Classic Computer Magazine Archive ANTIC VOL. 6, NO. 11 / MARCH 1988

I/O Board


I'm a one-man broadcasting department with the task of teaching college students "real world" radio and television production. Antic Prompter (October 1987) helps me improve this level of instruction without raising costs. As a result, I have been able to convince my department that an Atari 130XE, a 1050 disk drive and a printer would be a valuable yet inexpensive asset to our department--even though it's not made by IBM.

Do you know of any other Atari 8-bit programs useful for cable television or other broadcasting? And are there any educational grants to institutions utilizing Atari computers?

Paul Summitt
Aiderson Broaddus College
Philippi, WV 26416


Our thanks to lawyer David Rogers of ST. Maries, Idaho and physician Marc Mugmon of Columbia, Maryland for spotting inaccuracies in Morse Code Trainer (Antic, December 1987). These two amater radio operators point out that recent changes in the Federal Communications Commission Novice licerse DON'T include dropping the requirement that Novice operators must be able to send and receive Morse code at five words per minute.

Also, it seems that Antic misspelled Atari in Morse code. It should read ". __ __ . __ . __ . .. " --ANTIC ED


Another XL RAMdisk (Antic Tech Tips, November 1987) can totally destroy a program you have in memory. Worse, using a program can destroy the files on the so-called RAMdisk.

What that set of instructions really accomplishes is an override of the normal protection mechanisms of the RAMDISK.COM program. That is, it forces DOS 2.5 to believe tht it is running on a 130XE. In fact, I think step 4 (the L-load of RAMDISK.COM) can be accomplished more simply by pressing [RESET]. When RAMDISK.COM loads and runs, it discovers that the machine is not a 130XE and quits, but it quits via a call to DOSINIT, the same routine that is called when you press [RESET].

The important point here: DOS 2.5 believes it is using a 130XE and proceeds to use the extra banks (located from $4000 to $7FFF) as the RAMdisk. Ummmm. . . wait a minute, this is actually an 800XL. What "extra banks"? Well, DOS doesn't care. It is quite happy using that memory from $4000 to $7FFF as its RAMdisk. Now let's run a moderately big BASIC program. Or let's use any program that uses Graphics 8 or 15 plus Player/Missile graphics. Or....well, you get the idea.

If you have saved some data in a "file" in the supposed 800XL RAMdisk, then when the program uses any part of $4000 to $7FFF, it wipes out part of the RAMdisk. Or if you go to DOS after writing al program that uses that memory area, you can save a file and wipe out your program.

We're grateful for this warning (from a well-known developer who requested anonymity) about potential data-loss problems when the 101-sector XL RAMdisk is used with larger BASIC programs or P/M graphics. The method does work fine with smaller programs. This RAMdisk is intended mainly as a temporary expedient that might be useful during BASIC programming sessions, since the RAMdisk set-up must be typed in every time it is used.--ANTIC ED.


Please help me find information on programming MIDI in ST, True or GFA BASIC. I've tried to access the MIDI ports in ST BASIC, but have had no luck. I want to send and receive sequence data (from the on-board sequencer of my Ensoniq ESQ-1 digital wave synthesizer) and patch system-exclusive data to the 1040's internal disk drive.

Minneapolis, MN


I recently received a response from Electronic Arts President Trip Hawkins regarding the deplorable shortage of Atari 8-bit software. He told me how EA couldn't make any money on Atari software, citing poor sales among other reasons. However, if you look at the programs that EA released for the Atari, you'll see that they're low-quality. Products such as Mail Order Monsters, Financial Cookbook and Racing Destruction Set aren't worth spending the postage on, let alone $20. Come on EA, give us Skyfox and your other great programs that will be worth the cost to you and us.

Jeff Yonker

Trip Hawkins, I understand that you're reluctant to give us more Atari software because nobody buys your current EA products. However, what do you expect when you port over mundane, boring and low-grade software to the Atari? It's just not worth the money. Don't expect to win over Atari users until you provide Atari versions of your best software.

Eric Jensen
Barksdale AFB, LA


I wish to express my appreciation to Antic for publishing Steve Roquemore's review of Turbobase in the December 1987 issue. MicroMiser will continue to fully support the Atari 8-bit, due largely to the impetus generated by this excellent review.

Steve Bolduc
MicroMiser Software
Orlando, FL

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 tor Antic I/O Board, 544 Second Street, San Francisco, CA 94107.