diskMAGazine (Jan 1992) : amr119.txt

 December 26, 1991                                             Volume 1.19

 > 12/26/91: AM-Report  #1.19      The Online Magazine of Choice!
-The Editor's Desk      -General Amiga News         -General Industry News
-Amiga Virtual Reality  -ASDG Buying Anims          -Byte Does It Again
-Star Trek Originals    -Amigas in Education        -Amiga Price Increase
-Windows TV             -Computer Sales Up          -CDI Notes
-BSD Unix for Amiga     -CDTV in McDuff's           -Neurochip

                             -* AmiEXPO Update *-
                       -* Commodore Top Stock of 1992 *-

                           TODAY'S NEWS ..TODAY!

 > AMReport's Staff              The regulars and this week's contributors!
                         Contributing Correspondents

     Mike Todd (CIX)                         Jim Shaffer, Jr. (UseNet)
  70117,634 on CompuServe                   amix.commodore.com!vanth!jms

                               Andrew Farrell
                    Australian Commodore and Amiga Review
                      Professional Amiga User Magazine

      Mike Ehlert, SysOp: PACIFIC COAST MICRO BBS -- FidoNet 1:102/1001

      Please, submit letters to the editor, articles, reviews, etc...
                              via E-Mail to:

                 Compuserve....................  76370,3045
                 Internet/Usenet...............  76370.3045@compuserve.com


Another week, another file.  This one should have been bigger, but strange
things are happening with my hard drive and about 10 megs of data has just
disappeared -- including lots of AM-Report info for this week.  I will try
and reconstruct some of what I lost  here in the editorial section, though
I am sure I will not remember about half of it.

First, a friend of mine who manages a local Amiga store writes a column for
Amiga News, a newspaper-type Amiga magazine distributed nationally.  In
researching an article, he called Newer Technologies about the problems with
their vaporous Amiga notebook.  Here is a short summary of what he has found
out (and passed on to me):

 1) Ed Lippert is *NOT* involved in any way with the company.  The folks at
    Newer Tech have never even heard of the guy.

 2) The notebook is done in such a way that Newer needs Commodore's blessing
    for all practical purposes.  I forget the details, but word is Newer and
    CBM had a meeting and CBM came away miffed at something. [That last part
    is pure rumor!]

 3) Newer Technologies has succesful projects in both the Clone and Mac
    fields and is not a fly-by-night company.  [Note:  My source only has
    Newer's word on that, we are looking into just *what* they have done

I also have word from a reliable source that Newer will be at the upcoming
AmiEXPO in Long Beach (see accompanying article) come hell or high-water.
Of course, they also said that they would be at W.O.C., so nobody come
looking for me if they don't show!

This evening I had my family at one of the local malls so my children could
talk to Santa.  While my wife waited in line, I went next door into Tandy
to see what was new.

Lo! and Behold!  They were selling a Magnavox CD-I player!  It wasn't
prominantly displayed, but rather it was hidden among VHS machines and other
video gadgets.  [Note: Magnavox is Philips' brand name in the U.S.A.]

I asked the sales person to demonstrate the unit for me.  He told me that
they were new, and he didn't know all that much about them.  Here are my

 1) The access time is slow.  Slow enough that the sales rep kept punching
    keys on the remote because he didn't think it was working.  When it
    finally came up, the demo jumped around a lot because of the buffered
    key strokes.

 2) 99% of the images on the demo were static (with the exception of the
    golf game).  The few animated images revealed that even with partial-
    screen animations, the results are jerky and slow.  The demo substituted
    creative wipes, fades and scrolls instead of any real animation.

 3) Most of the images looked like non-interlaced HAM pictures.  A little
    fuzzy and not much on the finer details.

 4) The golf game looks good.  The player looks like an animated HAM sprite,
    though it is a digitized image.  The golf ball looks like it came off
    of a Nintendo (four-pixel square sprite) and the golf club used is no
    better.  The logos and text all look like lores Amiga screens.  Almost
    all the text and the images of the golfer are good examples of what
    "jaggies" are.

When I asked questions of the manager, here were the responses:

Q: What disks come with the machine?
A: None.  You have to buy them separately.  They go for around $30 to $50
   and consist mostly of educational material (with the exception of the
   golf game).

