Classic Computer Magazine Archive START VOL. 3 NO. 7 / FEBRUARY 1989

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Letters From Our Readers

Beating Those RESTART Blues

As a MEGA 4 owner, you can imagine my excitement when I saw that Tom Hudson's RESTART was going to cure my system reset blues. The little program worked just great, too, and the excitement lasted until I discovered that whenever it was active my Universal Item Selector II refused to come up.

Having to choose between one or the other, the edge must go to UIS II. I sure would be appreciative if Tom could figure out some way around this one.

Bob Wenham
Ft. Worth, Texas

We ran across this problem (and discovered a simple solution) early on. What you need to do is rearrange the programs in your AUTO folder so that RESTART is first. First, copy everything in your AUTO folder onto a scratch disk. Next, delete all the files in the AUTO folder of the boot disk. Now copy the programs back onto the boot disk, one at a time, in the desired order, making sure you copy RESTART over before UIS_II.PRG.--START Editor

Kesmai On CompuServe

I read your article about Kesmai's Air Warrior in Special Issue #4 of START. I wish to point out a major inaccuracy in your article regarding Kesmai Corp.'s games.

Kesmai's first products appeared on CompuServe, not GEnie. In fact, even today, CompuServe is home to MegaWars III: The New Empire and the original Island of Kesmai, both Kesmai-created multi-player games. There is even a group of users on CompuServe that has developed a graphics interface to use with Island of Kesmai that is specific to several microcomputers.

The future also holds many surprises and treats for CompuServe users and all micro owners!

Randy Klein
CompuServe Gaming Products

Thanks for setting the record straight.--START Editor

Programming In C

I would like to put my two cents worth in to persuade you to start a column on programming in the C language. I didn't fail to notice that you published an article in your November 1988 issue about programming in BASIC. Since C is supposed to be the language of choice on the ST, how about some support for us beginning programmers in C, if possible using the Atari Corporation choice compiler, Mark Williams C.

I have another suggestion for you also. I applaud you for going to monthly publication, but it sure is hard to justify $80 to the wife out of a budget for a magazine subscription. How about a $40 six-month subscription? I know it comes out to the same thing, but you can spread the cost out and it doesn't have such an impact on the old budget.

Well, I thank you for your time and a very good magazine.

Hal Boyer
Indianola, Mississippi

We have no plans at this time for a monthly column in C programming; however, we are planning to alternate our BASIC column with tutorials for other languages. In the meantime, there is a book on the market, Learning C on the Atari ST (by Joseph Boyle Wikert, Scott, Foresman and Company Computer Books, 1900 East Lake Avenue, Glenview, IL 60025, $19.95), which is a good reference for beginners.

If you would like to make any suggestions regarding which languages you think we should cover and how often, we'd like to hear from you.--START Editor

One of the Best Ever

Thank you very much for SciPlot on START's November 1988 disk. That has to be one of the best programs I have ever received from an ST magazine. For the newsstand price of $14.95, I just bought myself a powerful plotting program that will be a big help in my college math and science classes. One suggested improvement would be a 2D or 3D mathematical plotting program with X and Y (and perhaps even Z) axes that extend below 0--thus displaying all four quadrants in 2D perspective and in cubic (3D) form. But in the meantime, please keep these programs coming and thank author David P. Heddle for me.

Please thank Frank Kliewer also for his review of Publishing Partner Professional. Having recendy purchased a Mega 4, monochrome monitor, SH205 20Mb hard drive and SLM804 laser printer, I had narrowed down my choices of DTP software to Publishing Partner Professional and Timeworks Publisher ST. Kliewer's review helped me make my decision: I now use Publisher ST daily; I'm glad you warned ST users of the problems with Publishing Partner--and saved me hours (and perhaps even days) of hassle.

Ivan Thomson
Glendale, CA

Thank you for the kind words. We've passed your suggestions on to Professor Heddle. Now that Publishing Partner Professional (now named PageStream) is shipping in its release version, we're ready to take another look. Watch for a full review. - START Editor

Suggestion Box

Congratulations on such a good job in putting together a very fine magazine! I appreciate your openness to criticism and change and find your magazine's dynamic approach to its readers very impressive.

I have several suggestions for you to consider for future issues of START. Although in my opinion, your magazine surpasses all other ST magazines as it is right now, the following ideas could make it even better.

I like your various columns, such as Cyber Corner, Online with START, Making Tracks with MIDI, Programming in BASIC and others. Most of them have been helpful. But I've noticed that you don't have a desktop publishing column; I think that a DTP column would make START a complete magazine. The number of people who use their STs for desktop publishing is rising, and they would most certainly like to see such a column in the near future.

I'd like to see fewer game reviews and more reviews of word processors, desktop publishing programs, graphics programs, databases and programming languages. Games are okay, but for the serious ST user like me, business-oriented applications are the most helpful.

Try as much as possible to review two or more software packages of the same type side by side, comparing both strong and weak points.

Please have more interviews with Atari officials and update your readers about the doings of Atari itself. And do continue to publish articles featuring famous people using the ST.

I'd like to see a short column on the best of the latest public domain software available and where it can be found. Many people would find this useful, especially those with modems--such a column would give them a fairly good idea of what they'd be downloading.

The articles accompanying your programs should have more illustrations of what the program looks like on the monitor. These would be helpful to those who purchase the magazine separately and would like to order the disk later.

And please have more useful utilities on your START disks, like Twister, Lock & Key, ST Art Selector and others. These programs help ST users get the most out of their computers. And please write more programs that support monochrome monitors.

Lastly, many START readers would like to see your magazine host an ST programming contest. This would show the real potential of the hundreds of individuals who program on the ST. By publishing the best of those programs, the entire START community would benefit.

I hope you consider these suggestions. Thanks for such a good magazine. And to everyone on the START staff, keep up the good work.

Donald P. Palaganas

Thank you. We've already implemented many of your suggestions and we plan to implement more. We don't have a desktop publishing column--yet--but plans are in the works for one.

As a rule, serious computer users want to see fewer game reviews and gamers want to see more. We try to maintain a level somewhere in between. The problem is that START can't omit game coverage, because a huge percentage of new ST programs are games. It's a delicate balance, but we try to maintain it.

We also like side-by-side reviews (although we don't want to overdo them). Our reviews of Planetarium and SkyPlot, while not exactly side by side, do compare the two programs.

We'd love to interview more Atari officials and give readers more about the goings on at Atari Corp. This isn't as easy as it sounds. Atari now has an official policy not to announce new products until they're nearly ready to ship. Check this issue for former Atarian Neil Harris' article on the future of the ST.

Except in the MIDI world, we haven't come across too many famous people who use STs, but we'd be happy to present their experiences in our pages.

Thanks again for all your suggestions and don't worry: the ones we haven't responded to here are not being ignored. We welcome suggestions.--START Editor

Alert Box

Cindy Claveran, users group and developers' liaison at Atari Corp., points out that the October 1988 and January 1989 issues of START reported that Alcyon C was available for $20. This price applies only to registered developers. START apologizes for the error.