June 1994 MAGazine Volume 10 Number 6

The June General Meeting of the Memphis Amiga Group will be held Saturday, June 11 from 1:00 pm until approximately 3:00 pm in the Farris Auditorium on the campus of State Technical Institute at Memphis.

The newsletter is published monthly for distribution to the 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 ASCII format at any meeting or you can upload to Operator Headgap BBS - (901) 759-1542 V.32bis hi speed operating CNET PRO v3.05c software. Be sure to leave a note to the sysop.

From the President's CLI

by Bob Nunn

Commodore Bites the Dust

I guess by now all of you have heard that it is official. Commodore is no more. Someone uploaded a gif file to my BBS showing the front of the West Chester PA office of Commodore with a for sale sign. I know that a lot of folks are interested in buying the technology but I fear that because of the inevitable delays caused by all of the legal mumbo jumbo that by the time someone finally does get the rights and wants to start producing product again that whatever momentum that was left will be gone. I think that there will be a specialty market for the continuation of the Toaster products and that may be some salvation.

Is It Time To Move On?

There will be hardware and software available for a time assuming that someone doesn't start producing the computers again. If the machine is fulfilling your needs then I say no. There are still many people using the older 64 & 128 computers and are completely satisfied. If your machine does all that you need then by all means continue to use it. There are worlds of software out there available and as long as there is software available there is still life left in your machine. I will be watching to see what continues to happen.

Missed The Last One

I regret having to miss the last meeting. Cheryn tells me that all went well and that you had an interesting meeting. I hope that we have something exciting for the next one and have not finalized demo plans.

Amiga Pitts Down

We had sponsored one of the lines for the Amiga Pitt BBS and recognized this BBS as our official club bbs. Unfortunately Scott was unable to maintain enough support for the bbs to continue and with the expense of keeping all of that equipment online he felt like he could not continue.

CD-Rom For The Headgap?

I just received a Double Speed CD Rom Drive for my bulletin board. I hope to have Frozen Fish (Fred Fish Disks 1-1000) up by the time you read this. My future plans are to set up several direcories featuring several different CD-Roms and open and close them on a rotating basis. CD-Rom drive prices continue to drop. I got this double speed ddrive from Mac Warehouse for $199.

Another 28,000 Baud Modem Online?

Both my lines for the BBS system will feature 28,800. While I don't have many users yet that have the new VFAST modems I know that it is inevitable as prices continue to drop. Call and log on Operator Headgap BBS at 901-759-1542 and see what else is new.

See you at the next meeting!!

MAG Meetings

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

There will be a board of directors lunch meeting at Gridley's in the formal dining room beginning at 11:00 A.M., Saturday, May 14 (before the general meeting). For more information call Bob Nunn at 901-795-1541.

Jim Godown
(901) 454-0001
Viva L' AMIGA
BUY - SELL - TRADE
Memphis, Tennessee

Advertising Rates

Full Page $20.00
1/2 Page $11.00
1/4 Page $7.50
1/8 Page (or business card) $3.00

(contact Terry Campbell at 601-393-4864)

Memphis Amiga Group Officers for 1994

President
Bob Nunn
(901) 795-1541

Vice President
Thomas O'Brien
(901) 872-6962

Secretary
Cheryn Nunn
(901) 759-1541

Treasurer
Terry Campbell
(601) 393-4864

Librarian
Bill Bowers
(901) 360-0003

MAGazine Editor
Charles Williams
(501) 655-8777

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

INFO

The Memphis Amiga Group (MAG) is non-profit organization whose purpose is promoting and encourageing the use and understanding of the Commodore Amiga Computer. 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 visitors are welcome.

Annual membership dues for new members are $25.00 with an annual renewal rate of $20.00. Associate memberships are available for $15.00 per year, renewable at the same rate, to those who must travel more than 45 miles one way to attend general meetings. All memberships are family memberships and dues are nonrefundable.

Don't forget!
Classified-style advertising space is free to members.
PURCHASE - SWAP - DEAL - CAJOLE - ELICIT - BARGAIN

DSS8+ REVIEW

BY Michel J. Brown

PRODUCT NAME

DSS8+ sound sampler, version 2.01.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION

Digital Sound Sampler 8+ (DSS8+) is an audio digitizer. It consists of a sampling/digitizing hardware interface and a sampling, editing, and sequencing program that allows you to digitize, edit, combine and play back audio samples.

