Michael Palin - MP; Graham Chapman - GC, Eric
Idle - EI; Terry Gilliam - TG.
Four well-dressed men sitting together at a vacation resort.
"Farewell to Thee" being played in the background on Hawaiian
MP: Ahh.. Very passable, this, very passable.
GC: Nothing like a good glass of Chateau de Chassilier wine, ay
TG: You're right there Obediah.
EI: Who'd a thought thirty years ago we'd all be sittin' here
drinking Chateau de Chassilier wine?
MP: Aye. In them days, we'd a' been glad to have the price of a
cup o' tea.
GC: A cup ' COLD tea.
EI: Without milk or sugar.
TG: OR tea!
MP: In a filthy, cracked cup.
EI: We never used to have a cup. We used to have to drink out
of a rolled up newspaper.
GC: The best WE could manage was to suck on a piece of damp
TG: But you know, we were happy in those days, though we were
MP: Aye. BECAUSE we were poor. My old Dad used to say to me,
"Money doesn't buy you happiness."
EI: 'E was right. I was happier then and I had NOTHIN'. We
used to live in this tiiiny old house, with greaaaaat big
holes in the roof.
GC: House? You were lucky to have a HOUSE! We used to live in
one room, all hundred and twenty-six of us, no furniture.
Half the floor was missing; we were all huddled together in
one corner for fear of FALLING!
TG: You were lucky to have a ROOM! *We* used to have to live in
MP: Ohhhh we used to DREAM of livin' in a corridor! Woulda'
been a palace to us. We used to live in an old water tank
on a rubbish tip. We got woken up every morning by having a
load of rotting fish dumped all over us! House!? Hmph.
EI: Well when I say "house" it was only a hole in the ground
covered by a piece of tarpolin, but it was a house to US.
GC: We were evicted from *our* hole in the ground; we had to go
and live in a lake!
TG: You were lucky to have a LAKE! There were a hundred and
sixty of us living in a small shoebox in the middle of the
MP: Cardboard box?
MP: You were lucky. We lived for three months in a brown paper
bag in a septic tank. We used to have to get up at six
o'clock in the morning, clean the bag, eat a crust of stale
bread, go to work down mill for fourteen hours a day week
in-week out. When we got home, our Dad would thrash us to
sleep with his belt!
GC: Luxury. We used to have to get out of the lake at three
o'clock in the morning, clean the lake, eat a handful of hot
gravel, go to work at the mill every day for tuppence a
month, come home, and Dad would beat us around the head and
neck with a broken bottle, if we were LUCKY!
TG: Well we had it tough. We used to have to get up out of the
shoebox at twelve o'clock at night, and LICK the road clean
with our tongues. We had half a handful of freezing cold
gravel, worked twenty-four hours a day at the mill for
fourpence every six years, and when we got home, our Dad
would slice us in two with a bread knife.
EI: Right. I had to get up in the morning at ten o'clock at
night, half an hour before I went to bed, (pause for
laughter), eat a lump of cold poison, work twenty-nine hours
a day down mill, and pay mill owner for permission to come
to work, and when we got home, our Dad would kill us, and
dance about on our graves singing "Hallelujah."
MP: But you try and tell the young people today that... and they
won't believe ya'.
ALL: Nope, nope...
"We Were Poor" Sketch, Monty Python
ST SOFTWARE NEWS
by Richard Karsmakers
What with software not coming our way like it used to, this
column has suffered from chronic lack of contents. But I'll be
damned if I let a trivial thing such as that cause the longest
running ST NEWS column to cease. Don't expect a large load of
information here. At least there's something (plus a rather
Finally, someone brought to the ST's screen the utterly juicy
"Exorcist" movie, all three movies brought into one game with
brilliantly bloody graphics, stereo sound on the STE, Falcon
support and the whole lot.
Or perhaps not.
Actually, "Exorcist" is a utility that has arisen in France.
