Disk Update - Compute Offers Extended Disk Tech Support
by Richard C. Leinecker
We've added another dimension to COMPUTE Publications that can help you get answers to your questions about our disks more quickly.
It's our online service called COMPUTE/NET, and you can find it on GEnie and America Online. Follow the menus or use the keyword COMPUTE to get to the COMPUTE/NET area.
On the GEnie bulletin board, there's a section called Talk to the Editors. Just leave a note with your question or comment, and we'll answer you as soon as possible. You can give feedback to the sysop from the main COMPUTE/NET menu or even send E-mail to RLEINECKER.
On America Online, you can leave a note addressed to screen name Rick CL in the message area called Talk to the Editors. You can also send E-mail addressed to screen name Rick CL.
In your message, be sure to describe the problem thoroughly, tell us your DOS version, and list your computer equipment (CPU, hard drive type, floppy drives, graphics card, and so on).
COMPUTE/NET gives you the flexibility to drop us a line anytime it's convenient for you without having to call our offices during business hours. It's also probably less expensive to contact us online than to call during the day.
The Other Side
We've had some calls about the program AltPage that was published on our August PC Disk.
The reports we've received indicate that many times the output seems to break pages at odd times or sometimes not until more than a single page has been printed.
The result might be pages that are short, maybe 20 or 30 lines. Alternately, there might be run-on pages.
All of the programs on the disk were tested carefully, and we never experienced these problems. It took some time, but we eventually re-created the circumstances that led to these situations.
We found that a text file with embedded form feeds would produce short pages in unpredictable patterns.
With other formatting and control codes, we found that there could be run-on pages.
In the documentation, the author explicitly instructs you to remove any formatting and control codes, including form feeds. He even provides a special program called Strip that cleans up you text file in preparation for AltPage.
If you're experiencing any difficulties similar to these, make sure your text files are clean, straight ASCII files. Running the Strip program is a good idea if there's any doubt in your mind.
Our August disk has a program called MicroText that may not run properly on your system. That's because there are two files the program cremates when you first run it that were included on the distribution disks. They should've been left off so that MicroText could create them when you first run the program.
The files are COLORS.DAT and PRINTER.DAT. If you're not having any problems, don't do anything.
If you are having problems, you'll need to delete these files. Make sure you're in the directory that contains the MicroText files. If you use the default installation path, it will be C:\COMPUTE\AUG91\MICROTXT. Next, delete the two files named COLORS.DAT and PRINTER.DAT.
The next time you run MicroText, it will promptly you for information it needs to create these files for your system.
CMOS to Floppy
There is a small problem with our CMOS menu program if you install the programs to a floppy disk. If you type a driver letter, a colon, and maybe a backslash (for example, A:\) when you enter the installation path, you'll get an error message saying that the path could not be created.
The problem is fixed now, but unfortunately, for the August and October disks, you'll have to use a work-around to solve the problem.
Instead of installing to A:\ or B:\, you'll need to specify a directory. You might try A:\COMPUTE or B:\COMPUTE. Then the program will install to the directory without any problem.
Go Directly to the Source
Here at COMPUTE, we're very happy to help you with any problems you're having with the programs on our PC Disk. But there might be a way for you to get faster and more personal service.
You can contact the shareware author directly and cut us out of the loop.
Many times we call the authors to get answers to your questions. While we're glad to do this, something may get lost in the translation.
If you call or write the author, he or she can interact with you directly, and your question might be more effectively answered.
I've written letters to many shareware authors, and they usually respond within a couple of days. They're usually very eager to please.