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Threshold Takeover 

In September Threshold Productions 
International announced that a takeover 
process of operations by Arkanix Labs is 
finally complete. Arkanix Labs is taking 
over all day-to-day operations of TPI and 
will fulfill any and all of TPI's prior 
obligations."We feel Arkanix Labs will be 
able to better realize the ideals previously set 
by TPI. Our hopes are that Arkanix Labs can 
provide for the customer where we have 
lacked in the past therefore insuring a bright 
future for the Commodore 64/128 
community." 

Arkanix Labs will be using the Seattle 
address for all mailings. The previous 
message number for TPI is now defunct. 
Jonathan Mines will continue to provide the 
Driven mail subscriptions. For further 
information contact Petar Strinic, 
petars@arkanixlabs.com We have a WWW 
homepage at www.arkanixlabs.com 

SSI Drops C= 

Software Support International (SSI), a 
long time player in the Commodore market, 
will be dropping their line of Commodore 
products at the end of the year.SSI carries 
loads of new software and some hardware at 
very competitive prices.SSI is also the 



exclusive distributor of many software titles 
and products, such as the Maverick disk 
copier and 1750 clone 512K RAM 
expander.Call 1-800-356-1179 for a free 
catalog. 



Commodore Evolves 
Into Emerson? 

Visual Information Service Corp. 
(NASDAQ: VICP, Bulletin Board) 
("VIScorp") and Emerson Radio Corp. 
(AMEX:MSN), announced today that they 
have entered into a letter of intent granting 
Emerson the North and South American 
exclusive retail distribution and sales rights 
to VIScorp's interactive Internet television 
set-top device, the Universal Internet- 
Television Interface(R) (UITI(R)), and the 
UITI(R)-TV interactive "smart" television 
set. Terms have not been disclosed, pending 
a definitive agreement. However, pursuant to 
the letter of intent, VIScorp would be granted 
warrants to purchase up to a maximum of one 
million shares of Emerson common stock at 
an exercise price of $6 per share. "The 
UITI(R) provides new and exciting 
entertainment, information and telecommuni- 
cations capabilities using any standard 



television set, including easy access 
to the Internet, World Wide Web 
and on-line services,"" said 
William Buck, Chief Executive 
officer of VIScorp. "The Emerson 
Radio branded set-top device will 
dramatically expand the capabilities 
of the family TV set by providing 
TV viewers a host of services like 
e-mail, on-line chat and Net surfing 
that have, until now, been available 
only to those who own personal 
computers. "The UITI(R) is more 
than a network computer (NC) as it 
turns the TV set into a sophisticated 
communications center, offering an 
on-screen menu, a speaker phone, 
the ability to send and receive fax 
messages, on-screen caller 
identification (Caller ID) where 
available, calendar, telephone and 
address storage, and other services. 
In addition, it comes with a series 
of "in-ROM" interactive 
multimedia games so that it 
provides greater value to the whole 
family," Mr. Buck continued. 

VIScorp explains 



(Continued on page 10) 



©1996 by J &F 
Publishing, Inc. The 
LOADSTAR LETTER is 
published monthly by 
J&F Publishing. 606 
Common Street, 
Shreveport LA 71101. 
Subscription rate is 
$18.00 per year. No part 
of this newsletter may be 
reproduced without the 
permission of J & F 
Publishing. LOADSTAR 
LETTER contacts 
Jeff@LOADSTAR.com 
egglestl ©cougarnet.byu 
.edu US MAIL: ATTN 
Jeff Jones, J&F 
Publishing P.O. Box 
30008, Shreveport, LA 
71130-0008, 318/221- 
8718. 

Fax 318/221-8870. BBS 
31 8/425-4382. 



Why Is It So Hard To Get A Shell Account? 



By Scott Eggleston. Jeff 
has brought it to my attention 
the difficulty some readers 
have had in finding a Unix 
shell account in their area. This 
can be a problem for those 
with Commodores trying to get 
on the Internet. 

For those unaware, a 
Unix shell account is basically 
a text-based Internet 
connection that requires a 
terminal program and VT-100 
emulation. This is found on al 
1 popular Commodore Terms 
(DesTerm, Dialogue, 
Novaterm), and makes surfing 
the net a reality-without the 



graphics. 

Some providers may not 
offer this simply because it's 
not in demand. After all, the 
only ones who'll desire this 
feature are Commodore users 
and Unix hackers. Compare 
those numbers to the millions 
who use Netscape or Explorer, 
and you have little demand to 
supply. 

Another reason may be 
the illegal use of Unix 
programming. I have a shell 
account through Brigham 
Young University. It's good, 
but doesn't allow you to drop to 
the Unix prompt, useful for 



directory maintenance, changing 
transfer protocols, Unix 
programming, etc. Apparently 
some bonehead had written a 
program which generated 
accounts for him and his friends, 
giving them free access. Instead 
of invoking some security 
program, BYU simply removed 
everyone's Unix prompt 
privileges. This may be why some 
providers don't offer a Unix shell 
at all. 

If you can't seem to find a 
provider with a shell account, 
there are some things you can try. 
First, call them all up. Your 

(Continued on page 11) 



LOADSTAR LETTER 




By S. Freedline. Welcome to the 
Wonderful World of Public Domain, 
Shareware, and Freeware programs. 
Each month I hope to bring you the best 
of the software available from the 
"connected" world of Commodore ftp 
sites, world wide web sites, and on-line 
services absolutely free, except of course 
for the cost of the disk itself. 

Since this month is the first edition, 
I wanted to make it something really 
special. So I searched high and low for a 
mixture of programs. I've included 
programs for every Commodore taste — 
games, GEOS, utilities, text and demos -- 
all on two sides of a 1541 formatted 
5.25"disk. 

The fun begins with two games for 
the Commodore 64: Slither and 4k 
Compo. Slither is an older game, but one 
I've loved for years. Load the game up 
and you'll become Slither, a hungry 
snake that you must guide safely through 
the maze to his fruity treat. Slither loses 
a life every time he hits the side of the 
maze or if he happens to try to double 
back and touches his own slimy snake 
body. 4k Compo is an all new game 
created by Crossbow of the demo group 
Crest specifically for the 4k NTSC 
Competition sponsored by Driven 
Magazine. It placed 6th out of seventeen 
entries in both the Official Competition 
and the Public Poll. The file actually 



contains two well done games; Pac Man 
and Mah Jongg. The only item missing 
from the 4k Compo is a bit of music; but, 
the competition restricted the entries to 
4k and there's only so much you can do 
with a size limitation such as this. 
Nevertheless, I'm sure you'll still enjoy 
the games. 

Next up is Eternal, a brand new 
Commodore 64 demo released on August 
15th by Dokken of Electron. Electron 
left the scene a few years ago and returns 
with one of the best demos I've seen to 
date. Both the music and color routines 
are truly incredible, not to mention the 
banter featured at the end of the demo. A 
word of caution is unfortunately required 
though because Eternal does contain a 
word of profanity along with a tiny bit of 
adult oriented text. 

Three issues of Bonkers are 
provided to quench your thirst for 
knowledge. Each issue is devoted to the 
task of teaching the world the great art of 
machine language coding. Issue three 
walks you through the code to create a 
"note-maker" (a mini-word processor) of 
your very own. 

