1. Not old. Vintage. :)
Timothy Kline

Z*Magazine: 25-Oct-86 #2.3

Z*Magazine: 25-Oct-86 #2.3

  1. Timothy Kline
    Article #26 (214 is last):
    From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
    Newsgroups: freenet.sci.comp.atari.product.8bit.zmag
    Subject: Z*Magazine: 25-Oct-86 #2.3
    Reply-To: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
    Date: Sat Jul 3 20:48:25 1993

    [This copy of Z*Mag 25-Oct-86 #2.3 is incomplete.--aa700]
    October 25, 1986 Issue 2.3
    Publisher/Cheif Editor:Ron Kovacs
    Assistant Editor:Larry Mihalik
    Assistant Publishers:
    Ken Kirchner
    Larry Mihalik
    Xx Editors Column

    Welcome to the constant changing
    face of New Jersey Zmag.

    In the weeks to come we will continue
    updating our issues to make them
    more interesting and diversified in
    topics to keep all our readers

    Please call these New ZMAG Systems.

    THE SURF CITY BBS- 201-929-9351
    THE CULT BBS 201-727-2274
    SANDY BEACH 201-356-8411

    Due to the extended length of this
    weeks issue, The Zmag BBS Systems
    list will appear next week.


    Maryland police have closed down
    what they describe as a "pirate
    bulletin board" called "The British
    Exchange" which they say was dealing
    in stolen phone codes from MCI
    Telecommunications Corp. and other
    phone companies.

    Police Cpl. Brian Uppercue told
    United Press International in Towson,
    Md., that a weekend raid in the
    Annapolis area resulted in the
    seizure of three complete computer
    systems and peripherals.

    The raid follows a three-month
    investigation, he said, in which it
    was determined the computer bulletin
    board system was used for the sharing
    of stolen phone access codes from
    MCI, Sprint and AT&T, as well as
    stolen credit card numbers.

    No arrests have been made because,
    reports UPI, "police did not catch
    the (crackers) using the stolen

    The case is to be referred to the
    Baltimore County grand jury, which
    will be asked to issue indictments,
    police say.

    This is the second cracker raid
    in Baltimore County since Sept. 12,
    when police seized two computer
    systems, but did not turn up the BBS

    As reported in a September issue
    of Zmagazine, police have credited
    new "anti-fraud software" installed
    in MCI's switching system for
    enabling authorities to trace
    alleged crackers.

    Congress and the president want
    to take a bite out of computer
    crime, and that's just what they
    will do with the enactment into
    public law (99- 474) of the Computer
    Crime and Abuse Act (S 2281 and HR
    4718). President Reagan signed the
    bill into law late last week
    following numerous congressional
    hearings and compromises over a
    period of several years.

    Originally introduced in the
    Senate by Sen. Paul Trible (R- Va.)
    and in the House by Rep. William
    Hughes (D-N.J.), the measure will
    expand the protections against
    computer crime currently governed
    by the nation's first computer crime
    statute (18 USC 1030), enacted in
    the last days of the 98th Congress
    in 1984.

    This updated law will clarify
    specific portions of the first statute
    making it punishable for unauthorized
    users to electronically trespass into
    the federal government's computers
    or the computers of federally insured
    financial institutions with the
    purpose of intentionally destroying
    computer data or committing fraud
    via computer.

    In addition, the same offenses
    will be covered when the crime itself
    is interstate in nature, as well as
    permit prosecution of those who traffic
    in computer passwords belonging to

    Federal computer crime laws have
    notoriously lagged behind the
    technology. A majority of states
    have enacted their own laws, but
    computer crime transcends the
    boundaries of states, requiring an
    effective national law.

    A 25-year-old former college
    student was sentenced yesterday to
    30 months' probation and ordered to
    undergo counseling after he pleaded
    guilty to breaking into his college's
    computer and altering academic records
    for himself and 11 friends.

    Donald J. Moon of Oak Park, Ill.,
    pleaded guilty to one count of
    unlawfully entering Triton College's
    computer, one count of unlawfully
    altering records and two counts of
    theft, according to United Press

    Assistant Cook County Attorney
    Gael O'Brien said Moon apparently
    improved 37 grades and added 39
    course credits for himself and 11
    others. O'Brien said Moon could have
    been sentenced to a maximum of three
    years in prison if the case had gone
    to trial.

