_      ____       ___   ______       _______          _
             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: c88660ts@sfc.keio.ac.jp
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.

        c88660ts@sfc.sfc.keio.ac.jp
        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: nilsco@ifi.uio.no

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: jara@adelard.dcs.muni.cs
        (jara@lion.ics.muni.cs)

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(130.60.80.80) and its mirrors.
DIRECTORY: /pub/aminet/util/pack
FILE NAME: epu14.lha

If you can't download it you can ask for it at jara@adelard.dcs.muni.cs
(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: robtu@itx.isc.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: dbenn@leven.appcomp.utas.edu.au

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 (130.60.80.80)  pub/aminet/game/think
  Scand.  ftp.luth.se           (130.240.18.3)  pub/aminet/game/think
  USA     ftp.etsu.edu          (192.43.199.20) pub/aminet/game/think
  USA     oes.orst.edu          (128.193.124.2) pub/aminet/game/think
 
Filename:  ARMYMINER.LZH


            __________________________________________________



EVAL V1.13 AVAILABLE FOR FTP


TITLE

     Eval

VERSION

     1.13

AUTHOR

     William L. Menninger
     willus@ilm.pfc.mit.edu

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
harv@cup.portal.com



             __________________________________________________




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



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> 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.



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> 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



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> Usenet Review:  Fighter Duel Pro Flight Recorder
  ================================================
  By Jeff Hanna
  (sacke@ecn.purdue.edu)


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.



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> 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)


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> Desk Top Video on a Shoe String Budget - Part II  STR Special Series
  ====================================================================
  by Michael Heinz
  (mheinz@ssw.com)


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
  (dgriff@unixg.ubc.ca)


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
  (nrichers@trentu.ca)


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.]



""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""



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> Usenet Review:  Microbotics VXL 32-bit RAM Expansion
  ====================================================
  By David Gilbert
  (dgilbert@jaywon.pci.on.ca)


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
(128.252.135.4).  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.



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> 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.



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> 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



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> 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.



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> 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!)

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                      Amiga Report's "EDITORIAL CARTOON"
                      """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""


> A "Quotable Quote"
  """""""""""""""""


                "Thanks for the application.  We'll be in touch."



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       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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