It's a virus killer, and a really flashy one at that. As a matter
of fact it is one of those virus killers that seem designed not
so much to kill viruses but rather to give users the impression
that its programmer is actually pretty flippin' brilliant.
The programmer seems indeed quite capable. He's called IKI,
which I hope is just a hackin' name otherwise things are looking
rather grim for this particular chap's future. Version 3.0 is
supposed to have been finished as well (so said the text file, at
least), but I couldn't get my hands on that. So we'll just have
to do with version 2.0.
The thing that I sincerely dislike about the program is that
its data file, which is not coded or anything and contains the
full versions of some of the more 'popular' viruses. It's pretty
easy to spread viruses with it, which is something that is
totally out of the question with my "Ultimate Virus Killer" for
example (this isn't bragging or anything, but just pointing out a
difference in ethics).
No matter how good a virus killer is, I think it should be
banned if it can be put to bad use even by laymen (and believe me
this one can). If version 3.0 still has this problem (which I
suppose it will, in order to attain compatibility with the
previous data file format) then it can't possible be much better,
even though it is supposed to have a disassembler built in and
all that stuff.
Sometimes I really think some Frenchmen live on a totally
different planet. A planet, by the way, where text files are
littered with 'becoz', 'eheh', multiple exclamation marks (i.e.
the sure sign of a diseased mind) and the word 'lamer'.
Are they off their trolley?
Although a lot of effort went into it, obviously, "Exorcist" is
not even brilliant or anything. It doesn't recognize particularly
many bootsectors (indeed, it seems to recognize only those that
are in the data file, which is probably the reason for all those
viruses being present in there) and isn't particularly user-
Steer clear of it, I advise you all. In the PD market I would
rather advise you to get "VKiller" by George Woodside, "Antidote"
by Kai Holst or "Virendetektor" by Volker Söhnitz (which has
nothing to do with the fact that they're friends, but these
killers just happen to be the best PD ones you can get). In the
commercial circuit, I can't get around advising you to get my
"Ultimate Virus Killer" (£9.99) or, if you can't even afford
that, Floppyshop ST's "Professional Virus Killer 3" (see this
time's virus article for more info on that).
I don't want to hazard a rating.
ST Tools 1.1
The enemy lives amongst us. Sometimes blatantly obvious,
sometimes in waiting, or dormant if you're a Pratchett fan. To
satiate the enemy within us, the very same enemy that sometimes
makes us utter things like "I would actually really like to have
CD-ROM-equipped 486 with super VGA and a 160 meg hard disk",
Stephen Cornio has made a rather handy disk utility that looks
perhaps just like the infamous "PC Tools". Its name, obviously,
is "ST Tools". It's shareware, with a suggested registration fee
of US$ 10.
Upon starting, in a fashion similar to "PC Tools" indeed, it
displays sortof a directory tree on the left of the screen and
the currently selected directory list on the rest of it. Using
the mouse you can click on any 'branch' of the directory tree,
which will then cause that directory to be listed. Once you've
done that, you can edit the files. You can also search for
hexadecimal or string values in files, on sectors or (yes) in
your computer's memory, where case sensitivity can be switched on
or off. You can also edit RAM, by the way.
"ST Tools" is easy to use, quite powerful, and comes with an on-
disk manual that is extensive and easy to understand even for the
In case you can't get it through your standard channels, you
might want to try Stephen Cornio (P.O. Box 1734, Woodbridge, VA
22193). Don't forget to send enough reply postage or
International Reply Coupons!
Perhaps some of you have not liked the fact that I sortof
switched from being positive about "Superboot" to being positive
about "XBoot III". To compensate for all of this, I'd like to
spend some space and time on the latest "Superboot" release,
version 8.0. As of version 7.4, author Gordon Moore has deemed it
necessary to add and change quite a few bits. I've made a summary
O The Super Boot Construction Set only forces you to read the
"Copyright/Please Register" screen when it doesn't find a
SUPERBT.STF file (which should be just the first time it is
used). After that, it can be viewed from an option on the
main menu called "About Super Boot".