    UPI says Triton College lost
    about $6,400 in the fraud, which was
    uncovered after a three-month
    investigation by the Illinois State
    Police's computer fraud unit.
    Xx Dis-Satisfied Customer

    FROM: MICHAEL L. CHAMPION (72477,3061)


    I am so unhappy with your recent
    change of focus for INFOWORLD that
    I am requesting that you cancel my
    subscription, and compensate me for
    the remaining years that I have left.

    For the past several years INFOWORLD
    was without question the BEST
    periodical available that covered
    all aspects of the computer
    industry. You were praised, respected,
    and admired for the quality of your
    reviews and the depth of your
    reporting, and also for the
    knowledge of your conrtributors.
    Sadly, the same cannot be said of
    your current staff. John Gantz et
    al are irritating, arrogant, and
    ignorant, and Jonathan Sack's
    recent editorial shows that even
    the EDITOR does not seem to know
    what INFOWORLD is (or at least was).

    If you are going to become yet
    another advertiser-supported
    mouthpiece for the corporate computer
    market that is your right, but it
    is NOT the INFOWORLD that enticed
    me to a long-term subscription.

    There is no question why you
    have changed focus. You are part of
    the CW Communications conglomerate,
    which publishes the likes of
    MACWORLD and PC WORLD, among others.
    You call yourself a "PC Weekly",
    where PC stands for PERSONAL
    COMPUTERS, yet you continually
    report on very expensive
    workstations, mainframes,
    minicomputers, and even machines
    that are scarcely beyond the rumor
    stage. And then you have the gall
    to catagorize such sophistocated
    REAL personal computers like the
    ATARI ST and the AMIGA as "low-end"
    home machines. ATARI calls the ST a
    PERSONAL COMPUTER, because that is
    exactly what it is. I find your
    current viewpoint paradoxical,
    since you yourself claimed the AMIGA
    the "hardware product of the year",
    and the ATARI ST the "hardware
    value of the year" for 1985.

    You might find that you have so
    disappointed your PAYING subscribers
    that you will HAVE to give this rag
    away, just to find someone who
    considers it even worth reading. I
    no longer do.

    Please send refund to:
    Michael L. Champion
    EXP DATE: AUG, 1989

    Xx Recomended Reading

    By Mike Van Horn/The WaiteGroup
    Bantam Electronic Publishing
    233 pages; $14.95 (softcover)
    Reviewed by Ben Knox

    Expert systems are software
    packages which are able, in effect,
    to learn from information fed into

    Their main use has been in
    providing expert knowledge databases
    which non-experts can use to help
    them to reach a conclusion under
    given circumstances. For example, a
    doctor could use an expert system to
    help him narrow down the causes of
    symptoms to a single disease,
    particularly in an area in which he
    was not well versed.

    "Understanding Expert Systems" is
    a guide to the principles and
    practicalities of expert systems and
    their uses.

    The book begins by providing an
    overview of some of the uses to
    which expert systems have been put,
    using examples like computerised
    detectives, doctors and ore deposit

    In the second chapter, some of
    the problems of setting up expert
    systems are dicussed. Perhaps the
    most difficult feat to achieve is to
    get a computer program, which is
    largely based on mathematical
    calculations, to make value, or
    heuristic, judgements. That is, to
    produce meaningful results from
    "wooly," incomplete information and
    rules. There are limits to what an
    expert system can do, particularly
    where some form of common sense is

    Having covered all the easy bits,
    Mike Van Horn now gets down to the
    nitty gritty of explaining how to
    develop an expert system, initially
    only in terms of flow diagrams.

    From chapter four onwards, the
    book becomes fairly heavy going for
    the non-specialist reader. Things
    are not made easy by the choice of
    examples, which most people will find
    fairly esoteric.

    Chapter six gives an introduction
    to artificial intelligence (which is
    what expert systems are) programming
    languages, taking Lisp as the main

    The last two chapters look at the
    present and future: which expert
    system development packages are
    available for various machines, from
    a VAX to an IBM PC and compatibles
    and what developments are upcoming.

