April 1987 MAGazine Volume 3 Number 4

Table Of Contents

Dear Aunt Byte

Advice to the Computer-worn

by Abigail van Byte

Dear Aunt Byte,

I bought my Amiga because the salesman told me it was the easiest computer to use currently on the market. Well, I've had mine for several days now and no matter what tone of voice I use when speaking into the little mouse, it ignores me! Is my Amiga defective or what?

Live long and prosper,
Scotty, San Francisco.

Dear Scotty,

Sounds like it to me. Maybe you should take it back to the store and exchange it for the new Amiga 9000. I think its more of the computer you were expecting. With the aid of its 8.5 Gigabyte memory, the Heuristic Amiga Language interface makes the 9000 seem much more anthropomorphic. But try not to talk to another human within sight of its visual scanners, as the positronic circuits seem inclined toward paranoia.

Dear Aunt Byte,

I'm having a problem getting a disk directory listing on my Amiga. Every time I issue the command: LOAD"$",8 I get the message: "Unknown command." What am I doing wrong?

Jim Butterfield, Toronto.

Dear J. B.,

Nothing. LOAD"$",8 followed by the LIST command on a separate line is, of course, the standard method for listing a disk directory on a Commodore computer. You have to realize that the Amiga is a very new machine and some bugs still exist in its operating system. Commodore has issued a bulletin describing how to patch the operating system to fix this particularly nasty bug. Before issuing the standard Commodore directory command, type: RENAME C:LIST "C:LOAD*"$*",8" and press return. This should fix your problem. Note, however, that you will not be able to type the second half of the standard directory command, LIST. Commodore hasn't been able to figure out a simple way to introduce this part of the command yet but hope to have that worked out by version 1.3 of the Workbench.

Dear Aunt Byte,

I am a professional programmer trying to write a program that will allow the standard IBM PC to perform true multi-tasking without introducing additional hardware. Can you suggest a simple method to multi-task a program?

Peter Norton, Boca Raton.

Dear Pete,

To begin a second task after the first one has already begun, return to the Workbench screen by clicking the front/back gadget if necessary, then double click another icon.

Dear Aunt Byte,

But a standard IBM doesn't have windows, much less front/back gadgets! How do I multitask if I don't have a mouse?

Pete again.

Dear RE-Pete,

Sorry, I misunderstood. Type "RUN " before the name of the program.

Dear Aunt Byte,

Oh.

Thanks, Pete.

Amiga News

Commodore in the Crossfire

by Salvador Diga

In a recent move to expand its product line and compete with the increasing use by business of the mouse/window approach of the Macintosh line of computers, IBM has shown a marked interest in acquiring Commodore in order to add the Amiga to its line of personal computers.

In typical tight-lipped IBM fashion, executives of both companies were not discussing the rumored takeover, but inside sources reveal that the top IBM lawyers thought that a buy-out of Apple Computer would raise too many questions on the part of the SEC. In addition, IBM technical personnel believe the Amiga to be a better machine with a more open structure and better interface already in place to handle the MS/PC DOS requirements of any addition to the IBM personal computer line.

Club Stuff

Our Disk Library

By Joe Hacker, Librarian

It's been a rather slow month for the library. I'm afraid we've only been able to add six new disks to our collection. So I'd like to take this opportunity to again ask our members to send me copies of your new software for inclusion in our club's disk library. Thus far, we have only about 137 disks, and most of them are games. Pleeeze send your disks! Especially the productivity stuff. We need your help if our library is to be a success.

Here's a list of our new disks:

King's Quest I A graphic adventure game from Sierra Online.
King's Quest II ditto.
King's Quest III ditto again.
S.D.I An arcade style game from CinemaWare.
Sinbad ditto.
Misc_Junk Some more of that public domain and shareware junk.

Ordering Informations:

To order any of our club disks just send $5 per disk to Joe Hacker (add $5 more per disk if you want me to Xerox the instruction manuals).

Welcome!

The Memphis Amiga Group would like to welcome two new members to our ranks:

Joining at our March general meeting was Thomas Rattigan. Although Tom is relatively new to computing, having become interested in computers only recently, he has high hopes for improving his knowledge of computing through the Amiga. Tom plans to use his Amiga in his work. He is chief executive officer of a large firm which manufactures small business machines.

