Classic Computer Magazine Archive START VOL. 1 NO. 3 / WINTER 1986

  • Periodic cleaning and maintenance of your ST's mouse can keep it working properly. To clean the mouse, turn it upside down and open the ball cover by sliding it with your thumbs in the direction of the arrows. Pull the cover off and turn the mouse over with your hand in place to catch the ball. Inside the ball cavity, you will find three metal rollers. Use a cotton swab and some isopropyl alcohol (tape head cleaner will also work) to gently clean each roller. You can clean the mouse ball with a lint free cloth, hut never use alcohol or any other liquid. Remove any dust from the inside of the mouse by gently blowing and replace the ball, snapping the cover back in place. There are a number of inexpensive mouse pads available which, besides being fun to use, help reduce the wear and tear on your mouse.

  • For some reason, the programmers at Atari who decided upon the character set for the ST made four characters (codes 28 through 31) that, when used together, draw the face of a man on the screen. This smiling, pipe-smoking man is, I believe, a classic figure that pokes fun at the "organization family man" of the 1950s; his name is Bob, and he is the object of a humorous cult, "the Church of the Sub-Genius." The following program prints Bob's full face in random locations on the screen:
  • 10 FULLW 2: CLEARW 2: GOTOXY 3,0
    20 PRINT "Attack of the killer Bobs!"
    30 FOR D=1 TO 900: NEXT: CLEARW 2
    40 X=INT(RND*17)*2: Y=INT(RND*9)*2
    GOTOXY X,Y 60 PRINT CHR$(28)+CHR$(29);
    70 GOTOXY X,Y+1
    80 PRINT CHR$(30)+CHR$(31);
    90 GOTO 40
    -excerpted from Understanding Atari ST Basic Programming by Tim Knight, SYBEX Computer Books, Berkeley: 1986 Used by permission.

  • Avoid touching the cartridge slot when picking up your computer. The cartridge contacts are exposed and a little too much static electricity could zap the sensitive components in your system. Play it safe: only touch the plastic case.

  • The MC68000 does not have a PC-relative store instruction to mirror its PC-relative load. To circumvent this, try:
  • lea address,al
    move.w d0,(a1)

  • Your Atari ST is equipped with a whole range of industry standard I/O (Input/Output) ports. The printer port uses regular IBM PC cables and you can run a printer configured for an IBM without any changes. The serial port is standard RS-232 which means, with the right software and any Hayes-compatible modem, you can be telecommunicating instantly. Also, the joystick/mouse ports on the ST allow you to use any standard Atari or Commodore joystick.

(Editor's Note: Got an ST trick or tip to share? Send it to START, Attention: CLIPBOARD.)