May 1993 MAGazine Volume 9 Number 5

Table Of Contents

PRESIDENT'S PONDERINGS

May 1993 by Bob Nunn

BYLAWS CHANGED!

I want to thank all of you for what I consider a vote of confidence on the bylaws changes at the April Meeting. I know that all of you realize that the changes are in the clubs best interest. I am still somewhat amazed that there was no dissention against any of the changes though. I always expect someone to disagree. The board spent quite a bit of time going over these and we reworked and reworded several areas. I feel good about what we accomplished and I hope you do also. Thanks to Trevor and Terry for getting the newsletter out early so we could vote on the issues.

APRIL'S DEMO'S

I want to personally thank ED BILLSON for the wonderful job he did on the Morphing Demo. I hope you left better informed on what program to buy, I know that I did. I have to apologize to Ed for making it difficult for him to use the program. Using monochrome output for the person demoing so that the club can view in color on the big screen is one of the trade offs we have to make. Perhaps we can improve the way we do this in the future. Thanks also to CHARLIE WIRTH (Eagle's Nest Sysop) for demoing the QBlue offline reader. We did have a few problems getting an online editor to come up but I hope that you saw the potential of this program and programs like it.

DISKS OF THE MONTH

Bill Bowers did a great job assembling several disks for this month. I know that Bill works hard each month sorting through materials and putting together the best of the best for you. Bill had a few problems getting some of the disks to run this month. I know that all of you experience problems like this from time to time. If you get a bad disk at the meeting make sure you bring it back for replacement. We recycle unsold disks and this sometimes increases the amount of error we get on disk materials.

A1200 PURCHASE?

I think a goal for the group this year should be to replace our tired A500 demo system with a new one. With more people buying the A1200 and A4000 systems the ability for us to demo AGA and Workbench 3.0 features would be a necessity. This does not mean we will be spending a great deal of time with these subjects but we do need to have this capability. I made this proposal at our last board meeting and we will be studying the costs and equipment needs and our ability to raise the needed funds. Once we determine our needs we will bring a proposal before the group for approval of the purchase.

VIDEOSPEAK MOVING?

I visited with David Spence recently and they already have a new building picked out. While I don't have the exact date of when they will open I do have a new address. 250 S. Cooper near Ruby Begonia's. This midtown location should make things better and his new hours will be later during the week. I don't know about you, but getting all the way out to the south of Collierville location made things tough. It is always good to see a local business expand especially one that has been so supportive. He is also planning a second line for the Videospeak BBS and will have a new business phone. Check the Videospeak ad out this month for more information.

SPREAD THE WORD!

While we have contacted most all leading manufacturers, publishers, etc. we still need you help in getting the word out about the group. We have a small brochure and business cards available for you to distribute. Make sure where you shop for computer supplies has club information available, or let us know and we will get materials by.

Directory Opus 4.0

INOVAtronics recently released version 4.0 of Directory Opus (DOpus), the first major upgrade since this popular program was released. The extent to which DOpus has matured is obvious as soon as you open the package; the slim wire-bound manual has been replaced by a 293-page tome, packaged in an executive grey 3-ring binder. Maturity does not come without a price, however - the list price of Directory Opus 4.0 is $99.95.

If you have never seen or heard of DOpus, some explanation is in order. DOpus is, at its heart, a directory utility. Long ago, when the Amiga was young, directory utilities were among the most popular public domain programs. These tools let you manage your files with point-and-click simplicity. The classic model for a directory utility - a source window, a directory window, and various buttons to control the functions - has remained the same. As time went by, most directory utilities added functionality, to the point where they became an alternate interface to Workbench. DOpus, with its ability to manipulate files, view text and images, play sounds, launch programs and ARexx scripts, is indeed an alternate workplace, and has been one of the most popular Amiga directory utilities ever.

DOpus comes on a single bootable disk. The minimum recommended configuration is an Amiga with 1 meg. or more of memory, and AmigaDOS 1.3 or higher. Hard drive installation is accomplished through the now-familiar Commodore Installer program, and the procedure is adequately explained in the first section of the manual.

If you're upgrading from a previous version of DOpus, you'll want to pay particular attention to the installation section. DOpus 4.0 operates somewhat differently from its predecessor, and the existence of the older configuration file - as well as the absence of the proper assigns - can cause problems.