Q: Can I see some titles?
A: I have this brochure.  We don't carry the titles -- you have to order
   those directly from Philips Interactive Media.

Q: Why should I buy this instead of Commodore's CDTV?
A: Instead of what?

[After I explained what CDTV was, he continued.]

A: Well, I wouldn't feel comfortable about buying any Commodore products.
   They might not be around later to support it.

Q: What?  I'm a stockholder in both Tandy and CBM and have the annual
   reports from both companies.  Last fiscal year CBM had higher gross
   income and net profits than Tandy!  Commodore has been around from the
   early 60's or late 50's, what makes you think they won't be around?
A: Well, Commodore just isn't a company that I'd want to do business with.

Q: I know may computer people who say the same about Radio Shack.
A: [Silence]

Q: What about potential expansion?
A: Well, later there is supposed to be an interface kit that will allow
   you to hook up to a computer and do "multi media tasking".  [Yes, he
   actually used that phrase!]  Can CDTV do that?

Q: CDTV is an Amiga 500 with a CD-ROM player and infrared remote.  Add a
   keyboard and external disk drive and it is a ful-blown computer system
   with an installed base of over 3 million machines and 1500 available
   titles.  It also ships with a game [Lemmings] and a multimedia
   encyclopedia -- *FREE*.
A: At what price?

Q: $799, the exact same price you are selling the CD-I unit for.  The
   keyboard and disk drive are extra, though they are going to be available
   in January '92 as infrared peripherals.
A: Yes, but I've never heard of CDTV until you mentioned it and I'm willing
   to bet not a lot of other people have, either.

Q: True, which is why I'm still considering a CD-I unit and haven't already
   bought a CDTV unit.
A: Let me know if you make up your mind...

That was the end of the conversation.  Though once I left the store, I had
someone ask me where they could find a CDTV dealer locally.  Fortunatly there
is at least one I know of that I could refer him to.

I've taken a bit more time (releasing this issue 10 days later than I
originally planned) so there is a lot more information here.  Next issue
I will have a full review of ADPro 2.04 [amazing product!], a mini-review
on Black Belt's Notebook [quite useful]  and a mini-review on Populous 2.

I read a brief UPI article on Commodore's continuing introduction of
CDTV.  Commodore now has CDTV units (supposedly) in every McDuff's store
in Texas.  [I lost the #!#@ article!]  The article was *VERY* upbeat and
really pushed the fact that CDTV shipped with Lemmings and an Encyclopedia
at no extra charge.  They also touted the fact that there are over 80
titles currently available for CDTV.

Read and enjoy!


                        \XX/ AM-Report International


In addition to the AmiEXPO Art & Video Contest (see last issue), the
AmiEXPO people have a number of other contests and promotions geared
at making this the best AmiEXPO ever!

1) The New Machine Promotion -- Any dealer who sells a new Amiga between
   now an February 1st can receive a free ticket for the purchasing
   customer for the Queen Mary AmiEXPO, Feb. 14-16.  All the dealer has to
   do is register with the AmiEXPO group and they'll supplt point-of-sale
   support and informaiton as well as a card saying the ticket is courtesy
   of their store and AmiEXPO.

2) The User Group Contest -- User groups who register with AmiEXPO are
   eligible to win "One of Everything" if their group has the most
   members attending AmiEXPO at The Queen Mary.  "One of Everything"

3) The Grand Giveaway -- Anyone who pre-registers for AmiEXPO at The
   Queen Mary or simply calls for more information about the show is
   eligible to win one of 111 prizes.  The prize list is as follows:

                               THIRD PRIZE (100)
                1 Multiday Ticket to AmiEXPO at The Queen Mary

                               SECOND PRIZE (10)
                            1 VIP Ticket to AmiEXPO
                 (Includes Admission to 1 Master Class a Day)

                                  GRAND PRIZE
                            1 VIP Ticket to AmiEXPO
                        Admission to ALL Master Classes
                      3 Day Stay on the Hotel Queen Mary
            Free Admission to Queen Mary & Spruce Goose Attractions
                          One Day Cruise to Catalina

Deadline for entering this contest is December 31, 1991.  All winners will
be notified by mail.  Pre-registered winners will have their ticket price
refunded.  Pre-registration deadline is January 31, 1992.

