LETTERS TO AC...
LETTERS TO AC...
What is your FAX number? Postal mail takes a long time to and from New Zealand!
B.G.W. Dreaver Auckland, New Zealand
AC Replies: The "Editorial Offices " of AC consist of part of a small upstairs spare bedroom in my home. AC is a shoestring operation, run by a few dedicated parttimers. Sorry, it will be long time before we see a FAX machine around here. Postal mail will have to do. -BP
My AC software disk arrived a couple weeks ago. I was wondering what I would do with it when, yesterday, lo and behold my Feb. ACarrived in the mail. I was glad for the explanatory index!
The mag still looks good. Suggestion: don't be conned into going for glossy pages, fancy covers, etc. Keep it clean, simple, and inexpensive as possible. I prefer the present appearance to the fancy stuff.
How did that "ST or Amiga" bit get in there (Feb. issue, p. 13-side B, Multi-Mouse Driver)? Here I thought we were turning our backs on 16-bitters and not speaking with them! The next thing you know they will taking over as they always have in the past! Gloom, despair, and agony, oh me!
RE: the AtariWriter-80 bug ("Tips 'n' Tricks", p. 6, Feb. AC), I hardly consider this to be a "bug", since it can be a very useful feature, although it is an annoyance. An "S" or "W" would have been a better choice for that command. The problem, however, is not new with AT-80. It's a carryover from the 'Writer ROMcart and 'Plus versions. I've been exasperated countless times by the problem.
RE: "Advanced C Programming" on p.30 of the Feb. issue, for CC8 I saw no mention of real or floating-point variables. I hope this is not still another C that omits real arithmetic. Deep Blue C supposedly can use a Math Library disk. Mine, from ANTIC, would not work. Without real arithmetic, the DBC was worthless to me. If CC8 has FP variables, I surely would be glad to see it appear on the AC disk, even if it used the entire disk.
Here's a tip for ye olde FORTRAN programmers. In BASIC one can emulate the FORTRAN IF statement:
IF (variable) A,B,C
by using the following BASIC statement:
ON (SGN(variable))+2) A,B,C
My regret is that it took me so many years to figure that out! Here's to many more AC's!
AC Replies: Well, Joe, glad you got your disk OK, sorry we don't have much control over the quirkiness of the mails (but we're working on it!). The disk goes 1st class (which is fast), and the mag goes 3rd class bulk (slowest of the slow), and ne'er the twain shall meet. We have no plans to change the appearance of AC in the forseeable future. We keep a pretty close eye on our bottom line around here (which isn't difficult since our bottom line is already pretty close to the bottom!). On the Feb. disk, the "ST or Amiga "refers to software drivers that were furnished for folks who might want to use an ST or Amiga mouse on their Classic Atari. As stated in the Dec. 1992 issue, AC's philosophy RE: the ST world is one of peaceful coexistence. The computer world is much bigger than us, and none of us can afford to ignore other platforms. However, you need not fear a takeover of AC by the "big" computers. AC was founded as an 8-bit-only magazine; it will live-or die-as an 8-bit magazine (see my article elsewhere in this issue). I'll refer you to Part 2 of Mark Miller's treatise on C programing (elsewhere in this issue) for your concerns about FP variables in C. As to whether we'll put CC8 on our disk, don't hold your breath. Our disk has proven to be a runaway success (over 250 subscribers), and so far you're the only person who's expressed interest. -BP
I received your Dec. 1992 issue and was very impressed so I decided to subscribe. My check is enclosed.
I think I'm the only Atari 8-bit user left in Korea. News is scarce. One tip: you can use the Sega joystick with the Classic Ataris. Looks good, handles really well, matches the 800XL case, and only costs $15.
Since you seem to know all the best programmers left in the 8-bit world let me give you my wish list. I'd like to see a patch to let me use PaperClip and SynCalc with my XEP-80 box. I hate AtariWriter and so far my XEP-80 just sits on the shelf gathering dust. Another thing I'd like to see is the porting of some of the old Commodore stuff. I'd like to see 4th and Inches, and also a football game for my machine that shows off its capabilities. Hardball was ported over; it doesn't seem like it would be that difficult.
Anyway, keep up the good work!
