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Q-^U^fAM L&f'f 




Arkanix Labs Drops Com- 
modore Support 

On an Email tip, the LOADSTAR Letter 
investigated a rumor that Arkanix Labs could 
be dropping Commodore support soon. No 
official release has been drawn up yet, but 
Jonathan Mines says that Arkanix is in 
transition. In an Email message to the 
LOADSTAR Letter, He confirmed: 
"...Arkanix Labs has dropped "active" support 
of C64/C128. This means that we might come 
back sometime in the future, we may not -just 
depends if some projects get finished or not by 
outside groups. There are quite a few reasons, 
here arejustafew: 

No income, I have funded AL from my 
pocket for too long. Arkanix Labs was run off 
my own money, never have I taken a bank 
loan, etc. With only $50 coming in for six 
months, what would you do?" 

"No progress on named projects, all types of 
weird problems here. Namely one person constantly 
moving, no Email, no consistent work ethic. 
NetStack did make it pretty far. You could connect, 
send packets via SLIP. AVLink was really planned 
out quite a bit, but it never made it past that point At 
the last moment we had decided on going GEOS 
only, because the Internet software 
really needs an OS which can handle bitmap 
graphics, and HTML like functions easily. 
.^ Development on NetStack & AVLink will 
continue, at what pace I don't know. Robin Harbron 
and Nate Dannenberg will try to keep the software 
alive. Arkanix Labs might sell the products if 
they're ever finished, we may not The hardware 
(8BSS, DualSID, DigiMAX) will continue, but a 
person must order from Nate Dannenberg and then 
wait2-4 months fortheboardto be finished& 
delivered. 

I don't know the future of the other hardware he 
was working on, they were mainly prototypes from 
what I know. 

MODplay (both 64 & 128 versions) is now public 
domain and available from Nate Darmenberg's 

© 1997 by J & F Publishing, Inc. The 
LOADSTAR LETTER is published monthly 
by: 

J&F Publishing 

606 Common Street 

Shreveport LA 71 101 

Subscriptions are $18.00 12 issues. No part 
of this newsletter may be reproduced 
without the permission of J & F Publishing. 
Contacts: Jeff@LOADSTAR.com. US MAIL: 
ATTN. Jeff Jones,J & F Publishing PC Box 
30008, Shreveport, LA 71 1 30-0008 
Phone: 318/221-8718, Fax: 318/221-4870 
BBS: 318/425-4382 



homepage. 

I will have a much more info-packed press 
release ready for the "official" January 1998 
announcement. 

SuperCPU software? 

By Robin Harbron. There is some 
software being developed for the SuperCPU 
- but it is coming along slowly. For the 
longest time, developers were waiting for 
extra RAM for the units. Now that's arrived, 
but I still haven't a decent assembler that 
supports the SuperCPU's full 65816 
instruction set. Here 're some of the various 
projects that I've heard of: 

Mega Assembler - Maxim Szeneszy 
(sp?) c/o Mr.Lee - apparently this is a 
complete assembler for the SuperCPU. 
However, I have no idea how to obtain a 
copy, and from the reports I've heard, it has 
as frustrating a user interface as the Flash8 
Ass Blaster, which is terrible. Brett Tabke, 
who wrote the excellent Introduction to the 
65816 in Commodore World #16, has been 
working on an assembler for quite some 
time. He unfortunately was unable to work 
on it for a number of months, but is back on 
track with it now. 

Jim Brain was apparently working on an 
assembler also, but I haven't heard a word 
about it for nearly a year. 

MODplay 64 by Nate Dannenberg has 
been released to the public domain, 
following Arkanix Labs' decision to drop 
Commodore 64/128 support. This program is 
quite amazing. It allows the SuperCPU (with 
an REU attached) to play the popular Amiga/ 
PC .mod format music files. The sound is 
surprisingly good considering it's multiple 
digital tracks being mixed down in real time 
to the SID - apparently it sounds even better 
with an extra sound chip that can be plugged 
into the user port. Note that MODplay 128 
has also been released to the public domain, 
and does not require a SuperCPU, but only a 
REU + 80 column monitor. 

SuperCPU Kicks is the name of a demo 
by Thunderblade/DMAgic. Apparently it 
does some pretty amazing bitmap 
manipulation, and requires 1 MB of RAM - 1 
haven't seen this yet, but would love to. 

Turbo Imploder is a file cruncher which 
apparently gives very good, and very fast 
results. 

Project "G" apparently has some direct 
SuperCPU support - perhaps improved use 
of SuperRAM - or at least easier access for 
programmers. 

I coded a FLI routine for the SuperCPU 
one evening. FLI is a software video mode 



that uses some programming tricks to fool 
the VIC into displaying more colors per 8x8 
block than it usually would. Normally, on a 
1-MHz C64, this consumes nearly all the 
computer's processing time. However, with 
the SuperCPU, it is possible for this to be 
done on a line-by-line interrupt basis, 
freeing much of the processor time to do 
other tasks. Perhaps this code will be used 
to create a FLI game that would have quite 
amazing graphics - or perhaps someone will 
write their own. 

I also made a quick and dirty sampler/ 
playback program. This uses Nate 
Dannenberg's 8-BSS (eight-bit stereo 
sampler) which hopefully he'll be able to 
produce on his own, without Arkanix Labs. 
I estimate that it can sample at approxi- 
mately 120 kHz with the SuperCPU enabled 
- a compact disc is usually only recorded at 
44.1 kHz. [Jeff's note: sampling much past 
48Khz, typical of DATs, yields diminishing 
returns.) With my 16 MB Ramcard, I was 
able to capture about 4.5 minutes of quite 
high quality audio. Finally, Netstack (if 
indeed it will still be called that) is being 
reworked. It will be SuperCPU specific, at 
least in its first incarnation. The main 
reason for this is to ease my burden of 
trying to get it to do so much, and still be 
very heavily optimized and fine tuned. It 
will still be written in 100% assembly, but 
the '816's powerful 16 bit indexing and 
arithmetic will help greatly with simplicity 
of coding, as well as efficiency, and the use 
of extra RAM will allow a much more full 
implementation of TCP/IP. 
Robin Harbron macbeth@tbaytel.net 
http://www. tbaytel. net/macbeth 

Different Types of 
Commodore Users 

By Robin Harbron. I've been using the 
Internet regularly for the last two years or 
so, and have finally come to the not-so- 
amazing conclusion that not all Commodore 
Users are the same. I didn't know this 
before, because the whole of my 8-bit 
existence was lived out in two arenas: with 
the friends I grew up with at school, and in 
the magazines I bought, read, and collected. 

My friends and I all had the same 
interests: playing games, and programming 
games. And when they lost interest in those 
things, they also lost interest in their old 
computers. The magazines I read 
(especially the North American ones) had a 
bit of everything in them - programming, 
games, reviews, productivity programs - but 
I just read what interested me, and 



wondered why they printed all that other 
useless stuff. 

But here we are, a full 9 years after I 
received my last Ahoy! magazine. I've 
become aware that these machines still have 
a faithful following. Some people even make 
a full-time living on them. But what was 
really even more surprising to me is that we 
are a very, very diverse bunch. When I refer 
to "we", I mean the entire Commodore 
community, not just the LOADSTAR Letter 
readership. Strangely enough, part of our 
community wouldn't even have the slightest 
bit of interest in reading LOADSTAR Letter. 

I've met, or at least read the ramblings 
of, hundreds of Commodore Users over the 
past two years on the Internet. IRC (Internet 
Relay Chat) and the Usenet newsgroup 
comp.sys.cbm are quite full of conversation - 
and where there's conversation, there's 
usually "friendly" argument. I apologize if 
I've missed (or mis-represented) a group - 
but these are the people I see: 

The Power Users. These people have 
setups that look like they should be the 
centerfold in Commodore World magazine. 
They defy anyone anywhere with any 
computer to beat their Commodore. Many of 
these people proudly claim to use only their 
trusty 8 (or maybe 16, nowadays) bit 
computer. And I think they're nearly right. 
The hardware isn't lacking, but unfortu- 
nately, the software is in some departments. I 
think the thing these people most want is a 
full Internet suite of software, and perhaps 
some related utilities, such as a pkunzip type 
program. 

