Article #22 (214 is last):
From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
Subject: Z*Magazine: 19-Aug-86
Reply-To: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
Date: Sat Jul 3 20:42:33 1993
HOT Atari News and Reviews
Editor Clinton Smith August 19,1986
Asst.Editor Jim Dobleski
Kovacs,and the Wizard
Columnists:Clinton Smith and Rune
XxIn this issue
*Call-Pak discussion at Scat
*Manufacturers crack down on pirates
*Interview with New Jersey pirate
*Spring into Action!-basic conversions
Before getting to the Atari news this
week,I would like to ask that the
Zmag readers please pray for someone
who is very dear to me.My father
recieved a severe head injury in a
car accident last Thursday and is
presently in Intensive Care.His
name is Arthur Smith and he's a very
kind,giving man.Please join me in
praying for his recovery.
XxCall-Pak discussion at SCAT meeting
This message was taken from the
SCAT BBS (312)462-9844.I'm looking
for someone to pass Zmag to the Scat
board,If you're interested leave me
a message on one of the Z-Boards.
Msg# 0617 Date:08/17/86 Time:02:35:12
From: JOHN CZERWIEC
For all who missed the SCAT meeting
with the IL Bell rep:
It wasn't very revealing!She came
with a "professional prepared"slide
show of cartoons that showed why the
"smiley-faced IL Bell will go
boo-hoo if they don't say bysey-wysey
to Cal*Paks"it wasn't very advanced
it said little that wasn't already in
the front of your local phone book.
Bottom line:If you call lots of
BBS's that aren't in your most
nearby towns you will probably do
alot cheap going with MCI or Sprint,
both of which will be competing with
Bell for semi-local access.She could
have saved us alot of time if she
just said that!
Xx Pirate Board in Ohio gets sunk
This message was taken from the
August 9th edition of Zmag New
Twelve of the industry's leading
software developers and the
Software Publishers Association
(SPA) announced today that they
have taken direct action by closing
down a notorious pirate BBS system
located in Cincinnati Ohio.
The "Star Chamber" bulletin board
system had more than 40 megabytes
of Atari 8 bit and ST software,with
many hundreds of copyrighted titles
available. The twelve publishers,
all of whom publish Atari ST
The closing today of a major
illegal BBS system through a joint
effort of concerned publishers is
only the first of several similar
actions anticipated. In a joint
statement issued by the group a
commitment was made to aggressively
root out similar law-breakers as
they are found. "The days are over
when someone can illegally transmit
copyrighted software via BBS
systems," said Mark Skapinker of
Batteries Included. "We're all fed
up with tolerating theft of our
products and we intend on going
after these scoff-laws
aggressively," said Gordon Monnier
As a follow-up to this success the
companies involved are discussing
the creation at fall Comdex 1986 of
a permanent watch-dog group to make
it clear to pirates that their days
For further information contact:
Michtron (313) 334-5700
Mark Skapinker, Batteries Included
Gary Yost, Antic Software
Ken Wasch, Software Publishers
XxNJ Pirate Sysop interviewed
The following story is from the
August 9th Zmag New Jersey
The following is the transcript of
an interview with the Sysop of the
Atari Connection BBS that was shut
down last week. This is a follow
up to the article which appeared
in last weeks Zmagazine.
The sysop has asked that I keep
his name private. The sysop's
responses are in upper case text.
How long have you been running your
(Atari Connection Sysop)
WELL, LAST SUMMER I RAN A BBS
CALLED THE 800 BBS, BUT I DIDN'T
HAVE MUCH SUCCESS WITH IT, I PUT
THE ATARI CONNECTION UP ON JUNE 2nd
OF THIS YEAR.
Why wasnt your old BBS a success?
I THINK BECAUSE OF LACK OF
ADVERTISING. BUT I WAS SHARING A
PHONE AT THE TIME, AND SO MY HOURS
WOULD WERE NOT LONG.
