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Wellington Atari Computer Enthusiasts 


Dear Members, 

H e rew.ith the M 3 reh newsletter , Actually, this 1 s the third ti m e I 
tried to enter this text but each tine My comp uter has refused to save 
Therefore, Menders are instructed to treat the following as deathless p 


As Menders who were there know, we have a 

Eddie Nickless 
Michael Munro 
Des Rowe 
Kar1 Bettiehei m 
C hris Caudwel1 
Dennis Dawson 
Keith Hodden 
Ft' o g e r S h e p h e r d 
Rogsn Maxwell 
Felix Bettiehein 
Neil Upton 
David Burns 
John Blaikie 

new connittee, as follows 

Mice President 

Club PrograMMe Library 
Club Tape Preparation 
Technical Services 
Tape Manufacturing 
Books and Magazines 
Out-of-towners contact point 
• Liasion with other User Groups. 

Newsletter printer 
It was a good AGM, notable, perhaps, for its brevity, 

A N N U A l. S U B S C RIP T10 N S 

Annua 1 subscr i. p t i ons ar e now due (our thanks to m e m ber s who have air ea 

>aid up). The subscription has again be set by the AGM, at $15.00 (per fsni 
.tnit). Failure to pay the subscriptions by the end of May will lead to the 
cessation of Membership, 


Much to the committee’s Pleasure, Keith Hobden will continue to put together our Club Tapes. Tape 14 will 
therefore be available at our next meeting. Again, at the tise of writing, the contents of this tare are not 
Known, but it will be good. 

Keith sill also be starting work on an "above ISk tape" for those with Machines that can handle large 
progresses. We do not promise that this tap? will be available at the April meeting - perhaps the Hay meeting 
would be a more realistic deadline. The ’above ISk tape’ will probably also be available on disk, 


Your co,>®itte? has been anxious to increase the rang? of services available to members,Of particular 
concern has been the display of new comsercial programmes and a less hurried circulation of our books and 
magazines,Your coisaittee has therefore agreed that we should hold a supplementary Meeting of the club on 
SATURDAY APRIL 14. The meeting will be held at Lecture Theatre in the Wellington City Library building. The 
meeting will be "free-forsi" (no official business etc).We anticipate having six or more computers there, with 
at least four demonstrating a wide range of commercial prosrernes (kids of all ages will be encouraged to test 
their skills on these programmes), one computer will display club tapes (rest and present) while another could 
demonstrate programmes in the club library. All the club’s books and magtiines will be there for tnesbers to 
peruse at their leisure. Members will be able to xerox articles etc on the library’s two Machines. Coffee and 
tea (no biscuits) will be available. The meeting will begin at 2.15 pm and end at 5.00 pm. The only 
restriction will be the usual injunction against pirating commercial software. 

d y 


i t . 



Folissuing some comments at the AGM about the threat to the newsletter Posed by rising Printing costs, we 
are Pleased to report that very favourable terms have been obtained so that the only remaining threats to the 
said publication are the lethargy of your Secretary and the failure of members (with certain honourable 
exceptions) to provide useful and relevant articles.Sotie members Might recall that the club has distributed a 
rather sood word-processing programme Known as "Tinytext" which Permits articles to submitted for Publication 
on tape or disK. 


Your Secretary raved on at the AGM about the typing in of prosammes. No resistance having been offered to 
the idea that Members shall each type in three prosrammes during the next year for the club, your committee is 
now sorting through the 480 odd programmes in Michael Munro's possession and hopes to have a first selection 
available for Members at the April meeting. Should the programmes not be distributed next month,the Pleasure 
will be yours in May. 


Educational Tape 11 

There is a bus in 'A train’. Line 1010 should read RESTORE 1020: FOR J= 1 To INT(RND(0)*30)+1 (and so 
on to the end of the line). 

Tape 12 

For the programme "Alpha - blox”, use the arrow Keys (but not the shift or control Keys) to Place the 
cross-hairs over a different biock. To see the letter under the bitxK, press tie space - bar. 

Interest Areas 

Paul Satherly (of Telegraph and Data, Post Office Workshops, Wanganui) is interested in "Action" 
language. Any others so interested should contact Paul. 

Colin WiIKins (Po Box 275, Otorohansa) is interested in "TEXT SCREEN/ VIDEOTEXT (or the Atari talking to 
the BCNZ’S new service). 

For Sale 

Paul Satherly (see address above) has the following cartridges for sale’. 



Missile Command 


Basket Ball 


Music Composer 


Star Raiders 




Telelink 2 


D E Monks (of Kellet St, Onua (Bay of Islands) has the Atari master diskette (0x8104) Plus the Dos 2 

manual and a formatted disk for sale at $50.00 
Club Address 

You can get to us at Po Box 16811, Wellington. Out-of-towners should write to Neil Upton at 38 Fyvie St, 
Linden, Wellington. 

Your sincerely, 

Des Rowe, 




Utility programs are being published which are designed to ease the 
task of typing new programs. The method is to give a warning immediately 
at the end of each program line if there was a typing error. This 

eliminates the most tedious part of program entry, the checking of an 
entire program after it has crashed or malfunctioned. 

"Compute!" has published two utilities to assist in typing future 
programs from their magazines and books. 

1. MLX in the 12/83 issue is the utility for typing in their machine 
language programs. The check-digits are incorporated in the 

end of each program line. It the data or check digits are wrong, 
a buzzer will prompt re-entry of the line. To correct errors 
noticed before pressing RETURN, use the BACKSPACE key. Non¬ 
numeric data is rejected, and line numbering and comma's are 
automatic,. . 

When first run MLX asks for various addresses ("Compute!" supplies with 
each program) and whether output is to BOOT TAPE, BOOT DISK or 

Press CTRL and a letter for the following functions: 

S (to save the program) 

L (to load and continue typing) 

N (to give a new line number to resume typing or 
change place) 

D (to display, similar to LIST in BASIC 

Program lines of only zeros (except line no, and checksum) will 
be. entered automatically by using N command and typing line No. 
for next line of non-zero data. Verify this later with D 

2. "Automatic Proofreader” in the 3/84 issue is for typing programs 
written in basic. Virtually no effort is needed to use this 
facility, certainly no extra typing. Operation is as follows: 

CLOAD the utility "Automatic Proofreader". 

Type RUN RETURN and wait for READY prompt. 

Type NEW RETURN so that basic language lines of 
"Proofreader" are not included in your program. 

A machine language program now’ resides in Page 6 
of memory to provide the check digits. 

If resuming typing from a previous session, CLOAD 
the part of the program already typed. 

Procedure: For each program line, type in the line 
number and program line and RETURN. A two letter 
check digit appears in a panel at the top of the screen, 
which must be compared with the two letters preceding 
the line No. in the magazine. If they disagree, check 
and amend and RETURN to retry. 

Save program typed in. 

NOTE,Proofreader will not detect errors of transposition, or 
the omission of whole program lines. To deactivate proofreader, 
press SYSTEM RESET, and to reactivate it type PRINT USR (1536) 







By Aljcan Hrrmctz 

Sew York Times Service 

LAS VEGAS — The feeling this 
veek at the Consumer Electronics 
Ihow here appears to be relief that 
he video-game and home-comput- 
:r industry, in which some compa- 
ties lost hundreds of millions of 
iollars during 1983, still exists. 