Joining at our Hardware SIG's March meeting was Steve Wozniak. Steve recently bought an Amiga after he and his close friend Steve Jobs tried to build a computer of their own design from old Hewlett-Packard computer parts. "We had the know-how, but I guess we just didn't have enough vision," Steve W. was overhead to say. Steve said he had a very good time at the Hardware meeting and wants everyone to know he would like to be called "Woz."

Want to win an Amiga 2000 and $500 OR an Amiga 500 and $2000? Well, all you have to do is take a 3 x 5 inch piece of plain white paper and write your name, address and telephone number on it, then ..(continued on page 5).

IN OTHER NEWS...

In a recent move to get some free national attention, CBM (Commodore Business Machines) has sent a new fully equipped, pre-production Amiga 2000 to President Ronald Reagan.

A Commodore spokesman stated that the Amiga, with its Intuition/Workbench interface should be easy even for the President to handle and added that the new 1.2 notepad should make it convenient for Mr. Reagan to make notes of those important items that are so easily forgotten by busy national leaders. The President's press secretary refused official comment except to say that the President was intrigued by Balance of Power and SDI.

Commodore stock closed at $63.50 last Friday. Commodore officials announced on immediate stock split of 10 for 1. The reason given for this split was that their bankers were worried by this high stocks pricing. They seemed to fear that someone might mistake Commodore for a high tech growth industry.

Upgrades

Good news for all of you A1000 owners who wants to step up to the new Amiga 2000 (and step down to IBM compatibility?).

Commodore/Amiga announced yesterday a A1000 trade-in program that will let us pioneering Amiga owners exchange our early model Amigas for the newly relased 2000. Although the Amiga 2000 is not a revolutionary new machine (note Byte magazine's decision not to make its release their March cover story), if you plan to expand your Amiga by adding extra memory or a hard disk, the 2000's 9 slots will make things a bit easier. So, eager to get all the necessary details of the conversion process for my own Amiga upgrade, I called C/A this morning.

For a small exchange fee and return of unnecessary components for your old Amiga, Commodore will send you a complete A1000 to A2000 upgrade kit. Representatives at C/A say that installation is quick and easy, even for us technophobes who might normally have trouble replacing a light bulb, and they promise a non-toll free number to call should you have problems.

To upgrade, you will need to replace your current A1000 motherboard with the new A2000 board, which includes the expansions slots needed for the optional A2088 Bridge board (the IBM emulator card). Although the A2000 motherboard is included in the upgrade kit, the A2088 is not. If you want the A2088 option you will need to add $499 to the cost of your upgrade kit. You'll also be receiving the larger, more powerful power supply, and will need to install it in the new case. I guess I forgot to mention, that since the A2000 motherboard and power supply are considerably larger than the older Amiga's board and power supply, the kit must be installed. After removing the internal 3.5 inch drive from you old Amiga and installing it in the new A2000 upgrade case, all that is left to do is connect the various power and ribbon cables to wherever they are supposed to go, close up the case, plug in the redesigned A2000 keyboard (included at no extra cost) and voila! You now have an upgraded A1000.

If you'd like to order your Amiga upgrade kit, send $1499 (plus $13 for shipping and handling) along with your Amiga 1000 motherboard, power supply, cabinet and keyboard, (do not send your mouse or disk drive) to Commodore/Amiga. Ask for "The A1000 to A2000 Upgrade Kit." Please allow four to six weeks for delivery.

(Oh, I almost forgot, the folks at C/A asked me to be sure and remind you that, as with any hardware modification, installation of the A1000 upgrade kit will void your Amiga warranty.)

In a related announcement, Commodore has announced an Amiga monitor upgrade kit which will allow you to modify your old Amiga monitor to perform like the new long-persistance A2080 monitor. No details were available from my contacts at this time but they predicted a nominal cost of about $499 plus shipping and handling.

the Rumor Monger

Commodore Business Machines President and C.E.O. Thomas J. Rattigan announced today that Commodore has completed purchase of a controlling interest in Atari Computers. He stated that they would use the assembly facilities to manufacture Amiga series personal computers but that the existing Atari ST line would be discontinued as they were not technically competitive with the Amiga series and too slow for any really serious applications. He stated that the remaining large stock of Atari ST machines were being sold to Nintendo for parts salvage to use in their line of video games.

With CBM continuing to stake everything on the Amiga series computers, Mr. Rattigan said that future development would continue. The previously announced drive for MS-DOS compatibility is a short-term, stop-gap measure as they see no future for this outdated operating system.

