8-Bit Software Online Conversion

            To: 999 (all members) From: K5B (David J.MacGraw.) Subject: 512 and DOS+ (Part 4) Copying COMMAND.COM to a ramdisc (M:) and amending the COMSPEC environment and PATH variables accordingly greatly speeds re-loading when necessary and ends Unable to load COMMAND.COM errors. The COMMAND/C <program name> construct for those programs requiring a second COMMAND.COM becomes almost transparent. Similarly, the COMMAND <2nd.batch file> substitute for DOS3.3's CALL 'sub-batch routine' command is equally effective. Many DOS programs permit 'shelling-out' whereby the current application is left in abeyance and control returned to the user usually by re-loading COMMAND.COM. Again, using a ramdisc copy makes this process virtually immediate. Return to the original program is normally done by entering the EXIT command. TIP: Try Ctrl/C or Ctrl/Break instead of typing EXIT. Many programs (eg. LIST v7.6b, QEdit v2.1, FED v1.51) respond correctly to this. NB: DOS's Ctrl/Break means Ctrl and the numeric keypad Break key (ie. the 'hash' symbol below '*'), NOT the Beeb's hard break combination! One minor annoyance when 'shelling-out' is the over-writing of the Type EXIT to return to ----- line by DR's copyright message. One solution is to edit the string to include a CR+LF at the start. Using a hex file editor ON A COPY FIRST amend the bytes at offset 0654E onwards from "DOS Plus" to 0D,0A,"DRDOS+". Another tweak to COMMAND.COM (06.01.87) which may be of use is to change the byte at offset 0168F from 07C to 07F. This permits the '|' character to be used in, for example, batch files. One need for this is to prepare the Beeb's soft keys for use when using STAR or ES's OSCLI/SuprStar commands to include control characters. The ramdisc is also useful for keeping oft' used utilities. One which I use a lot is Colour.EXE. This presets my CGA palette correctly for doing PCB layouts etc. and needs to be called four times before and after running the program, a long-winded task even with a hard disc! A 're-entrant' batch file (called AUTO so I can just press f1 - see Pt.3) does all the preparation needed, as follows: echo off suppresses some screen output cls clears the screen if %1 == RAM goto INM re-entrant call? if exist m:auto.bat goto RAM 1st call? mouse install 512 mouse driver ps3 install Problem Solver MemoPad 5 install ES MemoPad PadLoad load specific pad data copy ½system½colour.exe m: copy utility copy auto.bat m: copy self :RAM m:auto RAM repeat from ramdisc :INM m: thin change font colour 0 6 change colour palette colour 1 4 colour 5 1 colour 6 4 c: return to PCB directory EasyPC run PCB program session cls m: return to ramdisc colour 6 1 restore colour palette colour 5 6 colour 1 7 colour 0 0 normal restore font c: return to PCB directory Having installed the required programs the file recalls itself from ramdisc to execute the 4 colour changes needed; after the session it then restores the palette, again at lightening speed! Next time, ES's 'essential' collection of utilities and their hotkeys.  PRESS SPACE