When you had your BBS up, What type
of features did you have, and In
your opinion what do you think was
the cause of your being caught with
pirated software, and also, Did you
have alot of software in your
I DIDN'T HAVE MANY OUT-OF-THE
-ORDINARY FEATURES. IT WAS A BASIC
BBCS BOARD. BUT I THINK THAT
SOMEONE WHO WAS BLACKLISTED ON MY
BOARD, PROBABLY REPORTED ME BECAUSE
OF IT. AND I DIDN'T HAVE MANY
DOWNLOADS AVAILABLE. ALTHOUGH I DO
HAVE TWO 1050'S, ONE WAS BEING
REPAIRED WHEN I HAD THE BOARD UP.
SO AS A SPARE I USED RAMDISK.
Why did you blacklist callers, did
they do bad things on your system?
ONE PERSON HAD THREE DIFFERENT
HANDLES, AND WHEN I FOUND OUT, I
BLACKLISTED ALL OF THEM. HE ALSO
LEFT ME SOME NASTY MESSAGES ON
In the matter of your shutdown, can
you explain what happened?
FIRST OF ALL, IT HAPPENED LAST
MONDAY AT ABOUT 5:00pm, EXACTLY AN
HOUR BEFORE I WAS TO LEAVE FOR A
CONCERT. I GOT A PHONE CALL SAYING
THAT IN A LITTLE WHILE, A
DETECTIVE WOULD BE AT MY HOUSE
INVESTIGATING SOME COMPLAINTS ABOUT
A BBS. I IMMEDIATELY RAN DOWN AND
ERASED MY USERLOG ON MY MAIN DISK,
BUT I HID THE BACKUP DISK IN MY
CLOSET. WHEN THE DETECTIVE
ARRIVED, HE HAD SOMEONE ELSE WITH
HIM. THEY ASKED ME A FEW QUESTIONS
AND THEN TOOK MY MAIN DISK AND A
FEW OTHERS, I GUESS FOR EVIDENCE.
AND THEY TOLD ME THAT IF THEY GET
COMPLAINTS AGAIN, THEY WILL REMOVE
ALL OF MY HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE AND
FINE ME $1000.
Did you get any specific details
as to why they singled your BBS
THEY SAID THEY GOT COMPLAINTS FROM
A FEW PEOPLE. BUT IT COULD HAVE
BEEN ONE. BUT I DOUBT IF THE
POLICE DEPARTMENT IS REALLY
INTERESTED IN SHUTTING DOWN A SMALL
What is the current status of this
RIGHT NOW I AM WAITING TO GET MY
DISKS BACK. BUT I DON'T THINK I
WILL HAVE TO GO TO COURT ANYMORE.
Did you get a court notice or any
advice pertaining to a hearing
NO, I WAS QUESTIONED ONCE BEFORE,
BUT IT WAS ABOUT SOMETHING ELSE.
Did the Police Department give you
any other warnings?
NO, I DON'T THINK THERE IS MUCH
THEY CAN DO TO ME BESIDES FINE AND
TAKING MY STUFF.
Can you put up another BBS?? And if
so, Would you?? and what would you
do differently this time?
I CAN PUT UP ANOTHER BOARD, BUT,
THEY SAID I CAN'T PIRATE STUFF ON
IT. I AM IN FACT, PUTTING ANOTHER
BOARD UP IN EARLY NOVEMBER CALLED
"THE CULT OF ATARI". IT WILL BE
RUN ON BBS EXPRESS. THIS TIME I
WILL BE MUCH MORE CAREFUL WITH WHO
I LET ON. I WILL ASK MANY MORE
QUESTIONS THEN JUST WHERE THEY
How old are you?
16, I TURN 17 IN OCTOBER.
What has been your parents view of
THEY DIDN'T CARE. THEY TOLD ME
THAT IT IS MY PROBLEM AND I HAVE TO
DEAL WITH IT MYSELF.
