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Atari Portfolio Newsletter June 2020


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This was all assembled by myself yesterday from the Atari Portfolio Archives, apparently the files have been there for 24 years but nobody has read any of them , including my self. I must apologize as it is 58 pages of good information , and is the best of the best for Atari Portfolio Information all in one place. 



Taken from the archives on June 1 2020 , Atari Portfolio News 2020 Assembled and picked by Russ Campbell.


Portfolio Hints and Tips
From the Atari A.P.B . Volume 2, Number 1

If you want to get the current A.P.B. please send one U.S. Dollar to 
Atari Computer Corporation
1196 Borregas Ave.
Sunnyvale CA. 94089

The Atari Portfolio is a powerful tool. It will grow with your needs
and require only a basic understanding of proper computer care for 
trouble-free use.

The following are hints and tips for optimum productivity and enjoyment
from your Portfolio computer. Some users may consider the suggestions as 
basic computer knowledge. Others will benefit a great deal as they use 
the Portfolio more and more.

* If you seem to have difficulties with Serial Interface file transfers, 
make certain the Serial Interface is initialized. This can be done within 
the RS-232 port option in the SET UP menu. Also make certain the baud 
rates on both computers are set the same.Install peripherals and Memory 
Cards only while the screen of the Portfolio is turned "OFF". This 
avoids occasional electrical static during installation and better 
ensures that the operating system of the Portfolio " knows" that these 
devices are installed.

* If your batteries appear to offer unreliable operation, gently tilt 
the Portfolio from side to side. Should you suspect that the batteries 
may not be firmly in place, then responsibly bend the positive metal
connector in the battery compartment outward to induce a tighter battery 
fit. Some "AA" batteries are slightly different in length depending on 
manufacturer and job lot.

 * When installing batteries in Memory Cards, mark a date eight to ten 
months later on the label in pencil. Reference that date for battery 
replacement. This time frame should apply to all size cards. If using 
a Memory Card (which is highly recommended), set the size of your " C:" 
Drive to 8K. If you plan to use the Calendar/Diary alarm functions, 
then set the "C:" Drive to 16K. From that point on, read and write your 
data files directly to the "A:" Drive. Refer to the FDISK command for 
setting the size of the "C:" Drive.

* The Portfolio User's Manual will make no attempt to teach the use 
of DOS, Spreadsheets or Word Processing. These subjects sometimes 
justify accredited college courses depending on the level of expertise 
you wish to apply. It is suggested that users visit their local library
or bookstore for books on these subject(s) if additional information is 

* Using the Editor, write the following batch file and save it as 
A:\AUTOEXEC.BAT. The line: A:\Update requires that an update program 
be moved to your RAM card from the FILE MANAGER card. If you do not 
have the UPDATE.COM program, then omit line 3 below from your batch file.

       @Echo Off
       Prompt=$p $

* Some Portfolio manuals contain an error in reference to the creation 
of a CONFIG.SYS file. The proper entries are as follows:


* If a MEMORY FULL error is encountered, try changing the BUFFERS=32 
entry in the CONFIG.SYS file to BUFFERS=8 and warm or cold boot the 
computer without the FILE MANAGER installed.

* Once low batteries begin to disrupt operation, do not rely entirely 
on an AC adapter. Replace low batteries immediately even if the AC adapter 
is being used.

* The BATTERY LOW message is encountered only under specific circumstances.
Do not depend on seeing it during the limited time that the Portfolio is 
capable of detecting and displaying such a condition.

* You may change the battery in the RAM Memory Card without losing the 
data saved on the card. To do so, install the Memory Card in a Portfolio 
while plugged in an AC adapter. Press a key to turn "ON" the screen and 
replace the battery before the screen shuts itself off. Conservative
users may wish to copy the files to the "C:" Drive as a precaution. The 
battery used in a RAM Memory Card is a CR2016 and may be found in most 
electronics stores. You may prolong the length of time before the
screen shuts " OFF" by occasionally pressing any key.

* If you encounter a DEVICE WRITE ERROR while saving a file to the 
"A:" drive, check the write protect switch. Make certain it is turned 
"OFF". This may also occur if there is not enough room on the drive
for the file or the maximum number of files in the root directory may 
have been reached. If you installed the RAM Memory Card while the 
screen is "ON", the Portfolio may not know that the card is installed. 
In that case, try to save the file on the  "C:" Drive. A warm boot may 
be required if the operating system needs to be informed that the "A:" 
Drive is installed. When numerous files are being used, create and use 
subdirectories to store them.

* A DIVIDE BY ZERO or SYSTEM ERROR may occur for a number of reasons. 
If encountered, perform a warm boot and make an attempt to copy "C:" 
Drive files out to a Memory Card. Even if the operating system appears 
to be restored, perform a cold boot through the battery compartment 
to ensure that the problem has been adjusted internally.

* The Portfolio will make every attempt to reload the last file you 
used in each application. If an error occurs while the application
attempts to load the last file, delete the PERMDATA.DAT file within
the SYSTEM directory on the "C:" Drive. You may also change your
CONFIG.SYS file to set a lower number of buffers. Performing a warm
boot after doing so may release enough memory to load the data file
properly. You may also attempt to enter the application out of the
FILE MANAGER environment as the FILE MANAGER does require space in RAM.

* Many people misinterpret the SAVE YES/NO option when exiting an 
application incorrectly. When selecting "YES", the existing file on disk 
will be erased and a new file is created. If the file in memory is
incorrect, incomplete or corrupted, the old data will be permanently 
lost. It is suggested that you always answer "NO" when exiting applications 
to avoid this possibility. To save a file, use the F1 option labeled
as SAVE AS and deliberately name the file as you wish. The F1 window in 
all applications may also be accessed by pressing the Atari key.

* If you accidentally exit the FILE MANAGER and wish to have it operating 
again, turn the Portfolio off, install the FILE MANAGER ROM Card and type 
A:\fm at the system prompt.

* Avoid entering and manipulating files within the SYSTEM directory on the 
"C:" Drive. The only exception is the DIARY.DRY file which must be in that 
directory if you wish alarms to sound.

* To determine the available space on a Disk, use the DIR command from 
the DOS prompt. The CHKDSK command makes many calculations and assembles 
groups of numbers which are often confusing.

* The "ON" and "OFF" designations of the Portfolio refer to full operation,
not to complete power. A Portfolio which is turned " OFF" must still monitor 
alarms, data, date and time. This is important to know for expectations of 
battery longevity.

* The ADDRESS BOOK application may be used as a database for more than 
just names, addresses and phone numbers. You may also establish files for 
inventories, recipes and other subjects.

* If you detect a periodic "blip" across the screen while the Portfolio 
is turned "OFF", check the display modes within the SET UP menu. Make 
certain they are all set to normal or the batteries will drain at an
accelerated pace.

* You may sometimes experience system inconveniences in the operating 
system which can be enhanced or corrected. A small program exists in 
the public domain called: UPDATE.COM. A copy of this file may be found on 
the FILE MANAGER/TUTORIAL ROM Card. Later versions may be found on on-line
services and on the Atari bulletin board. If you are experiencing problems
which appear unexplained, obtain the latest version of this program and run 
it immediately following a cold-boot. See an earlier tip for automatically 
installing the UPDATE.COM program using an AUTOEXEC.BAT file.

* If you travel, you may wish to use clear packing tape and adhere a 
business card to the bottom of the computer by identification. A small 
address label might be placed on the inside of the battery and
expansion bus covers as well.

* To add a blank line between two existing lines in the Address Book, use 
the clipboard to "cut" a blank line you type at the end of the record, 
move the cursor to the new position and "paste" the blank line in place.

* If the non-weekend alarms in the Diary are not functioning on your 
machine, you may still simulate the same result by creating five separate 
weekly alarms; one for each day of the work week.

* The COS and SIN functions in the Spreadsheet sometimes return internal 
calculations and not the answers anticipated. Test your results when 
using these functions and use an alternative calculation if the operation 
is not responding as anticipated.

* You may enter almost any special character into the Text Editor you wish. 
This can be useful to create custom batch file screens or to mark specific 
positions for global search/replace routines when files are transferred to 
a desktop PC. To enter such characters, enter the NUM LOCK mode by pressing 
the Atari key while holding the Lock key. The cursor will change to a flashing 
underline. Then, while holding the Alt key, type the numerical character code 
(1-256; use the red numeric keypad). When you let go of the Alt key, the 
associated character will appear. To turn off NUM LOCK, press the Atari key
once again while holding the Lock key.



Sets the size of the internal RAM drive. c:. to size n in kilobytes specified. 
The minimum value allowed is 8K bytes and the maximum is the maximum available 
internal memory minus an amount required by the applications and DOS
This maximum will be displayed if you try and set too big a disk size.

For example. the command:

     FDISK 16 [RTN]

sets the size of the RAM drive to 16K bytes Use of this command also performs 
a cold start  All files currently stored in the portfolio.s memory Will be 
deleted in order that the RAM drive may be re-sized 
This command should be used with care.

Disk-Folio Article.


I think I've got great news for all port users who want to
connect their Portfolio directly to a floppy disk drive:

As the Portfolio is my only computer I was always dependent
on some friends and their PC's after receiving new software
for the port (for example a new issue of Re:port with another
great utility-HOOK).
The Drive 95 for the HP-95 seemed to be a good choice but
294,95 $ + shipping/handling (+ german VAT) was not the price
I had in mind for that kind of hardware.
Accidentially I got in contact with a company called
GEMAC which had just finished a FDD-interface for the port !
The whole components sit in the case of an original ATARI
memory extension (the one that isn't available in the USA).
It contains a serial and a parallel port and a floppy cable
for either a ATARI SF314 drive or a Shugart compatible drive.
You initialize the interface by pressing Fn-O and rebooting
the system after conneting it to the "DiskFolio".
Now you can use the FDD as drive B: !
All this sounds great ?! - In my opinion, this is the *most*
useful peripheral for the Portfolio I've ever heard about !!
I use it for about five weeks now and it's really a
completely new "Port-Feeling".
As all this sounds rather enthusiastic there are still some
minor problems to be solved :
1.)Diskfolio comes with all the necessary software in a
built-in EPROM. Unfortunately you can't use UPDATE.COM yet
together with the DiskFolio software, because it uses a
ROM extension that isn't -yet- compatible to the original
update program. (But according to GEMAC this problem will
soon be solved.)
2.)DiskFolio isn't able to format a floppy disk (you can
only use 720kb floppy disks !) But if you use pre-formatted
disks this isn't a problem any longer.
3.)DiskFolio isn't able to create sub-directories. Use your
PC to create sub-directories or write only to b:\.
(with the file-manager the whole job is really comfortable !)

The price isn't yet fixed, but will be around 300,-DM 
(about 180,- $).
GEMAC also plans to offer a complete package of interface
and your choice of FDD.
To contact GEMAC you can call, fax, or write.

GEMAC mbH Chemnitz
Matthesstr. 53
D-O 9003 Chemnitz

phone :++49-371-91190
fax   :++49-371-31070

If you need further information call :
Mr. Mario Reichel (he created the interface)
phone :++49-371-9119-209
(if you contact him please tell him that I've sent you.)

If you want to know more about this "universal-interface"
(yes, I know we have already got one) feel free to contact me.

Best wishes

14222 S1/Forum Business
    26-Jul-91  16:16:02
Fm: DAVID CAGLE 75300,1267
To: MARC H SEIDLER 74270,2104

TO: Marc H. Seidler FR: Don Thomas, Atari DA: July 25, 1991

RE: Portfolio problem


I like to monitor the messages that get posted on CompuServe and every once in
a while I'll put in my two cents when the mood strikes me.

I regret you have been having problems with the Portfolio. I have seen a half
dozen examples of a failed keyboard, but each time it has ultimately been
resolved with a proper cold boot. Many people misinterpret the procedure
required to perform a cold boot. A cold boot should be done in the battery
compartment. While unplugged and batteries removed, press in on the metal
plate found in a long, narrow notch. The plate should be gently pressed until
it meets with resistance and held in for about 10 seconds. If the copyright
screen, followed by the request for a keyboard language does not appear after
replacing the batteries, the cold boot was not successful. The metal plate is
hinged at the point closest to you and should be pressed in with a
paperclip... not a ball point pen.

I suggest that you try the cold boot once more and immediately run UPDATE.COM
afterwards. Ammending UPDATE.COM to an AUTOEXEC.BAT file is a good way to get
it to run automatically for you.

There's a good chance that you will find your Portfolio is fine and simply
needed refreshing after having sat around on your shelf for a while. It
expects interaction from time to time. All functions are not active when shut
off and it anticipates it can do some internal maintenance the next time it is
turned on. If left unattended for a while, you may simply need to perform the
cold boot just to bring things back up to speed. Of course your files will be
safe as long as you wisely use your memory cards.

Cold Booting An Atari Portfolio:

14814 S1/Forum Business
    11-Aug-91  16:15:09
Sb: #14779-Dead Portfolio
Fm: DON THOMAS 75300,1267
To: P CRAIG DAVIS 76304,2066 (X)

There is ONLY 1 way to perform a cold boot on the Portfolio. I like to look at
it as a long trip in your car. If your traveling and get lost, hold the
ALT/CNTL keys and press DEL. This takes you back to the last intersection you
made a turn to see if you know where you are. If you're still lost, then press
in on the RESET button on the bottom of the Portfolio. This takes you back to
the last town you passed through.

If you still experience problems, then a cold boot is required (the other two
are warm boots). A cold boot takes you all the way back to the beginning of
your trip.

A cold boot is performed by depriving the Portfolio of ALL power (batteries
and AC). In the battery compartment, there are three notches. The leftmost
notch (holding the Portfolio label-side-up) has the battery ribbon coming out
of it. The rightmost notch has a metal plate. In some lighting, the metal
plate may appear as a fine wire, but it is a solid metal plate.

A paperclip should be pressed in so the bottomost part of the metal plate
bends gently back into the machine. The plate should be held in for ten
seconds. With no memory card installed, the cold boot is verified by powering
up the Portfolio and seeing if the copyright screen appears. Press RETURN and
the request to designate ENGLISH should appear. If so, the cold boot was
successful. If not, try again. Immediately following a cold boot (or warm
boot), UPDATE.COM should be run. UPDATE.COM is a no-brainer if it is part of

I hope this helps. BTW don't replace the batteries if they're not up to speed.
They'll likely just take you back to never-never land even if you use an AC.

Battery Use On The Portfolio:

Batteries etc on the port:
     1) Since rechargeable batteries aren't normally the best
choice for the port, getting the most AA alkaline battery for the
money is of interest to most port owners.  Fortunately, Consumer
Reports rated alkaline, heavy duty and rechargeable batteries in
November 1991.   

     Testing alkaline AA batteries at two different levels of 
demand, CU found Duracells, Panasonic, Sear's Diehard, and the 
Eveready Energizer, gave about the same level of performance.  In
other words, buy by price among these brands.  Kodak Supralife
and Radio Shack rated a little lower; but a sale or rebate offer
can make one of these the  best deal.

     Ray-o-vac cells were the poorest performers.  This agrees
with my experience.  I don't think  they could be priced low
enough to make up for their poor or uneven performance.  Avoid

     House brand batteries might be worth trying, since most of
them are undoubtedly made by one of the major manufacturers; but
since that may be Ray-o-vac, try a few before buying a case,
whatever the price.  If you find some good deals, let the rest of
us know!

     2) If you don't have three new AA cells when the low battery
warning comes on (and carrying three spares can be a pain), a
trick I've tried MAY help you get a few more minutes work done. 
(I don't THINK it will cause any problems, but this is only my
thinking.)  Try adding one new cell.  If that doesn't bring the
port back to operation, try swapping out each of the remaining
two cells.  Checking cells, I've found that sometimes one cell
will be more exhausted than the rest. In fact it might be worth
checking each cell's voltage before throwing them out to see if
your experience matches mine.  

     3) The following applies to batteries, card contacts, etc.
in the port, and electical contacts in general, such as on ste-
reos, car batteries, PCs, etc.  An electrical engineer friend of
mine tells me  oxidation on battery (and switch and other) con-
tacts can create  significant resistance.  These invisible "re-
sistive oxides" can  build up even on gold-plated contacts, as
the the plating is "porous" and lets the oxides form and migrate
to the surface.  This  all adds up to energy wasted as heat and
perhaps decreased performance.

     The answer is to carefully clean the contacts.  Wiping with
a solvent like alcohol will remove oils and grunge; gently rub-
bing with a  clean PENCIL eraser will also help.  But what if
this doesn't work, or if the contacts are inaccessible, as in a
switch?   One answer is a product used in industry called
"CRAMOLIN", made by Caig Laboratories, Inc. as "Deoxit" 
or"Cramolin".  Write them for  information (1175-0 Industrial Ave 
Escondido, CA 92025).  
      Initially, the stuff doesn't seem  cheap - it costs $10 or
more to get any form of it - but it  goes a V-E-R-Y long way, is
non-toxic and safe for all surfaces and  best of all, really
works.  A small drop of the liquid or squirt of the spray is all 
you need.  It migrates and  penetrates like crazy, so applying it
to a dry cell terminal will clean  he contacts as well.  Clean
surfaces  are maintained for about a year after in application. 
Use blue cramolin or Preservit to extend the  protection.  Use
this on the battery terminals and all PORT/PC electronic con-
tacts.  (I cured an intermittent booting problem on my XT, e.g.,
by cleaning the card edges with it, and eliminated switch
problems on my stereo amp after so-called "tuner cleaners"
failed.)  I now use cramolin professionally as well, on electron-
ics used in the field or lab in biological research - these envi-
ronments can be harsh, and cramolin definitely improves perfor-
mance and reduces downtime for equipment. 

