News

George Richardson (Gadgets by Small) on Genie replies...

...The ’030 and Megatalk will be compatible with each other. In fact you should be able to use any available expansion card with the ’030. ...Boards designed for Jim’s board won’t fit on ours. On the other hand, we’re already looking at several different types of expansion cards.

...An adapter to fit VME boards is also possible, so that if anyone packages a VME board setup for the TT, owners of the Gadgets board will also be able to use it.

News from Around the Nets

 Newsgroups: comp.sys.atari.st
 Subject: STE’s in Europe..lack of SIMMS
 Date: 2 Dec 90 01:10:38 GMT
 A response from Atari on this one please!

Here in Europe, Atari are now shipping some STE’s with soldered in RAM. Forgive me if i’m wrong, but was one of the plus points of the STE not the easy memory upgrades using SIMM’s?

I reckon Atari are peeved that people are buying 520STE’s and pluggin in extra SIMM modules. Atari would rather people buy the 1040STE. However, there is no difference between the 520STE and 1040STE apart from the larger memory...so why splash out extra dosh for a 1040STE?

I reckon Atari have dug themselves into this hole. The basic hardware of all their machines is the same...face it...there is absolutely no reason to buy a 1040STE.

But why do Ataari have to go and spoil it and solder in ram. It’s going to confuse memory upgrading even more. On a different note, I’ve just bought the new SIMM Ram board for my normal ST from Evesham Micros here in the UK. It costs 89 UK pounds when it comes with 2x256K simm’s which upgrades a 520ST to 1Mb of ram. This allows me the easy-upgradeability of the STE range (hah!). I can currently get 1Mb simm’s for 30 pounds.. to upgrade my ST to 4Mb would cost me 120 pounds in the future. Hmm.. why would a Mega 4ST cost me hundreds more grin Time for some price reductions Atari!

Rich

 Category 14,  Topic 35
 Message 288       Tue Jan 08, 1991
 J.HICKEY6                    at 19:20 PST

I have it from a reliable source that a simple jumper change in either the TT or the MegaSTE will enable 1.44MB drives to be used. Also, that same source mentioned an upgraded WDC 1772 that also accomodates 1.44MB. Should make for an easy upgrade of all ST’s!
Jack

Z*NET CANADA

by Terry Schreiber, Contributing Editor

1990: A POSITIVE YEAR FOR CANADA

Canadian sales remained positive despite it’s falling enthusiasm in U.S. This year broke the barrier into the educational market, strenghtened it’s dealer and VAR markets and basically stood up and said we are alive and well and are fully intent on kicking some butt.

Atari Canada ran dealer promotions through all four quarters in 1990 with great success, this follows the European idea of bundling their packages. This year also marked the first year Atari bundled MIDI packages, I also believe the first time they have bundled second party hardware with their systems.

This year the competition introduced it’s new low priced models. Atari immediately responded by dropping the suggested retail of the 1040STE three hundred dollars to $695.00. In comparison the Amiga 500 selling at a local discounter for $599.00 or the Mac Classic selling for $1495.00.

Atari announced a trade-up program on the new TT product. Atari will pay up to $450.00 trade-in on any ST system towards the TT. (Dealers may pay more) Trade-in’s are to be refurbished and donated to charity or used for educational purposes. This is seen as a very positive move on Atari’s part in the fact that more programs such as this might be seen in future on other products.

People are becoming more service oriented an again Atari was there. Atari Canada spent $100,000.00 in their service department this year bringing in the latest in test equipment to speed up repairs and customer downtime. As for experience I can only state that a 50% improvement has personally been noted.

Advertising and Atari has been an issue in the past with most users. Why can’t Atari advertise their computers? Well this year they did, not where most would want to see it, but in print. Who got the TV slots? The Lynx, the same image that Atari was trying to live down. We are realistic so lets examine why the TV dollars went to the Lynx. What ages are we attracting with the Lynx? The second question is “does the majority of that market read newspapers or magazines?” This could be why most TV advertising in Canada was slated to Much Music, a video music network. Promotions on the Lynx were also seen on a National level on Neilson’s Candy Bars in their “Win a Lynx” campaign running third and fourth quarters this year.

Atari - My Prospective!

The Crystal Ball is a little fuzzy perhaps I should have traded this one in on some Tarot cards. What I personally feel could help Atari will probably never get to the powers which be but it’s Christmas, my gift to you - Sam.

