Readers Write

 

Issue 22

Jul/Aug 86

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Dear Les,

I would like to thank all of the readers who voted for 'FIRST STEPS'. While it is nice to win a prize for all the work put into the column, it brings me greater pleasure to know that the column is appreciated by so many people. I hope that it has helped to increase your knowledge and fun when using your ATARI computer and I hope to continue to help beginners through this column for the foreseeable future.

Please remember that I can be contacted directly by beginners for answers to any questions you may have. The only rule is that you enclose an SAE if you want a written reply.

Once again, thank you for all the votes.

Mark Hutchinson 

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Dear Sir,

I recently bought a 1050 disk drive for my 800XL. I have about 20 pieces of software on cassette all of which are double loaders. They are all originals which I have bought over the last couple of years. Have you a program which would translate my tapes to disk?

B. Hurst, Hull

This is representative of about a dozen letters received recently and is becoming a more common problem as more users upgrade to a disk drive. The short answer to the problem is no. As far as I can gather there are no programs currently available which will translate multi-loading tapes to disk. It is not that easy to do as each program needs to be individually interpreted and many cassette programs use the area of memory that is used by DOS in a disk based system. This means that certain programs would have to be disassembled and virtually re-written. A couple of years ago several programs were advertised which claimed to transfer tape to disk, and indeed a few still are, but many of these failed to do what they claimed. I am afraid that there is no easy answer to this problem. You may just have to learn to put up with that long load from time to time.

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Dear Les,

My friend Elizabeth Barlow who is Headteacher at the Royal Liverpool Children's Hospital has asked me to appeal to all generous Atari owners for software for the children at the hospital. The hospital were given a 130XE by the TV program Scramble but they are having difficulty in finding any educational software. The children's ages range between 5 and 15 and any commercial or BASIC programs on disk or tape would be gratefully received. Would any software companies like to donate something? They are particularly interested in LOGO but even programs typed in from magazines would be helpful.

Anything your readers or advertisers would care to donate would be gratefully received. Please ask them to send items direct to Miss Elizabeth Barlow, Royal Liverpool Children's Hospital, Hospital School, Myrtle Street, Liverpool, L7 7DG.

Thank you.

Linda Tinkler, 

Liverpool

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Dear PAGE 6,

I am a newcomer to computing and am still very much feeling my way. I have typed in Train Crazy from Issue 21 but have been unsuccessful with lines 40 and 45. It is very difficult to decipher some of the symbols used for example on the second line of line 40 is that a small r or a CTRL-Q?

I would also like to comment on the timing of the contents of the magazine. As the March issue was published late I was unable to get it on the 1st March and so I had to collect it on Saturday 8th March, a little late for the Exhibition. I suspect also that the Carols program in Issue 13 was a little late for Xmas 1985.

I am contemplating purchasing a disk drive and notice that you do a disk subscription. Can I buy this locally or do I have to obtain it direct from yourselves?

J. Ford, 

Hornchurch

Firstly let's deal with the 'late' publication. PAGE 6 has NEVER been published late, it is always published on the last Thursday of the month preceding publication date which, in theory, gives plenty of time for it to reach the shops and subscribers. Unfortunately from then on it is in the hands of the Post Office. I won't put into print my opinion of the Post Office!

Getting the listings right comes with experience but we provide as much help as we can to our readers. A Listing Conventions page is published in each issue so that every character in a listing can be compared and, of course, we use TYPO 3 for error checking. I can't see any lower case r in the line you mention, check each character against the table of listing conventions and you will soon see what is required. And make sure you use TYPO 3! The disks from each issue are only available directly from ourselves either on subscription or they can be purchased individually.

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Dear Les,

In reply to the letter from R. Holmes in Issue 21 regarding connecting his computer to the Scart socket of his television, this can certainly be done and is relatively simple.

You will require a blank Scart plug, a 5 pin DIN plug and a length of twin screened lead. The connections are as follows (DIN to Scart)

Pin 4 - Composite Video to Pin 20 - CVBS Input
Pin 3 - Audio to Pin 6 - Audio left or Pin 2 - Audio Right
Pin 2 - Ground to Pin 17 - CVBS Earth

If the TV has stereo capability then select mono mode to get the sound to come from both channels or strap Pins 2 and 6 together on the Scart plug.

The resulting improvement in picture quality by using the monitor output of the computer through the Scart input on the TV is well worth the effort.

Wilf Harrison, 

Wigan

Many thanks also to all the many other readers who wrote with advice on this. Several readers advised that ready made leads were available from Silica Shop and we received a Telemessage from Advance Computer & Software Ltd. to say that they can supply a ready made 1 metre lead for 10 fully inclusive with extra length to order at 1.20 per metre. They will also make up any leads to order for connecting videos, computers etc. where the TV has a Scart connector. Contact them at P.O. Box 2, Marks Tey, Colchester, Essex, C06 1NW

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Dear Sir,

I recently purchased an 800XL and 1050 disk drive which came with DOS 3 and Home Filing Manager. As instructed I backed up the DOS 3 using the 'duplicate' routine but could not copy the Home Filing Manager which kept giving an Error 176. Quite by chance I then read the April edition of ANTIC magazine which had a letter from a reader complaining that DOS 3 would not copy certain of his disks. In reply the editor said 'ANTIC has consistently recommended readers not to use DOS 3. It is incompatible with practically everything. Trade it in for DOS 2.5'.

Is this problem a common one and if so where can I purchase a copy of DOS 2.5? Will I need to reformat the half a dozen or so disks that I have formatted with DOS 3?

I hope that you can help and that this letter may be of service to other readers.

N.R.Fairclough, 

Kidderminster.

