If you've been reading START for any length of time, then you know that we cover a wide variety of online activities every month in our Online with START column. The guiding hand for Online with START has been Assistant Editor Gregg Pearlman, so it's only appropriate to turn the rest of this page over to him. Gregg, the floor is yours.
It's about time we had a telecommunications issue. The ST community has always been active online and sometimes our Online with START column just can't cover all we want to cover. Yet even avid modem users don't go online all the time. Hence START's first "ST: Online (and Off)" issue.
When the ST was first designed, Shiraz Shivji and his talented crew were careful to build in facilities that would simplify online communications. They included not only an industry-standard serial port to make hooking up a modem easy, but they also bundled a simple VT-52-like telecom program with each ST shipped.
That VT-52 emulator, while serviceable, was hardly sophisticated enough for most telecommunications buffs. A flock of telecom programs soon hit the market. Out of the group, one--Flash! from Antic Software--soon became the standard against which all others are judged.
In the years since that first version of Flash! was released, other programs have matched, and in some cases exceeded, the standard it set. We asked Jerry McBride to compare the four top telecom programs. His Buyer's Guide to Telecommunications Programs in this issue gives you an in-depth analysis of their features and usability.
Cyber Paint author Jim Kent took a rare moment away from designing superb graphics programs to write Space Wars, a nice single-computer game. We asked David Ramsden, author of Cyber Texture, to convert Space Wars into a game with built-in telecom features so that it could be played over the phone lines. The result is Space Wars 2400. If you want to see how to manage telecommunications in your own programs, take a look at the source code on the START disk.
Of course, you can't spend all your time online, so we've included a good sampling of off-line activities in this issue. Procrastinators, take heed: it's time to do your Federal income taxes. We've tried to make it easier by including a spreadsheet overlay written by Tom Chandler. It's on your START disk; for instructions, see Time for Taxes! in this issue.
We've finally had the chance to put Calamus, ISD Marketing's landmark desktop publishing program, through its paces and, not surprisingly, it excelled. Check out our review by Dan Fruchey.
Remember GFA BASIC 2.0 on your January disk? Well, the response was so good that now you'll find GFA Object, a commercial 3D modeling tool, on your START disk this month.
That's not all there is in this issue, of course. You'll find the latest news about the ATW, the Hotz Instrument and pc-ditto II. It's another issue that's full-to-bulging with the features you've asked for most.