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SEPTEMBER 


1984 



^COMPUTER 
^"S ^ENTHUSIASTS 


lUf L. I i 

m LLLi 



Dear members, 

Wellington Atari Computer Enthusiasisj 

Herewith the September newsletter. *- 

NEXT MEETING 


; s 
■ 1$ 


u-..^ "r Kt m ® eting wi 11 be held on. Wednesday, Octobe- " r -.t n --v 

Us.ua 1 , the meeting will be at the TAR h .niHi - ett 7 * -~ AJ P«*. As 

onl Y tD ««" a seat! Featuring'at this meet nn Quay ’ Be there > if 

new commercial software, the mark^tina nf ! ! be the demonstration of 

long promised above l6k c W ! ‘ d ° h d^tratto" ""I 5 ^ ^ th * 

Educational Tape (see elsewhere in fhi- wlL? If 7 ° 1 ast mon th : ‘s 

tape). In addition, we hopeto'be aM t ^ f ° r instructions for this 

repair and/or enhance members’ tape decks. ann ° Unce the detaiis of a scheme to 

last meeting 


Our thanks to members f 
month s meeting was notab 1 
products. Firstly, Monaco 
best cartridges at prices 
reasonable. Secondly, Rich 
it plain that his firm i 
firm has a range of "third 
some 20 new titles arrived 
With Monaco's more vigorou 
retailers, there should be 
the region. 

NOVEMBER MEETING 


or enduring the auction. In the longer t*rm, last 

e ,Qr tne nows about the better marketing of Atari 

are shortly to produce, under ], rP r- c „ tar1 

t hat , h " unaer license, many of the- 

l*a %i T e dSValued tlmes ' «iil be quite 
:' fl Llrd ' who runs me Computer Experience", medp 
to vigorously market Atari products. Already hiV 
party" software not previously seen in Ellington • 
,/ n - hG oast two weeks, and more are on the wav. 

Vrani°S C r marketing, and the help of Wellington 
rapid increase in the number of Atari users in 


coL°L a exoT^n 1 ^ y "hD^» E inS L thr are hoDetLa ° f havi "° 

to the Atari. Videotext will also be discussed.” 

BLANK DISKS 


"how note" on adding MODEM? 


of ten. A11 h o u a h ” t n e se ik a ar^^old '^J 54 ® 11 blsks available at *45.00 per box 
double sided. At this’pric^ th^ Ire Iblrglx ^'’ “ ni Ckl nc ™" them 

OTHER MATTERS 


Mo one nav-ing indicated any significant interest fhP Wri Bn r 
group is declared a non-starter. Quite what thi'-- * bames interest 

it be that, we are all "into" - Pr i r,..-" t th toaVi> at, ou.t our members ( can 

U lnto =erious computing?), I don’t know. 

1 he September issue of "ANTIC" ha- Arri S ,- M ... 

graphics - one of Atari’s Inna dnt- T+- 7. ’, bPeLia feature being on 

it being placed the'« “ t ^tv 7el" b * n at our next *«'«■ Prior t< 

club-s «,««„„ are pi a^ain Noe™* b’' o' tn7 Ci tyTZlr ^ ^ 

there or borrowed - out- nf t owner- r^n _ . . ' Library. ! hey can be read 

them through the "lnterloan" service! 1Slr "° Cal ilbrary ' s to obtain 


Jack Trami el’s takeover of Atari 


some of the P p?h mj-t, r rn « mont . * S hardly news now - but just to balance 

h p’« thp r!t- ! comment we should report that ANTIC 

ut... _ cne cat pyjamas. 


magazine thinks 


Yours sincere1y, 
. Des Rowe 





EDUCATION — AND SOME OTHER MATTERS 

The September education tape never did get demonstrated, because so many 
other things were happening that night. So here is a list of programs on 
it for those who are wondering whether to buy it, and a note for those 
who did. 

OLD MACDONALD: The list says a counting and matching game for 
pre-schoolers and early primary school classes. Your brilliant WACE tape 
compilers, being mere dumb grown-ups, couldn't figure how to actually 
Play it, but the kids no doubt will. A chocolate fish, or equivalent, to 
the first one who phones me with usable instructions. 

ESTIMATIONS Visually assess the size, number and co-ordinate 
relationships between lines, shapes and dots. (Graded Std 3 - adult) 
COUNTING: A fun addition or counting game for juniors - std 1. Answer 
correctly and be visited by a friendly alien. 

UNSCRAMBLE: Another scrambled letters spelling game 

PLURALS, VERBS: These two have a similar structure to NOUNS, which we 
used earlier. I haven't had time to check for errors yet! 

HANGMAN QUOTES? Hangman with quotations instead of single words. Just a 
thought: Maybe someone will spend a wet afternoon replacing data in some 

of the games of this type, so that when we are all thoroughly familiar 
with it we can issue it again with a new lease of life. 

ODDS or EVENS: Similar in format to PLURALS etc. Good graphics are a 
feature of this series. 

ALGEBRA: Algebra drill giving a choice of equations to solve, from 

simple primary school stuff to some just a little more complicated. 

rfc ***** :* 

LOGO AND PILOT 

Somehow I shall find time to organise some tutorials between now and the 
end of the year. The sooner interested members phone me the sooner I 
shall be able to go into action. NB I SHALL NOT BE AT THE OCTOBER MEETING 
so don't count on contacting me there. 

Non Z put on my other hat. 

Cl eassssr- oom C cr. m pj la fc ce v* 1 = 3 . Ltd 

I have available one memory module for XL600, price $300 
I shall also have one disc drive when stocks arrive. Price 
unpredictable. 

LOGITEC 5002 printers (type-face - IBM style - said to be even better 
than on the 5001) were listed at $1158 retail on August 15. I could sell 
them for $895 cash if there were 5 buyers interested, say in November, 
subject to availability of suitable interfaces. My own Logitec is busy 
every day, with AtariWriter, and perhaps another demonstration could be 
made at the November meeting. But ring before then if you might be 
interested. 

AND FINALLY ... if your local primary school ever mentions the word 
computer put in a word for the only retailer specialising in primary 
classroom computer education, won't you? Incidentally, we're running a 
5-week evening course next term at High School entitled Logo in the 
Primary Classroom. 

JeMany Chi shol m — te^l . 72:3- OGG 




W A C 


BEG I NNEES BASIC CL 


^ “ 1 hi t-13»s is for beginners (whether 

i^ciul ts Oi child* en ) who want to learn how to program their 
Atari computers in BASIC. The accent will be on the children - 
b u. t, f i'- om t h e h i q h 1 y p os i 1 1 v e e;t p e r i e n ce Q f i a s t y e a r 5 s 
c 1 a s s, a d u 11. s c a n k & e p u p. A 1 1 s t u. d e n t s w i 1 1 f 1 n d that t h e y a r e 
•able to make considerable progress. 


WHERE; 


A t t h e i h a r n d o n F :: ' r i m a r y S c h o o 1 


WHEN; Door s op (an a t 3. 

s e 11 1 n g - u p a f t h e & q u i p m e n t. C1 a s me s 
and last for a little over an hour, 
b u n d a y,0c t o b er / , and sub se q u en t c 1 a 
will run through to the end of the .. 

a break over the? Labour weekend. Depend i nq on demand, classes 
could resume after the Christmas holidays,in early February 


lO p.m. for 10 minutes 
themselves begin at 4.00 
he first class meets on 
ises - always on Sundays - 
term. There wi 1.1 , however , be 


rulC-lE; We are fortunate that, our tutor last 

year,Keith Hobden,a Committee member and a member of the 
Ministry of Wor ks and Development’s Computer Services 
Division,has kindly agreed to take this class again. 


