May 1987 MAGazine Volume 3 Number 5

Table Of Contents

Computer Fair May 16

see DigiView2 May 9


First of all, thanks to all who demonstrated software at the April general meeting. David Head showed us Logistix, Joe Kligel demonstrated MaxiPlan, and (our soon to be member) Scott Hudson finished out the spreadsheet demos with Analyze! version 2. This gave our members an excellent opportunity to compare these spreadsheets, and ask questions abut applications. To change the mood to something a little lighter, Don Lockard consented to give us a glimpse at the game Space Quest, a graphic adventure game. We appreciated his sharing little insight into the game.

The agenda for the May meeting is not quite set. Don has agreed to bring his video digitizer and camera, with the recently updated software, Digiview 2, to demonstrate some of it's capabilities. Also, I thought it might be interesting to make it a "show and tell" meeting. Please bring any peripherals you think the group is interested in, such as disk drives, or midis, or external ram, or whatever. We can have a discussion of what folks are doing to their machines.

The Memphis Commodore User Club (MCUC) is sponsoring a Computer Fair to be held May 16th at State Tech's Auditorium and various classrooms. They have invited us to participate. This will be an excellent opportunity to show off the Amiga, and also inform others about our group. Dr. Alan Schwartz is going to organize our effort and will be looking for volunteers to help man our group's area, and possibly do some demos. Please give him (or his answering machine) a call at 755-6622 and join the fun, if only for and hour or two.

Well, that's it for now -- see everyone at the May meeting!

in this issue

In this issue of the magazine, Howard T. Duck goes into welcome detail about almost every aspect of ARC that you may ever have been confused or puzzled about. Mike Harris tells about his experiences with expanded memory and Steve Gaines relates more inside information, hints and rumors.

If you have any comments, complaints, etc., etc. about MAGazine or the articles herein, or if you have a burning desire to be a writer in your own right, please contact me (Charles Williams) with a phone call, a regular letter, or just leave a message in the MAG area of The Duck Pond. If you don't have a modem, you can have mine (for a small price) after the prices on 2400 baud modems drop a bit more later this summer.

Personal Experiences

With StarBoard2


Before I get started keep in mind this is the first review I have ever written, so be kind! I received the Starboard2 at the end of December 1986, so I have had about 4 months experience with it. The board can be configured in four different ways: 0K, 512K, 1 Meg, 2 Meg. It is able to hold up to 1 Meg on the main board; you have to have a daughter board, called the Upper Deck, to get up to 2 Meg.

When I first purchased the board I bought the 512K version because I already had 512K of memory to add to the board and I have since upgraded the board to 2 Meg. It is a simple matter to install the ram chips on the board. It is already socketed for 256K x 1 DRAM. You just plug the chips into the sockets and change a few jumpers. They will send you instructions on which jumpers to change for each configuration. The physical size of the board is very small, the sculpted steel case measures only 1.6" wide by 4.3" high by 10.2" long. It also passes the 86 pin expansion bus thru so you can add extra expansion products if needed.

I am very pleased with the performance of the StarBoard2. There is nothing I know of that will not run with this board installed, except of course the programs that will not run with any extra memory. You can run these programs by using KS 1.1-WB 1.1 and not using addmem to add the memory to the system. If you think your Amiga is a powerful machine you ought to try one with fast memory. With the extra memory it is a lot easier to multitask more programs, and also it is nice to copy a lot of your workbench disk to a virtual disk in ram and assign you system disk to the virtual disk. This way there is no disk access and everything runs almost immediately. As I said before I am VERY happy with the StarBoard2 and would recommend it to anybody who wants to upgrade their Amiga. I think Abel Supply is selling the StarBoard II for about $430.00. That is a very good price! If you want to see what a StarBoard2 looks like check out the latest issues of Amiga World or Amazing Computing; just look in the back of these magazines in the list of advertisers for MicroBotics and the page number for their ad.

Quack Waddle Splash!

Dive In With ARC

Copyright 1987 by Howard Duck

At the end of last month's column I offered to explain the fundamentals of using ARC. I guess I put my fat foot in my beak and now I'm stuck so here goes...

