_ ____ ___ ______ _______ _ d# ####b g#00 `N##0" _agN#0P0N# d# d## jN## j##F J## _dN0" " d## .#]## _P ##L jN##F ### g#0" .#]## dE_j## # 0## jF ##F j##F j##' ______ dE_j## .0"""N## d" ##L0 ##F 0## 0## "9##F" .0"""5## .dF' ]## jF ##0 ##F ##F `##k d## .dF' j## .g#_ _j##___g#__ ]N _j##L_ _d##L_ `#Nh___g#N' .g#_ _j##__ """"" """"""""""" " """""" """""" """"""" """"" """""" *---== Amiga Report International Online Magazine ==---* """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" "The Original Online Magazine" from STR Publishing """""""""""""" [S]ilicon [T]imes [R]eport April 23, 1993 No. 1.06 ========================================================================== ----------------------------------------- * THE BOUNTY BBS * Home of STR Publications * RUNNING TURBOBOARD BBS * 904-786-4176 USR DS 16.8 24hrs - 7 days ----------------------------------------- * NOVA BBS * Amiga Report Headquarters * RUNNING STARNET BBS * FidoNet 1:362/508 An Amiga Software Distribution Site (ADS) 615-472-9748 USR HST 14.4 24hrs - 7 days ----------------------------------------- ____________________________________________________________________________ > 04/23/93 STR-Amiga 1.06 "The Original * Independent * Online Magazine!" """"""""""""""""""""""" - The Editor's Desk - CPU Report - New Products - NAB Show Report - STR Confidential - Amiga Tip of the Week - Dealer Directory - STR Online - Usenet Reviews - AmiBack Tools Review - Retina Review - Save Key West! - 12 A'Clock Review - New A1200 Accelerator -* FDPro Flight Recorder Review *- -* NewTek Announces Toaster 4000! *- -* Desktop Video on a Shoestring Budget Continues *- ============================================================================ Amiga Report International Online Magazine From STR Publications [S]ilicon [T]imes [R]eport The Original * Independent * Online Magazine -* FEATURING WEEKLY *- "Accurate UP-TO-DATE News and Information" Current Events, Original Articles, Tips, Rumors, and Information Hardware ~ Software ~ Corporate ~ R & D ~ Imports ============================================================================ GENIE ~ DELPHI ~ NVN ~ BIX ~ PORTAL ~ FIDO ~ INTERNET ============================================================================ :HOW TO GET YOUR OWN GENIE ACCOUNT: _________________________________ Set your communications software to Half Duplex (or Local Echo) Call: (with modem) 800-638-8369. Upon connection type HHH (RETURN after that). Wait for the U#= prompt. Type: XTX99587,CPUREPT then, hit RETURN. GEnie costs only $4.95 a month for unlimited evening and weekend access to more than 100 services including electronic mail, online encyclopedia, shopping, news, entertainment, single-player games, and bulletin boards on leisure and professional subjects. With many other services, including the biggest collection of files to download and the best online games, for only $6 per hour. MONEY BACK GUARANTEE! Any time during your first month of membership if you are not completely satisfied, just ask for your $4.95 back. GEnie Information copyright (C) 1991 by General Electric Information Services/GEnie, reprinted with permission **************************************************************************** > From the Editor's Desk "Saying it like it is!" """""""""""""""""""""" Service and support. That's what it's all about. Or at least that's what it USED to be about. The computer industry today thrives around the lowest price. That is what is luring so many people to buy Clones. Everywhere you go, there's a cheap clone. 486SX's about, from Circuit City to Sears to Wal Mart. And you can get into a loaded one for under $1500. Yet the average buyer has no idea what he's getting himself into. So many times in past odd-jobs (as a waiter for example), somebody at work buys a PC, and I invariably hear, "I bought a computer. Can you come over and show me how to use it?" Sheesh. I usually end up doing so, when I'd rather say, "you bought it, you didn't ask me for advice, YOU figure it out." That's one reason the Amiga is ignored. We all know it's the best computer money can buy, but since the average consumer has no idea what makes it a better machine, he'll end up buying what he can at the lowest price. Sure, An Amiga 1200 fully outfitted will run about $1500 with a hard drive, monitor and 4 meg of RAM. Yet people are put off because its not in a two-piece case, and because you can't buy one at every discount store. Yet after somebody buys a DOS Box, they have no idea what to do with it. They're completely lost with DOS and Windows. Windows is not a very intuitive interface, as we all know. So it comes back to somebody with a REAL computer (like an Amiga) that gets stuck helping somebody that made a stupid decision and bought a CLONE. And because we're good people, we help them, not saying a word. Where am I going with this? If this individual bought his PC at Wal Mart, and then goes back there for support, nobody there will be able to help him. Nobody there really has a clue, anymore than the customer. And heaven forbid Mr. Consumer goes to a 'real' PC dealer, like ComputerLand. "Where did you buy your computer?" "Wal Mart." "I'm sorry, we can't help you." So many people are apprehensive over buying a computer that not many people have heard of, and cannot buy locally. Yet, if they had bought an Amiga and had trouble, they could have called the dealer and gotten any help that they needed. Sure, it might cost them a long distance phone call, but the problem would have been solved. Or people will say, "but there's no software because it doesn't run DOS." Uh huh, right. Again, all it takes a little initiative. Grab an Amiga magazine off the newstand. AmigaWorld is on every newstand I've ever been in, and is even showing up in grocery stores. The dealer where they bought the machine could recommend software packages. And then there are the user groups. My local user group isn't very large, but everybody there is just as helpful as can be. If one person doesn't have an answer to a question, somebody else surely does. All it takes is a little initiative, and the average consumer can do just fine with a computer like the Amiga. Now all that must be done is to let these people know the machine exists. Hopefully, Commodore will oblige and provide some decent advertising. It doesn't have to be spectacular TV spots, but hit all of the major magazines -- Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, Time, Money, etc. Educate the public. We can help too. If you know of anyone in the market for a computer, tell them about the Amiga. Reassure them that it's not a dying breed, and that you and your user group will be there for them if they need help. Until a stronger dealer network can be established, it is up to us, the users, to help the Amiga survive and prosper. A few other notes... Mike Troxell is off again this week, as finals have taken their toll on him. The last time we spoke, he kept muttering some- thing I couldn't quite make out, though it sounded remotely Klingon in nature. It may take him a day or two to recover. Last week, we ran several press releases from the GEnie 5-Minute News without giving due credit. The releases for ASDG's T-Rexx Professional, VLab, the Retina graphics board and CSA 12-Gauge came from last week's 5-Minute News. We apologize for the oversight. Rob @ Amiga Report """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" Amiga Report's Staff DEDICATED TO SERVING YOU! """""""""""""""""""" Editor ------ Robert Glover Technical Editor Graphics Editor Contributing Editor ---------------- --------------- ------------------- Micah Thompson Mike Troxell Tom Mulcahy GEnie: BOOMER.T M.TROXELL1 FidoNet: 1:362/508.5 1:260/322 Delphi: 16BITTER Bix: HELMET Contributing Correspondents --------------------------- John Deegan David Gilbert David Griffiths Jeff Hanna Nikolaj Peddie-Richers Michael Heinz PC DIVISION ATARI DIVISION MAC DIVISION ----------- -------------- ------------ Roger D. Stevens Ralph F. Mariano R. Albritton IMPORTANT NOTICE """""""""""""""" Please, submit letters to the editor, articles, reviews, etc... via E-Mail to: Delphi........................ ROB_G GEnie......................... ROB-G Internet.......................ROB_G@Delphi.COM """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" > CPU STATUS REPORT LATE BREAKING INDUSTRY-WIDE NEWS ================= COMMODORE AND NEWTEK JOIN TO MARKET AMIGA 4000 AND NEW VIDEO TOASTER 4000 (West Chester, PA --- April 18, 1993) Commodore Business Machines, Inc. is pleased to announce it is participating in a joint marketing effort with NewTek, Inc. built on bringing powerful, cost effective technology to the video marketplace. The vast acceptance of Commodore's Amiga (R) computer and NewTek's Video Toaster TM as quality video products is unprecedented. The newly formed alliance coupled with NewTek's announcement of the Video Toaster 4000 will encourage further widespread acceptance of the Amiga and Toaster within the rapidly growing personal video production industry. Since its introduction in 1985 the Amiga has been recognized as the most video oriented microcomputer. Every Amiga is equipped with an array of video features such as NTSC horizontal scan rate compatibility, interlaced and non-interlaced video modes, RGB analog signal and overscan capabilities. A dedicated video slot provides easy access to the Amiga's video bus for integrating performance enhancing devices like NewTek's Video Toaster. In September of 1992 Commodore introduced the Amiga 4000 featuring the Advanced Graphics Architecture TM (AGA) chip set. AGA greatly enhances the computer's videographics capabilities by enabling users to display and animate graphics in selectable resolutions at up to 256,000 colors from a palette of 16.8 million. The Video Toaster 4000 hardware includes a real-time effects engine and two 16.8 million color broadcast-quality frame buffers. Also included is an advanced character generator, four input switcher, a broadcast-quality paint program, color effects, a 3D modeling and animation program, and a luminance keyer. Amiga and Advanced Graphics Architecture are trademarks of Commodore-Amiga, Inc. Video Toaster is a trademark of NewTek, Inc. Commodore Business Machines 1200 Wilson Drive West Chester, PA 19380 (215) 431-9100 __________________________________________________ MICROBOTICS ANNOUNCES 1230XA ACCELERATOR FOR AMIGA 1200 M1230 XA High Speed, 50MHz 68030 Acceleration, Hardware Floating Point, 32-bit Wide Memory Expansion (to 128 Megabytes), and Realtime Clock for the Amiga 1200 The MicroBotics M1230 XA is presented to Amiga 1200 owners as an extremely powerful, yet cost-effective, upgrade solution providing a high speed 68030 processor, a 68882 Floating Point Unit (FPU) and supporting the install- ation of up to 128 megabytes of 32-bit wide Amiga FastRAM. In addition, a high-accuracy, battery-backed realtime clock circuit is included. The M1230 XA board installs internally on the Amiga 1200's standard 150 pin bus expansion connector. M1230 XA speeds up general operations by as much as five times that of the native A1200. Using a single, 72-pin standard wide SIMM, as much as 128 megabytes of memory can be added to the A1200 (making it the biggest memory space available for the machine). The M1230 XA is delivered with a 50MHz 68030, making it absolutely the fastest '030 accelerator available as well. M1230 XA Specifications CPU Clock Speeds Supported: 50MHz 68030 installed as standard. M1230 XA is also available with either a 33MHz 68030 or 40MHz EC030 (EC=no MMU). FPU: Motorola 68882 math chip; PGA (Pin-Grid-Array) component. FPU can be matched to same-speed FPU or run at a different speed by resort to a separate oscillator. Target System: Amiga 1200 Personal Computer. Installation: Internal to Amiga 1200; resides on the 150-pin card edge connector. User or dealer installable. Compatibility: Designed for general compatibility with all Amiga system software; AmigaDOS system 3.0 and later. Memory Support: Supports the addition of a single, optional, 32 bit wide, 72-pin SIMM (Single Inline Memory Module). SIMMs are available in sizes from 1 megabyte up to 128 megabytes, single or double sided. This provision for industry standard SIMM support insures that the M1230 XA will always be useable with state-of-the-art memory technologies. M1230 XA provides the biggest memory space available on the Amiga 1200. Memory SIMM Types: 72-pin "wide-body" SIMM organized N-megabytes x 32 bits (the four megabyte SIMMs used in the Amiga 4000 and in MicroBotics' MBX 1200z are compatible with M1230 XA). Memory speeds from 40ns to 80ns are supported. The SIMMs used in the M1230 XA are available from numerous third party suppliers (i.e., they are not an expensive and limited proprietary SIMM-type). Typical name-brand SIMM: MT16D232 (eight megabytes) from Micron. SIMM socket is first-quality, professional metal-latch type for ease of insertion and secure contact with no breakage-prone plastic "ears". Realtime Clock Calendar: An Epson RTC 72421B clock/calendar backed by a long lasting, user replaceable lithium battery cell (CR 2032), is supported. System Compatibility and Mapping: RAM is autoconfigured under AmigaDOS 3.1 or software configured under 3.0. RAM can be withheld from the free memory list (for test purposes) via a jumper. RAM maps at hex-8 000 000 (and thus does not compete with PCMCIA peripherals). CPU and Math chip can operate without installed memory. The realtime clock is totally compatible with AmigaDOS; no additional software is required. Software: Includes MBRTest-2, a comprehensive diagnostic program for Amiga memory and SetXA, a configuration utility to read and write to M1230 XA's EEPROM. Applications: Useful in any speed, memory, and/or math intensive application such as animation, ray-tracing, morphing, scientific calculation, and image processing . Power Consumption: 600 milliamps (approximate). Configurations Available: Available with or without the 68882 installed, without memory or with any of the eight possible SIMM sizes. Product Availability: Worldwide distribution via Amiga dealers and distributors. USA Suggested Retail Prices: $399 (40MHz EC030); $429 (33MHz 68030); $499 (50MHz 68030). All units with realtime clock; memory and FPU at additional cost. Actual Selling price determined by dealer. __________________________________________________ PRE-ANNOUNCEMENT OF MAILING-LIST FOR KANJI-AMIGA USERS All of you who are interested on currents of Japanese-version of Amiga Computers, we are about to start the first Mailing-list directed to the Amiga community in Japan. Problem is, due to the language-barriers between 1 byte-based Alphabet languages and 2 bytes-based Asian languages, at first we are considering this to be circulated only on JUNET(Japan Unix Network) where Kanji-written(Japanese-EUC coded) transactions are standard. In case you have great interest, but don't have the system/knowledge to read Japanese, please E-mail me to the account cited below. If the responses from outside-Japan pass beyond 100, then Japanese<->English translation will be done on all posts. If it doesn't reach 100, then we will dump the translation process and keep this in JUNET only. (Those of you who've subscribed, will get the notification if this will be done or not.) Those who have Japanese-enabled-system installed on your terminal like ANS for Amiga, KanjiTalk for Mac, JLE for Sun, DOS 5.0-J for PC-Compatibles) can also get the circulations in Kanji-form. WHAT TOPICS WILL BE COVERED?? The topics will cover everything relating to Amiga's circulated here in Japan. If you are a software developer and happen to have interest in Japanese Amiga market, here is your chance. If you work as a Japanese professor and happen to own an Amiga, you'll know how to create your own Kanji-fonts in ANS. If you work in a computer-graphics production, you'll be surprised how many Amiga-created TV graphics are shown on here in Tokyo. WHEN WILL THIS START?? We are about to get certification from our system manager. Therefore the name of this mailing-list address is not eligible at this time, but it should start running within 1-2 weeks. But like I said before, if requests from outside-Japan don't reach over 100, it won't be cirulated outside the JUNET community and no English translation will be given. No annoucements will made here later on, also. THEN WHERE CAN I SUBSCRIBE?? If you want this to be circulated over Internet w/English translation, send us your Internet address before April 20th, in the following simple form: To: email@example.com Re: Kanji-Amiga mailing-list ENGLISH SUBSCRIBE
That's it!! Any questions & suggestions can be made to me, who will doing all the translation stuff. firstname.lastname@example.org Taizo Shiozaki Keio University Faculty of Economics Tokyo, Japan PHONE:+81-045-564-4677 __________________________________________________ INTUITRACKER V1.50 AVAILABLE FOR FTP TITLE IntuiTracker VERSION 1.50 COMPANY / AUTHOR Triumph Software Design Team Nils Corneliusen Heyerdahls vei 17 0386 OSLO NORWAY email: email@example.com DESCRIPTION Intuition based module player with a nice looking spectrum analyzer. The replayer is currently the fastest available for such players, and supports ProTracker, SoundTracker and NoiseTracker without problems regarding timing etc. IntuiTracker works with all screenmodes and processors. Also, Intui- Tracker is currently the only player with supports multiply crunched XPK modules. REQUIREMENTS Kickstart v37.175 or newer Fastram recommended Any screen resolution higher than 399 pixels recommended PRICE IntuiTracker is distributed as FREEWARE. HOST NAME Should be available on aminet, f ex amiga.physik.unizh.ch. DIRECTORY mus/play/intuitracker.lha - contains executable, docs and the IntuiTracker intro __________________________________________________ EPU V1.4 AVAILABLE FOR FTP TITLE: EPU VERSION: 1.4 AUTHOR: Jaroslav Mechacek E-MAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org (email@example.com) DESCRIPTION: EPU is Stacker-like program. After installing EPU to any device (HardDisk, Floppy, Rad: etc.), every file written to the device is compressed and any compressed file read by any application is automatically decompressed. That means the EPU doubles your disk capacity! EPU is very easy to install or remove, its size is very small, and it works with many compression libraries like lh.library or xpk(NUKE,...). The file sizes are not limited by memory, (maximum file size is about 1GB). There are no differences or limitations when you are working with EPU installed or without it (of course it can be slower if the CPU is slow.) More info is in epu.doc NEW FEATURES: 1. This version runs on ALL machines and with ALL OS (The previous 1.0 version didn't work on A3000/A4000)-KS1.2 was not tested. 