L u ° ° : h e 1 1 h i a d o n a t. i n q h i s s e r v i c e s b u t t h e 

club does I lave to hire the c 1 alf-room that we 5 .1.1 be 
using. Fhorndon School is,very reasonably,only charging a 
dollar per student per weekly session for the use of it'-" 
facilities. This fee will be collect.ed each session. 


EQUIPMENT: 
man :i. tor ; cas 
ok tension 1 e 
Atari BASIC 


Please brings your computer; TV or 
s e 11 e u n i t; B A SIC c a r t r i d q e; t r a n s f o m e r s; 
ad; junction bo;:; pen/penci 1 ; paper; and 
manual or an equivalent book. 


1 onq 
your 


mTMOb PHENE: I t 5 s a pity to have to mention this but we 

h a d a p r o b 1 & m 1 a s t y e a r t h a t. vm e? n a n t. t a a v o 1 d 11" ! 1 s 1 .1 m e 
round.There was some rather disruptive behaviour from a few 
of the kids. It. didn't make the rest of the class very happy 
and to keep the atmosphere as 1 i ght, i nf oroial and constructive 
as post*!hie,we 11 have to ask any kids who are not prepared 
to be considerate and cooperative to find something else to 
d O. 









EDITORIAL 


by Mike Dunn, Co-Editor 

It has been the practice of ACE to have very few editorials to pre¬ 
sent mostly news, reviews and programs. Recent events in the world 
of Atari have changed everything for all Atari owners, and I feel all of 
us need to know what is happening and then plan for the future of 
ACE and other user groups. As I am sure everyone knows, Atari, Inc is 
now owned by Jack Tramiel of Commodore fame. 

What most of us do not realize is that our Atari is dead. They are not 
manufacturing any of the old units; and when the present stock is 
gone, that's it. There is no user group support, Customer support, etc. 
Knowing the history of Commodore, where frequently even different 
versions of the same model were incompatible, and none of the dif¬ 
ferent models were compatible, it is very unrealistic to expect any 
new models from the new Atari to have any compatibility with the old 
ones. We are now on our own, friends. 

Most of the large distributors, used by the dealers and small 
stores, such as Softsel and Micro-D are dropping the Atari lines. Most 
local dealers have dropped the Atari lines, according to the many User 
Group Newsletters we receive each month. All of this makes the pre¬ 
sent Atari User groups more important to the many Atari owners, if 
they are going to continue to use their Ataris. And the Atari is still the 
best value for an inexpensive home computer! 

What does this all mean to ACE. Well, since most of our new 
members have come from new Atari owners, we will lose our growth 
and base of members, and possibly gradually die, unless we are really 
needed and grow. Several things we have done recently include the 
vastly expanded Bulletin Board now being developed and de-bugged, 
to include a 1200 Baud modem soon. If you have tried our BBS lately! 
there has not been much on it since we are testing a new system, but 
it is almost ready and will have 1.5 MegaBytes on-line with many new 
features — please see Larry Gold's article for details. We have a 
number of new disks ready for our members, including new Best of 
ACE, new PILOT, ACTION!, and new machine language source codes 
— something for everyone. But in order to continue with the Newslet¬ 
ter and Club, we need to continue to get new members, or we will run 
out of money. We usually have enough cash on hand to'put out 3 
issues, then count of renewals and new members to generate money! 
You can all help — if you have friends with Ataris who are not 
members, please encourage them to join and order disks from us. 

Because of the sudden difficulty of obtaining Atari Hardware and 
Software, I want to recommend an Atari dealer who will continue to 
support us. Computer Palace (1-800-452-8013, 2160 W. 11th Ave, 
Eugene, OR 97402) is a tong time mail order Atari only dealer with a 
3500 square foot modern store for local sales. They have a huge inven¬ 
tory and have most anything. Owned by Don Marr, they have been 
strong supporters of ACE, always willing to help us, and the Eugene 
ACE members have been very satisfied with them. Reliable and 
honest, they are set up for all your needs, including sales overseas, 
and their prices are very fair. Please support your local dealer as long 
as you have one, because he is now worth his weight in gold, but if 
you do not have one, Computer Palace can meet your needs — and 
this is not an advertisement. 

Because service may become a problem, you might consider get¬ 
ting spare parts from such places as American TV, 15338 Inverness St 
San Leandro, CA 94579; Centurian Enterprises, POB 3233 San Luis 
Obispo, CA 93403; Best Electronics, 171 Jackson St., San Jose, CA 
95112; B&C ComputerVisions 3400 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 
95051 or others. These companies will sell you various Atari parts 
from chips to any board or a complete kit very reasonably — for exam¬ 
ple, all the parts except keyboard to make a 48K Atari 800 for $135 or 
so. And for our many overseas members, American TV also sells the 
PAL version for the same price. I have done business with both 
American TV and Centurian and they both give good service. 

When and if the new Atari comes out. we will have to decide if ACE 
will support it, or if we should let others do so. Please give us your 
thoughts when you renew or write. 















Atari Plans 
Range of 
Computers 

Niff 

By ERIC N. BERG 


The Atari Corporation, in its first 
major announcement since being 
taken over in July by Jack Tramiel, 
said yesterday that it would soon in¬ 
troduce a broad range of personal 
computers, both for home and office. 

Mr. Tramiel, a former president of 
the rival Commodore International, 
acquired the company from Warner 
Communications Inc., which had 
been unable to halt millions of dollars 
in losses in its consumer electronics 
business in the last year and a half. 

Atari also said yesterday that it had 
lowered the wholesale price on its ex¬ 
isting 8C0XL home computer. The 
machine has retailed for as much as 
$300 — compared with $200 for the 
Commodore 64 — and analysts said 
Atari was -selling only 20,000 units a 
month, compared with 250,000 units a 
month for the Commodore. Although 
Atari would not disclose how far it 
had lowered the price, it said retail¬ 
ers would be able to sell the machine 
at the same price as the Commodore' 
64. 

Atari offered few details about its ' 
new computers. James L. Copland, a 
spokesman, said oftly that Atari 
would produce several new ma¬ 
chines, ranging from an inexpensive 
home computer that can process 
eight pieces of information at once — 
a so-called 8-bit machine to a 32-bit 

office machine. The 800XL is an 8-bit 
machine. 

Mr. Copland added that the ma¬ 
chines would be introduced at a trade 
show in January, but he declined to 
say where they would be produced or 
when they would be available to con¬ 
sumers. He also declined to say what 
the computers would sell for, but in¬ 
dustry sources speculated that the 
machines would range in cost from 
$100 to about $1,000. 

The sketchiness of the announce¬ 
ment prompted several analysts to 
say that the new computers might be 
ideas under study, rather than actual 
machines near production. If that is 
the case, these analysts said, it could 
be mid-1985 before Atari has its new 
machines in stores, unless it buys the 
machines elsewhere rather than 
producing them itself. ’ 

“Tramiel has no products lined 
up,” said Douglas A. Cayne, a vice 
president at the Gartner Group Inc., a 
computer industry research firm. 
“He’s pursuing options but nothing 
more.” 

David Lawrence, a analyst at 
Montgomery Securities Inc. of San 
Francisco, said: “Tramiel frequently 
announces seven machines and ships 
one or two. That appears to be what 
he is doing now.” 


Profit Speculation 

If the new machines are not on 
store shelves soon, the analysts said, 
it is unlikely that Atari would return 
to profitability in 1984, as it has 
pledged. In 1983, when it was a sub¬ 
sidiary of Warner, Atari had an oper¬ 
ating loss of $538.6 million because of 
problems with both its computer and. 
home video-game businesses. In the 
first quarter of 1984, the operating 
loss totaled $34.9 million. 

Most analysts, however, said any 
new machines from Atari could 
achieve a sizable market share, 

particularly given Mr. Tramiel’s 
reputation as a creative, hard-driving 
salesman. 

At Commodore, where he was both 
a founder and president, Mr. Tramiel 
was widely credited with designing a 
marketing program that enabled the 
Commodore 64 to grab 60 percent of 
the home computer market. 

