November 1988 MAGazine Volume 4 Number 11

Table Of Contents

Calendar of Events for November

Saturday, November 12, 1988 - 1:00 PM - The general meeting will be held in Jenning's Hall in Room J-2 Located on the campus of State Technical Institute of Memphis. Charles Williams will demonstrate DiskMaster for us (better late than never), Richard Johnson will show us his latest game acquisitions Impossable Mission II, P,O,W, and Warlock.


Commodore's Year-End Report

by Audrey McCalla

Commodore International Limited's fiscal year ended June 30th but I've only this past week (mid-October) received their year-end report. I thought you'd like to find out what the big wigs at Commodore have to tell their stockholders.

According to the report: Fiscal '88 was a successfuly year for Commodore all around the world. Their new operating and marketing strategies produced an income of about $48.2 million, more than double last years $22.6 million. Sales increased to $871.1 million compared to $806.7 million last year. The gain was attributed primarily to increased Amiga and MS-DOS compatible sales.

Europe continued to be the company's strongest marketplace, accounting for 67% of the total revenue. Sales increased 15% there. In North America, sales were down slightly as the U.S. company rebuilt its distribution channels and worked on increased penetration of the business and government sectors. U.S. operations lagged, while Canadian operations were strong. North American sales accounted for 26% or revenues. In Australia and Asia/Pacific markets, 1988 sales increased over 40% to account for nearly 7% of revenues.

Improved operating results substantially enhanced Commodore's financial position as cost efficiency efforts increased gross margin to 31% from 26% last year. Profit margin rose from 6% to 10%. The strong positive cash flow was used to repay $36 million in debt and increase short-term cash and investments by almost $30 million. Shareholder equity grew to over $200 million.

Those of us who were brave enough to purchase Amigas back in 1985, while our fellow C64 enthusiasts were raving over the C128 and warning us that the Amiga would never fly, will be pleased to note that the Amiga accounted for 41% of sales while the C64/128 line made up 39% and Commodore's MS-DOS PCs sold 20%.


Memphis Amiga Group
Box 381462
Memphis, TN 38183-1462

MAGazine is published monthly by the Memphis Amiga Group (MAG), a nonprofit organization offering assistance to fellow Amiga owners and those interested in the Amiga. Membership in the Memphis Amiga Group is available for an annual fee of $20 per family. Memphis Amiga Group Officers for 1988 are:

Dr. Alan Schwartz
(901) 755-6622

Vice President
Todd Rooks
(901) 373-0198

Scott Hudson
(901) 794-8914

David Head
(901) 377-7568

MAGazine Editor
Edward Bilson
(901) 794-2936



More Than Rumor

by The Unknown Amigoid

GOOD NEWS! Finally the 1.3 update to Workbench is in the dealer's stores! Of course by the time you read this two weeks later, probably the 1.3 update is in your Amiga. For those who haven't seen it yet though, it's a major upgrade from the 1.2 version of Workbench and AmigaDOS offering such things as a rebootable RAM disk (called RAD:) and a conman-like shell for your CLI. It lists for $30 but some mail-order places are selling it for around $15 or less. And here's some especially good news for those of us who had enough faith in the Amiga to purchase one back in '85, Commodore has included the disk-based version of Kickstart 1.3 in the package. That little nicety surprised me. It's a small added cost for Commodore but it should earn them a lot of good will from 1000 owners, many of whom were beginning to feel abandoned.

If you're a games freak and you haven't seen the most recent issue of Info magazine, put down this article and go rush out and buy it right now! This month's issue features reviews and previews of 37 new or soon-to-be-released Amiga games, complete with screen shots.

Here's an interesting gaming hint picked up from Info magazine: In the first maze of Footman's New Taste game you can go to the upper left corner entrance to the tunnel and hide from the ghosts indefinitely.

Commodore has reputedly extended their $100 trade in offer until December 31st. You can trade in any Commodore computer (even VIC 20s!) on an Amiga 500 or 2000 and get $100 off at you local authorized dealer. Commodore also has a special offer for teachers who buy an Amiga before Dec 15th. They will receive a package of education oriented software worth $1000 which includes a word processor, a spreadsheet, a database manager, a grade book program, a desk top publishing program, and more.

Interplay Productions of Costa Mesa California is about to release a new game that, if their promotional materials can be trusted, is going to be something rather special. It's called "Neuromancer" and it's a "skill-based role-playing game" from the designers of "Bard's Tale". It will feature an original soundtrack by DEVO. Neuromancer is based on the novel by William Gibson about a"cyberpunk cowboy trying to stay ahead of the AI's in a world where paranoia is an asset."

Microillusions has released a two disk set of "textures" for use with their Photon Paint program. One disk contains wood surfaces and the other is marble and stone surfaces. List price is $30.