2. Now EPU can work with xpk sublibraries like NUKE etc. SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS: None xpk????.library suggested. epu14.lha was uploaded to aminet: HOST NAME: amiga.physik.unizh.ch(184.108.40.206) and its mirrors. DIRECTORY: /pub/aminet/util/pack FILE NAME: epu14.lha If you can't download it you can ask for it at firstname.lastname@example.org (but first try BITFTP or ftpmail). PRICE: SHAREWARE fee is US $20 Read the epu.doc file for more info. DISTRIBUTABILITY: Can be distributed as shareware - all unchanged files must be included. The original epu14.lha file can be posted by e-mail or uploaded without any permission. NOTICES: 1. EPU14.lha contains two compression libs. The xpk compression libraries are not included in archive. They can be found at: amiga.physik.unizh.ch (and its mirrors) dir: util/pack file: xpk... or on Fish Disk Number 754 __________________________________________________ GROFF V1.07 AVAILABLE FOR FTP TITLE GROFF VERSION Version 1.07 (for the Amiga) COMPANY None... This is GNU software. You can reach the author of this release on the internet at the following address: Rob Tulloh INTERACTIVE / SHL Tel: (512) 343 0376 x116 9442 Capital of Texas Hwy. North Fax: (512) 343 1414 Arboretum Plaza One, Suite 700 Net: email@example.com Austin, Texas 78759 DESCRIPTION Groff is the GNU version of U*nix troff and associated programs. For those unfamiliar with troff (or ditroff), it is a facility similar to TeX for typesetting and formatting text by embedding commands in the text which are then interpreted by troff to change the way the text is displayed. For example, you can change attributes like page margins, font, and point size. You can do formatting operations like centering, filling, and justifying. This does not even begin to describe all the things you can do with groff. There are whole volumes of text at your local bookstore which do a much better job. Groff is good to use for formatting and displaying text directly in your screen. In ascii mode, you can print files to PRT: directly. To get even fancier, it is also very useful in conjunction with other programs such as GNU GhostScript (version 2.5.2 available on aminet), Post (version 1.86 available on aminet) and Nenscript for formatting output for postscript drivers. It should also be suitable for producing dvi output for TeX post-processors. The GNU version of troff comes with all the de facto standard pre-processing programs: eqn for formatting arithmetic expressions, pic for drawing pictures, tbl for formatting tables of data, grap for drawing graphs, neqn, refer, indxbib, and much more! Also included are several post processors including one that causes troff to produce PostScript, ASCII, latin1, and dvi output. There are several macro packages including man, mm, me, and ms. Using these macro packages allows you to format documents using higher level expressions designed to make n/troff easier to use. With the man macros, you can now display or print all those man page files that come with other Un*x packages distributed for the Amiga! The Amiga version of groff has been distributed in 2 parts. One archive (groff-1.07bin.lha) contains a run-time distribution only. It includes all the files you need to install and run n/troff on your Amiga. Also included are some of the interesting text files from the original distribution. These were included to help users to use groff more effectively and to resolve problems. If you want to compile and build groff yourself, the archive groff-1.07src.lha contains the source plus patches you need to compile, build, and install groff on your Amiga (using g++ and gmake). It does not contain any runtime code. Of course, there are many requirements to do this. I would only recommend this if you have problems running the version I built. See the README.amiga file included with the distribution for a list of requirements needed to build groff. NEW FEATURES Upgrade from version 1.06 posted earlier this year. This was a GNU update, see the file ChangeLog in the release for specific features/bug fixes in 1.07. SPECIAL REQUIREMENT You probably need KS 2.x for full compatibility with AmigaDOS. This is mostly due to dependencies on ixemul.library which is best suited for 2.x (and higher?) systems. You are encouraged to get and install pdksh on your system so you can take advantage of the shell scripts which come with groff. Pdksh is not required; everything done in shell scripts can be converted to AmigaDOS syntax. You need the lha program to unpack the archive. HOST NAME The archives were uploaded to aminet (amiga.phsysik.unizh.ch) on April 9, 1993. They have migrated to the aminet file tree (see below). FILE NAME util/gnu/groff-1.07bin.lha util/gnu/groff-1.07src.lha PRICE Free. DISTRIBUTABILITY Freely-distributable. The GNU copyright/copyleft restrictions apply. See the file COPYING for more information. See the file COPYING.LIB for information on distribution/copyright of Markus Wild's excellent implementation of ixemul.library (thank you, thank you Markus!) __________________________________________________ ACE V1.02 BASIC COMPILER AVAILABLE FOR FTP TITLE ACE - Amiga BASIC compiler. VERSION v1.02 COMPANY Private developer. AUTHOR David Benn Usenet: firstname.lastname@example.org DESCRIPTION ACE is a PD Amiga BASIC compiler which, in conjunction with A68K and Blink produces standalone executables. No special run-time shared libraries are required. The language is both a subset and superset of AmigaBASIC with many features not found in the latter such as: turtle graphics, recursion, SUBs with return values, structures, arguments, include files, a better WAVE command which allows for large waveforms, external references, named constants and several extra functions. In total, ACE currently supports some 150 commands and functions. ACE is still under development, but is quite usable in its present form. NEW FEATURES (since v1.01) - KILL and NAME commands. - ON..GOTO and ON..GOSUB. - ON GOTO added to Event Trapping (already had ON GOSUB). - Improved SAY command. Asynchronous speech is now supported. - SAY(n) function added so that asynchronous speech can be monitored and mouth width/height can be read (only works properly under 2.04/higher at the moment). - Faster INSTR function. - New #include files: fexists.h, julian.h for file existence checking and date calculations respectively. - Compiler switch (-i) to create an icon for the executable produced by ACE. There were a few bug fixes also. First, string variables were sometimes being associated with bogus addresses. Second, there was a 32K limit on branches due to gratuitous use of bsr/bra instructions which was corrected by use of jsr and combinations of jmp and beq/bne. See docs/history and readme.first in the ACE archive for details on these and other changes. SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS ACE has been tested on machines ranging from an A1000 running Wb 1.3 with 512K of RAM to a 68030 machine running Wb 3.0 with 5M of RAM. For moderately large programs to compile however, 1M is required. I run ACE on an unaccelerated A500 with 3M of RAM and a 52M hard drive under Wb 2.04. HOST NAME amiga.physik.unizh.ch nic.funet.fi DIRECTORY /amiga/dev/lang (amiga.physik.unizh.ch) /pub/amiga/programming/basic (nic.funet.fi) FILE NAMES ace102.lha ace102.readme PRICE ACE is FreeWare. DISTRIBUTABILITY The ACE archive may be freely distributed, but no source code is currently included. Even when the sources are included, I will retain the copyright to them. __________________________________________________ ARMYMINER V1.0 AVAILABLE FOR FTP Description: ArmyMiner is a logic board game where some of the squares do contain bombs. When clicked, the bomb-free squares display the number of bombs in their neighbourhood. The objective of the game is for the user to mark all the squares having bombs in a minimum of time. The game requires good concentration and offers a very interesting mental challenge. There are many instances of that game on different platforms (Minesweeper on IBM-compatible, XMines on XWindows, etc). ArmyMiner v1.0 integrates all of the good aspects I've seen on all the versions of that game available on personal computers. Its options include: - Automatically mark or clean the neighbours of a square - Safe start (no explosion at first click) - Safe click (gadget-like behavior for squares) - Question marks (for configuration analysis) You can also specify your own custom board settings. The game has a very useful pause option, sound effects, high-score tables and a very nice interface. It works on either OS v1.3 or 2.0, under NTSC or PAL. ArmyMiner v1.0 is public domain, binary only. You are free to use it as long as you leave my copyright notice intact. You can distribute that program as long as you don't ask any more money for it than a nominal fee for copying, and if you keep the "ArmyMiner.doc" file with it. If you want to include this program in a commercial package, you need my written permission. ArmyMiner v1.0 is currently available on the following FTP sites: Switz. amiga.physik.unizh.ch (220.127.116.11) pub/aminet/game/think Scand. ftp.luth.se (18.104.22.168) pub/aminet/game/think USA ftp.etsu.edu (22.214.171.124) pub/aminet/game/think USA oes.orst.edu (126.96.36.199) pub/aminet/game/think Filename: ARMYMINER.LZH __________________________________________________ EVAL V1.13 AVAILABLE FOR FTP TITLE Eval VERSION 1.13 AUTHOR William L. Menninger email@example.com DESCRIPTION A full-featured floating point expression evaluator, Eval evaluates expressions (C-like syntax) and instantly prints the result. Eval includes several built-in functions, many predefined constants (scientific constants, conversion factors, etc.), and built-in documentation. Just run the program. Number base conversion and bitwise operators are also included. Full ANSI C source is included. Eval has been compiled on Amiga, Unix, VMS, MS-DOS, and Macintosh environments. The source has no system dependent conditional compile directives. Instructions are included in the source so that you can easily customize Eval with your own functions and predefined constants by modifying and recompiling the source. HOST NAME Eval 1.13 is available on Aminet sites. PATH pub/aminet/util/cli/Eval113.lha DISTRIBUTABILITY Freely redistributable according to Gnu Public License, Version 2 __________________________________________________ Computer Products Update - CPU Report ------------------------ ---------- Weekly Happenings in the Computer World Issue #16 By: John Deegan CANON OFFERS NEW NOTEBOOK - Canon Computer Systems Inc. has introduced a new notebook computer with a built-in laser-quality printer. The NoteJet 486 weighs 7.7 pounds and incorporates a miniature Bubble Jet printer that prints laser-quality text and graphics at 360 dots-per-inch resolution on plain paper. An optional fax-data modem that can be plugged into one of the unit's two Personal Computer Memory Card Interface slots allows users to receive and print faxes on plain paper. Prices range from $2,499 to $2,999. Prices for the optional data/fax modem -- available in May -- range from $399 to $899, depending on speed. ADDITIONS TO PERFORMA LINE - Apple Computer Inc. is adding three systems to its Macintosh Performa line. The new computers -- Performa 405, 430 and 450 -- include a modem to connect with phone lines and come with America Online and Checkfree services. They also come with more educational software and games than the earlier Performa models. Apple said it expects the new machines to range from $1,300 to $1,850. MICROSOFT SHIPS 2 MILLION DOS 6 UNITS - Since its March 30 unveiling, the new MS-DOS 6 upgrade has been shipped to a record 2 million customers, publisher Microsoft Corp. says. The numbers does not include DOS 6 versions supplied to hardware manufacturers to ship with new PCs. DELL TO OFFER NextStep-BASED SYSTEMS - Dell Computer Corporation says it will offer buyers of its Intel 486-based personal computers and future products the option of equipping the system with Next Computer's NextStep for Intel processors. REPORT SEES PC SALES SLOWING - A new research report by InfoCorp predicts growth in worldwide PC sale will fall to 15.9% in 1993 from 17.6% in 1992. The study sees the second half of 1993 registering flat to negative year-to-year growth, compared to the second half of 1992. ABUSE OF A POLICE COMPUTER PROBED - Authorities are investigating a report that an Anaheim, Calif., Police Department computer was misused to find private information about a man targeted by abortion foes. Police Chief Joseph Malloy has been quoted as saying an unidentified employee used the computer to gain access to confidential Department of Motor Vehicles records for Chris Criner, who volunteers at a family planning clinic. The information included Criner's home address. Protesters picketed in front of Criner's home in February. "Civil-rights experts and abortion-rights advocates said releasing private information could endanger lives in light of last month's slaying of a Florida doctor by an abortion foe. Under state law, unauthorized disclosure of DMV records is a misdemeanor with penalties up to one year in jail plus a fine of $5,000." WRIST, HAND SITE OF MOST WORK-RELATED INJURIES - The reported incidence of repetitive stress injuries (RSI), the pain and related weakness caused by constant small movements such as those experienced by computer keyboard operators, have tripled in the past ten years, making RSI the number one cause of worker complaints to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Although more progressive European companies have made an effort to prevent such injuries through special regulations, outside San Francisco and affluent Suffolk County, New York, few local governments here in the US have given any serious attention office regulations that might reduce RSI injuries. The following steps are recommended to avoid such injuries: Computer operators should be encouraged to stretch frequently, moving head, neck, shoulders, and arms briefly to balance muscle tension. The worker should be seated properly with the chair providing firm support for the back, with either adjustment capability or shape that allows for the addition of a cushion. The seat height should be adjustable so that, with the operator seated, the keyboard can be used with the elbows in about 80- to 90 degrees of flexion. A freely adjustable footrest should be used to prevent fatigue. The keyboard should be positioned so that the operator's wrists are supported with an appropriate wrist rest, which maintains the wrists in a neutral position with the fingers comfortably on the keys. Work should be placed slightly behind, and to the side of, the keyboard at a comfortable reading distance and at the proper height to prevent a stoop-shouldered position. The computer screen should also be positioned at proper eye level. And, in some situations, specific keyboards or other adaptive equipment may be suggested for individual workers. __________________________________________________ MOTOROLA JAPAN EXPANDS SEMICONDUCTOR PLANT TOKYO, JAPAN -- Motorola Japan is going expand its semiconductor business in Japan. The firm has recently purchased a large amount of land for its processor design and manufacturing plant. It will be the third design center of the firm in Japan. Motorola Japan's new design plant will be located at Izumi science park in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture. It is said the firm has paid five billion yen ($45 million) to purchase the 42,900 square meter land. Motorola Japan will build the chips design center along with a development and manufacturing plant in the area. It is expected to be completed and ready for operation in 1995. It will initially have about 200 employees. The new design center will be interconnected with Motorola's other design centers in Japan and abroad via a space satellite, and will jointly develop powerful chips for Japanese market. Those chips may include application specific integrated circuits (ASICs), one-chip microprocessors, linear ICs and smart MOS (metal oxide semiconductor) chips. Motorola Japan will link this new plant with another plant in Sendai. Motorola is currently producing memory chips and personal computers' processors at an existing Sendai plant jointly with Toshiba. FUJITSU UPS HARD DISK PRODUCTION FOR US MARKET TOKYO, JAPAN, -- Fujitsu is planning to ship more hard disks to the US market. It is reported that the firm is receiving increased orders for small hard disks from personal computer and workstation makers. Fujitsu is preparing to increase production of its small-size hard disks such as a 3.5-inch and a 2.5-inch hard disks. Fujitsu will make a 3.5-inch hard disk at its Yamagata plant. It is a one-gigabyte (GB) type and the firm is currently producing 10,000 units per month. Due to the demand, Fujitsu will increase production to 30,000 units per month in September. The company will also lower production of its 520 megabyte (MB) model, shifting production resources to the 1GB model. Regarding the 2.5-inch type hard disk, Fujitsu is developing larger storage models. The firm will produce a 240MB type 2.5-inch hard disk this May at about 5,000 to 6,000 units per month to start, which will increase to 20,000 units monthly beginning in August. Also, Fujitsu plans to ship 350MB and 500MB versions by the end of the year. The 3.5-inch and the 2.5-inch hard drives will be used for workstations as well as notebook personal computers. It is said many of the products will be shipped to the US market. There is a strong demand in the overseas market. POLICE CHARGE MAN WITH SOFTWARE PIRACY TOKYO, JAPAN -- Police have raided the house of a man who they claim was illegally making and selling copies of computer software through personal computer networks. The man has been arrested for software's piracy. It is thought to be the first instance of software piracy through personal computer network in Japan. The man, whose name is being withheld, allegedly made illegal copies of popular programs such as Microsoft Windows, Lotus 1-2-3, and a Japanese word processing program Ichitaro. During the raid, the police confiscated 5,000 to 6,000 programs that were illegally copied. It is claimed that this man was advertising the software at low prices through personal computer networks such as Nifty-serve and PC-VAN. Under Japanese copyright law, the man can be sentenced to three years or fined up to one million yen ($9,000). NAB SHOW -- QUANTEL SOLDIERS ON LAS VEGAS, NEVADA -- Amidst all the excitement about digital video production and standards-based products ranging from the Silicon Graphics Indigo through the Apple Macintosh to the Amiga-based NewTek Video Toaster, Quantel soldiers on. Quantel, which is based in Berkshire, England, remains a leader in producing video editors with names like the Harry, which sell for up to $750,000 each. While they are all computer-based, they are also proprietary. At this show, the company introduced a simpler version of its off-line editor called the Micro Henry, a tapeless on-air presentation product called Clipbox, and improvements to its digital compositor - known as Hal - as well as its on-line editor, Henry. The company remains quite formidable in its market because it gives broadcasters precisely what they want. Its Paintbox graphics workstation is hugely popular, not only in video but in publishing, for its super high resolution images. US spokesman Dominic Lunney told Newsbytes that the company has no worries about competitors like Silicon Graphics - which can undercut its prices by a factor of 10 - or NewTek - whose Toasters may cost one-hundredth as much. "A general purpose system is compromised," he insisted. "A guy who invests in a hardware platform can be toast when the hardware changes. We're dedicated to maintaining our buyers' investment as the hardware changes." NAB SHOW - NEWTEK INTROS A NEW VIDEO TOASTER LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, -- In two booths, one in the main show hall and one in the adjoining Multimedia World center, NewTek announced a new version of its famed Video Toaster, the Video Toaster 4000. The new model is based on the new Commodore Amiga 4000, but company spokesmen ranging from vice president Paul Montgomery to product demonstrators including former "Star Trek: The Next Generation" actor Wil Wheaton emphasized that the software has been completely updated. The new Toaster has a switcher with four video inputs and three internal digital sources, close to 300 video effects, an integrated graphics loader, a 24-bit character generator, and a new paint system. The Toaster also runs LightWave 3D, a three-dimensional modeling, rendering and animation system, and ToasterPaint, a video paint system. The company announced that Lightwave will be used to create graphic effects for Steven Spielberg's "seaQuest DSV," debuting this fall on NBC. The Toaster also works with local area networks, including Novell NetWare, meaning it can