DiskMAG Volume 1 Number 3 (Dec 1988) : ARTICLES / Amy_Today5.2

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                         Amy Today     
         A text-file magazine for all Amiga lovers

            Volume #5, Issue #2, November 20th                  
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Editor :  John Rydell
Writers:  Jeff James and Roger Walker   

Address all correspondence to:         "Amy Today"
                                       C/O John Rydell
GEnie address:  J.Rydell1              640 Willowglen Rd.
                 (#54790)              Santa Barbara, CA
                                       93105
Plink address:  J*Rydell

           GEnie discussion in category #2, topic #29
                Plink discussion in Section #2
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Contents:

1.  A Message From the Editor              John Rydell
2.  Distributing "Amy Today"               John Rydell
3.  Amiga Happenings                       John Rydell
4.  Commodore Announces                    John Rydell
5.  Virus Protection                       Roger Walker
6.  Empire Review                          Jeff James
7.  Trading Galore!!                       John Rydell
8.  Newsletter Trading                     John Rydell
9.  Advertising                            John Rydell
10. In the Future                          John Rydell

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A Message From The Editor:

The Christmas season is finally upon us and this season usually
brings forth many new products as the publishers rush to gain
their share of the holiday market.  Commodore, itself, has
finally given word of many new products for the Amiga line.  I
doubt many, if any, of these products will be ready by Christmas
but they should all be available some time next year.  Read more
about these in my article, "Commodore Announces".

With all of the virus problems these days I felt that I should
include an article in Amy Today.  Roger Walker talks about how to
fight viruses in "Virus Protection".  Finally, Jeff James reviews
the strategy game "Empire" which was named "Overall Best Game of
1988".

One more note.  I am working on the results of the puzzle
contest.  Please be patient as it will take me a little while to
finish.

Like always, I am looking for reader-support in the way of
articles or short programs you would like to share with the Amiga
community.  If you would like to contribute please contact me at
one of the locations printed in the magazine's cover/title
section.  All good PD/shareware software will also be mentioned
or reviewed if it is sent to Amy Today.

           John Rydell
            (Editor)
 
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Distributing "Amy Today":

Amy Today is file-based magazine which has been copyrighted by
John Rydell.  I am allowing everyone to freely distribute it as
long as they give credit to Amy Today for anything taken from the
magazine.  I also request that the magazine, itself, remains "AS
IS" when being distributed.  Please do not modify it in any way
if you are going to distribute it.  

About Distributing:  Please upload Amy Today EVERYWHERE!  This
magazine simply will not flourish if it is not uploaded whenever
possible.  Every issue is kept near 15,000 bytes ARCed so that
upload/download time should never be a problem.  So, please, if
you have the chance spread the magazine around the country!  Give
a copy to your friend!  Keep Amy Today alive and going strong!

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Amiga Happenings:
(John Rydell)

WordPerfect-
Word has it that WordPerfect has decided not to release version
5.0 of their wordprocessor for the Amiga.  Rather, they are
jumping straight to version 6.0 which will hopefully be released
by Summer of 1989.  Version 6.0 will have graphics as well as
text features.  Hopefully we will get a REAL Amiga version rather
than just an import.
 
EA and Software Etc-
I once claimed that Electronic Arts was no longer being sold at
Software Etc stores.  Well, my local Software Etc just started
selling Electronic Arts Amiga software so I have a feeling that
my old statement was untrue.

Commodore-
I'm finally using WorkBench1.3!  FFS is a nice addition as my
hard drive is now reading slightly over 200,000 bytes per second. 
Finally, a great improvement by Commodore.  Keep it up!

Amiga Happenings is a column dedicated to giving you information
on what is happening in the Amiga community.  Some of the
information could possibly be wrong due to the fact that I am
trying to get early information.  I do not in any way guarantee
that the information will be accurate although I will try my
hardest to protect the innocent.

>>If you have some new information you would like to share please
submit it to Amy Today.

