April 1991 MAGazine Volume 7 Number 4

Table Of Contents

The APRIL General Meeting of the Memphis Amiga Group will be held Saturday, April 13 from 1:00 pm until approximately 3:00 pm in the New Auditorium on the campus of State Technical Institute at Memphis. This month's theme will be making a video with the help of the Amiga.

The Video SIG will meet either Thursday, April 18 or Friday, April 19 at 7:00 p.m. A final date an place will be set at the General Meeting. For details call Brian Akey.

Don't forget, if you don't come to the General meeting, you'll miss out on diskMAGazine, our new newsletter companion disk, available only at the General Meeting. The first one's free, after that you'll have to trade in an old diskMAGazine (red disk only) or pay a buck.

From the President's CLI

by Brian Akey

What's going on? Well we have big plans for the future. This month we are going to make our own video. We will show how to use the SuperGen genlock and Framegrabber with one camcorder and one VCR to make a complete video. So don't wear something with lines or with red in it. If Cando 1.5 arrives, we will show it also.

Sometime in the future we will have meetings about new Amiga hardware, CDTV and the A690, and much more.

Remember to bring your mouse. Bill will have the mouse cleaner with him each month. Right Bill? The SuperGen and Framegrabber will be up for rent. We will be selling the Digi-View Kit; lights, camera, copystand and all. So bring your money to the meeting.

I'm sorry to say that Raymond is no longer the treasurer. Ken Winfield has stepped in to finish the rest of Raymond's term of office. Raymond wanted to step down and Ken agreed to take his place. So any mail for the treasurer will now go to Ken. Thank you Raymond for being there when we needed you.

If anyone needs general information call me or Donnie, the vice president. If you are looking for that one and only Public Domain program, call Bill or Shane, the librarians. If you have a story for the news-letter, or you want to place a classified AD, call Charles, the newsletter editor. If you owe the group money send your checks to Ken.

Well, that's most of it. See you at the meeting and be ready to be filmed.

On this month's diskMAGazine

Lots of TEXT articles including: Answers to many often asked Amiga Questions, Lower prices and better service from Commodore, What the club's new FrameGrabber is capable of, New upgrade info on Art Department Pro software (including FrameGrabber support), News about the AmigaWorld Expo in New York, Fish disks 461-470 in detail, plus just about every article in ASCII format from this issue of MAGazine.

Pictures you won't believe until you see them: AlphaBall, from a non-commercial raytrace program that rivals Imagine; NightShift, an incredible perspective view; and MickeyGlass, one of the best from Rick Parks. Sounds you won't believe (well, one sound anyway).

TIV, a very complete general purpose IFF viewer that combines and ILBM picture viewer, ANIM Op5 animation player, and 8SVX sampled sound player all in one convenient program that can be run from CLI or from WorkBench.

MAG Meetings

The Memphis Amiga Group (MAG) holds general meetings the second Saturday of each month in the New Auditorium on the campus of State Technical Institute at Memphis (see map at left).

There will be an officers lunch meeting Gridley's in the formal dining room beginning at 11 A.M., Saturday, April 13. For more information call Brian Akey at (901) 278-6354.

For Gamers SIG information, call Mike Amos at (901) 377-0796.

FOR SALE! DigiView Kit with stand, camera, lights and more, call Brian Akey.

Memphis Amiga Group Officers for 1991

President
Brian Akey
(901) 278-6354

Vice President
Donnie Webb
(901) 363-8025

Secretary
Todd Rooks
(901) 373-0198

Treasurer
Ken Winfield
(901) 382-3339

Librarians
Bill Bowers
(901) 360-0003
Shane Russell
(901) 795-0622

MAGazine Editor
Charles Williams
(501) 655-8777

MAGazine Printing & Distribution
Terry A. Campbell
(601) 393-4864

Hardware Rentals

FutureSound audio digitizer kit - $1 per day
DigiView video digitizer kit - $2 per day
(Hardware rentals are for Members Only)
A variety of Amiga specific videotapes are also available
from the club's hardware library.

Disk Sales

MAG library and Fred FISH disks are $2 each.
($5 each for non-members)
Quality blank disks with labels are 75¢ each.
($1 for non-members)
For all this and more contact club librarians
Bill Bowers (901) 360-0003 or Shane Russell (901) 795-0622
OR see Bill or Shane at the next MAG general meeting.