William Grubb, chairman of 
magic, said: "For this industry, 
1983 was the year of humility.” 

Roger Sharpe, the editor of Vid¬ 
ro Games magazine, said: “The 
phenomenon is over. The industry 
lug its own grave by thinking that 
ill you had to do was put some¬ 
thing in a box and the public would 
buy it. The question is where the 
industry will stabilize.” 

Many other experts said that 
most companies left in the industry 
would survive but would be taking 
a much more conservative ap¬ 

According to Egil Juliussen of 
Future Computing, a company that 
docs market analyses of the com¬ 
puter industry: “The video-games 
industry is now a replacement busi¬ 
ness like the automobile industry. 
The market won’t die overnight 
just because everybody has one.” 
Industry experts said sales will be 
down moderately this year. 

There were 6.6 million game ma¬ 
chines sold in 1983, down from 
eight million in 1982, according to 
tire Electronic Industry Associa¬ 
tion, a trade association. Analysts 
and manufacturers put the 1983 
figure closer to five million. 

There were 75 million game car¬ 
tridges bought from retailers last 
year, up 15 million from the previ¬ 
ous year, according to both the as¬ 
sociation and analysts and manu¬ 
facturers. But 40 percent of those 
cartridges were deeply discounted 
leftovers. Many 1982 games, such 
as Atari’s E.T., were sold as close¬ 
outs ranging in price from $4 to 
$9.99. They originally sold for $25 
to $35. 

“In 1982, 60 million cartridges 
were sold, but 30 million cartridges 
were left on retailers’ shelves,” said 
Jerry Thompson, vice president for 
electronic sales at Parker Brothers. 

Thomas Lopez, vice president of 
editorial development at Activi¬ 
sion, said the discounting would 
continue, but he noted that a few 
new cartridges did sell well. 

In Q-Bert, priced $30 to $35, 
Parker Brothers had a best seller. 
The game requires the player’s 
gnome to hop on colored squares to 
change their colors while pursued 
by comical monsters. Parker Broth¬ 
ers’ handling of Q-Bert reflects the 
industry’s new caution. 

“We bit the bullet and cut our 
planned games during the second 
half of the year from eight to three, 
concentrating on the three we 
thought could do best,” Mr. 
Thompson said. “We had spent $5 
million advertising Frogger a year 
ago to be played on Atari’s VCS 
system. But we knew the VCS 
couldn’t sustain a $5-million pro¬ 
motion in 1983. However, we 
shipped Q-Bert for five different 
systems, and so we were able to 
spend the same amount of money, 

$5 million.” 

Mr. Juliussen said: “The video 
game is a special-purpose device, 
and that’s the way to go early in an 
industry’s growth. What we didn’t 
anticipate was the bloodbath of 
Texas Instruments and Commo¬ 
dore slugging it out and bringing 
home-computer prices lower than 
prices of video-game hardware.” 

The price of the Atari VCS was 
marked down to as low as $49. At 
one time, the machine sold for 
slightly less than $200. At an ana¬ 
lysts’ meeting Sunday, James Mor¬ 
gan, Atari’s new chairman, said 
that the average sales price of the 
VCS now was $61 and that Atari 
was “making money” at that price. 

What does 1984 have in store for 
video games? 

The entrance of such mass-mar¬ 
ket retailers as Sears, J.C. Penney 
and K Mart has meant the death of 
many of the specialty stores that 
first fostered the industry. Chess 
and Games, a seven-store southern 
California chain that started 11 
years ago, is in bankruptcy. A six- 
store chain, G.A.M.E.S., has 
shrunk to one store. 

Companies that make cartridges 
have shrunk from nearly two dozen 
to half a dozen. As for game hard¬ 
ware, many experts said that 
Atari’s 2600 system would domi¬ 
nate the low end of the market, 
while its 5200 or Coleco’s Colecovi¬ 
sion would comer the high end. 

Although Mattel Inc. insists that 
it will continue to make its Intellivi- 
sion game module, almost every 
other maker said privately that In- 
tellivision is no longer viable. “In- 
teliivision is dead,” Mr. Sharpe 
said. Both Imagic and Parker 
Brothers have stopped making 
games for the machine. 

On the other hand, many ana¬ 
lysts and software makers spoke in 
surprisingly flattering terms about 
! Adam, the new Coleco Industries 
computer that includes a word pro¬ 
cessor, a printer and a Colecovision 
video game. 

At the show Monday, however, 
Coleco said that because of pro- 
duction problems with the Adam, 

, the company would report a loss 
| for the fourth quarter of 1983 but 
j would return to profitability in this 
! year’s first quarter. It also said it 
{ was raising the wholesale price of 
the Adam to $700, from $650. 


More on the new drives: 

With the help of the folks at Computer Palace and my friend Nick 
ii hr0 . n ™ I Ve had the °PP° r <unity to play around with the 3 new drives- 
the ASTRA 1620, the TRAK AT-D2. and the INDUS GT. I’m personally 
using the Indus, but my opinion of the other two drives has improved 
over the past couple of weeks. 

I m not going to discuss the compatibility problems caused by com¬ 
mercial software which use illegal entry points to the operating 
system. I think the Indus is a little more compatible than the other two, 
but I admit this opinion is 2d hand. I am going to discuss compatibility 
problems between the drives in double density mode. In sinole density 
j mxKfe each Q f the driven can read and boot a disk formatted and writ- 
! fen with any of the other drives. 

In double density mode, I have found some problem booting disks 
on one drive which were formatted and written on another drive I did 
not discover any problem in this area on the Astra And disks format¬ 
ted and written on the Astra seem to boot line on either the Trak or the 
Indus. And disks formatted and written on the Trak seem to boot 
perfectly well on the Indus. However, several disks formatted and writ¬ 
ten on the Indus failed to boot on the Trak. We tried several operating 
systems, including DOS 2.0, DOS XL versions 2.2 and 2 3 and MYDOS 
version 3.5. 

We found we could boot a DOS on the Trak and then read files on 
another disk. These files run just tine. Next, we formatted a disk and 
wrote the TADS modified DOS 2.0 (explained in the Trak documenta¬ 
tion) A disk formatted and written according to the Trak documenta¬ 
tion boots and runs fine on each drive. My conclusion is the Trak Is 
slightly less compatible in the double density mode than the other two 
drives. It you experience any compatibility problems, just boot up the 
Trak according to its documentation, and then read in files from the in¬ 
compatible disk separately. 

The Astra and the Indus both provide the user with a version of OOS 
XL. The Astra comes with version 2.3 and complete documentation. 
The Indus comes with version 2.2 and almost no documentation, and 
the information provided has some errors. I've heard the Indus people 
will provide full documentation to users requesting It. I've made my re¬ 
quest, but have not received it yet. There are differences between the 
two versions. Version 2.3 with the Astra has four additional files- 
DOSXLXL with 58 sectors, and 3 command files of one sector eacir 

The Indus comes with a disk containing a word processor produced 
by Elcomp. They also promise to send a spreadsheet and database 
manager, but these were not included with the Indus when I bought it 
If you are considering buying the Indus and the software is an induce¬ 
ment to you, I advise you to Ihink again. Buy the Indus ONLY because 
ft’s the drive you want. 

