by Heidi Brumbaugh
STRETCHING THE DESKTOP LIMITS
The GEM Desktop is useful for most file copies, but if you are moving a large group of files into a folder the disk window may not be large enough for you to access both the files you wish to copy and the target folder. One solution is to open up two copies of the same directory, viewing different sections of the directory in each window. Other times, simply changing the order of the files using the View menu will solve the problem. Programs are usually largest, so sorting by size will usually put them at the top of the directory. If you want to copy a group of the same type of files or your most recent files, sort by type or date. The idea is to maneuver the files to copy together, preferably at the top, so they are closest to the folders.
Remember that you can select a group of files by holding down the left mouse button and dragging a box around them, or by holding down the shift key while clicking on the file names.
PRT.WRK AND PRT.BAK (HUH?)
So, you finally finished typing the first draft of that ten-page paper in Word Writer ST, printed it out, and were so happy to see the printout you turned off the computer and went to go take a break--forgetting to save your work. Aaargh! But wait--did you say you just made a printout? Turn the computer back on, get back into Word Writer, and load the file PRT.WRK from the last data disk you were using. The file you forgot to save should then appear in the edit window.
What happened? Well, when Word Writer ST prints a file, it first writes the file to disk in the file PRT.WRK. Then it spools the file to the printer directly from the disk, so you can continue to do work while the file is printing. If there is already a file called PRT.WRK on the disk, that file will be renamed PRT.BAK, so if you lose a file you printed a little while ago, it might be worth checking through these PRT files on the disks you use most--you just may find it. If you recover a file this way, be sure to save it under a different name immediately, or the next time you print something out you may lose it again.
HARD DISK SAVES
A bad desk accessory on your hard disk usually means trouble: it will prevent you from booting so you won't be able to get to the desktop. Don't despair. Turn off the hard disk, reboot the computer with a floppy and turn the hard drive back on. Next, get the disk that came with your hard drive and run the program that usually runs from the auto folder. Install a new icon for the hard drive, open the window and delete the offending desk accessory.
COLOR IN A MONOCHROME WORLD
If you've decided to get a second monitor so you can run any ST program, it's okay to set them up side by side but it's a good idea to turn off the one you're not using. Each monitor generates radio frequency interference (RFI); because color monitors refresh the screen roughly 60 times per second and monochrome monitors have a different rate (roughly 70 times per second), the interference from one monitor can affect the display on the other. (For some reason, the effect on monochrome monitors is worse than the one on color monitors.)
If you don't want to turn off the monitor you're not using, try setting one above the other or at a slightly different angle.
As always, don't keep floppy disks and drives on or up against the monitors. Interference can wreak havoc with magnetic media.
STUCK ON THE THIRD LEVEL?
Having trouble getting past the sandworms on the third level of FTL's Dungeon Master? These creatures may be venomous, ugly and mean but they're by no means indestructible. Try luring them into a doorway, then close the door so it will bash them. Don't back up; this will just let them into the room with you. Keep chopping at them until they back off, and be sure to have lots of unven potion handy. Fireballs also work well; there's nothing quite so satisfying as watching a worm explode.
The ST users manual states that once a folder has been created you cannot rename it. To get around this, drag the folder to another section of the same window. GEM will regard this as a request to copy the folder, and since it will find an existing folder with the same name it will give you the "Name conflict during copy" dialog box. Press the Escape key, then type in the new name and press return. You will return to the Desktop with two copies of the same folder; now you can simply delete the folder with the old name. Make sure you have enough disk space for two copies of the same folder before you try this. Thanks to David Litchman of Stamford, Connecticut for the tip.
Got an ST technical trick or tip to share? Send it to the Clipboard, 544 Second St., San Francisco, CA 94107.