The biggest changes to DOpus are available under AmigaDOS 2.0 or greater. In short, DOpus now supports AppIcons and AppWindows. In simpler terms, this means that "drag and drop" operations are supported. Want to see the contents of a drawer? Drag the icon for the drawer into a DOpus window; the contents will automatically be displayed. Want to view an image? Drag the icon for that image over to the VIEW button and drop it; DOpus will show it for you. (Note that these features are only available if you run DOpus in "Workbench Use" mode, where it runs as a Workbench window.) My favorite operation is de-archiving. All I do is click on the name of an archive file in one DOpus window, hold down both mouse buttons, and drag the file into the other DOpus window. Voila! The archive is dissolved.

If you're the proud owner of an AGA machine, you'll be happy to know DOpus 4.0 is fully AGA-compatible. It supports all AGA graphics modes, including HAM8. If you want music to accompany those images, DOpus now has built-in support for MOD files, including Med, NoiseTracker, Octalizer, OctaMed, ProTracker, SoundTracker, and StarTracker. Sounds - MOD files, 8SVX, and RAW sounds, can be looped or played singly.

DOpus also has built-in functions to let you play anims, read text -- including PowerPacked files -- and view any bitmapped font. And, as you might expect of a program distributed by INOVAtronics, DOpus can launch CanDo decks. All of these functions are automatic, thanks to the Smart Read function. Simply stated, DOpus can interrogate a file and take the appropriate action if it recognizes the file type. Since there are some 36 defined file types, DOpus can recognize just about any kind of file, from an AmigaDOS program to a ZOO archive. You can add new file types as you need them, or you can edit the existing ones.

DOpus 4.0 carries the concept of flexibility to a new extreme. You can use the font of your choice -- including Compugraphic fonts -- for each of 11 items. If there aren't enough buttons for you, just add another bank. You can add as many as your memory allows. And you can configure DOpus to open as a Workbench window or a custom screen, both available as full- or half-height. But the real flexibility of DOpus lies in its command set; there are 89 in all, from AbortPrint to Version.

One of the most welcome of the new commands is Modify. This command lets you make temporary or permanent changes to the configuration options. Those of us who sorely wanted a Reverse Sort button, for example, can now add one easily. The command string for such a button is:

Modify SortFlags 1
ReScan

The beauty of 4.0, though, is that you don't have to memorize the command set. All you have to do is click on a gadget, and all the available commands -- with a short explanation for each -- are displayed in a pop-up requestor. When you click on one, it's inserted into the command stream. Most configuration operations are like this. If you have to choose a command, a file, a function or a font, it's available from a pop-up requestor. ARexx fans will be pleased to learn that 4.0 now supports more than 100 commands.

Not all is rosy, though. While DOpus 4.0 is fairly solid, the most frequently reported bug concerns the IconInfo function. On AGA machines, invoking this function (either from the button or by double-clicking on an .info file) will lock DOpus IF you have DOpus configured as a Workbench window and if you are using more than 16 colors. On non-AGA machines, IconInfo hangs the program if you have DOpus configured as a custom screen. In other situations -- when you try to launch a program using an errant runline, for example -- DOpus will appear to hang. If this happens, look in your T: directory for a "dopustemp.tmp" file. This is a temporary script file for DOpus; type the last line from this script, and you should be able to resume operations. A bug fix, by the way, is reportedly in the works.

DOpus is a program that you really need to see for yourself. While directory utilities seem to incur an almost fanatical following, DOpus is clearly the best of the bunch. It really can do it all, simply, easily, and efficiently, and it's got plenty of room to grow. I use DOpus every time I turn my Amiga on, and it's one of the few programs I refuse to do without.

by Jim Meyer

MAG .info

The Memphis Amiga Group (M.A.G.)
P.O. Box 752683
Memphis, TN 38175-2683

GENERAL INFORMATION

The Memphis Amiga Group (M.A.G.) is a non profit organization whose purpose is promoting and encouraging the use and understanding of the Commodore Amiga Computer Systems. Memberships are open to all those who share a common interest in the Amiga computer and its many wonderful and unique features. Monthly meetings are open to the public and vistors are very welcome.

MEMBERSHIP

Annual membership dues for new members is $25.00 with an annual renewal rate of $20.00. All memberships are family memberships and dues are nonrefundable.

NEWSLETTER

This newsletter is published monthly for the distribution to members of the Memphis Amiga Group. MAGazine contains meeting announcements, hardware and software reviews, video and book reviews and other information of interest to Amiga and computer users in general. Contributions are welcome and may be submitted in hardcopy or via disk in asci format at any meeting or you can upload to Videospeak BBS 853-4804. Be sure to leave a note to the sysop. The editor reserves the right to reject material related to illegal service, products or unethical practices.