An Educational Program for students is in dire need. Students, with valid cards could purchase the systems at a reduced rate. I have noticed that most Universities and College campuses now carry computer equipment right on site for sale to students and faculty, Where’s Atari? This offer should be extended to cover other schools as well, in fact all schools. Dealers could handle this as a rebate situation, claiming for reductions on their next orders. An educational package with good literature on software availability and pricing will sell the Atari. (It also doesn’t hurt to push the Emulation aspect as well)

Computer Labs should be set up in most major cities. I know myself, that a lab here would prove invaluable, Atari should include classes or tutorials with their systems. This may not be feasible nationwide but in major centres it is a must. With computer labs in place, User Groups could be called upon to teach the new buyer how to use their computer. The Groups could be compensated by Atari in product and lab time. The cost to Atari, minimal at most in comparison with the potential dollars in sales, advertising dollars and good will this would generate.

Employee purchase plans are another aspect of sales to look at. Employees of companies can purchase a computer system through their work by payroll deductions. Computers are offered at discounts and no interest charges and underwritten by the company. This has many benefits in the fact that the employer can introduce his staff into the High Tech market and get a more computer literate employee. This also helps to boost staff morale when you share common interests. Atari will benefit because the people that would never think of going out and buying a computer will purchase one in this types of a situation. It sort of like keeping up with the neighbors, “John bought one so I guess I will too, must be something to it!” a physiological approach but thats sales.

User Group members of two years or more should be allowed to purchase equipment at a discount price. Dealers, when selling equipment, build into their pricing the cost of support to that customer. There is no need for this for a person who is not a first time user and Atari should reward repeat buyers with some sort of plan or rebate off the price. After all, these are the people who keep your machine alive out there with their newsletters, bulletin boards, meetings and support of your product while you are the one making money. What if the Users Groups said “NO MORE FREE RIDES” Don’t you feel you owe them something in return?

Advertising, yes we would all like to see the computers advertised on television if not for sales then for our own re-assurance that the computer is still being sold. Advertisements in print may carry more bang for the buck but the memory of the ad will have faded long before the memory of a good TV commercial. Yes, Atari needs to advertise but it is you, the end user now, that is their best source of sales. Show your friends and relatives what the computer can do, you have a captive audience. Someone once said “Atari Computers - The world’s best kept secret” and I believe them to be right. Many people feel that if there were more computers out in the hands of end users that again there would be that much more support for Atari products. I don’t know if I agree or disagree with that synopsis, but I think a few hundred thousand more end users would carry more weight with development and manufacturing of new hardware and software.

Z*NET INDUSTRY NEWSWIRE

PC DATATIMES

Newspapers can now create their own low-cost in-house library databases through the powerful new “PC Datatimes” software system. The new system enables small and mid-sized papers to build computerized libraries using stand-alone personal computers. DataTimes expects that many of the newspapers installing “PC DataTimes” will become available on its worldwide online information network. DataTimes subscribers use their computers to electronically access the files of more than 645 publications, news services and financial databases from four continents. DataTimes is an industry reseller for Personal Library Software Inc. of Rockville, Md. For more information contact: DataTimes, Oklahoma City, Ed Roach, Newspaper Marketing Manager, (405) 751-6400.

SAN FRANCISCO PASSES VDT BILL

Last week we reported that San Francisco California’s city supervisors had been deciding upon a measure to protect users of video display terminals, (VDT). The bill, approved over the protests of business leaders, now goes to Mayor Art Agnos for signature. The measure mandates adjustable chairs, special lighting and rest breaks. Affecting all city government and businesses with 15 or more employees, the bill also requires glare shields, detachable keyboards and tables with sufficient leg space. If signed, companies have two years to implement the provision, after which violators could be fined up to $500 per day. The Mayor has ten days to decide and sign the provision.

NEW VIRUS UNCOVERED

A new computer virus has been found in the Apple Mac. The virus, called ZUC B, forces the computer’s cursor to drift across the screen. When the virus finally reaches the Mac’s Finder software, cursor control becomes impossible.

Z*NET GERMANY

by Michael Schuetz, Contributing Editor

-- Alwin Stumpf to take Kenans position at Atari North America? -- Mega STE4 available in Germany shortly after Christmas 1990. --

As Z*NET reported this fall in a totally surprising newsbreak, Elie Kenan, who had stirred so many hopes in North America left the US in October to go back to France. Up until now no official confirmation or comment has been made by Atari USA. Now just before Christmas there comes another newsflash - this time out of Atari’s stronghold in Europe, GERMANY!