Abilities Important 

To succeed, the analysts said the 
new machines would need to be able 
to do complex applications such as 
advanced word processing and busi¬ 
ness graphics. 

Atari’s office machine, which in¬ 
dustry specialists said would prob¬ 
ably be based on the Motorola 68000 
computer chip, could in theory com¬ 
pete with Apple Computer Inc. ’s Mac¬ 
intosh and the International Business 
Machines Corporation’s Personal 
Computer. 

Analysts noted, however, that the 
Macintosh and the P.C. cost signifi¬ 
cantly more than $1,000, and both 
makers are well known in the office 
market. Atari, on the other hand, is 
known primarily for its video games. 


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BIG JACK 



(Reprint: Memphis Atari Systems Hobbyists, July 1984) 



There are some big changes coming to Atari, and it’s anybody’s 
guess as to what they will be. Warner Communications sold Atari, Inc. 
on July 1 to Jack Tramiel, the mastermind who created Commodore, 
and gave it the reputation it has today. 

The day after the sale, Tramiel moved in at Atari and announced im¬ 
mediate cutbacks. Tramiel noted Atari had a marketing staff of 300, 
while Commodore had only 25. Both companies had approximately 
the same 1983 sales. I think even the most devout Atari enthusiast will 
agree Commodore has done a much belter job of selling their pro¬ 
ducts. Tramiel has also acquired a laboratory tor designing micro 
chips. All this is right in line with the philosophy he used in 
establishing Commodore as the only successful (in terms of profits) 
home computer company: low labor and production costs. 

Tramiel has hired his three sons as key executives in the new Atari 
organization. Gary is in charge of collecting $400 million in past due 
receivables from customers. Sam is president of the company, and 
Leonard is in charge of software. Tramiel tried to get the “kids" on at 
Commodore before he was booted out by other investors back in 
January. 

From Rags to Riches 

Jack Tramiel, 56, is a survivor ot the Auschwitz concentration camp. 
He went to Canada alter the war and started Commodore in 1958 as a 
typewriter repair company. In 1965 Commodore, which was now 

manufacturing typewriters, almost went bankrupt, but Tramiel found a 
fellow named Irving Gould who invested $400,000 and saved the com¬ 
pany. Gould was a passive owner, letting Tramiel run the company in 
his own style. Tramiel did a brilliant job. When pocket calculators 
came on the market in the 70’s, Commodore purchased chips from 
Texas Instruments for $50 each, assembled them into calculators, and 
sold them for $100. The company did well until 1975, when Tl began 
selling their own calculators for $50. Again, Commodore almost went 
bankrupt. But Tramief's hard-nosed business methods brought the 
company back to life. 

After the pocket calculator debacle, Tramiel swore he would never 
again be at the mercy of outside suppliers for parts. Ip 1976, Tramiel 
bought MOS Technologies, a semiconductor maker about to go under. 
MOS had designed an inexpensive and versatile chip called the 6502, 
which is now used in Atari and Apple computers. Tramiel licensed it 
to Rockwell and Honeywell. MOS also employed a fellow named 
Charles Peddle, who later started Victor Technologies. Peddle had 
been working on a project at MOS designing what he hoped would be 
the -first microcomputer, using the 6502 chip. Tramiel named the com¬ 
puter “Pet” and began setting the machine in Europe in 1977, leaving 
the American market to Apple and Radio Shack. The Pet became the 
best selling computer in Europe and Commodore was again pro¬ 
fitable. 

Next came the video game craze. Atari was first here with its 2600 
game machine and cartridges. Soon Mattel, Coleco, and several other 
companies had their machines on the market and business was 
booming. But Tramiel decided not to sell these "dumb" machines. In¬ 
stead he introduced the VIC-20 in 1981, a "smart" game machine with 
a keyboard. Using William Shatner as the company's spokesman, he 
duped the public into believing the VIC was really a computer. The 
ploy worked, and Commodore made a lot of money. Tramiel's 
smartest move in the video game era was his decision not to manufac¬ 
ture or sell game cartridges. He encouraged third parties to make the 
cartridges for the VIC. A tew months later the video game craze slow¬ 
ed down and millions of unsold cartridges were returned to manufac¬ 
turers. Everyone except Commodore sutfered. 

In 1982, Tramiel took the biggest gamble yet. He shelved all pro¬ 
ducts Commodore had on the drawing board except one, the Com¬ 
modore 64. All the resources Commodore could muster were directed 
towards manufacturing 64s. Huge inventories were Stockpiled and 
Tramiel arranged lor discount stores to sell the new product, bypass¬ 
ing the traditional computer stores used by other companies. The 64s 
were then dumped on the market at $600 each, unheard of at the time 
for a 64k computer with sound and graphics. Commodore risked 
everything on the 64, but the gamble paid off big. Had the 64 not been 
a success, Commodore would have flirted with bankruptcy again. 

The Dark Side of the Force 

So far I've made it sound like everything Jack Tramiel touches turns 
to gold. But every silver lining has its cloud. If JT was so brilliant at 
Commodore, why did he leave? It seems Irving Gould, the behind-the- 
scenes investor who rescued Tramiel 20 years earlier, began to take a 
more active role in Commodore’s operations. He began to realize the 
company had gained a reputation for poor quality. The Wall Street 
Journal reported several months ago as much as 40% of Commodore 
products were being returned to the factory as defective, If the com¬ 
pany had not had a “no questions asked" exchange policy this qualify 
control problem could have killed the 64. Tramiel also has an un- ' 
predictable temper which causes a high turnover of employees. There J 
were heated arguments between Gould and Tramiel over how the 
company should be run. The final straw was Gould's veto of Tramiel’s i 
decision to put his three sons in top management. It is not clear 
whether JT was fired or resigned, but he left in January with $100 \ 

million in Commodore stock and a desire for revenge. 


Although nothing has been officially announced, there are rumors 
(typical ot Atari). Most of the new products announced at the June 
CES could be dropped. The 600XL and 5200 are already out of produc¬ 
tion. Tramiel will probably concentrate on the 800XL The 7800, 
1450XL and 1090 will be dropped. If you're interested in keeping track 
of the latest gossip, I suggest calling the ATARI SIG on CompuServe. 







By SUSAN CHIRA 

Special to The New York Times 

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Aug. 23 
In the obscure headquarters here of a 
two-year-old corporation lies a proto¬ 
type of a computer that has sparked a 
pitched battle between the two larg¬ 
est competitors for the home com¬ 
puter market, Commodore and Atari. 

The computer and its sophisticated 
graphics chips, the product of the 
Amiga Corporation, won attention 
and praise from analysts and com¬ 
petitors many time's Amiga’s size 
when the machine was first shown at 
a Chicago trade show in June. The 
Amiga computer has been heralded 
by some as a serious challenger to the 
popular Apple Macintosh or the Inter¬ 
national Business Machines Corpora¬ 
tion’s PCjr. 

In mid-August, Commodore an¬ 
nounced that it had bought Amiga. 
But Atari, now run by Commodore’s 
ex-chief, says the chips are rightfully 
Atari’s as a result of a previous 
agreement, and has sued Amiga for 
fraud. 

The reason for the furor over the 
Amiga computer, analysts say, is a 
graphics capability — including full- 
color display, cartoon-like animation 
and fairly high speed — that some say 
is more advanced than the Macin¬ 
tosh, which has no color capability. 
Graphics have become a critical sell¬ 
ing point because they expand the 
range of applications and users. A 
better graphics display may entice 
engineers, advertising designers or 
architects, for example, and is a 
proven drawing card in attracting 
home computer users. 

Moreover, Commodore has pre- 
. dieted that it could sell the machine 
for under $1,000, compared with the 
$2,500 price tag on a Macintosh. 

