"Problems can get so complicated that even the hairdresser
doesn't know how to solve them any more."
ST UTILITY REVIEW: MORTIMER PLUS BY OMIKRON
by Richard Karsmakers
There are dozens of programs available for the organised ST user
that will put a date and time on the screen, or that will allow
disk copy/move/rename operations, quick editing of texts,
spooling output to the printer, a RAMdisk, quick calculations
using a scientific calculator, protection against viruses,
snapshot, and all those other little things one might want.
Unfortunately this usually entails the use of dozens of different
little programs, always using up precious RAM space and often
taking up even more valuable accessory slots.
Those times can come to end with Omikron's "Mortimer Plus"
program, the improved and expanded version of their older
"Mortimer" program. "Mortimer Plus" does not take up an accessory
slot because it is a resident program that can be called by
pressing ALTERNATE and CONTROL. It does not take up a lot of
memory because everything you need is combined in one program
that's programmed in compact and fast machine code - it only
needs about 78 Kb.
Or that's what Omikron claims.
What can it do?
"Mortimer Plus", firstly, offers all standard disk operations.
These include copy disk, copy file, create a folder, format
(though only standard formats), rename, delete and search. It
further also offers a lot of operations that about a dozen little
programs can do for you, such as taking a snapshot from the
screen, resetting, displaying a picture (PIC format, "Degas"
uncompressed format, IMG format and "STad" PAC format), setting
up and using a flexible RAM disk, ship the hard disk, show ASCII
character set table, memory use display, reset (cold/warm),
corner clock display, mouse speeder, screen saver, turn mouse
on/off (easy when programs have it disappear), magnifier (which
centres around the mouse cursor), calculator and a Control Panel
replacement. It also boasts quite a powerful editor with which
you can edit text files and monitor your computer's RAM.
All of this is, it needs to be told, can be done within any
program that doesn't disable it from checking whether ALTERNATE
and CONTROL are pressed (principally this only excludes demos and
One of the most extensive parts of "Mortimer Plus" that warrants
individual description is the built-in editor. This editor is
actually a small word processor that allows up to four texts to
be loaded. These texts can be compared with each other, copied
from and to using the cut/paste buffer, and more.
The editor emulates GEM - a bit slower than the real thing,
though, and not quite as smooth. It's OK to work with, though.
It supports block options (copy/hide/move), it can load and save
texts or blocks, blocks can be marked with the mouse, swapping of
text-and spooler-buffers, it allows loading of pictures (one text
file can consist of a picture), search/replace and extensive
editing options. French accents can be entered easily.
This editor is also entered automatically when double-clicking
on a text file instead of the usual "Show/Print/Cancel" alert
box. Another neat touch.
The Virus Protector
"Mortimer Plus" is tightly hooked into the Operating System and
can principally detect anything that's going on. It can detect
which keys are pressed (see "Keyboard Macro Facility", below) and
it can also detect whenever -
A) A file is trying to modify or open another file.
B) Something is trying to write itself on the bootsector.
As you will have noticed, this is exactly what happens when a
link virus or a bootsector virus (respectively) is trying to
multiply itself. "Mortimer Plus" is, thus, the perfect virus
protection tool that can provide a virtually 100% failsafe way of
protecting yourself against virus spreading. Through a separate
tool it is possible to determine which programs are allowed to
change other files (such as "PROTEXT.DOC" would be allowed to
edit "*.DOC" files). A very good protection method that does not
make it necessary to block an entire partition at a time as is
the case with standard protect utilities such as that supplied
with the German "Sagrotan" virus killer.
The Keyboard Macro Facility
"Mortimer Plus" has a good editor built in, and with any good
editor should of course come the possibility to define macros to
be used. This would, for example, allow you to have certain key
combinations present on the press of one other key (or two). You
could for example define your own address so that you can include
that in a letter you're typing with the "Mortimer Plus" editor
with pressing ALT-F1 for example.
Excellent, of course, and not specially worth mentioning if it
weren't for the fact that the macros will also work outside
"Mortimer Plus"' own editor! Yes, this means that pressing ALT-F1
in the above case using "1st Word Plus" will have the same
effect, i.e. it will put your address at the cursor position.
And that's a very nice thing.
It even works inside dialog-and item selector boxes, as it is
fully independent from GEM and just shoves the requested key
combinations up the keyboard processor's pins as it were so that
it has no choice but to obey!
The RAM disk and printer spooler
"Mortimer Plus" also has a RAM disk built in. It offers some
neat things that normal RAM disks don't. It can, for example, ne
write-protected and it can be auto-booted from. The most
innovative thing is that it only takes up as much space as is
needed by the programs in it. If you add more programs to it
using the program's copy functions, the RAM disk will become
bigger - when you remove them it will become smaller.
The RAM disk works together with the printer spooler - they
share memory, for example. With help of the printer spooler
program it is possible to have all printing take place in the
The SETUP.PRG program
"Mortimer Plus" is very flexible. It is for example possible to
opt for the "Mortimer Plus" file selector not to be used outside
of itself, or to change the ALTERNATE + CONTROL combination for
its invocation. This can all be done with the "SETUP.PRG"
program that can be found on the "Mortimer Plus" disk. Using
"Mortimer Plus" itself these settings can later be stored in a
.INF file so that the program will henceforth work with these
The LOADFONT.PRG and SET_FONT.PRG programs
These two programs have nothing to do with "Mortimer Plus", but
are added on the disk as an extra thing. With the aids of these
programs it is possible to load an alternative font to be used by
your computer from that moment on. This font will then
automatically be used by all other programs, as it will replace
that standard Atari system font.
The BOOTCONF.PRG program
Another bit that does not belong to "Mortimer Plus" directly - a
program with which is is possible to quickly select which AUTO
folder programs and accessories should be used on boot-up (a bit
like "Superboot"). It adds to the value of the "Mortimer Plus"
The manual is well written, though of course in German. I've
seen the regular "Mortimer" manual of the English version which
was not the best translation job I've ever seen - let's hope that
the "Mortimer Plus" English manual will be better.
There are many illustrations, and all aspects of the program are
clearly explained. There is even an index (which is the way it
should always be)!
"Mortimer Plus" is a well developed program, that will no doubt
be invaluable once you're used to it. The amount of programs in
your AUTO folder can be halved, and some accessories can be
dumped as well (allowing for other ones to be loaded instead!).
Although many of its functions can still be made more flexible,
there is no reason to complain, really.
I've worked with the program for quiet a while now and it has
not let me down. It's always there and seems to be perfectly
compatible with the enormous load of shit I normally have
resident in my system (screen speeders, "Neodesk", "UIS III" and
a load more).
The only thing I find strange is that the program manual claims
that it uses about 78 Kb, that it actually uses 82 Kb and that
inquiring directly after free memory with and without "Mortimer
Plus" installed gives a difference of a whopping 180 Kb!
Sets you thinking...
The program at present seems to be available in German only, at
DM 129,-. The Omikron people told me it will soon be available in
an English version through Kuma computers - it's worth inquiring
after for sure, especially if you have a machine with 1 Meg or
more of RAM!
12 Horseshoe Park
Berks RG8 7JW
Thanks to Mr. Carsten Kraus of Omikron Germany for sending the
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.