"Don't drink and bake."
Arnold Schwarzenegger, "Raw Deal"
SELECTED DISK MAGAZINE REVIEWS
by Richard Karsmakers
ST ENTHUSIASTS NEWSLETTER ISSUE 12
They just keep on doing them, and the good thing is that they
aren't actually getting worse at all. "STEN" issue 12 is another
collection of sensible material, covering just about every side
of the world we call ST. Reviews, news and some literature form
the main ingredients, now with a lesser accent on computer-
The thing about them, at the moment, is that the last issue I
got from them was issue 12 - of November/December 1992. They have
probably already released further issues but forgot to send them
Anyway, issue 12 has, among other things, a PD library disk
catalogue review (and a comparative one at that), slags off
"Maggie" issue 10, features the "Rodney's Raygun" story that is
also in this ST NEWS issue, offers three very interesting
articles on the US Secret Service vs. Computer Hackers, has STOS
and assembler tutorials, and a lot more. Of course attention is
given to the Falcon as well, and this issue most particularly
delves into the insides of the 68030, the Falcon's CPU. As this
issue was also the one that celebrated their second birthday, the
editorial column spends some space on a look back.
An excellent issue, as usual. Especially at their release rate,
I think they're doing one hell of a job.
But are they still alive, actually? No doubt the answer will
arrive in a new issue of ST NEWS, when Dave has read this and
decided either to send me the obituary or their latest issues.
DBA MAGAZINE ISSUE 7
Another magazine with a virtually unbelievable release rate,
even though the various problems arising around its conception
bring the practical rate in slightly more believable dimensions,
is Disk Buster Association's "DBA Magazine". They never cease to
amaze me with the enormous quantity they offer on each issue -
and if you add to that the fact that they try to do an issue
every two months you have one sincerely gobsmacked reviewer!
I was about to do a late review of their rather excellent
Christmas special (issue 7) when issue 8 dropped in my mailbox. I
have to say, though, that their Christmas special was a rather
nice one - graphics were all snow and ivy leaves and that sort of
thing, which I considered very atmospheric. The other pictures on
the disk were also rather good, with two being excellent even.
Anyway. Unlike issue 7 (which was 'only' one disk), issue 8
comes on two disks. These disks feature, among other things, a
rather impressive intro demo sequence with good graphics, 8 other
pictures (of average to good quality), some interesting programs
on offer ("Kwikview" version 2.1 that we also got for this issue
of ST NEWS and a great soundchip music composer and player) and,
last but not least, a massive 134 articles!
(And that was probably the most crappily contructed sentence in
this issue of ST NEWS)
"DBA Magazine" issue 8, a special Horror Issue, was finished
just after the Fried Bits Convention, held in Bremen, Germany, in
April 1993. Well, due to some problems it was actually finished
the day after, but what the heck. Because of this occasion an
entire menu is devoted to a large real-time article made there.
It gives you once more the opportunity at getting to know the
sort of people that go there and the atmosphere that permeates a
place where a lot of freaks get together only to code, do
graphics and get drunk. It's uncensored, of course, like it
Of course the magazine again features an entire menu dedicated
to the thing that keeps the entire Atari fraternity on the edge
of its seats - the Falcon. Some articles even supply the user
with some undocumented register memory addresses - I wonder where
they got them, for Atari tends to keep this sort of info under
lock and key! All in all this is one of the most interesting
menus, at least as far as I am concerned.
I will not bother you with a full list of what they've done now
- I leave it up to you to try and get the issue and find out for
Concluding, once more I have to say that "DBA Magazine"
comprises a high-end disk magazine that is no doubt among the
very best. However, I would need to put forward that they are
still not monochrome compatible and they seem to find it more
important to have a lot of shorter articles rather than less
longer ones. The graphics are good, and the music is all but
I'd like to close this bit off with some remarks about an
article they featured that was supposed to contain a list of the
very best CDs ever to have been released.
First, its author mentioned Iron Maiden's "No Prayer for the
Dying" as one of the very best heavy metal CD's. Unfortunately
he's the only person to think so ("Live after Death" is normally
considered best, and all people I know think "NPFTD" is actually
their very worst album) and Iron Maiden isn't even exactly heavy
metal! Second, in the hard rock list he reckons Deep Purple's
"Anthology" is one of the best, whereas no Deep Purple fan would
be caught dead without the true classic "Made in Japan"!
I can't resist positing some alternatives. The heavy metal list
should, I think, at least have contained Obituary's "Cause of
Death", Entombed's "Left Hand Path", Slayer's "Decade of
Aggression", Sepultura's "Arise" and Metal Church's "Metal
Church". The hard rock list seems incredulous without "Made in
Japan", Joe Satriani's "Flying in a Blue Dream", Rainbow's "Live
Germany 1976", Van Halen's "Live: Right Here Right Now" and Kiss'
And I'd like to leave it at that.
SCRIBA COMMUNIS RESPONSUM VOLUME 1 ISSUE 2
(AND, EXACTLY ONE DAY BEFORE THE RELEASE OF THIS ISSUE
OF ST NEWS, WE GOT VOLUME 2 ISSUE 1...SO THAT'S LOOKED AT, TOO)
It was March 5th 1993 when I finally received "Scriba Communis
Responsum" Volume 1 Issue 2, originally finished on September
21th 1992 - Gard, you lazy bastard! Thanks anyway, Kai, for
sending it me about three months after I asked you (normally this
would have been the place where those stupid smiling faces appear
":)" but I hate 'em ":(").
Anyway, let's just get on with it.
Just like the previous, debut issue of this totally remarkable
and surely quite unique Norwegian international disk magazine,
the user interface is smooth, fast and user-friendly. I still
don't think the colours they select are really nice, but I guess
all of it must have some deeper literary meaning.
