The December 21st meeting is CUCUG's Annual Meeting where the officers for the next year are elected, the Treasurer's Annual Report to the membership on the health of the club is given, and general festivities are engaged in. Come do your civic duty and renew the spirit of fun in being a member of the best user group around!
We'd also like to thank our renewing members who will be the standard bearers for CUCUG in 1996: Quentin Barnes, Mark Bellon, Lowella Biddle, Fred Cline, Jerry Feltner, Rich Hall, Kevin Hisel, Kevin Hopkins, Jim Huls, Robert Kidd, Herb Kirkley, Craig Kummerow, Mike Latinovich, Jim Lewis, Paul Petersen, Ed Serbe, and Anderson Yau.
If you renewed and your name is not listed above, let us know so we can update our list.
The election of 1996 CUCUG officers will take place at the December meeting. Additional candidate nominations will be accepted from the floor at that time.
The following CUCUG members were nominated for elected office at the November meeting.
President: Richard Rollins
Vice President: Emil Cobb
Treasurer: Mark Landman
Secretary: Kevin Hopkins
Corporation Agent: Jim Lewis
The move to our bigger, better server bluestem is in progress.
During November and December, Wednesdays from 6am - 4pm are being set aside for systems work which may involve both:
1) downtime of several hours at a time and
2) bringing the system down on short notice.
Please plan online time accordingly.
Here is the official word we received just yesterday from the Internic (the body that coordinates domain names on the Internet). In just a few days, CUCUG.ORG will be official all over the Internet.
What's all this mean? Well, for starters, our world-famous Amiga Web Directory web page will now be accessible at http://www.cucug.org/amiga.html and people can get to the main CUCUG WWW page at http://www.cucug.org/. One other little side-benefit for those of you who now have an account on CU-Online is that you can be known as email@example.com. I'm khisel @ cucug.org, and President Huls is *now non-published*.
If someone is looking for CUCUG and they're on a net-connected machine, they can find our information just by doing a 'whois cucug' and they'll receive most of our information.
Thanks again go out to CU-Online (217-356-4009 or firstname.lastname@example.org) for sponsoring CUCUG on the Internet!
Tuesday, November 28 - The Amiga A4000T units have shipped.
The first shipment of A4000T systems are on their way to dealers. Volume supplies should ramp up very quickly.
At approximately noon today, the first shipment of A4000T systems arrived at our warehouse. We are turning these systems around immediately. Some dealers have requested that part of their first orders be sent overnight. All will be on their way to dealers tomorrow.
Please note: Not all dealers who are authorized and claim to have ordered systems have placed orders. If you intend to purchase a systems BE CAREFUL. We have had reports of customers prepaying unauthorized dealers for systems. There are no systems going to unauthorized dealers. Dealer lists are posted daily. If you cannot locate an authorized dealer, contact the SMG at 410-715-6850. BE CAREFUL.
Note: this message is from Paul Bielski, of SMG. So, it's hardly a rumor!
This is my translation of a news-bulletin found on the Escom HomePage:
CD-ROM drive: Q-Drive 1241
The Q-Drive 1241, the CD-ROM for the Amiga 1200, will be released at the end of January 1996. The Q-Drive can be connected to the PCMCIA port. The 1241 is a Quad Speed Panasonic drive. Software for reading PhotoCDs and playing audio CDs will be part of the package. Also Aminet #8 will be included. The drive will have a price-tag of about HFl. 599, - (about US$ 350,-)
Amiga 1200 with a Internet package: Surfer
At the end of January 1996, Amiga Technologies will release a new package, called The Surfer. This package includes a 14K4 modem, a dialer, a ftp-client, an Email program, an IRC-client, an Email program, a news-reader and a WWW browser. Estimated price: HFL. 400 (about US$ 235,-)
The Amiga xxx
A new Amiga is planned to be shown at the CeBIT 1996. This new Amiga (exact name still unknown) will have 2 SIMM-sockets, a 68030 (clockspeed unknown), and a CD-Rom drive (instead of the floppy-drive). The new Amiga will be not be available before the third quarter of 1996. Expected price HFl 1899,- (about US$ 1117,-)
New monitors: 15" and 17"
The new monitors are probably released in April 1996.
A bundle with Mac CDRoms and Emplant software will be released in the second quarter of 1996. (Personal note: I don't quite understand what this will be. A kind of SS ?)
Amiga Set Top Box
A set-top box, based on the Amiga technology, is planned for fall 1996. It will have a infrared keyboard with built-in mouse.
The PowerAmiga is expected to be released in the second quarter of 1997.
Olaf Barthel was hired as some type of programming consultant to AT about 2-3 weeks ago to, I believe, work on the new AmigaOS. I knew about this, but really didn't know if he wanted it public knowledge, but, well, he said that he not only didn't care if all of you found out about it, but that since AT isn't collecting opinions, he just might... Now, don't go flooding his mailbox (especially not with "use MUI" stuff).
To anyone who's worried because 'Term' is a huge monster, Olaf Barthel has learned A LOT from making Term - he won't make the same mistake twice. (Think of it this way - he's gotten most of the mistakes out of the way already :-)
In my opinion, this is a very good thing - I *know* Olaf knows the OS inside/out and he listens to ideas. A very good combination for what will hopefully be a very bright future for the Amiga.
Olaf, if you're reading this, good luck, and remember, you asked for it! ;-)
Michael Bartsch (email@example.com):
Is it for sure..... or is it just a rumor ??
Olaf Barthel (firstname.lastname@example.org):
It's not a rumour.
Home: Olaf Barthel Brabeckstrasse 35, D-30559 Hannover Net: email@example.comToC
I have received two pieces of mail from Iomega concerning their product line. First they are discontinuing several of their Bernoulli and LaserSafe products. The LaserSafe product support will revert back to the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer):
3342 Gateway Boulevard
Fremont, CA 94538
Effective January 1,1996, consumers will no longer be able to purchase products directly from Iomega. They will continue to be available through their national distribution partners. Likewise, effective January 1, exclusive distribution of the existing line of Bernoulli products will be turned over to Ingram Micro.
These actions seem to be the result of the overwhelming business generated by "the introduction of new consumer Iomega products." Can you say the ZIP drive?
According to preliminary figures from Dataquest, Apple's market share rose from 7.4 percent in the second calendar quarter of 1995 to 9.0 percent for the third calendar quarter of 1995. Dataquest cited healthy sales to consumer and education markets, noting that sales of Macintosh Performas have doubled in the last year - and we aren't even into the holiday buying season yet.
Unit shipments during the third calendar quarter of 1995 were up more than 26 percent. All in all, this is good news for Apple, combined with earnings of $3 billion during its fourth fiscal quarter, shipments of 1.25 million machines, a study from QED Research showing Apple's share of the U.S. K-12 education market rose to 63 percent, and an IDC study showing Apple still has the largest installed base in U.S. homes. You'd almost forget it was the same quarter Microsoft released its "Mac killer" Windows 95.
PALO ALTO, Calif. (Reuter) - Apple Computer Inc., determined to put more Macintosh computers under Christmas trees this year, Friday cut prices by up to 25 percent on some Power Macintosh and Macintosh Performa models.
The cuts by the Cupertino, Calif.-based company are aimed at holiday shoppers and year-end business purchasers as part of Apple's efforts to gain market share, which has been rising in the past few months.
"Our aim is to drive leading-edge technology into more homes, schools, and businesses with aggressively priced products," Apple Americas President Jim Buckley said in a statement. "We are steadfast in our determination to provide powerful, compatible, easy-to-use computing solutions and grow market share," he added.
