GIF News Issue 22

September / October 1992


GIF News

September/October 1992

Issue #22

(C)1992 Hsiao & Hunter, Inc.

Release date: September 7, 1992

------------------- From the Desk of the Editor -------------------------

Hi, this is Eric Hsiao, the creator of GIF News. Thanks for taking the

downloading GIF News. This is a special issue covering tele-

communications, covering everything from modems to term programs and

bbs software.

If you find the information in this issue of GIF News useful and

helpful, please consider a small donation of around $5 to help cover

long distance telephone charges incurred from the distribution

of GIF News.

So, sit back and enjoy the issue. Please feel free to send me any

comments and questions you may have.

Our next issue will be November/December. Look for it around Nov 1st.


Eric Hsiao

Files in this archive:

GN9209-1.GIF --- Page 1 (SVGA 640x480 256 color page)

GN9209-2.GIF --- Page 2 (SVGA 640x480 256 color page)

GN9209-3.TXT --- Page 3 (Text page: Modem Survey Details)

GN9209-4.TXT --- Page 4 (Text page: SupraFax Review)

GN9209-5.TXT --- Page 5 (Text page: USR Sportster Review)

GN9209.TXT --- This file (From the Desk of the Editor)

GIFNEWS.ADS --- How to advertise in GIF News

BACKISSU.TXT --- Description of all back issues of GIF News


8 Files Total

Again, GIF News is released as "Like-ware". Feel free to copy and

give it to friends, and if you like reading GIF News, please consider a

small donation to cover my long distance bills. Again, copying GIF News

is permitted, provided no modifications of any kind are made to any of

the files in this archive. This includes the addition or deletion of

files to and from this archive (i.e. no unauthorized BBS ads allowed).

Please upload GIF News to a couple of your favorite boards. Any bit

of distribution helps. By the way, a PostScript Laser Printer would really

be appreciated here. It would enable us to send hardcopies of GIF News to

those who want it on paper. If you know of any office/computer supply

auctions, please let me know.

Free advertising GIFNEWS.ADS for more details.

Special note to Internet readers: If you would like to be a

GIF News subscriber, just send me E-mail and I will add you to the

mailing list. GIF News will be uuencoded and sent to you via E-mail.

Many uudecoders exist for both unix and ms-dos platforms. If you are

unable to handle the .ZIP format on your machine, let me know and I

will send you the file in an LHARC, ARJ, ZOO, or ARC format.

Also, if you're anonymously FTP'ing, and come across some files you

think might be GIF News. You can easily tell which issue is up by

looking at the filename. For example, the filename is: <-- The gn stands for GIF News, the 92 re-

presents the year, and the 09 is the

month (September in this case).

So be sure to look for in the beginning of September.

Several FTP sites you might want to look for GIF News are: /pub/ /graphics/gif-news /pub/misc/gif-news

For the easiest way to contact me, please check out the following:

Note: Besides US Postal Mail, I check my Internet E-Mail most often.

How to reach me:

US Mailing Address #1

Eric Hsiao

7 Fair Way

Poughkeepsie, New York 12603-5014


US Mailing Address #2

Eric Hsiao

406-A BARH Mailroom, RPI <------------------

Troy, New York 12180-3590 |



Note: Both above addresses will reach me, but address #2 will reach me quicker

from September '92 to May '93.







MCI Mail:

TO: Eric Hsiao (EMS)

EMS: Internet


MBX: [press ENTER key]



The following bulletin boards are GIF News distribution sites, which means

you can call them up and get the latest issue (or older issues)

Bulletin Boards:

AmeriCall (212) 876-5885 Dual Standard

Radio Daze (219) 256-2255

IDS DataForum (401) 884-7564 Internet FTP/TELNET access

Strat's Asylum (407) 269-2495

Software Creations (508) 368-4137 Dual Standard

Cygnus' BBS (508) 343-8848

Quandra BBS (602) 527-8895

Channel 1 (617) 354-8873 50 Access Lines

DataCOM (813) 796-5627 USR 16.8K HST/v32bis

Patchbay (818) 441-3965 Dual Standard

MMT-80/SF (914) 297-2915 USR Dual/Standard

PC Pitstop (914) 298-1914 USR 16.8K HST/v32bis

Executive Network (914) 667-4567

Remember, just do a search for GN*.* for GIF News files. On Compuserve,

go to the GAME forum and go to the online electronic magazines file section

and search for keyword GIF NEWS.