###############################################################
# Amy Today Trading Galore!  Trade public domain or shareware #
# software with Amy Today.  Look for more information later   #
# in this issue.  --The trade is going strong...participate   #
# today!                                                      #
###############################################################

Commodore Announces:
(John Rydell)

This month there have been many announcements for new, and
hopefully exciting, Amiga products.  I am not an expert on any of
these products nor did I hear about them first hand.  Anyway,
here is a run-down of the new products that were talked about at
the recent Comdex show on November 15.  Note that none of the
products is ready for release so that none of the information is
final.

Amiga2000HD-

This is Commodore's newest addition to the Amiga line.  It is an
Amiga 2000 with one meg installed.  It comes equipped with a 40
megabyte hard drive run by the 2090A.  The hard drive is 28ms and
the computer retails for $2,999.

Amiga2500-

This is a very powerful computer.  Its qualities are that it has
doubled processor speed, a math co-processor and 2 MB of ram
built in.  (68020 and 68881 chips included.)  It, like the
2000HD, comes with a 40 meg hard drive and retails for $4,699.

A590-

This is a 20 meg hard drive with a potential 2 megabyte expansion
ram for the Amiga 500.  It uses 1.3 and DMA for fast transfer.

PVA2350-

This is a Professional Video Adapter.  It is a frame grabber and
a real time digitizer.

2286 Bridgeboard-

This is a complete 80286 PC AT on a card.  It comes with 1 meg of
ram and a 5.25 disk drive.  I'm assuming that this will allow
Amiga owners to run PC software along with their standard Amiga
software.  (Maybe even at the same time with multi-tasking??)

Also talked about where the following products which I really do
not know much about:  Janus 2.0, a High Resolution Color Graphics
Card, a Transputer Parallel Processing workstation, and a 2500UX
unix computer.

It is good to see that Amiga is developing and supporting their
computers.  They are even adding peripherals for the Amiga 500
and that is a good sign!

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Virus Protection:
(Roger Walker)
<Reprinted from "Boing!" The Newsletter of the Amiga Users Group
of Kansas City>

<Editor's Note-I realize that there seems to be a virus craze
going on these days and that you probably do not want to hear
much more about them.  But because I have received so many disks
from my readers that have had infections I have decided to
include this article.  It is quite well written, enjoyable, and
informative.>

In the last year, the Amiga community has joined the ranks of the
other personal computer makes in another area...that of viruses. 
Virus infected disks have spread through the Amiga community like
wildfire, and just about everyone I know has been "bitten" at one
time or another.  A complete, in-depth discussion of individual
viruses and other system infections is beyond the scope of this
article, and many magazines have devoted space to this.  At least
one book has been published on this subject also.  What we will
attempt to accomplish here is to look at some ways to keep the
risk of virus infection low, all the while realizing the real-
world need for as much convenience as possible.

How safe do you want to be?

This becomes the primary question for one simple reason...a
matter of convenience.  Remember that no matter what you do, no
system is totally immune to infection, the same as your home is
never totally safe from theft.

At the extreme, the most bulletproof way to keep your system safe
is once you are sure that your media is clean, never introduce
any new software to your machine.  While I don't recommend this
approach to anyone, there are ways to keep the risks to a
minimum:

*Check your boot disks for infection, and, after making sure they
are clean, WRITE-PROTECT them.  I know that this may pose a
problem for A1000 and A500 owners who lack a battery backed
clock, but I am talking about the first time you run a new
program or utility here, and a virus free disk is a lot more
important than a date that is a few minutes off!  After you are
reasonably sure that the file is ok, you may write-enable your
boot disk (or better yet, for those of you with more than one
drive, simply direct your "date file" to the external disk).

*Check all new disks for viruses before use.  If you are thinking
that you can only be infected by a virus if you use Public Domain
software, you are very wrong!  Some commercial programs have been
plagued with shipping infected disks (one of the most recent
examples is the installation disk coming with GVP HardDisk
controller cards, and yes, they have been informed of this).