CLUB DISKS & MISC.

Disks of the Month $2.00
Fred Fish Disks $2.00
Blank Disks 65¢
Video Rental $3.00 week

ADVERTISING RATES

Full Page $20.00
1/2 Page $11.00
1/4 Page $7.50
1/8 Page or Business Card $3.00 week
Free classified ads for members.

MEETINGS

General Membership Meetings: 2nd Saturday of each month 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm in the Farris Auditorium at State Tech.

Board of Directors Meeting: 2nd Saturday of each month at 11:30 am at Gridley's on Macon Road.

All special events will be announced via the newsletter.

BOARD MEMBERS

Bob Nunn President 795-0461 Voice
Cheryn Nunn Vice President 365-1583 Data
Terry Campbell Treasurer 601-393-4864
Bill Bowers Librarian 360-0003
Trevor Thrasher News Editor 388-0108

Bob's Bits

by Bob Nunn

Operator Headgap BBS! Grand Re-Opening!

I think many of you know that I run a BBS as a hobby and have done so for over 7 years now. I have one line sponsored plus a hard drive supplied by the Memphis Commodore Users Club (MCUC) and have a substantial 8 bit area available.

The BBS has been run on a Commodore 128 Computer with a RamLink and a dual CMD Hard Drive System. I have had some limitations with the 8 bit software for some time now and was looking for a way to improve my system.

I want to thank David Spence out at Videospeak for making all of this possible. He had an A2000 system that he took in on trade and he sold it to me at a good price. I had wanted to be able to offer more than one line with the BBS, one for low speed callers and one for high speed callers. David also connected me with Charles Morgan (Traxx) who had an ASDG Multi-Serial Card he was willing to let loose of for a fair price. I had gotten a Supra v.32bis modem for Christmas. Now all I needed was software and some more storage capacity. I found a Maxtor 213 Meg Hard Drive for $359 from Computability and David started carrying CNET out at Videospeak so I picked up the last two pieces that I needed.

The all new Operator Headgap BBS will officially go online as of May 1st 1993! You as MAG Members are specially invited to log on and help christen the new system. I have only had a few of my old time users on. They have been helping work out the bugs on the system.

I have added a large Amiga section with a 213 Meg drive and another 105 Meg drive dedicated to the system itself and U/D area for Amiga users. The system will still have a very large 64/128 support area. MCUC has supplied a 50 Meg Quantum Hard Drive that will be dedicated to the club support software. Long term I am considering the addition of another 213 Meg drive and later perhaps a CD ROM drive as well.

I will initially have a limited amount of online games (P-Files) but will continue to build that section as long as it does not inhibit regular board usage. I will have support for offline readers like we had demonstrated in the April meeting. Anything that makes your visits more productive will have high priority with me. I believe a simple easy to use system is the best system.

Many areas of the system will be shared areas. Both user types can use the message bases but I do have Amiga and 64/128 specific message areas and library text files (G-Files). That should keep it interesting for everyone.

With an average of 20+ calls a day (mostly 8 bit) and the addition of more Amiga callers, I hope that the board will be an interesting one. With the second line you should be able to log on most times of the day. The busiest times are still from around 5:30 pm to 12:00 pm. You will have less trouble if you can use the system at other off system times, but give us a try anytime. I do request that you use the 3/12/2400 line if you have a slower modem.

My wife and I pride ourselves in helping people to learn to use their computers more efficiently. If you are new to telecommunications call and practice on the Headgap. We are here to help you. Remember there are no dumb questions, just unasked ones and there are no stupid computer users, just uneducated ones. Call and learn with us!

Operator Headgap BBS

Free Support for C64/128 & Amiga Computers
Commodore Color Graphics, ANSI, or ASCI Support, 24 Hour!

Operating from an Amiga 2000 w/Hurricane 2000 Accelerator, 5
Megabytes of Ram, Maxtor 213 Meg, Conner 105 Meg, &
Quantum 52 Meg Hard Drives, Twin-X Dual Serial Board w/
Supra V.32bis & CD2400 Modems. Running CNET Amiga
v.2.61! Headgap Features a Huge Online Commodore Information
Library! Exceptional Message Bases! Tremendous Transfer
Area! Oldest Commodore BBS in Memphis! MCUC Support
BBS!