It is a (lice drive. It s the quietest of all 3. The front panel buttons 
permit you to protect an unprotected disk, to cycle through 3 density 
modes (810 single, 815 double, and 1050 dual), to display the track be¬ 
ing read, and the error number of any error detected by the drive. The 
Astra provides only a busy light. The Trak provides lights to show 
single or double density mode and the track being read. Each o! the 
drives will automatically switch to the mode used by a disk inserted 
but the mode ot the Indus can be altered by using the switch on the 
front panel. The others cannot do this, although all three provide soft¬ 
ware control over the density modes. Tne Trak and Indus have dip 
switches in the rear panel to select the drive number from 1-4. 

The power switch on the Indus is in the rear (the others are in the 
front). This is inconvenient, and the power cord connection is next to 
the switch on the outside edge. Its connector is not very positive, so I 
find myself disconnecting the power when trying to turn the power on 
The front panel is pretty full, but there should be room for a power 
switch someplace. The Indus also provides a fancy plastic lid which 
closes over the tront of the drive. This probably helps keep dust out of 
the drive, but you have to remember to use it. 

I notice the last issue of Soflside not only doesn't have anything at 
all for Atari, there are no listings at all — no reason given either. Since 
most of us subscribe to Softside for the programs, and there are no 
programs, I wonder what it all means. I recieved a very beautiful book 
from Restonf Ashton-Tate, Through the Micromaze, a Visual Guide 
from Ashton.Tate, by Wayne Creekmore (310). An outstanding work of 
art, it is a beginners guide to computers and their applications 
Designed tor the business computer user, I could recommend it for 
any one. 

By Peter Coy ■ 1 

The Associated Press 

1 OCKESTER, New York — 
v The latest computer software 
n manipulate binary numbers 
to any sound from the clash oLa 
mbai to a violin vibrato, and 
any composers are grappling 
th how to make good use of their 
w tools. 

“It’s as if somebody just discov- 
cd that a vibrating string made 
und,” said Don Burlila of Berke- 
I, California, a composer who has 
ade computer instmmeais since 
e 1960s. 

Buchla was interviewed at the 
ur-day, 1983 International Com- 
iter Music Conference, which 
ded Monday at the University of 
xhester’s Eastman School of 

The conference was held in Ven- 
: last year and will be held in 
iris next year. 

More than 400 experts from 
wind the world took part. " 
Computer music has existed 
ice the late 1950s, when' Max 
atlhews invented an "acoustic 
mpiier” at Bell Laboratories in 
array Hill, New Jersey. 
Composers have a far greater 
nge of techniques from which to 
oose now, but several conferees 
icstioned how many people com¬ 
ae the computer wizardry and 
usical ear to use them well. 

“The real problems are the usual 
les — who’s making interesting 
usic?” noted Elie Yarden, a pro- 
ssor ai Bard College near Pough- 

Four concerts in Eastman’s Kil- 
iurn Hall gave a taste of the latest 
vdopments in tlie field. 

Carla Scarlatti of the University 
Illinois took the stage in a sleeve- 
;s black leotard and a calf-length 
Id lamp culotte and played harp 
the* accompaniment of a taped 
mputer synthesis of whooshes, 
‘Hex. whistles and twangs. 

* .,**•;« " 

She called the piece “Lysogeny,” 
which she srid “describes the rela- 
. tionship between certain types of 
viruses and the bacterial cells 
which they infect” 

J The stage was as bare as “Phrase • 
'Structure Seven” played from 
speakers. Gary Nelson of Oberlin 
College Conservatory of Music in 
Ohio described his piece, which 
evoked lost crescendoes passing in 
the night, as a study in directed 

“It would he nice to have a piece 
like tins performed live,” he said, 

■ but bs explained that no musician 
could possibly duplicate the com¬ 
plex phrasing* and rapid transi¬ 
tions he programmed info it. 

The keynote speaker, James An¬ 
drew Moorer of Lucasfilm Audio 
Studio, complained that program¬ 
mings has become too complex for 
most musicians. 

Moorer, who prepared the com¬ 
puterized sound effects for the 
three “Star Wars” movies, noted 
that one wrong instruction in a 
thousand-line program can pro¬ 
duce gibberish. 

“Sometimes it’s funny,” he said, 
“and sometimes it’s horrifying.” 

Allan Schindler, head of past- 
man’s computer music program 
since 1978 and tire organizer of the 
conference, said, “Composers who 
have something to say don’t Want 
'to spend two years of their lives 
becoming computer scientists.” 

“Seriously doing computer mu¬ 
sic means doing mostly computers, 
with a little music,” added Christo- 
. pher Fry of Voice Processing Corp., 
in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who 
wore a tall velvet top hat to the 

Fry said help is on the way. The 
next generation of computers will 
be programmable using intuitive 
concepts like pitch and tone, rather 
than long scries of numbers. 

“Most musicians have a fear of. 

computers, and that’s sad,” Fry 
said. “As computers get better, it 
will be possible for musicians to use 
them with less training.” 

Advances in the understanding 
of sound production have enabled 
composers to mimic the sound of 
cellos, double basses and piccolos 
with almost uncanny accuracy. 

: But Buchla, among others, ar¬ 
gues that computer music pioneers 
should free themselves from tradi¬ 
tional concepts of acoustic instru¬ 
ments, notes and harmonies. 

"The history of the development 
of music is loaded with alien forms 
and alien sounds,” Buchla said. 
“I’m not even sure that the aesthet¬ 
ic acoustic experience that we call 
music has to be pleasurable —that 
is, beautiful.” 

But Moorer said composers 
should guard against making 
sounds that are mathematically 
fascinating but cacophonous. . 

“I’d hate to think we're going to 
get to the point where reading the 
score is much more interesting than 
listening to the music itself,” he 
said. , . 

Sheridan Motley will resume his 
London theater column in two weeks. 




By Dennis Kneale and Bob Davis 

Special la The Asian Wail Street Journal 

NEW YORK — Two home-computer 
makers, hurt by a year of price wars and in 
the midst of a product shortage, plan to raise 
prices Jan. l. 

Warner Communications Inc.’s Atari unit 
and Coleco Industries Inc. have begun 
notifying dealers of planned price boosts of 
17% to 23% on various products, some of 
which haven't shown up yet in most stores. 

' The increases appear to he the first since 
home computers were introduced several 
'year., ago. 

Both companies apparently are convinced 
that they can sustain price increases. For 
one thing, Texas Instruments Inc.’s with- 
. drav/al from the home-computer market last 
. month appears to have taken the steam out 
of price-cutting. 

Atari said Wednesday it will raise pitces 
charged to retailers $-40 on its 600 XL and 800 
XL computers, to $180 and 5233. The move 
surprised some in the Industry because the 
- new 800 model hasn’t yet hit store s helves. 
The company now is “in the process of" 
shipping the product to retailers, barely in 
time for the Christmas buying season. 

