code. LAEEIMASTER ELITE 
also permits files to be merged and a comment 
line of up to 48 characters for each record 
(useful for phone numbers or other data such as 
subscription expiration dates). The label can be 
printed with or without the comment line. 

When printing records, you may print one, 
seme, or all the records in the file. You have 
more control over mixing print styles on indivi¬ 
dual labels in the freestyle mode than you do if 
you print an entire file, but the clip-art can be 
included in either print option. It is also 
possible to begin printing frcm any point in the 
file rather than frcm the first file as in the 
basic program. This is an improvement because if 
you have a paper jam halfway through your 
printing, it is no longer necessary to reprint 
the entire file. 

The basic program graphics editor incorpo¬ 
rates such functions as loading and saving 
designs to disk, editing existing designs, or 
even drawing you own. You can flip a design 
vertically or horizontally, invert it, or move it 
on within the work area. There are also block 
functions which are for use within the graphics 
work area. The drawing tools include a pen and a 
line which can be used in white, gray (checker¬ 
board), and black. LAEEIMASTER ELITE expands on 
that by adding the ability to create mirror 
images, adding cut and paste functions frcm a 
clip board, and incorporating options to add 
square or rectangular frames to your drawings. 

The drawing tools are expanded from the pen and 
line of the original to include box and circle 
options in LABELMASTER ELITE. 

In addition to the mailing labels of the 
basic program the upgrade permits printing on 
disk labels, or index cards. The layout options 
for these forms include placing the graphics 
design on the left or right of the form with up 


ST 


70 


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CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


to eleven lines of text, a triple-wide graphics 
design in the center of the form with up to seven 
lines of text, no design with up to eleven lines 
of text, or printing out a disk catalog (on a 
disk label) with two lines of text for the title 
and credits. 

Finally, the program is not copy-protected, 
so it can be run from your hard disk. I put 
several versions of the same program right in the 
same folder with the word processors I use most 
often. You don't have to use it just for ad¬ 
dresses either. I recently sold off a collec¬ 
tion of boardgames and had plans to use 
LAEEIMASJER ELITE to print the sales price of 
each game along with a logo right on the label. 
You might also find this utility handy for club 
functions, such as printing name tags which 
include your club logo, created using the 
graphics editor in the newer version of the 
program. 

The bottom line: Many of us will probably 
never use all the features of this fine utility 
(it represents overkill for me in the graphics 
area, for example), but the quality of the label 
graphics produced and the variety of choices in 
text styles make LAEEIMASTER ELITE a superior 
product. For me anyway, it is one program I 
value very highly. While it may not exactly 
replace your favorite database, you just might 
find you use it mere often. 


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Syncalc Template Disks...$13.00 

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- 71 - 


ST 


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CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


ST WARS 

Time to Save the World Again 
Review by Rober Abram 


With a narre like ST Wars , you might expect 
this program to simulate the battle our trusty 
computer has had proving itself against formid¬ 
able heavyweights like the IBM PC or Macintosh. 
Let’s face it, that fight is over and the ST has 
ccme out on top. 

Instead, ST Wars, by Miles Computing, is a 
space arcade game in which you are the last hope 
(naturally) to annihilate the power bases of the 
Tyranny and make your planet safe again. If you 
fail, the planet will be deinfestated and your 
name will be muttered in spacepubs throughout the 
galaxy. So button up your spacesuit and check 
those controls — we’re going for a ride! 

As the program unfolds, you find yourself 
running down a hallway in which light from a red 
beam pulsates off the wall and bounces off your 
brain. As you stumble into a wall you can hear 
yourself in digitized speech proclaiming "Ouch!" 
You round a comer and see the fighter ship with 
the cockpit open beckoning you to approach. 

Climb the ladder and listen to the voice saying 
"Warning, red alert, launching spacecraft." 

You're hurled into space at hyperwarp and 
reappear in an asteroid belt with a Freefloating 
Energy Depot nearby. Also nearby are fighters 
from that dreaded Tyranny lot and you know what 
has to be done. At your disposal is a laser 
cannon and seven missiles, which can be launched 
either as heat-seeking or camera-guided. If 
launched as heat-seeking, they will destroy the 
first enemy spacecraft they lock onto. Camera- 
guided missiles can be controlled by the joystick 
or mouse. You'll want to be conservative with 
your missiles since replenishing them is out of 
the question. The laser canon will handle most 
of the ships the enemy throws at you. 

