March 1995 MAGazine Volume 11 Number 3

Table Of Contents

The March General Meeting of the Memphis Amiga Group will be held Saturday, March 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 Scott Pitts

Well it seems that we were unprepared for the demand of the disks of the month. I hope that we have the same enthusiasm for the disks that follow. The demand was so great that the break turned into a copying frenzy and we never really got back to the meeting. This month we will be offering more background patterns, commodities, and datatypes. One demo that I know we are have is "More hints and tips for Directory Opus", which has a disk to help out when you attempt the tricks at home. As far as other demo's it is difficult to find volunteers, so I will be calling and trying to get some of you to show of you favorite programs.

The purchase of the A1200 went well. The system consists of an A1200, Monitor, GVP030 40Mhz accelerator, 6 Meg of total ram (2meg is chip memory), and an external 120 meg HD. The purchase price was $800.00, which was re-approved at the last meeting.

I would like to invite everyone to Gridley's at 11:00am for lunch and our business meeting. The food is purchased in the Deli area and carried to the dining area for our meeting. Hope to see you there.

MINUTES

The Board Meeting began at Gridleys around 11:00 am. We met in the dining area, not in the Deli area. This seemed a point of confusion to some people. If you wish to attend the board meetings, please ignore the 'Dining Room Closed' sign. Gridley's has consented to allow us to use the dining room. The meeting came to order, and Scott Pitts inquired as to the state of the purchase of the 1200 that was approved by last year's board. Scott had located a decked out 1200 that the club could purchase for $800.00. The board decieded to uphold the planned purchase, and make an inquiry to the general membership. No new news on the state of Commodore was available.

The General Meeting started a little after 1:00 pm. Scott presented the option of purchasing the 1200 for the club. This was approved by the general membership. Amanda Nunn gave a demo on Brilliance 2.0. She did a very good job, by the time she had finished, she even got the audience involved. Scott assisted in the demo to show a few features he had learned, and a gentleman poped up from the audience and drew a beetle. All were quite impressed. Thank you to all who were involved with the demo. Scott also brought several New Icon's disks, and Backgrounds disks. These disks were demoed, and more were sold that we expected. Thank you all for comming to the meeting, and hope to see you there Saturday.

Keith B

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 BarBQ beginning at 11:00 A.M., Saturday, February 12 (before the general meeting). For more information call Scott Pitts at (901) 854-1987.

Memphis Amiga Group Officers for 1995

President
Scott Pitts
(901) 854-1987

Vice President
Steve Echols
(901) 756-9261

Secretary
Keith Burns
(901) 756-8514

Treasurer
Terry Campbell
(601) 393-4864

Librarian
Bill Bowers
(901) 360-0003

MAGazine Editior
Paul Stokes
(901) 867-8417

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.

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.

ISDN Master

PRODUCT NAME

ISDN Master rev.2, WilhelmTel V1.187

BRIEF DESCRIPTION

This is the first board for Amiga that allows you to connect your computer to an ISDN network. It turns your Amiga into a powerful phone answering machine and high-speed ISDN modem.

WARNING: Before using this product, be sure it complies with the FCC regulations in your country. Also contact your phone company.

AUTHOR/COMPANY INFORMATION

Name:BSC buroautomation
Address:Lerchenstrasse 5
W8000 Muenchen 50
GERMANY

Telephone:+ 49 89 357 130-0
FAX:+ 49 89 357 130-99

E-mail:Available on request

LIST PRICE

About DM 900.00

SPECIAL HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS

HARDWARE

ISDN phone line (contact your phone company).
Amiga 2000/3000/4000.
Hard disk strongly recommended.
Phone handset (not included) would be very useful.

SOFTWARE

AmigaDOS 2.0 or higher

COPY PROTECTION

None.

MACHINE USED FOR TESTING

Amiga 3000/25, 2MB Chip RAM, 8MB Fast RAM, 1 internal 880K floppy, 1 Quantum 500 MB internal hard drive, 2 Quantum 100 MB internal hard drives, 1 Sony CD-ROM, AmigaDOS 3.1.