The logic behind the creation of 
Bonkers is to share one's coding skills 
with others in order to enlarge the 
Commodore programming base. If more 
people know how to program there will 
be more programs for us all to enjoy! 



Little Red Reader knocks down the 
barriers of MS-DOS files. Craig Brace's 
all new updated version 2.5 is a MS- 
DOS file reader and copier for the 
Commodore 128. Either a 1581 or 1571 
disk drive is required. It's a little tough 
to figure out, but fortunately 
documentation is included. [Note that on 
LOADSTAR 128 #32, Fender re- 
engineered this program to make it 
easier to use.] 

Mike's Maze v2 is a maze game 
for the Commodore 128 in 40 columns 
that resulted from a discussion of 
random numbers. The file is only 12 
blocks long; however, you won't believe 
the fun you can have as a result of those 
12 nicely coded blocks! The game 
displays a large maze on the screen. 
You are the black dot located at the 
bottom right of the display. The object 
is to reach the end of the maze. Due to 
the complexity of some of these mazes, 
you may find that quite a challenge in 
itself. Additionally, if you happen to 
touch the side of the maze you'll 
instantly be zapped back to the start of 
the maze. Finish the maze and you'll 
advance to an all new more challenging 
level. 

The second side of the 1541 disk is 
almost totally devoted to GEOS 
programs. A large selection of desk 

(Continued on page 10) 



The Mondo Monitor Switch 



by Scott Eggleston. For some reason 
unknown to me, Commodore designed 
and marketed some of the best composite 
monitors I've ever seen. The '02 series 
(1702/1802/2002) all had separate inputs 
for Chroma and Luma, which create an 
incredibly sharp picture when combined. 

Another interesting feature of these 
creatures is the additional video and audio 
inputs on the front of the monitor 
(although I can only confirm these exist 
on the 1702). A switch on the back of the 
unit toggles output between the separate 
inputs. Apparently some engineer wanted 
to be able to watch football and program 
during the commercials. This is entirely 



possible with the separate inputs, but 
there is an even better use for 
Commodore enthusiasts. 

I use two computers quite regularly. 
These consist of an older, brown 64, and 
a 128. 1 also use two monitors, an 80 
column/composite Magnavox for the 
128, and a 1702 for the 64. Both 
computers have shared the composite 
1702, one using the split rear input, with 
the other using the front jacks. Why not 
use the composite mode on the 
Magnavox? Well, I just got sick of 
pressing that stupid button every time I 
wanted to change modes. When I use 
GEOS 128, 1 have to switch modes quite 



often, and would rather turn my head 
than constantly push that button like I 
want to cross the street. The downside of 
this setup was that only one computer 
could use the really nice mode of the 
'02, as there was only one set of Chroma 
and Luma inputs. I had thought of 
building a switch, but that takes time, 
and something around $15 for parts and 
project box. 

Recently, a nifty solution presented 
itself. While perusing a local Radio 
Shack, I noticed a 3-way stereo audio 
selector (cat. #42-2110) for a newly- 
reduced $6.97. This was simply three 

(Continued on page 8) 



LOADSTAR LETTER 



Editorial Page/Letters To the Editor 



The Commodore Christmas Tree 

by Scott Eggleston. Have you 
noticed that the more you expand your 
Commodore, the more monster-like it 
becomes? I mean, take my system for 
example. I got my first C-64 as a 
birthday present in 1986. 1 hooked it up 
to a little black and white TV for a 
monitor. The only way I had to store 
programs was to borrow a neighbor's 
tape drive. Even with this simple setup, 
I couldn't run the entire thing off of a 
standard outlet. I had to use three plugs. 
Flash to the present. I still have the 
same 64 (although I've replaced the 
keyboard), but a Handy scanner now 
hangs out of the user port, while a Super 
Snapshot sticks straight out of an 
Aprospand that lives in the expansion 
port (it has a great little reset switch). A 
converted Sega-style gamepad is parked 
in joystick port two, and an Animation 
Station graphics tablet is in port one. 
Finally, the 64 uses a 1702 monitor. 
I also have a 128. A geoCable runs from 
the user port, and a 4-meg RAMLink 
does the same from the expansion port. 
The RAMLink houses an expanded 1700 
REU (512k) and a SwiftLink, which is 
hooked to a 14.4 Bocamodem, of 
course. The joystick ports on this 
machine holds a Wico "bat handle" 
joystick in port two, and 1351 
compatible mouse in port one. This 
machine uses a Magnavox 80 column 
monitor. Did I mention the disk drives? 
Both machines share three disk drives 
(only one can control all the drives at 
any given time) through a homemade 
serial switch. This includes a 1541, 
1581, and a CMD HD-100. Oh yeah, 
let's not forget printers. I use two of 
them. A 77 MicroWriter PS23 laser is 
used exclusively by the 128, while both 
machines can use my 9-pin dot matrix, a 
Panasonic KX-P 2180. 

Now this list of compu-junk is not 
an attempt to show all of you what cool 
stuff I own, but to emphasize my 
"monster" theory. Remember how my 
initial setup required three plugs? Well, 
I'm afraid to tell you how many outlets, 
power strips, and cables it takes to 
power all this . . . er, stuff. Let's just say 
I make sure I have lots of surge 
suppression to prevent spontaneous 
combustion. I think the fire department 
would have a field day with any 



Commodore power user. Anyone who 
owns or knows someone with a monster 
like this, knows that cables are strewn 
everywhere behind your equipment. This 
is not very pretty, or safe, especially if 
you have little fingers running around 
pulling on anything they can grab. 

There are several companies that 
make cable organizers for the PC market, 
but even these can easily be 
overwhelmed by the sheer number of 
necessary power and data tentacles 
needed for our computers. A simple 
solution is to hang some kind of "cable 
catcher" off the back of your desk. This 
puts all the scattered clutter into a more 
localized place. Even better is one that is 
off the ground, so those tiny fingers can't 
get to them if they crawl under the desk. 
I purchased a small, plastic tub for this 
purpose at a thrift store for a mere 50 
cents. Make sure you get one large 
enough to fit all your power supplies in. 
At any rate, my once-conservative 
computer, like some genetically 
engineered mutant, has grown immense, 
covering my entire desk, and spilling 
over onto another one. Tendrils extend 
from the beast, growing into the wall, 
leeching power. The two-headed monster 
mesmerizes me daily, as I spend hours 
looking in both of its eyes, trying to tame 
it with various complex calculations. It 
refuses to release me, displaying flashy 
pictures, and challenging me to games of 
chance and skill. Sometimes a siren's 
song will play from one or both of its 
mouths. It demands more, this creature. 
More time, more power, more food-disks 
to digest in its hard stomach. It wants 
more knowledge via longer connection 
times to the outside world, to its contacts 
of various breeds, and configurations. 
Will it ever end, this expansion mayhem? 
Perhaps. On the other hand, I don't have 
a SuperCPU yet. 



Email On Printers 



Email From John: I have talked twice 
with the Canon headquarters re a printer 
with built in fonts and color and Epson 
emulation. I am told by Ted Seitz and 
Charlie Christianson that I need the built 
in fonts and the Epson Emulation. The 
Canon people said that they have not had 
built in fonts for years. 



