1. Not old. Vintage. :)
Timothy Kline

Z*Magazine: 11-Jul-86 #7

Z*Magazine: 11-Jul-86 #7

  1. Timothy Kline
    Article #15 (214 is last):
    From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
    Newsgroups: freenet.sci.comp.atari.product.8bit.zmag
    Subject: Z*Magazine: 11-Jul-86 #7
    Reply-To: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
    Date: Sat Jul 3 20:33:33 1993


    ___________________________________
    Zmagazine July 11, 1986 Issue #7
    Ron Kovacs Publisher/Editor
    Middlesex, New Jersey
    ___________________________________
    In this issue we have packed ST news
    and ST Software reviews.
    In this issue:
    - XM301 Fix
    - Touch-Tablet Fix for RAMBRANT
    - ST Software Reviews
    - ST vs Amiga
    - ST Terminal Software Reviews
    - Zmag Systems
    - Future issues

    Before we get into ST news, We will
    briefly supply our 8 bit readers a
    few fixes recently found on CIS.

    Xx XM301 Fix
    The Following information was
    taken from Compuserve.

    NOTE: This fix is NOT an official
    Atari upgrade. If you attempt
    this modification, you do so at
    your own risk!

    To correct the booting problems
    experienced with some XM301/1050
    configurations will require you to
    have three 470 ohm resistors, some
    solder, solder iron, wire cutters,
    and a phillips screwdriver.

    1. Open the XM301 modem and remove
    the PCB assembly.

    2. Locate the area where the cable
    is attached to the board. The wires
    will be labeled with numbers. Some
    modems will have these contacts
    coated with a sealant. Remove the
    sealant carefully with your fingers
    small knife or screwdriver.

    3. De-solder the lines labelled 3,
    9, & 13 and pull the wires through
    the board. Remember which wire goes
    into which hole. Better yet label
    them with a small piece of tape.

    4. Install each of the 470 ohm
    resistors into each open hole. Push
    the resistors all the way in
    leaving them standing upward.

    5. Trim the excess wire extending
    through the bottom of the board and
    solder the resistor in place.

    6. Attach the designated wires
    close to the tops of the resistors,
    solder them in place and trim the
    excess wire off the resistor.

    7. Be sure that none of the
    resistors or wires are touch each
    other.

    8. Put the modem back together.

    Works fine!!
    NOTE: If you have no electronic
    experience DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS FIX.

    Xx Touch-Tablet Fix

    This fix was taken from Compuserve

    Here's a very simple modification
    to the Atari Touch Tablet which
    will allow the button on the pencil
    to work with the popular RAMBRANT
    from the ANTIC catalog. It will not
    effect the use of the tablet with
    any other program.

    It involves placing a small jumper
    wire between two pins on one of the
    plastic connectors inside the unit.

    1. Remove the seven screws from the
    bottom of the tablet.

    2. Lift the top of the tablet up
    and open it like a book from the
    cable end to the front of the unit.

    BE VERY CAREFUL NOT TO DAMAGE THE
    SURFACE OF THE TABLET OR THE RIBBON
    CABLE THAT CONNECTS TO IT.

    3. Fold the tablet surface down and
    you will see the circuit board
    inside. On the circuit board, there
    are two small plastic connectors.
    One has four wires which go to the
    buttons, the other connector has
    seven wires. Its the one with seven
    wires that we will work with. On my
    tablet, the colors of the wires are
    (from left to right) VIOLET, WHITE,
    GREEN, GREY, BROWN, ORANGE and
    YELLOW. What we want to do is to
    place a jumper wire between the
    BROWN and the ORANGE wire.

    4. Cut a small piece of 22 or 24
    gauge buss wire about a half an
    inch long or you can cut a piece of
    wire from a resistor lead about the
    same size.

    5. Now with the touch tablet facing
    you, count FROM THE RIGHT to the
    second and third pins (ORANGE and
    BROWN) wires. Bend the small piece
    of wire so that both ends will fit
    in the top of the connector. Use a
    pair of needle nose pliers to push
    down each end of the wire so that
    it fits snugly (snugly?) in place
    along side the pins in the
    connector.

