Main Line Commodore Users Group Newsletter

Supporting : Amiga - C64/128 - PC/Linux

*** SEPTEMBER 1998 ******************************** ISSUE #196 **

VILLANOVA UNIVERSITY, ST. AUGUSTINE CENTER

MEETING STARTS - 09:30 - SEP 12

NOTE! SECOND SATURDAY!


SORRY ABOUT LAST MONTH!!

Unfortunately, we did not find out until about 09:00 on August 8th - the meeting day - that the Villanova campus was pretty inaccessible due to construction for folks like us without gate access cards. And, when we got to the meeting building, the building itself was locked up. Hopefully, all will be well for this month!


THIS MONTH'S CONTENTS
MAIN LINE 64/128/PC USERS - Room 110

Since our rump session at the VU diner did not take care of things, we plan to have our Commodore Q & A, as before. Our 8-bit using members are very much urged and encouraged to bring their needs to the meeting where more than one mind can be applied to easing one's way. Remember the credo: "there is no such thing as a stupid question" - and that includes YOURS! Ya'll come.....

For our PC users, we'll start by covering the changes since the last meeting (and problems encountered). A feature will be the LINUX v5.1 install. This topic will cover partitioning, FAT change and other considerations in setting up an alternate OS. And there'll be time for our usual Q & A .....

(continued on page 3)

MAIN LINE AMIGA USERS - Room 210

August proved to be a month of construction at Villanova. As a result of related access problems, our August meeting was canceled. Some of us did convene at the Villanova diner for a late breakfast or brunch as some might have called it.

So, for our September meeting we plan to continue from where our presentation ended in July. We will continue our review of ImageFX through the use of the Catalyzer video tape, watching a section of the tape and then replicating the presentation on the Amiga 1200. We will continue our comparison of the latest version of ImageFX, version 3.0, to the previous version, version 2.6.

(continued on page 8)

*************************
CREATIVE MICRO DESIGNS - II

Two other products joined the CMD family in 1991: SwiftLink and SID Symphony. These products were initially developed and sold by Dr. Evil Labs, a partnership formed by college classmates as an experiment in designing, manufacturing, and marketing products. SID Symphony provided additional sound voices to Commodore computers, and helped lead to the development of hundreds, perhaps thousands of 'stereo' music files. SwiftLink, a high-speed RS-232 interface for the 64 and 128, has grown constantly more popular as faster modems have been developed and dropped in price.

CMD added several more GEOS-related software products to its product line in 1992. The first of these was geoMakeBoot, a utility program that operates in the GEOS environment to create GEOS boot disks on any device currently supported by the GEOS Configure system in use. This made it easy to create boot partitions on CMD HD Series hard drives and RAMLink.

The next product added to the CMD line was also a GEOS-related product, originally marketed in Germany as "GEOS LQ"; To avoid any possible problems with trademark infringement, CMD released the English language version of this program under the name "Perfect Print LQ"; This product was well-received by the market, as it helped to patch over one of the weaker points of GEOS itself -- printer output quality. It could easily be said that this product is the GEOS equivalent of the much heralded Adobe Type Manager for the Apple Macintosh. Perfect Print was further refined later in 1992, incorporating better quality output drivers and the ability to use borders within geoWrite documents.

Two more GEOS-related software products joined the CMD line in 1992. The 1st was geoCanvas, a new 'paint' program for GEOS in 40 column mode. Sales of geoCanvas weren't up to expectation, however, and CMD's distribution contract was not renewed when it expired. The 2nd release was a collection of various utilities written by one of the best known programmers in the GEOS community, Jim Collette. This latter release was aptly titled, "Collette Utilities"; including several popular applications and Desk Accessories such as Jim's Font Editor, PSProcessor (Postscript pre-processor), MiniDesk & Wizard.

