I/O BOARDDesperately Seeking RAM
I recently bought a memory-upgraded 130XE. The store personnel could give me little or no information about the computer. Since then, I've been unable to get the information I need to properly utilize the upgrade. I even made contact with Dr. Brilliant, who wrote an article on memory upgrades for Antic (Dr. Brilliant's Incredible Atari Brain Transplants, November 1988.) I also tried using MyDOS 4.5 (advertised as being able to create RAMdisks with all 8-bit upgrades) to no avail.
The upgrade is a professional-looking board that's about 4 X 5 inches in size, and sits on top of the motherboard under the shielding. It shows the words "RAMpak XE Plus, Intellect Systems, Copyright 1987, Made in USA, Rev B," and there appear to be 32 256K chips on it for a total of 1 megabyte. There is a two-position switch on the back of the computer that disables BASIC in one position.
If anyone know about this board, or better yet, can put me in touch with the manufacturer, please let me know.
Los Angeles, CA
I have had a lot of fun using the songs from the Antic Sound Processor (February/March 1990). I could not get the sample test run to work with D:SLOOPJB.ASP. I was able to use RPALMER.ASP, JACKSON.ASP and GBUSTERS.ASP. What happened?
Somehow, SLOOPJB.ASP didn't make it onto the disk, even though we had written the instructions based on that particular sample. As you figured out, you can load and play the files that are on the disk by substituting their names for the missing file. - ANTIC ED
It's time that influential publications such as Antic recognize that since 1985 the XE model computers have replaced the 800/400 and XL computers. Antic should refer to these Atari computers not as Atari 8-bits, a confusing, arbitrary label, but as Atari XE's. I could even see changing the magazine's full name to Antic, The Atari XE Resource. I for one have been a proud and enthusiastic Atari XE user for nine years and will continue to be for years to come.
Mt. Pleasant, MI
Anything but arbitrary, the term 8-bit describes how your computer hardware processes data - eight bits (one byte) at a time, as opposed to the sixteen bits an Atari ST works with. This is a standard term in the computer industry, used to refer to a class of computers.
Besides, if we added XE to our name, we'd risk alienating all those users dedicated to other machines. Among others, the 800, 800XL and even the 1200XL have their ardent fans, even if they're no longer in production. - ANTIC ED
I'm 15, and own an Atari 800XL and a 400. Until my grandfather started getting me your magazine and disk, I was having one heck of a time finding software and info on my computer. I've got a modem, and would love to find someone to talk to online. Do you have any lists of people who frequently use their modems?
Assuming you have a good telecommunications program, and depending on how much money you can afford to spend, there are various options open to you. Online services like CompuServe (800-848-8199 for voice information) and GEnie (800-638-9636) charge for their time, but they offer message bases, information and public domain software for a wide range of interest groups, including 8-bit Atari users. Closer to home, you're most likely to find people going online on an electronic bulletin board (BBS). Check local computer stores and general computer newsletters for information on any such bulletin boards in your area. Thanks to the modem's magic, you can participate on most boards, even if they're run on other kinds of computers. Then, once you hook up with other telecommunications buffs, chances are you'll be able to track down some local Atari users. If some long distance charges are acceptable, various Atari users groups around the country have their own BBSs. - ANTIC ED
Over the last year, we've gotten an increasing number of calls from new Atari users with some very basic questions about their computers. We've even had people who couldn't figure out how to run the Antic Monthly Disk - an apparently simple matter of putting the disk in drive 1 and turning the computer on, with BASIC. There's always a HELP file on disk, but some people never even get that far. One problem is that XL/XE owners should NOT hold down [OPTION] when turning on the computer - the Atari BASIC "cartridge" is built into these computers, and holding down the [OPTION] key disables it.
To help new users, we ran the First-Time Atari Users Handbook in the February, 1988 Antic. Back issues are still available - see our ad in this magazine, or call (800)234-7001 for credit-card orders.
Another excellent guide, Your Atari Computer by Lon Poole gives very helpful information about using DOS, beginning BASIC programming, error messages, and more. It's so handy that we always keep it close at hand here in the Antic offices. Some mail-order companies still carry the book - check the ads in recent issues. The book can also be ordered direct from Osborne/McGraw-Hill, 2600 Tenth Street, Berkeley CA 94710. (ISBN 0-931988-65-9, $17.95. Credit card orders: (415)548-2805.) - ANTIC ED
While looking through some back issues of Antic I came across the World's Shortest Banner Program in the December, 1988 Tech Tips. I tried typing it in, but can't get it to work. In particular, what is that funny plus-or-minus symbol in line 20? No matter what I type, I get an error message.
Port Angeles, WA
That character was a mistake - our typesetter's equipment interpreted the ^ character as a plus-or-minus sign, and we didn't catch the error in time. The character should have been a caret, used here to raise two to the power of I. That section of the code should read:
BIN(I)=2^I - ANTIC ED
I recently bought a used PowerPad by Chalk Board, along with MicroMaestro. I've found this unique device interesting to use on my 800XL. I'd be interested in ordering more software, and I'd also like to get information on how to read the PowerPad's input, so I can write my own software for it. Can you tell me if Chalk Board is still in business, and if so, how I can get in touch with them?
We ran a review of the PowerPad in the September 1984 Antic. At that time, Chalk Board offered a Programmers Kit with extensive technical information. The company's long gone, but there might still be Programmers Kits around. Check with the mail order companies that advertise in Antic, or try a local users group. If anyone knows of a source of software for the PowerPad, let us know! - A