November 1994 MAGazine Volume 10 Number 11

The November General Meeting of the Memphis Amiga Group will be held Saturday, November 12 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

THE GATEWAY SHOW

THE GATEWAY SHOW was really great! Bob Scharp and his Gateway Computer Club surpassed themselves. This year the show spilled over to a separate upstairs area, included over 50 vendors and they featured 3 different seminars. My wife and I drove up to St. Louis the night before. We got to the show early Saturday and set up the club's small half booth. This year we again sold New Members packets. We sold 18 which made the club a total of $175 not counting the material costs. We more than covered the $25 booth expense. Thanks to MAG member Steve Echols for spelling us at the booth and allowing us time to see the show.

THE NEW MEMBER'S PACKETS

THE NEW MEMBER'S PACKETS were updated for the show. Anyone new signing up starting this month will get the updated package which includes later versions of many of the programs featured. We prepared a SPECIAL DELUXE PACKET that we donated as a door prize for the show and we will have a drawing for another one at the November Meeting.

FRED FISH'S

FRED FISH'S son Richard was at the show. I picked up a couple of updated CD-ROMS and ordered some of the upcoming updates. I will have information about Fred Fish's CD's at the next meeting. They now feature a yearly subscription on CD's!

ON THE BALL

ON THE BALL is a Calendar-Address Book-To-do List-Notepad program and their booth was the other half of our table. We watched the demo and saw how many programs he was selling. I finally took a moment to watch his demo. This program is very impressive. I asked my wife to sit through the demo since she is much better at database type programs than I am. Several onlookers watched behind her and bough copies after she finished looking. We will have a demo disk available at the next meetings as well as doing a demo. I think you will find this little program very impressive.

CLUB DEAL!

I visited with a Mr. Larkin (an ex-Commodore employee, who headed up the networking efforts) at the show and purchased his new book CONNECT YOUR AMIGA. It is a guide to Internet, lans, bbs's, and online services. It is extremely well organized and writtn in terms that even most beginners will understand. It includes a glossary of terms for those not up on the the language. The author gave us 6 copies on consignment that we could sell at the hsow special price of $20. It normally sells for $24.95 plus shipping. We are limited to 6 so it is first come first serve. I also picked up a copy of THE DEATHBED VIGIL....and other tales of digital angsta - by Dave Haynie. Dave videotaped the last day of business at Commodore. We will show an excerpt or two at the next meeting, but some of the language is rough in the video so we can't show the whole tape. Mr. Larkin also provided a copy of DISKSALV 3 which is Dave Haynie's program that repairs corrupted disks and more. This new version is now commercial instead of shareware and sells for $40. We will be showing this program and its new features this month.

OREGON RESEARCH

OREGON RESEARCH was in a booth on the other side of us. They put out several really impressive programs and hardware pieces. I met the author of the new term program called TERMITE. This young fellow did his homework! He adopted all the best features from all the terms I have seen and put them into a much easier to use format which includes a point and click button bar. Imagine Term 4.1 made better!

GATEWAY SEMINARS

Bill Bowers and his wife made the trip down and Bill as well as Steve Echols attended some of the seminars. I am sure they will share what they learned at the next meeting.

RUMORS

RUMORS still abound since nobody really knows what has happened with Commodore yet. I talked to or overheard about 6 different people who insisted that what they were saying was absolutely factual and none of the stories matched. I guess we will wait a bit longer.

PAGESTREAM 3

PAGESTREAM 3 was for sale. The folks gave a seminar and passed out literature that touts the new version as superior to PageMaker 5 and Quark Express 3 from the Mac platform. I didn't ask them when they expected to get a real working version out, since I don't really use the program. I know that many people were carrying around the program they had purchased at the show. Perhaps they have the bugs out of the program by now. This program will be a real asset to the Amiga community when they work out the quirks that sometimes accompany new versions.

There were dozens of vendors at the show and the crowd was amazing. We will have a short video of the various vendors at the meeting. See you at the meeting! Call my Operator Headgap BBS at 901-759-1542 for more news and information.

