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                               Reader Mail
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Date: 08 Jul 96 10:31:40 -500
From: bka@idirect.com (Brad Avery)
Subject: Reader mail

Jason,

 After reading a letter, by Nigel Milnes, in issue 4.09 of the 30th
of June 1996, I finally broke down & decided it was time to write in.

 In the letter Nigel claimed that he bought a 12MHz 68000 chip & put
it in his A500 resulting in faster system performance as well as MMU
support. This is simply not possible.

 The 12MHz rating on the chip Nigel bought means it is capable of running
at 12MHz & the 8MHz rating on the standard C= one means it is capable
of running at 8MHz. Just because a cpu is capable of running at a certain
speed, does not mean it will run at that speed automatically. A cpu only
runs as fast as the crystal clocking it. In the case of the A500 C= used
a 7.14MHz cpu clock. They used the 8MHz version cpu because it was rated
high enough to handle their 7.14MHz clock. By Nigel putting a 12MHz cpu
in his system, it acheives no speed increase (as verified by his SysInfo
test) because the cpu is still being clocked at 7.14MHz. The only way to
speed up the system would be to alter the clock signal - to a maximum of
12MHz in his current situation. This however, if possible, would throw
the systems timing off, since one clock is dependent on another in the
A500, and would most likely render the system unusable.

 The MMU capability he speaks of, doesn't seem right either. The 68000
had no internal MMU, it used the 68451 external MMU. The 68020 used the
68851 (I believe) & the > 68020 cpu's (non EC version) have one built in.
Not being too familiar with ImageFX, I'd have to wonder if it used non
MMU based virtual memory like Image Studio does.

 I hope nobody ran out & wasted their money buying a 12MHz 68000 chip,
because the A500 doesn't use an independent cpu crystal & therefore
cannot be changed to properly clock a higher rated cpu.

Brad Avery
Toronto,Ontario
CANADA

P.S. I love the magazine. Keep up the good work!

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From: penguin@isns1.shasta.com (Larry Penland)
Date: Sun, 07 Jul 1996 02:59:31
Subject: The Winning EDGE ONLINE

Hello Jason,

I read the letter from Michael Ingleby in AR4.09. It struck me that while a
MIDI interface built into the NEXT GENERATION AMIGA is a good idea, it is
less than a winning strategy for the future. The great majority of the
public "don't know from Midi and could care less".  What the Amiga has
needed for a long time is built in connectivity (read networking) but that
is not a killer either. Most Amigas will live far from one another.

There is a technology coming on line that could be the next killer
application, CABLE MODEMs. Motorola (among others) has started producing
new modems to connect over cable television. Each manufacturer has his own
take on what they are but there seems to be some common specs. Fiber optic
cable will carry the information from system to system,and into the
Internet, but coax cable will carry television and digital information from
the system headend to the home.  Coax has a theoretical bandwidth of 30
megabits per second (30Mbps), but actual throughput will be lower because
the bandwidth is shared among the cable subscribers.  The Motorola
Cybersurfer cable modems have the ability to download from the cable
headend at 10 Mbps and to upload from your computer at 768 kilobits per
second (768 Kbps). This compares to 33.6 Kbps for the current fastest
analog telephone modems, and 128 Kbps for ISDN.

Television cable systems will have to rebuild their systems to allow
bi-directional amplification and communication, and many are making plans
to do that. Then each system will need to choose the modem technology that
they will use. TCI, the largest cable company in the world is getting ready
to launch the @HOME network. It seems to be supporting several
modems,including the Motorola.

The articles and advertisements that I have seen do not list how these
cable modems will connect to the computer. So in search of more info, I got
onto the @HOME webpage (www.home.net).  The specs listed there call for a
minimum system (PEE CEE of course) that includes a 10 base Ethernet
networking card.  For those who don't know,10 Base is 10 Mbps. Sound
familiar?  So it appears that the cable modem connection is going to be via
ethernet interface. If this is the case, and since the Amiga could use good
networking in professional arenas, a built in 10base ethernet on the low
end machines would position them for the new high speed connections into
the Internet via cable modem and on University and College networks. For
the highend machines it would be nice to have the interface easily
upgradable to the newer 100 base ethernet.

A MIDI interface would be nice but since the cable modem would allow a
permanent connection into the internet it will touch many more needs in the
future.  Of course both would be even better.

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Date: 10 Jul 96 17:18:34 +0500
From: george@aic.net.au (George L)
Subject: ImageFX upgrades

Jason,

I'd like to publicly say thanks to Nova Design Inc for a great product
(ImageFX) and even better support.

A few weeks ago, I purchased ImageFX 2.1a from a local Amiga dealer for the
full price of $400AU.  After reading AR408, I learned that version 2.6 was
available and that ver2.1's price had been reduced.