Few analysts believed Apple's price reductions would prompt personal computer vendors in the IBM-compatible camp, which still typically offer cheaper systems, to cut prices on their own machines.
After a long slide, Apple's share of the global PC market jumped to 9 percent in the third quarter from 7.4 percent during the second quarter, according to Dataquest.
But the third quarter should be strong for Apple, whose strength lies in the education market. Apple's shipments in the third quarter rose by 21 percent from a year ago, on par with the industry average, when students returning to school were purchasing new machines.
The market-share gain added luster to Apple, whose higher-end Macintoshes have been in particularly short supply -- enough to cause a 48 percent drop in Apple's profits in the fourth fiscal quarter, which ended Sept. 29.
And Apple and its management is under pressure from Wall Street to rectify supply problems and further boost market share this quarter.
Some analysts have speculated that Apple chief executive Michael Spindler could be forced out by the board of directors within months if he fails to prove Apple is making steady progress in gaining share.
That means he must continue to lower prices and meet the robust demand for Apple PCs, analysts said.
The machines affected include Apple's lower-end Power Macintosh 6100, 7100 and 7200 models and its products targeted for the home market, the Macintosh Performa 5215 and 640CD models.
The reductions range from 25 percent for the DOS-compatible Macintosh Performa 640CD, which will now sell for about $1,499, to 8 percent for the Power Macintosh 7200, which will now go for about $1,549.
9. Every time you drown, Philippe Kahn's life passes before your eyes.
8. You can't remember the last time you went out with your buddies and got seriously defragged.
7. You turn down dates because you have to clean your Windows directory tonight.
6. As your significant other is walking out on you, you plead "Can't we just do a clean boot?"
5. When you don't agree with people, you keep saying NAK at them.
4. Your life has lost its meaning since Intel and Microsoft announced Plug and Play.
3. 900 numbers? Never touch 'em. But you've racked up $2,500 in IRC connect-time bills this year.
2. The Microsoft Natural Keyboard seems like a pretty neat idea.
1. You got more than half the jokes in this list.
Brian Crosthwaite, Publisher of Diehard, contacted CMD, Loadstar, and Commodore CEE with the following form letter faxed to each of us:
Diehard, the Flyer for Commodore 8-bitters is planning to cease
publication and we are looking to transfer our subscription fulfillment. Our
number of outstanding subscribers is approximately 8,400 and I would be
willing to throw in the balance of the list, totaling approximately
Please call me at (xxx) xxx-xxxx if you are interested in acquiring these
readers and names.
Brian L. Crosthwaite, Publisher
Please call me at (xxx) xxx-xxxx if you are interested in acquiring these readers and names.
The cost of publishing alone would amount to approximately $100,000 for printing, layout, disks, mail costs, etc. Not taking into account the cost of articles, etc.
When asked about money, Brian's only comment was "There is none. It's gone."
A further complication is that Tom Netsel told me that General Media says that Brian has assumed the obligation to deliver the balance of the Gazette subscriptions. I questioned Brian about this. Brian says that General Media faxed him the terms of transference of the obligation and that he faxed back an acceptance of the terms. While I have not seen the actual faxes involved, it does sound like offer and acceptance of a binding contract from here.
Obviously, all of us have rejected this offer. I have ben told that there is an issue of Diehard at the printers, probably printed. However, the printing bill alone is over $8,000, plus the cost of mailing. Since there is no money, it sits there.
If anyone were willing to assume the total obligation, they would have to assume a liability of well over $100,000 over the next year before any returns from renewals would even make a dent in this huge obligation.
Please Note: I am putting this out as a public massage. This is ALL I know. Please do not come back at me asking questions. I have nothing more I can add to this.
[Source: The Commo-Hawk Commodore Users Group newsletter, "The File" November, 1995. CHCUG's address is P.O. Box 2724, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52406-2724.]
"Copyright 1994 by GEnie. From the Commodore 64/128 RoundTable" For more information on GEnie call by modem:
1-800-638-8369 (8-N-1 300/1200/2400)
Enter: HHH Then reply: xtx99018,commrt
Then enter: Commodore
GEOS-TIM: Welcome to the CMD News Release night!!!
The news release will be followed by a question and answer segment. Doug Cotton from CMD is our featured speaker for tonight.
Doug Cotton: Hi! ;)
GEOS-TIM: We know you are have some great news for us C= users tonight. So let us get right to it.
Doug Cotton: Thanks for coming all... and yes, I do. ;)
CMD is pleased to announce that we will soon be releasing a new hardware product. This product is initially aimed at the C64 or C128 in 64 mode. The product will be released early next year, with a target of February 1996.
The product is actually two products in a single product line. The two models in this new line are named the Super64/10 and Super64/20, and are 10 and 20 MHz accelerators, respectively.
Prices are expected to be approximately $150 for the /10 model, and $200 for the /20 model.
There are a lot of features and such, but I suspect we can cover those as we get into the Q & A. ;)
GEOS-TIM: We will be going into a little 3 minute "whooping time" followed by a listen period.
C128.LOU: 20 Meg!!!! Yeeeeehaw!!!!!
GEOS-TIM: That is great news, Doug!
128PowerUser: This is great Doug, but not of much use for 128 native mode users.
Nathan B from NC: A 20MHz 64? CCOOLL!!!
Chance: Wow!!!!!!! 20 Mhz! Think of GEOS! Think of...WOW!
Bud: Will we have to buy a whole new C64? or is just a chip?
GEOS-TIM: Okay, first question.
G.NOGGLE: Hi Doug, 2 parts, same question, compatibility with Ramlink, Swiftlink?
Doug Cotton: Absolutely yes on both, Greg. ;) Let me explain that a little...
The Super64CPU's (that's what we'll refer to them as) will have a pass-through port, much as RAMLink does now. They will also be RAMLink "aware" devices, in that the RAMLink Kernal will also be in them, so that RAMLink can be attached and controlled by them just as if it were doing things all by itself.
Other cartridges can also work, But this will be limited to things like I/O cartridges, as cartridges which try to do memory mapping of the computer and such will likely fail.
So SwiftLink, yes, but things like Super Snapshot... sorry, no.
JetFlight: I guess you will answer it, but why not 128 in 128 mode. Can't acceleration help us out also?
Doug Cotton: Sure it can, but the reason for 64 mode first is simple, we can have it ready sooner.
The 128 mode will take some extra stuff, as well as extra time to develop.
JetFlight: What extra stuff? How long till 128?
Doug Cotton: We haven't made any definite decision to go ahead with a 128 mode model as yet, but it is under consideration, and will likely be approved to be done after we release the 64 mode models.
As for the extra stuff, It takes extra logic to deal with the MMU and other unusual functions of the 128. This means more hardware inside, and extra time to figure out just how to make it all work correctly. That adds cost, which we felt should NOT be passed on to 64 users.
Keith: Hi Doug, how would you rate a 20MHz 64 vs an IBM of what class/MHz?
Doug Cotton: Okay... we're using the W65C816S processor, which is rated at 10 MIPS when running at 20 MHz. A 386SX processor running at 25 MHz comes out around 8 MIPS, so a little better than a 25 MHz 386 in raw processing power.
Now, that's the raw numbers, but there are some other things to consider.
There's an enormous amount of bloat in "Intel" machine programs, and they simply aren't written as efficiently as 6502 code. My bet is that our programs will be able to run as fast as most any 486 machine normally sees in applications.
Keith: Yah, I'm familiar with numbers comparisons, my Amiga's Motorola vs Intel's hogs. Thanks.
GEOS-TIM: Lou Schonder, the famous Wednesday night host in the Commodore RT has a question.
