Current Notes, Redux
Status: Atari, Vol. 14, No. 2, March 1994
Switching gears from the Atari 8-bit, I thought I might start mixing in some Atari ST content. Back in early 1994, I took over as ST Editor for Current Notes magazine, a 65-80 page magazine that covered Atari in all its forms. The magazine only lasted another year or so before it folded in June 1995, so I also have the distinction of being the last ST Editor.
I’ll be re-publishing my Current Notes columns and articles here from time to time, starting with my very first column as ST Editor, which I called “STatus: Atari” (Current Notes, March 1994):
As you may now be aware. I am the new Current Notes ST editor. I am honored to be writing alongside of some of the Atari community's most respected authors. I have been an Atari user since 1983 when I slarted with a 16K Alari 400. In 1989, I moved up to a 1040ST and have since upgraded to a MegaSTe system. I am primarily a programmer (perhaps you've seen some of my efforts: JumpSTART and Oracle are most common), but do use my Atari for other tasks. But, this magazine is not about me, so let me tell you what I would like to accomplish as ST editor:
As the title of this column suggests, I want to cover everything new in the Atari scene. However, though Jaguar will make or break Atari, I don’t think readers of this magazine want it focusing on Jaguar.
You will start to see more reviews of public domain and shareware software, even if I have to write them myself. I would like to see our loyal readers send me reviews of programs they use and like (or don’t like). Don’t be shy about putting your thoughts on paper. The Atari community needs your support!
Since the Falcon030 is the only Atari computer that is currently being produced, I would like to give it my full support. Therefore, articles that include the Falcon will be given priority over those that do not.
Being a programmer, I would like to see more articles in CN that deal with programming our favorite computer. Articles that describe how to use the new AES functions in Geneva and MultiTOS would be ideal. I am also working on some tutorials for using Heat and Serve C with the GEMFAST AES libraries.
Even though I am a programmer, I don’t want to slight the less experienced ST user. I Plan on having “Beginner’s Guide to…” articles to help those just starting out.
Lastly, I would like everyone to remember that this magazine is created by, and for, Atari users. If anyone has any suggestions or ideas for future articles, let me know. Prospective authors should also send me their writings. Now, on with this month’s news!
Hopefully, all of you have read Andrzej’s mini-review of Geneva in the Dec/Jan issue. I just wanted to add my comments on Geneva. First of all, if you use your Atari regularly for anything but games, you owe it to yourself to get Geneva. It IS the best piece of software yet to appear on the Atari. Unfortunately, as Andrzej says, it is sad that these great products seem to appear near the end of a computer’s life cycle. I have been using Genevasince July and the only time I turn on my computer without booting with Geneva is to play Civilization (Another program that I highly recommend).
Bob Brodie held a conference on Delphithis January where he was asked if Jaguar proceeds would help fund Atari’s computer division. As expected, Atari’s official statement on that question is, “Yes, that is the plan.”
Remember Freeze Dried Terminal? This popular SHAREWARE program was deemed abandoned by all those who used it. Now, word is that the AtariUnited!SoftwareHouse (whew!) will be handling distribution and marketing of the new version 2.30. This version will be distributed in a nice jewel (CD) type case and should have better user support. Also, Gordie Meyer (co-founder of AtariUnited!, along with Pattie Barbiero) has told me that they are looking for other SHAREWARE authors who would like help distributing software.
Steve Cohen of Wizztronics has produced a rack mount case for Falcon/STe/ST computers. He is also rumored to be working on a PowerPC-based computer that will use TOS/DOS and Macintosh operating systems.
Atari Corporation News
Atari’s stock has finally settled at a more realistic $6-$8 per share. This is more in line for a company with such few products shipping (Falcon030, Jaguar, and TT). Yes, according to Atari, TT’s are back in production. When U.S. dealers will see them is still a mystery. Atari needs to have a high-end computer available; for now the TT is it. It’s official: Atari has no plans to resurrect Atari Explorer magazine. If you haven’t received all the issues in your subscription, call customer service to request a refund. The designer of AtariWorks has said that he had found a cure for the “black page” bug that randomly causes your printer to spit out a completely black page (see last issue’s AtariWorks review for more details about this problem). Be on the lookout for an update.