The graphics in this portion of the game are 
great as you see asteroids hurling by and the 
enemy in their ships trying to clip your wings. 
You can stay here building up points, but sooner 
or later you have to rendezvous with the energy 
depot to replenish the ship’s energy for the next 
leg of the mission. 

Once again you're thrown into hyperwarp and 
this time you're taken into the vicinity of a 
Tyranny starbase. They knew you were caning, but 
didn't bake a cake. Instead, as you make your 
approach, a horde of illwishers is sent to greet 
you. Pick off as many as you can before reaching 
the starbase. 


The onboard navigation computer controls the 
descent to the starbase and you'll soon find 
yourself being attacked by unmanned suicide 
drones which are being launched in groups of 
seven. At the same time, photon blasts are being 
targeted at you frcm energy towers. It's time 
for a lot of action frcm your laser cannon, but 
be careful not to let it overheat. 

The starbase is divided into four quadrants, 
each with its own system of defenses to protect 
the Starbase Main Launch Trench which is in the 
center of the four quadrants. The defenses 
include surface defense walkers, wedge trans¬ 
porters, pyramid sensors, atmospheric 
stabilizers, graviton ray tanks, electron blast 
towers, and duoplanar fighters that hound you 
with their lasers and missiles. 

You'll need to fly into the trench before 
attempting the final leg of your mission since it 
is here where you can re-energize your ship. 

This is accomplished by swooping down into the 
trench and firing a camera-guided missile at the 
magnetic energy lock. Once this is destroyed, 
you can fly through the surface energy depot and 
replenish your power. 

Then it's on to another trench that'll lead 
into the depths of the starbase and toward your 
main objective — the destruction of the starbase 
power generator. The trench leads into a tunnel 
where you need to avoid hitting laser wall ob¬ 
stacles which will zap precious energy. Next is 
the obstacle rocm with more laser walls to avoid. 
The final destination, the power generator rocm, 
is just ahead. Find the red exhaust iris which 
is opening and closing, take aim, and fire either 
the laser canon or a camera-guided missile. Once 
the generator is destroyed, maneuver your way 
through another set of tunnels and then speed 
away frcm the starbase. As you escape into 
space, you can look back and see the base 
explode. Mission accomplished. Now it's time to 
find another starbase to obliterate. 

As you can see, ST Wars is a game comprised 
of many different segments, each with its own 
circumstances and graphics. The surface mission 
on the starbase is reminiscent of Firebird's 
Starglidler in terms of the need to replenish your 
ship's energy and the design of the enemy's 
defenses. Camera-guided missiles, also found in 
Starglider, is another similarity. However, ST 
Wars has many more facets than Stargl ider and I 
find it less frustrating to play. 


- 72 - 


ST 


ST 









CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


Tim Hays, who also programmed Har¬ 
rier Strike Mission , gives you almost 
complete control of how you want to pla^ 
the game. Not only are there novice, 
advanced, and expert modes, but you can 
pick one or more segments of the game tc 
play if you just want to practice. The 
peacetime option allows you to fly with¬ 
out a single shot being fired at you. 

The unlimited energy and unlimited 
missiles options make you 
indestructible. 

If you liked Starglider you should 
like this game. ST Wars borrows seme 
ideas frem Star- glider but is not a 
clone or a copy because it enhances the 
similarities into a much more playable 
and enjoyable scenario. 

ST Wars is available frem Miles 
Computing, Inc., 7741 Alabama Avenue, 
Suite 2, Canoga Park, CA, 91304, (818) 
341-1411. List price is $39.95 


GET THE MOST, FOR THE LEAST. 
THE ST FROM ATARI. 