C128.LOU: Doug, would one have access to the extended commands of the new CPU, and Can it work on an SX-64? (Can it POSSIBLY fit inside an SX-64?)
Doug Cotton: As for the commands, yes. The 65816 commands are all available in both native and emulation modes (though many have less use in 8-bit vs. 16-bit mode).
As for the SX, it should be able to work, but much will depend on the strength of signals and noise on the expansion port of the individual computer in this case.
I'll have to check more on that with Mark. ;)
Let me verbalize a moment before the next question...
If a 128 version is released at a later point, we will offer an upgrade policy. I've been told this is official.
There will also be some kind of upgrade policy for the /10 to /20 model.
JetFlight: What will happen to the SIMMs we have in our RAMLINKS now when we put a 64 accelerator ahead of it? Can we still use the programs installed in the RL? :)
Doug Cotton: Leave those SIMMs right there! Yes, as I mentioned earlier, RAMLink can be attached to the pass-through port of the Super64CPU's, so it can still be used in exactly the same way as you use it now.
GEOS-TIM: Greg Noggle, our famous Sunday night Commodore RT host has a question.
G.NOGGLE: I assume there is some extra memory being added in this add-on,if so how much and can we access it,and what is the projected cost?
Doug Cotton: Ah. Let me get into some of the specs of the system. The on-board RAM will consist of 64K of Fast Static RAM (25 ns, I believe). This is as fast as they make it, at this point, and it has to be this fast just to keep up with the processor.
Now, I know that some of you are saying, "Then why do 66 MHz PC's use 60 ns RAM?"
Here's the scoop - The processors used in Intel and other "fast" PC's have methods of pre-fetching data (long before it's actually needed), so they get away with using slower RAM.
We don't have this luxury, so we've got to use the fastest RAM available - leading edge stuff. But this means we'll get better overall performance (no wait states on the RAM).
The down-side is that this kind of RAM is very expensive, say somewhere around $150 a MB, so don't look for us to put extra FAST RAM in the unit. It would just raise the cost.
I've been hearing talk about something called a "Rocket-Socket" to be incorporated into the design of the Super64CPU's. A little bird told me that this little jewel would probably let us add as much RAM as we desire, up to 16 MB (or perhaps more if a virtual memory scheme were used). Now, I would expect that DRAM would be used in this case, though, with some wait-states to keep the cost down.
Buff Phoon: Will there be a need for something to speed up our external devices (drives) to maximize the Super64 usage?
Doug Cotton: Best thing I could suggest is that you use the fastest peripherals you can afford. Naturally RAMLink and the HD top that list. And as long as we're talking about peripherals, I should also mention that the Super64CPU's are DMA aware, and are therefore compatible with Commodore REU's (in addition to being RAMLink and GEORAM compatible).
Buff Phoon: Price?
Doug Cotton: Again, the projected prices at this time are $149.95 for the /10 and $199.95 for the /20 model.
GEOS-TIM: geoHarold, another famous Commodore RT host on Friday nights, has a question.
geoHarold: A couple of questions. What about compatibility with devices that go into the modem port, such as the Handyscanner 64, CBM/Aprotek modems and RS-232 adaptors?
Doug Cotton: That will depend entirely on their software, Harold, as it is in control of those devices. There's no hardware conflict. I'd expect programs that do "software RS-232" not to work in accelerated modes, though.
geoHarold: Have you experienced problems in getting software to work with the Super64? Such as GEOS, word processing, spreadsheets and games? And utilities?
Doug Cotton: Software compatibility will come down to an item by item determination. Games will be nearly useless in accelerated modes though. Can you imagine Pac-man at 20 MHz? Bet you couldn't say "game over" before it was.
But most productivity software, and especially GEOS, will benefit. Utilities: that covers a broad area, and I'd have to know specifically which you're concerned about to answer that.
geoHarold: Is there a separate power source for the Super64?
Doug Cotton: If I understand correctly, there will be an option for a power supply. It won't be necessary for using the unit alone or with a RAMLink. But you'd probably want one if you were using just an REU with the Super64CPU.
GEOS-TIM: Chance, one who has helped out in the RT many times, has a question.
Chance: Are there any features of this new accelerator available for the programmer programming specifically for it? Any new tricks, or does it completely mimic the 6502/10?
Doug Cotton: There are indeed a lot of tricks. The 65816 can mimic the 6502 in emulation mode. But in it's native mode, most of the registers expand to 16 bits, and the address bus goes from 16 to 24 bits. In both modes, you'll have 24 addressing modes (as opposed to the 13 we have now) and a whole lot of additional opcodes.
As for programming info, we'll be offering some developer packages, and we'll probably be extending one or more of the currently available assembler packages to deal with all the extra's. ;)
GEOS-TIM: Snogpitch, our famous Saturday night host has a question.
Snogpitch: I have a question with the Ramlink passthru. Will that be straight thru, or an elbow type of connection?
Doug Cotton: Straight through. Also, we expect the Super64CPU module itself to be very small, at least in length, probably no more than 3 to 4 inches, maybe less.
GEOS-TIM: Keith Smith, editor of the Tonawanda Commodore User Groups Newsletter has a question.
Keith: Okay, Doug, just a couple of quickies. First, is there a bypass method/switch?
Doug Cotton: Yes. Let me cover the switches. There are two three-position switches in the current design.
One is a speed switch, with SLOW, FAST, and PROGRAM modes. The SLOW and FAST modes FORCE the unit into 1 MHz or 10/20 MHz modes, respectively.
The PROGRAM mode defaults to FAST mode, but allows software control, using the same method as employed in the Schnedler Turbo Master CPU (so programs modified for that accelerator will work with our unit).
The second switch also has three positions. OFF/NORMAL/JIFFYDOS. OFF disables the unit entirely, and the other two could be viewed as being identical to the JiffyDOS switch we put on 64/128's equipped with JiffyDOS.
Keith: Second, is CMD basing the probability of a 128 version on the sales of the 64 version? If so, I have zero use for a 64-only version.
Doug Cotton: Actually, we'll base the probability of a 128 version on response received from users about that product. So, those interested in a 128 version should write directly to CMD and voice their opinion on that matter -- don't call, WRITE. ;)
Keith: And lastly, unrelated to the SuperCPU, and my apologies if this has been asked to death, but has CMD been in touch with ESCOM re: The acquisition/re-production of 64s/128s/65s? ;)
Doug Cotton: As for talking with ESCOM, we have done that, but we have not talked to them about acquiring any rights to produce the 64/128/65. We have no interest in doing that at this particular point in time, but should it be necessary, they're open to discussion of the matter.
GEOS-TIM: Maurine, editor of the Muskegaon User groups newsletter Maurine: My question on switches has been nicely answered, but I would like to know what the Super64CPU looks like physically. It's not clear if it goes inside or out or both, is detachable, etc.?
Doug Cotton: Good question. Right now it looks like a bunch of chips on a board! But the final unit will be in a case, and yes, will be fully external.
Mark also tells me that there will be no need to open your computer at all to attach it.
Maurine: Great! One more question: some people in my users group were wondering, does CMD have any emulator production plans?
Doug Cotton: None. Our market has always been the 64 and 128, and we don't expect that to change any time soon. We can sell an emulator, and it may very well be our last sale to that person. We'd rather sell to those staying in the market.
Lorax: How did you get around the 1MHz limitation of the VIC chip?
Doug Cotton: Didn't, and you can't. Even Commodore had to slow down to 1 MHz for VIC access in the 128. So here's how it works, Just like the 128. We do something called clock-stretching, that allows us to sync with the 1 MHz clock when data has to be copied down into I/O, or screen memory.