Bob Nunn - Sysop (901) 365-1583 3/12/24
2400 & Above Only (901) 367-0744 V.32bis

VistaPro 3.0: You CAN Get There from Here

I grew up on the West Coast. Between the mountains and the sea. Mt. Rainier is mine...Longmire, Paradise, Ohannepecosh (I was too young to learn how to spell it), Silver Falls, and the Petrified Forest. Haystack Rock and the rugged Oregon coast are also a part of me. I often wandered off alone, to the consternation of my parents, to absorb the massiveness of the mountain or the breadth of the sea. I was searching for the hidden valleys and streams that appeared a few steps ahead, or the secret crevasses revealed at low tide. I would go home and re-create the mountain's intricacies by shaping an old blanket into hills and valleys. Then I would place my cllection of little plastic horses. My broomtailed mustangs running free.

I have it all again with Vista Pro.

With Vista Pro you can change, create, or imitate nature. You can color your world and add vegetation. You can zoom into a landscape and then enlarge that area to better reveal its secrets. It is easy to learn, but gives you so much control over every aspect of the output that it will take quite a while to master.

The manuals are excellent. The spiral-bound user guide tells you everything, explaining in detail every nuance of the program. A lot of inspiration and ideas can be found in these pages. There's also a 16 page tutorial booklet and the Script Language Reference booklet is over 40 pages. These script commands are understood directly by VP3.0 and can be used through ARexx to control almost every aspect of the program.

Basically, for those unfamiliar with Vista pro, you load a landscape file (of real world data) or create your own through a random function. You then place your camera and target on the displayed amp, use the preview function for a general idea of the outline, do a couple of quick renderings with low polygon and texture values to test the view, then go for it. A bit later (the time involved is totally dependent on the options requested, processor, and FPU speed) the finished landscape is displayed. Save it and do another one. Vista Pro is addictive as any game.

Features new to version 3.0 include an option to view the picture while it is rendering. This is fun to watch, but be aware that it slows down rendering time considerably. Be sure to turn this off for "high" or "ultra" quality pictures.

Another important addition to 3.0 is a new texturing function. When you select a texture level, a requester asks you for "Altitude" or "Shading". The new one is "Altitude". It fractalizes the polygons, adding extra detail for very realistic surfaces. Nearby large polygons can now be as detailed as distant mountains. Do not use Gourad shading with the new Altitude texturing since they tend to cancel each other out. Gourad shading was available in 2.0 and gives a painted appearance to the landscape. I've seen Van Gogh, Matisse, and Rousseau-like qualities when using Gourad.

Speed...aha, the big question. VistaPro 3.0 seems to be faster than 2.0. The new texturing can be time-intensive at the higher levels, however, as well as choosing a polygon of size 1. But other than that, I found the program to be peppier on my 25Mhz fpu equipped 1200 than version 2.0 was on my 3000. Most renderings with poly set to 2 and altitude texturing set to Medium or High take anywhere from 12 to 40 minutes. There are exceptions, of course. One picture I did took six hours.

There are some temporary negatives. The following problems will be addressed by VRLI and I have found nothing that prevents me from doing what I wish with the program. I have heard numerous reports of crashes and bugs with 3.0. I suspect that the crashes are occurring under 1.3. VRLI realizes there are problems under 1.3 and has made 3.0 for 2.x and above only. They plan on doing another release shortly for 1.3 users. I have had no crashes on my 1200 under WB3.0.

However, that's not to say there aren't any bugs. A serious one under AGA is that a picture saved out in HAM8 format (as IFF) often crashes ViewTek and when it doesn't, the colors are wrong. Also, saving a 256 color IFF saves the data fine, but it is not interfaced. (I did my testing with mode promotion turned ON, which could have someting to do with it.) The safest thing to do is save as IFF24 which is an option always available. IFF24 files contain all the information to reconstruct any size, resolution or colorspace you may want later. Also, the IFF24 can be JPEG compressed for storage and for distribution. (An ARexx script is included which automatically converts IFF24s to JPEG format for AdPro users.) Or you can use Quickgrab to capture the screen if you have no use for the IFF24 file. I didn't have any save problems on the 3000.

I've barely scratched the surface here, not even mentioning VP's extensive animation capailities, nor the separate programs MakePath and TerraForm. I have not mentioned "Shrink", "Enlarge", explained DEM files, nor mentioned countless other details that you will discover for yourself. I have no reservations about recommending this program. The bugs that are there will be eliminated and the program's features are all available and usable. I consider this to be one of the most powerful and creative programs I own for my Amiga.

