Classic Computer Magazine Archive ANTIC VOL. 3, NO. 3 / JULY 1984

I/O Board


This program illustrates how to use the break key vector to execute any short machine-language (M.L.) program at the touch of the [BREAK] key. It places the M.L. in Page 6, then tells the computer to execute the routine whenever the [RREAK] key is pressed by placing the routine's address in the break-key vector at locations 566 and 567. My sample M.L. routine changes the screen's color to black and the text's luminance to bright, and sets the screen's width to 40 columns. You can place your own routine in Page 6, if you wish. If [RESET] is pressed, you must POKE 566,0 and POKE 567,6 to restore the vector.

Since the Operating System built into Atari 400/800's manufactured prior to 1982 doesn't provide for a break-key vector, this technique will not work on these computers. PRINT PEEK(58383) will equal 56 in the old Operating System.

     10 A=1536
     20 READ C:IF C = 999 THEN 40
     30 POKE A,C:A = A+1:GOTO 20
     40 POKE 566,0:POKE 567,6
     60 DATA 169,0,133,17,141,255,2,141,240,2,133,77
     7O REM Your Subroutine
     80 DATA 169,0,141,82,0,141,198,2,169,255,141,197,2,104,64,104,999
     90 REM  (RTI)
     100 DATA 104,64,104,999
Bruce Martin
Hanford, CA


I'd like to respond to Mr. Garry Francis's criticism of our firm, Futuretronics, in his letter to "Atari Around the World" in the March 1984 issue of Antic.

The facts are as follows:

Futuretronics has seven service facilities throughout Australia, with a total of 22 qualifled technicians and a support staff of 24. In addition, we will open a service center in Brisbane, Queensland, in 1984 with a staff of four.

In our current catalog, we list ten equipment manufacturers and seven software suppliers that support Atari computers.

About Antic's price: Currently (mid-March, 1984), the local Victorian Newsagent has copies of the November 1983 issue of Antic for $4.60. Our recommended, undiscounted price for an air-freighted (and much more current) copy of Antic is $6.00.

We at Futuretronics constantly strive to improve the service offered to our customers. Our qualified technicians use test equipment recommended by manufacturers. Our staff receives ongoing training, as well as the latest technical information, from both Atari International and our head office.

Brian Hodgkinson
Service Manager
Futuretronics Australia
Pty Ltd.
South Oakleigh,
Victoria 3167, Australia

Futuretronics has been an Antic distributor for two years. We have found them to be an excellent sales and service organization. --ANTIC ED


I recently purchased an Alphacom 81 80-column thermal printer. It doesn't need an 850 Interface, and it works fine with most programs, but I can't obtain a printout from Atari's Home Filing Manager. Can you help?

B. Sonvico
North Bergen, NJ

Before you load Home Filing Manager, turn on your Alphacom printer and execute the following command from BASIC:

OPEN #4,8,0,''P:" PRINT #4;CHR$(27);"F"

This allows the printer to recognize and print all of the Atari's special characters, including inverse characters. You can then load and use Home Filing Manager as usual. Don't turn the printer off, though, or you'll have to re-execute the above command. -- ANTIC ED


Antic is planning to maintain an =antic = notesfile on Control Data Corporaition's PLATO educational network. It will be open to all users who want to leave questions or comments. To sign on, type "b" for electronic mail, "n" for notesfile, and "antic." See "PLATO Rising" in this issue for more information on the PLATO system.



I recently purchased the Atari Communicator II kit, which includes the Atari 835 modem and the TeleLink II cartridge. It works, but the documentation doesn't answer all of my questions. Is it possible to download a file from an information service or BBS with the 835? I don't have the 850 Interface.

Joe Cullen
Newport News, VA

Jim Steinbrecher, the author of AMODEM, a public-domain terminal program that is featured in this issue of Antic, offers a version of AMODEM that is customized to allow the Atari 835 and 1030 modems to upload and download. It is available as download from Jim's ARCADE BBS at (313) 978-8087, or on disk(by mail). Send $10 to:

Jim Steinbrecher
37220 Tricia Drive
Sterling Heights, MI 48077

The Antic staff has been impressed by Jim's work and this month's AMODEM program is a good example of what he has to offer. -- ANTIC ED


I've had trouble loading the Broderbund game Lode Runner with my Rana 1000 disk drive. Finally, I discovered that if you let the title screen load and then press [BREAK], the game loads fully.