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PERSONAL COMPUTER CENTER 






PRODUCTIVITY 
PUBLISHING PARTNER.. 104.95 

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PARTNER FONTS.24.95 

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FINANCIAL COOKBOOK.. 39.95 

LDW BASIC..49.95 

TRUE BASIC.54.95 

GFA BASIC.50.95 

GFA COMPILER.50.95 

GFA VECTOR.42.95 

GFA DRAFT.69.95 

FIRST CADD.39.95 

DEGAS ELITE.49.95 

PRO SPRITE DESIGNER.49.95 



RECREATION 

BARBARIAN.34.95 

AIRBALL.31.95 

AUTODUEL. 44.95 

LEISURE SUIT LARRY.42.95 

GOLDRUNNER.34.95 

PHANTSIE1.31.95 

PHANTSIEII.31.95 

PHANTSIE III...31.95 

HARDBALL.29.95 

LEADERBOARD.31.95 

GOLDENPATH.34.95 

CHESSMASTER.39.95 

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PLUTOS.29.95 

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STARGLIDER...34.95 

GAMESTAR FOOTBALL .. 32.95 


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DISKFILE 5.25. 2.29 

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DISK CASE 5.25... 8.^5 

DISK CASE 3.5. 8.95 

DISK CLEANER. 9.95 

PRINTER STAND. 9.95 

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STORE HOURS 
Mon-Sat 10-6 


- 73 - 


ST 


ST 
































































































CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


CERTIFICATE MAKER 

Certified Ease for Awards to Everyone 
Review by Bill Moes 


We want it fast and we want it easy. Put it 
together ... make it look good ... next? Head 
'em up. Move 'em on. —Rawhide! 

Certificate Maker narrows the focus and en¬ 
hances the task begun by such well-known and 
easily used offerings as PrintMaster and others. 
Its sole goal is awards. Certificates and awards 
for everything and for everyone. The humorous, 
the serious, the insulting, the unusual: all are 
represented in the 220 listings frcm the package. 

* And if you need seme thing completely different, 
you'll find seme choices blank, to be used for 
anything. 

Each specific certificate ccmes already be¬ 
gun, many with a graphic directly and uniquely 
related to the subject. There's a bit of room 
for your own creativity, too. You customize each 
with your own personal and special bon mots. 

The basics you'll use: body text and (option¬ 
ally) date and signature lines. Seme will need 


title text as well. Choose frcm a set of 24 bor¬ 
ders or leave the border blank. The text can be 
done in one of five fonts (serif, sans serif, 
script, gothic, and art deco), although the text 
styles cannot be mixed in any one section. Two 
text sizes, which can be mixed, are available. 
Those words can be aligned left, center, or 
right. Not all of these choices may be available 
for all certificates or for all sections of a 
certificate. 

The process is simple. Begin by typing in 
the number of the certificate you will use. 

Thirty to 40 seconds of processing time later, 
it'll show up on the screen. Then, enter the 
text, date, and signature. The signature will be 
printed under a solid line so you can later pen 
in the real thing. 

As you make the selections for each section, 
the program will again do a little disk and mem¬ 
ory access. When all is complete for that sec¬ 
tion, the certificate with the changes will be 


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Available at your local dealer, or call 


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- 74 - 


ST 


ST 























CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


shown on the screen. This way you can easily 
check on how it all looks as you move along. 
Choices are made through the GEM menus, although 
clicking on a pictured section when you're 
looking at the entire certificate will also bring 
up that section for work. 

Certificate Maker covers the expected cate¬ 
gories. Business, school, heme, sports, religi¬ 
ous, and community organizations will all find 
enough choices to keep the printer churning. 
You'll find seme subjects to be somewhat useless 
and some topics to be over certificated. (Do we 
really need six variations of "Best Friends"?) 

But you'll also find subjects you can use re¬ 
peatedly and seme you didn't know you'd enjoy so 
much. Most, though not all, certificates are 
sized to neatly slide into an 8" X 10" frame 
after a little paper trimming. Printing on high 
quality paper might be a good idea, too. 

Although programs like PrintMaster can ac¬ 
complish much the same thing, Certificate Maker 
does the job with style. The Certificate Maker 
graphics are not all the same size and they print 
out in higher quality and detail. You'll some¬ 
times see titles which do a rainbow-like curve 
across the top of the certificate or notice 
graphics which slide along just one side of the 
paper. 


While Certificate Maker shows higher presen¬ 
tation quality and usually offers more room for 
text, it lacks the excellent flexibility (and 
banners, greeting cards, letterheads, unlimited 
graphics) of PrintMaster. Both programs have a 
certain usefulness which doesn't greatly over¬ 
lap. 

The two-disk copy-protected set lists at 
$49.95. Have two drives or plan on a little 
disk-swapping, as the software has sections of a 
single certificate stored on both disks. Stick¬ 
ers and seals are included. This one runs with 
either a color or monochrome monitor. If you're 
after even more possibilities, take a look at 
Certificate Library ($34.95), which adds another 
100+ certificates, 24 more borders, along with 
seals and stickers. 

Nothing mind stretching. Nothing to awe or 
mystify or (greatly) challenge. Just something 
to use and enjoy. Certificate Maker does what it 
does quite well. And after you've become adept 
at using it, there's even a certificate for you 
to hang on your own refrigerator: Master 
Certificate Maker. 

