June 1987 MAGazine Volume 3 Number 6

Table Of Contents

EVENTS

Saturday June 6 1:00 PM - This month's Graphics SIG meeting will be held at Ed Bilson's home. Tim Burford, Todd Eifert, and Ed have been discussing the possibility of doing a Juggler type Ray Tracing demo as a SIG project. This and other graphics topics will be discussed. For more information about the meeting please call Ed at (901) 794-2936.

Saturday June 13 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). For more information about the meeting please call Audrey at (901) 755-4641.

Saturday June 20 1:00 PM - The Hardware SIG's next meeting will be held at the home of Ron and Audrey McCalla. Topics will include further discussion of the 3.5 inch drive project, ram expansion, and the possibility of a SCSI interface project. For more information about the meeting please call Audrey at (901) 755-4641.

L.A. Lady

By AUDREY MCCALLA

It seems like a lone time since the last time I wrote an article, I guess cuz there are five weeks in May, or maybe because there's only about two hours before Charles' deadline. Anyway, first of all, a very big thank-you to those who participated in the Computer Fair sponsored by MCUC. From what I've heard from everyone, the Fair was a huge success (an estimated 750 people attended) and the Amiga was one of the most popular attractions. The success of our booth was directly attributable to those members who brought their machines and accessories to demonstrate the power and versatility of the Amiga. A special thanks to our Vice President, Dr. Alan Schwartz, for organizing the effort in my absence.

Speaking of my absence, (oh, you didn't know I was gone?) Ron and I ventured out west to California in search of cheap hardware and software and managed to find some of each at the Computer Fair in L.A. Several local Amiga users groups who have formed a consortium called SCAN sponsored a fair in conjunction with a TI99 Fest and a computer flea market. We were able to meet members of many of these groups, and were pleased by the enthusiasm shown for the machine (much more so than the IBM clone folks who were displaying at the flea market). Besides representatives of each of the seven local groups, some vendors were present, such as KJ Computers, AEGIS, OXXI (makers of MaxiPlan), ASDG, Commodore Amiga (with an Amiga 2000), CMI (Kickstart Eliminator), Aminetics (Squeeze Ram). We were able to purchase several of the latest Fred Fish disks for our club library for less than normal price, and in the hardware end we purchased Squeeze Ram, a 1-meg internal expansion ram kit, which we will discuss in more detail in the next newsletter.

Finally, please be sure to check this month's Calendar of Events. We have several things scheduled for this month which we hope will be of interest to most of you.

AT THE FAIR

By DR. ALAN SCHWARTZ

On Saturday, May 16, 1987, the MCUC Computer Fair was held at State Technical Institute. According to the comments by the majority of people talked with, they were very impressed with the Amiga. Most interest seemed to be in the graphics, color, sound (both speech and music), live pictures being computerized, and the ability to play a keyboard through the computer.

Some of the people had heard of the Amiga, but were unfamiliar with the power it has. Others had not heard of the Amiga and were favorably impressed with the many features. A number of the questions were about multi-tasking and how it worked. Several people who knew about floppy disks did not know about 3.5 inch disks and appeared quite surprised that they could hold 880K of data.

For a first time fair, there was good attendance. At times our room was so crowded that people in the hall could not get in. Overall, it was a relatively nice show of the computer groups that participated.

The Memphis Amiga Group (MAG) was well represented by those who worked at making our presentation good. There were three complete Amiga systems brought by our members, including a complete keyboard set-up with stereo speakers and a full color video camera live system interfaced to the computer.

The hard working members who spent time and effort to make our display go over well were Tom Thomason, Mike Leeson, and Keith Burns. We owe them tremendous amount of thanks for making the public aware of our group and the Amiga. They all demonstrated their knowledge and expertise in a very friendly and helpful manner, and answered the many questions with care and sincerity.

ARC P Continued.doc

The DUCK Pond

Copyright 1987 by Howard Duck

If you read last month's column, you will remember that it wasn't until I had rambled on about ARC for a page and a half before I realized I'd forgotten to mention the very useful ARC P command. So I guess I will try to pick up where I left off last month, describing how to use the file archive utility, ARC.