One of the biggest stumbling blocks facing the first-time BBS user is ARC files. Its not that ARC files are difficult to understand or use but rather that most BBS sysops seem to take it for granted that their users have seen and used ARC programs and files somewhere else before using their particular board. (That's not true in my case. In my case its more a matter of I've been too LAZY to create some kind of help file for novice ARC users.)

ARC is a program that's been available on other machines such as the IBM PC for several years and has proved a boon for BBS operators. Its no wonder then that ARC was one of the first programs ported to Amiga. It performs two very useful functions: 1) it reduces the disk space taken up by a file by using any of several algorithms that change common ASCII or machine code into something more efficient for the specific type of data of that file, and 2) it reduces the number of files on the disk by combining related files into one (this also reduces used disk space since there will be fewer directory entries). Saving disk space is of extreme importance to a BBS sysop who may have hundreds or even thousands of files on-line and available to his users. Even a small savings per file can mean a great savings overall and ARC is so efficient at what it does that many times fifty or more percent of a file can be compressed away! I guess I don't have to say, "I like ARC!"

But ARC is important to the end user too. Not just because it means more public domain files can be found on his favorite BBS but also because it makes downloading (capturing files from other computers via the modem) simpler and quicker. Because the files are smaller, downloads are quicker and because several related files are joined into one, its easier to acquire all the files you need to make that pd program work.

But nothing is gained without a price, and for all the benefits of ARC you must do a little extra work to make the downloaded files usable on your computer. After you've downloaded an ARCed file from The DUCK Pond or another BBS and saved it to disk, the file must be unARCed. To do this you must have a copy of the ARC program itself, for ARC not only can be used to compress and join files but to split and decompress the ARCed file back to its original form. Probably because of its origins on other more traditional systems, or possibly because of the greater versatility offered, ARC is meant to be run from CLI rather than Workbench. (This offers an extra stumbling block to some Amiga users who aren't familiar yet with CLI but don't panic, follow this discussion along carefully and even an inexperienced CLI user can handle ARC.) Thus the first step to unARCing a file is to get to CLI, perhaps by double-clicking the CLI icon found in the Systems drawer of your Workbench disk.

Once in CLI, the problem becomes one of "Where is ARC? Where is the ARCed file? and Where do I want the unARCed files to be when I finish all this?" If you keep all of your downloaded files on one disk, you may want to put ARC on the downloads disk so you can merely CD to that disk and start the unARCing process. Providing you have two drives, however, I suggest the following. If you don't already have the latest public domain version of ARC, get it, either from a BBS or our disk library. If it's not already there, ARC should be placed in the C directory of your Workbench or boot disk. That's where I have it and if you keep your Workbench in the internal drive and do all your work on the external drive, it all works pretty well. I always download to a "data disk" in drive DF1: and unARC from there to a directory on the same disk. This may not be the fastest (some folks use RAM: a lot) but it assures that I don't accidently forget my downloads in RAM:.

Let's assume I've downloaded a file called MELT.ARC from the Duck Pond's Amiga Graphics dis in DF1:. I will change my current directory to DF1: then create a directory for the unARCed files (this helps keep things organized in case there are a lot of files embedded in the ARChived file) like so:


Next, I enter the newly created directory so ARC will put the unARCed files there.


Now if ARC is in the C directory of my boot disk, ARC becomes just another command for CLI to execute when called. The following command tells CLI to fetch the ARC program and eXtract all files from the ARChived file called MELT.ARC in the root directory of the current disk (that's what the ":" in front of the filename means):


ARC will report the filenames it finds as it pulls them from the download file and eventually return control to you. Typing a command such as LIST or DIR will show you the contents of your current directory and it should contain the program MELT and its doc file MELT.DOC. To see what the program does, type MELT and press return.

(I shall wait for a moment here so you can get the full effect of MELT. ... To exit MELT, pull down the screen using the drag bar and click the close gadget on the MELT window of the original Workbench screen.)

The general syntax for ARC when used from CLI is:

ARC commandletters arcfilename filename

... where "commandletters" is usually one of the following:

X (eXtract files from ARCfile)
A (Add files to ARCfile)
V (give Verbose listing of files contained in ARCfile).