Atari Corp.’s latest project, which, unfortunately, seems to be monopolizing all their time, has been getting a fair amount of press lately. Computer Retail Week, which is available free to retail professionals, seems to be mentioning Jaguar more frequently. In an article on Sega CD, the closing paragraph states that Atari shipped more than 20,000 machines despite having only four games available for it. They say that Atari expects to be in 10 markets in the first quarter, 10 more in the second quarter and be nationwide by the end of the year. They go on to say that Atari has been getting reorders from such retail outlets as Babbage’s, The Good Guys!, Circuit City, Electronics Boutique, Toys’R’Us, F.A.O. Schwarz, and J & R Computer World.
Also in the same issue, the Dr. Digital column comments that Atari is generally quick to market with hardware (??), but does not always follow up with third-party software support (how true).
In the January 31 issue of Business Week, there is an article called “Video Games: The Next Generation.” Jaguar garnered a short paragraph where is was called a “technical winner.” Unfortunately, there was also mention of fear that Jaguar may be “caged to due Atari’s tattered marketing history.”
Other notes from the article:
3DO sold poorly at Christmas
Amiga CD32 ($399) shown at CES
Phillips CD-I ($399-$499) will focus more on games and less on educational software
Nintendo’s “Project Reality” with Silicon Graphics is not expected until 1995
Sega Saturn CD-based system is not expected until 1995.
By the way, interested in becoming a Jaguar developer? Get your credit card out: a complete Jaguar development system sells for $9000!
What do Radio Shackand Atari have in common? Nothing? Well, when Atari was having problems with the switchbox to connect Jaguar to a TV, they went to Radio Shack to purchase higher quality switch boxes. And now, Radio Shack has started carrying Atari 2600 and 7800 video game cartridges. These cartridges are available through their Express Order program for $9.99 each and generally take about 10 days to arrive at your door. They have a list of 28 Atari 2600 games and 30 Atari 7800 games.
Have you purchases this game yet? If you like strategy games, this is a must-have. However, as much as I like the game, there are bugs in it. Most annoying is when it crashes just before saving your score. But, don’t despair; send your master disks off to England (the address is in the ST supplement). After about 4-6 weeks you will get the latest version in the mail. Don’t send your disks to the MicroProse U.S. office, as they don’t know anything about the Atari version.
Be on the lookout for NeoDesk 4! The latest version of Grinif’s incredibly useful, popular and powerful desktop has many new features (the following is just a partial list):
Dialogs boxes are displayed in windows
Dynamic memory usage to allow for more icons on the desktop at one time
New directory filter that was created after 1/15/95 allows you to show files with a size greater than 50,000 bytes.
File operations can occur in the background
Program groups, similar to what Microsoft Windows has
Windows now contain their own menu bar
Keyboard selection of ions.
NeoDesk 4 will retail for $69.95. Upgrades from NeoDesk 3 are just $25! Including an all-new manual! Expected availability is in early March. Contact Gribnif Software at (413) 247-5620 from 10am-6pm EST. Also, Gribnif is having a special close-out of NeoDesk 3 at $34.95!
Also on the Gribnif front, a new programmer has just signed on to further the development of STalker and STeno. Jeff Krzysztow will now be handling all of the programming for these fine applications, taking over from creator Eric Rosenquist.
End of the Month
That’s all for this month.
It was interesting re-reading that. I spotted a few typos and some strange punctuation choices, but I’ve left them in. I left out contact information that was originally in this article since none of it is relevant any more.
I also found my box of CN goodies, which includes some email correspondence with my ST editor predecessor and Atari folks such as Bob Brodie and Bill Rehbock, topics for future posts.
Thanks for reading Goto 10! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my writing.
Honestly, I don’t think I really accomplished most of these goals.
I have a boxed copy of Geneva here that I will talk about at some point. I really did love it!
I loved the Delphi online service and had been using it for years. It was a bargain at the time because you could get 20 hours of online time for $20 when most online services were $6/hour or more. Although the CN gig was unpaid, I did get free online access to Delphi and GEnie as a perk.
I believe the TT was actually used as a development environment for Jaguar, which is why production had started back up on them.
I knew this because I was working at Radio Shack at the time.
My college roommates and I spent so much time playing Civilization!
Great article. Thanks to pointing to my Archive.org page(s). I have a couple of questions. In your article you say June, 1995 was the last issue. Are you basing that on your experience (memory or actual documents you have) or from the latest issue posted on Archive.org? Do you have any of the un-archived issues of Current Notes. Looking forward to reading about more of your experience with Current Notes.
Did anybody else jump ship after the 8 bit line and go straight to Amiga? :) I know I did. Not to yuck anybody else's yum but the ST always left me feeling kind of underwhelmed. I can appreciate aspects of its tech stack now but at the time? Not so much :)