Classic Computer Magazine Archive A.N.A.L.O.G. ISSUE 64 / SEPTEMBER 1988 / PAGE 42


by Michael A. Banks

     Keeping in touch is important for those of us online, which is one reason why Email, Forum and real-time Conference (described in recent installments of this column) are popular features in ANALOG's Atari Users' Group. These are not the only means of information inter change in the SIG, however. There are two special information pipelines provided by the SIG: announcements and polls.

If you haven't been online in a
while, you'll be surprised to
find a slightly altered set of
database topics.

Finding out what's new:
    As you've probably noticed in the past, "one shot" announcements are occasionally displayed when you enter the Atari Users' Group, after the "ANALOG Computing" logo and before the Atari menu. These are special messages called "Briefs:" (No, not the kind you wear!) They're displayed to you only once, unless updated by the group manager. Similar messages may pop up when you enter the Conference, Database, Forum or Poll areas.
    Ever wonder where those messages come from-or go? Did you miss something important the last time one scrolled by? Want to find out what else is new in the SIG? It's easy to reread these messages, and see others. Type ANNOUNCEMENTS at the Atari menu. This selection leads you to the Announcements area and this category selection menu:

If you're interested in voicing your
opinion in public, or collecting
opinions of others, check out the
Polls area in the Atari Users' Group.

Announcements Menu:

What's New Recent Software Changes
Conference News Main Banner Display
Database News Membership Agreement Display
Forum News New Member Welcome Display
Poll News Exit
ANNOUNCE>Which Announcement Category?

    The selections on the left side of the menu lead to those "Briefs'" Select one of those topics, and you'll see an appropriate prompt (such as WHAT'S-NEW®), and DELPHI will tell you how many announcements are available in this particular category. Type SCAN to see a directory of waiting messages, which will be similar to this sample:

WHAT'S-NEW>(Scan, Read, "?" or Exit):

    To read a message, simply type its number. Press RETURN to see the message immediately following. (Type ? to see a menu of other choices.)
    (The one-time "Brief" messages contain the word BRIEF in their titles. The What'sNew category contains the Briefs that are displayed when you enter the SIG.)
    Of the selections on the right side of the category selection menu, all but one display specific announcements, then return you to the Announcements category selection menu. Thus, "Main Banner Display" displays the SIG's banner (the "ANALOG Computing" logo and accompanying text); "Membership Agreement Display" displays the terms to which you agreed when you joined; and "New Member Welcome Display" displays the welcoming message you read when you first joined the Atari Users' Group.
    "Recent Software Changes" leads to a self-directing database which you can search for information about new features in the SIG's operating software.

Creation date: APR 19,1988

When your computer/disk drive/monitor breaks, what do you do? By
the way, for online repair info, leave messages to Mr. Goodprobe!

1. I take it to a lo
2. Send it to be fix
  0   0%
Fix it myself
Buy a new one
  0   0%
Have friend fix it
  0   0%
Call bbs for help
Cry loud and suffer
Borrow a friends...
  0   0%

pe "VOTE" to vote, "READ" to read comments, <return> for next poll:

Figure 1

Take a vote: Poll
    If you're interested in voicing your opinion in public, or collecting the opinions of others, check out the Polls area in the Atari Users' Group. This is where you can survey opinions on the computer topics and other matters. You can express your opinion by voting in a poll and adding comments, scanning poll results or creating your own polls. To enter the Poll area, type POLL at the Atari menu. You'll see this menu:

POLL Menu:

BROWSE through poll results
CREATE a new poll
EDIT your poll comment\
LIST poll names
RESULTS with comments
VOTE on a poll