While the list of software releases from CMD grew in 1992, hardware development was still underway creating a replacement for the Commodore 1581 disk drive. CMD's FD Series floppy drives maintained backward compatibility with Commodore's 800K 1581, but also had the ability to format and use high density disks storing 1.6 Megabytes. The FD-4000, CMD's top-of-the-line model, provided further capacity with the ability to format and use enhanced density disks storing 3.2 Megabytes. Again, the same high-level DOS that CMD used in the HD and RAMLink product lines was ported to allow users to conveniently partition disks. By the end of 1992, the FD drives were shipping to Commodore users all over the world.

The FD Series drives made their print debut in the last issue of RUN Magazine - the Nov/Dec 1992 issue. With the loss of RUN as an advertising avenue, CMD created close ties with Tech Media, the 'Special Products' division of RUN, which continued operation for several months after the magazine itself folded. CMD purchased Tech Media in May of 1993 from International Data Group (IDG). The purchase included rights to all of the 8-bit holdings of Tech Media, including RUN and all of Tech Media's remaining Commodore-related product inventory. This single event changed CMD's role in the market significantly, instantly making them one of the largest dealers of Commodore products left in existence.

(Part III - next month)


DIRECTIONS FOR ST. AUGUSTINE CENTER MEETING ROOMS

Meetings in the St. Augustine Center at Villanova University. The 8- bit and PC sessions will be in Room 110 and the AMIGA meeting in Room 210.

Enter from the ITHAN AVENUE main gate, then proceed to the 2-level parking building adjacent to St. Augustine, on the Ithan Avenue side.

NOTE: maps on our webpage -
http://astro4.ast.vill.edu/mlcug/index.html

---------------------------------------------------------
64/128/PC/Amiga Meetings  1998  Steering Committee Meetings
               October 10 *                      October 14
     * = second Saturday     ** = third Wednesday
*********************************************************
 EDITOR: Emil J. Volcheck, Jr.   1046 General Allen Lane
                                 West Chester, PA 19382-8030

(Produced with C-128/SCPU 128, RAMlink, HD-40/85, 1571, FD-4000, THE
WRITE STUFF 128, XETEC Super Grafix, Canon BJ-200ex, Swiftlink and
Motorola 288 modem)

           MLCUG BBS: 610-828-1359 (300 --> 33600 bps), 24 hr/day
                 WWW: http://astro4.ast.vill.edu/mlcug/index.html
           PUBLICITY: Robyn Josephs 565-4058
         DISK ORDERS: Charlie Curran 446-5239; Bill Bacon 441-5908
   VILLANOVA SPONSOR: Prof. Frank Maloney, Dept. of
Astronomy

MLCUG STEERING COMMITTEE:

           PRESIDENT: Emil Volcheck          388-1581
           SECRETARY: Charles Curran         446-5239
   TREASURER/MEMBERS: Dewitt Stewart         623-5145
     AMIGA SIG/SYSOP: John Deker             828-7897
            INTERNET: Peter Whinnery         284-5234
            DATABASE: Layton Fireng          688-2080
            AT LARGE: Tom Johnson            525-3440

########################################
ANNOUNCEMENTS & SPECIALS
########################################

BUY/SELL/SWAP??? - as we mentioned last month, we are considering a flea market type meeting for November. Our last one will have been a couple of years ago; so the time may be ripe. HOWEVER, we need some input from the members. Please tell us at the September meeting, if you'd like such a meeting. If you can't make the meeting, call a Steering Committee member and tell us that way. The flea market would presumably cover Commodore, Amiga and PC/clone hardware and software - so it should benefit all our member interests. Once more - tell us how you feel about it!!!

BBS EXPERIMENT - recently, Sysop John installed an RFI filter on the BBS phone line, aimed at improving the smoothness of data flow from the BBS. He lives near an AM radio station whose signal causes a lot of interference to electronic equipment operation in his home.

Users of the BBS are encouraged to let John know (leave feedback) whether or not they encounter pauses or other interruptions during a logon. He needs that feedback to determine if the extra filter actually benefits. Thanks.


IMAGINE IF INSTEAD OF CRYPTIC, GEEKY TEXT STRINGS, YOUR COMPUTER PRODUCED ERROR MESSAGES IN HAIKU!