O File capacity has been greatly expanded through use of a new
Multi-Page file selection mode. Each type of file is on a
separate page, allowing 152 files of each type instead of a
limit of 152 files total. I badly needed this feature as
I'm sure many others did, since I could no longer fit all of
my files on a single screen. This feature is optional. You
can move from one page to another by pressing RETURN or
SHIFT RETURN. RETURN moves you forward and SHIFT RETURN
moves you backwards. You can also move from page to page by
moving the cursor off the edge of the screen (if you enable
the wrap-around cursor on page 2 of Edit Program
Parameters). The page number you're on and the total number
of pages will be shown in the bottom right corner of the
screen. Total file capacity is now 1824 total files.
O The reserved file type for GDOS ASSIGN.SYS files has been
removed. Not everybody uses these files (myself included)
however they can be added back in as an "Other" file type.
This also expands the number of DESKTOP.INF files that can
be selected (on the single-page file selection screen) from
9 to 19 files.
O An additional "Other" file slot has been added, increasing
the number of available "Other" file types from 8 to 9.
This was done partially to make up for removing the specific
GDOS file type.
O Super Boot can now play DMA sound files in stereo or mono!
The "Sound & Welcome Screen" utilities in the Super Boot
Construction Set have been enhanced to now play DMA sounds
and to rename the sound file appropriately for use with
Super Boot. As before, Digisound sound files should have
the extension .S##, where ## is a 2 digit number
representing the sample rate, for example HELLO.S08.
DMA sound files should have the extension .S?#, where ? is
"S" for Stereo or "M" for Mono, and # is the first digit of
the DMA playback rate, 6 for 6, 1 for 12, 2 for 25, and 5
for 50. Those are the only possible DMA play speeds. Of
course the DMA sound will only work if your computer is
capable of DMA sound, as is the STE.
Example DMA filenames: HELLO.SS2 (DMA sound in stereo, play
rate 25), ATARI.SM6 (DMA sound in mono, play rate 6).
O You can now control the volume for DMA sound.
O A new feature has been added if you use the "Link Sound To
Welcome Screen" option. If Super Boot does not find a sound
which has the same filename as the welcome screen it
displayed, it will look for a sound with the filename
DEFAULT. This may be a DMA or Digisound file - it can
handle both. For example DEFAULT.S13 or DEFAULT.SS5 are
both acceptable filenames. A default sound is not required,
but it is loads of fun!
O Super Boot can now be called from other programs with a
command line argument (as if it were a .TTP program) to set
up your system based on a specified function key. This
allows you to, for example, set up a .BAT file in Neodesk
that you could just double-click on and have Super Boot do
the rest. Or you could program a function key (with the
appropriate hot-key type program) to execute Super Boot.
O Two new options have been added to the file selection
screen. You can now press "W" to update the files you have
selected and then do a "W"armboot, or you can press "C" to
update the files and do a "C"oldboot. As mentioned above, a
Warmboot should prevent Super Boot from running twice on the
Why would you use this feature? If for some reason you have
an AUTO program that runs before Super Boot, and you needed
to activate/deactivate it, the change would not take effect
until you reboot. If you changed its status and then
pressed "W", it would work as if the file was located after
This feature will also allow you to run Super Boot from the
If you use write-cacheing with your hard drive, the cache
software may take several seconds to actually write any new
data to the hard drive. If Super Boot was to immediately
reboot when asked to, you would lose any unwritten cached
information. The Reboot Delay parameter tells Super Boot to
pause for a specified number of seconds before rebooting to
give your cache software time to write. I would suggest
starting out with 10 seconds and decrease it gradually if
there appears to be more of a delay than needed.
Of course if you do not use write cacheing, or your cache
software does not do delayed writes then you can set this
parameter to zero.
