"The man who can smile when things go wrong has thought of
someone else he can blame it on."
ST/TT/FALCON SOFTWARE REVIEWED IN SHORT
by Richard Karsmakers
(with a special guest appearance by Mike Noyce)
Maybe it's a good thing that ST NEWS is stopping. I remember the
early days when this article was crammed with all the latest, but
in recent times I've just been too busy to actually keep myself
informed properly, or hunt down companies for information and the
like. The fact that there is anything in this column at all is,
indeed, largely due to the companies themselves doing all the
work quite autonomously, without my having to harrass them in any
way. So here it is, then, the final ST NEWS "software reviews in
Diamond Edge 2.04
Oregon have released a new version of their cutting-edge hard
disk utility "Diamond Edge", version 2.04. As you may (or at
least should) know, "Diamond Edge" is a program with which it is
possible to check whether your hard disk structure is intact (and
it can fix it for you if needed), whereas its sister program
"Diamond Mirror" allows you to make copies of the essential bits
of your hard disk partitions' FAT structures so that hard disk
crash data loss can be kept to an absolute minimum. The interface
has been redesigned and streamlined, now looking more uniform
with that of Oregon's hard disk backup program "Diamond Back".
Internally, routines have been sped up as well. An interesting
addition to the package is "DADE" - "Diamond Advanced Disk
Editor". This is a low-level disk editing program that allows you
to do some quick and dirty things on any mass storage media you
have attached, though only people who know what they're doing
should attempt fiddling around with it.
Last but not least, "Diamond Edge" 2.04 comes with a new and
expanded manual. The retail price of the package is US$ 69.95
retail or US$ 49.95 from Oregon direct, whereas an update from
version 1 costs US$ 29.95. For information or ordering, contact:
Oregon Research Associates
16200 S.W. Pacific Highway, Suite 162
Tigard, OR 97224
United States of America
Fax: (503) 624-2940
Geneva Release 004
Gribnif software have released new versions of their grade A
programs, "Geneva" (the multi-tasking OS) and "NeoDesk 4" (the
alternative desktop replacement). "Geneva" is currently at
release 004. The changes/fixes/enhancement, when summarised, take
up 10 pages of "1st Word Plus" text, so I suggest you just go
ahead and get the new version right away. At the following WWW
URL you will find all the latest versions, ready for you to
NeoDesk 4 Release 004
I can be a bit more specific about the enhancements of "NeoDesk
4" release 004, the other update released by Gribnif software
over the recent six months. "Geneva" usually just toils in the
background when I work on my Falcon and, well, I barely notice
what's happening and didn't really notice any big differences
myself. That is different with "NeoDesk 4". As a matter of fact,
I upgraded straight from release 002 to release 004, so the bits
that I thought had to be worth mentioned here apply to the bits
that changed between those two releases. Again, in real life
we're talking 12-14 pages of "1st Word Plus" worth of changes.
Just go to the Gribnif site (mentioned above) and check 'em out.
Some of the changes are the following:
- If you upgrade from 002, installed applications are lost; INF
file now supports more than two extensions per installed
- Magic 2.0 compatible (in a window).
- Improved printer spooler.
- "NeoDesk" can be used as an AV server.
- Recoverable trashcan will no longer crash after deleting or
undeleting files (this used to happen sometimes).
- Screen saver now works on non-ST modes on the Falcon, too.
- Floppy formatting has changed visually, and can now format with
1 or 2 sectors per cluster, too. Also, the "FAT media
descriptor byte" is set, to make disks more PC-compatible.
- "Kobold" can be used for file operations if it is noticed
running in the background.
- Bomb crash register dump contains more info, and can be sent to
- "NeoDesk" now works with "MagicMac" on the Apple MacIntosh as
well. Do note that corner clocker and screen saver won't work.
- Kobold can be used in resolutions with a screen width of 640
Rainbow II Multimedia - version 2.1
A new version of Addiction Software's "Rainbow II Multimedia"
drawing/sound/sprite/more program has been released on March 4th
1996. There is not a lot I can say about it other than that it
had a lot of bugs fixed and that the password security thing has
been removed (now that is indeed what I call an improvement)! For
P.O. Box 5012
S-451 05 Uddevalla
Fax +46 522 75872
Home Page: http://www.tripnet.se/home/addict/Addiction.html
Suzy B's CD
It is difficult not to be awe-stricken when in one CD box you
find two CD ROMs with over one gigabyte of Public Domain and
shareware releases. If one also realises that this product is
mainly organised and put together by none other than Michael
Burkley (besides co-owner of Suzy B's Software he has garnered a
certain amount of fame as "Atari Explorer Online"'s Unabashed
Atariophile), I am afraid that just adds to the overall feeling.