be the video element in a corporate network. Huge crowds and big talk have become something of a tradition with NewTek since it introduced the Toaster in 1990. This year was no exception. At Multimedia World, a host of small companies offered Toaster enhancement software, harder, and training, amidst hand-painted signs seldom seen at major shows since the 1970s. Said Montgomery. "Since 1990 we've formed a new industry - Personal Video Production. What we represent is the end of this show." NAB SHOW - SILICON GRAPHICS NOW DEALS DIRECT LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, -- Perhaps the biggest computer story of the 1993 National Association of Broadcasters' show was Silicon Graphics Inc's (SGI) decision to step from behind the curtain of its software developer and meet the industry at its own booth. SGI graphics supercomputers, which work under Unix, have long been the power behind standard broadcast post-production products like Chyrons and Wavefronts. But now SGI is dealing with the industry directly, through a new effort called "Silicon Studio." Silicon Studio is a complete set of offerings aimed at TV, video, and film producers. Featured is a new video server, called the Challenge, with 16 gigabytes (GB) of main storage, capable of handling up to 30 hours of uncompressed on-line video. Also new from SGI are: Galileo Video, which provides video input, output, and effects for all of SGI's Indigo systems; Cosmo Compress, a real-time JPEG compression and decompression option for Indigo computers; and Sirius Video, a digital video option board which provides broadcast-quality video on the company's high-end boxes. All these products should ship by the end of September. But that's not all. The company also worked with 15 of its major video product partners to integrate their offerings into the Silicon Studio framework. And it signed a deal with its major video customer, Industrial Light & Magic, to produce high-end graphics under the label JEDI. "A new economics is coming about," said David Bagshaw, the company's vice president of marketing. For the first time desktop-based computers offer a real alternative in terms of quality, and a huge advantage in price, against single-purpose, proprietary machines from traditional suppliers like Quantel. Silicon Studio lets producers treat video effects like those in "Terminator 2" the same way publishers treat PageMaker files, passing them across a network, moving them from servers to clients, editing or creating effects almost at will. Steve Ursenbach, the company's vice president of applications, said the Silicon Studio concept emerged from a 15-month development process called the "Boulder Experience," after the Colorado city where key meetings were held. Perhaps the most important of the new links is with Avid Technology, whose on-line editing suites based on the Apple Macintosh have become very popular. Avid will have an SGI-version based version of its Media Composer by the end of the year. """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" > ONLINE WEEKLY STReport Online People... Are Talking! ============================= From GEnie's Amiga RoundTable: ----------------------------- From Denny Atkin (DENNYA) about his new PC... I replaced the motherboard in my PC last night. It works now. I sat looking proudly at the successful results of my major surgery, and figured that now that it didn't crash every five minutes I should try to do something fun with it. I stared at it for about a minute, then I realized I did indeed have a useful purpose for it. I stuck an INXS CD in the CD-ROM drive, put it on shuffle play, turned off the monitor, and loaded up Fighter Duel Pro on my Amiga 4000. :-) Some good news from ICD (ICDINC) about the new Syquest 105 meg cartridge drives... We just received two new Syquest drives... the SQ3105A and the SQ3105S. Very nice work from Syquest. The S model is about the same speed as a Quantum LPS105S (maybe 10% slower). It works great out of the box with our SCSI controllers. The A version (IDE) also works out of the box with our IDE host adapters but it looks like we need to add support for removable media in our IDE driver. -------------------- From SWAMPTHING about computer purchasing decisions... A friend of mine recently decided to buy an Amiga, and is now changing her mind due to the following reasoning: 1. Availability of Amiga software locally is quite poor. She doesn't like the idea of mail-order. She said, "Would you ever buy a car over the phone?" 2. Many people she has asked said they thought Commodore went bankrupt a few years ago, or had never even heard of Amiga. "If it's so great, why isn't it well-known???" 3. Is there's a future for the new Amiga models, why are all the software developers dropping like flies? She's a game addict and wants to play those games she reads about in other mags. 4. Given the standard Amiga does not come with a hard drive or monitor, she feels the upgrade path is far more expensive than the same on a clone. Where are all the package deals like the ones you find on the clones? She really does not like ordering peripherals through mail. 5. And lastly, where would her software/hardware support come from? She'd love to be able to just ask anyone because IBM clones are "such a standard" and "everybody has them." Because everyone has them, her rationale is also that a "clone is essential to success in the business world" should she decide to use the computer for other purposes. I know these are alot of points, but I would love to have someone address each of these so I could print it out and show her. BTW... has anyone here ever thought of uploading a file called AMISALEPITCH or something to that effect which would detail the best reasons for purchasing an Amiga instead of a clone? Anytime you wanted to give someone all the straight facts in a well-reasoned argument, you could just download the file, print it, and pass it to them. I hope someone here considers this idea... -------------------- A reply from Dave Butler (D.BUTLER31)... Swampthing, I was very interested to read the points your friend made for not buying an Amiga. They are exactly what my sister told me when she decided to buy a clone. I too would be very interested in a response to these points. I know the Amiga is a superior machine, but it is very difficult to make a convincing argument to someone who knows very little about computers, much less multi-tasking and operating systems. My sister told me she didn't need a simpler operating system because she already knew how to 'do everything' on a computer. This meant she worked in an office and 'used' a pc there. She now has a clone at home and is struggling with the simplest of things. She thought she knew everything about computers but at work someone else set everything up for her. -------------------- From J.EVERS1... Here's something else Commodore is doing right. Commodore has changed it's warranty policy, and now we, the unwashed masses can open up our 1200's and put in a clock or a hard drive, without voiding our warranty! This news come from two seperate conversations to gold service techs on two different days from members of our users group. One of our members got one of he bad 1200's and called gold service to get them to pick it up. He told them he had a 120 meg HD installed. The gold service tech told him to open it up and take it out! He then added that Commodore had changed it's policy, and that users could now add their own HD's. This news was a little hard to swallow, so another member called gold service the next day to confirm this story. He was told the same thing! Since nobody has heard of this yet, Denny, could you call commodore and confirm this? I know people will belive anything you say. -------------------- From Denny Atkin (DENNYA) about why the Mac's Chicago Font keeps showing up in Star Trek: The Next Generation... RE: Computers displaying text in Chicago font Starfleet gave the ship's computer contract to Apple in 2241. Although Microsoft claimed to have a more popular ship's computer system, it was abandoned when it was discovered that at least six additional warp nacelles would have to be added to the ship in order to give the computer enough power. Apple's ship OS is quite popular, except for the fact that it doesn't multitask well at all, which is why you often see them having to take the replicators offline when they're using the sensors and such. The Borg, of course, were founded by disgruntled Commodore-Amiga software engineers, which explains their sheer destructive power. :) -------------------- Ever wonder why the current version of Aladdin has no billing clock? Here's the REAL story from Mike Holda (M.HOLDA) of the Aladdin RT: Actually the billing clock was removed because people were complaining that Aladdin's estimate didn't match their GEnie bill, even if the actual GEnie bill was lower! They thought GEnie must have screwed up somewhere, there wasn't any way Aladdin could be wrong. Also, if GEnie really didn't want you to know how much $$$ you were spending, they wouldn't have replaced the billing clock with the connect history function. I think that since you have to calculate the $$$ yourself with the connect history, it's more obvious that it's an estimate. -------------------- Some inside information from WP.DAVE (a Word Perfect rep) about non-IBM and Mac versions of Word Perfect: The last semi-official information that I had concerning WPCorp's support of Amiga, Apple ][, and Atari products was that support would be discontinued as of 1 June '93. The Winter '92 issue of "WordPerfect Report" listed the 800/801 support numbers for "Apple/Amiga/Atari" as 800-336-3614 & 801-226-5522, which are the same numbers as for Macintosh support. However, in the Spring '93 issue of "WordPerfect Report" there is no mention of any numbers for Amiga et alia. The 68000 support BBS number, 801-226-1605, has been renamed to Macintosh support in the Winter '93 "Report" as well, but the Libraries et cetera continue to have the other 68000 platforms support files. To get the "straight scoop" there are two options: 1) call 800-336-3614, or 2) trot on over to the WordPerfect RoundTable at page 521;1 and ask our WPCorp Amiga/Atari representative in Category 4, Topic 1. For the indefinite future, the WordPerfect RoundTable here on GEnie will continue to maintain Library 4 for Amiga support files as well as the BB area for questions/answers/problems/solutions --- most likely, a WPCorp representative will continue to be available there for Amigans to query. For those that were not aware, let me iterate that neither I nor the WordPerfect RoundTable on GEnie is affiliated with the WordPerfect Corporation though the WPCorp has been most cooperative over the years. -------------------- Having trouble getting your Emplant working? Here are some tips from T.SALAZAR: I've got Emplant running. Just wanted to pass along a few notes. Get MacII2.0 (ver 2.0+). It is really faster than the others and works the best. Verify that all the libs are of the same version of your emulation software (MacII). Make sure to place RsrvMem37 in the first line of your startup (NOT in the user-startup) AND use the following: RsrvMem37 >NIL: Make sure RsrvMem37 is in your path ie C: If your Screen prefs are screwy then you don't have >NIL: in the line. I use 2048k of fast mem. I have 6 meg on the Amiga. Allocate everything to 32bit memory. Sybil READS great with ver 2.0! No screwing around with the trim pot! But writes are another story. It will format, write and read itself but so far Mac willnot read mine. And when it writes to itself and reads the screen doesnot go goofy. (I do have to test if another Mac can read it though.) Sybil does NOT work with Toaster, IV24, or anything else that messes with the video slot (internal genlocks?). One other thing... Yes, a Mac is that slow. Yer watching a blazingly fast Mac! -------------------- Here are some comments from Tank Taylor (T.TAYLOR4) about the number of Amiga software developers... Software developers dropping like flies? The reason they are dropping is because Amiganuts don't want to blow 50 bucks on Space Quest 35 with it's cheezey 16 color CGA graphics, dog slow, MONGO Cheeze "animations" and poor system level ports. Not when you can snag something like Black Crypt, or Abandoned Places II. Eye of the Beholder is perhaps the best port I've seen... and don't forget Dungeon Master, which debuted in 1988! Frankly, we have more software titles arriving every week from europe than ever before. They are better than the clone ports we've been fed in the past. Just try to do Street Fighter II on an 8mhz XT, or any clone for that matter. It won't happen. You'll just have to trust me on this one. I work in an Amiga store, we're getting more GOOD software than ever before. Swampthing, the best sales pitch is to take her to a clone store. Show her what they can do. Take her to your machine and show her what it can do... I dumpped a $3500 Mac SE30 almost five years ago for a dual floppy A500, just because I wanted to be a part of such a revolutionary design concept. She could get a 4000 and a 386 emulator for about $2800. And have the best of both worlds. Or spend $1200 for a 1200 and Crossdos. Hopefully, with NewTek and C= working as closely as they are now, C= will learn some marketing from NewTek. The Toaster 4000 is here ... !!!! It includes 250 Adobe fonts for CG!!! Another doomsaying "dwindling software" message. Really, who's gonna miss those cheeze-wiz Sierra games anyway. Compared to a real amiga game they look and play stupid. Dean, so you'd go drill local car salesmen about their products, and then buy one mail order? Well, if you did that with your computer and software, then don't feel free to say anything bad about dealer support, or lack of dealers. I for one am getting real tired of doling out my hard earned knowledge so people can save $10 mail order. __________________________________________________ From Portal/Usenet: ------------------ TITLE: Vegas NAB Report from Harv Laser Grabbed from Usenet: NAB/Vegas musings Date: Mon Apr 19 23:15:51 PDT 1993 Organization: The Portal System (TM) More NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) Las Vegas convention musings from your on the scene reporter :) This morning I got to the Convention Center too late to get a decent parking space, so after parking my car in East Jesus (a small suburb of Vegas) and a very long walk, I got in line to get my convention badge. (Invoke "Treasure of Sierra Madre" quote here, except in the case of these Vegas convnetions, if you DON'T show them your steekin badge yer out on yer ass!). One and a half hours later I made it to the front of the line and got my badge printed. Rule #1 - show up early to get a good parking space and not have to wait for 90 minutes in line if you don't pre-register. I didn't pre-register. >>duh<< With what was left of my energy, I crawled over to the Hilton Hotel next door to the Multimedia Showcase Expo thingie where all the Amiga action at NAB is and started strolling the aisles. I found the Video Toaster User (magazine) Pavillion and saw a number of regular and not so regular Amiga trade show booths, and picked up some literature - see below. The Toaster 4000 was being demoed on a little pseudo tv studio stage setting and drawing good crowds. Familiar faces (to me, anyway) were in evidence: Lou Wallace and Linda LaFlame, of Desktop Video World and Amiga World (DVW had a booth in this hall) said Hi. Perry Kivolowitz and Gina and Aaron others from ASDG sporting their spiffy black satin jackets were working both the T-Rexx Professional booth section of the VTU area (Keith Williams' Toaster-drivin'program has been picked up by ASDG and he now works for them). Tomorrow, ASDG has Dean Stockwell who plays "Al" on Quantum Leap, visiting their booth, signing autographs, and etc. I wonder if he'll bring Ziggy with him. Scott Thede & co-horts of Axiom Software showing off Pixel 3D Professional and Anim Workshop. The usual crowd of Texture City from West L.A. had a piece of the booth as did the Real 3D folks (Godfrey & Associates). Jim Plant, Ed. of VTU magazine was chatting 'em up and there were stacks of the current issue everywhere for the taking. Trade show rule #2 - don't start filling up your tote bag with heavy magazines on your way INTO a show. Grab them all on your way out unless you want to lug around pounds of paper for hours. I also filled out a card to get free 6 mo. subs to CGWorld and Computer Artist magazines. Digital Creations was there showing the usual stuff: DCTV, genlocks, Brilliance (still not released as far as I could tell) and a converted PC mini-tower called "Video Slot Box." (see below). On the other side of the hall, Centaur Development had a large booth with about 50 canvas chairs arranged in a seating area and they were doing OpalVision demos. The new extra modules were not in evidence. Greg Niles was doing painting demos and John Sievers was hustling sales... nice guys both. I also spotted Frank Khulusi, owner of Creative Computers & Centaur in his customary natty black suit schmoozing around. I recently got an OpalVision Main Board so I didn't pay that much attention to Centaur's booth, besides Creative/Centaur lives about 5 miles from my home and I go down there often anyway. Any questions about using Opal, I'll be glad to try to handle them here. And keep your eyes on Compute's Amiga Resource for an upcoming review :) Opal is an *excellent* product. Not strictly Amiga-related but ViewPoint Technologies of Orem, UT, purveyors of some of the most incredible 3D objects (they call them datasets) you've ever seen had a nice booth and were handing out catalogs and such. They'll have another set of freely distributable objects ready to hand out at Siggraph in Anaheim CA later this year, and I chatted with Walter, one of their tech guys who pointed out some of the objects they hope to get onto these free disks, one of which will be St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow. ViewPoint sells their 3D datasets in about 20 different formats and for the Amiga they come in Imagine, LightWave and Sculpt formats. These guys make the 3D objects that show up in such things as network teevee Honda car commercials and such. They have digitizers big enough to drive a car into. Their objects are not cheap (the catalog I have lists them from appx $50 to over $5000 each) but again, they are incredibly accurate. By the way, those of you with Imagine 2.0, those objects: the cow, shoe, Beethoven bust, and etc.. those are ViewPoint Datasets. I recently posted their suite of freely-distributable datasets in both LW and Imagine formats to Portal's Amiga Zone and to the "Aminet" FTP server sites. This was the set they handed out in '92. As soon as I get the '93 set from them, I shall do likewise. Across from Centaur stood another ASDG booth. Here, Perry & Gina and crew had no Amigas but they were showing three new products for the Mac and SGI machines - "Elastic Reality - a Third Generation Morphing System" looked like Morph Plus with some pretty snazzy enhancements. I watched programmer Paul demo it on an SGI Indigo. And I gently fondled this lovely, purple, $20,000 machine as he did so. Instead of vectors and edges it uses bezier curve drawing tools and splines. Very sexy stuff. "No Strings Attached" another new product is an Automatic Wire and Scratch Removal program using AI routines. Let's say you've shot footage of a model airplane against a background suspended by wires or filament lines. This program will go thru the frames and intelligently remove the wires and lines and fill in the background seamlessly. Again, SGI only. "Image Independence" looks like the ADPro image conversion stuff ported to Mac and SGI, with a difference - its graphical interface can be incorporated into other programs giving them the ability to read and write any supported image-file format. And now, as I make my way thru the small pile of literature I picked up, I'll type in some highlights... -Real 3D V2, NAB show special price $499, regularly $699 -Euclid Object Grabber (see their ads in VTU), small size for objects up to 8" radius, 6" height: $5900.00. Larger size for objects sizes up to 18" radius, 12" height: $6700.00. (This thing requires 8 Meg Fast, 1 or 2 Meg Chip, Dos 1.3 or higher, ARexx, serial port, a Toaster 2.0, Lightwave 2.0 or higher and they recommend an 030 or better and a 1.2 Gig hard drive or better) -DMI Vivid 24 bit color graphics co-processor for the 3000 display 24 bit images up to 2048 x 2048. Standard config: $2995.00 Various upgrade modules listed. -DMI Digital MediaCaster - full motion real-time MPEG video playback outputs to NTSC, PAL, S-Video, and RGB Analog. 