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ANALOG Computing Pocket Reference Card (redux)


SlagOMatic

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Full props to "damianvila" for the Atari ATASCII font used herein.

https://github.com/damianvila/font-atascii

 

SUMMARY

I recreated the ANALOG Computing Pocket Reference Card to make it cleaner and more accessible. It's only a tiny bit of Atari history, sure, but one that I found invaluable as a BASIC programmer back in the day. I'm providing everything you need to create one of your own.


HISTORY
I don't remember if I got my original card included with a subscription to ANALOG magazine or if I had paid for it and gotten it in the mail. Either way, my copy of the ANALOG Computing Pocket Reference Card was an indispensable part of my BASIC programming experience on my Atari 400 and, later, 800XL. Over the years (now decades) my copy has gotten noticeably dog-eared, stained, and torn. I am awaiting the day when I unfold it and the crease finally gives out. But, since I'm fluent in Adobe Creative Suite I decided to recreate the card from scratch.

 

The obvious pain was typing everything in. I'm PRETTY SURE I've got everything accurate, but by all means if you find a typo or other error please let me know and I'll update the files accordingly.

 

I noticed a few things about the original card that only someone with an anal-retentive attention to detail and/or a graphic design background would notice. Most of these things are inherent in print media produced before the days of desktop publishing. For example, panels aren't aligned quite right on the page, spaces between sections aren't exactly equal, various alignments are off here and there, and there are all kinds of often-arbitrary inconsistencies in line spacing, font sizing, alignment, leaders, and more. (And don't get me started on that ANALOG Computing logo. Apparently nobody over there had a protractor in the 1980s.) One of the goals I wanted to achieve is consistency throughout the card. While in this case 100% consistency is impossible due to the quantities and arrangement of the various sections, I think I managed to get it as consistent as possible while still keeping that original 1980s retro feel intact.

 

I also (re)discovered a few things that I disagreed with and subsequently changed. Most of these are simple layout adjustments, line break changes, and things of that nature, but I did make a (very) few informational changes. The biggest of these is the "Color Register Values" section which never sat well with me, mainly because it used different color names than every other resource I used back in the day. So I renamed the colors according to these "consensus standards". For example, the original card listed the first four colors as "gray, light orange, orange, and red-orange" while my equally-dog-eared copy of De Re Atari and every other source out there that I've found more accurately lists them as "black, rust, red-orange, and dark orange". Also, in the "Code Translation Table" I opted to use damianvila's "Atari ATASCII" font for all of the characters. On the original card, the inverted characters are listed in ATASCII but the standard characters listed in Helvetica. This made no sense to me, so my card everything is properly ATASCII.

 

I also realized that printing the complete card would be difficult for most people. While the original card was 8 3/8" tall (easily printable on every printer today), it was also 30" long (eight panels at 3 3/4" wide apiece). As most people don't have access to printers of that nature I realized I had to do a layout adjustment to make it more accessible to everyone. By reducing the panel width slightly (from 3 3/4" to 3 2/3") and increasing the panel height slightly (from 8 3/8" to 8 1/2") I was able to fit three panels on one side of a page. This means anyone with a printer capable of printing on letter-size paper will be able to create a card that's close enough to the original.

 

DOWNLOAD

My original PRC, for reference: https://www.dropbox.com/s/oqc5qg7uhy8ml7e/original-scan.pdf

My recreated PRC (v1.0): https://www.dropbox.com/s/7rwenwgog8gyvny/analog-prc-v1.0.zip

 

Inside the ZIP file you will find three (3) sets of files grouped in folders. The respective contents of each file is identical to the others; only the layout varies.

  • "INDIVIDUAL PAGES" contains sixteen PDF files, one for each panel of the card. Each panel is 8 1/2" tall by 3 2/3" wide.
  • "FULL CARD" contains one PDF file containing two pages with eight panels on each page, laid out as the original card was laid out. Each page is 8 1/2" tall by 29 1/3" wide.
  • "SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED" is my workaround solution for people who want to print this at home. This contains six pages, four with three panels on them and two with two panels on them, laid out in such a way that it can be printed at home with a minimum of fuss. Each page is standard US letter (8 1/2" by 11").