“The insane price war has already taken 
a serious toll, and Atari doesn’t want to be a 
part of it,” an Atari spokesman said. “Atari 
is really sending out a message - we don’t 
intend to sell superior products at unrealistic 

Weaker Demand 

Atari, which has posted more than 5500 
million of losses in the past nine months, also 
said it will raise prices on its printer and disk 
drive and its two video-game players, despite 
. weaker demand for the video products 
compared with last year. 

Atari and Coleco believe they can afford a 
drop in consumer demand if the price boosts 
turn away some customers. That is because 
demand for home computers currently ex- 
ceedssupply. • ' 

Commodore International Ltd., the home- 
computer market leader with 35% to 40% of 
the business, already has taken more orders 
. than it can fill through year-end. The com¬ 
pany's consoles and accessories such as the 
disk drives are in short supply. 

Atari also can’t fill 40% of its retail orders 
for the 600 XL and 800 XL through Christmas 
because of production snags in Hong Kong. 
An Atari spokesman said the company isn’t 
taking any new orders for the rest of the year 
and that the shortage will continue into early 

This (Read This) Blip 
May (Read This) Help 
Tour (Read This) Life 

\OJ iry By Dennis Kneale 

Special to The Asian Wall Street Journal 

. NEW YORK - Would you like to improve 
your sex life? No? Well, how about your golf 

An East Lansing, Michigan, company 
says it is introducing a device that may help 
people, in these crucial areas, and many 
more, all while they watch television. The 
mail-order Stimutech Inc. device is designed 
to change behavior by bombarding TV view¬ 
ers with split-second subliminal messages 
once a minute as they watch regular 

Lasting 1/30 of a second, the subliminal 
blips carry messages like: “I see me slen¬ 
der,” “Exercise is fun” and “Let's make 

; Choosing Your Message 

Of course, it's said that subliminal mes¬ 
sages were tried first on movie screens many 
years ago. But the new device is modem. It 
uses computers. It also uses television sets, 
which people watch far more hours each 
week than they ever watched movies. And 
people choose it themselves. 

“Improve Your Life While Watching 
TV,” urges the company’s advertisements 
scheduled to appear in a couple of weeks. 
Stimutech says 20,000 of the devices, which 
use a home computer to send messages 
through television sets, will be ready by the 
end of the year. The hardware will cost 
$89.95 and the software, $39.95. 
i If it all sounds right out of George 
Orwell's “1984” or Aldous Huxley’s “Brave 
;New World,” well, it is. The developers read 
' those books and others and “picked up the 
; futurists’ projections,” says James R. 

? Crawford, Sthnutech’s executive vice presi¬ 

Yet there could be snags. The company 
itself says it isn’t sure the device actually 
works. It says results of a test of prototypes j 
aren’tyetin. > { 

Public Airwaves 

Then, too, the federal government makes 
it illegal to broadcast subliminal messages 
over the ail\ Mr. Crawford notes. But the 
device doesn’t use public airwaves, ana gov¬ 
ernment officials consulted haven't raised 
any objections, he adds. And besides, “if it 
didn’t work, it wouldn’t be illegal,” he 

The device, called “Expando-Vision,” of¬ 
fers 45 messages designed to help in each of 
eight vital areas of American life: weight 
loss, stress control, alcohol consumption, 
smoking, study habits, careers and success 
motivation, sex - and golf. 

Mr. Crawford, who owns about half of 
Stimutech’s stock, watches the messages on 
his own TV set. He absorbs snippets like 
“I’m perceptive,” “I set goals” and the big 
one: “Iseemesuccessful.” 




Firms Developing Vending Machines 
To Be Used f —* l -~ c ~ , ~ - 

^'fS nle fr h pla " s , have becn tried, but have not yet succeeded 
goals b Vlde ° EamCS by lele P hone has fallen far"short of its 

| Mew York Times Service 


L AS VEGAS, Nevada — Imagine that bookstores did not contain 
* books, but instead merely had a computer storing the contents of all 
their titles. When a customer came in to buy a book, it would be printed 
out instantly. 

This has not yet happened in bookstores, but a similar concept might 
soon be used to sell software for video games and home computers. At 
least five companies at the Consumer Electronics Show here Lave 
developed computerized software-vending machines that are being tested 
by retailers. 

In these systems, the store clerk or customer inserts a blank cartridge 

into a slot in the machine and _ 

chooses the program desired front _ 4 

a computer screen. The program is Some Companies 
then loaded on to the cartridge ia ...... 

anywhere from a few seconds to a Oppose the ideal I hope 

h ' Th“™tage of such electron- aU iail miserably,’ 

k distribution is that software gaid the head of one 
publishers would no longer have to 

make and retailers would no long- Software Company, 
er have to stock huge inventories r ■ 

of cartridges that might not sell. 

Such excess inventories were largely responsible for the heavy losses 
suffered in the video-game and home-computer business last year. Atari 
Inc., which had a loss of more than $530 million in the first nine months 
of 1983, had so many unsold cartridges that it buried truckloads in a New 
Mexico landfill. 

The three companies that seem farthest along in developing and selling 
their systems are Romox Inc. of Campbell, California, Xante Corp. of 
Tulsa. Oklahoma and Cumma Technology Corp. of Sunnyvale, Califor¬ 
nia. Cumma is backed by Nolan Bushnell, the founder of Atari, and the 
company is staffed with some of the pioneers of the video-game business. 

The systems vary somewhat Xante’s is a console that is operated by the 
store clerk. It can put software onto floppy disks as well as cartridges and 
prints out the program instructions. Cumma’s system is more like a true 
vending machine operated by the shopper. It accepts $1 and $5 bills. “It's 
the ultimate in Coke machines,” said Elliott Dahari, vice president of 
marketing for Creative Software, at company that is distributing some of 
its products through the electronic systems. 

Reusing Cartridges 




Continued Computer Explosion 
Presents Booming Opportunity 

— - 

Mr. Ferry, keynote speaker at this week’s American Flectronics Assn- 
( “ ,p “‘ 1 “ d 

I , " T ‘l day , j S. 10 - 000 computer will cost $100 in 10 years,” he said ‘There 
abo should be a tenfold improvement over the decade in software to 
1 n r ® e w r ci p nlly us< 5 computers’ burgeoning computational power.” ’ 
soK^r^ Peny adde f d V . F °recasting these numbers is the easy part, the 
soaal consequents of this explosion is what’s hard to predict ” P 

: po "'“ ” d “ mpi “ 

. eve O'day life. In the home, they —~-—-— 

, wil become cheap and as common G . , 

' us television sets,-he said, which at Semiconductor Stockg 
S500 each translates'in to a $25 bil- , i . . , 

hon market. Have to DC Viewed ES 

*•& “ttracUve „ the 

' economy picks up.’ 

to a stereo — a secondary market 

that becomes just as important.” _ V". "7 --- 

In addition to alleviating inventory problems, another advantage is 
that some electronic distribution systems allow cartridges to be re-used. If 
the customer tires of one game, for instance, he can return the cartridge to 
the store and load it with a new game. 