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 Perkins Restaurant on Sycamore View North of I-240 beginning at 11:00 A.M., Saturday, November 12 (before the general meeting). For more information call Bob Nunn at 901-759-1541.

Memphis Amiga Group Officers for 1994

President
Bob Nunn
(901) 759-1541

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

Secretary
Cheryn Nunn
(901) 759-1514

Treasurer
Terry Campbell
(601) 393-4864

Librarian
Bill Bowers
(901) 360-0003

MAGazine Editior
Charles Williams
(501) 655-8777

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

Disk Sales & Video Rentals

MAG library and Fred FISH disk are $2 each.
($5 each for non-members)
Quality blank disks with labels are 65¢ each.
($1 each for non-members)
Rental of Amiga related videotapes is $3 per week.
(not available to non-members)
For all this and more contact club librarian
Bill Bowers (901) 360-0003
OR see Bill at the next MAG general meeting.

For Sale

VLab framer grabber card for Amiga 2000/3000/4000 - $275
Fargo color printer w/ribbons for dye-sub, mono, & wax - $800
Call Ken Winfield at (901) 383-9559

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)

INFO

The Memphis Amiga Group (MAG) is a 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.

TurboCalc 2.0

Review by Michael David Cox

PRODUCT NAME

TurboCalc version 2.0

BRIEF DESCRIPTION

TurboCalc V2.0 (referred to as TC2) is a spreadsheet program similar to the MSDOS/Windows programs Lotus 1-2-3 and Microsoft Excel. For those that are familiar with Excel, you will find TC2 very easy to use.

AUTHOR/COMPANY INFORMATION

Author: Michael Friedrich
Dist. Name: Stefan Ossowski's Schatztruhe
Address: Gesellschaft fur Software mbH
Veronikastrabe 33
45131 Essen
GERMANY
Telephone: 49-201-78-8778
FAX: 49-201-79-8447
E-mail: stefano@tchest.e.eunoet.de (Stefan Ossowski)

LIST PRICE

I paid $115 (US) for this product. The only place to find it in the USA, as far as I know, is from Amiga Library Services.

SPECIAL HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS

HARDWARE

512K RAM is required. 1 MB RAM is recommended. Space required on hard disk can be 1 MB or less, depending on whether you copy over all the example spreadsheets and the help file. It works very well on my 68030 50MHz CPU and 50MHz FPU. An accelerator or FPU is not required nor even mentioned as a recommendation.

SOFTWARE

Will work on AmigaDOS 1.2 and higher. I have had absolutely no problems with it on my AmigaDOS 3.0 Amiga 1200.'

COPY PROTECTION

None as far as I know. It does ask you for your serial number from the diskette label, however, and appears to save it somewhere on the disk, but you are never bothered by it again.

Can be installed on a hard disk just by dragging and dropping the drawer from the diskette onto the hard disk.

MACHINES USED FOR TESTING

Amiga 1200, 4 MB Fast RAM, 2 MB Chip RAM, 465 MB hard disk (120 MB internal, 345 XDS IDE external), Paravision 1230XA 50/50 accelerator Commodore 1084 monitor, AmigaDOS 3.0, Amiga 500, 1 MB Chip RAM, 4 MB Fast RAM, 46 MB TrumpCard 500 hard disk, Commodore 1084 monitor, AmigaDOS 1.3.

INSTALLATION

The installation is EXTREMELY simple. If you have a floppy-only system, just make a backup copy and a blank disk for your spreadsheets. For hard disk owners, just double click on the TurboCalc disk icon, then drag and drop the TurboCalc drawer onto your hard disk. That's all there is to it!

THE BASICS

For those who are not familiar with what a spreadsheet is, here is a simple explanation. A spreadsheet program is just like a word processing program, EXCEPT that instead of manipulating letters and words, you will manipulate numeric information. YOu can also enter text, but it is usually limited to labeling what a column or row of numbers or formulas are.