    Thats all there is to it!
    What you've just done is place the
    pencil button in parallel with the
    left button, so whenever you press
    the pencil button, its the same as
    pressing the left button on the
    tablet.

    Now carefully close up the tablet.
    Be extra careful as you try to
    close the top cover. Don't force it
    shut. Make sure that the tablet
    surface is seated properly into the
    bottom of the tablet. The top
    should close and mate with the
    bottom easily. Also make sure that
    the jumper wire that you installed
    is not interfering with closing
    the top. Replace the screws that
    you removed from the back and
    you're all done.

    Remember to use joystick port #2 when
    using the tablet with RAMBRANT.

    Any Questions???
    - Danny -
    he IBM PC. In
    fact, the manual you get only has
    instructions for booting the IBM
    version; the 520 ST boot
    instructions and errata are
    provided on a separate insert. The
    company is preparing an all-purpose
    manual but it wasn't ready in the
    early versions of the program.
    Unison World does promise to
    send a copy of the new manual to
    registered owners (so fill out your
    registration cards) as soon as it
    is ready. It doesn't really matter
    though, the manual provided is nice
    heavy paper stock, attractively
    printed, and easy to read. It will
    look very nice on your bookshelf
    where it will sit while you play
    with the program. Like The Print
    Shop, PrintMaster is so user-
    friendly you won't want or need to
    take much time reading
    instructions. The best part of
    this program is in the experience.
    At a time when it seems so
    many software companies are rushing
    to port over their best sellers to
    the 520 ST, many of them fail to
    make use of the GEM desktop or the
    mouse. As a result, we users are
    left to flounder with the same
    tired old function keys and control
    key combinations of someone else's
    system. True, we get a program
    proven in the marketplace and
    usually free of major bugs, but
    it's often not enough to compensate
    for the inconvenience we have to
    accept. Not PrintMaster, though.
    It was ported over, true enough,
    but Unison World at least had the
    grace to include the use of the
    mouse for function selection. It
    makes all the difference for
    someone who is a convert from the
    old school. The menu selections
    are sometimes too close together
    for broad movements but judicious
    use of the mouse will get you what
    you want. For those of you just
    dying to go back to the horse and
    buggy days, the arrow keys work
    too. No GEM desktop is provided
    but you don't really miss it
    because of the nice screen design of the program.
    The clip art in PrintMaster
    is generally a cut above what I've
    seen in similar graphic programs
    but it still doesn't matthe
    capabilities of the 520 ST in high
    resolution. But then neither do
    most printers. I liked the quality
    of the pictures, many of them were
    quite detailed and much more than
    simple outline drawings. The only
    complaint I have at all about the
    art is that the picture of the
    computer in the graphics library is
    the very image of an IBM PC instead
    of the more advanced Atari 520 ST!
    (Fortunately you can exercise this
    beastie with the graphic editor).
    The fonts which were included in
    the package were more than adequate
    for most needs (they each have
    three styles including an outline
    and 3D version) but I thought the
    borders were a little on the skimpy
    side. I suspect that will be
    corrected in future additions to
    this program.
    PrintMaster has a graphic
    editor more complete than most. You
    can edit any one of the more than
    100 pieces of pre-designed art, flip
    it horizontally, or invert it black
    for white. The size of the canvass
    is small and you may have problems
    using the mouse here but the
    editor's commands are displayed
    along the right hand side and the x-
    y position of the cursor is
    displayed underneath so there's no
    need to flip back and forth between
    screens. Unfortunately, Printmaster
    won't accept graphics done in Degas
    or Neochrome format so you are
    limited to the pieces of art
    included on the disk or what is
    available in the optional
    Artgallery I ($29.95). The graphics
    included in PrintMaster aren't
    really clip art in the true sense
    of the word because they can only
    be put in certain specified places
    on the greeting cards and banners.
    That can be annoying if you can't
    fit your message around the preset
    placement options. It is here that
    the lack of graphic and layout
    flexibility of PrintMaster cannot
    rival the versatility of programs
    like Typesetter ST or Degas. The
    preset format of the PrintMaster
    options are sometimes restricting.
    Still, there seem to be enough
    options available for most
    situations and the practical limit
    will usually be defined by your own
    imagination anyway.
    One of the more pleasing
    additions to PrintMaster is the
    calendar option. In this option you
    can design your own personal
    monthly or weekly calendar with
    special days carrying your own
    message. Each page of the calendar
    can have its own graphics which
    highlight the season or some
    commemorated event. Great for
    refrigerator doors or family
    bulletin boards! There are also
    options which allow you to design
    and print your own letterhead
    stationery, make signs, or create
    banners about as long as your
    patience. In addition,PrintMaster
    has a preview feature which allows
    you to actually see how the
    finished product will look before
    you print.
    One of the problems with a
    program like PrintMaster is that it
    is completely useless unless you
    have a printer which is supported
    by the software. Playing with the
    editor and waiting for PrintMaster
    to go through its layout process
    can be more than a little
    frustrating if the program bombs
    when it comes time to print. In
    addition, close usually isn't good
    enough. An "Epson compatible"
    printer, for example, had better be
    very compatible or you'll find your
    greeting card slipping over the
    perforations of your fan-fold paper.
    Make sure before you buy that your
    printer is on the list of printer
    drivers. That, however, is one of
    the advantages of buying a program
    that has already been around the
    block a time or two. You aren't
    stuck with just one driver and a
    promise of more to follow.
    PrintMaster has more than a dozen
    printer drivers already built in.
    Unison World also provides a
    troubleshooting paper as another
    insert, suggesting printer drivers
    for printers not specifically
    listed. Also, I found the
    technical support personnel at
    Unison World very helpful when I
    found I had an incompatibility
    problem with the suggested printer
    driver for my NEC Pinwriter.
    There was also a curious slip
    of paper in the box which
    advertised a backup copy of
    PrintMaster for $5.00. As far as I
    can tell, the program isn't copy
    protected so I'll admit to being a
    little mystified at the offer.
    The bottom line: PrintMaster
    is a superior graphics program as
    long as you understand the purpose
    for which it was designed. It
    won't help you become a graphic
    artist in the manner of Degas and
    Neochrome, but within the
    constraints of the program it's
    very flexible and so easy to use
    you won't have to spend more than a
    few minutes with the manual.
    Compared to other graphic programs
    of its type, PrintMaster is
    superior and a very good value for
    the money. And it's fun -- and in
    the world of micro-computing that's
    usually what it's all about.

