KEEP 'EM LONG!
Just a note to express my support for the
comprehensive 'story type' reviews. John Davison's excellent review
of Flight Simulator II prompted me to go out and buy the game
together with Compute!'s 40 Great Flight Simulator Adventures. The
game lived up to all expectations yet prior to reading the review I
had not even considered it in view of the cost. I suspect that the
Ultima IV review may do the same and a glance at the Going Online
article indicates that a modem could also be on the Christmas
Any chance of similar treatment for SSI's Wizards
Crown which looks interesting, but is it worth the cost?
I had some reservations about readers interest in some of the longer
reviews, we have had several letters like this so, providing our
contributors can keep writing them, we'll keep publishing. Many
readers complained that the short catchy reviews published in other
magazines gave too little information to enable them to judge the
worth of a piece of software.
Dear PAGE 6,
In the past I have seen lots of letters
complaining about the DOS 3 system. Is there anything wrong with DOS
3 because I recently bought a 1050 disk drive which comes with DOS 3
and want to know if I should buy a copy of DOS 2.5?
I read with interest the letter from B. Hurst of
Hull in Issue 22 on tape to disk transfer. I had the same problem
and over the years have transferred many cassette programs to disk.
These tape programs fall into three main categories. A) Auto-boot
with no header, B) Auto-boot with a single header and C) Autoboot
The first are easily transferred by commercial
programs. I use the tape to disk utility in Adventure
International's Diskey. The second group have custom written headers
to support program loading and screen information during loading of
the main program. They usually customise the IOCB (and even DCB)
calling routines and often `load' using non-standard data blocks.
These headers have to be modified to support disk loading and (but
not always) to load the main program into RAM for transfer to the
appropriate disk sectors. These headers also contain various
routines for copy protection. The third group are difficult to
modify and often use sophisticated byte handling/ changing routines
for extra protection. With these, if it is a 'good' program I suffer
the long tape loads.
To cater for the second group I use two Assembler
source code routines (one for tape, one for disk) which are
customised to load first the header and then (if possible) the main
program. The header program is then modified and the main program
loaded into RAM. The header and main programs are then transferred
to the appropriate sectors on the disk. DOS cannot be used as you
have to write to specific sectors, it also gets in the way of header
and main program as I try to load them into their correct place in
RAM. It sounds easy put like this but it usually takes 3 to 4
evenings at about two hours an evening!
Didn't I say that there was no easy
answer! If you can understand the above you should have no problems. If
not then you have two alternatives, learn a lot more about your Atari or
put the kettle on while the tape loads! I hope that some of you at least
can work it out.
MORE ON MODEMS
Dear PAGE 6,
Can you give me some advice on buying a
modem? I would like to be able to contact a friend in America, access
Bulletin Boards and possibly play games such as MUD or GODS. I have seen
many American modems advertised in ANTIC and ANALOG but don't know if they
would work in Britain. Is the Miracle modem suitable for the above
Firstly forget about American modems,
they will not work with the British telephone system. Most modems you see
advertised in this country will do what you want, the only thing you need
to check is whether they support the baud rate you require. Obviously a
modem restricted to 300 baud cannot access a system which runs at 1200/75.
Many modems, including the Miracle Technology modems, have switchable baud
point to watch if you want to access Prestel or similar 1200/75 systems is
that the 850 interface cannot handle split baud rates so you need another
interface. Finally some systems such as MUD may require special software
and if they don't produce an Atari version, then you are stuck. You will
need to write to the companies concerned to check.
Probably the best system for the
beginner is either the WS2000 or WS4000 modem with the Datatari interface
and Multi-Viewterm, at least you will have everything you need apart from
There has been a lot of correspondence
elsewhere concerning accessing the International character set on the 1027
printer with Atariwriter. I had no problem solving this with the CTRL-O
function of Atariwriter, however, having read your review I decided to
purchase Paperclip and I am now faced with the same problem! Although
Paperclip has a utility to convert Atariwriter files to Paperclip, in
doing so it ignores all CTRL-O codes and there therefore seems to be no
way of accessing the International character set. If you or any of your
readers can help I would be grateful.
No problem! What you have to do is
define your own printer driver using the utility supplied with Paperclip.