AUTHOR/COMPANY INFORMATION

Name: Great Valley Products (GVP)
Address: 600 Clark Ave., King of Prussia, PA 19406, USA
Telephone: (215) 354-9495
FAX: (215) 337-9922
E-mail: None given, although I suspect that they monitor the nets part time as individuals.

LIST PRICE

I do not know the list price of the product, but I paid $99.95 in US dollars from my local Amiga dealer in Portland, OR, USA.

SPECIAL HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS

HARDWARE: Supports all current Motorola CPU's including the 68040. The card is processor independent for compatibility, but dependent inasmuch as speed is concerned.

SOFTWARE: None.

COPY PROTECTION

None.

MACHINE USED FOR TESTING

Amiga 2500 (rev 4.5). 2 MB Chip RAM, 4 MB Fast RAM. Kickstart version 37.300, Workbench version 38.35 (AmigaDOS 2.x).

INSTALLATION

Installation is easy and uses the Commodore Installer program. I selected the Expert Mode and found most of the defaults to be standard: the Novice selection wouldn't have been much different. The Installer script, however, doesn't seem to like my GigaMem partition, but the requester can be closed, so that is a moot point. I applaud GVP for having the sense to use the Commodore Installer, and besides, I like their install icon better anyway.

The hardware and software installs easily, and I was up and running in about five minutes, taking my time.

OVERVIEW

The DSS8+ package is a clear polycarbonite casing showing the internals of the circuit board. It has a non-pass-through parallel port connector, two RCA mini phono plugs, and a standard mini DIN microphone connector between them.

The included software, DSS8+ Digital Sound Studio V2.01, looks very similar to the previous version which was included in the original DSS8. Included are two double density floppy disks, the first marked Install, has the Program, utilities, and player. The second disk contains several very nice samples of high quality.

REVIEW

The software's interface, while reminiscent of other programs for music mods and meds, is unique in having single display. It can be changed by selecting the operating mode, like sampler, editor, or tracker. This makes for easy transition from one functional aspect of the program to another. The VCR style controls make the program intuitive to use and give instant feedback. As they claim, the screen is designed to resemble a mixing and editing console like in a sound studio.

Features abound in this inexpensive digital sampler -- not a bad little unit -- with real time echo, reverb, oscilloscopes, and spectrum analysis. Just about everything is mouse editable, including sample amplitude levels, waveform functions, and supports cut and paste type work. I'm not sure if it uses the clipboard, but it would be a natural extension of the editor. There are effects (F/X) and processing for echo, mixing, filters, and resampling. Currently only the IFF, Sonix, and Raw file formats are supported; however, it is compatible with most sound tracker and noise tracker modules, so this really isn't a problem unless you use OctaMED (currently not supported).

A key feature I like is the ability to create self-playing music modules for demo purposes. This allows others to hear your work without having to use a separate player program! Nice touch, in my opinion. Although I'm not a professional musician, I have found the tracker module up to par for creating some pretty impressive mods. It can create sampled instruments with 1, 3, and 5 octaves, and supports MIDI triggered note inscription. You can also add multiple effects for each note, so its a lot like OctaMED in this regard.

The tutorial is excellent, and except for the glib and cryptic explanation of creating a real time sample, it is pretty straightforward. It states only that the "microphone jack is also available for input when the Mixer is selected." This is simply done by clicking on the STEREO gadget, so this is just a small complaint about semantics.

When setting the gain for sampling, I recommend using the Autogain to get a feeling for where to start, then dropping back and resampling until you're at the bottom edge of clipping on the oscilloscope. This produces the best sound without added distortion from clipping. Speaking of distortion, my A1960 monitor emits a really bad whine that is picked up by the DSS8+ as a frequency modulated tone that sounds like a 1000 Hz tone riding the sample. I have to turn off my monitor every time I record, as I've not found a satisfactory manner to shield the unit from the apparent RFI. In HiFi mode the screen blanks out, yet the whine persists, so be alert to this as a possibility in your system.

While some will feel that the ability to have 31 samples in memory simultaneously is insufficient, that alone takes approximately 3 MB, not including free RAM for editing nor the program itself. So, for all intents and purposes, even though it will work on one megabyte machines, it really shines with at least four, and definitely more, especially chip RAM, where samples are generated before being buffered off to fast RAM.