A spreadsheet looks like a grid or table with columns labeled by letters and rows labeled by numbers. You can pinpoint a specific spot in the spreadsheet, termed a "cell", using the row and column labels as coordinates. For example, cell A5 is found in the first column (A) and the fifth (5) row.

REVIEW

The TC2 user interface is very intuitive and includes a toolbar for the most commonly used commands. I have heard from users of the demo version, available on Aminet, that it does not follow the Commodore guidelines. I do not really know if this is true as I have not read the Style Guide. All I know is that it is very similar to Microsoft Excel and it is very easy to use.

TC2 provides well over 100 functions that provide mathematical, boolean, text, financial, and other commands. Some of the math functions supported are ABS, ARC COS, ARC SIN, COS, SIN, and others. The financial functions let you calcuate things such as interest rate, loan payments, and others.

The look for the sheet is entirely formattable. You can change the look of a cell so it looks 3D-like, change fonts, colors, and row and column dimensions.

What would a spreadsheet be without graphs? The common types are supported (bar, histogram, line, piechart). Once you make a graph, you can output it as an IFF file or print it on any printer that supports graphics.

Database functionality is also supported. A database, in spreadsheet terms, allows you to manipulate numeric data that can be sorted, searched, deleted, and copied. In addition, you can query this data using the above mentioned formulas. The database is kept in the spreadsheet and is just a selection of cells that you define as being a Database Range. This is useful, for instance, for keeping company data (profit margins, FEE, G&A, etc.) in one section of the spreadsheet while your formulas are in another and they reference the information in the defined range.

Finally, one of the nicest features is the support of macros and ARexx. Fortunately, you can record your macros so you can make repetitive operations easy to do. It has an ARexx port and gives some example scripts to help you out. I have not fully examined the ARexx capabilities, but all of the examples worked fine. Another great feature of the TC2 package is that example spreadsheets are included. These sheets cover the basics, formulas, databases, charts, etc. So, if you ever have questions about how certain things work, you have actual working examples at your fingertips.

DOCUMENTATION

The manual is very well written and consists only of 191 pages, which includes contents, index, and several helpful appendices. As it was originally written in German, the English translation is very proper-sounding, but it causes no problems in understanding. Also, you will sometimes see decimal numbers written in the European style with a comma instead of a decimal point, "130,00". The manual begins with a tutorial and is very easy to follow. Even if you are a beginner in spreadsheets, this tutorial will bring you up to speed on the basics. As a matter of fact, the manual is designed linearly so that you can start from the beginning of the manual and learn all of the program's capabilities as you go through each chapter.

The chapters are seperated into areas of functionality. After the tutorial, inputting of data and formulas is explained. This is then followed by how charts are created, the macro/ARexx commands, meus and toolbars, and it is finished by a listing and explanation of all the built-in functions that can be used in formulas. The appendices cover error messages and provides tips on improving printouts.

LIKES

I love this program because it is so much like Excel which I use at work. It also imports SYLK very nicely and almost perfectly. Most importantly, though, is that I faxed them with the question "Do you still support TC2?" A couple of days later, I received a reply saying yes and that they were interested in hearing about my suggestions for the next version. Their email address will be used for support, too.

DISLIKES AND SUGGESTIONS

The only real problem is that not all of the formats of a cell's borders are imported. I am not sure if it is caused by TurboCalc or if it is a limitation fo the SYLK format. The only suggestion that I would have to improve this program is to abandon AmigaDOS 1.3 and go to 2.0+ only.

BUGS

None showed their faces to me!

VENDOR SUPPORT

As I said above, they are supporting their product and are looking for suggestions on improving it for TurboCalc V3.0. Fax or email them with any requests.

CONCLUSIONS

This is an excellent product. It is being supported, which is a very important factor these days. If you need a spreadsheet program to balance your checkbook or track your results in the office football pool, this is the one to get!

Copyright 1994 Michael David Cox. All rights reserved.

Samsung Hard Drive

Hardware Review by Jorgen Grahn

PRODUCT NAME

Samsung SHD-3212A hard disk

BRIEF DESCRIPTION

A 420 MB 3.5" IDE hard disk suitable for the Amiga 4000.