The Collectors. This group wants (at 
least) one of everything. Heard of a 2031 LP? 
SFD1001? 128B? Got all the C= computer 
hardware around? Well, get yourself a C= 
calculator, a C= telephone, a C= filing 
cabinet, a C= clock - I've even heard of a 
Commodore umbrella now! 

The Gamers know how to beat at least 
a hundred games each -just mention a 
game, and where you're stuck, and they'll 
have a solution to you in no time. 

The Trivia Buffs have more answers 
than you have questions - often knowing all 
sorts of obscure facts not only about the 
computers and peripherals themselves, but 
also about the designers and companies 
behind each product. These people might 
also be called The Historians. 

The Emulators. These folks love the 
games too - but most of them haven't even 
touched a real Commodore since 1988, but 
happen to stumble across a web site on the 
Internet full of pirated games, then bother the 
real users with questions about how to play 
these games on their emulators. The other 
annoying type of person in this class is the 
one who assumes that all the C64/128 ever 



THE LOADSTAR LETTER #52 Page - 2 



did was play games - this really annoys the 
Power Users. 

The "Realists" insist that people who 
think Commodores are still real computers are 
fools - especially foolish are people trying to 
make money on them still. Often these people 
also claim that any software made for 8-bits is 
worthless - copyrights on this software should 
not exist, even if it was programmed this very 
year! 

The Pirates love to illegally collect 
software. Included with this bunch are the 
people who actually "crack" the games, and 
distribute pirated software. I managed to get a 
copy of my "Frogs & Flies" game on the 
Internet before I got my actual LOADSTAR 
disk! 

The Purists believe that a C64 system is 
a CPU/keyboard, a 1541 and a monitor, with a 
few joysticks. They strongly oppose adding 
extra equipment to their computers - but if 
cornered, they'll often admit to using a utility/ 
fastload cartridge of some sort. But this is 
where their logic breaks down, in my thinking: 
if a fastload is allowed, why not JiffyDOS, so 
you get a fastload almost all the time? And if 
that, why not a faster disk drive? And if that, 
why not a faster modem, faster CPU? Usually 
they will then bring up the issue of cost for 
these extras. "I can buy a used 486 for the 
price of that stuff". Well, if you'd like that 
better, go ahead. 

The SuperCPU receives the most flak 
from these people - some say it isn't even a 
C64 anymore. In my opinion, if it's got a VIC 
and SID, and powers up with that comfortable 
blue BASIC screen, it's a C64 - it's just a 
whole lot faster, and it's got a whole lot more 
memory (with the SuperRAM card installed). 

The "Fanatics" have much the same 
attitude as the Power Users, but lack the 
money to expand their system into such 
enviable beasts. They stick with their old 
computer, with just a few meager additions, 
but promote their machine as much as they 
can, and help others when they can too — 
generally these are fairly sheltered people, 
mainly using software written in the mid-80's. 

The Life-Long User is the sort that 
obtained their computer in the early or mid 
80's, and has continued to use it - realizing 
that to jump ship to a newer platform will lead 
to an endless string of jumping and upgrading - 
if the goal is to always use what's newest. 
These people are generally satisfied with what 
they have, knowing that if it was good enough 
then, it's good enough now. 

The Newbie just obtained a Commodore 
for the first time, and is trying to start the 
beginnings of a software collection, learning 
how to print and load things, and possibly 
wanting to program a bit in BASIC. 

Demo Programmers are a strange bunch, 



mostly. They'll spend weeks or months 
working on a program that does nothing - 
it might look and sound fantastic, but 
that's it. You don't do anything but watch 
and listen. "What a waste of effort and 
time and talent," some may cry - but I 
have to disagree. Demos do a number of 
positive things. They encourage people to 
think that our computers really aren't all 
that far away from today's expensive 
machines. If you've ever seen Downfall 
by Graham/Oxyron, you'll know what I'm 
talking about - our 16 year old computer is 
amazing. The demo scene is a training 
ground for young programmers. 

Demos are something that actually 
get completed, because they are a form of 
art - the artist decides when the demo is 
complete. And when it comes down to it, 
most demo programmers aren't interested 
in doing anything else on their Com- 
modore - if it's not demos, it's nothing. 
Incidentally, half of these people can't 
spell or punctuate properly, nor express 
themselves without constant reference to 
bodily functions - yet they can create some 
of the most amazing, efficient code ever. 

Musicians/Artists make our 
machines come alive, making the absolute 
most of the VIC and SID. Fire up a game 
from the Jate 80's or early 90's, and then a 
game or two from '83 - it's totally 
amazing that this is the same machine - 
just shows what a difference talent and 
experience can do with a given medium. 
Intellectuals. The people who will 
make 3D graphic libraries and music 
composition music systems for their C64 
in their (not so) spare time, driven purely 
by the love of seeing something come to 
completion. 

People who make Money. It amazed 
me that these people still exist. To them, 
their C= is a way of paying their rent or 
mortgage, feeding themselves and their 
family - or at least it's a profitable hobby. 
I've seen at least a few clashes between 
this group and the Pirates in the past year. 

Hardware people just plain old 
frighten me. They seem to know 
absolutely everything about everything in 
these machines. They can diagnose which 
chip is fried in your computer without 
even seeing it, they control home security 
systems with their VIC -20 and now the 
guys at CMD have nearly completed their 
SuperCPU128 — amazing. These people 
have broadened my view of what a 
Commodore User is greatly - far beyond 
what I knew of growing up with my 
friends, and Commodore magazines. 
I've got at least one friend of every type listed 
here - and I fit into many of the categories 



THE LOADSTAR LETTER #52 Page - 3 



myself. If you don't have access to the Internet - 
seek out a user's group (even one through the 
mail) and expand your world. 
Robin Harbron macbeth@tbaytel.net 
http://www. tbaytel. net/macbeth 

Multiple Column Output 
with GEOS Paint 
Overlay. 

By Bruce Thomas. Well, I had an 
idea that my 4-column newsletter screen 
shot in the last issue of the LOADSTAR 
Letter would draw some interest but I had 
no idea how much! This article will detail 
the steps it takes to create 3 or 4 column 
output using geo Write, the Paint Overlay 
driver and geoPaint. 

"We had people using the Paint 
drivers in ways we never anticipated. We 
basically created them so that you could 
do two-column output from Write. But 
some people have used the drivers to do 
color printouts (by adding color in 
geoPaint)." There you have it. Right from 
Brian Dougherty, founder of BSW and 
creator of GEOS, in the February 1989 
issue of Commodore magazine. The Paint 
drivers were created to allow double 
column output and every article ever done 
(well OK, the two that I had seen) 
explained how to get two-column output. 
So how did I get a four column 
newsletter? Read on. 

The place to start is with a pencil and 
paper and draw a sketch of what you want 
your page to look like. This is a very 
important step as, without planning, your 
page could end up looking quite bad. Do 



MuJtiple Columns 




EST 

■nU 



ri~ rw *"*yr riijrfw^jiA ^sZmZrJs 




Figure A - 3 column newsletter. 

you want two columns, three columns, four 
columns? Are you going to have a large title at 
the top? How many graphics do you plan to 
add to illustrate your points? The next step is 
to get into geoWrite and write whatever it is 
you are going to place on your page. 

The biggest decision is likely how many 
columns you want. If you can determine this 
prior to writing your article it is much easier to 
get the margins the way you want than to have 
to reformat your pages later. Of course, with 
geoWrite V2.1 you are going to want to work 
on the full page width so make sure you set 
that first. Choose 'Make full page wide' under 
the OPTIONS menu and you will be presented 
with a dialog box telling you that the previous 
file is being converted to V2.1 format (V2.0 is 
the default but the margins only allow you to 
use from 1.2 to 7.2 inches across the page). 
After the conversion is completed you will 



qeos j file j edit j options j page j font 



This line is left blank 



Multiple 



This line is left hlank 

Well, I had an idea that my A column 
newsletter screen shot in the last issue of 
the Loadstar Letter would cause some 
interest hut I had no idea how much! This 
article will detail the steps it takes to create 
3 or A column output using geoWrite, the 



Figure B: Page One is set up like this. The margins are visible in the ruler. Title is placed in a Mega font 
and centered. 



PAINT DRIVERS 




HT™~ 





== 5SL 



£d 



Z&mZTm 




CwS^Zn 



Fiqure A1 - A column newsletter 

notice that your margins now go from .2 to 
8.2 inches. 

