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%% The Emulation Rambler                                By Jason Compton %%
%%                                                  (jcompton@tcity.com) %%
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I apologize for not appearing on the pages of Amiga Report lately.  I've 
been busy trying to compile a few other things like the first-time Amiga 
buyer's guide, and haven't quite had time to survey the emulation scene.  
It hasn't helped that Rob and I have had a hard time getting my articles 
to send correctly.  I'll try to make up for lost time here.

I'd like to start by addressing something said by Jesper Juul, who weeks 
back said that "Emplant is finally getting a bad review" and "it's nice to 
see someone being a bit critical to Utilities Unlimited." Actually,
there's quite a lot of Emplant and UU criticism floating about, and not
all of the reviews have been glowing.  I'd like to compare it with my
own, but I still haven't gotten one yet.  But, for all of you people who
are keeping track, here's the latest on Emplant updates, taken from 
comp.sys.amiga.emulations...

Fm: Jim Drew (UU) 72662,14
To: ?

As many of you may know, EMPLANT requires a custom logic upgrade in
order to make v3.2 and later software work.  This is no longer the case.
Let me explain the rumors, myths, and misconceptions of v3.2's release.

Yes, we started replacing custom logic.  Yes, we started shipping
replacement logic upgrades (with v3.2 software).  Yes, v3.3 and later
no longer requires the custom logic upgrade.  The reason...

A company in another country decided that they were going to start
producing clones (exact duplications) of the EMPLANT hardware, and sell
them as such.  Although, hardware can not be copyrighted, the custom
logic is considered to be software under US and international copyright
laws. Thus, reproducing EMPLANT in it's entirety, would be in violation
of copyright laws.

I received a phone call from somebody (annonymous) in Germany,
concerning the fact that a company was about to release a bunch of
EMPLANT clones, but
 due to problems recreating the custom logic (it took me 3 weeks to get
the different hardware emulation timings to work) the EMPLANT clones
would be delayed from their Jan '94 release date.  Basically, they could
duplicate the hardware, but could not make it 'tick'.

This was a serious problem for us.  With the World of Commodore show
only months away, and the CEI4000M bundle deal in negotiation, an
EMPLANT clone could be tragic.

We went into panic mode, and with v3.2 about to be released, I figured
the best thing to do in order to prevent the clones from working with
our 32 bit clean software would be to change the custom logic to remap
our hardware differently enough that simple software patches would not
work (one main reason for the extensive delay of v3.2)...so it was done.

With the help of the US government (they really do work!), we were able
to stop the clones from being produced, on the grounds that the circuit
board artwork was duplicated exactly.  The artwork (just like
paintings) is copyrightable.  We are currently seeking logorights on the
EMPLANT hardware, and we have been advised by the US government that a
patent for the EMPLANT hardware itself should be applied for in order to
prevent this from happening in the future.

So, we went back to v3.2, upgraded a number of things, and added
support for the older custom logic.  The new version is v3.3, and can be
used by any EMPLANT board.  Yes, v3.3 will be made freely
re-distributeable, meaning that it will be on GEnie, CompuServe, Portal,
BIX, our support BBS, and various FTP sites.

I appreciate your patience in this manner, and I just wanted everyone
to know the truth to what happened with v3.2 and why there was an
excessive delay in it's release.

Sincerely...

Jim Drew, CEO - Utilities Unlimited, Inc.
 [Endquote]

There you have it.  Some people actually HAVE received 3.2,  but it now
appears that 3.3 is the way to go, with a much easier upgrade route...
or it was, until Jim Drew came up with 3.4!  This is apparently a
better, new-logic-chip-less version of 3.3, but people are still having
memory problems (with the computer, not themselves).  Also, two FPU
routines are wrong (mainly seems to affect games), to be fixed in 3.5

A couple of people have A-Max IVs and like them, but I haven't heard
anything concrete and new.  Nobody has a better explanation for a lack 
of Amax III than "They probably wanted to sound farther ahead than 
Emplant"...

WHEN Amax IV rolls around, I would like to stage a sort of forum of
Emplant vs. Amax IV, so if you'd like to start filling my mail with
your opinions, by all means do.

For my part, I have finally obtained a Spectrum emulator, but now can't
figure out what to do with it for the life of me.  If anyone wants to
send a few programs my way, I'd appreciate it.

A64 V3.0 update: A couple of CSAE people have one, but not too much
of use has been said.  I'll update you next issue.

In case anyone is interested, PC-Task is now commercial software...and
rather pricy at that.  Tenex carries it for about $40...which isn't
bad, but an XT bridgeboard runs about that much, and if speed is more
important than video (since PC-Task will get you VGA but a bridgeboard
only gives CGA out of the box with no cards), then a bridgeboard is
probably the better buy.

Lastly, Utilities Unlimited has agreed to send me a board: the quote I
got when I called them would be this week, meaning that by the time
you read this I may have an Emplant.  It would be at least a few weeks
before I published my full review, as I want to run it through as many
tests, paces, and uses as I can find.  I am trying to contact ReadySoft
to get a similar contribution of an A-Max IV from them in order to do a
true comparison, but haven't reached them yet.

Well, that should wrap it up for this week.  Please write.