DOCUMENTATION

The documentation comes in an 82-page, spiral bound booklet that can lie flat or be propped up on the keyboard for easy reference. The layout is logical and easily followed. First is the overview, followed by the installation procedures, which are very well documented, leaving nothing to guesswork. The tutorial follows, and is basically a quick look at the different modules and their functional layout and control subsystems.

After the brief basics are addressed, a very succinct reference section follows, covering in detail all aspects of the DSS8+ and giving lavish examples throughout. First rate explanations of all features, and examples of each one, make for easy reading and reference.

After the splendid reference section are appendices covering keyboard shortcuts, hexidecimal notation, and basic sound and music theory. Even then, GVP includes a well-thought-out customer complaint form and configuration form for trouble shooting, should the need ever arise... which I doubt, but it is a nice touch.

The index is actually cross-referenced, so it makes relating various functional aspects a lot easier. About the only complaint I have is that GVP claims to support ARexx, but there's no reference to it anywhere in the documentation. There is a drawer titled ARexx, however, which contains scripts to control right channel gain, left channel amplitude, DC offset, ARexx start, and ARexx quit. A little addendum or README file would have been better than no documentation at all. At least they are supporting ARexx and assigning ports.

The documentation is very straightforward and covers every aspect of installation, use, and maintenance. All levels of expertise are covered, and beginners to experts alike won't be disappointed or confused by the nomenclature.

LIKES

I like the ease of use, the intuitive system that is completely Style Guide compliant, and the use of many of the advanced features found on the more recent AmigaDOS upgrades.

DISLIKES AND SUGGESTIONS

About the only dislike I have is that I have to turn off my monitor in order to sample live properly. There is probably nothing that GVP can do about that, but it may be a problem for other users who use the Commodore A1960 monitor. I'd really like to know why I can save my preferences. The menu says I can, but the paths I have for different files default back to the original ones set by GVP. Perhaps this is a bug, or maybe their use of nonstandard requestors makes this happen. My suggestion: make use of the standard ASL requestors, and allow full use of the AmigaDOS system calls.

Another small complaint is that even though my virtual memory shows up in the System Information requestor, according to both DSS8+ and GigaMem, none of it is utilized. With applications like these becoming more commonplace, and upping the RAM requirements, virtual memory should at least be supported on a very elementary level. Even AudioMaster III supports virtual memory allocation, and it is considerably older than DSS8+.

Some commodities may not be compatible with the DSS8+. Magic Menus causes nasty, unrecoverable alerts. Power Data completely scrambles the DSS8+ screen to the point of unreadability. Needless to say, I no longer run these commodities, as I value the DSS8+ more, but I would like to see them work together harmoniously.

I'd like to see support for other screen modes: at least HIRES LACE would be nice. Then again, this could have been omitted because of RAM considerations, as there are numerous warnings throughout the documentation about memory usage and the large files that sampling can create. Maybe version three will improve this.

COMPARISON TO OTHER SIMILAR PRODUCTS

The only comparable product I have used is Perfect Sound by Sunrize. All I can say is that you'd have to go to either a twelve or sixteen bit unit before you'll find anything in the eight-bit group that will displace the DSS8+, the current reigning king of sound. I can think of no better value for the money in regards to Amiga sound devices.

BUGS

None noted, except for perhaps the conflicts mentioned above.

VENDOR SUPPORT

Full addresses, and phone/fax numbers are supplied, but trying to call a real representative at GVP is difficult at best. I am not associated with GVP in any way other than being a satisfied DSS8+ owner.

WARRANTY

Full one year warranty on parts and the installation software. Whether the warranty is transferable or not is not mentioned in the documentation.

CONCLUSIONS

This is an excellent product at a fair price. Considering the performance capabilities exhibited, I would hazard a guess that the faster your machine, the faster the throughput; and the more RAM (both Chip and Fast RAM) you have, the larger or more samples you can work with at a time. All in all, this is a product that every Amiga user shouldn't be without. I know I'll keep mine a long time!

Copyright 1994 by Dr. Michel J. Brown. All rights reserved.

