Readers Write


Issue 23

Sep/Oct 86

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Dear Les,

I have a little comment on Steve Pedler's article 'A Guide To Error Codes'. On Error 162 (Disk Full) he says the only solution is to use the cassette recorder. I have a better solution. By using the following XIO commands with DOS 2.5 in direct mode (Atari BASIC) you can format a disk without going to the DOS menu and still have your program intact.

XIO 254, #1,0,0,"D:" (for enhanced density)

XIO 253, #1,0,0,"D:" (for single density)

A little word of warning, make sure you have inserted a fresh disk before attempting this since it will erase everything on your disk.

I hope that this little tip will be of use to others. It has helped me out of many tricky situations.

Bjorn Deutschmann, Guernsey



Dear Editor,

This is just to let you know that yet another Bulletin Board is in operation and I would be most grateful if the information could be publicised in your journal.

Name of System : The System 

Transmission rate: 300 baud 

Times : 24 hours 

Town/County : Nottingham 

Phone number : 0602 817919 (ring back)
Sysop : Paul Isaacs

This is not a commercial board and is run on an Atari system. Messages are welcome from all.

P.B.Isaacs, Nottingham



Dear Sirs,

First let me thank you for Les Ellingham's 'Error 8' program in Issue 21. It helped me debug two games that I've struggled with for the last year. Each simply had a comma at the end of a DATA statement, and how many times had I proofread them!

Now perhaps I can help any readers with 600XL's in their quest to upgrade at a reasonable price. I recently bought a 64k upgrade kit from a place in the States for US$35 and installed it in a friend's 600XL. It now performs exactly like my 800XL and runs everything I can throw at it. The kit consists of two RAM chips to replace two already installed and three jumper wires, two of which require some easy soldering to install. The instructions are very clear and simple and the whole job took less than 30 minutes.

The company will be glad to send through the international mail but payment must be in US dollars such as an International Money Order. The address is Computer Service Land, 1073, W. Broad Street, Falls Church, Virginia 22046, U.S.A.

TSgt Bob Matiska, 

RAF Bentwaters, 




Dear Les,

Can anyone tell me how I can get an 800XL to perform the 'renumber' function found on the BBC which I am using at college. Although generally the Atari compares favourably with the BBC, the former's lack of this facility is annoying when attempting to edit and debug programs.

Also I have seen offered a 'single-density' and a 'double density' second hand 1050 disk drive. What is the difference? Can either run Atariwriter on a 1029?

Ian Hayward, 

East Sussex

Some languages such as BASIC XL have a built in renumber feature although this is an expensive way of obtaining the facility unless you want the other features of the language. Several renumber programs have appeared in magazines and in the public domain which work either as an 'add-on' program at the end of your listing or reside in memory to be used by a USR call. There are a few programs on the public domain disks in the PAGE 6 library and many User Groups may have such programs.

There is only one model of the 1050 disk dive which can be used in either single density or enhanced density (not true double density) as you wish. Hardware add-ons can be obtained to use the drive as true double density. There are no restrictions to the type of programs that can be used on this drive.



Dear PAGE 6,

I am very interested in telecomputing but it seems to be forbidden in Belgium. Could you or any reader tell me if it really is?

Fernand Paquet, 


Most strange! Can anybody throw any light on this?



Dear Les,

My name is John Davison (jnr), my Dad wrote the Flight Simulator II reviews.

I would like to start a campaign for Atari owners. With the help of Page 6 readers I believe that we could get through to software companies and get them to write good software for us. There are a few companies who have written things, like Mastertronic, but they treat us like we own a defunct computer, which we don't!!! There are some software companies who have treated us very badly, and these are the companies I would like the campaign to be aimed at. Ocean Software and Elite, are the main 'nasties'. At the beginning of 1985 Ocean ran big colour ads with Atari written alongside Commodore, Sinclair and Amstrad. We waited eagerly for Daleys Supertest and Frankie etc. Atari User even had a news article about Ocean!!! We then waited and waited and then gave up. Elite on the other hand actually brought something out, but they might as well not have bothered! 'AIRWOLF' it said in big letters "GREAT! The number 1 top seller" then underneath the big letters it said `this was originally test marketed under the name `Blue Thunder' WHAT???? Why did we get Blue Thunder and Commodore, Amstrad, Spectrum, BBC, Electron, C16, Plus 4 and Tatung Einstein owners get the real thing! This infuriated me and I wrote a letter of complaint to the Managing Director, within days I received a reply saying that they would be bringing out 'Paperboy'  for the Atari at the end of June, they better have not been lying or they'll get another letter!!!

