First Steps

By Mark Hutchinson


Issue 25

Jan/Feb 87

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I would like to thank all the readers who have sent me the requested hints and tips for beginners. Many tips have been the same, but it is gratifying to receive, the response. Special thanks must go to Robert De Letter from Belgium for his mass of tips. I must again apologise to all of you who have patiently waited a reply to your letters while I was enjoying(?) myself on a course in Stafford (Any implied criticism is about the course rather than PAGE 6 ... I hope! Ed.) but hope to get round to dealing with everything soon.

Following on from last issue here are a few more hints and tips.

XL HELP KEY: Most memory maps give the locations for the console keys. Here is the location for the XL help key.

PEEK(732) = 0   ...... No key pressed.
PEEK(732) = 17 ...... HELP key pressed.
PEEK(732) = 81 ...... SHIFT-HELP pressed.

PEEK(732) = 145 .....CONTROL-HELP pressed.

DOS: The following is a list of DOS hints mainly from Robert De Letter. Anyone using tape may wish to skip over this section.

To LIST your program or any text file without exiting DOS:

press C (RETURN)
type D:filename,E: (RETURN)

To get a printed directory listing from your disk:

press A (RETURN)

type,P: (RETURN)

To reboot DOS POKE 202,1 (RETURN)

To chain a binary file to an AUTORUN.SYS from DOS: press C (RETURN)

type filename.ext,AUTORUN.SYS/A (RETURN)

Fed up with having to type 'Y' to a DOS delete query? Add /N to the filename and the deletion becomes automatic.

You can write text directly to a file when in DOS by the following:

press C (RETURN)

type E:,D:Filename

RETURN will end a line and CONTROL-3 will end the file. Len Lawson should remember that one.


In case the tape users feel left out, a few tips for them.

To save on memory, you can load up an introduction screen, show it for a few moments, then have it load in the main program automatically. To do this the file to be loaded must have been stored to tape using SAVE "C:". The main program can be run by having the last line of the previous program as RUN "C:".

The computer will look to see if the RETURN key has been pressed, and will wait until it has. To fool the computer into thinking that the RETURN key has been pressed you must use POKE 764,12:RUN "C:".

Remember, cheap tapes may save you money but they do deposit a lot of ferric dust onto the head. Make sure that you clean the head regularly. If you find it difficult to do so, open up the cassette door and look for a small lever at the back right hand side. Push this lever back and, at the same time, press PLAY and the head platine can be brought forward for easy access.


Mr. J.E. Robinson informs me that, if you own a 1027 and Atariwriter, that the following will produce the sign at the point where the symbol is to appear. Do not use spaces or punctuation.


A second way is to select Option 1 for printer choice then, at the start of the document, use CONTROL-O 27 CONTROL-O 23. When you wish the symbol to appear, type in CONTROL-O 8.


You may have noticed that some program lines are overly long and your computer will not accept these lines. To overcome this, POKE 82,0 to move the left hand margin two places to the left i.e. the edge of the screen). Use abbreviations, a list of which appeared in past editions of PAGE 6 (issues 14-17).


I have had a lot of enquiries about Print Shop and the 1029 printer. A letter from Mr. Pursglove informed me that the program will not support the printer. I can only suggest that the best way to persuade software writers that the 1029 is a viable printer in the UK is to write to the firm and complain bitterly. I know this sounds like hard work but it should be worth it. Most software is written in America and printers are competitively priced. The 1029 has not made the same sales as, say, Epson because of its smaller print head, thus very few 1029 printer drivers are written. However, if the demand is there then they will be written. Just for proof, my NEC 8023 was seldom catered for some years ago but now it is one of the standards 'albeit under a different name) on printer programs.

I will continue to include any other hints over the next few columns but, as yet, I have not decided what direction to follow for this column in the new year. Any ideas? As always please write to me at P.O.BOX 123, BELFAST, BT10 0TB (Editor's Note: I mucked up Mark's address in the last two issues. This one is correct. My apologies.)

I hope that you all enjoy yourselves over the Christmas period and have a happy New Year.