Sysops: If you want your BBS on this list, please let me know.

If you are interested in hiring a full time graphics artist or computer

systems engineer, please contact me. I have experience with creating

computer graphics and video as well as skills in Windows, Lotus 123, Word

for Windows, Modems & Communications, Unix, Pascal, C, and PC Hardware &

Peripheral Installation. I'm also interested in working in the field of


Contact me and I will send/FAX you a resume.

--------------------- Thank-you for downloading and reading GIF News,

Eric Hsiao


September 7, 1992




** Descriptions of every single issue of GIF News that has come out **

If you want any of these issues, just send a Self-Addressed-Stamped-

Envelope and a blank floppy (5.25 or 3.5) and I'll copy them over for you.

Each issue is around 100K zipped. Please don't forget to include the


Or send a check/money order (see GN9209.TXT for the address)

Cost per each 360K disk (5.25) = $ .75

Cost per each 720K disk (3.5) = $1.25

Add $.75 for shipping - average size of an issue is around

80,000-100,000 bytes.

Or call any of the bulletin boards listed in the GN9209.TXT file.

Issue # Date Description

------- ---- -----------

01 Nov/Dec 1988 Reviews of Leisure Suit Larry II, Fire Power,

GN88-11 and Sentinel Worlds, a short autobiography of

Hsiao & Hunter, Inc.

02 Feb/Mar 1989 Virus protection safeguards, review of Police

GN89-02 Quest II, "Are MS-DOS Games Getting Better"

editorial, game hints to Leisure Suit Larry 2.

03 May/June 1989 Industry news, Space Quest ]I[ review, 1st

GN89-05 annual Sight & Sound Awards, "Taito Games Are

Terrible" editorial.

04 July/Aug 1989 Nintendo Game Hints (Super Mario Bros 2, Rad

GN89-07 Racer, Karnov), Reviews of 4 different driving

simulation games (Vette, Test Drive 2, Lombard

Rally, F40 Pursuit Simulator), Review of the

game Caveman Ugh-Lympics, a short overview of

Lotus 123 Release 3.

05 Nov/Dec 1989 Review of Maxis' Sim City, the new Tears For

GN89-11 Fears CD "Seeds of Love", and a review of

Sierra's Manhunter II.

06 Jan/Feb 1990 A Look back at the eighties, review of Sierra's

GN90-01 the Colonel's Bequest, and a overview of music

cards (AdLib, GameBlaster, SoundBlaster, &

Roland), the best VGA games.

07 Mar/Apr 1990 "Do Sound Cards Really Sound that Good?"

GN90-03 editorial, a profile of the Channel 1(tm) BBS

in Cambridge, MA, review of Access' Crimewave

and Bitmap Bros' Xenon II, look at digitizing


08 May/June 1990 Detailed look at the VGA and VESA video

GN90-05 standard, the Ultima VI built-in cheat, the

World of Amiga show in New York City.

09 July/Aug 1990 Request for BBS distribution sites, Computer

GN90-07 Industry News, a look at the Sound Blaster card,

a review of Spectrum Holobytes' Faces game.

10 Sept/Oct 1990 Review of the games Atomix & Puzznik, a look at

GN90-09 Battlechess II and future game releases, v.42

& v.42bis - what their advantages are.

11 Nov/Dec 1990 Look at the TrakBlaster program, new Flight

GN90-11 Simulator scenery disks, Reviews of games

Spellcasting 101 and Jones in the Fast Lane,

the Amiga Video Toaster by NewTek, Being a

Game Designer for Electronic Arts.

12 Jan/Feb 1991 V.32bis standard, XGA, LaserDiscs, the

GN91-01 controversial Lotus-Equifax CD-ROM CD, "Boo to

Disney Software" editorial, FD-Format, review of

the game Hard Nova.

