What's Happening in the Atari World
by Stephen Mortimer
Atari CD-ROM Near Release
The long-awaited $599 Atari CDAR5O4 CD-ROM player has entered the United States in its final production form and at press time is waiting for FCC certification and more software support. The player can store 540 megabytes and read almost any compact disk format, including High Sierra, GEMDOS and ISO High Sierra extension. It will also allow you to add other CD formats via software drivers. Potentially, you'll be able to read a CD from the Apple CD-ROM under the Magic Sac or Spectre 128 Mac emulators, with the correct software.
Software support for the player is promising. Software Mart has finished a multilingual visual dictionary that takes advantage of the ST's sound and video. Hybrid Arts is developing MIDI software for the player Companies in West Germany are reportedly using the GEMDOS format to place programs on compact disks. Microsoft and Atari are discussing the possibility of porting the Microsoft Bookshelf retrieval program to the ST. And Grolier's Encyclopedia will probably be available for the player as well.
The CDAR504 features a remote control that detaches from the main unit and allows for play, pause, stop, reverse and forward scan of standard audio compact disks. You can access track programming, music search, left/right channels and all the features on the remote control through a desk accessory. A special adaptor lets you play three-inch CD singles, and the player has a headphone jack with volume control and stereo connectors.
According to Mike Schmal, Atari's Director of CD-ROM Technology, Atari is "looking at spreading the ST as a total retrieval package in a high-resolution graphic atmosphere. For $1,200, the Atari CD-ROM system (based on a monochrome 520ST) is going to cost as much as the competitor's player alone." He expects to see the CDAR504 on the U.S. market by December.
Seybold a Success
The third annual Seybold Desktop Publishing Exposition was held at the Santa Clara (California) Convention Center from September 14-17. Over 12,000 people attended the three-day conference to view products of more than 150 exhibitors.
Atari was present with a small but formidable force. Though it had nothing new to unveil, it did make its booth available to all companies either introducing or demonstrating DTP products for Atari computers. Some highlights:
- St. Louis-based Soft-Logik Publishing Corporation demonstrated its Publishing Partner Professional. Soft-Logik's long-awaited DTP software should now be available in its final form. Soft-Logik, 11131 South Towne Square, Suite F, St. Louis, MO 63123, (314) 894-3280.
- Moniterm, makers of the large Viking 2400 high-resolution monitors for the ST, unveiled a board adaptor for the Mega (reviewed in December 1988 issue of START). Moniterm, 5740 Green Circle Drive, Minnetonka, MN 55343, (612) 935-4151.
- Migraph introduced a number of graphics software packages: ScanArt (S49.95), Drawart ($69.95) and Touchup ($TBA). Touchup and Easy Draw have now been modified to run on Moniterm monitors. Migraph, 720 S. 333rd, Suite 201, Federal Way, WA 98003, (800) 223-3729.
- ISD Marketing, Inc., demonstrated Calamus ($299.95) and Calamus Plus ($449.95) DTP software. ISD, 2651 John Street, Unit 3, Markham, Ontario, Canada L3R 2W5, (416) 479-1880.
- Navarone Industries showed its ST Scan Image Scanner (flatbed, S1,779; sheetfed, $1,239). This scanner allows you to capture any image with resolutions of up to 300 dots-per-inch and with 32 shades of grey. Navarone Industries, 454 Kenneth Avenue, Campbell, CA 95008, (408) 378-8177.
In September 1988, Atari Corp. filed a lawsuit in federal court in San Jose, California charging that former officers of the Federated Group, along with auditors Ernst & Whinney and investment banker Goldman Sachs, intentionally misled Atari into overpaying for the electronics retailing firm, causing damages of at least $43 million. Federated continues to depress Atari's earnings, despite efforts to cut costs and close unprofitable stores.
In August 1987, Atari purchased all 10.8 million shares of Federated for $67 million, or $6.20 per share. This added significant shelf space for Atari's products in the southern and southwestern United States, where Federated operated 65 stores. Currently, portions of certain Federated stores are being transformed into complete Atari Business Centers. The first such center appeared in the Los Angeles area this past summer, offering the complete line of Atari products and a wide range of software.
Dot Dot Dot...
Rumors continue to persist that Atari is interested in purchasing a manufacturing facility in Houston. An Atari executive said that Atari will "continue to pursue any manufacturing opportunities in the United States," which would supplement the plant in Taiwan. . . Activision has changed its name to Mediagenic. The company publishes software under the Activision and Infocom brand names, while marketing software for the following firms that publish Atari software: Sierra OnLine, Lucasfilm Games, Rainbird Software, Interplay Productions and Access Software. . . A judge has delayed the Apple Computer suit against Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard until August 14, 1989. The delay is expected to hurt sales and development of windowing environments for IBM systems. . . The ST Xformer II 8-bit Atari emulator has a companion product that lets you connect an Atari 8-bit disk drive directly to your ST, permitting copy-protected software to be run from the emulator Contact Darek Mihocka for more information at 310-D Bluevale Street North, Waterloo, Ontario N2J 4G3, Canada.
Stephen Mortimer is a high school junior and a member of the National Honor Society
If you have a hot tip or interesting product news for the ST, we'd like to hear from you. Let us know at News, Notes & Quotes, START, 544 Second Street, San Francisco, 94107.