AUTHOR/COMPANY INFORMATION

Name: Samsung

LIST PRICE

I paid 2500 SEK for it, including taxes. Due to quickly varying hardware prices, the rapid fluctuations of the Swedish crown, and dealer's campaign prices, this is a meaningliess number. It was the cheapest drive I could find in Gothenburg though, without resorting to mail order (as I've worked in a post office, I know what happens to things sent by mail.

SPECIAL HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS

HARDWARE

An Amiga (or any computer) with an IDE interface and space for a 3.5" wide and 1" high hard disk. This includes the A4000, but not the A1200, at least not without additional hardware.

SOFTWARE

None

MACHINE USED FOR TESTING

Amiga 4000/030 with 2 MB Chip RAM and 4 MB Fast RAM. The standard internal Seagate ST3096 AT 80 MB IDE hard disk (divided into three partitions). AmigaDOS 3.0 with Various commodities and patches installed.

DISCLAIMER

I'm no hardware wizard. Some of the advice I give may be terribly wrong (but if it is, I wonder why it worked for me?).

INTRODUCTION

When you buy an A4000 or an A4000/030, it is equipped with one internal hard disk, talking to the computer through the IDE protocol. While the much cooler SCSI protocol permits six devices on one control card, IDE permits a maximum of two; one 'slave' and one 'master'. The hard disk of the A4000 occupies one of the two places; thus, there's one left. There's internally room for one more IDE hard disk, provided it is 3.5" wide and no more that 1" high.

Basically, all your have to do is open your Amiga and plug it in. 3.5" x 1" IDE disks are the most common on the PC-clone market right now. They are cheap; in fact, the manufacturers claim they don't make much money on them.

As you may know, large hard disks tend to get filled quickly. It's some kind of natural law. Maybe it has something to do with thermodynamics, I don't know. The 80MB drive I got with my A4000/030 back in 1992 was now (September, 1994) full with software and files of different kinds, even though I archived all downloaded software on floppies rather than on my harddisk. I decided it was upgrade time again. I spent one whole day running around in computer shops (even PC-clone shops of the type where the staff all wear ties and everything is all white and clean and plastic and they have a pyramid of Micro$oft software on the floor) looking for cheap drives. I decided I should go for something around 400MB; the price difference was too small compared to smaller drives. I found the cheapest drive at one of this town's three Amiga dealers.

INSTALLATION

[MODERATOR'S NOTE: If you are not confortable opening up your Amiga, then you should have the work done by an authorized Amiga service center. Opening your Amiga yourself may void your warranty, and careless work may even damage the machine. -Dan]

One of the problems with buying hard disks for the A4000 is that you void your warranty if you install it yourself (that is, if you still have a warranty with C= gone and all). I decided I had nothing to lose, so I opened my computer a week ago to have a look at the placement of the harddiskds bay. Boy, was it dirty in there! There was a thick layer of dust on all the chips and wires. I removed it.

An IDE hard disk consists of a plate with a lot of chips and electronical components on one side, and the actual disk in a black case with the disk and motor on the other side. There's also a data connector and a power connector. Depending on whether you want the drive to be the single, first or second unit, you set a few jumpers on the plate.

When I installed the Samsung, I largely followed the instructions given in the A4000 user's guide. I opened up the computer, made sure there was no static electricity by touching grounded objects, wrote down how things were connected in the computer, removed the data bus to the internal floppy (it was in the way), removed power and data to the Seagate, and lifted up the drive bay with the Seagate.

Problem one: I had no information on what jumpers to set on the Seagate. I phoned the dealer who gave me full information on that. Problem two: the Seagate needed three jumpers set to be the 'master' unit, but there were only two jumper caps on the card. I had to make it drive two, since 'slave' mode needed only one. This proved to be no problem: all my partitions still worked after the change. I made the Samsung the master, and assembled the computer again. Using HDToolbox following the manual was no problem. HDToolbox could make 405MB out of the '420MB' drive; that is probably quite normal. I made one 120MB partition and saved the rest for future use.

