Classic Computer Magazine Archive ANTIC VOL. 2, NO. 8 / NOVEMBER 1983


Can you tell me what programming languages are available for the ATARI 800? Also, do they require use of a cartridge?
Dave Peterson
Irvine, CA
Languages available from Atari for their computers include Atari BASIC, Atari Microsoft BASIC, PILOT, Assembler Editor (assembly language), and Logo, all on cartridge. The Atari Program Exchange (APX) sells versions of Pascal and Forth on disk (Pascal requires two disk drives). Optimized Systems Software offers an extended version of BASIC called BASIC A+, a C compiler, and a macro assembler editor. They will soon release several new languages on cartridge, including BASIC XL, MAC/65, and a remarkably fast new compiled language, available only for the ATARI, called ACTION!

In addition, there are two compilers for Atari BASIC programs: one from Datasoft and another from Monarch.


Tiny Text (ANTIC March 1983), is a handy little program for writing to ANTIC with improvements to Tiny Text. I recently tried to save a Tiny Text file on a too-full disk. I got ERROR 162, so I switched to a fresh disk and attempted to save again. This time, I got ERROR 129 (lOCB already open), and when I pressed [RETURN] again, the program crashed.

Since ERROR 162 is an old acquaintance of mine, I added "CLOSE #3" to the beginning of line 950 to close the channel to the disk drive before an error could occur. Next time I try to shoe-horn too much data onto a nearly-full disk, I'll be able to switch disks, hit [RETURN], and go on to the SAVE option again.

Jack Mindy
Buffalo, NY

A few months ago I received an ATARI 800 as a graduation present. Having previously owned a TRS-80 Model III, I was shocked to find that the 800's strings cannot be subscripted. Is there hope for a guy who wants to use string arrays and matrixes to create adventure programs? I was also surprised to discover that array variables cannot be used in READ statements on the 800. Doesn't this restrict a programmer's ability to manipulate data? I though the 800 was supposed to be a flexible machine.
Sean White
Minneapolis, MN
The 800 is indeed flexible machine - the problem you're having is with Atari BASIC, not with the computer. Certain sacrifices had to be made to fit the language into an 8K cartridge, so string arrays were left out. It's not difficult to simulate string arrays in Atari BASIC - the-technique has been discussed in various sources. To use READ with array data. READ the data into a variable, then assign it to the array element:

10 DIM ARRAY(11)
20 FOR I= 1 TO 10: READ A: ARRAY(I) =A


There's a minor flaw in the HOOKEY! game by David Plotkin in the September issue. If the player tries to jump above the topmost cube, the game will freeze and make resumption of play rather difficult. This can be corrected by copying line 400 into line 401 and writing in its place:

400 IF YPO<0 THEN YPO = 0

Michael A. Pemberton
San Luis Obispo, CA

When I use my 800 with a NEC PC- 8023A-C printer (Microbits MP1100 interface); and Atari Writer, the combination works beautifully. I can't call up the graphics and special characters of the NEC with the Atari Writer, but using [CTRL] [O] 14,15,27,78 etc. I am able to underline, change font size, and call up enhanced characters. When I'm working on mathematical manuscripts, I use the following BASIC program to gain easy access to superscripts, Greek and Hebrew characters, and other characters available through the NEC using Atari logo key and [CAPS/ LOWR], etc. I can't imagine a simpler word processor than this:

10 DIM A$(100)
40 GOTO 20

The only thing you have to watch out for is not to exceed five characters in the third line on the screen; otherwise copy is incorrectly broken at line's end.

John F. Leahy
Chualar, CA

I am 16, and have designed and built a 64K select RAM for my ATARI 800. I would like to know if it is possible to add the full processor bus that will be available in the new XL line on my 800. Also, is the main circuitry (with the exception of the bus) the same or totally different? If I can add the bus to my 800, I can avoid buying a new 800XL.
Ed Kunz
Alliance, OH
You can access the main processor bus signals from the motherboard (CPU card), but this will require some "hacking" in the literal sense, as "with a hac saw." You'll have to dismantle your computer to determine where to cut holes (near the back where the video cable is) in the plastic and aluminum casing to get at the bus. These signals are used by Atari for quality assurance purposes. We won't know about compatibility until the new line is officially released. See Atari's Hardware Manual for further reference.

Instructions for the game Hookey! (ANTIC p..57, September 1983) are somewhat misleading. You get a thousand points for completing each rock pile, and an extra life for every thousand points you earn by stepping on blocks. The thousand-point bonus for each rock pile does not count toward extra lives.

I teach and work with severely (orthopedically) handicapped children and teenagers. Many of these kids would like to operate a computer or play video games but, because of their situations, cannot. I am working on a project to make it possible for at least a few of them to enjoy the fruits of today's electronic technology. I would like to know of others who are working on similar projects.

Ralph L. Folsom
780 N. Fair Oaks Ave. #26
Sunnyvale, CA 94086

Here is a tip for all disk driver users. Always start the program you are working on with:

1 REM SAVE "D:Filename.ext"

Then, as you type in the program, you can delete the line number and the REM to save your work to the disk, and not forget the filename you were using. This saves me a lot of grief when that old ATARI BASIC bug creeps into my work and locks up the keyboard. I recommend saving the program every 100 line numbers.

R.M. "Doc" Livingston
Northbrook, IL

We recently purchased an Anchor Signalman Mark VII modem and DataSoft's Teletalk program. Both work well with our ATARI 800. Is there any way to use the modem's auto-answer and auto-dial capabilities with Teletalk? We were informed that a machine language program must be used to take advantage of these features.
Bill and Dot Pyle
Puuene, Maui, Hl
It would be extremely difficult to modify Teletalk to use your modem's auto-dial and auto-answer capabilities. In fact, there is no such commercial terminal software currently available for the ATARI. However, due to the increasing availability and decreasing prices of sophisticated modems, such programs should be available in the near future.

How about an article on how ATARI owners can start their own bulletin board? Please include information on all necessary hardware and software and how to get it. I am also looking for a gaming BBS program, similar to the one on CompuServe, which would allow users to play computer games on-line (with graphics, if possible).
Gerald T. Madden
Bayville, NJ
To start a bulletin board, you need a modem with auto-answer capability. In addition to the Anchor modem mentioned above, the Hayes Smartmodem has this feature. The best source for general information about starting and running a bulletin board is (naturally) a bulletin board. Two excellent BBS's are ACE in Eugene, Oregon (503-343-4352), and ABACUS in San Francisco (415-587- 8062)