O Bug Fix - Problem would occur when trying to save a function
key from within SUPERBT.PRG with more than 40 active files.
This has been corrected.
O Starting with this release, all programs will be compressed
(execution time is essentially unaffected) and the fastload
bit is now explicitly set.
I thought that about summed it up pretty accurately. Get the
program from any local PD library that bothers to be up-to-date.
Recently, Gribnif Software released an update to their highly
acclaimed "Neodesk" alternative desktop. What has been improved
in their new version? Let me tell you.
o When a folder is opened, the position of the window scroll
bars are saved. When the folder is closed, the old scroll
position is restored.
o A "Delete Item" menu option has been added. This makes it
easier to delete things when the trashcan is not visible.
Please note that this is a permanent deletion; the
Recoverable Trashcan is not used.
o Show Information works for multiple items on the desktop or
in windows. If no item is selected, the topmost window's
info is shown.
o Pressing Backspace will do the same thing as the "send to
back" button on the topmost window.
o High and Extended density floppy formats have been added. In
order to use High Density, you must have a 1.44Mb drive and
the proper version of TOS.
o The "Fast-11" disk format has been added. This is optimal
for 9-sector disks. Twister is still best for 10-sector
o The "Set Preferences" dialog has been changed cosmetically.
Also, a "More" dialog has been added:
o If an error occurs while files are being copied, then
any files which are in memory but have not been written
to the destination disk can be automatically moved to
the File Clipboard. The "More" dialog contains an
option which specifies whether to Ask before doing
this, to Always do this, or Never to do it at all.
There are times when this will not be possible, though.
If there is not enough free memory in the system, then
the files will not be stored. Also, any file which is
only partially in memory will not be stored.
o The Format for Diskcopy is what is used when copying
from one floppy to another, with the "Format" option.
o If "Check for Executable Bootsector" is off, no virus
check is performed. This makes updating drives
significantly faster on machines that use AHDI with a
o If "Check for Bad Filenames" is off, no check is done
to see if you have entered bad characters for the name
of a file. It also converts the names of files to all
uppercase before matching icons. Having this option
off is slightly slower at re-reading disk drives for
this reason. If you use DMJ's ReNameIt program, you
must turn this option off.
o The INF files option in Set Preferences has changed. It now
controls whether or not VDI graphics are used for a
particular resolution. If the button under "VDI" is
blackened, then when NeoDesk first runs, it will load a
different set of graphics routines from the ones it normally
uses. The VDI graphics mode must be used with extended
graphics hardware (like the Matrix and Crazy Dots video
boards), and also the True Color modes of a Falcon. Also, if
you use a screen accelerator program like Warp 9 from
Codehead Tech., you will see a greater speed increase when
NeoDesk is in VDI mode.
In this dialog, you can also enter the name of a default INF
file to use if no other INF file is appropriate for a
previously undefined resolution.
o NeoDesk can control the caches of a TT, Mega STe, or
AdSpeed, as well as the Blitter. If you load a NeoDesk 3.02
INF file (with INF_CONV), all of the new caches will default
to On. These chips can be configured with the new version of
NEOCNTRL. Any changes made in NEOCNTRL are saved when you
o In addition to the hardware flags described above, each
Installed Application can also be set to turn the corner
clock off. Note that if the corner clock in NEOCNTRL is
already off (or NEOCNTRL is not loaded), changing this flag
will have no effect. For that matter, setting any of the CPU
flags for an application when the machine you are using does
not have that capability (like turning the Blitter On when
all you have is an original 520 ST) will have no effect,
o NEOCNTRL has the ability to change the sound controls on a
TT or STe. Please note there is no way for the control panel
to know what the current settings of these controls are.