     Caig sells the stuff direct, but you might be able to find
at a local electronics supply store (Radio Shack doesn't have it)
or order it from MCM Electronics(order or get a catalog by call-
ing 1-800-543-4330, or write 650 Congress Park DR., Centerville
OH  45459-6959).  No I don't own stock in Caig (yet?).  It is
just that this stuff really works and will cure some problems
(some of which you may be unaware of) with contacts, noisy
switches,  etc.  This is an honest, cost-effective product that
should be better known!Batteries etc on the port:
     1) Since rechargeable batteries aren't normally the best
choice for the port, getting the most AA alkaline battery for the
money is of interest to most port owners.  Fortunately, Consumer
Reports rated alkaline, heavy duty and rechargeable batteries in
November 1991.   

     Testing alkaline AA batteries at two different levels of 
demand, CU found Duracells, Panasonic, Sear's Diehard, and the 
Eveready Energizer, gave about the same level of performance.  In
other words, buy by price among these brands.  Kodak Supralife
and Radio Shack rated a little lower; but a sale or rebate offer
can make one of these the  best deal.

     Ray-o-vac cells were the poorest performers.  This agrees
with my experience.  I don't think  they could be priced low
enough to make up for their poor or uneven performance.  Avoid

     House brand batteries might be worth trying, since most of
them are undoubtedly made by one of the major manufacturers; but
since that may be Ray-o-vac, try a few before buying a case,
whatever the price.  If you find some good deals, let the rest of
us know!

     2) If you don't have three new AA cells when the low battery
warning comes on (and carrying three spares can be a pain), a
trick I've tried MAY help you get a few more minutes work done. 
(I don't THINK it will cause any problems, but this is only my
thinking.)  Try adding one new cell.  If that doesn't bring the
port back to operation, try swapping out each of the remaining
two cells.  Checking cells, I've found that sometimes one cell
will be more exhausted than the rest. In fact it might be worth
checking each cell's voltage before throwing them out to see if
your experience matches mine.  

     3) The following applies to batteries, card contacts, etc.
in the port, and electical contacts in general, such as on ste-
reos, car batteries, PCs, etc.  An electrical engineer friend of
mine tells me  oxidation on battery (and switch and other) con-
tacts can create  significant resistance.  These invisible "re-
sistive oxides" can  build up even on gold-plated contacts, as
the the plating is "porous" and lets the oxides form and migrate
to the surface.  This  all adds up to energy wasted as heat and
perhaps decreased performance.

     The answer is to carefully clean the contacts.  Wiping with
a solvent like alcohol will remove oils and grunge; gently rub-
bing with a  clean PENCIL eraser will also help.  But what if
this doesn't work, or if the contacts are inaccessible, as in a
switch?   One answer is a product used in industry called
"CRAMOLIN", made by Caig Laboratories, Inc. as "Deoxit" 
or"Cramolin".  Write them for  information (1175-0 Industrial Ave 
Escondido, CA 92025).  
      Initially, the stuff doesn't seem  cheap - it costs $10 or
more to get any form of it - but it  goes a V-E-R-Y long way, is
non-toxic and safe for all surfaces and  best of all, really
works.  A small drop of the liquid or squirt of the spray is all 
you need.  It migrates and  penetrates like crazy, so applying it
to a dry cell terminal will clean  he contacts as well.  Clean
surfaces  are maintained for about a year after in application. 
Use blue cramolin or Preservit to extend the  protection.  Use
this on the battery terminals and all PORT/PC electronic con-
tacts.  (I cured an intermittent booting problem on my XT, e.g.,
by cleaning the card edges with it, and eliminated switch
problemms on my stereo amp after so-called "tuner cleaners"
failed.)  I now use cramolin professionally as well, on electron-
ics used in the field or lab in biological research - these envi-
ronments can be harsh, and cramolin definitely improves perfor-
mance and reduces downtime for equipment. 

     Caig sells the stuff direct, but you might be able to find
at a local electronics supply store (Radio Shack doesn't have it)
or order it from MCM Electronics(order or get a catalog by call-
ing 1-800-543-4330, or write 650 Congress Park DR., Centerville
OH  45459-6959).  No I don't own stock in Caig (yet?).  It is
just that this stuff really works and will cure some problems
(some of which you may be unaware of) with contacts, noisy
switches,  etc.  This is an honest, cost-effective product that
should be better known!

Dip DOS Commands Made Easy:

APP [/A/C/D/E/S/W/C]
Only one allowed
Takes you directly to ADDR BOOK,CALC,

BREAK (no arg)-reports current state
BREAK ON  -Fn B halts immediately
BREAK OFF -Fn B halts at next screen
           or keyboard activity

CD [dir string] (Change Directory)
CD    -returns current dir
CD \  -changes to root dir
CD .. -moves up one level
CD NOTES (no \) -move down one level

CHKDSK [disk][/p] (list disk content)
CHKDSK a:  -lists memory useage of 
/P =one page at a time

CLS   (clear screen)
CLS   -also homes cursor and window

COPY [path1] [path2]
* =wildcard, ? =single char wildcard

DATE [mm-dd-yy]
DATE 10-26-90 -sets date
DATE   -returns current date, asks
        for new one (RETURN keeps

DEL [path]  (Delete file)
* =wildcard  ? =single char wildcard

DIR [path][/p][/w][>] (List directory)
DIR A:\DATA  -lists files,size,date &
DIR           time on default or
/P =one Page at a time
/W =names only across screen Width

FDISK [n] (set RAM disk size)
FDISK 16  -sets the size of the C:
           RAM disk to 16K
also does cold start: all data lost

FORMAT [disk][/V] (disk format)
FORMAT A:  -formats card in a:
            all previous data lost!
/V will ask for volume name after

HELP (Lists DOS commands)
HELP  -lists only, no syntax or

MD [disk][path][dirname] (Make dir)
MD DATA -creates directory DATA below
         current disk\directory

OFF  (PF off (standby))

PATH [path1];[path2]... (search path)
PATH ; -reset to current working dir
Sets search path for any executable
command looking for a file, esp. in
.BAT files

PROMPT [text][$n$m..] (set sys prompt)
PROMPT PRTF $p -Prompt=Prtf a:\data>
$d=cur date $t=cur time $p=cur dr\dir
$v=DOS ver# $n=cur drv  $g= >
$l= <       $b= |       $_=CR-LF
$s=space    $h=backsp

RD [drive][dir] (remove directory)
-directory must be empty

REN [path]file1 file2 (Rename)
-both names must have same path

RUN [path][file] (Run mem card prog)
(used ONLY for certain Portfolio mem
 card progs)

SET [chrstr1]=[chrstr2] (set synonym)
SET -returns current definitions
SET NAME=  -removes setting
(used mostly in .BAT files)

TIME [hh:[mm:[ss]]] (Set time}
TIME -returns cur time and req new
TIME 06:17:29

TYPE [path]filename[/p] (Type file)
TYPE C:\NEWDAT.TXT -displays file con-
TYPE TESTDAT.TXT/P -ditto, 1 p at time

VERIFY [ON,OFF] (File write verify)
VERIFY  -displays current setting

VER (DOS version number)
VER  -prints DOS version number on 

VOL [disk] (Display Vol number)
VOL a: -displays label for disk a:
        (see also LABEL)

< [device] (Redirect input from dev)
After any command requiring input
Devices:           PRN -parallel port
AUX -serial port   LPT1    "      "
COM1   "     "     NUL -no output
CON -console(kybd) FILENAME

> [device] (Redirect output to dev)
After any command producing output
Devices:           PRN -parallel port
AUX -serial port   LPT1    "      "
COM1   "     "     NUL -no output
CON -console(kybd) FILENAME

Details about Construction of CCMS’s

163 (H) S12/Storage Devices
    25-Jul-91  22:09:10
Sb: Card drives
Fm: John Feagans 75300,703
To: SYSOP*Marty Mankins 75300,1770 (X)

I had the good fortune (or bad) of running across a doa Portfolio RAM card. I
popped it open to see what was inside.  What I found was that they were using
32k x 8 SRAM die bonded to the board.  One chip =32k, two =64, four=128k. 
They also had a small custom chip which took care of the miscellaneous logic,
address decode, power detect, power down.  Die bonding means that instead of
mounting the die in a lead frame and encapclating it into expoxy, it is
actually bonded on the printed circuit board, wires attached to the
appropriate pads, and the whole works potted in exposy on the PCB.  Everything
is fine as long as the yield from the chips is good. Get one bad chip on a 32k
board, you just generated scrap.  Get one on a 64k card you just wasted one
potentially good chip.  Get one bad on a 128k you just wasted three
potentially good die.  You get the idea how the price gets out of hand quickly
with larger cards.  The PCMCIA cards on the other hand use already tested
bonded, and packaged parts.  I also disassembled one of those cards as well. 
The PCB has little square holes in it where the packages rest.    They were
gull wing and soldered to the board.  It seems that their is an additional
burden of cost on packaged parts but in the long run fewer parts resulting in
less cost would be used.

Details of Portfolio From A User:

HTH: Palmtop Computers

	Once in a while, I rediscover a product that has escaped the attention it deserves.  Atari's Portfolio was the first "palmtop" computer, a product category now coming into its own.  Portfolio is a 1-pound IBM-style computer that runs on three AA batteries and costs $299 (Atari Portfolio, Dept. HB, P.O. Box 61657, Sunnyvale, CA 94088).  At discount stores, notably CompUSA, you'll find it for $199.
	Portfolio was first released in 1989, but the recent release of a new software card, inspired by the product's  appearance in Terminator 2, makes Portfolio easy to use for the average person.
	Comparable in size to Sharp's largest Wizard, Portfolio's screen shows 40 characters across and eight lines down.  The keyboard is small and a little cramped, but large enough to write multiple pages comfortably (I'm using it to write this column).  Built-in software includes a Lotus-compatible spreadsheet, a calculator that displays a running tape on the screen, a calendar/ appointment diary, a database of on-screen cards, an DOS-style operating system, and a simple word processor with a few sophisticated features like search and a clipboard.  The new "T2" File Manager card adds some programs, including file transfer software to exchange files with a Macintosh.  To accomplish that transfer, I used the new T2 card ($20), a $10 cable and a $80 serial interface that snaps into the Portfolio.
	It's best to buy at least one RAM card for storage (RAM cards are the common storage medium for palmtops).  As with other palmtops, these eraseable RAM cards are costly-- a 64K card, with enough memory to store about 30 pages of text, costs $100; the 128K stores twice as much for $170.  Pre-programmed ROM cards are also available.  Chess shows a respectable on-screen board and plays well enough to intrigue amateur players.  Instant Speller ($40) is a help for crossword puzzles (enter pu**le to see puzzle, puddle, etc.)  PowerBasic is mainly for programmers (an alternate version of Basic is available free on CompuServe, along with a Tetris variation, poker, solitaire and dozens of other programs).  Finance ($90) is also available; Bridge is coming soon.
	I've used Portfolio with MCI Mail and CompuServe.  In keeping with the miniaturization theme, I connected by using the new 3-ounce Hayes Personal Modem ($179), a small box that draws power mainly from the telephone line (this modem can be used with any computer).  The Hayes manual provided the few simple codes needed to operate the modem (ATDT, followed by the phone number, causes the modem to dial; ATM hangs up).  I know this sounds complicated; with some patience and some help, it becomes routine, like any other computer endeavor.  (By the way: new Atari users can call 800-848-8199, ask for operator 198, and receive a free sign up kit with $15 usage credit.)
	With 350,000 units sold worldwide, it's hard to understand why Atari isn't doing more advertising, promotion and software development.  Books and magazine articles are hard to find.  Only a few software titles are available commercially.  But there is a wealth of information available from the community of Portfolio users-- friendly, knowledgeable experts who answer questions, usually overnight.  I discovered them by connecting to CompuServe and typing GO APORTFOLIO.  Through CompuServe, I heard about an indispensible newsletter called Re:Port (1618 S. Beech Ct., Broken Arrow, OK 74012-6205; 6 issues and six software diskettes per year/$50; subscribers enjoy a discount of about 20 percent on all Atari products).
	Computer Books (800-848-2023) sells Portfolio as a physician's best friend.  Specialty cards called Drug Interaction, Patient Management, Physician's Reference, and Pharmaceuticals, cost $250-350 each.  The same company offers an easy-to-use kit called Pocket Mac ($89.95) for Macintosh file transfers.  Message Mover ($200) from Computer Friends (800-547-3303) is more versatile, but requires considerable manipulation of files on the Mac; it can also be difficult to use.
	How does Portfolio compare with other palmtops?  Sharp's Wizard OZ-8000 is a better appointment book, more dependable (the Portfolio sometimes requires resetting and may drop appointments in the process).  Sharp offers more software cards, but you'll find comparable Atari software in most important categories.  Portfolio comes with a better word processor, a better keyboard, and a built-in spreadsheet.
	Hewlett Packard's new HP95LX offers a slicker package: MS-DOS 3.22 (compared with Atari's pseudo-DOS), twice as many lines on the screen, a lot more computer power (512K as opposed to 128K, though the Atari can be upgraded for about $300), a built-in serial port and communications software (these cost extra for the Atari), and Lotus 1-2-3 (Lotus co-developed this product).  Applications are always open-- you can access program at the touch of a button without closing your current file.  Ounce for ounce, HP's palmtop offers more than the Atari.  But word processing is a problem-- the H-P's calculator-style buttons are hard to use for anything more than a short note.  Compare H-P's $699 price tag with $410 for a similarly-equipped Portfolio.  Also: Psion's new Series 3 palmtop (about $500 + $150 serial interface) offers a better screen and keyboard, and more powerful word processing, but no spreadsheet.
PHOTO: A photo is coming from Don Thomas at Atari.

Details of the Original Portfolio Products:

The Portfolio Main Unit has a 60-pin bus connector on its right-hand side for the connection of peripheral devices.  The bus is electrically similar to the bus on an IBM PC in that all address and data signals are present as well as control signals and power, so that it can be used with a wide variety of additional devices.  The bus interface is unique to the Portfolio and is used only to interface with specially designed Portfolio peripherals.  However, two of the peripherals convert the proprietary Portfolio bus interface into the industry-standard Centronics parallel or  RS-232C serial interfaces, permitting the attachment of many existing standard peripherals such as printers and modems, and providing for connection to other computers.  The bus is documented in the Portfolio Technical Reference Guide that is available to registered Portfolio developers.

Although there is only one bus connector on the Portfolio itself, more than one peripheral can be attached to the Portfolio by means of "daisy-chaining."  Certain peripherals, currently only the Memory Expander Plus, have two bus connectors: one female connector on the left to connect to the Portfolio (or another peripheral) and a male connector on the right that can be used for the connection of additional  peripherals.  This kind of peripheral can be called a "Bus Extender Peripheral."  Other peripherals, currently the Smart Parallel Interface and the Serial Interface, have only the left bus connector that attaches to the Portfolio or a Bus Extender Peripheral and no bus connector on the right.  This kind of peripheral can be called a "Bus Terminator Peripheral."   It must be the last peripheral that is physically connected, and only one such peripheral can be physically connected  at a given time.

A chain of up to three peripherals can extend horizontally to the right of the Portfolio in a "bar" formation, while the Portfolio is arranged on a flat working surface.  Such a configuration is not practical for portable use.

All peripherals take their power from the batteries or A.C. Adaptor in the Portfolio itself; they do not need their own batteries or separate A.C. Adaptors.  Peripherals containing RAM must remain connected to Portfolio to retain the content of their memory, even when Portfolio is turned off.  Since peripherals draw additional power from the main batteries, battery life is reduced.   Battery life for continuous operation of the Portfolio alone is approximately 14 to 42 hours.  For a system that also includes two Memory Expansion Modules and a Parallel or Serial Interface, battery life is reduced to approximately 8 hours.  Actual battery life under typical operating conditions is significantly longer because of the automatic shut-off feature.  It is important to note that under most conditions the A.C. Adapter would be used so that the actual length of time of your battery life is much longer than it may first appear.


	This peripheral contains 256 kilobytes (256K) of random access memory (RAM) that is used to extend the internal 128K RAM in the Main Unit.   The basic Portfolio comes with 384K memory in the form of 256K ROM and 128K RAM.  With the addition of the Memory Expander the Portfolio becomes a  640K system:

		256K 	Internal ROM
		128K	Internal RAM
		256K	Expansion RAM
		640K	Total Memory

	The memory in the Memory Expander is contiguous with the 128K internal RAM, yielding a block of 384K RAM shared between the internal RAM disk (Drive C:) and the area of memory used for programs and data.   A larger RAM disk can be used for more and/or larger user files and a larger program/data area can be used to load and run larger programs and work on larger datasets.

	The Memory Expander Plus contains a slot that accepts a Memory Card or a Program Card similar to the slot on the left end of the Portfolio Main Unit.  The second card slot can be used for several purposes.  For example, you can have both a Program Card containing an external application program and a Memory Card that contains files that the application program uses.  You can also use both slots for Memory Cards as a quick way to "Diskcopy" the content of one Memory Card to another Memory Card.
	The Memory Expander is a "Bus Extender Peripheral."  It contains a bus connector on the left to attach to Portfolio (or another peripheral) and a second bus connector on the right for the attachment of additional peripherals.

	Two Memory Expanders may be attached to Portfolio at the same time to further extend the internal RAM memory to  640K RAM for total memory of 896K: 

		256K 	Internal ROM
		128K	Internal RAM
		256K	Expansion Module #1
		256K  Expansion Module #2
		896K	Total Memory

	If two Memory Expanders are used, only one of additional card slots is active.

	The Memory Expander uses battery or A.C. Adaptor power from the Main Unit and reduces battery life somewhat.  Memory contents are lost when it is disconnected from the Main Unit.


	This peripheral implements the industry-standard "Centronics" parallel interface.  It can be used to attach the Portfolio to a variety of standard peripherals that have parallel interfaces, such as printers, that are available from a variety of manufacturers.   It can also be used to connect to the parallel interface of IBM PC-compatible computers, providing a method of transferring programs and data files.

