Classic Computer Magazine Archive START VOL. 1 NO. 4 / SPRING 1987



Recently I became the proud owner of an Atari 520 ST computer and I'm now yearning for a good database program to aid in organizing and indexing my collections of books, albums, videocassettes and software. However, I'm somewhat confused about the basic features of commercial database programs. For example, will these programs allow me the flexibility of accessing information in a variety of ways, such as alphabetically, categorically, by date, price, etc.? Also, what does the word "relational" mean when used in describing databases?
Deneyse White
Morrobay, CA

Please see our "Database Overview" by Brian Lee in this issue of START. It should answer some of your questions, or at least point you in the right direction of some good ST databases. Also, check the reviews and New Products section of The ST Resource in each month of Antic magazine for additional software information.


The ClipBoard section of START contained a note about placing .PRG files in an AUTO folder so they will autoload. I placed 1ST Word in such a folder with no luck. Am I doing this wrong, or is there a special trick I need to know?
Dan Proctor
Banning, Calif.

There are two basic types of .PRG files as far as the AUTO folder is concerned: Those which make calls to GEM and those which don't. When the ST boots up, one of the first things it does is check for an AUTO folder. Unfortunately, the ST has not initialized GEM when the AUTO folder is searched, so any program in the AUTO folder which makes calls to GEM will crash. Programs which make no calls to GEM will operate properly. Don't give up, however, as START has programmers working on this problem at this very minute. Stay tuned!


Help! Those fat keys on the ST have got to go! I do a lot of writing on my ST, and wind up spending time thinking of ways to replace the keys. Does anyone know of a computer with IBM-like keys which will fit onto an ST keyboard?
Tom Gladan
Lincoinwood, Ill.

Atari designed the ST keyboard layout to resemble the DEC VT-100 terminal. As Leonard and Sam Tramiel have said, keyboard feel is extremely subjective-some people love soft keyboards, others enjoy those with tactile feedback. There are reports, at press time, that Atari has a new ST configuration with a separate keyboard, resembling a standard IBM-type PC. However, we are not aware of any replacement keytops which will fit on the ST. Anyone out there have information on this?


I have been holding out buying a paint program. From the very beginning I have been fasinated with NEOchrome that came with my ST. I have seen Paint-Works and DEGAS in action-but not DEGAS Elite-and I am afraid to buy one of these programs because of the impending final version of NEOchrome. Whatever happened to it? Is it still a possibility or can I go on and buy one of the other programs without seeing a bigger, better version of NEOchrome on the shelf a week later?
Gerd Knaak
Houston, Texas

START never recommends someone wait for the next level of technology, which is always advertised as being available "Real Soon Now" DEGAS Elite and Paint Works are available now right off the shelf. At press time, ATARI reported a final version of NEOchrome being readied for release to retail for $49.95. Some of the more fasinating aspects of it are dynamic picture stretching and cut and paste.


I want MacCartridge! I want MacCartridge! I want MacCartridge! Please ask David Small how we go about getting one.
Bruce Daniell
Niceville, Fla.

The cart is now known as the Magic Sac, and is advertised as an upgrade to your Macintosh computer. Bruce, plan on making two purchases. First, get the cartridge from Data Pacific, 609 East Speer Blvd., Denver, CO, 80203. Phone (303) 733-8158. List price is $129. Second, contact B & C Computervision at 3283 Kifer Road, Santa Clara, CA 95051. Phone (408) 749-1003. B & C Computervision will sell you 64K MAC ROMS, which you can then insert into the Magic Sac.


After spending over $2000.00 on my 1040 ST system, I cannot justify the purchase of either MegaMax C or the Atari Developers Kit, as they both approach 10% of my hardware investment. Because of favorable reviews in your magazine and others, I purchased Personal Pascal from OSS. From its low price and apparent popularity, I counted on at least one Personal Pascal article per issue in the available ST magazines. However, it seems a majority, if not all, of your programs are written in C. Could you provide some guidelines for translating C source code into Pascal?
Frank Reyes
Ventura, Calif.

