1. Not old. Vintage. :)
Timothy Kline

Z*Magazine: 26-Jan-87 #36

Z*Magazine: 26-Jan-87 #36

  1. Timothy Kline
    Article #38 (214 is last):
    From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
    Newsgroups: freenet.sci.comp.atari.product.8bit.zmag
    Subject: Z*Magazine: 26-Jan-87 #36
    Reply-To: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
    Date: Thu Jul 8 09:41:37 1993

    Zmagazine January 26, 1987
    Issue 36
    Zmag Staff:
    Publisher/Editor in Chief:Ron Kovacs
    Editor/Coordinator:Alan Kloza
    Software Reviewer: Eric Plent

    This Week in Zmag......





    PART I


    All this and more in this weeks
    edition of Zmagazine.....

    ....CES Feedback....................

    We received a complaint from one of
    our readers recently about the
    coverage we gave CES--the Consumer
    Electronic's Show held in Las Vegas

    The reader's gripe was that he had
    already read most of what we
    published in Antic Online on Compu-

    It was a valid complaint. In fact,
    most of the Atari news coming out
    of CES came from sources at Antic

    We carried the Antic stories,
    primarily, because they were the
    only Atari-related articles coming
    out of Las Vegas. In addition, a
    very significant percentage of our
    readership does not, for whatever
    reason, use Compuserve and
    consequently would not have access
    to Antic Online and their Atari

    Well, without further ado, we
    reprint the letters we received on
    the subject.

    Forum messages: 178981 to 179642

    #: 179128 S7/HOT News/Rumors
    18-Jan-87 20:00:33
    Sb: #ZMAG34
    Fm: Charlie Koontz 74206,3444
    To: [F] Ron Kovacs 71777,2140 (X)

    Okay, what are the rules? I'm
    referring to ZMAG34.JAN in DL7.
    I started downloading it and then
    realized the reports on the Atari
    news at the Winter CES were quoted
    verbatum [sic] from what I had
    downloaded last week from ANTIC

    Needless to say, I terminated the
    download but I'm left wondering how
    the ZMAG editor could allow this.


    #: 179203 S7/HOT News/Rumors
    19-Jan-87 15:29:48
    Sb: #179128-#ZMAG34
    Fm: Ron Kovacs [Zmag] 71777,2140
    To: Charlie Koontz 74206,3444 (X)

    Charlie, Zmag got most if it's CES
    news from Antic Online, and from
    other areas. You have to understand
    that we do not pay reporters for
    services. If we are to cover special
    events with exclusive reports then
    our offering free news to BBS
    systems would no longer exist. We
    have the right to use the Antic
    Reports providing we give credit to
    Antic and show their copyright
    notice at the top of the article. My
    question to you is, Did you expect
    my staff to fly to Nevada and
    cover the show??? All past issues of
    Zmag have used Antic reports and
    other material on CompuServe. There
    are a great number of our readers
    who do not call here, and some of
    which dont access the other areas of
    the network.

    I am sorry if you were offended,
    annoyed or whatever. We try to
    provide interesting information to
    all our readers.

    I wish that I could provide better
    information at times, but I can only
    do my best with what I have. I will
    publish your message and see what

    Thanks for your message, and thanks
    for reading this long winded reply.

    Take care,
    Ron Kovacs

    #: 179208 S7/HOT News/Rumors
    19-Jan-87 18:34:28
    Sb: #179203-#ZMAG34
    Fm: BRUCE KENNEDY 72327,1500
    To: Ron Kovacs [Zmag] 71777,2140 (X)

    About a year ago, I was involved in
    getting Zmag going in the Chicago
    Area. I dreamed that someday the
    concept would evolve just the way it
    is. My original motivation, was that
    I couldn't understand why everyone
    should do their own birddogging on
    news, and never share it. I was
    concerned because there were clubs
    begging for stories for their
    newsletters, but members weren't
    contributing. It just didn't make
    sense for a club in Chicago to do
    a review on a printer, and the same
    effort was duplicated in Michigan.