The general syntax for ARC when used from CLI is:

ARC commandletters arcfilename filename ...

where "commandletters" is usually one of the following:

X (eXtract files from ARCfile)
A (Add files to ARCfile)
V (give Verbose listing of files contained in ARCfile) or maybe,
P.

If P is used following the ARC command as in:

ARC P MELT MELT.DOC

then ARC will list to the screen, the contents of the specified filename (i.e. MELT.DOC) which is contained in the arcfile (i.e. MELT.ARC). This is a very useful way to see the documentation files commonly found in an ARCed file without giving up any disk or ram space which you would have to do if you first did an ARC X then used TYPE or MORE or some other method to display the doc files. With the ARC P command you save space and time, provided you don't anticipate needing to unARC the doc files. There is one catch here though. You will need to know the name (or at least part of the name) of the text file, hidden in the ARCfile, that you want to view. But this problem can be remedied either by an educated guess or use of the ARC V command. If we wanted to experiment we might reason, "Hmmm, let's see. Most ARCfiles contain documentation in the form of files called README or READ.ME or something.DOC or whatever. So we will try: ARC P MELT *.DOC READ*. Using asterisks as wild cards and listing two likely filename forms will probably get me one or more doc files to view." On the other hand, we could first use ARC V MELT and get a list of the filenames within MELT.ARC and pick the ones we suspect are doc files. The one thing we certainly don't want to do is type ARC P MELT, for that will mean that ARC will display the entire contents of the MELT.ARC file, and most of that will look like goobledeegook, as most of the ARCfile will likely be program object code.

Now what if we know what filename we want to view but would like to have it on the printer rather than the screen? No problem. As with just about every CLI command, we can redirect output to any device we wish, such as the printer. The syntax for this operation is:

ARC >PRT: P arcfilename docfilename(s)

Of course, we can redirect to a file too. And view the document file later or maybe even edit it and return it to the ARCfile (by using the ARC A command). The syntax for redirecting to a file looks like:

ARC >filename P arcfilename docfilename(s)

where "filename" is the name of the file you want to store the docfile(s) in; include a path such as "DF0:s" or "RAM:" if you want. You may be asking, "If we wanted to put the stuff in a file why didn't we just use the ARC X command?" Good question! (Hmm, now where did I put those answers? Uh... Oh here they are.) Well if we are talking about one text file being extracted then there is no real difference, but if we are removing several text files then one method, the P method with redirection, will produce one composite file, while the X method will pull each text file out separately.

Well that's about it for my "Intro to ARC Seminar." I think I've covered the basics of using ARC. If you can think of anything I forgot or managed to confuse you about, let me know and I will try to clear things up. So till next month, bye!

YOU SHOULD'A BEEN THERE

By DON LOCKARD

This is a general report on the computer fair that held from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm on Saturday, May 16 at the State Technical Institute. The fair was open for exhibits from all Memphis computer users' groups and had a good turn out. There were displays from Apple (2, 2+, and GS), Tandy (Color Computer and 1000), Atari (800 XL and ST), Timex/Sinclair, Texas Instruments (99-4A), Osborne, Commodore (64 and 128), VersaCad (Computer Aided Design/Drafting), IBM (PC) and others. Of course my favorite was the AMIGA! The fair was sponsored by the Memphis Commodore User Club (MCUC) and was open to the general public. The guys from MCUC were nice enough to help us cart in our equipment and provide tables for our systems. The president of MCUC, Ken Akins, had a short meeting of all the different users' group representatives and said he hopes that we can make it a yearly affair.

