July 1989 MCU Magazine

GENERAL INFORMATION

MCUC

This magazine is published monthly for distribution to members of the Memphis Commodore Users Club. It is in no way connected with the Commodore Business Machine Ltd. or Commodore Inc. and Commodore products (CBM, PET, C64, C128, VIC20, Amiga) are registered trademarks of Commodore Inc. The MCUC is a non-profit organization whose purpose is the free exchange of information and knowledge about the use of Commodore computer systems. Memberships are open to anyone: ownership of a computer is not required. Monthly meetings are open to the public and visitors are welcome.

Dues are broken down into three categories. Membership dues may be paid quarterly (3 months) at $6 or annually at $20.00. An associate membership is offered for those living outside a 45 mile radius of Memphis at $10 per year. All memberships are family memberships and dues are not refundable.

Contribution to the MCUC magazine may be in any wordprocessor, preferably saved as a sequential file. You may submit articles on disk, or hardcopy, or upload to the MCUC BBS. Other User Groups are welcome to reprint material from this magazine; we ask only that you give credit to the author and source.

The editor reserves the right to reject material submitted relating to illegal services, products or unethical practices. All material submitted becomes the property of MCUC. The 5th of each month is the DEADLINE FOR ARTICLES.

MEETINGS

General Membership Meeting - First Tuesday of each month. 7:00 PM in Fulton Auditorium, State Technical Institute.

Beginner's Class - First Saturday after the first Tuesday. 1:00 PM at the Main Library, Peabody and McLean.

Board of Director's Meeting - Second Thursday after the General Meeting. 7:30 PM State Tech, in the cafeteria.

128, CP/M, MS-DOS SIG - Now meeting with the Memphis FOG group. 4th Tuesday of each month at the Whitestation Library. Copy Session at 6 PM, Meeting starts as 7:00 PM.

OFFICERS

President Bob Nunn
759-0461
Vice President Ron Montgomery
767-0737
Secretary Dick Coffman
829-3705
Treasurer Gary Thurman
853-6949
Librarian Jim West
366-5544
Education Bob Earnheart
377-6416
Newsletter Cheryl Nunn
795-0461
BBS 276-6868
Sysop John Blackmer
Co-Sysop Andrew George
367-1266

ADVERTISING RATES

All rates monthly.

Full Page $20.00 1/2 Page $11.00
1/4 Page $7.50 1/8 Page $3.00
Business Card $3.00

Classified to Members Free
All ads must be in by the 15th.
CIRCULATION: 300 copies

Treasurer's Report

TREASURER'S REPORT 6-13-89

OPENING BALANCE 5-10-89 $2593.77
   
DEPOSITS:
   
LIBRARY DISKS $329.75
CLUB DUES 290.00
-------
$619.75
   
EXPENSES:
   
NEW BBS EQUIPMENT $874.70
MAY NEWSLETTER 158.76
BUSINESS CARDS & FLYERS 48.43
1200 BAUD MODEM 30.00
NUMBER STAMP 50.59
BBS TELEPHONE (MAY) 22.94
NEWSLETTER SUPPLIES 21.09
REFRESHMENTS 6.56
Q-LINK (APRIL) 9.95
--------
$1250.02
   
CLOSING BALANCE 6-13-89 $1963.50

GARY THURMAN TREASURER

Discounts!!

Don't forget about the discounts we receive from businesses. Babbages's offer is: Purchase 10 items of Over $15 Apiece and Get $15 Off Next Purchase. Software Etc. will give 10% off any purchase except Amiga hardware between 1 and 2 PM on Sundays when you show your MCUC membership card. We send newsletters to Babbage's in Hickory Ridge Mall and Software Etc. up at Raleigh Springs Mall. Both these stores strongly support user groups. Introduce yourself and patronize these stores frequently.

Secretary's Notes

Board Meeting 6/11/89

The board meeting was called to order at 2:25 PM. Present were Jim West, Ron Montgomery, Bob Nunn, Cheryn Nunn and Kevin Dunn.

The board voted to cancel the automatic draft for Q-Link through the bank. Various items were discussed regarding the library, including a new cataloger program written by Kevin Dunn.

The board discussed the BBS and the new equipment. The 2400 baud modem we originally intended to order is unavailable and alternatives were offered. The other new equipment is operating fine.

