Classic Computer Magazine Archive ANTIC VOL. 8, NO. 5 / SEPTEMBER 1989

I/O Board


As a relative newcomer to the world of Atari, I'd like to know more about the various types of DOS I keep hearing about - SmartDOS, TopDOS, MyDOS, etc.  Is there any article available that discusses their relative merits?
    Also, has there been an article which would introduce a novice such as myself to a RAMdisk?  The 800XL I purchased has a 256K RAMdisk installed, but I don't know how to access it.

Rudolph Kraus
Fayette, IA

For a DOS overview, our most comprehensive comparison article is Eric Clausen's Everything You Wanted to Know About DOS in the July 1985 issue.  Unfortunately, some of the programs listed in the article are no longer available, and some super new disk operating systems have come out since.  The latest two contenders, SpartaDOS X and DOS XE are discussed at length in the March, 1989 Antic.
    SmartRAM 2.5, in this issue, provides a RAMdisk that should work with most 800XL upgrades and DOS 2.5.  RAMdisks are largely used as "temporary" disk drives.  To save a file to a RAMdisk, you simply address the drive as D8:, rather than the usual D1: or D2:.  Because the RAMdisk is actually part of the computer's internal memory, saving or loading files to RAM is much faster than using an external drive.  If you have only one drive, the RAMdisk can act as a second drive, making it possible to copy files without disk swapping.

    The drawback to a RAMdisk is that it goes away when the power does - if you forget to save your RAMdisk files to an actual floppy disk before pressing [RESET] or turning off the computer, you lose them forever. -ANTIC ED



Is it possible to hook up my Atari 800 to my Atari SC1224 monitor? For that matter is it possible to hook up a VCR to my SC1224?

Franca Simanjuntak
Oakland, CA

The Atari ST's SC1224 monitor does not use composite signals, which the 8-bit requires. For the VCR, it's not the monitor you have to worry about, it's the sort of signal your computer is sending. Since the 8-bits use the same signal as the TV, you can hook up your 800 up to a VCR. For an ST, a VideoKey is usually required to translate the signal. -ANTIC ED


I noticed after a few levels of Shutdown in the April, 1989 issue that an elevator which should take you to the bottom level of the screen actually takes you even further, causing a "Cursor out of bounds" error. At first I thought Tony was using this as an entrance to his other fine game Escape Hell (June, 1988), but upon examining the code, found that the middle of line 4505 should be changed from -@@- to -/@- because the / indicates a stop for the elevator

Craig Anderson
Indianapolis, IN



I have an Atari XEGS computer and would like to know if I have to use a color monitor with it, or could use a monochrome monitor. Would I be able to me an Atari XEP80 card with the XEGS using a television or do I have to use a monitor?

Richard Williams
Cleveland, OH

If you don't want to use a TV for a monitor, you can use a color composite monitor (but not the RGB monitors used with the ST, for example). Composite monochrome monitors are not that easy to find today, but they give you the best results with the XEP80. Most 8-bit software is designed for color monitors, so you may find monochrome a bit limiting. A good color monitor will provide better resolution and less artifacting (color smearing) than a television set -- and give you considerable control over tint and color intensities. -ANTIC ED


I read your Adventure Works article in the April, 1989 Antic, but I can't get the game Barnaby's Isle to work. I keep getting pushed back by the troll. Also, the article has a misprint on page 30 -- it says lines 205 to 207 contain the the USE routine, but there's no line 207. Help!

Martin Oliverez
San Jose, CA

The game is working all right, but there's an object you need to "USE" at the point just before you meet the troll. (Line 205 should make the object required quite clear, as a matter of fact.) Lines 205 through 221 contain the various results you get with USE. Usually, text adventures are encrypted so you can't "read" the answers in the program, but this sample adventure should be easy to solve if you just scan the listing itself for clues. -ANTIC ED



In Larry Whiting's June, 1989 I/O letter, he described problems printing sideways on his Atari XMM801 printer. My company, Starfleet Software, writes and sells software to fill in the gaps between all the Epson compatible software and the needs of the XMM801.   Our Utility Disk #4 for the Atari XMM801 printer contains a utility for printing SynCalc-format files sideways. The cost is $10 paid by money order or check made out to Terry Ortman. Users may browse our online catalog by calling am TIES a (217) 423-7430, 24 hours a day, 300/1200 baud operation.

Terry Orman
1037 W. Leafland Ave.
Decatur, IL 62522



I have been having difficulty using the TRAP statement on my Atari 130XE. I never encountered this command in my BASIC Programming course, and would like more information on how to use it.

John Mitchell
Cambridge City, IN

The TRAP statement is a way of telling the computer "If there's no error, let the program handle it, at this line." Using TRAP statements is vital to error-proofing a program. For a detailed discussion, check out Heidi Brumbaugh's Error Trapping in Atari BASIC in the February, 1989 issue of Antic Back Issues are available. -ANTIC ED



We just bought our first issue of Antic It was like Christmas! We suddenly felt like kids in a candy store. With very little software available locally, Antic was like an oasis in an area we thought had all but dried up! Thanks to Antic we can still get software for our beloved 800XL and 1050 drive - we sent for a subscription right away. Thank you for letting us know that we aren't the only loyal Atari users out them.

Pain Baweja
Grand Rapids, MI

Thanks. It's enthusiastic Atari 8-bit fans Like you who keep Antic going. -ANTIC ED