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V ELLINGTON 

Wellington Atari Computer Enthusiasts 


NEWSLETTER NO.14: FEBRUARY 1884 


Dear Members. 

Herewith the February newsletter. On 1st February we had a very successful first meetins for 1984. Soite 
60 Members were present. 13 of the* beins new members. Two new club tapes- numbers 10 and 11 (the 
’educational’ tape)- were snapped up. A number of commercial pros rams were demonstrated, as was Ross Palmer’s 
'tape verifier’ prosram. The only thins wrons was the heat- it was exceedinsiy hot. 

Our next meet ins will be on Wednesday. 7 March, at 7.30pm. Asain, it will be at the TAB buildins on 
Lambton Quay and will include the sroup’s first Annual General Meetins. 

Included in this newsletter is the President’s annual report, as well as the Financial Summary. It will 
be for the incommins commitee to Keep the dub both visorous and prosperous. With Lai Beh now sone to 
Sinsapore and Keith and Jane Hobden’s freedom of action limited by the imminent arrival of their first-born, 
your Committee will need substantial reinforcements, if not replacements. 

Hopefully, the AGM will not consume ail the time available, so that some useful computins will be done. A 
new club tape. Number 12, will be demonstrated and made available. Quite what will be on that tape is not 
Known at the time of writins, but it will be sood- Keith Hobden will see to that, (tew club members misht be 
interested to know that copies of previous Club Tapes can still be obtained from Rosan Maxwell, as can blank 
CIB’s and C30’s. 

As foreshadowed at our last meetins by Mike Hunro, we hope to sort out a new way of ensurins the typins 
in of the many Public-domain prosrams that we have in printed form only. 

Once asain, new commercial Prosrams will be demonstrated. 

The auction of used software and hardware will be held after the AGM. As well as the items orisinally 
proposed to be auctioned, if any members have used software and/or hardware that they no lonser require, then 
these could be put up for auction too. Please contact Eddie Nickless before the meetins if you have any 
articles for auction. 

There has been some pressure for the Prosrams on Club Tapes to be made avaitable on Club Disks. The 
out-soins Committee looked into the feasibility of makins these available and came to the conclusion that the 
mass production of disks would be difficult to arranse. However, if there is a club member who is willins to 
offer his/her services in this resard, then Please contact the in-comins committee who could then review the 
possibilities . 

Also, in response to numerous requests, the Production of the first above 16K tape has been Placed in the 
hands of the incomins committtee. 



ft few notes about the makeup of the Club Committee: according to our rules, the “Committee elected at 
each AGH shall comprise a President, Vice-president, Secretary, Treasurer and a minimum of six other members". 
On the basis of its experience, the out-soins committee mould recommend that the new comittee have 12 members 
inclusive of the President etc. fit the time of writing, Eddie NicKless (President), Michael Munro 
(Vice-president), Des Rome (Secretary), Karl Bettleheim (Treasurer) and the following committee members -Keith 
Hobden, Rosan Maxwell and Neil llnton- haw agreed to stand for election to the new committee, At the moment 
(assuming the return of those standing again) the following "portfolios* will be vacant! Program Librarian? 
Newsletter Editor and Magazine Photo-copier. 

Needless to say, members wishing to nominate either themselves or others for the various positions should 
let the Secretary know, either at the meeting or preferably beforehand (Phone No. 73671E). N.B. The member who 
takes on the position of Program Librarian MUST have access to a DISK DRIVE. 

The demand for programs from our library is growing, sufficiently so for the reluctant introduction of a 
rule to the effect that a member can only obtain five Programs per month. Also would those ordering by Post, 
please include a sum for postage. 

“ANTIC" magazine is now available at HICROSHQP, Featherston St., Wellington, Price $7.00. This magazine 
is ENTIRELY DEVOTED TO ATARI. It has some excellent articles and programs in it and has Previously only been 
avai table from the U.5.. 


Des Rowe 
(Secretary). 


LADDER MAZE INSTRUCTIONS 


Here as promised are the instructions for LADDER MAZE, one of the games included on Club Tape #9. 
(Originally published in Computer t Video Games, August 1983)... 

The torturous tNists and turns of this 3D maze will intrigue even the most jaded Pacman Player! You’ll 
find yourself within the waiis of a graphically stunning maze - even more bafflins than the one at Hampton 
Court. But before you start be warned - there are monsters stalking the corridors and deadly Pits which must 
be avoided at all costs during your quest for the way out. 

To help you get out there is a map located somewhere in the curious corridors. Once you have found that 
all you have to do is avoid the lurking monsters and find ladders to help you deal with the Pits! 

An added attraction are the transporter rooms, located behind a set of sliding doors which you’ll find 
dotted around the maze. These transporters will help take you to different parts of the maze - but offer no 
real chance of escape! 

If you see a pair of ladders on your journey through the corridors, pick them up. You’ll need them to 
cross the pits. If you fall into one of these holes in the maze floor the sane ends. Ladders unfortunately 
cannot be transported so you’ll have to drop them if you want to enter a transporter room. 

Monsters in the maze are extremely intelligent beings and will follow you - the best tactic is to run 
away! If you suddenly vanish for no apparent reason a monster has leaped on you from behind! 

The map is the key to your freedom. It is represented by a black square and is located in one of the many 
corridors. If you find it pick it up using the fire button on your joystick and then press "H" on the 
keyboard. You will see a Plan view of the maze and the all-important transmat beam which will take you to 
freedom. This is marked by a cross. The map also shows your position and the direction you are facing. You 
must use the information to work out the best route out of the maze. There are four skill levels - if you 
manage to escape the first time round! 

Movement is carried out entirely by the Joystick. The fire button is used to open doors and Pick up 
items. 

The key to the Map is as follows: D=a door? T=a transporter? L=iadders? CIRCLE=a Pit; 3 a monster. 

The random number generator in line 1640 determines whether or not the monsters move or not at the moment 
it is set to a 40% chance. But it can be lowered or increased to make the same more or less challenging. No 
matter what skill level you will always be able to reach a pair of ladders or a transporter when first 
start i ns. 



***** THE RESIDENT’S REPORT ***** 


Your Committee takes some satisfaction in the ranse and depth of the club’s activities in the past year. 
He feel that our mandate, to set-up and set so ins a User Group for owners of Atari micro-computers, has been 
well and truly discharsed. 


In 1983 we: 


"SOFTSIDE" 


Built up a membership of about 75 members. 

Issued nine club tapes. 

Built up a larse and rapidly srowins library of prosams. 

Established a sood library of printed Atari-relevant material (indudins such 
, "ANTIC", and "ANALOG") as well as obtain ins a series of TECHNICAL NOTES from ATARI. 
Produced 11 newsletters. 

Avoided so ins broke. 

Above all, provided a forum where Atarians could set-tosether. 


magazines 


as 


All of this has required some dedicated work from your Committee, and I should like to pay an especial 
tribute to the following: 

Keith and Jane Hobden, who together have compiled the Club Tapes as well as being stalwarts in the 
preparation of the Newsletters. 

Rosan Maxwell, who has manufactured the dub tapes, thereby funding much of the club’s operations. 

Michael Munro, whose vigorous work has set up the club’s print library, including the cataloguing 
of over 440 public domain prosammes (most of which we have still to type in) as well as master-minding our 
submissions to the Industrial Development Commission. 

I would also like to acknowledge Russ Connon’s valuable help in printing our Newsletters. 


You will see from the accompanying Financial Statement that our funds are in a healthy position. To have 
about $908 in hand argues reasonable husbanding of our resources and a special thankyou must be said to our 
various treasurers during the year. 


Nevertheless, the next Committee will face some problems, including: 

IHCORPORflTION - This process is not complete, mainly because Atari is currently refusing to meet the 
Justice Department’s requirement that it consent to our using the word Atari in our name. Indeed, Atari are 
demanding that we not use the name at all, but this seems to your present Committee to be the result of a 
misapprehension on Atari’s part as to our legal and commercial status. 

FUNDS - our position is currently very good. It may not be so good in 1984 because the net yield per 
club tape will be down and because the Newsletter will very probably have to be commercially printed. No 
doubt, however, something will partially offset these negative factors. 

SOFTWARE - the club has not yet generated enough software, nor have enough subsidiary, 
single-subject groups been set up. 

LIASQN - Our liasion with other Atari user groups needs to be made more systematic. 


Lastly, and by no means least, I would like to pay tribute to the tireless work performed by the Club 
Secretary, Des Rowe. 


Eddie Nickiess 
(President) 



W.A.C.E. STATEMENT OF ACCOUNT 31.12.83 


Income 

$ 

Subscriptions 

905.00 

Tape Sales 

1382.42 

Miscellaneous 

16.50 

Refund from W.C.C. 

19.00 

Total 


Expenditure 


Bank charges 

8.48 

Stationery etc. 

348.67 

Six-month term deposit 

500.00 

Tapes etc. 

149.55 

Memberships of other 
organisations 

409.30 

Books and magazines 

461.25 

Refund of excess sub. 

5.00 

Incorporation 

20.00 

Miscellaneous 

97.63 


Total 


2,370.17 


1999.88 


In current account (31.12.83) 370.29 

TOTAL 2370.17 

K.A. Bettelheim 
(Treasurer) 


* * * * 


After Thoughts 

(a) Neil Upton has advised that, because of the continuing 
nationalwide drought of IC's, we are unable to proceed with 
the upgrading of some members*machines to 48k. When the 
chips become available, he will contact the members 
concerned. 

(b) John Blaikie advises that he has typed in the machine 
language utility "MXL" that was printed in the December 
"Compute". It will be on the next club tape. 



ITEMS AVAILABLE FOR AUCTION 


HARDWARE: 

ATARI 858 INTERFACE 
ATARI 822 PRINTER 

VOICE SYNTHESIZER (ALIEN GROUP DISK BASED) 
1 X 16K BOARD (FOR ATARI 808) 


SOFTWARE: 

VISICALC „ 

• LETTER PERFECT icic Sr. ^Tvi, 

PERSONAL FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT 8 uS 

FILE IT CWA . 

/ DATABASE (APX) • * 

TELE-LINK (CARTRIDGE, NO MODEM) 

FLYING ACE 
CASTLE WQLFENSTEIN 
MY FIRST ALPHABET 
MANAGEMENT SIMULATOR 
HAZZARD RUN 
PREPPIE 
INTELINK 
GTIA DEMO DISK 

JAWBREAKER - ^ —^ 

SPACE SHUTTLE 
SHOOTING ARCADE 
FORMULA WE RACING 
NAUTILUS 
BETA-FIGHTER 
l SPACE KNIGHTS 

ADVANCED AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER 

PLAYER PIANO 

BUG 

LOAD’N’GO 
PROGRAMMING AIDS 
SHERLOCK (DISK UTILITY) 

^'FILE UTILITY 
MICROSOFT BASIC 


NOTES: 

All of the software listed, apart frai Teie-LinK, is on DiSK. Sorry cassette users (however sowe cassette 
based software »ay be presented at the auction, see previous note about wewbers’ used hardware/software). 