‘Tvu been wanting to do this ma¬ 
chine for six years,” said Jay Miner, 
the 52-year-old co-founder of Amiga 
and former Atari engineer who 
headed the design team on the com¬ 
puter. Although neither he nor David 
Morse, 41 , Amiga’s president and 
other co-founder, would disclose the 
terms of their deal with Commodore, 
the two men have certainly become 
two of Silicon Valley’s newest million¬ 
aires. * 

"I've always wanted to do a ma¬ 
chine with the graphics of a good 
flight simulator,” Mr. Miner said. 
“Its ability to do high-speed anima¬ 
tion still excites me the most. It opens 
up all sorts of educational opportuni¬ 
ties." 

Many challenges and questions re¬ 
main — whether the Amiga can be 
produced at the projected price, when 
it will appear on the market, and 
what kind of software it will have and 
whether it will be compatible with 
Apple’s or I.B.M.’s. 

But there Is no debate over the ex¬ 
cellence of Amiga’s graphics, which 
engineers displayed the other day in a 
back office whose walls were covered 
with scrawled equations. 

First the screen filled with red, yel¬ 
low and blue triangles that twisted 
and turned, creating patches of 
shaded colors. Next a pie chart of 


Tbe New York Times /Terrrvnee McCarthy 

David S. Morse, president and co-founder of Amiga Corporation with circuit 
boards for the prototype of Its graphically advanced computer. 


aqua, purple, fuschia, green, yellow 
and white sprang onto the screen. 
Then there was a futuristic street 
scene, complete with a figure walking 
a dog and a fire hydrant that con¬ 
stantly changed shapes. Finally a 
red-and-white-striped ball began to 
bounce, the sound changing and echo¬ 
ing as it bounced to different heights. 

The computer’s developers say that 
it has been designed with the color 
television industry standard, so that 

• its displays will read clearly on a tele¬ 
vision screen. Its resolution is about 
twice that of the LB.M. PC. 

Analysts, while cautioning that 
many computer prototypes never 
make it to market, generally agreed 
that the Amiga computer seemed 
worth all the fuss. 

“What I have seen of the machine 
leads me to think it Is exciting enough 
that the entire industry is going to 
have to take notice,” said Barbara 
Isgur, an analyst with Paine Webber. 

• “It’s just exceptional,” said Tim P. 
Barajin, an analyst with Creative 
Strategies International, based in San 
Jose. “It’s a Mac with color graphics 
built in.” 

The company was bom in Septem¬ 
ber 1982 when its two founders began 
three months of research — Mr. 
Morse, a former vice president of 
marketing and sales for the Tonka 
Corporation, into what consumers 
wanted most from computers, and 
Mr. Miner into the limits of available 
technology. 

They found that consumers wanted 

• a machine that was easy to use and 
had a wide range of applications, Mr. 
Morse said, and they decided that 
good graphics would satisfy both 
counts. 


In January 1983, Mr. Morse said, 
they began hiring engineers — from 
Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Tandem, 
Ford Aerospace and other companies 
— to design the machine. By all ac¬ 
counts, it was a typical Silicon Valley 
start-up — long hours, obsessiort with 
the developing machine, and a race 
against deadlines and funding limits. 

Mr. Morse recalled that the office 
became lined with mattresses as en¬ 
gineers worked to prepare the proto¬ 
type for the spring computer show. 
And Mr. Miner remembered cost-cut¬ 
ting measures — renting rather than 
buying some equipment, hiring staff 
by the day ratter than permanently. 
“It went from lean to leaner,” he 
said. 

But after the Chicago show, Amiga 
engineers were no longer unknown. 
“All of a sudden, ” Mr. Morse said, 
“a lot of people knew about Amiga." 
Although he would not say so, citing 
the pending lawsuit, industry ana¬ 
lysts said those people presumably in¬ 
cluded Commodore. 

Atari's suit, according to Leonard 
Schreiber, Atari's general counsel, 
contends that Amiga signed an agree¬ 
ment in March to develop chips for 
Atari. Atari then advanced the com¬ 
pany $500,000. In late June, Mr. 
Schreiber said, Amiga returned the 
money, saying that the chips would 
not work. The suit was filed on Aug. 
14, just before the announcement that 
Commodore would buy Amiga. 

Mr. Morse would not comment on 
the suit. 

The Amiga machine is based on the 
same 32-bit microprocessor chip, tire 
Motorola 68000, as the Macintosh. If 
manufactured as planned, it would 
have the same memory and perform 
slightly faster than the Macintosh.- 

These similarities, in addition to 


-— p 




the Amiga's projected lower price 
and flashier graphics, are prompting 
some analysts to see it as potent 
competition for Apple machines. 

“Apple has set the target for every¬ 
one to try and shoot at," said Ulric 
Weil, an analyst with Morgan Stan¬ 
ley. “Commodore has a window of op¬ 
portunity to come in at a lower price” 
before a Macintosh with more mem¬ 
ory and software appears. 

Although Mr. Morse said that he be¬ 
lieved the Amiga machine could be 
finished in a few weeks, analysts said 
they did not believe that it could be 
ready to market before spring 1985. 

Commodore has said little about its 
plans for the Amiga, Accordingly, it 
is not clear that the Amiga machine is 
even a imed at the same market—the, 
office — as the Macintosh. 

And rev/ Herrington, senior engi¬ 
neering manager for Commodore 
business machines, would say only 
that Commodore has traditionally 
aimed at the home and so-called low 
end business markets — less expen¬ 
sive and less elaborate business com-' 
puters. 

Analysts cautioned that several ob¬ 
stacles lie in the way of successful 
development. Among other things, 
they question whether Amiga will be 
able to keep its promised low prices 
and thus meet the Macintosh chal¬ 
lenge, and whether it will have distri¬ 
bution and software problems. 

Donald R. Greenbaum, Commo¬ 
dore’s treasurer, insists that Amiga’s 
low price will be achieved through 
manufacturing in Hong Kong and Tai¬ 
wan, large volume and an established 
distribution network. 

Commodore has traditionally mar¬ 
keted its domestic products through 
mass merchandisers, rather than 
through dealers who offer the support 
services necessary with a more com¬ 
plicated machine. Mrs. Isgur said she 
doubted that potential business cus¬ 
tomers , if they are indeed one of Com¬ 
modore’s potential markets, would 
buy from mass merchandisers. Fur¬ 
thermore, Mr. Weil said, Commo- 
dore’s relationships with dealers are 
somewhat sour. 

Mr. Greenbaum said Commodore 
had not decided whether to distribute 
the machine through mass merchan¬ 
disers or dealers. Nor has the com¬ 
pany decided whether the Amiga’s 
software would be compatible with its 
competitors. 


ROM CLEANING u f 

> Before dismant- 
liiigyoSnSm»5}Svt^i^ahing'the .con- 
tacts on the part of the cartridge that’s in¬ 
serted into the computer with a swab and 
alcohol. Often, a little dirt is tire only reason I 
a cartridge won’t work. If there is any par¬ 
ticularly stubborn din, rub it off with a piece 
of notebook paper (NEVER sandpaper!). 

The contact edge is usually exposed in 
third-party cartridges, but it must be un¬ 
entered with Atari cartridges. Insert the tip 
of ail ink pen into either end of the slot in 
the end of the Atari cartridge and slide it 
toward the center to release the spring hold¬ 
ing the cartridge cover closed. Then just 
push hack the end of the cover, and hold it 
in place with one hand while you clean the 
contacts with the other. Be sun* to clean the 
contacts on both sides of the PC board. 

Matthew J W. Ratcliff 
St. Louis, MO 



Sales of Persoi 
Fail to Reach Levels Forecast in U.S. 


By Michael Schrage 

Washington Post Service 

WASHINGTON — Personal- 
computer software sales for both 
home and office machines are fall¬ 
ing far below expectations, accord¬ 
ing to industry analysts, retailers 
and leading software publishers. 

