This article is from the Apple II Csa2 FAQ, by Jeff Hurlburt with numerous contributions by others.
Below is a condensed discQuest review. It should help clarify things. DiscQUEST v1.2.2 for 2MB IIgs from Sequential Systems CD ROM drive, interface, and System 6 or later required; hard disk and System 6.01 recommended There is a burgeoning library of CD-ROM releases. History of the World from Library Reference is a case in point. discPassage is a PC/Mac interface program which lets a user access text, pictures, and sound tracks on CD's which employ a discPassage database. Typically, dP products carry the digital data disc symbol and are labelled "for Mac or multi-media PC" with Mac and PC versions of discPassage included on-disc. "Whoa! My IIgs has a CD-ROM reader, SCSI interface, and all the standard System 6.01 drivers. It still can't do much with those disc CD's." Right. The basic IIgs setup CAN access data and programs on for-Apple II CD's. If you've added the appropriate Media NDA and Control Panel, your CD-ROM IIgs can also mimic a CD music disc player complete with all of the usual controls. Audio is output directly from the CD-ROM drive to headphones, a hi- fi amp, or a pair of amplified speakers. "Fine; but, how do I ask the Family Doctor a question, peruse an encyclopedia, and use other neat CD-ROM data disc products?" Actually, with HS.FST in your SYSTEM/FSTs folder, you can click the CD- ROM icon, display folders, and even load TEXT files from discPassage CD's. Your IIgs is 'compatible enough' with ISO 9660 even if some of the PC filetypes are unfamiliar. Still, this kind of access is hardly satisfactory. What you lack is the software key to unlock the discPassage database. Your IIgs cannot run PC or Mac versions of discPassage; but, it CAN run a for-GS database unlocker named "discQuest"! How do the systems match-up? Well, I tried out several CD's under discPassage on a 33MHz '486 PC and discQuest on a IIgs with 10Mhz/64K ZipGSx. On the PC you get to see an intro pic (which discQuest skips); and, in one case, a sound file which played fine with discPassage did not work under discQuest. As might be expected, pictures come in faster under discPassage because discQuest must often spend extra seconds processing each PC-format image. The larger the graphic and greater the number of colors, the bigger PC's advantage. Based upon samplings of several CD's, discQuest often needs about 15 seconds to load and display a pic that discPassage can handle in 3 seconds. Fortunately, you can reduce this delay by selecting Preferences and setting Color to "Gray- scale". Both setups handled sound files well, consistently starting playback in under 4 seconds. The big surprise of the face-off came when comparing time required to open folders and display item choices-- for example, to open "Ancient Civilizations" and list article titles. DiscPassage routinely took 10- 20 seconds; whereas discQuest seldom took even 2 seconds! Just click the discQuest icon and, in a few seconds, the name and main folders of the current discPassage-compatible CD appear in a scrollable Browse window. From here you can open folders, do searches (by word, author, subject, or title) and read articles in scrollable windows. Of course, you can also listen to sound tracks, view pictures, and obtain printouts of text and pictures. A major benefit of having reams of text 'on the computer' is that you can clip and save selections for use in articles, term papers, and other projects. discQuest scores a "pretty good" here, since you are free to add and delete text and can use Cut & Paste within whatever article you are viewing. The result may then be saved to disk. At present, however, discQuest does not maintain more than one text window on its desktop; nor does it support loading text files from disk or opening a New (blank) text window. The standard discQuest package includes a sample CD (such as "Family Doctor" or "Total Baseball"), fifteen pages of information and instructions, and two diskettes. One diskette lets non-hard disk users start discQuest after a bare-bones System 6.0 boot. The other will Install discQuest and a monospace font (CoPilot.8) to hard disk plus, if desired, several support files. The latter include HS.FST and drivers for popular CD-ROM readers plus the Media NDA and Control Panel stuff to support playing musi c CD's. If you already have CD-ROM up and running on your IIgs, then hard disk installation of discQuest should involve nothing more than creating a folder named DISCQUEST, copying the program there and copying CoPilot.8 to SYSTEM/ FONTS. The other files were present in Sequential's Complete System Package. The one sent to me included discQuest software and info sheets, NEC MultiSpin (x2 speed) CD-ROM reader, RamFAST SCSI interface card, cable, Labtec CS-150 amplified speakers, manuals, and four more sample CD 's. ___________________________ By: Matt Portune