If you are making a three column flyer 
(see Figure A) you will want to set your 
margins at 0.3 and 2.8 inches on the first 
page (paragraph indent can be set however 
you wish - 2 tenths of an inch would be a 
good indent). On page 2 your margins would 
be set at 3.0 and 5.4 inches. For page three 
your margins would go at 5.6 and 8.1 inches. 
These settings (similar to the automatic 
gutters in geoPublish) leave some room 
between the columns of text for a dividing 
line if you wish. If your layout features four 
columns (see Figure Al) set Page 1 margins 
at the 0.3 and 2.1 inch marks, Page 2 at 2.3 
and 4.1 inches, Page 3 at 4.3 and 6.1 inches 
and Page 4 at 6.3 and 8.1 inches. 

The next decision is whether you want a 
big headline or not. I used a large one in 
mine to show how easy it is but it takes 
some work at the same time. To draw 
attention I used a 48 point Mega Font called 
Mega Roma. There are lots of Mega fonts 
available for GEOS users in lots of different 
styles. The trouble with Mega Fonts is that 
they weren't designed for use with 
geoWrite. 

If you have ever tried to use a font that 
works in geoWrite in a geoPaint document 
and received the 'Sorry, font too large' 
dialog box you already know that different 
programs have different sized font buffers. 
The space needed to load a font is 
determined by the number of characters in 
the font (some only contain upper case 
letters) and the available point sizes. 
GeoWrite has the largest font buffer at 
approximately 6000 bytes. GeoPaint 128 is 
limited to fonts under 4500 bytes and 
geoPaint 64 and geoPublish max out at 
slightly less than 4100 bytes. To get around 
this limitation the Mega fonts were created. 

A Mega Font is not like a normal 



GEOS font in that all characters are not 
contained in a single point size. Mega Fonts 
have the following layout: 



THE LOADSTAR LETTER #52 Page - 4 




Point Size 



'space' 
- . / 



! " # $ 



Point 
8 9 : 

Point 
I J K 



Size 
; < = 



49 
> 



size 50 
L M N 



01234567 



-ABCDEFGH 



@ 



Point 
X Y Z 
(up-arrow 
Up-arrow) 



size 51 
[ (backslash 
SHIFT 



- P Q R S 
C= 



T U V W 
/) ] 



Point 
i j k 



Size 52 
1 ra n o 



abcdefgh 



Point Size 53-pqrstuvv* 

x y z (curly braces - C= : and 

C= ; ) (vertical 

pipe - C= up-arrow) (tilde - C= 

@) 



Point size 
garbage . 



54 contains just 



geos l file j edit j options ; fonts 



+T+ 



□ 



O 



\ 



^T 



col 



cr 



Undi 



"Tnis line is left blank 



This line has one 48 pt space 

This line is left blank 

The biggest decision is likely how 
many columns you vent If you can 
determine this prior to -writing your 
article it is much easier to get the 
margins the way you want than to have 
to reformat your pages later. Of course, 



Figure C: The rest of the pages are similar to this one. Page 2 margins are visible. Blank lines leave room 
for a line to separate headline. 48 point space ensures text is same spacing from top of page as page one 
is. 



The beauty of a Mega Font is that the 
total size can be much larger than the font 
buffer would otherwise permit. GeoPublish 
handles juggling the different point sizes and 
only presents you with one size when you 
choose the font (you would only see Mega 
Roma 48 for example). 

Geo Write, on the other hand, is not 
Mega Font-aware so will show you all of the 
point sizes in the font file when you select 
Mega Roma. Hang on to this listing so that 
you can use the Mega Fonts easily in your 
projects. 

Thankfully, geo Write allows us to 



format the margins of each individual 
paragraph independently. We will use this 
feature to place our headline in geo Write. I 
set my font at Roma 1 2 point, margins as 
above for page 1 , and then pressed 
RETURN three times. I moved my cursor 
back up to the second line, chose Mega 
Roma font and typed in my headline. As 
you do this you must select the individual 
point size where the character is located. To 
save some time I typed M in 50 point size, 
chose 52 point size and typed 1, i and e and 
finally inserted the 53 point u, t and p in the 
appropriate places. This line also requires 
the margins to be set at the 0.2 and 8.2 inch 
marks and CENTER spacing to be chosen. 



LonqPaqes 



The place to start is with, a pencil and (similar 

paper and draw a sketch of what you want geoPub 

your page to look like. This is a very the coli 

important step as, without plarining, your you wis 

page could end up looking quite bad. Do columns 

you want two columns, three columns, and 2. 1 

four columns? Are you going to have a A. 1 inc 

large title at the top? How many graphics and Pag 
do you plan to add to illustrate your 

V ifrr fa r got in1n The, 



Figure D: Without using Page Breaks it is possible to cut off portions of your text at the bottom of the page. 



Move your cursor down to the last line and 
start typing your article. This will leave one 
blank line between your heading and your 
text (see Figure B). 

As you near the bottom of page 1 you 
will have to insert a Page Break by choosing 
that option from the PAGE menu. This will 
move you onto Page two. For starters you 
will need to adjust your margins to the 
settings for Page 2 discussed above. Press 
RETURN three times and then position the 
cursor on the second line. Select Mega Roma 
48 point size and press the SPACE bar. This 
will ensure that your lines of text are far 
enough down the page to leave room for 
your headline that is on Page 1 . Move your 
cursor to the fourth line again and continue 
typing (see Figure C). As you get to the 
bottom of Page 2 insert another page break 
and follow the same procedure for the top of 
Page 3 as you did for the top of Page 2, but 
with the margins set at the Page 3 values. If 
you are doing a four column newsletter you 
will need to follow the same procedures 
again at the bottom of Page 3 and top of 
Page 4 using the Page 4 margin settings. 
Once you have all of your typing completed 
you are ready to 'print' your file. 

Quit geo Write and make sure you copy 
your file to a real disk if you are working in 
RAM or make a duplicate of it if you are 
working on a disk. This is always a good step 
to take prior to using any new procedure in 
case something goes wrong so you won't 
have to re-do all of your work. Choose 
'select printer' under the GEOS menu and 
choose Paint Overlay as your printer driver. 
Make sure you have at least 40K bytes free 
on your disk. 

Double click on your file again and, 



THE LOADSTAR LETTER #52 Page - 5 




Figure E: Graphics can be wider than one column of text if you set your margins properly. It is also very 
easy to add captions in geoPaint. 



once you are in geoWrite, choose PRINT 
under the File menu. You want to print 
Pages I to 3 or 4 in High Quality with 
Tractor Feed selected. Upon clicking OK 
geoWrite will act exactly the same as it 
does when you print to your printer but a 
file called OVERLAY is actually being 
created on your disk. When the 'printing' 
process is complete exit to the Desktop and 
re-select your regular printer driver with 
the Select Printer option again. 

Rename the file on your disk called 
OVERLAY, save it to a real disk from 
your REU and then open it with geoPaint. 
What you will have is a Paint file 
containing your headline across the top and 
3 or 4 columns of text beneath it. Check 
the bottom of the page to ensure that your 
text didn't get cut off in the process (see 
Figure D). The applications have different 
page lengths so you will have to 
experiment to find the ideal spot to place 
the Page Breaks in geoWrite. You can now 
dress up the page with column dividers and 
heading underscores for a nicely polished 
look. 

Once you have mastered this easy 
process of creating columnar output you 
will no doubt want to spruce things up with 
pictures. Your rough sketch will help you 
decide where you want the pictures. To 
leave room in your geoWrite document 
you need to know how big the photo scraps 
will be. This is quite easy to determine by 
placing the scrap into geoPaint and using 
the measurement tool (the ruler icon third 
from the top in the left column). 

GEOS has a vertical printing 
resolution of 72 dots per inch. If you are 
using a 12 point font you will need roughly 



6 blank lines to fit a 1 inch graphic in the 
space. Of course, you are likely to want a 
caption under your picture so will have to 
allow space for that and perhaps a line to 
separate it from the body of your text (see 
Figure E). All of these things can easily be 
added in geoPaint if you leave the necessary 
space in geoWrite. The biggest scrap you 
can place in geoPaint is 1.8 inches tall so 
keep that in mind as you work. 

