MORE MAKEBOOT DOS
I noticed that OS/A+, a discontinued DOS once available from OSS, was required to use the program MAKEBOOT.EXE in Customizing the Atari Operating System Device Handlers: Part II from Antic, May, 1989. The section labeled "OS/A+ Version" only changes MEMLO and prints a message, which is certainly not a DOS-specific thing.
The problem is that the program does not relocate to sit on the old MEMLO, but starts instead at $2100. When the DOS 2 DUP.SYS is loaded, MEMLO is ignored, and in this case DUP. SYS would overwrite the program. OS/A+ is completely memory-resident, loading no utility package from disk. So this is not a problem.
Also, the program does not contain a RUNAD or INITAD segment, so, if loaded from DOS 2, it would not run. OS/A will load a file with a .COM extender and begin execution at the beginning of the first segment. Once renamed, this program will work properly. The article did not mention that the program must be renamed "MAKEBOOT.COM" These are the only problems I found, and I realized that there was no reason the program should not work properly with DOS XL (another discontinued DOS once available from OSS) as well as SpartaDOS (currently available from ICD, Inc.) since these share the necessary traits.
I tested the program with SpartaDOS 3.2 and SpartaDOS X and had no problems. It should be noted that with SpartaDOS X the handler is not available from the command processor, but is available from an application. Also, users should check the value of MEMLO before loading the program to insure that it is below $2100. Adding RAMdisk handlers and/or R: handlers could boost MEMLO above this value.
Assuming these are the only conflicts with Atari DOS 2, it should be possible to modify the program to work with DOS 2. It may already work with DOS XE with an appropriate run segment added.
Mr. Thom works for ICD, but wants it understood that he is writing here on a strictly personal basis, not as a representative of ICD. Still, he certainly knows his assemblers and DOS.-ANTIC ED
We've been hearing from readers about our game Cribbage Atari, which ran in the May, 1989 issue. As it turns out, the game does not run properly on an 800, nor apparently on a 1200XL. Unfortunately, the Technical Editor who worked on the program didn't know how to play cribbage, so he never played long enough on his 800 to realize there was a problem. The testers in our office used a 130XE and an 800XL and had no problems whatsoever. If anyone has been able to fix the problem, please let us know how you did it!
- ANTIC ED
ERROR CODE CONFUSION
Whenever an error code comes up I have to stop, look up the code number, and try to figure out what it means. Maybe you could run some articles on error codes, what they mean and how to handle them.
For BASIC programming Electric Charlie by Patrick Bass (Antic, February 1987) gives detailed error messages in pop-up windows, so at least you don't have to keep looking up the numbers every time. For a guide to error trapping in your own programs, see Heidi Brumbaugh's Error Trapping in Atari BASIC in the February 1989 Antic.
Figuring out what a particular error means for the program you're working on is NEVER easy. One error number can apply to several different situations, so there's no way to get a definative analysis of an error. Also, error messages are often actually triggered by other problems occurring elsewhere in the program. - ANTIC ED
While playing Escape From Dispozon (March and April, 1989) I found an error. When I got to the island with the box and kitten, I couldn't get the kitten. Instead, I got the death routine you get when the crabs get you. How do I fix this?
West Palm Beach, Florida
There is a problem, but you don't have to fix it to play the game successfully. Touching the kitten is supposed to be fatal - you're just getting the wrong death routine. Try luring the kitten with sardines, instead.-ANTIC ED
I agree totally with Lee Jones' letter in the July Antic, calling for an Atari Farmers and Gardeners Users Group. As a farmer, I am apalled by the lack of agricultural software for Atari 8-bit computers. That's one reason I wrote my Customer List Manager, a simple database designed to keep yearly histories of orders. By changing the fields, this database can be used to track the performance of crops, weed and insect problems, and pesticide applications.
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, 544 Second Street, San Francisco CA 94107