	The Portfolio contains an internal application program called "File Transfer" that uses the Smart Parallel Interface to upload or download files with  another computer.  You can use this facility plus the included File Transfer software for IBM PC compatible computers, for example, to download compatible MS-DOS software and run the software in the Portfolio.  You can upload Portfolio Text Editor text files containing notes and import them into your PC word processing program for editing, formatting and printing.  You can download compatible Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet templates created on the PC and use them in the built-in Worksheet program.  Many similar applications are possible.  The PC File Transfer software is supplied on both 5.25 inch and 3.5 inch floppy diskettes.  For this application a standard RS-232C serial cable with a DB-25P male connector, completely wired, is needed.  This cable, commonly used with serial rather than parallel interfaces, is available from most computer dealers.

	The internal application programs of the Portfolio contain several options that allow printing.  Printed output can be directed by means of the built-in Setup program to a printer connected to the Smart Parallel Interface.

	The Smart Parallel Interface is a Bus Terminator Peripheral, with a Portfolio Bus Connector on the left and a Centronics-type parallel interface connector on the right.  It must be the last peripheral on the bus and cannot be used with another Bus Terminator Peripheral.  You will also need  a standard IBM PC parallel printer cable to go between the Interface and the parallel interface connector on the other device.  This peripheral takes its power from the batteries or A.C. Adaptor in the Main Unit and reduces battery life somewhat.


	This peripheral implements the industry-standard RS-232C serial interface.  It can be used to attach the Portfolio to a wide variety of standard peripherals with serial interfaces such as modems, printers or bar code readers, that are available from a wide variety of manufacturers.   With appropriate additional software (not included), It can be used to connect to the serial interface of another computer so as to use the Portfolio as a terminal, or to transfer data or programs.

	The internal application programs of the Portfolio contain several options that allow printing.  Printed output can be directed by means of the built-in Setup program to a printer connected to the Serial Interface.  The Setup program also allows you to set low level communications parameters to assure compatibility with the device it is connected to: baud rate, parity, number of data bits and number of stop bits.  No file transfer or modem communications software is supplied with the product.

	The Serial Interface is a Bus Terminator Peripheral, with a Portfolio Bus Connector on the left and a nine-pin D-type connector on the right.  It must be the last peripheral on the bus and cannot be used with another Bus Terminator Peripheral.  You will also need  a serial interface cable with a nine-pin D-type  connector on one end and appropriate connector for the other device.  Since the connector is a standard one used on IBM PC ATs and compatibles, appropriate cables for different applications are widely available.  As with most RS-232C devices, it is often necessary to modify or build cables for particular applications. 	
	This peripheral takes its power from the batteries or A.C. Adaptor in the Main Unit and reduces battery life somewhat.

MEMORY CARDS, Model HPC-201 (32K), HPC-202 (64k),
        HPC-203 (128K)

	Memory cards are small, credit card sized units that are not peripherals, strictly speaking, because they connect to a special card slot on left end of the Portfolio or to the Memory Expander Plus rather than to the Portfolio bus.  Memory cards contain RAM memory whose contents is preserved continuously, even when removed from Portfolio,  through the use of a small lithium battery.  To the Portfolio software user, the Memory Card appears to be a disk drive, or "RAM disk," typically drive A: or B:, containing data files or programs.  Memory Expanders, on the other hand, extend the main RAM memory that is used to load and run programs (although a portion of main memory is allocated to RAM disk C:)  Through special adaptation of programs into a uniqe .RUN file type, programs may be run directly from a Memory Card, without being loaded into main memory as .EXE and .COM files are.  

	Memory cards are available in three sizes: 32K bytes, 64K bytes and 128K bytes.

	Card slots also accept Program Cards, which contains ROM or PROM (OTP) rather than RAM, and are used primarily for the delivery of commerical software or custom programs.   Like Memory Cards,  Program Cards appear to the software user as "ROM disk" A: or B: and can contain .RUN programs.  They come in sizes of 64K and128K.  Larger versions that use bank-switching in banks of up to 128K bytes will be available in the future. 


	This is a peripheral for a separate personal computer, not the Portfolio, that permits Portfolio Memory Cards of any capacity to be read and written from a personal computer using standard MSDOS commands such COPY, REN, TYPE, etc.  It consists of a controller circuit board for the IBM PC bus and an external cabinet containing a slot for a single Memory Card, plus a software driver on diskette.  It may be used with any IBM PC compatible computer supporting the AT bus.  It is another faster  means in addition to the Smart Parallel Interface to exchange files with a PC and can be used to exchange files when there is a considerable distance between the two machines. 

A.C. ADAPTOR, Models HPC-401 (117V)

	The A.C. Adaptor connects to the Portfolio by means of a special subminiature jack, and powers the Portfolio and all peripherals that are attached.  When it is connected, battery power is saved, in fact  it is not necessary to have batteries installed.  The A.C. Adaptor does not act as a battery recharger.  Only the Portfolio's A.C. Adaptor should be used and not a separately available universal type.  

A Users Use for a Portfolio:

Reprint of letter received 06/05/92
Uploaded by Atari Inc.

Lumber Company
Camino, California 

May 27, 1992

Atari Corporation
Sunnyvale, CA 94089
Attn: Customer Support

Dear Atari folks:

Enclosed is our broken Portfolio and a check for a new Portfolio.

I would like to take this opportunity to tell you how useful the
Portfolio has been in our operations.   Michigan-California Lumber
Company is a lumber sawmill and owner of 75,000 acres of forest land
in the Sierra Nevada. Our land management activities include tree
harvesting, tree planting and environmental monitoring.

The Portfolio has proved to be an excellent tool for data collection
in the woods. We use the spreadsheet capability exclusively to input
data such as tree planting information, tree survival data, soil
erosion monitoring data, tree measurement data and tree harvesting
quality control information. As you might imagine, the Portfolio has
experienced extremes, rain, snow, and lots of dust. I've even dropped
it several times with no apparent harm. Throughout it all, the 
Portfolio has performed admirably.

Our Portfolio met its fate this week when a co-worker was measuring
log quality and fell with the Portfolio in hand. As he was
instinctively bracing himself, the machine was slammed against a
sharp branch thus damaging the LCD screen. To our surprise the machine
still worked but had a crack with a much reduced window on the left
side of the screen. Once back at the office we were able to upload 
all the information we had collected for the day and no data was 
lost as a result of the accident.

We have looked at other date recorder computers that are designed
specifically for forestry applications and harsh conditions but these
machines cost 5 times as much, are heavier and bulkier than the

We would like to commend you for producing an inexpensive, durable
machine that has been useful even for unintended purposes. We are
anxiously awaiting a replacement.


Short Question Answer List for The Portfolio

 July 8, 1992

 Mr. Michael Goldstein
 PC LAPTOP Computers Magazine
 9171 Wilshire Boulevard, #300
 Beverly Hills, CA  90210

 Dear Mr. Goldstein,

 A copy of your July issue was delivered to me this afternoon.
 In it was an article written by Mr. Arthur Leyenberger. I am
 in a position to believe that the article mave have contained
 some errors. The information may not have been up-to-date
 concerning the Atari Portfolio computer. Please allow me to
 cover some of the ones I noticed.

 Ref: "The DOS-compatible Atari Portfolio is a Personal
      Information Manager..."

 Ans: The Portfolio is a DOS-compatible programmable COMPUTER
      with built-in software including PIM applications.

 Ref: "Although most DOS software won't run on the

 Ans: Most software is written to accommodate color monitors.
      The author makes it sound as if a MDA compatible screen
      is a defect.

 Ref: "...write short memos"

 Ans: A 50 page memo is not short. A 200 page memo is not
      short. A 10,000 page memo is not short. Although
      multiple files may be needed for a memo larger than 50
      pages, the maximum storage capacity is limited only by
      how many diskettes (Memory Cards) the user carries with

 Ref: "memory can be increased to 640K by adding modules...
      doing so doubles the size and weight..."

 Ans: The internal memory can be expanded INTERNALLY to 512K
      adding no additional bulk or weight (or decreased
      battery life). The article also indicates that a serial
      or parallel port doubles weight or volume of the
      Portfolio. The interface for the serial or parallel
      weigh less than 4.5 ounces each. Each interface
      occupies hardly any more space than a pack of
      cigarettes. Neither interface comes close to doubling
      the weight or volume of the "hefty" one pound

 Ref: "Although Atari promised third-party software for their
      Portfolio, few..."

 Ans: According to the second volume number one issue of
      A.P.B.; Atari's official catalog of Atari software and
      peripherals there are well over 80 applications and
      peripherals are available specifically for or to be
      used with the Portfolio. Over 60 are listed as
      available in the United States. Many more have been
      designed for specific industry applications. For
      instance, there is a Portfolio in every paint
      department of every Home Depot store to assist sales
      people in selecting paint formulas for their customers.
      For the end user, the Portfolio has alpha-numeric
      paging, radiation monitor, business contact software,
      file transfers, check writing, chess, adventures,
      medical applications, finance, FORTH, PowerBasic,
      flight planning, hard drives, databases, spell
      checkers, industrial machine controllers, investment
      tracking, data acquisition, fuel industry management,
      communications, time-billing software and much more.
      The Portfolio is used in the industries of security,
      financial, medical, aviation, trucking, education,
      journalism, military, navigation (plane and boat),
      cinema, logging and many more. The Portfolio is
      supported by two upscale newsletters and by a dedicated
      forum on CompuServe that boasts of over 800 downloads
      for the Portfolio. I hope you can see why I may differ
      with calling the Portfolio nothing more than a PIM.

 In addition to the errors I discovered within just three
 paragraphs of text, there is no description of the strongest
 features of the Portfolio while the competitors are
 described. The Portfolio offers a favored QWERTY keyboard.
 Many users brag of how they can touch type using it. The
 screen is easy to read for most users since the characters
 are large and well defined. The case is durable and we
 receive many letters of how the machine survived drops off
 cars, balconies and even logs (by loggers). For novice users,
 every Portfolio sold in the U.S. includes a File Manager
 application which permits users to access DOS commands with
 easy-to-use menus.

 There may be advantages and disadvantages to all the palmtop
 choices consumers may select. The Portfolio may be the lowest
 priced, but it is also often the most desirable. In the arena
 of Palmtops, I may be one of the most seasoned. The Portfolio
 was the first of its kind introduced in September 1989 and I
 was with it almost all that time. I am keenly aware of the
 marketplace, the trends and the most popular applications. I
 wish someone from your magazine contacted me to obtain
 information before going to press. Please do not hesitate to
 contact me if I may be of assistance in the future.


 Donald A. Thomas, Jr.
 Portfolio Marketing Manager
 CompuServe: 75300,1267

 cc: Mr. Arthur Leyenberger
     Members of APORTFOLIO forum of CompuServe



In order to connect your 8-bit to the new PORTFOLIO computer, you have to know three things;

1.  You have to have an RS232 interface connected to your 8-bit; the 850, P:R: CONNECTION, or MIO devices all work well for the purpose.

2.  You will need a null modem cable. This is a cable which connects two computers without the need for modems (cutting out the middle man, so to speak).

3.  You will need to make the null modem cable (or have a friend do it if you subscribe to the ancient Code of the Programmer);  "Hey, I don't do that, it's a hardware problem!"

////////// PART ONE: THE PROBLEM ..........

The PORTFOLIO has file transfer capability... through the parallel interface.  I don't know of any 8-bit aplication to redirect communication software into the parallel port, so ignore the File Transfer section in the SETUP application.

The RS232 ports on 8-bit computer interfaces are not compatable with "standard" RS232 DB-9 cables, (having been developed a few years before IBM stuck their foot in the PC door); pinouts are as shown below.

         8-bit           STANDARD
           1 DTR            1 CD
           2 CD             2 RD
           3 TD             3 TD
           4 RD             4 DTR
           5 GND            5 GND
           6 DSR            6 DSR
           7 RTS            7 RTS
           8 CTS            8 CTS
           9 (none)         9 RI

Fortunately, PORTFOLIO's Serial Interface does conform to this standard, so that modems and IBM AT cables can be used with it.

One other problem; the diagrams in the Serial Interface manual are wired wrong.  If you intend to make your own standard cables, refer to this service for the file detailing proper connections.  (NOTE: this file may be found in the ST sections of this service; for CIS, GO ATARIPRO; for GEnie, type ST.)

////////// PART TWO: THE SOLUTION .........

Well, Part One ought to have scared the willies out of all but the most determined Solder-Jockies, so we can now proceed with our interface.

1.  Get two (2) DB-9 "D" style connectors; one Male, one Female. (NOTE: if you don't want to go through the hassles of soldering, pick up the Radio Shack crimp-style connectors [CAT #276-1427 & 276-1428, respectively]; with these connectors, all you do is insert the wires and crimp the pins closed.)

2.  You will also need hoods for your connections; I used the metalized hoods [276-1513] for my cable, as they offer the shielding ability of metal with the light weight of plastic.

3.  For the cable, I recommend [278-775] double-shielded cable, especially for the MIO user; the PBI bus is flat-out full of RFI, and the chance of data corruption from that monster makes the extra cost worthwile.

====  Connections are as follows;


   +--1 DTR             4 DTR--+
   +--2 CD              6 DSR--+
   +--6 DSR             1 CD (N/C)
      5 GND-------------5 GND
      3 TD--------------2 RD
      4 RD--------------3 TD
   +--7 RTS             7 RTS--+
   +--8 CTS             8 CTS--+
      9 (N/C)           9 RI (N/C)

  Cable shield attached to PF hood ONLY.

  Double check your connections before connecting to either computer.

To test your interface, connect the cables to their respective interfaces and fire up your favorite 8-bit term software (I've used 850 EXPRESS! and BOBTERM with equal results), and set the terminal for 300 baud, half duplex, ATARI. The ATARI mode will be important once you start binary file transfer.

For PORTFOLIO, go to the RS232 option in the SETUP menu, and set 300 baud, no parity, 1 stop bit, 8 data bits, and initialize.

Force the TERM mode on your 8-bit.

     At the c> prompt, enter:

         COPY CON AUX

Type something in to your Portfolio, press ENTER: your message from PORTFOLIO should echo on your 8-bit monitor.  If not, check the term program settings, connections, and cable pinouts.

Congratulations! You now have a handheld computer that "talks" with it's older brother.

The advantages? You can use your full-screen 8-bit for communications and D/L to your palmtop.  You can fill your Portfolio with programs without having to borrow somebody's IBM.

And, best of all, you can compute respectfully during the day, and _still_ blast the bloody bejeezus out of ZYBEX at night.


                           THE PORTFOLIO CONNECTION:
                                 The Software
          The following programs have been thoughtfully provided by Mr. Jim
     Strauss and uploaded to the major computer services as ShareWare.
          Thanks Jim; check's in the mail.
     //////////PART ONE: THE PROBLEM
          So, you are the proud new owner of the latest Atari _wunderkind_
     PORTFOLIO. You're going to use it as your portable terminal... work on
     that major report during lunch, or figure out why the heck the Widgies
     Division has lost money for the fourth straight quarter while stuck in
     traffic... so you decide to get the RS232 Serial Interface... you
     really don't need the Parallel Interface because all the printers you
     have at work and home use the serial interface. You get the machine
     home, break out the docs,... and find out that the Serial Interface
     has _NO_ software for file transfer, and worse, the file transfer
     program in the SETUP section uses... the parallel interface?
          Someone seemed to be unclear on the concept out there in
     //////////PART TWO: THE SOLUTION
          No, don't send nasty mail to the Mayor of Atariland... he never
     reads the stuff anyway.
          For those of you with 8-bit Ataris (the vererable 800, 800XL, or
     the XE machines), I've left another file in the 8-bit section of this
     service; to access it, just go to the File Transfer option of the
     8-bit section and use the keywords MIO, 850, or PORTFOLIO; this little
     file details how to make a null modem cable for the 8-bit computers to
     "talk" with the PORTFOLIO. Other computer users may find this file
     useful, as it has the pinouts and correct wire connections for the
     PFSI (Portfolio Serial Interface); just adapt the 850 end for your own
     make of computer (IBMers, all you guys need is a regular AT null modem
     cable with a DB25-DB9 adaptor).
          THAT was the easy part; getting software in to the PF through the
     PFSI is the REAL bear. So be warned: this project requires a great
     deal of patience... a GREAT deal of patience. Those who fish as a
     hobby will feel right at home with this project; those with CLASS A-1
     volcanic tempers with nanosecond attention levels had better skip this

     project altogether and pick up the Parallel Interface.
          For those of you still with us... into the abyss.
          You will need the following software, available on this or any
     major computer service or User Group.
          A. A terminal software program for your "host" computer that
     allows text file transfers without CRC or return checksum bytes from
     the receiving computer. 8-bitters; EXPRESS or BOBTERM work equally
     well for this.
          B. CHKSUM.COM: a program for the PF that gives you a checksum of
     the bytes from a PF program. THIS PROGRAM IS NECESSARY FOR THE
          C. HEXBIN.COM: a program that converts hexadecimal text into
     binary bytes - REQUIRED.
          D. TXMM2.HEX: a PF terminal ShareWare program supporting Xmodem
     and Text Transfers, written in hexadecimal text. NOTE: DO NOT D/L
     TXMM2.COM unless you are going to D/L the program into your PF via a
     Parallel Interface (PFPI); the reasons are given in the text below.
          NOTE: Be sure to capture the description header for these
     programs, as these headers provide the CHKSUM number for each
          1.  Enter the CHKSUM.COM program into the PF:
               A. Type COPY AUX CHKSUM.COM into the PF. DO _NOT_ PRESS
               B. Set your Host computer to Send Text. NOTE: Do not set
     your terminal program for ASCII translation. Use the setting for
     communication between two "like" computer types; IBM-IBM, C64-C64,
     MAC-MAC. Otherwise the file will be corrupted (and the last thing we
     need around here is a corrupt file).
               C. Press <CR> on your PF before your host computer starts
     sending the file.
               D. After the file has been sent, press ^Z (Ctrl and Z
     together) on the PF, signalling the end of a file.
          This oddball transmission procedure is necessary because the
     TXMM2 program (in binary format) contains several ^Z bytes... which
     will cut your PF file copy procedure short (NOTE FOR THE NON-IBMers:
     ^Z is the IBM standard for closing a batch file using the COPY CON

     command. See what you learn on these files?)
          2. Check the checksum for the CHKSUM program by typing 
             CHKSUM CHKSUM.COM
          If the computer locks up, use the WARMSTART procedure
     (Ctrl-Alt-Del); if it does not reboot, then use the RESET switch on
     the bottom of the PF, DEL CHKSUM.COM, and go back to Step 1.
          If you get a number that does not jibe with the number given in
     the header description, you have two options; use the program, or DEL
     it and go back to Step 1. The former is considerably riskier, though.
          3. Now that you have a working CHKSUM program, perform Steps 1 &
     2 with the HEXBIN.COM program.
          4. By now you should have two working programs; CHKSUM.COM and
     HEXBIN.COM. Perform Steps 1 & 2 again with the TXMM2.HEX program.
          5. Type the command:
               HEXBIN TXMM2.HEX
          into the Portfolio. If the PF locks up, (that is, if you cannot
     type on the PF after about 10 minutes),  reboot and DEL the TXMM2.HEX
     program as outlined in Step 2 and go back to Step 4.
          6. If the PF has not locked up, you should see the 
          prompt. Type the command
               HEXBIN RESULT.OUT
          into the Portfolio. If the checksum is that of TXMM2.COM, then
               REN RESULT.OUT TXMM2.COM
          and congratulate yourself; you now have a palmtop terminal with
     Xmodem and Text Capture capabilities!
     //////////PART FOUR: Conclusion
          Congratulations; you have performed a task that would have driven
     the ancient philosophers nuts. Go have a nice warm bath, pamper
     yourself... you deserve it.

