Most of the software you use is probably Shareware, this means that if you use it regularly, you are obliged to register it. This can cause major problems when you need to register a foreign product - something which is becoming increasingly likely.
In step the Shareware Support groups such as InterActive and CyberSTrider to make the process easier. Joe Connor runs InterActive and supports some of the most popular programs currently available for TOS compatible computers. He does it in his own time and doesn't make any form of profit, his services are appreciated by all Atari owners. Recently, InterActive received its 1500th registration, no mean feat considering that in some peoples eyes the Atari range has been dead and buried for a long time!
This issue the man himself has his say!
Describe your Atari setup
Atari Falcon 4Mb RAM, internal 250Mb IDE drive, fitted with a GESoft Eagle Sonic 32MHz 68030 accelerator and external (Mega ST) keyboard. Ancillary equipment includes a Sony 17" monitor, EZ Syquest drive, Motorola 28K8 modem and HP Laserjet 4 printer.
My favourite machine at the moment is a Mac Duo Powerbook 280 capable of running at 640x480x16 grey levels, equipped with 12Mb RAM, internal 250Mb SCSI HD and 14K4 modem and running MagiC Mac 1.2.5. Atari computing on the move! Ancillary equipment includes a minidock which the Duo plugs into via a single connecter providing access to a full size Apple Design Keyboard, Floppy drive, EZ Syquest drive, and desktop monitor which I run at 800x600x256 colours several times faster than the Falcon!
My least favourite machine is a PC 486DX266 with internal 500Mb IDE HD and 8Mb RAM. It's a bit long in the tooth now but runs Gemulator quite happily at around Mega STe speed at 640x480x6 colours.
InterActive disk duplication is carried out using an old TOS 1.0, 1040 STFM.
I have another reserve system comprising a Mega ST4 connected to an aging Syquest 44Mb external HD via a Link2 SCSI host adaptor. This runs on an 14" SVGA monitor via a MGEII graphics card equipped with a 68881 maths co-processor.
I've got several other STFMs in various states of decay and another Mega ST, Spectre GCR, a couple of old modems etc but they're pretty much redundant these days.
What is your Atari's main use?
Running InterActive, this involves translation of German software into English, using RufTrade, a dictionary and years of experience. Each project requires a user database (Address), form letters (That's Write 3), disk labels (Calamus) and email contact with the author (Cixcomm/Cixread/StiK/CAB).
How long have you been an Atari user?
Since 1987. On a trip to Germany I saw an STF my brother had purchased and we were both hooked, he was into Games, I was into Computer Aided Design (CAD) and trying out new software.
What is your favourite Atari program?
There's no one favourite, I've fallen into and out of love with Calamus, DynaCADD and CADja but really enjoy most of the software InterActive supports -if I don't like it, I won't support it.
Any information about yourself ie your occupation etc.
Here's my personal entry from the InterActive web pages:
My interest in computers dates back to the early eighties when I was heavily into programming Vic 20s, Commodore Pets, Tangerines etc. but in the mid eighties I got bored with computers which seemed to please my wife for some reason...
Unfortunately (for her) I spotted an Atari ST in Germany in 1987 and my enthusiasm was rekindled -I became a born again computer evangelist, the worst kind!
By happy coincidence some of the best Atari software was being produced in Germany and my pigeon German came in useful hacking programs into English.
Soon after I got online people asked for copies of my hacked software so I got in contact with the authors to arrange permission and that's how InterActive got started.
By profession I'm a product designer and member of the Chartered Society of Designers (Joe Connor MCSD ackshully). I teach product design part time when I'm not playing on computers or with the kids.
Since 1989 I've contributed dozens of articles to ST World, Atari ST Review, Atari World, ST Applications and most recently the most excellent AtariPhile.
I've owned most Atari hardware and software over the years but I'm my current main machine is a Mac Powerbook Duo 280, running MagiC Mac, docked in a Minidock connected to a 17" desktop monitor running 800x600x256 with external keyboard, modem and EZ Syquest.
Technology, sci-fi, armchair football/grand prix, stamp collecting (Edward VII GB only), telephone card collecting, MG Cars (I started to restore my 1966 MG Midget in 1986 and it's still in pieces), good beer (German Weissen, Czech pils, English bitter...)
Broken promises, empty beer bottles, holidays in the sun...
About the scheme
The supported Shareware scheme was started by Joe Connor in 1993 to encourage authors to produce and support English language versions of their software AND to encourage UK users to register 'foreign' software. Recently the scheme was re-launched as InterActive. With currently over 1500 registrations the scheme has established the proven benefits of local support, which include:
Registration fees are set to cover the currency handling, stationary, media and postage costs incurred in mailing out master disks and providing support.
Although primarily a UK support scheme everyone is welcome to register via InterActive as an alternative to registering directly with the author(s).
