QWK mail readers

From: Michael Current (aa700@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 04/06/93-10:29:25 AM Z

From: aa700@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Michael Current)
Subject: QWK mail readers
Date: Tue Apr  6 10:29:25 1993

 From: winston@merk.com (Winston Smith)

On April 3, 1993 at 23:22:55 GMT
  aj227@yfn.ysu.edu (Matthew A. Topinka) says:
MT> Has anyone out there successfully used the QWK mail reader programs
MT> for the 8-bits that are available in the Archive?  I have tried using 
MT> QWKSILVER and it freezes up after reading the CONTROL.DAT file.  When
MT> I tried the PABQWK reader, I keep getting errors from
     I got exactly the same errors as you described when I first tried
running QWK-SILVER and PAB-QWK on my stock ATARI 800XL.  Here is the answer
to your questions:
     1.) "I have tried using QWKSILVER and it freezes up after reading the
          o  What you are describing is a bug that I discovered and
reported to the author in his first release of QWK-SILVER, which the author
now describes as the "D2:" bug.  What happens is the following:
          A.) QWK-SILVER, after setting up the CONTROL.DAT files, proceeds
to look for the "HELLO" bulletin file on "D1:".
          B.) QWK-SILVER, not finding any "HELLO" or "WELCOME" bulletin
file on drive one, now goes and looks for any "HELLO" or "WELCOME" bulletin
file on "D2:"
          C.) If you have no "D2:" drive, QWK-SILVER locks up!!!
          ...what the program was --SUPPOSED-- to do, was to take a look at
the "CONFIG" setup drive table each time, to see if a drive existed before
accessing it...  --BUT-- QWK-SILVER --IGNORES-- the setup parameters and
configuration table completely.  The author never bothered to test for a
--ONE-- drive system, assuming that every ATARI user in the universe had at
least two or more drives, like he did.  (NOTE:  Supposedly this "access D2:
whether D2: exists or not..." problem has been corrected in the latest
release of QWK-SILVER.)
          SOLUTION:  The first release of QWK-SILVER --MUST--... absolutely
--MUST-- be run on a two-drive system where a second drive has been plugged
in and turned on, or a RAMDISK is present as device "D2:".  It will not run
otherwise!  Get the latest release of QWK-SILVER if you need to use it on
only one drive (like an XF551 or 3.5" drive).
     2.) "PAB-QWK reports an error in its RUNTIME.COM module."
          o  PAB-QWK will only run on a 130XE that uses XE entended
banking!  The program PAB-QWK will crash on any other ATARI computer which
isn't hardware copatible to the ATARI 130XE.  PAB-QWK will not run on an
400, 800, 1200XL, 800XL, 600XL, or any of the earlier computers.
     ADDENDUM:  There are some excellent notes about the "QWK" message
format included with the "QWK-SILVER" executible compiled TURBO BASIC
modules.  It turns out that the "QUICK" message format is actually quite
simple.  It is fairly easy to prepare a TEXTPRO Macro module that will read
the ".QWK" message packets.  Likewise, TEXTPRO is quite capable of creating
reply ".REP" QUICK message packets, provided that the user can supply some
type of "time-stamp" for the clock field.  Strictly speaking, it is not
necessary to require either dual drives or extended XE RAM banking in order
to be able to read and reply to messages using the QUICK message format and
an offline reader.  The TEXTPRO editor is quite capable of generating the
control characters and fixed length records necessary to be compatible with
the QUICK message packet format.  Compiled BASIC is not really a necessary
requirement.  (In fact, the format of a QUICK packet is so simple that I am
surprised that there are not FORTH, C, PILOT, LOGO, and ACTION! programs
written that will generate QWIK message packets.  Well, good luck with your
trials of off-line message readers!  I hope that you may find a solution
that works for you....
P.S.  (Someone in charge of the Archive should slip a note into the
QWK-SILVER first release stating that two drives are required to run the
program.  Thanks!)
         Michael Current, Cleveland Free-Net 8-bit Atari SIGOp
Carleton College, Northfield, MN, USA / UUCP: ...!umn-cs!ccnfld!currentm
      Internet: currentm@carleton.edu / Cleveland Free-Net: aa700

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