Lorax: So, will all raster interrupts and other tricks be out of the question?
Doug Cotton: No, not out of the question. But they'll have to be written specifically for the accelerator if that's the intended purpose. Many of those routines base things on timing of a cycle in the computer, and that's out. Can't have things working that way.
GEOS-TIM: This was the final question. Direct any other questions to the Bulletin Board in the CMD Category. I want to thank Doug for a very informative evening. Great job, Doug.
Doug Cotton: Thanks Tim, and thanks all for being here for the announcement.
[Source: The Commo-Hawk Commodore Users Group newsletter, "The File" November, 1995, emailed directly from the editor, Dave Schmoldt (firstname.lastname@example.org). CHCUG's address is P.O. Box 2724, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52406-2724.]
Although I recently purchased a new PowerMac to help me with my graduate studies, I remain totally fascinated by the incredible happenings in the 64/128 world. In the latest issue of Commodore World (#10), there are several articles and reviews of things going on that few would have bet on a year or two ago. One item that is now available, that I reported on several issues ago, is geoFax for the 64. Maurice Randall has indeed come through with a tremendous product. A few reports of bugs (first release, and all) have been addressed and corrected. You can fax from 7200 to 9600 on send and 2400 to 4800 on receive, all the way up to 14.4K send, 9600 receive. All, of course, will require a SwiftLink interface. For a full review, see the October issue of Commodore World.
Also in the same issue, news of an upcoming release from CMD, a super CPU for the 64. Apparently, it is more than vaporware. The countdown is 4 months, and there is a full page ad as well as coverage in the "On the Horizon" feature. Actually, there will be two chips, the Super64/10 and the Super64/20. The last number indicates the MHz at which it will run. The 20MHz chip combined with the 65C02S will allow it to reach higher MIPS rating than a 25MHz 386SX Intel processor. Again, for more information, as well as many other articles pertinent to the 64/128, get Commodore World.
LOADSTAR also has some interesting offers in addition to their great monthly disks. The Complete Print Shop, Volumes I & II are now shipping. Volume I has over 1300 images never before published. Volume II has over 1300 images previously published by LOADSTAR. Both allow quick scanning, sequentially, by name, or by group number. Save in 2-block, 3-block, or even PRINTMASTER graphic files. They even include a printed guide to your new files. Each are $20, and they come either on a 5.25 or 3.5 disk. Call 1-800-831-2694 to order yours today!
Also from LOADSTAR Letter #26, news of a new computer shop that supports (GASP!) 64s and 128s. Centsible Systems opened in September, run by Bo and Joyce Fain. They offer 64s and 128s, with or without JiffyDOS, 1541, 1541-II, 1571, and 1581 drives, printers, and monitors, as well as games and other programs. They can be reached at 318-687-4613. Give them a call for those hard to find items at reasonable prices.
Yes, the 64 is very much alive and well supported. It is not only a great game machine, a superb programming machine, but also remains a machine that still can hold a few new surprises for anyone that cares to check it out.
I came across the Apollo program not long ago and became most impressed with it. Impressed enough to register the program, pay the shareware fee and to place the program on the CucugMac diskette # 41 - let me know if you want it. Apollo is written by Jeremy Roussak who lives in the UK. I'll let the author's words from the program's extensive, well written, 29 page manual speak for themselves.
"Apollo is a program which makes it easier to start up other programs. Whatever you are doing on your Mac, you can call up Apollo and ask it to start an application or to open a document, control panel, desk accessory or Finder folder. There's no need to quit the program you are running (unless you are not running MultiFinder, of course, in which case Apollo will do it for you), no need to switch to the Finder and resize your application's windows because they obscure the Finder's icons on the desktop and no need to double-click your way through several folders until you see the program's icon. Just click the mouse and make a choice from the menu and Apollo does the rest.
When you activate Apollo, it pops up a menu. This menu contains items (applications, documents, etc.) which you have chosen to put into it, with no limit to the number of items. When you discover how useful Apollo is, you'll want to put lots of items in the menu, which can become very long. To avoid scrolling and to help you organize your menu, Apollo lets you create groups. A group is a named list of items: its name appears in the main menu and it's items appear in a submenu. Creating groups is analogous to making folders on your hard disk, except that the members of Apollo's group pop up instantly when you move the mouse over the group name. If you have a number of applications which you tend to use together (under MultiFinder), you can put then in a group and make the group active. When you choose the name of an active group from Apollo's main menu, all the applications in that group are started up, one after the other - as many applications as memory allows, started in a single mouse click!
Any application in Apollo's menu (on in a group submenu) can have its own submenu of documents. Choosing a document starts up the application with the document open, just as if you had double-clicked the document in the Finder.
You can also set up the environment in which programs started by Apollo will run. If you usually use a particular document with an application, you can make that the default document for the application, so Apollo will the start the application with that document unless you specify another one. Apollo can also set the sound level and screen depth for any application, so you could run, for example, your Finder in 8 bit colour for the pretty icons, your word processor in black and white for speed and your painting program in a glorious 32 bit colour. If all three are running at the same time, Apollo will adjust the screen depth as you switch between them.
Unlike other launching utilities, Apollo lets you put not just applications, but also the Apple menu, documents, folders and (under system 7) desk accessories and control panels in its menus. Folders in Apollo's menus or (under system 7) the Apple menu can have their own submenus which list their contents: these are updated automatically whenever the contents of the folder change. If these folders contain other folders, these can have submenus as well, and so on up to four levels deep. All these submenus are updated as required.
Quite often, when you are running an application, you will find that some of its windows are completely obscured by other windows - this is particularly true of the Finder. Moving and resizing windows so you can bring a back window to the front is tedious, so Apollo provides you with another popup menu which lists the windows of your current application. Choosing a window from this menu brings that window to the front. Apollo also lets you cycle forwards and backwards through an application's windows using keyboard commands.
A great feature of the Mac is the ability to keep several applications in memory and to switch rapidly between them. Of course, you can do this with Apple (system 6) or application (system 7) menus, but Apollo provides two easier ways. First, from the keyboard - you choose any key, when pressed, menus "switch to the next application". Under system 7, you can define a second key which means "switch to the next application and hide this application".
Other keyboard commands let you cycle through your applications the other way, go directly to the Finder or go to an application in the background which is trying to attract your attention. Second, if you find cycling through your applications tedious, Apollo also provides a popup menu which lists the applications you have running. This menu can appear at the top of Apollo's main menu, as one of its submenus or as a separate popup menu. Choosing an application from it makes that application active. Under system 7, each application in a menu can also have its own submenu which lists its open windows. If you choose a window, not only will the application be made active, but that window will be brought to the front as well."
[Editor's Note: One small problem one of our members discovered was that if you don't register the program before the trial period is up, you will soon be subjected to rather persistent "nag messages". To register, you need to print out the registration form on your printer. If you don't happen to have a printer (as our member doesn't), you're in a bit of a jam, since the form is never displayed on the screen for you to be able to copy down its information, so other options must be explored, like finding a friend with a printer.]
The world should see the first PowerPC-based Amiga by the beginning of 1997, according to Petro Tyschtschenko, President of Amiga Technologies.
The original Amiga computer was developed by Commodore which subsequently sold the technology to German PC maker Escom AG earlier this year (mf issue 8). Although best known for games-playing the Amiga A4000 computer is actually a high-quality graphics workstation capable of far more than playing games in 24-bit colour. Cleveland's Constabulary, for example, has used the Amiga to develop a low-cost multimedia information network for its 1,500 of its officers.