A new Amiga dealer has opened their doors in Memphis. Operating under the name Elite Systems, they are located at 5080 Poplar. The manager, Mr. Neal April states that they will be carrying the Amiga computer line exclusively and will offer the widest selection of software and peripheral equipment available at up to 50% discounts from suggested list prices. These discounts include hardware also. As a special introductory offer they will have 1 megabit RAM chips for $6.35 each for you memory board builders. Also, all Electrical Arts software will be discounted 70% during the first week's grand opening - April 1-6, 1987. Be sure to check it out!

Kickstart/Workbench 1.3d "The Accelerator" will be available shortly. In addition to speeding up disk access by a factor of 5, it will implement multi-user operations integral with the multi-tasking operating system. Many other additions and improvements are also included. The entire package is written in assembler rather than BCPL so that all commands are much smaller and execute far faster.

Pope Paul Carl II (known to his friends as PC II) today became the firsst pontiff to officially recognize Silicon Valley. In granting the computer Church sanction, the Pope promised that the Catholic Church would soon go online. Meanwhile, the other religions were also scrambling to go online so as not to be outdone. Rabbi Schlomo Tschun, leader of Jews for Computing announced they are developing a computer that can "determine the net value of each Bar Mitzvah gift as it is given and also dance with the unmarried aunts." Muslim programers were designing a computer that can only process if its display screen faces east. Buddhist system designers were developing a computer that uses a ying/yang binary code and can meditate for hours without abending.

After months of rumors, Mattel earlier this week became the first company to unveil a 0-bit microcomputer. Mattel's revolutionary 0-bit concept is based on a lead/wood proprietary bus, color graphics and a hand-held printer. The 0-bit can support graphics as detailed as the operator's vision, with a storage memory as large as the human mind. In a daring new marketing ploy, Mattel said it will sell the 0-bit in 5-and-10 cent stores. "We think we can bring it in at under $4, but the best thing about the 0-bit is it will be the only computer with an erase button you can chew on". Now, that's Power without the Price!

A new company has started up recently that just may have the services you've been looking for. To quote from their ads, "Got bad credit? Been fired before? Or just didn't like your last report card? Come to us, we understand you. You see, all important information is stored by nasty old computers.

Amazing Computing magazine will have yet another of their hardware construction projects in the next issue. This will be a home anti-satellite laser system controlled by your Amiga. The project is fairly straightforward requiring only minimal soldering skills and except for the software can be easily completed in several evenings. This will require your typing in a short program from the magazine. The program is written in AmigaBasic and is only 1.3 million lines of code. The software does give full intuition support though including a wide assortment of pull down menus and the use of all 4096 colors as all screens are drawn in HAM mode. They said their next project would be a Genesis device.

Club events and updates

April's Calendar of Events

Saturday Apr 11 1:00 PM - The Memphis Amiga Group's general meeting will be held at the State Technical Institute at 5983 Macon Cove in the meeting room of the Mid-South Microcomputer Resource Center on the second floor of the Freeman Building, (between the library and the cafeteria). Spreadsheet programs will be the major topic. David Head will demonstrate Logistix. Joe Kligel will demonstrate Maxiplan. Anyone who has Analyze, VIP, or another Amiga spreadsheet to demo please call Audrey at (901) 755-4641. The newest Cinemaware games from Mindscape, SDI and Sinbad, will also be shown.

Saturday Apr 11 & Sunday Apr 12 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM - The Commodore Association SouthEast (C.A.S.E.) will hold its annual conference and show at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee. Most of the show is to be devoted to the Commodore 64 and 128 computers but some Amiga vendors are expected to display. If you want more information about the show, call (615) 834-5679, or see Keith's article. Tickets are $10.

Saturday Apr 18 2:00 PM - The Hardware SIG will meet at Mike Leeson's home to further discuss assembly plans for the dual 3.5 inch disk drives. If you have an Amiga hardware project you've been working on, and would like to share your knowledge or ask for help, please bring it to the meeting. Call Mike at (901) 794-1465 if you need directions.

EDITORIALLY SPEAKING

April Fool! Did we get any of you? I hope everyone enjoyed the April Fools' Day special issue of MAGazine.

I didn't have a chance for the staff lawyers to look over the mechanical before going to press, so I don't feel exactly safe in revealing the names of the perpetra..er writers of our special issue, but a load of thanks to them for putting their reputations on the line.

Several people had to do double duty the last two weeks of March in order to get out two (count 'em) two big issues in the normal time that we usually do one.