Then came the horror. I noticed my DF0: couldn't read HD disks any longer. There were three possibilities: a broken chip on the motherboard, a broken chip on the Chinon floppy drive, or some kind of bad connection. The floppy data bus pressed rather hard against the top of the new Samsung drive (it has to pass the two hard disks on its way down to a connector on the motherboard at the bottom of the Amiga). I removed the Samsung and it was worse - the internal drive didn't function at all! I put back the Samsung and started to mourn. I started wondering about prices on Chinon drives and the availability of Paula chips now with C= gone. I phoned my dealer and they suggested that I had connected the data bus upside-down. I knew I hadn't, but I opened the Amiga and messed around with the connectors a bit and everything worked. It has worked for two weeks now. The problem must have been my not connecting the DF0: data bus firmly enough.

I promised myself and my brother a big bottle of "The Famous Grouse" scotch whicskey if it worked, so I bought it today.

USE

If a hard disk works correctly, the only things about it that you can observe are its speed and sound. It is speedy; about 40% faster than the original Seagate according to the (probably bogus) tests of Sysinfo 3.23. On my system, the Seagate partitions are about 1.06 MB/sec, and the Samsung 1.47 MB/sec. I was told the Samsung had a 128 Kb cache; that may be the reason for the good figures.

As usual, speed test figures around +40% mean, in reality, probably no visible speed gain at all. The disk sounds rather ugly; it's a sharp crunching sound, like breaking glass, louder than the Seagate. I guess you get used to it when you know it isn't the disk falling apart.

DOCUMENTATION

None, except for a sticker explaining how to set the jumpers.

LIKES AND DISLIKES

Well, I liked the price, and I disliked the bug....

COMPARISON TO OTHER SIMILAR PRODUCTS

There isn't much to compare. If a hard disk works correctly (see BUGS) all that counts is the money/megabyte ratio and (possibly) the speed.

BUGS

This disk has the well-known "spin-up" problem: the first time you turn the power on your Amiga, it doesn't know the Samsung is there, because it starts too slowly. You have to reboot to make it appear. I thought this appeared only on large and slow Seagate IDE drives, and I don't like this at all.

It isn't a BIG problem for me: I use the Seagate for booting, so I just inserted a command in the startup sequence to reboot if HD3: was missing.

For people with the 3.1 ROMs, this may not be a problem; I've heard that 3.1 waits much longer than earlier Kickstarts for the hard disks to start working.

BUGS THAT WEREN'T THERE

It seems you don't have to change the MaxTransfer value in HDToolbox, like with too many other drives. At least my dealer told me not to change it, and I've had no problems yet.

Also, I've yet to see situations where the Seagate and the Samsung are incompatible. Those problems are said to occur with other combinations.

WARRANTY

I got a one-year warranty of some kind from the dealer.

CONCLUSIONS

This is a cheap and fast IDE hard disk which will most likely solve your space problems, but beware: it has the spin-up problem. Anyone could install it, but I recommend that you let a professional do it if you live close enough to bring the Amiga to him/her.

Copyright 1994 Jorgen Grahn. Spread this file, quote it, include it in other documents but don't change it without marking the changes.

Network CD and CD32 Sernet Cable

By: Aaron Smith

NAMES OF PRODUCTS

Network CD, CD32 Sernet cable (null-serial cable)

BRIEF DESCRIPTIONS

Network CD is a pre-setup CD with several programs including full Workbench, Parnet, Sernet, Ncomm, Term, Twin Express, and several PD-collections.

The CD32 serial cable connects to the AUX port on the left side of the CD32 and provides a passthrough to the keyboard. It also provides a complete serial port.

AUTHOR/COMPANY INFORMATION

Name: Weird Science

I purchased both products from:

Northwest Public Domain
PO Box 1617
Auburn, WA 98071-1617 USA

LIST PRICE

$29.95 (US) for the cable and $19.95

(US) for the CD. I paid a little less than dealer cost.