          After you have finished pampering yourself, make sure you copy
     all three .COM programs to your RAM card (save for it if you don't
     have one; it's as important as your host's floppy disks and a heck of
     a lot sturdier). You can DELete the TXMM2.HEX program from the PF c>
          NOTE: make a back-up copy of the programs CHKSUM.COM, HEXBIN.COM,
     and TXMM2.HEX on your host computer's floppy disks; you never know
     when your PF may have a memory lapse or when a miscreant program may
     write over your PF programs, or when you may pass through a
     memory-scrambling EMI field (like a university experiment or when your
     5-year-old decides to use the Bulk Tape Eraser on "daddy's new toy".
          With this new program, you can successfully U/L or D/L between
     your computers using Xmodem instead of T/E (Trial & Error).
     NEXT ISSUE: How I Broke Into NORAD Using My Portfolio; or, Tales From
     Folsom Prison.

          The following are the CHKSUM values for the three .COM programs:
               CHKSUM.COM    309A
               HEXBIN.COM    4080
               TXMM2.COM     FC6D

Portfolio FAQ (Feb 26 1992) 

Portfolio Frequently Asked Questions, PORT.FAQ
by BJ Gleason, Copyright (c) 1992 by BJ Gleason
Send Updates, Comments and Suggestions to the author at:
     75300,2517 Compuserve
Edition: February 26, 1992
Table of Contents
     1.   What is the Atari Portfolio?
     2.   How large should I set Drive C: to with the FDISK
     3.   Why does the screen flash when the computer is
     4.   What size RAM cards are available?
     5.   Can I interface the RAMcards to other machines?
     6.   Can memory cards for the HP work on the Portfolio?
     7.   How often should the battery in the RAMcard be
     8.   How do I replace the batteries in the RAMcard with
          out losing the information?
     9.   Can I use Nicads in the Portfolio?
     10.  Will the Parallel port and/or Serial port drain
          the batteries faster?
COMPATIBILITY / BUGS____________________________________
     11.  Will the Portfolio run IBM files?
     12.  What is the UPDATE program?
     13.  What are some of the Bugs in the Portfolio?
     14.  What are some of the Hardware Incompatibilities?
     15.  How do I reboot the Portfolio?
INTERNAL APPLICATIONS__________________________________
     16.  What ROM versions are available?
     17.  Can the ROM be upgraded?
     18.  Can I run MS/DOS 3.0 or later on the Portfolio?
     19.  How can I get a list of filenames when I want to
          load a
     20.  How can I find the developers names in the
     21.  Can Portfolio Applications run on a PC or a MAC?
     22.  How can I make my programs smaller?
     23.  Is a Technical Manual Available for the Portfolio?
     24.  What languages are available for the Portfolio?
     25.  What PC Compilers can I use to develop programs?
     26.  Can Turbo Pascal 3.01A run on the Portfolio?
     27.  How do I run a PBASIC program?
     28.  What is ALTR.COM?
     29.  Can I use PBASIC on the PC?
     30.  What are the differences between PowerBASIC and
FILE TYPES_____________________________________________
     31.  What do .ZIP and .ARC mean?
     32.  What is .PGC?
     33.  What is .PGX?
     34.  What is a .HOO file?
     35.  What is a .RUN file?
DISK STORAGE___________________________________________
     36.  Will the PDD1 or PDD2 from Radio Shack work on the
     37.  Can I attach a Hard Disk to the Portfolio?
     38.  When using the Flashdrive, the MD command lock up
     39.  Can I hook an MS/DOS Compatible Disk Drive to the
     40.  Did Xoterix release their hard disk unit for the
FILE TRANSFERS_________________________________________
     41.  How do I transfer files to and from the PC?
     42.  How do I transfer files to and from other
SOFTWARE SOURCES_______________________________________
     43.  Where can I get programs for the Portfolio?
     44.  How do I get an account on Compuserve?
     45.  What is the Atari Portfolio Forum on Compuserve?
     46.  What is in the Atari Portfolio Libraries on
EXPANDING MEMORY_______________________________________
     47.  Can I increase the internal memory size of the
     48.  Will WordPerfect Run on the Portfolio?
     49.  Is there a version of Tetris for the Portfolio?
     50.  What is a PREAD file?
     51.  Is there a program to capture the Portfolio
     52.  Can I do Animation on the Portfolio?
SERIAL COMMUNICATIONS__________________________________
     53.  How do I hook up a modem?
     54.  What is the APB?
     55.  What is the Address of Atari?
     56.  Was that a Portfolio used in Terminator 2?
     57.  What is DIP?
     58.  What is the Address of DIP?
     59.  Is a keyboard cover available for the Portfolio?
     60.  What magazines/newsletters cover the Portfolio?
     61.  Who is Don Thomas?
     62.  What should I do if travelling Overseas with the
     63.  Can I put the Portfolio Through an X-RAY machine?
     64.  What do I do when the Portfolio dies?
1.   What is the Atari Portfolio?
     The Portfolio is a "palmtop" personal computer that is very
     (but not completely) compatible with the IBM PC computer
     systems.  The base unit, when folded, is about the size of a
     VHS tape.  It unfolds to reveal a 40 characters by 8 lines
     screen and a 63 key keyboard.  It comes with 128k of RAM,
     which is divided between memory and a RAMdisk.  The Liquid
     Crystal Display screen is very easy to read, even in poor
     lighting, and has contrast adjustment built into the
     keyboard.  The keyboard is arranged in the standard QWERTY
     fashion (like a typewriter), making it very easy to find the
     keys, but the spacing of the keys is a bit tight.  The unit
     is powered by three AA batteries, which last about 100
     hours.  With the addition of the parallel interface you can
     upload and download files to another PC that has a parallel
     port.  A serial port is also available.
     Aside from DOS 2.11, the Portfolio also has a simple ASCII
     text editor, a calculator, a diary with alarms, and an
     address book that can dial numbers on touch tone phones. 
     Perhaps the most impressive built in application is a
     spreadsheet program that is compatible with Lotus 1-2-3.
2.   How large should I set Drive C: to with the FDISK command?
     If the computer should ever crash, all the files on drive C
     are lost.  Many users keep all their files on the RAMcard,
     and set the C drive to about 8k with the FDISK command. 
     This will leave you about 100k of free memory for your
3.   Why does the screen flash when the computer is off?
     New users will occasionally notice the screen flash when the
     unit is turned off.  The computer will turn itself on about
     every two minutes to check the alarms in the diary.
4.   What size RAM cards are available?
     In the United States:
          32k, 64k, 128k
     Outside the US, there are Memory Modules.  The are RAMcards
     with "boxes" on the ends.  They stick out of the unit by
     about an inch.
     256k, 512k, and 1Meg Memory Modules are available for the
     Portfolio from DIP systems in England.  They work just like
     RAMCards, and measure 20*50*70mm.  Contact DIP, 32 Frederick
     Sanger Road, Surrey Research Park, Guildford, United
     Kingdom, GU2 5XN.  (0483) 301555.  The prices are (in
     pounds) 256k 182.56, 512k 252.13, and 1Meg 373.87 and do not
     include shipping.
5.   Can I interface the RAMcards to other machines?
     Circuit Cellar INK Magazine, Issue 18, January 1991, has an
     article entitled "An Interface for Portable Battery-Backed
     RAM".  The article shows construction of an interface to
     read and write information from a Mitsubishi's Credit Card
     Memory.  This is the same card that is used on the
6.   Can memory cards for the HP work on the Portfolio?
     No.  They are completely different, and not compatible.  The
     same goes for the Poqet, PC-3000, and just about every other
     machine on the market.
7.   How often should the battery in the RAMcard be replaced?
     The battery in a memory card lasts about one year.  In order
     to make sure you replace the battery in time, write the
     replacement date on the card.  You could also set the diary
     to alert you in about a year.
8.   How do I replace the batteries in the RAMcard with out
     losing the information?
     Insert the RAMcard into the Portfolio, and turn the
     Portfolio ON.  The Portfolio will power the RAMcard while
     the RAMcard battery is pulled out and replaced.  Do not let
     the Portfolio power down automatically [after 2 minutes], or
     you will lose all the information.
9.   Can I use Nicads in the Portfolio?
     It is possible to use rechargeable batteries, on the
     portfolio, but be warned.  The discharge drop-off on
     rechargeable batteries are much steeper than normal alkaline
     batteries, so you might not always see the LOW BATTERY
     warning.  Keep everything on a RAMcard is you want to use
10.  Will the Parallel port and/or Serial port drain the
     batteries faster?
     Whenever using the serial or parallel port,  you should
     always use the AC adapter.  These ports require about as
     much power as the Portfolio and will quickly drain the
COMPATIBILITY / BUGS____________________________________
11.  Will the Portfolio run IBM files?
     Because of the unique design of the Portfolio, not all
     programs designed for a PC will run it.  There are a number
     of reasons.  The most common is that a program directly
     address the hardware.  Much of the Portfolio's hardware is
     slightly different and this will cause a conflict.  There
     are some other differences, but I will leave these for a
     more detailed description in another column.  For now, to
     make the Portfolio as compatible as possible with a PC,
     access the SETUP menu and under DISPLAY set EXTERNAL MODE to
     TRACKED, REFRESH to BOTH, and SPEED to FAST.  Note however,
     that the FAST setting will use up your batteries quicker.
12.  What is the UPDATE program?
     Atari has released an UPDATE program to fix some bugs in the
     The UPDATE program is available from several sources.  You
     can get the program from Atari on the DOS Utility Card (HPC-
     701 $89.85) or on the File Manager/Tutorial Card (HPC-704
     $20.00).  You can also download the program from the
     Portfolio areas on both GENIE and COMPUSERVE.  It can also
     be found on Atari's own bulletin board (408-745-2191), but
     new users will have to wait two business days for
     validation.  Once you have the program, place the UPDATE
     command in your AUTOEXEC.BAT file so that it is activated
     when you reboot your machine.
13.  What are some of the Bugs in the Portfolio?
     If you try to load a zero length file into one of the built-
     in applications, the Port will lock up.  Reboot the machine,
     delete the zero length file, and you should be ready to go.
     There is the "ShotGun" bug.  When you power up the
     Portfolio, it will write a random byte to a certain memory
     location.  If an application is loaded, this can mangle the
     data file.  One way around is to exit any applications
     before the machine powers down, or enter the following lines
     in the CONFIG.SYS file:
     The memory location will be inside the file buffer area, and
     will not affect the data files.
     The Portfolio will lock up if you try to load a file into
     the editor that ends with a <SPACE><RETURN>.  The UPDATE
     program fixes this bug.
14.  What are some of the Hardware Incompatibilities?
     One of the most obvious differences of the Portfolio is that
     it has a smaller screen that the PC.  The Portfolio's screen
     is 8 lines by 40 characters.  This can cause problems with
     programs expecting a larger screen.  There are two possible
     ways around this:  Rewrite the program (if you have access
     to the code), or change the Portfolio Screen mode via the
     Setup Menu.  The Portfolio has three Screen modes:  Normal,
     Static and Tracked.  Normal is the 8 lines by 40 characters
     mode.  In Static and Tracked, the 8 by 40 screen serves as a
     window to a virtual 25 by 80 screen.  You can use the ALT
     arrow keys to scroll around on the screen.  In tracked mode,
     the window automatically follows the cursor around on the
     The second problem with the text screen is that while you
     can write directly to screen memory, it will not so up on
     the screen until a screen refresh is done.  The text is
     copied to the LCD screen when a refresh is performed.  In
     the Setup Menu are the Screen Refresh Options.  The default
     is Normal: No refresh.  You can also select a refresh based
     on the Timer, Keyboard Input, or Both.  For programs that
     write directly to the screen, you should select both, but it
     is highly recommended that you change the program to operate
     in the No Refresh (normal) mode, since this is the default
     for the Portfolio.
     The next most obvious problem with the Portfolio is the
     severe lack of memory.  The standard Portfolio comes with
     128k of memory, and at least 15k of that is reserved for
     MS/DOS and the RAMdisk.  Care should be taken to keep
     programs as small as possible.  A common problem is that
     some program automatically assume that there is at least
     256k of memory available, and they just use it, instead of
     requesting it from the operating system.  This will
     typically cause the system to crash.
     When you switch the screen mode to graphics, you can draw on
     the screen using the standard ROM BIOS calls, but you can
     not write text to the graphics screen.  The screen memory
     arranged different than a standard PC.  The graphics memory
     is arranged as 30 bytes (240 bits) across and 64 lines down. 
     Each pixel is either 1 (on), or 0 (off).  Direct graphics
     screen writes suffer the same problem with the refresh as
     the text screen, but there is one further complication.  You
     can not write text to the graphics screen.  PowerBASIC and
     PBASIC both work about this problem by creating and printing
     their own character set, which will allow text and graphics
     on the same screen.
     On a standard PC, there is a timer tick that occurs 18.2
     times a second in order to update the real time clock.  On
     the Portfolio, this has been reduced to 1 tick per second in
     FAST mode, and 1 tick every 128 seconds in NORMAL mode. 
     This reduction is to conserve battery power.  The FAST more
     require much more power, and will drain the batteries
     Some programs count the timer ticks during initialization in
     order to determine the speed of the computer.  If the code
     waits for 18 timer ticks, it will take 18 seconds in FAST
     mode, and over 36 minutes in NORMAL mode.  If a program
     appears to lock up the machine, reboot, and try setting the
     speed to FAST, and run the program again.  If possible,
     rewrite the program to use a predetermined number for the
     clock speed, instead of calculating it.
     The detachable Parallel and Serial Port are at different
     addresses than a PC, and use a slightly different interrupt
     structure.  This leads to a major incompatibilities with
     communications programs.  Several communication programs are
     available from both commercial and public domain sources.
     On the plus side, the Portfolio has a number of built in
     options, such as drawing boxes, line editing, and menus
     (which are used in the built in applications), are available
     to the intrepid programmer.  The technical manual describes
     these options in detail, but there are a few languages that
     allow you to access these special functions.  Using these
     Portfolio Only features can reduce the size of your code,
     and make your program look and feel more like the built-in
15.  How do I reboot the Portfolio?
     When the Portfolio locks up, there are three ways to reboot
     the machine.  First try the "three finger salute",
     <CTRL><ALT><DEL>.  If this has no effect, turn the machine
     upside down, and above the Atari label, there is a hole. 
     Use a paper clip to depress the switch in the hole.  If the
     Portfolio still refuses to reboot, you will have to cold
     boot the machine.  Remove the battery cover.  Use a paper
     clip to depress the small metal tab.  The cold reboot will
     take your Portfolio back to when you first got it.  You will
     even have to tell it what language you want to use. 
     Everything on drive C: will be lost.
INTERNAL APPLICATIONS__________________________________
16.  What ROM versions are available?
          1.056     First Version Released
          1.072     Current Version
          1.09      Not Released
17.  Can the ROM be upgraded?
18.  Can I run MS/DOS 3.0 or later on the Portfolio?
     No.  The unit is MS/DOS 2.11 compatible in ROM.  Due to the
     hardware differences, and memory limitations, other versions
     of DOS will not run on it.
19.  How can I get a list of filenames when I want to load a
     files into an application?
     When a built-in application asks for a filename to load,
     type *<return> to display a list of files for that
20.  How can I find the developers names in the Portfolio?
     To see the names of the people who developed the Atari
     Portfolio, follow these steps:  From the editor, press
     <FN><F2> to get the help menu.  Press <K> to select Keyboard
     Help.  Finally press <ALT><[> to find out who created your
21.  Can Portfolio Applications run on a PC or a MAC?
     Yes.  ComputerBooks, in their infinite wisdom, has imported
     them so that they are available to American users for only
     $69.95 for the PC version, and $89.95 for the Mac Version. 
     The Mac version also includes a cable and software on a ROM
     card for file transfers.
     The program, called PC Applications or Pocket Mac, depending
     on your machine, is a complete implementation of the
     Portfolio software.  You do not need to use any conversion
     programs, and the file transfer software is built right into
     it.  It provides for a very nice and easy pocket-to-desktop
     linkage.  The desktop versions also give you a larger view,
     since it can make use of the 80 characters by 25 line
     screens.  It is so nice, that some Poqet computer users are
     using PC Applications on their machines instead of the
     Poqet's built-in applications!
     The address for ComputerBooks is 20351 Irvine Avenue, Suite
     9, P.O. Box 9167, Newport Beach, CA  92658.  Their phone
     number is 1-714-966-2023.
22.  How can I make my programs smaller?
     Disk space is a prime concern on the Portfolio.  To make
     programs smaller, there are two utilities, LZEXE and PKLITE,
     which will compress programs to about 2/3's their original
23.  Is a Technical Manual Available for the Portfolio?
     If you are an amateur or professional developer and want to
     develop programs that take advantage of the inner workings
     of the machine, there is a Technical Reference manual
     available from Atari for 60 dollars.  Call Gail Johnson at
     (408)-745-2022 for more details.  The manual includes
     emulation software for the PC.  The cost is $60.
24.  What languages are available for the Portfolio?
     There are two version of BASIC available for the Portfolio. 
     The first is Atari's PowerBASIC compiler.  This is a
     reasonable straight forward compiler.  It allows for text
     and graphics on the same screen, but does not allow you to
     access the more interesting Portfolio Only features.  The
     other is PBASIC version 4.9, the 'freeware' BASIC
     interpreter for the Portfolio is available in the APORTFOLIO
     forum on COMPUSERVE.  PBASIC is an almost complete
     implementation, lacking only Random Access Files.  To it's
     credit, PBASIC does allows easy access to the Portfolio Only
     Essex Marketing Services, (203) 651-8284, have developed a
     FORTH-83 compiler for the Portfolio.  It has a kernel of
     just 8k, leaving a lot of room for programs and data.  There
     are versions available for the Portfolio, a PC, and the
     HP95LX, allowing for easy development across platforms.
     Eric J. Isaacson's A86 is not only one of the fastest
     assemblers, but it is one of the few assemblers that will
     run on the Portfolio.  Version 3.12 has been tested on the
     Portfolio.  Some earlier versions of this shareware
     assembler will cause the Portfolio to crash.
     Because of the timer design (as described before), Turbo
     Pascal 3.01A from Borland International will not run easily
     on the Portfolio.  On Compuserve, in the APORTFOLIO forum,
     there is a document called PURBO.TXT that describes how to
     modify the compiler to run on the Portfolio.  After making a
     simple modification to the compiler with DEBUG, you then set
     the DISPLAY  to TRACKED and REFRESH to BOTH, and you are
     ready to run.  You can edit, run and compile TP3 programs on
     the Portfolio.  The compiled programs will also run on the
     PC, but the timing might be off, depending on the clock
     speed of the PC.
25.  What PC Compilers can I use to develop programs?
     This compiler is widely used by many developer writing code
     for the Portfolio.  To ensure compatibility, be sure to set
     DIRECTVIDEO to 0.  There are a number of libraries under
     development to provide Portfolio Only support to the
     TURBO PASCAL 5.5 and 6
     Turbo Pascal programs will run on the Portfolio, provided
     you don't use the CRT unit.  The CRT unit tries to calculate
     the clock speed.  There is a replacement available for the
     CRT unit, called The Portfolio Unit, available in the
     APORTFOLIO forum on Compuserve.  This emulates a fair number
     of the functions in the CRT unit, and it also adds access to
     a number of Portfolio Only functions, such as Boxes, Sounds,
     and Menus.  This unit will be examined in an upcoming issue
     of this column.
     The PBASIC interpreter will run on both the Portfolio and
     the PC.  But since the PC does not have the Portfolio Only
     functions, some statements will generate errors.  The PBASIC
     EDITOR, Version 2.0, takes care of that problem by providing
     Portfolio Emulation built into the editor.  This allows for
     easy development of BASIC programs on and off the Portfolio. 
     The editor is available on Compuserve.
     The PowerBASIC compiler for the Portfolio will not run on
     the PC.  You could use a standard editor to create the
     programs, and then transfer and compiler them on the
     Portfolio, or you can buy a copy of PowerBASIC from Spectra
     Publishing (the company that created PowerBASIC for the
     Portfolio), and develop programs on the PC as well.  You
     must then transfer the source code to the Portfolio and
     recompile the program.  A special PowerBASIC development kit
     for the PC is expected soon, which will allow PowerBASIC
     users to access the Portfolio Only functions.
     Is not exactly the best programming environment for the
     Portfolio.  Much of the generated code access hardware
     directly, causing problems on the Portfolio, and the
     executable programs tend to be very large even for the
     smallest programs.  Still, with a little work, and setting
     REFRESH to BOTH, will allow you to run these programs on the
26.  Can Turbo Pascal 3.01A run on the Portfolio?
     It will... it just takes an amazingly long time.  When TP3
     starts up, it tries to determine the clock speed of the
     computer.  It does this by waiting for a couple of timer
     ticks.  On a standard PC, these ticks are generated 18.2
     times a second.  On the Portfolio, these ticks occur about
     every 2 MINUTES!  So TP3 sits and waits.
     On Compuserve, in the APORTFOLIO forum, there is a document
     called PURBO.TXT that describes how to modify TURBO PASCAL
     3.01 to run on the Portfolio.  After making a simple
     modification to the compiler with DEBUG, you then set the
     DISPLAY  to TRACKED and REFRESH to BOTH, and you are ready
     to run.  You can edit, run and compile TP3 programs on the
     Portfolio.  The compiled programs will also run on the PC,
     but any the timing might be off, depending on the clock
     speed of the PC.
27.  How do I run a PBASIC program?
     PBASIC does not have an internal editor like GWBASIC. 
     Create the BASIC program with the Portfolio's internal
     editor.  You can then run the program with the command:
          PBASIC filename
28.  What is ALTR.COM?
     ALTR is a TSR program for the Portfolio that will
     Automatically save the current file in the editor, exit the
     editor, and run PBASIC.  PBASIC.EXE must be renamed to P.EXE
     to be used with this utility.
29.  Can I use PBASIC on the PC?
     Yes, but you can not use any of the "Portfolio Only"
     The PBASIC Editor, a program to allow users on a PC to write
     PBASIC programs, has been upgraded to version 2.0.  The
     major improvement is that the editor now provides emulation
     for those nifty "Portfolio Only" features.  So you can now
     view PGC graphics, as well as Boxes, Sounds, and Menus on
     the PC.  This should help speed up Portfolio software
     development.  The PBASIC editor is available on Compuserve
     in the APORTFOLIO forum as PBE20.ZIP.
30.  What are the differences between PowerBASIC and PBASIC?
     Lets take a look at the Pros and Cons for each:
     PowerBASIC Pros:
          More memory available
          Programs run faster