Please also appreciate that there has not been tine to thoroughly check the articles offered for auction. 
If there are any KNOW proble«s with any of the articles then this will be wade public knowledge at the tine 
of the auction. 


GRAMMATICAL ERRORS IN EDUCATION TAPE!!! 

Our Educational Expert has detected certain errors in the "NOUNS" prosraw included on the Eductional Tape 
ill. Please Make these corrections: 

30035 Change IT’S to IIS 
30155 Change SPANNISH to SPANISH 
301G6 Change FEEBLE to CAT 



ISnU-OW&WURFW 

JtmfWWtWSTTW. 


ERROR. ERROR. 
INCORRECT INPUT 
SEQUENCE. 








































SKELETON MEMORY HftP OF THE ATARI 8D0 


COMPILED FROM VARIOUS SOURCES BY THE HQBDENS 



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C/G CTIA/GTIA LARGE SCALE INTEGRATION CIRCUIT CHIP 

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THE predicted big prof¬ 
its in the home computer 
business have proved a 
will-o’-the-wisp for 
manufacturers • and a 
mixed blessing for retail¬ 
ers. but there are signs 
that the industry is tackl¬ 
ing the challenge with 
renewed vigour and 
more realistic ex¬ 
pectations. 

“Let's face it, we blew it,” 
was how the president of 
Atari, Mr Tony Bruehl, sum¬ 
med up the recent approach to 
the home computer market by 
all manufacturers. 

"The biggest challenge fac¬ 
ing the computer industry 
today is how to attack all those 
people who don't want to buy 
a computer. 

•'What we are trying to do is 
what we do best — bringing an 
enhanced standard of living to 
homes.” 

At Mattel Electronics, the 
marketing manager in Aust¬ 
ralia, .\y- Andrew Syme, 
agreed. 

"All of us have come away 
from this business badly bruis¬ 
ed." he said. 

“We're not forecasting any 
more huge growth but we are 
looking at the maintenance of 
current volumes. 

“There is a market for home 
computers and there is a point 
we are moving towards.” 

For Mattel that point is 
probably a home enter¬ 
tainment system with the 
capability of handling tasks 
such as simple word 
processing. 

One of the few companies 
still riding the crest of the 
wave is Commodore Inter¬ 
national. 

The managing director of 
the company's Australian sub¬ 
sidiary, Mr Nigel Shepherd, 
said it could not keep up 
with the demand for its 
Commodore 64. 

“But you have to remember 
that in this business you can 
turn around so fast," he said. 

“In just a matter of weeks 
you can go from the top of the 
market to the bottom and 
recover just as quickly." 

Commodore itself was near 
bankruptcy several years ago 
before the home computer 
business started. 

Then the comoanv m-j.r- 
caieuiutors from integrated cir¬ 
cuits supplied by Texas 
Instruments. 

When Texas Instruments de¬ 
cided to make its own cal¬ 
culators Commodore almost 
failed. 

Now Commodore makes all 
its own chips and it has seen 
Texas Instruments fail in the 
home computer market. 


“We’re not rejoicing that TI 
is going out of the business*” 
Mr Shepherd said. 

Among the retailers, the 
feeling in Australia is that next 
year will be the one when the 
home computer is seen as an 
educational device. 

Moves by various govern¬ 
ments throughout Australia to 
increase the number of per¬ 
sonal computers in use la 
schools will spin off business 
in the home market. 

For example, the NSW 
Government has a short list of 
companies which will be tho 
referred suppliers to the 
tate’s schools. 

As well as giving a lift to the 
fortunes of the successful com- 
anies, others selling into the 
ome and education market 
will receive a valuable boost. 

The Federal Government 
has allocated SIS million over 
a three year period for a com¬ 
puter education program 
aimed intitially at secondary 
schools. 

The president of the Austral¬ 
ian Computer Retailers’ As¬ 
sociation, Mr Bernard 
Kirschner, said 1983 was the 
year in which people used a 
home computer as a toy. 

“In 1984 we will start to see 
the computer being put to 
practical use in the home and I 
believe the major application 
will be educational," he said. 

“In 1985 we may start to see 
the home computer being used 
as a videotex terminal — all 
the ingredients for this are 
there right now.” 

The biggest computer retail¬ 
er of them all is the Radio 
Shack/Tandy chain. 

Tandy’s computer products 
manager in Australia, Mr Mai 
Williams, said bluntly: “The 
home market is still to come in 
Australia, but this Christmas 
could see the start of it” 

Blooded by a bad exper¬ 
ience in the market, home 
computer manufacturers know 
they have a real uphill battle in 
convincing people they need a 
computer in the home. 

At IBM, Mr Don Estridge is 
president of the entry systems 
division which is responsible 
for the worldwide develop¬ 
ment, project management 
and manufacturing within the 
US of the company’s low-cost 
personal-use computer sys¬ 
tems. 

That is how IBM describes 
Mr Estridge, but as he was the 
man in charge of the small 
team within IBM which de- 
•veloped the IBM PC, be is 
better known in popular folk¬ 
lore as the father of the IBM 
personal computer. 

“In the business world per¬ 
sonal computers arc being 
used in applications they 
didn't know about two years 


ago,” ne said on a recent visit 
to Australia. 

The sudden popularity of 
electronic spreadsheets a few 
years ago caught most manu¬ 
facturers by surprise. 

It appears that the current 
favourite application In tho 
business world is the electronic 
database. 

“We have a lot to discover 
yet in business and I’m sure it 
will be the same in tho home, 1 * 
Mr Estridge said. 

Offering a variety of ap¬ 
plications on the home com¬ 
puter of the future hoping that 
one will be a wildly succ essful 
winner may not sound like a 
very good approach but it may 
be the only viable one. 

Until that application is 
uncovered it is likely the 
majority of people will be able 
to resist Mr Bruehl's “attack". 

“Right now everybody who 
was going to buy one has got 
one," he said. 

“If you count our video 
games consoles as home com¬ 
puters — and every one of 
them has a microprocessor — 
then Atari has shipped be¬ 
tween 15 million and 17 mil¬ 
lion home computers. 

“That was the first wave — 
the people who will always be 
first in the street with anything 
everyone else 

That convincing will be a 
bard job. 

A major survey of potential 
buyers of home computers was 
Carried out this year by stu¬ 
dents of marketing at North 
Sydney Technical College. 

The students were in the 
final year of a three-year 
course leading to a marketing 
certificate. 

The survey involved Inter¬ 
viewing 400 people at 12 
locations in the Sydney metro¬ 
politan area. 

Information sought from the 
survey included the extent of 
the respondent’s knowledge of 
computers, sources of that 
knowledge, relative impor¬ 
tance of home computers with 
other home appliances and 
propensity to buy these 
appliances. 

Results showed 64 per cent 
of respondents considered 
their knowledge of home com¬ 
puters to be limited or poor. 
The same percentage also said 
home computers were either 
not important or totally un¬ 
important 

Of the remainder, 29 per 
cent rated home computers 
fairly important and 6 per cent 
rated them very important. 

The last percentage may be 
significant. 


new. Convincing 
is the challenge.” 


It matches the percentage of 
homes in Australia cited by Mr 
Bruehl as having some form of 
computer including a video 
game console. 

This suggests the homes 
which have bought machines 
were the ones in which home 
computers were and still are 
considered to be very 
important. 

If Mr Bruehl is correct and 
everyone who wanted to buy a 
borne computer now has one, 
then for manufacturers there 
really is a major challenge. 

Clearly the education/sel¬ 
ling process for the maufactur- 
er of home computers is going 
tp be hard. 

On the bright side, the 
•urvey showed that comparing 
home computers with various 
children's educational aids, 

computers ranked significantly 
better, with 74 per cent consid¬ 
ering home computers either 
very important or fairly impor¬ 
tant as educational tools. 

As an educational aid, home 
computers trailed encyclo¬ 
paedias (81 per cent) and 
calculators as rating either 
very important or fairly 
important. 

Of potential buyers asked 
when they considered they 
would buy a home computer, 
14.6 cent said within the next 
12 months with 12 per cent 
thinking in terms of within two 
years, 16 per cent between two 
and three years and 38.5 per 
cent more than three years. 

The remainder — almost 19 
per cent — said they would 
never consider buying a home 
computer. 

One of the disincentives to 
buying a home computer must. 
be the cost 

The current crop of 
machines costs about $500 in 
Australia. 

Using the system for any¬ 
thing other than games means 
adding a lot more expensive 
peripherals including disk 
drives and a printer. 

It also involves buying soft¬ 
ware for the system. . 

All this adds to the original 
basic cost of the system and is 
something the buyer is un¬ 
aware of at the initial purchase 
stage. 

A system fully configured 
(as those in the business like to 
say) will still set you back 
about $3,000. 

In the future, the software 
and extra storage capacity will 
be built into the system itself. 

“The distant future in this 
business is the end of next 
year,” said Mr Shepherd of 
Commodore. 

“We're predicting this type 
of machine with everything 
built-in being available in the 
near future.” 





sr 


The lesson for the potential 
buyer of a home computer is 
clear. 

If you can see the solution to 
a specific problem capable of 
being solved with the current 
crop of systems then go ahead 
and buy one. 

If you think buying one 
would just be a good idea, 
then hold on to your money. 

Whatever happens remem¬ 
ber the calculator business. 

Prices dropped as features 
were added and companies 
rushed into and then crashed 
out of the market. 


Finally the basic pocket 
calculator evolved but the 
price you are now paying for 
that item is a lot more than the 
lowest price you could have 
paid ever for a calculator. 

Computers, like almost 
everything else you buy on the 
free market, are subject to the 
same economic laws. 

The computer you buy 
today may be cheaper tomor¬ 
row, or it may be more 
expensive^ or the company 
making it may be out of 
business, or IBM may have 
brought out a similar model 
with more features. 


