FLOP 65 - Editorial

Fellow readers,

I greet you in difficult times. The coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic was the reason the Atariada meeting couldn't take place as planned. That's also why we have postponed publishing of the new issue of FLOP.

We don't know yet if Atariada will take place eventually. Also we are not sure if we will manage to prepare one more FLOP issue (as we did in several previous years) this year.

As it is not uncommon, bad times can also have certain positive consequences. By delaying the current issue, we improved and expanded the content of FLOP. We are bringing no less than 4 disks.

FLOP reader can view texts and run programs from all the disks. So if you would like to enjoy all the contents "from one place", we recommend to have disk A in D1:, disk B in D2:, C in D3: and D in D4:.

One technical innovation - we switched from DOS II+ to XDOS.

As you know, since FLOP 61, the magazine is bilingual. But FLOP 65 is the first issue with all the content in both languages. Well, because the software is mostly in English, this FLOP is de facto more English than Czech.

The main topic of this issue is the A-Track system, a most interesting creation that almost finished in oblivion. Did you know that at the end of the 1990s, a system that allowed you to operate model trains with your Atari was created? In this issue, you will find an article on the system, interview with its author and the software.

Thanks to Tonda's new program for transferring digital photographs to 8-bit Atari, you can see a photo of Terry Chamberlain, the author of A-Track. Terry kindly provided us complete documentation of his system, including the schematics. If you happen to be interested in building your own A-Track interface (so-called DIU), contact our publishing house.

In addition to articles on A-Track, there are more texts, including two game reviews kindly provided by the ABBUC publishing house as a part of our long-term cooperation.

Disk B contains 2 games from the Fandal's workshop:

Just a note: Dizzy requires at least 128 KB RAM. This is how we would like to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Atari 130 XE.

And I cannot neglect Tonda's tool for generating Mandelbrot set. You should surely read its description not to overlook any of its interesting features.

Disk C holds another Fandal's game - Letter Scrabble. The game is so big that it couldn't fit into a dedicated medium density disk. That's why the disk C is formatted to double density (180 KB). And you need at least 320 KB RAM to run this game. Read the game description to find out why.

Disk D is all dedicated for the A-Track software. It contains DOS, the software itself, configuration and other necessary files, Terry's photograph in executable form and instructions explaining how to run the software.

The last disk is formatted to single density. This way, we want to commemorate another anniversary - 40 year of the very first disk drive for our 8-bit computers - old, rugged Atari 810. It didn't support any other density, that's why it couldn't be used for most of the FLOP contents.

Apart from the authors of articles and software, the following people contributed to the magazine:

If you would like to contribute to the upcoming FLOP issues, do not hesitate to contact us. We will appreciate quality texts, music, images, games, demos or other software. The texts can be written in Czech and/or English. We will arrange a translation if needed. We expect publishing of issue 66 by the end of 2020 or in the first half of 2021.

Bohdan Milar
18 June 2020