    What if every club investigated one
    issue or review, and then shared?
    WOW! The other factor was that so
    much of BBS messages were mediocre,
    but occasionally there was a real
    zinger. A good response. One of
    general interest to a lot of people.
    Why not download the messages, and
    assemble them in one place for
    everyone's benefit?

    Well that's the way Zmag started.
    Pretty soon we had groups of Hackers
    tinkering away on special programs
    we could all use. Once you
    finish a program, you feel pretty
    burned out, and sometimes you don't
    want to go back. Well someone else
    can always improve on your work, so
    pretty soon we had some fabulous,
    constantly evolving utilities like
    Zbanner and Zread, and ReeveKey for
    the keypad, and we were all better
    off. Zmag became the one place you
    could go and get 90% of the hot
    stuff going on at ALL the local
    boards.. Now, thanks to Ron Kovacs,
    you can go to one place, once a
    week, and get the scoop with one
    download, including the Hottest
    stuff on CES, courtesy of tremendous
    support publications like Antic. Or

    Well, fans, let's hear what you think
    about ZMag and what it should be!

    Bruce "Z" Kennedy now in Providence
    RI and watch for some action from

    ....The 'Giant' Flush...............

    AP Videotex APV-291

    AP 01/24 06:36 EST V0670

    NEW YORK (AP) -- The city has issued
    a "bowl warning" and urged New
    Yorkers to avoid a massive rush to
    bathrooms during half-time or at the
    end of Sunday's Super Bowl.

    Football fans should stagger their
    bathroom visits during the game
    between the New York Giants and
    Denver Broncos, said Harvey W.
    Schultz, the city's commissioner of
    environmental protection.

    "If millions of New Yorkers flush at
    the same time, we're not quite sure
    what would happen," Schultz said

    Tongue-in-cheek, he declared it
    "Super Flush Sunday."

    Temporary drops in water pressure
    might occur, affecting toilets on
    upper floors of high-rise buildings,
    said department spokeswoman Joan

    "Don't rush -- and think before you
    flush," Schultz urged.

    ....Random Notes...................


    Two years ago, USRobotics grabbed
    headlines by offering operators of
    computer bulletin board systems a
    big discount on its 2400-baud
    modems. Now the Skokie, Ill., firm
    is making a similar offer with its
    9600-baud units.

    According to a statement from the
    company, BBS sysops can purchase
    the $995 Courier HST 9600-bps modem
    for $495, providing they agree to
    post notices on their boards that
    they are using the hardware.

    The statement says USRobotics is
    making offer because the earlier
    promotion "has helped the company
    assert leadership in the 2400-bps
    modem market," adding it sold
    "several thousand of its
    2400/1200/300-bps Courier 2400
    modems to BBS operators since
    starting the program in early 1985."

    To qualify, a buyer must prove he
    or she is operating a BBS and agree
    to spread the word about the modem.
    All orders must be prepaid or COD
    and purchasers must add $5 for
    shipping and handling.

    The company also is offering sysops
    discounts on its other modems --
    the Courier 2400e, normally $699,
    is offered for $350, and the IBM PC
    plug-in board Microlink 2400,
    listed at $599, is available for

    For more information, contact the
    company's sales department, voice
    312/982-5001 or data 312/982-5092.


    Commodore International Ltd. has
    gone outside the industry to find
    its new corporate treasurer. He is
    Richard Burke, former vice president/
    treasurer of St. Louis' Peabody
    Holding Co., owner of Peabody Coal
    Co., the nation's largest coal

    Commodore Vice President Michael B.
    Evans told The Associated Press
    that Burke will be responsible for
    all areas of treasury management at

    Burke also has been vice
    president/treasurer of Management
    Assistance Inc., a multinational
    computer manufacturing and service

    Charles Bowen
    Online Today


    Hyundai, the Korean manufacturing
    giant that has produced the
    hottest-selling car in the US in
    the past year, apparently is
    pulling out all the stops to
    duplicate its success in the
    personal computer arena.