*Before running any game that uses copy protection, always shut
off the computer for at least 30 seconds before re-booting.  This
will allow enough time for the power to drain away from the ram
chips, and the system should be clean.

*Use SafeBoot (versions 2.0) to file away copies of copy
protected bootblocks.  This program is on AUGKC disk #113, and
works from WorkBench as well as CLI.  The only drawback? is that
this utility uses ARP.library, so remember to include this file
on all your boot disks.  (For those of you who are "ARPless",
there has been an updated version just released as we go to press
that does not use this ARP file...)

*If you have a hard drive, do not run any new software from it
without first trying it out from a floppy or ram disk (especially
PD software).  Although no current strains of Viruses are known
to jeopardize hard disks, that doesn't mean that they can't be
written in the future.  Also, with the new auto-boot capabilities
of WorkBench 1.3, it is not known positively at this time whether
this feature will make them vulnerable to the current "boot-
block" variety.

Although some people have stated that they have been infected by
files received via modem, no one that I am aware of has been able
to track down any virus to one particular file or program.

How Viruses Work:

By far the most common type of system infection with the Amiga, a
Virus is code that resides in the boot-block of a floppy disk. 
Currently, all known Amiga viruses live in sector(s) 0 and 1. 
This section is called the bootblock, since AmigaDOS stores
information there that tells the system whether the disk has been
formatted (is an AmigaDOS disk), and if it has been installed (or
bootable).  Your system loads in the bootblock information from
every disk inserted into the machine, thereby giving the virus a
free ride into your Amiga.  To the best of my knowledge, known
Viruses can only be spread to another bootable (installed) disk,
so you may think twice about installing disks as a matter of
practice.  If you would like to be able to "uninstall" a disk
that you have previously made bootable, the Install command has
been modified to allow this with WorkBench 1.3.  (Please note
that any disk you insert at the WorkBench prompt must have been
previously installed in order for the system to come up.)

This same bootblock is where some commercial programs (read
GAMES) store their copy protection schemes.  Since the current
strains of Amiga Viruses wedge their code here, they overwrite
the custom code thereby making a boot with this disk fail.  This
is what makes them so deadly to commercial software, as they
really don't "harm" regular WorkBench disks.

Getting rid of a virus...after infection

Some of the viruses have an incubation period.  By that, I mean
that they keep a running total of disks they have infected, and
after a certain number is reached, they come alive and show
themselves.  (The SCA! virus is one of these.)  Most can be found
each time you reboot and you are presented with a green colored
screen.  This green screen is an internal Amiga function meaning
that it thinks you have bad RAM.  Since the Virus has changed
around some things in memory to allow it to survive the system
re-boot, it causes this check to fail.  Don't worry though, other
than being infected, your memory is otherwise fine.  Any time you
see this screen however, it's time to bring out VirusX and go
hunting.  If it is too late for this, and you have already
infected some disks, there are separate ways to recover from
WorkBench disks and copy protected disks.

*Workbench disks can just be re-installed, and then the WRITE-
PROTECT tab set.  Some strains of viruses will immediately re-
write themselves back to your boot disk, so you will want to
eradicate them from memory as well.

*Commercial disks can have their bootblock re-installed using the
program SafeBoot (provided you made a copy of the bootblock
before you noticed the game was infected!)  If you notice that
your game disk will still boot, then it doesn't use this form of
copy protection.

Important note:  If you just do a regular AmigaDOS install on the
copy protected disk you are in effect doing the same thing as the
virus, since you are replacing the custom code with your own.

Virus Checking Programs

The most important thing here is to get the latest version of a
Virus checker that you can get your hands on!  Note that the
correct file sizes are also listed, as it is possible for someone
to modify a virus Checker into a virus infector...