Work will begin on a new version of the New Member's Packet, to be ready when our current supply runs out. The board voted to extend the New Member's Packet to Associate Memberships also. It was decided to create a beginner's packet containing supportive printed material and one disk to be given to beginning Commodore users as a supportive measure. The NEW New Member's Packet will contain more 128 programs and information than the current one.

A new order to MEI will be placed for disks.

The board voted to move the newsletter deadline back to the 12th of each month to facilitate getting the newsletter in member's homes prior to the month's meeting.

Metting adjourned at 5:00 PM.

Respectfully Submitted,

Cheryn Nunn for Richard Coffman

128 Editorial

by Bob Nunn

The rumor mill has it that Commodore would like to drop the 128D. I don't take to rumors too much but this one may makes good business sense. If it really does cost Commodore more to produce a 128 than the Amiga 500 and Commodore is looking at dropping the price of the Amiga it migh mean that the Amiga was actually cheaper than the 128. That would be perceived as bad by dealers and some less intelligent consumers. Now most of you realize that Commodore doesn't have the dealer loyality that it once had thanks to the C-16 and the Plus 4. I'm sure most dealers would think that the 128 would be dead wood if the Amiga's price was lower.

Many consumers would be fooled by this unless they previously owned a 64 or what amounted to a brain. One of the cheapest things to buy is the computer itself most of the time. Check out the price tags and titles on the Amiga stuff and you will quickly realize that besides your initial investment you will need to spend a substantial amount to replace your software or just to get basic software in the first place. Of course the best software uses more than the stock ram. Unless you like the speed pf the 1541 then the drive built into the Amiga will drive you crazy. Nuts you SAY?? Well time yourself with all the disk swaps involved and see if all that time you saved with the speedy drive is eaten up by taking disks in and out. So you invest in an additional drive or if you are bucks up, a hard drive. Still, those amazing graphics, desk top publishing, super games, the Amiga is still a very attractive machine and lowering the price sure wouldn't hurt it.

So Commodore hastens the death of the 128 by knocking out the 1571, and just plain letting it go. They also killed the only 1571 compatible on the market, the Excel 2001. Yet, they didn't touch the C-64 drives. I'm fairly certain that the 128 will eventually be discontinued. So what can we do?, you might ask. Well, here is one alternative. A fellow by the name of Loren Lovhaug has an idea. He wants to form a company to provide aftermarket support for the 128. Anyone having seen a publication called Twin Cities 128 knows that he has dedicated himself to support the machine. I support his efforts. If you feel the same way that I do see me at the meeting. Perhaps we can organize a petition to Commodore corporate leadership.

Wouldn't it be a kick to see a new line of peripherals or perhaps an improved 128? I think I might faint to see quality information coming from the manufacturer. I can see it now: a big blazing ad in the Computer Mags announcing the ALL NEW 128!

The following are excerpts from an article by Loren Lovhaug titled "I Have A Dream" which appeared in Issue 23 the THE TWIN CITIES 128 Magazine. It was reprinted in the AVCUG Newsletter.

My dream...involves and emancipation of sorts...the emancipation of which I speak involves the "freeing" of the Commodore 128 from Commodore. I want to engineer a method by which Commodore can "bow out" of the C-128 gracefully. Notice, I did not say a method by which Commodore can kill the 128 nor did I imply abandon C-128 owners, instead I carefully used the words "bow out" and "gracefully" to suggest otherwhise. Here is what I have in mind:

Commodore should help me to form a company to provide after market support for the 128. (Consider this scenario.) The support corporation is the only authorized liquidator of these machines. The support company sells these machines alone or in various attractively priced system packages. Bundled with each computer are four first class application programs, a two month subscription to a C-128 bi-weekly (yes, bi-weekly) newsletter, a Q-Link disk, and an extensive catalog of Commodore, in house, and third party software products marketed by the support company. In addition the company has signed many local Commodore dealerships to handle its products. The company also has a customer support section on Q-Link, Genie and Compuserve. Commodore showcases the 128 support company as evidence that is committed to long term support of its products. As time marches on, new and long term 128 owners have few regrets about their 128 purchase, and as their needs and technology evolve they naturally consider a Commodore products.