There is a picture (quite an artistic picture of a girl that I
guess Gard, the editor-in-chief, must have loved recently), a
zanily nutty "Ronnie Demo II" and about a dozen articles. They
have yet to get to a larger audience, I guess, which also makes
sure that they have to write just about everything themselves.
There also a rather nice piece of music (by Jochen Hippel), but I
turned it off as I'd rather listen to Jason Becker that my CD
player had the air vibrate with when I looked over "SCR".
All articles are distinctly non-computer-related, and are
actually solely human interest. Most stories are literary in some
way and usually have to do with Gard's endless string of almost-
love affairs and Kai's lonely existence. Both Gard and Kai are in
dire need of a female to attend them constantly, and I guess
"Scriba" afficionados will get lovesick issues thrown as them as
long as these guys remain single.
All in all, however, "Scriba" is an original and nicely written
disk magazine. Sometimes that articles tread the border between
"genuine" and "pathetic", but somehow they succeed in never
crossing it. In any case it's quite something else than all other
disk magazines in existence today.
I've heard that their third issue will be even better. Even so,
I think it will still be a case of "love 'em or hate 'em".
Incidentally, "Scriba" is largely oriented around a number-based
religion involving the answer to Life, The Universe and
Everything. The number they have calculated is not 42, by the
way, but something totally different. I would just like to
mention two other fairly popular Answers that are even different
1) In the year 1255 (AD) there was a chap called Nichiren
Derishonin. He propounded that the law of life was "NAM-MYOTTO-
RENGE-KYO". So that's no number at all, actually.
2) The answer to "The Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe
and Everything" is not in fact 42, nut is stored in the
reproductive cells of all life forms and this answer is found via
42. To explain further: All, or most, cells reproduce by
splitting in two to form two cells. Thus, once cell becomes two,
two becomes four...and so forth. It follows that the Answer must
therefore be some power of two. Deep Thought came up with the
number 42, and this is indeed the power to which 2 must be raised
to find the answer. Thus, by obtaining 2 to the power of 42 -
4398046511104 - reducing it morse code, turning the morse code
into letters, rearranging the letters into passable words, and
interpreting the Answer thus obtained. Then you can also work out
what the question is.
Well, on to Volume 2 Issue 1 that I eventually got just in time
for our deadline as over 540 Kb of UUENCODED text files through
Although "Scriba" Volume 2 Issue 1 looks neat and impeccable as
usual, I found it not much better than the previous issues. It's
still about the same sort of stuff - religion of some sort - this
time with addition of over 170 Kb of Falcon-related stuff taken
from Internet, almost 60 Kb of Internet stuff about the Amiga
4000 (just to show that it isn't as good as the Falcon?) and
another fairly gigantic file about the wonders of Internet. I
respect Gard's interest in electronic data communication, but
it's quite another thing to use around 300 Kb of Internet
material, virtually unmoderated and unedited, for the innocent
"Scriba" reader to sift through. In total, however, there are 22
articles amongst which there are some interesting things.
For example there's the Norwegian equivalent of the real-time
article made when the Nutties visited my place around New Year
(almost 100% identical to that in this issue of ST NEWS with
exception of the Encyclopaedia Norwegica Revisitas that they
don't have). Also there's an improved rehash of Kai's excellent
little story "The School of Life" of which the original was
featured, I believe, in a previous issue of ST NEWS.
Good thing this time is that "Scriba" finally works on
monochrome. It works on the Falcon, too, even with Mad Max music
that normally doesn't run on that machine.
One more thing: Guys, please use the right mouse button, too, to
enable the user to exit the pageview mode!
TWILIGHT ZONE VOLUME 1 ISSUE 1
A new disk magazine has appeared on the ST. As a matter of fact
it's not just an ST one but, rather, an online one that is mainly
spread electronically, even though it may be obtained by regular
The secret behind "Twilight Zone" is that (trumpets and string
instruments play the first bar of Beethoven's fifth) I am
actually the editor of it. It's actually quite a straightforward
thing, namely a fiction-only multi-format on-line electronic
magazine. The first issue was finished on April 21st 1993, the
day after I got an email account.
"Twilight Zone" features ST NEWS fiction exclusively, even
though articles originally submitted by people for use in
"Twilight Zone" will perhaps appear in ST NEWS at a slightly
later date. All fiction has been rehashed as far as my own stuff
is concerned (I wouldn't dream of touching other people's
writings). Some stories are virtually complete rewrites,
particularly where my older prozaic outbursts are concerned. The
aim is to get more readers for our fiction rather than only
ST/TT/Falcon people (no matter how much I feel they are actually
much nicer than the rest of the world).
I am not going to say whether or not it's any good - that
wouldn't be objective, now would it? All I want to say is that
the current issue contains (and each future issue will contain)
approximately 100 Kb worth of fiction, selected from all ST NEWS
issues ever released. Sequential stories will be published in the
right order. Volume 1 Issue 1 is available, and subscriptions may
be obtained by sending a message (or, indeed, a rather more
extensive piece of communication) to my email address which is
Versions on disk can be obtained by sending a disk plus 2
International Reply Coupons (one extra if you live outside
Europe) to my regular address (mentioned elsewhere in ST NEWS at
several occasions, no doubt). However, not much new will be on
offer in "Twilight Zone" if you're a regular ST NEWS reader, and
the target audience, therefore, consists of people who have an
That's it for this ST NEWS issue's disk magazine reviews. I
think I have in the mean time grown enough to take quite an
objective perspective when reviewing the competition. If any of
you disagree, you're welcome to have a mountain of comments burst
forth through my mailbox.
The postmen won't mind. Or ar least that's what they tell me.
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.