"The Web site you seek cannot be located but endless others exist"


*************************
SUPERCPU 128 BENCHMARKS

[by John Murphy, from the BBS]

I was going through some old Commie magazines that I had acquired and came across an Ahoy! with an article comparing benchmarks on the C128 and the original IBM PC. The article was by Dale Rupert and it included a program in BASIC 7.0 that he used to generate the benchmarks. It wasn't too long, so I typed it in and tried it with various configurations on my C128D.

Most of the benchmarks consisted of timing 1000 iterations of various tests and printing the results on the printer. I ran four trials:

  1. - C128D in SLOW mode
  2. - C128D in FAST mode
  3. - C128D in SLOW mode and SCPU 128 (Default optimization)
  4. - C128D in FAST mode and SCPU 128 (Default optimization)
Here are the results:
                       SCPU 128 Benchmarks
                       Times in Seconds
                       C128   SCPU 128
Benchmark Test         SLOW   (SLOW)   X
FOR/NEXT Loop          21.23   1.27  16.72
Floating Point Ops     21.50   1.13  19.03
String Manipulation    15.75   0.92  17.12
Disk Write (1571/JD)   29.34  14.48   2.03
Disk Read (1571/JD)    21.17  11.55   1.83
Vertical Printing      85.72  23.78   3.60
Horizontal Printing    18.67   2.17   8.60
Random Numbers         18.07   0.97  18.63
Random Points          18.20   0.97  18.76
Random Lines            8.45   0.38  22.24
Random Circles         56.55   3.78  14.96

                        C128  SCPU 128
Benchmark Test          FAST  (FAST)   X 
FOR/NEXT Loop           9.90   1.20   8.25
Floating Point Ops      9.94   1.08   9.20
String Manipulation     7.35   0.87   8.45
Disk Write (1571 w/JD) 19.48  13.48   1.45
Disk Read (1571 w/JD)  14.70  10.55   1.39
Vertical Printing      50.20  23.12   2.17
Horizontal Printing     9.32   2.07   4.50
Random Numbers          8.33   0.93   8.96
Random Points           8.37   0.92   9.10
Random Lines            3.98   0.32  12.44
Random Circles         26.98   3.57   7.56

Note the slight difference in the SCPU results depending on whether the 128 was in SLOW or FAST mode. I would surmise that some of the ROM routines have a built-in compensation for FAST mode and that helps to speed things up - even with the SCPU running. Also, I don't have a lot of faith in the accuracy of the timing of the disk benchmarks. In the original article Rupert timed these manually. I'm pretty sure that the timers get turned off during some parts of disk operations.

If there is anyone else who would be interested in trying these benchmarks out I can either upload the program or bring it to the meeting. I'm not sure of the copyright status of the program since it came from a magazine that stopped publishing nearly 10 years ago.

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
$ TRADING POST $
$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

FOR SALE: MLCUG has a lot of hardware and software that is available for you to purchase at very attractive prices! By the time you get this newsletter, the listing should be updated and POSTED on both our BBS and our webpage. This new listing has ALL items priced. Check out either of the site postings. For items, you can contact Charles Curran to make arrangements to purchase (610-446-5239).

*************************
64/128/PC MEETING
*************************

For July, we had a few absences because of the City transit strike (as we had in June) - BUT for August, we were shut out of the building!

So, almost a dozen of us adjourned to the Villanova Diner and had what you might call a breakfast meeting (or was that an early lunch meeting?). I do not think any weighty decisions were made over the coffee, eggs, etc.; but the morning was not a total loss. With the school year getting underway, the campus should be a bit more lively and accessible - hopefully the meeting will benefit with a good turnout!

*************************
YOUR NEW PC - PART ?

By Emil Volcheck

Since we did not have a meeting, we were not able to continue our saga with the new PC. However, we were not completely idle. Webmaster, Pete Whinnery, is a Linux afficionado and so, we did install that operating system on the PC. So, one can now boot to either Win95 or Linux - your choice.

At the September meeting, Pete will review the install process for the group and give a brief showing of Linux. The install process involved partitioning the hard drive (with Partition Magic), then setting up two partitions for Linux (with its own utilities) and finally installing the OS itself from the version 5.1 CD-ROM.