I hope I have tantalized you with these prospects. I want to make it clear that at this point, this whole concept is nothing more than an idea. I am however exploring it sincerely. However, please DO NOT send us contributions to finance such an endeavor. I don't want to start a charity or religion. However, you can help by popularizing this notion. Permission is hereby granted to reprint this proposal (and only this proposal). I urge you to place it in user group newsletters, on local bulletin boards, and on national telecommunications networks. Show it to your friends and to local Commodore retailers. And above all, please ask Commodore to adopt this idea, or at least to consider it seriously. The key players you should contact are:

You can write them at: Commodore Business Machines, 1200 Wilson Drive, West Chester, PA 19380. As the old song says: "You can't always get what you want, but if you try, sometimes you get what you need!"

For those of you that are interested, Twin Cities 128 is available by Subscription. Send $22.00 in Check or Money Order for one year (12 issues) to:

Twin Cities 128
Hewitt Avenue Suite #4
Saint Paul, MN 55104

Note from Bob: I think this idea merits support. Apple did this successfully with the Lisa with a company called Sun Remarketing. If Apple could do it, I see no reason why Commodore couldn't. Show your support of the 128 by writing to the above listed people, outlining this proposal and expressing your support for the idea or see me and we'll consider a petition to corporate CBM.

The alternative to this proposal would see the 128 and its peripherals "dumped" on the market by liquidators who cannot provide the support and technical assistance that may be needed. The public relations image of Commodore would be seriously damaged by a move like this. Commodore would not only hurt themselves in the eyes of the new buyers, but in the eyes of the current owners, as well, who would seriously think twice before upgrading with another Commodore products.

Bob Nunn

Colt Tip

Commodore Colt Speed Up - heard this rumor, that the Colt will work at 9.14 mhz by selecting the Control-Alt-D keys. This supposedly is undocumented.

Editor's Desk

This month's issue revolves around Sound and Graphics on the Commodore 64 and 128. We have just barely skimmed the surface in exploring these capabilities. I hope you enjoy what you see and read and that it sparks an interest in you to try your hand at creating some new artwork or sound with your computer.

There are several people I would like to thank this month for their contributions to the newsletter. John Blackmer has been especially prolific in his writing the last two months. I only wish I had room to run everything he writes. Ron Montgomery continues to challenge Commodore Business Machines to "do the right thing" and was published in another groups' newsletter this month. Harvey and Connie Slemmons have volunteered to take over the collating, stapling and mailing of the newsletters for me. MANY, MANY thanks to them as this will greatly reduce the time I must devote to the newsletter. Mike Spence (Drummer) has volunteered to scout for articles, sub-board discussions, etc. on BBS's, to be used in the newsletter. I really appreciate that as telecommunications is not one of my strong points. And thanks to all the people who occasionally send something in. It's always nice to see a new name every once in a while.

Also, a big thank you to the other officers who continue to give their support and encouragement and who are always prompt in getting their reports or articles to me. In reading newsletters from other groups, it's not only the presidents who are discouraged because of problems, the newsletter editors face their own problems. Many of them do not receive material to use from other people and are doing the job entirely by themselves. It would truly be a "JOB" if I were in that position.

Lastly, thank you to all the club members who express your enjoyment in reading the newsletter. It makes everything worthwhile!

Cheryn Nunn

The Write Stuff

We have placed a second order for The Write Stuff, for those of you who missed it the first time, we have ordered a few extra of all the versions. This is a very versatile and full featured word processor. I continue to see rave reviews about this program. I know that everytime I use it, I learn something new that makes my word processing all that much more productive. Here is a review of the prices.

The Write Stuff 64 w/ S.A.M. $17.00
The Write Stuff 64 w/o S.A.M. $10.00
The Write Stuff 128 40/80 col. $20.00
The Write Stuff 128 (with BB Talker 64 and S.A.M. $25.00
Keyboard Overlays 64 or 128 $ 2.00

All versions of the program come with a reference manual. Don't miss out on this excellent program!!

President's Ponderings MCUC's Biggest Problem

by Bob Nunn

Well if finally happened, one of those great problems has almost overwhelmed us. You see it takes a lot of effor to release more than 5 disks or so a month on the part of the librarian. Really our sales don't go up much when we do have more than that many anyways. But don't we owe all of our members the opportunity to purchase all this great new software?? You see a group in COLORADO, the Colorado Commodore Computer Club sent 10 disks to us! That along with the other user group disks means we just have too much stuff to put out! The quality is such that I personally would buy all the disks as they are.. What to do, what to do?? Well we came up with a great solution. Our BBS has all new drives so why not make up an 81 format disk (3160 blks) with all the new stuff that isn't going to be released into the library and let the members download it. THAT'S RIGHT!!

