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
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.
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.
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
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.
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?
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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?
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.
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
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?
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
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
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,
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.
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
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
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.