Proponents also say electronic distribution will allow software to be 
sold for a lower price. Romox said it could sell programs through its 
system for $8 to $15, compared with as much as $40 for a top-selling 
program sold in conventional cartridge form. The Romox customer 
would also have to buy a blank cartridge for $ 15 to $25, but the cartridge 
could be re-used. 

Although such merchandisers as K mart. Tower Records and 7-Eleven 
have tested one or more of the systems, none of the three manufacturers 
reported receiving any firm orders from retailers. 

Software companies are divided on the issue. Some, like Mattel, Sierra 
On-Line, Epyx and Creative Software, are involved in the tests. “It is the 
finest advance the software business has seen in years,” said Mr. Dahan 
of Creative Software. 

Biu many leading software companies, such as Atari, Activision and 
Parker Brothers, have not signed up yet, and some are bitterly opposed to 
such systems. “I hope they ail fail miserably," said William H. Bowman, 
chairman of Spinnaker Software- 

The problem is that all the programs are given equal treatment in being 
listed on the'screen of the computerized sales systems. This does not sit 
well with companies that think they already command store shelf space or 
brand recognition or that think ihdr pad ages are more colorful and 
attractive than those of their competitors. "Cartridges become commod¬ 
ities under that system,” said Janses J. Morgan, chairman of Atari, who 
said the company is “totally opposed” to in-store electronic distribution. 

Another problem is providing documentation. Many programs come 
with detailed manuals hundreds of pages long. While the program itself 
can be prepared in the store in a few minutes, the manuals cannot. That 
might restrict electronic distribution to games and other simple programs 
that do not require long manuals. 

For Two 

x Two young Christ- 
: church brothers will 
| make their.first trip to 
j the United States at the 
! end of this, month to 
i teach the Americans 
| about their latest pro- 
, gramming triumph. 

They are Mr Ian Viney, 
aged 23, and his brother 
Graham, aged 20, and their 
programme is the first 
"compiler” to translate the 
computer language Pascal 
into code which can be un¬ 
derstood by a small, hand¬ 
held MSI computer. 

It is expected to earn 
their employer, CBL Hold¬ 
ings (previously Computer 
Bureau Ltd), almost 
$100,000 a year. 







Mr Ian Viney said he and 
his brother started working 
on the Pascal compiler a 
year ago. 

“We were writing pro¬ 
grammes for MSI terminals 
using their own systems, 
but for various reasons 
these proved inadequate," 
he said. 

“It was taking us one or 
two weeks to write each 
programme. Now we can 
do it in one or two days. 

“When MSI in America 
saw the product we had ; 
produced to help write pro¬ 
grammes here. they 
wanted it, too." 

In fact, they were so im¬ 
pressed with the New Zea¬ 
land programmers that in 
July they signed an agree¬ 
ment with CBL for the long¬ 
term exchange of software 
and technological ex¬ 
pertise. •_ 

Dear Steve, 

I'm curious about the 
possible wearing out of a 
computer. 1 have heard that 
it may be better to leave the 
computer on all the time than 
to turn it off, because the 
shock of applying power can 
wear out semiconductors. 
Edward M. Roberts 
Glen Head, NY 

The enemies of solid-state i 
electronic circuits are heat i 
and transients. Leaving a j 
computer on for an extended 1 
period will cause no harm if it ; 
is properly ventilated because 
components reach a steady- 
state operating temperature. 

If components are not hot to 
the touch, the heat dissipa¬ 
tion is probably adequate and 
no damage should result. 

I On the other hand, if the 
power lines to which the 
computer is connected are 
subject to large transients 
(e.g., with switching induc- 

A tive loads), there is a greater 
risk of component damage if 
the computer is in operation. 
In a properly designed power 
supply, the transients gener¬ 
ated by on or off switching 
are not harmful to operation. 

In summary, there is really 
no middle road for computer 
durability. Use the computer 
as required and do not worry 
about component wear-out. 

. . . Steve 

^ /W p.5&‘ 


Anyone purchasing an ATARI com¬ 
puter should test all functions before 
the warranty expires. I didn’t, and it 
cost me S45 labor to replace a 36<£ 
defective transistor in my cassette I / O 
circuit. If I had just tried my 400 with a 
410 Program Recorder I would have 
discovered it. 

>Sr/nc Jim Whelan 

Moore, OK 

Q. My ATARI computer system ex¬ 
periences intermittent lock-up. There 
is no response from the keyboard, and 
control of the computer is gone. 

A. If the problem only occurs it: 
BASIC, then it is caused by a bug in the 
BASIC cartridge. The problem can 
only be fixed by powering the com¬ 
puter off and then on again. The prob¬ 
lem with this is that you will lose any 
program that was in memory. It is a 
good idea to save the program you are 
writing after every half-hour or so. 
That way you won’t lose everything. 

If the problem occurs in a variety of 
operating situations, then the com¬ 
puter should be checked for dirty con¬ 
tacts on the Operating System board 
and all memory boards. If the problem 
persists, then you have component 
failure and it’s time to take the com¬ 
puter in for service.. 

Q. I purchased my ATARI 800 with 
32K. I added another 16K and have 
many problems. When working with 
the BASIC cart for about an hour, my 
800 starts to transpose characters in 
the program, and randomly places 
various characters throughout the pro¬ 
gram. 1 called the ATARI service 
dealers. None had heard of this prob¬ 
lem or knew what to do; however, they 
were willing to take the machine in 
and try to fix it. 1 am hesitant to hand 
over my 800 for trial-and-error experi¬ 
mentation. Dave Fifelski, Ohio 
A. When you’re working with com¬ 
puters which have a great number of 
chips inside, the only way to find the 
problem is to open the machine, get it 
to fail, and then swap out the chips 
until you find the bad one. In your case 
I would guess that replacing the 
ANTIC chip will solve your problems. 

Q. How do 1 clean the head on my 
ATARI 810? Also, how often should I 
do it? 

A. The head on your disk drive is a 
very sensitive piece of equipment and 
should be treated with great care. First 
of all, you should not use a cleaning 
disk; it can possibly ruin your head. 
The proper way to clean your head is 
with cleaning sticks (Radio Shack Cat. 
§44-1093A). Do not use Q-Tips 
because they have glue on them, and 
it’s possible that a film would be left on 
the head. Do not take the top off your 

drive; work through the open door. 
Take a cleaning stick, dip it in rubbing 
(isopropyl) alcohol (do not saturate, 
just moisten lightly), and rub the 
cleaning stick across the head. Do not 

re-use the cleaning stick; throw it 
■ away. Let the head dry completely 
(about two or three minutes) before 
; using drive. 

Under normal usage the head should 
only have to be cleaned every four to 
six months, or every 200 hours. 

i Q. My ATARI 810 makes a lot of 
noise. Should I oil the carriage assem¬ 
bly that the head rides on? 