This means that if you use Atari's XCONTROL to change the
sound controls, then NEOCNTRL will reset them to whatever
values it last had when you open the sounds dialog a second
o When the mouse is over an icon in NEOCNTRL, a helpful string
of text is displayed in the name bar of the window.
o The corner clock is now always turned off when viewing a
picture or a text file.
o If the Control key is held while double-clicking on a file
on the desktop, a window will be opened to the path of the
o You can now specify a number of copies to make when copying
from one floppy to another. Note that if more than one swap
is necessary, the source disk will be re-read each time;
otherwise it will just be read the very first time. An alert
will prompt you after each disk is copied. This alert even
occurs if there is an error during copying, though if the
error happened during reading the source disk, the entire
source will be read again.
o Print Directory's output can be sent to a disk file.
o All window colors are taken from the system's window
attributes on a machine with AES versions greater than 2.0.
This is only read when NeoDesk first runs, so changing them
with the control panel will not affect NeoDesk unless you
quit first (or run a program with Unload for Execute on).
Also, if you do not have version 4.0 of the AES (MultiTOS),
you must run NEOLOAD in the AUTO folder in order for the
colors to be set properly. This is due to a deficiency in
version 2.x/3.x of the AES.
o Macros can now record opening a NeoDesk desk accessory. This
was just an oversight, since they always could record
passing files to one.
o If a macro is being recorded while a new MAC file is loaded,
macro recording will not stop. Instead, you will be
presented with an informative alert. At this point, you
should end macro recording, since anything coming after this
will be ignored when the macro is played back, anyway. This
change makes it possible for a macro to load a new macro
o If the right Shift key is held, icons will never become de-
selected. This is handy for repeating an operation without
having to select the icons again.
o There is now a hack to make it work with MultiGEM, but it
still isn't great, due to limitations in MultiGEM.
o NeoDesk works with MultiTOS now, however it really does not
take full advantage of its capabilities. Wait for NeoDesk
4...<smile> See the section below for more info.
o If no INF file is loaded and a HD floppy drive is used, the
seek rates of both floppy drives are set to 6 ms.
o When editing a Desktop Note, some helpful text appears in
the menu bar to remind you of this change in modes.
o If only some of the desktop icons are selected, Snap to Grid
will only snap those icons.
o A quicker Show Info is available for disk drives. If the
left Shift key is held, the total number of files will not
be checked. This is much faster for when you just want to
know how much free space there is.
o Files on the desktop can be copied.
o A "No Format" diskcopy will work if the number of sectors
per track on the destination disk is greater than that on
the source disk. This means you can copy a 9-sector disk to
a disk which was formatted to 10.
o Pictures can be displayed in all (built-in) resolutions on a
o NEOCNTRL can also be run as a program, simply by renaming it
to NEOCNTRL.PRG. You will not have access to the screen
saver or corner clock, though.
o If no environment variables are supplied, then the
environment which was inherited from the program which ran
NeoDesk is used when NeoDesk runs a program.
o Show Info for files allows you to set the TT-specific and
MultiTOS-specific flags for an executable file.
o If a dialog would have appeared even partially off the
screen (due to being loaded with INF_CONV, etc.) it is moved
back before being drawn by NeoDesk.
o The memory display in About NeoDesk tells how much free ST
and TT RAM there is (if there is any TT RAM). If there is
none, then it tells the total amount of ST RAM there is.
(There is no way to know how much TT RAM there is total, so
it can't be displayed.) Also reported is the total number of
free memory blocks, and the size of the largest block (which
is what NeoDesk used to report as "free memory").
o The font converter, FONTCONV.NPG, can be used in VDI
graphics mode, however it is much faster at redrawing the
screen when NeoDesk is in its normal graphics mode.