Or you may finally realise 
that, like the hoola hoop, the 
exercise bike and the reel-to- 
reel tape recorder you have no 
real use for it 


12 FINANCIAL P-EVIEW, Thursday^November 10^ 19 


C 0 M S E C: 
Communications & Security: 

P.O. Box 30 : 

Waihi Beach South : 

TELEPHONE(0816) 45697 : 

sssssssssssasssssissssssassBaas; 


Dear Sir, 

I wish to advise you that CQMSEC is in the business of 
selling computer ?< computer peripherals at a realistic 
price. Generally, our prices are 107. or less than that of 
normal retai1 prices, however normal warranty conditions 
still apply. You may be interested in some of the products 
available, 8< their prices. We have a printer interface 
which is similar to the one offered by Dick Smith at ♦180. 
Our product has superior connectors S< presentation 
A highly recommended printer, as used in this letter, is 


the GEMINI 10X...features: Epson 
matrix, 120cps, uses standard $12 
friction/tractor feed standard. 

COMSEC printer interface.$85 


compatible, 
typewriter 


9X9 dot 
ribbon, 


+ RS232 interface..♦825 

w/o interface.$765 

80.$810 

RS232 CARD.$205 

MONITOR.$300 


(SPECIAL) 


(rec/retai1 
(rec/retai1 
(rec/retai1 


$999) 
$245) 
♦336) 
......... (p.o.a.) 

.........(p.o.a.) 

(rec/retail $600) 
..(p.o.a.) 
fully 


GEMINI 10X 
GEMINI 10X 
PACESETTER 
PACESETTER 
PACESETTER 

EPSON. 

NEC.. 

NEC digital pager.$500 

Computers:COMMQDORE/SYSBO/GENIE etc. 

Note:- The above products are brand new & 
guaranteed. 

Under development at this time: 

1.. High speed load/save device, which will be approximately 
half the price of a floppy disc system. This should be 
available in a few months (sorry, no details available!). 

2.. Telephone Modem.approximate cost $200. 

Although these products are not available yet, we would 
appreciate those interested to advise, so that we may plan 
production accordingly 

If any club members wish to sell good used equipment, 
we are in the market for these items. Likewise, any club 
members who wish to start off "on the cheap" please drop a 
line 8< we will endeavour to supply your requirements. 

Yours faithfully, 

Alistair Grant George (manager CQMSEC) 














Learning to program may be of 
doubtful educational 
importance to most users 


“SHOULD I learn to program?” and “Do r 
have to learn to program?” are two 
variants of the question probably most 
asked by people testing the waters of 
computer ownership. The answer usually 
boils down to an emphatic “that depends 
... but probably not.” 

The professed need to learn pro¬ 
gramming has become an adjunct of that 
now all-too-familiar term “computer liter¬ 
acy”. Somehow, the idea of being comput¬ 
er illiterate has been foisted upon the 
public as a handicap and horror that in 
today’s world of high technology may be 
even worse than being illiterate in the 
traditional sense of the word. 

But the analogy is a false one that has 
gained acceptance because of fear of the 
unknown or paying too much heed to 
“authorities” who are either recent converts 
to computers or their purveyors. . 

True, computers are becoming part and 
parcel of our daily lives. Personal comput¬ 
ers will be even more so in the near future, 
certainly at work, although perhaps not as 
quite as vital a part of the home as the 
advertising would have us believe. 

And, true, a computer without programs 
is as useful as a rusty fish hook in the 
middle of the Gobi. But does this mean that 
whoever wants to use a computer must also 
write the software for it? 

Would someone, purchasing an auto¬ 
mobile for a cross-country trip first study 
cartography, then proceed to obtain aerial 
and satellite photographs of the proposed 
route, and finally draw a detailed map for 
the whole journey? Hardly. 

It is far easier to go to the NRMA and 
get standard maps or that organisation’s 
special trip sheets. 

Cartography is fascinating. So, for that 
matter, is the writing of software. But most 
people have to consider how much time 
they can spare for such an undertaking. 

It is not for nothing that programmers 
speak of software development in terms of 
man-years, and it is not uncommon for 
programmers to put in 12- to 14-hour days 
trying to finish a project. Do you have that 
kind of time to spare? 

Obviously not all program development 
time is measured in man-years. One could 
no doubt write a program for generating 
anagrams in a couple of days, though it 
would take the average neophyte the same 
couple of days merely to type in the 75 to 
100 lines of code required. 

But let me hasten to add that there are at 
least three good reasons for learning how 
to program. First, it allows you to develop 
software that is not available com¬ 


mercially, and in some cases it lets you 
customise purchased software to serve your 
specific needs better. 

Second, programming can be fun. If you 
enjoy working on puzzles, programming 
may well turn out to be more pleasurable 
than solving the crossword puzzle. 

Third, there is the intellectual exercise, 
the honing of logic skills and learning to 
learn, stressed by pedagogues as a perfect 
reason to have computers available in 
schools for pupils from kindergarten age 
upwards. 

Valid as all these points may be, their 
limitations are often overlooked'by pro¬ 
ponents who get carried away by their 
enthusiasm. 


If you were to start learning a pro¬ 
gramming language, such as the increasing¬ 
ly popular C, in your spare time, chances 
are you would be fairly proficient in it 
within a year. That is a lot of time. 

Hiring a programmer to modify existing 
commercial software to suit your business 
needs would probably prove to be more 
effective in terms of cost 

Besides, once you have mastered C, you 
may find another program you want to 
modify written in BASIC. Now there is 
nothing wrong with learning a second 
computer language. 

Perhaps the most telling argument 
against the need to leam a computer, 
language to have precisely the software you 
want is the rapidly increasing selection and 
gradual improvement in personal comput¬ 
er software. 

Five years ago, word-processing pro¬ 
grams for personal computers did not exist. 
Today, I would hazard to guess, more than 
several hundred brands are available. 

By the time you became truly proficient 
at programming, chances are that whatever 
you set out to write would be available in 
some form from a software publisher. 

There can be no argument with the fact 
that some people will derive great pleasure 

from programming. Trying to leam some 
of the basics of programming to see if you 
like it is like tinkering with a car as a 
teenager. 


Some people end up going to engineer¬ 
ing school. Others, 20 years later, re¬ 
member only enough to check the points in 
the distributor when the engine misses, if 
the car even has a distributor. 

The point is, you cannot argue with the 
enjoyment and sense of accomplishment 
programming can bring to those of the 
right mind, and there is only one way to 
find out if you are one of them. 

As to the educational necessity of 
learning how to program, I find it greatly 
over-stressed. Any day now. I’m sure, some 
software publisher will bring out a cute set 
of red floppies .called The Little Computer 
That Could 


This simple 16-disc set will be designed 
to take the toddler from his first simple 
BASIC sub-routine up through the writing 
of a ballistics program for ICBM trajecto¬ 
ries. 

The promise is there. No doubt n few 
students would even conquer such a 
program. The vast majority, however, 
would end up being frustrated by the very 
machine that could serve them so well in 
the future. 

Most children simply are not going to be 
ace programmers, and there is no need for 
them to be. 

Computers will become as common to 
this generation as television was to .their 
parents. But the vast majority of parents do 
not repair television sets, write for tele¬ 
vision or work in the broadcasting industry 
in any capacity. 

Programming has a place in today’s 
curricula — for high schools and up — just 
as civics and chemistry do. Computers are 
not, however, an all-encompassing and 
unique educational solution. 

In fact, although Cicero could never 
compete with computer games when it 
comes to “making learning fun”, con¬ 
quering the conjugations of his lost tongue 
probably makes a lot more sense, when it 
comes to learning to learn, than sifting 
through programming statements in 
BASIC, unrelated to our living language. 

(The New York Times) 



ERIC 












Sex on the small screen 

sen n(i(ct| 

THE television screen riage guidance by computer is programme measures three masculine and feminine 


glowed a soft green in the 
darkened room, the letters 
of its message were a deep 
blue. “Doris,” they read, 
“how many times a day do 
you like sex?” 

Not an illegal blue film 
show, but one of the ques¬ 
tions asked by a new pro¬ 
gramme for home computers. 

Britain has the greatest 
number of home computers 
in the world and they have 
just moved into sex. 

Instead of watching the 
depressing truth about the 
household accounts, couples 
can now get marriage guid¬ 
ance or find a new partner 
from the new family counsel¬ 
lor — the computer. 

Acornsoft, the software 
company of Acorn Comput¬ 
ers has just launched two new 
programmes for home com¬ 
puter users, / Do and The 
Dating Game. 

/ Do helps couples assess 
the good and bad points of 
their relationships and pin¬ 
point danger areas which 
could lead to trouble. 

The Dating Game enables 
individuals to examine their 
personalities and find part¬ 
ners likely to be computable. 

Psychologists Professor 
Hans Eysenck and Doctor 
Glenn Wilson have put the 
programmes together; and 
under the control of the com¬ 
puter about 400 questions, 
capable of multiple answers, 
are presented on the screen. 

The computer then ana¬ 
lyses the answers to uncover 
subtle traits that make up the 
users personality. 

Mr Ivan Berg, of the 
company that has developed 
the two programmes said; 

“We have found that peo¬ 
ple are much more ‘honest’ 
answering the questions of a 
computer than of another 
human being, hence our tests 
tend to produce more accu¬ 
rate answers than face to face 
interviews.” 

Couples who would hesi¬ 
tate to take their problems to 
an outsider can ask a comput¬ 
er things they would not ask 
another person and they have 
their areas of low compatabil- 
ity revealed without embar¬ 
rassment. 

The computer can much 
more easily handle the com¬ 
plex calculations needed to 
analyse the answers to many 
questions than a human 
being and produce the answer 
in seconds. 

Mr David Johnson- 
Davies, the managing direc¬ 
tor of Acornsoft, said: 

“We believe that our mar- 


unique. 

“Our hope is that the pro¬ 
gramme will give couples new 
ways of thinking about their 
relationships. 

“We also hope that dating 
games, with their matchmak¬ 
ing facility, will break the ice 
at parties.” 

by ROY LAKEMAN 
— London 

The company admits that 
the programmes at first will 
most likely be used as party 
games for a laugh; but there is 
a serious intent behind the 
idea and they hope that as the 
programmes prove their 
worth people will take them 
seriously. 

The Dating Game package 
analyses character and per¬ 
sonality to help people find 
compatable friends and 
lovers and is based on re¬ 
search by Dr Glenn Wilson of 
the Institute of Psychiatry at 
London University. 

The package comprises 
four separate programmes, of 
which the most powerful is 
The Dating Game; this can 
match up to 40 people at any 
one time. 

It ranks each person in 
descending order of compata- 
bility with ratings for both 
"friendships” and “romantic 
attachment.” 

The company points out 
that this particular pro¬ 
gramme also works for 
homosexuals. 

