A.C.E. The Atari Cassette Enhancer


Issue 5

Sep/Oct 83

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If you write programs or type in listings from magazines and use a cassette, BUY THIS PROGRAM before you buy another piece of software. Your 7.95 will be the best investment you made since you bought your Atari.

What? You want to know why? Well, of prime consideration, A.C.E. verifies programs saved to tape, that is, you can save a program and then check to see if the recording is good without losing the program from memory. That's not all it does, A.C.E. has a host of other features. The program is in three sections which need not all be loaded if you do not require the facilities of a particular section. Option A gives you the facilities of saving and loading named programs, verifying, searching a tape for a specific program, getting a catalog of all programs on a tape and flashing the cursor. This section will take 2298 bytes of memory. Option B will give, in addition, a list of all variables and their current values at any stage, automatic line numbering and renumbering. This will take 3496 bytes in all. Finally, Option C gives you the ability to save and load binary files and hex/dec/binary conversions. This will bring memory usage up to 4148 bytes. As I said, you only need to load Option A if you want but you can't get the other options without having the previous one.

When you start a program session, boot in A.C.E. first and just leave it there. A.C.E. will remain resident until power-off and can be called at any time by preceding a command with C, (above the figure 8 on the keyboard). When you want to save your program you can name it as you would with a disk drive by typing CSAVE "Program Narne" and then ask A.C.E. to verify that the SAVE was good by typing @ VERIFY "Program Narne". Your original program will remain in memory so if the save was bad, try again. No more lost programs. When you want to load a program, there is no need to know where it is on tape, just wind the tape back to the beginning and type @ CLOAD "Program Narne" or @ CRUN

"Program Narne" and A.C.E. will go through the tape until it finds the program and will then load or load and RUN it automatically. No more problems in positioning the tape exactly.

The Option B facilities work just as well. Automatic line numbering may seem a luxury but can be quite a time saver when you get used to it, but the real power of this section is in the DUMP and RENUMBER routines. Renumber is so fast that you have to double check that it has been done. It can't change variables if they are used as line numbers but a REPORT facility allows you to identify all such variables in the program and change them manually. The DUMP routine will give you a full list of all variables with their current values to enable you to tidy up or keep track of your programs.

The Option C facilities are perhaps the least useful as you are most likely to have a disk drive if your programming is advanced enough to use binary files.

Taking into account that the majority of users, in this country at least, will not have disk drives, this is without doubt the finest Atari utility yet produced. It cannot be recommended too highly. Buy one now before English Software realise that they have a real gem they are selling at a ridiculous price!