Given the chance, and you found out
who was the culprit, do you have
any words you would like to pass to
WELL, FIRST I WOULD LIKE TO TELL
HIM THAT I WOULD USE MY INFLUENCE
TO GET HIM KICKED OFF EVERY LOCAL
BBS. I WOULD ALSO SPREAD THE WORD
WHO IT WAS, BECAUSE A LOT OF PEOPLE
HAVE BE DISRUPTED BY THIS ACT.
Do you think BBS systems should
allow use of pirated software on
IT IS UP TO THE SYSOP. BUT SINCE A
MAJORITY OF THE BOARDS ARE, I DON'T
THINK THERE IS ANYTHING WRONG WITH
IT. THE GOOD THING ABOUT IT IS
THAT YOU DON'T HAVE TO PAY $30-$40
DOLLARS IN THE STORE.
I understand your thoughts about
pirating, but other people reading
this might say, What about the guy
writing the software, shouldn't he
be compensated for his effort, What
is your opinion to this?
WELL, I THINK THAT THE AUTHOR OF
THE SOFTWARE IS RIPPING OFF THE
PEOPLE WHO DO BUY THE SOFTWARE.
THE PRICES OF SOFTWARE ARE MUCH TOO
HIGH. ONE EXCEPTION IS
MASTERTRONIC. MASTERTRONIC KEEPS
THEIR PRICES BELOW $10. AND
BECAUSE OF THAT, I HAVE ALREADY
BOUGHT A FEW OF THEIR THINGS
In closing, Do you have any
comments for other sysops on how
they should run their systems now?
WELL, I THINK THAT IF THEY FEEL
THEY ARE SAFE, THERE IS NOTHING
WRONG. BUT THE PERSON THAT
REPORTED ME MUST BE CAUGHT AND
PUNISHED. HE IS A DEFINITE THREAT
TO THE COMPUTING WORLD.
Do you have anything else you would
like to add?
I WOULD LIKE TO THANK STEVE THE KID
FOR HELPING ME OUT WITH THIS
This interview was taken 8-7-86
Rebuttal by Chicago Zmag Editor
After reading the preceeding
interview,I was very disturbed.
This youth is a criminal and has
the nerve to say that the person
who turned him in should be
punished.Especially irritating is
his statement that the person who
turned him in is a definite threat
to the computing world.This
statement is a joke,in my mind it
is he who is a threat to the
Atari computing world.Many pirates
respond to the arguement that the
lack of new Atari software is caused
by piracy,by the fact that a lot
of Commodore pirating occurs and there
is no lack of new software for that
system.That would be a good reply
if there were as many Ataris as
there were 64s.Unfortunately,
there are not.The number of 64s is
great enough so that even after the
pirates have their copies of a
program,there are still enough paying
users to ensure that the program
makes money.The program makes money
for the company and the company
continues to work on 64 software
since it is profitable.In response
to the statement that software
authors are ripping people off with
high software prices.In most cases
the author of a program has no say
so on what a company is going to
sell his program for.When you buy
a piece of software for $25,there
is a lot more then just a disk and
a program involved.1)The
company had to send the program to
a place for copying.This costs.
2)The company had to design an
eye catching box,because the
majority of people are going to
pass up a plain white package,to get
the program which has an illustration
of a massive space war.This costs.
3)The company has to print up
instructions so you'll know how to
play.This costs.4)The company has
to advertise so people will know
about the program.This costs.
All this adds up to the $25 price
tag.Out of this price,the programmer
usually gets a royalty of up to 30%.
That comes out to $7.50 for every
copy sold.That isn't much,especially
after the pirates get a hold of it
and ruin the potential buyer base.
Actually,the cop out that prices are
too high on software is starting to
lose it's validity.Back when the
scale of software prices ranged from
30 to 50 dollars this excuse might
have had a foothold.However,the
majority of new Atari software
programs cost $25 and under.The only
exception are programs such as word
processors and languages which
require a great deal of research and
development.I do sympathise with
the people who buy software and
it turns out to be a piece of junk.