There are several other commands but since they are less commonly used we shall ignore them here. If you want to see them just type ARC by itself and the command list will print on the screen. "Arcfilename" is the name of the file to be unARCed and though the actual ARCed file is expected to end in the letters ".ARC" you needn't type that part of the name on the command line. If a filename or a list of filenames follow the ARCfilename, then ARC will extract or add or list only those files it can find that correspond to the ones named. Note that you can use the "wildcard" asterisk (*) in the manner used on the IBM PC and similar machines. For example:


will extract any file whose name ends in ".DOC" from the MELT.ARC file in the root directory.

If we wanted to build an ARC file containing a program called IT, IT's icon file and two data files called DATA and TRASH then we might use:


which would create a file called ITSTUFF.ARC and add to it the files DATA, TRASH, and any file beginning with the letters "IT" that were found in the current directory. Hopefully IT and were the only such files. Note that ARC works its magic only on files in the current directory unless you specify otherwise by explicitly naming other devices or directories on the command line. For example:


would display the filenames contained in the file BDASH.ARC in the directory DLOADS of the drive DF1:

One last thing: because of its origins on other operating systems and the need for compatibility when porting files from one brand of computer to another, you'd best keep your filenames down to 12 characters or less and avoid uncommon non-alphabetic characters. Try to stick to the MSDOS conventions of 8 characters, a period, and 3 characters such as in: JUNK.DOC, or ALPOFOOD.WKS.

Well, that's the way I generally use ARC, and thats the way I would advise most people to use ARC, at least until they get used to it and develop their own preferences. There are other ways to ARC and unARC files though. One is via the newest DirUtil programs such as DU-V-3 found on the DUCK Pond BBS. I suspect you've seen some version of these utility programs. Early versions by Chris Nicotra performed the most common CLI commands from a menu. You selected directories to display by clicking gadgets labeled DFD: or RAM:. Then by clicking the filenames which appeared and selecting another gadget called COPY you could copy a file or group of files from one directory to another. Since then, though, several others have added to Nicotra's original program and one of the more recent additions has been of gadgets called ARC, unARC, and listARC. These gadgets correspond to the A, X, and V commands when ARC is called from CLI. Indeed these commands won't work unless ARC is in the C directory of the boot disk so that the DirUtil program can send AmigaDOS the same kind of command that you would have typed in CLI yourself if you weren't so lazy! I use this method occasionally but it has its drawbacks. First, you loose a lot of control over where the unARCed files will go and which ones get unARCed. Second, because ARC simply wasn't intended to be used this way, you will sooner or later hang the machine if, for example, ARC wants to query you for input and there is no window into which to type your response. You can likely avoid this query problem though, by first using listARC to see what filenames will be unARCed and then making sure there are no files by those names already in the currently selected directory; that's usually what causes the problem.

Oh well, I've gone on enough about ARC. Its a very versatile program and does more than I've hinted at here. You will use it a lot if you access bulletin boards. You should use it to compress and combine files that you want to upload to BBSes. You can use it as an efficient way to store backups of your important programs or data. Anyway, get a copy of ARC from our BBS or from the club library or a friend and try it out. If you have any problems, call or write and I will try to help. If there is enough response I will continue writing about ARC (I completely forgot the very useful ARC P command and some of the ARC-aid programs that have been written) or DirUtil in the next Duck Pond.

May's Calendar of Events

Saturday May 9 1:00 PM - The Memphis Amiga Group's general meeting will be held at the State Technical Institute at 5983 Macon Cove in the meeting room of the Mid-South Microcomputer Resource Center on the second floor of the Freeman Building, (between the library and the cafeteria). Don Lockard will demonstrate his graphic digitizing hardware and the latest version of the Digiview sofware. For more information about the meeting please call Audrey at (901) 755-4641.


Memphis Amiga Group
Box 381462
Memphis, TN 38183-1462

MAGazine is published monthly by the Memphis Amiga Group (MAG), a nonprofit organization offering assistance to fellow Amiga owners and those interested in the Amiga.

Currently, membership in the Memphis Amiga Group is available for a one-time fee of $20.

Memphis Amiga Group officers for 1987 are:

Audrey McCalla
(901) 755-4641

Vice President & Treasurer
Dr. Alan Schwartz
(901) 755-6622

MAGazine Editor & Secretaary
Charles Williams
(501) 655-8777

Ron McCalla
(901) 755-4641

Rumor Has It ..