    The $12 billion conglomerate, which
    manufactures the Blue Chip line of
    IBM-compatibles sold in mass
    merchandising outlets, told
    Computer + Software News it:

    -:- Has reached an agreement in
    principle for Computer Software
    Services to market about $1
    million worth of Blue Chips to
    computer specialty stores

    -:- Will introduce an XT compatible
    at this week's Consumer
    Electronics Show in Las Vegas
    and will ship an AT compatible
    by March.

    -:- Has bought a "minority
    interest" in the Blue Chip
    Electronics, the Chandler,
    Ariz.-based distributor. Bob
    Schuricht, CSS sales and
    marketing manager, said his
    firm will "aggressively market"
    the Blue Chip computer
    nationwide. The unit will have
    640K RAM and DOS and will sell
    for $675.

    Mass merchants are selling a 512K
    unit without DOS for $699. Monitors
    are not included.

    "We're putting together this
    package because everyone wants 640K
    RAM," Schuricht said. "We're also
    going to offer computer specialty
    stores a margin that will allow
    them to effectively compete with
    mass merchants." He added that CSS
    will carry the AT and XT

    The AT compatible will be an 80286-
    based machine selling for less than
    $2,000. It will include 1-meg of
    RAM, a 1.2-meg floppy disk drive
    and EGA, CGA, MGA and HGA
    compatibility built on the
    motherboard, along with IBM Token
    Ring compatibility on the

    The Turbo XT will sell for $799 and
    include an 8088-2 based machine
    feature CGA-, MGA- and HGA-
    compatibility and a single- disk
    drive. Those machines will be sold
    only through distributors and pc
    stores, said Joe Rossi,
    president/CEO of Blue Chip

    Hyundai apparently bought an
    unspecified position in the Blue
    Chip Electronics to "make money on
    the distribution side of the
    business and not just as an OEM,"
    said C+SN field editor David S.

    "Blue Chip can use the capital and
    Hyundai can use Blue Chip to
    distribute other consumer
    electronics such as mobile phones,"
    said Rossi.
    --Daniel Janal
    Online Today


    Activision Inc. has settled a class
    action lawsuit filed against the
    company by a group of shareholders.
    As a result of the settlement, the
    plaintiffs will receive $2.5
    million in cash and $2.55 million
    in securities. The settlement is
    subject to the signing of
    definitive agreements and court
    hearings on the fairness of the

    According to an Activision
    spokesman, the settlement will not
    effect the company's long-term
    business or financial condition.
    However, the agreement will have a
    negative effect on fiscal fourth
    quarter results.

    Activision publishes home and
    personal computer software under
    the Activision, Infocom, Gamestar,
    Electric Dreams and Personal Choice
    -- John Edwards
    Online Today

    ....Part I--What's New In VCR's

    In this report, we offer you some of
    the video news that came out of CES.
    Since the article is too long to
    publish in its entirety, we're
    breaking it up into 2 parts.

    This week we'll cover what's new in
    VCR's and Camcorders. Look for Part
    II in the next issue of Zmag.


    by Marc Wielage
    All Rights Reserved

    This past Consumer Electronics Show
    was the 19th consecutive
    gathering for your humble
    correspondent, and I don't know if
    it was age, cynicism, or sheer
    boredom in general, but this show
    has to go down as one of the most
    ho-hum in history. In an industry
    that thrives on innovation and
    excitement, we've come to expect
    a least a dozen major breakthroughs
    (and an equal number of
    minor ones) in each of these
    biannual get-togethers, and, judging
    by the similar response from fellow
    colleagues and journalists,
    just about everybody I knew felt
    about the same way.


    The VCR arena saw fairly dull
    activity at this show, except
    for the blockbuster news of "S-VHS,"
    alternately known as "Super
    VHS," "VHS Super," and "VHS II."
    This announcement came at a
    special press conference on January
    8th in Japan, with most U.S.
    representatives professing little or
    no knowledge of this astounding
    technical breakthrough.

