As I write this, the Portfolio is actually in the stores, the STACY is awaiting FCC approval with a projected release date around Halloween and the TT030/2 is next down the pike. Atari stock is hovering around $12 per share and even the Lynx hand-held game system is poised for a modest pre-holiday release. Yes, they slipped the release date of STACY and, yes, we're still hoping that the TT will be available before the end of the year. The STE? Well, the signals are mixed--cross your fingers, folks.
Atari has never had a sterling record of shipping products on the originally announced schedule, but if you take a look at the industry, delayed shipments are the rule rather than the exception. How about NeXT? They held a press conference just to announce that they had finally finished the operating system--months after they had started shipping their $10,000 computers!
We're not apologizing for Atari. For what they felt were good business reasons, the Tramiels created the weak U.S. situation we all suffer under: too few dealers, too few new products and too little dealer, developer and owner support. But at the same time, we recognize that Atari users are some of the most loyal and enthusiastic computer owners around and that they (and we) long to hear positive news from Sunnyvale. Sometimes, we think that Atari releases product development news too early just to satisfy us loyal but skittish owners. Still, we'd rather hear thatsomething is happening at Atari, instead of a silence that gives us no direction at all.
No matter what new products finally emerge from Atari, we're here at START to support them--and you in their use. This issue, for example, we have the second installment of Dave Small's Unix Tour to acquaint you with the TT's alternative operating system. And we offer a unique exploration into LaserDisc control with the ST; optical media is, after all, the future of computing. Nothing else can offer its storage capacity--550MB! on a single replaceable disk.
Of course, Atari has had a CD-ROM in the works for years. But finally, it's getting close to release--we've actually seen software running on an ST from Atari's CDAR! Really! START Associate Editor Tom Byron has tracked down the details of Atari's imminent CD-ROM player; read all about it this issue.
We also take a sneak peek at Lucasfilm's remarkable sequel to Battlehawks 1942 and look at the first "PC in a box," Talon's SuperCharger. On the START disk, we have a great music scoring program, a colorful and challenging graphics adventure and the long-awaited portal program for CAD-3D users to convert their files to AutoCAD DXF format. And on Side 2 of the START disk, we have added an updated edition of the well-received Softguide and Madame Librarian, David Plotkin's master index of all of the articles, programs and reviews in ST magazines over the years.