PAGE 6 fully endorses ANTIC'S comments about DOS 3! You should be able to get a copy of DOS 2.5 from your local Atari dealer. Alternatively send 3.95 to PAGE 6 and ask for THE XL/XE KIT disk which contains a full copy of DOS 2.5 with instructions along with several other excellent utilities.

You will need to convert all of your files from your DOS 3 disks to DOS 2.5 but there is a program with DOS 2.5 to do this for you. Once you have copied the programs across, your original disks can be reformatted using DOS 2.5. Even with DOS 2.5 however you may not be able to copy The Home Filing Manager as it is likely that Atari have copy-protected the disk as a precaution against illegal copying and distribution.

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Dear Sir,

I would like to say something about TYPO 3. To my mind there are two great disadvantages and for this reason I am therefore still faithful to TYPO II. Firstly when TYPO 3 is 'up and running' pressing SYSTEM RESET erases it from memory. Secondly, and more important, to obtain the correct code with TYPO 3 one has to type in the line exactly as it stands putting in all spaces and not using abbreviations. This is tedious to say the least. Is there any way of rectifying it?

N.H.Thistleton-Smith

Dear Sir,

After reading the letter from A. Joyce in the last issue, I wish to state that I prefer TYPO II to TYPO 3. If the program is not typed in one sitting TYPO II is CSAVEd with the program and when it is CLOADed next time TYPO II is recalled with GOTO 32000 and typing can be continued. When the typing is finished and CSAVEd with TYPO then CLOADed, TYPO can be erased by typing END then the program checked then CSAVEd without TYPO.

G.F.Bradwell, 

Solihull

Each to his own I suppose but it seems that many readers do not seem to understand how to get the best from TYPO 3. Firstly on the question of abbreviations. If you wish to abbreviate fine, just LIST the line after you have finished typing it, or list a batch of lines, place the cursor on each line and then hit RETURN. The correct code will be shown. SYSTEM RESET does not delete TYPO 3 it merely disables it. To get it back
again just type A=USR(1536). Finally, there is no reason why you can't type a listing in several goes. just CLOAD TYPO 3, RUN it and then CLOAD your listing. Save your listing whenever you like and load whenever you like, just make sure that you load and RUN TYPO 3 first.

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Dear PAGE 6,

Could you please tell me where I could obtain the components required to build a speech synthesiser as detailed in issue 19? Are they obtainable through the post?

Eamon Roche, 

Ireland

I am surprised how many people keep asking us questions like this. I thought everyone had heard of Maplin Electronics? Maplin Electronics address is P.O.Box 3, Rayleigh, Essex and their phone number is 0702 552911. They have a comprehensive catalogue on sale in W.H.Smith which gives full details of their products which are all available by mail order. An alternative source is one of the many Tandy shops around the country.

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Dear Les,

Regarding the comments in the introduction to Blockbreaker in Issue 20 about clearing RAM, I thought you might like to know of a very easy way for a program to clear RAM. In the Blockbreaker program change line 10 to line 15 and delete the GRAPHICS 17 statement and then add the following line

The character inside the quotes is CTRL-,. In the program this clears approximately 20k of memory in about 0.5 seconds!

Fred Ross, 

Ware, Herts

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Dear Les,

Your readers might be interested to know that the standard D type 9 way connectors have metal bits on that prevent them from fitting Atari joystick ports correctly. Tandy do sell replacement cables with slimline 9 way connectors but at a price!

The solution is to use a Molex connector. The part numbers needed are Model A-7298 Plug (inner) order code 15-24-4025, Model A-7298-2A (top backshell) order code 15-24-4026 and Model A-7298-2B (lower backshell) order code 15-24-4027. You will also need the metal pins but I am afraid I don't have the details of these at present. Molex can be contacted at Molex Electronics Ltd. Farnham Road, Bordon, Hants, GU35 ONU. Telephone 04203 7070.

John J. Smith, 

Merseyside

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Dear Sir,

I am a new subscriber to your excellent magazine which I have already found to be superior to many others. TYPO 3 is a godsend for correcting programs such as Colour Palette from Issue 20. Even so, it took my wife and I several evenings to spot the error. Other readers may like to note that in line 1160, just before the reversed capital F there appears to be a space. In fact this is a CONTROL-B. This makes all the difference!

I was disappointed not to find Atari Art and ST Gallery in Issue 21. Please consider this as a regular feature as I am sure that many readers would welcome this along with captions stating which programs and hardware were used for the creations.

Brian Perrie, 

Dundee

Thanks also to Cliff Winship for this tip on Colour Palette. That one foxed a lot of people! This gives an opportunity for some tips on solving some of these problems. If you take a look at lines 1160 and 1170 in Colour Palette you will see several Inverse capital letters. Find those with spaces to the left of them and you will see that the left side of the Capital is very 'thin'. Now compare the Capital F on the second line of 1160. It doesn't look the same does it? The 'space' to the left of this cannot therefore be a space. Check the listing conventions on page 12 and the only thing it is likely to be is a CTRL-B. Replace the space with CTRL-B and you will find that TYPO pops up with CI instead of CG. Solved! When you get problems with other listings, that's how closely you have to check them!

We would love to feature Atari Art in every issue but it is expensive to print colour features so they will at present appear only once in a while, besides which nobody has sent us any good pictures lately!

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Dear Les,

Here's a quick tip for readers who have gone over to DOS 2.5 from DOS 3. If you are using an 850 interface make sure that you have all the files from DOS 2.5 on your master disk. It was not until I got a full DOS 2.5 disk that I found that the SETUP. COM file enabled an AUTORUN.SYS to be created which will boot the interface. DOS 3 used to do it automatically.

M.J.Orme, 

Burton-On-Trent

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