New programs that aren't available anywhere else in Memphis will now be online each and every month!!

You say you don't have a modem? Well you can buy a dandy 1200 for only 60 bucks or so at just about every mail order house in the country. You get a great little term in your New Members Package when you joined so why not spend a little to get all this great new software free over the line.

So we solved another problem and helped develop more traffic for the MCUC BBS! We are still looking for that 2400 baud modem for the board. Computer Direct's $99 modem is oversold and they aren't taking any more orders at this time. We do now have the two 1581's and 1541 online!! As time goes on and funds allow we will continue to upgrade the BBS but only if usage suggests that we should. You now have more reasons than ever to call our BBS!! Fogotten the number??

901-276-6868

John Blackmer is your Sysop, Andrew George is your Co-Sysop! Log on and see the great new stuff!!

Earnheart Computer Repair
5345 Flowering Peach Rear
Memphis, TN
901-366-0303
Jiffy Dos Special through
July only! $59.95
Installation FREE
The Commodore Repair
Specialist!!
Call Ahead-hours irreg.

A Guide to Grand Graphics

Of the many things that our machines can do, the graphic capabilities seem to attract more than its share of interest. One of the main attractions of the MCUC BBS is the art gallery. I don't think any of our callers have missed viewing it at least once. Although the 64 & 128 are capable of HI-RES and LOW RES pictures, I will limit this article to low res because that is what is used on all bbs's.

Low-res (low resolution) generally refers to the use of the symbols on the front of the keys on your keyboard. Those symbols, used in conjunction with the colors and rvs on and rvs off keys provide the tools to create some very interesting and colorful artwork. To attempt to use them in programming code (BASIC) can be rather cumbersome, if not downright painful. Naturally, we have graphic utilities for just that reason. Under Sysop's Scuttlebutt, you'll find a review of a new program, CG Animator 3.0a, in my opinion, the best graphics utility available for the 64. Of course, there are others that will argue with that. Our industrious leader and prez has a tendency towards Screen Gem. Mario Bruhwiler, an expert in graphics on the 64 leans towards Picture Perfect. Compute Magazine put out a great program called Screen Genie which writes its own BASIC code to use as subroutines in your own programs.

When using SEQUENZER 2.0, care needs to be taken to avoid mistakes and backspaces because this program records ALL keystrokes, whether intentional or not. The advantage of that is you can create sequential file movies and a very large varierty of "special effects". As with most programs, practice makes perfect! Sequenzer created files are sequential and can be used with most sequential file readers.

Speaking of perfect, PICTURE PERFECT isn't. It has a tendency to save unwanted and redundant keystrokes without your knowledge. So if you use your Picture Perfect file with some other reader (I.E. a bbs program) it will display a screen different than what it showed while you were creating that screen. In addition, PP can be confusing with it's plethora of commands. Help screens are built in but they too are rather cryptic. PP also saves its files only as sequential files.

Screen Gem is as the title implies, a GEM of a program. You may use the joystick OR the keyboard to design your screen. Cursor movements are not saved so you may move around the screen to change and edit your screen at will. As you enter the editing area you set the number of lines you want your screen to be. (1 to 24) You can get to a help screen at anytime with a couple of keystrokes and when you finish your screen you will be presented with the option to save you screen however you want, as a sequential file or program file. Yes, Screen Gem will write the code for you to use as a stand alone program or subroutines. No doubt Screen Gem is a diamond in the world of graphic editors. My ONLY complaint is that it will only allow 24 screen lines and one screen at a time.

Genie, The only copyrighted program in this review is also a "program generator". Once you have designed your screen it, too, will produce the needed BASIC code to use in your own programs. Compute! Gazette published this some time ago and it is an excellent utility. As with a lot of user friendly programs, it has an excellent built in menu to guide you through the process of creating your masterpiece(s). With Genie, you may create 2 different screens at the same time. Its drawback ---it only produces BASIC code so you cannot save your screens as a sequential file for use with other programs such as a bbs.