How Modems Work

by Stefan G. Berg

Lemme try to give a quick intro to modem communications. I think many people are confused about this stuff. There are different issues when talking about modem communication:

1. How fast do the two modems talk to each other?

This is typically called the carrier rate and is given in bits per second (bps). If you have let's say a carrier rate of 300 bps between two modems, then 300 bits can be sent in one direction each second (since most standards are full duplex you can at the same time send another 300 bits in the other direction... the HST standard is one big exception to this rule).

Don't count in bytes and bits to figure out the actual data rate yet. This won't work out. Since normal modems communication using an asynchronous communication protocol (i.e. there is no global clock which synchronizes the two modems), you need some way of signaling what stream of bits makes up a byte. So there needs to be one start bit and one or two stop bits per character. Also you optionally can have one parity bit. The actual data bits used can vary from 5 to 8 normally. So if you want to send raw 8 bit data efficiently through a reliable link you need at least one start and one stop bit. That's ten bits to make up one character. Hence with 300 bps you can send 30 bytes per second (normally written as 30 charaters per second or 30 cps). This is the most common way of sending data to your modem, btw. It's often abreviated as 8N1 (8 data bits, No parity, 1 stop bit).

The actual carrier rate depends on what your modem supports. Here is a list of common protocols (which define certain carrier rates):

Protocol Name         Supported Rate
Bell 103              300 bps
Bell 212A             1,200 bps
ITU-TTS V.21          300 bps
ITU-TTS V.22          1,200 bps
ITU-TTS V.22bis       2,400 bps
ITU-TTS V.32          4,800 & 9,600 bps
ITU-TTS V.32bis       4,800 & 7,200 & 9,600 &
                      12,000 & 14,400 bps
ITU-TTS V.Fast Class  14,400 & 16,800 & 19,200
                      & 21,600 & 24,000
                      & 26,400 & 28,800 bps

There are other proprietory und less common protocols (HST, PEP, v.terbo, etc...) which I don't want to go into now. The Bell standards were common in the US at one time, but nowadays you mainly would be using the ITU-TTS standards (formerly called CCITT). What does it mean if a certain standard supports several rates? For one a modem might not fully support a standard. There are some V.Fast Class modems for example which can only go up to 24000 bps. Ignoring these cases, normally if both modems agree on one standard, they generally will try to negotiate at the fastest supported speed for that particular standard. If lines conditions are bad, they may try to negotiate at a lower rate.

How do the modems know which protocol to use? The answering modem will offer its capabilities starting with the fastest rate its supports when it picks up the phone (that's the peee, puuu, paaa, duuuu you hear when calling a BBS by voice). The calling modem listens and waits until it finds a protocol it supports. So you normally will have two modems negotiate the fastest protocol they support. For the high speed protocols the two modems may then also decide to not use the fastest possible speed within that protocol if line conditions are poor. This is especially true for V.Fast Class.

2. What is error correction?

Most high speed modems support one form of error correction. Common protocols are

Don't confuse these protocols with the carrier rate protocols I listed earlier. These protcols can be negotiated in addition to one of the protocols listed above. Again both modems need to support a common error correction protocol of course. Generally if both modems support a common error correction protocol you always want to use error correction. It basically implements some form of checksum checking to detect errors. Detected errors will be corrected. Error correction works great for the occasional error. If your lines is really bad, then error correction won't help. In fact it might get confused and terminate the connection. MNP 10 is probably the most rugged of the above standards. It can adapt very well to changing line conditions. Few modems supports MNP 10 and you mainly are interested in MNP 10 if you have a cellular phone setup. The other MNP error correction protocols get better with higher numbers. The best all- round error correction protocol is V.42.

What do I mean with "better". Ok, besides correction errors, error correction also speeds-up data exchange. Despite the fact that there is an overhead involved with the checksum, there is a considerable speed improvement. This stems from the fact that error correction protocol can strip the start and stop bits internally. I don't know exactly how it works, but I assume they use some kind of synchronous protocol internally (not visible to user). The speed improvement is 5 to 15%. This is the reason why you always want to use error correction even if you think that you don't have noise problems.

Also, even if you are using error correction, don't assume that data is 100% correct. They may fail, so it is always wise to still use your Z-Modem protocol to download data.

3. What is data compression?

The most common data compression protocols are

V.42bis is the better one. Again these protocols work in combination with your protocol defining the carrier rate. I am not so sure about the error correcting protocols. I think the way it works is that MNP5 and V.42bis also contain their own error correcting protocols. So you don't have to worry about error correction when you know that you are using a data compressiong protocol.

