The ST/Mega line is maturing. The days of the single-sided floppy drive are behind us, as Atari has now upgraded the 5205TFM to include a double-sided drive. Hard drives are becoming much more available, and with the mature software base more desirable than ever. Third-party vendors are becoming more and more creative in filling the needs of ST/Mega users.
In this issue of START we explore some of the new ST/Mega hardware developments that can only happen with a mature, capable machine. On the cover and in the companion article, The BIG Picture, you'll see one of the most remarkable developments in the history of the ST/Mega line. Moniterm has produced a 1280-by-960 pixel high resolution monochrome monitor that will knock your eyes out. And ISD, Inc. has produced some high-powered software to take advantage of it. Check out Dave Edwards' preview of DynaCADD to see the future of ST/Mega software.
Another indication of the ST's maturity is the breadth of available peripherals. David Plotkin leads off our special Hard Drives section by comparing and contrasting five major brands of hard drives, including some new and unusual types you may not have seen before.
Many ST'ers started out as hackers a few years ago and there's still a lot of hacker blood flowing in our veins. Some manufacturers still try to satisfy the hacker's needs by, for example, selling peripherals in kits. Stephen Mortimer, START's newest Contributing Editor, built one of the new ICD FA-ST drive kits; he tells you of the profits and pitfalls this issue. Finally, to round out our Hard Drive coverage, Dave Small lays the theoretical groundwork for some of his upcoming hard disk tools in his column, Small Tools.
We've also included in this issue a review of Practical Solutions' new Video Key, their long-awaited video converter and a review of Ricoh's workhorse laser printer by STARTs former Senior Editor Frank Hayes.
On the START disk this month, you'll find a couple of early Christmas presents. First, Alex Leavens' inimitable humor bursts forth in Wombats II, the fabulous sequel to the 8-bit text adventure classic. Then there's Santa BBS to let your kids "talk" to Santa over a simulated bulletin board (but don't tell them it's simulated--they'll never know). Plus, to expand your educational horizons, there's Discovery Construction Set written by START Programs Editor Heidi Brumbaugh.
For the programmers among us, we've included See Sorts, Delmar Searles' excellent graphic explanation of sort routines, and two excellent GFA BASIC programming aids in the Programming in BASIC column. All are on your START disk.
Beginning next month, START will add a new dimension to our ST coverage, Andre Willey, Technical Editor of England's Atari ST Magazine, will begin his START exclusive European Report. In it, you'll learn the latest news from the hotbed of ST development. Watch for it to see the shape of things to come.
Finally, we at START want to wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving . . . and peaceful holiday shopping.