The Atari Developers Kit and MegaMax C are professional software packages allowing the programmer to exploit the full power of the ST computer. Yes, Personal Pascal is low-priced, and many people have it, but currently, C submissions to both START and Antic's ST Resource far outnumber submissions written in Personal Pascal. Regardless, we will endeavor to cover, to some extent, every language available for the ST, from BASIC to Pascal to Lisp.

Remember, this is your magazine. If you want to see an article about Personal Pascal in print, send us your ideas or finished articles. For the conversion from C into Pascal, examine some of the C listings in Antic Magazine: while there won't be a direct translation, some of their C programs use the power of the C preprocessor to "Pascalize" the listings. Check them out-you'll see what we mean.


There seem to be a number of incorrect entries in the word processor comparison chart (START, issue 2, Fall 1986). For example, Mr Chadwick didn't report that Regent Word supports microdot justification, and shows bold, elongated, super, and subscripted text during print preview. Or, for that matter, did he discover that Regent Word does, indeed, vary headers and footers, encompass variable line spacing in half-line increments, save custom print formats, include multiple fonts, search/replace non-ASCII text, print the disk directory, and include proportional print support, in addition to many other features.
Frank Cohen

I take exception to some of the items in START's word processor review. First, the chart shows 1ST Word doesn't merge files, but you may "READ" a file into your current document anytime, starting where the cursor is. Next, you point out that 1ST Word doesn't have a command to move the cursor to the beginning or end of a line. Why would you need one when you may move the mouse cursor anywhere onscreen, click, and the cursor moves there? Does your WP have a "move three lines down and thirty characters over" command? You say it doesn't show page numbers? What are those numbers in the left hand scroll column? How can you claim 1ST Word won't allow configuring the printer driver when the 1st Word disk has a PRINTER folder full of configuration files and an INSTALL program?
Kenneth Butcher
Oakland, Calif.

START stands corrected.


I cannot develop the programs from the compressed files on the START disk. I have tried many times to follow the instructions without success. Is it necessary to have Atari Developers Kit to produce the programs?
Harry Gensler
Novi, MI.

Most runnable files start with ".PRG", ".TOS", or ".TTP". You may click on these and run them instantly. As far as the decompressor goes, it will only unsqueeze a file with a "Q" as the second letter of the extender. You don't need to unsqueeze a file which does not have this "Q". Unsqueezing a file does not compile it! Compiling a file requires a "compiler", understandably enough, so you should read "Which C For Me?" in START #2 (Fall 1986).


I just couldn't remain silent when I read your editorial and the reprinted letters in the front pages of START magazine's second issue. I understand the sentiments expressed by the readers who feel bewildered by the technical material in START about the ST. I sympathize, but please, don't water down the the pages of START! I don't want hand-holding tutorials on how to open a file from the desktop, and I have no interest in reading a review of the latest, greatest game. I do want to see source code for things like Fujiboink!, which nicely illustrate doing something fundamentally simple, but not-so-simple to figure out how to do on the ST. I do want useful utilities, like MouseTrap, and Tom Hudson's article on the EA IFF format. Basically, I just want to know what makes the ST tick.
Steve Rehrauer
Sutton, Mass.

Steve was also one of the winners of Antic's DEGAS Art Contest. Thanks for the suggestions, Steve.


When you publish a review for a product in START, could you please tell us if it runs on a monochrome ST system? Also, please include at least one program in every issue which runs in monochrome.
John Hodges
Blacksburg, VA

START asks our contributors to attempt to make their listings runnable on either a color or monochrome system, but sometimes that isn't so easy. While it is possible, the program must be designed from the ground up as being either color or monochrome adaptable. The process for "colorizing" a monochrome program, or "monochromizing" (sorry, Mr. Webster), a color program is at best fantastically hard. Also, remember not everyone has both the color and monochrome monitor so they aren't able to check out the program on the other system. We do agree with you that manufacturers should state which system their software runs on-color monochrome, or both.