24 bit color. Single step and slow motion playback. Fits 2000, 3000, 4000. MSRP: $1295.00 -DMI Digital BroadCaster non linear editing system. Full motion JPEG technology (formerly known as Digital Editmaster). Direct 32 bit pixel bus. SMPTE time code read/write. 720x486 resolution. MSRP: $2495.00 -Digital Creations: Video Slot Box - $TBA. This thing is a mini PC tower case with 4 Amiga video slots, 3 PC/AT bus slots, 230W power supply, two 5" and two 3.5" drive bays, and can be hooked to any video-slotted Amiga. DCTV NTSC $299.00 } DCTV PAL $299.00 } new, lower Retail prices here DCTV RGB Converter $199.00 } Brilliance paint pgm $249.00 That's all for now. Excuse me while I go soak my aching feet. Feel free to re-post this article anywhere but kindly do not sell nor re-edit it nor chop my name off of it. All opinions are my own Harv Sysop: The Amiga Zone on Portal firstname.lastname@example.org __________________________________________________ From FidoNet's NEWS_AMY echo: Message forwarded by Craig Atkinson from area [NEWS_AMY] Original From: Craig Atkinson Original To : ALL Original Subj: TOASTER 4000!!! Original Date: 20 Apr 93 THIS IS IT!!! The TOASTER 4000 has been announced!!! Now, I can spill the beans! NewTek announced today at The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) the TOASTER 4000. Unfortunatly, I could not be there to see the Toaster 4000 first hand. However, I do have in front of me the "VIDEO TOASTER 4000 ITS PAYBACK TIME!" brochure. I will be quoting from it extensively. NAB is showing from April 19th through April 22nd (Thursday). You should be hearing A LOT about the Toaster in the next few days. The Toaster 4000 brochure is a quite colorful three page foldout. The front has a picture of a skateboarder with a video camera. Above is "In an average week the networks bring you 4.2 days worth of commercials, 2 days of soap operas, and 16 hours of bad sitcoms..." When you open the page, you see across the top in bold letters "VIDEO TOASTER 4000 ITS PAYBACK TIME!" Nice theme, if you ask me... 8^). There is a nice picture of an AMIGA 4000 one one page and a Skateboarder, Tony Hawk on the other. You can also plainly see "Video Toaster 4000" on the upper left portion of the A4000 faceplate. Yep, thats true, the "C= Commodore A4000/040 AMIGA" emblem is not there. Apparently Newtek has had special A4000 faceplates produced. The quoting begins... "Video Toaster 4000 is you personal video switcher, character generator, paint system, effects and 3d animation system. SWITCHER & VIDEO EFFECTS The core of personal video production. Cut between scenes with dissolves, wild wipes and incredible digital video effects. You have hundreds of transitions that you can't get anywhere else. In real time your video can squeeze, fade, warp, peel, shatter, bend and burn. CHARACTER GENERATOR SCREAM with full screen titles in over 16 million colors. See your words crawl across the screen. Overlay messages on live video with amazing PostScript fonts in any size of style. Kick in shadows, borders or even transparent colors. Want the same high resolution you see on the networks? Get ToasterCG. This isn't some cheesy titler. This is absolute full broacast quality. TOASTERPAINT & CHOMAFX Become a digital Michelangelo or spray on video graffiti in ToasterPaint. You have all the tools of an artist and 16.8 million colors in broadcast quality. The ChromaFX color processor gives your productions the cutting edge look of a music video with posterize, color cycle, day for night, negative and nuke attack. LIGHTWAVE 3D Virtually real. Totally accessible. Killer 3D animation. LightWave 3D lets you build your own world and make it come ot life. Sculpt it. Mold it. Morph it. No other animation system give you the power and flexibility of LightWave 3D. You want 3D like the networks use? This is what they use! And you can only get it here. MAKE TELEVISION. CONQUER YOUR PASSION. COMMAND YOUR DESTINY. INFILTRATE THE NETWORKS. How far can you take personal video production? Ron Thornton took command of his destiny with the Toaster. Ron set a new standard for video graphics production when he use the Toaster to create all the special effects in Babylon 5, a Warner Bros. television movie. Over 60 million people saw the sensational Toaster graphics created by Jennifer McKnew for the 20th Annual American Music Awards. Jennifer infiltrated the networks. You can too. Stacy Peralta conquered his passion for skateboarding through personal video production. The result: The rebirth of skateboarding as a sport. The creation of a successful manufacturing company. The launch of a flourishing career in video. Look for Stacy's work on Nickelodeon's "The Wild Side." ROLL YOUR OWN TV Don't wait for network TV to get it right. Make it right yourself. Enter the age of personal video production. It takes about $7000 to get rolling. Here's where you start: The video Toaster 4000, the soul of personal video production. The Toaster 4000 replaces over $100,000 worth of broadcast production equipment. It gives you all the lethal weapons the networks have, in one box. A fully configured Toaster 4000 system costs under $5000. When the Toaster shattered the video production price and performance barriers, other technologies were soon to follow. To complete your personal video production studio here's what you need: Camcorder: The latest generation of camcorders, including some 3-chip models, are now indistinguishable form broadcast cameras the networks use. Prices range from $500 to $3000. VCR: With over 400 lines of resolution and improved video circuitry, today's VCR not only can edit, but produces exceptional picture quality. Prices begin at $600. Editor: Only the high priests of video had them before. Now, easy to use editors are available everywhere starting at around $200. TBC: Time base corrector, a vital tool for TV producers, makes your video image better, allows you to produce better dubs and makes your VCR output broadcast quality. Only two years ago they cost $5,000. Today, you can buy one for under $800. Personal video production. The best way to get your ideas on TV. Everybody's doing it, from surgeons to sixth graders. International skateboarding champion Tony Hawk does it. Tony loves skateboarding. He wants to show the world skateboarding. He makes skateboard TV." The back page of the Toaster 4000 brochure has a picture of the Toaster 4000 effects control screen. The brochure explains what some of the buttons and gadgets do. The right side of the page has four nice pictures of some of the effects that can be done with the Toaster 4000. The first picture is a page folding effect with video. The second is a demonstration of PostScript fonts in different sizes. The third is a picture (quite nice) of Kiki Stockhammer wearing black leather and standing infront of a black fan. This picture shows some of the character generator effects. The fouth picture is showing a wireframe of a plant in LightWave 3D. The fifth and last picture is of a front view of a Movie Theatre and the marque stating "NEWTEK" and "LIGHTWAVE 3D MODELER 3D". Now until I read Lightwave and Modeler 3D, I THOUGH the picture of the theatre was REAL. It is very difficult for me to tell whether this picture is real or generated! Its simply too small for me to tell... Now, a couple thing not in the brochure... - The Toaster 4000 in NOT YET available. It will go into production in one or two months... RSN (real soon now) 8^). - The Toaster 2.0 IS UPGRADABLE. The unoffical word is that you can send in your Toaster 2.0 card and get the Toaster 4000 sent back. I have no pricing at this time. I recommend you wait a month or two before you start calling NewTek about this one. I don't think they will be giving good answers until the Toaster 4000 is in production. - The Toaster 4000 was SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED AROUND THE A4000! - The Toaster 4000 WILL WORK in the A2000. However, it will not allow you to access many of the features that are only avialable in the A4000. The Toaster 4000 IN an A2000 WILL NOT perform as well as the existing Toaster 2.0. I hope you enjoyed this little (evil grin) news bulliten. This was written with no knowlege or consent by NewTek. I will be happy to answer any questions I can. And I should have more information and pricing RSN (another evil grin). For more information: NewTek, Inc. 215 SE 8th Street Topeka, KS 66603 (800) 847-6111 (913) 231-0100 FAX: (913) 231-0101 """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" > Amiga Tip of the Week ===================== By Robert Glover One of the little things I've wanted to do with my Workbench directories are alphabetize the icons. I had hoped there was a way to do it without arranging them by hand. There is! Open the window in which you want to alphabetize the icons. Select all of the icons in that window (Right Amiga-A), and choose UnSnapshot from the Icons pull-down menu. Now select Update from the Window pull-down menu. The disk will whir (or make whatever noise your particular hard drive makes), and all of the icons will appear at once -- alphabetically. Now choose Snapshot Window Only from the Windows menu, and you're set. If you resize the window, just be sure that you only snapshot the window, and the icons will take the form of that window. """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" > Save Key West! STR Special Feature =================================== By Robert Glover Have you watched the show, "Key West," which was on Tuesday nights at 9 pm Eastern time, right after "Class of 96?" If so, then you know how delightful, funny and insightful it was. One newspaper said, "Key West has enough bizarre characters to make Northern Exposure seem like The Love Boat!" Unfortunately, the show was pulled only after a handful of episodes, and was replaced by Robert DeNiro's "Tribecca." The show faced two major problems: First, the advertising portrayed it as a "binkini-babe" show, rather than the intelligent drama it is. Secondly, the Tuesday night timeslot is one of the most challenging, squaring off against ABC's "Roseanne." Many people feel that "Key West" got the short end of the stick. Many have written letters to Fox, including myself, only to receive an unsigned, mis-dated form letter promoting "Tribeca." We refuse to stand for this treatment, and have organized a petition drive to bring back Key West. Below is a sample petition. Cut it out, print several copies, and start having your friends, neighbors, coworkers, ANYBODY sign it. When each page is full, mail it to the address below. Once Fox receives several thousand of these, I think it may reconsider its stand on the fate of "Key West." SAVE "KEY WEST" ATTENTION FOX TELEVISION, We the undersigned would like to express our disappointment in the recent removal of the series "Key West" from Tuesday night programming. We would also like to express our interest, as former viewers, in seeing the show come back to television, either at it's previous time or in another prime-time position. We believe that the show was a quality program and should be given a second chance. Formerly Yours, Name Address Signature Occupation ----------------------------------------------------------------------- _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ When you're done with the petition send it to: Save 'Key West' 642 N. Larchmont Bl Los Angeles, CA 90004 Attn: Marissa """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" > Usenet Review: Fighter Duel Pro Flight Recorder ================================================ By Jeff Hanna (email@example.com) PRODUCT NAME Fighter Duel Professional Flight Recorder (FDPro-FR) BRIEF DESCRIPTION A unique World War II flight simulator that records your flight path (and up to two enemies' flight paths). You can then convert this data into a demo, a Lightwave motion file, a Lightwave object, an Imagine staging file, an Imagine object, a Videoscape 3D object, or a Vista Pro camera file. AUTHOR/COMPANY INFORMATION Name: Jaeger Software Address: 7800 White Cliff Terrace Rockville, MD 20855 USA Telephone: (301) 948-6862 E-mail: Jaeger Software has a support category on GEnie. Page 555, Category 24. LIST PRICE US $59.95 I paid US $25.00 to upgrade from Fighter Duel Pro to Fighter Duel Pro Flight Recorder SPECIAL HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS HARDWARE No special hardware required. An analog adapter and analog joystick are highly recommended. Requires 3 MB of RAM. FDPro-FR does not require a hard drive. FDPro-FR works on all processors available for the Amiga. When using a VXL-30/VXL-RAM32, you need to have the 32-bit memory mapped to the High memory area. SOFTWARE FDPro works on all versions of the OS later than 1.3. To run it off of a hard drive on AGA machines you need to turn Mode Promotion off and use a Low Resolution pointer. COPY PROTECTION None! FDPro-FR installs on a hard drive. It uses Commodore's Installer program. MACHINE USED FOR TESTING Amiga 500, VXL-30/40mHz, VXL-RAM32, DataFlyer IDE w/50MB HD 1 MB Chip RAM and 2 MB of 32-bit Fast RAM Kickstart 2.04 and Workbench 2.1 Imagine 2.0, DCTV, and Video Toaster/Lightwave REVIEW I am an airplane buff, and have tried numerous times (unsuccessfully) to make an animation of a dogfight. It is next to impossible to make a correct flight path for an airplane with today's rendering/modeling packages. But with FDPro-FR, you just fly the airplane, and the software takes care of the tedious job of making a flight path for you! Fighter Duel Pro Flight Recorder is an extension of Jaeger Software's World War II flight simulator, Fighter Duel Pro (FDPro). FDPro is the most accurate WWII flight simulator available (for any platform, IMHO). It contains 16 fighters, runs at 28 fps on an unaccelerated Amiga, and contains a highly detailed and accurate flight model. FDPro lets you fly against up to two computer controlled enemies. You can also connect with another person via modem or null modem link and duel them (this is where FDPro really shines). FDPro will run at 28fps on a 1200 bps connection. With FDPro you can connect two machines together with a special parallel adapter and use the second machine as a slave "rear view" machine. The second Amiga will show you the view out of the back of your airplane. FDPro-FR contains all that FDPro does and also lets you record your flights. The recording is invisible to the end user. You just fly FDPro-FR like you would fly any simulator: pick a plane, take off, find an enemy, and engage in a fight. When you are done, you can convert the flight data into any of the following formats: FDPro-FR Demo (requires FDPro-FR to playback) Lightwave Motion Path Lightwave Object Imagine Staging File Imagine Object VideoScape 3D Object Vista Pro camera file. FDPro-FR makes animating logos, spaceships, airplanes, cows, etc.. so simple that it is fun. I really cannot give a definitive list of what you can/cannot use the output from FDPro-FR for, because it is limited only by your imagination. DOCUMENTATION Printed documentation is included. This consists of two manuals, the Fighter Duel Pro documentation and the FDPro-FR supplement. The documentation is very detailed. The FDPro manual covers everything would need to know to run FDPro-FR. It also gives detailed information on the 16 planes included with the package, covering weight, length, armament, rate of fire, top speed, sustained turn rate, and more. The FDPro-FR supplement shows you how to convert your data into a usable format for the supported rendering packages. Tutorials are given for each rendering package. LIKES AND DISLIKES My only dislike about this program concerns its Imagine output. FDPro-FR cannot write out a path for Imagine that you can see and edit within Imagine. It will create only an entire Staging file for Imagine. When this is loaded into Imagine, you cannot see nor edit the path. According to the author, Jaeger Software did contact Impulse to see if they could get help in making Imagine paths. From what I gather, Impulse was very uncooperative. Jaeger Software only managed to add Imagine support by reverse-engineering an Imagine Staging file. I have been told that due to the overwhelming acclaim this program is getting in the video journals, Impulse would now like to help Jaeger Software include Imagine Path support in a future release. COMPARISON TO OTHER SIMILAR PRODUCTS There isn't anything else like FDPro-FR for any platform. BUGS There are no known bugs with FDPro-FR. As I stated earlier, If you have a VXL-030 with VXL-RAM32 card, you must have the 32-bit Fast RAM mapped into the High memory area (accessible only in 68030 mode). If you have the memory mapped into the Low memory area (accessible in 68000 and 68030 mode) the program will crash. I do not know what causes this, but I would tend to believe that the VXL-RAM32 card is at fault. VENDOR SUPPORT Jaeger Software's customer support is excellent, especially when you consider the size of the company (they are extremely small). I first contacted them in December 1992, regarding a problem I had with the original Fighter Duel. Matt Shaw, one of the programmers, called me back (at his expense) and helped me out. He was informative, knowledgeable, and was not going to give up until my problem was solved. Matt was also very helpful in determining that I needed to change the VXL-RAM32 configuration in order for FDPro/FDPro-FR to work properly. Jaeger Software has a support category on GEnie, which Matt moderates. Whenever there is a question or a problem Matt posts an answer within 24 hours. WARRANTY 90 day warranty on the medium on which the program is recorded. CONCLUSIONS Fighter Duel Pro Flight Recorder is the most innovative 3D rendering tool I have ever seen. I would recommend it to anyone who is a hobbyist or professional 3D animator. COPYRIGHT NOTICE Copyright 1993 by Jeff Hanna. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission. """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" > Microbotics 12 A'Clock STR Review ================================== By Tom Mulcahy For one reason or another C= decided not to include a battery-backed clock on board the A1200. The 12 A'Clock from Microbotics remedies this problem thankfully. Apparently, from what I'm hearing on the various echos Micro- botics is going to include this clock on board with their MBX RAM/FPU boards. You can identify the newer boards with the clock on board by the 'z' tacked onto the 1200... e.g. MBX1200z. The 12 A'Clock itself is very small and compact, roughly the size of a half dollar. The units consists of a 40 pin connector, the clock and one IC. Installation is quite straightforward with the help of the short and concise instruction sheet. Basically installation is as follows: Unscrew the screws from the bottom of the A1200. Flip the A1200 back over and lift the keyboard. You will need to remove one screw from the heat shield and one clip located in the bottom left hand corner. To the right of the hard drive, assuming you have one installed, there is another small heat shield. Gently pry the fasteners up and remove this little shield. Place this in a safe area(the junk drawer) as it is recommended that this not be replaced since it would place undue pressure on the 12 A' Clock. Under the shield you will see a 40 pin connector. On some of the first production units of the A1200 only half of this 40 pin connector is present. Only half of these 40 pins are actually needed.. the right half. If you see only half of this 40 pin connector on your motherboard you should have no problems as long as they are on the right side and not the left. Some early production units had the pins soldered on the wrong side. I purchased my A1200 back before Christmas and it had all 40 pins on the motherboard. Once you press the clock onto the pins it's time to put everything back together. The entire installation procedure takes about 5 minutes. Upon power up you will need to go to your WB Prefs and click on the time icon to set the time and date. Once done power down again for a few seconds to confirm and convince yourself that your A1200 is actually keeping the correct date and time. As you will find out it is! Microbotics, Inc. 1251 American Parkway Richardson, Texas 75081 (214)437-5330 (9am - 5pm) """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" > Desk Top Video on a Shoe String Budget - Part II STR Special Series ==================================================================== by Michael Heinz (firstname.lastname@example.org) First thing's first: Due to technical circumstances beyond my control, an error was entered into my last article. While three burly sumo wrestlers sat on me, a despicable MicroSloth employee altered my article to state that the Amiga 3000 has a composite video jack. Sadly, this is not true. But don't worry, A3000 owners can still use the A520 encoder to get composite output, so they aren't totally out of luck. Now, last time I told how to hook up your Amiga to a VCR and I gave you some ideas for experimenting with that set up. This time I'm going to tell you how to add sound just as easily. But first, I want to show you how to plan your videos. Writing the Great American Video When you're just doing a plain slide show, you can usually improvise through the whole thing. You draw a bunch of slides, maybe a short cartoon and then you throw them up on the screen. No problem. But when you add sound, you have to synchronize your sound with your images. If you don't, you'll have the slide show version of a Kung-Fu movie -- the sounds wont match whats going on the screen. To get around this, you have to write a script. It doesn't have to be complicated, it just has to show when each slide or sound starts and when it ends. I break my scripts into four columns, like this: Background Sound Video: Music: Effect: Narration: --------------------------------------------------------------------------- (0:00-0:05) (0:00-0:30) Title Screen Theme to 2001 (0:05-0:10) (0:05-0:010) Second Title "Welcome to my first home video." (0:10-0:40) Spaceship animation (0:35-0:36) Rocket engine sound (0:36-0:40) "Its one small step for me, one giant leap for mankind." --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Look at how this works. I broke the sound into three categories: background music, sound effects and narration. You don't have to have all three categories -- in fact, I highly recommend that you start with just one and work your way up. Anyway, check out how this will work on video. I want my first title slide to appear just as "Thus Spake Zaruthsta" begins (you know, dum, Dum, DUM, DAHDAH... dumdum dumdum dumdum...). While the music continues to play I want my second slide to appear, AND have a voice saying "Welcome to my first home video." Then I want my rocket ship animation to start, and have a rocket-engine sound effect begin at just the right point (when the rocket is landing on the moon, of course.) Finally, while the animation is finishing up, I want a voice to say "Its one small step for me, one giant leap for mankind." Can you imagine getting these things right >without< writing it all down ahead of time? I can't. So give it a try. The Sound and the Fury So okay, how do you get all these sounds into the VCR in the first place? Lets start with sound effects and music. Hooking your Amigas sound output up to the VCR is as easy as hooking up the video output was. If your VCR has stereo sound input, all you have to do is run two cables between the Amigas sound jacks and the sound inputs of the VCR. Like the video cable, the audio cables should be heavily shielded. This isn't to protect the sound (audio is much less sensitive to signal noise) but to keep the sound from leaking out of the cables and messing up the video signal. Anyway, if your VCR is monophonic (i.e., it only has one sound jack) you need one more cable. Run down to the nearest Radio Shack equivalent and spend two bucks on a "Y" adapter cable. This cable lets you combine the Amigas stereo output into a monophonic signal. What can you do with this setup? Well, now you can play "SMUS" songs and "8SVX" sound effects while you display your slides and animations. SMUS stands for "Simple Music" and is the format used by many commercial music programs. "8SVX" is the format us ed to store sound effects and digitized samples. Most bulletin boards have hundreds of sounds and songs in these formats. They also have other formats ("MOD" and "MED," for example) but I'm going to stick to these two for now. Using SMUS and 8SVX files is very easy. Programs like AmigaVision make combining SMUS, 8SVX and video straight forward. In the PD world, AGMSFilm is less powerful than AmigaVision, but its still a good tool for combining animations and sound. Even better, it can play the animations straight from hard disk easing the memory crunch that large presentations can cause. And even without AGMSFilm you can still use SMUS and 8SVX. If you use CLI scripts, you can use basic utility programs and still get video and sound. For example, suppose you download "mostra", "play" and "sound." "Mostra" shows slides and animations, "play" plays SMUS songs, and "sound" plays 8SVX sound effects. Now, put them together in a script, like this: resident ask play sound run mostra ask play ask play ask sound ask sound When you run this script, it starts displaying your slides, and, at the same time, runs the "ask" command. Ask is normally used to read input from the keyboard, but here its used to force the script to wait until the return key is pressed. When the return key is pressed, the script will start playing "background song 1," while your slides are still displaying. When the song is done, the script will wait for the return key again. When it is, the script will play the second song. When that finishes, it will wait again, then play sound effect 1. And so on. You can do this as many times as you like. If you know REXX, you could do even more, even assign different keys to different sounds. This process is quite workable and effective, but you have to carefully time when you start each sound. You have to watch the screen, and at the right time you have to press the key and start the music or sound effect. You may even have to press the return key early, so that the program has time to load the sound into memory before playing it. The process does work, however, and its not that hard to get the timing down. Adding narration is a bit harder, but I've come up with a similar way to cheat. Get a cheap audio tape recorder, the kind with a built in microphone. (Or use your boom box, if it has a mike.) Now, give your script to the person who will be doing the narration, and tape record them saying each piece. Make sure you put a small (1 second or so) gap in between each bit. Now, get another pair of cables from Radio Shack. The first is another one of those "Y" cables that mix two inputs. The second should convert from whatever your tape recorder uses for a headphone plug to an RCA jack. Plug one end into the tape recorder and the other into the "Y" cable. Plug the Amigas output into the other side of the "Y" and then plug the whole mess into your VCR. Rewind the audio tape, and press play and pause. Now, each time you want a piece of narration to start, release the pause button. When the narration is done, press pause again. Presto! Narration, sound effects, music and video in one, er, elegant package. Obviously this set up is a real hack, and theres a lot we could do to improve it. The biggest is to replace those "Y" cables with a patch board or with an audio mixer. Simple mixers cost around $30, and are designed to accept several inputs and produce a single output. Unlike my "Y" cables, they can change the volume of the different inputs, preventing your sound effects from drowning out the narration. The better mixers can also accept microphones, allowing you to do your narration on the fly, rather than recording it ahead of time. (Although I recommend doing it ahead of time - one less thing to worry about when youre recording the video tape.) Another improvement is to replace that script I showed you with a real presentation program. I mean, the script works, but remembering when the press the return key during a long video can be rough. PD products like AGMSFilm and commercial products like Lights! Camera! Action! (which I bought used for $5...) have capabilities far better than any simple CLI script. As I have mentioned before, I use AmigaVision because I got it for free; but there are many other products out there. Check the reviews section of your bulletin board, or the Amazing Computing Product Guide for more information. Finally, if you get anything out of these articles, it should be this: Experiment. Don't be afraid to try different things. Just because I used "mostra," "play" and "sound" doesnt mean you cant use "ALook," "DeliTracker" and "bpd". "MOD" files are also good to work with. While few commercial programs support them, they sound a >lot< better than SMUS music. Play around, try things out -- you cant break anything. Worst case, you erase the video tape and start again. Above all else, have fun. If you enjoyed making it, people will probably enjoy watching it. Next Time: Building a video one piece at a time or, "I need >how many< megs of RAM?" On a More Serious Note: Music and Copyrights We need to cover one non-technical issue before you run off and add the theme from the "Cosby Show" to your latest home movie. You need to pay attention to the law, and to copyrights. Even if the author of a song never formally requests a copyright registration he/she still holds all rights to that song -- and you can be in big trouble if you use it without the authors permission. Now, this doesn't have to be a big limitation. First, there are thousands of completely public domain SMUS, MOD and MED files out there. In addition, any song older than fifty years is automatically PD. So, while you can't use the theme from Cosby, you can use Mozart, Beethoven and that crowd. Moreover, the law distinguishes between stuff you do at home, and stuff you do in public or for money. While you need to be very careful when making tapes for your church or PTA, if youre only making a tape for immediate family, no one will call the police if you use the theme from "Dragnet". Obviously copyright laws are not often enforced, but the ethical issue remains. You don't want someone to take your movie and sell copies without your permission, do you? So why should Paul Simon give you unlimited use of his lifes work? **************************************************************************** IMPORTANT NOTICE! ================= Amiga Report International Online Magazine is available every week in the Amiga Forum on DELPHI. Amiga Report readers are invited to join DELPHI and become a part of the friendly community of computer enthusiasts there. SIGNING UP WITH DELPHI ====================== Using a personal computer and modem, members worldwide access DELPHI services via a local phone call JOIN -- DELPHI -------------- Via modem, dial up DELPHI at 1-800-695-4002 then... When connected, press RETURN once or twice and.... At Password: type STREPORT and press RETURN. DELPHI's Basic Plan offers access for only $6.00 per hour, for any baud rate. The $5.95 monthly fee includes your first hour online. For more information, call: DELPHI Member Services at 1-800-544-4005 DELPHI is a service of General Videotex Corporation of Cambridge, MA. Try DELPHI for $1 an hour! For a limited time, you can become a trial member of DELPHI, and receive 5 hours of evening and weekend access during this month for only $5. If you're not satisfied, simply cancel your account before the end of the calendar month with no further obligation. If you keep your account active, you will automatically be enrolled in DELPHI's 10/4 Basic Plan, where you can use up to 4 weekend and evening hours a month for a minimum $10 monthly charge, with additional hours available at $3.96. But hurry, this special trial offer will expire soon! To take advantage of this limited offer, use your modem to dial 1-800-365-4636. Press once or twice. When you get the Password: prompt, type IP26 and press again. Then, just answer the questions and within a day or two, you'll officially be a member of DELPHI! DELPHI- It's getting better all the time! **************************************************************************** > Usenet Review: AmiBack Tools ============================= By David Griffiths (email@example.com) PRODUCT NAME AmiBack Tools (version 1.02) BRIEF DESCRIPTION AmiBack Tools is a "disk maintenance" program which can diagnose and repair many common disk problems, and offers a variety of utilities which help with maintenance and security. AUTHOR/COMPANY INFORMATION Name: Moonlighter Software Development Inc. Address: 3208-C East Colonial Drive, Suite 204 Orlando, Florida 32803 Telephone: (407)384-9484 FAX: (407)384-9391 BBS: (407)292-6080 (12-9600) (407)295-6992 (12-14.4) (407)292-6952 (12-24) BIX: gwholland (Gary Holland) michaelmounier (Michael Mounier) CIS: 76420,606 (Gary Holland) GENie: f.aziz (Hap Aziz) LIST PRICE As this is a new product, I haven't seen a list price for it... I purchased it for $64 Canadian. [MODERATOR'S NOTE: I believe the list price in the USA is $79.95, with street prices approximately $45-55. Moonlighter offers a special price to owners of AmiBack, their backup program, and a "trade-in" price to owners of other disk tools programs. Contact Moonlighter for details. - Dan] SPECIAL HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS HARDWARE 512K RAM required. In order to perform many operations on a hard drive, a SCSI drive is required, although the IDE drives in the Amiga 4000/4000T, 600, and 1200 will also work. SOFTWARE Kickstart 1.2 or higher. COPY PROTECTION None. MACHINE USED FOR TESTING - Amiga 1200 (KS 39.106, WB 39.29) - 2MB Chip RAM, 4MB Fast RAM - Microbotics MBX 1200 (4MB Fast RAM & 68882 math coprocessor) - Maxtor 2.5" 120MB hard drive ABOUT AMIBACK TOOLS AmiBack Tools has a wide variety of utilities which can deal with most disk problems an Amiga owner will encounter. The product is packaged neatly in a white cardboard container with a full-colour cover. Inside the package is a neatly printed manual, and one disk containing the Commodore Installer application and a ReadMe file with updates to the manual. Installing the program is easily accomplished by clicking the "Installer" icon and following the prompts. Installation takes approximately 1 minute. PROGRAM OPTIONS The "REVIVER" option allows you to recover files quickly and easily which have been deleted from a drive, as long as they have not been overwritten nor wiped with the "ANTISEPTIC" option. The REVIVER is easy to use, and VERY fast, even on large drives. Files can be recovered by simply marking them, then clicking the "Revive Data" gadget. The program can identify duplicate files when reviving data, and notify the operator to rename or skip the file. "ANALYST" searches a drive for errors, and allows the operator easily to repair any errors found. Common errors such as "Drive Not Validated," "Key Already Set," and "CheckSum" are easily corrected here. This module operates quite quickly and can be set for "AUTO" or "Ask Repair" modes. The program can also check all information on the drive, or simply check the file headers. "911-RECOVERY" allows you to recover files from drives that, due to some problem, are no longer recognized as AmigaDOS devices. This option allows the user to recover files from the damaged device by storing them on floppies or any other accessible AmigaDOS device. This module has two modes of operation. In the "Recovery" mode, the program reads all data blocks from the damaged device, attempts to locate files on the drive, and presents you with a window with a list of the files. Then, you can indicate which files you want to recover. Files can be recovered onto another device, and may also be compressed if you are recovering to floppies. After you recover all of the files, the program is set to the "RESTORE" mode, the files are read back from the drive (only necessary with floppies), and the information can then be written to any valid AmigaDOS device. "GENERAL PRACTITIONER" is the optimizing module, which rearranges your drive data more efficiently. Fragmented files are combined into a single unit, free space is combined, and directory access speeds are improved. This operation takes quite a while to complete (20-30 minutes on a 45MB partition); however, it dramatically speeds up file loading times and directory accesses. It is possible to turn on/off any of the optimization options, so you can (for example) tell the program to optimize files/free space/directories only in order to speed up the optimization process. "LAB TEST" allows the operator to generate and store a "CRC" table for all files on any device. Your files may then be compared to the table entries at a later date to check for corruption due to natural or artificial means (viruses). It is easy to build database modules with this option, although it takes some time even on accelerated machines. After the database has been built, AmiBack Tools can reread the database and compare the files on the drive to the database file. "ANTISEPTIC" is a security operation which allows the user to overwrite all empty space on the drive or the entire device with random information, so files cannot be recovered by any means. This operation is very fast, and an option is available to provide multiple "passes" to ensure that data is totally erased. CONFIGURATION OPTIONS AmiBack Tools offers a wide variety of configuration options which allow the operator to set the look and feel of the program, as well as security and caching options. The security option allows the operator to restrict "write" access to the drive, so that a password must be given before any data is modified with the program. The Disk Cache improves optimization times in the "General Practitioner". MISCELLANEOUS FEATURES As of version 1.02, the ARexx port is not installed; however, a note in the README file on the disk promises that a patch will be available in the future to include ARexx commands. Included with the program is "AmiSched-II", a very slick scheduling program which can allow you to run both AmiBack Tools and AmiBack (the HD backup program) on a scheduled basis without operator intervention. The interface is nicely done, and the program works well. DOCUMENTATION Documentation is contained in a 66-page manual, bound on the spine with a plastic (CERLOX) edge. The documentation is nicely styled, with large arrows to mark important or dangerous operations. The manual also offers a section at the beginning called "In Case of Emergency." The documentation is written for all levels of users, from beginner to expert, although expert readers may find it slightly wordy. LIKES AND DISLIKES Likes: The program's functionality is excellent. The "REVIVER" (undeletes files) is