VirusX  (Version 2.01 11,500 bytes) -- By far, the most popular
and powerful of the virus checkers is a public domain program
called VirusX, written by Steve Tibbett.  VirusX is updated each
time a new virus is discovered, and is the single most effective
deterrent to infection.  VirusX can be run from WorkBench as well
as CLI, and is available on one of the AUGKC club disks.

Vcheck1.2 (13,192 bytes) and Vcheck1.9 (6,236 bytes) -- Written
by Bill Koester of CATS (Commodore Amiga Technical Support),
these early virus checkers only check for the SCA! virus.  They
will however alert you to non-standard boot code.  If you see
this alert come up and you're running your regular WorkBench
disk, it's time to find your copy of VirusX.  Both of these are
only runnable from the CLI (unless someone has attached them to
an Icon for you), and only served as a stopgap measure until the
VirusX series appeared.

Install (WorkBench 1.3, 2416 bytes) -- For WorkBench 1.3, CBM has
modified this command to allow 2 additional things, namely the
ability to "un"install a boot disk, and the "check" option which
allows you to check for the normal AmigaDOS boot code in the
bootblock.  While the ability to uninstall a disk is useless for
any disk that you want to bring your system up with, it does
allow you to safeguard your data disks from the current strains
of viruses.

Guardian -- Handy for the A1000 owner, this program writes itself
to your KickStart disk and therefore is installed before your
system is even able to accept a bootable disk.  To the best of my
knowledge, this file is also available on one of the club
disks...

Clock.Doctor (8028 bytes) -- Clock.Doctor checks for and removes
a virus that resides in the clock memory of A2000's (and A500's
with the CBM 512k ram expansion which also comes with the clock
circuitry).  I have heard that this virus has been found in the
Kansas City area, but have not been able to confirm either its
existence, or if this viruschecker does check for and find them. 
Please note that some CATS people have stated that there isn't
enough free memory in the clock chip to support virus code, but
without actually having a copy of this virus to look at, it is
not known if this program does indeed do what it promises.

In summary remember that no system is completely safe from
infection, but that by using these tips outlined above, you can
greatly reduce your risk of infection.

<Editor's plea-Please be careful.  Viruses are for real and they
are floating all over the place!  I have now received three disks
during my picture trade that VirusX found viruses on.  I'd rather
not end up distributing a virus, myself.  Thanx!>

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Empire:
(Jeff James)
<November 1988 of The Knightly Knews>

This month I'm going to review Interstel's latest Amiga software
offering, Empire.  Empire recently had the distinction of being
named "Overall Best Game of 1988" by Computer Gaming World
Magazine.  Does it deserve it?

Empire, first and foremost, is a strategy game.  And, to set
things straight right from the beginning, Empire is undoubtedly
the best strategy game for the Amiga.  Period.  Game of the Year? 
I don't think so, but it comes awfully close.

Empire is a detailed and complex game of global domination.  You
can play with up to three players, and any or all of these
players can be played by the computer.  Each player starts out
with a very small chunk of a largely unexplored world, and
through the course of the game, each player explores the world
around him, builds armies, and tries to manufacture the winning
combination of combat units.  You can create several different
combat units; Armies, Fighters, Destroyers, Submarines, Cruisers,
Transports, Carriers, and Battleships.  All have differing
strengths and weaknesses, and all take different amounts of time
to manufacture.  Generally, the more powerful the unit, the
longer it takes to make.

Anyway, to quickly summarize the rest of the game's functions,
all players continue to explore, build and conquer until only one
of them remains as the supreme ruler of the entire planet.

If you like strategy games, you'll love Empire.  The game can
take hundreds of hours to finish; even spending three hours at
the start of the game before you even spot an enemy is not
uncommon.  <Editor's comment-this game is definitely NOT for
everyone!>  The box has a label warning users about the
addictiveness of the game, and believe me, they aren't liars,
either!  If you've got a lot of free time, Empire is extremely
enjoyable.