13 Mar/Apr 1991 Look at Workstations, BBS's pay business rates

GN91-03 on their phone lines, JMPlayer review, Amiga 24

bit graphics, the first VGA page ever.

14 May/June 1991 The Prodigy STAGE.DAT controversy, review of

GN91-05 TrakBlaster v2.0, MediaVision's Pro-Audio

Spectrum, Amiga News, Review of Lemmings.

15 July/Aug 1991 The PC Expo in NYC, look at Creative Labs'

GN91-07 Voice Edit program, hints to the adventure game

Time Quest, a review of the game Armor Alley,

Internet News, and the first-ever GIF News


16 Sept/Oct 1991 Sound Blaster Pro Vs. AdLib Gold, "High Prices

GN91-09 for Game Software" Editorial, Internet News,

Contest Winners Announced.

17 Nov/Dec 1991 Closer look at AdLib Gold, Windows 3.1 news,

GN91-11 Wing Commander II Built-in cheat, Police

Quest III, WordTris, Internet sites, new

releases for various computers.

18 Jan/Feb 1992 AdLib Gold Delayed, Brief Windows 3.0 program

GN92-01 review, Oh No More Lemmings!, 1992 planned

releases, best graphical adventure game company,

first SVGA page, Internet Archie Server.

19 Mar/Apr 1992 Reviews of two VGA shareware games: Scorched

GN92-03 Earth and Galactix, short look at two multi-

media groups, the new US Robotics 16.8K Modem,

SupraCorp's v32bis modem, industry news,

coming Apogee releases, $49 CD full of share-

ware and public domain software.

20 May/June 1992 IBM/compatible sound cards reviews. Pro Audio

GN92-05 Spectrum 16, AdLib Gold 1000, Sound Blaster Pro

comparison chart.

21 July/Aug 1992 PC Expo #10 - news straight from the show!

GN92-07 Reviews of Dagger of Amon Ra & Classic Tetris

Soundcard news on Gravis Ultrasound and

telecommunication news on standard

and US Robotics new line of modems.

22 Sept/Oct 1992 Special Telecommunications issue, covering

GN92-09 modems, BBS software, and communication

terminal programs for PC's, Amigas, and Macs.



Policy updated for May 1992, subject to change.

Advertising in SIMPLE and EASY in GIF News, and very very affordable.

Basically a small ad, roughly under 1/5 the size of a full page, will be

free of charge. Often times these are ads for Bulletin Board Systems.

GIF News is read by thousands of readers throughout the world. Besides

the standard way of distribution through Bulletin Board Systems, GIF News

travels by means of the worldwide Network of Internet which reaches many

countries such as Japan, Australia, Norway, Finland, Canada, USA, France,

Great Britain, Singapore, New Zealand, Mexico, and more. GIF News can also

be found on the Compuserve Game Forum in the Magazines download section.

Here are some guidelines to follow for advertising in GIF News:

1. If short and small, the ad is free of charge. I may add

some simple graphics to make the ad a little more interesting.

2. If advertising a BBS:

a. Send me a normal-access user acount pre-registered. In

other words, add an Eric Hsiao to your user roster and

pick a password and send it to me (along with your ad).

b. Sysops must let me know before each and every issue comes

out that they want their ad in it. This will help me keep

track of which boards are still up and which ones have gone

down. This will save our readers from the trouble of dialing

long distance to a board and getting a "Sorry, the number you

have dialed has been disconnected..." I am unable to accept

requests that say "Please put my BBS ad for the next 10

issues." If you want your BBS ad in the next 10 issues, you

much notify me before the deadline of each of the 10 issues

that you want the ad in it.

