Classic Computer Magazine Archive ANTIC VOL. 2, NO. 11 / FEBRUARY 1984



I have an Atari 800, and have recently purchased an Epson RX-80 printer. Can you suggest alternatives to the 850 (Atari) and the MPP-1100 (Microbits Peripherals) interfaces. I want to take into consideration future additions to the system. Also, which disk drives are the best choices for the Atari!

R. P. Stein
Audubon, PA

Axiom makes a $99 printer interface. We haven't evaluated it yet, but expect to shortly. Also, several disk drives hava built-in printer interfaces. Two of these are the Percom (special model) and the Trak. We haven't yet evaluated the performance of these drives, but are planning to publish a disk drive survey in the near future. See "Mission Redux: Disk Drive Daze" (ANTIC, December 1983) for a survey of disk drives from the point of view of the professional programmer. --ANTIC ED


In the October 1981 issue of ANTIC, the authors of "Flip Side" hint at the existence of programs that keep track of grades for a semester. Where can I find these programs?

Don Sward
Northfield, MN

We're aware of two commercial products that perform classroom rocord-keeping chores: Easy Grader Rev.1.1 (APX) and Teacher's Gradebook (Dynacomp, Inc.). -ANTIC ED


Congratulations on your December issue! It's your best ever. I've been reading ANTIC since you started, and it's been great fun to watch you grow.

Jerry Dea
Atari Anonymous--
A Users Group
Upland, CA


ANTIC's debugging program, "TYPO" is an excellent tool, but it's a little slow. Most people have to run it several times to find all of their typos and, because it checks the entire program each time, a lot of time is wasted checking portions of the code that you already know are correct. But by changing line 32110 and adding line 32175 (see below), you can force TYPO to start checking at a line number that you specify.

This line number should match a beginning line number of one of the ranges in the Typo Table for the listing involved. Please note that these new lines add a variable to TYPO; as a result, the variable checksum provided by this modified version of TYPO will not match the one printed in the magazine. Therefore, you should use the original version of TYPO until the two variable checksums are identical. Then you can use ENTER to merge these modified lines into the program:

32110 INPUT Q$:? "Starting Line Number":INPUT STLINE: OPEN #QF,12,0,Q$: QREM = 0
32175 IF QLINE Ron Bishop
Owasso, OK

Thanks for the useful tip. By the way, a revised version of Bill Wilkinson's article on TYPO ("TYPO Revisited, Again") appears in this issue for the benefit of our many new readers. It explains how to use TYPO to check other program Iistings published in ANTIC and to check itself. --ANTIC ED


I'd like to compliment you on your monospaced program listings. Together with your customized font and "TYPO," they make ANTIC by far the easiest magazine to copy programs from. Thanks for a great magazine.

Brian Weiss
Pierre, SD


I've always been convinced that ROM cartridges are more rugged than cassette or disk media, but I was recently surprised to find that my Missile Command and Star Raiders cartridges wouldn't work. Missile Command put white squares on the screen, and Star Raiders generated only the familiar blue MemoPad. And, of course, the 90-day warranties for the games had long since expired.

Since I'm an electronics technician, I decided to do some experimenting. I started with Star Raiders, and tried pressing [RESET] and re-inserting the cartridge several times. No luck. Then I realized that if the Memo-Pad was coming up, the computer must think there was not a cartridge in the left slot. Since Star Raiders was plugged into the slot, I realized that something was not making proper contact.

I removed the cartridge's metal lid and looked inside. Everything looked okay, so I pried each of the two ROM chips a little and then carefully pushed them back into their sockets. Then I reassembled the cartridge and headed back to my 800.

I plugged the cartridge back in, and was greeted by the slow drone of the engines at Warp Three, and a front view of the galaxy with no Klingons in sight. Success! Moments later, the same fix worked for Missile Command. It appears that "wiggling" the ROM chips up and down a bit can save a "bad" cartridge from the trash bin. So before giving up on your malfunctioning cartridges, try rocking your ROMs.

David Mundy
St. Ann, MO


I've been using the Suncom Aerobic Joystick with my Atari 800, and it does a great deal to relieve the tedium of my half-hour exercise routine every morning. Galaxian has provided me with alot of entertainment during these sessions, but I'd like to try some other games for variety's sake. Can you suggest any games that take advantage of this joystick's special capabilities? The most important thing to remember is that the faster you pedal, the faster the fire button shoots. Also, you can't aim very precisely when you're pedalling away at 20 miles per hour.

Helen Phillips

The Aerobic Joystick should work best with games that require rapid and continual pressing of the fire button. This type of game is also ideal for testing joysticks and modules that add a "rapidfire" capability to your system. Zaxxon (DataSoft) and Defender (Atari) both fit the bill nicely and are terrific games as well. -ANTIC ED


I'm trying to learn data file programming using Atari Microsoft BASIC. In an earlier letter, I asked if there was a way to produce a program that allows you to use a user-defined variable for the file name in the OPEN #iocb"D:filename" file-access command. The book I was using at the time described how to do this in Microsoft-80, but the OPEN command is entirely different. You advised me to use a string variable in place of the file specification in the OPEN command. Unfortunately, I don't know what you mean by the term "file specification." Would it be possible for you to give me a specific example of the correct format? I'd also like to be able to specify what type of file to open.

Jerry Steinberg
Brooklyn, NY


I recently purchased the Koalap for my Atari, and I'm very impressed by it. However, I'm dismayed by the fact that its picture-storing method is incompatible with other graphics programs, such as DataSoft's Micro-Painter. Do you know of a remedy?

Alek Grguric
Don Mills, Ont., Canada

You're in luck! You can store pictures that were created with Koalapad's Micro illustrator program in a standardised format which is compatible with any program that can load a Graphics 8 or Mode E (Micro-Painter) screen. When you want to save your picture, go to Micro Illustrators icon menu and position the cursor over the disk symbol. Then press [INSERT] on your computers keyboard. This will save your current picture to disk in standard format as a file named PICTURE.

This remedy was submitted by Robert H. Watson of Brooklyn, NY. He also noted that you can loud any file named PICTURE by moving the cursor to the disk symbol and pressing [CLEAR] but this didn't work when we tried it. If you load a picture created with Micro Illustrator into Micro-Painter, you'll get an error message and the picture's colors will not look right, because the four appended color bytes that Micro-Pcrinter expects are not present. However, the entire picture can be loaded, and its colors can be adjusted. -ANTIC ED


I recently purchaced a 1200-baud Hayes Smart Modem. What do I need to connect it to my Atari 800 and run it? Please bear in mind that I'm a babe in the woods.

Milton Yuan

You'll need an Atari 850 interface to connect your Smart Modem to your Atari; TELETALK, by Datasoft, is one of several programs that will allow you to control the modem. For more information on the subject, see "Atari Terminal" (ANTIC, May 1983, Page 32) an watch for our May issue this year, which will focus on the latest developments in the field of communications. -ANTIC ED