[Springboard Software, 7808 Creekridge Circle, 
Minneapolis, MN 55435 (612) 944-3915] 



- 75 - 


ST 


ST 













CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


NORTHERN VIRGINIA ATARI USERS 1 GROUP (NOVATARI) 


President. 

VP-ST. 

VP-8-bit. 

Treasurer. 

Secretary. 

Membership. 

Training Coord.. 
Telecom SIG... 

MS DOS SIG.... 

SYSOP. 

Bulletin Boards 

8-bit. 

ST. 

HOTLINE. 


G. Weatherhead. 
David Galvin... 
Gary Purinton.. 
Curt Sandler... 

Bob Zirrmon. 

Earl Lilley.... 
Glenn Bernstein 

Ted Bell.. 

Ed Seward. 

Mike Gibbons... 
Ted Bell. 

ARMUDIC. 

WAACE ST. 

Andrea Bonham.. 


703) 938-4829 
703) 820-9543 
(703) 476-8391 
(703) 734-9533 
(703) 476-5924 
(703) 281-9017 
(703) 455-6053 
(703) 455-5312 
(703) 573-3044 
(703) 440-0379 
(703) 455-5312 

703) 569-8305 
703) 280-9072 
(703) 534-3503 


NEW MEMBERS: Dues are $20/year which includes a 
subscription to CURRENT NOTES. Join at the main 
meeting, chapter meeting or by sending $20, pay¬ 
able to NOVATARI, to Earl Lilley, 821 Ninovan Road 
SE, Vienna, VA 22180. 


NOVATARI MAIN MEETING is at the Washington Gas 
Light Building, 6801 Industrial Road, Springfield, 
VA. Meetings are usually held the 2nd Sunday of 
each month. Take 495 to east on Braddock Rd (620) 
to south on Backlick Rd (617). Left on Industrial 
Rd. Washington Gas Light is the 2nd building on 
right. Schedule: 5:30, Telecom SIG; 6:00, Speaker 
or Demos; 7:00, Business Meeting / Open Forum; 

7:30 8-bit SIG and ST Sig. (ST SIG also meets at 
Washington Gas Light from 5:30-9:30 on the 4th 
Sunday.) 


space, send a check for $20, payable to Novatari, 
and a self-addressed -stamped envelope to Andrea 
Bonham, 3344 Beechtree Lane, Falls Church, VA 
22042 (703) 534-3503. 

ATARI USERS REGIONAL ASSOCIATION (AURA) 



Used Equip Sales. Lincoln Hallen.. 


301-652-0667 

301-926-3660 

301-593-1076 

301-946-8435 

301-622-1547 

301-345-4336 

301-946-8435 

301-460-5060 


Meetings. 1st Thursday. 7:00 pm (library sales). 

7:30-9:00 pm (Program) in the Temple Israel Social 
Hall. Temple Israel is located in Silver Spring, 

MD at 420 E. University Blvd. between Colesville 
Rd (Rt 29) and Piney Branch Rd (Md Rt 320). All 
meetings for the rest of 1987 are on the first 
Thursday, with the exception of October, when 
there is no meeting. 


Correspondence. All correspondence, including 
membership renewals, changes of address, etc. 
should be sent to: AURA, P.0. Box 7761, Silver 
Spring, MD, 20904. AURA cannot guarantee CURRENT 
NOTES subscription fulfillment unless the member 
provides written confirmation of address changes, 
renewals, etc. to the address given above. 

AURA Report for July/August 87 


Mt. Vernon / Hybla Valley, 1st Thursday, 7:30. 
Contact Ron Peters at 780-0963. 

Sterling , Sterling Library, 7:30-9:30, 1st Wed. 
Contact Wayne Wilt 437-6159. 

ST BBS Update. The WAACE ST BBS moved in early 
August. The number is now (703) 280-9072. Those 
wishing to have access to the WAACE ST BBS must 
mail a check for $7.50 payable to "NOVATARI" to: 

Ed Seward, P.0. Box 541, Vienna, VA 22180. There 
are NO CHANGES for the ARMUDIC 8-bit BBS. 

Novatari Computer Education . NOVATARI is now 
offering computer courses for Atari computers. 
These courses are planned to start this fall in 
late October or early November just after ATARI- 
FEST '87. If there is enough demand for a 
particular course, arrangements will be made to 
have the course scheduled earlier. Present plans 
for courses include the following: 

(XL/XE): Amodem, Assembly Language, Atariwriter+, 
Bulletin Boards, DOS 2.5, Express, Synfile+, 
Syncalc. 

