NEWSLETTER December, 1995

News from the Interim President Dec.

By Mike Fitzpatrick

President's Corner

There's not a lot to report on this month. The officers both elected and appointed agreed to continue for the next year.

Our Christmas Party is scheduled for the December meeting. Everyone who signed up please remember to bring your dish to the meeting place a little early.

We are going to have a very abbreviated meeting so that the socialization be maximized.

We will be getting back to business in January.

BBS News

Not much to report this month all seems well. I think that classes or demonstrations on how to access the BBS and download as well as upload are in order..

Treasurer's Report

by Greg Leitner

This is what it is all about folks! Two new members were welcomed at our November meeting along with another guest who came to visit our Club. Some old faces we haven't seen for a while and it's always good to see the regulars who never seem to miss a meeting.

The nominations and elections of our officers went very smoothly and I congratulate and welcome Mike Fitzpatrick as our President for the upcoming year 1996. Also thanks to those who chose to keep their current positions again for 1996. If not for their support the Club may not have made It this far

And speaking of making it this far, I must say that we have to be extremely encouraged to see the membership participation at the last few monthly meetings. We have talked about trying to yet New Members into the Club for the past couple of years but we hadn't had much success until recently. I don't know the exact reason fur that but it sure feels good to see that there are still Atarians out there that are seeking us out. Now it is up to us to see that our members feel that choosing our Club was worth their time and money. I know that if it wasn't for SPACE I wouldn't be here writing a column for people who use Atari computers. I would probably be working on an IBM (shudder and be miserable because I couldn't get something else to work on the darn thing. But believe me when I say that there is no where I would rather be on the second Friday of every month but at the Space user's group meeting, and I hope you all feel the same way.

Now for some more good news about the November meeting. We took in receipts of $118.00 which included three membership renewals and (yea) two new memberships. Also because of an absolutely great DOM we took in another $30.00 along with $13.00 of blank disk sales. I just want to mention to Terry that the two games on the November DOM were about the best I have seen in a very long time and if he could duplicate that feat again the Club stands to make some big Lucks. Kudos to Terry, keep up the good work.

Our only expense that was paid out for November was the monthly BBS phone bill of $28.74. The monthly newsletter was not paid because Mike Schmidt did not make the meeting in November, but he does the newsletter so cost effectively that it costs less than $15.00 a month. Our bank balance increased (it's so nice to use the word increase when your working on the financials) by about $90.00 for the month and our balance now stands at $549.16 for the month ended November 1995.

What more can I say in closing but that November was about as good as it gets. Let's keep it going in December and into the new year, and also don't forget the pot luck Christmas party in December.

Minutes of Space meeting

November 10, 1995

The Space Computer club meeting for November started at 7:40 PM. Mike Fitzpatrick, acting club president welcomed everyone to the monthly meeting. Mike asked if everybody received a newsletter for the month of November. Mike commented that there wasn't much for minutes for the October '95 meeting.


Greg reported that last month, club took in $100. There was also some expenses. The club broke even. The club has a balance of about $460. Room rental will be due in December or January.

Mike Fitzpatrick asked if there was any comments, corrections, or deletions, hearing none Mike went on to OLD BUSINESS.



Mike Fitzpatrick nominated for Space Club President and Terry Streeter for vice-president. Both accepted.

Greg Leinter will continue as Space Club Treasurer.

Mike Fitzpatrick asked that the club volunteer positions, now temporary or interim, be turned permanent until next election. People holding these positions accepted the change. The membership also approved this change. Mike Fitzpatrick also hoped that Space Club newsletter editor would stay on in his position. Mike Schmidt, club newsletter editor was not present at meeting.

Mike Fitzpatrick also stated that he would like to give Mike Schmidt, newsletter editor, more flexibility with the newsletter. What's in it, how big, and when to put a newsletter out. Mike asked approval of the membership. It was approved.

Mike Fitzpatrick talked about troubles with F-Mail. Mike stated that the BBS system would not support certain kind of uploads on F-Mail. Try to keep it Atari uploads.

