How can I clean the read/write head on my disk drive and how often?
The Antic technical staff recommends cleaning the read/write head only if you start getting disk errors, and no more than once every six months. Gently use a Q-tip cotton swab and denatured alcohol. Note that on many drives, you need to open up the case in order to do this-which may void your warranty. -ANTIC ED
ANTIC PROGRAMS ONLINE
Has anyone ever thought of offering Antic Magazine type-in programs for downloading on ANTIC ONLINE with a surcharge of 50 cents or $1? It would be like a selective disk subscription, allowing you to pay for only the programs that interest you.
Certainly an interesting idea. However, our current contract with
CompuServe doesn't permit us to have programs for downloading on ANTIC
ONLINE. -ANTIC ED
My mailman thought I had gotten a new magazine when the March Antic arrived. He said, "You're finally growing up," (I'm 42) as he handed me my issue. "No," I said, "The magazine is."
BACK TO BASIC
Thank you for the New Owner's Column. I've had an Atari for four years, but didn't want to struggle through BASIC by myself. I'm glad somebody finally did this.
HARD DISK GARBLE
Antic has experienced trouble with the early-release versions of three different ST hard disk drives-Atari, Haba and Supra. Apparently, a problem with the DMA (Direct Memory Access) process on some ST units causes the boot sector to become garbled when the DESKTOP.INF file is written to disk. Result: the desktop shows more than one billion unusable bytes paralyzing the hard disk. However, we have no difficulty using a hard disk if we load the DESKTOP.INF file into the ST from a 3.5-inch disk each time.
Antic has discussed the problem with Atari Corp. engineers
and we are trying to discover what's going on. Meanwhile, if you buy a
hard disk and have this problem-there's a chance your hard disk is fine
and the ST is causing the trouble.
DE RE DEALERS
Before I got interested in assembly language programming, I foolishly ignored Antic's advice. Now that my interest in assembly language is increasing, every book and manual I buy refers back to (you guessed it) De Re Atari. Not only can't I find it, I hear it's no longer in print. Any help?
It's usually available by mail for $9.95 from San Jose Computer,
1844 Almaden Road, Unit E, San Jose, CA 95125. (408) 723-2025. Antic
is interested in hearing from readers who know other sources of this elusive
COMPOSITE ST MONITORS
Gary Grider of Frankfort, KY (CompuServe I.D. 71016,1000) tells us that in addition to the RGB color video and RF modulated television signals "officially" built into the earlier Atari 520STs, pin 2 on the video jack (labeled "reserved" or "not used" on some ST's) carries a composite video signal that will drive any standard color monitor. (According to Atari, the 520STs and l040STs currently being shipped have composite plugs.) However, if you want to connect the composite pin on your ST, Grider says there are two wires to solder. Assuming you use shielded cable, solder the shielded center wire to pin 2, and solder the grounding sheath to pin 13. Here's how to find the right pins. As you look at the video plug in the back, there are three rows of four pins each, and a single pin underneath. These pins are numbered 1 to 13 going from top to bottom, right to left. Pin 2 is the top row, second from right. The grounding pin is the single pin at the bottom.
You don't want to chop up the video cable supplied with
your ST to use the video plug? Atari ST 13-pin connectors are available
from Alpha Products, 5740 Corsa Avenue, Westlake Village, CA 91362 (818)
889-9304. Alpha Products carries a wide range of plugs and jacks, including
cable connectors for the Atari ST disk drive and MIDI.
Please tell me if you have, or will publish, an AUTORUN.SYS to list and automatically run selected BASIC programs from a menu.
Yes, Antic has a AUTORUN.SYS file, a special program that
tells your computer to perform a task as soon as you boot up the disk.
It automatically RUNs another program, MENU. which will RUN any BASlC program.
You'll find both of these listings on every copy of the Antic monthly