          Random Access files
          Supplied on ROM Card
          Interrupt Driven Serial Input/Output
     PowerBASIC Cons:
          Only runs on the Portfolio
          Debugging is harder
          Does not interact with the editor
          Does not make use of the internal Portfolio features
          Doesn't allow for Hex constants
          Cost $75+
          PowerBASIC for the PC another $75+
     PBASIC Pros:
          Runs on the PC and the Portfolio (and HP)
          Editor points to errors
          Allows Access to internal features (Menus, etc.)
          Importing from a .WKS file
          PGC graphics support with Animation
          Cost: Free
          Updated regularly
     PBASIC Cons:
          Requires about 70k of memory to run
          Slower than a Compiler
          Not 100% compatible with GWBASIC
          Transfer to Portfolio can be a minor problem
     Here are the additional functions and statements included
     with PowerBasic.  Most of these command are to support the
     Random Access file.
     $COM      $STACK    CIRCLE    CVD       CVI       CVS
     DO, LOOP  EXECUTE   EXIT      FIELD     GET       GET$
     LOC       LOF       LSET      MKI$      MKS$      MKD$
     OPEN COM  PUT       PUT$      RSET      SEEK      STRPTR
     STRSEG    SUB       END SUB   TONE
     Here are the additional functions and statements that are
     included with PBASIC.
     ACOS      ALARM     ASIN      BLOAD     BOX       BSAVE
     CHAIN     CLICK     CMODE     COSH      CWD$      DECR
     DEG       DIAL      DISPLAY   DMS       DOSVER    ERRWIN
     INVERT    LTRIM$    MENU      MSD       NUMFMT    OFF
     PBVER     PGLOAD    PGSAVE    PGSHOW    PI        PORT
     PRINTER   PRTSC     RAD       RAND      REFRESH
     REPEAT/UNTIL        ROMVER    RTRIM$    RUN       SINH
     SHIFT     SOUND     SPACE$    STATUS    STOP      SWAP
     SYSTEM    TANH      TICK      TIMER     TRUE      VCSRLIN
FILE TYPES_____________________________________________
31.  What do .ZIP and .ARC mean?
     If the filename ends in .ZIP or .ARC, that means that it is
     a compressed library containing several files.  To extract
     the files, you will need the PKUNZIP or ARC programs.
32.  What is .PGC?
     Don Messerli, of the Software Vineyard, has developed the
     .PGC (Portfolio Graphics Compressed) standard.  This
     standard, along with his excellent program, PGSHOW, allows
     for 9 frames per second of animation.  It is very
     impressive.  PBASIC also supports the .PGC standard, and
     allows up to about 4 frames per second.
33.  What is .PGX?
     This is a graphic animation file.  Use PGFLIX to display the
34.  What is a .HOO file?
     A .HOO file is a program designed to run from inside the
     Portfolio's internal editor.  Press <F6> inside the editor
     to get a list of .HOO files.
35.  What is a .RUN file?
     This is a program that can be run from the memory card,
     leaving all the memory free for your data.  The programs are
     of a special format, and have been specially written for the
     Portfolio.  You can not typically copy these files, since
     they have to be stored in consecutive sectors on the memory
     card.  To copy a .RUN card, the quickest way is to reformat
     the target card, and then copy the .RUN file first.  This
     will assure it is stored on the card correctly.  To execute
     a .RUN program, use the command:
          RUN filename.RUN
DISK STORAGE___________________________________________
36.  Will the PDD1 or PDD2 from Radio Shack work on the
     Yes.  There are drivers in the for both units.  The devices
     do not act as disk drives, but as mass storage devices.
     For the Model 100 computer, Radio Shack developed a 3.5 inch
     Portable Disk Drive (PDD) that could be plugged into a
     serial port.  There are two models, the PDD1, which can hold
     100k of data, and the PPD2 which can hold 200k.  It is not
     very fast (about 1.9kbps), but it runs on batteries and is
     about the size of a box of 5.25 inch disks.  The PPD1 is no
     longer available, but can often be found used at computer
     festivals.  The PDD2 is still sold by Radio Shack and costs
     about $220.  It often goes on sale for about $170.  To use
     either PDD with the Portfolio, you will need the serial
     port, and a program to access the unit.  PDD1.ZIP and
     PDD2.ZIP are both written by Brian C. Woodcox and are
     available in the APORTFOLIO forum on Compuserve.
     A driver for the PDD2 if available on a ROM card from John
     Feagans, Monterey Bay Whaling Company, 2681 N. Rodeo Gulch
     Road, Soquel, California, 95073, (408)-475-4290.  The cost
     is seventy dollars ($70.00) for the drivers on a ROM card,
     or forty dollars ($40.00) for the programs on an MS/DOS
     compatible disk.
     The problem is that the disk formats are unique to the PDD. 
     The drivers on Compuserve will also work on a PC, so you can
     read the disk via a serial port on the PC as well.
     TIP: If using disk formatted for the PDD units, be sure to
     mark on the labels "PDD" so you don't get them confused with
     other systems.
37.  Can I attach a Hard Disk to the Portfolio?
     There is finally a hard disk unit available for the
     Portfolio.  The BSE Company, 14701 Candeda Place, Tustin, CA 
     92680, (714)-832-4316, have developed the Flashdrive hard
     disk unit.  The unit interfaces to the Portfolio via the
     Parallel Interface.  The 20mb version sells for $499.
38.  When using the Flashdrive, the MD command lock up the
     computer.  Why?
     On some models of the Portfolio, there is a problem with the
     MKDIR (MD) command.  The designers of the Portfolio never
     anticipated a harddrive connected to the unit.  The MD
     command can not handle drives larger that 2mb.  BSE had to
     create their on version of the MD command, called ATMD, to
     bypass this problem.  It is included with the Portfolio
39.  Can I hook an MS/DOS Compatible Disk Drive to the Port?
     There are two approaches to get the Portfolio to read and
     write standard 720k format disks.  The first is the
     Retriever, a serial operated, battery powered, IBM
     compatible, 3.5 inch disk drive for the Portfolio.  The
     problem, however, is that it is currently available only in
     England from DIP systems (0483) 301555, and cost 350 pounds
     (about 600 dollars).
     Another approach is the via the HPIL interface.  This
     interface allows connection to various HP devices, including
     a 3.5 inch disk drive.  There is a driver to allow the HP
     disk drive to read and write the IBM format.  Contact
     Interloop (408)-922-0520 for more information.  You can
     supposedly put together all the parts for this unit for
     about 500 dollars.
40.  Did Xoterix release their hard disk unit for the Portfolio?
     For those people holding their breath for the hard
     dive/memory expansion unit for Xoterix, bad news.  According
     to the president of the company, the unit has been postponed
     indefinitely.  They did not receive enough interest for them
     to put the unit into production.
FILE TRANSFERS_________________________________________
41.  How do I transfer files to and from the PC?
     The Portfolio has built-in software to communicate with the
     printer port on a PC via the Smart Parallel Interface.  The
     parallel interface comes with a command-line driven program
     called FT to perform file exchanges.  The program is
     provided on 5 1/4 and 3 1/2 inch disk for a PC.  The only
     real tricky part is the cable to go between the Portfolio
     and the PC.  You need a "Male-to-Male DB25 all-lines
     straight through" cable.  While it can be found in local
     stores (I bought one at Egghead Software), it would be
     easiest to obtain the cable from Atari (408) 443-8020.  The
     Parallel File-Transfer Cable (HPC-406) costs $19.95.  This
     approach to file transfer is reliable and easy, but not very
     If you don't like the FT program that Atari supplies, there
     is a program on Compuserve in the APORTFOLIO library called
     FTMENU, which provides a "point-and-click" menu front-end to
     the FT program.
     Another approach to file transfer on a PC is Atari's PC Card
     Drive (HPC-301) which costs $99.95.  This hardware card is
     plugged into the PC's expansion bus.  At present there is no
     version for the PS/2 micro-channel bus.  A small box is
     attached to the card, with a slot to insert a memory card. 
     The software driver on the PC will now treat the memory card
     as if it was a regular disk drive on the PC.  It is referred
     to as the next drive (typically D:) on your system.  You can
     now use normal MS/DOS command to copy file to and from the
     memory card.  This is more expensive, but is very fast.
42.  How do I transfer files to and from other machines?
     File transfer to non-MS/DOS machine becomes a bit tougher. 
     Typically, you can connect two machines via their serial
     ports (by using a null modem cable), and use serial
     communications programs on both sides to exchange files. 
     This seems simple enough until you realize that the
     Portfolio does not have a serial communications program
     built into it.  Another problem is that the Portfolio has a
     non-standard serial port, so regular communication programs
     for a PC, such as Procomm, will not work.  Finally, you will
     have to have the Serial Interface for the Portfolio.
     On Compuserve, in the APORTFOLIO forum, there are two serial
     communication programs, XTERM by Jim Strauss, and ACOM by
     Charles Cook.  But how do you get the a serial program onto
     the Portfolio via the serial port without having a serial
     program already on the Portfolio?  Catch-22.  Here are some
          1. Get a friend to copy the program onto a memory card. 
          2. If you have no friends (who own a Portfolio), ask a
          local dealer.  
          3. Get the Parallel Port and access to a PC, and use FT
          to copy the serial program.  
          4. Buy the DOS Utilities ROM card (HPC-701) for $89.95
          from Atari.  It has the XTERM program on it.
     Once you get the serial program on a RAM card, put a copy of
     it on every memory card you have, as well as drive C:, just
     in case.
     The serial cable will have to have a Female DB9 on the
     Portfolio side, and the proper connection for your machine. 
     For the Macintosh, you can order a serial cable from two
     sources:  Atari, the Portfolio-Mac File Transfer Cable (HPC-
     407) for $19.95, or Able Cables (415) 457-4028 for $20
     postpaid.  Atari also supplies a cable for the Atari-ST and
     other machines (Female DB9 to Female DB25) for $19.95, the
     Serial Null-Modem Cable (HPC-409).
     When transferring files on the Macintosh, be sure to disable
     the MacBinary option.
     A complete file-transfer package for the Macintosh is
     available from Computer Friends (503) 626-2291 for $189.00. 
     This includes software on ROM for the Portfolio, software on
     disk for the Mac, and the serial cable.  It does not include
     the serial port for the Portfolio.
SOFTWARE SOURCES_______________________________________
43.  Where can I get programs for the Portfolio?
          ATARI BBS: 408-745-2191
          FIDO  BBS: 301-997-7204
          Internet/Bitnet: ATARI.ARCHIVE.UMICH.EDU.
44.  How do I get an account on Compuserve?
     If you are not a member of COMPUSERVE, you should be.  The
     APORTFOLIO forum has perhaps the most complete collection of
     Public Domain, Freeware, and Shareware for the Portfolio. 
     It is also an official Atari support site.  Right now, new
     users you can sign up for free, and get a $15 usage credit. 
     Call (800) 848-8199 and ask for operator 198.  They will
     drop your Sign-Up kit in the mail to you.
45.  What is the Atari Portfolio Forum on Compuserve?
     The Atari Portfolio Forum on Compuserve has been called one
     of the most pleasant forum on the system.  Run by Master
     Sysop Ron Luks, and by Assistant sysops, Marty Mankins, Judy
     Hamner, and BJ Gleason, it strives to keep Portfolio users
     abreast with developments about the machine.  It is also an
     Atari official support site, which means that company
     employees drop by on a regular basis.
     There are thirteen Message Sections Available in the
     Portfolio Forum.  People who access the forum only for the
     libraries are missing out on a lot.  The message area allow
     users to meet, and exchange a lot of information on this
     little machine.  One user who checks into this forum
     everyday is Don Thomas - Marketing Manager for the
     Portfolio.  He always has a lot to say to all the members. 
     All you have to do is ask.  Many of the authors who write
     the software available in the libraries are available for
     comments, suggestions and bug reports.
     The forum message areas include: Forum Business,
     Communications, Utilities, Entertainment, Editors/Word Proc,
     Database Functions, Applications, Programming,
     Mac-to-Portfolio, Peripherals, *WISH LIST*, News & Reviews,
     and Community Square.
     A number of programmers online were complaining that they
     were running out of ideas for new programs for the
     Portfolio.  To help them out, the sysops of the forum added
     the *WISH LIST* area.  This message area is being used by
     forum members to suggest new ideas for the programmers. 
     From large to small, many users have been placing requests
     in this area, and then finding the program written just a
     few days, and sometimes, in just a few hours, later.  This
     idea was so popular, it has been spreading to other forums
     as well.
46.  What is in the Atari Portfolio Libraries on Compuserve?
     The most popular area in the forum has to be the Libraries. 
     As of February 1, 1992, there are now over 650 files
     available for downloading.  This is due, in large part, to
     the program marathoners [Don Messerli, David E. Stewart, and
     BJ Gleason], and all the rest of the members who have
     contributed over the years.
     The library areas are: Forum News, Communications,
     Utilities, Entertainment, Editors/Word Processing, Database
     Functions, Applications, Programming, Graphics, News &
     Reviews, Misc. Files.
     This sometimes can cause confusion to new users who want to
     find the latest program.  Compuserve has recently introduced
     new library software to the forum, that allows you to look
     for files in all areas at once.  For example, to browse all
     the libraries for all the files uploaded in the last 30
     days, you can use the command:  BRO LIB:ALL AGE:30
     With over 650 it is almost impossible to even begin to
     describe what is available.  Games of all kind, programming
     tools, as well as languages, hints, tips, and so much more. 
     In order to keep abreast of all the activity, sysop Judy
     Hamner, writes a weekly Forum News report which is available
     in LIB 1.  She summarizes the conversations going on in the
     message area, as well as listing all the files that had been
     upload in the previous week.  It is highly recommend you
     read these summaries in order to keep up.
     To access the forum, log onto Compuserve and type: GO
     APORTFOLIO at any prompt.
EXPANDING MEMORY_______________________________________
47.  Can I increase the internal memory size of the Portfolio?
     Yes.  There are two approaches.  There is a device available
     outside the US called Memory Expander+, which will increase
     the port's internal memory to 384k, and add a second RAMcard
     slot.  It plug in like the Parallel Port.
     The other approach is Megabyte Computers in Texas will now
     upgrade the Portfolio to 512k of memory internally.  The
     modification includes a six month warranty for the work. 
     The cost is 299 dollars.  For more information call, (817)
     Megabyte Computers in North Texas will upgrade the memory in
     the Portfolio from the standard 128k to a whopping 512k.  To
     upgrade your system, you need to send you unit to Megabyte. 
     The modification takes about 3 days, and then the unit is
     shipped back.  You will then have 512k of memory in your
     unit.  The first thing you will notice is that drive C: is
     now 128k!  It can be reduced as low as 9k, or as high as
     While this greatly increases the sizes and types of programs
     you can run, it will have no effect on the internal
     applications: they are still limited to about 55k in size.
     The best part of this upgrade is that Megabyte Computers has
     just dropped the price of the upgrade from $350 to $299.  If
     you cringe at someone opening up the Portfolio, you can buy
     a new Portfolio with 512k from Megabyte for $529.  But you
     shouldn't worry too much since Megabyte is a factory-
     authorized Atari service center, an Atari Dealer, and that
     many employees of Atari have had this upgrade done.  They
     also provide a six-month warranty on the upgrade.
     There is an external memory upgrade that will increase the
     Portfolio memory by 256k, but it is not available in the
     United States.  It is a genuine Atari Memory Expander+,
     which also adds a second card drive, but it will not pass
     the strict FCC standards for radio frequency emissions, so
     it can not be sold in the US.  Even if you travel overseas,
     or up to Canada to pick one up, you will find it to be more
     expensive than the internal upgrade.  It also lengthens the
     Portfolio by an additional four inches, making the unit a
     bit long, and a little wobbly.
48.  Will WordPerfect Run on the Portfolio?
     Wordperfect Jr., designed for the IBM PC Jr., will work on
     the Portfolio.  You can create and edit files up to about
     20k.  Wordperfect no longer sells the Jr. version, but it
     can often be found at computer festivals.
49.  Is there a version of Tetris for the Portfolio?
     One of the most popular games for any computer system would
     have to be the now classic Tetris.  The implementors of this
     game for the Portfolio got around the 40 characters by 8
     lines screen limitation in an unique way.  To play, you hold
     the computer sideways.  There are two versions:  The first
     was PRTRIS.ZIP, which was quickly followed by TETRAD.EXE and
     TETRAD.DOC.  TETRAD is more advanced than PRTRIS, and allows
     for left and right handed play, but PRTRIS is about half the
     size of TETRAD.
50.  What is a PREAD file?
     This package is designed to add a simple text viewer onto a
     document file.  This will make the document executable, and
     can be read by typing in it's name.  The file can then be
     compressed with PKLITE or LZEXE, with both do a great job on
     text, 50% to 80% or better.  In general, the larger the
     file, the better the compression.
     You can create your document using any standard ASCII text
     editor.  With the Portfolio, the built in editor is file. 
     Set the word wrap ON for up to 39 characters.  This viewer
     can not handle lines that will not on one line.
     Alice in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass, and The
     Hunting of the Snark have all been converted and compressed
     using the PREAD technique, so you can easily take the these
     classics with you on the road for some light reading!
51.  Is there a program to capture the Portfolio Screen?
     PGCAP is a program that will "capture" a screen image on the
     Portfolio and save it to a disk file.  This Terminate and
     Stay Resident (TSR) program is requires less than 1k of
     memory, and is activated by pressing <ALT-S>.  This will
     copy the contents of the screen to a file on your disk. 
     Depending on the screen mode, the file extension will be
     .PGT if in text mode, or .PGF is the screen was displaying
     graphics.  The main filenames will be "SCREENA", "SCREENB",
     etc.  To allow you up to 26 screen per session.
     Once you have captured the screen images, you can PGCONV to
     convert them into a form that can be used by a desktop
     publishing package.  PGCAP will import .PGC, .PGT, and .PGF
     files and export .PGC, .PGF, as well as .IMG (Gem) and .WPG
     (Wordperfect).  Figure 1 is a image from the Portfolio that
     has been converted into an .IMG file.
52.  Can I do Animation on the Portfolio?
     YES!  Don Messerli, of the Software Vinyard, has been
     working furiously on an Animation Package for the Portfolio,
     and the results have been staggering.  Depending on the
     complexity of the image, the package is able to display
     anywhere from 16 to 20 images per second on the Portfolio's
     LCD screen.  To see the results of his labor, download
     PGFLIX, the animation package, and either DOMINOS.ZIP or
     HORSE.ZIP, the mini-movies.  Mr. Messerli has also released
     a tool so that you can create your own animation, called
     MKPGX1.  Finally, there is now a program that will create
     stand alone animation.
SERIAL COMMUNICATIONS__________________________________
53.  How do I hook up a modem?
     To hook up a modem, you will need the serial port, cable,
     modem and a serial communication program.  Normal
     communication packages will not run on the Port due to
     hardware incompatibilities in the serial port.  There are
     two communication programs for the Portfolio.  XTERM was the
     first program available, and is on the DOS Utilities Card
     from Atari, but ACOM is a better package.  ACOM has all the
     features of XTERM, which include XMODEM file transfer
     protocol, but also provides remote execution of DOS
     commands, and a scrollback buffer for reviewing text that
     has scrolled of the screen.
54.  What is the APB?
     Atari has released the APB (Accessories, Peripherals
     Bulletin) for the Portfolio.  This twenty page manual
     includes hints and tips, as well as listing third party
     vendor's hardware and software for the Portfolio.  For a
     copy, see your dealer, or write to Atari, 1196 Borregas
     Avenue, Sunnyvale, CA 94089-1302.
55.  What is the Address of Atari?
     Atari, 1196 Borregas Avenue, Sunnyvale, CA 94089-1302.
56.  Was that a Portfolio used in Terminator 2?
     For those who haven't seen TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY, keep
     you eye open for the Portfolio.  It plays a small but vital
     role in the movie.  John Conners uses the Portfolio to break
     into a Money Machine and to get into the vault at Cyberdyne.
57.  What is DIP?
     The Portfolio was developed by DIP systems in England.  They
     have much more software and hardware devices available than
     in the United States.  Contact them for more information.
58.  What is the Address of DIP?
     DIP, 32 Frederick Sanger Road, Surrey Research Park,
     Guildford, United Kingdom, GU2 5XN.  (0483) 301555.
59.  Is a keyboard cover available for the Portfolio?
     A custom cover is available in clear or opaque and attaches
     via small adhesive strips.  Call COMPUCOVER at (800)-
60.  What magazines/newsletters cover the Portfolio?
          Each issue comes with a disk filled with source code
          for a wide number of utilities.  Subscriptions are $50
          a year for 6 issues, available from David Stewart at
          1618 South Beech Court, Broken Arrow, OK  74012. 
          Single issues are $10 each.
          AtariUser is a monthly Atari magazine, available by
          subscription for $20 a year.  For more information on
          AtariUser, call 800-333-3567.
          Atari Explorer is a bi-monthly Atari Magazine,
          available by subscription for $14.95 a year.  Order
          from Atari Explorer, 29-05 Broadway, Astoria NY 11106.
          A bi-monthly newsletter covering a wide variety of
          palmtop computer systems, including the Portfolio.  $18
          dollars a year.  Perfection Applied, 454 West 1010
          North, Orem, UT  84057.
61.  Who is Don Thomas?
     Do you want to talk to the Official Marketing Director for
     the Atari Portfolio?  Well, Don Thomas shows up on
     Compuserve in the APORTFOLIO forum everyday to chat with the
     users.  He has a large number of tips, and provides a great
     amount of help to the users.  His ID number is 75300,1267.
62.  What should I do if travelling Overseas with the Portfolio?
     Since the portfolio costs a few hundred dollars, before
     travelling outside of the US, it would be a wise idea to
     stop by customs and register it.  You can sometimes run into
     problems with customs when you return from overseas if you
     can't prove you bought the computer in the US.  There is a
     Customs offices at all international airports.  Ask for a
     "Certificate of Registration for Personal Effects Taken
     Abroad" form.
63.  Can I put the Portfolio Through an X-RAY machine?
     Yes.  I have always run the Port through the x-ray machine. 
     But be warned: most security people will want to look at it
     anyway, since they won't recognize it.  When you show it to
     them, they will ask you to turn it on, so it's best not to
     have anything embarrassing on the screen.  Many of them will
     be very interested in the machine and will probably want to
     know more about it. 
64.  What do I do when the Portfolio dies?
     Atari has a trade in program for dead Portfolio.  At
     current, Atari will exchange an old Port for a New Port for
     $110 dollars.  Overnight shipping is available, at extra
     cost.  Contact Atari before sending the unit.