A. No, no a thousand times no! On all 
drives made until Nov. 1982, the drive 
mechanism was supplied by M.P.I. 
They were loud and sounded like a 
Mack truck shifting gears. This is a 
normal sound. By oiling you are risk¬ 
ing that some oil will get on the head. 
That will be the end of your head. To 
have your head replaced will cost you 
anywhere from S1S0-S250. At a cost 
like that, I don’t think it’s worth the 
risk. Also, if you just have to get into 
your drive, don’t pry the drive case 
apart with a screwdriver. I know this 
sounds crazy, but I’ve seen people do it 
many times. If you want to get in it, 
take the round tabs off the top of the 
drive and use a Phillips screwdriver to 
loosen the screws. 

..."When children work at a computer, in 
whatever language, they spend 88% of the 
time focused on their task (as measured 
by where they’re looking), compared with 
40 to 60% in most classrooms, says Mary- 
Alice White [Teachers Coll., Columbia U.]. 
Kids can ask more questions of a comput¬ 
er and get more frequent responses from 
it than from a teacher who must handle a 
whole class. And a computer can indicate 
errors immediately—a faulty program 
simply won’t work—whereas a teacher 
may take days to correct a paper or test.... 
White adds that, according to preliminary 
studies, not only do students interact 
more, they also cooperate more than in 
regular classwork." 

r Sw-.’tnnm in Sciewe D ew" 

/ / . c’., I 62 [C v 16-6 j 






transistors on a chip and a per¬ 
sonal computer that can exe¬ 
cute between 7 and 10m instruc¬ 
tions a second by 1930. These 
were just two of the predictions 
delivered by computer experts 
at the ninth triennial Inter¬ 
national Federation for Infor¬ 
mation Processing congress in 
Paris recently. 

The federation brings to¬ 
gether the leading theoretical 
and technical researchers'in the 
computer world. 

Research and immediate 
commercial interests coincided 
when Gene Amdahl, father of 
the Amdahl Corporation which 
really founded the IBM- 
compatible CPU industry, and 
now leader of Trilogy Corpora- j 
ation. spoke. He delivered an 
essential innocuous historical j 
Perspective of large general- 
purpose machine design with a 
foot-note on the greatly antici- j 
pated first machine from s 
Trilogy. p 

Tins footnote caused at least | 
one notable invited speaker to 
rewrite his paper. | 

Gene Amdahl is still not | 
ready to give much away in f 
detail. He is now. however, a | 
proven and trusted source and | 
more of what his new machine * 
will do is emerging. The new \ 
chip he has been quoted as f 
designing is not a chip at all 
but a wafer, measuring f 
I 2.5 inches square and containing 
millions of junctions (he f 
declined to reveal the exact | 
figure) and 1100 input/output £ 

The wafer incorporates 
instruction overlap to an 
unprecedented extent (64 levels) 
and various other technical 
sophistications. While the 
Trilogy machine is clearly 
designed to out-perform any 

competitors by a wide margin I 
■(and, it is rumoured, at a lower 1 
price), the key cic-s 1,-3 parameter 
is clearly reliability. . 

Amdahl would not say how 
the reliability was achieved. 

Gene Amdahl with the Trilogy superchip 

Safe memories 

(COMPUTER users, both 
v -' professional and amateur; 
dread power cuts because even a 
short interruption can lose all 
the data in the machine’s 
memory. Businesses use batters' 
back-ups, but high-capacity 
batteries are expensive, and take 
hours to re-charge. Now the 
Precise Power Corporation of 
Florida, has filed a European 
patent application (69 568) on a 
power back-up system which 
docs not rely on batteries. 
Instead, in an ingenious way, it 
uses a flywheel generator. 

The inventor says that a steel 
flywheel around half a metre in 
diameter can store the equiv¬ 
alent of around 5 kilowatt hours 
of energy. With this it can 
supply the computer with power 

of accurate mains frequency and 
voltage for several minutes as 
the wheel slows down. When 
mains power comes back, the 
wheel gathers speed again in 
j around 15 minutes. This 
j compares very favourably with a 
j battery system, which can take 
several hours to re-charge. □ 

DIY programs || 

SIMPLE but clever idea for ; *) 

helping people learn com- :: i| 
pitting comes from Research •. I 
Machines, in European applica- I 

tion 69 522. f 

The student has a stock of ; 
colour-coded labels which carry || 

I computer key words (such as [ 

! “GOTO”) or numbers or letters i\ 

of the alphabet. The legends are . if; 
I printed in conventional type, j 

! but the labels also have the same \ 

message printed in binary code. j| : 

like the bar-code price-tag on jp 

j supermarket goods. !>■ 

To write a computer program, 3 

the student selects appropriate 
| labels and puts them in a tray. % 

In this way, the program ii 

flow is easily depicted and can * 

easily be altered by swopping 
labels. And when the program is 
ready, the student enters it 
simply by moving a light pen 1 

across the bar codes. f 

So there is no need to type M 

instructions laboriously into the * 

keyboard. □ 

Itiu- k Barry Fox 

3v$r. w. rj 


Push-button introduction to the electronic university 

e ffti 

Entrepreneur* from Silicon 
Valley, California, hare laun¬ 
ched a new educational telecom¬ 
munication* system for home 
computers, which they claim to 
be the world’s first electronic 
university. ■ 

The venture, called Tele- 
Learning, , was introduced ia 
Washington recently, with an 
enthusiastic endorsement from 
representatives of the Keegas 
Administration. • 

“This coalda’t come at a more 
propitious time”, said Terrel 
Bell, the Education Secretary. 
“The thrilling thing is its 
flexibility and its ability to ; 
reach all learners on all levels.” • 
Initially, TeleLearning offers - 
170 courses on floppy discs or 
cassettes. Some are admittedly, 
little more than infantile com-. 
pater games, bit . others reach 

American college level (though 
not the standard of Britain’s 
more specialized university 

This aspect of TeleLearning 
is no different from the edu¬ 
cational software sold by scores 
of publishers on both sides of 
the Atlantic. - ■ 

The communications tech¬ 
nology, however, is new to the 
world of education. TeleLearn¬ 
ing claims to have simplified the 
procedure so much that students 
need only push one button on 
their keyboard to be connected 
via the telephone system to the 
personal computer of their 
(human) instructor, anywhere in 
.the country. 

The Electronic University 
package, consisting of communi¬ 
cations software and hardware 
(the modem), costs between 
$130 and $230, depending on 
the student’s home computer. It 
stores all the protocols (user 
code, terminal identification and 
so on) that , are normally 
required to log info a long-dis¬ 
tance network. Courses run 
from $30 to $100 each, depend¬ 
ing on length and the instruc¬ 
tor’s credentials. . . 

Student and instructor can 
either communicate directly at 
specified times or use Tele- 
Learning’s “electronic mailbox" 
facility to leave, work ce 

messages • at the other's 

. Ron Gordon, former chief 
executive of Atari, the computer 
games company, has been - 
developing the Electronic Uni¬ 
versity for the past two years. 
He . has great ambitions for ; 
international expansion: 

“Within three years the Teie- 
Learnir.g Network will be used 
to educate more people than any 
other private educational insti- 
tution in the world.” ... 

