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%% Emulation Rambler                                    By Jason Compton %%
%%                                                  (jcompton@tcity.com) %%
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AAAARGH!
Sorry, everyone, for not coming up with more to show for myself
in the last couple of weeks.  Lousy weather has sent my Usenet
site up and down, and apparently this review kept getting lost
in the "down" phases.  I hope I don't appear to be a jerk for
seemingly dropping this review (especially to Utilities Unlimited:
they DID give me this board, after all), but I assure you, I've been
hard at work, so buckle in...

Serial Murders and Terminal Diseases
------------------------------------

Utilties Unlimited provided me with an Emplant Deluxe, meaning that it   
contains both the SCSI interface and two "high-speed" serial ports, the  
same shape as the ones on your average Mac (8-pin, I believe, circular.  
RS-422 is the technical term).  At any rate, one of the first things I   
did with the board was run a diagnostic, which informed me that          
everything was fine.  Good.  The next day, when I hooked the Emplant     
serial port up to a SupraFaxModem 14.4 and tried to access it through the
Amiga side (yep, you can access them from the Amiga side.  You cannot,
as of this point, access the Amiga serial port from the Emplant side,
but we'll deal with that later.)  I assigned the Port to empser.device
in Terminus and tried to type.  The system locked up.  Ok, fine, I'll
try the other serial port.  Still locked up.  Ok, maybe I have the port
numbers switched.  In short, I tried all 4 combinations (port A/B and
port number 0/1).  No response, just lockups.  Fine, I'll try to access
it from the Mac side.

I booted up the Mac emulation setup screen and went to configure the
ports.  I'd screwed around with this option before and noticed that it
had a bunch of options, including "AppleTalk" and "AppleTalk"s from
x2 to x4 (in speed, which you can take advantage of when talking
to another Emplant, so the manuals say.)  The options weren't there
anymore.  So I ran a diagnostic.  The board told me that it was an 
Option-B Emplant (SCSI only) which worked fine.  I was upset.
I ripped the board out and installed it in a new slot.  Same response.
I put it back in the slot it was in.  Same response.  The following
morning, however, it told me it was an Emplant Deluxe which worked
fine.  It still didn't.  Then a day or two later, it started telling me
it was either an Option-B which worked fine (about 70% of the time
I got this message) or a Deluxe with malfunctioning serial ports.  Ok,
so I took out the serial control chip and reseated it.  No luck.  I sent a
fax out to their office and got a note back from Joe Fenton asking
me if a particular chip was in the board.  It's there, I need to fax
him back and let him know.  When I get a response back, I'll keep
you posted.

There's another problem I've noticed, but have not had time to
completely research:  The system seems to lock up when I try to 
connect modem on the Amiga side and run the Mac emulation at
the same time.  It may be a device driver problem, or perhaps the
term program I am using.  I'll tell you more when I know more.

Word is the Word
--------------

There has been a lot of talk about MS Word crashing Emplant at
various stages, namely on quitting and on shutting down the Mac.
I am happy to report that MS Word and Emplant Mac 3.7 seem
to be coexisting quite nicely.  What can I say?  MS Word still looks
like MS Word, it just happens to be on a monitor labled "Commodore
1950".  I still use the Amiga side to type up the articles you read in this
column.

Feeling the Need for Speed
--------------------------
Of course, everyone wants to know how an Amiga Emplant system
stacks up next to a real Mac, right?  Well, my personal tests are
still to come, but Mauricio Piacentini has compiled
a set of comparisons between an Amiga 4000/040, a Mac LCIII,
a Mac Quadra 800 TVa, and a Mac Quadra 950. The Speedometer
tests are VERY long and 4 of them would put the biggest caffeine
freak to sleep.  I'll throw in the better ones...

Systems Tested:
Emplant on an AMIGA 4000/40, 18 MB RAM
340MB IDE Maxtor HD (AmigaDOS Device) , GVP Spectrum EGS
24/28 Graphics Board:  Speedometer calls it a Quadra 900.
(Mac Classic is 1.0)
CPU: 14.065
Graphics: 4.578
Disk: 2.867     Name of Hard Disk tested: MACDiskao
Math: 72.756
Towers: 17.828
QuickSort: 14.714
Bubble Sort: 17.234
FPU Tests (Uses Mac II as 1.0):
FPU Fast Fourier: 9.470
FPU KWhetstones: 3749.999     5.250
FPU F.P. Matrix Mult.: 7.288
FPU Test Average: 7.336
(Screen test also uses Mac II as 1.0)
256 Colors: 2.141

System Tested:
Mac LCIII
(Using Mac Classic as 1.0)
CPU: 6.837
Graphics: 8.224
Disk: 2.457     Name of Hard Disk tested: Tildas
Math: 10.319
Towers: 5.777
QuickSort: 6.866
Bubble Sort: 8.265
(No FPU, no FPU tests run)
(Screen test: Mac II is 1.0)
256 Colors: 2.334