How do they work? The modem typically has a small few KByte large buffer. When data comes in it will compress it on the fly and send it down the line. The receiving modem will decompress on the fly. This works so fast that you don't notice any slowdown. V.42bis achieves better compression rates than MNP5 and I would _always_ prefer it over MNP5.

What are typical compression ratios for V.42bis? If you send binary files, expect 50 to 100% speed improvement. If you send a text file you can expect 100 to 300% speed improvement. If your data is very very regular, like a huge file full of blanks, the compression rate will sky-rocket. I have achieved speed improvements of 2000% and up. Never ever expect this though. If you send already compressed data, then V.42bis will not show any improvement (except for the improvement achieved due to the error correction). With MNP5 you will see a slow-down when sending compressed data. If you compress a file twice (try it with LhA), you normally will increase the file size the second time you compress it. V.42bis is smart and can detect these cases. MNP5 does not. Hence, if you know you are going to send a big LhA compressed file, don't use MNP5. Do you v.42bis though.

4. What is the modem to computer rate?

Ok, we have only talked about the transmission rate between two modems so far. Of course somehow data has to go from your modem to your computer, this rate I will from now on call the serial port rate. It is the speed you set in your communication program. Before the event of data compression and error correction this was pretty easy. If your carrier rate was 300 bps, then you would set your serial port rate to 300 bps. Think about it as a uniform pipe from your computer, through your modem, to the other modem, to the other computer. If the two modems support data compression, then you want to to be able to send data at more than 300 bps from you computer to your modem. How much more? That depends on the kind of data. That's exactly where the trouble starts. If you send a text file at 300 bps through an error correction or data compressing link then it might be possible to send it at 600 bps. If you are lucky it might be possible to send it at 900 bps.

Due to this uncertainty, you want to set your serial port rate to the fastest possible rate. Let's assume that this is 19200 bps for your Amiga 500. Now your modem negotiates a 300 bps carrier rate with some other modem. Your Amiga happily sends down data at a rate of 19200 bps to your modem. Whow! This won't work! It is very very unlikely that your modem can compress the data down far enough to handle the stream of incoming data. To overcome this problem there are separate handshaking methods between your modem and computer. Using these the modem can tell the computer to "wait" or to "resume". Also the computer can tell the modem to "wait" or "resume". I won't go into the details, but let me just say this. You want to use RTS/CTS handshaking for maximum reliability.

A state of the art link between two modems and two computers would look like this. The two modems negotiated v.42bis data compression and the V.Fast Class protocol. Let's say the line is good and the modems are using a carrier rate of 28,800 bps. Due to the data compression you want to use a serial port rate of more than 28,800 bps. To be on the safe side you would pick 115,200 bps. If you send a text file from your computer to the other, then this text file can realistically be sent at roughly 60,000 bps due to the data compression. Assuming a serial port setting of 8N1, you are therefore achieve a raw data throughput of 6000 bytes per second on this particular file.

Bad news is that few serial ports can reliably send data at 60,000 bps. A stock Amiga 500 or Amiga 2000 will do 19,200 bps without any problems. A stock Amiga 3000 will do at least 57,600 bps without any problem (possibly more, never tried). An accelerated Amiga 500/2000 can achieve 115200 if you are using a fast accelerator.

TypeSMITH 2.02

by Dylan McNamee

PRODUCT NAME

TypeSMITH version 2.02

BRIEF DESCRIPTION

TypeSMITH is an outline font editor. It can edit and produce industry standard PostScript fonts (type 1 and type 3 format), Soft-Logik fonts, Compugraphic fonts, and Amiga bitmap fonts.

AUTHOR/COMPANY INFORMATION

Name: Soft-Logik Publishing Corp.
Address: 11131F S. Towne Sq., St. Louis, MO 63123
Telephone: (314)894-8608
E-mail: tech@slpc.com

LIST PRICE

TypeSMITH 2.0 retail price $199.95 (US). Soft-Logik customers pay $125 (for a limited time, $110).

Upgrade from 2.01 to 2.02 is free. A patch has been uploaded to Aminet in the file /pub/aminet/biz/patch/ts202pch.lha.