The second programme in 
the package is Love Style and 
the psychologists have identi¬ 
fied three major dimensions 
of loving: 

“Fanciful/practical,” 
“serious/playful” and “cool/ 
passionate.” 

A couple can use the pro¬ 
gramme together to produce 
two profiles which can be 
matched to give some idea of 
their sexual compatibility. 

Finally Dating Skills 
examines in a humorous way 
a person’s social skills in dat¬ 
ing and mating. 

The tests reveal your over¬ 
all level of sophistication and 
can indicate if you are going 
about finding a partner in the 
most effective way. 

One of the pyschologists’ 
most controversial findings is 
in the / Do programme where 
they have included a section 
that measures feminism, be¬ 
cause they say of the nature of 
feminism with its tendency 
towards confrontation as op¬ 
posed to accommodation 
which can lead to marital 
difficulties. 

Sexual attitudes are obvi¬ 
ously important and the / Do 


different aspects; libido, satis- characteristics, 
faction and masculinity. The happiest relationships 

Libido, or sex drive, tends seem to be those where both 
to be very different between partners have high masculini- 
the sexes, with men usually ty and femininity scores, 
scoring higher than women.. The next happiest are 

Sexual satisfaction is com- those couples where the man 

pletely independent from libi- is very masculine and the 

do and it is possible for a woman very feminine; the 

person with a low libido to be least happiest are those where 

as satisfied with his/her sex neither partner has a score on 

life as a person with a high either scale, 

libido. Acornsoft is producing 

To measure masculinity 15,000 cassettes, so we may 
and femininity, two scales are yet see many homes in' Brit- 
used and both partners score ain where the little screen in 
in both aspects. the corner of the living room 

This is because men and will decide who does what to 

women tend to exhibit both whom and when. — Duo. 


‘Fingerprint’ foils pirates 

IN AN effort to halt the rampant illegal copying of microcom¬ 
puter software. Vault Corporation in California has introduced the 
first in a series of software copy protection systems. The so-called 
’ProLok’ disk is designed to present unauthorised duplication of 
software by embedding a unique ‘fingerprint’ (identification code) 
onto the disk. The program disk is forced to look for the fingerprint 
and match it before it can run the program. The ProLok system 
requires no special hardware to operate and is compatible with 
CP/M. MS-DOS, and Apple-DOS. 

According to Vault current nibble and bit copying programs are 
completely ineffective in trying to copy ProLok-protected disks. 


Atari Will Delay Manufacturing 


And Marketing of Two Computers 

special to The Asian waitstreet journal which the industry has been dubbing I 


NEW YORK - Warner Communications “Peanut” 


Inc.’s Atari Inc. unit is changing its plans - 
again - for the home-computer business. 

In its most recent move, the company 
said Friday that it is delaying the making 
and marketing of its two higher-priced com¬ 
puter models, the 1400XL and the 1450XLD. 
But sources and analysts said the delay is a 
signal that Warner is backing away from the 
high end of the computer market. 

Atari’s new chief executive, James J. 
Morgan, also reportedly killed plans develop¬ 
ed before his September arrival to introduce 
a new model, the Atari 1600, that was to be 
compatible with models made by Interna¬ 
tional Business Machines Corp. Although 
Atari never publicly acknowledged the exis¬ 
tence of plans for the 1600, sources say it was 
to be made with Japan’s Toshiba Corp. and 
was to include such features as a dual 
processor. 

Warner’s moves appear to be partially 
motivated by fear that the two new comput¬ 
ers wouldn't bring anything new to the high¬ 
er end of the market in which computers are 
priced from $500 to $1,200. Primary among 
those concerns is the expected launch by 
IBM on Nov. i of the “PC Junior," or PCjr., 


Christopher Kirby, an analyst at Sanford 
C. Bernstein & Co., noted, “The high end of 
the market is becoming a more crowded, 
competitive niche now than the low end of 
the market was last year.” And Clive Smith, 
a consultant at Yankee Group, Boston, said 
that the 1400XL and the 1450XLD. even at 
suggested retail prices of $350 and $650, 
respectively, “were overpriced and unlikely 
to have much demand.” 

Just one week ago, Warner’s chief execu¬ 
tive officer, Steven J. Ross, strongly denied 
reports that Atari plans to leave the home- 
computer business. In a news release issued 
along with Warner’s report of a $122.3 million 
loss for the third quarter, the company said 
it is shipping two new computers, the lower- 
priced 600 and the 800. It didn't mention the 
1400XL and the 1450XLD, which a company 
spokesman said was an oversight. The 
spokesman added that Atari was sticking to 
its plans to ship the 1400XL and 1450XLD late 
this month. 

Friday, however, Warner ackowledged 
that Atari won’t ship the 1400XL and the 
1450XLD until late December, after the 
Christmas selling season. 



Extra Care Each Day Keeps Repairman Awav 

unr 10 it « - 


wye izf£ 


By ERIK SANDBERG-DIMENT 


O VER the past few decade, the 
| concept of disposable con- 
I sumer goods has crept into 
prominence. From use- 
them-once razors to throwaway toast¬ 
ers and rustaway cars, the material 
fruits of modern technology are less 
-and less designed to be durable and re- 
ipairable. The notion of preventive 
maintenance underlying Western 
technology since its inception is being 
rather rapidly replaced with an it's- 
cheaper-to-buy-a-new-one-than-to-fix- 
it philosophy. 

In a sense, personal computers are 
at the fore of this trend, as indeed they 
should be. Realistically speaking, the 
lifespan of a personal computer today 
is probably less than five years—sim¬ 
ply because of technological obsoles¬ 
cence. Microcomputers are likely to 
be disposed of not because of operat¬ 
ing failure, but because newer ver¬ 
sions do so much more so much better 
and cost so much less for what they do 
that they simply can’t be resisted. 

, So why bother with upkeep? Actual¬ 
ly, there’s a very good reason for pre¬ 
ventive maintenance. It’s known as 
avoiding headaches. With a little 
extra care, you should be able to ex¬ 
pect largely trouble-free operation 
from your personal computer. 

! The maintenance of a personal com- 
j puter begins as soon as you plug it in. 
i Unlike mechanical devices such as 
can openers and bicycles, which wear 
down with age and are thus increas¬ 
ingly prone to bits-and-pieces failure 
as time goes on, electronic equipment 

usually fails within the first 24 hours 
of use or else not for a long, long time. 

, So the first thing you should do with a 
1 new personal computer is turn it on 
and leave it on for two days straight. 
You don't have to sit in front of it 
through a marathon game session. , 
; The crucial element is simply that the ■ 
; computer is left turned on, a process 
referred to as burning in. 
i Most manufacturers will, burn in i 
their equipment before it leaves the j 
; plant. Even so, an extra precaution-1 
i ary bum in on your part uses hardly i 
any electricity and insures that if a ’ 
; component failure does occur at this 
| stage you are well covered by the 
' manufacturer’s v, arranty. 

After initial component failure, 
probably the greatest problem apt to 
i beset personal computers is dust. A 
'dust cover for the computer may 
' seem about as important as a tea cozy 
in this day and age. But as far as life¬ 
span of your computer is concerned, it 
can make a difference comparable to 
that between keeping your car inaga- 
■ rage and letting it sit outside at the 
• seashore. 

• A good dust co -r should not gener¬ 
ate static electricity. A home-made 
i cloth cover is every bit as useful as the 
ones commercially available when it 
■ comes to keeping dust away from the 
1 sensitive keyboard and disk drives. 
But don’: merely drape a piece of 
clingy plastic sheeting over your ma¬ 
chine. Computers tend to be suscepti¬ 
ble to damage by static electricity. 
You don’t want to eliminate the dust 
problem by introducing a static prob¬ 
lem in its stead. If you have a separate 
printer, p ; ve it a cover as well. It’s not 


f as prone to dust problems as the disk 
drives are, but dirt will eventually 
gum up any mechanical device. 

‘■PBVEN well-protected floppy 
I H| disk drives will need clean- 
tag. The read/ write heads on 
them will build up an accu- 
j mutation of magnetic oxides from the 
{disks themselves. To clean the heads, 
'you will need one of the numerous kits 
available, containing special cleaning 
diskettes and fluid. All you do is satu¬ 
rate the cleaning pads of these special 
disks witn the fluid and insert them in 
the drive. Turn on the drive, and the 
machine does the rest. Cleaning your 
disk drive after roughly every 90 
hours of use will extend the life of both 

the drive and your software disks. 

Lint-free wipers are also usually 
available at your local computer 
store. These can be used in conjunc¬ 
tion with an antistatic cleaning fluid to 
clean the keyboard every couple of 
weeks. A quick wipe-off of the whole 
cabinet while you’re at it may not be 
necessary, but if you use your com¬ 
puter daily, it certainly can’t do any 
harm either. 

Low-priced computers so consti¬ 
tuted that game and program car¬ 
tridges plug right into the console 
present another potential problem. 
Suppose a software cartridge you’ve 
; used many times before suddenly fails 
■ to perform properly. Suppose the dis¬ 
play is garbled or the game simply 
fails to proceed correctly. In that 
; case, there’s a good chance those gold- 
plated fingers, or teeth, by means of 
{which the cartridge plugs into the 
{computer, have become fouled up. 

{Since it is these fingers that make the 
.crucial contact between cartridge and 
i computer, dirt, dust and grime can 
'impede a proper electrical connec¬ 
tion. 

{ Rarely will you see this problem oc¬ 
curring with a computer such as the 
{Texas Instruments TI99/4A, in which 
i the fingers are more or less sealed off 
from the outside world and a flap on 
the computer port automatically seals 
off the plug when a cartridge is not in 
place. However, computers like the 
Commodore VIC-20 use cartridges 
■with exposed pins that can become 


gummed up. 

The pins are easy enough to clean. 
Simply wipe the teeth gently with a 
lint-free rag soaked in one of the many; 
cleaning fluids available for the pur- 
i pose. The prime *y ingredient of most 
of these cleaning solutions is dena¬ 
tured ethyl alcohol, so you can simply 
use that if you happen to have a bottle 
of It around. 

The last bit of maintenance pertain¬ 
ing to a personal computer is actually 
a transportation detail. Personal com¬ 
puters are far more tolerant of being 
knocked about than traditional com¬ 
puters are. Nevertheless, if you’re 
packing up your computer and its 
components to transport them some¬ 
where, it would be a good idea to use 
i the original carton with its complete 
collection of modern shock-absorbing 
devices for the purpose. If there was a 
computer under your Christmas tree 
this year, put aside the boxes it came 
in before you throw out those mounds 
of Christmas wrappings. 