And nothing could be complete without a report from MR BJ Gleason:

                     PORTFOLIO USERS UPDATE
                        by B.J. Gleason
The following article is reprinted in the APORTFOLIO Forum by
permission of AtariUser magazine and Quill Publishing.  It MAY
NOT be further reprinted without specific permission of Quill.
AtariUser is a monthly Atari magazine, available by subscription
for $20 a year.  For more information on AtariUser, call
Artisan Software (209) 239-1552
PO Box 849, Manteca, CA  95336
     TransporT File Transfer   24.95
          File exchange software for the Atari ST, STE or MEGA. 
          Serial Port and cable required.

Atari Direct Order (408)745-2367, (800)443-8020
1196 Borregas Ave, Sunnyvale, CA 94087
     Portfolio                299.95
     Parallel Port             49.95
     Serial Port               79.95
     Leather Case              39.95
     32k RAM Card              79.95
     64k RAM Card             129.95
     128k RAM Card            199.95
     PC Card Drive             99.95
     AC Adapter                 9.95
     Parallel Cable            19.95
     Serial MAC Cable          19.95
     File Manager              20.00
     DOS Utilities             89.95
     Finance                   89.95
     Hyperlist                 Soon
          Outliner designed for the Portfolio.
     Power BASIC Compiler      Soon
          Full featured BASIC compiler from Robert Zale, author
          of PowerBASIC and Turbo BASIC.
     U.S. Traveller's Guide    Soon
          A travel guide on ROM.  Restaurants, shopping and more
          are listed for most major cities.
     Spell Checker             Soon
          100,000 words and word variations on a ROM Card.
     Chess                     Soon
     Bridge Baron              Soon
     Wine Companion            Soon
     Diet/Cholesterol Counter  Soon
     Astrologer                Soon
     Stock Tracker             Soon
          Keep track of Stock Investments.
     Lotus Worksheets I & II   Soon
     Math Library I & II  Soon
     Statistics Library I & II Soon
          These six volumes are collections of new public domain
          and shareware.  Each card will contain between 9 and 15

Compuserve (800) 848-8199 x198
Software, Services
     APORTFOLIO Forum and Software Library.  This is an official
     on-line Atari Support site.

Computer Friends (503) 626-2291
14250 North West Science Park Drive, Portland, OR  97229
     Message Mover-PC         189.00
     Message Mover-MAC        189.00
          These programs allows for file transfer between your
          desktop machine and the Portfolio via the Serial Port.

Computerbooks  (714) 966-2023
20351 Irvine Ave, Suite 9, PO Box 9167, Newport Beach, CA  92658
     Pharmaceutical Database 129.95
          Instant access to commonly prescribed drugs and
          dosages, instructions, warning, trade names and more.
     Physicians' Reference     89.95
          Instant access to common questions and issues.

DIP Systems  (0483) 301555
32 Frederick Sanger Road, Surrey Research Park
Guildford, Great Britain, GU2 5XN
Fax: (0483) 301434
     Scientific Calculator    œ60.83
     PF Applications on PC    œ43.43
          A version of the Portfolio's built-in software that can
          run on a PC.
     Pocket Mac               œ60.83
          File transfer software for the Macintosh.
     Pocket Communications    œ43.43
     Pocket PC Modem (1200)   œ174.87
          A 1200 baud modem that attaches to the Portfolio's
          expansion bus.
     Memory Expander (512k)   œ156.48
          Increase the Portfolio's memory to 636k, and add an
          extra card drive unit.  Attaches to the expansion port.

Extech Instruments (617) 890-7440
335 Bearhill Road, Waltham, MA  02154
     Mini Serial Printer      249.00
          24 or 40 column mini-printer.  Connects to the serial
          port.  Runs on batteries or AC.

Interloop (408) 922-0520
706 Charcot Avenue, San Jose, CA  95131
     HPIL Interface Adapter    Call
          Interface the Portfolio to Hewlett-Packard peripheral
          devices.  Connects to the expansion bus, and can
          control up to 23 devices.

Megabyte Computers   (817) 589-2950
909 Melbourne, Hurst, TX  76053
     Internal 512k Upgrade    350.00
          Internal memory upgrade to the Portfolio.  Increase
          memory to 512k.  Memory can be used for RAM disk or
          regular memory.

Monterey Bay Whaling Company (408) 475-4290
2681 N. Rodeo Gulch Road, Soquel, California, 95073
     Driver for PDD2
          on MS/DOS disk       40.00
          on ROM Card          70.00
          Software driver for Radio Shacks' Disk Drive Unit.

ONline Technology  (216) 831-6160
23715 Mercantile Road, Suite 203, Beachwood, OH  44122
     TIMEPAC-5                 Call
          Record billable hours and expenses.

Paragon Technology  (800) 255-9411
P.O. Box 273511, Boca Raton, FL  33427
     FX-3 DUAT Flight Program  79.95
          Link to FAA certified weather briefings and flight plan
     FX-4 Flight Planner       79.95
          Full U.S. navigational database and provides detailed
          trip planning.

Pulse Metric  (800) 835-7815
10225 Barnes Canyon Road, Suite A100, San Diego, CA  92121
     Dynapulse Monitor        299.00
          Computerized blood pressure and pulse rate measuring

Radio Shack (Local Stores)
     Portable Disk Drive 2    199.95
          This serial disk drive, designed for the Model 100, can
          be used to provide 200k or disk storage for the
          Portfolio.  Software Driver is required for usage: See
          the listing for Monterey Bay Whaling Company.

TekNow!  (800) 899-7276
1500 South Priest, Suite 101, Tempe, AZ 85281
     SAMpage Pager Messenger   89.00
          Interface the Portfolio to alphanumeric display pagers.

XoteriX (818)888-7390
23106 Baltar St,West Hills,CA 91304
     512k RAM Expansion       299.00 (call)
          Expands RAM to 636k.  Connects to the expansion bus.
     20 Megabyte Hard Disk    899.00 (call)
          Includes 512k of memory and optional serial and
          parallel ports.  Connects to the expansion bus, and
          adds about 3/4" to the thickness of the Portfolio.
     PBASE                     99.99
          General purpose rational database.
     Terminal+                 79.99
          Serial communications package.
     Checkwriter              149.99
          Keep track of your finances, credit cards, and
     Timekeeper                99.99
          Management for time based activities.
     Stocks Games              79.99
          Simulate the stock market.

What are you talking about? A Portfolio II ??? Read On:

Portfolio's younger brother SHARP PC 3000 and PC 3100

Many people ask if there ever will be released another
so handy, useful, and favourite a palmtop like Portfolio.
They often call this dream Portfolio II.

The answer is that Portfolio II has been released, but
has not been successful on the market.

To explain the matter, do not let us forget that Atari
Portfolio was not developed by Atari, but was only manufactured
under lincence. The real developers were DIP (in England) who
made the hardware and software. You can spot their logo
after the cold boot on Portfolio.

Portfolio has a lot of problems, like any palmtop, or any PC.
Especially small RAM, small LCD and partial incompatibility
and data loss on low batteries made DIP to go on developing
what might be called Portfolio II.