In this issue we have messages from the president with notes on upcoming events of importance. Howard updates things at the Duck Pond. Master gamester Todd Eifert reviews Ogre; both versions. Ron McCalla found an inexpensive track ball that thinks it's a mouse. Keith Burns has the details of the C.A.S.E. Convention in Nashville. Steve Gaines gleaned the boards for lots of rumors while providing hints for everyone from the game player to the business minded.

There's news from the Hardware SIG and we landed six new members last month (sorry, no refunds), bringing total membership to 47, give or take a spouse or two.

THE PREZ SEZ

I just wanted to make some comments about the March general meeting and also the upcoming April meeting, April 11th.

Our thanks to Tom Jones for his demonstration using his midi interface and keyboards to dazzle us with the sounds produced with Deluxe Music Construction Set. I, for one, did not fully appreciate until hearing his demo what one can do with a synthesizer, and it was fun hearing some of the different sounds. Keith Burns and a friend had collaborated with Tom to work up some songs using two keyboard, and a drum machine. Unfortunately, Keith's friend was unable to attend the March meeting, so perhaps at a future meeting we will get the full blown effect.

Also at the March meeting there was general discussion of how to use arc, the availability of ram expansion, and the addition of 7 new disks to the MAG Library.

We look forward to the April meeting as an opportunity to demonstrate some of the various spreadsheet products. We hope to demo Logistix, MaxiPlan, and if anyone volunteers, any other spreadsheet. Please call me if you'd care to share some info with the group. Also, if there is something you'd like to discuss, please don't hesitate to mention it at the meeting.

Well, see you at the next meeting!

Hardware Sig News

The Hardware Sig met at Broadus and JoAnne Weatherall's house on March 21st. Most of the discussion centered on building a latch circuit to control up to two more disk drives for the Amiga. Mike Leeson had already built such a circuit to power one drive and demonstrated that it really works. He is working on further enhancements to his plans. Keith Burns offered to meet with Mike before the next meeting to draw up the schematic using Deluxe Paint II. Audrey McCalla agreed to call for prices on the drives and power supply, and report back at the next meeting.

Tom Jones and Keith brought their midi interfaces built using the public domain plans, and offered to help anyone else interested in building one. Broadus tried using his power supply and 5 1/4" drive with Mike's latch circuit, and successfully demonstrated that Mike's circuit will even work with 40-track IBM compatible drives.

Since this was the first meeting of the hardware sig, those present elected Mike Leeson to be the chairman of the group. We also voted to meet at Mike's house next month, April 18th. If you have a hardware project that you'd like to share with the group, please join us at the next meeting.

MAG Reviews - hard & soft

Zebra Systems Trackball

by Ron McCalla

I saw an ad last week in Computer Shopper Magazine for Wico Trackball Controllers for $19.95. Wico trackballs have been around for a while and last year I saw some on sale for around $10, but what caught my eye about this ad was that these trackballs had been modified to work as Amiga mouse controllers. That is, the connections to the mouse port were changed to make the Amiga think this was a mouse rather than a trackball, and the trackball could be used as a direct replacement for the mouse at any time. Such games as EA's Marble Madness have special options for using a trackball, but with this arrangement I would be able to use the trackball with any game, or even the workbench if I wished.

So I decided to take a chance. I ordered the trackball by phone using a VISA number and only four days later UPS delivered it to my door. Good service.

The package was heavily taped and hard to open and I felt like a kid at Christmas trying to tear my way into the box, but finally I got it open. Inside was a large black and red plastic case (about 6" x 4" x 2") with the cue ball-sized controller in the middle. It was heavy and had two (different-sized) buttons in the upper left corner. I unplugged my mouse and inserted the trackball's connector in its place. I spun the ivory ball and... WHAP! The Amiga's pointer flew hard against the right side of the Workbench screen! (Well, I guess it works better than I expected.) I next tried using the two buttons for clicking icons and selecting menu items. No problem there. The larger button worked as the mouse's left button, while the smaller button acted like the mouse's right one.

So much for the preliminary testing. Next I loaded up Marble Madness and selected "mouse" (rather than trackball) as the type of controller. The Wico trackball seemed to make it a little easier to control the marble on such things as ice and getting past the blowers, but the mouse offered finer control negotiating those narrow paths along the parapets. Anyway, I tired it with the Flight Simulator, Gridiron, and a few other arcade style games, and found it worked well.

