COMPUTER VIRUSES ON THE ST
- or -
I'M TIRED OF THINKING OF NEW NAMES FOR THIS FOREVER
RE-OCCURRING SERIES. SO THAT'S IT
by Richard Karsmakers
The development of my "Ultimate Virus Killer" (its most recent
name, in case you were interested) is continuing steadily. New
viruses still appear, as do harmless bootsectors of demos or
commercial software. In this article, I will keep you informed
about some of my recent findings - i.e. what has happened with
regard to viruses on the ST and the battle against them.
"Ultimate Virus Killer" gets Format Gold
The most prominent thing that happened, however, is the fact
that "ST Format" awarded the "Ultimate Virus Killer" with a
rating of 90% which suffices for the much coveted "Format Gold"
title. This means that the "Ultimate Virus Killer" can be
regarded as the utility equivalent of games with illustrious
names and reputations such as "Gods", "Lemmings", "Populous" and
"Xenon II". Of course, this is something I am very proud of even
though ST Format is as a matter of fact the most crap magazine
Finally real recognition. I will, of course, strive to get ever
closer to perfection as I believe that my program can yet be
I have to admit that I claimed 'TT compatibility' from version
4.1 upward. However, this meant one could run the program in ST
resolutions without too many things going wrong. I hope I have
not been misleading too many people there. The ones with big
monitors (i.e. ones that can only display 1280*980 or something
like that) still couldn't work with it.
I was sick and tired of my program not working there, so between
versions 5.1 and 5.2 I rewrote all screen output routines so that
they became as flexible as they could possible be. All screen
coordinates were properly centered, and the routine to buffer the
contents of a part of the screen (or even the whole screen) was
rewritten totally so as to enable the buffering of the TT
resolution screens that are 158 Kb in size - and potentially the
even bigger ones offered by special graphic cards such as Matrix
So, officially, as of version 5.2 the program is truly TT
compatible. As long as the resolution does not exceed about
20,000 by 20,000 pixels all should work fine (you should also
have plenty of memory, by the way). As of version 5.3, however,
memory management is also taken care of properly, so that the
program automatically checks the amount of memory it needs to
buffer the screen. Also, some cosmetic changes were made so that
a bit of extra screen is buffered to make sure screens no longer
leave a busted impression after many alert boxes had appeared on
Megacomp, Inc, traditionally take their new clients for a walk
around the research and development labs. Their guide, a newly
promoted executive, shows them the production facilities, the
next-generation chips, then shows them into a small room.
"Here, ladies and gentlemen, is the seventh-generation computer
Zandor. It is so so smart, you can ask it anything, and it will
answer. Does anyone have a question?"
From the back of the group comes a reply. Naturally, it's the
client who has been a pain all the time, getting lost, being
awkward and asking stupid questions. The young exec sighs and
says: "OK, sir, just speak into this microphone."
The man thinks, then says: "Where is my father?"
The computer whirrs, lights flash and then PING! a little card
drops out of a slot, upon which is printed:
"FISHING OFF FLORIDA."
"HA!" says the client. "GOT YOU! My father is DEAD!"
"DAMN", thinks the young exec. "If we lose face in front of all
these clients, my job will be worth nothing."
He looks at the client and says:
"I'm sorry sir, it's just that sometimes our computer is a bit
difficult. Could you rephrase your question and try it again?"
The man nods, thinks, and speaks into the microphone:
"Where is my mother's husband?"
Whirr, flash, PING!
"DEAD. BUT YOUR FATHER'S STILL FISHING OFF FLORIDA"
END OF JOKE (COURTESY OF MARC 'DIXIE FLATLINE' FREEBURY. THANK
Use as accessory
In version 5.0, I implemented some program code that allows for
the program to be used as an accessory. This worked reasonably
OK, although it had one severe disadvantage: The program could no
longer be compressed. This was bad, as the program has to be
compressed for it to fit on a single-sided disk with the manual
Therefore I am still doing the odd bits and ends on accessory
programming and compressing. Version 5.3 still does not include
accessory functionality, however - this is to be expected in
version 5.4 at the earliest, which should appear by the end of
March 1992. Even then I will have to put the program through a
rigorous test phase before the argument for accessory use will be
used in advertisements and the like.
As I said, the biggest problem is the one I encounter when
compressing the file. Apparently it does not reserve enough
space, causing a bomb crash at the booting of the system when the
accessory is loaded. I am yet to solve this, but Axe (programmer
of the Ice Packer) is cooperating so I expect this problem to be
solved quickly. I have several other problems (files refuse to be
found, current path refuses to be properly buffered) as well with
accessory functionality, but these will prove minor once the
compression thing is solved.
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.