SPECIAL HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS

HARDWARE

A CD32 is required. Mouse and/or keyboard recommended, although you can use the CD32 joystick to control the mouse. Another Amiga to complete the link.

SOFTWARE

None.

COPY PROTECTION

None.

MACHINES USED FOR TESTING

Amiga 3000/25, 4 MB Fast RAM, 2 MB Chip RAM, 2 Internal 880K floppies, and 2 gig Hewlett Packard HD. ViewSonic SVGA monitor, Comports 8 port high speed serial cards (for sale BTW) and AmigaDOS 3.1.

CD32 w/2MB chip only AmigaDOS 3.1 and Workbench 3.1 (Kick 40.60 WB 39.29 old WB version??) GE S-VHS TV/Monitor.

INSTALLATION

Installation is rather simple. Plug one end of the cable (DB-25) into your Amiga. Plug the round cable end into the CD32's AUX port and your keyboard (A4000 style) into the passthrough connector.

CABLE REVIEW

I must say I am impressed, not really with the cable but with the CD32's built in serial port. It doesn't offer RTS/CTS handshaking, yet it can and did lock at 57600 bps with my A3000 comports serial port and sustain 3900-4200 cps with minimum errors. The cable is of good enough quality for what it does. The DB25 end has a few parts in it including a small chip to convert signals to the correct levels of standard serial ports.

The small AUX end went in the CD32 a little hard, although this may just be my particular machine. The keyboard passthrough worked flawlessly and of course allowed serial transfers while active.

Overall, I believe the cable is worth the $30 that NorthWest PD sells it for. With this cable, the Networking CD, a modem, and another Null Modem cable (to reverse it back to standard pins), your CD32 couldbe a nice little terminal for calling out to a BBS as well. Seeing as the CD32 handled the 4200 CPS all right, I am guessing it could handle one of my 28.8K modems without too much trouble.

In conclusion, for the price of $30, this is a good deal for someone who would like to download a few small AGA Euro demos from another Amiga to watch on their TVs (note to AGA demo makers: make these things run on NTSC CD32s), or perhaps use their CD32 to view some nice HAM8s. This is a good solution too for doing so.

NETWORK CD REVIEW

The Network CD is simple to use overall. Once you put it into the CD32 and turn the power reset, it gives you a message, "LOADING this may take a while." I believe this message is here for the CDTV owners, as it takes approximately 1 minute 40 seconds for it to load every little program including Arq, several commodities, the boot picture and a very annoying backdrop. The Network CD boots under AmigaDOS 1.3, 2.0, or 3.1 for any machine.

When you open the main CD icon, you get the standard Workbench drawers (Prefs, Tools, Utilities, Devs, etc.) and all the setup programs. You also get a Shell, the wonderful trashcan (sic), and few other tidbits. The pre-setup programs include Terminus, Parnet, Sernet, a PhotoCD converter, and a few others. It also includes Fred Fish disks 800-975, Amos PD disks 478-603, Tbags disks 1-74, and approximately 500 images for viewing.

On to the programs... About the only program I really used was Terminus. This is what I used for file transfers from my A3000 to the CD32. I used Terminus because that is what I am used to. Read my dislikes later about its setup. I tried to run sernet with the included disk for the host machine with no luck. I'm not saying that it doesn't work -- I am sure it does -- but I tried only once and didn't want to mess with it after that. The only networking I have done has been with Envoy using slip.device and plip.device. I would have much rather seen them use an Envoy setup and these drivers. It would have allowed for a much cleaner and more reliable connection with full disk icons and full network compatibility. Using old junker programs like Parnet and sernet just don't cut it any more. Actually it never did for me; Parnet has never been a viable choice in my opinion for networking. Sernet seems to be another hack that just doesn't cut it. This is only my judgement and whoever decides to use whichever is no concern of mine.

DOCUMENTATION

All the documentation is in README files on the CD. Most every individual program had its own README that brings up a text reader. The ones written by the makers of the CD were for the most part clear and helped where needed. The rest were mostly the documents that came with the programs (i.e., Terminus, ViewTek, etc.). Everything overall was complete and not too hard to understand.