The first 3 of these programs are available through the MCUC BBS. If they are not on the drives, leave me feedback and I'll see to it that they get there for you...

Till next time
HAPPY DRAWING!!

==JOHN==

OLDEST FLOPPY DISK?

According to the April 1989 issue of "Radio Electronics" a recent find of what may be the worlds oldest floppy may have been unearthed at the ancient Sumerian city of Lagash. This find has taken personal computing back to the 3rd millennium B.C.

The following picture was digitized out of the magazine. The inscription that appears on the protective clay sleeve reads, in part "The program on this disk is protected by (illegible) to the lions ... beheaded ... Coppyright Microsoft Corp., 2900 B.C.

Alothough Somewhat outdated, this computer disk was once on the leading edge of technology.

June Disks of the Month

Jim West

We've got some great disks for you this month. Many of the files came from other user groups in other areas of the country and are brand new to us here in Memphis. I'm working with Kevin Dunn on a new cataloger program. It looks like it will be easy to use both for me and for the membership. More about that later when we get all organized.

We're going to try something new at the July meeting too. I'll be available to answer questions about the disks available for that month or for previous months. There will be one or two people who will only sell the disks. You can help things go smoother by reserving your questions for the me, as the people helping sell disks will not be able to answer your questions anyway. We hope this will make the disk sales go much quicker and will provide you with better service and information. It will be explained further at July's meeting.

64 Graphics

Time Crystal - this is the demo of a game that was never released. This graphic animation is just super, an unfinished masterpiece. This great demo by Jim Sachs uses all the memory in the computer except for two bytes. The story line is: you have entered a time machine and traveled backwards to the dinosaur period. Try to land your time machine and watch the action around you.

Aquarium - (with fish) This one you don't have to feed.

World of Commodore - Grapahics and music display created for the 1986 show. Keys 1-9 speed up the action.

64 Slideshow

The graphics on this disk are superb. This is something you can show your friends when the party lulls!

Sid Music #1

A great new selection of favorite tunes.

Sid Music #2

More new tunes.

GEOS PS Album

Graphics library volumes 1-3.

128 Disk

Naval Database - database of international naval vessals. Expandable. 40 col.

Sea 128 - 128 version of "Aquarium".

Star Trek - graphics program contains Star Trek pictures and graphics.

The Bible - contains passages from the Bible. Neat intro screen.

Jiffy Dos Review

The main reason I personally bought this is that it speeds up ALL disk operations ALL the time. Most cartridges just work on the initial load. None speed up sequential or relative file loading and none work inside a program. JIFFY DOS works all the time!!!!! It works with mixed drives like my 41's, FSD-2 and my 1581! It works in 128 mode with the 71 and any other listed drive combo. It doesn't tie up your cartridge port or any other port for that matter. It works with everything (even with my Snapshot cartridge) and will switch out if you find something that it doesn't work with. THAT MAKES IT ALWAYS COMPATIBLE even if the software companies in the future develop something new and bizarre so you never have a problem.

Is it fast? Well my Snapshot cartridge may be faster but it cuts out after the program loads and leaves me to sit while I save or load a relative file, etc. and Jiffy DOS never leaves you cold. If you are using your Commodore for more than a game machine I highly recommend this, or even as a game machine it's nice to load EPYX and MOST other heavily protected software that fail with your basic cartridge fastloaders at many times the normal speed.

A SPECIAL NOTE to 128/71 users: Jiffy DOS has the latest version of the DOS ROMS and the 128 KERNAL so that means if you haven't upgraded your old chips to take care of those bugs then you can kill two birds with one rock.

Call the BBS!
276-6868

Desktop Publishing & Commodore Computers

By Bob Nunn

Many of you don't know that what I do for a living these days is largely involved with desktop publishing. I got into this sideways so to speak as it was the only way to meet deadlines on materials that I need to produce. The old paste up method was killing us in more ways than one. We still do a great deal of typesetting and pasteup and probably will for some time. It takes a while for the technology to get not only faster but also cheaper. The company I joined a few years back was already equipped in most areas with MacIntosh's, so that is what we presently use for our desktop publishing.