(ST): Assembly Language, dBMAN, Bulletin Boards, 
First Word, Flash, Midi. 

The price for each course session is $5 for 
NOVATARI members and $10 for non-members. To sign 
up for these courses or to request additional 
. course topics, contact Glen Bernstein at 
(703)455-6053 between 6 and 9 PM. 

Atarifest Banquet. After Saturday’s fest, there 
will be a banquet at the Fairfax City Holiday Inn. 
Guest speakers frcm the world of Atari will be on 
hand. Only 120 tickets are available on a 
first-ccme first-serve basis. To reserve your 


Meetings. Our next meeting will be Sept 3. The 
theme will be Desktop Publishing. We hope to look 
at Publishing Partner and seme of the XLent 
Products. Vice President Barry Marcus is 
responsible for coordinating meeting agendas. 
Please contact Barry to get on the agenda. There 
will be no meeting in October. The November 
meeting will feature music. The theme for 
December will be games. 

Member Survey. Barry Marcus is conducting a 
survey of hardware owned by AURA members. The 
results of this survey are being used to assist in 
program planning. Please contact Barry if you 
have not yet participated. 

8-bit Library. The latest Antic and Analog disks 
are available. We are still working on the 
"starter kit". More reviews are needed for the 
reference manual on disks 41 to 80. 

16-bit Library. Jeff Kellogg has order forms for 
members who want to obtain material frcm the 16 
bit library. Jeff now has almost all of the 
Current Notes Disks. Send Jeff an order form for 
the disks you want and then pick them up at the 
next meeting. There are too many disks in the 
library to allow us to provide anything better 
than pot luck for spot sales. 

We will try to have a modest inventory of the 
latest releases on hand. Try to get your 
submissions to Jeff Kellogg well before the 
meeting. Members of other groups are welcome to 
order AURA library disks by mail (send your order 
to our P.0. Box). 

DEMCNSTRATICNS. Many people were very happy with 
our experiment in setting up concurrent 8 and 16 
bit demos. This gives more time for the material 


WAACE 76 NEWS 

















































CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


and people can filter out things that are not of 
interest to them. Now all we need are additional 
volunteers to make presentations. 

* 8 bit demo . Walter Jones took the audience 
through SpartaDos. There was no 8-bit demo at the 
August meeting. 

* 16 bit demo. John Barnes discussed the use of 
command shells using DO IT!. Terry White gave an 
excellent demo of CAD-315. The new version of this 
program is much less of a toy than the old one. 

BBS 1 s . Note the new phone numbers for the WAACE 

BBS 1 !;. 


MEETINGS: 3rd Tuesday 7-10PM, Ccrrrriunity Room, 
Potcmac Branch, Prince William County Library, 
Opitz Blvd., Woodbridge, VA. Entering Woodbridge 
frcm either North or South on Route 1, proceed to 
the intersection of Route 1 and Opitz Blvd. 
(opposite Woodbridge Lincoln-Mercury). Turn West 
on Opitz and take first left turn into the 
library’s parking lot. The Community Rocm is 
located to your left immediately upon entering the 
main building. 

NEW MEMBERS : Initial membership fee is $10/yr plus 
$1 monthly dues. Join at meeting or send check, 
payable to WACUG, to Frank W. Bassett, 15313 
Blacksmith Terr, Woodbridge, VA 22191. 


MEMBERSHIP. AURA dues are now $20 per year for 
Regular Members and $5 for Library members. 

Regular Member dues include 10 issues of Current 
Notes magazine. We are discontinuing the practice 
of sending out one copy of Current Notes past the 
expiration date. All members are hereby reminded 
that subscribing to Current Notes is NOT a 
prerequisite for membership in AURA. If you do 
not want the magazine you can join for $5 without 
losing any privileges. We are attempting to 
institute a reminder system for membership 
renewals. 

AURA Roster. Copies of the AURA roster are 
available at meetings or by written request to 
Richard Stoll (enclose a self-addressed stamped 
envelope), 


FREDERICK ATARI COMPUTER ENTHUSIASTS (FACE) 


President.John Maschmeier.. 

Vice President... Mike Kerwin. 

Treasurer.Buddy Smallwood.. 

Librarian.Jason Hannon. 

Secretary. Bill Mentzer. 

SYSOP. Chuck Grasser_ 

Bulletin Board. 