But whether the first of the new generation machines, dubbed Power Amigas, will be straight clones of the PowerPC standard - the Common Hardware Reference Platform - is still an open question, as the Escom subsidiary debates the best way to maintain backwards compatibility with applications.
The company is also in discussion with Motorola on the practicalities of building a variant of the PowerPC 604 processor that includes a 68000-family CISC core. This would ease Amiga's transition to the new RISC architecture. Whether such a hybrid chip can or will be built in time to satisfy Amiga Technologies' tight deadlines remains to be seen, so the company is also pursuing the software emulation path. A spokesperson acknowledged that Amiga is talking to Apple about using its 68k emulation technology, but said that it is also talking to alternative emulator software providers.
Running existing Amiga applications on a plain CHRP platform will be tough - the Amiga contains a number of proprietary support chips that the software expect to be present. In the first instance, therefore, it seems likely that the Power Amigas will be a superset of CHRP containing these extra chips. The first models will also have to incorporate Amiga's proprietary bus to allow the use of existing peripherals. However the spokesperson said that the intention is to wean application developers away from accessing the hardware directly; so that newer applications will be hardware independent.
Tyschtschenko says that his company intends to actively licence the Amiga OS version 4.1 to other computer companies, the eventual aim is to have the shrink-wrapped OS available in the shops for users of CHRP machines to buy. He is clear that the Amiga's strength is in its software - though asked whether in a few years time Amiga Technologies will just be a software house, he answers frankly "I don't know, I don't have a crystal ball".
The PowerPC is just the first processor that the company intends to port the OS to, other RISCs will follow and though the company remains tight lipped about exactly which. Sources say that the DEC Alpha is on the shopping list. The strategy is clear, Amiga Technologies believe that what the industry needs - and in particular what multimedia developers want - is a skinny, fast, multiprocessing operating system which won't steal too many of their precious processor cycles. In the age of OS-bloat it is worth remembering that the Amiga OS can run in 500K from a floppy drive. Amiga OS is set to get bigger. Converting it to RISC code, making it hardware independent and adding much-needed features such as real memory protection and networking support will cause some expansion. Nonetheless the company should still have a fast low-overhead system that it claims will run applications faster than the competition - important in the Amiga's heartland desktop video market. And yes Tyschtschenko said that he did have discussions with the people at Be Inc, but in the end, the need to retain compatibility with existing applications proved too important.
As for what clinched it for PowerPC, the Amiga spokesperson said that quite simply that it was the level of support that Motorola in particular was able to offer the company.
(c) PowerPC News - free by mailing email@example.com.
Its goal was then to ramp up the production of Amiga computers to bring them back onto the market. We have done it. Then, as soon as the products were available, Amiga Technologies evolved to a computer sales company to distribute its products world-wide. We had to meet the demand that has been waiting for more than one year. We have done it.
Now, Amiga is turning into a true Computer manufacturer, we are finally building up our Research and Development team in Bensheim. We are hiring former Commodore engineers as well as new talented people to be able to respect the announced schedules for the Power Amiga. Lets do it!
Ladies and Gentlemen, we want to show our commitment to the Amiga platform, not as a quick money maker for the Christmas season, but as one of the most important strategic challenges in the ESCOM group. Amiga shall become the best platform for Multimedia, 3D software, graphics processing, Internet and many more applications.
The software market is always looking for powerful platforms. Especially 3D software needs great amounts of MIPS. This is going to be addressed first with the 060 board that we will market in early 96. Then, in 1st quarter 97, the Power PC 604 will replace the 060 in the new high-end model. Of course, the operating system will have to be ported to the new RISC-Processor. This will be done internally at Amiga Technologies by our R&D department.
In the meantime, there will also be new products based on the A1200 concept. We plan to present the A1200 + in May. This model will feature either the Coldfire processor from Motorola, or the 68030 at 40 MHz. SIMM sockets will be integrated directly on the motherboard to allow easy memory expansion. The A1200 + is scheduled for the CEBIT in March 96.
Another product will be the black box. This is a set top box that will feature an enhanced A1200 core, along with all connectors needed for communication, printing, audio in and out and a remote control. It will have a HI-FI-like design that will be created by Frog design. The product will of course be equipped with a CD ROM drive and a floppy disk drive.
We are also making an Internet package with all software needed to become an unbeatable surfer. These networking features are planned to be part of the OS in a near future. It will first be marketed as a complete package including modem and cables, with the software preinstalled on the harddrive. A plug and play solution.
We also plan the Q-Drive to be available shortly after the fair. This quad speed CD ROM drive plugs into the PCMCIA connector and is provided with software to enable it to play CD 32 titles.
Ladies and Gentlemen, as you can see, the Amiga family will become larger very soon. To welcome these products that will without doubt be very successful on the market, we want to encourage you to produce software for them.
We now have a developer support set up and running. Let me tell you a few words about its organisation. There will be a secured section on the WEB server, only accessible to registered developers. The address of the WEB server is www.amiga.de
We will have two types of developers: [specifics omitted]
We managed to revive the Amiga hardware Now it's to you, together with us, to revive its software. Negotiations with many software houses world-wide have started. Our common goal should be to strengthen the Amiga software platform for the future. Please take this message: Amiga is working tightly together with hardware companies to get new extensions, license our technology and create new exciting products.
We are motivated by the success we had with our current models and look forward to bring you new products very soon.
Thank you for your attention.
Kevin Hopkins: Just so I'm clear, what is the "core" of a processor?
Do you have any idea, from the above, what AT might be thinking about? Is the Coldfire better/different from an 030/40MHz? The 030 is, after all, a m68k processor.
Mark Bellon: The "core" is the basic instruction set. We take a processor, strip out the stuff that people don't frequently use, add a bunch of specialized hardware like DMA and stuff and sell it for specific applications.
The DIE of the processor is modified to include all of the special goodies. Once this is done, the chip has a life of it's own completely separate from the original processor core that gave it birth.
The ColdFire processor is a recent variation based on the '040 processor (e.g. the "core"). Other versions were based on the '000, '010, '020 and '030 "cores".
The ColdFire may have cost savings and reduce the chip count since it integrates a significant number of things that are typically necessary to build a system.
Next to the AT booth was Phase 5's stand, featuring the much talked about PowerUp card. Among some socketed developmental chips there was a PPC604FE66 chip and an MC68030 on a CPU daughterboard type card. The design looked clean though and it surprised me that Phase 5 has done this already, it looked indeed like a real card instead of a mock-up. Upon quizzing the representatives it seemed like it was very new to them too, the lady (I suspect little technical background) told me that it was basically a very early prototype, not running anything like AmigaOS yet :) She gave me a professional looking brochure and told me that she just got it too.
Some of the highlights from the four page brochure:
And the most interesting feature:
The CyberGraphX software will also include interfaces for 3D (say I-glasses) and multimedia applications of the next generation. (VR Netsurfing, hello William Gibson :^)
'We're not alone': The PowerUp project is, according to the brochure, supported by Almathera, Maxon Computer, ProDad and Softwood amongst others. Many productivity applications will be ported by the time the PowerUp board is shipping.
Evaluation Boards will be available to developers in the first quarter of 1996, development tools are in the works. Thorough support and coordination planned, of strategic applications even in conjunction with Motorola. I would wager that to be VR and related features that maybe require some custom hardware enhancements.
Very good news indeed.
On the bottom of page three there is an informational coupon; one of the items you can tick off is 'UpGrade' programs for CyberStorm card owners. Interesting.
Also, software developers, be it commercial or PD/shareware are asked to fill in the form. This is a very good move too, something the old Commodore never quite understood.