My overall impression of this trackball is good. The drawbacks are that it is large and takes up nearly as much desk space as a small mousepad, also I would have preferred "Amiga color" to the jet black and blood red that Wico seems to use with most of their products. More importantly, it's definitely not a one-hand-operated controller. To use it to access menus you need to spin the ball with your right hand while holding down the small button with your left, so I can't recommend it as a perfect replacement for the mouse. But for games, the trackball lets you lean back in your chair and PLAY! With the trackball's five foot cord, you're no longer tied to your desk by the mouse and its need for a smooth flat surface to roll across.

The modified Wico trackball is available for $19.95 (+ $3 shipping) from:

Zebra Systems, Inc.
78-06 Jamaica Avenue
Woodhaven, NY 11421.

Call (718) 296-2385 for more information, or check the ad in the April '87 Computer Shopper magazine, page 263. If you order one be sure to specify the Amiga mouse version; Zebra also sells an Amiga joystick version and other versions for other computers.

Ogre Cubed

by Todd Eifert

Before I was a computer user I was a gamer. My friends and I played games ranging from Dungeons & Dragons to Squad Leader. From the day I bought my first computer I wanted versions of those games in software form to take out the drudgery of record keeping and set up. Finally two versions of the popular microgame Ogre are available to the Amiga user.

Ogre is a game of strategy set in the near future where cybernetic tanks are being used in tactical warfare. The cybernetic tank or Ogre as it is affectionately called is a monstrous thinking machine equipped with batteries of artillery cannon, nuclear missiles, and anti-personal armaments. It exists solely to destroy the enemy. Along with the formidable Ogre are various conventional weapons such as tanks, missile launchers, Howitzer cannon, and the GEV. Ground Effect Vehicles are hovercraft with the ability to quickly move in and out of combat. The game is played on a crater strewn battlefield with the sole Ogre trying to advance into enemy territory and crush the headquarters. The game is very simple as each player takes turns moving, firing, and then letting the other side do the same. Victory occurs when either the Ogre or headquarters is destroyed.

The first computer version for the Amiga was the marketed version. It is a port from the Apple machines and so therefore lacks detailed graphics and sound that Amiga can offer. It utilizes the mouse and has a few pull down menus but they are not very useful or well organized. The games plays well and has the option of playing the computer or another player. Setup is simple as each side picks his forces and places them on the battlefield. There are several preset battlefields and ground forces. I really like the ability to use preset forces as this saves tremendous time and makes the game more balanced. The game plays much like the original but doesn't allow the solitary player to operate an Ogre. I feel this is a serious flaw for the beginner since you can't learn how the computer successfully uses each unit as you would if you are playing a human opponent. Some of the windows get a little tedious after a while after having to select an option and then exit each one (i.e. more mouse effort than necessary). The computer Ogre plays very well and I've found it very hard to beat it without using a much larger attack force. Overall I found the version to be fun to play but disappointing in the graphics and sound department.

A public domain version of Ogre exists which corrects a few of the errors of the much costlier other one. It uses the standard character set for graphics so it is even worse looking. The game play is very similar but I haven't played it very much to find out what its limits are. One nice advantage is its playfield layout. It occupies one screen while the other version had a poor scrolling screen which detracted from play. If the game sounds interesting to you I would suggest playing the PD version and if you really enjoy it you might look at the costlier version and see if you need the few frills it offers. The original pocket version is also available and costs only around five dollars.

C.A.S.E.

by KEITH BURNS

Well, it's that time of year again, and I am sure that all of you have seen that bright yellow sign announcing the "THE 1987 COMMODORE SHOW." This show is sponsored by C.A.S.E. (Commodore Association South/East), and will include demonstrations on the 128, 64 and my favorite, THE AMIGA. I called the president of C.A.S.E. to get a run down on the Amiga displays, talks and demos. I had to beg and plead to get this information and here it is. The following is a list of known "Amiga People" that will be at the show.

COMPANY REP/DISPLAY
Scan Am Enterprises Niel ??????
Byte by Byte vendor
Money Machine Don Vanderventor
Xetec vendor
Freespirit Software vendor
Disk Tronics vendor
Programmer Magazine ???????
Digi Tek vendor
Prism Software vendor
Micro-Systems Software vendor/Ester Apple
Jim Butterfield Speaker
Commodore Pete Baczor
Madison Music Midi Interfacing
InControl Dick Armstrong
Ratain Computers Inc vendor
R & L Products vendor

Darren Sneed will demonstrate a VCR connected to Amy, I believe this will be a digital VCR with Genlock.