LIKES

The setup was simple, and I transferred a file just fine on my first try with no reconfiguration whatsoever. I liked that they used such programs as Arq. I hope future CD32 utility CD's use more of such programs.

DISLIKES AND SUGGESTIONS

Well, here we go... I like to complain. The first thing I noticed is it seems they set up Workbench with nothing but the ugly, "blah" defaults that no one likes. The background is setup with a group of tiled NETWORK CD pics that helps to steal the previous 2MB of Chip RAM that is very much needed to run about any program you want to pull over the network. The only place to put programs pulled over the net is into the RAM: drive. This means that the bigger the program, the less RAM that program has to use. This can be cured with the use of Virtual mounted drives (which Sernet and Parnet allow); take note of my Envoy usage example.

The overscan is set so low (640x200) that is is hard to fit any windows on the Workbench screen without cluttering things up a bit. The colors are all set a little blah, and the icons look to be simple 4-8 colors. Something that really got to me was the configuration of the programs included on the CD. Terminus is set to open on the Public WB screen with WB palette colors, and it isn't even the new version of Terminus! They are using Terminus 2.0 (latest is 2.0d I believe). On the other hand, Ncomm is set up the exact way I have my Terminus set up (color and preference wise). I suggest they put a little more work into setup of the programs on their next version. Although speaking with a salesman on the phone at Northwest PD, "Lock and Load 2" should be something very nice.

Another dislike is the fact that they are using a seriously old version of Workbench 3.1. The Palette preferences programs and several others including Multiview are old and are missing several important features. I am perhaps looking for too much out of this CD, and I just would like a few things changed for user friendly purposes. There were a few little bugs in it, like the "slideshows" area. They all default to pal, but I find it hard to watch a slide show while my TV rolls.

I want a CD that is specially made for an AmigaDOS 3.1 AGA CD32. This CD is set up for any machine and it causes minor problems at times. Hopefully "Lock and Load 2" will do this.

COMPARISON TO OTHER SIMILAR PRODUCTS

As for the CD32 cable, I can't compare it with much of anything else. I did own a SX-1 but sold it after being extremely disappointed with its ugliness and performance. This cable gives me at least the ability to run AGA demos and utilities that I want to for $30. The SX-1 stuck out of my CD32 and made it look a little lame in my eyes. I hope someone makes another expansion box that perhaps fits under the CD32 and gives some seriously faster serial and parallel ports. If the CD32 had a mere floppy port, I would be very happy.

BUGS

There are a few minor bugs, but nothing of concern. They used a separate Workbench backdrop settings program instead of the standard WBPattern program. This can cause conflicts with some programs including WBPattern and Font preferences, and the backdrop program itself can crash the machine if you try to take away the picture.

VENDOR SUPPORT

Well I called Northwest PD and had a cool chat with someone (whose name I forget) about a few CD32 topics and the CD he is working on: the "Lock and Load 2". We also talked about the jerk companies making CD32 games using only 880K on the 650MB CD. Overall, it's a friendly place and it did a fine job with my order. I never have dealt with "Weird Science" the actual company that made the cable and the CD. Don't think I would need to.

WARRANTY

Nothing mentioned, but from the nice way I was treated by Northwest PD, I am sure if anything was wrong with the cable or CD they would allow a free trade for a good one. At least I think so.

CONCLUSIONS

Both of these are good products, I give the cable a nice "A" and the CD a "B". These are good solutions to a slow method of getting files to your CD32 until something other than the SX-1 becomes available for a decent price.

I have never done a review before and yes, it shows. My grammar is terrible and I make several typos. Other than this I am fine. I hope this review provided some insight.

Follow-Up MiniReview

by Dale Larson

I'd like to folow up on the Samsung SHD-3212A IDE hard disk review with a quick mini-review of the Connor 420MB kit.