The participants from our group were the vice president and treasurer, Dr. Alan Schwartz, and from the general membership, Tom Thomason, Tom Jones, Keith Burns, Dennis Shackleford, Ed Bilson, Mike Leeson and myself. Our display consisted of three Amigas, each running widely different applications. The first Amiga was Tom Thomason's with his two meg Starboard 2 memory board. Tom was running different business applications, demos, and games and his system was also used by Ed Bilson to show off Dpaint 2, including the 640X400 mode with sixteen colors -- WOW !! This proved to be a popular area and once again shows why the Amiga is the most powerful graphics machine on the market. The second Amiga was used by Tom Jones' midi interface and synthesizer. The synthesizer, along with the Amiga, was driving his stereo. This made an excellent demo of the sound capabilities of the Amiga. Tom was using Deluxe Music and SoundScape software to take it to the limits of what can be done without a music studio. The third system was mine and I (along with Keith Burns and Dennis Shackleford) demonstrated the Digi-View video digitizer. I received many questions about Digi-View. Most people were surprised by the relatively low cost (current discount price $121.99 from Abel Supply) and high quality of the output. The fact that it digitizes in color was just an extra bonus. (Now if I can just remember to bring the full featured, latest version of the software next time!) I also demonstrated the Perfect Sound audio digitizer. We plugged it in to Tom Jones' stereo system and digitized in real time the incoming audio signal and played it back on my stereo. One person said it was just the stereo playing until we convinced him that there was no audio path between Tom's stereo and mine. Another guy said "Not even the Amiga sounds that good", but we made a believer out of him also. Again, most people were impressed with the price and quality of the digitizer ($51.78 discount from Abel Supply).

In closing I would like to add that, in my biased opinion, I feel the Amiga group had the best display of any of the other groups. Although we did not have the most systems or the most expensive equipment, ours covered a full range of interest. One of our visitors said that all some of the other groups wanted to do was to play games; not to put anyone down because we demonstrated some games also. The Amiga plays great games, but we were able to show that it could do much more.

In the Heat of the Night

By RON MCCALA

As usual, I am running late getting things done. But this time I have an excuse (Charles is saying, "So what's new? You always have an excuse!"). I just got back from a short vacation and the few days I've been back have been just one problem after another. One of those problems is the air conditioner and so this article is going to be as short as I can make it! (Phew! Its hot in here.)

Its been a while since I've found the time to write an article describing the public domain programs available in our club's library, but if you've been coming to our general meetings you've been receiving regular handouts announcing the latest additions to our list. Those who haven't been to any meetings lately will likely be surprised to learn I'm almost ready to announce disks 32 - 34.

Disk 32 will likely be a graphics utilities disk containing: MCad (an excellent shareware drawing program), LMV (a program to load and rapidly display several lo-res pic files), IFFFilter (a utility to clean up your iff pics), and some other utility programs as space permits.

Disk 33 will be "Games-O3" featuring several directories of Bard's Tale maps drawn by one of our local Amiga-ites, Mike Rothaar. Also on the disk are Larn (a D&D game like Hack), and CardHockey (a card game played against the computer).

Disk 34 will probably be "Utilities-03" featuring memory utilities like MemGrab and FixHunk, etc. And of course there'll be a couple of new versions of DirUtil and lots of CLI utilities too.

None of these disks are finished but they are very nearly full. The Utilities-03 disk could use more memory and CLI utilities (hint! hint!). And I'm working on a new Programming-02 and TeleComm-02, so please send public domain or shareware programs along those lines. Maybe we can have these disks ready by the next general meeting too!

In short, if you've any files to add to our library, please upload them to our board at (901) 755-5330 or mail them to The MAG Library, P.O.Box 381462, Germantown, TN 38183-1462.

ANNOUNCING NEW MEMBERS

WELCOME TO OUR TWO (COUNT 'EM)
TWO NEW MEMBERS FOR APRIL & MAY

Stephen MICHAEL
&
Mark HOLBROOK

**APPLAUSE APPLAUSE APPLAUSE**

A warm and hearty welcome to the club from all of us who've known all along that you'd eventually come to your senses and join us.

MAGazine

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

MAGazine is published monthy by the Memphis Amiga Group (MAG), a nonprofit organization offering assistance to fellow Amiga owners and those interested in the Amiga.

Currently, membership in the Memphis Amiga Group is available for a one-time fee of $20.