To pre-register (Visa or Mastercard) or for more information, call AmiEXPO
shows at (800) 322-6442 or (914) 741-6500.

AmiEXPO has begun an "Amiga Means Video" campaign to promote the Amiga in
its strongest area.  Ads will appear in VideoMaker, Camcorder, and in
February on MTV, ESPN and CNN, locally in the L.A. area.  Snappy looking
buttons are available from the AmiEXPO office.


Last year's Amiga World Special Issue on Video was (in my opinion) and
outstanding piece of work.  This year's promises to be even better, with
th plethora of new and improved Amiga video products available.

Last year's issue, however, replaced the January issue (if I remember
correctly) and was free to subscribers.  This year it is a separate issue
and Amiga World is asking $4.95 ($5.50 Canada, Mexico & Foreign surface;
$9.50 air mail) for this issue.  The issue will be published on February
11, 1992 and early orders get a demo disk of SCALA with the magazine.

I have no idea if the Video issue will be free to subscribers or not.
Check out the January issue of Amiga World (page 85) for details.


The following message was posted on Compuserve's Amiga User forum.

Fm: Tony Muscarella 70367,3321
To: All

Surprisingly, not everyone is trashing Commodore this holiday season.
Consider the following:

A recent article from Dow Jones/News Retrieval stated that Commodore stock
shot up more than 22 percent IN ONE DAY, December 23.  The price rise was
attributable to columistist Dan Dorfman in USA Today and CNN/CNBC, who said
that Commodore is the number 1 stock pick for 1992 of Standard and Poor's
Corp. stock analyst Larry Freitag.

Freitag is recommending Commodore for fundamental reasons and sees the stock
selling at $20. per share within 12 months.

But Freitag thinks it is also possible that 72 year old Irving Gould might
be amenable to a sale of the company.  Freitag thinks C= is a natural target
for a Japanese company because of it technology, and could be worth $32 per
share in a takeover.

 A spokesperson for Commodore says the takeover reference in the story is
"just speculation".

I pulled the text of this message off of Prodigy Monday evening.  Since the
article is copyrighted, I suggest that anyone who wishes the full article
check out either Dow Jones News Retrieval or Prodigy.

[Ed. -- In the last three days, Commodore's stock price on the NYSE has
        jumped from a little over $12/share to just under $17/share!]


The following message was posted as part of a large thread on CompuServe's
Amiga user forum.

Fm: Mark D. Manes 74030,744
To: Jim Ventola 70626,423

In a letter dated December 16, 1991 Geoff Stilley, Vice President of U.S.
Sales writes "Commodore has finalized its 1992 marketing and sales plans.
As we unfold these plans over the next several months, we hope to position
our products in a manner that will enable you to become more aggressive in
distince vertical markets.  In particular, Commodore will focus on the
presentation, education and government markets.  Thse markets in conjuntion
with Amiga products should enable you to take advantage of the unique
features and benefits of the Amiga when approaching these unique and
expanding industries.

[Skipped discussion about 'solution' packages]

Effective January 1, 1992 the SRP of the A2000C and A2000HD will be changed
as follows:

   A2000/C     SRP = $1,937  (This is a single drive A2000 no HD)
   A2000HD/P   SRP = $2,090  (This is the single drive with 50MB HD)


Folks, I am paraphrasing in places and not duplicating entire price tables
since it is meant for dealers eyes only.  However, the price change is real.



The Winter 1992 issue of the definitive Amiga product guide, AC'S Guide to
the Commodore Amiga is on the stands.  The 256 page monster catalog list
almost every Amiga product available, boasting listings on over 3100
products, 685 vendors and 375 user groups.

The cover has a nice picture of an Amiga 3000T and says "From A3000T to
CDTV".  Uh, am I blind, or was the *only* mention of the A3000T the
cover shot?  It's not listed with the other Amigas; not in the index and
not in the "Last Minute Additions".

Some of the more, um, unique entries in the catalog include:

 The Bit Knitter, an Amiga-knitting machine interface from Cochenille
 Computer Knit Products, Inc.

 Robotarm, a five axis, Amiga-controllable robot arm from Datel Computers.

 Symposium, full voice-mail card for A2000 by Pacific Digital.