New Deadline for Dues

In order to help bring some consistency to our bookkeeping and make it easier to keep up with memberships, we are changing the deadline for membership renewals. From now on, you must renew on or before the second Saturday of the month your membership expires. If you do this, the renewal fee is $15 per year. If you wait and renew at a later time, you must pay the new member fee of $20.

FOR SALE

Tiny Tiger 32 Meg. hard drive and 2 Meg. Mini-Megs ram expansion board, both for A500, both for only $600. Call Ken Winfield at (901) 382-3339.

MAGazine is published monthly by the Memphis Amiga Group (MAG), a non-profit organization offering assistance to fellow Amiga owners and those interested in the Amiga. Membership in MAG is available for a new member fee of $20 per family, renewable at $15 per year, if renewed before membership lapses.

Please submit all news, reviews, ads, articles, complaints, suggestions, and loose change to:

MAGazine
c/o Charles Williams
13 Lake Drive
Wilson, AR 72395

Commodore Announces AMIGA A4000

Have you heard the news? Commodore is coming out with the Amiga 4000. The A4000 is a complex new machine that still offers compatibility with the older machines. It comes standard with a 68040 running at 50 mhz with an 80 mgz version coming out later. The 4000 adds some new things to what the 3000 added. The motherboard has a 32 bit hard disk controller like the one on the 3000, but it also allows for sub-IDs that allow 128 terminals of each of the remaining 6 main IDs. With SCSI to coaxial adapters, large networks can be made with a 4000 as the base. The co-processors have been changed; they are now 32 bits wide and run at 4 times the speed of the old ECS (Enhanced Chip Set). There are also multiple CPU cards with a changed operating system that allows up to 10 68040s to be in the computer, all running queued taks. That means that one program running would not realize any speed increase, but 2 or more would. Each program would have its own processor.

There are also more 100-pin Zorro III slots and a video slot. There are still the PC/AT slots, more than the 3000 has. There is also a dual speed Nu-bus bus. It allows the use of NeXT or Mac cards. Interface cards will allow the use of NeXT, Mac, or PC cards without an emulator like the current Bridgeboard.

The A4000 is a big machine in a tower case. It has ten 100-pin slots, one video slot, five PC/AT/ESIA slots and five Nu-bus slots. There is room for six drives, either floppy or fixed, in 3.5 or 5.25 size. There are also co-processor boards that will have a full co-processor set on board for another monitor and two more audio outputs. The motherboard can handle up to 64 Megs with 4 Megs per co-processor set.

[Photo & caption: The new A4000 in its mini-tower configuration. Notice new ergonomic mouse design and 5.25 floppy for use with new 20 Mhz 386 emulator.

The sound chip can now handle 16 voices into stereo outputs. The sound also has a math co-processor to do real-time adding of sounds so 64 sounds can be played out of 16 voices. It also allows for the sound to be moved in different ways with mathematical formulas. The sound chip can run at sampling rates up to 56 K in 16 bit mode and up to 112 K in 8 bit mode.

The blitter now has a built-in math co-processor for doing real-time perspective views of brushes. The video can now be set up for resolutions up to 1280 x 800 x 16 colors out of 4096 interlaced with many modes in between. Some new modes like 2560 x 800 x 4 colors interlaced, 1280 x 400 x 16 colors non-interlaced without the need for a flicker fixer, 640 x 400 12 bit HAM (16 million colors) interlaced, and 320 x 200 x 16 million colors. It still supports all the other modes as well. A 16 million color mode can be done with a new single bit D/A converter that is cheaper to make and has a more accurate display.

Some new things that Commodore is looking to do in the future include compression co-processors. Some of the name changes are; paula is now paulina, copper is now silver, agnus is now zeus, denise is now diana, while gary is still gary and buster is still there. The new chip set SECS (Super Enhanced Chip Set) will not work on the old computers but the co-processor boards will work in the Amiga A3000. This computer looks to be the stuff of the future. We are back on top with technology.

(I want to thank our Deep Technology writer for doing all of the undercover research required for an article of this MAGnitude. Unfortunately, I cannot reveal the author's identity, but he did ask me to wish all of you a good April Fool's Day. -C. Williams)

Taking 35mm Slides off the Amiga Screen

by Robert Goldberg, M.D.