301-271-2470 

301-845-4477 

301-432-6863 

301-663-1176 

717-762-7281 

301-831-9092 

301-865-5569 


MEETINGS: 4th Tuesday, 7-9:30 pm, Walkersville 
H. S., MD Route 194, 1 mile north of MD Route 26 
(Liberty Rd). 

NEW MEMBERS: Dues are $25/year/family. Join at 
meeting or send check, payable to FACE, to Buddy 
Smallwood, PO Box 300, Keedysville, MD 21756. 


Treasurer’s Report. Mo Sherman reports that we 
have a balance of about $2000. Our rent with 
Temple Israel is paid through May of 1988. Mo has 
been working to generate advertising income and he 
would appreciate help along this line. We are 
helping to finance the Tee Shirt sales for the 
Atarifest, if all goes well this should yield a 
tidy profit if all goes well. 

NATIONAL CAPITAL ATARI USERS' GROUP (NCAUG) 

President.Peter Kilcullen.. 202-296-5700 

Vice President. Mike Poliak. 703-768-7669 

Treasurer.Allen H. Lerman.. 703-460-0289 

XL/XE Librarian Mike Poliak. 703-768-7669 

ST Librarian... Enrique Seale- 202-295-0112 

MEETINGS : 3rd Tuesday, 5:30 - 8:30 pm, rocm 543, 
National Science Foundation offices, 1800 G St., 
NW, Washington, DC. Closest subway stop is 
Farragut West on the Blue and Orange lines. 
Building is identified by sign for Madison 
National Bank on the comer. Front entrance is on 
west side of 18th between F and G. 

NEW MEMBERS : join at meeting or send $20, payable 
to NCAUG, to Allen Lerman, 14905 Waterway Dr, 
Rockville, MD 20853. Membership includes CURRENT 
NOTES subscription. 

WOODBRIDGE ATARI COMPUTER USERS’ GROUP (WACUG) 


President... 

First VP_ 

Board Member 
Board Member 
Board Member 
Treasurer... 
Secretary... 
Librarian... 


Jack Holtzhauer.. 703-670-6475 

Amie Turk. 703-670-2547 

Bill Parker. 703-680-3041 

Lou Praino. 703-221-8193 

Darrell Stiles... 703-494-9819 
Curtiss Pieritz.. 703-494-3704 
Frank Bassett, Jr 703-670-8780 
Charles Stringer. 703-786-8755 


SOUTHERN MARYLAND ATARI USERS' GROUP (SMAUG) 

President. Thcmas Crosby_ 301-843-1310 

Sec/Disk Lib.John J. Smith_ 301-862-9490 

Treasurer.. Samuel Schrinar.. 301-843-7916 

Newsletter Ed-Leroy Olson. 301-743-2200 

MEETINGS: 2nd Thursday, 7:30 pm, John Hanson 
Middle School in Waldorf, MD. Take MD Route #5, 
proceed about 1/2 mile East of the intersection of 
Route 301 and take first left past the Kinney show 
store to school. 

NEW MEMBERS : join at the meeting or send $20 
check, payable to SMAUG, to Sam Schrinar, 2032 
Alehouse Court, Waldorf, MD 20601. 


CLASSIFIED ADS 


[Classified Ads are free to Current Notes 
subscribers and WAACE club members ($5 to anyone 
else). Send your ad to CN Classified, 122 N. 
Johnson Rd., Sterling, VA 22170. No commercial 
dealers please. ] 

TEXAS HOLDEM POKER DISK. Get ready for Las Vegas 
poker! Requires 8-bit Atari 48K RAM, Atari BASIC 
and joystick. Not for ST or PC models. 8 
computer opponents, rotating blind-bet, $10-20 
limit-game. Send check or money order $29.95 plus 
$3.00 shipping. Maryland residents ad +5% sales 
tax. Order frcm: Kumikata, PO Box 2772, 
Kensington, MD 20895. 

1040 ST color system with hard disk, 3 disk 
drives, 2 printers, desk, modem and TCNS of 
software. I am selling everything separate. Call 
(703) 256-0927 and ask for Andrew. 


WAACE 77 NEWS 

























































CURRENT NOTES 


SEPTEMBER 1987 


CN REGISTERED CLUBS: 

Members of registered clubs receive CN at a dis¬ 
count rate ($17 instead of $20/year). To become 
a registered club, your club should send in an 
initial subscription list of 10 percent of the 
membership or six members whichever is less. 