IBM is 
the one 
to follow 

Whatever shape the home 
computer of the future 
takes, it will almost cer¬ 
tainly have to be compatible 
with IBM’s home computer 
of the future. 

Setting the trend in this 
direction was an an¬ 
nouncement this week that 
Apple had finally bowed to 
IBM’s lead in the In¬ 
formation processing indus¬ 
try and has endorsed a 
“black box” which will 
attach to the Apple II 
family of computers and 
allow them to run some of 
the programs which have 
been developed for the IBM 
personal computer. 

The device is being de¬ 
veloped by Rana Systems of 
Chatsworth, California, at 
the instigation of Apple 
Computer Inc. 

The Rana 8086-2, as it is 
known, is expected to be 
introduced in March next 
year and sell in the US for 
! less than $US2,000. 

IBM’s initial entry In the 
home computer market is 
the PC Junior. 

Although the company 
said at the launch of the 
product the new machine 
was designed for use in the 
home as well as the office 
and classroom, the PC 
Junior is little more than a 
scaled down version of the 
existing IBM PC. 

The PC Junior also uses 
* more recent version of the 
operating system designed 
for the PC range. 

Indeed the very fact that 
the PC Junior user has to 
bother with such com- 
pexities as an operating 
system Is likely to preclude 
the machine from finding 
widespread use in the home. 

Also all the software 
necessary for the average 
home user will in the future 
be built into the machine 
itself rather than come 
packaged ou floppy disk or 
in cartridges. 





Video Games: 
Pro and Con 

At a recent academic 
conference, educators and 
psychologists tried to lay to rest = 
many parents’ fears about video 
games. They said the games 
encourage both thinking and 
socialization among children. 

But critics still say the games 
teach violence and may even 
turn ' , 'i , 'fr3n away from 
computers. 

‘The games foster te 

reasoning.’ £ 

M 

...“[At] a conference sponsored...by the m 

Harvard Graduate Sch. of Education-re¬ 
searchers and scientists suggested that jji 
video games may turn out to be one of the j s 
most powerful teaching tools ever de- m 

vised.... Far from being corrupting dens of ^ 
iniquity, the arcades, B. David Brooks 
[U. Southern California] concluded, were sa 
places for young people to meet and C( 

talk.... Fears that drugs and liquor are 0 f 
commonplace were off target, Brooks w 

reported. One cannot play well when 
drunk or high, he noted— These games, 
typically complex, with many things hap- j r 
pening simultaneously, foster inductive 
reasoning, argued Patricia Greenfield, a K 
professor of psychology at U. California, 

Los Angeles. She maintained that a child ' 
who can manipulate an array of buttons to 
gauge the pull of gravity and the thrust of 
a spaceship, all the while evading invad- ,e 
ers and firing off missiles, is using com¬ 
plex cognitive skills." 


...“Many of the fears associated with 
video games are being debunked, includ¬ 
ing their role in the breakup of the family. 
At the Harvard symposium, Edna Mitchell, 
head of the Dept, of Education at Mills 
Coll, in Oakland, Calif., said that her 
research on 20 families shows that chil¬ 
dren watch less television and families in¬ 
teract more after the games enter their 
home.” 


Pi 


iau 

'S*C& 



V* 


Tuesday; February 7, 1984 


U.S. Technology 


Computer Compatibility Claims 
For IBM’s PC Puzzle Consumers 


By Erik Larson 

Special lo The Asian Wall Street Journal 

SAN FRANS1SCO — Dozens of compu¬ 
ter makers claim their machines are com¬ 
patible with the International Business 
Machines Corp. Personal Computer. Still 
more compatible machines are on the way. 

But dealers say consumers still don't 
know exactly what compatibility is, how it 
is achieved, and how to find out if the 
machine they want is really as compatible 
as its advertisers would have them believe. 

“I think they assume when someone 
says a machine is compatible, it’s 100% 
compatible,” says Jack Hooper, president 
of Blue Sky Enterprises, a Bellevue, 
Washington, computer-store chain. 

Charles Grant is president and chief ex¬ 
ecutive officer of North Star Computers 
Inc., a San Leandro, California, company 
preparing to market a compatible machine 
that more than one person can use at a time. 
He says, ‘ ‘A lot of people who wish they had 
designed IBM-compatible machines are 
calling them IBM-compatible ina very mis¬ 
leading way.” 

Different Degrees 

In fact, there are different degrees of 
compatibility. But most dealers agree com¬ 
puter-buyers have one idea in mind when 
they shop for an IBM compatible: They 
want a lower-priced machine that can run 
most, if not all. the IBM machine's software 
without modification. ^ 

“Compatibility is like being pregnant,” 
says North Star’s Mr. Grant. “Either you 
areoryou aren’t.” Achievingsuchcompati- 
bility involves a lot more than directly— 
and illegally — copying the IBM Personal 
Computer to its last circuit. 

’ ‘When people tell you it’s easy to build a 
compatible, they’re dead wrong,” says 
Ronnie Ward, executive vice president of 
Future Computing Inc., a market-research 
concern in Richardson, Texas. (According 
to Future Computing, the top three sellers 
of machines considered closely compatible 
with the IBM Personal Computer are Com¬ 
paq Computer Corp., Columbia Data Pro- 
|lucts Inc., and Eagle^Computer Inc.) 

Even if no part of the IBM machine were 
:opyrighted, exact imitation would be ris¬ 
ky. IBM, always able to make the machine 
more cheaply because of the volume of its 
sales, could kill off copycats with a price 
nit. "You have to do something different 


Basic Input/Output System, a software 
layer tailored to aparticular machine. This 
layer allows a program to command the 
machine to do things such as move para¬ 
graphs on a monitor. IBM copyrighted its 
BIOS. So engineers have to figure out how to 
design a BIOS that does the same thing but 
uses a different approach. 

One company recently ran foul of IBM. 
Corona Data Systems Inc., a compatible 
maker in Westlake Village, California, last 
month agreed not to infringe on any IBM 
copyrights for the BIOS and to destroy 
copies of its own program. Corona, which 
didn't concede that it had copied the prog¬ 
ram, says it is confident it can develop 
anothemon-infringingBIOS without reduc¬ 
ing compatibility. 

Modified by Developers 

Compatibility often gets confused with a 
machine’s ability to run Microsoft Corp.'s 
MS-DOS, an operating system, or the back¬ 
ground program that controls the basic 
functions of a computer; it occupies a layer 
between the BIOS and whatever program a 
computer user chooses to run. To be com¬ 
patible, a machine must run MS-DOS, but 
MS-DOS alone doesn’t ensure compati¬ 
bility. 

A hundred companies have licensed the 
right to use MS-DOS on their machines. But 
before it can run on any but the most com- 
pate computers, IBM software has to be 
modified by its developers. That can take 
months, especially in the case of the most 
sophisticated programs, which often sides¬ 
tep MS-DOS and make direct calls on a 
machine’s hardware. It took Lotus De¬ 
velopment Corp. about six months to alter 
its IBM version of Lotus 1-2-3 for use on 
another MS-DOS machine that was other¬ 
wise incompatible. 

Computer makers and dealers use Lotus 
1-2-3 and Flight Simulator, made by Micro¬ 
soft, as tests of compatibility^ 

When Blue Sky Enterprises wants to de¬ 
termine how compatible a new computer is, 
it plugs in both programs first thing. “Lotus 
1-2-3 literally exercises every hardware fe¬ 
ature of the IBM PC,” says Blue Sky’s Mr. 
Hooper. “That's not a 100% guarantee (of 
compatibility), but it's as close as you're 
going to come.” 

How then is a first-time computer buyer 


cheaply because ot tne volume ot its supposed to find out how true advertisers’ 
could kill off copycats with a price claims about IBM compatibility are? Joe 
You have to do something different Harmon, merchandising vice president for 
jtthesame,” says Frank Ziircher, ex- CompuShop Inc., a Richardson, Texas, 


indyetthesame," says Frank Ziircher, ex- CompuShop Inc., a Richardson, Texas, 
xutive vice president of the systems divi- ' computer chain, says, “I’d buy the piece of 
lion of TeleVideo Systems Inc. of Sunny-, 'software I want the machine to run and then 
rale, California, which makes three IBM- j would take it with me” ,to the sfore. 
lompatible machines. . -*x s •• Seymour Merrin, a Westport' Connecticut, 


"You didn't put in a quarter. It 
doesn't work unless you 


However, any fundamental vari 
he way a computer’s keyboard?!] 
lisk drive or memory responds to a 
ei* program can destroy com; 
)ne of the toughest hurdles for ei 


he imitationof the IBMmachinel'BIOS; or ,jjtidngsL” 


dealer, says shopper# should ask, ‘“Will 
Lotus run right qut of the box, and will the 
machine dofttfe^Loths‘graphics?’ The 
second quesUonls: ‘Will itrun Flight Simu- 
reftfte tWnjost important 






Educational Software for Children 


tajr a il -tt 


By ERIK SANDBERG-DIMENT 

W HEN it comes to buying a 
home computer for the 
children, the question of 
which one to get has a 
way of becoming moot. 

There are exceptions. The father 
who selects an Atari for his offspring 
because his local financial institution 
has chosen that particular make as 
its bank-from-home vehicle is opting 
for a machine that can serve a dual 
family function. But in most cases the 
best bet for a happy Christmas is to 
stuff the stocking with whatever com¬ 
puter the kids’ friends have. In days 
of yore, remembqr, if you had an 
American Flyer train set and your 
chums all had Lionels, you were stuck 
on a dead-end spur. A child with an 
oddball computer is even more isolat¬ 
ed; having one of a kind in a comput¬ 
ing peer group eliminates the possi¬ 
bility of sharing programs. 

Software is smother matter. Here 
selection by the senior members of 
the family not only is possible, but 
may even represent one of the last 
bastions of positive parental influ¬ 
ence in our technology-dominated 
society. Even teen-agers can’t afford 
to purchase software with the aban¬ 
don they devote to records. 

So if you want to guide your chil¬ 
dren away from the hypnotic and 
probably less-than-beneficial effects 
of the shoot-’em-down combat com¬ 
puter games so popular these days, 
look into some of the educational 
games that have recently become 
available. A number of these are 
quite good, and, perhaps surprising¬ 
ly, they are capable of becoming, for 
many youngsters, as enthralling as 
their war-game counterparts. 

High on the recommended list is 
Match-Wits, from CBS Software (on 
disk for Apple II computers and the 
IBM PC, $29.95). A strategy game 
aimed at the whole family, with six 
categories — words, sports, famous 
people, multiplication, cities and ani¬ 
mals — Match-Wits encourages 
memory development. 

