Classic Computer Magazine Archive START VOL. 5 NO. 6 / FEBRUARY/MARCH 1991


Color On Monochrome
In our October Dialog Box, Joseph A. Gaudet inquires as to running color-only software on a monochrome system. I have two possible solutions to his problem. One is Omnires, available from E. Arthur Brown Co. for $22.95. Omnires will emulate a color monitor on a monochrome system, or a monochrome monitor on a color system. It works! There is also an emulator called BIGCOLOR, which I saw on ST Informer's August 1990 public-domain disk.
  Ronald Ritzman
  Marietta, GA

I am surprised that there are no monitor emulators available in the United States. In Germany and Austria, public domain catalogues contain a number of such emulators. The best known and most widely used program of that sort is MODULA, currently available in version 6.0. MODULA emulates both high resolution on color monitors and color resolutions on mono monitors. According to its author, it works with all versions of TOS, including version 1.6. MODULA is published in the "Special Program Series" of HElM Publisher. For more information, you can contact: HElM Verlag, PD-Versand, Heidelberger Landstrasse 194, D-6100 Darmstadt 13, Federal Republic of Germany. The phone number is 06151/56057.
  Hans Winkler
  Vienna, Austria

We certainly got an excellent response to Mr. Gaudet's letter. Many of our readers referred to Omnires, which is sold by E. Arthur Brown Co. The address is 3404 Pawnee Drive, Alexandria, MN 56308 (800) 322-4405. Others mentioned public-domain in or shareware emulators, all of which come from Europe. If you look in the PDOMAIN folder in this month's START disk, you will find Two screen-emulator programs! One is BIGCOLOR, mentioned by Ronald Ritzman above. It is ARCed in the file BIGCLARC.PRG, follow the instructions in READ_ME to un-ARC it. BIGCOLOR is shareware from Britain, and there are two versions of the program included: BIGCOLOR.PRG, the original version and BIGCOLR2.PRG, a special version fur 4MB systems. Read BIGCOLOR.DOC for instructions. BIGCOLOR does work-once you can get it to boot up. It is an AUTO-folder program, and sometimes it takes several attempts to get a successful boot.

While we could not find MODULA, we discovered another program from Germany that is very similar, EMULA. It is in the ARC file EMUAARC.PRG on the START disk. It is much more stable than BIGCOLOR, and it is capable of emulating color on a monochrome monitor and monochrome on a color monitor. The catch is that the program and documentation are in German. However, there is a text file, ENGLISH.TXT which provides enough information to gel you started.

Please note: START does not support these programs, so use them at jour own risk. Be wary of installing them in the AUTO folder of your hard drive. These programs perform some interesting tricks with GEM, and it is likely that they will not be compatible it with some of your AUTO programs. If this is the case, you may not be able to hoot from jour hard drive. Boot these programs from floppy disks, and test them with your AUTO programs. - START Ed.

GFA BASIC Confusion
Your March 1990 issue contained a program that I consider to he potentially helpful in making my home videos more entertaining - the GFA Wipes and Dissolves software. Being a computer programmer, I was able to go through the program listing on the disk (using 1st Word) and make modifications. However, my attempts to get the modified program to execute were not successful.

First, I tried to compile the edited listing with the GFA BASIC 2.0 compiler made available to me in the January 1989 issue of START. I renamed the listing to contain a .BAS extension, as required by GFA BASIC, and got an error which said it was not a version 1.0 program, even though both program and compiler were supposedly version 2.0! 1 obviously could not edit the compiled slideshow program, and I have tried out several other brainstorms that have all met with the same results.

Am I missing the GFA boat completely, or have I stumbled onto a problem? The article about Wipes and Dissolves only stated that I could customize the program by "modifying the source", but didn't go into detail. The "NOT A V1.0 PROGRAM" error is what really bugs me, and my lack of experience doesn't help much, either. Any hints or help you could give me would be greatly appreciated.
  Michael Kalinowski
  Spring City, PA

First of all, the GFA BA SIC provided in the January 1989 issue is a BASIC interpreter, not a compiler. It cannot produce executable .PRG programs.

