REVERSE VIDEO ON THE ST?
I enjoy my ST a lot, but the white background and black letters give me very bad eyestrain!
Is there any way to use reverse video on the ST for a black background with white letters?
Better than that, you can change your ST colors to black on white, white on black or (if you have a color monitor) anything in between. You will need the program CONTROL.ACC, the Control Panel, that came with your ST. Boot your ST with a disk containing this program in drive A. Next, go up to the desk menu and click on Control Panel. At the bottom of the Control Panel window are a series of squares. Each of these squares represents a different color register; the number of active squares will depend on your screen resolution. The top left square is the color of your background screen and the lower left square is the color of your text display.
Click on one of these squares to make it the active color. Now, notice the three bars labeled R, G and B. These show the amount of red, green and blue, respectively, that make up the active color. To adjust the value, use the mouse to drag the boxes with numbers in them up or down. The higher the value, the more the concentration of that color. Experiment with these values until you have a screen you are comfortable with. For a black background with white text, set the top left box to 000 and the lower left box to 777. You will need to change the two values in steps; if you set your screen so that these two values are identical you won't be able to see the Panel's controls!
If you click on Save Desktop under the Options menu, the next time you boot with that disk in the drive the colors will be preserved.
If you are using a GEM-based word processor such as 1st Word, you will need to adjust the colors from inside the program, as most programs initialize with their own color palettes.
If you are using ST Writer, you can accomplish the same thing without the Control Panel by simply pressing T for Transform Colors at the main menu.
DON'T FORGET US MONOCHROME USERS!
Although I find START's price hard to beat, I have a complaint: why do you continue to publish programs that won't run in all screen resolutions? Those of us with monochrome monitors are also interested in programs such as "Wall Street" from your Special Issue #3. I realize that we are in the minority, but if you're catering to the 2/3 market majority, you risk disenchanting 1/3 of your potential audience! (And please don't tell me to buy another monitor!)
Whenever possible, START tries to accomodate all our readers by publishing programs that run on any monitor. For example, two of the programs on this issue's disk (Guitar Solo and Slider) were originally monitor specific, but were modified to run in either color or monochrome. Our feature game of this issue, Naval Battle, will also run in high or low resolution.
You might also look into the OmniRes program from E. Arthur Brown Co., 3404 Pawnee Dr, Alexandria, MN 56308, (612) 762-8847. It's $34.95, and will let you run color programs on a monochrome monitor and vice versa.
LET'S PLAY TWENTY QUESTIONS
I'd like to congratulate you on producing the finest magazine for the ST that I have seen to date. I am still relatively new to computing (less than a year) and the 1040 ST is my first computer. I purchased it with the idea that, with its inherent capabilities and memory, I would be content for at least a year or two. Since then I've learned that power does indeed breed a hunger for more power, and I have numerous questions about Atari and its computers.
1.) Why is the Mega so expensive here in the States? I have seen advertisements in current British ST magazines hawking the Mega 2 for $1100 and the Mega 4 for $1600 (this is converting pounds to dollars, and without monitors). What's more, these advertisements are mail order, something Atari vowed not to allow (at least not in this country).
2.) Since it seems that I won't be able to afford a Mega anytime soon, my thoughts turn to upgrades for my 1040. What are the precise improvements that the new TOS will bring over the old TOS? Will it support player/missile graphics? And will the new TOS (I assume the same TOS as in the Mega) plug right into the old TOS sockets?
3.) In your Spring 1988 issue Charles Cherry mentioned that he had seen an 520 ST expanded to eight megabytes of RAM. I would be really grateful to learn exactly how this was done. I also read that the 520 ST power supply is not capable of running four megs without being overloaded. Fact or fallacy?
4.) Has anyone made an ST variant motherboard with one-meg chip sockets? It would greatly increase memory upgrades (especially if the chip prices fall).
5.) Can the ST's clock speed be increased to, say, 16 or 20 mHz? If so, what chips would be required? Would any such clock speed upgrade create incompatibilities with the new TOS and blitter?
6.) Is it possible to upgrade the ST's 68000 processor by swapping it with a 68020 or 68030?
Well, that's it for the techie stuff. . .I just have one final question. Is there an ST program called Home Planetarium? I think it's a variation of a Commodore 64 program called Sky Travel.