For further information pertaining this release, you're welcome
to write to Gribnif at their recently changed address: P.O. Box
779, Northampton, MA 01061, tel. (413) 247-5620, fax. (413) 247-
5622. Do remember to enclose sufficient reply postage or IRCs.
No Second Prize
When I came to work for Thalion, in October 1989, I met a most
engaging Swiss programmer there by the name of Chris Jungen. He
was a very modest bloke, into Def Leppard and that sort of
commercial hard rock. Although he was a very modest chap, he was
coding what would definitely be the fastest 3D racing game ever,
"No Second Prize". It would be some sort of futuristic (and, not
to mention, much faster, smoother and more capably programmed)
version of Domark's "Hard Driving". The 3D routines would be the
fastest ever seen on any machine, and there would be multiple
loopings, corkscrews, ramps, chasms and tunnels. It would not
only be fast but it would also be ultimately detailed, with
complex shapes flying to and fro and that sort of thing. I would
be everything that "Hard Driving" and "Stunt Car Racer" had been,
only much better, faster, smoother, infinitely more playable and
with plenty more knobs on.
I proudly showed the first demos on the London PC Show, the
Amiga Messe (we ran the demo on an ST under the table!) and the
French Salon de la Micro. People drooled, and multiple people
from the scene said they would get the game as soon as it got
Time crawled by. Around the summer of 1990, the then Thalion
managing director wanted the concept to change. It would have to
be some sort of monorailish bobsled thing with well thought out
craft design and the whole thing, and lots of shooting too. Even
I was involved in the new concept, and it was progressing nicely.
The demo that had been showed for the last year was still the
same, and Chris kept on amazing us with proclamations such as
"well, last evening I again doubled the speed of the vector
graphics routines!" We would fantasize of Jez San and other key
vector graphics programmers losing control over their lower jaws
when gazing at the stuff that was going on on the screen. "No
Second Prize" had the best core routines anyone could wish, and
Chris enhanced them every month or so. It must have been the rich
vitamin drinks we used to buy every day, even though they seemed
not to have any effect on me.
When I left Thalion, in March 1991, "No Second Prize" was still
not finished. All in all it had taken almost two years so far,
and it was supposed to be released 'shortly'. The concept had by
that time been altered completely again. It was to be a motor
racing game - no, a motor racing simulation - and already the
spectacular bits featured in the demo (such as the loops and
screws, and the multiple other on-screen shapes) had disappeared.
Thalion had a new man at the reigns who knew exactly what kind of
stuff people wanted. "Simulations," he said, "that is the kind of
stuff people will want."
The very hottest and absurdly fastest futuristic 3D
shooting'n'racing arcade game had been turned into a rather
more realistic and not all too spectacular (yet still very fast)
motor racing simulation.
And that's exactly what I got the other day. Mind you, my
relationship with the head honchos at Thalion is of such quality
that someone had to send me a cracked copy because there was no
other way of getting my hands on it. In retrospect I am glad I
didn't shell out any money for it.
If a motor racing simulation game is to be any good, it will
have to look quite a lot like Microprose's "Formula One Grand
Prix". It is clear that this has been taken into consideration in
the around-the-game design of "No Second Prize". You get circuit
overviews with all sorts of data - pretty realistic. You can
select tracks and different drivers, and you can do some training
or a complete championship season (which you can also load from
and save to disk). The simulation element is rock-solid.
What about the actual game?
Let's first start with the easthetical side. The music is good
(by Gunnar "Big Alec" Gaubatz) and the graphics are excellent (by
Thorsten "Gogo" Mutschall). There are a couple of menus where you
can select your driver and the track as well as manual/automatic
gear changes and 'mouse sensitivity'. Yes, the game is totally
mouse-controlled, which needs a lot of getting used to when
you're used to, say, "Formula One Grand Prix", which is joystick-
Once you have selected all of this (there are twenty tracks; you
can practise on any of them or race them all in strict sequence
during a championship season) the game really begins.
Especially in the beginning it's virtually impossible to control
your bike, not even with a mouse sensitivity of "5" which is, it
seems, least sensitive. It's almost impossible to even stay on
the road. Good thing is that you get 'recentered' each time you
wander off the track too far, and you get a warning when you're
driving in the wrong direction after a multiple spin.