I wrote a letter to Nova Design enquiring about the upgrade deal, and from
'outta the blue' I promptly received a free upgrade to version 2.6

Its service like this that makes me proud to own an Amiga...
Keep up the good work,

Regards,
George.

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Date: Wed, 03 Jul 1996 09:21:05 -0700
From: Dean Husby <dhusby@intergate.bc.ca>
Subject: Reader Mail

I just read the article 'EZ135 Follow up' in AR4.09.

I thought Paul's review the first time was based on greed.  More speed and
megs...  But, you have to give someplace for that extra speed.  In this
case, as poor Paul found out, was quality.  It sounds like he's bent his
drive head out of alienment.  A Syquest repair.  He should ship the drive
to them demanding it to be repaired...  He claims the Zip to be 'Dog Slow'
and is too light.  (That I agree on.  You cannot use it in the upright
position because it will fall over.   ((I use Both cable ports))) To fix
this problem, you can buy a LEAD strip and attach it to the back/side of
the drive if you feel it's that needed.  But 'Dog Slow'?  Not quite!

The Zip drive runs at about 940k on my A3000 (sysinfo) and does have a
access time of about 29ms.   IF you optimize the disk it runs much quicker
since it's the search time that slows down the drive and not the actual
Data Transfer rate.

I've owned my Zip: Drive since DEC.  '95 and have 7 disks currently.  I
have it chained to 4 other devices in my external SCSI case.  (easy to
make!) With No problems in Set up/formating/conflicts.

I have dropped 3 of my Zip: Disks about 4 feet onto tile with NO DATA loss.
This proved my choice was the right one. 

Spin up and loading/unloading are a dream. 4 seconds until I can use it.

Paul also said that the ZIP was the way to go in the end, I'm glad he's
seen the light, but with more and more Amiga users hailing the JAZ drive
now, with it's fast speed and 1 gig space...  I do hope people listen and
not buy the Syquest rip off coming out...

Thanks

Dean (TFM on #amiga)

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From: rknop@mop.caltech.edu <Rob Knop>
Subject: Reader Mail

Hi Jason -- this for either the "Reader Mail" or the "Opinion" section of
AR, whatever you think best.

These are just some thoughts I had seeing Robert Davis' article on being
on the internet in AR409.

I think that many people, Amiga users in particular, underestimate the
value of a Unix shell internet account.  There are three primary
advantages to such an account.  (1) It's easy to set up.  (2) It's fast.
(3) It's available from anywhere you have a computer with a modem and any
plotz terminal program.  Sure, it's limited, and sure, it doesn't cost
that much more to have a PPP account nowadays.  However, there is much to
be said for it, and you can do _most_ of what you end up really wanting to
be able to do with an internet account anyway.

As regards the first point.  On a local BBS I call, every so often somebody
will log on and post how they are having a terrible time getting AmiTCP to
work.  Invariably, the sysop or somebody else suggests that I might be able
to help, since I'm a bit of an AmiTCP junkie.  (Not only did I write a few
small pieces of Napsaterm, but I've got AmiTCP running both on an A3000 with
an ethernet card (tmnwh.caltech.edu) and over a PPP account.)  And,
invariably, I fail to get the poor chap going.  Always, I know going into
it, that the only way for me to really help would be to go to his computer,
sit down, and futz around until I got things working.

With a shell account, you run your terminal program.  Lots of people know
how to run terminal programs.  It's trivial in comparison to getting
AmiTCP running.  You log on, and things work.  Sure, Unix isn't intuitive,
but if you are an Amiga shell user, you won't find Unix that prohibitive.
And it has perfectly usable E-mail programs (I recommend Pine) along with
a host of other utilities.

The second point, speed.  This is the most significant one.  When people
discuss the internet account they're trying to get, I suggest perhaps a
shell account.  They always say, oh, no, you can't do the internet without
graphics nowadays.  Well, sure, there're a lot of graphics out there.  But
IMHO the most important part of the internet is E-mail -- which is text,
text, text.  Even cruising the web, sure, the graphics are pretty, but most
of the _information_ you're actually after is text based.  Now, here's the
rub.  If you're using a 14.4K modem, or even a 28.8K modem, a web page with
big graphics -- the sort of page which inspired you to get a graphical
internet connection in the first place -- will take bloody _forever_ to
load.  When I use AWeb or another Amiga browser from home, I generally turn
off automatic image loading and only load a few of the images I think I want
to see.

