In reference to "Rocking ROMS" (Antic, I/O Board, February 1984), I've had similar problems with ROM cartridges. Before dismantling your cartridges, try cleaning the contacts on the part of the cartridge that's inserted into the computer with a swab and alcohol. Often, a little dirt is the only reason a cartridge won't work. If there is any particularly stubborn dirt, rub it off with a piece of notebook paper (NEVER sandpaper!),
The contact edge is usually exposed in third-party cartridges, but it must be uncovered with Atari cartridges. Insert the tip of an ink pen into either end of the slot in the end of the Atari cartridge and slide it toward the center to release the spring holding the cartridge cover closed. Then just push back the end of the cover, and hold it in place with one hand while you clean the contacts with the other. Be sure to clean the contacts on both sides of the PC board.
Matthew J. W Ratcliff
St. Louis, MO
LASER DISKS AND ATARI
I own an Atari 800, 1200, an 810 disk drive and a Pioneer LD-1100 laser disk player. Is it now possible. or will it be possible to use the computer together with the laser disk player?
Roy L. Dobbs, Jr.
San Diego, CA
We do know that Atari is working on laser disk technology for use with its computers. However we don't have any details yet (neither does anyone else!). We'll put inforation in the magazine as it comes to us. -ANTIC ED
I'm a beginning programmer, and enjoy programming in BASIC. I, and I'm sure many others, would like to learn to program in machine language. Would it be possible for you to publish articles about machine language programming?
San Diego, CA
We have published such articles periodically in the past, and will continue to do so from time to time. -ANTIC ED
I have several questions. First, can you turn Atari's "keyclick" sound on and off? Second, can you make the cursor blink? Third, can you refer to the cursor as an ASCII number to edit it?
Brian Woodruff, Age 11
The keyclick in the Atari 400/800 is produced by a small speaker in the computer Programs like LJK's Letter Perfect disable the click by using a custom keyboard handler completely bypassing the Atari Operating System's handler For most users, it's easier to disable the click by attaching a switch to the keyboard speaker
XL machines, however, don't have an internal speaker. They send the keyclick sound to the TV speaker, whose volume can easily be turned down. Also, a special memory location controls the keyclick. Use POKE 731,255 to disable the keyclick, and POKE 731,0 to enable it.
The cursor can be made to blink with a machine-language routine executed during the vertical blank interval. If any readers submit such a routine, we'll publish it.
As far as we know, you can't change the cursor's shape with normal character-set editing techniques. Note that, if you change the pointer to the character set by POKEing a number other than 224 into location 756, the cursor's shape remains intact. -ANTIC ED
ATARI SLIDE SHOW?
I'd like to use my Atari PC system to design and execute programmed slide presentations using multiple projectors and dissolve units. To date I've been unable to locate such a system for the Atari. It should be possible to accomplish this with the computer's sound capabilities or the output of digital information through the joystick ports. Software would allow you to program "cues" on tape, and to store programs on disk for future presentations. Any help from your readers would be greatly appreciated.
1112 Hilton Ave.
Utica, NY 13501
The monitor I use with my Atari doesn't have a built-in speaker. Is there any way to install a speaker in the monitor to produce sound?
You can connect a small, inexpensive transistor AM radio to the audio output from the DIN jack on your 800 or 80OXL. Here's a diagram of the jack:
Dismantle the radio, and find where the tuner connects to the volume knob before the signal enters the amplifier. Disconnect the tuner and attach the audio output from the Atari to the same place the tuner's audio was connected. Attach the ground wire similarly and voila! Your monitor is wired for sound. -ANTIC ED
USING THE 1027
I recently purchased an Atari 1027 letter-quality printer. The printer is excellent, but the documentation is sparse.
I've discovered how to use the 1027's special printing features with AtariWriter, and would like to pass this information on to your readers. Before using a character from the International Character set, you must type [CTRL O] 27 [CTRL O] 23. Next, type [CTRL O], and then the decimal number of the character you wish to use (from the chart in the 1027 manual).
To use the 1027's underline feature, first turn off the International Character set, if you've been using it, with [CTRL O] 27 [CTRL O] 24. To start underlining, type [CTRL O] 15; to end, type [CTRL O] 14. Please note that the control character is the letter O, not the number zero.
Also, when using the 1027 with AtariWriter, select printer 3 (820) when using the print-preview or print-file commands.
Mike B. Stanger
Vancouver, B.C., Canada
I've been using the printer interface I built from your article "Make A Face" (Antic, October 1983) with no problems. However, I recently bought Atari Microsoft BASIC II, and find that the printer interface doesn't work with this language. Apparently, Microsoft BASIC uses the locations normally inhabited by the printer interface routine.
The only solution, which requires the use of an assembler is to find an area of memory tbat Microsoft BASIC doesn't use, and reassemble the program to the new location. In the assembler listing, change '*=$6oo'to '* = $???'in line 320. You must also change the pointer to the printer handler device. If you're not familiar with assembly language, perhaps someone in your local users' group can help you. -ALAN MACY
SORRY, WRONG NUMBER
In our July 1984 Antic, one of the Bulletin Board System numbers was incorrect: the NOCOAST system in Ohio. Please do not try calling NOCOAST at the number printed. That is the number of a private residence.
LISTENING TO ERROR MESSAGES
I am the owner of an Atari 60OXL, and my problem is that I'm blind, and so have difficulty telling when an error message appears when I'm typing in a program. I'd like to be able to have the machine sound a tone through the monitor or TV speaker when an error occurs.
What you need is a machine-language vertical-blank routine that would monitor important memory locations for an immediate-mode error Since Atari BASIC doesn't use memory location 195 for immediate mode errors, as it does for run-time errors, it wouldn't do any good to monitor this location. If any readers come up with a solution, please send it to Antic and we'll pass it along to the interested party, -ANTIC ED
I plan to purchase an Atari 80OXL soon. I've heard that some game cartridges don't work properly on the XL series. Is this true, and if so, is there any way I can make them compatible?
When the 12OOXL was introduced, some third-party cartridges wouldn't fit into the cartridge slot, requiting modification of the cartridge shell. This problem has been eliminated with the cartridge slot on the 6OOXL and 80OXL. We've beard reports of cartridge-based software being incompatible, but have been unable to verify these. A product called The XL "Fix," advertised in these pages by Computer Software 5ervices, PO. Box 17660, Rochester, NY 14617, purports to allow incompatible software in any form, including cartridge, to run on an XL machine. We haven't had a chance to test this product yet. -ANTIC ED
I recently bought an Alphacom 81 80-column printer. I'm pleased with its performance, but cannot figure out how to do graphics with the printer. Can you please help?
Alphacom informs us they now have expanded instructions for using the graphics features with Atari PCs, and two screen dump programs-one in BASIC, and one in machine language. Contact Alphacom at: 2323 S. Bascom Ave, Campbell, CA 95008. -ANTIC ED
We at Safeware (computer insurance) appreciate David and Sandy Small's story of our role in replacing their computer in "Nightmare Come True" (Antic, March 1984). Readers may wish to contact us at our new address, or call us at (800) 848-3469.
David K. Johnston
2929 North High St.
Columbus, OH 43202
Dave Johnston is a longtime Atari owner and hacker Nice to have a professional on our side. -ANTIC ED