    According to TV DIGEST, S-VHS has
    "picture quality comparable to that
    of a 1-inch broadcast VTR," with 430
    lines of horizontal resolution -- a
    sharp improvement over the 240+
    lines available from most current
    high-end VHS recorders. JVC claims
    that the new system virtually
    eliminates luminance and
    chrominance interference
    (cross-color lines and jagged edges)
    as well as tracking problems, using
    a new proprietary bandwidth
    expansion technique similar, but not
    identical, to SuperBeta. A
    special video head gap of .2
    microns, which is required for the
    considerably higher frequencies
    being recorded on tape. Also
    required is a new high density "improved oxide" videocassette,
    which requires a special bias switch
    on the recorder. There's no
    word as to whether this tape will be
    metal particle, metal evaporated,
    or some more conventional

    S-VHS will strictly be an "upward
    compatible" system, meaning that
    tapes made on old VCR's can be
    played on new machines, but that
    S-VHS tapes will not play on old
    VCR's. This flies in the face of
    JVC's anti-Sony propoganda of a few
    years ago, when the company critized
    SuperBeta for not being compatible
    with older Beta machines.

    As a bold marketing step, S-VHS will
    only be licensed to the original
    five-member VHS member companies:
    Hitachi, JVC, Matsushita, Mitsubishi
    and Sharp. Apparantly, JVC has been
    concerned about the "cheapening" of
    the format by low-ball Korean
    firms, and is determined to keep a
    tight rein on this new technological
    breakthrough. One insider confirmed
    that those firms buying machines
    from these five suppliers (including
    RCA, whose OEM factory is Hitachi),
    will also have these VCR's when
    they become available later on in
    the year.

    In other video news, there was a
    shortage of new VCR's
    compared to past shows, when there
    are rarely less than 30 new
    recorders introduced. Time and time
    again, manufacturers pointed
    out that the mass-market has a
    lukewarm attitude towards such
    performance features as Hi-Fi and
    HQ, and is buying machines
    solely on the basis of price. As a
    result, the true innovations
    were few-and-far-between at the
    Winter CES, though we found just
    a few diamonds in the rough here and

    Car stereo-maker Audiovox took the
    wraps off the AVP-1000
    mobile VHS player, designed to
    playback videotapes in cars,
    planes, boats and trains. The unit
    features 3 speeds, auto
    rewind, and picture search, and will
    be available sometime in

    Canon featured the new mid-priced
    VR-HF710. THis new machine omits
    the on-screen programming from the
    top-of-the-line VR-HF720, but still
    boasts Hi-Fi, four heads, HQ, and an
    MTS tuner.

    GE displayed six new VHS HQ
    recorders, all mid- and low-
    priced models designed to address
    the mass-market (non-videophile)
    market. The top new model is the
    9-7276 with MTS, linear Dolby,
    Pro-Fect (Tech-4) heads, special
    effects, on-screen programming.

    Likewise, Hitachi showed their
    VT-1350 VCR with HQ, 107-channel
    tuner, 3 video heads, and a new
    "Touch N' View" programmable LCD
    remote, which allows you to see the
    commands without the aid of
    on-screen programming.

    Panasonic showed a series of
    mid-priced mono machines that looked
    for all the world like props from
    Miami Vice. The PV-2700 "Designer
    Series" VCR's feature unusual colors
    and cabinet styles, but otherwise
    offer no new improvements in picture
    quality or features.

    One manufacturer who did introduce a
    new top of the line VCR was Sharp,
    whose VC-799 has just about every
    feature imaginable, including a
    140-channel MTS tuner, Hi-Fi, linear
    Dolby stereo, LCD remote, dual speed
    search (9X CHAD HARPER5X), and remote eject.
    Also provided is Sharp's unusual
    "blue-screen" noise elimination
    system, which reverts to a blue
    color background when the machine
    senses excessive noise when playing
    back blank tape sections.

    For those who like doing things
    quickly, Sharp also bowed the
    VC-Q77, a 4-head VHS VCR with
    digital FX and VSC, which takes
    the "Donald Duck" distortion out of
    double-speed playback. Just the
    thing for watching "Dallas" in half
    the time, the new Sharp VCR will be
    available in May.