Playing on a five-by-six grid of 
green squares, the contestants choose 
one box by typing in its horizontal and 
vertical coordinates. This momen¬ 
tarily exposes a hidden word. A sec¬ 
ond try exposes another word. The 
players must remember what was 
where, for the object is to match a 
pair of words. 

: In the animal category, Genevieve, 
my 12-year-old, first uncovered the 
word “cloud” and responded, appro¬ 
priately enough, “That’s not a kind of 
apimal.” Several turns into the 
'game, however, the word "gnat” was 
revealed and the connection “cloud of 
Ignats” was made. 

Once a match has been found, the 
paired words are replaced by seg¬ 
ments of pictures or letters or both, 
making up a rebus, a word-and-pic- 
ture puzzle. The first player to solve 
the rebus picks up 1,000 extra points. 

Genevieve solved the rebus, all 
right, but failed to type in the answer 
before the allotted 20 seconds, which 
provoked her to mutter, “Oh, I’m so 
slow!” After the game was over, she 
asked if she could practice on one of 


our touch-typing programs to speed 
up her fingers. In this instance, it ap¬ 
peared, not only did Match-Wits offer 
an entertaining exercise in memory 
building and problem solving, but it 
fostered a desire to go beyond the 
game and improve other skills as 
well. 

Match-Wits also contains a Match- 
Wits secretary program which allows 
players to create their own word 
matches, constructing new games. 
The instructions could be clearer, 
however, and since the underlying 
rebus remains the same, part of the 
challenge of the game is gone. 

The Wizware series from Scholas¬ 
tic includes a similar game called 
“Square Pairs” (on disk for Apple II 
computers, $39.95; on cassette for the 
Atari 400/800, Texas Instruments 99/ 

4A and the Vic-20, $29.95), geared to¬ 
wards children 7 to 12 years old. In¬ 
stead of choosing a box by using its 
coordinates, as in Match-Wits, the 
Wizware players simply enter a num¬ 
ber to make their selection, so there’s 
one less learning aspect involved. 
There are more categ&.lco from 
which to pick, nine altogether, in 
addition to a provision for players to 
make up their own version of the 
game. However, the match to be 
made in Square Pairs is between 
identical words rather than, as with 
Match-Wits, a pair of related words 
or phrases. 

O VERALL, the program it¬ 
self is disappointingly 
clumsy in its design. Menus 
appear too often, and 
players have to re-enter their names 
each time a game is played, even if 
the computer has not been shut down. 

Mix and Match, for all ages from 
Children’s Television Workshop (on 
disk for the Apple II series, $50) is 
more visual than verbal in its orienta¬ 
tion, involving four different games. 
In one, “Raise the Flags,” guessing 
the correct word effects what the title 
implies. In “Layer Cake,” an elec¬ 
tronic version of the old Towers of 
Hanoi puzzle, anywhere from three to 

six different-sized layers must be 
moved from plate to plate until you 
end up with a properly tiered cake. If 
you put a larger layer on a smaller 
one by mistake, it gets squished. 

In Mix and Match’s animal game, 
the kids are supposed to “teach the 
computer” about animals, using a 20 
Questions type of format. After a few 
minutes of play, my 9-year-old daugh¬ 
ter Tanya found more pleasure in 
“confusing” the computer than in the 
game itself. She delighted in exclaim¬ 
ing, “You dumb computer!” Gene¬ 
vieve added, “No, actually it’s a 
dumb disk.” In point of fact, of 
course, it’s neither, but the animal 
game does does lend itself to such 
pranks as getting the computer to 
ask, “Is a guppy a guppy?” If one 
replies “No,” the computer responds 
with, “Thanks, I’ll remember that,” 
to the accom^niment of laughter on 
all sides. 

Design Ware publishes a line of 
similar action-verbal games, includ¬ 
ing Spellicopter, Spellagraph and 
Spellakazam (on disk for the Apple II 
series, the IBM PC, and the Atari, 


$39.95)To get your child more numer¬ 
ically involved, you might consider 
the same company’s Math Maze for 
ages 6 to 11. It covers elementary 
addition, subtraction, multiplication 
and vision. A joy stick is not required, 
but greatly improves the playability 
of the game, since solving the prob¬ 
lem involves moving a fly Pac-Man 
fashion through a rudimentary maze. 

More arithmetically instructive, 
perhaps, is the Success With Math 
series from CBS Software (for Apple 
II computers, also available in ca- 
settes as well as disks for the Atari 
and the Commodore 64, the cassette 
$19.95, disks $24.95). These drill-and- 
practice sets include both elementary 
addition-subtraction and multiplica¬ 
tion-division passages, along with one 
on linear equations and one on quad¬ 
ratics. 

Genevieve, who hasn’t had real 
equations in school yet, sat down with 
Success With Math and began work¬ 
ing her way through the linear equa¬ 
tions program. Her first comment 
was, “I don’t get all of this. I’m sort of 
walking on thin air.” Even so, and de¬ 
spite her objection, “it does let you 
change your mind when you make a 
mistake,” she was drawn into the 
puzzle. With a little adult guidance, 
she soon understood what the pro¬ 
gram meant when it recorded her 
score in terms of computational er¬ 
rors and procedural errors. Surpris¬ 
ingly, she began solving linear equa¬ 
tions — and even developing a feel for 
what she was doing. 

There’s the real reason for giving 
your children some educational soft¬ 
ware for Christmas. Between the 
three of you, child, computer and par¬ 
ent, at least two will leant something. 




Economy & Business 



The chairman presiding at a regular staff-management meeting: “Why, you little demon, you.” 


The Zinger of Silicon Valley _ 

Morgan uses drastic measures in an attempt to save Atari 

Few companies have risen so fast or crashed so rapidly as Anri, the onetime king of 
video games. From 1977 to 1982, annual sales zoomed from $200 million to $2 billion. 
But last year Atari lost $536 million in just the first nine months Atari's collapse has left 
its parent company, Warner Communications, so weak that Warner is fighting for its life 
in a corporate takeover battle with Press Lord Rupert Murdoch. James J. Morgan, 41, 
then a vice president of Philip Morris, was hired last summer to rescue the ailing compa¬ 
ny. TIME Correspondent William Me Whirter, a Princeton classmate (1963) of Morgan’s, 
spent a week with Atari s chairman and filed this report: 


T he company Morgan found when he 
arrived in California consisted of a 
dozen separate corporate satrapies devoid 
of planning or consultation. At least 49 
Atari buildings were spread around com¬ 
pany headquarters in the Silicon Valley 
sprawl of Sunnyvale, Calif. Often the 
heads of those far-flung divisions were not 
even located in the Atari headquarters 
building. The company had to call in a 
management firm to locate some 48 engi¬ 
neering groups in the U.S. It found a one- 
man operation in Louisville, apparently 
there because that was where the 
engineer preferred to live. The 
company had five finance depart¬ 
ments, each with its own legal and 
personnel offices, three model 
shops and three mechanical-engi¬ 
neering units. Three or four sec¬ 
tions worked on t,he same project, 
independent of each other. Since 
there was no standard pay scale, 
salaries and bonuses were dis¬ 
pensed as largesse. 

The company was “a mine¬ 
field of personal intrigue and cor¬ 
porate politics,” according to 
newly named Atari President 
John Farrand. Concurs Atari’s 
top scientist, Alan Kay: “For a 
while, the company was playing 
‘Ha, ha, your end of the boat is 
sinking.’ ” But when the bad news 


became clear last fall, it turned out that 
everyone was in the same boat. 

The choice of Morgan, a marketing 
wonder but a complete outsider to both 
Atari and computers, at first seemed like 
another bizarre Warner decision. Morgan 
was an Easterner in a Californian’s game, 
a traditionalist in a rootless industry, a be¬ 
liever in long-term growth in a market 
hooked on quick profit and instant gratifi¬ 
cation, a technological skeptic among sci¬ 
entific true believers. Morgan had run the 
Philip Morris tobacco-marketing divi¬ 


sion, whose products included such fast¬ 
rising brands as Virginia Slims and Merit, 
with an almost ostentatious lack of com¬ 
puters. He preferred writing meticulous 
longhand notes on legal pads to punching 
numbers into a machine. 

If Atari’s offer seemed baffling, Mor¬ 
gan’s acceptance was even more unex¬ 
pected. By all accounts, he was on a very 
short list for the presidency of Philip Mor¬ 
ris. Yet Morgan, who had previously nev¬ 
er even listened to outside offers, resigned 
48 hours after having lunch with Warner 
Chairman Steven Ross. 

Morgan remains as surprised by his 
decision to leave Philip Morris as his for¬ 
mer associates are. There was, of course, 
the classic lure of rescuing and running a 
company on his own and the undeniable 
mystique of the technological future. “The 
Atari name did it,” says one go-between 
who arranged the Morgan and Ross 
meeting. “Morgan never would have gone 
if it had been Coleco.” He also got one of 
the most lucrative safety nets ever written 
into a business contract. Although Mor¬ 
gan will not comment on it. Atari insiders 
place his guarantee at more than $8.5 mil¬ 
lion over the next seven years. Moreover, 
sweeteners could raise it to $25 million or 
more depending on his success in turning 
around Atari. At Philip Morris, Morgan 
was making $300,000 a year. 

Even so, it was a surprising jump. 
Morgan, the son of a successful oil execu¬ 
tive, had aimed at the top of a business ca¬ 
reer from the time he left college. He had 
a single-minded determination that was 
often concealed beneath an exterior of 
rumpled suits and scuffed shoes that 
might have been more appropriate for a 
distracted economics professor rushing to 
class. Yet after 20 years with the same 
company, Morgan left. He says he looked 
at himself in the mirror after accepting 
the job, smiled and thought out loud, 
“Why, you little demon, you.” 

Morgan does not hide his disdain for 
the management style that flourished un¬ 
der ousted Chairman Raymond Kassar. 
Says Morgan: “The way Atari did business 
is dramatically opposed to the values I live 
„ by and believe in. There was an in¬ 
credible arrogance at Atari. It was a 
rigid, unchallenged and unchecked 
giant, and it has paid every penalty 
imaginable for its mistakes.” 

Morgan was surprised, then 
agitated, to discover that many 
of Atari’s senior executives who 
were working to develop and sell 
personal computers had no use for 
them in their own homes. Admits 
Marcian E. Hoff Jr., Atari’s exec¬ 
utive vice president for product 
development: “I don’t use a com¬ 
puter for home finances, and I 
don’t know anyone who does. 
It’s just easier to balance my 
own checkbook. Home computers 
have been a wonderful solution 
looking for a problem.” Morgan 
concluded that the industry was 



The boss gets behind the controls of one of the newest games 

A lucrative safety net made it easier to leave Philip Morris. 