3. If contributing money for an ad:

a. A full page with customized drawn graphics by me will general-

ly run around $75 - add $25 for each additional issue that you

want the ad in.

b. Pre-supplied/drawn graphics full page size will generally

be around $50 - add $25 for each additional issue that you

want the ad in.

c. Half a page of custom graphics will run around $30 - add $10

for each additional issue that you want the ad in.

d. Pre-supplied/drawn graphics half size will be around $15 -

add $10 for each additional issue that you want the ad in.

e. Please keep in mind that these are only general numbers, I am

very flexible and will negotiate. Also, unlike the FREE BBS

ad policy, you can request that your ad be in for a certain

number of issues (ex. "Please put my full page ad in the

January issue for a contribution of $50, plus I would like

to see it in the March/April and May/June issues for an

additional contribution of $50 (2 x $25). See above for

contribution guidelines.

f. Contributions not need be in the form of monetary units

(money). Instead, products of interest to me such as a

PostScript Laser Printer, v32Bis Modem, etc. would really

be appreciated.

4. Any legitimate commercial/business/organization/group/individual

can advertise in GIF News. GIF News retains the right to refuse

any advertisement due to content, space considerations, or

other reasons. We try to screen all advertisers for legitimacy.

Complaints against advertisers should be directed toward the

advertiser or the Better Business Bureau, not GIF News.

5. The final deadline for the next issue is 10 days before the issue

is to come out. In other words, for the Nov/Dec 1992 issue,

I must have the ad in my hands by October 21, 1992.



GN9209-3.TXT Issue #22 GIF News

Page Three - September/October 1992 Hsiao & Hunter, Inc.

Editor's note: Advertisements are between the equal bars and the \/

/\ symbols.


\/ From Sunny Spain, comes:

\ /

\__/ ooo oooo ooo ooo ooo ooooo ooooo ooo

/ \ O O O O O O O O O O O O O

---| |--- O O OoooO Ooo O O Oooo Oooo Oooo

\__/ O O O O O O O O O O O O O

/ \ oOo Oooo O O O O OoO oOooo oOooo OoooO

/ \

Open 24 hours/day, running on a v.32bis modem.

Sysop: Emilio Castellano (2:341/1.0)

Co-Sysop: Jose Pedro Moro (2:341/1.1)

CIS: 100021,176


BBS dedicated to OS/2, games and programming. LucasFilm Games

support BBS, Official ASP approved BBS, Home of the Spanish

OS/2 echo area, running on Binkley and Maximus/2 under OS/2 2.0.

300 Megs online. Membership fee of 3000 pesetas ($30 US) gives

unlimited access.

El numero del telefono: 34-1-519-4645

Saludos y bienvenidos!




> <

> More on the Telecommunications Survey <



Other modems owned by survey respondents include:

ATI, Anchor, Quicktel, Packard Bell, Digicom Scout, ZyXel,

Global Village Power Port, Zoom, Twincomm, GVC Super Modem,

Everex, and Microcom.

Among the Australian respondents, Netcomm was the most popular.

USRobotics modems are not approved by the Australian goverment,

therefore it is illegal to use a HST or Dual Standard there.

Some indicated that the Telebit PEP protocol works very well

on noisy lines. Also, Telebit is preferred in the Unix world, just

as HSTs are in the BBS world. However, with v32bis standardized,

it is quickly becoming the popular choice among users.

Since Supra and USRobotics garnished the most amount of votes, lets

see what people had to say about these modems:

US Robotics:

"...very good quality, performance, and reliability."

"...excellent. Well documented, well engineered, no surprises.

Overpriced for an individual user who does not have a need for the

HST protocol, but an excellent choice for a BBS modem."

"I prefer the Dual Standard unit, as that gives me the required option

to communicate with as many different types of modems available."

"I have a USR DUAL 16.8, and its GREAT!"

"I am using a USR Courier HST Dual Standard 14.4kbps and have considerably

good success with this modem, with the exception of trying to connect

with a SUPRA and some Telebits."

"Alot of the other 14.4k modems are still buggy. USR's product has been

stable for over 1.5 years."


"Good modem, cheap, fast, but a bit buggy. Much performance for the price,


"Good. Inexpensive, reliable, and seems to get along well with most types

of modems..."

"...all advanced features, including FAX, in one package. Low price."


1. Amiga

In the software category, different users have their own

preference for terminal programs.

In the Amiga area, JRComm is preferred the most. Some general

comments about it:

"Easy to use, lots of features, stable."

"I like its full Zmodem support, excellent interface."