Screen layout is excellent. You get to see what you have to see,
as well as your position and that of the opponents (including
graphically, on a mini picture of the current circuit), lap time
and total time. The 3D graphics are very fast and, on the
contrary to those in "Hard Driving" in particular, bug-free as
far as I could see. No priority difficulties and that sort of
thing. Good thing that the corners are indicated by arrow signs,
for otherwise you'd surely fly out of the corners each time
there is one.
Even when you're getting more used to the controls, the game
remains very difficult. At start you can overtake a few opponents
but before you know it you go off the track. Instinctively you
try to get back on it, therewith hypercorrecting. The controls
are much too sensitive, and I don't like mouse controls anyway.
A nice touch to the game are the cameras. Although it's not
possible to select 'no driver' and watch sortof a demo game, you
can replay a number of seconds from four different angles (one
being behind a helicopter tailing the one in first position)
after pausing the game. Of course, having been spoiled rotten by
games the likes of "F1GP", I had expected more - but even as it
is it's a lot more than many average racing games offer, so that
is one of the things that actually makes sure that "No Second
Prize" actually isn't one.
What can be concluded? "No Second Prize" is probably one of the
smoothest, fastest and most extensive racing simulations, though
fiendishly difficult if not virtually impossible to control. I
would have preferred an option for joystick movement and, though
that's a bit trivial, better camera options. However, I would
prefer getting "F1GP" any time. The scenery is better and more
elaborate there, and there are lots more opponents without the
thing getting too slow. Personally I think it's a shame that the
"No Second Prize" you can buy in the shops is not the flashy game
that Thalion originally wanted to make, the game that made jaws
drop and mouths slaver.
Although I think I am not quite impartial enough to give a
rating, I will tell you it's 10-3.
Laughware & Freeware
Some of you might recall extensive initiatives made by me a year
back (or maybe more). I was going to do lots of coding in the
summer of '92 and release a pile of utilities that you couldn't
get to the other side of without the use of climbing gear (or
something like that). The whole thing, to put it forward rather
unceremoniously, has been put on ice. That's a neat euphemism for
"it was shoved up someone's imaginary bum". The whole list of
Cronos Warchild adventures that I was to do on multiple formats
with the assistance of Stefan have been put on ice, too. Don't
expect them to appear. Ever. Laughware died even before it could
as much as smile. You can expect many of the supposed adventure
plots to return in ST NEWS literary-ish bits, though.
Anyway, the freeware side of the things I'm doing is going
pretty well. As a matter of fact I have now done several small
utilities and only recently I have overhauled some of them,
extended them, reprogrammed some bits, the works. Some of them
will be featured on forthcoming issues of ST NEWS. Some of them
have been featured a while ago already (a long while ago). In
case you're interested, the list momentarily contains the
"Son of Wowbagger The Infinitely Prolonged". I've spent quite
some time extending this little program. The latest version is
3.01, done on March 17th 1993 (the previous rehash being "The Son
of" with no version number, done about a month earlier). Strictly
taken it's the fourth version of the swearing accessory, with
almost 930 million insults possible now. The first version was
featured a while ago on ST NEWS. The second version was spread
through a couple of PD libraries. The third was only spread to
some friends. I am working on a fifth version (3.5), which has so
far been inspired by several episodes of "Birds of a Feather" and
"Red Dwarf", as well as a slang dictionary. Expect this new and
updated version, with probably well over 1.5 billion possible
insults, on a forthcoming issue of ST NEWS near you, soon.
"Background Music Utility". Version 2.0 was finished somewhere
in February of this year. It was a lot smaller than the
previous version on disk (about 100 Kb less) and possibly a bit
more userfriendly. I had discovered how to use the EVNT_MULTI
call in "GfA Basic", so the pieces of music now restarted
themselves automatically whenever they had finished. A month
later, on March 15th to be slightly more exact, I got a lot more
tunes so I made 3.0. It now also works on any machine in any
resolution, and it barely grew 7 Kb in size even though more than
210 Kb worth of music was added. It has also reached the
definite level of user-friendliness. Versions 1.0/1.1 were only
released through some PD libraries (probably the same ones that
got "Wowbagger" version 2.0). Version 2.0 was sent to some
friends only (maybe, one day, it will become a collector's item
(probably not though)). Version 3.0, spread sparsely already, may
be expected soon on an ST NEWS issue near you!