Last week, I bought the kit (with PC software, cable, and mounting hardware) at MicroCenter for $210 (US), since they were out of stock on a 540MB drive they'd advertised for about $289. Once I figured out IDE master/slave jumpering, I had my original and new drives working great. I get up to about 1.5MB/sec writes and about 1MB/sec reads. No spinup problems.

Anyone using an A4000 without SCSI and without more than 100-200MB of hard drive should probably run out to buy one of the current, nice, cheap ~500MB IDE drives out there.

Connor Peripherals, Inc.
3081 Zanker Road
San Jose, CA 95134 USA

Toll Free Customer Support: (800) 4-CONNER

World-wide: (408) 456-4500

I assume they don't sell direct, but could give you the names of dealers near you.

By the way, in case you can get the drive bare (no mounting hardware, PC software, etc.) rather than in the kit, the drive model number is DS420A.

Board Meeting Notes from October 8

The board met at Gridley's at 11:30 AM. The upcoming Gateway show was discussed along with the latest rumors concerning Commodore. Gridley's has closed their dining room except for dinner. The board voted to move the board meetings to Parkins Restaurant, which is north of 1-240 on Sycamore View. AH members are welcome to attend the board meetings.

Elections will be held again in January. All members should consider serving their club in some capacity. Remember, it isn't necessary to have fantastic computer skills in order to serve as an officer. There are always club members willing to do demos for the meeting. The officers are responsible for taking care of the business of the club, just as many of us take care of business at work or in our personal lives. With the demise of Commodore, it is more important than ever for the club to continue to support the Amiga, as there are no other outlets for people to receive help and information from.

Please contact one of the current officers if you would be interested in filling a position next year. The board adjourned at 12:15 PM.

Respectfully submitted,
Cheryn Nunn, secretary

More CBM Rumors

Here is an update on the Commodore situation: The liquidator is near a definitive agreement with C= UK on the purchase of the remains of Commodore.

The liquidator had hoped to have it all wrapped up by today, Friday, but there are some details still remaining. The details are being left in the hands of the lawyers for the two sides and they are being given until Nov. 4 to wrap things up.

The liquidator will report to the Bahamian Court on Monday that the two sides are very close to a deal. After the deal is reached, other parties will have a chance to top the C= UK bid. C= UK says it also will have a chance to bid as well, in case someone surpasses their bid.

The liquidator, Franklyn Wilson, also said he is near agreement with U.S. creditors on a compromise solution so that the thing won't be held up in the U.S. courts.

The agreement is necessary because about 30 percent of the assets C= UK hopes to acquire are held by American subsidiaries, including the Amiga subsidiary, which is incorporated in California.

CEI intends to bid in the auction. Escom may also still be involved, but I haven't quite figured out where or how. It still ain't over. Maybe when the first snows fall.

Commodore UK truly does have what is known as the "contract bid". This means that the contract for the deliverables of (ex-)Commodore has been written up with Commodore UK's bid amount in mind. The contract bid is given to the party with the highest bid. However, that party can opt to pass along the contract bid. This is what has happened. On the advice of their legal counsel, CEI passed along the contract bid to lower-bidding Commodore UK. The bidding details are sketchy, but are not the "one bid each, then last wraps" previous described. Instead, it seems it will finally be settled in a session of a day or so in which all interested parties will assemble in the same building and the liquidators will shuttle offers back and forth until an agreement is reached. ANYBODY can still bid, according to Dave at CEI: "Jason, if you become a floor scrubber tycoon and decide to spend your fortune..." I could buy the contract out. Stets (and I, for that matter) haven't been very sucessful in contacting Escom. CEI does not believe they are deeply interested anymore. Incidentally, Stets and CEI place the finalization of a bid in a few weeks. (Treat that as a guideline, folks.)

To sum up: CEI submitted the top bid. However, they allowed the contract to be written up based on C= UK's bid, which has the effect of making C= UK's bid public while protecting CEI's offer. Bids will proceed in some sort of public, open fashion along a hybrid US and Bahamanian law proceeding, in order to keep everybody happy. The bidding process may be done in a few weeks.