Issue 23

Sep/Oct 86

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A highly recommended newsletter on disk is available from FASTER in Montreal, Canada. Although produced by a small user group, the newsletter is the finest we have seen on disk, far surpassing those put out by many of the large professional organisations. GEM is fully utilised with dropdown menus for the articles and reviews which may be read from screen or printed out. Text may be read in French or English. Currently available from the Editor, Andre Lafreniere at 1161 Des Fauvettes, Boucherville, Quebec, Canada J4B 6A8 for US$5 plus $1 postage payable by International Money Order, it is well worth parting with a few pounds for. It is possible that it may shortly be distributed direct in this country.

Prestel users will be interested in a privately produced program Flying STart that allows full access to Prestel at 1200/75 despite the fact that the ST's serial port can't handle split baud rates! It is all done by clever programming, fooling the ST into thinking that it is running at one speed, and true Prestel emulation is available in low resolution with all colours being displayed simultaneously. The software will run on the WS2000 or any V23 protocol modem and can be used to access Prestel, Telecom Gold or Bulletin Boards. To order send 10 plus one formatted single or double sided disk and a stamped addressed envelope with 17p stamp to Peter Connors, 6, Robins Close, Bramhall, Cheshire, SK7 2PF.

Haba Systems Ltd. have released a spelling checker and look-up dictionary for use with HabaWriter. HabaSpell can also check text produced with certain other ST word processors and can instantly replace incorrectly spelled words from the 17,000 word standard dictionary. User definable dictionaries can also be created and any dictionary can be printed out in whole or part. HabaSpell retails at 39.95.

Atari's CP/M Emulator is now available free of charge from your local dealer, you pay only the cost of the disks, however one enterprising dealer, Mikes Computer Store, has produced an enhanced package which consists of two disks and a 14 page manual retailing at just 6.50 fully inclusive of post and packing. The original software was written in Germany and much of the instruction is in German. All these documents have been tidied up, though not translated, and other utilities have been added together with catalogues of public domain software. The hardcopy manual provides a useful introduction for those not familiar with CP/M. The package can be obtained from Mikes Computer Store, 292, London Road, Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, SS0 7JJ.

Batteries Included have a formidable array of productive software lined up for imminent release. Already available is Thunder, a real-time spelling checker that will work with most GEM based word processors or can be used as a normal spelling checker for other text files. Time Link is a scheduling and time-keeping tool for your daily appointments and BTS The Spreadsheet is a sophisticated full featured spreadsheet that is also available as a desk-top accessory. Several of their already established, and highly respected, 8-bit programs are being released in ST versions including HomePak, PaperClip and B/Graph. The latter two are distinguished by the addition of 'Elite' to the title and a new Elite version of the highly acclaimed DEGAS is on the way. A number of ambitious enhancements to this program are planned making it the first of the second-generation graphics programs for the ST. Pictures will remain compatible with several other programs including PaperClip Elite which will enable text and graphics to be combined in any document.

Several ST titles are now available from Antic Publishing Inc. including Tom Hudson's computer-aided design program CAD-3D. Antic have taken the ST very seriously and have commissioned and assisted in the development of several new professional programs. CAD-3D can create and animate three-dimensional objects in wireframe and solid modelling with various light sources in monochrome or colour. Example drawings are included, including a remarkably complex model of Stonehenge. Maps and Legends enables the user to create maps of any part of the world from different perspectives and distances. These can be saved to disk in DEGAS format and be enhanced or amended with that program. This program is being used by the U.S. Air Force to chart their flight plans at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona. Other programs include Red Alert, a new wargame which lets the player defend against a nuclear attack on North America and Flash, a new communications package that uniquely combines a straight text terminal with a GEM based word processor.

And finally ... some appetite whetters from the CES show in Chicago last June which may well be on their way to the shops by now. Artworx have Hole-in-One Golf and a Bridge program. First Star Software are coming out with Comic Strip Maker and Activision have Paintworks. Epyx promise Winter Games and Temple of Apshai while Microprose are due to bring out Silent Service. Another animation program comes from Avila Associates entitled Make It Move. There are several desk accessories from Blue Moon Software and a number of educational and adventure programs from Academy Software, Spinnaker and others. In fact it looks like almost all the programs that have been available for the 8-bit Ataris are being planned for conversion to the ST