The little Commodore 64 & 128 allows MCUC to do this newsletter and a lot more, it just doesn't have this polish of a laserprinter and postscript output. You can, of course, send your Write Stuff files to Busy Bee and have them laser output and I believe Q-Link still offers the service off GEOS files. MCUC in the near future can (if the membership desires) possibly purchase a laserprinter to use with the 64/128 as prices continue to come down. You would then see some of the polish that many commercial publications offer while still maintaining a low cost per issue. Some of you may have not realized that the 64/128 was capable, but many publications we see from other clubs are laser output. One of Jim Oldfield's books on GEOS tips and tricks was entirely typeset on a Commodore 128 output through a Qume Laserprinter.

The Commodore Amiga has many desktop publishing programs and the processor, ram, and speed to compete with all present desktop systems. I personally haven't had any experience with these but I would say that they would be the working man's answer to the MAC. When it comes to cheap though, my little Combe refurb 64 $99 computer is still the best buy. It does the job for now at an affordable price.

In the near future (I do it now professionally) you will see local printers adding bulletin boards (there are several in Memphis now) that will enable you to upload a file to be output on laserprinter and your print job run off all via modem. You can pick up your printing at the agreed upon time without having to worry with a proof and know what you are getting since you did the work. I have no idea what small quantity pricing might be but the printer doesn't have near the expense or the problems with this kind of job.

Desktop publishing is a rapidly expanding field in computers. Our printer who does our newsletter has even gone to a desktop publishing system. A customer can walk in, describe what they want, come back later, and if they want to change something, it can be done instantaneously. The product can be output to a laserprinter, and the customer can see exactly what the finished product will look like. Desktop publishing is yet another example of how computers are revolutionizing and established field in business.

Sysop's Scuttlebutt

Being a sysop can be a bit of a chore sometimes BUT it does payoff when you get the opportunity to preview some of the newer software as it comes onto the market. Last month I wrote an article for this newsletter [Ed. Note: Sorry, John, we ran out of room but it's here this month.] extolling the merits of Sequencer 2.0, Screen Gem, and a couple of other graphic editors....Wellllll... Lazyboy uploaded a program called CG Animator 3.0a the other night that put them all to shame. The ones previously mentioned are all in basic Compiled, but never the less basic and therefore a little slow. Apparently CG Animator is m/l because it is FAST. It opens with a menu that is rather comprehensive, including editing, DOS 5.1 type commands, built-in documentation AND (my favorite) the ability to see your creation in 300, 1200, AND 2400 baud! Sounds great...right? There's more to it ....... With it you have the ability to edit right in the middle of the seq file! This and the baud thing is what puts the others to shame. Have you ever tried to edit the middle of a Sequencer 2.0 file????? Next to impossible... I have this and other editors on drive 10 of the MCUC BBS for your downloading pleasure, as well as some graphic/music files for you to rock out to.

>Take a good look at YOUR MCUC bbs. With all the rain recently, I have had a chance to revamp the system. Among the several changes I've made, you'll find the drives have been assigned specific roles. Drive 8, of course, is and always will be the system drive with assorted standard terms and utilities. Drive 9 has become the "drive of the day". I intend on changing the disk in this drive DAILY on a rotation schedule. Drive 10 is assigned to the editorial topic of the month as outlined by Cheryn Nunn. Please do not upload to drive 9 unless the file you are sending "fits" within that topic. Drive 11 will be the drive for uploading. IF the disk is getting too full I'll change it for another but if I should forget to, please chat me to change it or wait till the next day to upload your file to us.

Your suggestions for improving the bbs are always welcome so drop me a line in Feedback telling me what's on your mind.

==JOHN==

VP Comments

My Commodore 128 (64 side included) is very important to me. I have invested large amounts of time and money in my computers. So I am naturally concerned that Commodore would consider dropping the C-64 and 128D from their product line. Should they choose to do so, I assume they would also cease to manufacture the peripherals that are specific to these computers.

Is Commodore trying to self-destruct? It would seem so. I have read that there is not enough profit in manufacturing their 8-bit machines for Commodore to continue to make them. The Amiga can be made cheaper than a 128D and sell for more. But, I have one question. Who will buy them? Sales for Amigas come mostly from C-64 and C-128 users who upgrade (if you want to call it that). I personally think the Amiga is an amazing computer. But I don't need one. My 128 does plenty, thanks. But more importantly, why would I be foolish enough to spend money on another Commodore product? Years of no after-sales support and then abandoning 10 million customers hardly gives one incentive to be loyal to Commodore. What happens to the Amiga owners when Commodore doesn't need them anymore?