    The commands are pretty much selfexplanatory, but here's a quick-reference guide to using them. BROWSE is used to view the current voting results of any or all polls. Type BROWSE alone to see the results of all polls in sequence. Each poll's results will be displayed, followed by a prompt asking if you want to vote on the current poll, read the current poll's comments or skip to the next poll. (This feature is a convenient alternate to using VOTE, if you wish to vote on every poll.)
    If you type BROWSE followed by the first few letters of the name of a poll you wish to peruse, you'll see the results of that poll only. (To see the names of the available polls, type ? after you type BROWSE.) The option to read, vote or skip will be presented after the poll's voting results are displayed.
    CREATE lets you create a poll to sample the opinions of your fellow Atari users. After selecting CREATE, type a descriptive name for your poll (up to 60 characters in length) and select a poll format from among the three available (YES-NO, Degree of agreement or disagreement, or Multiple choice). Next, enter a few lines of text to describe and present your issue to the voters. Enter CTRL-Z, and your poll will be posted.
    Use EDIT to amend or add to your comments after you have voted on a poll. You'll be prompted to enter the text that will replace your current comments. Enter CTRL-Z when you're finished, or CTRL-C to abort and leave your comment unchanged.
    LIST lists the names of all the polls available.
    Use RESULTS if you wish to see the complete results of a specific poll, including all comments. Type RESULTS followed by the name of a poll to see the results of that poll. (If you type RESULTS alone, you will be prompted for the name of a poll.)
    To vote on a specific poll, type VOTE. Voting is easy just follow the online prompts. You will be prompted for the poll name, after which DELPHI will display the text presenting the issue and prompt you for your vote and comments (up to four 80-character lines). Polls show votes by number and percentage, and users may add voting choices to some polls. A typical poll (with results) looks like Figure 1:

Database reorganization
    If you haven't been online in a while, you'll be surprised to find a slightly altered set of database topics (these changes are reflected by the Forum topics as well). The ST topics are gone-there's now a totally separate group for ST users, hosted by STLog Magazine (type ST at the GROUPS menu to visit it). This has left room for our 8-bit databases to "stretch out," both topic- and content-wise. Here's the new lineup:

Databases Available Menu:

General Interests Education
Games & Entertainment Reviews & News
Telecommunications Koala Pictures
Utilities Current Issue
Sight & Sound Home use
TOPIC>Which topic?

    (By the way, if you're not yet online and all this looks interesting, check elsewhere in these pages for a DELPHI online signup and membership offer provided especially for ANALOG readers!)

Conferences are a
great place to share
info, get answers to your
questions about Atari computers
and the Atari Users' Group,
and to meet other Atari users.

Conference reminder
    Don't forget the real-time conference held in the Atari ST Users' Group every Tuesday at 10 p.m., EST You don't have to wait for Tuesday to roll around to chat with other Atarians. Type WHO when you enter the SIG to see who's in conference (and chances are very good there will be a conference going on). If there are no conferences going on when you enter the SIG, you'll still see a list of members currently in the SIG. You usually start your own conference by going to the conference area and typing /PAGE followed by one or more of the membernames, separated by commas, listed when you typed WHO. (Example: /PAGE KZIN, ANALOG4.)
    Conferences are a great place to share information, get answers to your questions about Atari computers and the Atari Users' Group, and to meet other Atari users. That's it for now. See you next month with more tips and a few surprises. See you online!

In addition to having published science fiction novels and books on rocketry, Michael A. Banks is the author of DELPHI: The Official Guide and The Modem Reference-both from Brady Books/Simon & Schuster To order DELPHI: The Official Guide type GO GUIDE at any SIG prompt. You can contact Banks on DELPHI by sending E-mail to membername KZIN.

Make the
Delphi Connection!

    As a reader of ANALOG Computing, you are entitled to take advantage of a special Delphi membership offer. For only $19.95 plus postage and handling ($30 off the standard membership price!), you will receive a lifetime subscription to Delphi, a copy of the 500-page DELPHI: The Official Guide by Michael A. Banks and a credit equal to one free evening hour at standard connect rates. Almost anyone worldwide can access Delphi (using Tymnet, Telenet or other networking services) via a local phone call. Make the Delphi connection by signing up today!

To join Delphi:

1. Dial 617-576-0862 with any terminal or PC and modem (at 2400 bps, dial 576-2981).
2. At the Username prompt, type JOINDELPHI.
3. At the Password prompt enter ANALOG.

    For more information, call Delphi Member Services at 1-800-544-4005, or at 617-491-3393 from within Massachusetts or from outside the U.S.
    Delphi is a service of General Videotex Corporation of Cambridge, Massachusetts.