& A Tip or Two

By Steve Gaines

Well, another month has rolled around and I find myself trying to remember what new rumors and information I've seen since the last issue. Let's see, the first tidbit is that the Amiga 2000 is expected to become available in the May 31 - June 30 time frame. Also, in case you're interested, Thomas J. Rattigan, Chief Executive Officer of CBM, stated at the Boston Computer Society meeting that there will definitely be an upgrade plan for the current Amiga 1000 owners. He gave no specifics at that time but did say that announcement would be made May 1, 1987.

Star Glider is supposed (?) to ship this month (FINALLY!) according to the author, Jez San. If you've seen the ST (boo, hiss) version I think you'll agree that it's spectacular! Well, Jez allows as how the Amiga version will have even more of everything and run faster as well!

One of the bugs I've noticed in Deluxe Paint II concerns the requestor for file LOADS or SAVES. If you've noticed, the gadget for the hard disk is not correct, it shows dh: rather than dh0:. There are two fixes for this, either of which will work. You can do an ASSIGN dh: dh0: on startup or you can fix the problem using filezap. Run filezap on the program in the root block named dpaint. Go to record 427. At offest 109116 (3C) you'll see the following string dh: 64 68 3A 00. Change this to dh0: 64 68 30 3A. Then be sure to update (save) the record. That's all there is to it! Take your choice. Of course, if you don't have a hard disk and want to change the above from dh0: to ram:, that will work also!

I finally received Gizmoz 2.0 this month! It was a very long wait but the software looks good. Many of the bugs in the previous version have been connected and the programs almost all have added features. The graphing package has been greatly improved and debugged! Also, several other new items have been added: FastPrefs, a utility for quickly changing your Preferences settings, JoyMouse, a program to let a joystick work like the mouse, and IconMaker which will automatically size any IFF format picture to an icon and let you save it as ANY type icon. Also lets you change icon types and make image type icons with ease. Overall, the program is well worth the cost and a very good upgrade.

Anyone building a midi interface and needing the elusive 6NI38 ... I've found a source for them. Jameco Electronics, (415) 592-8097 has them for the price of $1.95 each. Of course they have a minimum order of $20.00 so, you may want to get together with several other folks to order.

Well, see you all next month, or as they say in computerese, Real Soon Now! At least that's if I can make myself sit at the Amiga when it's so pretty outside now that winter's over.

Internal RAM / ProWrite

Alerts From PeopleLink


The following information regarding expansion memory and the new ProWrite software was gleaned from American PeopleLink in The AmigaZone. Anyone doing the expansion memory hack or considering the Insider board should at least consider this information. As to the ProWrite information, this comes from several dissatisfied users and speaks for itself.

What follows are the comments of two Commodore engineers regarding the expansion bus, its use and abuse thereof.

"With respect to wimpy Amiga's - there are a few out there, but you should also take into account the philosophy and details expounded in the Amiga Expansion Architecture document. It's recommendations are pretty much to the point and permit only one mode of pass-thru which, even if implemented, allows only two devices."

- (George Robbins)

"I'd be really careful about adding one of these internal RAM expansion devices, especially if you want to have it work in conjunction with an expansion port device, like a hard disk. While it's possible that they do, I expect that most of these devices won't buffer the lines to/from the 68000, but will in fact sit in the 68000 socket and provide a socket right on the 68000 plug they provide. The electronics then sit on the side as a parasitic load. These 68000 lines are just the same as the lines going to the expansion port, so any additional internal load is taking away from your external load potential. If the board only loads signals it uses with the lightest load available (something like an LS 244 buffer, 1/3 of an F-type load), there will still be less than a full standard load available at the expansion port. If the hard disk unit that you hook up fully conforms to the Expansion Specification, you might get away with this. But I have yet to personally see any Amiga hard disk for the expansion port that does fully conform to the Expansion Specification, and I have good reason to believe that many of those I haven't seen don't. So if you put this system together and it works, great! But as it's very likely to violate all kinds of rules set forth in the Expansion Spec, BEWARE!!"