This information is the latest that I have been able to obtain, and is somewhat incomplete. The person I talked to said that the final itinerary will not be completed until the day before the show due to last minute entries. Many of the vendors listed will have displays, and some will have representatives which will speak, but all of the details were unknown at this time.

Additionally, C.A.S.E. recommends the following hotels for the show. This is not a complete list, and if you need more information, or more names of hotels call me (Keith Burns) at (901) 756-8514.

Hotel Location
Opryland Hotel
(615) 889-1000
Briley Parkway
Holiday Inn
(615) 883-9770
Briley Parkway
Drury Inn
(615) 361-6999
Briley Parkway
Ramada Inn
(615) 889-0800
Briley Parkway
Days Inn
(615) 885-2372
Briley Parkway
Ramada Inn South
(615) 834-4242
Harding Place

The Ramada Inn South's rooms are $32.00 for one night for 2 people, and is approximately 10-15 min. from the show.

Tips & Techniques

by STEVE GAINES

SDI...I can offer the following tips: 1) Re-dock as necessary due to fuel, shield or radar/scanner damage. 2) Ignore calling-up messages...it's a waste of time once you know what it'll say. 3) Keep those satellites repaired! (I just fly around my base, shooting enemy ships, while I wait for the next satellite to need repair.) 4) Don't worry about shooting down ALL the enemy ships until you've rescued Commander Kazarian. 5) Despite what the manual says, the only way I finished SDI without any missiles reaching their target was to use PULSE mode with the PRIMARY satellite. Pulse mode allows you multiple shots at a missile vs. a single shot using BEAM. Now, after you've become proficient at docking, repairing satellites, etc. and you finally manage to knock-out all the missiles, don't hold your breath for a grand finale...there isn't one.


I found this patch for Transformer on A-Link BBS in Seattle this week. It allows you to use the Transformer with 1.2! I have tried it with several programs I had laying around and have had no problems with any of them. No guarantees though! It will not allow you to have extra memory configured in the system. If you have your kickstart in ROM just forget to use the addmem when booting. If you have a board plugged into the buss, remove it. I haven't been able to try it with the internal hack, since I don't have that in my machine.

Here goes! With FileZap or some similar utility edit a backup of the ATI file from yourTransformer disk.

File offset Old value New value
0081 6A B8
010F 0C 10
0121 24 20
0133 28 2C
0145 2C 30
0173 6A B8
0179 6A B8

Caution !!!!!!!!!!!!!! Silent Service the submarine simulator appears to have two known bugs.

One is very serious and only occurs if you have 512 k. The bug occurs intermittently and is related to copy protection. Apparently the program doesn't check memory usage to well on 512k amigas. And after playing game for awhile 5-25 times, its trashes the copy protection when updating the hall of fame. You have to return disk after this. The one solution I got from my dealer was to unplug external drive (with power off) then boot up game. This frees up a little memory that the external drives needs. So far I haven't trashed my second disk yet using this method.

The other bug occurs when on bridge. The game locks up. So stay off the bridge. Use the periscope.

I Don't know if I will receive an update, but my dealer says microprose is aware of problem. All in all the game is excellent and I would recommend it if it was bug free.

Quack!

The DUCK Pond

Copyright 1987 by Howard Duck

If you've been wondering where I've been, don't ask me, 'cause last thing I remember, I was at DisneyWorld chatting with my old pal Donald, and this guy in a purple suit wearing a bell for a hat walked up to ask Don for his autograph. Its all kinda hazy after that until I woke up back home this week with a strange pain in my lower back. Oh well, maybe it'll all make sense some day, but for now let's just go on as though nothing ever happened. I'm under a lot of pressure to get this stupid column out by tomorrow, so here goes...

Recently two 1200 baud modems which I personally considered pretty good bargains became even better bargains. They are the ADC MD1202 and the Avatex 1200. I've described both of these in previous columns.

The ADC is a totally Hayes compatible 1200 baud modem similar to the Prometheus Promodem. This is one modem I can vouch for its total Hayes compatibility, since I use an ADC with my bulletin board system. While a FIDO BBS won't run with some modems claiming Hayes compatibility, it runs well with the ADC. The ADC also has a few features not included on some other modems. The primary feature being an internal clock which can be set or read by software on the Amiga. When I bought my ADC from DAK about 18 months ago it cost me about $180 plus shipping, handling, and the cost of a cable. DAK recently sent me a new catalog and they've lowered the price to $129 including some CompuServe time!

