"To be or not to be... Not to be."
Arnold Schwarzenegger plays "Hamlet", in "Last Action Hero"
SELECTED DISK MAGAZINE REVIEWS
by Richard Karsmakers
Again, some people around the world (well, Europe actually) have
found it necessary to assail me with various issues of their
respective disk magazines. These are always welcome, of course,
and I have taken the liberty of writing some bits about them.
THE VOICE ISSUES 2 AND 3
A very lively scene seems to be building up in Poland (see a
feature article elsewhere in this issue of ST NEWS), and it seems
to be usual for each coding group to, well, sortof have its own
disk magazine. Obviously they've got time aplenty, so it's up to
Recently I got a disk sent by Risto Kowaczewski, editor of the
Team From The East's "The Voice" magazine. It contained issues 2
and 3 of this publication. I will here only respond to the
technical side of things, as the entire issues were all in Polish
and, as my Polish hardly suffices for anything but drunken
pseudo-Polish blabbering, I have thus not been able to check out
what things look like on the editorial side.
Issue 2 looks OK, but suffers from rather mediocre menu
graphics. The whole thing is smoothly mouse-controlled, so that's
OK I think. All articles are loaded upon the program itself
loading, so loading times after that are nill. Pages are located
in a horizontal queue so you don't scroll up and down but,
rather, page to the left and the right. Text display is fast and,
so it seems, without bugs. Intro graphics need to be mentioned
separately, as they were good. No music. Colour-only.
Issue 3 looks better. The menu is now one screen in size, with
key directions given in the lower border and a scroll line at the
top of the screen. Also, there's some digi music. The entire
issue can be used with the +/-/space/escape keys to page up and
down an article, to select an article from the menu, to enter it,
and to quit it. Fast pageview mode, and all documents are once
more located in the program, loaded upon starting up "The Voice".
Editorially, all I could recognize was an interview with yours
truly they've done a while ago - and I could only do that because
I saw my name and that of loads of bands I like. Colour-only,
again, and all texts are in Polish (but something tells me you
had guessed that already).
"The Voice" is a promising disk magazine, and already better
than many of the ST disk magazines one sees today. If their
English gets better I certainly hope they will switch to that, so
that the whole world may get in touch with quite a different
culture - the Polish ST scene.
ST ENTHUSIASTS NEWSLETTER ISSUE 13 AND 14
In the recent half year, two (and a half) issues of "STEN" have
appeared. "STEN", as you know, is probably one of the best ST
disk magazines, even though it's slightly biased to English
users. It's quite different from all other disk magazines as far
as its contents and 'attitude' are concerned, even though many
people often think (I quote) "It's in the same mould as ST NEWS".
Personally I think "STEN" is more professionally produced, and
probably likely to be taken much more serious that ST NEWS. But
that's just my opinion.
Around February issue 13 was released. It featured the usual
approximately 30 articles, varying from moderately interesting to
very interesting. The most interesting article for me was one on
the history of the CD - taught me quite a bit that one (and I am
glad to conclude from it that the CD player I own is at least of
a recent generation if not of the latest one).
"STEN"'s main strength is its news and gossips column. They
offer interesting news items that may or may not have to do with
computers, much worth while reading. They also have inside
contacts at Atari which means they can de-nerve some rumours such
as "the redesigned Falcon is out any week now" and explain why
Atari no longer sells the original mono monitors.
In April/May issue 14 got released, which they reckoned was
their best effort yet - and I have to agree. A few weeks later
(or was it more like MONTHS?) its second part appeared (issue
14.b). The original issue 14 was very interesting, with again an
enormous load of gossip and news and some interesting things
among which were a "True Paint" review, more info on "CD ROM" by
Mike Mee and an article on what the biz thinks of Atari (i.e. not
much). These were the kind of articles that I'd love to republish
in ST NEWS if it weren't for the fact that we're already having
too much for our current issue as it is.
Issue 14.b was a bit of a letdown though. On disk was the
"Ultimate GfA Database" and the articles, though numerous, were
mainly non-computer-related and, what's worse, in some way taken
off various BBS and Internet sources. "STEN" never did that
before, at least not in this kind of quantity. I believe one
should use few Internet-sourced bits, and then leave it at that.
This two-disk issue 14 would have been perfect if only the
editorial staff (two awfully busy guys by the names of Dave
Mooney and John Weller) would have started using a text packer
routine. If issue 14 and 14.b would have been released on one
disk it would have been the perfect blend. As it is, Issue 14
offered almost 500 Kb of text and 14.b offered about 680 Kb. Had
they used a good compressor, that would all have fitted on one
disk, perhaps even easily. The "Ultimate GfA Database" could have
been ZIPped and SEA'd. No sweat.