" lacks a script lanuage."

"...better serial handshaking..."

Another frequently mentioned program is VLT 5.517 - comments


" behaves very well under AmigaOS 2.04 and looks great on a

40x80 character screen. It also has a nice 'phone book' utility."

"Extensive ARexx support, completely configurable and programmable."

"...Clipboard support...quick to use...good VT100 emulation...

extensive scripting/programming capabilities."

"Wish it had VT200 or better emulation."

"Very versatile but a bit difficult to set up."

2. IBM and Compatibles

Qmodem and Telix tied for first. Among the comments received are:


"...wish it had mouse support, or was available in a Windows version.

Wish it had MNP emulation in it."

"'s the most versatile..."

"Key combinations makes access to functions very fast."


"Very satisfied...encountered only two bugs, and these are more

annoyances than critical errors."

"Robust, has a decent zmodem. Poor terminal emulations on VT-102...

ANSI is not complete..."

"...reliable and easy to use. Also the scripting language is awesome..."

"...I don't like Telix 3.15 because I can't get 'vi' (unix editor) to

work properly...I get really annoyed when Telix can't do non-destructive


"I like it's speed and reliability. I dislike the fact that it isn't

a Windows application..."

"...easy to use while providing all of the power/configurability I need

to work with a wide variety of modems and host systems...fairly

efficient. Unfortunately, its VT-102 emulation isn't perfect and its

Kermit protocol implementation is absolutely minimal."

3. Macintosh

ZTerm 0.9 earned the most amount of votes for the most used

Mac term program.

Here is what people had to say about it:

"It's fast and very doesn't download in the background very


" is the best comm program for the mac...only problem is flakey

vt100 emulation."

BBS Software

There are alot of different types of BBS software for the different

platforms of computers out there. The most popular among Amiga users

is DLG Pro. Here is what some people had to say about it:

"It is fast, friendly, has many nice features like compressing mail in

the background, Usenet support, a nice full-screen editor..."

One respondent who runs a pre-release of DLG Pro BBS/OS says this:

"Total modularity. It is called a BBS/Operating System because that's

what it is. In fact, any DOS command can be made part of the BBS...

Multi-line. Unlimited number of lines can be added, as far as the

software is is so darned rich in commands, most of my

users are at first daunted by the sheer amount of options presented

to them."

For PC-based bulletin boards, PC Board and Waffle were popular mentions.

PC Board:

"I like it because I can do things quickly. Without having to go thru

a million menus, I can quickly read the new messages and see the new


"...use PC Board, Wildcat, Binkley Term...they're all the same to me."


"...ease of use...dislike setup."

"Waffle on the IBM PC is powerful but hard to use."

"It is not the easiest to learn, but once you know what you are doing,

you can quickly access the files and messages that you want to download

and read."

For the Macintosh systems, Mac users had this to say about the various

different packages:

"TeleFinder and FirstClass BBS are both excellent examples of how BBSs

are destined to become graphical in nature."

"Don't like any of the PC-based boards as they are implemented

differently...whatever happened to consistency?"



Quandra BBS


v.32bis compatibility

All files are FREQable

Files, online games, messages + International E-mail via FidoNet

New shareware! Cedar Island Link v2.15

Current version of GIF News FREQable under magicname GIFNEWS

Sysop: Scott (Scooter) Fell

Fidonet: 1:304/7




GN9209-4.TXT Issue #22 GIF News

Page Four - September/October 1992 Hsiao & Hunter, Inc.


\/ _____ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___

|\ /| |\ /| | / | | \ | \ /

| \/ | | \/ | | ----- ---- |--- |---< |---< ----

| | | | | ___/ | |___/ |___/ ___/

* GIF News distribution site * Member of Skynet, 63 Conferences,

4000+ files * Wilcat! 3.50M * OS/2 File Section * Two Nodes *

* Running on two USR 16.8 kbps Dual Standards * Node 1 (914) 297-2915

* Node 2 (914) 297-5623




> <

> Supra FAX modem v.32bis <


Review by Ken Goldenberg


I remember my first modem. It was 300 bps and was one of the

first direct connect modems I'd ever seen. I was impressed that

some bbses supported 2400 bps . 14400 bps may seem similarly

unobtainable to many people now, but with its latest offering's

street price of around $300, Supra may just change that.