As mentioned previously geoWrite 
gives you the option to set the margins for 
each individual paragraph. By using this 
feature you can have a graphic extend across 
more than one column but still have text 
beside it (see figure B). For details on this 
type of document formatting see the article 
in LL #46 on geoPublish. 

If you wish to make a two page 
newsletter with four columns on each page 
then you have to set your margins properly. 
Page 5 of the geoWrite file would have the 
same margins as Page 1 , Page 6 would be 
the same as Page 2, Page 7 like Page 3 and 
Page 8 like Page 4. When you have all of the 
pages set up properly then 'print' Pages 1 to 4 
with the Paint Overlay driver. Rename the 
file (something like NewsPgl). Then 'print' 
Pages 5 to 8 with the Paint Overlay driver. 
Rename the file (NewsPg2 perhaps). These 
two files can then be modified in geoPaint 
by adding graphics and lines before printing 
them with your regular printer driver for a 
hard copy. You can also print multiple 
geoWrite files to the same OVERLAY file 
as long as you have your margins set 
correctly. 

All in all, I hope you have a better 
appreciation of the power contained in the 
basic GEOS V2.0 package. While the system 



is slow on a simple 64 system with a single 
1 541 drive it lets you do more than you 
could do with 2 or 3 other products 
combined. The more hardware you have the 
better the software will perform. EnGEOy it! 



Supercharger 



by Robin Harbron aka Macbeth/PSW. 
Supercharger is a freeware tool to transfer 
binaries from the Commodore 64 to the 
Atari 2600, using the Arcadia/Starpath . 

The Supercharger is an oversized Atari 
2600 cartridge, that contains 6K of RAM, 
and has a cable that allows you to attach it to 
a cassette deck so you can load games from 
tape into your A2600. Instead, you can now 
hook your C64 up to your Supercharger. 

Playbin will turn a binary in your C64 
into audio that the Supercharger will then 
interpret. This allows you to develop your 
own A2600 games, right on your C64, with 
the Supercharger being the ONLY special 
piece of equipment. 

Why would anyone want to use this 
program? Well, if you're a classic video 
game fan, surely the Atari 2600 ranks high 
on your list of favorites. If you can program 
the C64 in assembly, the Atari 2600 has 
exactly the same instructions - and you can 
use your favorite C64 assembler. Program- 
ming the Atari 2600 is extremely 
challenging - some may find it enjoyable. 
Additionally, this program can be used to 
play most of the 2K and 4K Atari 2600 
cartridge ROMs that are circulating on the 
Internet. 

For more information on A2600 and 
Supercharger coding, check out: 

http://www.primetnet.com/~nickb/ 
atariprg.htm 

http://wvvw.novia.net'~rcolbert/super.htm 

The other cool links on those pages... 

The Stella mailing list - subscribe at: 
http://www.biglist.com/lists/stella/stella.html 

Need a Supercharger? I bought mine 
from an ultra cool, reliable guy (I'm a happy 
customer) named Dan Mowczan. Get ahold 
of him: dano@ic.net 

Dan Mowczan 
30235 Kelsey Dr. 
Warren MI 48092 

I was surprised at how little he charged, 
and I got my SC very quickly - it was brand 
new, still shrink wrapped! He had some 
other cool, brand new A2600, Colecovision 



THE LOADSTAR LETTER #52 Page 



and C64 carts too. so ask him about those if 
you're interested. 

Still to come: An integrated Playbin 
Macro Assembler! Elwix/Style will be 
modifying Style's version of Turbo Macro 
Pro (TMP) to assemble and directly play 
the binary out - a complete development 
tool, that will run completely on a stock 
C64. This is the same assembler that I used 
to develop Frogs & Flies 64 (featured on 
LOADSTAR #161). 

All about 
comp.binaries.cbm 

by Cameron Kaiser. Looking for 
home-grown Commodore software? There 
are a startlingly large number of 
distribution points for old or orphaned 
software, but not much new stuff. 

Fortunately, a lot of the software 
people are developing right now for the 
Commodore 8-bits can be found on the 
Usenet newsgroup comp.binaries.cbm, and 
this little article will tell you enough to get 
you started. 

What comp.binaries.cbm is: 
comp.binaries.cbm (c.b.c hereafter) is a 
moderated binaries-only newsgroup. 

By binaries-only we mean that only 
programs or other binary postings will 
appear, and by moderated we mean that 
someone actually reads all the postings and 
determines whether they will be allowed. 

The moderators for c.b.c are a diverse 
and changing lot. I'm one of them; there 
are a few others, but not very many. 

What shows up on 
comp.binaries.cbm: Freely distributable, 
Commodore-related binaries suitable to all 
ages. That means no warez or cracks, no X- 
rated or otherwise nasty demos, no copies 
of DOOM (unless it could run on a 64), no 
registered editions of software and no 
discussion (with the sole exceptions of the 
FAQ and important announcements made 
by the administration). 

The upshot of this is whatever you get 
from c.b.c is free to use and free to copy for 
your friends who might not get the group. 
And if you're really after warez, there's 
FTP sites and a few alt.binaries.* groups 
for that. 

Here are some examples of recent 
postings: 

• An Ella Fitzgerald digitized 
sample from John Iannetta 

• A FOURCELL solitaire game by 
Rick Trissel 

• A 3-D graphics demonstration by 
Steve Judd 

Hardware schematics, PD software, 
archivers and other programs have also 




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made their appearance on c.b.c. Things like 
shareware, emulators (as long as they are 
free or SW editions) and ..d64s of PD/S W 
software are also possible and permitted 
postings. 

How to download software from 
comp.binaries.cbm: Software on c.b.c is 
distributed like any other Usenet posting. An 
in-depth explanation of Usenet is beyond the 
scope of this short article, but suffice it to 
say that you can get all the software with any 
newsreader. If you have access to a Unix 
shell, the best newsreader in my not so 
humble opinion is Kim Storm's nn. nn is a 
fast newsreader that's just oozing with 
power, but if you find it too arcane, tin isn't 
bad either. Avoid Larry Wall's rn and tin 
like the plague. I love Perl, but there are 



some utilities Larry wrote that should have 
hit the bitbucket long ago. 

All software put on c.b.c is in 
UUencoded format. UUencoding is an 
ancient, trivial method of encoding 
binaries in text format. It is not the same 
as base64 or MIME-type encoding. MIME 
is not universally readable. UUencoding 
is. 

Most ISPs that give you access to a 
Unix box will have 'uudecode' or a 
similar utility. Save the posting to your 
Unix account (see your newsreader's 
documentation), and then run uudecode on 
the text file (e.g. 'uudecode posting'), 
uudecode will create the file in your home 
directory, and you can use FTP, sz, sx, sy 
or a similar utility to transfer it to your PC 



THE LOADSTAR LETTER #52 Page - 7 



The Internet for Commodore C64/128 Users 

2 nd Edition 

by Gaelyne R. Gasson 

ISBN: 06-646-32207-9 

The only Commodore C64/128 Internet reference guide, this 296 page manual 
takes you through hardware and software needed, how to get online and what you 
can do once you're there. It covers Email, World Wide Web, FTP, IRC, Telnet, 
Newsgroups, Commodore files, archives and much more. 

ONLY $29.95 US + $7.00 shipping via Economy Airmail 

Visa, MasterCard, Amex and personal checks welcome. 

VideoCam Services 

90 Hilliers Rd, Reynella 5161, Sth Australia 

Phone: +61 8 8322-2716 Email: videocam@videocam.net.au 

Fax: +61 8 8387-5810 WWW: http://videocam.net.au 

Also available from Loadstar. Item #900920 



or 64. 

If you aren't lucky enough to have 
access to a Unix prompt, all is not lost. 
Fuzzy Fox has written uuxfer, a native 64 
program that will decode UUencoded files. 
If you have FTP access, it is under this 
directory: 

ftp://ftp.armory.com/pub/user/spectre/ 
UTIL-C64 

Be sure to read its documentation file 
before trying to run it on something. 