Memphis Amiga Group officers for 1987 are:

President
Audrey McCalla
(901) 755-4641

Vice President & Treasurer
Dr. Alan Schwartz
(901) 755-6622

MAGazine Editor & Secretary
Charles Williams
(501) 655-8777

Librarian
Ron McCalla
(901) 755-4641

Here's a list of MAG disks completed at the time of writing. I expect 3 to 5 more by meeting time.

Serial Number Title Revision Date Notes
MAG-01 ABasiC programs
MAG-02 Addison's Games 1 Jan 87 added Cribbage
MAG-03 AmigaBasic programs
MAG-04 Demos-01 Jan 87 added Juggler
MAG-05 Fonts Feb 87 Added WB1.2 fonts
MAG-06 Games-01 Jan 87 added Missile and Cosmo2
MAG-07 Icons Feb 87 added misc icons
MAG-08 Telecommunications Mar 87 updated ARC (ver 22)
MAG-09 Utilities-01 Feb 87 updated DU, added Dotil
MAG-10 PSound
MAG-11 Printer Drivers Mar 87 updated PrtDriGen
MAG-12 Music Studio Songs Feb 87 added MS2SMuS
MAG-13 CGI demo
MAG-14 Aegis Impact Demos
MAG-15 Aegis Animator Demos
MAG-16 Programming Feb 87 added Berry's programs
MAG-17 Hardware Mar 87 added real-time-clock plans
MAG-18 Editors

ORDERING INFORMATION:

(1) Orders placed by phone, one or more days prior to a scheduled general meeting, will be filled at the meeting; (2) Orders placed at a general meeting will be filled by the next general meeting or by mail within one week for an additional handling charge of fifty cents per disk.

ORDER FORM (send to MAG Library, Box 381462, Germantown, TN, 38183-1462):

Name:_________________________________________ Phone: ___________________

Address:_________________________________________________________________

City:____________________________________ State:_________ Zip:___________

MAG disk #(s):  ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____

Fred Fish #(s): ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____

Number of MAG disks ordered  _____ times $ 2 each = $________

Number of Fish disks ordered _____ times $ 3 each = $________

If disks are to be mailed, enter # of disks ___ times $.50 each = $______

                                      Total amount enclosed = $__________

Guest Editorial

by Jim Meyer

Tom Rattigan got his face on the cover of Commodore magazine. Nigel Shepard had a major interview in another magazine. Both men are no longer with Commodore. Is there a moral in all of this? No, but I couldn't resist pointing it out. The most recent shake-up at Commodore also shook up many in the Amiga community and Wall street. Commodore stock, which had peaked at 15, is currently just under 10. Not to worry. Tom Rattigan's only claim to fame was that he presided over Commodere while they made massive cutbacks in their work force. That is supposed to be the first course of action for any competent manager when a company is in financial distress, Beyond that, I think Rattingan was a disaster. Commodore managed, somehow, to sell over 150,000 Amigas in the first year, despite what appeared to be a concerted effort on their part to stifle sales as much as possible. The only thing worse than bad advertisements is no advertisements, and Amiga has had no ads whatsoever for some time now.

Why was the Amiga sold as well as it has? One contributing factor was the widespread exposure it received when it was first introduced. The Amiga promised to be all the things the Mac should have been, and then some. With flashy graphics and four-voice two-channel sound, many Amigas sold themselves by doing nothing more than showing the original Amiga demos. The Amiga was an inmediate hit on electronic networks. Of the computer-specific conferences on BIX, the Amiga conferences generated the most traffic. The same is true on the American People Link network. The chairman of the Amiga Zone, Harv Laser, reports that the Zone generates about 5 times the traffic of the next busiest section. What can be inferred from this? Is it a fluke that Amiga owners are disproportionately represented on the electronic networks? No. The networks contain a wealth of information. Obviously, where information about the Amiga has been freely and abundantly available, sales have followed. Why Commodore chooses to keep the public in the dark about the Amiga is a mystery. Even if the A1000 is discontinued, nothing is lost by advertising it. If nothing else, it primes the pump for the 500 and the 2000, both of which improved upon the 1000. The window of opportunity for any particular computer is small, and the Amiga is nearing the end of that window. Already, IBM is trumpeting the merits of multitasking for their soon-to-be-released OS/2; Apple will no doubt do the same, when (and if) Unix is released for the new Macs. Multitasking? Haven't we be doing just that since October, 1985? We - the few, the proud, the brave - deserve better. The Amiga deserves better. It can only be hoped that Irving Gould has finally gotten Commodore's house in order, and that the lamp of the Amiga has at last been lit.