I myself have been burned by bad
software.However,in most of these
situations is was my own fault for
not finding out wether the program
was any good before I bought it.
My suggestion is that you forget
about buying your software in a
place like Toys R Us.Go to a local
dealer or to User Group meetings
where local dealers sell at.In most
cases,they are enthusiasts just
like you and will point out any
software that they think is no good
and most will demo programs for you.
The only excuse left for software
pirates is the truth.
You want software and you don't
want to have to pay for it.The
software companies could be selling
their programs for $5 and there
would still be people pirating.
If I have offended anyone,I am
sorry but this is how I feel.
New Jersey Zmag correspondent
Steve Godun,has a contact at Atari
who passed the following rumors
to him.Please remember that these
are only rumors and shouldn't be
taken as fact.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
3.5" NEARING COMPLETION: The long-
awaited Atari 3.5" disk drive for
the Atari 8-Bit line is nearing
completion. The drive will use
3.5" disks (The same used on the
Atari 520/1040ST), and will run in
single, double, and 1050 Enhanced
densities. The DOS, written by
OSS, will be included with the
drive and supposedly will resemble
and work like Atari DOS 2.5. This
drive is supposed to replace the
current Atari 1050 disk drive, but
plans on dropping the 1050 are not
yet definite. Expect to see this
new drive at anytime between Mid-
August to Late-September.
ATARI 8-BIT HARD DISK: Atari has
plans to produce a 10-Meg, 15-Meg,
and 20-Meg hard disk drive for the
Atari 8-Bit series. A complete
hard disk package for 8-Bits are
available from Supra, but Atari
plans on cutting the price of their
models to 25% lower than Supra's.
(Way to go, Jack...) These new
hard drives will use the port in
the rear of the XL series and the
Enhanced Cartridge Interface (ECI)
on the XE line. A special inter-
face (to be made available by
Atari) will enable the 800 (or an
enhanced 400) to also use the hard
drive. The 400/800 interface will
cost extra, however. No release
date was set for the hard drive.
OLD SOFTWARE PACKS: With the new
generation of Atari XE's and new
software with great graphics and
gameplay, Atari may repackage some
of their older titles (such as
Hangman, Basketball, States and
Capitals, and Biorythm) onto one
floppy disk and market it as "Atari
Classics". There are 3 volumes of
this in planing, each containing
from 3 to 6 titles, and each disk
will run for about $20-$35 each.
THE NEW 1050's: Anyone who has ac-
cess to an Atari 1050 disk drive
before Jack's takeover will want to
pay attention to this. Remember
that noisy GRINDING sound you're
accustomed to hearing in the older
1050's? Say goodbye. I don't know
how they did it, but the 1050's
now in production are QUIET! If
you've never heard an old 1050, the
sound of it was described with
great accuracy by a Syndicate user
called RUM-RUNNER: "The 1050 is so
loud, you could be making popcorn
in the kitchen and hear a 1050
formatting a disk." I don't know
how they silenced it, but it runs
very smooth now.
REDESIGNED DISK DRIVE: Although
many rumors were spreading about a
redesigned Atari 1050 disk drive
(and even a few prototypes were
constructed), plans for mass pro-
duction of it have been put on
hold. Why? Because of the 3.5"
drives' arrival. If the new 3.5"
drives don't sell as well as plan-
ned, you probably will see a new
1050 out, but don't expect it!
XxSpring Into Action!-Basic conversion
Due to reader interest,SIA has
returned.If you would like to
contribute an article or some tips
on Action! to this column,contact me
via the Z-boards.
The best way for the Action!
begineer to start programming in this
speedy language,is to use the
knowledge he has acquired in Atari
First though,let's look at the
difference between Basic and Action.
Basic is an interpreter,Action is
a compiler.What does this mean?