Microfiche Filer users can upgrade to the latest version of the mousey data manager by sending $69 to Software Visions, P.O.Box 3319, Framingham, MA 01701. It features faster screen updates, more options, and an ARexx interface. Call (617) 877-1266 for more information.

One of the members of our local user groups reports that Octree's demo disk of their new 3D modeler program, Caligari, is infected with the SCA virus! Ed Bilson ordered the demo disk directly from Octree and discovered upon receiving it (thanks to VirusX) that it was infected. Ed has already notified Octree. If you ordered the demo, please check the disk using any of the several virus checker programs available. The SCA virus is easily removed by performing an AmigaDOS Install on the disk. Caligari is an impressive piece of software, though not as impressive as its $2000 price. If you'd like to see the Caligari demo yourself, you can down load an uninfected copy directly from The DUCK Pond @ (205) 822-0956. The file is "Warped" so you'll need the Warp utility (also on The DUCK Pond) to unwarp it to an unformatted disk. Here's a juicy rumor gleaned from The DUCK Pond's Amiga Echo: According to Erik Olson from "Alert Data Multiline TBBS (151/5)", posted 18-Oct-88, (or more accurately from his mother who supposedly works for Commodore's ad agency) here's the specs on the A3000 prototype: 68030 CPU with 68881 co-processor, 80386 bridge built in, 5 slots open for both sides (10 total), 1.4 meg floppy, full SCSI implemention hard drive controller with hard drives available in 20, 40, or 80 meg sizes, clock speed listed at 19.4 M hertz, "A dos" operating system compatible with 1.3, standard Amiga graphics modes and sound plus three new graphic modes (1024*1024) with 4 colors, 1024*1024 interlaced with 32 colors, 1024*1024 hold and modify), two megabytes expandable to 16 meg internal, unlimited external. Price is listed as about $3600 for base unit, $200 for 20 meg HD, $300 for 40, $500 for 80. The new 8068 monitor needed for the new graphics modes will be about $1100. Erik swears he saw the spec sheet himself but also adds that it is just a prototype and there is nothing definite about its release.

Also from the Amiga Echo, there is a new Amiga BBS program in the offing. Called "Falcon's Nest" it features message and file areas, on-line games, remote sysop control, and it's public domain. For further information you can contact Michael Shotter via the Amiga Echo.

There's a great new game out from Discovery Software called "Better Dead Than Alien" and although it's basically Space Invaders, the digitized sound effects and excellent graphics make it far superior to its anceint ancestor. One of the nice little features the authors have added is a code word to let you continue playing where you left off should you decide to quit after completing one of the game's 25 levels. If you don't like to cheat, stop reading now 'cause here are the code words that will let you into each level:



Record Keeping for Small Business

Review by/Sean Kiss

Nimbus is a full featured record keeping program for small business or home finance. It used three screens, function keys, and pop-up menus. After one boots-up using Nimbus as his Workbench disk, he is presented with the standard disk icon. Once one clicks on this, the Nimbus window opens and two sub-programs are revealed. The first is called "Restart" and the second is titled "Nimbus".

"Restart" is a utility used to erase the data from your Nimbus program. However, a safety feature you must type "restart" before the erasing will occur.

Nimbus is the main program. After using "Restart" and clicking on Nimbus one is presented with a red screen titled General Accounts. Here he is asked to enter his company's information. The information includes things such as the name, addresses, and bank balances. After establishing this, General Accounts displays a popup requester. It asks for one to enter the date. Then, a pop-up menu is displayed with the following choices: Bank Deposits, Edit Company Data, Reports, and Change Activity Date. Report is further broken down into two sections: Profit/Loss and Balance Sheet.

Sales Accounts Receivable is the second screen with which one is presented. This blue screen also asks for the date. It has seven main sub- programs available from a pop-up menu. They are New Customer, Existing Customer, Cash Sale (Non-Invoice), Reports, Sales Account Transfers, Edit Sales Type, and Change Activity Sate. New Customer presents one with a fill- in-the-blank type information sheet. It ask for the Billing Address, (if it is the as the billing address one can just type "same" in the shipping address window), and displays balance. Also, one can create a new invoice, edit a current invoice, or edit customer information. Cash Sale presents the user with a simulated invoice that asks for a description, unit cost, quantity, discount, percent tax, shipping means (UPS-Air, US Mail, etc.), shipping charges, pervious payments, and asks whether it is taxable (Y/N). Reports is divided into the following sections: Daily, Weekly, Annual, Aging, Customer List, and Invoices.