Faster Floppies

ASDG will soon release their Floppy Accelerator program, Facc. This program, which retails for $34.95, utilized disk buffer caching to speed up disk reads. Unilike the ADDBUFFERS command, Facc allows "...an arbitrary number of buffers to be installed and removed at will." Accoding to Perry Kivolowitz, of ASDG, "Buffering is slightly intelligent... with write-thru cache." Kivolowitz suggest that Facc makes floppy drives "... as fast as some hard drives." How does it work? Presumably, tracks containing directory sectors are decoded and cached in ram. Again unlike ADDBUFFERS, the caching occurs in fast ram, if possible. How fast can a floppy go? Next time you boot, time how long it takes for Kickstart to load, from first gronk to last. That's 256K of code. Every time you hear a gronk emanating from your drive, the read/write head is moving from one track to another. No data is being transferred while the head is in motion. The physical organization of a disk is such that related blocks are almost never adjacent. In order to read a file, the drive heads may be moved from, say, A to G to C to B. The fastest possible way to read a file is to first identify the location and number of blocks in that file, sort the block location (so they can be read in a sequential manner), and then read those blocks into memory. Using the above example, the drive heads would now move from A to B to C to G, the shortest possible path. The correct order of data blocks can be reconstructed by moving those blocks around in memory. Moving a block of memory is always faster than moving the drive head. Interestingly, the Amiga utilizes this philosophy when reading tracks from disk. Rather than wait for a specific byte to pass under the head, indicating the start of a sector, the Amiga can read a track form any point. The track is then correctly re-assembled (decoded) in memory by the blitter. Because of this, the Amiga can read tracks from disk faster than any other computer in its class.

The above represents an educated guess as to the tricks used by Facc to speed up floppy disk performance. Additional information, or information to the contrary, is always welcomed. The "block storing" technique is one of the tricks used by ASDG's Smart Disk Processor (SDP) to achieve a 10-fold performance improvement for their hard disk controller. Facc will also include a graphic display detailing cache effectiveness, which allow the observation of disk opertations as they occur.

Back page articles by James M. Meyer [PLINK: NY*JIM; BIX: jmeyer] Copyright (c) 1987.

Membership list of the Memphis Amiga Group as of JUNE 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
Cmprt 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 Phillip Memphis TN 38128
Gray Bobby Brighton TN 38011
Grayson Sandy Memphis TN 38127
Grimes Tim McLemoresville TN 38235
Harris Mike Milliington TN 38053
Harvey Eugene Memphis TN 38126
Head David & Deborah Memphis TN 38134
Holbrook Mark Cordova TN 38018
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
Michael Stephen Cordova TN 38018
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 Harwdware

MEMPHIS AMIGA GROUP Income & Expense Statement April and May 1987

Date
1987
Description Debit
(Deposit)
Credit
(Checks)
Balance
3-14 Balance from previous Statement $ $ $ 610.61
4-11 Check - Stamps and envelopes 26.43 584.18
4-11 Check - MAGazine lettering 21.59 562.59
4-11 Deposit - Cash-Disk sales 70.00 632.59
4-11 Deposit - Bilson-Check-Disks 16.00 648.59
4-11 Deposit - Michael-Check-Dues 20.00 668.59
5-09 Check - Disk purchase 105.00 563.59
5-09 Deposit - Cash-Disk sales 63.50 627.09
5-09 Deposit - Holbrook-Check-Dues 20.00 647.09
5-27 Check - Stamps and Office supplies 26.29 620.80

Prepared by Dr. Alan Schwartz
Vice President & Treasurer