As a Basic program runs,Basic
changes the instructions to the
machine's language.This is similar
to someone translating a speech from
Spanish to English as it is being
read.This slows down the process.
In Action,you first write the
program on a text editor and then
Action compiles the entire program
into machine language at once.Now,
the program can run much faster
because there is no interpreting
time needed.This is similar to
someone translating a speech from
Spanish to English by recieving
a copy of the speech the night
before.This is why Action! is so
much faster than Basic.
To successfully translate a Basic
program to Action,we must first
understand the Action program
When you are using Action,you are
in effect creating your own
language.While this sounds confusing
,it's really quite simple.An Action
program is made up of procedures.
A procedure is the equivalent of
a keyword in Basic.When Basic finds
a keyword in a program,it jumps to
a group of instructions(written in
machine language)that is associated
with the keyword.When you create
a procedure,you are creating a
the creator of Action! thoughtfully
provided a group of procedures,
be discussing functions and arrays
in a future column)that handle many
of Basic's commands,in the language
cartridge.Let's say that Clint
didn't provide us with the Position
command,what would we do? Simple,
we could write our own.
Proc Pos(Card X,Byte Y)
This simple program creates the
Pos procedure(It takes the variables
that have been passed to it(more on
passing variables next week)X and Y
,and pokes their values into the
memory locations that are used for
positioning.Then the main procedure
,Test,sends the values of 5 and 11
to the Pos procedure.The statement
Eureka is then printed to the
Graphics 0 screen at position 5 over
,11 down.I hope this helps you
understand how Action works,a little
Now we're going to translate our
first(small and simple)Basic program
to Action.This is going to show you
how to adapt loops to Action.
PrintE("Atari Computers are Best")
This is adaptation of a little Basic
program that I'd always type in when
I saw Atari Computers on display.(I
also typed it in on rival computers)
10 GRAPHICS 0
20 PRINT"Atari computers are Best"
30 GOTO 20
This is what is known as an infinite
loop,meaning it goes on forever.
Notice how the Basic program
keeps looping because it ends with
Goto 20.This makes the program
constantly return to the print
statement at line 20.The Action
equivalent does this with Do..Od.
The program executes the instructions
that are between the Do and Od
commands continuously.Do and Od can
also be used in finite loops.
10 FOR J=1 TO 100RINT"HELLO":NEXT J
For J=1 to 100
Note:All Procedures must end with a
The Od is pretty much the equivalent
of Next in Basic.
Next Week:More on the layout of
Action programs and variable passing.
These messages were taken from the
Enchanted Castle BBCS.
Message # :46
Date & Time :08/16/86 01:34:00
Subject :8-BIT GEM DOS UTL.
Sent by :ERIC GLOVER
A FEW WEEKS AGO I SAW A COPY
OF ZMAG WITH THE LISTING OF COMPUTES
NEW DISKETTE MAGAZINE.
AND WHEN I SAW THE PRICE I SAID
THAT'S RIDICULOUS, 12.95 AND
59.95 FOR A YEAR.
WELL I FEEL THAT COMPETITION IS
THE NAME OF THE GAME IN AMERICA
AN MY CORPORATION WOULD LIKE TO
ANNOUNCE "LASER" THE FIRST, TRUE
DISKETTE MAGAZINE THE ARTICLES
AND PROGRAMS ARE ON THE DISKETTE,
AND EASY TO PRINT TO THE PRINTER.
THE TEXT IS IN FOUR COLORS AND OUR
PREMEIRE ISSUE IS OUT NOW AND IS
FREE.AND AN 8-BIT GEM UTL. IS
INCLUDED FREE,OUR SUBSCRIPTION PRICE
15.OO PER YEAR, 12 ISSUES. CALL
Message # :47
Date & Time :08/16/86 01:50:50
Subject :8-BIT GEM DOS UTL.
