News, Notes & Quotes
by Stephen Mortimer START Contributing Editor
Michael Morand has been named president of Atari Computers (U.S.). He comes to Atari Corp. from AST Research, a PC-clone manufacturer. Bill Crouch is the new Vice President of Sales, replacing Mike Dendo in that position. Crouch headed sales at Commodore during the C-64 boom.
A multi million dollar advertising campaign was launched by Atari in October to promote the Portfolio. Initial response has been overwhelming according to Sig Hartmann, who retired from Atari at the end of 1989. Jim Fischer, Vice President of Marketing, stated that print ads for Portfolio could be found in magazines such as Newsweek, Smithsonian, Popular Science, Fortune, Scientific Americanand all the airline in-flight magazines. The ads reportedly build on the theme that Atari has "computers for everyone," establishing Atari's name as a computer company rather than a video-game maker. To a lesser extent, there will be ads for STACY, the ST and MIDI, and the new line of PC-compatibles. The Atari PC4 and ABC286-30 (with a 30MB hard disk) received FCC certification in the fourth quarter and should be shipping as you read this.
DeskSet II was shown at the Washington Area Atari Computer Fest in October of last year. The completed package carries a $495 list price and has been optimized with several features added since it was originally shown. DeskSet II now has landscape printing and the ability to wrap text around and inside irregular objects. Also, an interface has been developed to connect a Mega to a Compugraphics high-resolution output device. A production model of STACY with 4MB of memory and a 40MB Conner hard disk was also shown by Atari at the WAACE show. As of press time, the STACY had not yet received FCC certification, although Atari was hoping to ship it by Fall COMDEX in November.
Despite memory limitations, the Portfolio has some interesting capabilities that will let it run advanced software. Executable ROM cards with up to 1MB capacity can serve as the area for a program to reside. Other programs can be loaded into the Portfolio's own RAM. One program using two executable ROM cards requires users to swap cards in order to use the 2MB-size program. Also, transfer software is under development for the ST in addition to the previously announced PC software.
68030 Upgrade Under Development
Fast Technology, maker of the T-16 accelerator board for the ST, is reportedly developing a 68030 board for the Mega. The board is expected to connect to the Mega's internal 68000 bus connector and will automatically patch the operating system, since TOS 1.4 is not completely compatible with Motorola's 68030 processor. A bootup ROM on the board will load TOS 1.4 or 1.6 into RAM and then patch it. (As a point of reference, the 16-MHz 68000 with 32K cache on the T-16 board almost halves the time required to perform many tasks. With a full 32-bit 68030 processor, this performance mark could be far surpassed.)
The 68030 processor has a built-in protected Memory Management Unit that allows for multitasking applications. A number of special features are planned, according to Jim Allen of Fast Technology, with additional memory being a high priority. (It is uncertain whether the memory will be usable for the video.) Monochrome and/or color high-resolution display capability may be included on the board. Other possibilities include a math coprocessor chip and additional means of expansion.
The Fast unit was being prototyped at press time and may he shown at Fall COMDEX. Pricing of the 68030 expansion board will be determined once Atari announces pricing for the TT.
PKS Write Improves Calamus
ISD Marketing has just released a new text editor for its popular desktop publishing program, Calamus. Dubbed PKS Write, it can reside as a desk accessory, a stand-alone program, or as a module in the upcoming Calamus version 1.1. Popup menus control the text editor/ word processor that can handle up to seven open documents.
Many word processor functions exist in PKS Write. Footnotes and indexes can be created in separate windows, similar to Microsoft Write. An index can be alphabetized using a powerful sort function. Calamus-specific functions include the importation of Calamus macros. Rulers can be defined and edited. Unlike Calamus, both text and styles can be searched for and replaced at the same time. Searches can be conducted for layout reference codes. Font and layout codes can be hidden to various degrees. Finally, markers allow easy access to specific parts of a document.
PKS Write lets users create definable keystrokes and the combination of several functions using Emacs-like bindings. This in turn lets users customize PKS Write so that it can mimic other word processors' keystrokes.
PageStream version 1.8 is now available. The new upgrade to SoftLogik's desktop publishing package fixes most known bugs and adds several features. Arcs are now created with respect to the center point and a "font manager" facilitates easier and quicker access to fonts. Speedier operation and a new PostScript printer driver round out the new features. Call SoftLogik at (314) 894-8608 for upgrade policy.
OmniMon, the multiresolution monitor from Wuztek, has been redesigned to allow software control for setting screen resolution, a procedure previously accomplished through a switch box. The new software switch has hooks that will let commercial programs change resolutions inside the actual program.
CMI offered a Christmas special on their ST-PA accelerator. A single accelerator was available at the low price of $180 or $150 each if three or more were purchased. This move was seen by many as CMI's abandonment of the ST market because of fierce competition. Although CMI denied this rumor, it did acknowledge that sales were slower than expected.
Stephen Mortimer is a contributing editor for START. He lives in Binghamton, New York.
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