    "Understanding Expert Systems"
    undoubtedly provides a very
    complete and indepth introduction to
    the world of artificial intelligence
    and expert systems. I highly recommend
    it to anyone who is intending to buy
    or use an expert system, if only to
    show how much work has gone into
    programming it.

    Finally, even if you don't intend
    buying the book, pop into a book
    shop and read the last page (number
    222) to find out where computers are
    REALLY going.
    Xx Bargain??


    by Ken White

    We've all read the stories about
    the person who lucked into the "deal
    of a lifetime" in the eternal search
    to add that one last piece of
    equipment to his or her Atari
    collection. I've read the stories
    myself with a bit of envy and some
    small amount of skepticism as well.

    I'm not saying these people were
    exactly...lying, you understand, but
    their luck seemed a bit of a fluke,
    not the kind of thing that happens to
    the average person.

    On the other hand, I'm beginning
    to think that I just may have
    miscalculated the effects of good

    About a month ago, I was
    wandering through a local Sears store
    and, as is my custom, I swung through
    the computer section; there's always
    the possibility of running into an
    "unadvertised special" (okay, so I
    don't read the Sears ad flyers...so
    shoot me...) on disks, or maybe some
    discontinued piece of software at
    an unbelievably low price. And Sears
    generally features one of the best
    bits of free entertainment in town
    - endless demonstrations of the
    Commodore 64 and 128. You can stand
    there and watch, sneering in an
    -oh-so-superior way. Pretty funny
    way to kill ten or fifteen minutes,
    if you know what I mean.

    Anyway, there I was in Sears,
    watching the endless Commodore demos
    on the screens, when I spotted a
    familiar box out of the corner of
    my eye. Since I'd rather watch an
    inanimate Atari than a Commodore
    doing an Irish jig with twelve naked
    dancing girls (though thirteen naked
    dancing girls just...might...sway
    me...), I headed over to check out
    what they had in the way of Atari

    It was the usual hardware
    package, the one that's been
    advertised by all the big mail-order
    companies in Antic, Analog, Computer,
    etc. etc etc. A 130XE, a 1050 disk
    drive, and a 1027 printer. The big
    price tag taped to the side said
    $349.99. No surprises there, either.
    That's about the price the package
    can be purchased for at all the
    mail-order houses.

    Sure, those three pieces of
    Atari hardware looked kind of lonely
    sitting there, surrounded by the
    Commodore hordes. Sad? Oh, yeah.
    Pathetic? Oh, maybe a little bit.
    Was I going to take it home? Not on
    your life. I already have two
    800's, three 5 and 1/4 inch drives,
    two printers, a 1040ST, and three
    modems. The last thing I need in my
    life is more computer hardware.

    So I left the store, hoping
    that somebody would find these three
    items and decide to enter the world
    of Atari computing. Unfortunately,
    that person wasn't going to be me.

    Fast forward to about a week
    ago. There I am, back in the same
    Sears store, picking up a sale-pack
    of video tapes (yes, I'd taken up
    reading the Sears ad flyers..
    especially when it saved me a long
    trip for something I needed quick).
    Since the audio/video section is
    right next to the computer section,
    I decided to pay the Atari package
    a visit, to see if somebody had
    picked them up yet.

    The three pieces of equipment
    were still there, in their little
    corner. Only one thing had changed:
    the price. Like on those video
    -we-kill-your-dog shows, it wasn't
    $350. Not $300. Not $250. Not
    even $225. The price taped to the
    top of the three stacked boxes was

    I stopped. I licked my lips
    a couple of times. I pulled my
    wallet out and ruffled through the
    thick wad of one dollar bills I
    carry around to feel like I've got
    money in my pocket. Nope. Don't
    have a hundred and ninety-nine one
    dollar bills in there. My heart was,
    as they say, filled with regret.