 Pig Palace Data System, a record keeping system specifically for hog
 producers from James River Livestock and Equipment.

Looking for sometime out of the mainstream for your Amiga?  Look no
further!  This issue has (almost) everything imaginable for the Amiga.

[Ed. -- Unfortunatly I cannot honor any requests for further information
        on any product in this catalog.  Spend the $9.95 ($11.95 Canada)
        and buy the magazine yourself -- it is a fatastic investment for
        anyone considering an Amiga-related purchase in the future.]


The following message was left on CompuServe:


I'm looking for free-lance people with audio-visual staging experience and
basic computer skills who would like to earn some extra money.

The job involves setting up and operating an interactive computer system at
corporate meetings and functions on an occasional basis.

If you are interested, or know someone who might be, please contact:

                                Jon Bojicic
                                48 Netherford Road
                                Maple, Ontario
                                L6A 1C8 Canada
                                Phone or fax: (416) 832-7871
                                Email: COMPUSERVE ID# 71460,2023


Spectrum Holobyte has launched a series of virtual reality games under
their new subsidary, CyberStudio.  The product line is called Virtuality
and the first games are intended for arcades.

In Virtuality, players wear a seven-pound head piece and a four-pound
control unit around their waists.  The stand on a small platform while
connected to the game units.  Movements are controlled by the player's
hand movements on a specially designed joystick.

In the first generation of the games, the graphics are a bit blocky
and movements an be jerky.  Graphics are polygon-based, though they
will be updated as better technology comes out.

Consumers can expect to pay about $1 per minute to play.

Spectrum Holobyte expects to release the first Virtuality titles available
to personal computers in about three years.

[Ed. -- I contacted Spectrum Holobyte and asked what was being used to
 drive these units:  Intel-based, Macs, Amigas or custom hardware.  I was
 told that AMIGAS are being used for the graphics and control!  The exact
 response follows:

 "I believe the Virtuality systems are using a customized Amiga setup.  I
  don't know which cities the systems will be first appearing in.  I'm sure
  that when Gilman Louie, our CEO, referred to "home PC versions" he was
  referring to the personal computer market, rather than MS-DOS specifically."


I thought it might be nice to send something *good* about the Amiga for a
change.  This was posted by pat_meloy@outbound.wimsey.bc.ca

> Take heart! CBM US may not be doing anything but CBM Canada is. Here in
>British Columbia the Amiga is a supported OS in the educational system
>(Means schools are allowed to buy it and get support from the ministry)
>thanks to Mr. Reg Nordman (Educational representative) and the other hard
>working CBM People such as Geoffrey Hansen (Ex Universtiy of BC Student Rep
>and now regular CBM <insert 50 job descriptions here>). We have not only
>several elementary/high school/night school Amiga labs, but also special
>education labs for gifted children. Mr. Peter Findlay and Mr. Doug Colpitts
>both use AmigaVision along with several other packages (Dpaint, Digiview,
>PerfectSound, etc) in a one week long multi-media experience for elementary
>students. These students are picked from the brightest in the Vancouver
>area (two from a school with a total class size per session of about 16)
>and given full day instruction for the entire week.
> I've been present on the last day of one course and saw what kinds of
>things these kids were producing. I must say that even though I've been
>working on the Amiga for 3+ years and Sold them for about 2, I haven't done
>anything near what these grade 3-7 students pumped out!
> This program was put together by the Vancouver School board, gifted
>education dept.
> How is that for Educational inroads? Perhaps we should clone the CBM
>Vancouver staff and send them around the world eh?
>Pat Meloy
>Vancouver, British Columbia


The following message was posted in NewTek's section of the CompuServe
AmigaVendor forum.

Fm: Douglas Bullard 71330,214
To: All

Last Thursday we had Commodore visit our plant!  We are a fortune 500
aerospace company and a major NASA contraactor.  A  Mr. Burgress from
California came and explained how the Amiga can be used for interactive
multimedia.  He brought along a 3000, a CDTV, and some other goodies.