’ • TeleLearning courses do not 
. yet carry formal “academic 
credit” in the United States, but 
. the company is negotiating such 
-. recognition with a number of 

; established colleges end tmlver- 
| cities. " , 

' As well as offering its own 
programmes. through depart¬ 
ment stores and computer 
| shops, TeleLearning will license 
the system to colleges, corpor- 
i ations and others wishing to 
| teach their own courses with 
their* own instructors to' their 
own students or employees.- 

, i The final words of praise for 
TeleLearning came from James 
Coyne, who heads the appropri¬ 
ately .named Office of Private 
Sector Initiatives in the White 
House.' “Never before ' has 
technology* offered such promise 
to broaden the ability of society 
to provide effective, low cost, 
industrialised instruction to 
those who want to explore the 
horizons of knowledge,” he said. 

How student 

Iritain’s universities have become 
ilmost commonplace. But 10 years’ 
jxperience with computers at King 
Edward’s Five Ways School, Birming¬ 
ham, has led to something more unusual 
—a commercial spin-off from a secondary 

Five Ways Software is in the process 
of moving from portacabins in the 
school grounds to proper offices. And Mr 
Tony elements, the director, who is still, 
technically, a maths teacher on the staff 
of King Edwards, is about to cut his last 
link with the educational system and 
take charge of a commercial company 
producing educational software. 

The management of Five Ways are 
| teachers, while the programmers are 
18-year-old pre-university year students 
from all over the country. 

A new tier of “middle management,” 
aged about 22, is beginning to emerge as 
former pupils come back, their univer¬ 
sity studies completed. Already, Five 
Ways has produced 15 software titles 
which have been distributed by Heine- 
mann, the educational publishers. Eight 
more titles are about to be published 
and a further dozen are in the pipeline. 

They range from programmes on the 
French language to a physics course on 
lenses and weather for. geography 

show t! 

Tony Clements has always believed 
that computers were made for schools 
and could enhance the teaching of any 
subject So, since 1972, he has been 
running a computer programme at King 
Edwards on “ a shoe string ’’—trying to 
ensure that as many children as possible 
were exposed to microelectronics. 

When the Government decided In 
1980 to spend £8m over a four-year 
period in boosting the use of computers 
in secondary schools. King Edwards was 
a natural choice to become first a 
regional centre and then, when the 
organisation of the scheme changed, a 
national centre for producing educa¬ 
tional software. 

The young programmers, using the 
Acorn BBC computer. Research 
Machines of Oxford, Sinclair Spectrums 
and Apple computers, earn between 
£3,000 and £5,000 a year. The experience, 
Tony Clements believes, makes them 
“highly marketable.” About 150 apply 
for between eight and 12 vacancies— 
only five of them girls, Clements 
observes sadly. 

Britain has a world lead in software 
Clements believes and "we have 
a potentially huge untapped source of 
talent in the schools.” 

“Go into any secondary school, and 
depending on size, you could find 100 
youngsters capable of making good pro¬ 

grammers,” he argues. Pupils are not, 
however, being challenged enough in 
most schools—“ there are too many com¬ 
puter games and not enough production 
of software for use." 

His young programmers, he admits, 
have little concept of the importance 
of the worldwide information technology 
revolution, but this is more than offset 
by their imagination, hard work and the 
fact that, unlike adults, “they have no 
hang-ups about computers.” 

The teachers—now management—are 
themselves being challenged by the 
, need to develop commercial skills. They 
have called in an international account¬ 
ancy firm for business advice and a 
development plan is taking shape. 

Unless there is a big expansion of the : 
use of computers in primary schools, Mr j 
Clements believes the school market is/ 
unlikely to sustain the company. i 

He is pinning his hopes oi educa-I 
tional software, for use in the home; 
and on industrial use. f 

Already, Five Ways has protsiced 
software for large companies, including 
programmes to train managers in thf 
use of microelectronics and for cora- 
puter aided design. / 

“We expect to break even in 1913 
and make a profit in 1984,” says Tony 
Clements. i 

Raymond Snoddy 



Yes, both the BASIC cartridge and the Operating System (OS) have problems. Here are some of them: 

1) An input statement without an associated variable doesn’t cause an error message but can 
cause the computer to lock up if run. 9 ' uul can 

Sometimes, if you do a lot of editing, you will find the machine suddenly either has lost some of 
your program, or no longer responds to any input (this is called "going to sleep”). 

String assignments that involve the movement of multiples of 256 bytes do not move the first 256 
bytes. This refers to the internal length, not the number of characters. Since most strings don't 

onecharlcteT 1 Y nUmber ’ y0U wi,f seldom have this Problem. If a problem occurs, just add 
PRINT A = NOT B puts the computer to sleep. 

You must use the LPRINT command from direct mode BEFORE doing a SAVE“C” or CSAVF 
Leave any printers you have OFF. This is because the cassette handler doesn’t always set up the 
hardware properly for output. You will get an error message which you may ignore. 

f?°";V y E e ! n . a program line longer than 3 screen lines unless you want the excess beyond 3 
lines to be taken as the next line in your program. Other strange things may happen as well. 

Many exponents don’t evaluate exactly. For example, 5/3 = 124.999998, not 125. The lack of ac¬ 
curacy will mostly effect comparisons where an exact number is expected. Your program can 
look for a small range of numbers instead. 

A printed CNTL R or CNTL U is treated as a semicolon. 

Watch out for the use of the letters “NOT” at the beginning of variable names. 

LOCATE and GET do not reinitialize their buffer pointer. This can cause your program to chanae 
when next run (for example, some line numbers may change). To fix, reinitialize the oointers thv 
using a STR$ call like:) A = STR$(0); or you can print a numeric value like: Print A. y 

An input of more than the standard 128 bytes will write them into the so called safe reoion in 
page six of memory ($0600 to $067F). Since many programs store their assembly routines in paae 
six, you must be careful to relocate these routines if longer input is a must. 

2 ) 




6 ) 

8 ) 


10 ) 

11 ) 

Bugs in the O.S. 

Yes, but please realize how good the operating system is before you feel bad about a few buos Here 

atoutDEclMBl^i T "T, in reWSi ° n '' B " Wh ' Ch Sh0uld be *>">«Wn» dipped from ATARI after 
aoout DECEMBER 1981 (this date is not exact!). 

1) During disk input and output, the disk drives would occasionally “time out” for several seconds 

then start up again (this one caught me MANY times). The problem is fixed with no impact on 
your old software. H 

2) Under certain I/O conditions, the TV display would go away. This is also fixed. 

3) Sometimes you would get an error message “device timeout error”, “ERROR 138”, which was 

false, but you had no way of knowing this. Problem fixed. 

POKEY timer #4 IRQ vector is now working. This would be for advanced users. 

Sending the SIO utility a buffer address ending in $FF caused SIO to loop forever. 

A vector for the BREAK key has been added. This means programs may now use the BREAK key 

° ther than stop a BASIC Program from running. The vector address is a * 
$ o,$237 and bytes at $28B-$28D are used by the IRQ interrupt handler as temporary storage 




6 ) 

In the April 1983 issue of ANTIC I 
described a “High-Reliability Modifica¬ 
tion” (hi-rel mod) for the Atari 410 cas¬ 
sette recorder. Unfortunately, many of 
you missed that particular issue and I’ve 
received numerous requests for reprints. 
In this month’s column I’ll go back over 
it in more detail. My first mention of the 
hi-rel mod was simply an aside in a 
column devoted to the 410 recorder’s 
digital-playback circuits. This time I’ll 
concentrate on the mod itself. 