    Then I started thinking....Yes,
    I did have a couple of hundred
    spare dollars floating around that
    I could use if I had to. Yes,
    Christmas IS coming, and a complete
    Atari system would make a GREAT
    Christmas present for that special
    somebody (hey, you have to get them
    into Atari computing one way or

    So, back I went to Sears a day
    or so later, my...uh...regretful
    heart in my mouth. Had somebody
    else seen this "deal of a lifetime"
    and snapped it up? Had the computer
    center person at Sears (what am I
    talking about -computer center
    person at Sears? That's the guy who
    was fired from Toys R Us for not
    having enough computer knowledge to
    run THEIR computer center) realized
    that $199.99 was below dealer cost
    for those three pieces? Was it all
    a dream (like the last season of

    But no. There it was, sitting
    in the same place. But there was no
    price tag on it. I was beginning
    to sweat it when I saw a guy with a
    tie carrying a couple of boxes
    wandering around. "Do you work here?"
    I asked. He nodded. I jerked my
    chin at the three pieces of Atari
    hardware on the cheesy computer
    table in the dark corner. "Didn't
    you have these marked $199.99 a
    couple of days ago?" I asked
    pleasantly. He nodded again. "You
    want 'em for $199.99?"

    What a stupid question. I
    mean, really, why did this guy
    think I was asking? Did he think I
    was a comparison shopper for Consumer
    Reports or something? I somehow
    didn't think he was going to offer
    to sell it to me for $49 or
    something, so what was he asking me

    While he tried to figure out
    how to write up the ticket (there
    were no stock numbers of any of the
    three pieces), he informed me that
    1) he was a former Commodore user,
    2) he now owned an IBM PC that was
    too much computer for him, 3) that
    I should be saving up my money for
    the Franklin IBM clone behind me, 4)
    that he had "read" that the Amiga
    is a better machine than the ST, and
    5) that he had also "read" that my
    ST, though having a full megabyte of
    memory aboard, could only access 256K
    of it at once. It was, as you might
    imagine, painful to talk to this
    person. But I didn't have much
    choice. On the counter in front of
    him was my "deal of a lifetime".

    So I endured. And I walked
    out of there with $350 worth of
    computer equipment at nearly 50% off.

    If there's a moral to this
    story (and after a story this long,
    you probably are waiting for a
    moral), it's that you should always
    (A-L-W-A-Y-S) keep your eyes open,
    wherever you go, for bargains. Atari
    went through some hard times in the
    past, and we Atarians lost a lot of
    the support we once had from some
    merchants. But consider this - on
    one hand, we've got the additional
    support (both hardware and software)
    of all kinds of new companies. And
    out there, in the vast PC wasteland,
    there are probably hundreds (yes,
    hundreds - perhaps thousands) of
    bargains available at those merchants
    who gave up on Atari and don't know
    about the "Atari Revolution".

    Selfishly I say, "Good! Leave
    'em in the dark!" Because as long
    as these unenlightened folks don't
    realize that computer or disk drive
    sitting in the corner is worth a
    whole lot more than the price tag
    they've placed on it, there's more
    bargains for us all.

    Of course, recently I've begun
    noticing more people lingering in
    out-of-the-way computer-type places
    ...looking over counters...standing
    on tip-toe to peer over piles of
    boxes...muscling me out of the way
    when I paw through discontinued
    software with a terse, "Sorry, I
    thought I saw my little boy climb
    into this bin."

    Perhaps I'm not the only
    skulking bargain hunter around after
    Xx Give Print A Chance
    Copyright 1986 Family Computing
    Taken from October Issue



    Senior editor Nick Sullivan, who
    has failed on five occasions to
    finish Moby Dick and is now reading
    Deep In the Heart of Borneo (a
    minor jungle classic), has read some
    of the world's most boring books --
    and lived to recount his adventures.

    Strange sounds, strange sights --
    that's what I got when I first
    connected a modem to a computer and
    tried to make a phone call. I
    didn't know whether the problem lay
    with the modem, the software, the
    serial card (on an Apple lle), the
    telephone lines -- or me. So I went
    to the store that had sold me the

    Big waste of time. They said,
    in effect, "Insert Tab A in Slot
    B," which I had already done. I
    had no choice but to turn to books
    -- a very diffiuclt task for someone
    just getting used to the immediacy
    and interactivity of computers.
    A few years ago, most books on the
    topic were written by engineers who
    had been weaned on mainframe
    comunications in the 1950s and 1960s,
    not Commodore 64s and VICModems in
    the l980s. As ancient lore goes,
    the books had less spark than Livy's
    History of Rome, which I've also
    had the misfortune to read.