The funniest part of it all was when he showed the Newtek Toaster demo
tape.  We have a toaster being misused as a character generator in our
Video department.  (Boy, were they sore when they found out it was an
Amiga in sheep's clothing! [they're MAC/IBM guys up there]).  The guys
from Video flatley stated that it was _IMPOSSIBLE_ for the Toaster to
do the effects in the video, that they had to have a whole bunch of
other switchers, mixers, etc. to do what they saw.  Then they knocked
the quality of animation, claiming that it was inferior to what they
buy from a Salt Lake City company.  This went on for a while.  I finally
told them that if they coudn't get that sort of quality from theirs, it
either wasn't connected right or they didn't know how to use it.  This was
greeted warmly......until I told them about a friend of mine who has a video
company with about $150,000 of video equpment, and controls everything from
his Toaster via Ami-Link.  At this point their ears picked up, and they said,
"Really???  Could we talk to him???"......point of the storey is, you can
have some great equipment like the Toaster, and if the person trying to use
it is an idiot, you'll get GIGO...anyway, they're going to hire my friend
in as a consultant to show them what they're doing wrong.  Maybe they'll
give him some video business as a result.

"You mean there's an Amiga inside this Toaster!!  They didn't tell us that!"

Douglas Bullard


The popular AmigaDOS shell-alternative by Bill Hawes, creator of ARexx, is
about to get a major facelift according to beta testers.  Word on the nets
is that they have been given permission to list the new features.  Here is
a list of new features that I compiled from a couple of BIX messages:

    o No more Mountlist entries.  It comes with a program, DHOpts,
      which you run in your startup-sequence to have WShell take
      over CON:, etc.

    o WShell can be the System Shell.  This way, whether you use
      NewCLI, NewShell, or NewWSH, you get a WShell.

    o WShell can 'take over' the current window.  With a new
      keyword, INPLACE, WShell can take over the current window,
      instead of having to open a new one to get the WShell

    o DisplayHandler.  WShell can now put a scrollbar on your CLI
      window, so you can scroll backwards to read text that has
      gone off the screen.  Size settable to 32000 bytes of

    o Transparent support of DOS resident lists.  As well as WShell's
      own private Resi list, you can access any of the 'files' in
      the standard DOS resident list.  WShell is even smart enough
      to only add things on its own list (which gets searched before
      DOS's) which are better/faster/etc. than the standard DOS
      programs (referring to the builtin commands such as IF, etc.).

    o Works with both 1.3 and 2.0, taking advantage of 2.0 features
      wherever possible.

    o Implements both backtick (') and dollar-sign ($) variable
      expansion, just like 2.0.

    o Command history now has numbers, so you call back a specific
      command by number rather than typing part of it and searching.

    o WShell is now smarter about quoted lines.  The normal way to
      do a one-liner ARexx command in WShell was to start the line
      with a double-quote (").  This used to interfere with quoted
      filenames, however.  Now ARexx string files must include a
      semi-colon (;), or not include the closing " in order to be
      automatically sent to ARexx.

    o If you run FComp under 2.0, WShell windows are registered as
      AppWindows.  Drag an icon over the window and let go, and its
      name will appear in the window.  If the icon has a TOOLTYPE of
      "FILETYPE", FComp will recognise and use this to modify the
      line that appears in you window.  For instance, picture files
      could be dragged over a WShell window, dropped, and a file
      display program could be automatically called for that file.

    o The session history (the 32K max but settable buffer which
      records everything happens) can have a spill file which records
      what goes out.

    o You can paste from/to the clipboard to/from the command line.

    o The AppWindow interface lets you specify ``automatic'' actions
      for some filetypes, so that dropping an image file into a
      WShell window will start automagically your preferred
      viewer (which of course should be Mostra 8^).

    o The jump instruction lets you navigate with your shell
      through public screens!! Try JUMP NEXT POPUP and *poof*
      you're on turbotext screen!!

    o You can paste all the session content to the clipboard
      for further editing

    o Fcomp & PathMan are even better & faster than before, now
      they're really a must---I couldn't live without them.

    o You can have MENUS on each shell, which activete *everything*
      you'd like---visual attributes, special commands, external
      ARexx scripts... go wild!!

    o You have wildcard expansion with both the implicit
      and the explicit CD commands.