I have shot some two dozen rolls of film now off the Amiga screen, and I wanted to share my experience using various techniques. My current setup produces spectacular color slides which project very well, even onto a large screen. I personally use the slides to illustrate medical lectures; anyone who needs to make presentations or promotions of any kind should try using their Amiga to produces a set of lecture slides. Amiga's striking graphics are absolutely stunning when projected on a large screen and, with a little care exercised in the production, you out to be able to completely dazzle your audience (especially if they have only been exposed to the somnolent graphics produced by Amiga's competition!) I'm sure that Amiga slides have abundant applications in other areas as well, such as advertising, art, and so forth.

After a great deal of experimentation I have arrived at the following setup for slide production. As with anything, there are endless ways to accomplish the same goal, and your own tastes and equipment will dictate any necessary modifications to these recommendations. The important thing is to refine your setup to the point that it is simple and repeatable.

CAMERA

Any 35mm single lens reflex will do fine. I use a Nikon N2000. A sturdy tripod is key, although I suppose an extremely patient individual could use a table with a bunch of books of something to provide a platform for the camera. You need to be able to manipulate the camera position very precisely, though, as I will explain below, and a tripod is the only efficient way to do this.

Also, a shutter release will make you life much easier since the exposures tend to be long, and directly pressing the camera button can sometimes induce unacceptable vibration; if you flat refuse to get a shutter release, a good poor man's trick is to use the camera's self timer so that you can keep your hands off.

LENS

Your computer screen is not flat. The curvature of the screen can induce distortion; this is particularly noticeable when your graphics include a large rectangular border near the edge of the screen. This curvature effect can be minimized (not eliminated) by using a lens of moderately long focal length. I have not noticed much improvement with longer focal length than 150mm; at very long focal lengths, the camera ends up inconveniently far from the screen and also more sensitive to vibration. I would recommend a lens in the 120mm to 200mm range.

If you want to take shots of less than the full screen, you will need a lens with some sort of close-focusing (macro) ability. Some of the new zoom lenses allow pretty close focusing (and the zoom capability makes it very easy to fine-tune the desired magnification.)

There are three less expensive alternatives if you do not already own a close-focusing zoom lens:

  1. (My choice) Use a tele-extender. ($25-50) I use a Vivitar 3X tele-extender on my 50mm standard lens; this met me a 150mm lens with ability to focus to 2.5 feet from the screen, which is about the most magnification that is useful (more than that and the dot pattern of the CRT display becomes very noticeable.) These are inexpensive and sharp; they do reduce the effective aperature 3 stops (allow 3 times less light to get to the film for you non-photographers) but you are on a tripod anyway, so a slow shutter speed is no problem.
  2. Use a close-up lens. ($10-20) These are inexpensive lenses that screw onto the front of your lens and allow closer focusing. A +1 lens allows plenty of magnification, and does not reduce the aperature of the lens. The image quality is not as sharp, and the flatness suffers; they actually do pretty reasonably well, though, especially if you stop down the lens (say to f8 or f11.) If you already have a telephoto or zoom lens, you might at least try screwing one onto the front of the lens and give it a try.
  3. Extension tubes. ($30-100) These go in back of the lens and allow you to focus closer to the screen. These would be used with a telephoto or zoom lens (as opposed to the teleconverter, which turns your regular lens into a telephoto.) The advantage over closeup lenses: no loss of sharpness. The disadvantage: cost, and reduction of effective aperature 1-2 stops.

FILM

This is the most important thing I have to teach you! I used a great deal of Ektachrome 400 for my slides, and this works pretty well (slight bluish cast.) I have also used Kodachrome 64 and this is also reasonable. Any slide film is reasonable.

But there is a new film out that is more than just reasonable; it is FANTASTIC! After discovering it, I will never use another roll of anything else for screen photos. It is 3M CRT Recording Film, which comes in 100 ASA This film was designed specifically for computer screen photography, and although I was skeptical, I am now a fanatic. It is basically very high contrast, high resolution, color slide film. It also somehow allows the dots in the CRT image to "bleed" a little so that they are not as noticeable. The Amiga screen comes out in a resplendent saturated rainbow of color. And the black background comes out inky jet black. I don't own stock in the company, it's just that this film really is an order of magnitude better than any others I have tried.