With the advent of CD ROM players, now several years behind us,
I guess it was only a matter of time until people started putting
out compilations. Several other companies have done so as well,
but as it happens Michael was the only one who cared to send me a
sample, so tough for the others. This does mean, however, that I
have no comparisons to make. Therefore this will just be kind of
a summary of what's on those two neat silvery discs as well as
some remarks on the side. Those remarks have more to do with what
I'd like to be on such a CD than anything else, but nonetheless I
shall wish to make them. But we're not there quite yet.
When reviewing a CD such as this, it's Megabytes that are
important. So what's on them?
Disc A contains: 3 Mb of Dorothy Brumleve's Kidprogs software,
76.6 Mb of Falcon-specific demos, 14.2 Mb of (mostly Postscript)
fonts, 132 Mb of games (all Jeff Minter's shareware games are
there, with the exception of "Revenge of the Mutant Camels", and
Sinister Development's "Centipede" and "Towers II" are there too,
which were some of the most important games I could think of,
off-hand), 2.61 Mb of .SMP sound files, 21.8 Mb of "Calamus"
fonts, 26.9 Mb of IMG clip-art, 4.7 of .MID sound files, 41.4 Mb
of picture utilities, 40 Mb of sound utilities/programs, 2.43 Mb
of "TCB Tracker" MODs, 10.2 Mb of .WAV sound files and 58.4 Mb of
regular MODs. It also contains the huge (3.5 Mb) catalogue of
what's on the disk. Disc B contains: 328 Kb of Atari 8-bit
related stuff, 19.7 Mb of adult education, 33.2 + 102 Mb of
graphic demos (I discovered the TCB "Cuddly Demos" among them, as
well as TEX' "Super NEO Slide Show" thing), 17.3 Mb of boot
utilities (AUTO folder stuff as well as desk accessories), 16.5
of Christian clip-art, 2.27 Mb of Degas pics, 49.1 Mb of late
extras (amongst which "Maggie" 10, 12-14 and ST NEWS Volume 9
Issues 1 & 2), 8.46 Mb of financial stuff, 1.69 Mb of formatters
and copiers, 9.23 Mb of stuff for kids, 9.24 Mb of MiNT utilities
(etc.), 16.8 Mb of modem/communications programs, 10.2 Mb of NASA
text files (?!), 9.21 + 5.37 Mb of SPC ("Spectrum") pics, 151 Kb
of Atari Portfolio utilities, 15.4 Mb of print and printer
utilities, 21.6 Mb of programming utilities, 19.3 Mb of "STOS"
stuff, 1.19 Mb of Terrapin programs, 31.9 Mb of text files off
the various GENIE Atari roundtable conferences, 24.6 Mb worth of
text editors, 4.95 Mb of Uncle Carl utilities, 43.7 Mb of general
utilities, 1.62 Mb of virus-related stuff (with 6.0D of "Ultimate
Virus Killer" but otherwise no up-to-date virus killers such as
Kai Holst's "Antidote" and Volker Söhnitz' "Virendetektor") and
13.8 Mb of word processing software. And I left out some of the
smaller bits. Both discs have the "Alice" editor on them, as
well, to read the text files (and, if you have sufficient memory
in your machine, the 1-part huge catalogue). The packaging
mentions further items on the CDs ("Atari Works" templates,
Double Click programs, Becker programs, the "DATABASE" folder and
the "GEM" folder), which have not been included due to a mistake
during the CD mastering process. This stuff, 15 double-sided
disks' worth, is sent with your order of the CD ROM if you
purchase if from Suzy B directly. If you've already bought it
through another source, sending US$ 10 (US$ 15 outside the
States) will suffice to get those floppies sent to you (quite a
honey of a deal, right?).
Notwithstanding the totally huge amount of material, Michael has
succeeded by and large to give it all a logical structure,
directory-wise. Besides that, he has supplied literally every
title/item with its own small text file in which is explained
what it is. His "AEO" experience obviously came in handy here, I
should think. Still, it is not always easy to find an item and I
would, personally, loved to have seen some sort of
interactive catalogue program.
I realise I seriously lack knowledge of the competition, but
Suzy B's (name from Mike's wife, Suzy Burkley) Software Treasury
seems indeed to be just that - a software treasury aimed largely
at the average home user.