This is by no means a complete list.  Bill Hawes should be able to be
reached at the following addresses:

    BIX: Whawes
    CIS: 72230,267

US MAIL: P.O. Box 308
         Maynard, MA 01754


Byte's relationship to the Amiga community seems to me to be something like

BYTE TO AMIGA USER: (extending one hand to shake -- hiding the other
                    behind it's back)
                    "Of COURSE we'll cover more on the Amiga.  After all,
                     the Amiga is a powerful multimedia machine that
                     deserves respect!"

AMIGA USER: (turns to rest of Amiga users and says...)
            "See, they're not such a bad lot after all..."

BYTE: (revealing that other hand holds a baseball bat, proceeds to whack
       the Amiga user upside the head)

AMIGA USER TO BYTE: "What was THAT for?"

BYTE TO AMIGA USER: "Huh?  Oh, sorry.  It won't happen again.  Now, as I
                     was saying..."

Byte's December 1991 issue had a feature set on multimedia -- addressing
the problems of converting RGB to NTSC; genlocking; Desktop Video Production;
how multichip architectures are necessary for decent performance; etc.

There was a section on Apple's Quicktime, IBM's Personal Multimedia System
and Intel/IBM's new multimedia boards.

You read that right, not one #$@&@! word on the Amiga...not even the TOASTER!
Oh, excuse me, buried in the listing of multimedia product suppliers was
Commodore and AmigaVision.  Oh, yes.  Page 84SO-17 also had a "What's New"
blurb for ADPro 2.0s support for JPEG (it even had a picture!)

The articles "Chips Deliver Multimedia" and "Information's Human
Dimension" both screamed "AMIGA!" but apparently no one was listening.

To Tom Yager and Yongmin Kim, authors of the two articles, I offer
Douglas Barney's closing editorial statement in the January 1992 issue
of Amiga World -- "If I put your brain inside a penguin, the penguin
would walk backwards."

Irate letters (heck, print this article and mail it) can be sent to:

Letters Editor
One Phoenix Mill Lane
Peterborough, NH 03458

or send email on BIX to "editors".


The following message was posted in the ASDG section of the Amiga Vendor
forum on CompuServe.

Fm: ASDG 76004,1765

We need several quality animations (5 to 10 seconds in length @ 30 frames per
second) to appear in a  project we are working on. We need the actual 24 bit
frames used to create the anim not an Amiga displayable version.

We will pay for the ones we  use.   Cyclical anims (loops) are especially

To be considered, send  us  an  Amiga displayable   version (ie something
displayable with  showanim for instance) as a teaser.  We will select the
ones we want and contract for the actual 24 bit-plane version.

Anims can be of any subject, show us your best stuff!

For more information, contact me at 608 273 6585 or electronically.



The following message was left on Usenet.

 >Matt (Dillon),
 > What is the plan for your port of BSD 4.4 to the Amiga?  Is it going to
 >be a reasonably priced shareware product (like DICE)?  I'm very interested
 >in more information.

     It's gonna take around 5 months for me to do then be re-integrated
     into the final BSD 4.4 official release.

     This official release will run only on A3000's at the start, I expect
     that to change real fast as developers get their hands on it.

     It will be freeware!  But there are certain basic costs involved in
     getting it -- for example, the fact that it is at least 150MB --
     means that you will not be able to download it from anywhere, nor
     even ftp it easily.

     I will provide a cartridge tape (ala commodore 3070 tape drive) for the
     cost of the media, my time, postage, and drive wear.  I'm not sure what
     cartridges cost so can't give you a price yet, but it will not be too
     much.  Other people can setup their own distribution networks and, in
     fact, I will urge people to do so.



     Matthew Dillon         dillon@Overload.Berkeley.CA.US
     891 Regal Rd.          uunet.uu.net!overload!dillon
     Berkeley, Ca. 94708


The following message was left on Usenet...

>I get more than my fair share of junk mail from American Exress, and I
>can get a good laugh from some of the products that they want me to buy.
>I've seen everything from $500 Disney plates to... but I digress.  The other
>day I was looking through the junk mail, trying to to study, and I saw a
>familiar looking box.  They had 3-4 pages talking about how you could hook
>the 500 to your TV, and that it would be more than a game machine...
>Now, I realized that I'm biased, but I found this ad bordering
>Maybe it was the mention of the 4000+ colors that you could get if you buy
>the special (looked like a 1084) monitor.  Maybe it was that they spelled
>out Random Access Memory.  I kept thinking...  Someone recycled an old 64
>But maybe this isn't bad (they sold a lot of 64's...)
>                                     -Mitch
>ken_goldenberg@rpitsmts.bitnet |&| goldek@rpi.edu (SHAME, HUH?)