First, I’ll briefly describe the hi-rel mod 
and why it works. The 410 and 1010 
cassette recorders use two parallel filter 
circuits that convert the signal recorded 
on a program cassette into a form the 
Atari computer can understand. Think 
of these two filters as a couple of bell¬ 
shaped curves, like those shown in Figure 
1. Any signal that falls in the band (win¬ 
dow) of the low filter is converted into 
a logical zero ; a signal that falls into 
the window of the high filter is converted 
into a logical “one.” Any signal that falls 
outside the windows of both filters is 


Unfortunately, electronics, like life, is not 
a simple matter of black and white. Due 
to a number of different causes, spuri- 

Carl Evans is a widely published author 
in various technical and home computer 
magazines. He is also the author; of a best 
selling book, ATARI BASIC BETTER 

76 ' --- 


ous signals can get through the filters and 
cause a bad CLOAD. There is no way to 
eliminate all of these bad signals, but a 
careful study of the Atari recorder’s 
digital-playback circuits can provide us 
with a way to eliminate the most fre¬ 
quent cause of bad loads. 

Bad loads are often caused by what 
might be called “cross-talk” between the 
two filters. Look again at the curves in 
Figure 1. You’ll notice that they overlap 
somewhat. As a result, it’s possible for 
the circuit to receive a valid signal but 
to assign the wrong value to it. Thus, 
what should have been a zero becomes 
a one or vice versa. The result of this 
mixup is a bad load. 


Two possible solutions immediately 
come to mind. First, we could add a new 
circuit that would blank out the region 
of overlap. This solution involves the 
addition of a “notch-filter” to the circuit. 
Such a circuit modification would be 
extremely effective, but it would also 
require the use of an oscilloscope to 
properly tune the notch-filter. There has 
to be an easier way than this to achieve 
our goal. Let’s look at the second 

Tne second solution is to narrow the 


FiSure t 

skirts of the two filters so that the region 
of overlap is minimized. This can be 
accomplished by replacing a single 
resistor in the feedback loop of each 
filter. All that’s needed is a soldering iron 
and a screwdriver. This seems to be the 
best solution we can come up with with¬ 
out spending a small fortune on an 

replacing the 


First, let’s take a look at the two resistors 
we need to replace. They’re highlighted 
in Figure 2. One of them is a 240K-ohm 
resistor; the other is a 330K-ohm 
resistor. Their power ratings are not 

Please keep in mind that Figure 2 is 
a photograph of my recorder - your 
recorder may have a very different lay¬ 
out. The resistors in my 410 are ten- 
percent resistors, but some of the newer 
recorders contain five-percent resistors 
instead. To significantly narrow the 
skirts of the bell curves, we need to use 
one- or two-percent resistors. 

Some of you may not know how to 
“read” a resistor. Look at Figure 3. It 
shows a side view of a typical resistor. 

. -once the bands on its side. These are 
color-coded according to an industry 
standard that is used to label every 
resistor. The first band identifies the first 
digit of a two-digit value. The second 
band identifies the second digit. The 
third band shows how many zeros 
should be added at the end of the two- 
digit value. For example, on a 24000 
(240K) resistor a red band (2) is followed 

ANTIC, The ATARI Resourc; 


by a yellow band (4), which is followed 
by another yellow band (X10000). Be¬ 
cause of this standardized coding system, 
our two resistors can be identified by the 
following patterns: 


The fourth color band on a resistor is 
used to show the “tolerance” of the 
resistor. The specific codes are: 

GOLD_ .... 5 % 

SILVER. 10% 


The color codes for the first two bands 

BLACK... 0 


RED. 2 




BLUE . 6 


GRAY. 8 


The color codes for the third band are: 

BLACK . . 

BLUE .. . 
GRAY ... 












Now I’ll explain what I mean by a one- 
percent resistor — the answer is not what 
you might think. The easiest way to ex¬ 
plain the term is to use an example. Let’s 
take the case of a typical 240K-ohm 
resistor. When these resistors are first 
tested, the manufacturer’s measuring 
equipment is set to 240K-ohms, plus or 
minus one percent. Any resistors whose 
resistance falls between 237.6K and 
242.4K pass this test and are labeled 
“one-percent” resistors. Those that flunk 
this test are tested with equipment set at 
240K plus or minus two, five, ten, or 
even twenty percent, depending on how 

Fisure 2 

Photo of 410 circuit board 

many of them fail at each level. 

In other words, a ten-percent resistor 
is a resistor whose resistance is some¬ 
where between 216K and 246K (in our 
240K-ohm example). In this case, 
regardless of a resistor’s exact resistance, 
it is called a 240K resistor. Any given 
resistor’s resistance normally does not 
vary by more than a fraction of a per¬ 
cent of its stated value; nonetheless, it 
is rated on the basis of its performance 
in the screening test. 


The only real difference between what 
a vendor calls a one-percent and a ten- 
percent resistor is price. One „way to 
obtain a one-percent resistor is to buy 
a batch of resistors and measure their 



Fisure 3 

Resistor Color Code Bondins 

actual resistance with an ohm-meter. If 
you want to try this, buy cheap resistors. 
They don’t go through extensive screen¬ 
ing tests like those I’ve just mentioned, 
so their values will vary considerably. 

Another way to get one-percent 
resistors for the hi-rel mod is to call any 
good electronics supply house and ask 
for resistors with the following part 
numbers: RN-55-D-2433-F (240K 
ohms) and RN-55-D-3323-F (330K 
ohms). These are the standard industry 
part numbers oi i/iOth-watt, precision 
metal-film resistors. You’ll be safe with 
l/10th-watt resistors, because power 
dissipation in the part of the playback 
circuit we’re concerned with is less than 
l/1000th of a watt. 

By the way, I was able to locate these 
metal-film resistors at a local electronics 
supply store (they were 38 cents each 
with a minimum purchase of 25) by 
making two phone calls in the space of 
about ten minutes. You may not be able 
to locate them quite that fast, by you 
should have no difficulty in finding them. 

February 1984 


page 44 

TYPO by Bill Wilkinson 

Type your prosram once 

ATARI AT WAR by Karl Wiesers 

The wild world of conflict simulation 

FAST FINGERS by Crais Chamberlain _ 

Autoboot with a ghost at the keyboard 

PHONE BOOK by J erry White 

Simulate string arrays in Atari BASIC 


Redefine the set any way you choose 


IT'S OFFICIAL by David F. Barry 




page 19 

THE END OF ODD MAN by John and Mary Harrison 


LOGO BOOKS by Ken Harms 


THE GANTLET by Stephen Groll 

★ ★BONUS GAME^ ★ GALACTIC GLOOP by Guy Aitchison 


THE 410 HI-REL MOD by Carl Evans 


NIGHTMARE DETOUR by David and Sandy Small 


3RAWTO FILL by Joseph Tucker 


HELP! __ 









page 23