This exercise will be an excellent educational opportunity for members.


IMAGINE IF INSTEAD OF CRYPTIC, GEEKY TEXT STRINGS, YOUR COMPUTER PRODUCED ERROR MESSAGES IN HAIKU!

"First snow, then silence. This thousand dollar screen dies so beautifully."


*************************
PASSWORD PROMPT?

Does your Windows 95 PC ask you for a password when you boot up? Do you want to have it stop - but haven't been able to make it so? We had that problem with the club PC and had some serious difficulty in trying to get rid of it (that was the subject of last month's "Need Rescuing?" article!).

After doing a bit of research (in mags and Win95 Secrets), we came to understand that three (3) conditions need to be met to have Win95 stop asking for a password. These are: 1) different users may NOT have different profiles, 2) a blank password and 3) no network setup that requires a password.

In the case of the club PC, tho it has ethernet access at VU, we have not had to enter a password to get on the ethernet. The ethernet card has an embedded code number that the net checks to be sure it is OK for the PC to hook up. So, we hoped that condition 3) would be met.

Therefore, we did the following (clicking or double-clicking as needed):

Powered up the PC and entered the password - so Win95 knows we're OK!

      START
      Control Panels
      Passwords
      User profiles tab
      check box that says "all users have same ......."
      Passwords tab
      Change password button
      enter a blank password (not even a space!) - twice
      OK
Then we powered down and re-powered up. Win95 did NOT ask for the password and has not YET done so on all successive powerups.

Do not hold your breath - we WILL tell you if Win95 changes its mind!


IMAGINE IF INSTEAD OF CRYPTIC, GEEKY TEXT STRINGS, YOUR COMPUTER PRODUCED ERROR MESSAGES IN HAIKU!

"Windows NT crashed. I am the Blue Screen of Death. No one hears your screams."


======================================
   _   __      _  <>_  __      _
  /\\   |\    /|| ||  /  `    /\\
 /__\\  | \  / || || || ___  /__\\
/    \\_|  \/  ||_||_ \__//_/    \\_
======================================
By John Deker, AMIGA SIG Leader

FUTURE MEETINGS

If you have either software or hardware for your Amiga that has taken your fancy, please bring it to our attention. I'm sure your specific interests will be of interest to others. Let me know if this is the case at the next meeting, or leave me email on our BBS. Remember, a user group is only as rewarding as the sum of the efforts of its individual members.

AMIGA UNDER SIEGE AGAIN

From Brad Webb 7/31/98 Newsletter
(edited to fit space - ed.)
==========================
 A M I G A   U P D A T E
   -News and Rumors-
(An Occasional Newsletter)
 KEEP THE MOMENTUM GOING
==========================
AMIGA and the Amiga logo are trademarks of Gateway, Inc.
--------------------------
QUIKPAK SUIT - THE FULL STORY

NEW COMPATIBLE FROM RANDOMIZE
--------------------------
QUIKPAK SUIT - THE FULL STORY

NewTekniques Magazine Special Report
Copyright, 1998  Advanstar Communications.
Used with permission.

QuikPak Lawsuit Limits Production!
Amiga4000 Shortage Leads to Major Concerns

by Joe Tracy
(July 3, 1998) A lawsuit against QuikPak has apparently greatly reduced the company's capability to produce Amiga4000 computers, hindering the ability of many Amiga dealers to deliver systems. Dr. Bernhard Hembach, the German court's ESCOM bankruptcy trustee, reportedly filed the lawsuit in the U.S., with a large stock of Amiga4000 computer parts allegedly being at the core of the dispute.

According to Dave Ziembicki, the chief executive officer of QuikPak, who has filed a countersuit, the dispute with Hembach has been going on for a couple of years. "We didn't want to be embroiled in this mess," says Ziembicki. Due to the litigation, Ziembicki was not allowed to provide further details surrounding the lawsuit, but was able to confirm that the ongoing lawsuit has affected QuikPak's ability to produce Amiga4000 computers. QuikPak, which once employed more than 20 people, is now down to only one. Dealers are feeling the effects.