[Ed. --- Hmmm, Commodore sure likes "Express".  With Federal *Express*
         handling Commodore *Express* returns for repair and now American
         *Express* catalogs...]


Craig Aurness, former photographer for National Geographic and founder of
Westlight, said the recently introduced compact disc-interactive (CD-I)
is a "hot item" but the visual standards need to be improved for it to
catch on.

The Philips CD-I units were released in October for wide scale distribution
and are currently being marketed by retail outlets at a retail price of
just under $800.

The lack of clarity in the television display from CD-I is a weak point,
though some titles are sharper than others.  Slow response of some of the
CD-I software is also a problem.

"The CD-I industry has to embrace how visually sophisticated the average
person is today...these discs must not only have a high level of visual
beauty but they must also answer this key question, 'Will it be enough to
keep the consumer involved for repeat viewings?'"


George Carasco, a reporter for Pacific Computer Weekly in Australia says
that IBM's new version of OS/2 is slow, resource hungry and a disappointment.

OS.2 version 2.0 has been delayed until March of 1992 for public release,
but some 20,000 beta testers worldwide had a look at the final beta version

The beta version is shipped on 18 high-density disks and needs more than
40 Mb of hard disk space to install.

Carasco commented that, while his machine has 4 Mb of RAM it was very slow
to boot.  DOS applications ran in a window much slower than normal.  Windows
applications would run, but only in full-screen windows.  DOS and OS/2
applications would run in windows or from a command line.

Carasco also reported that multitasking wasn't perfect either -- sometimes
the system would freeze in one application and refuse access to other,
concurrent applications.  However, he says that the multitasking is still
better than Windows 3.0.


Professor Tadahiro Omi and Assistant Professor Tadashi Shibata of Tohoku
University in Japan have developed a new type of transistor chip.

Normal transistor chips have a single switching feature, representing
either on (binary 1) or off (binary 0).  The new chip has multiple
states and can represent various levels of status instead of just on/off,
allowing it to produce more subtle responses.  The new transistor chip
can also perform addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

This transistor is said to save space and circuits since it requires only
28 transistors to create a logic circuit of a 4-bit analog-digital converter.
Some 398 units of transistors are required to build the same circuit with
conventional transistors. The transistor also processes calculations almost ten
times faster than conventional transistors, according to the researchers.

This "super" transistor will be officially announced at the International
Electronic Device Conference in Washington on December 11.


Microsoft is polishing the final beta version of Windows 3.1 for release
to the general public in April of 1992.  The new version adds a set of
multimedia extenstions; improved TrueType fonts; more automatic recognition
of DOS applications during installation; new wallpaper; new drivers and fixes
to the SmartDrive disk cache.

DR-DOS 6.0 doesn't work properly with Windows 3.1 and Microsoft couldn't
care less.  Despite ongoing antitrust investigations into Microsoft's
alledged monopoly in the DOS market, the company refuses to help Novell/DRI
in finding the problems with MS-DOS competitor DR-DOS 6.0 and the final
beta version of Windows 3.1.


An agreement between the Open Software Foundation and Unix International has
been made on the subject of Japanese-language applications software for Unix

Japan is the first country where the two rival organizations have agreed on
one standard.

The new standards are based on codes adopted in the Japan Industrial
Standards, including 12,000 kanji characters.


While most retailers are experiencing one of the slowest holiday shopping
seasons in recent history, the retails sales of personal computers and
related peripherals are growing at an astounding rate.

Personal Technology Research has said that "Sales in October were up 50
percent over last year and early figures indicate that sales kept pace in

Roger Lanctot, research director at PTR was also quoted as saying "A personal
computer is an extremely practical gift that can be used to earn extra money
or even help hang onto a job."


The US Census Bureau has selected the University of Maryland's Science and
Technology Center in Bowie, Md., as the site of its new supercomputer center.

The $750 million facility initially will employ 75 to 100 people.

The Census Bureau said the University of Maryland at College Park will use
the supercomputer during off-peak times, a value to the university of about
$6 million annually.