Then this product was finished it was again offered for licencing.
Atari did not care to manufacture and sell this product. (I think
it was a good decision.) Sharp company bought the licence and gave
it the name SHARP PC 3000 and SHARP PC 3100.

If you know Portfolio's good and bad sides, you can easily understand
why SHARP PC 3x00 was mot successful. I think the reasons are: Too
expensive (really extremely), very very short battery life span. Too big
in size and too heavy. Data loss problems again, locking up of the machine.
Incopatibility. Graphics not much supported.

If you want to learn more about SHARP PC 3x000 to learn what Portfolio II
would be like, go on reading.....

------------------ P C   3 0 0 0   and   P C   3 1 0 0 -----------------------


    VII.  MISCELLANEOUS QUESTIONS (still begging for answers)

I.  PC-3x00 PRODUCT SPECIFICATIONS (or: What is it?)

  Size: 222 mm x 112 mm x 25 mm, 600 grams with batteries
  Power source: 3 'AA' alkaline cells, or 6.3 V AC adapter
  80C88A processor, variable clock speed up to 10 MHz
  128 KB ROM (BIOS & extended BIOS)
  1 MB ROM (ROM-disk (C:), with MS-DOS Version 3.30 and utilities)
  128 KB Static RAM (Video RAM and 77 K drive D:)
  1 MB (PC-3000) or 2 MB (PC-3100) Pseudo-Static RAM, with variable
      split among DOS memory, Expanded Memory, and drive E:
  Fully CGA-compatible FSTN B/W LCD, 173 mm x 66 mm (640*200 graphics,
      80*25 text), MDA emulation
  1 Serial port, configurable as COM1 or COM2, 1 Parallel port.  Both are
    IBM-PC compatible, but have non-standard connectors and require a
    conversion cable (included in some markets, optional in others).
  Expansion Bus connector (80-pin PC-like bus for optional floppy drive)
  Two PCMCIA Release 1 card ports.

  Software in ROM:
    o Laplink     (can self-load to a host with just a null modem cable)
    o spreadsheet (OK, but no graphics, sluggish, and a pain to import to)
    o todo list
    o keyboard keystuffer (feeds 'learned' keystrokes to applications)
    o calendar/diary/scheduler/alarm thing
    o desk clock
    o calculator  (very simple)
    o file viewer (like _more_)
    o a simple editor
    o PopUp, a TSR handler for most of the above
    o a good password protection
    o Built-in multilingual capability (7 languages: English, German, 
	  Italian, Spanish, Dutch and Swedish).

  o Keyboard layout:

    Esc F1  F2  F3  F4  F5  F6  F7  F8  F9  F10   Ins Del Pause
     `   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   0   -   =   <--
    Tab   Q   W   E   R   T   Y   U   I   O   P   [   ]   \
    CpsLk  A   S   D   F   G   H   J   K   L   ;   '   Enter
     Shift  Z   X   C   V   B   N   M   ,   .   /     Shift
       Crtl Alt        Space           Alt Ctrl        ^
    Fn                                            <-   \/  ->

  F11, F12, Screen contrast, Keyclick, SysReq, PrtSc, Setup, PopUp, NumLk,
  and ScrLk are Fn-shifted top-row keys.  PgUp, PgDn, Home and End are
  Fn-shifted arrow keys at the bottom right of the keyboard.  There is
  also and embedded numeric pad.  The key spacing is about 3/4 full size.


  o Character set changes:

    When PopUp is installed, Fn-F6 will toggle between the normal
    (thick) character set and a thinner-lined set

  o Also when PopUp is installed, the clock is available by Fn-T (Time)
    and the calculator pops up with Fn-C

  o Boot Options:

    To avoid running D:\CONFIG.SYS and D:\AUTOEXEC.BAT on a boot (to
    recover from a problem in those files, for example), reboot by
    Ctrl-Alt-R-Del. That is, hold down the R key, as well as
    Ctrl-Alt-Del.  The PC-3x00 will use CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT from
    drive C: instead.  This will also rename D:\AUTOEXEC.BAT to
    D:\AUTOEXEC.BAD.  It also puts you into the INSTALL program: just
    Esc out of it and your data will be intact.

    A cold boot (just like the very first start, or REBOOT /F) can be
    done by Ctrl-Alt-C-Del-B, all down in that order.  (i.e. Hold the
    B key down within two seconds of the boot)

  o CPU speed:

    May be set to any speed from 1 to 10 MHz, except for 9 MHz.  Just
    use SETUP /sn , with the speed for n.


  o Parallel port cable:

    The manual states that the parallel port conversion cable has pins
    18 through 25 grounded, like a conventional PC.  This is not true.
    Pins 18, 19, and 20 only are grounded.  Pins 21 through 25 are not
    connected.  This affects devices that depend on those grounds being
    available.  There are two workarounds:
    1. Get a RS232 breakout box and wire pins 18 through 25 together.
    2. Wire pins 18 through 25 together on the cable's 25-pin connector.

  o Self-shutoff bug:

    If a key (*) is held down on the PC-3100 for exactly 20.0 seconds,
    the machine will shut itself off.  It will require a reset to
    restart properly, with the consequent loss of drive E:.

      (* any key hit once and held, so if you hit ctrl-RtArrow, for
       example, and release the arrow, but hold ctrl, it won't do this)

    The truly ugly part:  Sometimes the machine stays in this state,
    such that any method of powering off again will require a reset to
    restart. So even if you reload from a backup, you'll lose it all
    again next time you power down or time out.  And again, and again...

    A WAY OUT:
    You have already lost drive E:, so issue a   reset/c  to perform a
    cold reset -- this will clear the condition.  Note: reset /w, or its
    equivalent Ctrl-Alt-Del will NOT work.  Reset /f (full reset) will
    also work, but that will wipe drive D:, so you might not want to do

  o The floppy seek is quite slow: many programs will time out on a long
    seek. Just retry the operation and it will be OK.

  o Similarly: the timeout delays in the Laplink program are hard-coded
    timing loops. When run on a fast desktop (>25 MHz 486) you will get
    timeout errors, or even complete failure.  Switch your desktop to
    low speed if you can, or get a slow-down utility program.

  o The country or keyboard driver files are buggy:  On Microsoft Works (and
    others), when country and KEYB are specified as USA, the right <ALT> key
    doesn't work to pop up the menus. If country and keyboard desigations 
    omitted from config.sys and autoexec.bat; everything works fine.

    Also reported, not verified: these files, (or the setup command) 
    with the serial port and cause many dropped characters to occur at 9600
    Baud.  There is some sort of conflict between the country and keyboard 
    drivers and/or setup.


  o Why does my PC-3x00 eat batteries so much?

    A fresh set of alkaline batteries can be expected to last 10-15 hours,
    with the CPU, serial port, and high-power mode used sparingly.

    Some programs 'accidentally' force high-power mode, and will eat
    batteries. There is not much you can do about those, except use them
    little, or only on AC power.  You can tell when a program is in
    high-power mode by listening for the change in pitch of the internal
    DC-DC convertor when you press a key.  A normal change in pitch
    (from low-power to high-power) occurs when you press a key at the
    DOS prompt or in the PopUp program.  If a similar change in pitch
    does not occur in your application program, it's a pretty safe bet
    the program is a power hog.  Prime offenders are games and some
    editors, which tend to poll the keyboard rapidly.  The PC-3x00
    firmware is supposed to detect this activity and go into low-power
    mode anyway, but sometimes it gets fooled.

    If the unit is left in high-power mode with the serial port in use,
    the serial port hardware is left energized, waiting for a character
    to arrive and wake up the computer.  This extra quiescent drain will
    flatten the batteries in two days.

    In general, to preserve battery life, use a 3 to 5 MHz CPU speed, low
    power mode, and use the serial port sparingly.  Watch the CPU too:
    Leave the number crunching for a desktop machine.

  o Power Usage Summary:

    Low battery signal comes on about 3.2 V (New batteries are about 4.8 V)
    Continuous drain while OFF: 1.3 mA  ( = about 6 weeks battery life)
    Standby (No program running, no keys pressed, but display on):
      55 mA with popup, 58 mA with filem, 51 mA with DOS prompt.
      All independent of clock speed.
    Running, or key held down:
      10 MHz: 220 mA, 3 MHz: 118 mA, 1 MHz: 86 mA
    Fast typing: (50 wpm or so)
      10 MHz: 120 mA, 3 MHz: 100 mA, 1 MHz: 86 mA
    Running Laplink:
      10 MHz: 330 mA, 5 MHz: 227 mA, 1 MHz: 150 mA
    Low power mode disabled:
      10 MHz: 285 mA, 3 MHz: 180 mA, 1 MHz: 145 mA

    'AA' alkalines are about 1000 mAh @ 100 mA, so you can expect 10
    hours of use with heavy typing, or 20 hours just staring at text.
    You can probably expect less than 2 hours if you run Laplink
    continuously at 10 MHz.

    On AC power: at 6.0 volts input
    (Aux power kick in/out occurs at 5.0 volts)
    OFF: 4.8  mA
      41 mA with popup, independent of clock speed
    Running Laplink:
      10 MHz: 200 mA, 5 MHz: 140 mA

    With the AC adapter plugged in, there is less than one microamp
    drain on the batteries.

    The adapter can be plugged in with the power on - the automatic
    switchover is pretty robust.  The AC power can even fail, and the
    machine will switch over to batteries automatically.

  o Can I use rechargeable batteries in my Sharp?

    Several people have reported success using NiCd cells instead of
    alkalines.  NiCds have a discharge curve that is very steep at the
    end-of-charge, though, and you can expect very little warning of
    battery death.

    With alkaline cells installed, you will have about two days of power
    for data retention after the "Replace main batteries" message.  When
    the NiCds die, they tend to have very little residual charge, and
    you may have only minutes to replace the cells.  Carry a spare set
    and replace them at the first "Main batteries low" signal.

    Remember that the backup lithium cell will only preserve the
    contents of drive E: for three minutes after loss of the main
    battery, though drive D: will survive much longer.

  o Where and how is the battery voltage is sensed?
    Is the level at which these warnings are issued adjustable?

    The AA battery voltage is sensed by two comparators: one is set to
    generate an interrupt to give you the "Main battery low" message; the
    other is set to a lower voltage and generates the "Replace main battery"
    message.  The voltages are set by a LM385 and a precision resistor 
    The setpoints are 2.93 Volts and 2.50 Volts, and are not adjustable.

    Since this same voltage reference is used to derive the 5.0 Volts that 
    produced by the internal DC-DC convertor, it is extremely unlikely that 
    is can get out of whack: your machine would not work at all then.

  o Since four Nickel-Cadmium cells produce about the same voltage as three
    alkalines, can I use them instead?

    This will work, but is not recommended.  Four sub-AA sized cells can fit
    in the same place as the three alkalines.  They will produce 4.8 to 5.2
    volts.  This is high enough that the voltage boost circuit, which 
    boosts the AA voltage up to 5 volts, might not operate (so you will not
    hear the normal 'hissing' sound).  The battery current simply flows
    through a forward-biased diode (0.2 V) straight onto the 5 V power rail.
    There is no voltage regulator operating in this case!  With that said:
    The terminal voltage of four NiCds under charge can easily exceed six
    volts, near the absolute maximum ratings of some of the logic in the

  o What are the power requirements for a home-brew AC adaptor?

    As stated on the back of the unit, and in the manual, it is 6.3VDC,
    0.5A (or 1.0A, or 0.8A, depending on where you look)  The unit
    itself (without floppy) never requires more than 0.3A.  The voltage
    _must_ be fairly well regulated.  See the file sharp.ac.adapter for
    more information.

    The supply must provide 6.0 volts to the plug +/- 0.5 volts.  It also
    should maintain whatever voltage it does produce within 0.1 volts, 
    changes in current drain from 50 to 200 mA.  This is purely cosmetic:
    small variations in the voltage lead to screen flicker, so you want to
    minimize it.

    The series-pass regulator for the AC adapter input is a small
    surface-mount package, which is not heatsinked.  There is almost no
    airflow near this part, so you shouldn't put more than about 6.5 volts
    into the thing: the internal regulator will be dissipating about 0.3
    watts then.

  o Where can I get a connector for the AC adapter input jack?

    The file sharp.ac.adapter contains a description of how to build one
    if you are desperate.  Apparently, Radio Shack has one now available
    though: the tag says:  (thanks to whoever posted this on c.s.p)

      PRICE       2.95


  o How do I open my Sharp?

    o To get the back off and expose one side of the main board:
    - If you intend only to remove the back panel, take the backup
      battery out.  The main batteries will (probably) keep all your
      data OK.  If you intend a full disassembly, or plan to do
      anything but look around inside, remove the main batteries
      too and leave the cover off (Do a backup first!).
    - Remove the expansion, serial and parallel port covers.
    - Remove the two rear rubber feet and the two small black rubber
      plugs that are three centimeters further forward.
    - Remove the four screws you just exposed.
    - VERY carefully pry the top and bottom parts of case apart between
      the expansion port and the main battery compartment.  If you
      break the plastic at this location, the backup battery contacts
      will be unreliable.
    - You can now take the back off, using the front of the case as a
      hinge.  Watch out for the speaker wire and the adhesive tape
      on the expansion connector.

    The main board is now exposed.  Much of the logic is on this side
    of the board, including memory, but the CPU, two big ASICS, and most
    of the power supply components are on the other side.

    o To get the main board out:
    - Be very sure you want to do this.  Potential for accidental damage
      goes way up at this point!
    - Remove the two screws near the serial and parallel connectors.
    - Remove the two nuts near the front of the case.  These are
      threaded onto plastic studs, so be careful.  Also be careful not
      to scratch the PWB traces nearby.
    - There _may_ be two more screws, near the center of the main board
      to remove.  There _are_ two more near the front of the board, but
      don't remove those unless you want to remove the PCMCIA card
      guides too.
    - You can flip the main board up.  Be careful of the cables, the
      keyboard flex in particular.
    - After this, you are on your own.  I've never had the need to go
      beyond this point, and my curiosity isn't that strong.

    o To get at the LCD:
    - Remove the two rubber plugs that are visible in the hinges when
      you use the computer.
    - Remove the exposed screws.
    - Gently pry the two case halves apart, starting near the hinges.
    - The LCD itself is apparently held in place by double-sided tape
      near the top of the display.  I haven't verified this though.

  o What are the pin-outs for a home-brew FDD?  Has anyone done this?

    Nobody has reported building an expansion chassis or floppy
    interface.  In principle, it is straightforward, once you have the
    special connector. (Flash: The Macintosh Duo's seem to have the same
    type connector!) Pinouts are as follows:  Looking into the
    connector, the numbers run from 1 to 40 right-to-left along the top,
    then 41 to 80 right-to-left along the bottom.

    Pin           Name
    1,9,41,76,80  GND
    2,3,42,43     PACIN  (expansion chassis aux 6.0 V power in?)
    4, 5, 6       No Connection
    7, 8          Expansion Chassis detect logic
    10...29       EA0...EA19
    30            AEN
    31            ERDY   (I/O CH RDY)
    32...39       ED0...ED7
    40            _IOC   (I/O CH CK' (NMI))
    44            _EXPPE           (Exp. chassis power enable)
    45, 46        _EXPBV2, _EXPBV1 (Exp. chassis bat. voltages (digital))
    47, 48        KBC, KBD   (ext. serial (PC/XT?) keyboard clock & data)
    49, 50, 51    PACOUT (Unregulated output: AC adapter to exp. chassis)
    52, 78        CPUPE (CPU power enable: goes low(!) when computer on)
    53            ALE
    54            TC
    55            DACK2
    56...60       IRQ3...7
    61            ECLCK    (5.00 ! MHz clock)
    62            DACK0
    63            DREQ1
    64            DACK1
    65            DREQ3
    66            DACK3
    67            _IR   (IOR'?)
    68            _IW   (IOW'?)
    69            _MR   (MEMR'?)
    70            _MW   (MEMW'?)
    71...74       TP1...TP4 -- apparently not used
    75            DREQ2
    77            IRQ2
    79            RESET

    So, in general, it is a faithful IBM-PC/XT bus.  Pins 10 - 40 map to
    A31 - A1, and pins 50 - 80 map to B31 - B1.  Note the differences:
    1. The power lines! (pins 50, 52, 76, 78)
    2. The OSC (14.32 MHz) output is not present.
    3. The CLCK output is 5.00 (instead of 4.77) MHz
    4. I don't know, but I doubt the bus drivers in the PC-3x00 are capable
       of driving very much.  I guess 20 cm of cable and 2-3 cards, tops.

    Apparently, the BIOS supports a hard disk (presumably a XT style
    interface).  Anyone care to hack a Kittyhawk in?  (Anyone care to
    _give_ me one, so I can try it?)  How about a Private Eye interface?

  o Can I install memory chips to upgrade my 1 MB PC-3000 to 2 MB?

    According to the service manual, the only difference between the two
    models is the number of PS-RAM chips.  To upgrade, you will need two
    658512LTT-10 PSRAM ICs to solder on the main board at U21 and U22.
    The orientation of the new chips is the same as the two already
    there. You may also need a couple of bypass capacitors C58 & C59
    (0.1 microFarad).  A Toshiba 968512LL-10 is reportedly compatible.
    People have reported success doing this.  See the archives at
    csd4.csd.uwm.edu:/pub/Portables/ for files describing how to do this.

  o If a  PC3x00 is running off batteries then the desk clock shows only 
    and minutes.  If it is connected to a power supply then the clock shows
    also seconds.  How do I determine whether the power supply is connected
    or not?

    The technical Reference Manual says:

    Call the extended BIOS service XBI (=7E (hex))
    Get battery status:
    Parameters:   AX=BAT_GETBATSTA (9302h)  (hexadecimal)
    Returns:  Current battery status
      Bit0=1  External power low
      Bit1=1  CCM A: battery low
      Bit2=1  CCM B: battery low
      Bit3=1  Floppy batteries flat
      Bit4=1  Floppy batteries low
      Bit5=1  Lithium battery flat
      Bit6=1  AA batteries flat
      Bit7=1  AA batteries low

    mov ax,0x9302
    int 0x7E


  o What are the pinouts for the serial and parallel ports?

