~~~ STE SIG ARTICLE #2 ~~~ Welcome to the STE Special Interest Group (STE SIG). If this is the
first time you've read this section, then let me introduce myself - I'm Gary Spiteri chief of STE stuff so to speak. I do my best to look after the STE members out there by keeping you in touch with the news and views on their machine - the STE. And so to business....
~~~~~~ ATTENTION! THIS IS IMPORTANT!!! ~~~~~ As you may or may not know the DMA handler chip that looks after
hard disk drives, laser printers and also containing the DMA sampled sound hardware, has a major bug in it that results in the STE corrupting the directories of hard drives hooked to it. Atari are AT THIS MOMENT doing a FREE REPLACEMENT of the offending chip. Contact Atari or ComputerFair, or the nearest authorised Atari dealer. I've made mine worked on and it works! And as a bonus, the new chip also somehow fixes those Y modem problems (a CTS/RTS problem infact). So get to it!
STE Public Domain Disks
Anyone who has a modem would know about the STE section on the ACE BBS. There's a bit there that's worth having and more will be on the way. For those who have not got a modem, fear not! here is the solution. Anouncing the "STE ESSENTIALS" series of disks. Disk 1 is already available from the PD library. It contains utilities, patches/fixes, advice and other goodies. For example there is a program that allows the STE to be expanded to odd memory amounts like 2« MEG and 3 MEG. The KEYBELL programs replace the boring key click with great sounding DMA samples, I at the moment typing with what sounds like a manual typewriter!
In addition to the "ESSENTIALS" disks, the library now has the six STE demos written by Tony Barker. Soon I'll get "The Jungle Demo" from the UK and that will be released too. And a new version of the STE Starter disks with some of the stuff on STE ESSENTIALS #1 has also beeb released.
New STE products
Companies are finally begining to notice the STE and have released product that take advantage of the STE's features:
The GST 40E is the first video digitiser/grabber that takes advantage of the external phase lock capability on the STE. Simply plug it into the monitor port and away you go! ST owners have to open thier machine and install an extra chip board.
PC SPEED STE is an STE version of PC Speed the IBM emulator. It simply plug into the STE fitting over the socketed CPU. It supports CGA, Hercules, Tandy and Olivetti High Res. displays, read the mouse (for use with Windows 3), the serial and parallel ports, hard drives and extented memory if the STE has 2MEG or more of RAM.
A new game called "VAXINE" when run on an STE uses the machine's extra colours and sound to produce more colours on screen, with finer shading and extensive sample sound. The reviewer noticed that it looked and sounded identical to the amiga version (big deal!)
Deluxe Paint 3 for the ST has a button that selects the STE's 4096 colour pallete for finer colour choice - like 16 gray shades.
Whats wrong with DC Showit v1.1?
I don't know - except that when used the second time the screen is blank - right. Well press "T" to go to the top of the file and the problem is fixed! I think its a memory addressing problem....!?
The tale of 3 ARC formats...
Okay so ARC v6.02 crashes on the STE - rats! i suppose a new version is in the pipeline, but in the meantime what do we use to unARC files that contain subdirectories that are ARCed with v6.02? Easy you don't use ARC v6.02, one uses Dcopy v3.6 instead! This program is able to unARC all *.ARC files including subdirectories as per v6.02.
So what happens if you want to ARC a subdirectory? Easy you don't use ARC but you use ZOO. This ARChiver is similar to ARC v6.02 but works on the STE. To use to you need a shell program - so use ARCGSHL v3 which is an excellent shell for ARC, ZOO and LHarc. I personally use LHarc because for its high compaction abilities, but ZOO is good too.
TOS 1.62 is here! - somewhere
The latest delivery of STE's to hit the shops will besides having the new DMA chip, will also have TOS 1.62. This TOS fixes to medium res. boot problem (no more STE_FIX needed) and a few other things (maybe even that memory sizing problem). Rumours about a TOS 1.62 "upgrade" are around - but nothing definite. I presume to will be a upgrade like TOS 1.4 is now offered to existing ST owners.
Rumours about a new desktop designed by the makers of NeoDesk are floating around. Its supposed to be built into the new 32 MHz TT (yes the TT is delayed to up the clock speed so it is more competetive with the Amiga 3000). This desktop is to "migrate to the ST/STE" soon, so says a senior Atari dude. Because the STE has a larger OS ROM space (256K infact thats double the ST's ROM) this new desktop could be a very attrative upgrade.
And finally to the Blacklist
All is quiet on the crash front lately - no-one has contacted me about any programs that don't work on the STE, v1.1 of the Blacklist must be good! Still I've just written BlackList v1.2 of the Blacklist, it includes a few educational titles. If you have or know of a program that crashs on the STE and it's not on the list then please let me know!
Til next time Gary Spiteri Tel (02) 603 2970 or on the BBS as "GARY SPITERI"