EFFECT ON DEALERS

According to Dan Sorensen, owner of Clackamas Computers in Oregon, there was hope for improved business when NewTek announced its new Video Toaster Flyer pricing. One of the announced bundles included an Amiga4000 with the Video Toaster Flyer at an incredible price. Since the announcement, Sorensen has had nearly a dozen people express interest, but only one system has been delivered for him to sell.

"All of the excitement from the new price announcement at NAB died when there were no products to sell," says Sorensen. "I'm in business trying to sell Video Toaster Flyer systems and when I can't do that I can't make any money."

OUT OF STOCK

Petro Tyschtschenko, the managing director of Amiga International, confirmed to NewTekniques that there is an Amiga4000 shortage overseas. "We don't have any more stock," says Tyschtschenko. "I sold my last 500 units in Europe."

A swift resolution to the lawsuit between QuikPak and Hembach could restart the production of Amiga4000 computers. However, the two sides have not been able to come to settlement terms.

"We would like to continue doing this [producing computers]," says Ziembicki. "We can't find financing to arrive at a settlement and do this."

IMPORTANCE OF SETTLEMENT

Yet an immediate settlement would be in the interest of both parties, according to Jeff Schindler, General Manager of Amiga, Inc. Schindler says that if the dispute goes on too long, the inventory will be worth nothing and everyone loses. While Gateway and Amiga, Inc. have no control over the dispute, "we have a real desire to make sure this gets resolved," says Schindler.

Schindler also says that Amiga, Inc. is dedicated to seeing the "Amiga Classic" line continue. "Our hope is somehow that the entire 1200 and 4000 architecture is available through this period until we get to our 5.0 release," he says. Schindler is referring to a new 5.0 operating system that will be released within the next couple of years after a 4.0 operating system upgrade this November. Amiga, Inc. recently reconfirmed its commitment to the Amiga market and future of the platform through a new Amiga super system that will debut with the 5.0 operating system.

"The next generation will come in November and we will have an O/S 4.0 this year," says Tyschtschenko. "Next year we'll have a new computer with new chipsets and everything. I think we have a good product and bright future."

For people dependent on Amiga4000 computers now, however, that is of little consolation.

"My business has taken a serious downturn in 1998," says Sorensen. "People will no longer consider Amiga if there are hints that it is drying up and going away. You are taking skeptical people and scaring them away from the Amiga platform."

Jim Davis, owner of DVS Direct, another authorized Amiga dealer adds, "If this issue isn't resolved in a timely manner, we're going to lose the opportunity to sell and promote these systems."

REPERCUSSIONS

Mark Stross is the executive behind Playable Television and has been an Amiga supporter for years. At the recent NAB 1998, Stross unveiled the final beta version of the highly acclaimed Playable Television system that takes interactive uses for the Amiga computer to the next level.

With mass-marketing of Playable Television just weeks away, not being able to get a hold of Amiga4000 motherboards could interfere with the public premiere of Playable Television, which many multi-million dollar companies have shown an interest in. While Stross loves the Amiga platform, he has formulated a backup plan, if necessary.

"Playable Television has always had an IBM plan on the table for two years now," says Stross. Within 90 days, Stross could port Playable Television over to the PC, bypassing the Amiga technology altogether. But Stross doesn't want to do that and hopes that all the sides involved in the legal dispute can sit around a table and discuss the problems as a team, in order to reach a swift solution.

"I would have an emergency meeting that would get all the key players together for an immediate meeting, sponsored by Gateway," says Stross. "We need a forum right now."

HISTORY

On March 27, 1997, Gateway acquired the rights to the Amiga technology. The announcement had come as a surprise because many people had expected QuikPak to be named the new owner prior to Gateway entering the bidding. In an open letter to the Amiga community in early 1997, Ziembicki reaffirmed QuikPak's commitment to the Amiga.