    ** ST Software Review
    REVIEW OF REGENTBASE
    BY MARK P. SEBAR
    JULY 1986

    AFTER WAITING A YEAR FOR A DESCENT
    DATABASE TOO COME OUT, ONE THAT
    MAKES THE BEST USE OF GEM AND HAS
    MANY FULL FEATURES INCLUDING BEING
    A RELATIONAL DATABASE, I WAS
    PLEASANTLY SURPRISED TO MEET WITH
    PROGRAMMER AUTHOR AND OWNER MR.
    FRANK COHEN OF REGENTWARE IN LOS
    ANGELES CALIFORNIA.

    ON A HOT SUNNY SUNDAY AFTERNOON, I
    GOT TO SIT DOWN AND TAKE A CLOSE
    PEEK AT WHAT WAS SOON GOING TO BE
    RELEASED. I HAD THOUGHT OF ANOTHER
    FILE-MANAGER COMING OUT OF THIS.
    BOY, WAS I SURPRISED TOO SEE THIS
    PRODUCT, WITH GLOWING RED LETTERS
    "REGENT BASE" AGAINST A BLUE
    BACKGROUND. MANY MENU ITEMS COULD
    BE SEEN WITH PULL DOWN MENUS AND
    SUB DIRECTORIES. FRANK SAYS THAT HE
    HAD DECIDED NOT TO COPY PROTECT
    BECAUSE HE FEELS THAT THIS WILL BE
    A PRODUCT USED BY MANY FOR BUSINESS
    IN THE NEAR FUTURE. I COULDN'T
    AGREE MORE. THIS IS FULLY
    RELATIONAL, MEANING THAT YOU CAN
    INTERACT TWO FILES TOGETHER BY
    LINKING TWO TEMPLATES.

