As I write this, it's the first day of Winter--but you'll read this as Spring arrives. It's difficult to prognosticate the state of the Atari world two or three months from now, but certain events have occurred recently that may foretell significant changes in Atari's U.S. fortunes.
Atari President Sam Tramiel announced at COMDEX last fall that 1989 would be the year Atari returns to the U.S. market in force. A number of new products are scheduled for 1989 release, everything from the Laptop ST to the ATW to the TT. Everyone we've spoken to at Atari has seemed very upbeat about Atari's hopes and plans. Although it's easy, based on 1988's experiences, to be skeptical about what may "really" happen with Atari, things do seem to be changing.
For example: every month I stop in at my local (and excellent) Atari dealer, Software 1st in Santa Rosa, California to keep current on the dealer situation. On my last visit, I was amazed to see a stack of previously scarce 1040STs on sale. There were also ample supplies of 520s, Mega 2 s, Laser Printers and peripherals--everything a prospective computer buyer could want. This is a wonderful change that bodes well for 1989: dealers will actually have Atari computers to sell. Plus, with Atari signing up 30 percent more new dealers, there will actually be Atari dealers to sell the products.
And there's more. In this issue of START, we present an exclusive interview with record producer and inventor Jimmy Hotz that reveals what may be the most spectacular advance in music, well, since the piano. And what computer is the new Hotz Instrument designed for? The ST, of course. We hear that higher-ups at Atari are very interested in this new creation, so much so that it just may carry an Atari label, if things go well.
Along with the new this issue, we've also included a touch of the old: the latest incarnation of ST Writer. Dr. Bruce Noonan picked up the ST Writer banner from Atari a few years ago and has carried it well and proudly since. ST Writer Elite Version 3.0 adds some features that everyone has asked for, like ASCII Save and direct. Atari Writer file conversion. To top it off, we've included German and Spanish versions, as well.
We also have for you the absolute fastest hard disk copier anywhere. Would you believe one megabyte every four seconds? Naturally, it's by David Small. Look for it in his column, Small Tools.
If you want to have some fun, try Poker Solitaire on this issue's START disk. If you're a programmer, check its source code. Poker Solitaire is written in Modula 2 and it's the first program in this language that we've published.
This issue is full of the regular features, columns and reviews you've said you want, like Getting Started, Mac & PC On the ST and MIDI news and reviews. But in honor of this issue's April cover date, we've added a touch of humor here and there Like Dave Plotkin's New TOS Error Codes, a review of the Binary Bible and a "serious" analysis of Single Instruction Set Computers.
Enjoy! Have a laugh with us at the same time you're using all the great programs in this issue.