The Avatex 1200 was a near compatible, lacking a speaker and some of the less necessary AT commands such as the S register commands. It is still selling for around $100 or less but Avatex has added a new model, the 1200HC, which supposedly is totally Hayes Compatible. The new model claims to support the complete AT command set including the S register commands. The newer more compatible Avatex sells for about $100 to $130 from several mail order companies.

MAGazine

MAGazine
Memphis Amiga Group
Box 381462
Memphis, TN 38183-1462

MAGazine is published monthly by the Memphis Amiga Group, a non-profit organization offering assistance to fellow Amiga owners and those interested in the Amiga.

More than just Rumor

by STEVE GAINES

Let's see...what new rumors and information have I heard this month? Well, for starters, SubLogic has an upgrade available for Flight Simulator II. This is a free upgrade. Send your original disk to the following address:

SubLOGIC Corporation
713 Edgebrook Drive
Champaign, IL 61820
Attn: Amiga FS-II Upgrade

Marauder II from Discovery Software has been upgraded once again. Registered owners can now go online on Discovery's BBS to download new upgrades and new Brain files that will automatically copy (and unprotect in many cases) new programs as they are released.

There's a good bit of new software released lately. Some that I've seen include SDI, Winter Games, Silent Service, Promise, Goldspell, Sinbad, Aegis Artpak 2, CliMate, Zing, and Pro-Midi 1.4. I'm sure there are others also. One of the best of these is Promise. A strange name but, good software. It's a spell-checker and will handle any type file, including TextCraft, without any special save requirements. It has a 95,000 word dictionary which is RAM resident so that it is fast. Did I say fast? Well, yes at a rate of 18 words per second it sails right along. And has unlimited user dictionaries also. Overall, a very good product for $49.00 list.

As for public domain software....it just keeps getting better and better. Some excellent programs I've seen & used lately include CNVPSFONT, a little utility that converts C-64 PrintShop fonts to Amiga fonts. It works like a charm with all fonts from the Print Shop Companion and Holiday Edition. I've also been using BlitzFont, a program that dramatically speeds up text rendering on screen. This is a shareware program that does the same thing as FastFonts, a $50 program from MicroSmiths. The PeopleLink ACO project is almost ready for Visual Conferencing! It really looks neat so far. Another good program out is the ASDG recoverable RAM disk. This program allows you to set up a RAM disk that will survive reboots and GURU's. Although the program is shareware, it is well worth the small donation.

One problem which has arisen lately is programs which are not in the public domain appearing on various online services and BBS systems across the country. One case in point is a program called SURVIVOR.ARC. This is a recoverable RAM disk program that is far superior to the ASDG program listed above. BUT, it is NOT public domain; it is in fact a beta copy of a commercial product to be marketed by Pacific Cypress. They have requested that it be removed from all systems where it has been uploaded. Let's all cooperate by trying to refrain from uploading programs that have questionable sources. And, if we do upload a program and later find out that there is a problem, be sure to notify the sysop of the system so that the program in question can be removed.

If you're not a member of PeopleLink, you're missing out on some of the most interesting online conferences going. Every Sunday night finds in excess of 90 members in live conference. Some of the recent guests have included R.J. Mical (father of Intuition), Steve Grant (ASDG Engineering), Perry Kivolowitz (Technisoft), Peggy Herrington (CBM), among others. These conferences are lively, to say the least and an excellent source on new information (as well as many rumors, some of which pan out).

I'll refrain from going into any details regarding the new Amiga machines. Needless to say, there has been an abundance of coverage in the mainstream press on these new machines. The persistent rumor of an upgrade policy from CBM appears to be just that, a rumor with no basis in fact (a nice wish though). The machines are supposed to be out in June; we'll see. Another rumor which refuses to die is that the Sidecar won't be released in this country after all since the A2000 will be out soon with the bridge card available. Sad to say but, there may be some truth in this rumor; we'll have to wait and see.

There's still no word on release dates for ProWrite. But Word Perfect is supposed to be out 4/15/87 (?) and JET is scheduled for 5/1/87. SubLogic also says they will be releasing extra scenery disks within several weeks of the release date for Jet. These dates still sound like Real Soon Now to me though based on several tidbits I've heard elsewhere.