SPECIAL HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS

HARDWARE: 2 MB RAM required. 512K Chip RAM works. 1 MB or more Chip RAM recommended. Supports 68020 or greater processors, hard drives, and PostScript printers (among other things).

SOFTWARE: AmigaDOS 2.0 or greater.

COPY PROTECTION

None. Hard drive installable.

MACHINE USED FOR TESTING

Amiga 2500/30, 1 MB Chip RAM, 6 MB Fast RAM. AmigaDOS 2.1.

INSTALLATION

Installation proceeded without any problems by following the included instructions.

REVIEW

This is a MAJOR upgrade to TypeSMITH 2.01, almost as big as the difference between TypeSMITH 1 and TypeSMITH 2. I'll review the whole program, trying to highlight the differences between 2.01 and 2.02, while still making sense to folks that don't own any version of TypeSMITH (yet).

If you need to produce a high-quality outline font on the Amiga, I believe TypeSMITH is the only choice. Fortunately, it's a very respectable program, and it keeps getting better. Much like Fontographer on the Macintosh, this program lets users create their own publication-quality fonts that will print without "jaggies" on high resolution printers. It also lets users tweak an existing font to add a character, modify a character, or whatever. Its drawing tools are sufficient to create almost any kind of figure, and TypeSMITH can export character shapes as IFF DR2D drawings for use with other Amiga programs.

I've used it to create a PostScript font of my handwriting (it actually looks uncannily real...) as well as to create a more normal text font. For the handwriting font, I wrote an alphabet on paper, scanned it (on a PC), and read the file into DPAINT 4 where I saved each letter as an IFF brush. TypeSMITH was able to read each bitmap, scale it appropriately, and put it in the background (in grey) to be traced over. It has an "autotrace" feature that makes the tracing task much easier. (You still have to do significant touch-up, but it saves a lot of mouse-work.)

TypeSMITH has always been able to edit PostScript fonts, but version 2.02 makes this even easier by being able to read PFA format as well as PFB format fonts. (Previously, PFA files had to be converted with the "dl2pfb" program.) Using this feature, I've been able to examine all the fonts on the new Bitstream 500 fonts CDROM (windows version, only $30) as well as the other PostScript fonts I own.

Among the new features in 2.02 is the ability to edit the character widths from the edit window, which is really nice. Also, points can be moved with fine precision now by clicking on them and pressing arrow keys with the shift key.

All in all, the program has a very well-tuned feel to it.

DOCUMENTATION

I'm not much of a documentation reader, and with TypeSMITH, I didn't have to resort to reading the documentation much, except to figure out how "composite" characters work, and how they're edited (it's a bit tricky). All my experiences with the documentation have been fine.

BUGS

This release fixes a number of bugs that were in version 2.01. Being a beta tester for them, if there were any bugs I experienced, I would have told them already, and they would have been fixed. :)

VENDOR SUPPORT

The fact that such a major update to TypeSMITH is available for free on the net (as well as the recent announcement in c.s.a.announce) is clear evidence of Soft-Logik's continuing commitment to the Amiga. I think they're good folks. I am a beta tester for them (hence the quick review of this brand new release) and have been impressed with the company from all sides.

CONCLUSIONS

I give it a solid 4.5 stars out of 5. Not that I can think of anything lacking, but if the program continues to improve, I'll need room in the rankings to accommodate.

In light of the strong support Soft-Logik is giving the Amiga, and that this is such a strong program, I'd highly recommend buying it if you do anything with desktop publishing or even just have an interest in fonts.

RUSH - A Directory Utility

Review by James Johnson

PRODUCT NAME

Rush, release 2, version 37.5370

BRIEF DESCRIPTION

Rush is a shareware directory utility. A demo version is available on the Aminet ftp sites in /pub/aminet/util/dir/RushDem2.lha.

AUTHOR/COMPANY INFORMATION

Name: Douglas Keller
Address: 3A Hudson Harbour Drive, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601 USA
E-mail: dkeller@bix.com

LIST PRICE

Shareware: $25.00 (US) for the registered version. Upgrade from Directory Opus is $15.00 (US) if you send in the first page from a Directory Opus manual.

There are two differences between the demo and registered versions. In the demo, the gadget assignments cannot be saved (although the preferences can be edited tediously by hand), and a naggy little requester pops up (forcing Rush to the front of the display) every now and then.

