Classic Computer Magazine Archive START VOL. 3 NO. 8 / MARCH 1989

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Letters From Our Readers

Surprise! A Speed Adjustment! (Maybe)

In the "Small Tools" column (START Special Issue #4) on floppy drive speeds, I was a little surprised by David Small's remark that "as far as I know, these things are not adjustable; I have yet to see an ST drive with a speed adjustment in it. " In fact, there is a speed adjustment in both of the SF354 drives I have. It is VR02 on the motor control board, inside the shielded section and accessible through a hole in the shield. (Unfortunately, it is misidentified as VR01 in the Sams Computerfacts CSCS12-A on the ST disk drives.) After considerable jerry-rigging to get my drives set up where I could run them and adjust this potentiometer at the same time, I was able to tweak both of them to 300 rpm (plus or minus 1 rpm).

Back now to some early issues. Since my recent purchase of an NEC P2200 24-pin printer, I find myself having to use Tom Hudson's screen dump printer driver (Premiere Issue) and the corresponding printer driver creator (Spring 1987). My question is, why do I now drop out of Caps Lock mode when I do a screen dump?

Finally, would it be possible for you to print the address and phone number of whatever company is now handling support for Batteries Included's software, particularly DEGAS Elite?

Robert E. Wildman
Greenland Ice Cap
APO New York

 Atari has used a number of different disk drive suppliers over the years. They have varied in quality but the current supplier Epson, is known throughout the industry for its excellent, reliable drives. Depending upon which drive you have, it may have a drive speed adjustment. If you have the technical familiarity, if you are either beyond your disk drive's warranty period (or do not mind violating your warranty) and if your drive has an adjustment, you may use it to adjust the drive's speed. If any of those three factors are missing, we recommend taking your off-speed drive to an authorized Atari service center for correction.

We aren't sure why you drop out of Caps Lock when you do a screen dump. If it occurs within a word processing program, it may be the result of the interaction of the driver and that particular program. Any suggestions, readers?

Marketing of Batteries Included's premier product, DEGAS Elite, has been taken over by Electronics Arts, 1820 Gateway Drive, San Mateo, CA 94404, (415) 571-7171. Although EA's responses to our inquiries have varied from "What is DEGAS Elite?" to "We aren't supporting that product," the last word we received was that EA would continue to sell and support DEGAS Elite. By the way, if you're looking for an alternative, try SEURAT on this issue's START Disk. -START Editor

Where's the Update?

I decided to subscribe to START mainly because I liked the fact that you and Bruce D. Noonan gave your readers updates to ST Writer. I bought the issue that had the Version 2.0 at the newsstand. In that issue you promised constant updates of ST Writer. I decided to subscribe because I didn't want to miss any of these updates.

As of the latest issue (December 1988), I've yet to see even a hint as to when the next ST Writer update is to come. If you're not going to give your readers updates to ST Writer, I'll just cancel my subscription and buy the issue off the newsstand when you finally do get around to it. If you have written off future updates, let everyone know so we can all write off START magazine. Thanks again.

Thomas McGeehan
Santa Ana, California

A number of readers have written asking for the latest version of ST Writer and Version 3.0 will appear in the April 1989 issue of START. Dr. Bruce Noonan has outdone himself with this new GEM version, which is fully debugged, allows true ASCII file-saving and direct conversion of Atari Writer files. In addition, we asked Dr. Noonan to write a word processor file conversion program, which converts files accurately between ST Writer, WordPerfect, 1ST Word Plus and Word Writer, it's also scheduled for the same issue.--START Editor

Ricoh Review Reviewed

The article by Frank Hayes in the December 1988 issue concerning the Ricoh 6000 laser printer was very irresponsible. Mr Hayes neglected to mention that this fine printer has both HP LaserJet II Plus and Epson emulation cards available. The printer works very well with Timeworks Desktop Publisher, WordPerfect, 1ST Word Plus and even the Old Express letter processor.

Also Mr. Hayes fails to mention that the Ricoh comes with a full megabyte of memory, plenty of toner and a drum cartridge all for a price that is the lowest on the market today.

Raymond E. McAlpin
Park Ridge, Illinois

We tested the least expensive, "plain vanilla version" of Ricoh's laser printer without any add-in emulation cards. As equipped, the Ricoh performed, adequately, but not exceptionally. We thank you for bringing this additional information to our readers, however.--START Editor

Disk Cache-less

As an Atari 8-bit user and Antic subscriber, I subscribed to START as soon as I decided that I had to have an ST. I purchased my 1040ST about a year ago and the SH240 hard-disk drive a few months later.

David Plotkin's review, "The Indispensable Peripheral" (December 1988), stated that the SH204 boot disk includes a disk cache program. I can't locate this program on my boot disk or find any reference to it in my owner's manual.

Could you please advise me as to how to create a disk cache? I have also written to Atari Customer Support but I have found them slow to respond.

I am not a programmer, I leave that to the experts. I am, however, an avid user and an electronics technician by occupation. I find most Atari user's manuals lacking all but the basic instructions on how to plug the equipment in and turn it on in "Dick and Jane" terminology. They have little for the user with a basic computer understanding. I depend mostly on START for the information I need. Thanks.

Ron Ritzman
Marietta, Georgia

We were in error; Atari's disk cache program is a part of the second generation of Atari hard disk utilities. These should be released early in 1989 and Atari may allow free distribution of their disk cache program, but they have not announced their policy as of presstime. However there are several commercial disk cache programs that work well. Check the ads in this issue for names and availabilities. - START Editor

Satisfied Customer

I am writing to tell you how much I appreciated "The Indispensable Peripheral," the five brand comparison of ST hard drives by David Plotkin in the December issue.

Since I am in the market for a hard drive for my 1040ST, I found this article very informative and timely.

Also, congratulations on going monthly! I have been buying START since the very first issue and enjoy it very much. It is the best computer magazine on the market for the ST computer. I read every issue from cover to cover and thanks to your increased frequency I can now enjoy it more than ever.

Robert G. Hull
Easthampton, Massachusetts

Thank you. --START Editor

Needs BASIC Help

I am the ST disk librarian for the Atari Computer Enthusiasts of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. Both the club and its individual members enjoy your magazine immensely. I have had my ST for 11 months and just love it, hence my involvement in our club.

Unfortunately no one over here likes or uses ST BASIC. Since it's free I hope to at least gain some mastery over it before I progress to a more complex, and commercial, language. John Hutchinson, who has recently written articles for you, claims that GFA BASIC is the only language. Is it really that good?

Also, I would like to write some easy BASIC programs for my very young children, so how do I import DEGAS or NEOchrome pictures into my programs? Can I do this with ST BASIC or should I get ahold of GFA BASIC to do it?

I would be ecstatic if you could help. Thank you for the greatest magazine and for the issues to come.

Cathy Tuck
Sidney, Australia

We agree that GFA BASIC is just as good as John Hutchinson says. In fact, if you'll check your January 1989 START Disk, you'll see that the GFA BASIC 2.0 Interpreter was included on the disk for just the price of the disk. Now you can try the current "standard" BASIC for the ST. Also, take a look at Putmaker in the November 1988 issue; it's an easy way to incorporate graphics into a GFA BASIC program. - START Editor.


START Welcomes submissions. Please include both hard copy printouts of articles and program listings as well as disk files on ST compatible disks. Media will be returned if self-addressed, stamped mailer is supplied. START assumes no responsibility for unsolicited editorial materials.