amazingly fast, even on large drives. All of the other modules are easy to use and work well. Dislikes: The disk optimizer seems rather slow. I still find "ReOrg" [on a Fish Disk] to be a MUCH faster optimizer, although it doesn't work with the new Directory-Cached Filing Systems of AmigaDOS 3.0 (and AmiBack Tools does). My only other dislike is that the "Save Password" option saves the password in the config file in "S:". I would much prefer having it write directly into the file to reduce the possibility of tampering. This would also be handy if you install it on an accessible computer at work: if the employees don't know the password, they're less likely to walk away with a copy. COMPARISON TO OTHER SIMILAR PRODUCTS AmiBack Tools performs many of the same operations that "Quarterback Tools" does (i.e., Undeleting files, Optimizing Drives, repairing errors, etc.). AmiBack's slick user interface and compatibility with new filing systems give it much more functionality than Quarterback Tools has. Quarterback Tools has not been updated (to my knowledge) since 1991, and has fallen far behind the other disk maintenance tools. The new version of DiskSalv 2 from Dave Haynie is also quite similar to AmiBack Tools, and performs many of the same operations. [MODERATOR'S NOTE: As of this writing, DiskSalv 2 is not yet generally available. - Dan] BUGS None found. VENDOR SUPPORT Excellent! The author has released two freely-distributable patches already, and will likely continue to produce patches to correct bugs and add features as time progresses. WARRANTY None. CONCLUSIONS AmiBack Tools is on the cutting edge of disk maintenance utilities. A slick user interface combined with a functional program make this utility a "must" for all Amiga owners. I have no problems giving AmiBack Tools a 5-star rating (out of a total of 5), both for the program's functionality, and for Moonlighter Software's support for their products. """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" > Star Trek Meets Unix ==================== Author Unknown "Scotty, I want full power to the megabit RAM chips and to the hard drives." "Captain, yer overloadin' her as it is. The power supply just isn't built to take two hard drrrives." "Power, Scotty! I want more power! Chekov, install the disk cache. Spock, any word on the millions of instructions per second?" "Fascinating, Captain. It seems as if the turbo accelerator board is overrunning the hard drive, which, due to its poor response time, is slowing down the system performance." "Scotty, where is that power!?" "Captain, I'm givin ye all she's got. It's that miserable 80986 with the 512K bit bus multiplexed down to one pin. The wee beastie has these teeny weeny little segments that can only handle so much. You'll have to install an extended memory board, do bank switching, and allocate a huge RAM disk if you want to go any faster." "Chekov, install the EMS board." "Yes, sir." "Uhura, any word from mainframe command?" "Well, Captain, we're received several interrupts from the serial port, but because we're not multitasking, the data is just sitting there." "Scotty, how much longer until we can shift into Unix?" "Captain, if ye can squeeze another 80 megabytes onto that hard disk, we might have room for Unix and a couple of system utilities. Possibly an application. We'll need to increase the clock speed to 28 gigahertz. I think we can do it, but there are too many unknown proper shakedowns." "Spock?" "Unix is a massive system, Captain, and the commands have to be decoded from hieroglyphics invented back in ancient times. It may be more than we can handle." "Sulu, put in the 80 meg hard drive, install Unix for mouse drive. Prepare to go to Task speed on my signal." "Mouse drive? ......Aye, Captain." "Now, you just have a little spreadsheet work, mailing labels, and some word processing. Don't you think you're overdoing it a bit?" "Sulu?" "Captain, she's shifting into multitasking. Task one. Task two.... Captain, I'm losing control at the helm. It looks like we've encountered a bad sector." "Put it on visual, Sulu." "Captain, the VGA is not responding. Shifting resolution into EGA mode." "Spock? What's the problem?" "Unknown, Captain. Unix seems to be rerouting all input to a null device. Trying 'grep,' whatever that is." "Scotty, what's happening with those '/dev' subdirectories?" "Captain, she canna take much morrre.... Another fifteen seconds and me math chips'll burrrn up for surrre...." "Scotty, we're not using the math chip." "Sorry, Captain, but I haven't been able to say that for twenty minutes." "Uhura, notify mainframe command." "Captain, either communications is breaking up, or you're dropping into Shakespearean stutter mode again." "Captain, she canna take much morrre.... Another fifteen seconds and me math chips'll burrrn up for surrre...." "Enough Scotty!" "Captain! I'm getting a message from mainframe command......Apparently, sir, they're going to time-warp previously forgotten modes of data handling, it looks like SQL syntax is forming in the language port now." "Scotty, quick, pop-up the menu shields. This could be a trick to get us back to card punching." "I'm sorry, Captain, but Dbase CLXIX doesn't have pop-ups that work yet." "Chekov, we need hardcopy! Fire HP LaserJet!" "Aye, sir." "Bones, how do I see which tasks are active?" "Dammit, Jim! I'm a doctor, not a command shell!" "Scotty! Why can't I get a directory on this thing!!?" "Captain, ye just canna have a mouse driven pull down menu system with Unix. It's like matter and antimatter, the system's too bogged down. Yer drainin me quartz crystals." "Chekov, report." "Captain, the little arrow is responding, but it gets to the side of the screen before the windows have a chance to move..." "Spock? What's happening to our multitasking?" "It appears as if the needs of the one are outweighing the needs of the many." "Captain, she's not even runnin on reserve now. We'll have to do a cold boot for surrre." "Reboot scotty " "I can't, Captain..we have lost CMOS" "Install floppy backup" "We can't captain...intense magnetic radiation from overloading the power supply has wiped the backup floppies" "Doctor?" "It's dead, Jim." """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" > Usenet Review: Retina 24-bit Graphics Board ============================================ By Nikolaj Peddie-Richers (firstname.lastname@example.org) PRODUCT NAME Retina 24-bit graphics board BRIEF DESCRIPTION High-resolution, 24-bit graphics board for the Amiga 2000/3000/4000 with 1, 2, or 4MB of on-board 32-bit wide RAM. (The 4MB version is tested in this review.) Comes with a Workbench emulation and VDPaint, a 24-bit paint program. COMPANY INFORMATION Name: MacroSystem Computer GmbH Address: Friedrich-Ebert-Strasse 85 5810 Witten Germany Phone: (+country code) 02302/80391 FAX: (+country code) 02302/80884 DISTRIBUTORS The card was bought from: Promigos Switzerland Mr. H. R. Wenger Hauptstrasse 37 5212 Hausen bei Brugg Switzerland Phone: 011-4156-322132 FAX: 011-4156-322134 BBS: 011-4156-322133 The North American distributor is (thanks to Rudolf Neuhaus for this information): MacroSystem US Mr. Robert Tingley 17019 Smugglers Cove Mount Clemens, MI 48038 Phone: (313) 263-0095 LIST PRICE DM 798,- for 4MB version plus shipping and handling; 1 and 2MB are versions cheaper. Paid sFr. 798,- plus s&h (1 DM = sFr. 0.85, I think). In American money, that's about $570, subject to variations in the exchange rate. Your bank can tell you what the exact exchange rate is. SPECIAL HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS - Amiga with an empty Zorro II slot. - Monitor (at least a VGA one recommended) and monitor cable. - Kickstart 37.175 and Workbench 37.67, or higher. MacroSystem recommends 1MB Chip RAM, 4MB Fast RAM, and a 100MB SCSI hard drive. You can run with less, but the recommended minimum configuration for VDPaint is 5MB RAM and lots of free hard drive space, due to the size of 24-bit pictures. Plus I recommend a _big_ screen. At high resolutions, things get small. COPY PROTECTION None. The VDPaint version included will run only on the Retina. MACHINE USED FOR TESTING - Amiga 3000/25 - 2MB Chip RAM, 8MB Fast RAM, 100MB SCSI HD - Kickstart 37.175 (2.04) and Workbench 37.71 (2.05) - Samsung Syncmaster 17-inch multisync monitor - Retina with 4MB RAM REVIEW The following discussion consists of a short introduction, the "ins and outs" of software and hardware installation, the setup of the Workbench emulation, and some real-life impressions of the card with the programs I use. All of it carries personal bias; I bought the Retina for a specific purpose, and I can tell you how well it lives up to my expectations. That is, I am not interested in (or capable of) a full technical review of the card, nor in some general, lofty, can-she-fly-to-the-moon-in-principle kind of discussion. Furthermore, I have had the card for four days only, and I am discovering new features all the time. This review is not exhaustive, then. For a long time, I have wanted to use higher resolutions on my Amigas. I spend much of my waking life researching and writing philosophy papers on a bizarre Austrian philosopher called Ludwig Wittgenstein, and I am tired of flickering, dog-slow overscanned screens on a small monitor. If you spend entire nights writing, then you certainly know what I mean: the standard Amiga output, including AGA, doesn't quite do the trick for this kind of work. There are a number of Amiga graphics boards on the market; but until very recently, all of them were aimed at the graphical artist or CAD users. Often, these boards are very expensive, putting them out of my reach. Enter the summer of 1992. I was in Switzerland and heard of a high-resolution board called Domino by XPert systems. I didn't get one in time, having to leave for Canada before any boards were actually shipped. Some time later, I heard that the board is actually quite slow, since it relies on the CPU for blitting operations; it's a "dumb" VGA card with a Zorro II adapter. But its most interesting feature, besides its high-resolution, is a so-called Workbench Emulation, which allows the card to be integrated into the Amiga Workbench environment. Winter 92-93: through USENET discussions, I get to know Rudolf Neuhaus, who tells me about a card he bought at a computer show; it's called "Retina" and does the same as the Domino, but more. In particular, it has 24-bit display modes and comes with its own blitter. It sounds great. In fact, it sounds so great that I decide to take the plunge and order one blind through my father in Switzerland in early March. Promigos is back-ordered, and it takes _three_ shipments from the manufacturer to fill my order. My card has the serial number 18086, the 102nd Promigos sells. A 17-inch monitor rounds off my leap into serious Amiga power; judging by how small things get even on a screen like this, I would recommend this as a minimum configuration. Three days ago, my card arrived via courier; the packaging is OK. Two disks and two manuals are included: one each for the Workbench emulation and VDPaint. The card itself is quite small, full-length, but about half-height with relatively few chips on it; my (untrained) eye can discern some ZIP RAMs, a big NCR chip, which must be the VGA/graphics chip itself, a memory controller, and EPROMS. The card has a 15-pin VGA socket on the back. With 4MB, the limit for the Retina, every other ZIP RAM socket is populated; with 2MB, all sockets are populated, but with lower- ensity chips; at 1MB, every other sockets is populated again. All cards are identical except for the amount of RAM on them; a jumper alters timing slightly for the different configurations. Most applications don't need 4MB RAM; it is only once you get into 24-bit graphics work or need to open a large number of Retina screens under the Workbench emulation that things get memory-intensive. The card itself is a 32-bit card with a 16-bit Zorro II interface and connector. The hardware installation is relatively simple; always ground yourself to prevent static build-ups, and let a technician do the installation if you don't trust yourself fully. [MODERATOR'S NOTE: As the review mentions, do not attempt to install any hardware device unless you are comfortable and experienced at doing so. If you are careless, you may void your warranty or even damage your Amiga. If you are in doubt, have a professional do the installation. - Dan] On my Amiga, the warranty seal was broken by CBM itself when they installed additional memory after I bought the machine directly from CBM Switzerland. Be aware that opening your machine voids any warranty, at least in some countries. After unscrewing five screws, the A3000 cover can be slid off, and the daughterboard with the expansion slots becomes visible. Unscrew one of the slot covers on the back, and slide the card into the corresponding empty slot until it sits in the slot firmly. Screw in the one screw that holds the backplane of the card. On my card, the was a small gap between the A3000 case and the Retina backplane; to screw it on, I would have had to bend the metal backplane, the thought of which went against my very soul. Two small washers from Home Hardware solved the problem, and the card now fits _perfectly_, much to my delight. I recommend you do not re-assemble your machine fully until you've successfully installed the included Workbench emulation and have run it. If you're afraid they'll arrest you for running a pirate radio station, slide the cover back on. Once the hardware is installed, you can power up your Amiga and install the software. First gripe: if you just click on the HD_Install icon, nothing appears to be copied, contrary to what the manual says. It turns out the install script works fine when run from Shell. I just copied the entire disk onto my "System:" partition. Later I re-installed everything with the install script; both ways work. The software includes the retina.library for the Workbench emulation, RetinaEmu (the Workbench emulation itself), RetinaScreenMode (to set your display preferences and your monitor type), RetinaComm (a utility-commodity), a harlequin.library (the card can run programs written for the Harlequin graphics card), and some utilities which allow you to test the Retina, define new monitors, or to display pictures and animations. Information for programmers is included also. Further, the software comes with support files for VLab, apparently a digitizer also from MacroSystem, a saver module for ADPro, and an ARexx script for ImageMaster. I am not familiar with any of these programs; maybe someone else can write how well the Retina works in conjunction with these. VDPaint is installed separately (cf. below). To redirect all output to the Retina automatically upon boot-up, you also need to either copy RetinaEmu into your WBStartup drawer or include in your s:Startup-Sequence or s:User-Startup; the startup file is better, since you start displaying "stuff" earlier. The Workbench emulation is a piece of software that allows all or some output to be redirected from the Amiga's custom graphics chips to the Retina. This means that you can run most programs on the Retina, but at higher resolutions and/or higher refresh rates, making use of the Retina's capabilities, but not loosing Workbench support at the same time; this is the best of both worlds, as it were. So that, with the Retina, your Amiga _behaves_ and _looks_ like an Amiga, just at much, much higher resolutions. RTG support for the Retina has been announced in the manual; but until this by now mythical animal is ready, the Workbench emulation of the Retina is an excellent solution. For the installation process, two monitors are preferred, since until you've fully installed the Workbench emulation, some output will be through your normal Amiga monitor socket or the Retina's. So I deprived my understanding wife Jennifer of the CBM 1960 multisync from our flicker-fixed A2000 for the duration of the operation. Once the software has been transferred to hard disk (you could run the card on a floppy-based system, if you had to), you need to run RetinaScreenMode to set the preferences for your monitor; particularly what your vertical and horizontal frequencies are; this will limit your display possibilities, and you will be given a list of possible resolutions for your monitor. You select your frequencies by choosing from a list of monitors on the left of RetinaScreenMode's windows, having the list of possible display resolutions on the right. Beware, though; you need a monitor that can do 64KHz (?) vertically to make full use of the Retina; mine can do 49.8KHz only, excluding me from some of the nicer (more flicker-free) resolutions. Then you need to run the ScreenMode program from your Prefs drawer; you have to enter higher values for your horizontal and vertical pixel number. I entered 1024x768. You need to activate auto-scrolling. In IControl, also in your Prefs drawer, you also need to switch off "Screen Menu Snap." Now you can run RetinaEmu and select your Workbench screen resolution; I have mine set to 1024x768 at 57Hz non-interlaced. (Actually, since writing this review, I now have a virtually flicker-free 1280x1024 @ 87Hz. See the end of the review.) Rudolf Neuhaus can run his at the same resolution, but at 76Hz since he has a 64KHz monitor! RetinaEmu is written as a Commodity and can be called up through a hotkey or Commodities Exchange. In RetinaEmu, you can define a default screen resolution; for each program, display can be on the Amiga graphics chip or on the Retina board (I set all screens to be displayed on the Retina). Whenever a program opens a screen, it will be opened on a default-size Retina screen. But, once you've run a program, the Retina emulation usually can identify the screen by i) public screen name, ii) screen title (in titlebar), or iii) path and name of the program run; a list is kept of all programs run. You can now change the parameters for the screens of specific programs from the list of possible screen resolutions. I have not yet found a program that cannot be identified. This method of allowing you to customize screens is extremely flexible and _very_ reliable; I have not had any problems. The manual of the Retina does not say what the limitations of this card are, so here is a _partial_ list of the possible resolutions and refresh rates which you would get if you had the monitor with the highest vertical frequency range in the monitor list (79KHz). This is at 8-bit (256 colours): - 1024x768 @ 76Hz non-interlaced - 1280x1024 @ 87Hz interlaced - 724x566 @ 76Hz (maximum overscan PAL) - 1440x1132 @ 87Hz interlaced) - 800x600 @ 76Hz - 364x283 @ 76Hz Group modes (cf. below) include: -1900x1426 @ 70Hz etc. My monitor's list (50KHz) includes some other resolutions like: - 1024x768 @ 57 Hz non-interlaced - 1280x1024 @ 87Hz Group mode: - 2400x1200 @ 50Hz interlaced (it works; I've _run_ a 2400x1200 WB! But it does flicker.) - 1280x1024 @ 87Hz There are a large number of screen resolutions, and I have not tried them all; this list is just to give you an idea of the kinds of resolutions the Retina is capable of. In 24-bit mode your refresh rate drops; I've used - 1024x768 @ 60Hz interlaced - 800x600 @ 50Hz non-interlaced Group mode: - 800x600 @ 50Hz With a bit of calculation you can also figure out why the Retina comes with up to 4MB of RAM; at 1024x768x24 bitplanes, you need a whopping 1.8MB of RAM just for the picture, independent of the RAM needed for program requirements or picture manipulations! A group mode defines the range of possible screen resolutions, all of which must fall within the bounds of the group mode definition. Depending on the resolution you need, a screen will open with the _best-suited_ resolution. Surprisingly, interlace at high resolutions is actually quite usable; I have not experimented too much with this yet, but it seems that 1024x768 @ 57 Hz non-interlaced flickers more than 1024x768 @ 91Hz interlace! In fact, 1024x768 @ 91Hz _doesn't_ flicker. The loss of picture quality is small, and further experimentation with interlace at high-refresh rates seems worthwhile. I wonder what 1024x768 @ 114Hz interlace would look like. But then maybe it wouldn't be interlace... I don't know. With the help of an included ARexx script, you can make up your own monitor definitions. The Workbench emulation is limited to 16 colours at this point. The card itself is capable of displaying 256 to 16.8 million colours at the resolutions mentioned above. Since 16 is less than 256 we can conclude that the Workbench emulation does not make full use of the card yet. For that, we'll have to wait for RTG to make its debut. However, having said that, the RetinaEmu allows you to open screens with "extra" colours. This means that, for example, if I want to run my ancient DPaint II in low-res at 32 colours half-bright I can use this mode to do it -- and it works. If I don't chose "extra colours," I get 16 colours with the palette repeated where the other colours normally are. The manual warns you that, because the Amiga has to re-calculate data for these extra colour screens, this mode is quite slow. DPaint II seems all right in this respect. VDPaint opens its screens in 24-bit, so you can work in 16.8 million colours without problems. Since this card has far better output than AGA chips in terms of resolution and number of colours, it would be nice to run all those AGA specific programs with it. Since I don't have any, I don't know whether it works, but I suspect it doesn't, since I don't have Workbench 3.0. However, the display program that comes with the Retina, which can display pictures and animations, does support formats like HAM8, IFF-ILBM 24 bit, IFF-DEEP, IFF-ILBM in 2 to 256 colours, etc. OK, enough techno-speak. How does the Retina fare when actually put to use? The short answer is: very well. You have to see it to believe it! I now run my Workbench on a 1024x768 [1280x1024 at the end of review] screen with lots of space for my various docks under ToolManager 2.0 and for programs that open windows on the Workbench. I can run Term 3.2 on my Workbench, having it take up about a quarter of my screen 80x25 mode with Topaz 11 as my terminal font. Term 3.2 scrolls in 16-colour mode without the usual flicker now; CPUBlit has finally made its way into the Trashcan on my system. I don't have a high-speed modem right now, so this is at 2400 Baud. Clock, Calculator, Notepad, Agenda, Docks, File Finder, etc., all fit onto the screen at the same time, leaving lots of space for other activities. I can open about fourteen shells at the default size [at 1280x1024]. Much unlike the native Amiga display, things don't slow down on the Retina when you have, say, ten or twelve windows open. This is a big bonus, for what good is a big virtual desk (the Workbench) if you cannot spread your stuff out? The Retina has more than fulfilled my expectations in this way. You now have a real Workbench where you can spread out your windows, not having to scroll around; seeing everything, but not dying from clutter. It's a state-of-the-art work environment. PageStream 2.22: Since PageStream can be run on the Workbench, using it in high resolutions is easy. Suddenly, the page that one could see very little of at NTSC-interlaced resolution with maximum overscan can be seen in full and flicker-free at a size that is readable [at 1280x1024 resolution]. You can see two pages at the same time, readable. The detail is incredible; a Times outline font looks like Times, without jaggies that usually accompany on-screen display; documents are displayed with great detail. A page _looks_ like a page now. This is a dream come true. excellence! 3.0: excellence! is a typical example of programs that are written for lower resolutions like high-res interlace: when you open a screen, the program is cramped into the upper left corner. Now, excellence! supports high-res, high-res interlace, productivity modes, and the 2024 mode. I find there are two possibilities here: either run excellence! in PAL full overscan, 724x566, but with a high refresh rate (76Hz) and have a rock-steady display but at relatively low resolution. Or use the 2024 mode and either run it on 1280x1024 or make your own monitor file that is closer to the 1008x1008 of the PAL 2024 resolution, flicker-free as well. However, since excellence! -- solid word processing as it otherwise provides -- does not allow you to scale your page, things get small in the second case. I had excellence! set up to use LetterGothic at 13 points as the default font, which means that, together with Post and PostDJ, I can generate and print out Postscript files without having to change any of the page parameters. But you can also use the four Postscript fonts included with excellence!. They sort of "fake" Display Postscript, I gather, and they require a pitch of 15. On a normally sized PAL screen, you don't see more than two thirds of the page, but in the 2024 mode you do. Of course, you lose colours in this mode, since the 2024 mode is limited to four. It's a trade-off; philosophy deals with universals, not particulars; and as universals are colourless, I'd rather have more detail than more colours. DPaint II: Much to my surprise, DPaint II runs on the Retina; however, it cannot take advantage of the higher screen resolutions. 640x400 is the limit. But, you can run it in 32-colour mode in low-res interlace, or 640x400 in 16 colours, always at a 76Hz refresh rate, which is rock-steady. I have noticed that the "fill" tool no longer works; but it was buggy even on the native Amiga display and sometimes caused DPaint to freeze. But not working and usually working are two different things. VDPAINT I cannot say much about this program, but give my first impressions. It looks very powerful and has all the standard tools and then some. Instead of a toolbar, it has sort of a toolbox that pops up on your screen, which you can close or leave open after you've selected your weapon. VDPaint usually sells for about DM 800,- and the results you can produce with it are stunning; I have taken some 24-bit JPEG pictures and played with them. 24-bit colour at 1024x768 is like a photograph. Brilliant quality. I've actually sat down in front of the TV after working with VDPaint, suddenly thinking to myself "Gosh, that's blurry!" One nifty feature is the little preview window in the file requester with depicts a miniature version of your picture with some file formats. Maybe somebody more knowledgeable can review this program and give it the credit it deserves. Other programs tested: Snap 1.62, MagicMenu, TinyClock, and TPP (Text Plus Professional, a TeX front-end) all run. In fact, I have not yet encountered a program that doesn't run. The only program I found that caused some problems was 'Liner, a shareware outline program I had lying around. It produced a "Retina Alert" which looks much like a AmigaDOS alert, except it's in green, not red. The alert told me to switch to an Amiga output to see an Intuition alert and returned to the Workbench emulation screen afterwards, so I suspect the problem is that 'Liner misbehaved, but not in a way specific to the Retina. Even on the native Amiga display, 'Liner gets messed up with different font sizes and produces Enforcer hits, if I remember correctly. Things like your pointer preferences make for some comic relief the first time you run them. How much space does a 320x200 screen (the pointer preference program's screen resolution) take up on a 1024x768 screen? Not much! For all later runs you can set the resolution in RetinaEmu, though, so that you can have your low-res screen back. Since the Retina can run Harlequin-specific programs, I'd be interested to hear from someone who actually does it. DOCUMENTATION, LIKES AND DISLIKES The card itself delivers excellent performance at a good price. My only gripes are with the install script and the documentation. The documentation is very good for someone who already has some grasp of the fundamental concepts in the graphics card business. I don't, and I found it quite difficult to find my way round the first time, since you have to do this and that and you don't really know why. When things don't work out -- the install script is just one instance -- you're in trouble. The second day I had the Retina, I powered up my Amiga in the morning -- and nothing appeared on the screen after it finished booting. So I had to get the second monitor again and go trouble-shooting. There wasn't much in the manual. It turns out that for some really _bizarre_ reason, RetinaEmu tried to re-direct a screen called "Workbench" onto the Retina, which worked the first day I had it. After _hours_ of fiddling, desperation, frustration, and an increasingly strong headache, I found out that I have to enter "Amiga Workbench" for the screen name to re-direct the Workbench output to. (It pays to read screen titles 8-).) Since then, the Workbench emulation has worked flawlessly, but I don't want to be in the shoes of someone who has even less knowledge about the inner workings of the Amiga than I do. The manual does not give you the full technical specifications of the card. I think it has an advanced VGA chip with a pixel clock of up to 90MHz. It does state that the card has some BitBlit logic on-board, though, which I take to be something like a blitter. Finally, since the card is now available through a North American distributor, there must be an English manual available. In case I haven't mentioned it yet, all documentation I received is in German, though the programs that come with the Retina are localized/multilingual. That's fine with me, but then not everyone reads weird Austrian philosophers for a living.... COMPARISON TO OTHER SIMILAR PRODUCTS - Domino; simple VGA card with Zorro II adapter card. Slow. - Merlin; similar specifications, but apparently with Zorro III support. This card is vapourware still, and the one time I called the company about the Domino, they were quite rude. I took my business elsewhere in the end, and I haven't regretted it. - Picasso II; not much information here. Vapourware still, from what I can tell, although some people report having seen one on shows. Possible 1MB on-board RAM limit. BUGS None found. One behavior that is a feature and not a bug is the effect of running KCommodity and working with VDPaint whilst leaving the screen blanker option of KCommodity on. Since VDPaint seems to avoid the Workbench emulation and run on the card directly, inputs under VDPaint don't seem to count for KCommodity. So your screen blanks. But since you can't hit a key or move the mouse that would "un-blank" your screen, you're sort of stuck. I have managed to switch back to the Workbench screen, but without a mouse pointer. Included with the Retina is RetinaComm, though, which resolves that problem (my Trashcan is getting fuller). VENDOR SUPPORT No experience; so far, I have been able to resolve all the problems I encountered. Once set up, the Retina is virtually maintenance free. Rudolf Neuhaus has been in touch with the programmer at MacroSystem who seems to be very helpful. WARRANTY I have not found anything in the manual about a warranty. I think this may be because German law requires some basic warranty to be offered; for example, six months or so. Wer weiss mehr? CONCLUSIONS Buy one! This is an excellent deal for an excellent card. And get a big monitor, too. The Retina allows you to enter the realm of workstation-level display quality _now_ with a reliable Workbench emulation and free-but-fully-functional 24-bit paint program -- at a very reasonable price. It integrates fully into your normal work environment, once it is installed. The software makes the Workbench emulation setup for your applications painless (after you've installed the Retina emulation itself); all they need to do now is to provide a manual more aimed the beginner and get rid of that install script problem. An advanced user will find the current manual quite satisfactory, I think. The Retina represents a new breed of Amiga display card which is guaranteed to become much more important, once the fabulous RTG makes it into broad daylight. The Retina deserves highest marks for its resolution and colour capabilities, outstandingly well-done Workbench emulation, speed, and availability. A Retina-equipped Amiga is a competitive workhorse. [Writing this review has had one positive side for me also; after all the experimentation I did with settings to get straight about the workings of the Retina emulation, I have settled for a new screen resolution; 1280x1024 @ 87Hz interlaced; the whole screen is virtually flicker-free and I get even more space! Once you get this feeling of having lots of space to work on, sitting down at a 14" monitor running a 600x400 screen makes you feel almost claustrophobic! Freedom is addictive.] """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" > NVN WANTS YOU! STR InfoFile Another Network Supports Amiga! """"""""""""""""""""""""""" National Videotext Network (NVN) ================================ National Videotext Network (NVN) has recently added an Amiga Forum to it's growing lists of available services. The Amiga Forum is ready and waiting for you! Order an extended NVN Membership of 6 or 12 months, pay for it in advance and receive a bonus in connect time at no additional charge. Choose from two subscription plans: 6-Month Membership ------------------ Pay just $30 for a 6-month Membership and receive a usage credit that entitles you to $15 of connect-time in the Premium services of your choice. Your total savings using this plan would be over $20!* 12 Month Membership ------------------- Pay $50 for a full year's Membership and get even more free time online. We'll give you a $25 usage credit to use in your favorite Premium services or try out new ones. You could save as much as $45.* For more information about either of these plans, give us a call at 1-800-336-9096. NVN HIGHLIGHTS ============== For the newcomers.... - Introducing a great new tool to make your JOBSEARCH more effective. - Amateur Radio comes to NVN! Old-timers and newcomers, visit the Ham Shack. - The secret of *fast* sales prospecting... - Attachment Capabilities are now in Email!!! - Subaccounts are now blocked from Premium Plus services... - Go Treasure Hunting with the folks in the Numismatic Collectors Forum. - Why wait an extra day to see U.S. Gov't product/service procurements?. - The NVN On-line Billing Service is Back - with Enhancements! - Shake the Last of the Winter Blues the EAASY Way! - What are eight *advantages* of searching online for information?... - NVN's Movie Forum presents....You Pick The Oscars contest... - Tell the best FISH STORY and WIN time on NVN! - Introducing the Mental Health Forum with a registered Psychiatrist on board! -=* 9600 BAUD USERS *=- $6/hour non-prime time - $9/hour prime time You can join NVN one of two ways. By voice phone 1-800-336-9096 (Client Services) or via modem phone 1-800-336-9092. **************************************************************************** > Usenet Review: Microbotics VXL 32-bit RAM Expansion ==================================================== By David Gilbert (email@example.com) PRODUCT NAME VXL*32 32-bit RAM expansion for Amiga 500 BRIEF DESCRIPTION As I joyfully announced in c.s.a.hardware and c.s.a.misc, I got my VXL*32 8 meg RAM expansion. I have the 25Mhz VXL30 68030 accelerator, and have been desiring this upgrade for a long time. This review is based on approximately six months experience with the product. TEST SYSTEM For the reader's reference, here is the current review system: - Amiga 500 - VXL30 68030 accelerator with 68882 - VXL*32 8 meg RAM (80ns) expansion - GVP Series II (4 megs deactivated RAM) - 105 meg Quantum LPS - 155 meg Wren III (ESDI w/ Emulex board) - 44 meg Bernoulli - 2 Commodore floppy drives - 1 meg Chip RAM via Supra board - 2400 Zoom modem - SupraFAX v.32bis v.42bis modem - 2 Original XT 200-watt power supplies (paid $30 Cdn) powers all units, including the Amiga, and the three hard drives - Deskjet printer PRODUCT INFO Company: Microbotics Address: 1251 American Parkway Richardson, TX 75081 USA (214) 437-5330 Product: VXL*30 RAM expansion Configuration: 8 megs of 80ns RAM installed Price: $800 (Cdn) approximately Availability: Got it from my local dealer IMMEDIATE OBSERVATIONS When I originally got the VXL30 board, there was some speedup in some programs. I was rather disappointed, actually. When I bought the 68882, I found some applications (such as Post) much faster, but overall, again, I was unimpressed. When I installed the 8 meg RAM board, the machine even booted about four times as fast! Every single application (especially Emacs) showed a marked improvement in speed. I was impressed. THE SAME BOX??? When I got to my dealer, I almost thought he'd got the wrong item for me. The box for the VXL*32 is exactly the same as the box for the VXL30! In fact, the only difference is a stuck-on label proclaiming the new product. The installation disk is also re-used -- underneath the VXL*32 label, you can see the VXL30 label. No problem, I guess, they probably just had too many disks printed. It looks like the VXL*32 disk will also be shipped with the new VXL30's. They also shipped the same 1-page, cheaply-printed instruction sheets. Not that the instructions are hard to follow or too short, just that they might think of making a little booklet --- it would look more professional. Actually, the VXL*32 came with 4 sheets of paper, with lots of information on them. They only lacked one tidbit, but that's for the next section. INSTALLATION I cannot recommend that any of you install this for yourself: I'd get sued a million times if I did. But: it isn't that hard, and the layman should be able to do it. Well... not the layman who has never pulled chips (he should have a friend to help him); but otherwise, the installation is simple, and should go off without a hitch. The first thing you all should know is that all of the V1 and V2 type serial numbers will require a number of chips to be replaced on the VXL30 itself. These are provided free of charge to all purchasers (currently). This might have been the reason that it took so long to develop the RAM expansion. In my unit, all but 4 of the DIP packaged, socketed chips had to be replaced. I own a V1 unit. This operation is not hard, and all chips are numbered for easy identification. The toughest of thing that must be done to these older boards is a line that runs from one chip to the underside of the RAM board. This line is apparently for DMA access. They provide chip "8" with a soldered wire, and there is a socket on the underside of the RAM board for the wire. No problem. After I had done all this, I installed my 2.04 ROM on the RAM board. I will caution buyers of the VXL*32 NOT to buy a Kwickstart board. You can place one ROM on the RAM board, and one ROM on your motherboard. The ROM on the RAM expansion cannot be accessed in 68000 mode; but if you think about this, it is not a problem. Wherever the ROM is, it can be loaded into 32-bit RAM after bootup. This operation does not seem to require a re-boot (as some others do). Benchmark programs, however, seem to verify that the ROMs are in 32-bit RAM. This does NOT require an MMU. CAUTIONS, WARNINGS, PROBLEMS, AND GRIPES First of all, it's about time! I bought one of the very early VXL30 units, and at that time, the RAM was promised "soon." Well, they said "soon" for a long time. But, it's here, so I'll stop griping about that. I almost considered getting the GVP530 instead. One thing that they don't mention is what to do about the jumper on the 2.04 ROM. On my motherboard, it's required that it remain. On the VXL*32 RAM board, it must be cut. There is no mention of this in any of the VXL*32 RAM