Classic Computer Magazine Archive START VOL. 3 NO. 11 / JUNE 1989

News, Notes & Quotes

What's Happening in the Atari World

by Stephen Mortimer
START Contributing Editor

Ultra Script Released

Imagen's PostScript-compatible interpreter for the Atari SLM804 Laser Printer is now available. Released in late February, Imagen is selling UltraScript two ways: as a stand-alone package for $229.95 that includes 17 fonts, including Courier, standard symbols and several Lucida fonts. Atari is including UltraScript in their desktop-publishing packages and in a package with the SLM804 Laser ($2,195). Several additional font packs are also available. A 13-face font pack that contains the original Apple LaserWriter fonts sells for $129.95. The 35 fonts found in the LaserWriter Plus sells for $295. Users may upgrade from the 13-font pack to the 35-font pack for $195.95.

Approximately 10-12 popular font families are also available at a price of $79.95 or $99.95 per family. Families containing four or more fonts will retail for $99.95 and families that contain one to three fonts will retail for $79.95.

UltraScript currently works with all ST programs that support PostScript output to disk. Developers are also modifying their programs to take advantage of a pipeline in UltraScript that allows seamless printing from the application. One such program that takes advantage of this pipeline is Copyist DTP, Dr.T's music-scoring program. Imagen is planning to release UltraScript drivers for the Hewlett Packard LaserJet and compatibles, the HP DeskJet and the Epson LQ printers.

New Software from Atari

At press time, two new pieces of productivity software were in their final stages of development from Atari: Hyper Plan and Wordflair. Developed by third parties for Atari, both are high-power applications that will aid Atari in breaking into the business market.

Hyper Plan is a spreadsheet that features extensive graphing abilities, fast operation, Lotus compatibility and GDOS support. The program offers multiple windows for both worksheets and graphs, a database and an English-like macro language. The commands supported by Hyper Plan are a superset of those found in Lotus 1-2-3. Lotus 1-2-3 files may be imported or exported and 1-2-3 macros are compatible with Hyper Plan.

Graphing, one of Hyper Plan's strengths, includes a variety of styles including 3D pie and bar graphs, which can even be rotated on an axis to allow viewing from a different angle. Graphs automatically update when a value has been changed in the worksheet. Additionally, the worksheet can be modified by changing the values on the graph. All graphs can be exported as GEM metafiles for use in other programs.

Hyper Plan gets its name from the hyper-link functions that it supports. By establishing a hyper-link, the final result of a change in a worksheet can be reflected in every associated item. Hyper links can also be imbedded in cell notes. These links let Hyper Plan jump from one area of the worksheet to another, without scrolling.

Another feature of Hyper Plan is the ability to include buttons in the worksheet. These buttons can be integrated with macros to assist data entry, through the use of a data entry form. Data entry forms allow data to be entered into the worksheet more efficiently than the usual method. Hyper Plan will be available from Atari later this year at a price that had not been determined at press time.

Wordflair is touted as a document processor that incorporates the features of a word processor, spreadsheet, page layout, graphing and drawing program. These different forms of data are merged together by Wordflair into one integrated program. Calculation regions that contain formulas and data can be linked to areas of text so that if the text moves, the calculation region also moves. Dynamically linked pie, bar and line graphs can be created by Wordflair from data in calculation regions.

The page-layout program incorporated into Wordflair allows multiple page sizes and includes a grid that allows write, calculation, and graph objects to be auto-aligned, spaced horizontally or vertically, or snapped to the grid lines. A simple drawing capability allows creation of rules, bars and lines of varying thickness and type GEM, IMG and META graphics files may be imported. Smart rulers can display measurements in inches, centimeters or picas.

Traditional word-processing features include cut-and-paste to a clipboard and search-and-replace using various parameters, and footnoting. GDOS fonts are used for a wide variety of text styles. A flat-file database allows for mail merging.

Wordflair is claimed to be an especially versatile program because of attention to the user interface. A full-page preview is one of those nice features, as is an automatically scrolling window for uninterrupted typing. Unlike ordinary word processors, write regions for text are objects and can be any size. Page margins and paragraph indentation are user-defined options. For high-quality output, Wordflair uses GDOS, and the entire document, part of the document, or the database records can be printed. Context-sensitive online help is available, and the help windows can share the screen with the current document. Finally, templates are included for business cards, letterheads, proposals and several other applications. Wordflair, like Hyper Plan, will be released later this year by Atari.

Fat Bits

  • Atari Computer and Mitsubishi Automobiles are currently engaged in a joint promotion in over 150 shopping malls across the United States. The promotion began in April and will run through July. Atari's ST stations will focus on home use, MIDI, desktop publishing and more. Go to a mall nearby--you may win an ST system.

  • Qualified new dealers can obtain a Mega 2, a Mega 4, a 520ST and 1040ST, a 30-megabyte hard drive, a laser printer, a complete desktop publishing package and one monochrome and one color monitor all on a 180-day consignment, if they purchase a specified equipment package Call Atari at (408) 745-2906 for details.

  • Calamus Outline will be a part of the Calamus desktop-publishing family from ISD Marketing. The program is comparable to Adobe Illustrator, a powerful drawing program for the Macintosh. Calamus Outline will work in conjunction with Calamus and allows irregular text flow and sophisticated drawing capabilities.

    HyperFont from MichTron, Inc. is the latest Font Editor/Designer
    for the ST. With it, you can create GDOS fonts in any size and style.
    Watch for a comparison of HyperFont, Fontz and Calamus Outline
    in the August issue of START.
  • Double Click Software, creators of Shadow and many excellent shareware programs, has released DC PORT, a cartridge for the ST that adds two RS-232 serial ports. The MichTron BBS currently supports DC PORT to allow for three-line bulletin board systems. With an AUTO folder program, the user can switch between RS-232 ports with a key combination. A tentative price of $200 had been set at press time.

  • One of the problems with GDOS has been the limited number of point sizes available in some fonts. MichTron has solved that problem with their new font editor, HyperFont. HyperFont lets you create GDOS fonts in any point size from a font outline.

Stephen Mortimer is a contributing editor for START and lives in Binghampton, New York.

If you have a hot tip let us know at News, Notes & Quotes, START Magazine, 544 Second Street, San Francisco, CA 94107.