Tim Bajarin, an analyst with 
Creative Strategies, a San Jose, Cal¬ 
ifornia-based personal-computer 
consulting and analysis firm said: 
“Maybe it’s just the summer dol¬ 
drums, but it’s probably that the 
right kind of software isn’t out 
there.” 

The sales slump has affected vir¬ 
tually every aspect of the personal- 
computer software market. While 
the billion-dollar market is still 
growing, it is growing at a slower 
rate than most analysts had pro¬ 
jected. 

Creative Strategies had predict¬ 
ed the business-software market 
would grow by more than 50 per¬ 
cent this year, but the revised esti¬ 
mate is closer to 40 percent growth. 
The company has halved its growth 
projections for home software. 

Infocorp, another industry re¬ 
search company, has similarly re¬ 
vised its estimates. 

“Things have really slacked off,” 
said Robert M. Lefkowits, Info- 


corp’s director of microsystems 
software research. However, he 
noted that sales for the best known 
business-software programs, such 
as Lotus 1-2-3 and Ashton-Tate’s 
Framework, remain strong. 

“I think it’s a summer lull,” said 
Frank E. Schwartz, president of Si¬ 
mon & Schuster’s electronic pub¬ 
lishing group. “People are holding 
their breath and waiting. The prob¬ 
lem is the industry itself; it puts out 
these unbelievable numbers. It 
hurts itself with all its shouting, 
because the expectations have be¬ 
come so high.” 

Mr. Schwartz forecast strong 
sales in January. Others in the in¬ 
dustry are counting on the Christ¬ 
mas sales season to rescue their 
forecasts. 

' Mr. Bajarin of Creative Strate¬ 
gies says International Business 
Machines Corp.’s new PCjr home 
computer had been projected to sell 
close to 500,000 units this year. 

“They’ll be lucky to sell 
180,000,” he said, “and that has 
really affected a lot of software 
projections.” 

Mr. Lefkowits said: “More than 
50 percent of the personal-comput¬ 
er software sold is sold when the 
machine is purchased, or very 
shortly thereafter.” 


MONKEY WRENCH II 

($50 by Eastern House. A machine language cartridge for the 600 & 
800XL) 

Monkey Wrench II for the XL is improved over the model lor the 800. 
It provides ”33 new direct mode Basic Commands". It comes with a 
29 page Users Guide, which I find clear and concise. The back of the 
guide has a useful Quick Reference page, covering the Basic Com¬ 
mands, DOS Functions, Function Keys, and Home Functions. There is 
no list of the MLM (machine language monitor) commmands. 

With its many various Direct mode commands the cartridge gives 
the programmer a great amount of flexiblity in the manipulation of his 
program. There are 19 direct mode Basic (unctions. They run from the 
standard Auto Line Numbering system to the Hex and Decimal con¬ 
version systems. These commands must be utilized as direct mode 
commands, that is they may not be entered into a Basic program. 

You must also remember that all commands requiring parameters 
must have at least one space between each parameter. Additionally in 
the construction ot your program you must be sure no tine is longer 
than 120 characters in length, as the Monkey Wrench program will 
truncate anything greater than this. In all cases the Users Guide clear¬ 
ly states all the precautions one should take. 

Besides these direct mode commands you will find a series of 16 
MLM (machine language monitor) commands, which should provide 
assistance to anyone dealing with machine language. Not being vers¬ 
ed in machine language I was unable to fully test the usefulness of 
this part ot the system. 

Along with the two command groups you have three command 
function groups. The first being a series of DOS functions. These 
allow you to obtain disk directories, format disks, unlock & lock files, 
and rename files. A note of caution here: The format command ex¬ 
ecutes upon entry so you must be sure to have the proper disk already 
in place 

Next we have the Function keys. This feature prints commonly us¬ 
ed commands with a single entry. For example, by pressing Control 
and 7 key - list ‘O' is printed out. The last set of functions are called 
the Home functions. These functions allow you to move the cursor to 
four locations on the screen. 

Remembering the cautionary notes and dealing with my own limita¬ 
tions as a programmer I found that this system allowed me to program 
with an ease and speed I had not known before. It in fact has en¬ 
couraged me to explore some programming challenges I have put off 
until now. I have found it helpful and it certainly will make a useful ad¬ 
dition to anyone's utility collection. 

— Nick Chrones 


More important, people have not 
been buying as many software 
packages for their machines as 
some in the industry had expected. 

“People are buying between 
three and five programs (for their 
computers), where it was anticipat¬ 
ed that the numbers would be clos¬ 
er to seven to 10,” said Mr. Bajarin. 

Nikki Hardin, a software editor 
with the California-based Ashton¬ 
Tate, was more pessimistic. “We 
almost never hear about the home- 
computer aftermarket anymore,” 
he said. 

This drop in the market’s growth 
rate is directly responsible for 
much of the software industry 
shakeout that has forced layoffs in 
such companies as Visicorp, Soft¬ 
ware Arts, Sorcim and Micropro. 
International, as well as dozens of 
lesser-known software companies. 

“The business is big and it’s go¬ 
ing to get bigger,” said John Brock¬ 
man, an agent who represents 
many leading software designers. 
“The problems now are simply 
ones of simple arithmetic. If there 
were 100 shelves and 20 publishers 
a year ago, there are 150 shelves j 
and 150 publishers today. Most of j 
the players are going to get i j 
burned:” 

However, Mr. Brockman con¬ 
ceded that the growth has not oc¬ 
curred quite as quickly as he had 
expected. “Publishers aren’t just 
scared.” he said, “they’re terrified. 

It seems that the growth will be less 
exponential than had been fore¬ 
cast.” 

Much of the sales problem has 
been blamed on what many indus¬ 
try participants concede to be a 
glut of low-quality software. 

Mr. Schwartz blamed incorrect 
marketing. “Product is being 
shipped back,” he said. 


i 








BUMPAS REVIEWS 

SYNFILE + (S99) is one unit ot the new "Syn-Apps" series 
developed by Synapse Software and marketed by Atari. This is a very 
flexible and powerful database management system for any Atari with 
48k or more. Comparisons with Filemanager + (also by Synapse) are 
inevitable. And the screen presentation of Synfile + will seem familiar 
to Filemanager + users. But the “pop-up” menus in Synfile + are 
much more convenient and allow more efficient operation. 

Users are no longer limited to a mere 5 computed fields. In fact, 
there are no organic restrictions upon the character of any of the 66 
fields available for each record. Memory limitations might prevent all 
66 fields from containing formulas. Synfile + seems to make a much 
more efficient use of memory. I set up a mailing list file in the same 
format f use with Filemanager +. Synfile + informs me I can put near¬ 
ly twice as many records on a disk as with Filemanager + . And Syn¬ 
file + says one fife may extend into as many as 16 disks. This will let 
me put at least 10 000 names and addresses in my mailing list! Pretty 
overwhelming. 

The screen display is in 80-column format. You must scroll across 
to the right-hand window to see the fast 40-columns if your display is 
40-columns. The user has wide flexibility when formatting the screen 
display of your information. Field names and data may be placed 
anywhere on the scteen. If you don't like where you put it, you can put 
the cursor on the first character, select the Moe option with the cursor 
arrows and simply move the held to another location on the screen. 
A!! menu items are easily selected with cursor arrows and the return 
key. All menus are nested, so only the menu information which is rele¬ 
vant to the particular operation you are performing is in the window at 
screen bottom. 

The package includes utilities which convert "DIF" files to and 
from Synfile+ . This permits data created with Visicalc, Synfile + , 
Syncalc or Syntrend to be used interchangeably between these pro¬ 
grams. The documentation also makes up for an omission in the 
AtariWriter manual. Here you learn how to merge Synfile + data into 
text fifes developed with AtariWriter. 