Posting to comp.binaries.cbm: There 
is a FAQ to go with this, which I 
recommend reading in addition. The FAQ 
is available from Jim Brain's FTP site: 

ftp://ftp.jbrain.com/pub/cbm/faq/cbm- 
binaries-faq.txt 

Briefly summarized, posting to c.b.c is 
no different than filing any other sort of 
posting to any other Usenet group, at least 
on your end. What actually happens is your 
posting is turned into E-mail, and sent to 
the moderators for review. Your posting 
does not appear immediately. In fact, it 
will probably be a few days before it does 
appear. There are only a few of us, and we 
don't spend our lives waiting for the 
newest piece of mail. Moreover, if you 
have a particularly obtuse news server, it 
may take a while for it to actually notice 
the posting. 

When you post, we ask that the file 
already be in UUencoded format (the 
complement utility 'uuencode' will do that 
for you), and that you include a brief but 



thorough description of what's in it. If it's an 
archive, don't just say "it's an archive"; tell 
us about the programs in it. And if it is an 
archive, use something common, like .lnx or 
.wra ... archiving in RLE-Huffman encoding- 
lossy is a certain way to sink a posting. 

You can mail posts too, but I'm not 
going to say how here because there're a few 
quirks you must be mindful of. All of these 
quirks are in the FAQ, and we beg you 
passionately and more than a bit pleadingly 
to read it. 

We need to review your submission to 
accept it, of course, and that might take 
awhile. Keep in mind your server may not 
send the mail immediately; we might not get 
the mail immediately; we might not be able 
to look at it immediately; we probably can't 
post it immediately and very likely it will not 
arrive at your news server for your perusal 
immediately. Remember that! (And see 
Troubleshooting if you're still not 
convinced.) 

Getting software previously 
published in comp.binaries.cbm: There 
will one day be an official archive for c.b.c 
(but not today). You can get previous 
postings from your local news server, but 
this will put you at the mercy of your ISP. 
Basically, most news spools will hold old 
postings for a certain length of time before 
an automated system goes through and 
expires them (essentially marks them for 
purge). These old postings can be read by 
passing an option to your newsreader. For 
nn, invoking it like 

nn -x comp.binaries.cbm 

will retrieve all (every!) old posting on 



c.b.c that your news server has archived. 
Larger ISPs (Concentric, AOL, Netcom) 
may hold postings for some time, as long as 
several weeks. Small ISPs with limited 
newsfeed space may expire articles as 
recent as a few days ago. Since this will 
affect your reading of other newsgroups, if 
you prefer reading news periodically 
instead of daily to keep up-to-date, you 
might want to consider a bigger ISP. 

Troubleshooting: There are common 
reasons why something isn't showing in 
comp.binaries.cbm. Not all — in fact, very 
few — of these conditions are under the 
direct control of the moderation staff. 

• We didn't approve it. If so, too 
bad. If you really want to know 
why, mail us and we'll tell you 
(but it is generally not policy to 
respond to all submissions, as the 
time involved can be prohibitive). 

• We haven't gotten around to it 
yet. This is entirely possible. 

• UUnet hasn't mailed us the 
submission yet. This could be a 
problem with your ISP posting the 
submission, or (unlikely) a UUnet 
service failure. In rare instances 
entire submissions have been 
sucked into the void because of 
similar mishaps, but probably the 
blame rests with your ISP in this 
case. 

(UUnet generally handles the internal 
processing of moderated Usenet groups.) If 
your submission has been sadly blown 
away, ask us. and then repost if necessary. 

These reasons would apply to any 
posting of any newsgroup. 

• Our newsfeed hasn't injected it 
into the system yet. I use 
Concentric, which is a pretty fast 
posting agency, but other 
moderators might use smaller 
systems that may queue up 
postings instead of sending them 
immediately. 

• Your newsfeed hasn't picked up 
the posting yet. If there are a fair 
number of computers between you 
and our posting news server, you 
will be waiting a fair number of 
minutes (hours, days) for it to 
arrive on your end. 

If you don't have a 24-7 newsfeed, the 
posting will not appear until your news 
spool is next refreshed, and it may not 
appear even then. 

We can only control the submissions 
process. If you have some problems or 



THE LOADSTAR LETTER #52 Page - 8 




Maurice Randall's Trading Card. Photo by T.W. Dutcher. 



concerns, you can E-mail the moderators at 
cbm-binaries@bayview.com, an alias that 
sends to all the moderators. This alias is 
generously provided and maintained by 
William Ward, the previous c.b.c head 
moderator. However, in the cases of a slow 
network, our best advice is to lean on your 
ISP, and even that may not help. 

So, if you're looking for what people 
are inventing for your good old C64, 
comp.binaries.cbm may be your best bet. 
There's an awful lot of support for 64s 
online, so look for the latest postings on 
c.b.c — and send your own! 

Cameron Kaiser is an Information Technol- 
ogy Services Database Programmer. 

Maurice Randall's 1992 
Trading Card 

This card was issued as part of the 
'92Flash Trading Card Set. This is the 
Chrysler Lebaron Coupe that Maurice 
races in the ARCA SuperCar Series. He 
hasn't raced in the last few years but 
plans to return to racing soon. If you 
know of any major corporation that 
would like to get some excellent 
nationwide exposure as well as a good 
deal of coverage on national television, 
Maurice is currently searching for a 
permanent sponsorship agreement. This 
car will be seen on television in many 
exciting races ranging from tracks such 
as Daytona, Atlanta, Talladega, Michigan 
and Pocono, as well as many smaller 
tracks. The sponsorship package includes 
complete coverage on the race car as well 
as the car hauler. This provides 
advertising not only during the races, but 



also while the team travels to and from the 
races. 

Project G: The Operating 
System Replacement for 
GEOS 

Excerpts from Maurice Randall's 
Home Page: Foreword from Jeff. 
LOADSTAR has kept relatively quiet about 
Project G because mentioning it prema- 
turely would surely cause a phone flood at 
CMD, not yet officially a part of Project G. 
CMD's lines are already swamped with 
SuperCPU 128 questions. Now everyone is 
talking about Project G and LOADSTAR 
readers shouldn't be left in the dark. 

The release date has been pushed back 
for Project G. Sorry, but it won't be ready in 
time for Christmas '97, but it should be 
ready sometime shortly thereafter. So, enjoy 
Christmas for what it's meant to be, and not 
because of the computer industry. 

In any case, Project G, the new upgrade 
to GEOS 2.0, has received a new name. The 
name will remain a secret until the final 
beta release is ready for testing. At that 
time, the name, along with the pricing and 
distribution method will be officially 
announced, and orders will be accepted. 

Although the operating system name 
will be kept quiet for the time being, I'll 
announce that the new Desktop V3.0 that is 
included with the system will be renamed 
with its original name that it had when it 
first began life. It'll be known as the 
'Dashboard'. As for Configure 5.0, it'll be 
called 'Toolbox', since it allows you to 
tinker with your system somewhat. 

The initial release of Project G will 



require that the user owns an original 
GEOS 64 V2.0 disk. There is a legal reason 
for this. Project G currently cannot be 
released as a stand alone product, at least 
not until the rights to do so are granted by 
Geo Works, but must be sold as an upgrade 
to an existing product. Geo Write and 
geoPaint won't be included with the 
package, which is another reason for 
needing GEOS 2.0. 

Keep an eye on this site for the official 
unveiling of the new operating system as 
well as the release date. 

One of the most important 
applications that is currently being 
worked on is a new programming 
package. This includes an integrated 
assembler and linker in one application, 
unlike the GeoProgrammer of old which 
were two separate applications. The first 
version of the application is currently in 
beta testing. A more advanced version 
will be developed from this program that 
will require the SuperCPU with a 
SuperRAM card for its operation. This 
version will allow the bigger apps to be 
created more easily as it will allow larger 
symbol tables and larger .rel files. Plus it 
will have the ability to completely load 
the source code into memory and do the 
complete assembly and/or linking before 
writing it back to disk. It will be a more 
productive environment for the 
programmer. 

The standard (non- SuperCPU) 
version allows approximately the same 
number of symbols as the current 
GeoAssembler and GeoLinker and will 
only allow 8-bit 6502 code. It also has the 
same limit of 20 characters in a symbol or 
label with only the first 8 being unique. 
On the other hand, the SuperCPU version 
will also allow 65816 code and all 20 
characters in the symbols and labels can 
be unique. The only drawback is that if 
you take advantage of the extra features, 
your code might not be usable on the 
standard assembler. 