Jeff: First, the guy on the phone 
usually knows little about the product. 
Remember, these are the people who will 
tell you that the printer won't work with 
your Commodore because they never 
heard of a Commodore Interface. 
Nowadays when people advertise 14 
fonts with their printers, they are hyping 
about a disk included with the printer, full 
of TrueType fonts. These are PC fhingies, 
of no use to a Commodore user. 

John: I am not sure that is true. Is 
there still, or until recently, a color ink jet 
that fits my needs (i.e. a sort of Multifont 
inkjet) hmm I wonder about Star? 

Jeff: The last few printers I've 
owned have had fonts built in as well as 
the TrueType disk. The Star SJ- 144 was 
such a printer. 

John: If I understood you correctly, 
fonts come on disks (I just received today 
my Xetec Senior). Surely we cannot 
access fonts from a disk destined for an 
IBM- even if I use my BBR? You said 
TrueType is in the drives? If I understood 
you correctly, can I call them in the same 
ways I call fonts from within my TWS to 
my 1000 multifont? I am still confused 
over TrueType as opposed to bitmapped 
as opposed to Postscript. Bottom line: Do 
you two know of a currently available 
inkjet that has built in fonts, color and 
Epson emulation at a reasonable price? 

Jeff: My Epson Stylus Color II has 
built in fonts and it cost me $250. Frankly 
I think all printers have built in fonts or 
they couldn't print a text outside of a 
graphical program. And believe me, any 
printer that claims to be fast is referring to 
its print with internal fonts, not TrueType. 

TrueType is in fact inverted 
postscript. Instead of the printer carving 
(rasterizing) the characters from internal 
vectors, TrueType carves the letters on the 
computer end from vectors, and 
graphically prints text with nearly the 
same quality. People with Postscript 
printers say that postscript is somehow 
better. You're reading TrueType now. The 
closest thing to TrueType on the 
Commodore end is PerfectPrint. SI 



C: 



A 







"The Internet Is For 
Commodores!" 

by S. Freedline. Hi and welcome 
to the very first Commodore 
Connections column. My mission is to 
prove to you that modern day 
telecommunications aren't just for other 
platform users. Each month I hope to 
bring you exciting news of the on-line 
world which for me consists of on-line 
services and the Internet. This month I 
merely want to open your eyes to what 
a Commodore User can do with an 
Internet account. In future issues I plan 
on bringing you information that will 
help you enjoy those on-line hours to 
the max. So, without further ado, let's 
get started. 

Many, many times I've heard 
fellow Commodore users say that the 
Internet is not for Commodore 
computers. Well, I'm here to sway 
those thoughts in the opposite direction. 
The Internet is just as friendly to 
Commodore Users as it is to PC and 
other platform users. 

In February of this year I decided 
to subscribe to a local Internet Service 
Provider (ISP). At this time, I could 
only access my brand new account with 
a 2400 baud modem and a terminal 
program with VT100 emulation 
(Dialogue 128 and Novaterm 9.5 both 
provide VT100 emulation). Granted, 



VT100 emulators could be found for 
both my Commodore and my PC. But 
with both systems I was restricted to 
all text. It didn't take long for me to 
decide to splurge for a faster modem. 
Once I got the speed, I also decided 
I'd just have to go for the gold and 
upgrade my account by adding a SLIP/ 
PPP account to my already existing 
shell account. An SLIP/PPP account 
would allow me to access the Internet 
with a graphics browser which 
provides a GUI (graphics-user 
interface) for the Internet. Thus, I 
could finally view the mysterious 
graphics of the world wide web 
(WWW). Remember, an SLIP/PPP 
account must be used with a graphics 
browser such as Netscape or Microsoft 
Explorer. And, as everyone knows, 
currently there aren't any graphic 
browsers available for the 
Commodore. Therefore we are 
restricted to using a shell account to 
access the Internet. However, I do 
know that Maurice Randall, for one, is 
working on a graphics browser for the 
Commodore known as The Wave. 
Hopefully it won't be long before we 
too can view the WWW graphics from 
the comfort of our Commodores. 

Many people out there feel an 
Internet account isn't a worthwhile 
investment if they can't view all those 
wonderful graphics. Well, it's been 
quite a few months now since I've had 
access to both a text-only browser and 



a graphics browser. At first, I really 
enjoyed viewing all the pretty web 
pictures. But, now that I've become 
accustomed to the graphics, it isn't quite 
as much fun mainly due to the amount of 
time it takes my PC to download those 
pictures. I'm not going to lie to you and 
tell you that they aren't enjoyable, 
because they are. But, sometimes you 
just plain don't have the time or the 
patience to wait for all those pages to 
load and here is where the beauty of a 
text-only browser steps in. A 
Commodore 64 can definitely load any 
web page faster with it text-only browser 
than a PC can load a picture-laden web 
page with a graphics browser. 

The point I'm trying to make from 
the above discussion is merely this: the 
Internet is more than just a collection of 
graphics. The Internet can be used to talk 
to other Commodore Users from around 
the world. The Internet can be used to 
access vast libraries of Commodore 
programs. The Internet can be used to 
send and receive E-mail. The Internet 
can be used to read daily newsgroup 
postings such as those contained in the 
Commodore devoted comp.sys.cbm. 
And this is just the beginning. 

For me, the Internet has added to 
my enjoyment of my Commodore 
computers. Since the first time I 
connected my Commodore to an on-line 
service, I have been a huge demo addict. 
I was under the impression that the 
biggest collection of demos existed 
within the walls of these on-line 
services. For many years, this was 
indeed true. However, on-line services 
such as CompuServe, Delphi, and Genie 
have guidelines they must follow. This 
restricted some demos from ever 
appearing within their libraries. In 
February, I discovered a way to access 
those demos that didn't conform to the 
restrictions imposed by those on-line 
services. You guessed it! They can all be 
easily obtained from the Internet! 
Granted, not all of these demos are 
worthy of my attention. And, I must also 
say that I don't really care for the 
profanity and focus of some of these 
non-conforming demos. But even though 
a demo may contain a few cuss words, it 
doesn't mean that it can't be a truly 
magnificent masterpiece of Commodore 
code (i.e., Eternal). 

Since February, I have also had the 
pleasure of meeting quite a few members 
of the demo scene through the IRC on 
channel #c64 and #c64ntsc. The IRC 

(Continued on page 5) 



allows me to chat real-time with other 
Commodore Users from all over the 
world. For me this feature has truly 
become a blessing. I get to find out 
first-hand about all the upcoming demo 
releases. And, even better yet, I can 
have demos transferred straight to my 
Internet file space area (often called a 
workspace) straight from the disks of 
the original demo author through the 
use of a dec transfer. Another feature I 
simply can't live without is my e-mail. 
E-mail allows me to send my articles to 
my editors instantly upon their 
completion. It also allows me to receive 
programs from other on-line demo 
addicts such as myself. I can't tell you 
how much of a thrill it is to come home 
from a tough day at the office to an e- 
mail box containing a brand new demo! 
Better yet, it's faster and cheaper than 
the U.S. Postal Service! 