- (Dave Haynie)

  Sec: 2
   To: ALL
 Date: 4/06/87 18:21
  Num: 8,184


I only turn on my garbage alert for a very serious imposition on the software scene! I (and many others) have been anxiously awaiting the release of ProWrite for the Amiga. When it arrived at the store that I work in, I could not wait to see it in operation. I tore off the shrink wrap with a crowd of Amiga-ites standing around, booted the disk, looked with dismay at the screen flickering away in hi-res mode, loaded a one page document with a small picture on it, and proceeded to run out of memory on a 512K machine! Not able to believe my eyes, I scanned through the manual to find out what key to hit to see how much memory was left. I pressed this key and got a "not enough memory" message. ok. My next move was to select "QUIT" from the menu. "Not enough memory". Not enough memory to quit????? Fine. OK. I took the program home to try it on my 1.5 meg machine, thinking that this would help. Folks, I ran out of memory with 2 (!!!) small documents open on the screen! 1.5 meg! I naturally called the company. The lady on the other end said "Oh, after release we realized that there were some memory problems and other bugs and there is a software update available if you send in your disk". Well isn't that amazing that the program had been released for under a week and all of a sudden New Horizon software became aware of an acute memory problem ...Hmmmmmm. Enough said. A great word processor if you have only one word to process. Flame burning brightly.


  Sec: 2
 Date: 4/06/87 20:45
  Num: 8,196
Title: R#8184 EGAD-ZOOKS!

LG - makes you wonder what ProWrite's beta tester weres doing all that time they were supposed to be testing. If what you describe is truly the result of opening a virgin package and booting the software in a standard 512k machine with nothing else running... it's inexcusable.

As the majority of Amiga owners are still at 512k (assumption time), I can't help but wonder what's going to go through their minds when they shell out their money for this software, take it home in eager anticipation of getting a good word processor, and sit there staring at their flickering screen and "out of memory" warnings. Let's hear from some others who've used/seen ProWrite.

- Harv

  Sec: 9
   To: ALL
   By: ONR213
 Date: 4/06/87 22:09  Num: 8,203
Title: R#8184 EGAD-ZOOKS!!

LGolden is right-on with his assessment of Pro(?)Write. With 1.5 meg I have the same problems he has.


An Amiga 1000 appears in Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' newest video "Jammin' Me" running the ubiquitous juggler demo.

The Amiga is frequently seen on a weekday morning children's show Zoobalee Zoo as the word processor of one of the show's main characters, a parrot who wants to be a writer.

(If you've seen an Amiga in a prominent or unusual place, send your sighting to our editor for inclusion in MAGazine.)

Memphis Amiga Group Public Domain Disk Library --- May '87

Title Revision
MAG-01 ABasiC programs
MAG-02 Addison's Games 1 Jan 87 added Cribbage
MAG-03 AmigaBasic Programs Apr 87 added WoF
MAG-04 Demos-01 Jan 87 added Juggler
MAG-05 Fonts Feb 87 added WB1.2 fonts
MAG-06 Games-01 Jan 87 added Missile and Cosmo2
MAG-07 Icons Feb 87 added misc icons
MAG-08 Telecommunications Mar 87 updated ARC (ver 0.22)
MAG-09 Utilities-01 Mar 87 updated Blitz (ver 11s)
MAG-10 PSound Mar 87 updated PSound (ver 2.1)
MAG-11 Printer Drivers Mar 87 updated PrtDrvGen
MAG-12 Music Studio Songs Feb 87 added MS2SMuS
MAG-13 CGI Demo
MAG-14 Aegis Impact Demos
MAG-15 Aegis Animator Demos
MAG-16 Programming Feb 87 added Berry's programs
MAG-17 Hardware Mar 87 added JTime plans
MAG-18 Editors
MAG-19 DMCS Instruments
MAG-20 DMCS Music
MAG-21 Ray Tracing Pics Mar 87 Added Ray Tracing programs
MAG-22 Aladdin Magazine Demo
MAG-23 AegisAnimations-02
MAG-24 Deluxe Videos
MAG-25 Demos-02
MAG-26 Utilities-02
MAG-27 Games-02
MAG-28 PCLO Demo
MAG-29 MaxiPlan Plus Demo
MAG-30 Aladdin Magazine Demo #2
MAG-31 Demos-03

In progress: Another games disk, Seven (maybe more) iff picture disks, Utilities-03. If you have any public domain or shareware programs you wish to donate to the library, please upload them to our BBS: The DUCK Pond, at (901) 755-5330, or send them to The MAG Library, P.O.Box 381462, Memphis Tn 38183-1462.