To ice the cake, it can be processed in E-6 chemistry, which simply means that shops that advertise 2 hour slide developing can handle this film. I buy the film and get it developed at Village One Hour Photo on Westwood Blvd.; I can shoot the slides at night, drop them off on the way to work, and pick up the slides in time for an afternoon lecture the same day!

PHOTOGRAPHING THE SCREEN

The key here is alignment. Draw a series of concentric rectangles on the screen, and use this to set up the camera. You have to be perfectly centered and perfectly perpendicular to the center of the screen to minimize screen warp and distortion; focusing on this grid of rectangles will allow you to best adjust the camera position.

Darken the room as much as possible (best to shoot at night but a few blankets over the windows will allow daylight shooting.) Focus carefully, and fire away! For your first tries, you will need to bracket your exposures to find the best one for your setup; I have settled on f8 (actually f2.8 with 3X extender = f8) at 1 second, using the 100 ASA 3M CRT film discussed above. You might start with this but as I said shoot with a series of different aperatures or shutter speeds at first until you decide what works best. You will find that even 1/2 f-stop makes a difference in the color saturation, so bracket at 1/2 f-stop increments.

It's unlikely that you would be able to use fast shutter speeds, but just in case, remember that your shutter speed must be slower than the screen refresh rate; stick with 1/30 second or slower to be safe.

Also, the brightness and contrast settings on the Amiga monitor have a major effect on the slides; just set them in the middle (at the click stop) and leave them there so that there is no variability from one session to the next.

SOFTWARE

I use Deluxe Paint in the hi-resolution mode (No flicker problem with still photography!) The 400-line resolution really makes a difference; Atari owners will never present any competition here.

I wish you luck! The ability to photograph Amiga screens has opened a whole new vista for me, and has become the most important function for my computer. I hope that you find these hints useful.

(This is an article from way back, but still good today if you're new to the Amiga or want to make some slides from screen images. - C. Williams)

Midnight Reviews

PRODUCT Spot
PUBLISHER Virgin Mastertronic
TYPE Strategy
PRICE About 18 dollars

Not hard drive installable.

LEVELS
Poor .. Fair .. Good .. Excellent

GRAPHICS Fair
SOUND Fair
SPEED Good
PLAYABILITY Good
HOLDS INTEREST Good

Spot is the cute little red dot in 7-UP commercials and is now appearing in his first video game for the Amiga. Spot is a strategy game that is a much better than many games carrying a nationally known character. The graphics in Spot are much like a Saturday morning cartoon with jumps, bumps, trips, falls, and silly expressions. Although they do not push the limits of the Amiga they are adequate for the job. Sound is OK but there is no need to turn the stereo up for this one. Speed is one of the best points of the game, after loading the game runs very fast with little disk access. The computer makes his moves quickly on any of the many levels of play. The little animations of SPOT can be turned off to speed the game up even further. The game itself is one of the better written "board type" strategy games for any computer. The object (to have more pieces at the end of the game) is nothing new but the game itself is. The rules are simple to understand and the game is quite fun to play. Depending on where you move you can clone your piece or capture your opponents pieces. If you like board games (like checkers and chess) you will like Spot, and besides when the last time you saw a decent game for unser 20 bucks!!!

The Midnight Rating --- 86 (out of a possible 100).

Frequently Asked Questions

by Ferry de Jong

HARDWARE Questions

Q? Why does my battery backed-up clock not work properly? Symptoms: 1. Clock is several minutes/hours early/late. 2. Clock is RESET to first day of the AMIGA's life. 3. Clock can't be read from and written to.

A! The battery backed-up clock draws its power during power-off of the AMIGA from a small NiCad-battery. There are two often occurring reasons for the strange behavior of the clock: 1. The battery is (almost) empty. This should normally only happen after a very long power-off of the AMIGA! (Several weeks/months.) 2. The battery is old and can't supply the clock with the voltage or current it needs to operate properly.

To solve the problem in the first case you should turn your AMIGA on for several hours to allow the battery to recharge. After this you can set the setclock command and everything should work OK.

The solution in the second case is to have the battery checked and replaced by your AMIGA dealer. In the third case your computer might be infected by a virus that puts some date in the Clock memory that makes it no longer respond. If you execute the command: "setclock opt reset" (no quotes) everything should work normal again. Use the setclock from your Workbench V1.2, the V1.3 version might not work always.