I realize not all of you are into 
demos as much as I am. But, there is 
something available on-line to feed 
almost any craving imaginable whether 
it be games, GEOS programs, music, 
graphics or even non-Commodore 
interests. On the web you can catch up 
on all your favorite television shows, 
receive instantaneous sports results, 
read up on current news events, do your 
shopping, make travel plans and much, 
much more. There is something there 
for everyone and you honestly don't 
have to have a fancy graphics browser 
to access and enjoy it. Try it, you just 
might like it! 

That's all for this month. Next 
month we'll discuss the items you'll 
need to access the Internet and how to 
combine all those ingredients to get you 
up and cooking. If you didn't 
understand some of the terminology I 
used above, don't fret because future 
columns will explain everything to you 
in everyday English. I promise! Until 
then, remember, if you have a question 
or topic you'd like to see covered, I can 
be reached via e-mail at 
qt @ telerama.lm.com or you can write 
to me via LOADSTAR. Ciao! 

Getting on the Net 

By John Elliott. Manuals and 
magazine articles rarely describe 
frustrations of detail that increase the 
difficulties in making our computers 
work with the Internet. It took me more 
than three weeks of periodic attempts 
before I could read and use the menu 
my provider had prepared for at this 



server location. In configuring my 
software for my modem, I had set for 
the wrong speed, wrong terminal mode, 
and had not turned on "flow control" to 
adjust for the speed with which text 
arrived on-screen. 

Simple Manual Configuration: 
Years ago, in the mid-late 1980's I used 
my memory expanded VIC 20 to chat 
about education with teachers mainly in 
North America and Australia/New 
Zealand. After setting up my software 
so that whatever I typed was echoed 
from the receiver back to me, I dialed 
with my keyboard atdxxx in which x 
represents the phone number. The 
number I dialed was a special 
"Datanet" number which routed my call 
to a computer center in another 
province which sent my call around the 
world. The number I called was local, 
saving on long distance charges. The 
use of the number, and the computer 
center, were paid for by the educational 
authorities for our three Maritime 
provinces. 

More Sophisticated 
Configurations: I think all modem 
software programs will accept manually 
typed commands. With my VIC 20 1 
had no choice, "at" will get your 
modem to pay attention, "atdp" (pulse) 
or "atdt" (tone), followed by the phone 
number, will dial the bulletin board or 
Internet provider. Prompts should then 
appear on-screen that will take you 
where you want to go. On your first 
access to a bbd or provider, you may be 
asked whether you want the echo on or 
off. If you can see what you are typing, 
you want the echo on. Alternately if 
what you type appears doubled, you 
want the echo off. If you are asked what 
your protocol is, you must know what 
terror correction system your modem is 
set for. The newer systems use x, y, or z 
protocols, although Kermit is still 
found. You may be asked what your 
baud is. This is not a physical fitness 
test. Your baud or bps is likely 300, 
1200, 9600, 14400 or 28800. 

Depending on your modem 
software, you may have to answer all 
the above questions once you load the 
program. This will configure your 
system. It should be remembered by 
your software the next time it is loaded. 
Because I am working with a high 
speed modem, Novaterm 9.6 makes 
some of these decisions for me. 
Remember that if you are working at 
14,400 BPS or faster, you should likely 
look for some kind of "flow control" 



command to prevent text piling up on- 
screen. 

An Internet Precursor: While 
there was no "Internef'in the 1980's, 
there was Fidonet. Volunteer 
electronic bulletin board operators 
forwarded messages received from 
other operators, sysops, where possible 
with local calls. Long distance calls 
were sent at low rate times late at 
night with at that time very high speed 
(2400 BPS) modems. Fidonet still 
operates, but not directly within the 
Internet. 

Only Mac and PC Need Apply: 
When our educational authorities 
moved to the Internet, I lost my 
Fidonet connection. For a number of 
reasons, I could not use the Internet. I 
had before the loss of Fidonet, moved 
from 300 BPS to a 1200 BPS modem. 
Text scrolled more quickly than I 
could easily read. I also switched to a 
Commodore 64 which used a more 
sophisticated Macintosh emulating 
Geoterm program. Macros and 
scripting made many operations 
automatic. I could not however get on 
the Internet since the two local 
Internet provider companies required 
that I ran software that only works on 
PCs (and then only from Windows) 
and the Mac. They would only provide 
me with a phone connection to the Net 
(a "slip" connection). 

The Freenet Solution: I am a 
long distance call from a solution. 
There is a "Freenet" in a nearby city 
that will run the communication 
software on its hard drive. I am 
allowed to dial up their computer and 
send commands to it as if I were a 
"dumb terminal" connected to a 
mainframe. This is called a shell 
account. This "Freenet" requests 
donations of $20 a year to help 
subsidize costs. It largely operates 
through hardware and software 
donations and volunteers. If I were to 
phone them directly, I would have to 
tolerate frequent busy signals, because 
of their limited resources. A late night 
call would cost me about 50 cents a 
minute. If I were on for 10 minutes a 
day, a month's usage would cost me 
$150. 

The Local Shell Account: 
Recently a new local Internet provider 
has established a shell account service. 
I can make a local call, enter my user 
name and password, have my call 
routed (telnetted), to the company's 
service center in a nearby town, and 



use their shell menu on their very large 
very fast hard drive. I can send and 
receive E-mail, store it at my "shell 
location," or through screen captures 
save any mail to my disk drive. The 
newsgroup reader allows me to select 
topic areas subscribed to by users with 
common interests, ranging from 
educational specialty to a favorite soccer 
team. 

I cannot use the file storage areas 
on my provider's disk drive. This means 
that I cannot upload my E-mail 
messages, or download what I receive. 
When a developer sent me E-mail with a 
beta version of his software attached, I 
was not able to download and run the 
attachment. I cannot use the storage area 
because someone previously entered my 
provider's drive via a modem and 
corrupted his files. The "hacker" was 
traced as far back as Kansas City, but 
may have simply routed through that 
location. 

My third option however, eases the 
situation. I can use telnet from my shell 
account to reach the previously 
mentioned Freenet, without long 
distance charges or busy signals. I can 
upload and download E-mail, and other 
files on their hard drives. 

Lynx; Unlike my local provider, 
they also run a program which I can use 
on the World Wide Web. My keyboard 
and screen emulate that of this computer 
which is 70 miles away. Using this 
program, Lynx, I can view any Web 
page available to Macs and PC's. I can 
fill in forms, send E-mail to the pages' 
creators and download pages or files 
provided. I cannot view most web page 
images, or listen to any sounds or music. 
Text does not dance across the page. 

Text-Only Limitations: If what I 
hear at conferences is correct, the lack of 
images, sound and motion is not yet a 
severe deficit. The vast majority of 
Internet traffic is E-mail, which is 
provided by my local shell account. Over 
half of the users of the World Wide 
Web, use it mainly in text mode, which 
is Lynx's mode. 

Modem Speed Requirements: In 
order to connect with my local shell 
provider, I had to use a modem set for at 
least 9600 BPS. The maximum reliable 
speed for a Commodore 64/128 modem 
directly connected to the computer is 
2400 BPS. I had a cartridge which 
permits connections of serial devices 
(modems and null modem cables) at up 
to 34,800 BPS. I bought a PC modem 
designed to operate at 28000 BPS. A 



standard telephone line connects my 
modem to the wall telephone junction. 
Another line links my modem to my 
telephone. When the modem is not in 
use, I use the telephone as normal. 