The copyrighted demo version can be distributed like any shareware product. The registered version cannot be distributed (obviously).

SPECIAL HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS

HARDWARE: None.

SOFTWARE: Requires AmigaDOS 2.0 or higher.

COPY PROTECTION

None. Installs on a hard disk.

OVERVIEW

Rush is a directory utility along the lines of Directory Opus and the MANY other PD and commercial directory utilities. It has a friendly and very configurable user interface with two directory list windows separated by a row of command buttons. The interface is configurable as to its screen mode (including all 2.04 and 3.0 modes), fonts (both for the list windows and buttons), and colors (up to 256 with AmigaDOS 3.0+). The buttons can be configured to do any command imaginable, including commands loaded from disk (such as AmigaDOS commands, Viewtek, ZGIF, etc.), ARexx commands, assignments to devices, or a host of standard internal commands (such as Copy). Rush handles archives in a unique way and can be configured to recognize any archive type. Similarly, files types can be recognized (e.g., JPEG graphics files), and double-clicking on a file can be configured to execute the appropriate command associated with the file (e.g., FastJPEG for viewing JPEG images: "c:FastJPEG %s".). It is pleasantly simple to 'teach' Rush to recognize file types via a sample of that file type. These features are packed into a program that when run takes up less than 180K of your vital memory.

SPECIAL FEATURES

AmigaGuide support: Rush has good documentation in AmigaGuide format that can be run from the program. Hold the mouse over a portion of the screen and press the HELP key, and documentation on that portion will be displayed (nifty).

Archive Handling: As mentioned, Rush uniquely handles archives and can recognize ANY format. The commands for adding to, listing, and extracting can be configured for each archive type. A double-click can also cause any of these commands to be executed.

Mouse clicks: The right and left (and center) mouse buttons can be configured to execute ANY internal command. I have configured my right button to execute the 'Parent' command.

Sort Lists: The ListViews (scrolling lists) can be each configured to sort their contents several different ways: by name, date, size, forward (alphabetically), backward, directories first, directories last, etc.

Wildcards: The program supports wildcards throughout. For example, you could select all the #?.mod files in a directory easily by entering the wildcard, and clicking "All".

Keystrokes: All button commands can be (but don't HAVE to be) duplicated with keystrokes.

There are several other good and unique features. Download the demo, and see for yourself.

LIKES

I have used many many many many directory utilities, including Directory Opus, Directory Master, MTool, Directory Works, and so on. I have always wanted a POWERFUL, configurable program that didn't take up half a megabyte of memory. I have finally found this in Rush. After messing with it for a week, I registered right away.

Rush runs fully bug free for me so far, and it is supported by a good programmer who wrote the first version over three years ago and promises updates (via e-mail even). Although Rush isn't the most configurable directory utility I have ever seen, it skips all the really useless stuff and has ALL the options I have ever wanted. Other directory utilities have either left out at least one IMPORTANT option, or have been so big and kludgy that they aren't worth it. Finally, a program that really strikes the balance.

SPEED... Rush is quick. It beats both Directory Opus and Directory Master 2 in reads, copies, and deletes, hands down, and Douglas promises to speed it up even more with caching in the future. Plus it is thoroughly tested with the developer debugging tools Mungwall and Enforcer. (There are no Enforcer hits.)

I have been able to configure Rush to do several complex tasks such as play MPEGS, offering me a choice between greyscale and HAM8 modes on the fly, and simple things like uuencode/uudecode files.

The demo version isn't horribly crippled, so I was able to enjoy the program before I bought it. This is wise in my opinion, since I will just toss a demo that is severely crippled or bothers me with 5 minute lockups or windows that never go away. :)

DISLIKES AND SUGGESTIONS

  1. Not font sensitive (yet).
  2. Doesn't treat archives like directories (yet).
  3. Menus aren't configurable (yet).

These all are promised for future releases.

COMPARISON TO OTHER SIMILAR PRODUCTS

See the "LIKES" section, above.

BUGS

None found so far.

CONCLUSIONS

Good work Mr. Keller! Download the Rush2 demo, and give it a try.