ASSEMBLY INSTRUCTIONS
If you're using "INDIVIDUAL PAGES" or "FULL CARD" then it's up to you how to do it. Good luck. If you're using "SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED" here's what you'll need:

  • A printer. A laser printer will work better for this given the small size of the fonts being used, but if you want to try it on an inkjet good luck.
  • Three (3) sheets of letter-sized paper of your choice, more if you think you might make some mistakes. I recommend 80 lb bristol or equivalent. The original card was printed on ivory stock so if you want to keep that original look, that's what you want.
  • A metal straight-edge.
  • A SHARP cutting instrument (single-edge razor, XActo knife, etc).
  • A scoring wheel, available anywhere crafts are sold except don't buy from Hobby Lobby as they actively support hate groups.
  • An appropriate surface to cut on.
  • Strong paper glue of your choice. I strongly recommend Scotch "Permanent Tape Runner" which rolls out a 7mm wide double-sided permanent adhesive and works ridiculously well for this project.

 

NOTE: For common reference, "sheets" are pieces of paper, "pages" refer to the layout of the document within the respective PDF files, and "panels" are each section of the PRC (e.g., 1/3 of a page). The panels are designated as:

 

PANEL 1: Cover
PANEL 2: BASIC INSTRUCTIONS
PANEL 3: BASIC INSTRUCTIONS (continued)
PANEL 4: XIO COMMAND CODES, JOYSTICK MOVEMENT, SOUND COMMAND PITCH VALUES, PLAYER/MISSLE AREA LAYOUT
PANEL 5: SYMBOLIC DEVICE NAMES, 6502 ASSEMBLER LANGUAGE MNEMONICS
PANEL 6: PEEK/POKE ADDRESSES
PANEL 7: PEEK/POKE ADDRESSES (continued), ERROR MESSAGES
PANEL 8: ERROR MESSAGES (continued), COLOR REGISTER VALUES, REFERENCE CARD LEGENDS & ABBREVIATIONS
PANEL 9: CODE TRANSLATION TABLE (dec 0-59)
PANEL 10: CODE TRANSLATION TABLE (continued, dec 60-119)
PANEL 11: CODE TRANSLATION TABLE (continued, dec 120-179)
PANEL 12: CODE TRANSLATION TABLE (continued, dec 180-239)
PANEL 13: CODE TRANSLATION TABLE (continued 240-255), KEYBOARD INTERNAL CODES, HEXADECIMAL COLUMNS
PANEL 14: DEFAULT CHARACTER SETS
PANEL 15: GRAPHIC MODE SPECIFICATIONS (0-5)
PANEL 16: GRAPHIC MODE SPECIFICATIONS (continued, 6-11)

 

