Modifying AtariWriter+ for D9:
by Charles Cole, AC Software Utilities Editor
The LVAUG Patch
In the November 1991 issue of Current Notes magazine, I reviewed a $5 AtariWriter Plus (AW+) patch program available from the Lehigh Valley Atari Users Group (LVAUG), which modifies AW+ so it will run under SpartaDOS 3.2D. Contact LVAUG if you don't already have this handy AW+ patch. The LVAUG patch will also allow AW+ to run from a hard drive if your'e using SpartaDOS 3.2D on it (or SpartaDOS X per the next paragraph).
Shortly after that article was published, I discovered a SpartaDOS X cartridge patch called XX.COM on ICD's bulletin board, which makes SDX versions 4.19 and earlier compatible with Atari's original AW+ disk and the LVAUG AW+ patch, even on a hard drive! If you have SDX 4.20, the LVAUG patch will allow you to run AW+ from a hard drive (or floppy) without the XX.COM module.
New Hardware, New Horizons
In May 1992, I replaced my MIO with a Black Box and Floppy Board (BB/FB) from Computer Software Services of Rochester, New York, so I would have the capability of reading from and writing to high density floppy disks as well as hard drives and double-density floppy drives. The CSS BB/FB includes a disk of utilities including a file called USPRAM9.COM (U.S.Plus RAMdisk drive 9) which allows users of computers equipped with the CSS U.S.Plus Operating System (see Mike Jewison's "Fitting Room" column elsewhere in this issue for more info on the US+ OS) to automatically assign drive #9 as their RAMdisk when the computer is booted up. Since I have eight drive assignments tied up with hard drive partitions and floppies, and am running a 130XE equipped with the US+ OS and 320K of expanded memory, USPRAM9.COM proved to be the solution to my RAMdisk dilemma.
The first time I booted up AW+ after installing the BB/FB and assigning D9: as my RAMdisk, I realized that modifying AW+ even further to allow nine drive assignments instead of the eight available from the LVAUG patch would make word processing tasks even easier. As it turned out, the changes are really quite easy to accomplish provided you don't need to run Mail Merge and Spell Check from D9:. By changing only four data statements in the LVAUG patch, you can make AW+ recognize D9: as your RAMdisk for temporarily saving text files. You will, however, lose the ability to save to D8:, but if you're like me you won't miss a floppy drive or hard drive partition as much as you do the RAMdisk. D8: still works normally with all other programs.
Patching The Patch
So, if you have the CSS BB/FB, US+ OS, and the LVAUG AW+ patch, you may be interested in making the following changes to the LVAUG patch to make AW+ compatible with the USPRAM9.COM utility:
1. Make a SpartaDOS copy of AW+ following the same procedures as outlined in the LVAUG instructions, but do not RUN the FIXAP.BAS program yet.
2. LOAD the FIXAP.BAS module into your computer and modify the following four DATA lines:
1062 DATA 11546,178,185
1149 DATA 12397,84,57
5035 DATA 4154,178,185
5147 DATA 14222,84,57
In all four lines, you're only changing the last data number.
3. Now, RUN this modified program and let it do its thing to your new copy of AW+, and the D8: drive assignment will be changed to D9: on your main AW+ program module.
I had originally hoped to modify the AW+ Mail Merge and Spell Check modules so they could also recognize nine drive assignments, and keep all nine drives available in the main AW+ program, but soon discovered you can't do this without a major re-write of the entire AW+ program disk using a high-quality disassembler and sector editor such as DiskRX from ICD or the BB's Task Master. Such a major rewrite of all three AW+ modules would be far beyond the capabilities of most users, and certainly beyond the scope of this article. Total disassembly, recoding, and reassembly would be required to squeeze any more capabilities out of AW+.
[Editor's comment. sure would be nice if we had an LVAUG-type patch and D9: mod like this for AtariWriter-80. AtariWriter-Plus and AtariWriter80 are almost identical, and in fact were ported to the ST as "ST-Writer". If anyone out there comes up with a Sparta patch for AtariWriter-80, there's a Managing Editor here at AC who wants to know about it real bad. -BP]