Synfile -*■ allows you to select double density format for disks, but 
remember to change the density back again before you put the pro¬ 
gram disk in (to avoid Error 138) Error trapping is excellent in this pro¬ 
gram. t accientaliy tried to write a tile to the program disk. A couple of 
polite tittle beeps and an error message informed me of the problem 
and permitted me to insert the data disk to complete the operation. 

• Synfile + supports ram disk operations with the Axlon boards or 
the Mosaic 64k Select. Use of two drives is provided for in many in¬ 
stances where there is a great advantage for the facility (as in copying 
files, etc.) But for normal file creation and data entry, I was forced to 
put both the program disk and the data disk in drive 1 (requiring some 
disk swapping). Another obvious shortcoming of Synfile + is its lack 
of any utility to convert Filemanager -t data files for use. I am fold 
Synapse is working on a utility to perform this task, so this may be 
corrected soon. S was looking forward to converting my files. But as I 
don't want to type in all this data over again, I'll keep using 
Filemanager + for av/hite. 

Synfile+ is the best database manager I've seen tor the Atari. 1 can 
unequivocally recommend' it to anyone who wants to store and 
manipulate data and who is not heavily committed to another program 
(such as I am with Filemanager +). 

MEGAFILER (XLEnt Software, Box 5228, Springfield. VA, 22150, 
(703) 644-3681, $30) advertizes itself as “The Ultimate Atari Database 
Manager." On a price/performance basis, I believe this bit of “puffing” 
might not be too far off. It is an excellent piece ol software. 

The program seems to be compiled from BASIC XL by OSS. 
Documentation includes a 28 page, digest-sized manual and a one 
page errata. The errata claims the "change should not detract from the 
usefulness of Megafiler." But the errata lists only 4 valid-arithmetic 
operators (add, subtract, multiply and divide), while the manual lists 8. 
Anyway, the 4 basic functions are sufficient for most applications. 

Megafiter is my kind of program. The menus enabled me to boot up 
and! begin immediately to create a database file of mailing list 
records. I got stuck with a couple of questions, but the table ot con¬ 
tents led me to the page with the answers I needed. I did not have to 
read the manual before I began. A beginning user will not be in¬ 
timidated bv this orocram at ail. 

Program functions include the ability to display any disk directory, 
to display the format of any database, and to modify the format, in ad¬ 
dition to creating, viewing, editing, deleting and sorting records. The 
program will also generate printed reports and mailing labels. Two ti¬ 
tle lines are available in the Report Generator. These lines might be 
used to include print formatting codes, if your printer can accept 
them. The module does provide tor input of the code to print condens¬ 
ed letters for 132 column reports. The Reports module permits you to 
sum numeric data as a help to analysis. 


Each record may contain up to 15 fields of data. Records may con¬ 
tain up to 255 characters. A field may contain up to 90 characters. For 
most purposes, the limit ot up to 3 fields per line on a mailing label 
wilt not be a problem. I use 5 fields on one line of my mailing list (con¬ 
taining various identifying information), but I could modify these 
fields to reduce their number. 

The program executes quickly, with excellent trapping of user input 
errors. A beginner will be comfortable with this program. Advanced 
users will find it a helpful program also, I don't believe you can get 
bettef value for your money spent on a database system. 

AROUND THE WORLD (SUPERware, 2028 Kingshouse Road, Silver 
Spring, MD 20904, $30) is a family strategy game for one player. The 
player's goat is to journey around the world in the shortest time. The 
program provides several ready-made characters you may use, or you 
may generate your own, with different characteristics. 

The game begins in London, and there are 40 regions of the world 
you must visit before finishing the game. Each region is a free-form 
maze which scrolls endlessly across several screen pages. There are 
stores at which you may purchase food, transportation (usually a 
horse), and numerous other items which may help you on your 
journey. Each region also has ticket sales offices which are more dif¬ 
ficult to find than the other types of store. These ticket offices are the 
only way to leave a region. 

On your journey you will find dusty chests which may contain 
valuable items. Or they may contain perils which may delay or end (!) 
your journey. You will meet oilier characters. Some will be helpful, 
some will not. Some will harm you. You have a choice to fight, run or 
persuade upon any encounter, I was trying to be real nice, but after be¬ 
ing attacked in Rome by 3 Cardinals in succession, 1 began killing 
them oft any chance I got. Various random events occur such as 
floods, fires, landslides and plagues. Each time something bad oc- 
curs, you take damage. It seems you regain some strength with a 
respite, but eventually all the fighting, poison gas, plagues, fires, etc. 
get to you and kill you. Now you get to see a nice feature of the game. 
You may reincarnate your character at the point at which you died. 
You get to do this twice before you are finally killed off. 

All player input during the game is by joystick. Each game screen is 
graphically well drawn, with a text window at the bottom. The colors 
are bright and appropriate, although the sounds are less well done. 
The author collaboraled with his wife on this elfort, and it seems to 
have helped him avoid some spelling errors, but still a few csrsist: 
“terrocity", '‘Margret” and “Judus", for example. I must be getting old, 
being irritated by such small things. I have a pie-production copy. I 
hope this review reaches them in time to proof the spetfing. 

The program performs very well, indicating an excellent job of 
coding by the authors. The action is smooth and quick. The game is a 
lot of fun to play. I predict you will get your $30 value in enjoyment 
from this game. 

Mastering Your Atari ($30, Prentice-Hall), by the staff of Micro 
Magazine, contains 8 programming projects for the intermediate 
BASIC programmer. A beginner who wants to become mere serious 
will also find this package helpful. For your money, you get a 175 page 
softback book and a disk or cassette tape containing all the programs 
used in the book. These programs include “Atari Player” (a music 
player and editor), “Master'' and “Word Detective” (guessing games), 
“Breakup" (a Breakout clone), "Atari Clock" (digital time display), 
"Programmable Characters” (character editor), "Sorting" (a 
demonstration of 5 ways to program sorting routines), and 
“MicroCaic" (a miniature spreadsheet). 

Most of the text of the book is devoted to documenting the uses of 
the programs, together with detailed program line descriptions, 
variable tables, and printed program listings. But also included are 
suggestions for modifying the programs. All this information is very 
helpful in simulating the reader's imagination. I find myself thinking 
of ali sorts of applications and modifications i can make to use some 
of these ideas in my own programs. 

For the money, this package is probably worth it to the new user as 
a sample of interesting program types to run on the Atari, in addition 
to its obvious value to the intermediate BASIC programmer, 

Steve Krenek (KRENtek Software, Box 3372, Kansas City, MO 
66103) presents the strategy game enthusiast with two very 
sophisticated real-time games (especially considering they seem to 
be his first commercial effort). They sell for $35 each and require 32k 
RAM (disk or cassette) and a joystick. They seem to boot up with or 
without BASIC installed, but the manual says to remove all cartridges. 
They boot up on XL machines without a translator. 

ROME and the Barbarians puts you in command of the Roman Em¬ 
pire in the year 400 A.D. If you remember your history, Rome was 
sacked by the barbarians in 476 A.D. If you can prevent this from hap¬ 
pening before the game ends in 476 A.D., you are doing very well in-» 
deed. 

13 fkc-E. ^ 






V 


• mmm coin 

- 

All control over the movement of Roman Legions and paid 
mercenary Barbarians is by joystick. The units move over a smoothly 
scrolling map consisting of more than a dozen screens containing 
mountains, rivers, cities, oceans and clear terrain from Scotland and 
Ireland in the northwest to Sicily, Carthage and Illyria in the 
southeast. Three looations on the map provide the only replacement 
areas where you can muster in new Roman forces into your legions. 
You will need to protect at least one of these. 