With a Unix shell account, you can run lynx, which is a perfectly effective
world wide web browser.  No graphics, but all the text.  And, it's faster!
On two or three fronts.  One, you don't wait for the graphics to load.  Two,
rendering the plain ASCII text is faster for lynx than rendering the fonts
is for graphical browsers (this is a minor effect).  Three -- and I doubt
most people fully appreciate this -- if you visit a long document, the whole
document doesn't have to go through the 14.4Kbaud or 28.8Kbaud bottleneck
that is your modem.  You visit a 100Kbyte text document, being interested in
only a small piece of it.  If you are running the browser on your computer
over a PPP connection, the full 100K has to be sent over the modem to your
computer.  If you're running Lynx on a Unix shell account, the server you
have your shell account on gets the 100K document, and all that gets sent
over the modem is the text that's visible on your screen.

The third point, availability.  Once you've finally got your Amiga set up to
run your PPP account, you can probably fairly easily access it -- from
_that_ Amiga.  A Unix shell account, you can access from pretty much any
terminal.  You can even telnet into it, generally, from another account
(e.g. a friend's)!  If your Amiga has a hard drive crash, you don't have to
be disconnected from your E-mail when all you can do is borrow your friend's
PC.

So, this has become long and rambling.  But, to summarize my point, yes,
there are things a PPP account has to offer, and advantages to having your
Amiga fully "on the internet."  On the other hand, for most of what most
people do on the internet, a text-based shell account is a perfectly fine
solution -- and it's easier, often somewhat cheaper, and faster than a PPP
account.  If what you want is to be able to cruise the web to look for
textual information there, and to receive and send E-mail, don't a priori
eschew a Unix shell account because it's not "the hot thing."

-Rob Knop

                            --- --- --- --- ---

From: jmason@dynanet.com
Subject: I think I know what the problem is with the EZ135 or AR Mail
Date: Thu, 04 Jul 1996 16:34:17 GMT

I own several computers, and while I haven't encountered any problems using
the EZ on my A2000 yet, I expect I will.  I hope to make this story as
short as possible, but I must say that it is complicated.  In fact, reading
this from bottom to top may be a good idea...

My troubles all started when I decided to re-tool my substandard 486DX2/66.
I bought a SCSI controller, a replacement EIDE controller, and the EZ.  I
installed the SCSI card, its drivers and the EZ, and its drivers first... 
Surprisingly, there were no headaches involved in this process.  So I
thought to myself, "Great, my luck must have changed, usually this requires
hours of tinkering because of IRQ conflict this, EMM386 that, and HDD
failure 'what?'"

Well, the EIDE controller fix that notion right quick.  After installation
everything seems fine.  Until the SQDRIVER.SYS line in my CONFIG.SYS, then
my machine hangs...  Well after a long exchange of email with EIDE card's
tech support people, we came to the conclusion that it was fault in the
motherboard (it's motherboard from hell BTW).  I also called Syquest around
this time and was told to try using the software supplied with my SCSI
card.  Things were fine and I was told that there shouldn't be a problem
using the SCSI card's software.

Now here's the bit that will be of interest to AMIGA users with EZ135
drives.

Recently, cartridges formatted after I began using the generic driver have
become grossly unreliable.  I became very concerned and started by
contacting Syquest.  I asked them if it could be electromagnetic
interference affecting the drive or the SCSI cable, I asked if it were
possible brownouts were the cause, I also asked if it were because I was
using generic drivers and disk utility software.  All the tech support
representative I sent email to could come up with was "You could get the
cartridges replaced by calling ourcustomer [sic] service @ 1 800 245-2278."

That didn't tell me if there might be a fault in my EZ Drive, or the
cartridges, the SCSI cable, the placement of the drive (relative to other
equipment), or the software I was using.  So I started to re-evaluate the
situation, and I stumbled onto what I think is the answer.

I started trying to recover the data on the cartridges before I reformatted
them to see if the problem was consistent.  And then I noticed it.  A
consistency between all the cartridges with errors.  They all had roughly
50MB of space remaining.  Then it struck me.  When I was using the Syquest
software, the drive didn't seem to actually get formatted.  Instead it
seems as if the software altered the file structure.  After all, how can
you have IBM software "hidden" on a Macintosh formatted cartridge.  When I
used the generic software, it too seemed not to physically format the
drive, it only partitioned it (I'm assuming that's what it did).  This
leads me to believe (and reading the little insert that comes with each
cartridge supports) is that that portion of the cartridge containing the
Mac/DOS/Windows software still exists and this is what causes the problem.

I can't say if a low level format will solve the problem, or if it will
simply cause more problems.  What I think the AMIGA community needs to do
is let the folks at Syquest know they are not amused.  And see if whoever
developed the Zip tools for the Iomega Zip drive can create similar
software for the EZ135 Drive.

I've tried sent email to Syquest and to Adaptec (the makers of my SCSI
card) but have yet to receive a reply.  So if I find out anything new, I'll
let you know.