Q? During a boot or RESET the screen changes. What does this mean?

A! To indicate problems detected within the hardware, the screen is changed to one of the following colors:

Color Diagnostic
dark gray Hardware OK
light gray Sofware OK
blue Bad Custom Chips
green Bad CHIP RAM
red Checksum Error ROM (Bad ROM)
yellow exception before a GURU meditation could be given

Q? What is the difference between the A2000 and the B2000?

A! Commodore in Braunschweig (Germany) has built the A2000 based on the AMIGA 1000. They added the slots and 512 KBytes RAM. This was done in order to allow an XT-card inside the computer. Later Commodore developed the B2000 which was based on the new hardware also used in the AMIGA 500. It has 1 MByte of RAM and is prepared for 1 MByte of CHIP RAM.

Both have the same case but are completely different inside. Also, from a software point of view small differences might be discovered.

Q? What is the difference btween all these kinds of memory?

A! These are the most common terms used that have to do with memory:

Autoconfig RAM Memory that is available and know to the system as you power on the machine. This means that you don't have to execute a program to let the operating system know this memory is available. On the the other hand

NonAutoconfig RAM needs to be made available, which is usually done with programs like AddMem and AddRAM. With these you are telling the OS where in the addressing space the memory board can be found.

Public RAM [Good explanation needed.]

FAST RAM is any RAM out of the reach of the custom chips. It is known as FAST RAM because code and data may be accessed by the CPU there faster, as it does not have to deal with the bus contention in the CHIP RAM addressing space.

On the CHIP RAM bus, time has to be shared by both the processor and the custom chips. If the custom chips are very active at a given time, the CPU must wait for the bus to be free for it's use. [Some activities of the custom chips can 'cycle steal' from the CPU, causing it to be forced to wait.] Normally, the 680x0 on the Amiga only needs the bus every alternate clock cycle in order to run full speed...thus the other cycles not used are taken up by the custom chips. However, when the blitter is in use, or the coporcessor (COPPER), you see some of this cycle stealing. As a result, the CPU can usually run quite close to full speed on the CHIP RAM bus, but there is almost always some activity which slows it down a bit. And of course any heavy graphcs use will cause considerable slowing if the CPU is themselves

RAM waitstates You will run into having to have wait states if the memory being utilized is slower than the speed at which the processor needs it to come back. For instance, FAST RAM on the A2000 (68000) is usually rated at 120-100ns...this is perfectly fine for zero-wait state operation on that bus. The processor is incapable of "asking for" the data any faster. Putting 80ns memory here would be a waste of money, as the processor will not be able to access it any faster. [The processor/bus is running at a certain speed. It will not speed up for faster memory]. Now, if you were to put 200ns parts on a FAST RAM expansion, you would have to put some wait states into that.

FastMemFirst Memory on the Amiga is prioritized. Now, normally CHIP RAM is given a priority on the sytem of -10. This is to insure it is not used by programs requesting simply "I want a chunk of memory", and not saying "and it needs to be CHIP". This helps to prevent CHIP RAM from being used for things which do not need to be there. On Amigas with 512KBytes of CHIP RAM, the other 512KBytes which make up the 1MByte std. complement is what is called "SLOW-FAST" RAM. This is because, while the custom chips cannot use it, it is still subject to the bus connection for CHIP RAM, as it is in fact on that bus. [When you upgrade to the 1-MByte Agnus, this "SLOW-FAST memory is what becomes the other 512KBytes of CHIP RAM.] FastMemFirst is useful if you have this "SLOW-FAST" memory, and also have true FAST memory on the system. What it does is place your "SLOW-FAST" memory at the same -10 priority as CHIP RAM. Since most true FAST RAM will default to a priority of 0, it places your true FAST RAM ahead of the CHIP and SLOW-FAST memory on the memory lists. This is so programs which do not need to use CHIP RAM (and a program's actual CODE never does for the most part) will be placed in you FAST RAM, and run somewhat faster. SLOW-FAST and CHIP will only be used when wither requested specifically by a program, or when your FAST RAM is filled.

SOFTWARE Questions

Q? Who is Fred Fish and what are the AmigaLibDisks?

