Classic Computer Magazine Archive ANTIC VOL. 5, NO. 5 / SEPTEMBER 1986

I/O Board


I was trying to use the variable COMP in a gambling program I'm writing. When I enter this line and press [RETURN], I get an error message. I then tried to use COMP as a command. I typed COMP (42) and I didn't get an error message. The computer just printed out READY. What is this command for?

Brian Kern
Del Mar, CA

The COM statement performs the same function as the DIM statement. It was left out of the original Atari BASIC due to lack of space. COM was supposed to allow two programs to share variables in COMmon, a la FORTRAN. Although this was dropped, for some reason the COM keyword was left in and redirected to DIM.

Use LET to get around the problem like this:

20 LET RUN = 20
30 LET GOSUB = 5
40 LET RETURN = 12


Many thanks for recognizing our users group with an Antic Award (May 1986). As always, group accomplishments represent the efforts of more than one individual. In our case, credit is due to Mike Dunn, founder of Eugene ACE and one of the very first owners, anywhere, of an Atari computer. Also to Larry Gold, the club's unofficial general manager and all around sparkplug, and our Official ST Enthusiast, Jim Bumpas. Without these three, I doubt that ACE would exist at all, let alone thrive. As an Antic subscriber, I would like to acknowledge your own special contributions to all Atari users. Thank you for recognizing the work of all groups listed in your May awards issue.

Richard Barkley,
Atari Computer Enthusiasts
Eugene, OR


How can I print the Atari Fuji symbol shown in the upper right corner of the optional character box in the 1st-Word ST word processor? I am using my ST with the Star SG-10 printer in IBM mode.

Brad Fallen
Moscow, Idaho

1st-Word normally treats ASCII textfiles as just that--ASCII characters. Printers are designed to expect ASCII values and print them as characters. The two character strings which make up the left and right halves oflhe 1st-Word Atari Fuji are CHR$(14)+CHR$(15). These are not ASCII characters and so they are not recognized by most printers. The Fuji is printable as a screen dump on any pin- addressable printer, such as your Star SG-10. To do this, hold down the [ALTERNATE] key while pressing [HELP].--ANTIC ED


Because of budget constraints, all we have in my second grade classroom is one Atari 800 and an old TV. It didn't take long for the kids to exhaust the supply of programs in my two books, so Antic came to the rescue. I am a compulsive filer, and had clipped and filed all the articles in my back issues. I gathered all the short graphics programs I could find (usually from I/O board) and took them into school. The kids are still pleading with me to stay in at recess an go back to the computer and "play." So, Antic readers, keep those little programs coming in!

Rebecca Pyle
Mechanicsburg Schools
Urbana, OH.

Antic will gladly print interesting mini listings in the I/O Board or as Tech Tips. We have an open invitation for readers to send in their best short programs.--ANTIC ED


In the first lesson of the New Owners Column (Antic, March 1986) the author said, "I won't assume you know anything about your computer except how to hook it up." That described me perfectly. But there was no mention of how to format a disk. An unformatted disk now means to me seeing BOOT ERROR down the length of the screen. A quick call to my more knowledgeable friend quickly put that matter to rest. He even told me how to bring up the commands for DOS 2.5. But my disk drive came with DOS 3. Another call to him resulted in--not much. It appears he has changed his phone to an unlisted number in lower-left Beirut where it is much quieter. I then followed your suggestion about obtaining a copy of Lon Poole's Your Atari Computer, rushed home to read it and found only an explanation of DOS 1 and 2--nothing about DOS 3.0 or 2.5. Is this a plot or what?

I finally got that program running, but it was a tough fight. Now, what is this that I hear about my 800XL having BASIC B, but a C version is better? Did my wife put you up to it? She said I was spending too much time with my computer when I could be watching "Remington Steele" on TV with her.

Thomas Wood
Indianapolis, IN

You can get DOS 2.5 and BASIC Revision C from Atari Corp., Customer Relations Dept., 1196 Borregas Avenue, Sunnyvale, CA 94086. The Rev. C BASIC cartridge costs $15 plus $2.50 for mailing. Send Atari your DOS 3 disk for a free exchange with DOS 2.5--which is compatible with DOS 2. Any 1986 Antic monthly disk contains DOS 2 in the DOS.SYS, DUP.SYS files, or you can obtain these filesfrom a local Atari users group.--ANTIC ED


When Antic installeda RAMdisk on our in-house 1040ST, it started out correctly as drive D. But when we re-booted after a program crash, the RAMdisk called itself drive E and couldn't be accessed. We quiclkly booted again several more times and each time the drive letter advanced by one--drive F, drive G, etc. We let the 1040ST sit for a few minutes while we pondered the problem. When we booted once again, the RAMdisk was back at drive D.

After a telephone call to Atari, we found that the hefty power supply built into the 1040ST has a lot of energy in reserve. After the 1040ST is turned off, 10- 15 seconds may pass before the power drops down to a level allowing the RAM to forget which drive the RAMdisk wanted to use. Like an elephant, the 1040ST tries hard to remember, so just let the computer sit for a few extra seconds between bootups if you're using a RAMdisk. --ANTIC ED


The immediate future of computers lies in desktop publishing, and I can't think of a better computer for this than the Atari 8-bit. However, I and countless others may be forced into buying an Apple (yechh!) for this purpose, simply because there is so little Atari publishing software available. I would love to buy Newsroom for the Atari, but Springboard only seems to be releasing it for Apple. Even Broderbund's Print Shop has a new disk of fonts that is currently only available for the Apple and Commodore. Xlent has created Typesetter and Rubber Stamp for the Atari, but the documentation is confusing. I bought both packages and still don't know how to use them.

How much better to be known as the "desktop publishing computer" than the "game machine". Perhaps Atari owners and software companies can join together to overcome this obstacle.

Lee Ellis
Indio, CA

We edit Antic entirely on 8-bit Ataris with PaperClip, then transmit the copy via modem to our typesetter. Our art department pastes up the copy manually and sends it to the printer. Of course, that's not "desktop" publishing--the art of doing the typesetting, layout and printing in-house with a personal computer and laser printer. For the ST, desktop puhlishing programs such as PCA's Graphic Artist are in the works, and Atari Corp. is working on an ST laser printer.--ANTIC ED


I applied this pattern:

x        x
which I remember being told in my chemistry class is a very stable pattern for carbon, to Life Revisited, (Antic, April 1986). Indeed, the shape remained constant from the very beginning.

Martin Levi
Kew Gardens, NY

Antic welcomes your feedback but we regret that the large volume of mail makes it impossible for the Editors to reply to everyone. Although we do respond to as much reader correspondence as time permits, our highest priority must be to publish I/O answers to questions that are meaningful to a substantial number of readers.

Send letters to: Antic I/O Board, 524 Second Street, San Francisco, CA 94107. ANTIC ONLINE has an I/O section for email to the Editors only-- online queries about Antic products should be uploaded to the Customer Service I/O section of ANTIC ONLINE.