System Tested:
Quadra 800 TVa
(Mac Classic is 1.0)
CPU: 21.358
Graphics: 25.954
Disk: 4.556     Name of Hard Disk tested: Super Promo
Math: 136.210
Towers: 26.000
QuickSort: 23.409
Bubble Sort: 25.312
FPU Tests (Uses Mac II as 1.0):
FPU Fast Fourier: 14.636
FPU KWhetstones: 5454.545     7.636
FPU F.P. Matrix Mult.: 14.827
FPU Test Average: 12.366
(Screen test: Mac II is 1.0):
256 Colors: 6.254

System Tested: 
Quadra 950
(Mac Classic is 1.0)
CPU: 17.653
Graphics: 12.374
Disk: 3.448  
Math: 132.122
Towers: 21.517
QuickSort: 19.807
Bubble Sort: 20.769
FPU Tests (Uses Mac II as 1.0):
FPU Fast Fourier: 11.500
FPU KWhetstones: 4285.714     6.000
FPU F.P. Matrix Mult.: 13.030
FPU Test Average: 10.176
(Screen Test: Uses Mac II as 1.0)
256 Colors: 3.655

Wow.  That was quite a bit to swallow, wasn't it?  I'll let you sort through
that and gather what conclusions from there ye may choose,  but I will
point to a few important notes:
In CPU testing, the Emplant scored just over 14:  twice the ranking of
the LCIII, 66% of the Quadra 800 TVa, and just a few points short of
the Quadra 950.  The math and FPU tests did fall below the 950 and
800 TVa's scores, but I do not think that the tests were run on a
completely recent Emplant version in which FPU routines have been
sped up.  The screen tests (and people have long complained of the
Emplant screen refresh) places it at twice that of a Mac II,
just .2 from the LCIII's score.  Finally, I'd just like to remind
everyone that Emplant scored what it did while using (according to 
what Jim Drew has told everyone about Emplant running at 0 priority)
about 52% of theCPU's time: after all, the Amiga IS still running
while all of this is going on.

Commodities futures fading fast...
---------------------------------------

Emplant and commodities just do not get along well.  It's not something
I can nail down to one program, but if I don't quit them all, I tend to run
into problems with the system.  I know that KCommodity is a
notoriously bad hack to run with Emplant, and it seems that YAK
has also fallen into that category:  I believe it is responsible for
making Emplant think I'd jammed down the option key.  It's really
not a bad idea to get rid of the commodities anyway, conflicts or no,
simply from the standpoint of memory.  No complaints,  I can go without
ToolsX and YAK if I'm working on the Mac side.

k00l gAmEz, d00d!
--------------------------

Yeah, I know it's a Mac and all, but there ARE a few games worth
playing.  One is Arashi (Tempest), but that doesn't work on 16 colors.
Another is Pararena, which runs great, but I'll talk about it in the next 
section. Another is Glypha (Joust), looks pretty nice, actually.  A couple
cheap older games like Missile and StuntCopter work as well as they're
designed to.  Rescue (Star Trek) is more than decent.  All of these will
require some tweaking with the screen-refresh rates, but in general
work well...unless you enable sound.

Sound?  AAAAAAAAAARRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!
-------------------------

I remember when comp.sys.amiga.emulations was echoing with droves
of Emplant owners DEMANDING Mac stereo sound support.  They got
it.  I got it too.  It works-unquestionably, it emulates Mac sound pretty
well, even fully supporting stereo for the few programs that ask.  But:
It's really, really slow.  Pararena freezes the system for a good half 
second while making sounds.  Glypha is slowed down to unplayability
because the flapping noise happens so often.  StuntCopter looks
crippled.  On the brighter side, SoundTrecker, the Mac MOD player,
DOES indeed work, even supporting stereo.  It does not work at higher
than 44 khz, however (choppy), and the Mac side is rendered completely
useless while the MOD is playing:  simply dragging a window interferes
with the program.  On the Amiga side, you get more latitude, but the
mouse jumps somewhat.  The bright side of all this?  You've got
Paula just waiting to run for you on the other side, and Multi-
Player works MUCH better in conjunction with the Mac emulation
than SoundTrecker does.

Shutdown guru...
------------------------
Some people have reported persistent shutdown gurus.  I have had two
in the fifty-plus times I've shut down the emulation, and I'm not easy
on the software when it's running.  One of them may have been a
result of being in the "TURN POWER OFF" option menu on the Amiga
side.  In all, though, gurus have not been a problem.

YAK...
------
Yak is a very nice program for the Amiga, but it's not making the Mac
very happy.  Among the problems I believe I can attribute to it, I've
had keyboard errors (like it thinking that I'm holding down the option
key incessantly), disk copying errors, and sloooow copying when
it's not erroring, including a 30 to 60 second wait to even bring up the
"Copying" box...



I think I've provided enough things to think about for this week about   
Emplant.  I'm still very happy with the performance of it.  No, it is NOT the
perfect program and nothing is.  How does it compare to A-Max IV?  I'd like to
tell you, but Readysoft is 5 days past the day they said they'd return my fax,
AFTER I let them know they didn't respond the first time.  We'll see.

For now, Emplant is certainly adequately suited to the main purpose for which
Macs are glorified: productivity.  I plan to put PageMaker through some paces
soon, maybe I'll run PageStream on the Amiga side at the same time just for
the irony of it all.

Until then, keep the emulators warm.