INSTALLATION

Software installation is done with Commodore's Installer program. It is very easy to install, and the installation script is very well documented. The version of the software in the box is 1.0, but there are many patches available almost everywhere, or directly from BSC.

The card is a bit hard to plug it in, as the dial does not fit in the opening. You have to remove the guide for the card. The "jumpers" are set for USA regulations - you may find in the manual the correct positions for European standards.

Once the software in installed, you have to set it to the network type you're using. The board has been successfully tested in the USA, France, Switzerland, Germany and Great Britain. It might work in many other different countries, although nobody has tested it.

WHAT IS ISDN ANYWAY?

ISDN is to an analog phone line like what a CD is to an LP. An ISDN line has almost no line noise, and it allows you to transfer data at a much higher rate than on regular analog lines.

ISDN allows you to use, on a single line, a telephone, faxes (class 4 or lower), visual-conferences, high-speed data transfers, etc.

HOW DOES THIS WORK?

(Note: This may slightly vary from country to country)

ISDN allows you to transmit informations "digitally" instead of the regular "analog" way.

With each phone line, you get 10 different phone numbers. You may set one different phone number per device connected to the network. For example, you may have a telephone, a fax, a BBS and an answering machine, all on one line, without any conflict.

ISDN lines may carry two communications at the same time. Information is transmitted via two B-channels (binary) at 64 Kbits per second which carries information such as Caller-ID, tax information, busy signal, etc...

THE HARDWARE

In the box, there is one ZORRO II ISDN board, one printed manual, one 3.5" disk, and a special wire to connect the card to ISDN.

On the card, there are about ten chips (surface mounted), 7 jumpers, two connectors for ISDN-IN and ISDN-OUT, one connector for a phone handset (not included), a CINCH connector for Audio-in, and a dial to set the gain.

DIGITAL MODEM

ISDN-MASTER does not allow you to connect on "regular" analog modems, but you may connect to any other ISDN compatible device. The software supports X.75 and V.110 protocols. X.75 goes up to 64000 baud (!!), and V.110 goes up to 38400 baud!

The "bscisdn.device" emulates a Hayes-compatible modem and may be used as replacement for the "serial.device". As there may be two connections at the same time, one card has two "units".

The transfer rates are around 7800 cps (tested with TERM 3.4) I also tried to connect from unit 0 to unit 1 and make a transfer, and I got the same results! There is NO CPU wait time!!

WILHELMTEL SOFTWARE

I had to "borrow" my neighbour's handset to do this test. The software (WilhelmTel) is a commodity which loads when booting. It contains four "elements":

DIGITAL PHONE

This software allows you to use your Amiga as a regular phone, with many useful options, such as:

PHONEBOOK

You may store the most frequent callers, so when they call you, their name pops up instead of the phone number. You may choose for each entry if you want to hear the ring or not, or even to send a "busy" signal for "unwanted" callers!!!

ANSWERING MACHINE

This is the strong part of the software! You may record any conversation, you may record the "welcome" message, you may even record one personalized message per caller, etc... The quality of the samplings are simply PER-FECT!!!

The size of a sample is 8 Kbytes per second recorded! You may listen to the samples either with the handset or through the Amiga speakers.

PHONE TAXES

Prints out a list of all incoming and outgoing calls, and prints the total money spent.

CONFIGURATION FILES

You may create your own "ringers." You also may define a ringer and a message per phone number, and even one special message if the disk is full.

DOCUMENTATION

It comes with printed German manual and German AmigaGuide file. The guide is well done, although I couldn't understand much, but the printed manual is not clear at all.

The board is fairly easy to install and you won't need the manual too much.

LIKES

DISLIKES

BUGS

None - the software is still in BETA test and the programmers and VERY friendly and help a lot. Further BETA versions are available directly form the authors as soon as they are released.

VENDOR SUPPORT

VERY GOOD! Everyone is friendly, they are helpful and they speak English....

WARRANTY

1 year

CONCLUSIONS

A very good product. You've got to have it!

When I ordered this card, I was expecting to get only an ISDN modem. It came with this phone/answering machine software and I was really glad to have it!