    Adding a new wrinkle to VHS VCR's,
    Toshiba's new DX-900 features
    conventional VHS recording with
    digital special effects, and can
    also serve double-duty as a
    self-contained 14-bit PCM digital
    audio recorder. Earlier reports to
    the contrary, the VCR can work as
    either a conventional VCR OR a PCM
    audio recorder, but not both at the
    same time.


    The 8mm vs. VHS-C war is escalating,
    judging by the large press
    conference organized by JVC, held on
    January 8th. JVC video sales
    manager Steve Isaacson sharply
    criticized the fledgling 8mm format
    (and rival Sony in particular) with
    a phony anti-ad campaign satirizing
    Sony's "Courtroom" TV commercials.

    JVC circulated a large glossy
    brochure entitled "VHS: The Only
    Answer," detailing the alleged
    advantages of VHS-C over other
    systems, and they also distributed a
    unique brochure on the "10th
    Anniversary of VHS," including rare
    glimpses of prototypes from
    the mid-70's.

    Moving from the sublime to the
    ridiculous, Samsung showed
    their so-called 4mm Camcorder
    (actually 3.81 mm), the model SVC-
    41, which uses R-DAT digital
    audiocassettes as a video recorder.

    Curiously, the company refused to
    demonstrate their working
    prototype at the show, claiming that
    they had no DAT cassettes
    available. Later, when we provided
    them with a sample cassette,
    they again refused to demonstrate
    it, admitting that two tapes had
    jammed in the unit during the show.

    While the validity of the format may
    be questionable, the size of
    Samsung's camcorder is impressive at
    8-1/2" x 4" x 5-1/3", and it weighs
    a scant 2.5 lbs. (without battery).
    The SVC-41 features a color
    viewfinder, a 10 lux CCD, and will
    cost about $1300.

    Aiwa took the wraps off a
    2nd-generation 8mm camcorder, the
    CV-50 8mm, which is a lightweight
    2.3 lb. unit featuring a 2"
    remote handheld monitor/controller.
    And Canon introduced the VM-E2 8mm
    Camcorder, a much-improved version
    of their previous model which fixes
    several major ergonomic problems;
    now, the "zoom-in" control is at the
    front and the "zoom-out" control is
    at the rear! Canon's camera also
    features a 6X f/1.2 autofocus
    zoom lens, a flying-erase head for
    perfect edits, an 8 lux CCD, and
    auto white balance.

    Despite grumblings from some VHS
    manufacturers, some of whom
    admitted to us that they would
    rather be selling 8mm, there were
    a plethora of introductions in the
    VHS-C area. GE showed their
    9-9710 "Cam N' Cord" Camcorder,
    which boasts a 7 lux CCD pickup,
    autofocus, power zoom lens, and
    weighs 3.7 lbs. with the battery.
    It will sell for around $1700.

    Hitachi introduced their VM-C50A,
    a VHS-C camcorder with a 2/3" MOS
    pickup rated at 10 lux, and
    also features HQ, 6X f/1.4 autofocus
    zoom lens, and weighs 3.1 pounds.
    This unit is virtually identical to
    RCA's CPR-100 VHS-C camcorder, and
    has a list price of $1400.

    JVC, the inventor of VHS-C, showed
    production versions of the GRC-9 --
    touted as "the world's smallest 1/2"
    camcorder" at an amazing 2.2 pounds
    (w/tape attery). This
    record-only model features a very
    sensitive 10-lux CCD pickup and

    Panasonic added a new wrinkle to the
    VHS-C camcorder with their PV-100,
    which they called a "High Speed
    Camcorder." This model has both a
    standard 1/60 and 1/1000 second
    shutter for nearly blur-free
    high-speed motion analysis, making
    it easy to study golf swings and
    other sports activities. However,
    we noted that because the 1/1000
    second shutter requires nearly 35
    times more light than the regular
    shutter, its usefulness will be
    mainly with outdoors shooting. The
    PV-100 features a 7 lux 1/2"
    CCD pickup with 210,000 pixels, 6X
    autofocus zoom lens, auto
    white balance, and records an hour
    on one battery. Similar models
    include Magnavox's Video Escort
    ($1900) and Quasar's VM-50 ($1800).