Cross Platform Access Solution: 
My situation for several years was the 
worst possible scenario. I did not have 
access to a local shell account provider. 
My compromise was to download and 
save to floppy disk what interested me 
from my E-mail and web searches on a 
PC at work. At home with the 
appropriate software and hardware (Big 
Blue Reader and a 1571 or 1581 drive), I 
converted the files to Commodore 
format. I then viewed, converted, saved 
and printed the GIF image files and read, 
saved and typed replies to my E-mail. 
Whatever text I needed to send I type 
with my word processor, converted to 
ASCII format with BBR, saved to a PC 
format disk and uploaded at work. 

Surfing the Net via E-mail: When 
I obtained a local shell account, I was 
able to save E-mail directly to 
Commodore format disk and upload 
directly from the same format, as long as 
the document had been saved as ASCII. 
Before I used telnet to use Lynx, I used 
E-mail to acquire web pages. I E-mailed 
to "agora@www.undp.org". In the body 
I typed "SEND" and the web address I 
required. My only difficulty was that I 
received all the pages' text with the code 
surrounding it. Since many parts of the 
3rd world (and many university accounts 
in this world), only have E-mail access 
to the Internet, this is not a trivial 
application of E-mail. 

Accessing the WWW Via Telnet: 
Before I telnetted to my area Freenet, I 
telnetted to Lynx providers around the 
world. Many universities allow the 
general public to use their copy of Lynx, 
but block access to their file storage 
areas. I cannot therefore upload and 
download files with their copies of Lynx. 
I still find these copies of Lynx to be 
faster than my Freenet, possibly because 
they have more powerful equipment. 
The Lynx site I use most often in this 
way is "sailor.lib.md.us" in Maryland. 

Although my high speed modem 
and large ram disk speed up my Internet 
operations, and were essential to get on 
line with my local provider, many 
readers will be able to get a local shell 
account that will work at 300 BPS. My 
expanded VIC 20 would work nicely for 
them. 

Some Possible Futures: There is 
available on the Net a demonstration slip 



program for the Commodore. With it, a 
user does not require a shell account. If a 
provider will give the user an IP number, 
the procedure is to phone the provider 
with, in my case, Novaterm 9.6, leave 
the communications program, run the 
slip program, type in the IP number and 
access the Net. As yet, it will provide 
newsgroup access and telnet ability only. 
Telnetting must be by number, not name. 
While you could telnet to a Lynx site, 
you would then be on someone else's 
shell account. You would not be 
dependent though on a local provider to 
set up a shell account. 

Maurice Randall, the creator of 
Geofax, is developing an Internet 
browser that will go well beyond Lynx 
for Commodore users. It will not be a 
slip program, but will among other 
features code and decode gifs. 

Perhaps a linkage of Novaterm 9.6 
(or other recent communications 
programs such as Desterm) with the two 
above alpha stage programs will allow 
Commodore users to dial directly and 
use the Net without special provisions by 
sympathetic Internet Providers. 

Beyond the Internet Footprint: 
For the rural user who has no local 
access to any provider or PC connection 
at work, I would recommend a couple of 
late night long distance calls a week to 
an available provider where you could 
quickly upload your own messages and 
download your E-mail for off line 
reading. If you requested web pages in 
this way, you would not be charged for 
web search or page downloading time. 



John Elliott is a professor at Nova Scotia 
Teacher's college, and is a tenured 
Commodore Enthusiast. 




Desktop geoPublishing, Part 1 



by Scott Eggleston. I've said 
before that if you're going to do any 
kind of series desktop publishing on a 
Commodore, you'd better learn 
geoPublish. Run from the GEOS 
environment, this simple but powerful 
package can give you the necessary 
tools to make a really nice looking 
document. From a flyer, to newsletter, 
to instruction manual, geoPublish can 
help make it happen. It's also the only 
Commodore DTP that really works 
with a laser printer. 

This marks the start of a series on 
geoPublish, the application which I've 
become very familiar these past few 
years while producing the 
Underground. I hope to cover the 
basics, as well as some tricks and tips 
that can help anyone trying to get the 
most out this GEOS jewel. Before that 
can happen, however, I have several 
suggestions to prepare you and your 
system to use geoPublish to its fullest. 

The first item involves some self- 
education. Not many of us (myself 
included) are born with the natural 
ability to properly layout a page. An art 
form in itself, there are some rales and 
guidelines that really should be 
followed. Top notch content filling a 
sloppily laid out page only diminishes 
its value, and screams "don't read me!" 
Following a few basic rules of layout 
can greatly add to your overall look. 

There are many resources which 
we can turn to for more information on 
this subject. Your local library is 
probably filled with books on the 
subject of layout and page design. Try 
to get one on desktop publishing that 
isn't for users of any particular 
software. 

An excellent title I've purchased 
myself is " Looking Good in Print: A 
Guide to Basic Design for Desktop 
Publishing. Third Edition " by Roger C. 
Parker (1993, Ventana Press). This 
book not only covers the basics of 
layout, but every aspect of creating 
quality products in the printed media. 
Newsletters, advertisements, business 
letters, brochures and even resumes are 
all outlined, complete with dos and 
don'ts for every category. It's very well 
done, complete with illustrations to 
emphasize every example. At $24.95, 
it's a great information resource. 

Another good source for layout 
and design is probably all around you. 



Newspapers, magazines, other 
newsletters, and the one you now hold, 
all contain various forms of layout. 
Study them and make note about what 
looks good, and what doesn't. Keep 
pages that you find especially 
appealing in a file folder. Feel free to 
copy someone else's design, or use 
your own creativity to improve it. 

Now that you've expanded your 
brain, it may be time to expand your 
system. Your most valuable 
commodity is going to be time, and 
the quicker you can put together your 
document the sooner you can watch 
that episode of "The Twilight Zone" 
where everyone looks like a pig. The 
following suggestions could be 
considered optional, but will greatly 
improve the performance of 
geoPublish. 

First, get a mouse. Many of you 
may already have one of these, but I 
fear there are also many who do not. 
I'm not sure how anyone could use any 
GEOS application without these little 
rodents, but I know they do. They use 
joysticks, which really have no place 
in the GEOS environment— and 
geoPublish is no exception. 

I once read a reviewer state that 
using a joystick in a program intended 
for a mouse was like trying to wash 
your feet with your socks on. It'll 
work, but not very well. A mouse is 
ideal for geoPublish, allowing more 
precise movement and placement of 
text and graphics. Trust me, using a 
mouse will save you time and 
frustration. 

Two mice are still available on 
the open market. For the Porsche 
model, CMD offers the SmartMouse, a 
proportional device with a built-in 
Real Time clock, and special software. 
At $49.95, it's the most expensive, but 
comes from CMD, who's high 
standards in quality hardware are well 
documented. For the original 
workhorse, Paxtron is selling 
Commodore's 1351 for $19.95. This 
was the first Commodore-compatible 
proportional model, and will do the 
job quite well. DO NOT get the 1350- 
it's basically a rolling joystick. It only 
looks like a mouse. 