If you see any software that you think should be out on the ATARI, write to the Manager of that company and say you want it. We are no longer a minority group, there are a lot of Atari owners about now. A campaign such as this worked very well in the USA and Antic readers managed to get BRODERBUND software to bring out Lode Runners Rescue and Championship Lode Runner. They also got 'Farenheit 451' from another company.
This campaign should not only apply to games. Utilities and word processors, anything you want! If you want it, write and ask for it!!

I believe if we all write at least one letter we could get the software companies thinking, so go to it, WRITE!. 

John Davison jnr.,, 

Sandy, Beds.

I would love to see such a campaign work but I suspect that the more subdued British Atari users would not take to letter writing campaigns with as much fervour as the Americans. Still, it could be done. It will take a lot of work but, as John says, start with just one letter. Start by writing to the Managing Director of Ocean Software Ltd. at 6, Central Street, Manchester, M2 5NS. tell him you want Ocean software for the Atari and ask him to send details of future Atari releases to PAGE 6. If he receives several thousand letters in the next couple of weeks, it must have some effect? We'll let you know if it does.



Dear Les,

Help! How about a future article on the Atari Assembler Editor used with the XC11 recorder? I recently purchased an Editor and the manual simply says to CLOAD an object listing into BASIC but this results in an error. Using ENTER 'C:.`, everything seems to work but on PEEKing 1536, nothing is there. I'm stuck. Also is the G command in Debug mode supposed to execute the machine code as to my simple mind this is what the manual seems to imply?

Cliff Winship

The manual for the Assembler Editor has been wrong for years! I did know the answer to this problem some time ago but it now appears to be lost in the mists of time. It has been fairly well documented so perhaps another reader would care to drop us a line so that we can publish the details and keep a note of the issue for future reference.



Dear Les,

I recently bought a 1029 printer so I could run off Assembly listings and do graphics dumps. Unfortunately I do not feel that I am using the printer to its full potential as I have no idea how to program it for control characters, inverse characters or screen dumps of my favourite games. I have seen this done on other printers and wonder why it is not easily available on an Atari printer. 

At the Atari Show I purchased Music Construction Set from Ariolasoft. This is an excellent program that includes the option to print the music score to a printer. However, the program requires you to set up a printer before dumping the screen by typing in a code of some sort. The most infuriating thing is that the manual for the program gives examples for an Epson printer but not for the 1029! Does anyone know this secret code or indeed know anything useful about this printer?

Tim Eyles, 


We now have a few articles and programs about the 1029 which only need to be checked through before we can publish them. They should throw some light on the subject.

One of the problems with the 1029 is that it only uses a print head matrix of 7 x 5 whereas most other (and more expensive) printers have a 9 x 9 matrix. Whilst the 1029 can print graphics it is not possible to simply use a routine designed for another printer, a custom program has to be written. The other problem is that most of the commercial software that includes facilities for screen dumps is written in America where the 1029 printer was either not sold or was sold in very limited quantity. As a result most companies do not bother to include a 1029 option in their programs thinking that the demand would not be worth the effort. The 1029 can be used more extensively and we hope to begin publishing some programs in the next issue.



Dear Sir,

I recently bought my son an 800XL and he loves typing in the programs from PAGE 6.

The reason for writing is that I managed to get hold of some back issues of PAGE 6 and we are having a problem with House of Secrets from Issue 10. Is it possible to let me have, or better still print, the TYPO 3 codes for that and older listings? Also, sometimes when my son is typing in a certain line, before he gets to the end of the line there is a beep from the computer and when he presses RETURN he gets an error code and the end of the line is missing. He can cure this by missing out all the spaces but when he presses RETURN the computer puts them all back again. Why?



The early issues of PAGE 6 used TYPO 2 for error checking and you will find a table of codes for the programs in each issue. The original TYPO 2 program was published in Issue 5 which is now out of print but we will happily send a copy of the program to anyone who sends in a s.a.e. We do intend at some stage to produce TYPO 3 codes for all of the programs in past issues but it is one of those projects that will take a considerable time and keeps getting put off when more important things crop up. Hopefully one day we will publish some sort of supplement.

The reason the Atari beeps at you when you have typed in a lot of information is to warn you that you are coming near to the maximum amount of characters that you can type on one line. You are allowed only three physical lines on screen for each program line although internally the computer can accept longer lines. There are several ways to squeeze more information onto a line. One, as you suggest, is to leave out spaces. Another is to use abbreviations for BASIC words, check your manual or Mark Hutchinson's A-Z OF BASIC published in PAGE 6 a while ago. A third way is to type POKE 82,0 and press RETURN before you start typing. As you enter each line the Atari checks it before accepting it as part of the program. It can recognise legal abbreviations and missing spaces and will automatically correct these for you but when it finds something that it does not recognise, it will tell you so in the form of an error message. The syntax checking on the Atari is one of the very best but it can only check to see if input is legal as defined by BASIC. It cannot check for all characters that are typed incorrectly which is why the TYPO programs where developed.