MAG-26 contains miscellaneous Workbench and CLI utility programs. Accessible from Workbench are several directory utility programs in the tradition of the original DirUtil from Chris Nicotra. They are: ASweep1.4, DU4.3, DuIV.11, and DuIV.9.

Also in the root directory is Browser (a menu driven "search-and-read" text file browser). Imbedded in various directory drawers are: Show (a very versatile iff picture viewer which operates from WB or CLI), DOSHelper (a menu driven help file for CLI commands), and SiliCON (a CLI command window which remembers past commands for recall via the cursor keys or the mouse). A drawer entitled "DiskCataloger" contains several programs to help you organize your disks. AmCat, DiskCat, and DCat all have the same purpose but pursue it in very different ways; DCDemo is the most elaborate of these diskcatalogers but unless you send in a donation to its author, you will have to limit your catalogs to 100 files per list.

For those comfortable with CLI, there is a small database program in the directory called DBMS. In the c directory are some ARC utilities (ArcV, and unARC), some copy utilities (DiskCopy, QC, and Quickcopy), a picture viewer (DpaintX), a couple of alternatives to preferences (DPref, and setprt), an alternative to info (free), a banner printer (gothic), a syntax helper for CLI commands (Help), and a deleted file retriever (UnDelete). In the directory called MakeBoth-1.2 are files which can squeeze Workbench and Kickstart onto the same disk for easier booting.

MAG-27 (Games-02) offers a variety of arcade and strategy games. Life3D contains the program Life3, a 3-D perspective version of Conway's Life simulation. See the Feb '87 Scientific American for details or read the ReadMe file. Three sample data files: bronco, glider4555, glider5766 are included. The drawer FlightSimulatorAdventures holds several "situation" files for use with SubLogic's Flight Simulator II program. These six files contain a total of over 70 scenarios; some are from the popular Flight Simulator Adventures books. Read Flight.txt for help on setting-up files F7.001 - F7.006. Also on the disk are aliasStoneAge (a Boulder Dash clone compiled from the AmigaBasic version), Biorhythms, Daleks (a port of a mainframe game), GravityWars (a nicely done two-player game, but watch out for the nasty carriage return bug!), InsanityFight (a promo for a commercial product), and Ogre (a public domain version of the commercial strategy game).

MAG-28 is a demo of PCLO, the Printed Circuit LayOut program from Soft Circuits Inc. PCLO allows you to draw multi-layered circuit boards and it even will find paths for your connections for you, but the demo version will not print or plot your drawings. A help file (PCLO.doc) is on the disk (you'll need it!). For best results, boot this disk and follow the instructions provided. (PCLO was reviewed in the May/June '87 Amiga World.)

MAG-29 was donated by MaxiSoft. It is a demonstration of their spreadsheet software, MaxiPlan. The demo shows several of the features of MaxiPlan by automatically moving the mouse pointer through various menus and using the Amiga's narrator voice to describe each action. To use this disk, boot it as a Workbench and double-click the "About_MaxiPlan_Plus" and "MaxiDemo" icons for instructions and program, respectively.

MAG-30 was donated by Disk Publications Inc. and contains a second demo of their "The New Aladdin" disk-based magazine (MAG-22 introduced this publication). This disk is essentially a crippled copy of one issue of "TNA" and should be booted as if an ordinary Workbench.

MAG-31, alias Demos-03, contains several sound and graphics demo programs. The major programs are ROT (a 3-D animation maker), BTE (a Bard's Tale character editor), and StartChart (a start and constellation finder). Each of these is contained in its own directory along with its doc files and associated data files. In the root directory are what appear to be unfinished or demo versions of games: PMan, Maze, and Escape. They came with no doc files and don't seem to function well enough to be called games. The following miscellaneous demo programs (doc files for which may be found in the directory called "miscdemodocfiles" if one was available) are found in the root of the disk: AutoBender, Bouncer, Dk, DropCloth, DropShadow, DropShadow2, Flip, Melt, Piano, Ping, PMan, Rainbow, RobotRoff, Sc, Scat, Tilt and Whistler.