The SuperCPU version will also take 
advantage of Project G's new function 
that gives an application its own Desktop 
control. What this means is that an 
application can have control of the system 
in a way that it can load and run other 
applications and when those applications 
exit, control will return to the application 
in charge. This function of Project G also 
allows third party Desktops to easily 



THE LOADSTAR LETTER #52 Page - 9 



install themselves as the default Desktop. 
For the programming environment, this 
has the advantage of being able to load 
the programmer's favorite text editor 
such as geo Write for editing source code. 
It also allows the programmer to test the 
application that is being worked on 
without having to exit to the Desktop. 

In addition to the assembler/linker 
combo, the programming package will 
include all the new information that is 
needed for a programmer to write new 
applications for Project G, including 
many sample source code files and 
library files. 

The price has not been set on this 
package yet, but availability should be 
sometime during the first quarter of 
1998. 

GEOS Conference On 
Genie 

November 25, 1997. Thanks to the 
December Comm-Adore newsletter for 
this transcript. I (Jeff) edited the dialogue 
for continuity. 

Maurice: Just so you all know, there 
will be a V2. 1 patch for geoFAX soon. 
I'm almost done with it. You can 
download the patch from my BBS and 
just run the program. It will patch your 
2.0 copy. The main thing in the patch is 
to fix the auto answer mode and the 
phonebook when in 64 mode. Everyone 
that has geoFAX has a modem! So 
downloading a patch is an easy way to 
distribute it. geoFAX works with 
gate Way after you run the gate Way patch 
that is supplied with geoFAX. That patch 
fixes a bug in gate Way. I'll probably put 
the patch on my web Site also. The 
problem with gate Way is that it locks up 
when it sees a geoFAX printer driver in 
the directory. 

Steve: I'm ready to throw out Gateway 
as soon as I can get your new GEOS OS:) 

Maurice: I'm working on the new OS 
tonight, in fact. And it now has an 
official name. But sorry, it's a secret. I've 
been working on the copiers (file and 
disk) mostly for the last week. I added a 
little extra to the file copier that if it finds 
a file of the same name on the 



destination, you have the option of 
copying and renaming. 

Doctor: I wish the Macintosh did that. 

Dan: Yeah, the more "advanced" 
computers are still dumb. :P 

Bill: is a 128 version still in the future? 

Steve: Say you're not leaving Genie 
Maurice. Maybe it's just a bad dream? 

Maurice: Steve, it's true. I'm also fixing 
one last bug in my 1571 driver, The bug 
only occurs with 128D drives. 

Snogpitch: Any chance of getting a driver 
for the MSD drives? I'd love to have my 
MSD run GEOS. 

Maurice: I've thought about the MSD 
and also the Lt. Kernal. Both are possible 
future candidates, but not in this release. 

C128.LOU: Cool. Now I know my 
LTK40 isn't worthless. 

Dan: I know a few people in my club that 
have MSD drives that would love to use 
it.:) 

Maurice: Actually, I can add additional 
disk drivers at any time. It doesn't have to 
be a complete upgrade. The parallel 
drivers are already supported. They are 
noticeably faster too. The same driver can 
do either serial or parallel. The driver 
detects which to use in the version I have 
here. I've got a lot of little minor details to 
work on still. 

Randy Harris: YES! 

Bill: somebody explain parallel drivers 
for the CMD HD please> 

Doctor: They're for the RAMLink and 
HD combination. You can hook up a 
parallel cable between the RAMLink and 
RD for faster transfer. It's the port that 
should of come with the Commodore. 

Bill: and it makes GEOS faster? I have 
that combo, HD and RL and parallel 
cable. 



Robert Bernardo: Maurice, now that 
Project G for the C64 and 128 are 
delayed, is there any hope for a graphical 
web browser for the Wave? 

Maurice: If I do the web browser, 
Project G must come first. I won 't write 
one for GEOS 2.0. It's gotta be this new 
system. 

Dan: You know Maurice, you can make 
me drool better than anyone else. 

Robert Bernardo: How successful must 
Project G be for you to consider more 
work on the web browser? 

Maurice: Robert, the success of Project 
G is going to determine a lot of things. 
Personally, I think it will go over well. 
And if my interest remains, I'll keep on 
working on stuff. 

Robert Bernardo: That's excellent 
news, Maurice! 

Bill: I would think that Project G would 
be a great success 

C128.LOU: Does Project G default to a 
mouse? (That always drove me nuts) 

Maurice: Yes, the mouse is the default, 
but your first installation will ask you 
which input driver to use. Otherwise, it 
still uses the first one found if you choose 
to do differently later on. And also, 
Toolbox (formerly Configure) installs the 
drivers at bootup now. And by the way, 
the Desktop has now been renamed back 
to the Dashboard. I've got to finish a few 
more routines before turning it on. 
The disk copy functions can copy 
between partitions now and also copy 
different size native partitions as long as 
the source has less data thin the 
destination can hold. 

Robert Bernardo: Maurice, by the year 
2000, how do you envision the state of 
computing with GEOS? 

Maurice: GEOS is evolving. Maybe this 
new OS is only the start. We will see. 
There's a lot that can be done that we 
haven't done yet. 



THE LOADSTAR LETTER #52 Page - 10 



C128.LOU: Maurice, will Project G run 
at a reasonable speed without a 
SuperCPU? 

Maurice: It's acceptable without a 
SuperCPU. A geoRAM is a little bit 
sluggish, but not bad. 

Robert Bernardo: Are you saying that 
Project G is only one step in its constant 
evolution? 

Maurice: With the SuperCPU, Project 
G could evolve into a real powerful 
system. 

C128.LOU: I have a SCSI-capable 
flatbed scanner, Maurice, and needless to 
say it would be interesting. . . 

Maurice: Your scanner could be used 
with the 64, it just needs an application 
to be written for it. 

C128.LOU: Yes, I know. From the 
hardware standpoint, all is available 
NOW. 

Maurice: We need more programmers, 
Lou. 

C128.LOU: I even considered calling 
Mustek and asking them. 

Maurice: When I first started with 
geoFAX, I called Boca and some others. 
They didn't know beans about how their 
modems worked. I'll bet it would be 
easier to write a scanner interface than a 
fax program. 

Robert Bernardo: Since I don't have 
geoFAX yet, what current modems do 
you recommend, Maurice? 

Maurice: Robert, any ZOOM with 
Class 2 is good. The US Robotics with 
Class 2.0, and the Bocas with Class 2 and 
any other with Class 2 and at least 16K 
of ram. 

Robert Bernardo: Thanks. 

Maurice: geoFAX is $39.95 plus $4 
shipping. Your club can get a discount on 
6. Randy, what'd I give your club, was it 

$34? 



Randy Harris: Yes, it was either $35 or 
$34 for a six pack. We sold all six! 

Brenda: Maurice, will we need GEOS to 
use Project G or will it be stand alone? 

Maurice: If your club orders 6 
geoFAXes, you get them for $34 each 
with free shipping. Because of copyright 
stuff, Project G will have to be installed 
from GEOS 2.0 and it will check for an 
original 2.0 disk, not a geoMakeBoot'd 
disk. Eventually, I hope to get the rights 
from Geo Works. I'm working on it. Then 
I can't make it a stand alone product. 

Randy Harris: That would be great! 

Dan: Do you know if someone buys 
Project G for the first time if the original 
GEOS will be included? 

Brenda: Doesn't CMD have the rights? 

Dan: No, Geoworks. 

Randy Harris: CMD has rights to 
distribute, but must pay a royalty to 
Geoworks. 

Maurice: CMD has the rights to 
distribute GEOS 2.0. This new OS is my 
product with some leftover code from 2.0 
in it. Most of it is my own code. The 
Dashboard and Toolbox are entirely mine 
and the new OS won't run without 
Toolbox. About 80 percent of the OS 
itself is my own code. 

Dan: No matter what way you slice it, 
Project G sounds cool! :) 

Brenda: Will they want to give up that 
$$ from CMD selling it? 

Maurice: Geo Works doesn't care about 
the royalties they get because of the small 
market. 

Dan: WOW! That is surprising! 

Maurice: I currently do have the rights to 
what I have written, but can only sell it as 
an upgrade and not a standalone product. 
So, CMD will likely sell more GEOS 2.0 
disks. This is good though because some 



things (very few) may only run with 2.0. 