44 


TIME, FEBRUARY 6,1984 







This homework is a disgrace. I'd like a note from your computer . 1 


COMPUTER TUTOR: ATARI Horn* Computer Edition 
by Gary W. Orwlg and William S. HodgesLittle, Brown and Company, 
1983, $15.95. Softcover, 345 pages 

Many ol us have expressed the intention of using our ATARI com¬ 
puters to help us with our home education needs. However, finding ef¬ 
fective programs is a problem. Some of the better materials In my col¬ 
lection of computer assisted instruction have come from our own ACE 
library. This public domain software is invaluable because we can 
learn from it and modify it for our own families. 

Another good source of public domain software ia the computer 
magazine, of which there are many. But educational programs (and I'm 
not referring to those which teach programming) are seldom Included 
in these magazines. Now, in an effort to promote further educational 
use of computers, Gary Orwig and William Hodges have written a col¬ 
lection ol learning programs for home and school use. Two editions of 
COMPUTER TUTOR are available, one for TRS-80, Apple and PETCBM 
home computers, and the other for ATARI home computers. 

Believing that “a student in need of remedial instruction can often 
obtain more personalized, 'humanistic' attention from well designed 
CAI programs than he or she can get from a classroom with 34 other 
students in <t,”the authors provide us with twenty-five learning pro. 
grams which demonstrate the instructional uses of computers. Each 
can be modified and augmented as users choose. 

The programs are organized Into three sections. The first. Linear 
Programs, Includes fifteen examples of drill and practice CAI 
(computer-assisted Instruction). These have a linear, or fixed, se¬ 
quence of instruction. Subjects Include mathematics, vocabulary, 
science, memory enhancement, and social studies. 

The second section provides four "branching" programs, so-called 
because they allow for more than one sequence of Instruction. The 
particular sequence followed Is determined by how much learners 
know and how fast they learn. 

The final section contains six simulation programs. Here's your 
chance to play the stock market without risking money you don't have, 
or to run a car wash without getting wet Each of the twenty-five pro¬ 
grams is first described in a brief paragraph or two, followed by pro¬ 
gram notes that usually offer suggestions for modifying the program. 
For example, the authors suggest that “Capitals of Nations"could be 
used to teach any set of matched pairs, such as English/French, 
author/title, etc. Following the notes, both an ATARI BASIC listing and 
a Microsoft BASIC listing are printed, together with corresponding 
tables of variables used. Finally, each program Is accompanied by an 
abbreviated sample run. 

Because the ATARI version includes listings in both ATARI BASIC 
and Microsoft BASIC, the programs should run on any ATARI com¬ 
puter system, whether configured with cassette or disk drive. Most of 
the programs are short and should run on a 16K system. 

The objective of the book Is not to provide examples of the best 
educational software, but simply to acquaint us with some of the 
possibilities. Although these simple programs do not make use of 
graphics and sound, the authors include in Appendix A several 
subroutines that can be adapted by the user and Included In the pro- 
grams. These include routines to create random notes, a musical 
scale, large text, and happy and sad faces. 

For parents looking for inexpensive but effective learning software, 
Computer Tutor is the place to start 

—R. DeLoy Graham 


PRODUCT 

REVIEWS 


DOS-MOD 

Eclipse Software 
1058 Marigold Ct. 

Sunnyvale, CA 94806 
(408) 246-8325 

$35.00, 16K — disk (single density) 
$50.00, 16K — disk (double density) 

Reviewed by Larry Dziegielewski 

DOS-MOD is an Atari Disk Operating 
System (DOS) enhancement which gives 
the user a more powerful, easier to use 
DOS. It fixes all of the known bugs in 
Atari DOS, and adds many advanced 
features usually found only in systems 
running on much larger machines. Until 
now, Atari Disk Drive owners have had 
DOS 2.0 OSA + to handle their disk 
I/O chores. While Atari DOS is good, 
it has a few areas which could stand im¬ 
provement. This is where DOS-MOD 
steps in. 

DOS-MOD is packed with features, 
including three new commands. 

The P (run program) command begins 
execution of a program in memory. The 
P command differs from the M com¬ 
mand in the default address used to begin 
execution. With M, when no address is 
specified, the address of the last loaded 
binary file is used. With P you can specify 
the default address by typing P [hex ad¬ 
dress], As an example, programmers 
could use P to access a debugging file 
already in memory, work in that file, and 
then switch back to DOS. 

The Q (command file) command 
creates a file of DOS commands that can 
be executed later with a single line com¬ 
mand. This can greatly simplify the 
implementation of commonly used com¬ 
mands by grouping them into one or 
more files. 

The R (read/store memory) command 
can be used to examine and change hex 
addresses in memory. In response to the 
command R [hex address], DOS will 
print the requested address and display 
the eight bytes of data starting at that 
memory location. Typing S will repeat 
the action and allow you to type in new 




iX 




heedlessly unloading upon an unsuspect¬ 
ing public technology that served no pur¬ 
pose, almost as if it were indulging in con¬ 
sumer deception. Says Morgan, who is 
determined to make home machines 
more useful: “Seventy-five percent of 
these sets are being bought for home en¬ 
tertainment or by parents who are made 
to feel guilty about not further enhancing 
their children's computer skills.” 

Some other Morgan zingers: 

► "I'm trying to make Atari a humble 
company in the right sense of the word. 
Being humble in business means your cus¬ 
tomer is more important than you are. No 
one has to pay for flamboyance, arro¬ 
gance and flashiness." 

► "Americans are mazed out and shot 
out. They're tired of video games. Atari 
must compete against movies, novels, TV. 
anything that makes up America's six 
hours a day of leisure time. It is criminal 
in my mind that Atari did not think of a 
game like Trivial Pursuit first. I don't be¬ 
lieve the industry will be a hit again until 


it rekindles its imaginative resources. If 
not, it’s bye-bye to the industry.” 

► “Not one company in the home-com¬ 
puter business has yet given the American 
public any compelling reason why it 
should buy a home computer.” 

T he immediate problem Morgan faces is 
Atari's financial survival. To achieve 
that, he has been slashing on all sides. 
Atari's U.S. payroll has already been re¬ 
duced from 9.800 people to 3,500; 3,000 
manufacturing jobs will be added in Hong 
Kong and Taiwan this spring. By late next 
year it will centralize most of its operations 
in a four-building complex in San Jose. 
Calif. 

The company's laid-back Californian 
managerial style is also going. Morgan 
began regular staff meetings with his se¬ 
nior executives. Last vv;ek he announced 
a total reorganization of the company 
with the aim of reducing corporate bu¬ 
reaucracy. "A lot of what Morgan has 
done is just fairly standard business ba¬ 


sics,” says Arthur Gemmell, vice presi¬ 
dent for administration. “We just some¬ 
how became a $2 billioh company 
without any of them.” 

Morgan is cutting back on the prod¬ 
ucts Atari manufactures. He simplified its 
computer line from five proposed models 
to two and delayed introduction of a series 
of new Atari telephones. But he is still 
adding new video games. 

Can these changes save Atari? Morgan 
promises that the firm will be profitable in 
1984, and next month Atari is expected to 
announce substantial progress in paring 
losses. But others are skeptical. Said one 
former Atari executive: “Morgan is deter¬ 
mined to walk through the hurricane, but it 
is a shrinking company dependent on an 
industry that is itself declining. We know 
Morgan can cut, but can he create?” Mor¬ 
gan insists he can. “I don’t have fun cutting 
budgets,” he says. “I have fun running a 
company and dreaming.” It is now up to 
him to see how soon his dreams can follow 
his radical surgery. ■ 


I 

Technology 

The Speedy wyr 
Disk Copier 6 li n 


Andrew Pollack 


T HE computer is often considered the pencil 
and paper of the office of the future. Now a 
device known as a floppy disk copier is vying 
to become the Xerox machine of the future. 

These new copiers allow copies of a disk contain¬ 
ing data or software to be made in as little as 20 
seconds, far faster than such copies can be made 
on a personal computer. 

Three companies—one has just gone public and 
another is about to—are fighting for dominance in 
the $20 million market for disk copying machines. 
Still other entrepreneurs have purchased the co¬ 
piers and opened disk copying services that are 
somewhat analogous to print copy shops. 

• • • 

Among the biggest users of copying machines 
are software companies, which use them to mass- 
produce their products. Future Computing, a mar¬ 
ket research firm, projects that 15 million to 17 mil¬ 
lion software packages, many containing more 
than one disk, will be sold this year, and 25 million 
to 30 million next year. 

Until the advent of high-speed duplicators, soft¬ 
ware companies made copies the same way indi¬ 
viduals do—using a computer and two disk drives, 
which takes several minutes per copy. Peachtree 
Software, for instance, once had as many as 50 per¬ 
sonal computers, each making one copy at a time, 
with workers running back and forth to feed blank 
disks into the machines. 

A newer market is also opening for disk copiers. 
Large companies that have hundreds of personal 
computers are starting to buy copiers to distribute 
information on disks rather than on paper. Some 
retail chains distribute the latest pricing data to 
their outlets on floppy disks, so that the informa¬ 



tion can be transferred directly into the electronic 
cash register systems. 

Floppy disks, made of Mylar coated with iron 
oxide and usually 5 % or 8 Inches in diameter, can 
store the equivalent of 50 to several hundred type¬ 
written pages. “At $2 a diskette, it’s cheap to use a 
diskette as a file,” said Walter J. Kane, president 
of Applied Data Communications of Tustin, Calif., 
one of the manufacturers of disk copy machines. 

Applied Data, which went public last month, had 
sales of $7 million in the year ended March 31, and 
sales are up 40 percent so far this year. About 60 
percent of sales are from disk copiers and as of 
Sept. 30, the company had sold 500 systems. 

Media Systems Technology of Irvine, Calif., 
which is privately held, will have sales of about $10 
million in 1983, compared with $6 million in 1982, 
according to its president, A1 Alcala. The Formas- 
ter Corporation of San Jose, which started in 1981, 
had sales of $2.8 million in the year ended Feb. 28 
and has shipped more than 200 systems, according 
to the prospectus it filed for its upcoming public 
stock offering. The various systems range in price 
from $10,000 to more than $100,000. 