    THERE WERE A FEW THINGS MISSING
    FROM THE EARLY VERSION THAT FRANK
    WAS GOING TO HAVE READY WITHIN A
    COUPLE OF UPDATES.

    1.) WAS A SIMPLE TO USE METHOD OF
    CREATING TEMPLATES AND THE OTHER

    2.) WAS A SIMPLE REPORTS GENERATOR.

    IT TAKES A LITTLE BIT OF TYPING AND
    PROGRAMMING, HOWEVER SIMPLE, IN
    ORDER TOO ACHIEVE BOTH WITH THIS
    FIRST VERSION. AS FAR AS RECORDS
    GO, IT'S DISK BASED AND FRANK TOLD
    ME THAT THERE'S NO LIMIT TO THE
    FILE SIZE. AS LONG AS YOU HAVE DISK
    SPACE, YOU CAN EXPAND. ANOTHER
    FEATURE MISSING THAT WOULD BE ADDED
    IN THE NEXT UPDATE IS A HORIZONTAL
    SLIDE-BAR TO GO BELOW THE WINDOW.
    THIS WILL PERMIT A LARGE AMOUNT OF
    FIELDS TO BE ENTERED, AND ACCESSED,
    EASILY AND QUICKLY.

    WHAT ALL THIS IS GETTING TO IS THAT
    WITH THE FUTURE OPTION OF BEING
    ABLE TO ADD MODULES TO ENHANCE THE
    PACKAGE AND FUTURE UPDATES, GIVEN
    THE POPULAR REGENTWARE SUPPORT.
    THIS CAN WELL BECOME THE DATABASE
    THAT EVERYONE BUYS!

    OTHER UPDATES AND NEWS WILL BE MADE
    AVAILABLE ON "ATARI 16+32" ONLINE
    NEWSLETTER

    Xx 520 VS Amiga!
    A computer professional writes
    about the Atari 520ST vs. The AMIGA

    By John DeMar

    I'm sure you are a sane,
    rational person, so I'll continue
    I'm a software/hardware developer
    and an electronics engineer. I've
    seen and used computers from $50 -
    he$5 million and have designed VLSI
    chips for 6 years at GE until
    starting my own business last year.
    So, the following is said from
    technical expertise and not first-
    impression judgements from
    marketing "fluff".

    I own (or have owned) both the
    Atari 520ST and Amiga PC. I've
    given them both a good bit of work
    and inspection, including O/S
    design and hardware architecture.
    Here are some facts and my
    conclusion:

    The Amiga graphics IC's are very
    powerful in their own right and the
    I/O chip definitely gives nice
    synthesized music, but that's where
    the power stops dead. However,
    since people respond emotionally to
    sight and sound, the demonstrations can
    easily catch someone's eye. Inside
    the Amiga there is very little true
    support for the power of a 68000
    cpu.

    In the low resolution mode, those
    fantastic graphics chips steal
    almost 70%(yes!) of the possible
    CPU time that the 68000 could be
    using to do real computer things
    like calculate, move/sort data, and
    plot graphics on your screen.
    Since the complicated screen data
    for the Amiga must come from the
    same RAM on the same BUS as the
    CPU, there are excessive wait-
    cycles imposed on the 68000. This,
    together with the CPU speed that is
    10% or more slower than the Atari
    520ST, the Amiga does not come
    close to the true power and useful
    capabilities of the ST. Inside the
    ST you will find MORE custom IC's
    than the Amiga and MORE powerful
    chips that are 'off the shelf' than
    the Amiga. This adds up to a real
    optimized, fast and versatile
    computer.