I didn't have the answers to their profit or loss problems. But it seems to me, if you make a good product that people want to buy and you can't find a profitable way to bring the product to market, the problem is not with the product but with the methods used to market the product. Or better yet, the people marketing the product. Commodore obviously knows how to make a great computer. But that by itself is not enough to win my loyalty to future product lines.

Another thing to consider is the vast number of 8-bit owners who are not through expanding their existing systems. With 10 million computers out there somewhere - granted, they are not all still in use - there is a very large number of people who are potential customers for disk drives, monitors, and ram expansion units. When these customers can no longer find the products to support their current systems, is it really logical to think these customers will take the same money they would have spent on their C-64 or C-128 and spend it with the same company that left them high and dry?

Like they say, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me".

Ron Montgomery

Desktop Tips

by Bob Nunn

To give your piece a professional look always do your headlines in a sans-serifed font like Helvetica, Mykonos, or Harmon. These are, of course, in bold and in a large easy to see font size to grab your attention. Always do your headlines in upper and lower case letters. If you use all uppercase (I see this done frequently) it makes it harder to read! (Have you ever read an all uppercase post on a bulletin board?) Your body text should be in a serif type font, (You know the ones with the little tails on the letters) like Times-Roman, Courier, or Durant. Sizing of the Fonts should be fairly simple - Headlines as big as practical, body text in 9 points or better. If you want something not to be read then italicize it. Reverse type should be used sparingly for effect only. When you choose your fonts stay with them, don't use 5 or 10 fonts just because you have them. (Prevents that ransom note look)

You may have noticed that this newsletter is done with some of the rules in effect. The best rule is that you are pleased with the look and your piece is pleasant and easy to read. I've seen expensive publications with just the opposite rules in effect for headlines and body text and you know what, they looked just as professional and easy to read.

Use graphics sparingly and do what you can to size them to the page. Find a printer or someone who has a copier that will shrink or expand. Attempt to make them fit in with the text. Graphics will take your publications from lukewarm to excellent but try to keep them in context and in the same style. It's easy to make a decent piece look like a ransom note if you get carried away.

Art supply stores sell line tape. Use this to break up the page to make it less threatening. Nobody likes to read page after page of simply typed in text.

Lastly, look at some professionally done publications and analyze how and why it was put together. The best example I can think of is INFO magainze. They are desktop publishers that use the graphics, headlines, blurbs etc. in a fashion that is not difficult to emulate in a simple cut and paste type piece.

Hardware, Software, and...

Don Chase, Co-editor Reprinted from Colorado Commodore Computer Club, April 1989

When trouble occurs in any computer system, the first thought that comes to mind is "that stupid computer". Naturally! There is no such thing as a smart computer. All of them ever built are stupid. If a smart computer came along, would it stupidly let us know it? Not if it is truly smart. However, that is not the thrust of this article.

Where is the trouble when the system fails? Very rarely is it hardware; usually only one to two percent of the cases. Is it in the software? Usually not. The trouble is most often found in the "jellyware", the person using the machine, or the person programming the machine. The most common cause of system failure is attempting to use the computer for a job it is not capable of doing.

Consider, if you will, that a computer does EXACTLY what it is told (programmed) to do and not one thing more. It is not a nice feeling to realize that it is YOU, the user, not the machine at fault. The next time you feel the urge to take a sledgehammer to your computer system, think about where the fault really lies. Put the blame where it belongs. Contact your attorney and sue the S.O.B., don't damage an innocent machine (slave) that is only guilty of following your orders to the exact letter.

If you are not smart enough to order the machine to do your bidding, attend the CCCC meetings [ED. note: MCUC meetings!] and various bull sessions associated with the copy sessions. Very instructive! It is truly amazing how much information is available at little or no cost.