The UpGrade program consists of downpricing the PPC board for 68k based accelerator card users who purchased after 01-Sep-95. For 68060 accelerator card users a replacement upgrade will be offered.
For further information contact:
Phase 5 digital products Tel. : +49-6171-583787 In der Au 27 Tech. Hotline : +49-6171-583788 D-61440 Oberursel Fax : +49-6171-583789 GermanyToC
I have seen a lot of discussion over the past months on the pros and cons of various RISC processors and the future of the Amiga. Since it was my responsibility to make some of these decisions in the past, and now that Escom has announced their decision, I thought that some of you may find it interesting to hear some of my views as I remember them and get some insight into how decisions like this are made... or at least how I approached things. From what I have seen on the net, many folks out there have no clue as to how things like this are really done :-)
Remember that much of this happened well over two years ago... and my memory is not as good as it perhaps should be... Take all of this to be my opinion.... you may disagree with whatever you like...
First, you have to put this into context. In order to make a decision like this, one has to have a strategic plan for the future. This plan then drives the decision process. As such I had some ground rules to start with:
a. Only one chip set would be developed... We only had enough R&D money for one... so it had to address the low-end (game console, set-top-box) to high end (work-station, A4000 style machine)... The requirements for low-end systems are so different than those of high-end systems that this is quite difficult...
b. It had to be capable of supporting Windows-NT sometime in the future. Amiga-DOS would be ported (at least the micro-kernel for game systems, set-top-boxes)... the rest later (for low-end systems).... but it was felt (at the time) that NT would be the emerging OS... and compatibility would be necessary for market acceptance outside of the traditional Amiga market.
Having support for a "more main stream" OS would have made getting main stream applications ported to the machine *much* easier. This ground rule meant that we wanted a platform which had some NT porting activity at least started... It also had some implications on the type of memory management needed.
No flames please.
c. I knew that we could not support a *complete* line of products within Commodore with our resources... But I felt that we could not have a product line which did not have a link of some kind to more powerful machines like those used in business. Most people like to have something at home which is in some way compatible with what they use at work.
I wanted to select a platform which gave Hombre users a growth path for the future. We wanted to have a strategic partnership with a company which had a *complementary* product line... and perhaps cross-promote, etc.
d. I wanted to be able to include the integer core of the processor on one of the Hombre chips. We also wanted to be able to add a few instructions to aid in graphics setup, etc.
e. I was targeting a 0.6 micron, 3-level metal CMOS process.
Of course cost was a major concern. I have seen many people on the net discuss RISC chips *without* considering the cost as it applies to the overall system. In order to build a system like the A1200, hit the price point that we wanted, and make a profit, the CPU chip, custom graphics chips, etc, have to cost about $20 (total!!). Many folks forget about all the other costs involved in producing a product. This alone eliminates many of the candidates that some have proposed and cheered for... Our cost objective for the Hombre chip set was a little more liberal than this since I was integrating more onto the chips... but the cost target was not much more!! Certainly not some of the prices I have seen bantered about some of the groups here.
Remember, we wanted to be able to put this into a game console or set-top box. You can't spend 1/3 of the retail price of the product on the CPU chip!!!
I looked at many (almost all the commercially available) architectures (my favorite from a purely computer architect (my primary training) viewpoint was the MC88100)... and narrowed down to three: MIPS, PowerPC, and PA-RISC.
Lew E. and I talked to all the companies involved:
MIPS was interesting because their parent company is Silicon Graphics. Wouldn't it be nice to have a strategic partnership with the premier high-end graphics company!!! We could have built the low end "home-version" of their machine, made great games, etc.
Lew and I talked with one of the founders and he asked lots of questions, etc., but didn't sound too interested... The 4200 series MIPS chips where too expensive and they didn't seem too interested in making any changes for us... The R3000 series was in the right cost area, but was not viable for Windows/NT. As I said above, we felt at that time that it would be important for this chip set to be able to support NT in the future.
We dropped them from the list and found out shortly thereafter that SGI/MIPS had signed an agreement with Nintendo for their next generation. It was obvious then that they knew when they had talked to us that they were in discussions with Nintendo... It must have been interesting for them...
By the way, at that point, we were 9 months to a year ahead of them...
Motorola talked to us about PowerPC (IBM may have come in too, I don't remember)... We had a good working relationship with Motorola as a vendor. I had earlier done a study to integrate AA type functionality onto a die with an MC680x0 core.
I had a number of problems with the PowerPC:
a. An early version of the instruction set documents (received under NDA) caused me to have a real concern about using this part in our product line. Lew E. agreed. I can't really discuss this any further.
b. They were unwilling to do a full-custom version for us (with our graphics enhancements) and their time-table for core-versions was too far out.
c. There was no good strategic relationship from a systems point of view. It seemed unreasonable to approach Apple: they were competitors... their line was not complementary. The same was true of IBM, and Motorola did not have a strong systems presence.
d. A small, embedded version of PowerPC (the one that we could afford for the low end... (which was being developed for use in automobiles)) did not have a memory management option... something required for both Windows/NT and set-top-boxes.
e. The core version that they did promise would have required that we add our logic as standard cells. A standard cell implementation of Hombre would have been far too large - and therefore expensive. We intended to do a custom layout of the datapaths involved and merging these datapaths with their logic was viewed as a problem...
f. I felt the instruction set had some problems... for example, the only way to get information between integer registers and floating point registers was through memory!
HP presented the PA-RISC. We had a rather good working relationship with HP. They had fab'd the LISA chips and had done all the foundry work for the AAA project.
a. The PA-RISC had one of the most powerful RISC instruction sets I had evaluated. It created very dense code (for a RISC) - and the dynamic cycle count was very good. It also had an instruction (SFU) which allowed customization without interfering with compatibility...
I had defined some instructions which would aid in the 3D graphics that had been planned for Hombre.
b. Other PA-RISC partners had already shown that a low-cost version was feasible.
c. HP had a totally complementary product line - their low end workstations were more powerful than our high end Amigas.
d. HP seemed interested in the current Amiga chipset for use in a set-top-box and seemed interested in the Hombre chipset for a next generation set-top-box. This made good business sense and allowed us to propose a rather nice agreement...
By the way, Commodore died before the agreement could be signed.
e. HP was willing to license Commodore to design and build our own version of a core for use in Hombre. I had designed the integer core of the CPU and showed them (HP) simulations of it (to prove our competence). (This was done with only the instruction set reference manual - no proprietary information or design was received from HP.) I'm not sure that the license was really necessary... I had in effect created my own implementation of a published instruction set... Many others have done this with other instruction sets without a license... but having the license would have been nice and their cooperation would have been useful.
f. While the HP chips were not available on the open market, other partners of theirs did have chips that could be put into systems. These other processors would have been used as the external processor on the larger systems I proposed.
The architecture that was proposed by me (and approved by Lew) was a two chip set. One chip was a video buffer for the most part... the other chip held the internal cpu, blitter, and other goodies, etc. By the way, the internal datapath was a full 64 bits. There were two bonding options to get a lower costing 32 bit memory interface for game-consoles and set-top boxes, and a slightly more expensive 64 bit option for higher ended systems (VLSI packaging costs can be significant for large pin counts). The wider memory was not really necessary for the very low end systems which only had to produce NTSC or PAL level video, and was less expensive...
Low end products used the internal processor as *the* processor. Higher end systems used the internal processor as a peripheral/graphics processor. While it made a lot of sense to have the external processor be a PA-RISC processor, there was nothing that required it.
The architecture also made use of the PCI bus. Again, on low end systems, the PCI held peripherals for use by the internal processor. For higher end systems this was also true. But the PCI bus could also be turned around... this allowed the chip set to be used *as a peripheral* to any PCI based system.