GFA BASIC programs are normally tokenized, which means that they are sated in a special formal. This format makes the program compact, but also makes it impossible to read from a word processor. When you LOAD a program, GFA BASIC expects it to be tokenized, and tokenized programs are expected to have a .BAS extension. The listing we provided was saved with SAVE,A, which saves a program as a normal ASCII text file. To load such a text file into BASIC, you must use MERGE, not LOAD. When you attempted to load your modified program by using LOAD, GFA BASIC got confused because it expected a tokenized program.

The error message "NOT A V1.0 PROGRAM is simply a mistake on the part of GFA. They failed to update the error message when they came out with version 2.0. -START Ed.

To Each Their Own?
This letter is in regards to "Designing Programs," the CAD comparison you ran in your November 1990 issue. I have been using Athena II for many years. I think it would have been better not to have included version 2.0 of the program in the comparison than to say with such finality that the program is not recommended for drafting but is recommended for engineering sketches - and that's only if the bugs with the DXF converter can he worked out. This seems to be a very harsh statement when you realize that its foundation rests on a beta copy with no manual or prior knowledge of the product.

One of the big gripes the reviewer has with Athena II is that it is unable to select by window. If he had had a manual or called Iliad he would have found out that by pressing [A] on his keyboard he could initiate the area-select command and the standard GEM rubber band, and then lasso the entities he wanted. Entities can be selected or deselected by single, area or magnetic. By using what is available from DynaCADD as the basis of what should be available to all CAD programs makes it look as if Athena II is very anemic and contains only 51 separate CAD functions. The fact is that Athena II has over 100 unique drawing commands.

With Athena II our company has helped design rocket motors, medical implants and inspection fixtures for nuclear, aerospace, automotive and defense jobs. It has also greatly aided in the creation of CNC machining programs and the control sketches for tools that normally would require college courses in trigonometry and calculus.

I agree with the reviewer's assessment that Athena II is very easy to learn and that even someone with no knowledge of CAD can he drawing in a very short time. Perhaps the reviewer has too much knowledge of CAD and has forgotten the Atari war cry of "power without the price." When you get right down to it, a CAD program is like a word processor: Even though WordPerfect is the best around doesn't mean a program such as ST Writer shouldn't be used except to make notes. For most Atari users I believe that Athena II could very well be all the CAD they would ever need or want.
  James A. Rinner
  Howland Industries
  Stanton, CA

Good Eye
In scanning over the cover of the October 1990 issue, I noticed that the SM124 monochrome monitor is shown displaying a gold star with a blue background. Very nice - do you plan to publish the program that let you do this any time soon?
  Carl W Flach
  Alameda, CA

This amazing hack was submitted to START by contributing writer Dave Gregg, who claims he wrote it while "contemplating the sun." We'd be happy to publish the program - which automatically calls up the now-famous gold star and blue background on a monochrome monitor - but we feel our readers would find it too limited. - START Ed.

CQ, CQ - Calling All Hams
Although I use my ST for all my computer needs, it does not satisfy my need for amateur-radio software. Unfortunately, I have been unable to find any commercial software for the ST concerning amateur radio, nor could I find anything in the public domain. Perhaps if START needs to cover another aspect of Atari computers, you could do an issue on the Atari computer and how it can be used in amateur radio (or any radio for that matter). I know there has to be some amateur operators using the ST just as there are MIDI operators using the ST. But I haven't come across any so far.
  Adrian Hawkins, KB5MNS
  Bedford, TX

We agree that amateur radio is a subject worth pursuing. In the February 1989 issue, START published Dah-Ditter, a program that helps would-be ham-radio enthusiasts pass the rigorous FCC test requirements for attaining a license to transmit. Back issues can be ordered by calling 1-800-234-7001. Other than Dah-Ditter: we are unaware of ST software specifically developed for amateur radio. Readers? - START Ed.

Galactic Merchant, published in the November 1990 issue of START requires 1MB of RAM in order to run. The article states that it will run on a 520ST but this is not the case. Our apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused our readers.