1581 Free Fix

by Bob Rish, CHUG Central Chapter, Reprinted from ?Syntax, June 1989

Some 1581 disk drives (the 3 1/2" unit) will occasionally corrupt the disk directory. Commodore has authorized warranty repair for this problem for any 1581 without a time-from-purchase restriction. The repair involves replacing the 1770 controller chip with a 1772, and closing internal jumper J1. There are files in our libraries that will test your 1581 and indicate whether you have the 1770 chip and open J1 without having to open the unit for visual inspection. If you 1581 has the 1770, take it to an authorized service center for the free revamp. It may take a bit of explaining to get the work done, as most service centers are going to be skeptical when you tell them Commodore has agreed to pay for fixing the unit no matter how old it is. If they receive "Techtopics", have them check section 4-1.1, issue 18, dated 11/87. They might also call the technical assistance line (for repair services only, I suspect) at 1-800-874-4811. Say YES if you are asked if you are experiencing data problems. I suggest you get your unit repaired now, while the offer still holds. I don't know just how often a 1770-equipped 1581 will corrupt a directory, but I figure Commodore wouldn't fix it for free if they didn't think it was a major problem. After all, they still make C128 and 1571 owners pay for their upgrades to correct original ROM code flaws.

New Prez

CMB has a new president. Harold Copperman is now President and CEO of Commodore's US Operations, Commodore Business Machines, Inc. He replaces Max Toy, who resigned to pursue other interests. Mr. Copperman was formerly with Apple Computers, Inc. and before that with IBM.

The Sound of Music

There are various ways to make music using the C64 or 128. There are programs which allow you to write the music using your computer. These type programs let you input the notes, change the character of the notes, save, edit, and play back what you've written. You can even print out your music with some programs. These programs may vary in price from public domain (free) to $99.00. The Sid Player music, created with Sid Editor, is a good example of this type program.

Other types of programs work with MIDI based instruments. This requires a MIDI interface between the computer and the MIDI keyboard or whatever. Many of these programs will allow you to view, send, receive, manipulate, and save MIDI bytes sent from MIDI devices. Others will let you print out the music you've created. These type programs vary in cost from $99.00 to $249.00. You also need a MIDI interface. One we found from Datel Computers for the 64 was $49.99. Of course, you also need MIDI devices for input, which can include keyboards, drums and sequencers. MIDI is an international standard which allows musical performance communication with digital signals

In July's meeting, we will have a musical performance on a synthesizer. Although this particular instance will not involve a computer, the synthesizer is capable of being interfaced with a computer. Don't miss this demo. It should be fun!

Are You OK?

Reprinted from Cougar Coruier, June 1989

Article by Leila Joiner, Catalina Commodore Computer Club, Tuscon

A computer program has been developed to help law enforcement authorities keep tabs on the elderly who live alone.

A computer places daily phone calls to subscribers. If the party answers, the computer asks, "Are you OK?" A response is assumed to be affirmative and the computer dials the next number in its sequence. If there is no answer or the line is busy, the computer redials. If two of three tries fail to connect, authorities are altered and someone is sent to check on the person.

The 41 year-old programmer, Bruce Johnson, a two-time college dropout, started studying computers in 1982 when he was laid up for six months with a back injury. Considered a computer guru by his friends in Austin, Minn., he developed the program, "Are you OK?" as a public service. It took Johnson 14 months to complete the project but, but positive exposure in law enforcement journals has subsequently turned it into a full-time business. Even Scotland Yard has made inquires.

The police department of Osage, Iowa, has several examples on record demonstrating the program's usefulness.

Clyde Ritter, 73, said that it saved his life. The computer alerted authorities when Ritter failed to answer the second call one morning in August. A deputy sheriff was dispatched, found Ritter in a diabetic coma, and called an ambulance.

Others who have been aided by the system include an elderly man who's hands were caught in a window in his home, and three elderly people who had fallen in their homes and needed help.

Participation in the program is voluntary, and the service is free to participants. However, sensible guidelines are stressed to avoid false alarms. Users are asked to be present in their homes and to keep the phone line free at the time the computer is expected to call. Advanced notice is required if they are going to be away from the home at that time and the information is stored in the computer, thus averting the call. Communities presently using the system include Police Headquarters in Osage and Charles City, Iowa, and Sutherlin, Oregon, but Johnson is being flooded with orders and inquiries, due to recent publicity.

Index

Officer Reports 3, 6, 7, 14, 15
128 Editorial 4
Guide to Grand Graphics 8
June Disks of the Month 10
Desktop Publishing & Commodore Computers 13
Desktop Tips 16
Hardware, Software, And... 17
1581 Free Fix 17
The Sound of Music 18
Are You OK? 19