Classic Computer Magazine Archive START VOL. 5 NO. 2 / OCTOBER 1990


In the May 1990 issue we asked you to tell us who you are, how you use your ST and what you would like to see in START. We had an overwhelming response, including many detailed letters. We've read all your comments, tabulated your preferences and made some decisions about the editorial direction of the magazine. We now present a profile of the START reader and a blueprint for the new START magazine.

First, we want to say thank you to all the people who took the time to fill out the survey end send us kudos and criticisms. Second, we want to say that we analyzed your responses carefully and paid special attention to your likes and dislikes. You obviously know what you want from START, which makes it easy for us to tailor the editorial content. Over the next few months watch for changes in START, changes you suggested.

The most frequent request we received was for more--more articles, more programs, more reviews, more tutorials, more new products. We're happy to announce that START has grown. From now on we'll publish 124 pages each month, and were expanding our coverage to encompass new Atari products--the Portfolio, TT, Stacy and Lynx--as well as the ST's forerunner, the 8-bit machine.

We're also packing more into the pages we have. Last month the expanded "Products Update" debuted, along with the buyer's guide list of available commercial software. You've made it clear that what you want is information on tools to help you better use your ST. You've chosen the best personal computer value on the market--power without the price, as Atari boasts--and you look to START to help you boost that power.

The START Reader

The typical START reader is a 40-year-old male subscriber, earning $36,000 a year. He bought his Atari computer--a 1040ST with a double-sided drive and a color monitor--for his personal use and considers himself an intermediate user. A dot-matrix printer and a modem are part of his setup, and he either owns or is considering buying a PC emulator and a memory upgrade. He's isolated from his peers; he doesn't belong to a user group or dial bulletin boards. He uses his ST for word processing, game playing, desktop publishing and MIDI applications.

In general he's satisfied with START's coverage, but would like to see a thicker magazine, especially more hints and tips and hardware and software reviews. He thinks the way to improve the disk is to publish more utilities, product demos and public-domain software.

The New START Magazine

What you want is what you get. The new START magazine will continue to focus on products and productivity, and we'll be adding features that will give you more understanding and control of your machine. For example, the "START Bookshelf" and a glossary will accompany all "Getting Started" lessons, like next month's on desktop video. At your request, the reviews will become more critical, and we will run more comparisons. We're republishing popular, time-tested programs, "START Classics," so that every new user has access to the best ST tools.

Furthermore, we're announcing a new department, "User Interface," wherein you, the readers, will share with each other hints and tips on applications, ask for help and information, and exchange all the power-user tricks you've learned over the years. The greatest resource within the Atari community are the users and START is pleased to provide a forum for them. Write to START User Interface, 544 Second Street, San Francisco, CA 94107.

In the November issue are the first columns from two contributing editors. Dan Fruchey will handle the extremely popular applications of word processing and desktop publishing. Former START editor Andrew Reese, whose interests lie in graphics and multimedia, will expand our Cyber Corner coverage to encompass all aspects of the cyber arts, such as animation, rendering and computer-aided design. Ex-Atari employee Christopher Roberts also joins our list of contributing editors, taking on the duties of telecommunications guru. Not only will he lead you through the information maze available via modem, he'll also research the best public-domain and shareware programs, which will be published on your START disk.

In addition to the public-domain programs, the START disk will include demos of new products, something which has proved very popular for the British ST magazines. And we will hunt for the best utilities available for the ST and publish them. As you told us, productivity is important to you.

Soon we'll be giving you a larger disk. After dropping the double-sided Heidi format, we vowed to find a more accessible, problem-free way to present the disk. In the end we decided on the most basic format of all. Beginning with the January 1991 issue, the START disk will be straight double-sided, with only the largest files ARCed. We're announcing this early so that the 10 percent of our readers with access to only a single-sided drive can upgrade their system or find access to a double-sided system.

Why Did We Ask That?

We asked some survey questions in order to gauge your feelings about certain ideas raised by readers. Based on your answers, we've decided to 1) get a Delphi account; 2) closely track the TT and provide coverage when it sees general release; 3) publish more monochrome games; and 4) keep the program documentation in the magazine.

Your answer to the most significant question we asked, about your preference for a disk or non-disk subscription, was surprising. Almost half of you were interested in a non-disk subscription. Antic Publishing is currently analyzing the cost and mechanics of splitting the START subscription list.

1990 START Reader Survey Results

How many people read your copy of START magazine? We're pleased to see that you share your magazine; about 1.5 people read each copy. How many people use your ST? On the average, at least one other person uses the respondent's ST.

Do you subscribe?
If you don't subscribe, why?
Would you buy a non-disk subscription?
Are you male or female?
Most frequent use of the ST, first choice
Most frequent use of the ST, second choice
Most frequent use of the ST, third choice

KUDOS and Criticism

As we mentioned before, some of you included detailed letters with your surveys. Here's a sampling of your comments:

"I feel the issues of March, April and May 1990 are the best string of issues I have seen--and I have been a subscriber since issue two."

"It sure would be nice if you could somehow get companies to provide you with demos of their games, so that you could include them on your disk."

"I don't want less of anything. I rely on START for all my info and mail order advertisers."

"It looks like you guys are dying. Dying from lack of ideas, lack of craft, lack of pride."

"How about picking up the: ST-XPRESS archives for us to buy? Same with Compute ST and ST log or any other magazines that went down."

Do you subscribe to a BBS?

What BBS do you use?

64.9% GEnie
50.8% Compuserve
12.7% Delphi
16.7% specialized service
1.0% BIX

What disk drives do you own?
Do you use your ST for business or
personal use?
What is your income? The average
income is $36,000.
Do you belong to a user group?

What system do you own? Only a small percentage, 15.g percent, have installed TOS 1.4 in their machine.

"Another article idea is to do a comparison of the various commercial telecom services available. Don't forgot to list the amount and quality of Atari support available."

"One problem I do have about the magazine is the lack of software on disk for monochrome monitors, especially games."

"In the past you have failed to update useful software (like CardStack) but have updated Slither."

"Reviews do not seem to cover all products in a category, but are complete on those they cover.''

"Publish a special issue that has all the hardware and software reviews for that year."

"I've never seen such support in any other industry. The people who run your organization by phone are by far superior to those in any business that I've dealt with."

What monitors do you own?
What level of computer user are
Do you want the program docu-
mentation removed from the
magazine and put on disk?
I think START reviews are:


I think the START programs are:
What is your age? The average age is 40 years old.
I think the START articles are:

"Your current publication doesn't compare well with the very helpful, more technical and tutorial version provided during the first year or two of publication."

"I'd also like to see more artwork and pictures at the start of each article."

"You need more nuts and bolts type writing. Start with regular columns on programming in C, GFA BASIC or ST BASIC."

"I eat up anything Dave Small writes. More!"

"Being a slick, color magazine, your deadlines are too far ahead to be any good at trade shows, news, etc."

"Have you ever considered starting a software club, a la the book-of-the-month clubs? Such things exist in England."