Like personal computers, disk copying machines 
use disk drives to record data on floppy disks, but 
they employ several techniques to raise copying 
speed to between 20 seconds and two minutes, de¬ 
pending on the amount of data on the disk. The 
copy machines use more powerful computers than 
personal computers and store the data to be copied 
on a hard disk or semiconductor memory, from 
which it can be copied faster than from another 
floppy disk. Duplication systems often have attach¬ 
ments that feed the blank disks into the copier. 

Some systems also allow several disk drives to 
copy from a single master copy simultaneously. 
The IXI Corporation of Minneapolis recently intro¬ 
duced its “Gang” system, which allows up to 30 
disk drives to make copies in unison. 

! • • • 

j The manufacturers, however, are facing in¬ 
creased competition as well as the long-term 
threat of completely electronic software distribu¬ 
tion. Formaster’s prospectus notes that growth is 
slowing and that net income is under pressure be¬ 
cause of increasing competition and investments in 
new products. Applied Data, which went public at 
$11 a share on Nov. 18, closed yesterday at $9 bid. 

One obstacle is that disk copying machines are 
still not inexpensive enough or easy enough to use 
to become as ubiquitous as paper copiers. 

“It’s not like putting a piece of paper on the 
Xerox machine and pushing the button,” said Phil¬ 
lip H. Kessler, president of Allenbach Industries, a 
Carlsbad, Calif., disk copying service. 

One difficulty is that each model of computer has 
its own format for storing information on a disk. A 
Radio Shack computer, for instance, cannot read a 
disk from an Apple computer. The disk copying 
machines can be programmed for different for¬ 
mats, but setting up a production run earn take up to 
15 minutes. That makes it uneconomical for a 
floppy copy shop to handle jobs of only one or two 
copies, as print copy shops do. 

Indeed, in terms of the expertise and expense, 
the potential office copiers of the future are more 
like the printing presses of the future. 



PRODUCT REVIEWS 


hex values for that address. Pressing 
[RETURN] stores the new values. 

DOS-MOD also comes in a double¬ 
density (DD) version which is com¬ 
patible with most standard DD formats 
that understand the Percom protocols. 
The DD version has a few added features 
not found in the SD version. The L com¬ 
mand now has a /M option which when 
executed will display the hex locations 
of the memory areas loaded. Using this 
option you can see which areas of 
memory are occupied by a binary file. 
There is also a HELLO command file 
option which is executed automatically 
each time you boot DOS. With the 
HELLO file, you can put in any message, 
including any DOS commands needed 
to set up your system to suit your needs. 
This is a most useful feature. Lastly, the 
DD version has a cartridge-bypass 
feature, which lets you bypass any in- 

HOME-CALC 

Sim Computer Products 
1100 E. Hector St. 

Whitemarsh, PA 19428 
(215) 825-4250 

529.95, 16K - tape 

539.95, 24K - disk 

Reviewed by Jordan Powell 

Home-Calc is an inexpensive spread¬ 
sheet program well suited for use in the 
home. VisiCalc, the only other spread¬ 
sheet available for the Atari, is expen¬ 
sive and contains features not needed for 
home application. 

The program comes with a special key 
which must be inserted into joystick Port 
1. BASIC is also required. 

Once the program is loaded, it checks 
the amount of memory it has to work 
with and then calculates the number of 
cells available to you. A cell is a position 
on the spreadsheet in which you can put 
the numbers you are working with, or 
column and row labels. You are then 
asked how you want to arrange the 
number of cells available (how many 
rows by how many columns). Alphabetic 
labels, numbers and formulas can be 


December 1983 


stalled cartridge when booting and go 
right to the DOS menu. The DD version 
can also run in the SD mode. 

DOS-MOD has one of the best 
tutorials I have seen in a long time. It 
guides you step by step through the pro¬ 
gram features, encouraging you to try 
out the new commands as you go along. 
The tutorial is fairly, lengthy. When 
dumped to a printer, the text fills 48 
sheets of printer paper. It should be 
noted that DOS-MOD comes without 
a manual, only a command summary 
booklet. Therefore, it is necessary to 
keep a copy of the printout on hand for 
detailed information. 

DOS-MOD is fast, easy to use, and 
is extremely powerful, but most of all, 
a bargain. In my opinion, the tutorial 
alone is worth the purchase price, mak¬ 
ing DOS-MOD a best buy at the soft¬ 
ware market. 

entered into the cells. Formulas allow 
you to use the contents of one or more 
cells to calculate the contents of another 
cell. You can enter formulas using the 
four basic arithmetic operations and 
exponentiation. There is also a “sum” 
function which will add up any row, 
column or block of cells. To move to dif¬ 
ferent parts of the spreadsheet, you can 
use the arrow keys or the GOTO com¬ 
mand for rapid repositioning. 

The disk version of the program per¬ 
mits replication of the contents of a cell 
in another cell or block of cells. Tem¬ 
plates, which are forms where the rela¬ 
tionships between cells, their values and 
labels are stored, can be saved and 
loaded in both versions and the spread¬ 
sheets can be printed. The disk version 
also allows you to look at the disk direc¬ 
tory while loading and saving templates. 

In summary, Home-Calc is useful and 
well worth the money. The documenta¬ 
tion is easily understood and the capa¬ 
bilities are adequate for home use. I use 
Home-Calc to do my family budget and 
other financial calculations and it saves 
me time and helps me to better analyze 
my finances. 


BUMPAS REVIEWS 

This is the time of year we at ACE make recommendations of the 
"10 Best" software titles for the gift-giving season I’ve been asked to 
make the list this year because of all the reviewing I've been doing il 
just wrote a book of 200 reviews of Atari software for Consumer 
Guide). 

The 10 best games on my list include: 

Excahbur by Chris Crawford for $30 from APX. This game recreates 
an entire Arthurian environment for the player. 

Eastern Front (cartridge) by Chris Crawford for $45 from Atari 
World War 2 on your Atari. 

M U LE for $40 from Electronic Arts. For 1-4 players trying to 
survive on a mining colony in a remote area of the galaxy. 

Combat Leader for $40 from Strategic Simulations. Command your 
own platoon or company in a tactical encounter with the Atari. 

Star League Baseball for $32 from Gamestar. Miss your baseball m 
tne winter-time? This has the feel of the real thing, and is an excellent 
game to boot! 

Blue Max ‘or $40 'rom Synapse. Fly your WWI biplane through 
enemy defenses to bomb a city Almost a flight simulator 

Chess for $70 from Odesta The easiest to use. most flexib<e and 
most challenging Chess game for a home computer I've seen. 

Murder on the Zmderneuf for $40 from Electronic Arts. A 
joystick/graphic detective game giving you 40 minutes to solve one of 
128 crimes of murder. 

Pole Position for $45 from Atari. The popular arcade formula 
driving game simulator brought home. 

Lode Runner $35 from Broderbund. The latest incarnation of the 
running, jumping, climbing, digging game with over 150 screens 
including user-defined ones. 

For non-game software my list of ten includes: 

AtariWnter for $99 from Atari. The best word processor for the 
Atari which is as good as some of the best professional word 
processors in business use 

FileManager 800 ♦ for $99 from Synapse. A full-functioned 
database manager which is as easy to use as it is powerful. 

JonesTerm 3 6. public domain from your user group. Let your Atari 
talk to other computers over tne phone lines with a modem. 

SCOPY. $15 from ACE. You will use this sector copier more than 
any other utility as you back up and manage your collection of disks. 

Synassembler. $49 from Synapse. An easy to use and powerful 
tool for creating machine language programs. 

Ultra Disassembler. \ .9 from Adventure International. Take any 
machine language file and disassemble it with standard Atari labels. 
Great for studying advanced programming techniques. 

Action!. $99 from OSS A language on a bank switched 
cartridge using only 8K at a time but has 24K on the cartridge. This 
superfast, structured 'anguage is really something. 

Basic XL $99 # rom OSS An expanded Basic compatible with Atari 
8asic. but addmg "-any -ew features and commands, including most 
features used M-croso't Basic. The best of both worlds. 

ARMUDlC BBS. $99 from Armudic. Operate your own message and 
information ce^'er or just use it for unattended communication from a 
remote 'peahen *»tn your computer at home. 

My DOS by TVordmark Systems and available from SWP This n ew 
DOS allows you to use double-sided, 80 track disks. It i * s ess 
memory than Atari DOS, but works with 8" dnves or whatever drive 
your ATR 8000 uses, or any disk drive made for the Atari. 

Note: Zaxxon, by Datasoft. has received Eastman Publishing s 
Golden Disk Award for the "best personal computer game." This 
award is based upon sales reported from software retailers. 

Broderbund has discovered some "incompatibility during play of 
‘Operation Whirlwind' with certain boards. The problem has been 
corrected." I had been experiencing a lock-up during play and thought 
it was my hardware problem. I'm sure Broderbund will make the 
correction for you if you use this program and have a Mosaic or other 
board which is incompatible with the earlier version of their game. 

/fcj£ Cbc P? Jim Bumpas 

co-editor 

Hardware Items of the Year 

1. ATR 8000 with CP/M (SWP. 2500 Randol Mill Road-125, Arlington. 
TX 76011). This combination disk drive interface, printer buffer and 
interface and RS-232 port is a very low priced accessory for your Atari 
that opens new worlds. The basic unit allows you to use any "generic” 
disk drives and gives you a nice printer buffer More advanced units 
allow you to use CP/M and there is even a 8088 board. It comes with 
programs allowing you to read and run almost any CP/M program from 
any CP/M computer, with all that wonderful business software and 
public domain programs. 

2. Austin Franklin 80 column board. (Austin Franklin Assoc., 43 
Grove St, Ayer, MA 01432) This 80 column board works very nicely, can 
be used with a RGB monitor (not for Atari Games), and has a cartridge 
to use with the ATR 8000. If you use CP/M, 80 columns are almost a 
must, and this is a nice one. 

3. Mannesmann Taly Spirit 80 Printer. This new printer is an Epson 
work-alike with a big difference — square dots rather than round dots. 

It also has the best paper handling I've seen, with a very easy to use 
tractor feed as well as friction feed. The listings last month in the 
newsletter were done by this printer. This month, they will be the 
Epson^O. My Spirit broke— although you can easily back up the 
paper, if you pull the paper out the back, you can break the platen, and 
I did. The instruction manual doesn't tell you this, but the company did 
when I told them the problem! Otherwise, a very nice printer with very 
good print, and for only $399 retail, a good buy. 

4. Brother 50 Daisy Wheel Typewriter with Brother IF-50 Computer 
interface. One of several new typewriter/computer printers factory 
designed for double duty. This is a nice inexpensive typewriter which 
works very well as a printer.