There are four special keys available for you to use as you wish and you
simply define one of these with the commands that you use to use with
CTRL-O. Whenever you require the International character set just use the
key you have defined in place of CTRL-O. You can even use another key to
define the £ sign and have it printed with just one command! Full details
of setting up your own printer driver are given in Appendix D of the
Dear PAGE 6,
Could you tell me if there are any programs
for the 800XL which will enable you to define electric/electronics symbols
to design circuit diagrams and then save them on disk or dump them to an
I don't know of any commercial programs,
but if you learn how to redefine the character set, you can easily create
you own symbols. By using a character set editor and a screen dump utility
there is no reason why you can't get excellent results, but it will
require some programming knowledge on your part. There are several public
domain utilities available which would help. An alternative, depending on
what printer you have, is to redefine the characters in the printer
although this would make actual design on the screen much more difficult.
It can be done, maybe another reader has written a program that exactly
fits the bill?
MORE ON PRINTERS WANTED
I must agree with Alan Horner in Issue 21.
I am 60 years old and having bought an 800XL some time ago was horrified
by the lack of information given by Atari. I found PAGE 6 at issue 13 and
since then it's been so much easier. People like myself have no-one to
turn to for help and information, if we were of school age we could turn
to teachers or other youngsters with whom we could swap knowledge and
learn, but being older we rely on magazines such as PAGE 6.
I have learnt from your reviews and
excellent contributors. I am now using a 130XE and Superscript and have
bought a 1027 printer. I would have liked a better quality printer but
what Interface do I need? What is a Printer Driver? Is it possible that
one of our friends who contribute so much for our knowledge and pleasure
could advise us on hardware, peripherals and such things with a series of
Thank you for your efforts on our behalf,
we do appreciate them.
There are still many, many things that
Atari owners would like to know about as illustrated by this letter.
Unfortunately many articles, especially those which advise on and compare
different third party products, are extremely time consuming and often
difficult to get together. Few people have access to more than one
printer. We would love to print comparative articles but don't have the
resources to spend a couple of weeks in preparing just one article. If any
readers have access to a friendly retailer or the like who could provide
information about different printers and they feel confident in writing an
accurate and detailed report we would be delighted to publish it. Any
XL TECHNICAL REFERENCE NOTES
Dear PAGE 6,
Could I just ask you one favour? Do you
know where I can get a copy of the Technical Reference Notes for the
800XL. I need them for details of the parallel bus, but I have been
informed that the book is out of print. So much for Atari's continued
support of the 8 bit machines.
I am not sure whether the XL version of
the Technical Notes was ever in print! It was certainly mentioned when the
XL came out and, whilst certainly prepared for publication, I do not
believe that copies were put on sale. The only reference that has been
published on the parallel bus as far as I am aware is a four part article
in ANTIC which commenced with Vol.3 No.9. If you can get hold of these
magazines, your problems should be solved.
As a matter of interest I have been told that the Technical Reference
Notes for the 400/ 800, which are entirely relevant to the XL/XE, have
been republished and are available from Atari although they don't seem to
be pushing them very much. Ask Atari or your dealer (persistently) if you
can buy a copy.
In the past I have found it quite difficult
to shake the screen with text or graphics to create a good earthquake
effect, but after reading your articles on Display List Interrupts, I
found a short routine to softly or violently shake the screen, so I would
like to share it with other readers.
By changing the last digit in the POKE
statement, you can change whether the screen shakes very softly or
10 GRAPHICS 0:POKE 752,1
15 ? "RESERVED FOR TEXT OR GRAPHIC PICTURE"
25 POKE DL+1,21:GOSUB 40
30 POKE DL+1,53:GOSUB 40
35 GOTO 20
40 FOR WAIT=0 TO 30:NEXT WAIT:RETURN
ASSEMBLER EDITOR SOLUTION
Several readers responded to Cliff
Winship's letter in the last issue about problems of loading an object
listing with the Atari Assembler Editor. Many enclosed a copy of a letter
from one Matthew Jones of Atari and Matthew himself dropped the
information into our Mailbox. So here it is.
All references to CLOAD in the manual
should be replaced with the following program
110 OPEN #3,4,0,"C:"
ADEND = 256*Y + X
IF ADCUR< =ADEND THEN GOTO 210
The program is presented for ease of
understanding but can of course be condensed to a few lines providing the
GOTO references are amended.