VistaPro 3.0 supports AGA, with output in 256 colors or HAM8. It also supports Firecracker, DCTV, and HAM-E as well as all the OCS/ECS modes. It requires 2.x or greater, 4 megs on OCS/ECS machines, and 6 megs under AGA. An accelerator is highly recommeded.

(Editor's Note: The initial release of VistaPro 3.0 does NOT work on 68000-based machines. This will be addressed by a bug fix, which should be available shortly.)

BOARD MEETING MINUTES April 10, 1993

The meeting was called to order at 11:30 am by Bob Nunn. Present were: Bob and Cheryn Nunn, Terry Campbell, Bill Bowers, Charles Williams, Scott Pitts & Mike Wallace.

Cheryn gave a report on her discussion with Fred Fish. Fred intends to keep producing the disks if the subscription rate increases enough to cover his expenses. If it doesn't, he will refund any monies on account with him to the subscribers. Current price is $3.00 per disk, with an average of 8 to 10 disks released per month. The motion was made and carried to send Fred Fish $100 on account for the lastest releases. It was felt that this is an important source of new PD and Shareware Amiga software, and it would be in the club's best interest to support it. Scott Pitts has the Kingfisher catalog up to 750. We will take that and update the catalog from that point.

The proposed bylaws changes were reviewed again and discussed before taking them before the general membership. The officers approved the final version for voting by the membership.

Discussion was held regarding the future purchase of an A1200, to give the club access to the new AGA chip technology. Sources for the purchase and current pricing were discussed. The officers will continue looking for the best source for this purchase. Final plans will be brought before the general membership for a vote before action is taken.

Scott Pitts, sysop of Amiga Pitts, solicited the board of officers for support of a line on his BBS for the use by the general membership of the Memphis Amiga Group. The board tentatively agreed to support a phone line when Scott got his equipment up and running. Special Memphis Amiga Group logon and support areas, plus access to the Fred Fish library online will be available.

Meeting adjourned at 12:10 pm.

GENERAL MEETING NOTES

At the General Membership Meeting, begun at 2 pm on April 10, 1993, the President, Bob Nunn, reviewed the Proposed Bylaw Changes before the Membership present. The floor was opened for questions or discussion about the changes. No questions or discussion were presented. The motion was made and seconded that the bylaw changes be accepted as presented. Vote was taken by voice, with all aye votes, no nay votes.

