BOOKS ON THE SHELF
by Peter Ellison
At ROM we receive many different books to review. Since it is impossible to review them all, I have selected a few of the more outstanding. A few weeks ago, I received the book, "The ABC's of the Atari Computer," and was quite impressed. Whether you are an XL, an XE, or a 400/800/1200 owner, this book can help you understand more about your computer.
The book starts at "A," going through to "Z," with definitions, examples, and programs, helping everyone from beginners to experts. Each definition is written clearly, and if a program is needed, it will be listed along-side the definition. For example, for the definition AMODEM, the author, David E. Mentley, didn't just explain that it was a public domain terminal program, but gave the complete listing of it. Instead of just knowing how to use the terminal program, you could type it in and run it.
Some of the definitions that I found extremely useful were the following: Collision Register-This gave a complete listing to all of the player/missile graphic memory locations in one easy to understand table; Left-handed Joystick- this tells a person how he or she can convert an ordinary Atari joystick to a lefty model; Printer Tables-helpful to anyone owning a printer because it tells the printer the control code for nearly every available printer-most printer companies usually don't make documentation specifically for the Atari; Screen Editor-this allows the user to use the built-in editing features of the Atari to create his own editor; Sector-an in depth description of a sector so even a neophyte can understand; Sector Examiner-a program that will allow the user to read the contents of any sector on an Atari disk-this can be extremely helpful when fixing disks; Serial Port the serial port on the Atari is used to input from, and output to peripheral devices such as disk drives, cassette recorder s, and printers. The book has a diagram and explains which pin does what on the port; Setcolor-explains Setcolor 0-4, and which playfield is affected; XIO-a table explaining each command it can be used for; and XL Series Memory Usage Changes-several variables in the database area have been changed in the XL series operating system, and a table is given telling of all the changes.
This book, besides having good program listings and definitions, has some very informative and amusing illustrations. For a suggested retail price of $14.95, this book should be added to every Atari User's collection. It can be purchased directly from:
20660 Nordhoff Street
20660 Nordhoff Street