Glenn Kirschenmann, membership chairman, reported that the club had 2 new members sign-up and 3 renewals of membership.

The upcoming Space 13th Christmas Party was discussed. Mike Fitzpatrick asked if the membership would consider the club buying a Christmas ham for the party. The membership decided there would be more than enough food at the party and the buying of a Christmas Ham was unnecessary. It was voted down.

A Christmas Party Potluck list was circulated by club secretary. The club members signed up to bring a potluck item for the Christmas Party. The list will be given to the newsletter editor. The list will be put into December newsletter, so members that couldn't make it to meeting can see it.

Club members Mike Weist, Mike Fitzpatrick, Bill Cotter, Ray Wafer, Greg Leinter, and Mike Fitzpatrick's wife will help with preparations and clean-up at the Christmas Party.

Terry Streeter, new club vice-president, asked the membership to bring donated Atari hardware and software items for a Christmas Party raffle in December.

Terry Streeter also asked the membership what they wanted on the December Chfistmas DOM.

Mike Fitzpatrick gave the membership a update on the club property inventory in progress.

A club member asked about a update on the new Space club advertisement flyer, the committee working on this, is still toying with ideas,

Meeting adjourned at 8:10 PM.

Mike Weist, Secretary



Terry Streeter      chicken salad
Mike Fitzpatrick    cake
Greg Leinter        meat tray
J. Overbaugh        veggies
D. Wold             Salad
Bill Cotter         Meatballs
Glen Kirschenmann   48 cans pop
Al Noble            Special K Bars
Don Langford        BBQ Smookies
Lance Ringquist     Cookies
Larry Serflatten    ???????????
Ray Wafer           Potatoe salad
Mike Weist          13 lb. Turkey
Mike Schmidt     Plates, napkins, utensils

October and November in Review

Hamfest was held at the Civic Center in downtown St. Paul on October 28, 1995. The Electronic shows are always fun even if you don't find a lot of Atari stuff to buy. At the show about the only Atari stuff I saw was a XM 301 modem and some 2600 and 7800 game cartridges. The XM 301 modem is 300 baud, probably a item a Atari computer person would pass up, in hopes of finding a 2400 baud. The Atari software and hardware seems to get more and more hard to find at the electronic shows. It is nice to know that Space Atari Club is still around with people who bring in Atari software and hardware for sale. I did run into a few club members like Tony Walsh and Terry Streeter. Oh! What the heck! next show I will find some Atari stuff.

At the November meeting of Space, there was some interesting talk during the meeting. We gained a feel new members. One new member was directed to the club by our software and hardware vendor, Lance Ringquist. Lance told the new member about the club, so he came to the meeting and signed up as a member. Thanks Lance! The new member had the opportunity to talk to our Larry Serflaten about some Atari programming. Larry was very happy to spend some time talking to the new member. We had a visit from a person from New Ulm, Minn. He goes by the handle, Rambler. Can you believe that, all the way from New Ulm, MN. to attend a club meeting. The November meeting not only had a good number of members at the meeting, but they stayed for quite a while.

Plans for the Space 13th Christmas Party at the December meeting are already started. A potluck list was circulated at the November meeting. A party committee has been formed. There will be fun, food, and maybe some Atari Trivia. So come to the Space Christmas Party and be ready to have a good time. Hey! If you have a friend bring him with. If you run into a former Space club member, tell him to come too! Below is a copy of the potluck list circulated at the November meeting. If you weren't at this meeting, but are coming to Christmas Party, bring a potluck food item.

See you all at the
Christmas Party!!!!!

Mike Weist

|                Larry's                 |
|            ACTION! TUTORIAL            |
#16         CAUGHT IN THE FLOW
Many people know how to use a map.  Fewer 
people know how to make one.  The same 
could be said for a newspaper, toaster, 
baseball glove, microwave, or a flowchart. 
They are all tools, used when we want to 
do a specific task.  When it comes time to 
order and list all the logical steps and 
branches of a new program, a flowchart is 
your tool to gain perspective.