    But I plowed through, and
    tried to piece together a likely
    scenario for making a simple phone
    call. I took notes, made diagrams,
    begged strangers for the missing
    piece of the puzzle. Ah, but the man
    who had barely fulfilled science
    requirements in high school and
    college was ill-equipped to decipher
    serious technical tomes. So I turned
    to trouble-shooting -- the car buff's
    ancient remedy -- and started
    switching parts to isolate the
    potential culprit.

    The culprit was quickly
    apprehended. It was the serial
    card. The new one worked, I reread
    the manuals that came with the
    modem and software, and before I
    knew it I was running up ghastly
    phone bills.

    I immediately swore off books.
    Why had they not told me it was easy?
    That I dind't have to know how the
    telphone system worked to make a
    phone call? Swine!


    Time being a healer and all
    that rubbish, I'm back on books. I
    started picking them up here and
    there (not in dentists' offices),
    and here and there finding nuggets
    of information. I don't read these
    books per se, but use them as
    reference guides. The secret is
    knowing which book to turn to when.
    And knowing what to expect from books
    in the first place.

    1) Books about computers are by
    definition going to be out of date
    when you buy them. Change in the
    computer industry is rapid, and the
    book publication process is slow.

    However, if you don't take everything
    you read as the gospel truth, you'll
    still find much useful material.

    2) Books about communications that
    tell you "in general" how to do
    something "in general" are of
    dubious value. To me, these books
    usually make computer communications
    seem more difficult they they really
    are. People who have a good grounding
    in a subject can use these books to
    add to their knowledge, or "brush up."
    Others may like the "overview" of
    the field. But, most people,
    especially novices, will find the
    answers to their system-specific
    questions in the product documentation.
    Even if it's somewhat obscure, at
    least it's about your system.

    3) Never buy a book you intend to
    use as a reference guide unless it
    has a very good index. To make an
    in-store test, pick a topic, thumb
    through the back pages, and see if
    the index directs you to the right

    Indexes that refer to the same
    topic in several ways are good.
    Ideally, you'd want to find the
    salient facts on file-transfer
    protocols by looking up Files, or
    Protocols, or Transfer. You don't
    want to have to outguess the indexer.

    Second, indexes that list
    endless page numbers (e.g., Games:
    1-3, 27,28. 49-70, etc.) for one
    subject are bad. Instead, that one
    subject should be broken up into
    pieces (e.g., Games: adventure 21,22,
    astrology 38, biorhythms 6, blackjack
    41, etc.)

    Enough, Livy! Onto the topic
    at hand!


    Having just admonished readers
    not to trust "general" books, let's
    thumb through two that have risen
    like cream.

    Dialing For Data, A Consumer's
    How-To Handbook on Computer
    Communications (David Chandler,
    Random House, New York, 1984,$9.95)
    provides pleasant reading. Like all
    good technical books, it teaches and
    informs gently, so that you don't
    know you're being taught or informed.

    In style, the book is
    reminiscent of Guide to Personal
    Computers (Quantum Press, Doubleday,
    New York), the Peter McWilliams'
    computer classic with droll woodcuts
    and natural laughs. Chandler, a
    Pulitzer-Prize winner and People
    magazine correspondent, walks along
    with you chapter-by-chapter -- What's
    Out There, Basic Information, The
    Hardware, Modems and Software,
    Computer Choices, Buyer Beware, The
    First Call, etc. Droll woodcuts
    and snappy sidebars complete the fine

    Dialing for Data is not a
    reference guide, nor a guide to
    making your specific system work. And
    much of the information on
    computers and electronics services
    is dated. But as a general, accessible
    introduction to electronic
    information and what you can do with
    it ("save money, make money, develop
    new interests and friends), Dialing
    For Data makes the big picture
    clear enough to see your own reflection.