ISDN is getting more and more popular, and not only for big companies. With this card, just about anyone can connect to this wonderful network. Make a step into the 21th century!

Copyright 1994 Alan Berney. All rights reserved. Translated/adapted for c.s.a.reviews by Alan Berney.

Samsung SHD-3212A hard drive

PRODUCT NAME

Samsung SHD-3212A hard drive

BRIEF DESCRIPTION

This is a 420 MB 3.5" IDE hard drive for the A4000 and other Amigas with the capacity for a 3.5" IDE drive.

For best results, this review should be read alongside the review written by Jorgen Grahn of the same hard drive.

[MODERATOR'S NOTE: this review can be found in the file hardware/storage/SamsungSHD-3212A in the c.s.a.reviews archives. See the signature, below, for the archive location. - Dan]

AUTHOR/COMPANY INFORMATION

Contact Information for Samsung Head Office (Korea)

Name:
Samsung Electronics
Storage Device Subdivision
Computer Systems Business Division

Address:
416 Maetan -3Dong
Paldal-Gu
Suwon
Kyung Ki-Do
Korea
441-742

Telephone: (0331) 200-7635
FAX: (0331) 200-7665

Note: I do not have any other address/phone number for Samsung. Also note that the phone/fax numbers will require the South Korean international access code added (unless you are located in South Korea :)).

[MODERATOR'S NOTE: I am sure that Samsung has a local address in most countries. - Dan]

LIST PRICE

I have never seen the official price for this drive listed anywhere in the UK, and since it seems to be a new drive, few suppliers actually stock it (at the time of writing this review). I paid 179.99 UK Pounds for mine.

SPECIAL HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS

HARDWARE

Any Amiga with space for a 3.5", 1" high hard drive, and an IDE interface; e.g., the A4000.

SOFTWARE

Some form of hard drive preparation utility, like HDToolBox supplied with some Workbench 3 machines.

MACHINE USED FOR TESTING

Amiga A4000/030, 2MB Chip RAM and 4MB Fast RAM, Seagate 124MB IDE Hard Drive (ST3144AT), Kickstart 3.0, Workbench 3.0.

INSTALLATION

Do NOT install anything inside your Amiga unless you know exactly what you are doing. Be especially careful with anti-static precautions, since the internals of both the Amiga and the hard drive are sensitive to static discharges. If you are in any doubt whatsoever, leave the installation to a professional. It may cost you some money, but you'll be buying peace of mind.

If you are capable of installing hardware yourself, then read on; if not, then skip immediately to the next seciton. Thank you.

The A4000 was designed to be accessible. Removing the casing is a simple matter of removing two screws and pulling the cover off, remembering to pull up then back in order to disengage the locking tabs at the front of the case. (You can't see them until you get the cover off, but you'll know about them soon enough if you try sliding the cover off without lifting up first. :-))

Once inside, and working with the front of the A4000 facing me (I prefer it that way, though you may prefer a different orientation), the data and power cables attached to the existing hard drive were removed. My Seagate drive grips its power connector very tightly, so I find it easier if I remove the data connector first, giving me more finger room to grip the power connector. You may also like to remove the data connector from any drives installed in the front drive bays, as you could then hang that ribbon cable out the back of the A4000. It's not necessary though.

After detaching the existing drive from its cables, the four FLATHEAD screws securing the drive cradle to the A4000 are removed, and the cradle lifted out of the casing. Note that there is a clear plastic sheet between the cradle and the Zorro backplane. You will most likely need to reposition this later on...

Depending on whether you are mounting the Samsung drive as a slave or a master drive will determine what to do next. Since the only jumper settings I had for the Seagate drive were to set it up as a master drive, that is what I did. Note, I obtained the settings from Amiga Format issue 55, as I didn't get any jumper setting with the A4000.