To :ERIC GLOVER (REC)
Sent by :ERIC GLOVER
PLEASE ASK FOR ME, ERIC GLOVER
WHEN YOU CALL AND GIVE ME A CALL
ANY TIME BETWEEN 5PM AND 1OPM
--- ---- ------- --- --- ----
TO RECIEVE YOUR FREE ISSUE OF
LASER AND THE GEM.UTL.
312-221-8398 ASK FOR ERIC GLOVER
VOICE ONLY PLEASE.
ANYTIME BETWEEN 5 AND 1OPM.
Eric,good luck to you on this
ambitious undertaking.I'm glad to
see that Zmag had a small part in
your decision to publish Laser,the
AFFORDABLE Atari disk magazine.
Message # :49
Date & Time :08/16/86 03:41:10
To :CLINTON SMITH (REC)
Sent by AUL LEONG
THATS GREAT! ANY INFO ON ACTION
WOULD BE APPRECIATED. FOR STARTERS
YOU COULD GIVE SIMPLE ACTION!
EQUIVALENTS TO SMALL BASIC ROUTINES
(ALA THE BACK OF THE ACTION! MANUAL).
THEY GIVE SOME USEFUL EXAMPLES, BUT I
WOULD LIKE TO SEE MANY MORE. ALSO, I
AM INTERESTED IN SEEING SOME GRAPHICS
BEYOND THE PLOT,FILL, AND DRAWTO
OUTLINED IN THE DOC.
HOW ABOUT SOME SIMPLE ANIMATION?
I AM INEXPERIENCED IN ATARI BASIC
(A MANUAL WASN'T INCLUDED WITH THE
CART!)THOUGH I HAVE PROGRAMMED IN
BASIC ON SEVERAL OTHER SYSTEMS
(MOSTLY MICROSOFT BASIC). YOU MIGHT
CHECK WITH OTHER ACTION PEOPLE
(GREG WHITE FOR EXAMPLE)FOR HELP WITH
THE COLUMN. THANKS AGAIN...PAUL LEONG
Paul,well the first one is in this
issue and I hope it helps.I'm going
to be checking to see if other
Chicago Action Programmers(Hey,that
would be a great name for a
specialized group.Anybody interested?)
would like to contribute some tips
to the column.
RuneMaster has fixed the U/l problem
on his board,so let's see some more
Atari U/ling at Runequest,people.Also,
lets start using the Zmag mesg base
there or it may removed.
Chicago Zmag Boards
Windy City Atari-(312)775-2970
(In New Jersey)
East Coast Syndicate-(201)968-8148
If you have a question about Zmag
Windy City-Clinton Smith
Runequest-Jim Dobleski,Rune Master
Enchanted Castle-Clinton Smith,
Blue Moon-Clinton Smith,Gerry Feid
M-Club 1,2,or 4-Jim Dobleski
Skid Row-Jim Dobleski
Software Plus-Jeff Williams
East Coast Syndicate-Ron Kovacs
Compuserve-Ron Kovacs,Tim Orosz
Genie-Jeff Williams,Bob Retelle
I need someone to pass the latest
issues of Zmag to Scat BBS.
Would the readers be interested in
participating in Zmag surveys?They
would be on various Atari and
computer subjects.This suggestion
was made by the Wizard.
Zmag needs your articles.Game Reviews
are especially needed.
Come on you ST readers out there.
I know you're out there.Let's see
some ST articles or columns.Once
the ST Zread is done there will be
a larger need for ST stuff.If you
have an idea for an article,column
,or review read next item.
Do you have an idea for an
Let me or one of the people in
the UPDATE know about it.If it's
a good idea we'll work out the
easiest way for you to get the
article,review,or column to Zmag.
If you don't want to do the
column yourself,we'll try to find
someone who will.If you just have
a little interesting fact or a
suggestion just leave it in one
of the Zmag mesg.bases and I'll
put it in the Zmag mesg. section
of the next issue.
Finally,be sure to support the
boards that carry Zmag.If it
weren't for them you wouldn't
be reading Zmag right now.
Zmag-a-zine August 19,1986