HINTS AND TIPS FROM OUR READERS
It occurred to me that instead of investing in an application that compresses and uncompresses during file execution, I should use what I already have. As a registered user of Phil Katz's PKZIP, I've been saving space on backup disks for some time. Why not compress some of the programs I keep on my hard drive, and then write a batch file that uncompresses, executes, and recompresses files?
Following is a simple batch file called GAME.BAT that serves this purpose quite well.
ECHO OFF CD \ GAMES MD TEMP CLS PKUNZIP GAME TEMP CD TEMP GAME CD.. PKZIP GAME TEMP \*.* ECHO Y | DEL TEMP \ *.* RD TEMP CLS CD \
Of course, you'll have to insert the appropriate directory names and filenames to fit your needs, and PKZIP.EXE and PKUNZIP.EXE should be available to the system (the directories where they're located should be included in the PATH statement in your AUTOEXEC.BAT file).
There are several quality archiving utilities besides PKZIP, such as LHARC and PAK. You can also create the compressed files as self-extracting files, but they'll take 4-10K more disk space each.
I used the formula you suggested in "PC Disk Update" (COMPUTE!'s PC Magazine, November 1989) for skipping the perforations when printing ASCII text files. I have, however, found an easier solution, at least for my Tandy DMP132 printer.
I found that setting DIP switch 1-5 to the ON position gives a one-inch margin at the end of each page. You should check your printer manual to see if your printer has such an option.
Also, if you use DeskMate and accidentally leave DIP switch 1-1 in the ON position, leave your DMP132 in IBM mode. Then access DeskMate's Printer Accessory by pressing F1. Highlight Printer and press Enter. Change your printer type to IBM Med Res Graphics. This allows DeskMate to print, and you don't have to reset DIP switch 1-1.
Fort Worth, TX
Here's a trick to use when you have to run a program that uses several disks on a floppy-only system. Add the following lines to your AUTOEXEC.BAT file on your boot disk to make DOS look at drive A and drive B.
ECHO OFF CLS PATH = A : \; B :\
The system automatically runs this batch file when the system boots, so the PATH is set every time you turn on your computer. Once the system boots, you should place a disk in each drive included in the PATH statement to avoid getting the Drive not ready error message.
Here's an easy way to create a keyboard macro using the function keys and the ANSI escape codes. The extended ASCII codes for function keys F1-F10 range from 0;59 to 0;68 (F1 = 0;59, F2 = 0;60, and so on).
By installing the ANSI.SYS driver in your CONFIG.SYS file with the command DEVICE = drive: \path \ ANSI.SYS, you can assign the function keys to any command you want. For example, by typing PROMPT $e[0;59;"dir";13p you can assign the DIR command to F1. You can insert any command inside the quotation marks. Change the number 59 to the appropriate value of the function key you want to assign. To return the F1 key to its original setting, enter PROMPT $e[0;59;0;59;13p.
To avoid typing in these long assignment statements every time you boot up, you can create two batch files, NEWKEYS.BAT to alter the assignments and OLDKEYS.BAT to return the values to their original settings.
If you want to print a command to the command line and enter parameters, omit the 13 at the end of the assignment statement. For example, if you want the F4 key to print the FORMAT command on the command line but let you enter the drive, enter PROMPT $e[0;62;"FORMAT";p at the DOS prompt. The number 13 is the decimal value for a carriage return and can be omitted for any command that uses command line arguments.
ZIP, ZIP, and Away
I have recently started downloading ZIP files from local BBSs. I couldn't uncompress the files with Phil Katz's PKUNZIP program due to interference from my disk-caching software, Super PC-Kwik Disk Accelerator.
All my problems were resolved after installing BIOSFIX.COM which is included with PKZIP. I included the command BIOSFIX in my AUTOEXEC.BAT file after the PATH statement. Now I can uncompress the ZIP files I download and use my disk-caching program as well.
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