Memphis Amiga Group Financial Report May/June, 1994

DISK SALES $ 69.00
Mag ADD $
Dues $ 40.00
Rentals $ 10.00
New Members $ 25.00
Cash ON Hand $ 27.97
New Memb. Pack $ 15.00
 
Months Receipts $ 159.00
 
Tax $ .00
Postage $ 29.00
Mag Printing $ 27.06
Mis. Expenses $
New Disks $
Fish Disk $
On-Line Charges $
 
Months Debits $ 56.06
 
Bank Balance
5-31 Ballance $ 919.91
Deposits $
Checks Out $ 56.06
New Ballance $ 853.85
 
Total Assets $ 1040.82

Welcome To The Gang!!

Eric Robertson

This is our newest member.
So let's all make him welcome!

MEMPHIS AMIGA GROUP MEMBERS June 1994

If your name is underlined check your renewal date.

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

LAST NAME FIRST NAME CITY ST ZIP EXPIRES
1. Akey Brian L. Memphis TN 38107 OCT 94
2. Andrews Freddie L. Memphis TN 38128 JAN 95
→ 3. Barnhart Ken Memphis TN 38118 MAY 94
4. Bilson Edward Memphis TN 38115 JAN 95
5. Bonk Bruce West Memp AR 72301 FEB 95
6. Bowers William Memphis TN 38118 MAY 95
7. Brockway Dennis M. Memphis TN 38107 SEP 94
8. Burns Keith Cordova TN 38018 NOV 94
9. Campbell Terry A. Horn Lake MS 38637 DEC 94
10. Chiego John & Sara Memphis TN 38119 DEC 94
11. Cobbins Gerald Memphis TN 38109 Jan 95
12. Cumby Rick D. Memphis TN 38120 AUG 94
13. Condo Casey L. Memphis TN 38134 OCT 94
14. Crockett Robert Horn Lake MS 38637 DEC 94
→ 15. Dunn Jimmie L. Memphis TN 38106 APR 94
16. Dobbins Chris Memphis TN 38152 NOV 94
17. Echols Steve Memphis TN 38125 DEC 94
18. Ferguson David W. Pontotoc MS 38863 MAR 95
19. Franklin Shelley Memphis TN 38120 MAR 95
20. Gates Terrence Memphis TN 38109 MAY 95
→ 21. Ginn Raymond Memphis TN 38127 APR 94
22. Hodorowski Vince Memphis TN 38128 APR 95
23. Hooker William H. Bartlett TN 38134 NOV 94
24. Ingerson Steve Walls MS 38118 SEP 94
25. Knight Bill L. Memphis TN 38118 NOV 94
26. Man Samuel Germantown TN 38138 FEB 95
27. McCalla Ron & Audrey Jackson TN 38305 DEC 99
→ 28. Montgomery Ronald Memphis TN 38108 FEB 94
29. Morgan Andrew Memphis TN 38168 SEP 94
→ 30. Morris Louis Sr. Memphis TN 38125 APR 94
31. Norman Joe R. Dyersburg TN 38024 JAN 95
32. Nunn Bob & Cheryn Memphis TN 38125 AUG 94
33. O'Brien Thomas T. Millington TN 38053 SEP 94
34. Photo Grafix (Jim) Memphis TN 38112 MAY 95
35. Pitts Scott Collierville TN 38017 NOV 94
36. Robertson Eric S. Memphis TN 38111 MAY 95
37. Sanders Joe Memphis TN 38134 JAN 95
→ 38. Spence David E. Memphis TN 38104 JUL 94
39. Stokes Paul Eads TN 38028 DEC 94
40. Swope Sara Beth Braden TN 38010 APR 95
41. Torrence Samuel Tupelo MS 38801 AUG 94
42. Vineyard Charles W. Memphis TN 38118 AUG 94
43. Wallace Michael S. Marion AR 72364 AUG 93
44. Walker Jim Memphis TN 38128 JAN 95
45. Walp Len Memphis TN 38128 DEC 94
46. Waters Robert Memphis TN 38116 OCT 94
47. Weatherall Broadus Memphis TN 38111 JAN 95
→ 48. Webb Donnie Memphis TN 38118 JAN 94
49. Williams Charles Wilson AR 72395 DEC 95
50. Winfield Kenneth Memphis TN 38128 OCT 94
51. Wirth Charles Memphis TN 38128 FEB 95
52. Wulff John Memphis TN 38115 AUG 94
→ 53. Wyatt Joel Jackson TN 38301 FEB 94