For more information, contact Joe Waters, 

122 N. Johnson Rd., Sterling, VA 22170. 

ALLENICWN BETHLEHEM EASTCN'S ACE, PO Box 2830, 
Lehigh Valley, PA 18001 BBS (215)759-2683. 
CHARLOTTE AUG, Joe Venturelli, PO Box 240313, 
Charlotte, NC 28224 (704) 366-4320. 

CENTRAL ILLINOIS AUG , Robert Handley, 1920 East 
CroxtonAve., Bloomington, IL 61701-5702 
(309)828-4661. 

FT LEAVENWORTH ATARI GRQJP , John L. Hutchinson, 

PO Box 3233, Ft. Leavenworth, KS 66027 
(913)651-5631. 

GR. RICHMOND ATARI SUP. PROGRAM , S. Thomas 
Marvin, 1420 Yale Ave., Richmond, VA 23224 
(804)233-6155. 

HUNTSVILLE AUG , Levin C. Soule, 3911 W. 

Crestview, Huntsville, AL 35816 (205)534-1815. 
LITTLE ROCK ATARI ADDICTS , Keith Steensma, 28 
John Hancock Circle, Jacksonville, AR 72076 
(501)985-2131. 

MARYLAND ATARI CCMEOTER CLUB , Jim Hill, 8775-C 
Town & Country Blvd, Ellicott City, MD 21043 
(301) 461-7556. 

NAMETESS AUG , Dana O'Hara, 3475 Manassas Ct, 
Davidsonville, MD 21035 (301) 798-0566. 

PACKERLAND AOJS, Randy McSorley, 339 S. Maple 
St., Kimberly, WI 54136 (414)788-1058. 

PIEDKKT TRIAD AUG , Hardy Hall, Rt. 9, Box 274C, 
Reidsville, NC 27320. 

ROCKLAND ACOS, Richard Bloch, 29 Riverglen Dr., 
Thiells, NY 10984 (914)429-5283. 

SCXnHENTRAL PA ACE, H. Richard Basso Jr., PO Box 
11446, Harrisburg, PA 17108-1446 (717)761-3755. 
SCUTHSIDE TIDEWATER ATUS , Buck Maddrey, 5245 
Shenstone Circle, Virginia Beach, VA 23455 
(804)464-2100. 

TRIANGLE OCMPUIER CLUB, Donald Nelson, Rt. 3, Box 
760, Hillsborough, NC 27278 (919)942-2764. 

WICHITA ACE, Marilyn Merica, 1722 N. Murray, 
Wichita, KS 67212 (316)722-1078. 


New Subscribers: 

CURRENT NOTES annual subscription rate is $20 
($36 for 2 yrs). Foreign subscriptions (surface 
rate) are $30 per year. Foreign air mail rates: 
$35 (Canada and Mexico); $40 (Central America, 
Caribbean); $50 (S. America, Europe, N. Africa); 
$60 (Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Australia). 
All foreign subscriptions are payable in US 
dollars. Send check to CURRENT NOTES, 122 N. 
Johnson Rd., Sterling, VA 22170. 


LIST OF ADVERTISERS 


Classified Ads. 77 

Advanced Technology Networks 301/937-3605 73 

Angen, Inc. 301/762-8870. 62 

Applied Computer Associates 301/948-0256. 4,79 

Atarifest '87. 80 

Avant-Garde Systems 904/221-2904. 2 

Beckemeyer Development Tools 415/658-5318 35 

Berkeley Microsystems 415/530-3436. 65 

CACI Graphics Services 703/876-2231. 5 

Cal Ccm Inc. 301/933-3074. 73 

Classified BBS 703/680-9596. 71 

Computer Service Land 703/631-4949. 31 

Current Notes ST Library. 38,39 

Diskcovery 703/536-5040. 63 

Disk Publications, Inc. 800/345-6467. 75 

Electronic Clinic 301/656-7983. 47 

Font Factory. 46 

Full Spectrum Computers 703/221-6620. 69 

Graf ikon, Ltd. 301/937-3394. 78 

Imagists Group 703/764-0835. 27 

L & Y Electronics 703/643-1729. 53 

Langley Publications 703/241-2131. 58 

Logical Design Works 408/435-1445. 58 

NOVATARI XL/XE Library. 17 

Proco Products 401/568-8459. 37 

Software Plus 301/932-8331. 59 

Supra Corp. 503/967-9075. 74 

TDI Software 214/340-4942. 62 

Terrific Corp. 617/232-2317. 22 

Toad Computer Services 301/544-6943. 71 

XLent Software 703/644-8881. 9 


AnsiGraf 


An Ansi/Graphics Terminal Emulator 
for the Atari 520ST 


• Ansi x3.64 terminal emulation 

• VT100 submode 

• Tektronix 4014 graphics emulation 

AnsiGraf uses the GEM interface with menus 
and dialog boxes to set and save terminal pa¬ 
rameters. Supports separate text and graph¬ 
ics screens, optionally viewable concurrently, 
multiple text pages, Xmodem upload/down¬ 
load. text/graphics to printer or save to disk, 
programmable function keys. Price: $79.95 