This was intended to allow this chip set to be used as a peripheral to PCs. Also, this was the "link" to the HP workstations. It was hoped that this chip set could be configured onto a PCI card for incorporation into HP workstations... This would allow software which ran on our systems run on HP workstations...
I had written a simulation of the CPU, enhanced blitter/renderer, and memory interface in C to test instruction sequences and rendering performance. (The simulation even had a Tcl/Tk GUI!). I had also modelled many of the blocks in M (a behavioral simulation/synthesis language - similar in function to VHDL or Verilog). Some of the datapath had started transistor level design... Then things fell apart and the couple of people I had just gotten assigned to work on this either quit to take other jobs or were laid-off...
Remember before you flame me... Most of this happened over two years ago. Had we remained solvent, gotten the resources that had been promised and remained on our original schedule, we would have had first silicon at the beginning of 1995!
I believe that given the strategy, ground rules, information at the time, etc., I made the correct decision. I don't know what strategy Escom has, what their ground rules were or how they made their decision, so I can't comment on their selection...
I hope this insight has been interesting and educational.... :-)
Again, all of the above is my opinion... not to be taken as the policy or beliefs of my employers, etc.
(#include <Standard Disclaimer>)
Dr. Edward L. Hepler President, VLSI Concepts, Inc. VLSI Architecture, Design, CAD Former: Director of VLSI and System Architecture Architect of Hombre, Designer of Andrea (AAA) Commodore Adjuct Prof. ECE Department, Villanova University ECE-8445 Graduate level Advanced Computer Architecture ECE-8460 Graduate level Introduction to VLSI Design firstname.lastname@example.orgMenno Stormink (email@example.com):
What has changed over (what is it 2 years?), to make Motorola change there mind? If I recall the Press release from AT correctly, Motorola now seems to be willing to talk about custom-chips, why?
Dr. Peter Kittel (firstname.lastname@example.org):
Well, Ed mentions their time-table. Back then, Motorola's timing was too long-threaded, but after this forced-on break of over a year, their delay is practically over, so there are real perspectives now.
The November 16th meeting began with President Jim Huls giving the traditional introduction of officers. He then made everyone aware of the upcoming election of new CUCUG officers at the December meeting. President Huls also reminded us that December marks the end of everyone's current membership and that we would like to see everybody renew for next year. The floor was then open for the Question and Answer Session.
Mark Bellon noted that Amiga Tech they didn't say if the new Amiga will be CHRP (Common Hardware Reference Platform) compliant. Apple will market CHRP platforms but will have an add-on board to make them "Macs." Mark said the hardware and software for going RISC isn't difficult but it's a formidable task. He also mentioned that Apple has approached Amiga Technology with an Amiga version of QuickTime.
When asked if Amiga Tech has contacted any of the principle software and hardware engineers of the Commodore Amiga, in particular Dave Haynie, Jim Huls stated that they still have not contacted Dave to the best of anyone's knowledge.
Jim Lewis nominated Richard Rollins for President. He was seconded by Mark Bellon.
Mark Bellon nominated Emil Cobb for Vice President. He was seconded by Richard Rollins.
Richard Rollins nominated Jim Lewis for Corporate Agent. He was seconded by Emil Cobb.
Richard Rollins nominated Kevin Hopkins for Secretary. He was seconded by Lowella Biddle.
Kevin Hisel nominated Mark Landman for Treasurer. He was seconded by Jim Lewis.
Lowella Biddle moved the floor be closed. The motion was seconded by Craig Kummerow. A vote approved the motion.
Angelo Koutsos showed the current C64 disk. He said this disk is comprised mostly of demos. It also has the "Commodore Strikes Back" screen saver and an Amiga Boing Ball demo.
Amiga Librarian Kevin Hisel then showed the two new Amiga disks for this month.
CUCUGAMI #150: Blast! (a Space Invaders type game in a Workbench window which has the advantage of being resizable), DriveIFF (a racing game that allows you to import your own IFF picture and use is as your race course. Kevin loaded in the CUCUG logo which made for an interesting drive!), Poweroids (a blast the big rocks game a la Asteroids), Croaks2 (basically Frogger from the C64), and Jelly Othelly (an Othello clone).
CUCUGAMI #151: Knock Out (a car driving demolition derby in a continually shrinking circle), Shroom Demo (a take off of Backgammon kind of like Backgammon on LSD). Kevin gurued the demo machine twice, which he said was the limit. Thus endeth the demo.
Mac Librarian Mark Bellon then took the floor to demonstrate the two new Macintosh disks for this evening.
CUCUGMAC #15: Alpha (a programmable editor written in TCL - tool control language - very powerful Mark says), GrabAudio (a program that allows you to capture digital data right off a CD via the SCSI bus).
CUCUGMAC #16: Expert Backgammon (a very nice implementation of the old favorite), Peace of Mind Lite (a memory tester for older Macs), and Eric's Ultimate Solitaire (a implementation of unusual versions of Solitaire).
Mark closed his portion of the evening stating that he had a copy of Conflict Catcher version 3 for sale for $40.
The Amiga SIG had a Question and Answer Session for its November gathering, hosted by President Jim Huls and Corporate Agent Jim Lewis. However, before the night was over, almost every member attending had contributed something. The most significant portion of the conversion centered around helping new member John Keen with questions he had about his Amiga 600.
This month the 64/128 SIG would have been treated to a review of the pass around issue #128 of LOADSTAR. (Unfortunately, there were no members present.) It was, as always, packed to the gills with useful information, games, utilities, applications, and more! This was the last presentation for me for quite a while, since I have started working on my Masters Program. I will not have the time in the near future to devote the kind of time that this position sometimes requires.
LOADSTAR has been kind enough over the past several years to provide 2 (that I am aware of) pass around issues. These are to be freely distributed, but only in their entirety, and with all copyrights remaining on the individual programs. What does this do? Well, two things. First, it gives LOADSTAR a chance to pick up some more subscriptions from people who didn't know that they were out there. Secondly, it gives the people who were unaware of LOADSTAR a chance to see what was being offered without having to spend a dime. For both things to happen, the programs have to be good. In my opinion, there are no better 64 offerings available for the price today.
Some of the programs that I would have demonstrated were: Tile Toolbox, a nifty tile program that can easily add to your program's professional look. Op Ed Cartoons has two cute cartoons that you can view or print. Star Search is a professional word search program that allows you to play them or make your own. Storehouse, an interesting card solitaire game, is easy to play, but tough to win. Star Noir, which was a contest at the time, had prizes and everything, but it's still fun to try your luck. JigStar, a visual jigsaw puzzle, can be very hard to do. Fortunately, it has plenty of assistance available. Presto, a full featured six-voice, MIDI compatible music-making program is remarkably easy to use, once you dive in. It also supports the external SID cartridge. Modem Flag Hunt is a game where your tank hunts for flags, while avoiding your opponent's tank and mines. Play your friends from the safety of your home, while you hurl insulting remarks over the phone lines as you play. Also mentioned were Script Lance (a GEOS font) and Shape That Baby Clone +, a high-res or multi-color pic converter program. It converts between SHP, DOODLE!, OCP, JJ, KOALA, ADVANCED OCP, and GG. If you want to convert it, here is the program! Also on the disks were some of the standard greats, including Puzzle Page and other puzzles, LOADSTAR Forum, Diskovery, and Soapbox, which keep you up-to-date on things going on in the 64 world. All members attending the demo tonight would have been given their own copies to take home. I had hoped that they would get as much, if not more, than I did out of this excellent issue! To subscribe, call 1-800 831-2694.