The Option key gives you control over expenditures for mercenaries 
and gifts to allies. But quite often a barbarian tribe will take neither 
your pay nor your gifts. Sometimes they take the money and desert 
you. Even Roman Legions may rebel, especially if you let the tax 
revenues from cities occupied by Roman Legions fall so much that 
the treasury is completely expended. The Select key will print a 
graphics screen listing of the names of each barbarian or Roman 
.orce and the number (in thousands) of combatants in the space unoer 
the cursor. Controlled units may be ordered to dig in or disband from 

Ifflo SCT66n. 

Battles produce sounds of fighting, barbarian victories in cities pro¬ 
duce sounds of pillage. The colors are bright and attractive, and the 
graphics are well-drawn. I pretty much mastered the Beginner level of 
play after a few games (each game takes only an hour or so') But the 
Standard game is so far too fast for me, and I do poorly l don’t believe 
you need to be a wargame enthusiast to enjoy this well-done game 
Now if I disband a few more Romans in North Africa and beef up the 
Rhine front... H 

NAPOLEON AT WATERLOO is a classic war game, rendered in 
dozens of paper board games and miniatures displays Steve Krenek's 
Atari version gives the feel of the best ol these, plus the sounds of 
cannon and musketry when units collide, and the music ol victory 
when one side or the other achieves a significant advantage. The 
Marsellaise and God Save the Queen are the two songs played In 
tact, you not only hear the cannon boom, but the screen actually 
shows a cannon shot Hying from the artillery to the target. 

The playpf controls the French infantry, cavalry and artillery. The 
toystick controls all targeting of movement and fire (for artillery) If 
you want infantry to use musketry, just stop its movement adjacent to 
Its target. If you want to melee with bayonet, move the unit right into 
the target. The map scrolls over more than 3 screens of terrain con¬ 
taining ridge lines, woods, villages, walled farms and the various 
military symbols designating the combat units. The button with the 
cursor on a unit will show you the unit name, number of men and guns 
m the unit, an evaluation of the unit's morale (from Poor to High for 
French units only), and an indication of the state of (dis)organizat'ion 
The player must exercise good traffic control in planning the 
assault, for units will not move through each other. I usually end up 
blocking my infantry with artillery and cavalry (not a good situation!). 
However, it is disconcerting to see a routed unit squirt through the 
crack between two units touching corners on the diagonal' A clock 
runs from 11.15 am to 9.00 pm on June 18, -1815. This time passes in 
about an hour or so at which time the battle is cverano you may read 
, y ° ur sc °^ e - So far I've not managed to win the battle, but I’ve scored in 
the high 90,000s several times (100,000 is needed to win). To start with 
my scores were abysmal. I've bombarded my own units with French 
artillery, sent unsupported cavalry right into the face of 30 guns or 
massed infantry squares. I've done a number of things which produc¬ 
ed only disaster on the field. To win, you will need to have close con¬ 
trol over your units and be able to repel the Prussians when they ar¬ 
rive. The British and Allies will not conduct any offensive, although 
the occasional unit seems to be ready to take advantage of errors in 
their front, such as seeing some weak units or exposed artillery to go 
after. The Prussians are almost mindlessly offensive, but if you have 

back* fr6Sh Un " S remainin9 you can hold therT ' 0,f < or ev e n Push them 
TRAMIEL’S ATARI 

Everyone in Ataridom is buzzing with rumors, fears; guesses and 
predictions regarding what Jack Tramiel will do to or with Atari Will 
he make the Atari into a Commodore? This is the most often express- 
ea fear. The question requires an ambiguous response Atari 
customer support will surely approach the Commodore level. This 
cannot be helped given the massive layoffs of personnel. You might a 
try in yam to find any 800 number still in service at Atari. And the sur* I * 

face lines will rarely be responsive. " y 


What about quality"cont7ol of future Atari products’ Well Atari 

ta U ken y nr'^' f ?. X ?, eC ! et) 10 su,,er som ewhat, unless extreme care is 
taken prevent efficiency" from becoming synonymous with 
cheapness '. Of all the elements of "Commodore" feared by Atarians 

ha°s m a P mS' S T S be ' he m0S ' im P° rta "< ,0 us aH Com“e 

baa a f-P? n fot Pacing computers, no two models of which are 
compahble with each other. Atari has a reputation for making all of «s 

? r; Pa ‘ ibl !' TOS iS ,he most si9 " i,ica "< divergence b2t* 

nnp nf C .h!T d ? re an , d A,ari ' !n my opinion, this Atari reputation is 
win i ,he L m ? s s ' 9nif| cant elements contributing to the public good 
^''° wa , rdS A,ari ' 1 believe Tramiel "ill be foolish to waste th?s^very 
pThbility. aSSe *' S n °‘ Stupid ' believe he wiM maintain Atari co^ 

So much for the fears. Tramiel's greatesl quality as far as Atari ooes 

kn He k h 0WS What '° d0 with a computer company All Warners ever 
knew what to do was to rake off the profits When things Loan 
tightening up in the computer market Atari started bleedino (as did 
many other companies). And Warners d.dn'tknow howlostop the 
bleeding. Just maybe, with Morgan at the helm, Warners could havn 
fixed ttungs instead, Warners just amputated Atari. At least Atari is 
stil, here ,t didn t go the way of Tl or Timex. One thing is for certain 
Atari in Tramiel s hands will be exciting. 

— Jim Bumpas, Co-Editor 

SHAPES & SOUNDS FOR THE ATARI 

(S50.00 Herb Moore, Professional Software • John Wiley & Sons,!nc. ' 
1984) 

Herb Moore's Shapes and Sounds for the Atari is a well developed 
introductory packet on the use of computer graphics and sounds. The 
2 discs come with a clear 123 page work book. Each disc has a series 
of short programs exhibiting a particular sound or graphic effect. You 
receive 11 sound programs and 16 graphics programs with 3 addi¬ 
tional sound-graphics programs. Each of these programs may be 
found fully documented in the work book. 

It must be understood this matieral is not designed as a programing 
tutorial, but rather as a means for the nonprogramer to learn about 
sounds and graphics. However the progams are so clean and the 
mode of altering them so clear that any programmer might use this 
matieral to develop a sound or graphic for a more complex program of 
their own. Each ol the sound and graphics programs are sequentially- 
numbered so you are able to load and combine the various sounds 
and graphic patterns. 

In the first part ot the work book you are given an opportunity to 
study each program, and experiment with combining them. Since the 
programs are sequentially numbered all the beginner has to do is load 
the programs and watch the effect. From this point the user is then in¬ 
structed to load the expandable versions ol the programs he has been 
working with. The expandable programs allows one to directly alter 
the program currently being run For example, with an expandable 
sound program one is taught how to alter pitch, tone, and space. The 
manipulation is done by the use ot a joystick control, with the oppor¬ 
tunity to instantly hear the newly created sound by pressing the Start 
key. The joystick control is quite simple, pushing the control to the 
top or bottom adds or subtracts to the value ol the currently displayed 
variable by a factor of one, while moving ittrom side to side adds or - 
subtracts by a factor of ten. The range of sounds a nonprogrammer 
can achieve is quite astounding. After determining the sound you 
want you reord it on a work page and then are instructed on how to 
enter the basic programs and alter them to create the new sound. 

