Classic Computer Magazine Archive START VOL. 2 NO. 5 / SPRING 1988


With all the magazine and public-domain programs I have accumulated, I am trying to conserve disk space by organizing programs in appropriate folders. If at all possible, please screen and modify programs you publish so that they will run from within folders (subdirectories). For example, I have placed similar arcade-type games (such as Brickyard and Laser Base) within a folder called ARCADE which resides within a folder marked GAMES. This organization helps me quickly find programs. Unfortunately, both the above-mentioned programs would not run until I placed the picture files in the root directory.

Since the ST has been labeled "The Musician's Computer" with its low cost and built-in MIDI ports, I would like to see more music-related software and articles. I find that most musician-related magazines occasionally feature articles about the ST, but by far favor the Mac and C-64. I believe it is necessary for a magazine like yours to help push the ST as a professional musical instrument. I know you have printed some music articles, but I'd just like to see more.

As an electrical engineer, I'd like to see more information about the ST's hardware/operation. How about some do-it-yourself modifications like a battery-backed clock or memory expansion?

I have read this as a request before, but I also would like to see the number of issues increase. With the short "lifespan" of electronic products, I don't think it's possible to publish too much information.

I was disappointed in the number of programs on the Winter '87 disk. There was quite a bit of room left on the disk, and three programs are not enough. Please fill those disks up!

Thanks for listening. Keep up the good work, and keep up the software/hardware reviews!

Ed Charland
Kansas City, MO

We'll certainly take your suggestions into consideration. This issue's game, Battle for the Throne, does let you put the picture files in the same directory as the game itself. Also, we will continue to bring you MIDI and music programs, reviews of MIDI products and information on the "Musical ST" community. We have run hardware modifications in the past and will continue to do so. For information on memory upgrades and clocks, check out "The Hot Rod ST" in this issue. Finally, we are going to be publishing eight issues of START a year- our four regular issues and four special issues.

A few months ago I purchased a one megabyte memory upgrade. In the documentation they mentioned a possible problem with older Atari STs concerning the MMU chip. I called Atari and they said that they were not aware of any problem with the older chips. I have experienced an occasional computer lockup with the older chip. Arthur Brown Co. (maker of the upgrade) suggested replacing the old MMU. I went to the computer store where I purchased the machine, but they said they would not sell me a new MMU chip. To further complicate matters your Atari ST Buyer's Guide showed a new painting program called Spectrum 512 that looks great. The only problem is that the article mentioned that older STs would need a new MMU chip. If at all possible could you please let me and others in my position know where we can buy new MMU chips?

Michael Gworek
Lutz, FL

Spectrum 512 works on all STs, including Megas, although STs manufactured before December 1985 will need a new MMU chip before Spectrum will run properly. The way to get new MMU Chips is through an authorized Atari dealer; we don't know why your computer store wouldn't order one for you. To find another authorized Atari dealer in your area, call Atari Customer Relations at (408) 745-2367.

I would like you to reconsider the recent trend, in the excellent START magazine, of making source code for published programs available only on CompuServe. As a United Kingdom reader of START it is rather difficult and prohibitively expensive to go online to a U.S. database to download this information.

Although the executable programs available on disk are superb in their own right, one of the main reasons for reading START is to learn how professional programmers have solved particular applications problems and optimized their code. I believe that this probably applies to the majority of readers, most of whom use the knowlege gained to raise the standard of their own coding.

Would it not be possible to offer the source code in an alternative way, for example, as a cheaply-printed newspaper-type supplement, or even better as double-sided disks for magazine distribution?

Please keep up the standard so far achieved which keeps START the world's best ST magazine.

Dave Lea

START realizes that many of our readers are programmers who study our source code to improve their own skills, so we have made it a policy to offer the source code wherever possible. There are times, however, when we simply can't fit all the material for an issue on a disk: faced with deciding whether to put one program with source code on the disk or two programs, we generally feel our readers would benefit more from the extra executable code. Although we recognize that going online to CompuServe isn't an option for all of our readers, it would be even more impractical to use double-sided disks for START-this would make the disk worthless to single-sided disk drive owners. Mailing two disks with each issue or printing the programs separately would be prohibitively expensive. Although this problem doesn't come up every issue, we are open to suggestions of ways to handle it when it does.

I bought the 1040ST in November 1987 for the sole purpose of screenwriting (all right-and maybe some gameplaying. And maybe music and MIDI programming. But mostly screenwriting). Along with the ST I purchased the most non-user-friendly word processor ever written (Textpro). After many hours of dealing with an unintelligible manual and general disk hell, I returned it, got Arctic Fox instead (great game!) and ordered ST Writer.

The program is fantastic. In less than two hours, I had the program configured to standard screenplay format and was off and writing. My hearty congratulations! You should consider making this program available every month, not just on the Fall START disk, so that others can avoid the horrors of Textpro and its ilk.

Jim Cirile
New York, NY


1 am wondering why no one has decided to market a way for ST users to expand memory, or utilize a chip like the 68020, by plugging it into the DMA port on the back of my ST computer. Both of these features are available for That Other Computer, and I want then for my ST.

Matt Jackson
Aptos, CA

Actually, Matt, the ST'S DMA port is specifically designed for peripherals such as hard disks and printers. It's similar to the SCSI port on a Macintosh -TOS can handle up to eight separate DMA devices connected at once. Unfortunately, there's currently no easy way to hook more than one physical device to the DMA port at a time. We've heard rumors of an "octo-bussy" board from Atari, which provides eight DMA device ports, but we haven't seen it yet.

If you need to expand memory there are plenty of "no-solder" one-, two-, and four-megabyte RAM boards available that install easily inside the STs case in a few minutes. A 68020 wouldn't do you much good on a current ST, since there's no support for it in the current TOS/GEM operating system. But if you really desire a 68020 or 68030, just wait a bit. Atari's supposedly working on a 32-bit computer to compete with the Mac II and Sun workstations. We've heard it runs faster, contains megabytes of memory and its graphics will knock your socks off-even if you don't wear socks,
Do you have questions about using your ST? Is there something you're not clear about? Every issue, START's editors listen to your comments and answer your questions in Dialog Box. Let us hear from you! Our address is:

Dialog Box
544 Second Street
San Francisco, CA 94107

Or leave us a message on CompuServe using the Antic Online Mailbox-just log on and type GO ANTIC.

Due to unforeseen problems, START'S Mac/PC column has been delayed and will appear in a future issue of START, The ST Quarterly.