I purchased the external version for the Amiga, which is bundled

with a serial cable, the aging A-Talk III terminal software, and

GP FAX software. The bundle runs about $70 more than the bare

modem, but the fax software alone is worth the additional cost.

Setup of the modem is pretty typical of any high speed modem.

If you've never used a 9600 bps modem before, you can plan on

spending a little time with the manual. Luckily, it's quite

good. Users familiar with 9600 bps modems will probably be up

and running after a glance or two at the quick reference card.



I liked the idea of being able to fax things to work, and the GP

FAX software does a really good job. The program multitasks

cleanly, has an AREXX port, and sports a slick, intuitive

interface. The program can convert ASCII test to fax documents,

or intercept data that is sent through the PRT: device. In this

manner, I create a document in PageStream, and faxed it to a

Sharp F0-4900 plain pare laser fax. The output was

unbelievable. I'll still use the copy I printed on a LaserJet

as a master, but the fax was the sharpest thing I've ever seen

roll out of a fax machine. Ever.

I am only aware of two problems with the software. First, you

can only run one copy of it at a time. If you have any plans to

buy more than one FAXmodem and send more than one fax at a time

(you want to fax urgent information to 80 offices ASAP) then

you'll have some trouble. There was also reportedly some

trouble between GP FAX and Final Copy. GP software is aware of

the problem and is supposedly working on a fix.



Okay, the fax capabilities are nice, but you want a modem for

more than the fax and the neat LEDs on the front panel, right?

Well this is a v.32bis modem, and when connected to another

v.32bis modem you can expect transfers of over 1600cps over good

phone lines. The Supra modem I used seemed slightly more

sensitive to bad line quality, but I have notoriously bad wiring

in my apartment. The manual's suggestion: use AT&T if you're

having problems with line noise. The modem supports v.42bis as

well, MNP 2-5 and supposedly MNP 10, which is used for SEVERE

error correction (such as cellular communication). I don't know

anyone else with MNP 10, so I can't confirm this, but a rumor

flying around the Internet is that the current Supra 14.4's do

not support MNP 10, and may never be upgraded to do so. If MNP

10 is a requirement of your next modem, I suggest confirming its

presence before purchasing the Supra.

Supra has promised to release free ROM upgrades to all

registered users (the latest promised date is late August). I

have had no serious problems with this modem after three months

of normal use and would recommend it to anyone interested in a

low cost modem.


\/ ****** Attention Internet Users ******

Try the fastest menu program available for MS-DOS machines.

Written in assembly to be blindingly fast. Very versatile and easy

to configure with included setup program. To try it out today:

FTP to

Login as 'anonymous' and use your userid as the password

Type 'cd incoming'

Type 'bin'

Type 'get'

When done, type 'bye' to quit out of FTP and use a transfer

protocol to send to your PC.

Fast Menu program by InterSpect Productions. Shareware.




GN9209-5.TXT Issue #22 GIF News

Page Five - September/October 1992 Hsiao & Hunter, Inc.


> <

> The USRobotics Sportster V.32bis Sportster 14,400 <


Review by Eric Hsiao

USRobotics has always been synonymous with high quality modems in the BBS

world. Their Dual Standard is the dream modem of many BBS users, and is

one of the most popular high-speed modem used by sysops. USRobotics'

aggressive-pricing sysop plan has made their courier line of modems very

successful in the BBS scene. All USRobotics modems now come with Group 3

Fax capabilities built in.

With the success of the Courier line given, there is another new line of

modems titled the Sportster line. These modems are targeted more to people

who want a good modem but are on a budget. While the lower priced modems

like the Boca Research and Zytel are based on the Rockwell chipset, the

Sportster uses its own DSP chip, which works quite well. Some users report

problems with Rockwell based modems such as busy-signal detection, FAX

connections, and difficulty connecting to certain brands of modems.

