by Heidi Brumbaugh
BETWEEN A ROCK MONSTER AND A HARD PLACE
When you're playing FTL's Dungeon Master, you'll learn pretty quickly that the key to survival is saving your game--frequently. But what if you panic and save the game in a situation you can't get out of--for instance, when you are surrounded on all sides by Rock Monsters and don't have the strength or magic to fight them off?
It may seem that you're doomed to start a new game completely from the beginning, but there is a way to get out of this nasty situation. Reboot the computer with your Game Save disk, not the Dungeon Master disk. Double-click on the drive A icon. Note that there are two files there: Dungeon Master automatically backs up the last saved game when it saves a new one! Delete the file DMGAME.DAT and click on DMGAME.BAK to highlight it. Click on Show Info. . . under the File menu, press the Escape key, and type DMGAME.DAT and press Return. Now you can boot Dungeon Master again and start from a position a little further back--and plan your strategy more carefully this time!
GFA 3.0 SCOOP
MichTron's GFA BASIC 3.0 is about to be released, and the first thing you will probably want to do when you get it is load in some of your existing programs. To transfer a program file:
1.) Run GFA ver. 2.0 and load the program.
2.) Save it in as an ASCII .LST file (Save,A).
3.) Run 3.0 and Merge in the .LST file.
Your programs will be upwardly compatible; that is, if you use any of the new commands in 3.0 this technique will not work the other way around.
You've heard of Atari power without the price; now here's a tip about Atari laser printer power--literally. If you are connecting a hard disk to the SLMC804 controller, don't turn off the laser printer while you are using your ST. This will cut off access to the hard disk because the controller is connected to the hard drive via the DMA port.
PROTECTING YOUR DISKS
Many newspapers and magazines have run articles on computer "viruses." These are programs that can actually "infect" your disks and possibly destroy your data. The ultimate purpose of these programs varies; although most of them simply print a message on the screen after they have propagated themselves a certain number of times, it's possible for viruses to have more malign purposes. Additionally, viruses can wreak havoc with write-protected programs.
Recently, viruses have turned up on IBM PCs, Macintoshes and Amigas, but at this time there have been no confirmed viruses on the ST. Still, it doesn't hurt to take a few precautions. Viruses are usually transmitted on freely-distributed public domain disks. These are usually terminate and stay resident programs that write themselves to boot disks. One way to protect against contamination is to always use the same boot disk, and keep it write-protected at all times. If you have any doubts about your boot disk, boot with a disk you know to be safe, and then format a new floppy and perform a file copy (never a disk copy) of all the programs on your boot disk, then start booting with the new disk.
Hard disks are particularly vulnerable to viruses and "trojan horses," which are programs that seem innocent enough but will eventually start deleting your files. When you first get a new PD disk, try it without your hard drive turned on for awhile, and look out for anything suspicious.
Ron Stein of San Jose, CA sends the following: "I have discovered that the DESKTOP.INF file (used to set up the GEM Desktop) is an ASCII file which can be edited by most word processors. By alterning the first #W line I can customize my Desktop. For instance, an easy method of finding my program files amidst several data files is to change the A:\*. *@ field to A:\*.PRG. Doing this will force the Desktop to only display files with a PRG extender. Could you please let us know what other neat features are available by customizing the DESKTOP.INF file?"
Thanks for the tip! Another thing you can do is change the name of the trashcan (you can change the name of the drive icons from the Desktop using Install Disk Drive). Edit DESKTOP.INF, and on the line beginning #T change TRASH to Rubbish, Garbage, Dust Bin or anything else. You can use a maximum of 10 letters in the name.
We'll continue to publish tips and information about this important file.
Got an ST trick or tip to share? We're interested in tips for the rank beginner or expert programmer, for exploring the Desktop or for getting the most out of any popular ST program. Send it to the Clipboard, START Magazine, 544 Second St., San Francisco, CA 94107