    These ones are actually in the manual; Appendix C.

  o There are two variable resistors on the PC3000 motherboard.
    What do they adjust?

    The one next to the backup lithium cell is actually a variable 
    it adjusts the base frequency for the real-time clock.  The other one,
    toward the serial port, is a temperature compensation adjustment for the
    LCD contrast. WARNING: it appears (from the circuit diagram) that the if
    this potentiometer is set to one end of its travel, the 5 volt power 
    is shorted to ground through a Zener diode.  If the diagram is correct,
    then careless adjustment of this potentiometer may destroy the Zener
    diode (which is a temperature-compensating voltage reference for the LCD
    bias supply).

  o What is the button on the back, below the battery compartment?

    This is apparently for an expansion chassis.  It is both a
    mechanical connection and an electrical 'presence' switch.  In my
    unit, the switch contacts are covered with insulating tape, and
    Sharp Canada does not know of an expansion chassis, so I surmise it
    never got to exist.

  o Where can I get more information about the Sharp PC-3x00?

    The two main user communities (known to this editor) are the Palmtop 
    on CompuServe, and the usenet/News group comp.sys.palmtops.  (If anyone
    knows of any other active user communities, please let me know).  There
    are also some files at the csd4.csd.uwm.edu ftp site.

    Technical information may be got from Sharp:  The Sharp Service Manual
    contains hardware information, including IC & register descriptions,
    circuit diagrams and PWB layouts.  It is available to Authorized 
    To get one, find an Authorized Sharp dealer, and ask them to order it 
    you.  They probably won't know what it is, so ask for this part number:
    CODE: 00ZPC3000SM/E.  It is about 80 pages and costs about C$15.00.
    There also is a document called the PC-3000/3100 Technical Reference
    Manual, but neither Sharp Canada (in Toronto) or Sharp USA (in New 
    seem to know how to obtain it.  If anyone knows of a source of this
    manual, let me know so I can include it in future versions of this faq.

VII.  MISCELLANEOUS QUESTIONS (still begging for answers)

    I would _love_ to know if anyone has found a source for these
    serial, parallel, and expansion port connectors.  It _is_ possible
    to hack one of these though: a thin (1/32 inch) double-sided PC
    board etched with the contacts (0.050 inch pitch) should do the
    trick just fine.


Much thanks to Anders Danne, Eric Lindsay and James Hutchinson for their
help tracking down information. (On three continents! Internet is great!)
Thanks to Anthony Stieber (anthony@csd4.csd.uwm.edu) for providing a ftp
home for this and other Sharp- and palmtop-related items.
Paul Picot     ppicot@irus.rri.uwo.ca
* Imaging Research Laboratories * Robarts Research Institute *
* University of Western Ontario * London, Ontario, Canada    *

Different Ways of Powering The Atari Portfolio:

               POWER4.100 file by     R. V. Getsla  74405,1177
               Last update: 17 MAY 85               Rev.   1.0

    This file is to clear up a lot of things which have gone by on the message 
board,  and to assemble it all in one place.  Please add your input by leaving 
me a message if you know of something of use which I have not included.

     There  have been quite a few questions about NiCd batteries and how to go 
about using them. They are pretty rugged cells, but a little care is necessary 
in their use.

1.   Charging NiCd cells - care and feeding:
          Each  cell  has a recommended charging current.  There are  2  types 
available.  The  1st are known as "fast charge" and can take  higher  charging 
currents  than the more common 2nd type.  The cost is also higher for the fast 
charge type of cell.  During charging, the cell generates heat proportional to 
the  charging current.  The rating of the cell is such that the cell does  not 
get  too hot and vaporise the electrolyte enough to lift the built  in  relief 
valve.  The  problem with lifting the relief valve is that liquid is lost  and 
the cell loses capacity early in life.  So, follow the charge rate recommended 
on  the cell by the manufacturer.  The usual charging current for fast  charge 
cells is several hundred milliamperes,  while the more common slow type charge 
at  around  100  ma or so.  The AA cells I use routinely are rated  at  80  ma 
charge.  The manufacturer will usually suggest a time for the charge in hours. 
My  cells charge in 18 hours at 80 ma.  If the cell is fully charged,  and the 
charger  does  not reduce the charge current,  it will result in  heating  the 
cell,  but supposedly not enough to do any damage, thus, the manufacturers say 
you  can  leave  them on charge all of the time.  Not a good  practice  in  my 
opinion.  One of the causes of early death of NiCd cells is heat. Ideally, the 
charger  should sense the cell voltage and reduce the rate of charge when  the 
cell voltage says it is done.  There are "smart" chargers out there,  but  the 
price is pretty steep.  I built one, but I am handy with a soldering iron, and 
it wasn't easy,  so I do not think putting a circuit up here is the way to go. 
Now,  for  other problems.  NiCd cells are prone to a unique "memory"  effect. 
This  is  what happens.  The cell appears to lose capacity as it is  used  and 
recharged.  The cell "remembers" how much you discharged it last time, and the 
more times you do it,  the "harder" it remembers. So, if you always charge the 
cell after only a 50% charge,  then eventually, it will remember, and only let 
you  take  50%  out!  The cure for this effect is to run the  cell  "into  the 
ground" so to speak,  and then PROMPTLY recharge for the full charge rating of 
the cell.  It will take a few times before the cell capacity is restored,  and 
it  will  never get back to the 100% it had,  but it will come close,  and  is 
better than buying a new cell. Another problem. Sometimes a cell will just NOT 
charge.  You put it into the charger, and all it does is get warm. The problem 
here  is internal shorts as a result of a crystal "tree" growing  between  the 
plates  inside.  There is no permanent fix for this,  but there is a temporary 
one.  There are several ways to "zap" the cell,  and "blow the fuse" which  is 
the crystals.  The gist is to hit the cell for a very short time with a really 
high  current,  several amps for part of a second is usually enough.  The easy 
way  to do this and not risk exploding the cell is to hit up a  surplus  store 
and  get some filter capacitors used for power supplies rated at about  50,000 
micro  farads or so,  up to about 500,000.  Observing correct polarity for the 
cap,  hook  it  to a 6v lantern battery or equivalent.  After a  few  seconds, 
disconnect  the cap and hook the cap across the dead cell.  Expect a spark  as 
the  leads  touch and do not be alarmed.  What you are doing is  charging  the 
capacitor  from the battery,  then shorting the power stored in the  capacitor 
into the dead cell, hopefully blowing the crystal "fuse". Recharge the cap and 
try  it  again if the cell still measures zero volts.  If  the  cell  measures 
around a volt or better,  you did it. Charge the cell in the usual manner, and 
use it.  It will unfortunately die again if you do not keep the cell in almost 
constant use. Voltage considerations: The full charge voltage of a single cell 
is about 1.25 volts to 1.3 volts,  a bit lower than an alkaline or carbon-zinc 
cell,  so  you have to take that into consideration in what you are doing.  In 
the  Model 100,  it senses voltage of the battery pack and turns on  the  "low 
battery"  LED at around 4.1 +/- 0.1 volts.  The computer shuts down if battery 
voltage  drops  to 3.7 +/- 0.1 volts.  During the  shutdown  process,  RAM  is 
protected. in other words, it does NOT hurt the Model 100 to run the batteries 
down until not only the LED is on, but the whole thing goes away as well! Turn 
the on/off switch off,  replace the used batteries,  turn it on,  and you will 
see  where  it  was  when the power sense circuit did the  equivalent  of  you 
turning the on/off switch to "off".  The problem with replacing the 4 AA cells 
with NiCd cells is the initial lower voltage,  even with a full charge in  the 
NiCd cells, of around 5 volts. There are ways around this by adding a 5th cell 
internally to the Model 100,  but I do not recommend this as it will VOID your 
warranty,  and  Radio  Shack  has been known to refuse  to  service  equipment 
modified  by  anyone  other than themselves.  You have to weigh the  risk  for 
yourself.  Personally, I would rather keep my Model 100 in an unmodified state 
so  that  if it ever needs fixing (heaven forbid) it will be  fixable  by  RS, 
probably  at  some exorbitant (sp?) charge.  Discharge  characteristics:  NiCd 
cells  are somewhat unique in that they will hold output voltage  well  untill 
just before they are completely discharged. What this means to you is that the 
cell  voltage  will not drop off as rapidly as an alkaline cell,  but when  it 
does start to drop off rapidly, you will only have a few minutes of use before 
the cell is gone.  The rate of drop off for my cells, measured experimentally, 
is a steady drop from 1.25 down to 1.1 over about 90% of the capacity. Then it 
drops to less than 1 volt in a matter of minutes and hits zero,  or very close 
to  it faster than my digital multimeter can keep up with.  The moral  of  the 
story  is  that  the voltage of the cell is not proportional to the  state  of 
charge and should NOT be used to determine when to do a charge,  rather,  rely 
on time used versus the capacity of the cell, or better yet, run 'em till they 
drop, and do an immediate recharge. This is the way to keep up the capacity of 
the cell and avoid the memory effect I discussed earlier.  Periodically,  more 
often is better, run the cells untill they can do no more, then charge for the 
recommended full charge at the rate given by the manufacturer.  The cell  will 
still  "remember",  but now it is "remember"ing that you took out  100%.  Make 
sense? I hope so. On to bigger and better things.

2.   Gel cells: information
          Gel  cells are essentially like your car battery in that they are  a 
lead-acid type of cell.  The major differences are that they come in a smaller 
package, the electrolyte is "gelled" sort of like Jello, and the cells are not 
adversely  affected  by long idle times of many days without a  recharge.  The 
same care applies to charging gel cells as it does to NiCd cells. Overcharging 
them  has the same result,  subsequent heating and loss of  electrolyte  after 
full  charge is reached.  What is better,  though,  is that cell voltage is  a 
fairly  good indicator of the state of charge,  the same way as it is in  your 
car  battery.  The  usual voltage is around 2.2 volts per  cell.  The  voltage 
regulator in your car knows this,  and reduces the charge rate put out by your 
generator to prevent boiling out the electrolyte.  Think of the punishment you 
are  putting  your car battery through!  You go to start your  car,  and  that 
battery  is  called upon to deliver a few HUNDRED amps to the  starter  motor. 
Which,  it  does  without too much complaint.  Then your regulator senses  the 
lower  voltage,  and jams current in as fast as the generator can put  it  out 
until the voltage is back up again.  And, this goes on for YEARS! Now I do not 
recommend  doing this type of thing with smaller gel cells,  but the point  is 
that they can take it and come back for more. Isn't it nice to know that there 
are  thing like this that will forgive you?  The only drawback is the  weight. 
Lead  is  pretty  heavy,  after  all.  I use a 6v gel  cell  purchased  at  an 
electronics  surplus  place.  Cost:  $3.00 plus parts to plug it into  the  AC 
adapter  connection.   I  use the AC adapter to charge it once a week  or  so, 
overnight. Actually, any adapter which puts out about 6v DC will do as long as 
the  voltage  is  higher  than the cell voltage.  The AC adapter  puts  out  a 
respectable 0.5 amps at about 7.5 volts.  The other way to charge this type of 
cell is to use a regulated supply which has an adjustable voltage output.  Set 
the voltage regulator to the full charge voltage,  in my case,  6.6 volts, and 
it will start reducing the charge current as the voltage in the cell comes  up 
to the full charge voltage.  For the most part all automatically. Essentially, 
a  "smart" car battery charger is doing the same to avoid overcharging in much 
the  same  manner.  Gel  cells are pretty rugged,  but they  can  be  hurt  by 
overcharging.  They  can also deliver much the same current into a short as  a 
car battery can, so beware! Discharging a gel cell, or any other type for that 
matter,  into  a  short  causes  heating  and  subsequent  vaporising  of  the 
electrolyte  which raises internal cell pressure.  If the relief valve in  the 
cell fails,  it can explode, big time! And take part of your body with it, and 
scatter  acid all over your favorite computer hideout with all the bad  things 
associated  with corrosives!!!  If a cell ever gets warm to the touch,  it  is 
about to do bad things.  Adjust the charge current,  or voltage so it is less. 
The  idea  is  to have a few mils charge current when the gel  cell  is  fully 
charged,  about  5-10 is about all that is needed to keep the cell topped  off 
and happy.

3.   Portable power options:
          There  are a number of ways that you can power your portable and not 
run your AA cells down. The easiest way is to make up a cable with a plug like 
the AC adapter on one end,  and clip leads on the other.  I did this and  used 
the lantern battery in my flashlight at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.  Color 
code  the  clips so that the polarity and voltage is correct!!!  The  POSITIVE 
side of the battery goes to the OUTSIDE of the plug.  The NEGATIVE side of the 
battery  goes  to the CENTER of the plug.  The battery has to be  at  least  5 
volts.  A 6 volt lantern battery is just fine for this.  Just plug it into the 
connector on the side where the AC adapter goes,  and you have power to spare. 
There  are devices commercially available that already do this using "D" cells 
in a holder,  or rechargeable cells in a pack of some kind.  The advantage  is 
more power,  but unfortunately, something else to carry around, which is why I 
used the battery in something I was already going to have along with me. Solar 
power:  I have not tried this myself, but herewith is some info on solar cells 
and  the Model 100.  The current drain on your poor old AA cells at the  worst 
case is about 150 milliamps.  This occurs when driving the accoustic couplers. 
At all other times the drain is less,  but it never drops to zero. That is why 
your  Model  100 stays "alive" even when it is turned off.  The only advice  I 
have on this is that the cell rating must be larger than the worst  case,  and 
then  it will work under most circumstances I can imagine,  including a cloudy 
day.  Silicon  solar  cells typically put out .45 volts  per  cell.  Literally 
connect enough in series to get over 6 volts,  get the polarity right and plug 
in  your  solar power the same way as I plugged in  the  lantern  battery.  Be 
careful of the cells, though, as most are built onto a glass substrate and are 
fragile.  Put  the  cells  behind the glass in a picture frame with a  bit  of 
rubber  cement  under  each  cell to hold it  in  place,  and  wa  la!  Put  a 
rechargeable  battery in parallel with the solar panel,  and charge it at  the 
same time,  remember,  the current rating of the cells will limit what you can 
actually  do.  If  you do put a battery in parallel,  you MUST put a diode  in 
series with the panel to prevent damage to the solar cells from reverse power. 
The  diode acts like a check valve in that it only allows current flow in  one 
direction.  You  will have to add at least 1 more solar cell to the  array  to 
compensate  for the voltage drop across the diode,  which is typically  around 
0.5 volts when it is conducting.

     |                 |                                     |
Model 100           battery                           solar panel
     |                 |                                     |
     ----------------------------diode here-------------------

Hopefully  this diagram makes sense.  CHECK POLARITY CAREFULLY!!!!!  The Model 
100 IS NOT protected against reverse polarity,  and you will do your Model 100 
in quicker than you can shake a stick!!!!!  And it will be your fault, and you 
will  have  to pay RS an arm and a leg to fix it since it will be  obvious  to 
them how your machine died.

All in all,  there is one rule to remember on doing things, be careful. I have 
tried with this file to answer some of the questions which I have seen come up 
over  and over again regarding the various options available on powering  your 
portable computer from other than the internal batteries.  Drop me a line  and 
let  me know of your experiences,  and I will incorporate whatever I can  into 
future revisions of this file, or maybe even another file all together. If you 
have any questions,  let me know via the message board or by EMAIL.  I am more 
than willing to help anyone over the rough spots.

                                             Ralph V. Getsla

And lastly The Atari Portfolio Bibliography:


Walter Daniel
CompuServe 75066,164

Here are a few articles and one book about the Atari Portfolio palmtop computer.
If you know of any others, please leave me a message in the Atari Portfolio
Forum on CompuServe (GO APORTFOLIO).  In general, I will not include an
article if it only briefly mentions the Portfolio.  If there is sufficient interest, I will
update this file from time to time.


"A Good Thing in a Small Package?" Byte, August 1989, pp. 81-82

"$399 Atari Portfolio Takes on Hand-held Poqet PC," PC Magazine,
December 26, 1989, p. 43

PALMTOPS (Portfolio, Sharp Wizard, Casio BOSS, etc.)

"Small Wonders," PC World, December 1989, pp. 196-199

"Palmtops:  Tiny Containers for All Your Desktop Data," PC Magazine,
March 13, 1990, pp. 218-222

PC Week, November 5, 1990 issue?  (canUt find this issue in the library!)


"THandyU Takes on a Whole New Meaning," CompuServe Magazine,
August 1990, pp. 24-25

"Our Man in Moscow," Byte, August 1990, pp. 65-74 (in his column, Jerry
Pournelle describes a reporterUs use of his Portfolio in Moscow)


"The Complete Guide to the Atari Portfolio," Michael Mueller, Abacus, 1989

This paperback book (about $15) essentially covers the same material thatUs
in the manual, but with a bit more depth and different examples.  If you canUt
find this in your local store, Abacus is at (616) 698-0330 with a toll-free order
line of 1-800-451-4319.

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Welcome to the Atari Portolio Comunity, itss about time that I released a second news letter for the Atari Portfolio, this on about all of the new stuff that you can do with the Atari portfolio, if you are good with a soldering iron. And yes there are many many projects that are available , from the IDE kit, to the USB adapter, to many other good projects, I think I will scan the internet and combine them all, and write about each one.


Right now I am working with the master/slave card on the Atari Portfolio, and of course transfolio. Have not done much work on the IDE kit although someone has given me an idea of how to proceed with it.


Seems to be that on some systems, an IDE drive or compact flash card will not be recognised unless you write zeros to the first few tracks, so I am going to try that....




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On 1/25/2021 at 7:36 PM, Gavin Lewandowski said:

I have copies of those newsletters, if i get some time I will image them and upload.


Hi Gavin! Did this happen meanwhile? 🙂

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