Respectfully submitted,

Cheryn Nunn, Vice President

MEMPHIS AMIGA GROUP MEMBERS MAY 1993

LAST NAME FIRST NAME CITY ST ZIP EXPIRES
1. Akey Brian L. Memphis TN 38107 OCT 93
2. Andrew Sid Memphis TN 38168 SEP 94
3. Andrews Freddie L. Memphis TN 38128 JAN 94
4. Barnhart Ken Memphis TN 38118 MAY 94
5. Bilson Edward Memphis TN 38115 JAN 94
6. Bonk Bruce West Memp AR 72301 FEB 94
7. Bovers William Memphis TN 38118 MAY 93
8. Browne Kevin Memphis TN 38111 DEC 93
9. Burns Keith Cordova TN 38018 NOV 94
10. Cambell Terry A. Horn Lake MS 38637 DEC 93
11. Castillo Jose M. Memphis TN 38118 DEC 93
12. Cervetti Michael Cordova TN 38018 AUG 93
13. Chiego John & Sara Memphis TN 38119 OCT 93
14. Cobbins Gerald Memphis TN 38109 JAN 94
15. Crighton Jr. Robert Millington TN 38053 APR 93
16. Crockett Robert Horn Lake MS 38637 DEC 93
17. Deschamps Joseph Franklin TN 37064 AUG 93
18. Dobbins Chris Memphis TN 38152 APR 93
19. Dunn Jimmie L. Memphis TN 38106 APR 94
20. Dye Julia Ann Memphis TN 38120 APR 93
21. Echols Steve Memphis TN 38125 DEC 93
22. Franklin Shelley Memphis TN 38120 MAR 94
23. Gates Terrence Memphis TN 38109 MAY 94
24. Ginn Raymond Memphis TN 38127 APR 94
25. Glover Steven Cordova TN 38018 JAN 93
26. Hawkins Conrad G. Memphis TN 38117 JUL 93
27. Hooker Bill Memphis TN 38134 NOV 93
28. Ingerson Steve Walls MS 38680 SEP 93
29. King Guy Collierville TN 38017 JAN 94
30. Kligal Joseph Memphis TN 38118 APR 93
31. Lewis Jeff Memphis TN 38134 MAY 93
32. Man Samuel Germantown TN 38138 FEB 94
33. McCalla Ron & Audrey Jackson TN 38305 DEC 99
34. Mergen Steve Memphis TN 38104 MAR 93
35. Montgomery Ronald Memphis TN 38108 FEB 94
36. Morgan Don Memphis TN 38117 JUN 93
37. Morris Louis Sr. Memphis TN 38125 APR 94
38. Nolen Kent Arlington TN 38002 JUL 93
39. Norman Joe R. Dyersburg TN 38024 JAN 94
40. Nunn Bob & Cheryn Memphis TN 38141 AUG 93
41. Photo Grafix (Jim) Memphis TN 38112 MAY 94
42. Pittman James E. Memphis TN 38116 APR 93
43. Ralston Bruce Memphis TN 38104 MAR 93
44. Rush David Memphis TN 38127 NOV 93
45. Sanders Joe Memphis TN 38134 JAN 94
46. Spence David E. Collierville TN 38017 MAR 93
47. Stokes Paul Eads TN 38028 DEC 93
48. Thrasher Trevor Southaven MS 38671 NOV 93
49. Torrence Samuel Tupelo MS 38801 MAY 93
50. Varnell Roy Memphis TN 38127 APR 93
51. Vineyard Charles W. Memphis TN 38118 AUG 93
52. Walker Jim Memphis TN 38128 JAN 94
53. Wallace Michael S. Marion AR 72364 AUG 93
54. Waters Robert Memphis TN 38116 OCT 93
55. Weatherall Broadus Memphis TN 38111 JAN 94
56. Webb Donnie Memphis TN 38118 JAN 94
57. Wells Phillip Jackson TN 38301 APR 93
58. Williams Charles Wilson AR 72395 DEC 93
59. Winfield Kenneth Memphis TN 38128 OCT 93
60. Wirth Charles Memphis TN 38128 FEB 94
61. Wulff John Memphis TN 38115 JUL 93
62. Wyatt Joel Jackson TN 38301 FEB 94
63. Yates Richard Memphis TN 38134 MAR 93

If you have a change of address or phone, please notify;
Terry Campbell (601) 393-4864

Financial Report of the Memphis Amiga Group March, 1993

Beginning Blance $ 923.89
Disk Sales $ 24.00
Rentals $ 6.00
New Members $ 50.00
Dues $ 20.00
$ 1023.89
Expenses
News Letter exp. $ - 57.69
Ending Balance $ 966.20

Welcome To The Gang!!

Ken Bernhart
Jammie Dunn
Terrence Gates
Louis Morris Sr.

These are our newest members.
So let's all make them welcome!

Last minute Editions!

This months meeting will also feature Demo's of,
Video Director by Brian Akey
Bible Search by Mike Wallace

Shhh! The Refrigerator Can Hear Us.

condensed fron New York Times
John C. Waugh

There's been a lot of talk about extraterrestrial beings visiting our planet. I am convinced, however, that we are surrounded by sentient things of our own making whose single aim is the harassment of the individual and, ultimately, the destruction of society

Let me illustrate. A couple of years ago, I received a $600 insurance dividend. Sitting at the kitchen table, my wife and I discussed what we might do wth the bonanza. I realize now that the refrigerator overheard our conversation. The very next day, it went berserk. The repairman told us we needed a new unit. Cost $600.

Not long after, we got a refund from the IRS, enough to pay for a vacation in Mexico.

"I've something to tell you," I said to my wife. "Privately."

"How about the den?" she suggested. I remembered that the color television set is in the den. "No, not there. Let's go outside."

I showed her the check as we stood in the driveway. We hugged each other elatedly and hardly noticed the rain.

My car was parked within earshot. I didn't think anything of it at the time. As I started for the train the next morning, the car began making devilish screeching sounds.

"The engine's shot," my mechanic said. "Replacing in will cost about a thousand dollars."

The car's demise convinced me I was on to something big. I dug through our financial records. I discovered that over the past ten years our receipt of "found" money invariable was followed by equal expenditures to replace a hot-water heater, a television and a stove.

Today, I lavish compliments on all the mechanical devices in our home. And I never, ever mentioned financial rewards in front of them.

But if this article is published and I'm paid for it, the word processor is going to go for sure.

It'll know.