For those of you with a Seagate 124MB drive, to set it up as a master drive you must put a jumper across the middle set of pins on the jumper block, which is located on the PBC side of the drive next to the data interface. A problem here is that my Seagate did not come with spare jumpers. However, since the Samsung drive comes with more jumpers than necessary to set it up as a slave drive, I took one of the redundant jumpers from that drive and used it on the Seagate. Unusually the Samsung jumpers are slightly smaller than the norm, but they can be persuaded to fit the jumper pins on the Seagate drive. If you're not happy about this kind of thing, correct sized jumpers can be bought from most electronic component suppliers for next to nothing.

Once the jumpers on both drives had been set, the Samsung drive was located in the drive cradle and the supplied ROUNDHEAD screws used to secure it in place, noting that the drive should be oriented the drive should be oriented the right way around, with the PCB facing down when the cradle is held the right way up. The full cradle is then replaced in the A4000, remembering to reposition the plastic sheet, and the whole mass is secured with the FLATHEAD screws you remembered to keep safely to one side (what's that, you lost one? Bummer...).

Now the data and power cables are connected. It doesn't matter which power cable goes to which drive, but you must use the correct data connector. However, due to the preforming of the ribbon cable used, the correct connector should line up with the correct drive pretty much automatically as soon as you put the cable back in place, FLAT across the top of the drive cradle.

If you disconnected any other cables, you'd better replace them now, because in a moment the casing is going back on.

OK, put the case back on, remembering those tags at the front that cause problems on the left side ot the A4000 case, since the controller ports stick out just a bit too far and cause the bottom lip of the case to snag when dropping it down into place. You therefore have to remember not only to pull the case out a bit to clear the ports, but also to get the locking tag lined up. Assuming you get the case back together neatly, you can connect up the power, monitor, keyboard and mouse. If you feel confident you could connect up any other peripherals you have, but if you messed up on the installation, you'll just have to disconnect them all again in order to open the case back up.

Let's assume the hardware side of things went fine, and you are now looking at your Workbench screen. You need to use whatever installation software you have in order to let the system know about the new drive. For A4000 owners, just follow the HDToolbox instructions in the manual and create whatever sized partitions you like. Note that the drive, although marked as a 420MB drive, will only format to 405MB. Now this is normal for a hard drive, since my 124MB Seagate is marked as a 144MB drive. Usually Amiga dealers will advertise drives with the installed sizes, whereas PC dealers use the manufacturers sizes, but this is by no means a hard and fast rule.

After setting your partitions, next comes the joy of formatting them. Beware, formatting 400MB of drive space takes about ten minutes, so you may like to go off and have a coffee break now while your Amiga does some of the hard work for a change.

That should be it. You now have 400+MB of free hard drive space, just ready for all those GIFs and JPEGs from certain Usenet groups....... ahem, or if you prefer, a barrow load of clip art and fonts, Imagine objects, SoundTracker modules etc.

REVIEW

Well, it's a hard drive, a big cheap hard drive. It shows no signs of dislike to either my A4000 or the Seagate drive forced to share a mounting cradle with it.

Sysinfo reports a speed of 1MB/second for the Seagate drive and 1.4MB/second for the Samsung. Since some people like to ignore Sysinfo results, claiming inaccuracies, I conducted some simple real world tests. Using a 1.2MB LhA archive held in RAM:, the following scripts, also in RAM:, were executed five times each, and the resultant timings averaged.

date
copy test.lha Seagate:test/
date

date
copy test.lha Samsung:test/
date

date
copy Seagate:test/test.lha ram:
date

date
copy Samsung:test/test.lha ram:
date

Results:

Drive: RAM: to Drive: Drive: to RAM:
Seagate 4 seconds 3 seconds
Samsung 2 seconds 2.5 seconds

So it would appear that the Samsung is about twice as fast as the Seagate when writing to the drive, but only about 1.2 times faster at reading. It also suggest that the Sysinfo drive transfer reates are indeed suspect, at least when dealing with transfers of around 1 MB.

Just as an aside, the documentation that came with the drive suggested a tranfer rate of 8 (EIGHT!!) MB/second. Where do they get these figures from (Although bear in mind that IDE interface is controlled by the host CPU, so I guess if the drive was fitted to a WARP Engine equipped A4000 you could increase the real world transfer rate somewhat :)).