Second, get some kind of RAM 
expansion. At 99k, geoPublish is 
large, and disk intensive. Font and 
data files are loaded every time there 




is a screen update. The entire data file 
saves itself when you change pages. 
Common sense will tell you that a 
virtual RAM drive with no moving 
parts will perform much faster than its 
literal counterpart. In this category, 
your choices are many. There are 
Commodore REUs, and PPI BBGs, 
not to mention RAMLinks, 
RAMDrives, and geoRAM. It is not 
within the scope of this article to cover 
all of these devices. Sources of 
availability are printed at the end of 
this article. 

What is important is that you 
give yourself enough memory to work 
with. At 170k, a virtual 1541 doesn't 
give you much room. With geoPublish 
taking up more than half of the drive, 
there's hardly any room for data, font, 
and support files. Since this drive size 
is limited only to the Commodore 
1764 REU (256k), this is probably a 
moot point. 

Creating a RAM- 1571 (360k) 
should probably be considered a 
minimum, with a RAM-1581 (880k) 
the best option. Native partitions 
within RAMLink or RAMDrive may 
work as well, but may cause 
compatibility problems with certain 
software. At any rate, give yourself as 
much room as possible, and you 
should be fine. 

Large projects may force you to 
split files within a partitioned RAM 
device. My RAMLink uses three 1581 
partitions for GEOS. One is a boot 
partition with all the autoexec files, 
another for geo Write and geoPaint, 
and the third for geoPublish. 

Note that you may need special 
software to recognize the larger RAM 
disks. While the RAMLink, 
RAMDrive, and BBG series come 

(Continued on page 8) 



LOADSTAR LETTER 



Geopublishing Continued 



(Continued from page 7) 

with software to drive them, you may 
have to find a special Configure (2.5 
version) file to recognize Commodore 
REUs expanded above 512k. These files 
can be found in many places. Check 
BBSs, user group libraries, or FTP sites 
(such as ccnga.uwaterloo.ca) for 
availability. 

Third, speed everything up with an 
accelerator. Graphic User Interfaces can 
be real speed bottlenecks, as Windows 
and Mac users already know. While 
those machines have lots of add-on 
hardware to quicken them up, our 
choices are much fewer. 

The first accelerator made was the 
Turbo Master 4 MHz, made available 
back in the late eighties. This large 
cartridge didn't always work with 
everything, was only compatible with 64 
mode, and often caused graphic 
"artifacting" on the screen. Within 
GEOS, however, it apparently worked 
well. The Turbo Master is no longer 
available, but one may turn up used 
somewhere. 

It seems CMD can always be 
counted on to fill almost any 
Commodore gap, and they have done so 
again. The SuperCPU is a 20 MHz 
accelerator, recently made available at 
$199 for the 64 version, with a 128 
version on its way. Special GEOS 
software is provided so the old program 
can handle all this new speed. I've never 
used a SuperCPU, but would love to try 



it with GEOS. Twenty times normal speed 
would definitely make anyone a happier 
geoPublisher. 

Fourth, compose text outside of 
geo Write. This may seem like sacrilege to 
some (especially in a GEOS column), but 
I don't care for geo Write much. Features 
are limited, geoSpell runs outside of 
geoWrite, and it's slow (ignore this point 
if you adhere to suggestion number 3). 
Other text-based word processors are just 
plain better, making writing a much nicer 
experience. 

I'm a Write Stuff-er, myself, and like 
the flexibility, convenience, and speed that 
program gives me. Text is easily 
converted to geoWrite with Joe Buckley's 
Wrong Is Write, and global font and ruler 
settings can be imposed using Rick 
Krantz' Toolkit. Any word processor will 
work with these utilities, as long as you 
can save files in PetASCII or ASCII 
format. 

By following these suggestions, you 
can really ramp-up for pushing geoPublish 
to new creative heights. Of course, you 
can ignore each and every of the above, 
but you'll be desktop publishing a lot 
longer than you really want to be. Next 
issue we'll get into the meat of geoPublish 
by starting a document at the core of 
creation— the Master Page. 121 



Software Support International 
2700 NE Anderson Road, Suite A-10 
Vancouver, WA 98661 
(800)356-1179 

BBGRam (Battery-Backed RAM Disk) 
512k, $92.97 

1 meg, $123.97 

2 meg, $165.97 

BBU (Battery backup for 17xx series REUs), 

$61.97 

RAMDrive 1 meg, CALL 

RAMDrive 2 meg, CALL 

Performance Peripherals, Inc. 
5 Upper Loudon Road 
Loudonville, NY 12211 
(518)436-0485 

RAMLink 

meg RAMcard, $149.95 

1 meg RAMcard, $199.95 
4 meg RAMcard, $299.95 
Real Time Clock add $20.00 
Battery Backup add $24.95 

Creative Micro Designs 
P.O. Box 646 

E. Longmeadow, MA 01028 
(800) 638-3263 

Wrong Is Write 
Toolkit 

Both these programs are available on 
"Underware" disk #12. To get this disk, send 
a formatted disk (any type) in a mailer with 
return postage (or if you don't want to send a 
disk, just send $2) to: 

Underware Request, disk #12 

c/o Tom Adams 

4427 39th Street 

Brentwood, MD 20722-1022 



Super 1750 Clone (512k), $99.95 



Mondo Monitor Switch Continued 



(Continued from page 2) 

pairs of RCA input jacks (identical to the 
1702's), one pair of output jacks, and three 
push-button switches. That price 
definitely beat building one from scratch. 

Now I have the gizmo hooked 
between my two computers and the 1702. 
Clear input can be seen from either 
machine, with the flick of a switch (which 
I only have to do once). Remember, you 
have to have a special cable from your 
Commodore to split the composite signal 
for the monitor. The cable should come 
with the monitor, but if it didn't, 
instructions for building one can be found 
in Commodore World #7, page 49. 



There are couple of other items you need 
to note if you want to use this switch 
setup. Remember that once you plug in 
your two video connectors, you'll still 
have a couple dangling audio cables. I 
recommend getting two female-to-male 
extension cables, and hooking each cable 
into a separate monitor's audio jack. You 
could also combine the two into one jack 
with a double female-to-male "Y" cable. 
Also, you'll need two male-to-male 
RCA cables to run out of the switch and 
into the '02. If you can't find any of these 
laying around, you can always use two of 
those old cables that ran from the 
computer/TV switchbox to your 




Commodore. One of these came with 
every Commodore 64, and makes a great 
audio/video cable. You probably threw 
yours out, didn't you? 

So, there you have my simplest 
hardware project yet. There is no 
comparison of clarity between using the 
front vs. back inputs of the 1702, so don't 
even use the front jacks with your 
computer. Save it for input from your TV, 
so you can watch football during your 
programming breaks. 19 



LOADSTAR LETTER 



Facts About Refilling Inkjets 



By Jeff Jones. I found this rather 
self-serving FAQ file at: 
http://www.starink.com/inkjet.htm 

This Canadian company, Star, sells 
everything you need to re-ink your inkjet 
printer. Since my Epson Stylus II Inkjet 
printer cost me a mere $250, but I've since 
spent $150 in ink, I'm in the market for a 
re-inker. The company offers some great 
prices compared to new cartridges, and is 
the only place I've seen that sells Stylus II 
refills. I'm running the FAQ and giving a 
partial price list as a public service. I plan 
on buying my next cartridge from WAL- 
MART (because I need it tonight for a 
proof of the newsletter), but tomorrow I'll 
order a color and black and white re-inker 
for my EPSON STYLUS II. Until then, 
please remember, buyer beware. 