    Perhaps the biggest innovation in
    camcorders had to be with Zenith's
    VM-7100 full-size VHS Hi-Fi
    camcorder, which is the first we
    know of to offer high-quality stereo
    sound in a consumer package. This
    somewhat bulky unit features SP-only
    recording, HQ, a 6X zoom lens, an 8
    lux CCD pickup, and tips the scales
    at 5.3 pounds. Its list price of
    $1800 seems reasonable, compared
    to similar non-Hi-Fi models now on
    the market.

    Last, but never least, Sony
    attempted to coax some life back
    into their ailing Beta format with
    their BMC-1000K Betamovie Pro,
    a record-only camcorder featuring
    the 6.0 MHz BI-S mode (along
    with the more-standard 5.6 MHz mode
    for compatability with older
    machines). The BMC-1000 features an
    electronic VF 6X F/1.4 zoom,
    program indexing, date and time
    stamp, and auto white balance.
    Unfortunately, this camcorder's
    pickup is rated at 21 lux, which
    is considerably less sensitive than
    most others now on the market, which
    we found disappointing. On the
    other hand, its high quality,
    high-resolution can't be
    beat...until the emergence of S-VHS,
    that is.

    ....Capsule Reviews.................



    The Avatex modem gives you
    inexpensive Hayes compatibility and
    reliable operation. It operates
    with a subset of the Hayes commands
    that gives you virtually all the
    important functions. The Avatex
    usually can be found between $79
    and $129 at dealers. Atari 8-bit
    users will need an 850 interface or
    P:R: Connection. $199.

    E+E Datacom
    1230 Oakmead Parkway #310
    Sunnyvale, CA 94086.
    (408) 732-1181.


    The Smartmodem 1200 is the industry
    standard by which all other modems
    are judged. The Hayes offers solid
    construction, automatically
    adjustable baud rate, internal
    speaker, auto-answering and
    outstanding documentation. Most
    commercial modem software is
    written to be compatible with the
    standard set of Hayes commands.
    Atari 8-bit users will need an 850
    interface or P:R: Connection.

    Hayes Microcomputer Products
    5835 Peachtree Corners East,
    Norcross, GA 30092.
    (404) 449-8791.

    EPSON FX-85

    The FX-85 offers almost every
    feature conceivable in a 9-pin dot-
    matrix printer. If you want
    substantially better performance
    from such a printer, you'll have to
    move up to a 24-pin model -- at
    almost twice the cost. Proportional
    printing is supported, along with
    all standard fonts and their
    variations: pica, elite, italics,
    super/subscript, etc. The FX-85 is
    fast and reasonably quiet, and
    extremely well-documented. Atari
    8-bit owners will need an 850
    interface or P:R: Connection.$549.

    Epson America Inc.
    2780 Lomita Boulevard
    Torrance, CA 90505.
    (213) 539-9140.

    STAR NL-10

    The NL-10 is Star Micronics' latest
    in the ultra-popular line of full-
    featured printers that included the
    discontinued Gemini 10X and Star
    SG-10, as well as the current NX-10
    ($349) which is compatible with the
    Epson FX-80. An outstanding new
    near-letter-quality font and an
    expanded set of control buttons on
    the top panel are among the
    additions to the fast, sturdy, easy-
    operating NL-10 that provides every
    standard feature at a most
    affordable price. The NL-10
    requires Star's $60 interface
    cartridges, which are also
    available for the IBM PC and Apple.
    $319 plus $60 parallel interface.

    Star Micronics, Inc.
    200 Park Avenue
    New York, NY 10166
    (212) 986-6770.

    Zmagazine Issue 36 January 26, 1987
    Please Contribute!!!