Word is being spread in Germany that the head of Atari Germany, Alwin Stumpf, will pick up the work where Kenan has stopped. It is said that he will leave Europe in a few weeks to go to North America. At first he is supposed to stay there approximately a year. Again - no official comment or confirmation is available from Atari, but one of Germany’s most reputated newspapers, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), had a big article about Atari in its issue from Thursday, December 20th, 1990. The article covered several aspects about Atari in Germany, among them the story about the KAOS TOS 1.4.2 and last but not least it was mentioned that Alwin Stumpf will move to Canada shortly to steer the matters of Atari in North America from there.

Stumpf switched from Commodore Germany to become the head of Atari Germany shortly after Jack Tramiel had taken over Atari in the middle of the 80ies. May be he will be able to turn around the situation in North America to Ataris favour. It is no secret that Germany is one of the best, if not THE best, Atari subsidary. Atari has done things in Germany that most US Atarians have just been dreaming of ever since 1985: They have and still are heavely advertising their computers.

Since 1985 several TV commercials could be seen at prime time in the major TV stations for the ST. Radio commercials are constantly praising Atari computers and since the TT is selling here in Germany, several ads for it have been placed both in magazines and newspapers.

Let’s hope that the spring of 1991 will see a new blossoming of Atari in North America with it’s new line of Mega STEs and TTs. By the way - as reported two weeks ago, Atari held the press conference in Munich, Germany, on December 12th. Just as expected they showed off the Mega STE. It was said there, that a limited number of Mega STEs is already on its way to Germany. The first units are believed to arrive at dealers shelves shortly after Christmas. At first only one configuration of the Mega STE will be available in Germany. It will be the Mega STE 4 with a 48 MB harddrive. The official retail price for this unit will be DM 3.000 (approx. US$ 2000) including the SM124 monochrome monitor.


Are you interested in programming on the ST but can’t afford the Atari developer’s package? Here’s three books that are “must haves”...

From Stan Sensy on Genie: I received all three of the Compute’s Reference Books from Micro-Tyme, a mail order house in Ohio. The number is 1-800-255-5835. This was a few months back, but they still list them in their advertisement in STart. If you can’t get them there, here are the titles, ISBN numbers, and the price listed on the book.

    Atari ST : VDI          ISBN 0-87455-093-9          $19.95
    Atari ST : AES          ISBN 0-87455-114-5          $19.95
    Atari ST : TOS          ISBN 0-87455-149-8          $24.95

I don’t know if they still have them in stock. If not, you should be able to order from B. Dalton or Waldenbooks as long as you have the ISBN info.


Some interesting information about the new STe’s. It looks as if Atari is finally shipping them with TOS 1.62 installed.

From John Townsend (Atari) on Genie: ...STE machines are now being manufacturered with TOS 1.62, MEGA STE machines will have their own version and the TT was 3.01. None of these OS versions require any patch programs at all. ...TOS 1.4 upgrades are still being shipped the same way.

MOTOROLA SHIPPING 68040 CHIP

Motorola recently announced that it has begun volume shipments of its 68040 microprocessor. Motorola introduced the state-of-the-art chip in March 1990 with expectations of large volume shipments by summer, bugs in the complex microprocessor forced delay. The chip packs 1.2 million transistors on a tiny piece of silicon. The chip is expected to be in short supply for several months as Motorola attempts to fill a backlog of orders from several companies, including Apple Computer Inc., Unisys Corp. and NEC Corp.

Z*NET NEWSWIRE

Including the Canadian Newswire

TT BEGINS SHIPPING TO USA DEALERS

Yes, the TT030 machine has in fact begun shipping to US dealers as a TYPE A COMMERCIAL USE device. The price for the base unit, a 2 MEG RAM, 50 MEG hard drive device, is still $2,995. Only VARs (Value Added Resellers) and “qualified dealers” can get the TT, and must send Atari a letter assuring that the machines will not be sold to consumer, residential users. The FCC is getting concerned with improper sales of Type A devices, such as the STacy and the TT, and is considering slapping a $5,000 per machine fine on those sold for improper use.

BEACH BOY JOINS ATARI

James Grunke, technical man for the super group BEACH BOYS, is leaving the band to replace Frank Foster at Atari as the Music Industry Representative and MIDI promoter. James will begin work on January 1, 1991. Foster left in early September.