1 . Are inkjet cartridges easy to fill? 
Yes. Some are a bit more difficult than 
others but they are simple enough for the 
average person to handle 

2. Will using a refilled cartridge void 
my warranty? 

The reason that some manufacturers 
suggest that using a refilled cartridge 
could void your warranty is simply 
because they want to sell you their new 
ones from which they make huge profits. 
An inkjet cartridge refilled properly with 
the correct ink will not damage your 
printer. Star only uses the correct 
formulations for each type of cartridge to 
ensure long life from your printer and 
cartridge. If you do have a warranty 
problem it is suggested that you put a non 



refilled cartridge into your printer so that 
the dealer will not have any reason to try 
and void your warranty. 

3. Are all inks the same? 

No. Most cartridges use different 
inks. We carry over 40 types of ink to 
provide the proper fill for your cartridge 

4. Can the wrong ink damage my 
printer? 

Yes, it is important to use the proper 
ink not only for proper color but 
particularly to avoid damaging the print 
head where the print head is internal to 
the printer. This can come about over a 
period of time where the suspended 
particles are too large and clog the 
printhead. 

5. My printer stopped printing and 
I'm sure there is ink in the cartridge. 

The first thing to do is run printer 
clean cycles. Sometimes it is necessary to 
run five to ten in a row, particularly with 
Canon printers. 

6. 1 tried that it still doesn't print. 
What's next? 

Gently clean your printhead with a 
Q-tip that has been dipped in a solution 
of 50% water and 50% household bleach. 
Follow with a Q-tip dipped in water 
alone. 

7. How do I get my HP printer to 
do a test print independent of the 
computer? 

While depressing the LF button turn 
on the power switch. 



CANON 

Canon BJ-5,10,20,200,200E,FAX Black - 6 Refills $12.95 

Canon BJ-70 Black -15 Refills BCI-10 $14.95 

Canon BJ-70 Tri-cIour-15 Refills BCI-10 $26.95 

Canon BJ-210 Tri-Color 15 Refills BC-05 $26.95 

Canon BJC-600/610 Black - 10 Refills $13.95 

Canon BJC-600/610 3 Colors - 10 Refills $26.95 

Canon BJC-800 Black - 3 Refills $12.95 

Canon BJC-800 3 Colors - 3 Refills $26.95 

Canon BJC-4000/4 100 Black 20 Refills BCI-21 $14.95 

Canon BJC-4000/4100 Black 5 Refills BC-20 $16.95 

Canon BJC-4000, 4100 Tri-Color - 20 Re BCI-21 $26.95 

EPSON 

Epson Stylus 400/800/1000 Black 6 Refills $12.95 

Epson Stylus Color Black - 5 Refills $12.95 

Epson Stylus Color Tri-Color - 10 Refills $26.95 

Epson Stylus Color II/IIs Black- 4 Refills S020047 $13.95 

Epson Stylus Color II/IIs 3-Color 1 2 RefsS020049 $26.95 




STAR INK & TONER SYSTEMS 

1002 Tillicum Road 

Victoria, B.C. Canada V9A 1Z8 

1-604-380-6633 - (604) 385-5599 FAX 

ORDER LINE 1-888-STARINK 



Computerized Freebies: Your Image Burned Into Wood 



By Jeff Jones. I found this on the 
Internet. I took the company up on the 
offer and was pleasantly surprised. If you 
have a portrait you'd like made into a 
laser-cut wood burning, I suggest trying 
these people. But please remember that 
they are a business so if you like the 
product, try making at least one $10.00 
order. I spoke to the owner for about a 
half hour. These are good people. 

Subject: Re: FREE! ! Your Photo Burned 
into wood 

Date: Wednesday, August 21, 1996 8:50 
AM 
natures-canvas @ sockets.net wrote: 



Natures Canvas, a NEWLY 
DEVELOPED process allows virtually 
any image to be printed onto the surface 
of wood. THIS IS NOT A PRINT! Your 
image is actually burned into the wood, 
with the finished product taking on a 
sepia-like quality. 

To familiarize people with our 
product, we are offering to print a 
sample, of your photo, absolutely free. 
Your finished size on the free sample 
will be 5x7, with 8x10 available. To 
receive a sample, simply send your 
scanned image to natures- 
canvas@sockets.net . along with your 
return address. We will print and ship 



your photo the next day! Or send your 

print to: 

Natures Canvas 

1575 Old Us HWY 40 

Columbia, MO 65202 

Ask for the FREE PRINT from the 

Internet. All Prints will be returned 

with order. For those that would prefer, 

a standard sample is available. 

This is a truly unique product, 
why not see what you're missing! 
Rick 
Natures-canvas@sockets.net 1SI 



LOADSTAR LETTER 




#1 Continued 



accessories, drivers, and unique screen 
utilities by Spike Dethman are provided 
here for your use. Among these files are 
updated Koala Pad Drivers, Port 2 
Drivers, an Envelope Address printer, 
geoPack, Meltdown!, Termite, and 
Fortune. Due to the quantity of Spike 
Dethman files I've only listed a few 
samples so you can get an idea of what 
the disk contains. My favorite of all the 
Spike Dethman files is Fortune, which is 
an Ancient book of Computer Proverb 
provided solely for our amusement. 

Finally, you'll come to Driven #16, 
the last but certainly not the least worthy 
file of Star Warez #1 . In case you 
haven' t heard of Driven, it' s a disk 
magazine devoted to the Commodore 
Demo Scene. Issue 16 speaks of the 
unique spirit of the Demo Scene and 
urges the Commodore Community to 
partake of it but not to take it for granted. 
It also features current events, reviews of 
current demo releases, news and results 
from the latest demo parties and a whole 
lot more. Many of the articles are 
written by demo sceners and much like 
the aforementioned demo, Eternal, some 
of the articles unfortunately contain a 
few words of profanity. But, if you 
enjoy demos, it's a worthwhile read. 

That's it for this first edition of Star 
Warez! I hope you find it both useful 
and entertaining. See ya next month! 
Remember, if you hear of something 
you'd like to see featured in an upcoming 



New 8-Bit Conversion Service 



edition, you can E-mail me at 

qt @ teleram.lm.com or write to me care 

of LOADSTAR. See 

ya next month! 

In order to receive the Star Warez Disk, 
send a formatted disk, returnable mailer, 
label and return postage OR send $2.00 
and receive the latest issue of Star 
Warez! to: 

Star Warez! 

c/o Tom Adams 

4427 39th Street Brentwood, MD 20722- 

1022 

torn, adams @ neteast. com or call (301) 
927-8826. 




by Jeff Jones. Donald Seagraves 
has just started a new service, Commie 
Conversions, which converts PC 
format graphics into geoPaint 
documents. He uses a PC to dither 
down JPGs, GIFs, RAWs, PICs, LBM 
an even your KODAK Photo CD 
images to PCX. From there he takes 
them over to a 128 where he converts to 
geoPaint. His prices are quite 
reasonable at $3.00 for your first ten 
images and 25 cents for every file 
thereafter. He'll do 100 files for $20.00. 
I say take him up on it before he 
realizes how low his fees are. This is a 



lot of work, and as far as I know, no 
service bureau caters to the Commodore 
community in this way. 