    First, there are a pair of chips
    working together to optimize data
    BUS and screen data access. The
    memory controller fetches 16-bit
    data directly for the 68000 and
    also places screen data onto a
    separate BUS for the screen refresh
    chip. This operation only steals
    8 - 18% of the available true CPU
    time. Further into the hardware the
    520 has three serial ports, rs-232,
    MIDI and keyboard. All of these are
    handled separately from the concern
    of the 68000 and all in hardware.
    The 520 has a 68901 interrupt
    controller that keeps track of the
    16 separate events in the system
    with very little intervention of
    the CPU. (This chip is really a
    necessity in a true 68000's
    architecture and is missing in
    the Amiga.)

    Now, the best feature and
    performer in the ST design is the
    custom disk DMA controller, which
    transfers data to the RAM without
    using the CPU and does this at a
    rate of 1.3 megabytes per second!
    This IC also helps the Western
    Digital floppy controller, and
    makes for the fastest microcomputer
    disk access that I have ever seen.
    The ST brings in a 32K file in less
    than 4 seconds, including drive
    start up, directory search, etc.
    The Amiga takes almost 20 seconds!
    Maybe you like to wait, but I
    don't. Not to mention the optimized
    setup that the DMA chip has for
    adding low-cost, fast peripherals
    like hard drives and CD roms.

    The Amiga uses a non-standard
    disk configuration, and does much
    of the disk support in
    software(i.e. Slow). The drives
    have slightly more capacity than
    the ST's DS drives(880K to 720K)
    but this is at the expense of
    speed. The Amiga directory format
    (or lack of it) is done much like a
    C-64. In fact, to get a directory,
    the Amiga goes out and finds a
    program called DIR, loads it, and
    goes back searching!

    Now that I have started into the
    topic of software, I have some more
    bad news for you. Intuition is
    graphically and colorwise more
    advanced than GEM or the MAC, but
    fails to perform as a real user
    interface. The windows are poorly
    configured, and move with flicker.
    I rate the MAC slightly higher than
    GEM in usefulness, but GEM on the
    ST much faster and more predictable
    for the user.

    The Amiga OS is full of bugs and
    is clumsy to use after using GEM
    for 3 months. As far as real
    software goes, the ST already has
    many useful programs, and there are
    more developers working on ST
    projects than Amiga.

    As a programmer, I found the
    520ST documentation to be well
    written and complete. And if
    something was unclear, Atari was
    very open and helpful. On the other
    hand the Amiga has a great deal of
    documentation, but things change
    every day. Worst of all, you have
    to be God or Electronic Arts to
    talk to anyone at Commodore. They
    simply are not professional people.

    To finish off I would like to
    add a couple of bad things about
    the ST. The case could be nicer,
    and they should have picked easier
    to find connectors for the monitor
    and drive ports. Besides that, I
    think(and over 50,000 others think)
    that the Atari 520ST is the most
    powerful and elegantly configured
    computer ever made. Also I feel
    that Atari will sell more computers
    than any other company has ever
    sold to date. This is not solely
    due to marketing hype (like the
    C64), but from true value and power
    that was never offered before. Save
    $1000.00 and take a vacation next
    summer..... buy an ST.
    Sincerely,
    John DeMar, QMI.

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    Xx Ahead in Zmag

    We have many contributions promised
    from local Zmag readers here in NJ.
    Hopefully you will find our future
    issues of interest. If you are
    interested in submitting info to
    Zmag for publication, please upload
    to the BBS you are reading or
    downloaded this issue from.

    If you got this issue from Compu-
    Serve and want to send me any
    article or information, please send
    me E-Mail. 71777,2140......

    See you next week!!
    ___________________________________
    Zmagazine July 11, 1986
    Please Contribute!!!
    -----------------------------------