Well, that's about it. Your magazine sets the standard for quality and professionalism in the ST world, and I look forward to enjoying many more issues.
P. Singh Khanna
North Charleston, SC
1.) The bulk of the cost of the Megas in this country at present is in the DRAM chips. Mega 4's have 32 one-meg chips that cost up to $50 apiece on the spot market. The trade restrictions that caused this chip shortage are an American problem and do not apply in the U.K.
2.) The "new" TOS ROMs are not and will not be generally available, since they were little more than a "bugfix" and Atari is currently working on a more comprehensive upgrade. One of the main areas of upgrade is GEMDOS and it should be noticeable in Desktop operations; it should be available sometime in the fall.
3.) We were unable to contact the person with the eight megabyte 520 ST to find out how this was done. Atari recommends a one meg modification on your 520 and a two meg on your 1040 would be safe; two megs on a 520 and four-megs on a 1040 would be the maximum safe upgrade. Past that you would need to somehow modify the power supply. Although the 68000 CPU can address up to 16 megs, the ST MMU (memory management unit) can only address four megs.
4.) Not to our knowledge.
5.) Yes! The new ST Accelerator from Strange Systems increases clock speed to 16mhz; see this issue's News, Notes and Quotes for more information.
6.) Not at this time.
And, finally, Atari is marketing a program called Atari Planetarium ($39.95)for the ST (We're not sure how similar this is to the Commodore program you mentioned.) This educational program is greatly improve from the original 8-bit version. For information, contact Atari Corp., 1196 Borregas Ave., Sunnyvale, CA 94088, (408) 745-2000.
I find Personal Pascal and my 1040 ST work great, but since purchasing a Mega I've had problems using Personal Pascal Version II. The new editor cannot be compiled. It seems the authors used some taboo memory locations that are used by the Mega and not other STs. I traded my 1040 for the Mega, so this is a real disappointment.
Has this problem been fixed? And will ICD supply the fix? And what is the cost for us registered owners of Personal Pascal Version 2 purchased from OSS? OSS has known about the problem since last October.
Finally, does ICD plan to support registered owners of Personal Pascal by OSS? What is ICD's address and who is the best contact person for these types of problems?
Daly City, CA
ICD does plan continued support for registered owners of Personal Pascal. Their address is 1220 Rock St., Rockford, IL 61101-1437. Technical support is available at (815) 968-2228. It's true that Personal Pascal vers. 2.0 and 2.1 don't work with the Mega ROMs; however, the problem is fixed in ver 2.2. To get the upgrade, send them your original disks and $10.00.
CUSTOMER SUPPOT IS NOT DEAD
There has been much controversy relative to the lack of technical customer support by suppliers and distributors of computer hardware and software. This controversy is very evident by the article by Frank Kofsky ("How Not To Run A Computer Store") in the Fall 1987 START, and subsequent discussions relative thereto. Good, responsible customer support is not dead! At least not by the two companies that I dealt with recently.
Recently I purchased an Atari Mega 4 from Mid-Cities Comp/Soft Store in Belltower, CA. I bought the Mega becasue I ran out of memory in my one meg (upgraded) 520 ST. I was advised that some of the programs that ran on the ST series could have problems with the Megas. I found that one of these programs was produced by Abacus. This was a shock to me, since I am using this program for a very important database which includes one file of over 16,000 records. I panicked. I immediately called Mid-Cities to tell them that I might have to return the Mega and continue with the 520, an unsatisfactory solution. I would have to break my records into two or more files which would make searching (which is the most frequent feature that I use), as well as record updating very cumbersome.
The Mid-Cities staff immediately reviewed the program on their Mega and found I was correct. They then contacted the Abacus technical staff within the hour and stated the problem. Abacus was already aware of the problem and had made corrections to the program. Would you believe that Abacus sent me an update that very same day? Less than 24 hours later after I reported the problem to Mid-Cities I had the update in my hands and installed on my system. The program runs beautifully!
My sincere thanks to them both for their priority attention to my problem. With support like that, guess who gets my business? Other computer product suppliers should take a "page from their book," then acceptable customer support will really be universal.
Florence D. Frisbee
Huntington Beach, CA