Finally, I want to thank all of the people who helped out these past 4+ years. If it wasn't for the people coming forward to do a program here and there, I wouldn't have been able to last so long. I hope to continue to attend as many meetings as my schedule allows, but just as a member, not as a chairman. Thanks!
I received some comments that the Macintosh SIG was very interesting this month. The topic was speech synthesis and the program Plain Talk 1.4.1. However, no one present responded to my inquiries, on the other members' behalf, so this is all there is to report. You can look at Richard Rollins' portion of the Board minutes for a few more details.
The November meeting of the CUCUG executive board took place on Tuesday, November 21, at 7PM, at Kevin Hisel's house (address and phone number, both in the book). Present at the meeting were Jim Huls, Emil Cobb, Mark Landman, Richard Rollins, Mark Bellon, Kevin Hopkins, Angelo Koutsos, Kevin Hisel, Fred Cline and Jim Lewis.
Jim Huls: Jim said he thought the Amiga SIG went well this month.
In the spirit of planting seed for future club activity, Jim had several ideas he wanted to air.
Jim proposed placing an ad in the News Gazette advertising the Macintosh SIG. There was a general discussion of our past forays into this media and its total lack of effectiveness. There was further discussion of our involvement with the Community Calendar on Channel 15.
Jim brought up the idea of conducting workshops like some other users groups do. This was batted around for a while. The stumbling block is the personnel to conduct such workshops.
Jim also proposed the possibility of offering multi-year renewal of memberships. In particular, he wanted to offer a three-year membership for $50 - a $10 discount. This initiated quite a lot of discussion. It also brought up an examination of how well current dues are covering club expenditures. The concern being how such a discounting of membership might impact club solvency. so far, we're doing OK. No final decision was made on offering such a membership package, but it may well be an option offered next year, by the new board.
Emil Cobb: Emil said he was impressed with the Mac SIG. It was fantastic.
As Sergeant at Arms, he reported that about 27 members attended the main meeting.
Mark Landman: Mark gave his monthly Treasurer's Report.
Richard Rollins: Richard reminded us that the December meeting will be a social.
At the last meeting, The Mac SIG was a lot of fun, Richard said. They invaded Jim Lewis's area next door to the main meeting room. The SIG had three new members. The SIG talked about Richard's machine which was being used as the demo platform. They also talked about the program Plain Talk, exploring its text to speech capabilities. They also looked at Extensions Strip. Richard said the intimate setting and the give and take reminded him of the old C64 days of the group. It was a lot of fun.
While exploring Plain Talk's ability to recognize a user's speech, Richard said the SIG members got to hear his computer tell a few knock-knock jokes as Mark trained the program to recognize his voice. The practical benefit of all this is the ability to run applications just by telling your computer to run them.
He said the SIG will be looking at some MIDI applications early next year. The SIG also discussed what people would like to see at future meetings.
Richard said he has handed out about half of the 500 Mac SIG flyers that were printed. One of the other board members noted that the amount of membership dues was omitted and needed to be added to the next run of the flyer.
Richard reported that he and Kevin Hopkins had attended the last CUMUG meeting on campus (one of only three they have per year). There were only 6 attendees at that meeting, of which we were two, two were officers and the final two were demo presenters. We distributed our flyer to them and talked to the officers about combining our efforts. They didn't seem hostile to the idea, so we will pursue this line of inquiry.
Richard brought in the most recent copies of MacWorld and MacFormat for members to look at.
The topic of club mouse pads was brought up again, but Richard said the company he was familiar with only produced the slick top variety and these are not what most people want.
Richard brought up the topic of who will be the Amiga SIG chairman next year. Several candidates had been approached but none volunteered. Jim Lewis said he would fill the position.
The C64 Chairmanship is still open due to Craig Kummerow's withdrawal. With no members attending the last meeting, this does not bode well for our 8-bit community.
Mark Bellon: Mark said he felt the Mac SIG meeting went fairly well.
He reported that he has constructed CUCUGMAC #43 - a disk of amusing inits.
Mark said the BBS may become the repository of nothing but games and patches, due to the tremendous download times required for most Mac applications.
Mark and Kevin Hisel said the Library will be selling disks at the December meeting for $3 - the annual Christmas Disk Gala. Mark also reported that his bulk disk sales have been going well. His discount structure is $35 for 10 club disks, $60 for 20 disks and $75 for 30 disks. These prices make the Mac Library quite a bargain.
There was further discussion of the Mac SIG flyer and where to distribute it to be the most effective in generating new members.
Kevin Hopkins (KH2): Kevin presented the exchange newsletters and handed out the mail as usual. He pointed out that Mark Bellon's article on the "Look and Feel of Buying into the Mac" had been picked up by the Rochester, Minnesota user group's newsletter.
Angelo Koutsos: Angelo reported that no C64/128 SIG members attended the last meeting. This was disappointing.
Angelo reported he has had some success selling the club's surplus 8-bit equipment on the net.
Finally, he noted that he will be going home for Christmas and won't be at the December meeting.
Kevin Hisel (KH1): Kevin went over the proposed by-law changes necessitated by our changing tax status.
He reported that we had 5 new members join at the meeting, with 15 membership renewals.
He reported that BBS usage "sucks."
As Webmaster, Kevin informed us of the "select site" designation being awarded by www.point.com. He would like our web pages to get such a designation.
Fred Cline: Fred had nothing to report.
Jim Lewis: Jim further discussed the by-law changes we need to enact. He said he needed a copy of the current by-laws for his Corporate Agent files.
Jim sparked a discussion of the wireless mike being used at the meeting. Fred Cline said the quality of sound was so poor because of the amplifier being used at the hall is an old tube amp.
Mark Bellon: Mark said he will bring some Macintosh stuff to look at for the Christmas meting.
He reported that CU-Online's performance was impressive.
Meetings are held the third Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. at the IBEW Local 601 Union Hall (352-1741), located at 2901 Research Road in the Interstate Research Park in northwest Champaign. To get there, go north on Mattis over I-74 and turn right at the second stop light, onto Interstate Drive. Then take the first "real" left at Research Road. The Electrician's Hall is the third building on your left. There's a big flag pole right out front and it's directly across the street from one of Hobbico's signs. You should park and enter the building in the back.
ASCII text files of all recent Status Register newsletters are available for downloading on our BBS or our WWW site. Other user group newsletter editors may leave a comment to the BBS Sysop to request free access. To initiate a newsletter exchange, just send us your newsletter. As a matter of CUCUG policy, a newsletter exchange partner will be dropped after three months of no contact.
This newsletter was prepared with PageStream 2.22 on an Amiga 3000 25/100 and output to an HP Laserjet IIP plus. Pagestream was donated to CUCUG by Soft-Logik Publishing Corporation.
For further information, please attend the next meeting as our guest, or contact one of our officers (all at area code 217):
President: Jim Huls 892-8730 Vice-President: David Witt 684-2815 email@example.com Secretary/Editor: Kevin Hopkins 356-5026 firstname.lastname@example.org Treasurer: Mark Landman 398-2910 email@example.com Corporate Agent: Jim Lewis 359-1342 NOSPAMlewis_j_e@yahoo.com Librarian/Sysop: Kevin Hisel 406-948-1999 khisel @ cucug.org C64/128 SIG: Craig Kummerow 784-5919 firstname.lastname@example.org Macintosh SIG: Richard Rollins 469-2616
Call our Starship CUCUG BBS at (217) 356-8056, always online, up to 28,800 baud, supporting all CBM and Macintosh computers. Surf our home page at
To get on the net free, call Prairienet at (217) 255-9000. Login as "visitor".