"Jimmy didn't know why he did it. He just did it, as if he
enjoyed standing by the river in the rain getting soaked. Perhaps
it was the violent roar of the water rushing by he liked. He just
couldn't tell why he did it.
The eyes were staring into the boiling river. They could see the
broken reflections of Jimmy's face being crushed by the
environment. Violently the image was crunched into a small ball
before it exploded into many tiny pieces flowing on the river."
Something that has nothing to do with this review
But which is very, very deep indeed
(by G.E.A., of course)
ST DISK MAGAZINE REVIEW: ST ENTHUSIASTS NEWSLETTER (STEN)
by Richard Karsmakers
Not too long before I really had to get down to some serious
studying for my pre-Christmas test period, I got some recent
issues of a disk magazine that I had not yet heard of - the "ST
Enthusiasts Newsletter" ("STEN"). It's a bi-monthly disk
magazine that is available for free. As its editor, Dave Mooney,
requested to give them 'a mention' I thougt "Whattaheck" and
decided to do a review as well.
Dave, I hope you're pleased with it!
The user interface
"STEN" (for I will mention it by its acronym from now on), just
like ST NEWS and the pioneer on the field, Canadian
"F.A.S.T.E.R." (†RIP), has its own custom menu system. This means
that someone actually took the trouble to write a program that
will put the articles on the screen in a more or less
userfriendly method. If you ask me, I think a disk magazine is
not a real disk magazine without one (if you disagree, write to
"STEN"'s user interface works on both monochrome and colour and
is very userfriendly. Once you get used to the fact that it all
revolves around the pageview mode (whereas ST NEWS revolves
around the menu), it is intuitive to use. The pageview mode is
also remarkably fast - if the programmer did that in GfA Basic,
I'd like to extend some serious compliments here!
Paging up and down can be done either by means of the cursor
keys (the usual), or by means of a 'control unit' at the right of
the pull-down menu. This contains VCR-like symbols for down/up/
fast-down/fast-up/all-down/all-up. This is OK to use, but the
individual buttons are rather small so that you sometimes end up
doing something different from what you intended.
Although there is no music in this user interface, it can
display pictures (compressed "Degas Elite") and run programs from
the shell. The latter is a really neat feature that I always
wanted to implement in ST NEWS long ago, as "F.A.S.T.E.R." also
had it. Somehow, I never got down to doing it (probably because I
couldn't) - and neither did Stefan. A very useful option, of
course, as each issue of "STEN" offers some programs in its
PROGRAMS folder that can thus be run immediately after reading
the corresponding articles. A rather neat job for certain.
The Editorial contents
The issues that I have seen (numbers 6 and 7) featured about
half a meg of articles per issue, divided in over 35 articles
(each). It is quickly apparent that "STEN" is very much like ST
NEWS. Dave writes about what he wants to write about, and calls a
spade a spade. One article, for example, informed people of which
companies they should go into business with and which companies
they should steer clear of. I am not sure if a regular paper
magazine would dare to print this. I like this attitude, even
though it might not be the easiest one in the long run.
As Floppyshop's "STuffed" has folded (another dead disk
magazine...), some of the articles in "STEN" were submitted by
Steve Delaney, the man who used to be the editor of that.
The articles, on the whole, were very interesting. They will
probably appeal to a much larger audience as those in ST NEWS, as
they also devote space to a topic such as DTP - a topics that we
consider a bit of a taboo because, frankly, we don't know
anything about that. Further articles included reviews of British
shows (limited appeal to us continentals) and, of course, the
usual application and games reviews. One issue even contained the
first article Stefan ever wrote for ST NEWS - "How to write
adventures" (back in Volume 1)! The other issue contained some
stuff written by Ken "Ancient STatarian" Butler (as a matter of
fact, he submitted this very same piece to this issue of ST NEWS
- something about his absent computer...). One of the most
interesting articles in both issues was the "Disk Magazine
Roundup". All existing disk magazines on the ST that the author
was aware of are covered here, as well as some (paper) fanzines.
I really didn't know there were such a lot. Especially
"Interleave" sounded very interesting to me ("The disczine for
those who think that their ST is for more then just keeping the
neighbours jealous. Interleave will try to be a disczine unlike
any other, to be based around the ST as a tool as well as a
toy, and covering role-playing, fantasy, films, books, and any
bits of politics, sex and rock'n'roll that we can fit in"). If
you are called Tom Zunder then please contact me!
Of the editorial contents, the 'Editorial' as such is remarkably
interesting. Of all magazines (paper ones as well), this is
usually the article I skip. The ones in "STEN" somehow succeed in
capturing the reader. It is evident that Dave is an enthusiastic
user - I doubt "STEN" would exist without him.
"STEN" is a good disk magazine. Although the user interface
offers nothing stunning (then again, neither does that of ST
NEWS), it is well programmed and fast. The articles are
plentiful, especially when taking into account that they write
half a meg of material every 2 months! The variety of topics also
functions effectively to increase interest. Enthusiasm is
obvious, and that's what's needed. I hope this mag will not die a
It is definitely worth checking out, especially if you're
For those among you who are interested in contacting the people
of "STEN" (or, indeed, in obtaining an issue), you can write to
the following address. Please remember to enclose sufficient
International Reply Coupons for these people to answer! If you
want an issue, don't forget to send a disk!
Mr. David Mooney
ST Enthusiasts Newsletter
14 School Road
Lanarkshire ML2 9QW
In the future, we will use some "STEN" material in ST NEWS (and
"STEN" will use some of our material). In other words, we will
work together quite closely. After the writing of the above, I
received all back-issues of this mag. They all looked good, with
the exception maybe of their 'zero issue' of which the user's
interface was not that good.
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.