(This month's Editor's Notes are
written by Richard Mansfield, Senior Editor of COMPUTE!
Publications-Robert Lock, Editor In Chief.)
While we can't say that the long, dark night of the personal computer
industry is over, there is a glow on the horizon.
The recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas
surprised some industry watchers as Jack Tramiel's Atari threw down a
challenge to the rest of the personal computer industry. Low prices and
high power were the theme of several Atari announcements:
A $399 15-megabyte hard disk which can be used with
most personal computers. A $150, 3½-inch, 250K floppy disk
drive. A $300, 3½-inch, 500K floppy. Fast, inexpensive, mass
The new ST line of Atari computers, $599 for 512K
RAM, 192K ROM, 512 colors, powerful 68000 microprocessor chip, mouse,
MIDI music interface, GEM operating system, and more. Dubbed the
"Jackintosh," the price/performance ratio of this machine will not go
unnoticed in the board rooms of IBM and Apple.
Oddly enough, at this, the biggest consumer show,
the two current giants of the consumer computer industry were nowhere
to be found. IBM never intended to come; Apple reserved space, but
later pulled out.
Commodore, although last year's introduction of
their Plus/4 and 16 models caused no stampedes in the marketplace,
remained unbowed. At CES, they announced the new Commodore 128, a more
powerful version of the Commodore 64. Company PR claimed that the 128
is totally compatible with the 64, can run CP/M with no problems, and
has a 40/80 screen column switch. Based on the venerable 6502, it also
includes a Z80 chip for the CP/M.
Everyone, though, was really waiting to hear about
the legendary Amiga Lorraine which has power and capabilities
comparable to Atari's new ST models. Commodore was aggressively silent
on this topic. There was a hint, though, that they will have something
to say in a few weeks.
While not part of CES, IBM's new AT sets another
standard of power and performance in the high-end market. Like Atari's
ST, the IBM AT is huge, fast, and still flexible. In their market
niches, these two machines will establish standards toward which other
companies must strive. Both computers represent a significant
technological advance-giving the consumer more megabytes per buck than
anyone would have thought possible a few years ago.
It's the ST and the AT and the Mac that are now
pulling the entire industry forward, toward that long-waited dawn.
SpeedScript 3.0 On Disk
This month COMPUTE! is trying an experiment. We're offering a disk
containing all the Commodore 64 programs in the issue. It includes a
new, enhanced Commodore 64 version of SpeedScript,
the word processor written by Charles Brannon of our staff. SpeedScript has proven to be one of
the most popular programs ever published by COMPUTE! Publications since
an earlier version first appeared in COMPUTE!'s GAZETTE more than a
This word processor is easy to use, fast, logical,
and also powerful. Comments from users and reviewers have compared it
favorably with commercially available word processors.
Because of its excellence and because of its length,
we are offering the readers who own Commodore 64s this issue's 64
programs on disk. This is a trial to see what kind of response a
companion disk will generate.
For details on how the disk can be ordered, please
see the instructions within the text of the SpeedScript article.