Brenda: So you would be going for the 
entire rights? I mean, are you asking to get 
the full (c), or just the right to sell a stand 
alone product without getting sued:) 

Maurice: I'm trying to get the rights to the 
standalone version, Brenda, right, without 
any trouble being caused. 

Dan: So, if I ask for Project G, I would have 
to buy GEOS 2.0? In that case the total price 
would be over $100, just to get it (If I don't 
already have GEOS). I am not speaking for 
myself; some people in my club were 
waiting for Project G before they go into 
GEOS. 

Maurice: Unfortunately, Dan that's the 
way it has to be. But it won't cost that 
much. You will need GEOS 2.0 anyway, 
because Project G won't be supplied with 
geo Write and geoPaint. Make sense now? 

Brenda: Do you plan to re-do those? 

Maurice: Yes, but not right away. I would 
definitely need permission for those, I think. 

Dan: My members are not going to like this 
news. ® 

Brenda: Tell them, SUPPORT YOUR 
COMMODORE! 

Maurice: Everybody should Email 
Geo Works. Tell them we still have 
Commodore supporters out here. 

C128.LOU: I would think that most C= 
users have GEOS V2.0 by now, anyhow 

Maurice: Right, my biggest market will be 
current GEOS owners. Not new ones. 

Brenda: Will Project G be enhanced for 
the SuperCPU? 

Maurice: Project G automatically detects 
the SuperCPU. Eventually, I'd like to do a 
version just for the SuperCPU. 

Randy Harris: A 16 bit version? 

Maurice: Yes, the SuperCPU version 
would be 16 bit. Don't hold me to this, but 



THE LOADSTAR LETTER #52 Page - 1 1 



the price of Project G is going to be DRIVE, the second in the chain, 

somewhere in the neighborhood of $35. Brenda: I said, "WHY? I already have a 

Even if you have to buy GEOS 2.0, it's computer" Maurice: I might do it the way you did 

affordable. with the internal. That's the best way, I 

Howie: then you don't need enemies think. 

Randy Harris: Maurice, what made you 

decide to make Delphi your home, and Brenda: I have the internal Zip hooked Maurice: Genie would fit onto 1 00 FD- 

not Genie? up. That's as far as I went. 2000 disks. 



Maurice: The Email is easier to use on 
Delphi, plus I've got better and cheaper 
Internet access. And I can test graphical 
browser stuff there, if you know what I 
mean. And I just can't justify the $20 for 
Genie anymore. 

C128.LOU: I have Delphi's $34 a year 
plan 

Maurice: It only costs me $13 on 
Delphi. But I'm not trying to plug Delphi 
here, that's not the object. On Delphi, I 
can sign on in text mode or graphical 
mode, either one. Nowadays, there seems 
to be much more Commodore activity on 
Delphi, although it's not all related to our 
computers. 

Randy Harris: I used to have Delphi, 
but I hated the upload process, and there 
was a lot more Commodore action here 
on Genie. 

Maurice: The file library is the one 
drawback compared to Genie. Genie is 
much nicer for uploading and download- 
ing. 

Howie: yea, Genie's Library is a treasure 

Maurice: Just to prevent a Qlink fiasco, 
I have downloaded the entire Genie 
library. 

Bill: how many megabytes is that? 

Maurice: It's not as much as you think. 
About 140 megs. At 14.4 on Genie, it 
wasn't too bad. Took me about 3 weeks. 
QLink's library was about four times this 

size. 

Brenda: How is your Zip/HD stuff 
coming? 

Maurice: Brenda, you mean that 
program to allow switching disks? 



Brenda: (hooked up as the main unit that Brenda: Do you think it is worth trying to 

is) go 1 00 meg +, or just forget adding a drive? 

Maurice: The internal is the way to go. Brenda: I don't think the average user can 

Just hit reset, right? handle loading partition tables 



Brenda: Yup! 

Howie: you 2 zippy guys... 

Brenda: I don't have any other drive 
hooked up to it. To me, I would think it 



would be more of a hassle than it is worth at a time 



Maurice: And to think that my new version 
of GeoProgrammer is only 32K! 

Howie: gads.... that's immense! I recall 
programmers agonizing over saving 1 or 2 
jiffies, and working on the problem for days 



Brenda: I mean any other, as in ADD 
DRIVE 

Maurice: What would be neat would be 
an autoload program on the HD that 
would patch into the interrupt routine and 
detect when a disk was changed. 

Howie: and you can swap disks too, right/ 

Brenda: If you don't put another drive on 
it Howie, you can swap disks. If you do 
have another drive, you have to always 
keep the same partitions. 

Maurice: Currently, when I change disks, 
I reload the partition table for the disk that 
is inserted. 

Brenda: (I suppose you could work 
around it, but that would be for advanced 
users) 

Maurice: I want to write an ML program 
to do it, it would be faster. 

Brenda: Cause you have an external, 
right Maurice? 

Maurice: Yes, mine is external. 

Howie: so Genie fits onto 2 zips.... 

Brenda: So you have it as an ADD 



Maurice: And I still look for a savings of a 
byte here and a byte there. Windows 
programmers would think I'm nuts. 

Brenda: Would you guys think it was 
reasonable to put an internal Zip on the 
CMD HD and not worry about the lost hard 
drive, or should we find a way to use that 
drive? 

Maurice: Heck, go for the JAZ. 

Robert Bernardo: Maurice, back to 
geoFAX, are there any current fax machines 
that you can recommend? 

Maurice: Any of the new fax machines are 
good, Robert. For using them as scanners, 
the best way to check them out is go to the 
office supply store and try them out using 
the copy function in halftone mode. .Take 
some clip art and photographs with you and 
see which ones produce the best results. 

Maurice: The copies will look like what 
you can capture with geoFAX. 

Howie: hey nifty 



Robert Bernardo: thanks, again. You've 
answered some of my last questions. 

Maurice: See which ones interpret the 
colors the best 



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THE LOADSTAR LETTER #52 Page - 12 



Maurice: Pay attention to the type of 
dithering that they use also. Some will 
look like the dithering that geoGIF uses 
and other will use another method. 

Robert Bernardo: Consumer Reports 
did a report on fax machines some time 
ago. Should that be my starting point, 
Maurice? 

Maurice: No, just go down and look at 
them and see which ones you like the best. 
Consumer Reports will tell you which 
ones someone else likes the best. 

Maurice: Check out the bubblejet faxes 
too. If you get a thermal paper job, make 
sure it has anti-curl like the Sharp model 
and you'll like the paper Cutter built in. 

Bill: I don't have a need for anything like 
that now my HD40 and RL with 16 megs 
gives me all the mom I need for now 

Brenda: Lou, I've got a zipdrive hooked 
up to the CMD HD by itself! 

Maurice: I would like to pull out the 40 
that is ift mine rand putin the internal ZIP 
like you have. 

Brenda: I did a bad job on the survey... 
good thing I am buffering this. I shoulda 
just asked one question. Does anyone 
want a removable drive on the C=? 

Howie: but I nevertheless did have an 
opinion 

Bill: Maurice, where will I find out the 
latest on your projects in the future? 

Maurice: http://people.delphi.com/ 
arca93/ or The Speed Zone BBS at 517- 
322-2386 

Maurice Randall 
P.O. Box 606426 
Sumpter St. 
Charlotte MI 48813 
Ph: (517) 543-5202 

arca93@delphi.com 

http: //people, delphi. com/arca93/ 



Vocabulary lesson for 
non-engineers 

Engineer says: A number of different approaches 

are being tried 

Engineer means: We are still grasping at straws 

Engineer says: We're working on a fresh 
approach to the problem 
Engineer means: We just hired three kids fresh 
out of university 

Engineer says: Close project coordination 
Engineer means: We know who to blame 

Engineer says: Major technological breakthrough 
Engineer means: It works OK, but looks very hi- 
tech 

Engineer says: Customer satisfaction upon 
delivery is assured 

Engineer means: We are so far behind schedule 
that the customer is happy to get it delivered 

Engineer says: Preliminary operational tests were 

inconclusive 

Engineer means: The darn thing blew up when we 

threw the switch 

Engineer says: Test results were extremely 

gratifying 

Engineer means: We are so surprised that the 

stupid thing works 

Engineer says: The entire concept will have to be 

abandoned 

Engineer means: The only person who understood 

the thing quit 

Engineer says: It is in progress 

Engineer means: It is so wrapped up in red tape 

that the situation is hopeless 

Engineer says: We'll look into it 

Engineer means: Forget it! We have enough 

problems for now 

Engineer says: Please read and initial 
Engineer means: Let's spread the responsibility 
for the mistake 

Engineer says: Give us the benefit of your 

thoughts 

Engineer means: We'll listen to what you say as 

long as it doesn't interfere with what we've already 

done 

Engineer says: Give us your interpretation 
Engineer means: I can't wait to hear this! 