A! The AmigaLibDisks are disks with public-domain software and shareware programs (If possible with sources.) assembled by Fred Fish. It is the largest set of public-domain disks available for the AMIGA. You can find hundreds of utilities and games on these disks often with their sources included. These disks are available from Fred Fish (as well as a variety of other sources, such as your MAG library)

Q? What is CATS and how do I become a developer?

A! CATS stands for Commodore Applications and Technical Support. (CATS) provides technical support to Amiga developers. This is provided through a number of channels, inluding network support, phone support for commercial developers, and technical documentation.

CATS-Admin
1200 Wilson Drive
West Cheser, PA 19380

Ask for information on the developer support program if you want to become a developer. There are two developer levels, both require that you be working on a product that you believe will make it to market. Developer status includes a subscription to AmigaMail (our technical newsletter), access to beta software, access to developers conferences, and access to closed conferences on BIX. Commercial status also includes phone support.

Certified Developer

$75/year, no phone support, no other requirements. $25 signup cost.

Commercial Developer

$450/year, phone support, requires that you have an existing product on the market. $50 signup cost.

(This article was edited down. For the complete article plus much more, pick up the April issue of diskMAGazine, available only at the April 13 general meeting.)

Lemmings game codes for Taxing & Mayhem

Here are the codes for the last 58 levels of Lemmings. Only use them when it is absolutely necessary. Good Luck...

TAXING... MAYHEM...
2. fcomkmmofy jonjgkomhq
3. kccnmonpfy onhgckmnhw
4. cinnmgoqfl fngkjomohm
5. gcjknlhbgt ngannmfphw
6. kkknehgcgw gknmoohqhv
7. ohlmjgadgw gajjldobip
8. ilklgmoegn kjhleogcij
9. lklgajofgt nildoggdik
10. dlgkjobggo ildmgooeis
11. lgandlehgk llkgckmfin
12. gknoleligv eogijnlgir
13. gajimlhjgw mgcnolehip
14. mkimdlgkgq ginolemiiw
15. nhmelgalgy gejimomjij
16. imdigmnmgv ijimdmgkio
17. melgakingl nkmeogclis
18. dngoklmogl hmdmgonmij
19. hgaomolpgx memgcjmniq
20. ginnomhqgr lkgijoooiq
21. gejknnhbhy ogannmdpiw
22. kjklflgchj ginomemqip
23. njlgngadhw gejilfmbjt
24. hlgngioeho ijilfmgcjy
25. lflgcjofhy njlfmgadjw
26. glgojllght flfmjeoejp
27. lgeollfhho nnigaklfjn
28. ginonnhihl gmgijnlgts
29. gckhoghjhw mgannlfhjo
30. kjimglgkhr gkonnoiijr

MAG Financial Statement - March 1991

Beginning petty cash $228.53 2/09/91
Beginning bank balance $1417.82 2/09/91
Beginning total balance $1646.35 2/09/91
Transaction Date Credit Debit SubTotal Balance
$0.00 $1646.35
D.Webb (phone calls) 3/9/91 $7.75 -7.75 1638.60
B. Akey (disks, labels) 3/9/91 46.16 -46.16 1592.44
Bob Crichton (RN) 3/9/91 $15.00 +15.00 1607.44
B. Bowers (PL, Fish) 3/9/91 97.50 -97.50 1509.94
T. Campbell (rebate NL) 3/9/91 75.43 +75.43 1585.37
S. Mergen (NM) 3/9/91 20.00 +20.00 1605.37
R. Swilley (Mag disk) 3/9/91 2.00 +2.00 1607.37
M. Wallace (Mag disk) 3/9/91 12.00 +12.00 1619.37
T. Campbell (NL, stamps) 3/9/91 64.22 -64.22 1555.15
B. Akey (Framegrabber, SuperGen) 3/11/91 625.00 -625.00 930.15
Total $124.43 $840.63 End Total $930.15
petty cash 137.33
bank bal. 792.82
end bal. 930.15

UPgrades & UPdates

WordPerfect just mailed out a new update, Amiga version 4.1.12 dated 1/15/91. It includes a Preview program/module so that you can see what headers, footers, etc. will look like before you print them out. Well, you have to print to disk using their Preview driver first.

M.V. Micro has announced B.A.D. (Blitz a Disk) version 4.0, with what they claim is the most advanced disk analyzer yet. BBS updates available.