Mark Smith
Oxnard, CA


I heartily agree with your choice of Star Raiders ("Antic Pix Games," April 1984) as one of the best games ever produced for the Atari PC. However, I must respond to your doubt that anyone has ever completed the game's highest level. I finish 80 to 90 per cent of the Commander-level missions I begin, and attain an average final rank of Star Commander Class 5. My highest ranking has been Star Commander Class 2. I'd be interested in hearing if any of your readers have reached the rank of Star Commander Class 1.

Carol Waskowski
Royal Oak, MI


I am 15, and love to read Antic every month. I've written a program that scrambles any word you enter (up to 99 characters).

10 DIM WORD$(99) ,WORD2$(99)
35 IF WORD$ = "" THEN ? CHR$(253): GOTO 30
40 FOR I=1 to LEN(WORD$)
50 X=INT(RND(0)* LEN(WORD$))+ 1
55 IF ASC(WORD$(X,X))= 0 THEN 50
60 WORD2$(I) = WORD$(X,X)
65 WORD$(X,X)= CHR$(0)
90 ? :? "DO AGAIN (Y/N) ";: INPUT WORD$
95 IF WORD$(1,1)="Y" THEN 20

Rob Jasinski
Bloomingdale, IL


I'm having trouble getting sufficient information on the best way to expand my 600XL. I want to use it to handle a large volume of data, but I don't necessarily need high processing or printing speed. I typically need to sort or alphabetize hundreds of medical and scientific literature references. Will I need two disk drives for this application? Also, my printer must be able to handle scientific graphs and histograms, and to arrange columns of output from BASIC programs.

I understand that peripherals using the parallel data bus maybe helpful (when and if they become available), but right now the only actual port I can find on my compute is a serial port. Can you give me some clarification?

Donald F. Parsons, M.D.
Delmar, NY

Both the Atari 600XL and the 800XL have a parallel-bus connector in back. To date, the only peripheral available for this connector is a 64K RAM expansion board for the 600XL from Microbits Peripheral Products. In the future, we expect to see an expansion box that will let you plug in boards (like the Apple IIe) and attach parallel disk drives and other peripherals. This would significantly enhance the flexibility of the computer system. However, all current software for the Atari PC's uses serial I/O or the joystick interface.

For your particular application, two disk drives would be best and a good database program. We can recommend Synfile+ from Atari and Synapse Software or Microfiler from Microbits Peripheral Products. -- ANTIC ED


In the spirit of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles I've written a short program that displays the Olympic rings and prints a caption beneath them.

5 TRAP 100
20 R = 25:READ A,B
30 X0 = -R:Y0 = O:FOR X1= -R TO R
40 Y1 = INT(0.5 + SQR(R* R-X1*X1))
50 PLOT A + X0,B-Y0: DRAWTO A + X1,B+Y1
70 X0=X1:Y0 = Y1:NEXT X1:GOTO 20
90 DATA 90,60,125,80,160,60,195,80,230,60
100 ? " THE 1984 OLYMPICS"

John Barman
Bellevue, WA


We read and enjoy every issue of Antic. Here's some information for your telecomnlunications issue: We run an Atari BBS called St. Petersburg Atari Computer Enthusiasts (S.P.A.C.E.). It runs on an Atari 400 with 48K, two 810 disk drives, an 820 printer and a Hayes Smartmodem 300. We offer a large selection of public-domain programs; all of them can be viewed by [V]isiting the library. The board is up from noon to midnight (E.S.T.) every day. The telephone number is (813) 344-3321.

H. Noel and Kim Thomas
St. Petersburg, FL

Thanks for the kind words. We're happy to pass along this information, and hope to hear from other BBS's and BBS users. -- ANTIC ED