To demonstrate my point, I will play the 
roll of plant manager, you are my shipping 
process engineer.  We are about to tool up 
for 12 different products of merchandise. 
Our automatic shelves will accept any of 
the items from the end of a conveyor.  You 
are to design the conveyor system that 
will move each item to its proper shelf. 
The products will arrive from the plant on 
one conveyor in random order.  Each of the 
12 products are differentiated by either 
color, size or, weight.  You get to use 
scanners, scales, gates, and conveyors to 
build the warehouse storage system.

Scanners measure color and size, scales 
measure weight, gates divert the box to 
another conveyor if the (scan/weight) test 
fails.  This information, combined with a 
complete description of the 12 products, 
will provide you with the main reason why 
flowcharts are used.  If you attempt to 
submit a design, you will have to have a 
record of it for others to inspect.  You 
need a piece of paper to express such a 
large complicated system.  A flowchart is 
simply a representation of the complete 
design, drawn out on paper.

Of the 12 items:
 3 are black, 3 are red
 3 are blue,  3 are black and red

(Scanners designed to detect black will 
 pass the black boxes, and the black and 
 red boxes also.  The same for scanners 
 that detect red, will pass both the red 
 boxes and the boxes that are black and 

-Black boxes are small, medium, or large. 
 Black items weigh 10 Lbs. 
-Red has small, medium, and large boxes. 
 Red items weigh 10 Lbs. 
-Blue has 1 large and 2 medium boxes. 
 One of the medium blue weighs 20 Lbs, 
 the other blue boxes weigh 50. 
-Black and red has 2 small and 1 med. 
 One of the small black and red items 
 weighs 20 Lbs, the others weigh 50.

This brief description should give you a 
different size, weight or color for each 
of the twelve products.

You must now devise a path for the items 
to follow using as few scanners, scales, 
and gates as possible, making sure all the 
items get transported to a shelf and that 
no shelf has more than one type of item 
stored on it.  Once you have given this 
some thought, try to determine the least 
amount of gates, scanners, and scales you 
would need to do the job.  Then see if you 
can reduce your plan to using only that 

The perspective you gain when you build 
your flowchart (floorplan) is included in 
the ability to conceptualize each action 
needed to accomplish the desired outcome. 
The first action needed in the floorplan 
is a scanner and gate to divide up the 
incoming boxes of product.  You can label 
that action as a test and branch, but what 
test would be best suited to be the first 
test?  There are several variables, and 
perhaps a few different solutions, what is 
the first thing to consider?  If this sort 
of problem interests you, perhaps you will 
make a good programmer.

Most flowcharts consist of input/output 
blocks (slanted rectangles), decision 
blocks (diamonds), processing blocks 
(rectangles), termination or beginning 
blocks (ovals), and the lines and arrows 
that connect them all.  You can use this 
system to solve a problem like the one 
above, or you can devise your own system. 
When you have completed the flowchart, you 
have created an algorithm, a special 
method for solving a problem.  Programs 
typically contain many algorithms, because 
they often do many things.  The test and 
branch from above is a decision type 
operation.  Input from the plant, of 
course, is input, with lines as conveyors. 
The (automatic) shelf could be thought of 
as a save or store process.  Whatever 
works for you, may be useful!
When a user has to wait for the computer 
to finish processing, the computer is most 
often being slowed down by many iterations 
in a loop structured algorithm.  The 
programmer must use a good algorithm, 
coupled with the speed of machine language 
commands, to reduce the wait time.  Moving 
from flowcharts to actual machine code is 
part of the programming process and is 
the subject of the next issue.  Advanced 
users of ACTION! might want to "look in" 
and give me feedback and/or assistance!


Published by the Saint Paul Atari Computer Enthusiasts (SPACE), an independent organization with no business affiliation with ATARI Corporation. Permission is granted to any similar organization with which SPACE exchanges newsletters to reprint material from this newsletter. We do however ask that credit be given to the authors and to SPACE. Opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of SPACE, the club officers, club members or ATARI Corporation.

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Maintained by Michael Current, mcurrent@carleton.edu
Last updated: Saturday, April 20, 2002