I would really have liked to see a "DISKMAGS" folder with all
issues of halfway decent disk magazines in there, such as
"Maggie" (at least all issues since Chris took over), "DBA", "ST
Enthusiasts Newsletter", "Scriba Communis Responsi" (never mind
if that particular mag is a bit odd) and ST NEWS. And what about
all issues of "Atari Explorer Online" and maybe the complete
edition of one or two good quality fiction on-line efforts such
as "Quanta" and "Intertext"? And instead of just finding one of
the true megademos (two .MSA files for TCB's "Cuddly Demos") it
would have been nice to have a "MEGADEMO" folder that should have
included .MSA files for "BIG Demo", "Amiga Demo", "Union Demo",
"Sowatt", "Whattaheck", "Mindbomb", "Def Demo", "Ooh Crikey Wot A
Scorcher", "European Demos", "Syntax Terror", "Punish Your
Machine", "Dark Side of the Spoon", "Life's a Bitch", "Froggies
over the Fence", "Ultimate Muzak Demo I-V" and god knows what
other major and important demos for the ST (and I don't even
start talking about Falcon demos such as the Avena, EKO and Lazer
I realise that all of this is just a matter of priority (and, in
the case of demos and disk magazines, yours truly's personal
preferences). Even so, I guess some of the above could have been
put on instead of what I'd consider to be fringe material such as
the "Christian clip art", the "NASA files" and quite a few of the
regular pictures, text files, MODs and and sampled sound files.
As to the price, Toad computer sells it at US$ 50. This is quite
cheap, especially if you think what you're getting - it means
you're paying something like less than US$ 0.04 per disk! Suzy B
sells it at $60 and, in the UK, it is imported by System
Solution, though I am not aware of their price. Incredible value
for money, especially considering the awesome amount of work that
Mike, his wife, and co-contributors Toad Computing must have put
Of course, to be able to use this Software Treasury you'll need
a CD ROM drive attached to your ST or Falcon.
Michael told me he's currently working on a second CD
collection. Looking forward to that (and also hoping that my
particularly idiosyncratic wishes will be taken into
consideration, for which I am quite willing to help - yes,
Michael, that's a hint!).
Songs That Make You Go Mmmhh! Part II Demo (by Cream)
by Michael Noyce
My God! An ST demo! And an original one at that. "STMYGM2" by
Cream, formally The Alien Cracking Formation, was released at
Symposium '96, albeit four years late. In fact, I do remember
seeing this demo a few times when I was there and thought it
looked pretty good then. Unfortunately, due to a slight lack of
forethought, I'd forgotten pack any blank disks with me on which
to copy stuff. Next time I'll remember to pack them along with my
German-knife-wielding-nutter repellent spray. Nevermind. That
nice Mr Chris Holland has very kindly supplied me with a copy to
Had this been just another collection of various ST tunes I
probably wouldn't have reviewed it. After the excellent "UMD"
series by the PHF another similar demo would have simply been a
bit more of the same. This genre is getting a bit long in the
tooth. However, this demo features music by TAO whose music I
happen to really like, if only because it's not Mad Max or Big
Alec whose tunes have been used to death over the years.
THE DEMO ITSELF
This is one of those demos that you just cannot shove in the
drive and reset to get it going. First you have to run an install
program that will format and copy the demo onto disk for you. Be
careful and remember to make sure you have a blank disk in the
drive, otherwise you'll lose the data.
With the demo installed, simply reset the computer and the demo
will autoboot. This is also one of the few demos that can
autoboot on both STs and Falcons so everyone can enjoy it.
The intro has text announcing the demo and logos of the
individual group members. Next is a rolling display of mainly
greets, contact addresses and messages. The graphics are simple
but have a brilliant rippling plasma colour scheme. There is one
picture of a hand and together with the plasma effect it reminded
of those mouse mats you can put you hand on and make it change
colour. Great fun they were. Pressing the space bar takes you to
the demo itself.
For the most part this demo has a scroller along the bottom of
a tasteful grey background with more info about the members of
Cream and some more greets. The rest of the screen features
various small pictures drawn by Agent T. Every so often the demo
switches to some very nice fullscreen 32 colour pictures.
Pressing the space bar interrupts the demo and displays the
music selection screen where you can choose from 13 tunes by TAO.
When you finally get bored or want to do more productive things
on you computer, such as write last minute articles, press the
reset button and enter the reset demo. This has another excellent
SID-tune and a very large (at least three screens high) picture
of a dragon clutching a woman which scrolls up and down the
An excellent and refreshing no-nonsense music demo.
Also on the same disk as "STMYGM2" are a couple of extra
goodies. One being "Steps" and the other a "Minesweeper" game.
This demo is a single screen affair with most of the screen
taken up with a list of tunes to choose from using the cursor
keys and Return. There are 36 tunes in total from "STMYGM2",
"Just Buggin'" and others from games and other stuff.
The very bottom of the screen has a VU meter display across its
width with the credits behind it. Over the top of these is a
Not the most visually stunning demo but nice and clear with
excellent TAO SID-voice music.
Aaarrgghh! Another conversion of bloody "Minesweeper". It's
"Minesweeper", albeit with nice graphics and a nice TAO tune. Not
a lot more to say than that, really.
(Thanks to Chris Holland for sending me this demo and for Mr
Postman for being kind enough to deliver it!)
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.