The U.S. House of Representatives' Government Operations subcommittee on
government information, justice and agriculture has has brought into being
an electronic bulletin board system designed to allow easy reporting of
fraud, waste and abuse in government operations.

Anyone with a computer and a modem can call the BBS (202/225-5527) and
report alledged incidents.  Messages can be posted 24 hours a day, and
can be anonymous or signed.  Congressional investigators will read the
messages daily and investigate complaints.


Philips Consumer Electronis has begun shipping a low cost 20-inch monitor
under its Magnavox label.

The Magnascan/20 is priced just under $2,000.  It automatically adapts to
horizontal scan frequencies from 30 to 64 KHz and refresh rates from 50 to
90 times per second.

The monitor sports a 19-inch diagonal viewing area with a 0.31 mm dot pitch
for large, high-quality imaging.  The maximum resolution is 1280x1024 in
non-interlaced mode.  The powersupply automatically adjusts to AC voltages
between 98 and 264 volts for worldwide compatibility.


A new expansion card from Hauppauge Computer Works allows a tuned video
signal (PAL or NTSC) to be placed inside of a resizable, draggable display
window in a Windows 3.0 graphical environment.

An optional on-the-card tuner is available.

The card uses its own microprocessor and only 30 K of memory.  The display
is independent of any application running and does not interfere with the
computer (short of those few programs that require all 640k of DOS memory).

On-screen controls provide user-accessable adjustment of color saturation,
color balance, hue, brightness and contrast.  An external speaker jack is
also included.

Frame grabbing software allows for the freezing of a single frame of
video or actual saving in .BMP or Targa formats.

A VGA passthru is used to solve the problem of VGA not being able to handle
real-time updates of video.

Win/TV is available for $495 ($100 extra for the T.V. tuner) and requires
Windows 3.0, and a VGA monitor and adapter.

Upto two Win/TV systems can coexist in one computer.

[Ed. -- Sounds a lot like GVP's Impact Vision card except that VGA is 256
        colors out of 262,000+ and the GVP card does 4096 colors out of
        16.7 million in PIP mode.  GVP's also supports full-video screens
        (non-PIP) at true-color levels.  GVP's board also cost $2,000!]


Sound Source Unlimited has made an agreement with Paramount pictures to
offer sound samples from the original Star Trek television series available
to Macintosh computer users for use during everyday computing tasks.

The sounds consist of actual character dialogue, sound effects and music
cues that can be "attached to" and played when the Mac user performs tasks
like inserting or ejecting disks, powering up, and opening/closing windows.

All of the original Star Trek actors -- Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner,
James Doohan, Nichelle Nichols, DeForrest Kelley, and George Takei -- are
represented in each volume.

There are two volumes of sounds: Volume I, The Logical Collection, is sounds
any Star Trek viewer would know, while Volume II, The Final Frontier, is for
more serious Star Trek fans, with sounds of bridge buttons, for instance.

The sounds are preconfigured, meaning the user copies the software from the
disks into the Mac's system folder, and once the computer is restarted the
sounds are already configured to certain activities, Lane said. Users have the
option of changing or moving the sounds via instructions in a detailed manual
that comes with the volumes, Lane added.

Softkat in Chatsworth, California is distributing the volumes, which started
shipping recently and are already available from Macintosh mail order houses
like Mac Connection, Mac Warehouse, and Dr. Mac, Sound Source said. Retail
pricing is $49.95 per volume, the company added.

Sound Source, based in Westlake Village, California, describes itself as
focused on the MIDI music field for the Macintosh and has been producing
design software for music synthesizers for companies like Yamaha.

                  AMReport International Online Magazine
     Available through more than 10,000 Private BBS systems WorldWide!
 AMReport              "YOUR INDEPENDENT NEWS SOURCE"     December 26, 1991
 16/32bit Magazine            copyright 1991                    Volume 1.19

 *  From the disk of: | jms@vanth.uucp                 | I'm in a groove now
 Jim Shaffer, Jr.     | uunet!cbmvax!vanth!jms         | -- or is it a rut?
 37 Brook Street      | jms%vanth@cbmvax.commodore.com |
 Montgomery, PA 17752 | 72750.2335@compuserve.com      | (Rush, "Face Up")