AC Replies: OK, Dave, glad AC was able to provide a lifeline for your Classic Atari out there in the Far East. Thanks for the tip on Sega joysticks! As to patches for your XEP-80, I'm not sure, but I think we will have some XEP-80 drivers appearing on a future software disk, maybe you'll find them helpful. When it comes to porting games from other machines, that opens this whole hairy business of software legalities which hangs over the remnants of our community like a dark cloud. Considering that the Profit Motive has largely vanished as a major driving force in our market, I don't think it will happen. - BP
I was very pleased to receive my first subscription issue (#2) of AC this week. I trust response is growing and we can look forward to a full year's worth of AC.
I've recently assumed the role of Mailbag Editor for the U.K.'s "New Atari User" magazine published by Page 6 Publishing. Recent letters have arrived from various parts of the U.K. but also from Germany, Holland, and New Zealand. I look forward to more details of the international XL/XE scene in future issues of AC.
The mention of Dresselhaus' Dots Perfect upgrade to older Epson DM printers in the "Tips 'n' Tricks" column was especially interesting. I'll be enquiring of Epson U.K. if they can supply this add-on to tune up my RX80F/T+.
I'm not a hardware hacker, but I do find columns such as Mike Jewison's "Fitting Room" of interest who knows, there may be a hardware mod I can't resist trying!
Ed Hall's "Garret" column confirmed the fact that the Classics are not dead-there seem to be more disk mags than ever. I heartily recommend EXCEL and FUTURA to prospective buyers.
I was slightly disappointed to find Alan Sharkis' review of SIO2PC in the same issue as this product was described by Mike Jewison-it felt as though we were being cheated out of an article on something else. It was a competent article but perhaps should have appeared in a separate issue?
I'm very pleased with Dave Richardson's "Wild FONTier" column. This will encourage me to experiment more with the superb Daisy Dot III.
After reading Bob Hardy's interesting Keycode article, it seemed Bob apparently couldn't find a detailed list of keycode values anywhere. After checking through my collection of Atari bibles, I located the keycode values in Appendix A of COMPUTE!'s Third Book of Atari (1984). I'd advise any Atarian to get these (presumably now out-of-print) COMPUTE! books if you can find them!
Alex Pignato's article on User Clubs was a thoughtful piece-I hope it helps generate more enthusiasm in the 8-bit community. I'm almost tempted to start a "correspondence" disk-not so much for articles but rather an interchange of correspondence. I wonder how practical that would be?
I note the mention of Ace C in Mark Miller's article on C programming. A recent correspondent to the Page 6 Mailbag complained he couldn't get anything to work with the copy of Ace C he purchased from the Page 6 PD library. I'm asking for reader feedback on this as I find it hard to believe this is the case and I would imagine Mark would have mentioned something of this in his article. If you have an address for Mark we'd like to enquire further.
Thanks for a great start to AC. I look forward to many more issues!
Allan J. Palmer
97 Packenham Road
Basingstoke, Hants RG21 1YA ENGLAND
AC Replies: Whew! I never quite envisioned AC would stand in the glare of a full-fledged literary review. I gather we have passed muster and that AC has found favor on the shores of Albion. AC continues to add new subscribers at the rate of about 45/month, and I'm hopeful we 'll reach our quorum of 500 soon. Judging from the length of your letter and wide variety of topics you addressed, Allan, I don't think we have much to fear that two articles on SIO2PC diluted our coverage. In the belief that people write best on the subjects they feel most passionate about, I place very little restriction on topics covered by our authors, as there is already an inherent diversity in the community from which AC draws its manuscript material. I am in fact overjoyed on those occasions when two authors cross paths, as I revel in the prospect of seeing a product described from two different perspectives. We have in fact received several communications alerting us to the existence of the keycodes in reference material as you describe. It's rather discouraging that this information wasn't presented in any of the material furnished by Atari Corp., and Bob's program is no less useful for having been published and brought the matter to light. I would discourage your proposal for a communication disk (it would be way too slow) and recommend instead active participation in telecommunications. Commercial net services are available in the U.K., as well as the Internet (including the Info-Atari8 Digest and the USENET Newsgroup) and the British JANET gateway. The entire AC "movement" was literally born in a modem, and we feel telecommunications are essential to the survival of the worldwide 8-bit community. I've passed a copy ofyour letter to Mr. Miller with a suggestion to contact you RE: Ace C. - BP