    (Insert: Glossbreener's The
    Complete Handbook of Personal Computer


    The standout in this relatively
    small field is "How To Get the Most
    out of CompuServe," now in its second
    edition (Charles Bowen and David
    Peyton, Bantam, New York, 1986,
    $18.95, plus $6 credit from
    CompuServe). Ignore some of the
    cute stuff ("How is CompuServe like
    a restaurant? Both are menu-driven.")
    and you have a clear blueprint of
    this labyrinthine information

    Who's the book good for? New
    CompuServe subsribers who want to
    learn their way around without
    running up a big bill. A good index
    will direct you to the right page
    quickly, so you can use it when
    on-line and snookered. And experienced
    users who want to explore new parts
    of CompuServe can find out what
    else is available without taking
    an expensive Cruise To Nowhere.

    The same authors and publisher
    have also produced "How to Get the
    Most Out of the Source," still in a
    first edition.


    Once you get a modem working,
    you want to explore the electronic
    world. To reach bulletin board
    systems (BBSes), information
    services, and the thousands of
    specialized databases, you need
    electronic phone numbers.
    Fortunately, three good directories
    have been compiled.

    The Omni OnLine Database
    Directory (Owen Davies and Mike
    Edelhart, Collier Books, New York,
    1985, $14.95), updated each year,
    lists over 1100 specialized
    databases. It includes general
    pointers on how to use databases
    most effectively. The first sentence
    even describes "database": "An
    organized collection of facts in
    computer-readable form."

    The meat of the book is the
    lisitng of databases, by category.
    The list begins with Advertising
    and Marketing, Agriculture, Auto
    Industry -- and finishes with Social
    Sciences, Trade, Transportation.
    Comprehensive. For each specific
    database (such as NASA Budgetscan,
    Book Review Index, Exceptional
    Child Education Resources, etc.) in
    each category, you are given Contents,
    User's Comment, Access, and

    This precis lets you know
    what's available, how to get at it,
    how much it costs, and how to find
    more information. For professionals
    doing computer research, the Omni
    guide is a must.

    The Computer Phone Book
    Directory of Online Systems (Mark
    Cane, New American Library, New York
    and Ontario, 1986, $18.95) focuses
    on local BBSes around the U.S. and
    Canada. Author Mike Cane, who
    dedicates the book to his "beloved
    cat, Backspace," warns us that many
    of the phone numbers may no longer
    be in service, because "the average
    lifespan of a BBS is three months."
    At least he's made an effort to
    list boards that have survived since
    his first edition in l983, and thus
    have a track record. Nonetheless,
    be forewarned.

    The book is well organized.
    Bulletin boards are listed by
    state, so you can check for boards
    within a reasonable calling distance
    of your house. Most listings include
    System Name, Phone Number, Features,
    Special Interests, Access Requirements,
    Downloads, Fee, and Comments. In
    some cases, Cane provides the
    system's commands, or a printout of
    material you're likely to find.

    Infomania (Elizabeth M.
    Ferrarini, Houghton Mifflin,Boston,
    l985, $14.95), described as "the
    need for information," is Ferrarini's
    second book. The first was
    "Confessions of an Infomaniac." You
    get the idea -- Ferrarini (aka
    Baud, or CosmoGirl) is kind of nutty
    about information, and she regurgitates
    a lot of it in this personalized
    testimonial to the electronic age.

    Organized with headings such
    as Money, Travel, Learning, Careers,
    and News, Infomania presents much
    of the same information as the Omni
    guide. It's much chattier, so some
    may find it livlier reading. On the
    other hand, the presentation is less
    consistent, and key facts, such as
    cost and access, are somewhat hidden.

    At the bottom of each page a
    short sidebar relating to the main
    text generally peers into the future.
    Alongside are juicy quotes about
    information and related topics from
    such savants as Oscar Wilde: "It is
    a very sad thing that nowadays
    there is so little useless
    information." Diverting, to say the
    least, even though it dates to l896.


    As in most endeavours (with
    notable exceptions like surgery),
    the best way to learn is by doing.
    Reading books before you start may
    dissuade you from ever starting.
    Teach yourself how to use a m