The presentation ot the graphics programs in the expandable ver¬ 
sions allows you to change the color register, hue, and brightness as 
well as the column and row at which the graphics will appear. Again* 
this is done with a simple menu and the use of the joystick Later you 
are shown how to enter and change the setcolor of each program 
After learning and experimenting with these basic variables you ate 
shown how to combine graphics modes, use for-next loops change 
line numbers, use read data statments, and how to merge with other 
programs you may be working with. All in all I found this program a 
fun way to explore the world of graphics and sound. Be warned: Some 
ot the programs can only be run on a computer with a GTIA chip and 
that in general this software is geared for the beginner or nonprogram- 


— Nick Chrones 


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Features 


20 The Accurate 
Printer 


Richard Marmon W 
Reproduce Atari 
characters on your Epsory Cit 

29 A Low Cost Mouse 
for the Vic-20 (or 
any computer) 

Robert L. Martin 
Build the latest computer 
device for Inputting data 

32 Double Vision 
Catalog for 40 or 
80 Columns 

Alan and Valerie Floeter 
List your CATALOG in two 
or three columns 

35 A New Variation — 
on an Old Theme: 
Replace Your 6502 

Ron M. Battle 

A, new R65C00 family has 

interesting enhancements 

37 Spec Box: 16K 
Color Computer 

Mike Hamilton 
Generate PMODE 4 HiRes 
graphics on the CoCo 
without Extended BASIC 

40 Easy DOES—IT 
(Not DosPlus), Pt.4 

Michael Kenyan 

Add new utility functions 

to a Commodore 64 


47 Four Techniques 
to Make Your 
Programs Fast 

Chris Williams 
Become the fastest 
programmer in town 

49 Talking to Your 
Printer 

' - Dick Buchanan , Jr„ at at 
A printer control program 
and Generic BASIC notes 

55 HiRes Screen 
Dump for the 
EPSON MX-8Q 

Robert D. Walker 
Subroutine for dumping 
Apple II hi-res graphics 

62 A Timely Interrupt 

Mike Hamilton 
Make an accurate timer 
with just a few POKEs 

63 Disk Abuse: A True 
Story 

Mark S. Morano 

The sad confessions of a 

disk junkie 




6 Editorial 
8 Letterbox 
12 Reviews in Brief 
64 CoCo Bits 
66 interface Clinic 
71 Commodore Compass 

73 From Here to Atari 

74 Hardware Catalog 
77 Review Index 

79 Listing Conventions 

80 Advertiser Index 










Will Home Computers Transform Schools? IU 

Teachers and software makers say yes, but problems 
of equity and quality of courseware remain unresolved 


As computers and related technology 
come to play a dominant role in elemen¬ 
tary and secondary schools, the nature 
of instruction is going to depend to a 
large extent on students' access to edu¬ 
cational technology at home, according 
to participants at a recent conference 
sponsored by the National Institute of 
Education. 

Yet at present there is little coordina¬ 
tion between schools and families, most 
educational software is unimpressive, 
and there are no solutions in sight for the 
disparity between students who have 
home computers and those who do not. 

Attempts to assess the picture are dif¬ 
ficult because it is changing so rapidly 
and there is very little research available. 
Commerce in home computer technolo¬ 
gy offers an example of free enterprise at 
its most untrammeled. It involves a radi¬ 
cal new technology; a vast, mostly un¬ 
tapped market, and abundant opportuni¬ 
ties for hucksterism. As Ernest Anasta- 
sio of the Educational Testing Service in 
Princeton. New Jersey, observed, “this 
movement is all being driven by business 
interests other than education.” 

Some conference participants believe 
that ultimately, basic education will in¬ 
volve the integration of home and school 
instruction. But currently, the two mar¬ 
kets have virtually nothing to do with 
each other. School courseware has to be 
designed in 10 or 20-minute modules to 
correspond with the amount of time most 
students get to spend weekly on a com¬ 
puter. It should fit into the curriculum, 
and avoid socially undesirable content. 

It should be designed by professionals 
and evaluated in the field. Buyers want 
bulk discounts and proof of efficacy. 

It is hardly surprising, then, that 
courseware publishers are aiming most 
products at the home market. As one 
observed. "There are 80 million house¬ 
holds out there, versus 150.000 school 
buildings." All that concerns home buy¬ 
ers. she said, is packaging and cost. 
Quality accounts tor about "5 percent"' 
of the appeal. 

According to participants—who in¬ 
cluded educators, parents, and purvey¬ 
ors of software—only 9 percent of last 
year s Si .1 billion in home software sales 
was spent on educational material. About 
half ot this is for "edutainment’"—com¬ 
puter games with plenty of “bells and 
whistles ’ that claim varying degrees of 

2% 


educational value. The rest of the 9 per¬ 
cent goes for instructional programs, pri¬ 
marily in math, and computer literacy. 

According to Joseph Giacquinta of 
New York University, a survey of stu¬ 
dents using computers at home revealed 
that “programming is the dominant edu¬ 
cational activity." followed at a distance 
by word processing. "Serious education¬ 
al material." he said, is largely ignored. 
Typing programs and programs to pre¬ 
pare for SAT exams are big sellers, but 
instructional fare generally has no appeal 
unless presented (like "Math Blaster") 
in arcade game formats. 


Eighty percent of 
educational programs 
have gone on the market 
with little or no research 
or testing. 


In addition to the uneven quality and 
limited range of educational software, 
another pervasive problem concerns eq¬ 
uity. Not only will rich and poor school 
systems have unequal access to new 
technologies, but, probably more impor¬ 
tant. there wiil be a learning gap between 
students who have home computers and 
those who do not. The vast majority of 
home computer buyers are well off. well 
educated and white. Sixty percent of 
those purchasing computers costing over 
$500 have incomes over $40,000. Al¬ 
though home computers arc mainly used 
for games, many believe the day will 
come when they are routinely used for 
homework, independent learning, and 
development of computer proficiency . 

I here is also a radical imbalance in 
computer use between the sexes. Nine¬ 
ty-three percent of home users are 
males. Boys way outnumber girls any¬ 
where there is discretionary use such as 
arcades, computing centers, and com¬ 
puter camps. A high proportion of female 
users are mainly interested in word pro¬ 
cessors. Computer games, educational 
and otherwise, tend to be oriented to 
male tastes for violence and destruction. 

Computers, at their present cost, as 
one participant remarked, "are not now 
a democratic medium." They could con¬ 


ceivably turn society into one of "tech¬ 
nocrats and technopeasants" unless eq¬ 
uity problems in both hardware and soft¬ 
ware are resolved. 

Participants nonetheless predicted 
that the integration of home and school 
use of technology will profoundly affect 
basic education. People did not think a 
large-scale move to home learning as a 
substitute for school attendance was 
likely—despite widespread parental dis¬ 
illusionment with schools. Rather, they 
thought home instruction would be used 
as a supplement to school, w ith home the 
place for more open-ended, creative and 
time consuming exercises not requiring 
supervision. Peter Dirr of the Corpora¬ 
tion for Public Broadcasting predicted 
that pressures will mount to find ways to 
integrate home and school learning expe¬ 
riences. as is done with some television 
programs. Sherwin Steffin of Edu-Ware 
in Agottra Hills. California, suggested 
that use of the technology could bring 
about a new "school-parent partner¬ 
ship w here use of the same courseware 
at home and school could enable parents 
to participate in instructional strategies 
and afford leverage for demanding ac¬ 
countability from teachers. Ultimately, 
several speakers foresaw' technology act¬ 
ing as a catalyst to radically transform 
the nature of the school—which, said 
one. “will not be recognized in its cur¬ 
rent form within a few' years." 

The research and development re¬ 
quired for a range of sophisticated 
courseware may require more extensive 
government support than is now being 
supplied. For example. Teri Perl of The 
Learning Company in Menlo Park. Cali¬ 
fornia. said her group was working on a 
school math course with aid from the 
National Science Foundation. Then pri¬ 
vate venture capital look over the proj¬ 
ect. and the capitalists decided the home 
market was more inviting. According to 
the Educational Products Information 
Exchange. 80 percent of educational pro¬ 
grams have gone on the market with little 
or no research or testing. 

At present, as Dirr noted, the capacity 
of computers "way outstrips" both the 
knowledge of how to use them as w ell as 
the available software. And their poten¬ 
tial significance is beyond the scope of 
present comprehension. “After 30 years 
we are only beginning to understand the 
impact of TV."—Constance Holden 


SCIENCE. VOL. 225