documents, and I was very reluctant to cut it (it would be difficult to put back together). The symptom of this was that it wouldn't boot, and the screen was purple. I have no way of testing the following, so I'll just pass on the information that I got. The RAM expansion supposedly will work perfectly with accelerators up to 40Mhz, but with 50Mhz they require ONE of the following: - 60ns RAM (256x4 are available, 1MBx4 available Fall92). - Higher speed FPGA part. - Defeat burst mode. I have not done any of the above as I have a 25Mhz model. In addition, they recommend that RAM be mapped out of DMA address space for the 50Mhz mode OR burst turned off. This is another item I suspect gave them enough trouble to delay it. Among the other warnings that came with the product are that a new power supply should be considered. (I have a 200 watt supply.) This is only sensible due to the nature of having 8 meg of high speed (and power-demanding) RAM in the system. BENCHMARKS What review of processors and RAM would be complete without a benchmark? First off, the unit scored as a whole similar to an Amiga 3000. In integer and floating point performance, it will identical, if not a few fractions of a percent higher. This is to be expected as the RAM and processor that I have are identical to the 3000. The unit is slower, however, in the Chip RAM access department. It, of course, is still dealing with the 16-bit bus of the A500. Although I would like to have a 3000, I think I'm going to wait for the dust to settle and the new machines to come out. Despite this, AIBB's "Writepixel" test declared that this board was slightly faster than the 3000. The 8 meg of RAM, however, seems to be slightly faster than the 3000. This could be due to design, or it could be due to the fact that the moon is in the wrong phase. I've never really trusted benchmarks. The reported difference was in the range of 1-5%. I will upload the AIBB module that I created to wuarchive.wustl.edu (188.8.131.52). You can all take a look at the specs. Suffice it to say that I am pleased! FROM BENCHMARKS TO THE REAL WORLD You can look at the AIBB module, and compare to your heart's content. This section, however, is dedicated to the observed speedup in programs that I use every day over their performance before the RAM expansion. The difference between the stock system and adding the VXL*30 was not terribly large. Probably similar in magnitude to when I added the 68010. There were some things ran perceptibly faster, but not too much. Similarly, when I added a 68882 to the setup, several applications more than doubled in speed, but others were not affected. With the addition of the RAM, however, there was an overall increase in speed. Post, for instance, which was vastly sped up by the addition of the '882, went from 1min/page to 30sec/page to 3sec/page for TeX generated Postscript going from 68010 to 68030+882 to 32-bit RAM. Another application that received a major jump is IBeM. My personal theory is that since the author used instructions that access odd addresses, a worst case scenario happened: access byte 3 or 4 of a longword, and the 68030 puts the address of the longword on the address bus to find that it's 16-bit (remember that memory signals the 68030 as to what width it is), then it has to cycle again to get the byte. I'm just guessing that this happens... I don't know much about the processor, but if it doesn't know that the memory's not 32-bit, wouldn't it ask for the longword first? Anyways, IBeM gets 100x speedup --- from waiting for characters to almost as fast as my V30 laptop. In fact, some games play faster --- to the point of unplayability. Other applications such as Desktop Publishing, Emacs, gcc (GNU C compiler), and even MED are all perceptibly more responsive. OF SCSI DRIVES AND AUTOCONFIG One of the first things I found out is that my older Series II hard drive does not like memory it can not DMA to. I may be able to adjust parameters in the menu of FaaastPrep for it, but at this point, I don't know. When I configured my 4 meg 16-bit RAM to be Autoconfig, and the 8 meg of 32-bit RAM to be outside Autoconfig, I got SCSI errors randomly. I decided to leave it for now. I'm pretty sure the problem is the GVP, and not the VXL. One very obvious potential culprit is the GVP ROM --- it's quite old at this point. 3.something, I believe. As far as DMA ability, the RAM passes with flying colors. I have tried all the standard DiskSpeed tests, and my drives are almost exactly the same as they were before --- if not a tiny bit faster. The CPU Availability Index has gone up significantly, too. With only the 8 meg RAM installed, I have had no complaints from my drive. The RAM Autoconfigs wonderfully. It comes up automagically when the card is set to map the RAM into Autoconfig space. It even appears as a full Autoconfig board. FYI, it has a product number of 68 (the accelerator shows up as product 69). The keeper of `Sysinfo' might want this information. One interesting thing is that you can change the position of the RAM using software (and I don't have an MMU). You can also map the ROM into RAM --- again without the MMU. I thought that you had to reboot when you move the ROM, but this does not seem to be the case with the VXL. Maybe the software is smarter? THE MOST SURPRISING THING HAPPENED... The most surprising thing happened when I switched to 68000 mode, however. The full 8 meg of 32-bit RAM *becomes* 16-bit RAM. I would assume the circuitry for this is similar to that which makes it so DMAable. However... I *never* expected it. The ROM on the RAMboard is not available in 68000 mode, but I use the 2.04 ROM on the RAMboard, and the 1.3 ROM on the motherboard... this makes sense... when you *must* drop back to the 68000, chances are you don't want the 2.04 ROM either. This can be turned off... I think there might be games that don't like 8 meg of RAM, but I haven't found them. It's still nice to know. """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" > Portal's Amiga Zone STR Infofile ================================= The AFFORDABLE alternative for online Amiga information. ----------------------------------------------------------------- The Portal Online System is the home of acclaimed Amiga Zone, which was formerly on the People/Link System. Plink went out of business in May 1991 and The Amiga Zone's staff moved to Portal the next day. The Zone has just celebrated its first anniversary on Portal. The Amiga press has consistantly raved about The Amiga Zone, when compared to its com- petition. (Quotes available upon request). If you live in the San Jose, CA area, then you can dial Portal directly. If you live elsewhere, you can reach Portal through any SprintNet (formerly Telenet) "indial" node anywhere in the USA or through Tymnet from anywhere in North America. If you have an account on a university or commercial or military Internet-connected system, you can connect to Portal using their UNIX Telnet or Rlogin programs, from anywhere in the industrialized world. Here are some of Portal/Amiga Zone's noteworthy features: - Over 1 GIGabytes of Amiga-specific files, now online, 24 hours a day. Portal has dedicated a 1.6 GIGabyte disk drive to the Amiga Zone. We have unlimited space for files and new uploads. Whenever that drive fills up, we'll add another one! - PLUS.. The Fred Fish Disk collection of freely distributable software, online 24 hours a day. - Fast, Batch Zmodem file transfer protocol. Download up to 100 files at once, of any size, with one command. - Twenty Amiga vendor areas with participants like AmigaWorld, ASDG, Soft-Logik, Black Belt, Apex Publishing, Stylus, Prolific, NES, and many others including Compute's Amiga Resource with over 4 Megabytes of exclusive Compute magazine disk stuff you won't find elsewhere. - 35 "regular" Amiga libraries with thousands of files. Hot new stuff arrives daily. Since Portal has FTP connections we can get a new program online within MINUTES of its being announced on Usenet. - No upload/download "ratios" EVER. Download as much as you want, as often as you want, and never feel pressued doing it. Start downloading files with your first session on Portal. - Live, interactive nightly chats with Amiga folks whose names you will recognize. Special conferences. Random chance prize contests. Famous Amiga folks aren't the exception on Portal, they're the norm. - Message bases galore where you can ask questions about *anything* Amiga related and get quick replies from the experts. - Amiga Internet mailing lists for Imagine, DCTV, LightWave and HyperAmi are ported right into the Zone message bases. You can read months worth of postings. They don't scroll off, ever! No need to clutter your mailbox with them. - FREE unlimited Internet Email. Your Portal account gets you a mailbox. Send letters of any length to computer users in the entire industrialized world. No limit. No extra charges. No kidding! Portal email has some amazing features: you can even run a mail session "inside" another mail session to send blind carbon copies for example. Grab Usenet articles and store copies in your mailbox. Email a program to a friend in Australia or Sweden or just about anywhere. - The USENET hierachy of thousands of "newsgroups" in which you can read and post articles about virtually any subject you can possibly imagine. Usenet feeds into Portal many times each hour. There are 14 Amiga-specific Usenet newsgroups with hundreds of articles posted every day, including postings by Commodore personnel. Since Usenet is distributed worldwide, your questions and answers can be seen by literally hundreds of thousands of people the same day you post it. - Other Portal SIGs (Special Interest Groups) online for Mac, IBM, Sun, NeXT, UNIX, Science Fiction, Writers, amateur radio, and a graphics SIG with thousands of GIF files to name but a few. ALL Portal SIGs are accessible to ALL Portal customers with NO surcharges ever. - The entire UPI/Clarinet/Newsbytes news hierarchy ($4/month extra) This optional package gets you headline news, bulletins, stories, features, sports, weather, and computer industry news and press releases fed into Portal many times each week. Stay on top of the worldwide computer industry without having to wait for a weekly paper to arrive. - Now Open: an exciting and unique package of Internet goodies: IRC, FTP, TELNET, MUDS, LIBS. Free to all Portal customers with your account. Internet Services is a menu driven version of the same kinds of utilities you can also use from your UNIX shell account. All the files you can FTP. All the chatting you can stand on the IRC. And on IRC you can chat live, in real time with Amiga users in the U.K., Europe, Australia, the Far East! Portal's Internet Services opens up the entire world to you. Those expensive competing systems don't, can't, and probably won't ever offer these features. - NOW RELEASED!: PortalX by Steve Tibbett, our graphical "front end" for Portal which will let you automatically click'n'download your waiting email, messages, Usenet groups and binary files! Reply to mail and messages offline using your favorite editor and your replies are sent automatically the next time you log into Portal. (PortalX requires Workbench 2.04 or higher) How does all that sound? Probably too good to be true. Well.. it's true. Portal Signup or for more information: 1-408-973-9111 (voice) 9a.m.-5p.m. Mon-Fri, Pacific Time 1-408-725-0561 (modem 3/12/2400) 24 hours every day 1-408-973-8091 (modem 9600/14400) 24 hours every day or enter "C PORTAL" from any Sprintnet dial-in in the USA, or enter "portal" from any Tymnet "please log in:" prompt, USA & Canada or telnet to "portal.com" from anywhere. All prices shown are in U.S. Dollars Total Total Total Total Cost Cost Cost Cost Fee 1 hr. 5 hrs. 10 hrs.30 hrs. Service Startup Monthly Per Per per per per Fee Fee Hour month month month month $ $ $ $ $ $ $ Portal 19.95 19.95 2400/9600/14.4Kbps, *direct 24 hrs 0.00 19.95 19.95 19.95 19.95 2400/9600bps nonprime Sprint or Tymnet 2.50 22.95 32.45 44.95 94.95 2400/9600bps prime Sprint +% or Tymnet 5.50-10 29.95 69.95 119.95 varies 2400/9600bps non prime # PCPursuit 1.00 20.95 24.95 29.95 49.95 * plus cost of phone call if out of Portal's local dialing area Direct rates also apply to connections made to Portal using the UNIX "telnet" or "rlogin" programs from an account you may already have on an Internet-connected system. % 9600 bps Sprintnet and Tymnet available in 100 major metro areas + $10 rate prevails at smaller US Cities # PCPursuit is a service of US Sprint. Portal is a PCPursuit "Direct Access Facility" thus connection to Portal with a PCP account is simply a matter of entering C PORTAL,PCP-ID,PCP-PASSWORD at the SprintNet login prompt instead of C PORTAL. Notes: Portal Direct 9600/14400 bps service is availble for both USR HST modems, and any V32/V32.bis modems. There are 48 direct, high speed lines into Portal. Busy signals are rare! SprintNet 9600bps service is V.32 modem protocol only. Tymnet 9600bps services is V.32 modem protocol only. Again, Portal does NOT surcharge high speed modem users! Portal subscribers who already have an account on an Internet-capable system elsewhere, can use that system's "telnet" or "rlogin" programs to connect to Portal for $0.00 an hour. That's right ZERO. From anywhere in the world. If you're in this category, be sure to ask the Portal reps, when you signup, how to login to Portal from your existing Internet account. Call and join today. Tell the friendly Portal Customer Service representative, "The Amiga Zone sent me!" That number again: 1-408-973-9111. Portal Communications accepts MasterCard, Visa, or you can pre-pay any amount by personal check or money order. Sorry, no American Express or "checkfree" at this time. """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" > The Editor's Mailbag ==================== GE Mail Item 1951188 93/04/18 15:01 From: R.SCHNASE R.A. Schnase To: ROB-G Robert Glover Sub: Amiga Report blurb Most everyone who uses an Amiga for a short time appreciates what an absolutely wonderful system it is. With a reasonable amount of RAM, quick response multitasking is a real plus in our system. I have a project for programmers which could add to Ami's usefullness. The name I have put to it is MicroMultitasking. It consists of multitasking within an already-in-use program. Case in point is the termimal program JRComm. Why can't I access JRComm's directory screens while downloading a file? It is obvious that I could not cause changes to that portion of the program which is active during the download, but the busy pointer won't let me even check a setting. With a machine as capable and quick as the Amiga, it seems such a waste to let micromultitasking go unfulfilled. JRComm is by no means the only program which could benefit from this extra step in programming. Any ideas? ---------- Mr. Schnase: Your "micromultitasking" idea is a good one. I can think of several programs that would benefit substantially from internal multitasking. Aladdin, GEnie's front-end program is one. It'd be great to be able to read messages in one area after the program has completed its pass of that particular area, without having to load another copy. Back when I only had 2 meg of RAM, I couldn't get two copies of Aladdin up at once. This would be a tremendous help to users without much memory. Unfortunately, there are no plans to make Aladdin 2.0 multitask internally. Other programs that would benefit from this feature (in my opinion) are Directory Opus, PageStream (to edit other documents while printing), and even Workbench! I don't know how many times I've started copying several large files to floppies, only to realize that I'm now stuck until it finishes, because I didn't use a directory utility. If I'm lucky enough to have opened a shell, I can start another program and continue my business, but if not, I get to wait until the copy is completed. Hopefully programmers will read your letter and realize ways that their programs can be improved. - Rob @ Amiga Report """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" > STReport CONFIDENTIAL "Rumors Tidbits Predictions Observations Tips" """"""""""""""""""""" Aging Supercomputer Awaits Its Fate SAN FRANCISCO - Call it a symbol of technologica! obsolescence, or a museum piece, perhaps. But a Cray I supercomputer, once the world's fastest computational device, is now sitting in a South San Francisco warehouse, where it will either be sold to a collector or get melted down to recover the five tons of copper, gold and other materials inside. Hayward businessman Tony Cole bought the supercomputer for $10,000 at a surplus equipment auction at Lawrence Livermore Na- tional Laboratory. When purchased new in the late 1970s, the Cray I cost $19 million, lab officials said. "We got our money's worth out of it," said Derrol Hammer, a purchasing agent at the lab. "We ran that machine for over 10 years at 24 hours a day." But Hammer said it cost more than $35,000 a month to run the Cray I, a cylindrical machine that is 7 feet tall and 9 feet in diameter, and requires its own electrical substation to provide it with power. A desktop workstation of the Sun type, or a Silicon Graphics workstation that we can put on a desk, is a Cray I equivalent," Ham- mer said. "You can buy a work station for the monthly cost of main- tenance" on the Cray I. So in 1980 Livermore pulled the plug on the aging supercomputer, and began asking other government and university labs if they want- ed the 10,000 pound digital dinosaur. When no takers surfaced, the lab auctioned off the machine in February. Enter Tony Cole, 29, founder of VIPC Computers, a 10-year-old Hayward firm that salvages useful components or scrap metals from surplus machines. Cole offered the highest of seven bids, "We're sure to make our money back on the scrap value of the metal alone," Cole said. "There's at least $15,000 worth of gold in that thing." But rather than crush the machine for its metals, Cole would like to sell it intact as a relic of the early supercomputer age. """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" > STR Dealer Directory These are not ads -- just a reader service! ==================== Armadillo Brothers 753 East 3300 South Salt Lake City, Utah VOICE: 801-484-2791 GEnie: B.GRAY MicroSearch 9000 US 59 South, Suite 330 Houston, Texas VOICE: 713-988-2818 FAX: 713-995-4994 (Dealers: To have your name added, please send Email!) """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" Amiga Report's "EDITORIAL CARTOON" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" > A "Quotable Quote" """"""""""""""""" "Thanks for the application. We'll be in touch." """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" Amiga Report International Online Magazine ~ STR Publications -* [S]ilicon [T]imes [R]eport *- """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" STR Online! "YOUR INDEPENDENT NEWS SOURCE" April 23, 1993 Amiga Edition Copyright (c) 1993 All Rights Reserved No.1.06 """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" Views, Opinions and Articles Presented herein are not necessarily those of the editors and staff of Amiga Report International Online Magazine or of STR Publications. Permission to reprint articles is hereby granted, unless otherwise noted. Reprints must, without exception, include the name of the publication, date, issue number and the author's name. Amiga Report and/or portions therein may not be edited in any way without prior written per- mission. However, translation into another language is acceptable, provided the original meaning is kept intact. Amiga Report, at the time of pub- lication, is believed reasonably accurate. Amiga Report, its staff and con- tributors are not and cannot be held responsible for the use or misuse of information contained herein or the results obtained there from. 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