An upgrade for PageSetter is supposed to almost be finished. So far, still no Gizmoz 2. Mine's been on order since early last October. I wouldn't suggest sending those people (Gizmoz) any money. This policy of announcing software at least 6 months ahead of availability STINKS!

Deluxe Video 1.2 is almost finished for those waiting to upgrade. And EA is still working on the upgrade to Deluxe Music. Both should be available shortly.

This month's trivia question.. What ever happened to the announced release of TextCraft Plus? Beta copies were even sent out many moons ago but, still no word of final product. Has this been dropped or what? Maybe in the same ballpark with Amiga LIVE!

One new product that I've heard very good reviews of is something called Jitter-Rid. This is a Polarized plastic screen to fit on your monitor to eliminate or greatly reduce the apparent flicker while using interlaced mode. This product is available for $14.95 (less at many mail order places) and from all I've heard works great.

Well, that wraps it up for this month. We'll try to keep the old ear to the ground till next month to catch some more news. Of course if you ear is to the ground, lots of times all you get is a muddy ear.

Membership list of the Memphis Amiga Group as of APRIL 1, 1987

LAST NAME FIRST NAME CITY ST ZIP
Anderson Ken Memphis TN 38128
Baczor Pete West Chester PA 19380
Baleson Ed Millington TN 38053
Bilson Edward Memphis TN 38115
Browning Don Memphis TN 38111
Burford Tim Memphis TN 38118
Burns Keith Cordova TN 38018
Cmptr Resource Cntr Mid-South Micro Memphis TN 38134
Crighton Bob Millington TN 38053
Davidson Al Memphis TN 38115
Doss Leonard & Mary Ann Memphis TN 38119
Eifert Todd Memphis TN 38152
Gaines Steve & Melinda Memphis TN 38118
Gould Philip Memphis TN 38128
Gray Bobby Brighton TN 38011
Grayson Sandy Memphis TN 38127
Grimes Tim McLemoresville TN 38235
Harris Mike Millington TN 38053
Harvey Eugene Memphis TN 38126
Head David & Deborah Memphis TN 38134
Holliday Shawn Memphis TN 38128
Jennings Ron Carson CA 90746
Jones Tom Memphis TN 38128
Karpov Victor Memphis TN 38115
Kiss Sean & John Memphis TN 38118
Kligel Joe Memphis TN 38128
Leeson Michael Memphis TN 38115
Lockard Don Alamo TN 38001
McCalla Ron & Audrey Germantown TN 38138
Norton Gene Mckenzie TN 38201
Pinchot David Memphis TN 38115
Ricklefs Joe Millington TN 38053
Rothaar Mike Atoka TN 38004
Schwartz Dr. Alan Memphis TN 38187
Shackleford Dennis Memphis TN 38118
Skinner Andy Kingsport TN 37664
Snyder Richard Bartlett TN 38134
Stockton Mark Memphis TN 38134
Thomason Tom Millington TN 38053
Vineyard Charles W. Memphis TN 38118
Wade Norman Memphis TN 38104
Weatherall Broadus Memphis TN 38111
Williams Charles Wilson AR 72395
Witt Pat Memphis TN 38111

MAG OFFICERS FOR 1987

Audrey McCalla President
Dr. Alan Schwartz Vice President & Treasurer
Charles Williams MAGazine Editor & Secretary
Ron McCalla Librarian

SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP CHAIRPERSONS

Steve Gaines Hackers
Tom Jones Sound
Don Lockard Graphics
Mike Leeson Hardware

MEMPHIS AMIGA GROUP Income & Expense Statement March 14, 1987

Date
1987
Description Debit
(Deposit)
Credit
(Checks)
Balance
2-17 Balance from previous statement $ $ $ 607.61
3-06 Check - disk purchase 115.00 492.61
3-14 Check - 800 disk labels 10.28 482.33
3-14 Check - photocopy expenses 29.79 452.54
3-14 Check - postage 22.43 430.11
3-14 Deposit - Cash from sale of disks 44.00 474.11
3-14 Deposit - Norton check for disks 5.50 479.61
3-14 Deposit - Chow check for disks 10.00 489.61
3-14 Deposit - Browning check for disks 10.00 499.61
3-14 Deposit - Tim Burford check for dues 20.00 519.61
3-14 Deposit - Jennings check for disks 51.00 570.61
3-14 Deposit - Ronald Jennings check for dues and disks 40.00 610.61

Prepared by Dr. Alan Schwartz
Vice-President & Treasurer