Sales Accounts Payable is the third screen. This brown screen asks for the date also. It has seven main subprograms which are: New Vendor, Existing Vendor, Cash Buy (Non-Invoice), Reports, Account Code Transfers, Edit account Codes, and Change Activity Date. Reports is further broken down into these options: Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Annual, Aging, Vendor List, and Chart Accounts.

Nimbus uses the following function keys: ESC - Cancel, F1 - Toggle Cursor, F6 - Delete, F9 - Paid-in-Full, and F10 - Done/Save. Since all of these options are not offered at once, the possibel choices are listed horizontally at the lower portion of the screen. In addition, when one finishes using any section he must select "End of Dat MUST DO!". It is a great program for anyone who has a small business or could use these functions for other purposes.

Lattice C, Version 5.0

A Product Announcement

by Ron McCalla

In the face to build the better C compiler for the Amiga, Lattice seems to have pulled ahead. At least that seems to be the case based on a recent press release I've seen.

Lattice, Incorporated has just announced version 5.0 of its Amiga C compiler package which now features an integrated editor, a source-level debugger, a global optimizer, and several enhancements to its compiler and linker.

Promised for release in November '88, version 5.0 give full support for the 68020, '030, and '881 math co-processor chips. Lattice has supposedly improved many of its library algorithms and rewritten them in assembly language to gain speed and reduce size. The Lattice Screen Editor (LSE), once a separately purchased option, is now a part of the compiler package. The compiler can be called from within LSE and compiler error messages will return you to the editor with the cursor over the offending command. Compilation can then be aborted or the programmer can correct the statement and continue compilation.

As a direct response to Manx's Aztec C challenge, Lattice C 5.0 introduces a new full-screen source-leve debugger with symbolic and concurrent process support. The new debugger allows programmers to open multiple windows and single step through programs, set breakpoints on C source lines, examine variables and code, display memory and view and manipulate register. The debugger uses simple keyboard commands or Amiga specific pull-down menus.

Also in the package are an improved assembler and disassembler, a new global optimizer (up to 25% improvement), and a collection of UNIX-like utilities including: Diff, Extract, Build, Files, Grep, LMK, Splat, Touch, WC, and CXRef.

Lattice's Wayne Martker claims that "all the standard benchmarks we have run show Lattice C Version 5.0 is the fastest, most efficient compiler and language for the Amiga in terms of both compiler speed and efficiency of the programs produced."

The suggested price of the complete package is $300.00 but registered users of earlier Lattice C packages may upgrade for $75, and owners of recent versions of Aztecd C may upgrade to Lattice C for $150 plus their Manx manuals and distrubtion diskettes. For further information about the produce or Lattive's trade-in policies write Lattice Inc., 2500 South Highland, Lombard, IL 60148, or call (312) 916-1600.


Do you need a little help with CLI or maybe you purchased a modem and tip here or there would ease you through. Give Rick Johnson a call he wants to help. His # is (901) 353-3235.

SHOW OFF your MAG membership!

I have often felt that our favorite computer, the Amiga, has gotten a bad rap in the media. What I actually mean is that there has been very little exposure of the Amiga in the computer community. I feel that, as a user group, we should be a driving force against Amiga ignorance. After all, one may gain true computer enlightenment only by exposure to the far superior abilities of the Amiga. I quote a famous Amigite, "Man liveth not by CGA alone, but also in HAM mode...verily."

Our members have decided to express their MAG membership to the world through club T Shirts/Sweaters. At the September/October meetings they chose the design which I will describe. The Shirts will be a royal (dark) blue. The basic design is our MAG Logo (shown on the cover of the MAGazine) framed by the monitor of an Amiga 1000 computer. The computer will be a red color, while the logo will be all white except for the ball. It will be properly checkered white/red. All orders must be in by December 1st. Let us all get on the bandwagon to rid the world of Amiga illiteracy. Show off your MAG membership to everyone. I want you to do your club and yourself a favor by making an order for your own shirt, NOW!!

Fom the graphics SIG

The graphics sig contest is still open for entries (see last newsletter for further information). All entries must be received by December 3, 1988 in order to prepare these for presentation on December 10, 1988. Don't forget, you can't win if you don't enter!

Many thanks to Bob Crichton for holding the graphics SIG meeting at his home. We used the Digi-View digitizer on a very well done local interest sports picture and used the line art mode to reproduce a business card logo. We also talked about the various graphics packages available and ran several animations that were created by sculpt 3D and videoscape 3D.

Amigas Sighted!

On cable this past month, in John Carpenter's horror movie "Prince of Darkness", there is an Amiga 1000 used to translate ancient Greek and Coptic text. But, the closing credits said: "Computers supplied by Tandon."

Although you can't actually see the machine itself, the new NBC game show Lingo reputedly uses the Amiga to create its graphic displays.