Scor­pio News


January–March 1988 – Volume 2. Issue 1.

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Letters to the Editor

730K and ATs

The articles by David Hunt and John Parrot about their endeavours with 730k disks and AT High Density drives in Scorpio News (Vol. 1 nos. 3 and 4) make excellent reading. I tried using the DRIVPARM statement to persuade my Amstrad PC to read and write to a switchable 40/80 track drive, with considerable success – it really works and the extra disk capacity has been very useful.

I found that disks formatted in 40 track mode on the 80 track drive were inclined to give read errors when used in the standard 40 track drive, unless they were brand-new or had previously been formatted in the standard drive. This is, as John points out, due to the presence of portions of unerased tracks from previous usage but judicious use of a small magnet on the disk prior to formatting will avoid the problem. I haven’t experienced any problems with differences in recording levels on the two types of drive but I have only used a Mitsubishi drive and other manufacturers’ products may be less forgiving.

Has any Amstrad PC1512 user had problems with the printer when using MSDOS 3.2? My system, which had been working normally, now says “Write fault error writing device PRN” (which, if Ctrl/P is used to echo screen output to the printer, is interpreted as:

WwWrriittee ffaauulltt eerrrroorr wwrriittiinngg.....

on the printer). The print screen facility still works and it is possible, when using WordStar, to print files normally, but not when using Word Perfect. The system performs and prints quite normally when using DOS PLUS, so I assume that whatever is going wrong under MSDOS doesn’t happen under DOS PLUS but I’m not sure if I am dealing with a hardware or software fault and the most recent revision of MSDOS for the PC1512 does nothing to alleviate the fault. Any ideas would be gratefully received.

On another tack – I have been looking at BASICs for PCs. I don’t like Basic-2 which is bundled in with the GEM software for the Amstrad and found GWBASIC to be as uninspired as its predecessors out of the Microsoft stable. Turbo-Basic (Borland) is very good, and so is Quickbasic (Microsoft), although for ease of use and facilities, Turbo is better than Quick. Both support the 8087 co-processor but if you haven’t got one in your system, Turbo-Basic uses an emulator which works

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