On the negative side, several parts of the game could use
improvement.  #1 - The graphics on the two screens you see while
the program is loading are absolutely horrible.  A C64 could
generate better graphics than what I'd seen!  (Empire was ported
from the Atari ST, so what can I expect?)  One screen depicts the
cover of the program box.  Why didn't they just digitize the
front cover with Digi-View?  The disk is only about 80% full, so
memory would be no problem.  #2 - When you win the game, all you
get for spending 200+ hours slaving over your keyboard is a cute
little sign saying you won.  Oh boy; what a peachy keen reward! 
I almost pulled the plug when I saw that was all I got for
winning.  I'm sure a nice picture with a nice little ditty
playing wouldn't take too much memory.  #3 - The games take too
long.  Even if you play with the computer, you're likely to spend
at least 12 hours playing the game.  I wish they had an optional
limit on the number of turns you can play.

These minor annoyances aside, Empire is a thoroughly enjoyable
game.  If you like strategy games, it is a MUST HAVE.  For those
of you that like games short and sweet, shy away from Empire. 
You might find yourself spending weeks playing this highly
addictive and engrossing wargame.

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Trading Galore:

First we had a picture trade.  Users were urged to send in a disk
full of pictures and, in return, were given a disk full of the
best pictures that had been collected so far.  The picture trade
was, and will hopefully continue to be, a GREAT success!

Because of this, I have decided to open up a new trade which
allows everyone to participate--not just those of us with
pictures.  Send me a disk full of anything you want.  (Music,
Art, Animations, Sound files, and Public Domain/Shareware
software...anything!)  Include a SASE (please remember the
stamps!), and I will send your disk back to you filled with
whatever you want.  Just tell me whether you want music, art,
software (you can even specify a specific pd/shareware program
but I can't guarantee that I have it), and I'll send it back.  On
request, I'll even send disk copies of all issues of Amy Today.

The disks currently copied and ready to be traded are:
1 - Amy Today Picture Disk #1
2 - Amy Today Picture Disk #2
3 - Amy Today Animation Disk #1
4 - Amy Today Back Issues #1
5 - Amy Today Music Disk #1**
6 - Amy Today Picture Disk #3**

**Both of these coming soon.

Send your disk and a SASE to:
 
Amy Today's Trading Galore
640 Willowglen Rd.
Santa Barbara, CA  93105

<<Any requests or submissions of illegally copied software will
be burned!>>

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Newsletter Trading:
(From Issue 1-1)

I am looking for Amiga user groups who would like to trade
newsletters with me.  Every month I will send you three issues of
Amy Today and, in return, I would like a copy of your
newsletter.  I know a lot of this trading takes place and would
love to get involved.  The more articles and information that I
have about the Amiga, the better I can make Amy Today.  If you
are interested please drop me a line on GEnie, Plink, or by mail. 
I would really appreciate a sample newsletter and will mail you
Amy Today in return.

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Advertising:

Amy Today is open to advertising at VERY affordable prices. 
Large and small companies both have a great opportunity for
quality advertising while supporting a public domain Amiga
magazine.  If you are interested please write to:
 
Amy Today
ATTN Advertising
640 Willowglen Rd.
Santa Barbara, CA  93105

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In the Future:

A review of Modula-2
A review of a CLtd 33 meg hard drive
An interview with a shareware programmer
Maybe even more interviews, also
And hopefully numerous articles from you--the readers.

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"Amy Today" is copyright 1988 by John Rydell.  Portions of
the magazine may be reprinted but the content of this magazine
may NOT be changed without the expressed consent of John Rydell. 
Yet everyone is encouraged to distribute it AS IS.  Please give
credit to "Amy Today" as well as to the individual author when
reprinting material.  "Amy Today" as well as any of its authors
are not responsible for any damages that occur because of errors
or omissions.  Articles reprinted from other newsletters, as
noted, are not property of Amy Today but are under the control of
their original authors.
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