The currently supported software is:
Version Software Fee Status and description v1.73e Kandinsky 16 [S] Vector art using GDOS/Speedo/NVDI3 v2.03e Kandinsky 2 30 [S] Upgrade from v1.73 costs 16 Sterling v1.51e Two-in-One 13 [S] Archive manager, twin selector style v4.8 GFA Flydials 13 [S] Enhanced GFA GEM routines [G] v1.06e GFA Patch 6+ [F] GFA patchs for most interpreters/compilers v3.5e Everest 11 [S] Text editor, fast and ultra compatible v3.4i Égale 16 [S] File compare, edit and patch editor v5.9e GSZRZ 16 [C] XYZmodem protocols [ACC/PRG/030] v1.4d OCR 11+ [F] Optical Character Recognition v1.3f CD-Player 6+ [F] Play audio CDs v1.3 CAB 6+ [F] Crystal Atari Browser, html browser v1.4e ST-Guide 6+ [R] Hypertext help system [ACC/PRG] v2.1e AppLine 6+ [F] Program manager, a must for MagiC users! v0.4e Remarker 6 [S] Adds remarks to ST-Guide pages [ACC/PRG] v2.63e PacShell 11 [S] Archive manager, alternative desktop style v10.94 STG Creator 6+ [F] Create hypertexts the easy way! v3.71e IdeaList 13 [S] Complete printer management [ACC/PRG] v2.04e Adresse 16 [S] Name & Address database [ACC/PRG] v1.5 Munch 23 [S] Art package, mono only v1.42e TurboBlanker 10+ [S] Falcon screensaver/accelerator[ACC/PRG] v1.15e Freedom 16 [S] Alternative non-modal file selector v1.0b Thing 13# [S] Desktop replacement, full AV server v0.95 Look'n See 20 [S] File manager/viewer, 99 amazing modules! v1.3c A'la Card 25 [S] Adds GFA Basic colour and MagiC Mac support! v1.01e ToDo 13 [S] Project manager, simple notepad style v2.06 GDOS Check 6+ [F] Create GDOS font lists, test printable area v5.21 JML-Snapshot 12 [S] Screen grabber, IMG/IFF/TIF, can grab windows v1.0 Stewart 7 [S] Customise the look & feel for MagiC! [G] v04/96 1st-Guide 20 [S] File viewer/hypertext [ACC/PRG][G] v1.09e GEM-FontView 10 [S] View entire bitmap/vector character set v1.1e GEMTrek 6+ [F] GEM based Battleships clone [ACC/PRG] v1.2 C.O.E. 13 [S] Falcon fantasy wargaming v1.02 Start Me Up! 6+ [F] Start button similar to Windows 95![G] Christoph Zwerschke 10* [F] LED Panel, DiskCake, FontSel, Ikarus etc Coming soon: v1.03 McBoot 15 [S] Boot manager for all TOS based machines [G] v1.02 Notice 13 [S] Desktop accessory editor, STG/ASCII/Binary v2.x STella TBA [S] Image database, manager, viewer and editor
Key: [C]=Commercial [S]=Shareware [F]=Freeware [R]=Fairware [G]=German [GD]=German Docs +=Minimum *=All titles [ACC]=Accessory [PRG]=Application =Separate 030 version All prices in pounds Sterling! #=Registered users only
How to register from inside the UK
1) Use the included ORDER_FM.TXT to select the required software
2) Make sure your name and address is included and legible!
3) Make cheques/POs payable to InterActive for the total amount
4) Send the completed order form and payment to InterActive
Additionally from outside the UK
Make certain payment is in Sterling drawn on a UK bank address
Canada: Canadian Post Office money orders made out in *Sterling* are perfect! France: For some reason I'm getting a number of local cheques (i.e. written in Sterling but drawn on a french bank address. I can accept these but they cost £5 to negoiate so you must add an extra £5 to your order total. Europe: In general Post Office money orders are the best way to pay. Australia: Thanks for all the pretty plastic Aussie dollars guys -but I'd rather have Sterling! Visit your Post Office and get a money order made out in *Sterling*. USA: What a nightmare! Can I suggest a day trip to a Canadian post office? I've seen it all, Amex travellers cheques (add £5 to order total), local cheques (no can do), cash (fine -but at your own risk). There's currently no sensible solution.
Mail: 65 Mill Road, Colchester, Essex, CO4 5LJ, England Email: Internet: firstname.lastname@example.org NeST: 90:email@example.com Fanfiles: 95:firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: UK+(0)1206 852602 Leave a message on the answerphone!
To receive an update send a self addressed envelope including return postage (or IRC) and an unlabelled double sided floppy disk. Please state clearly:
1) The software you'd like updated
2) The version you're currently using
How long will I have to wait?
Due to the number of people taking advantage of the service I can't always reply as quickly as I'd like to. Often I'm waiting for a new version or simply too busy earning a living so please be patient!
If you have Internet access
InterActive have temporary web pages on:
You can obtain new English language releases via anonymous ftp, www, gopher, telnet or batch ftp from:
Path on hensa: micros/atari/tos/...
If you have a modem but no ftp access
You can obtain the latest English language releases from 42BBS:
SysOp: Colin Fisher-McAllum Telephone: UK+(0)1256 895106 System: 24 hour/28.8K modem/Falcon/8N1
Other Bulletin boards and ftp sites are allowed to carry the on-line archives but because minor updates to the English language version are sometimes made without changing the version number hensa and 42BBS are the places to go to ensure you have the very latest versions!