Fort Worth Star-Telegram from Fort Worth, Texas on September 16, 1984 · 272
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Fort Worth Star-Telegram from Fort Worth, Texas · 272

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Location:
Fort Worth, Texas
Issue Date:
Sunday, September 16, 1984
Page:
272
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- ' - i I I 4 I I I 0 a cc r S t 8 tartext: - It isn't a newspaper and then again it isn't television 'Call us a hybrid' said Joe Donth director of Startext a Fort Worth company lir that delivers news and other services to the home computers of 1200 subscribers via telephone lines 'we combine the depth of newspapers with the immediacy of TV' - Originally a fall 1981 joint project of the Star-Telegram and Tandy Corp of Fort Worth Startext has utilized increasingly sophisticated : software to offer its subscribers up to-the-minute news features colt-1- i umns and other previously-restricted-to-print information on computer terminal screens At $795 i a month plus the cost of phone use i about 1200 current subscribers - make Startext one of the two big gest electronic news systems in the country While Startext shows no signs of slowing in its current growth cycle it has experienced the same growing pains of any other new concept fr: 'In fall of 1981 Tandy corp approached us about joining to put together a videotext product for use with its floppy disk model HS' said Donth 'We would provide the in for2 0 illation the news and they would 5 provide the computer technology and support Owners of the trs-80 O model ll could get the appropriate z -' software and by using a telephone modem have access to various news ct 1-t' and feature stories' 0 cc 0 4 A el CO 45' IJJ 0 ce U1 IAJ L1I IT 4 ce 0 Startext delivers news home computers of 1200 telephone lines Started began operations on may 3 1982 as an entity separate from the Star-Telegram newspaper Five months later after what Donth termed 'a lot of Star-Telegram prodtion' the new videotext service had a grand total of 35 subscribers We could see some things that ha Cl to be changed' Donth said 'we weht to Tandy and told them Star ie4had to beaccessible to owners of Other brands of computers besides the-Moklel II at the same time sub scetber0 could only stay on-line for on' 6stoty then had to re-dial if they wartted another! Tandyand Startext went to work zriclthey launched the second Star: t'ex(iversion'ion Oct 11982 Non-Trs po model It tmliputers could access the ysten4a-9(1 users could receive multiPlestories-with a single phone 1call 'We went from 35 to 261 subigisibers by' Par§ end' Donth said 7but when reached the 250 mark bbt the mds)411 and the software 'Cr CO bbtl) the m4411 and the software se bsed hegalids'how Strain They — just could not support such a large I just could not support such a large '"44§ithEiCribei load' b MALMO! i IIJE 1 i1 I I A co 119831p gan Tandy promised to a 'hybrid' of newspaper and television upgrade program software but angry subscribers who felt the system was too slow andr unresponsive began to heap loud and continuous blame on the Startext staff In February Startext staffers began to develop their own software to run the system - 'We added 170 new subscribers in January '83 and it really started getting bad' Donth recalled 'as the system existed it was no longer able to provide information service promptly In March we made the decision to get off the Tandy system- -it was amicable we parted friends-and April 1 we opened with our own system operated solely by Startext' The new Startext system had several ' new advantages for subscribers They could view their videotext information page by page or by scrolling and the material could be altered to perfectly fit any model of computer monitor screen When another influx of subscribers in July pushed the new system to its limits Startext devised another that would allow more than 15 or 20 subscribers to utilize tlie system at 'the same time The new Startext iCrscoll Proved So function - al that it is still in place today 'We added a Dallas metro phone line service then too' said Startext manager Gerry Barker 'subscribers in Dallas could utilize the system without having to pay long distance charges' and other services to the subscribers via the Long distance bills don't bother dedicated Startext subscribers Now with an 18hour constant updating of all breaking newsstoriesas I well as a generous sampling of columns written by subscribers as well 1 as Star-Telegram siaffers Startext boasts subscribers in Missouri Indiana and California Several Canadians are inquiring about system access and soon a Japanese delegation will visit Fort Worth specifically to learn more about the Startext opera-lion If 'If you have a phone you can have Startext' Donth said Many Startext subscribers fall into one of three categories- business-people trying to stay one jump ahead of the competitionnew cornputer owners who want a friendly way to have their computer opera- ':- tion questions answer and the truly dedicated cómputerphiles who sun-ply love sitting in front Of keyboards and communicating with fellow :- hackers " 'Many realtors in this area use Startext: Donth said 'we run the owl WM LIVILIII ZdiLl WV 11411 tile eig sfies1 gsItiq evening before they're printed in the Star-Tele- ny are pleased to do just that'We've gram They get a head start that way got columns on running CommoBankers have instant access to fi- dore Kaypro Timex Apple IBM nancial news What we do is give our and Texas Instruments computer subscribers the information they models'Donthsaid'The writersare want when they want it Sometimes subscribers who enjoy using their that's something the print media computersand giving operating tips can't do because of press time re- about them that might not appear in quirements the manufacturers' user's manuals Startext staffers revel in the col- That means that neweomputer ownumn contributions by subscribers ers have a nonthreatening way to Anyone on the Startext system can get ideasThey can also use our elecof fer his or her two cents' worth tronie mail feature to ask questions about computer operation and ma- The guys on our system who are Anyone on the Startext system can offer his and her two cents worth about computer operations til IVY') VI ILO Vif I LI I 0 kJ t 14 I V I I 11-!11 LC I V IJC: i a L111 ID ostnolryieesa tnhdaenvtoetteevslas3i ! 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