He' s willing to tweak your 
document for brightness, sizing and 
contrast to give you the best possible pic. 

The only thing missing was a 
scanning service (hint hint). I think the 
Commodore community could use a low- 
cost way of getting snapshots into 
geoPaint. (21 

Donald Seagraves 

401 -A Northern Dove Ln. 

Coppers Cove TX 76522-8432 



(Continued from page 1) 

that the UITI(R) runs on an enhanced 
Amiga+ operating system which, VIScorp 
says, is internationally recognized as one 
of the finest multitasking multimedia 
systems, as well as one of the most cost 
effective systems. The UITI(R) comes 
equipped with a built-in modem; includes 
special fonts and graphics so that 
networked text, data and images can easily 
be read at normal viewing distance; 
contains random access memory (RAM) 
to enable users to download text, 
messages and other information; and, 
comes with a sleek, easy-to-use remote 
control with an imbedded keyboard for 
convenient information input. 

"We are extremely excited about the 
prospect of our product carrying the 
Emerson Radio name," said Mr. Buck. 
"Emerson is an internationally recognized 
leader in consumer electronics, with a 
reputation for quality and value." 

Eugene I. Davis, President of 
Emerson, stated: "We are very optimistic 
about the inclusion of UITI(R) technology 
into our product mix going forward. 

We believe that convergence 
products will be a major emphasis in the 
consumer electronics business over the 
next several years and we believe that 
Emerson will be a value product to the 
mass market in this area. We believe the 
Emerson Radio brand name, which is 
recognized as one of the top brands in 
consumer electronics, will help drive not 
only the Internet-television interface 
products, but also the second and third 
generation units which VIScorp has 
already demonstrated to us. We are 
currently a major supplier to some of the 
largest retailers in the U.S., such as Wal- 
Mart, Target and Kmart and believe these 
retailers will be looking forward to getting 
into interactive TV products with the 
Emerson Radio brand name, a brand name 
that has always sold well in their stores." 
For more information on VIScorp and its 
products, and to contact principals 
via e-mail, visit the company's Web page 
at www.vistv.com, and direct e-mail 
to flo@vistv.com. El 

For more information on Emerson Radio Corp. and 
its products, interested persons may contact Eugene 
1. Davis, President, at (201)428-2000, or Adam 
Friedman at KCSA Public and Investor Relations at 
(212)682-6300, ext.215. 

Product names mentioned herein may be trademarks 
and/or registered trademarks of their respective 
companies. Contact: Jason Compton, 
Communications Manager, Amiga Inquiries 



LOADSTAR LETTER 




;er Programming: Basle T© ML Part 11 






Who says I'm a SYSie? I do! 
Before we examine further the concept of 
using BASIC to outline monster ML 
programs, we need an important tool — 
one I can't do without. Sending 
parameters to an ML program is possibly 
the best of programming environments. 
You have the power of ML, but the 
ability to tweak it without cumbersome 
POKEs or re-assembling, That's why I 
say SYSaddress,parameter,parameter2, . . . 
is the best thing to happen to BASIC 
since USR(x). Adding parameters to 
machine language is virtually 
indistinguishable from writing a new 
language. As a matter of fact it's better 
because you don't have to hook your 
language into IMAIN or fiddle with any 
other vector. 

I'm a firm believer in keeping 
things as simple as possible. Fancy code 
means fancy errors — and I've never 
referred to a debugging session as fancy. 



Hybrid Programs 
|& By Jeff Jones 

That's why I've never come up 
with a MENU BASIC instead of a 
MENU TOOLBOX. My code is 
lull of enough bugs. 

You want to extract a number 
I rom a line of BASIC. That number 
can be -32767 to 63355. That 
number can be in the form of a 
loi inula or literal or variables or an 
lilll expression such as 

SYSaddress,sqr(h%(sin(x))*54-6/2 
Sound difficult? It's not. For a 
simple integer or a complex formula the 
same simple subroutine gets the number 
for you. All the JSRs in the code that 
follows are making calls to BASIC, which 
was quite well-written by Microsoft years 
ago. The magic of the parser in BASIC 
does all the work for you. Insert the 
following code in your ML program and 
you can send parameters to your ML. 



get ' number 
jsr $ad8a 
jmp $b7f7 



jsr $aefd 



Make one jsr for every parameter 
you expect. The number shows up in two 
places: the .Fand A registers (in low/high 
order) and in locations $14 and $15. 
Negative numbers show up looking like 
numbers which are higher than 32768, 
which, by the way, is why f re ( ) 
appears as negative when you have more 
than 32768 bytes free. 



Strings are passed with the following 
subroutine: 

get 'string jsr $aefd 
jsr $ad9e 
jsr $b6a3 

ldx $22 
ldy $23 
rts 

Your ML processes the string by 
finding it according to locations $22 and 
$23. The length of the string is returned in 
the accumulator. You can use all the 
manipulative and concatenation power of 
BASIC to generate the string and this 
routine will return a clean, unsegmented 
string. If you pass a single variable, $22 
and $23 point to the place where the 
variable is stored, and you can do direct 
manipulation or copy it to another 
location. It all adds up to power and fast 
development of powerful code. 

Next month, I'm going to fit in this 
column an ML routine that processes a 
data file. We'll have it strip all carriage 
returns. This is a job we know will take 
forever in BASIC. We're going to do it in 
seconds with ML, using a BASIC program 
as an outline. Till then, try and figure out 
how you would write such a BASIC 
program. 121 



Shell Accounts Conclusion 



(Continued from page I) 
money is just a green as anyone else's, 
and a you may be able to convince 
someone to implement a Unix 
environment. If you're part of a user's 
group, get some commitments from more 
people than just yourself. The more 
monetary incentive you can offer a 
provider, the better your chances. 

Look for freenets. These are usually 
run by the state at very low-to-no cost, 
and are almost always accessible by 
everyone (i.e. Commodore users with 
VT-100 or ASCII terms). The features on 
freenets may be limited, but at the very 
least you'll get Email. 



Try local bulletin boards. These may 
be getting pretty scarce, but some are 
converting themselves to Internet gateways 
in order to stay alive. Prices may be a little 
higher than a straight provider, but it's 
better than paying long distance bills to call 
one. 

Finally, a service may be your only 
option. This should be a last resort, as pay 
services charge by the hour. These include 
CompuServe, Genie, and Delphi. Don't try 
AOL as it requires client software that 
won't run on a Commodore. If you haven't 
guessed, I'm not a big fan of theirs. They 
used to run QuantumLink, and did a rather 
poor job the last two years it existed. 



For more information about Unix and 
the Internet, check your local library. 
They 

may even offer Internet access as well. 
No-Prompt Transfer Tip: As mentioned, 
my provider does not let me drop to the 
prompt, which I can use to change 
transfer protocols. Since they only offer 
Zmodem from the download menu, I felt 
stuck since my term doesn't offer 
Zmodem. I found a way around this, 
however. Just select your file to 
download, and when the Zmodem send 
activates, implement Ymodem from your 
term. It may download slower (more like 
Xmodem), but it works. This little trick 
was a relief to me, allowing me to stick 
with my favorite terminal program, 
Dialogue. 12) 



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