FULTON JOINS ATARI

Formerly of NEOCEPT, makers of the powerful WORD UP graphic word processor for the Atari, programmer Mike Fulton has been hired and has begun work in Atari’s customer and developer support area. This fuels earlier speculation that Atari may eventually buy and support Word Up as an Atari brand product.

SPC BUG GETS TRACKED

Users are closing in on just what triggers one of the most obscure (and innocuous) bugs in the new TOS 1.6. Becoming known as the SPC bug (for SHOW, PRINT, CANCEL), this one causes an executable program to occasionally be offered for viewing as text rather than loading when double clicked. While this is seldom more than the briefest of annoyances, with the advent of “live icons” upon us, the dropping out of “load” mode when pulling a document to an application can be troublesome. A recent discussion on GEnie turned up the fact that the bug happens with much predictability if the entire pathname (without drive specifier) totals exactly 16 characters in length. This may help Atari find the actual cause, but can also help users avoid it. Says one user: “I just got a call from a client who... was having problems with Microsoft Write. I immediately asked him if the filename was WRITE.PRG and if it wasn’t perhaps in a folder named \WRITE\ (totalling 16 characters in the path). Indeed it was, and I asked him to rename the folder to \MSWRITE. He did, ran MSW, and it worked perfectly.”

PIRATE GETS 5 YEARS

Dennis Hayes, the Cincinnati resident who pleaded guilty in late October to selling more then 5,000 copies of pirates MacIntosh ROMS was sentenced to 5 years in prison this week. In the original half million dollar chip bust, Hayes sold copied MacIntosh ROM chips for between 130 and 195 dollars per set. Atari users were said to have purchased many of the ROMs for the Spectre Mac Emulator for the ST. Dave Small of Gadget’s By Small stated in October that there were many legitimate sources for Mac ROMs and that the marketplace should not be affected by this event.

ATARI EXPLORER UPDATE

The Atari in-house publication Explorer is still around. Production delays seem to be the problem and we have been told to expect release in January 1991.

FIRST VDT SAFETY MEASURES ADOPTED

San Francisco California’s Board of Supervisors tentatively adopted on the nation’s first active VDT safety regulations. The new regulations would require employers with 15 or more workers to provide a mandatory 15 minute break. Also, adjustable swivel chairs, document holders and computer terminals with detachable keyboards and adjustable, non-glare screens must be supplied. Private and government offices would have two years to comply with the VDT safety rules if the ordinance is approved a second time by the supervisors and signed by San Fransisco Mayor Art Agnos.

BSA SUES FRENCH AND UK FIRMS

The Business Software Alliance has brought copyright violation lawsuits against divisions of Rhone-Poulenc of France and General Electric Co. of Britain, alleging software piracy. BSA members Microsoft, Lotus and Ashton-Tate corporations jointly sued Rhone-Poulenc’s Films division seeking $1 million in damages. They were then joined by WordPerfect Corp. in filing the suit in Britain against Marconi Instruments Ltd., a unit of GEC.

EUROPE ADOPTS SOFTWARE PIRACY MEASURES

European Community ministers have unanimously adopted new measures to fight software piracy. The measures would grant software the same treatment as literary works, which are protected under the international Berne Convention on copyrights. Copyright holders would have exclusive rights to authorize the reproduction, adaptation, translation or rental of their works.

ATARI CANADA DROPS PRICES

Atari Canada announced a $300.00 drop in the suggested retail pricing of the 1040STE bringing the price down to an incredible $699.00. One can only assume the reasons behind the price drop as being one of the following:

In any such case it is the consumer who makes the buying decision and with the drop in pricing it makes the 1040STE a viable and attractive alternative once again to the competition in it’s class. The STE can easily be upgraded up to a powerful four megabyte machine by the simple replacement of SIMM memory panels. It also has an enhanced color palette and stereo sound, MIDI ports and Blitter chip. Where’s the competition?

ATARI OFFERS UPGRADES

Atari is offering through December 31st a $450.00 trade in on any 520 or 1040 towards a new Atari TT. This offer is available through any Canadian Authorized TT dealer. Push, pull or drag your machine to your nearest dealer to take advantage of this offer. Trade in machines will be refurbished and given to charity or used in an educational program. U.S. customers wishing more information can call (604) 275-7944 for pricing.



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