Classic Computer Magazine Archive START VOL. 4 NO. 6 / JANUARY 1990

Dialog Box

Fading Away

If I try to use white text on a black background on my monochrome Monitor, the text fades away, leaving me with a black screen. The degree of fading is inversely proportional to the amount of text on the screen. The screen blacks out completely unless more than a few lines of text are displayed, even with the brightness and/or contrast controls all the way up. This problem happens with any application where you can flip the colors, such as ST Writer Elite 3.0 Is this normal, or is my system faulty?

Randy Deardorff
Seattle, WA

We've never heard of this problem and have no answer for you. We'd certainly suspect that this is an equipment problem. Try borrowing a monochrome monitor from a friend; if that works properly, you'll know your culprit. If you still experience the same problem, substitute a different computer and try again. Have any other readers run into this problem? --START Editor.


I was very grateful for your article on STOS and STAC in the September 1989 issue of START. I have all the issues after Summer 1988 but haven't seen a full review on the Megas. I also would like to find out more about the Brain Storm Hard Disk Systems by Void Productions and NeoDesk by Gribnif Software.

Thanks again!
Donald A.E. Johnson
Nashua, NH

We received a positive response from our reviews of STOS and STAC and have a "Programming in STOS" column in the works.

Our review of the Mega line of computers appeared when they were first introduced and can be found in the Winter 1987 issue of START. Our review of NeoDesk appeared in the October 1989 issue, together with HotWire and VDOS ProQueue. Check the hard-disk overview in the December 1988 issue of START for more on the Brainstorm.--START Editor.

Cheers for Psygnosis

This is just to say Psygnosis is a top-notch company. When my copy of Barbarian went bad, I wrote them requesting a replacement. I was pleasantly surprised when their first response--within a month--was a package of two replacement disks. No delay, no form letters (and transatlantic too!). Not only do they have first rate software, but first rate service. I wish all software manufacturers followed their example.

Al Tucker
Westbury, NY

Cinko "Raves", CardSTak "Grieves"

First I want to express pleasure over the September 1989 issue, with special appreciation for Michael Gilbert's excellent implementation of Go-Moku. I've been waiting for years to see a variation of this on the Atari. Cinko is a killer, and I had to wait until I bested the algorithm by (barely) a point before writing to rave. Congratulations to Mr. Gilbert on fine work and a tough opponent.

One of the most useful programs from your magazine was Alex Leavens' CardSTak. I wrote to you following my purchase of START after using CardSTak and discovering it wouldn't correctly formfeed standard 3" X 5" index cards, such as those made by Avery for computer feeds. This makes CardSTak useless! Is a fix available? I raise the point now because you seem willing to add bells and whistles to programs like Slither, such as September's screen editor, but seem slow to upgrade a truly useful application which isn't performing as indicated in the magazine. I would love to see that rectified.

Loren S. Miller
Brookline, MA

START is pleased to announce that there will indeed be a major upgrade to CardSTak published in an upcoming issue. CardSTak Professional features improved sorting routines, more flexibility and the ability to view up to four files at once onscreen. It will also include a report menu that lets you set spacing for your cards and insert form feeds wherever you need them. We've received numerous requests for this reporting feature; the original article was in error when it stated that CardSTak could print out files on 3" X 5" cards.

We're glad you enjoyed Cinko. Watch START for more of Michael Gilbert's great games.--START Editor.

PD Programs Down Under

I am writing to you concerning the availability of the Archive Utilities program which you use to compress files for your monthly START disk.

When I came across the extract program on one of these disks [ARCX.TTP], I found the concept a very good way of storing latent files long term without wasting excessive numbers of disks or disk space.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find a source of this or any other public domain software in Australia for the Atari, nor have I been able to locate a regional magazine similar to START.

It would be greatly appreciated if you could point me in the right direction concerning this.

Vince Bailey
Mowhra, Tasmania

We recommend you contact the Melbourne Atari Computer Enthusiasts. They publish a newsletter called "The Australian Atari Gazette" which features information on Australian usergroups and resources and ads for Australian ST dealers, many of whom take mail orders. If you join MACE you will be able to take advantage of their PD library to get the utilities you need. Their address is MACE, Inc., P.0. Box 340, Rosanna 3084, Victoria.--START Editor.

START vs. Amiga Plus

Having been an avid reader of your Antic Magazine years ago and then switching to START upon its creation and my Atari 800 being updated to an ST, there have been numerous times when I have been tempted to write you but have always hesitated to do so. However, recent notice of your new Amiga Magazine has prompted me to write.

To begin with, I hope that this new magazine of yours will not cause the quality of START to decline. START is one of the very few publications that Atari users can turn to for new product information and news, and I sincerely hope that this will not diminish. Now as to my questions ...

Is the new 4096-color upgraded board for the ST computers the logical upgrade to match the new Atari STE's color display or does it mean that I have to trade in my faithful MEGA 2 for another computer?

Having waited so long for a ray-tracing/smooth texturing Cyber addition to my library and not getting one, I recently purchased GFA RayTrace. This is an excellent program that I would recommend to anyone serious about computer graphics if it had one other feature. It saves pictures in a format which is incompatible with anything else. Do you know where I can get a program to convert RayTrace pictures to Spectrum format?

Kerry Mason
Lunenberg, Nova Scotia

Although Antic Publishing has recently begun publication of Antic's Amiga Plus, a START-like magazine for the Amiga user, we can assure you that START and Amiga Plus can--and will--co-exist peacefully. By now you should be aware of the additional resources we are devoting to START to bring you even more value for your magazine dollar. That commitment will definitely continue. We have some very exciting programs and features coming in START.

JRI's 4096 Board was designed bring the ST palette up to STE standards and was developed with the advice of Atari personnel. We think you can expect color compatibility, although there may be features for which you might otherwise want to sell your MEGA--such as genlock compatibility, digital stereo sound, hardware scrolling, etc.

Keep an eye on the pages of START for a solution to the GFA RayTrace file problem; if there's a way to solve it, we'll do so. And for those of you who don't yet have GFA RayTrace, watch these pages also....--START Editor

Do you have questions about using your ST? Is there something you're not clear about? Every issue, START's editors listen to your comments and answer your questions in Dialog Box. Let us hear from you! Our address is:

Dialog Box
544 Second Street
San Francisco, CA 94107

Or leave us a message on Compuserve using the Antic Online Mailbox--just log on and type GO ANTIC.


START welcomes submissions. Please include both hard copy printouts of articles and program listings as well as disk files on ST compatible disks. Media will be returned if self-addressed, stamped mailer is supplied. START assumes no responsibility for unsolicited editorial materials.