"Speedwriter II", "Handy Plus" and "Name Generator". These have
all appeared on ST NEWS disks in the past, and have been released
through the very same PD libraries as well. None of these little
programs have actually changed. I just might do a revamp of
"Speedwriter II" that is a bit more userfriendly, done in "GfA
Basic" version 3 (or 4!) and that allows the files to be
displayed from the desktop too. I'm not sure about the latter,
Laughware may have died a pre-natal death, but I plan to do some
more freeware utilities in the future. I plan to spend much of
the coming summer programming, as I can't find it in me to
actually do some work then (even though I really need to). These
freeware utilities may have some extra plugs built in so that it
becomes something similar to shareware.
I still have some ideas lying around, so I might just us well
tell you about them a bit.
"Harddisk Backup Utility", abbreviated as "HBU". It will have
some rather neat functions not found in any other hard disk
backup programs. Some basic features will be: Speed will be much
faster than any other hard disk backup utility, the archive bit
and date and time stamp will be fully supported, files will be
stored on disk optimally, and your files on floppy disk will be
instantly retrievable. Disks will be automatically formatted if
needed. You can backup separate files, or folders, or entire
partitions. The programming of this utility largely depends on
whether I will be able to use some source code by Andreas Franz
that sets up a RAM disk and stuff.
"Brain Replacement Utility", or "BRU". This is, basically, a
calendar accessory with lotsa nobs on. It will be extremely
powerful, insanely flexible, and will have a huge database of
international festive occasions, bank holidays and celebrity
"Memory Management Utility", or, indeed, "MMU" (!). This is
basically an awfully easy thing to program, but nobody has done
it before so it will be done soon. It allows you to specify your
computer's work memory (ST memory only, though) with an accuracy
of 4 Kb. Ideal to check whether your code works on less memory
machines, or to protect parts of memory from use by other
"Software Diary Utility", or, you're quite right, "SDU". This
will be another accessory, probably also usable as stand-alone
program. It will allow you to keep a diary and store it on disk,
with or without password coding. This might be a while though, as
I have to write a text editor for it which I don't feel like
doing just yet.
"Virus Checksum Utility", or, for short, "VCU". Originally
intended as an add-on for what was the "Virus Destruction
Utility" at the time, this is a program that uses a non-space-
consuming method to give program-and data-files a checksum that
allows you to keep track of link virus infection. Unlike
"Sagrotan" it needs no file library. Unlike "Sagrotan" checksums
cannot be mixed up when the program encounters different files
with the same name (e.g. different versions of the same program).
You can, I think, even rename files and the checksum will still
work! No extra space on disk is needed.
"Write Protect Utility", or "WPU". This is a small resident
accessory that simply displays the write-protect status of floppy
drives A and B (the latter only if available) on the top left or
top right of the menu bar. Should work on all systems.
"Hiscore Terminal Utility", or, yes, "HTU". This will allow you
to keep track of all your hiscores, which is perhaps a rather
useful thing when certain games don't save hiscores. You can edit
everything there is to edit, print out, compare hiscore lists
with those of your friends, and more of that sort of thing. I got
this idea around Volume 2 of ST NEWS but it kept on being
postponed. I will do it one day.
"Backup Destruction Utility". Last but not least, "BDU". This
will be the ultimate "*.BAK" file deletion utility. You can
configure hard disk partition to have these files deleted from,
exempt files from deletion, add files, configure different "BAK"
extensions (like "DUP" used by "Tempus"), and generally
everything you might want.
And with these last bits of news I'd like to leave it at that.
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.