Grafikon, Ltd. 

Attn: R. Kulkarni or G. Fekete 

P.O. Box 446 

College Park, Md. 20740 

Phone: (301) 937 - 3394 


- 78 - 


ST 


ST 

































































Just when you 
thought you were 
satisfied with your 
current computer 
system... 

They're Coming! 

(or so they say!) 


September 25, 1987 

(call for details) 



APPLIED COMPUTERS Inc. 

16220 Frederick Road Outside MD 14506 B Lee Road 

Gaithersburg, MD 20877 CALL Chantilly, VA 22021 

(Corner, Shady Grove Rd & Rt. 355) 1-800-4-ATARIS (1 Block W. of Routes 50 & 28) 

(301)948-0256 1-800-428-2747 (703)631-5377 











fiA/MFRF* Hum s C h< 

H ey, Hey, Hey; it's rapidly getting lo be that time again! A T AR l FEST'87 
The fine tuning goes on and we are determined to bring the Washington DC areaATARI e 
usiaststhe 'quintessence’ of computer fairs 

Saturday, October 24th, from 10:00am to 500pm vendors dealers local user group memt 
and" Atari enthusiast swill gather at the Fairfax High School to share the latest in computer 
elopments To ensure the latest and most innovative. ATARI CORP will attend in forcel ^ 
Sunday, October 25th, from 1:00pm to 5:00pm those attending will be able to coninue sharing 
andwill hear ATARI CORP describe some of what's out thereon the horizon in the computer 
field. AI so a sped al panel will discuss ATARI'S role in the microcomputer marketplace as well 
as well as hearing about high tech developments in the compact disk computer field! 


F or out-of-towners, 
we have obt ai ned 
dis count rates at a 
near-by Holiday Inn. 
Use the registration 
form at the right to 
make reservations 

T here will also be a 
gala banquet at the 
Holiday Inn on 
Saturday night; o 
$20.00/person (with an 
open cash bar). Those 
interested can contact 
the Banquet Coordinat¬ 
or: 


^ofcjC&CUjS 


I vurc 


Fairfax city Special Reservation Request 


3535 Chain Bridge Road 
FAIRFAX, VIRGINIA 22030 
(703) 591*5500 

Sales Office 703-591-0852 


Name _ 
Address 


Telephone (Area Code) 
D Two Double Beds 


Single 

Occupancy 


Double 

Occupancy 


□ King Size Bed and Sofa Bed ($4.00 Extra) 

Date of Arrival___ 

No. of Nights ___ 


NOVA ATARI 

SLEEPING ROOMS: Oct 23-24, 87 
RESERVATIONS AFTER: O C t 2 , 87" 

SUBJECT TO AVAILABILITY 

YOUR GROUP RATE: $ 55.00 /Nice 
+ 6% tax 

Deposit (check) Enclosed; $_ OR 

CREDIT CARD NUMBER 


EXPIRATION DATE 


All Reservations Must Be Accompanied By One Night’s Room Rate Plus Tax as Deposit or Credit Card guarantee. Guaranteed Reser¬ 
vations Held Until 7 A.M. Following Day. All Reservations Not Cancelled Prior to 6 P.M. on Arrival Day will be charged One Night’s 
Room Rate plus Tax. 


Ms Andrea Bonham 
(703)534-3503 

V endor queries may 
be directed to the 
Vendor Coordinator: 

Mr. Palmer Pyle 
(703)437-437-3883 


O ther questions may 
be di rected to our 
I nformat i on Coordi na- 
tor: 

Mr. Randy I ngalsbe 
(703)644-0159 


ATARI FEST'87 Chair¬ 
man: 

Mr. Donald G. Elmore 
506 N. York Rd. 
Sterling, VA 22170 
(703)444-9053 



YOU 
TH 


RE 


OR 


QnPP Z :1Z/OORTS