Engineer says: See me/Let's Discuss 
Engineer means: Come into my office, I'm lonely 

Engineer says: All new! 

Engineer means: Parts not interchangeable with the 

previous design 

Engineer says: Rugged 
Engineer means: Too heavy to lift! 

Engineer says: Lightweight 
Engineer means: Lighter than rugged 

Engineer says: Years of development 
Engineer means: One finally worked 

Engineer says: Energy saving 

Engineer means: Achieved when the power switch is off 



THE LOADSTAR LETTER #52 Page - 13 



Engineer says: Low maintenance 
Engineer means: Impossible to fix if broken 

David Schmoll 1955- 
1997 

By Gaelyne Gasson. There are times 
when all the words in the world just won't 
do, and this is one of them. 

I recently learned David Schmoll died 
earlier this month. I created a memorial 
Web page for him at http://video- 
cam.net.au/~gaelyne/dschmoll.html for 
those who'd like to have a way to 
remember David, and to say goodbye. 

David Schmoll died early November, 
1997. This page offers those who knew 
him a way to say goodbye, and gives us a 
place to grieve. 

David and I shared a great deal of 
private mail (Email and Netmail) over the 
last 5 or 6 years, and although we never 
met in person, I considered him a friend. 
He helped me through a difficult time 
when my mother was dying... not by 
offering cliches, but by listening and 
sharing some of the rough times he went 
through in his own life. I know he's helped 
many other Commodore users in similar 
situations. 

1 admit 1 don't know much about 
David's life prior to five or six years ago, 
but 1 know he worked as a stage hand for 
bands, working as a stage lighting director, 
and played bass guitar. One of his musical 
heroes was Yes bass player Chris Squire. 
When he first started posting messages in 
the Fidonet CBM echos in the early 90's, 
he would often comment that he practiced 
his bass guitar skills while reading the mail 
and thought it would be neat to figure out a 
way to use a foot pedal to change the 
messages on the screen so he could keep 
playing. In the early 90' s, David stopped 
curing to care for his aging parents, and 
hat's when the Commodore online 



community met David. Both of his parents 
had Alzheimers disease, requiring 
increasing amounts of his attention. He was 
their sole caretaker for the remainder of 
their lives. Getting online and participating 
in conversations about the Commodore 
computer, and later using Email, allowed 
him a break from his day, and gave him 
access to the world outside the family home. 

His mother passed away in 1 992 or 
1993 (I'm uncertain), and his father died in 
late 1995. I've always admired David, that 
he could put his life on hold to care for his 
parents, doubly so when I learned he was 
adopted. Unfortunately, aside from 
programming, he wasn't able to pick up the 
pieces of his own life after dedicating so 
many years to caring for his parents. 

David loved automation, and went to 
great lengths to make his computing time as 
automated as possible. Because of this love, 
he created several programs to suit his needs 
and luckily, he shared some of them with 
the rest of the Commodore community. 

Using scripts in Dialogue 128 (a term 
program), he created his own "hands off" 
method of downloading mail from Fidonet 
BBS's and later from his Internet source, 
NYX in Denver, Colorado. 

David modified Bill Lucier's unzip64 
program so it would work in C 1 28 mode 
(NZP128) and wrote a small program 
named QPE (based on Russell Prater's QPX 
program) to automate unzipping his QWK 
mail packets, and included it within the 
NZP archive. Later, he expanded QPE so it 
would work in C64 mode for QWKie users. 

On a similar vein, he developed a menu 
program (EZLoader) that includes several 
automatic features, such as the ability to run 
programs at certain times and the ability to 
run several programs one after another. His 
goal (which he achieved) was to automate 
his system so it would load his term 
program, dial the BBS or Internet provider, 
transfer his mail, dissolve the files using 



NZP, and have his mail reader program 
loaded and waiting for him when he got up 
in the morning. 

In the months before his death, David 
worked on updates for NZP, and finished a 
new version of EZLoader, which remains 
unreleased. This version has several 
additional features (some that have never 
been implemented on the Commodore until 
he tried it). Only time will tell whether this 
update will be released to the public or not. 

David wasn't perfect. He was often 
very opinionated about the way he felt 
things should be, and often expected more 
of people, computers, and programs than 
they could give, but this also made a 
difference in the type of programs he wrote. 

Although he probably didn't realise it, 
David had an effect on the lives of many 
Commodore users, especially those who 
use their computers online and who use his 
EZLoader menu program. It's the first 
program I see on my CI 28 in the morning 
and the last one I see at night when I turn it 
off, and has been for many years. Each time 
I see it now, I am reminded of how much I 
will miss sharing Email with David. 

Situation Normal 

I mispelled the names on Bruce 
Thomas and Maurice Randall last issue. 
Also, on issue #50, 1 flubbed on CMD's 
question line, which is 1-413-525-0023. 

Why Is The 
Text A Half- 
Point Smaller 
Issue? 

By Jeff Jones. Last minute 
printer problems forced me to 
use a different printer to print 
this newsletter. That printer could print as close to 
the edge of a page as I'm normally used to. so 1 had 
to quickly reduce the margins in order tyo fit 
everything — as you can see 1 barely did! 




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You Know You're 
In Arizona When © 



© You've signed so many © 

petitions to recall 

governors that you can't 

remember the name of © 

the incumbent. 
© You notice your car 

overheating before you © 

drive it. 
© You can say Hohokam © 

and people don't think 

you're laughing funny. 
© You no longer associate © 

bridges (or rivers) with 

water. 
© You see more irrigation 

water on the street than 

there is in the Salt River. 
© You know a swamp © 

cooler is not a happy hour 

drink. 
© You can say 115 degrees 

without fainting. © 

© You can be in the snow, 

then drive for an hour and © 

it will be over 1 00 

degrees. 
© You have to go to a fake 

beach for some fake 

waves. 
© You discover, in July, that © 



it only takes two fingers to 

drive your car. 

You can make sun tea 

instantly. 

You run your air conditioner 
in the middle of winter so 
you can use your fireplace. 
You notice the best parking 
place is determined by 
shade instead of distance. 
You realize that Valley 
Fever isn't a disco dance. 
Hotter water comes from 
the cold water tap than the 
hot one. 

You can pronounce the 
words: "Saguaro", "Tempe", 
"Gila Bend", "San Xavier", 
"Canyon de Chelly", 
"Mogollon Rim", "Cholla", 
and Tlaquepaque". 
It's noon in July, kids are on 
summer vacation, and not 
one person is moving on 
the streets. 

You actually burn your hand 
opening the car door. 
Sunscreen is sold year 
round, kept at the front of 
the checkout counter, a 
formula less than 30 spf is a 
joke, and you wear it just to 
go to Circle K. 
Some Tool can market mini- 



misters for joggers and 

some other fools will 

actually buy them. 
© Hot air balloons can't 

go up, because the air 

outside is hotter than 

the air inside. 
© No one would dream of 

putting vinyl upholstery 

in a car. 
© You can understand the 

reason for a town 

named "Why." 

My First 

Unsolicited Email 
Blonde Joke 

A blonde went to the 
appliance store sale and 
found a bargain. "I would 
like to buy this TV," she told 
the salesman. "Sorry, we 
don't sell to blondes," he 
replied. 

She hurried home and 
dyed her hair, then came 
back and again told the 
salesman I would like to 
buy this TV." "Sorry, we 
don't sell to blondes," he 
replied. 

"Darn, he recognized 
me," she thought. She went 



for a complete disguise this 
time, haircut and new color, 
new outfit, big sunglasses, 
then waited a few days 
before she again approached 
the salesman. "I would like to 
buy this TV." 

Sorry, we don't sell to 
blondes," he replied. 
Frustrated, she exclaimed, 
"How do you know I'm a 
blonde?" 

"Because fear's a 
microwave," he replied. 



E^J 



LOADSTAR LETTER #52 

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