EDITORIAL - A GLANCE BACK AT A YEAR OF OBSEQUIOUS COMPUTING
While reading back through the 1987 issues of ST NEWS, I felt
something stuck in my oral cavity and got the sudden inclination
to start writing this editorial column that had been buggin' my
senses for a long while and to compile the ST NEWS Volume 2
Compendium in which such an article would fit nicely.
What has 1987 seen? It saw Ben Johnson break the world record 100
metres dash, it saw Wall street crash and it saw Reagan and
Gorbatsjov sign the long awaited INF Treaty. It also saw less
pleasant things happen. The Herald of Free Enterprise ferry more
or less sank and many people drowned, the Gulf War came to a
sudden climax, Ollie North almost became president of the U.S.
due to the Irangate affaire, and wars were still fought all over
the world. Matthias Rust landed his plane in front of the Kremlin
in Moscow and Gorbatsjov published his monumentary work
"Perestrojka" (which I have not read, by the way, but which will
surely end up in the rows of "Das Kapital" and the kind). It was
also the year of the death of Fred Astaire and Lino Ventura as
well as the untimely departure into the army of our MIDI-and
modem man Frank Lemmen.
The ST went to sell quite well in '87. Last year will probably be
known to our posterity as "The Year of Desktop Publishing".
Suddenly, many a desktop publishing program appeared - "Fleet
Street Publisher", "Publishing Partner" and Timeworks' DTP are
but a few. Emulating had also become a current topic on the ST.
Whereas emulating CP/M had been done for a longer time already,
MacIntosh emulating became really lucrative when the "Aladin"
MacIntosh enhancer appeared, whereas PC emulating (although slow)
could be done with some quite satisfactory results using the
"PC Ditto" program. Many software companies started launching
(more) software on the ST, and some evergreens were made:
"Barbarian", "Goldrunner", "Arkanoid" and "Defender of the Crown"
are, again, a few of those. Word processing was sent to
unexpected and previously unknown heights by the launch of THE
word processor: "Word Perfect" - in fact the first program to be
launched on the ST by a company of high reputation (may many
follow!). And we got "Signum!", a program that allowed the
production of high quality printouts using a standard 9-needle
printer. The ST was taken to many of its limits in 1987 - 4096
color drawing programs appeared, good music turned out to be
possible on the ST after all, border scrolling was done and
programs were written that allowed over 950 Kb to be formatted on
a disk. Many people found out more and more there was to know
with regard to our much beloved ST.
The much expected blitter did not arrive, and I won't bother to
mention another one of those projects (which is the AMY
soundchip, of course!). But the MEGA STs and the SLM 804
laserprinter DID arrive, and Atari proudly demonstrated
prototypes of the transputer based computers, CD ROM and much
more. So there's still a lot to be expected for the ST, both on
the field of hardware and software. The list of "software to be
launched on the ST" is growing by the day and that also includes
many well known titles from other computers (and not only
games!). The ST is very much alive - as alive as it can possibly
be! It outsold the Amiga in virtually all countries world wide,
and is now slowly growing to become the second "Volkswagen"
amongst the home computers (the first one being the Commodore 64,
What happened to ST NEWS is 1987? I think 1987 can safely be
assumed to be the year of the breakthrough of ST NEWS. I
succeeded in acquiring distributors in some far away countries
like Australia and New Zealand whereas several software companies
honoured ST NEWS by giving it review status (Telecom Software,
Psygnosis and Microdeal need to be mentioned seperately). The
telephone bill resulting from establishing all these contacts
costed me several months of pocket money, donations and money I
had earned here and there. Some big foreign computer magazines
mentioned ST NEWS very favourably in their columns (The German
magazine "68000'er" in June and the English magazine "ST World"
in November), thus increasing my inspiration and the quality of
ST NEWS significantly.
ST NEWS Volume 2 Issue 5 saw the introduction of love and a
beautiful girl called Willeke in its abundance. Many a line was
spent declaring my love and I suspect some people thought I was
over-doing it a bit. Anyway, Willeke enriched ST NEWS with some
more human interest, more inspiration and some warmth as well.
This very ST NEWS Compendium is also dedicated to her, since I
still think she's so sweet, understanding and gorgeous that she's
still the main source of inspiration for me writing every issue
of ST NEWS.
Some things changed with the ST NEWS setup as well. Volume 2
Issue 1 was the first issue to be published in a new GEM
environment, and that setup had to be constantly improved
throughout most of the year. The pageview mode improved
significantly, and Stefan Posthuma took care that many routines
were improved from Basic to raw machine code. The actual ST NEWS
program reached its final setup around issue 6 (fast page-view
mode, picture conversion-and decrunch-routines and.....TEX'
magnificent music!). Some ultimately minor bugs were removed
every time a new issue was launched, but the actual program
environment didn't change anymore.
What does the ST NEWS Volume 2 Compendium offer?
I have tried to compile the best articles published in all ST
NEWS issues Volume 2 Issue 1 to 8. The best reviews, the total MC
68000 machine language course 'till now (including the first
part, which was published in ST NEWS Volume 1 Issue 6 of 1986),
the full Forth course 'till now, the best adventure hints & tips
and solutions, the interviews and the nicest features and
programming tips & tricks. Add to that the fact that two of the
Volume 3 Issue 1 articles are added, and what's more to wish?
I hope 1988 will prove to be a year of as much success as 1987
has been. There are still goals to be achieved (though setting
them becomes more difficult every time), and I hope you all will
continue to support ST NEWS throughout 1988 (You know what? You
could make a nice gesture by donating non-significant amounts of
money on giro account number 5060326 t.n.v. Richard Karsmakers,
Helmond, The Netherlands). I will try to make it as entertaining
and informing as possible, hoping you will continue to like it.
Apart from a desperate way to increase my ego, ST NEWS is THE way
to make the ST users a big family of users that will share know-
how, programs and experience. Please contribute in enlarging this
range of users by spreading ST NEWS to everyone you know and to
mention it wherever possible. And remember: I cannot do
everything alone and I therefore welcome all contributions to ST
NEWS (especially articles).
Wishing you lots of fun reading through this Volume 2 Compendium,
(Editor of ST NEWS)
P.S. If you happen to be a first-time reader of ST NEWS, please
refer to the section of 'How to order back-issues' if you
think it's worth spending some more attention to. And ST
NEWS Volume 3 Issue 1 will be worth its while, too...
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.