Another useful fact from these tests was that the LhA archive remained uncorrupted after being passed to and from the Samsung drive, which means that since I had left the MaxTransfer rate at the default setting, the Samsung drive will work with that setting, unlike some other IDE drives.

Unlike Jorgen, I find the noise the drive makes to be fairly normal. It is louder than than the Seagate drive, and to me it sounds like someone tapping their fingernails on a hard table top. It occurs only when the drive is stepping its heads in and out, in the same way that Amiga floppy drives make a loud noise only when stepping from track to track. If your Amiga has a cooling fan, or if you listen to music whilst computing, you'll probably not notice the sound after a short while. I've heard much worse noises coming from other types of IDE drive.

DOCUMENTATION

Here I begin to differ substantially from Jorgens' review. My drive, purchased in the UK, came with a small six page booklet, detailing the specifications of the drive, the jumper settings to use, notes on installation and formatting. However, the formatting notes assume you have fitted the drive to a PC and are of little or no use to the average Amiga user. On the other hand, the notes about jumper settings are good, with a very clear diagram showing just where the jumpers are located.

LIKES

The price is low, certainly lower than that of any other 420MB IDE drive in the UK. The build quality appears excellent, with no last minute changes to the PCB apparent. The installation instructions are clear and tell you what you need to know, apart from Amiga specific things which you couldn't really expect the drive documentation to cover, bearing in mind that Samsung no doubt expect most of their drives to be sold to PC owners.

Now, unlike Jorgen, I have yet to see the drive fail to spin up from a cold boot. The only two things that differ between my setup and his are that my Seagate drive is a 124MB model rather than an 80MB model, and that (perhaps more significantly) I configured the Samsung as the slave drive, whereas Jorgen made it the master.

Since I don't know what the jumper settings are to make the Seagate a slave, I can't test whether swapping the master/slave settings makes a difference in our Seagate drives, I can only assume that either I have a later revision Samsung drive which spins up faster, or that setting a slow spin-up drive as a slave somehow makes everything work just fine.

Finally, the drive can handle the standard MaxTransfer rate and is 100% compatible with the Seagate drives (copying a 60MB partition from the Seagate to the Samsung caused no data loss or corruption at all, proving that inter-drive transfer works, and general use of the Amiga has shown no problems in accessing data from either drive)

DISLIKES

Hmmmmm. I suppose it could be even cheaper, but that's really scraping the bottom of the barrel. Honestly, I can't sat anything bad about the drive.

COMPARISON TO OTHER PRODUCTS

See above for speed comparison to the Seagate ST3144 drive.

VENDOR SUPPORT

I had reason to contact the vendor when the drive was late in arriving (I had ordered the drive as part of a larger order, and two weeks after all the other parts of the order had arrived, the drive had not). A telephone call to the order query line sorted the problem out, a drive was dispatched that day and it arrived three working days later, as the dealer advert said it would. I regard the service I received as good; the phone was answered quickly, the woman at the other end of the line dealt with my query efficiently and in a friendly matter, and she then called back later that day to confirm the dispatch of the drive.

WARRANTY

No warranty information came with the drive. If any problems arise with the drive I must contact the supplier who will then inform me of what action to take.

CONCLUSIONS

If you are sick of constantly shuffling files around on your current hard drive and are looking for more drive space, or if you are looking for a first time drive, then this is an excellent purchase. The Cost/Size ratio is very good compared to other sized drives, and it is also (currently) the cheapest 420MB drive.

Note that I had read Jorgen's review of the drive before I decided to purchase mine, and until I actually fitted and tested my drive, I was quite prepared to put up with the spin-up problem. The only reason you could be put off buying one of these drives is if you need to be 100% certain that you won't have a spin-up problem. It didn't bother me, and the fact that I don't have the problem is just a nice bonus.

This review can be used in any way, distributed wherever you so desire. Just try and remember the author somehow. :-)

Thanks to Jorgen Grahn for the original review, without which this review would probably be about a Western Digital 420MB drive instead.

This review was hand crafted by an infinite number of monkeys, aided by Chris Coulson and his A4000.