However, not all users of these modems have problems, so it may depend on

the ROM revision of the Rockwell chip, as well as the individual

manufacturer's design around the chip. Since the Sportster itself is not

based on the Rockwell chipset, it does not suffer from the same problems.

Instead, the Sportster line is designed around USRobotics' own DSP chip,

which functions very well.

Looking at the Sportster V.32bis, one can see the compactness and the

ergonomic design. The modem features the CCITT V.32bis standard, V.42

error correction, and V.42bis 4:1 data compression. The modem is also

backwards compatible with 9600, 2400, 1200, and 300 baud. However, this

modem does not have the HST protocol in it. Since most high speed boards

are running on Dual Standards anyway, connecting at 14.4bps is not too

difficult nowadays. The Sportster is capable of handling a DTE rate of

57.6 kbps, good for V.42bis compression. On the outside are nine LED

status lights, typical of most external modems. The front of the modem

features an easy to adjust volume knob, and the power button is

conveniently located on the left side of the modem. Transfer rates with

this modem at 14.4 kbps yield around 1650-1700 characters per second, using

the Ymodem-G protocol. The modem handles extremely well under line noise

conditions. The hardware is very stable and I have yet to come across any

problems with the modem itself.

Using the modem itself is easy. The only hardware installation involved is

plugging it in and turning it on. Make sure you have a 25-pin serial

cable, as the package does not come with one. However, it does come with

telephone wire. When installing, make sure the connection marked TELCO

goes to your wall jack and the one marked PHONE goes to your telephone. On

the software end, the modem comes with a information on setting up popular

PC communication packages for the modem. Most of the registers and dip

switch settings can be left mostly at the factory defaults, however, the

manual clearly defines them so if you do need to change any of them, you

will know what you are doing. A nice feature of the modem is the ability

to save your new settings, even if you power off the modem. This feature

uses the modem's non-volatile ram (NVRAM). The modem takes the standard

"AT" command set, making it Hayes-compatible.

In regards to software, the modem comes with BlastFax, a DOS-based FAX

program. Installing BlastFax is easy with the installation program.

However, I noticed a small bug where the installation program asked for

disk 2 twice, even though it was already in the drive. The Fax program

itself is fairly easy to use, with most of the commands done by the mouse.

Besides the standard FAX program features like keeping a phone book, a

send/receive log, and outgoing fax scheduling, BlastFax has the ability to

import other file types to be faxed. For example, you can create a logo

using a paint program, save it in .PCX format, and use it on the cover

sheet of your fax. BlastFax also takes in HP PCL level 4 and 5,

which means you can create a document in Windows, then print in HP format

into a file. That file can then be sent as a fax. BlastFax comes with

licensed fonts from the Agfa Division, Miles Inc. If you are not into

using DOS, Winfax Pro by Delrina works fine with the Sportster modem.

However, both these programs do have drawbacks. The first being that

neither lets you preview faxes using what-you-see-is-what-you-get

(WYSIWYG). You can view outgoing faxes with BlastFax, but only after

sending the FAX. In Winfax Pro, you cannot view cover pages at all. A

good fax program should allow a person to arrange the text and pictures on

the screen, much like a desktop publishing program. Neither BlastFax or

Winfax Pro allows you to change the location of a image, such as a .PCX

file, on the cover page. One should be able to place a logo or image where

they want and write text at any preferred place. A fax program that has

some basic desktop publishing features would make composing faxes so much

easier, and users could see exactly what they are faxing before they

actually fax it. Other fax programs do exist such as Intel's Faxability

Plus, Eclipse for Windows, and BitFax. However, I have not gotten a chance

to try them out yet.

Overall, the USRobotics Sportster V.32bis 14,400 Baud modem is a very

sturdy product that comes from a company that knows modems. It comes with

a 5-year warrantee, an 800 tech support number, and is made in the USA.

USRobotics operates its own bulletin board as well as having a

representative on the Relaynet RIME USRobotics conference. Basically, this

modem is for anyone who wants a competitively-priced modem with USRobotics

quality. The hardware works very well and does not suffer some of the

reported symptoms of Rockwell-based modems. The list price on the

Sportster is $529, but street prices are around $350-$400.