Classic Computer Magazine Archive START VOL. 2 NO. 4 / SPECIAL ISSUE #2


I've owned an Atari 520 ST with ROM update for 20 months and am very pleased with it. However, it's been a problem finding good information about the machine, as well as good software. That is, until I found (for the first time) your magazine. That happened last Saturday in Spokane at the computer store "Bits, Bytes & Nibbles." Thanks to them and you I think the 520 ST will be an even better tool and friend.

Thank you, and in deep appreciation,

E. Lloyd Thompson
Boise, ID

I've been a home computer owner for over four years now and have just recently sold my beast (an Apple II+).

The decision to sell has not been an easy one, as I would have to take a kicking on my investment. I thought I could cut my losses by either just upgrading or buying a compatible machine.

The town I live in has only one computer store, which is where two friends and I purchased our machines. Our "dealer," after we all spent close to $9,000 (Canadian), refuses to support us, saying he has gone over to business machines.

Needless to say we've tried taking our business elsewhere, and that is where Mr Kofsky's column (START, Fall 1987) comes in. There wasn't one experience that he related that I haven't experienced, most of which in one outing! Four dealers told me that I was "stuck" with a dinosaur, a fact I already knew, and in fact was the reason I was talking to them. When I asked about upgrading my II+, two dealers actually had to stifle chuckles.

I was also told that there was no "apparent need to stock" or "maintain contacts" for Apple II+ parts, but they would be glad to show me the IIGS! I asked him what I was supposed to do with my "dinosaur." I was told at one place put it out if its misery!"

Seeing as how this letter is handwritten you can probably guess what I haven't bought yet. No, not through dealers, but through magazines. That's how I came to pick up START. I'm seriously looking at the 1040 ST, or the Amiga 500. 1 plan to take my time, and to shop mail order, in the States.

Hip hip! for Mr. Kofsky!

Wesley Watts
Alberta, Canada

Naturally we recommend the ST-good luck with your purchase. You might also inform Apple Computer of your trials and tribulations with the Apple II+.

I recently bought an NEC P6 color printer. I have DEGAS Elite and a copy of your article on printer drivers in the Spring 1987 issue of START. I used the disk and made a driver, but it doesn't work in color. I assume that the drivers in the magazine are only for black and white. I was wondering where I could get a 24-pin color driver for my printer or how I could modify the driver in the magazine to work in color. The JX80C driver that comes with DEGAS Elite works but only in the 9-pin mode, and the results aren't very satisfying.

Thank you for any help you can give me.

Michael Lavender
Pleasant Hill, CA

There is a public domain printer driver for DEGAS Elite that will work with your printer. The file name is NECP5C.PRT, and at this writing it can be found in Data Library 12 of the ATARI16 SIG on CompuServe. if you can't find it in that Data Library ash a Sysop. This driver was designed for the NEC P5, but will also work with the P6 and P7. You might also be able to get it from your local Atari users group or, at the very least, have one of its members download it for you if you don't have a modem.

Can you help me find some information on programming MIDI in Atari, True or GFA BASIC? I've tried to access the MIDI ports in ST BASIC and had absolutely no luck. What 1 want is to be able to do is send and receive data (from the ESQ's onboard sequencer) and patch data (known as system exclusive data) to the 1040's internal disk drive. If this is a difficult operation in BASIC (since 1 do not have much experience programming) might you refer me to some literature on the subject and/or recommend some program(s) that would do the same thing?

I just read about CAD-3D 2.0 and Cybermate. They look awesome, but I'm wondering if I'll be able to synchronize animated graphics with my MIDI instrument. Can you tell me if this is possible, and if so, how difficult is it?

Also, which do you think is the best BASIC language to learn and then transfer to C or Forth?

I would really appreciate some help since most people around Minneapolis have never even heard of MIDI.

Jeff Jewson
Minneapolis, MN

You can access the MIDI ports from ST BASiC by using the INP and OUT commands; the syntax for receiving data from the MIDI port is:

A = INP(3)

In this way, you can receive data a byte at a time from your synthesizer and manipulate it in your program. The real trick, of course, is interpreting the data as it comes in. Each instrument has its own system exclusive commands, and you will need to refer to your Ensoniq's owner's manual to see how your machine "speaks MIDI."

Fortunately there is a commercial program that will do what you want. It's called ESQ-APADE and is available from Dr T's Music Software, 220 Boylston St., Suite 306, Chestnut Hill, MA 02167, (617) 244-6954. ESQ-APADE and is priced at $129.

At this time the only way to add sound effects to Cybermate animations is by using the program G.I.S.T. (available from The Catalog. Antic Software, 544 Second St., San Francisco, CA 94107, (800) 234-7001, $34.95); however, this program does not currently work with MIDI. Cybermate author Mark Kimball is working on an upgrade to Cybermate that will let you enter sound effects directly from a synthesizer.

If you plan to eventually learn a modular language like C or Forth, but want to use BASIC in the meantime, your best bet is probably to use a structured, modular version of BASiC to make the transition easier. You may want to look into either the new, USA version of Fast BASIC (Eidersoft USA, Inc., P.O. Box 288, Burgettstown, PA, 15021, (412) 947-3739, $89.95) or GFA BASIC (MichTron, 576 S. Telegraph, Pontiac, MI, 48053, (313) 334-5700, $79.95). Another choice is the LDW BASIC Compiler Ver 2.0 (Logical Design Works, inc., 780 Montague Expwy., Suite 403, San Jose, CA 95131, (408) 435-1445, $89.95), which is very close to C in its structure and even lets you use some C calls so your programs would be easy to translate.

In the START Buyer's Guide, STAccounts was listed as $249.95. The actual price is $149.95. STAccounts is available from ISD Marketing. 2651 John St., Unit 3, Markham Industrial Park, Markham, Ontario, L3R 6G4, Canada. (416) 479-1880.

Also, the IMG SCAN image scanner is $99.95, not $59.95. The 1MG SCAN is available from Seymor-Radix, P.O. Box 166055, Irving, TX 75016. (214) 255-7490.

The Buyer's Guide Word Processing Chart indicated that ST Writer does not include mail-merge, an outliner and the ability to insert a page wait command. Current versions of ST Writer (1.75 and above) do include these features.

Finally, DX-Heaven (reviewed in START, Fall 1987) does allow you to click on a patch parameter and type in a new value. DX-Heaven is available from Dr T's Music Software, 66 Louise Road, Chestnut Hill, MA 02167. (617) 244-6954.