Having said that, I surely wouldn't want to give you the
impression that either of the "STEN" issues were crap or
anything, for they aren't. It's just my own opinion that Issue
14.b was not up to the usual standard, even though some other
disk magazines would be very happy I think if they ever attained
that standard at all.
"STEN" is one of the very best. Add a packer and rather more
selective use of articles the likes of those in 14.b, and "STEN"
will be even better!
For information, contact happy young father (of a daughter born
in March) Dave Mooney at:
14 School Road
Lanarkshire ML2 9QW
Don't forget to enclose an IRC at least!
MAGNUM ISSUE 1
(Yes, I know, it's ancient)
Another Polish disk magazine to hit my desk was "Magnum" issue
1. This magazine is made by the Warriors of Darkness (or
Illusion, or whatever they're called). I got their first issue
sent recently, which was released in the summer of 1992. Well,
it's over one year old now but why not dedicate some words to it
Like all other Polish disk magazines, it's in Polish. That
sortof makes it impossible for me to make any comments on the
editorial side of things. Programming-wise it's OK, though the
shell suffers from the fact that it seems to be divided across
two programs that can load each other. Articles are few (about
ten) and they are quite short - a maximum of less than twenty
pages, with each page being 40 columns in width and one screen in
Accent seems to lie on the soundtracker music containing within
the magazine. The music is of good quality, I must say, and you
can select several different modules. There goes disk space, I'd
If you can read Polish or if you have the Polish<>English Phrase
Book ("I will not buy this record, it is scratched!" (or wasn't
that Polish, the book I mean?)) you may want to check this out.
The address to write to is Ul. Bukowska 16/25, 32-050 Skawina,
Poland. Be a good pal and enclose some IRCs if you expect them to
MAGGIE ISSUES 11 AND 12
Yes, they're back. As they say themselves: The best just got
better. Well, modesty will never be their middle name I guess,
but it seems they don't need it either.
"Maggie", previously done by the German branch of the now sortof
half-defunct Delta Force, died a premature death. Like ST NEWS,
however, it seems to have reincarnated in the no doubt
excellently capable hands of some British guys (most notably one
called Chris - CIH). I don't know whether they claim to be undead
or anything, but another striking similarity is that they seem to
have acquired new zeal and enthusiasm in the dying process. When
I read through their last two issues (released on May 26 and
September 13th respectively) I was struck by the joy of writing
evident from everything these new guys do.
"Congratulations on your rebirth!" I'd like to proclaim!
Of course, "Maggie" is now also ready for the new multi-media
area, what with Falcon and all having been released. At least
issue 12 runs on the machine and they offer a lot of Falcon-
related articles as well as multiple programs on offer on disk
(varying from experimental demos to utterly handy Falcon
utilities). The whole thing still works on the ST and is of just
as much interest to the ST/TT user. Attention is not given solely
to computers, but also to various other topics - most significant
of which, for some reason, seems to be Joanna Pacula.
Their recent issues are much worth while. The porno has been
dumped (perhaps the presence of this was due to the previous
editor's frustrations in the search for girls, though he now
seems to have found one), and the mag look slick as ever.
Send disk plus IRC's to the address below to acquire the latest
84 North Street
Northants NN10 9BU
Thanks, Chris, for sending me the "Merrie Beeblebroxmas" card
and the issues!
PURE BOLLOCKS ISSUE 23
What? A disk magazine that has been around for 23 issues and
that hasn't yet made its way into one of the regular ST NEWS
columns? I was getting really puzzled until someone (hi Roy) told
me this was actually their third issue.
Well, so much for that.
I really wanted to do a full review of this magazine, because it
was supposedly very controversial (like they used lots of
obscenities and they explained stuff like how to crack answer
phones and a list of US Pirate BB Systems) and because they are
said to think ST NEWS is crap.
However, I didn't get it to work at all. I tried 50 Hz TOS 1.6,
60 Hz TOS 1.6, TOS 1.0, and all of that with write-protected
disks and then again with non-write-protected disks. That's all I
could bother to think of. None of it worked. Maybe it doesn't
work on German TOS or something (yes, I'm afraid I have one of
those). I once got through to the main menu (looks cool, a bit
like the "B.I.G. Demo" music selector), but then I couldn't load
any articles without the thing freezing on me.
If you want to check out "Pure Bollocks" nonetheless (and I can
imagine you would) then you'd have to send two disks and IRCs to
the address below.
P.O. Box 1083
Glasgow G14 3DG
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.