  1. Load ONLY three sheets of your paper into your printer.
  2. If you have a printer that DOES support duplex printing (can print on both sides of the page at once) then open the PDF file "prc-duplex". Verify that your page setup and print settings are correct; you should be printing on US Letter sized paper, scaling should be disabled (print at 100%), and duplexing should be enabled for "Short Edge Binding" or equivalent. Print the document. When finished you should have three correctly collated double-sided printed sheets. Sheet 1 should have panels 1-3/14-16, sheet 2 should have panels 4-5/12-13, and sheet 3 should have panels 6-8/9-11.
  3. If you have a printer that DOES NOT support duplex printing then open the PDF file "prc-simplex". Verify that your page setup and print settings are correct; you should be printing on US Letter sized paper, and scaling should be disabled (print at 100%). Print the document. Sheet 1 should have panels 1-3, sheet 2 should have panels 4-5, and sheet 3 should have panels 6-8. Put those three sheets back into the printer in the correct orientation so that the blank backs of the sheets will be printed on next. IMPORTANT: Load the sheets in the reverse order, so the sheet with panels 6-8 goes on the bottom of the tray, the sheet with panels 4-5 goes on top of that, and the sheet with panels 1-3 goes on top of that. During the second go-around, you want the sheet with panels 1-3 to be printed on FIRST. When finished you should have three correctly collated double-sided printed sheets. Sheet 1 should have panels 1-3/14-16, sheet 2 should have panels 4-5/12-13, and sheet 3 should have panels 6-8/9-11.
  4. Using your metal straight-edge and a scoring wheel, score the sheets at the designated scoring lines (dashed lines on the sheets). Make sure you score on the correct side of the sheet or the card will not fold properly! The side you press down on with the scoring wheel will be the "inside" of the fold. The finished card folds accordion-style so you will be scoring on both sides of the card in an alternating pattern. Again, follow the scoring lines to be sure.
  5. Sheets 1 and 3 do not get trimmed, but sheet 2 requires trimming. Using your metal straight-edge and your sharp cutting instrument, trim the edges of sheet 2 according to the trim lines (solid black lines on the sheets).
  6. Apply a bead of adhesive on one edge of the designated area of sheet 2. Carefully line up the adhesive edge of sheet 2 with the matching edge of sheet 1 (or 3); the edge of sheet 1 (or 3) should butt up against the score you created in step 4. Apply pressure to smooth out and confirm the bond. If you're using an adhesive that requires drying time, take a break until the adhesive has fully dried.
  7. Apply a bead of adhesive on the other side of the designated area of sheet 2. Carefully line up the adhesive edge of sheet 2 with the matching edge of sheet 3 (or 1); the edge of sheet 3 (or 1) should butt up against the score you created in step 4. Apply pressure to smooth out and confirm the bond. If you're using an adhesive that requires drying time, take a break until the adhesive has fully dried.
  8. Fold the card according to the scoring marks you made earlier. Your card will undoubtedly be stiff and crackly; this is normal. Place your card under a heavy flat object (like, a stack of books) for a couple of hours to "lock it" into place.
  9. That's it. Your card should now be complete.

 

Feedback is appreciated. I'll update the files (and this post) as needed.

Edited by SlagOMatic
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Thanks a lot for making this!

I just printed it on A4 (several tries on normal paper, will later try it on thicker paper).

To print it on A4 I used 'scale to printable area'. After the initial folding, excess on the sides need to be cut, but then it looks nice (see picture).

 

Pocket-Reference-Card.jpg

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Very nice!  I went through this some years ago and ended up with pretty much your "some assembly required" version.  Does anyone have any idea how we could get these professionally printed in a folding one-piece document? 

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2 hours ago, Larry said:

Very nice!  I went through this some years ago and ended up with pretty much your "some assembly required" version.  Does anyone have any idea how we could get these professionally printed in a folding one-piece document? 

If there’s enough interest I can probably have a short print run done. And if that’s the case I can reformat the card so it matches the original in all dimensions.

 

So, if anyone is interested in a professionally offset printed card, let me know.

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4 hours ago, mmueller said:

Thanks a lot for making this!

I just printed it on A4 (several tries on normal paper, will later try it on thicker paper).

To print it on A4 I used 'scale to printable area'. After the initial folding, excess on the sides need to be cut, but then it looks nice (see picture).

If you give me a little time I can probably reformat the card for A4 paper size. The hard part was typing and formatting everything; resizing is comparatively easy.

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Yes, I'd be interested.  If you get some cost info, please pass it on.  BITD, I used that card all the time.  Finally fell apart at the folds.  Initially a giveaway for subscribing to Analog, IIRC.  Later sold.  Much handier than other similar products, IMO.

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17 hours ago, SlagOMatic said:

If you give me a little time I can probably reformat the card for A4 paper size. The hard part was typing and formatting everything; resizing is comparatively easy.

That would be perfect! Thanks a lot, I'll then wait with the better print!

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11 hours ago, mmueller said:

That would be perfect! Thanks a lot, I'll then wait with the better print!

Version 1.1 of the card is now available. The version 1.0 download has been removed.

 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/bylwg8sbduwhdxl/analog-prc-v1.1.zip

 

CHANGES

  • A minor typo (an extra space in the header rows of the GRAPHIC MODE SPECIFICATIONS chart) was corrected.
  • The formatting was slightly massaged to create a card that will fit on A4 paper.
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