Genesis Genstar 2000. (CD-ROM drive) (evaluation)
by Clifton Karnes
Setting up the GenSTAR 2000 turned out to be an exercise in plug-and-play simplicity. I just popped the SCSI interface card into an open slot in my PC, connected the cable from the card to the CD-ROM player, and turned the machine on.
To install the software, I ran GenSTAR's setup program, which configured my computer to automatically load two CD-ROM drivers at boot-up. I'm using DOS 5.0, and after a little tweaking, I was able to load both drivers into high memory.
The whole installation process took less than 15 minutes. But I was lucky. The interface's default interrupt, I/O port, and DMA channel didn't conflict with any other hardware devices in my PC. If there had been a conflict, I would've had to know exactly how my current equipment was configured and be able to adjust the SCSI card accordingly. The GenSTAR manual, despite its modest appearance (20 loose-leaf pages stapled together), contained clear instructions and illustrations on reconfiguring the card and would've been an excellent guide had I needed it.
After installing the GenSTAR, I was able to start using it immediately because of its gaggle of bundled CD-ROM software. Included are four titles from the Software Toolworks - Reference Library, Illustrated Encyclopedia, U.S. Atlas, and World Atlas - plus Mammals from the National Geographic Society and Languages of the World from the Sony CD-ROM series.
I found Reference Library to be extremely useful. It boasts a spelling checker, dictionary, thesaurus, quotation index, general reference, history, listings of business addresses and phone numbers, a legal and corporate handbook, and a concise writing guide. You can run Reference Library either as a stand-alone program or as a TSR. Either way, its easy-to-use interface with pull-down menus and mouse support makes browsing a pleasure.
The other bundled titles were nearly as interesting, useful, and entertaining as Reference Library. And it's comforting to know that if I ever get tired of accessing this huge chunk of the world's accumulated knowledge, I can take advantage of the fact that the GenSTAR is also a functional music CD player by popping in a disc, plugging in my earphones, and tuning in to Mozart.