In part, the letter states, "Back when Amiga Technologies was owned by Escom, QuikPak was selected to manufacture the complete A4000T and components for the A1200. During the collapse of Escom and the subsequent negotiations with VisCorp, QuikPak continued manufacturing and servicing Amiga computers. Throughout this time of uncertainty, QuikPak continued to support the platform, placing ads in the North American publication Amazing Computing, forging alliances with Amiga developers and supporters, and developing new products of our own. Recently, at AmigaFest in Toronto, we unveiled two new computers and we have been shipping the 060 accelerator for the A4000T. We believe this product development clearly demonstrates our commitment to the Amiga."

The dispute between QuikPak and Hembach apparently goes back even further than the letter. Past press articles even hinted at a dispute.

"Apparently there is a dispute that exists between QuikPak and the liquidator, Dr. Hembach, that may require litigation," said Fabian Jimenez, chairman of the National Capital Amiga Users Group, in a Web article titled "The Amiga's Future Takes Shape" that was published on July 28, 1997.

While details of the dispute are carefully guarded, the center of the lawsuit appears to be Amiga stock that QuikPak was provided with by ESCOM years ago, in order to produce Amiga computers, which QuikPak had consistently done until now. Even though QuikPak has a licensing agreement with Amiga, Inc. the litigation has brought production to a halt. Otherwise, "We'd be shipping computers immediately," says Ziembicki.

NEWTEK

The timing of the hindered production couldn't have been worse for NewTek, which recently announced strategic Toaster/Flyer prices at NAB 1998 and saw a big jump in Video Toaster and Flyer sales. According to sources within NewTek, the company had secured a verbal guarantee that Amiga4000 units would be available before making the announcement.

Even though the litigation hindered NewTek's initial ability to deliver systems to dealers, a back-up plan has saved NewTek. Sources within NewTek state that they do have enough units to fulfill orders even though delays are reaching over 30 days in delivery. Apparently NewTek does not have any plans to stop offering the bundle that includes the Amiga4000 system and dealers, like Sorensen, should soon be back in business.

THE SOLUTION

While Amiga, Inc. has no control over the litigation between Hembach and QuikPak, it does own the technology and, according to The Amiga Informer magazine, announced that it "has an approved budget and a green light to carry out their plans. All the political and budgetary roadblocks are gone."

According to Schindler, Amiga, Inc. will stay involved for the rest of the Amiga Classic line, which represents "everything we have today the Amiga technology now." And while Amiga, Inc. isn't taking sides in the dispute, Schindler does state that it is "trying to help the two sides come to an agreement."

For the sake of the Amiga community, hopefully an agreement will come soon.

Joe Tracy is editor in chief of NewTekniques magazine. Special thanks to Fletcher Haug, editor of The Amiga Informer, who also contributed to this report.

This article is Copyright 1998 by Advanstar Communications.
http://www.newtekniques.com


NEW COMPATIBLE FROM RANDOMIZE

Randomize, Inc. Announces New 060/50 Amiga System
Toronto, Canada - July 25th, 1998

Can Amigas be powerful, flexible and affordable? Genesis says yes ... and the answer is in the ALPHA!

Giving you what you always wanted in an Amiga .. speed, True Colour Graphics and PC Monitor compatibility just to name a few!

Featuring:

Interfaces: System Price - $2549.95 CDN, $1759.95 US
Optional Fast SCSI Controller - Add on Price $134.95 CDN, $94.95 US

PPC 603e 240Mhz and Pre-Installed Mac Emulation available as options.

For more information, see our website at
http://www.randomize.com/genalpha.html

Genesis, a division of Randomize, Inc. R.R. #2 Tottenham Ontario Canada L0G 1W0

Orders: 1 888 RANDOMIZE (1 888 726-3664)

Technical: (905) 939-8371 Fax: (905) 939-8745 Sales e-mail: sales@randomize.com Support e-mail: support@randomize.com


Copyright 1998 by Brad Webb. Freely distributable, if not modified.
======================================
   _   __      _  <>_  __      _
  /\\   |\    /|| ||  /  `    /\\
 /__\\  | \  / || || || ___  /__\\
/    \\_|  \/  ||_||_ \__//_/    \\_
======================================