The heavily, badly, deeply, overdue replacement for the
'Maggie News' page...
Perhaps an apology or
excuse might be appropriate, but I'll reassure and redirect you.
Everything discussed previously is still just about where it was the
last time I was on here. I've decided to make future posts in a new
location, so without further ado - New year, new platform..
Now this is a really
lame interval of nothingness, no excuses, well alright, just the one
A January morning, during a spell of very cold weather, nothing out of
the ordinary appears to be happening, then suddenly a text message
strikes from nowhere. "CALL ME
URGENTLY!" This drastic appeal is nothing to do with a lottery
win however. The news from home is not good, Cloe, our aparently
healthy happy remaining cat was found dead on the kitchen floor. There
was no previous sign of anything wrong. However, googling around on the
good old hypochrondriac-net reveals there is such a thing as a feline
version of sudden death syndrome. So we have the "fun" job of a very
Russian-style burial in a snow covered garden, poor girl. Of course,
that is not the sort of thing that you really feel like leaping to
tell. I'm a good news sort of person, not an emo-kid revelling in
showing off their open wounds to the world. So this is a large part of
the reason why nothing has appeared here for a while.
On the putting things back together front, in March, a new rehomed
feline family member came to stay. He's called Harry, also variously
known as Houdini, or Hairy, for the amount of spare fur he can output.
The main features of Harry are, skinny, nervy, active, affectionate and
chatty, with a large dash of being in places he shouldn't really be.
It's been three months already, doesn't feel like yesterday when he was
hiding behind the sofa. Here's a couple of pictures, one final one of
Cloe, and one for Hairy.
Cloe - Sadly missed
Harry - Gladly received!
I'll keep the rest as brief as I can. There were a load of nice new
demos released over the Xmas period, and the immediate aftermath,
including the 20th Anniversary STE demo. We had a lull period until the
2010 edition of Outline took place. Mind you there was a bit of a lull
for activity there too with some nice things shown. The party itself
was a good one though (hic!) Here's a quick look at a couple of random
approach to the Queen Elizabeth Bridge, River Thames, Dartford,
Felice finally offloads the C16 to Paranoid
that he had in the boot of his care for 2 years!
There were some
nice releases, not that many, but what was shown was good. We had one
good demo, a couple of nice games for the Jaguar, (I'm mainly talking
guys.) Here's a couple of things that appeared at the party, or in
the aftermath period. they can be found at the usual place. (Which has had a nice
webstire design revamp itself by the way.)
This year's Sommerhack invitro from Dead
Hackers Society for the
A little 'something'
from me too!
To throw in a bit of context, the screengrab from the left is from the
extremely highly polished Dead Hackers Society announcing the second
edition of the Sommerhack party in July. This was made on an STE and
features some very high quality code, eye-candy, and pleasant noises.
The second grab on the right actually comes from my fair hands and is
the front end of the final release of the 'Random Images' Targa pictures and
animated GIF's CD-ROM collection that I've been slowly putting together
over the last year or so. I'm glad to get that one out the door at
last, I can tell you!
I have also been doing some other virtuously worklike activities on
behalf of the Atari scene, demo scene/retro computing thing. The third
issue of Low
Res Mag has appeared with a raft of demo reviews from myself, and a
nice page-busting report on the Outline 2010 event. If you haven't got
to it already, then read it now!
logo for issue three, don't you think?
When Garfield met Harry...
And what are we expecting later in the year?
Coming soon, real soon in fact, a visit to the National Museum of
Computing Vintage Computer Festival. Coming a bit later on, a
return visit to Budleigh Salterton and the Sundown 2010 party. And
coming somewhat later still, the umpteenth edition of the Alternative party.
I've not mentioned how my various machines have been over the last few
months, but a brief summary follows. 1.
Mac has had a yuletide memory upgrade, 2.
is about the same as it was, but has gained a few new tools and
applications. 3. STE with
UltraSatan is doing very well, more games, demos and high-colour
picture goodness has reached it. 4.
CT60 Falcon has been quiet, mainly due to lack of time and immediate
motivation from me. Various graphics add-ons are getting closer to an
end result, with CTPCI and Supervidel in a close race to the finish.
I'll get my '060 mojo back when these appear, if not before. 5. CT2 Falcon (no.2 Falcon) has
been doing fine as a tester machine for the Random Images CD-ROM.
I'll leave it here for now,
promising a quicker update than the last one, providing I don't have to
report any more deaths!
Hmmph, it's been *how long* since the last time there
was an update on here? It's not as if nothing happened since the last
time, as we enjoyed a memorable Alt Party, and several new productions
have been released, a lot of them with the words 'Atari STe' in the
Apart from the productions that I've been involved with of course. This
is one of the things accounting for the tardy updating on here. For
example, I've written several articles for the supposed to be released
in November Low Res Mag,
reports for the previously described Sundown party, and
the more recent Alt Party event. However, things seem to be stuck in a
frustrating limbo state, in spite of the declared intention of the
authors not to wait around forever and commit to more frequent release
dates. Still, by the time we're unwrapping the presents in a week from
now, maybe you can read the new issue. As for Alive issue 15, let's not
go there. Needless to say, a contingency plan for next year is bubbling
around in my brain, but wait and see for that, eh!
For the festive season, I'm treating myself to a memory upgrade for the
Mini-Mac to keep that viable for a bit longer, also a last-ditch
attempt with a new CF-card for the CT60 Falcon, to see if we can
finally beat the hexed hard drive gremlins. If this does not work, then
it will be time to seek professional help to revive that machine.
Just to change the mood and put some relaxing colours on this page,
here are some images from the 2009 edition of the Alternative party.
was the bestest special guest for all the Alt
got into the man-machine theme!
There were two awesome demo releases, Cernit Tranfadir from the Dead
....and Sodium from Atari newcomers
I haven't been completely idle over the last few months, as to
celebrate the arrival of the UltraSatan storage device on the ST, I've
been organising a highcolor picture collection intended to fill a gap
on the clusters of SD-Cards now being devoted to data storage on behalf
of the Atari family. There should be a taster preview popping up elsewhere soon, with a full release to
follow next year.
Ok, it's snowing outside, I've got a day off and I'm smugly sitting
indoors at this point. So I guess I'll see you all after the festive
season has conked to a stop.
We're back and we
managed to get ourselves over to Sundown, the 2009 edition, last
weekend. After a tedious journey past Bristol, which appears to be
closed for repairs, we managed to stagger into Budleigh Salterton late
on Friday evening. We had a great time, the location adding a unique
late summer feeling to the normal party vibe. There were lots of nice
people to meet for the first time, and some others that we had seen
before in other places. There were visits to the beach which we managed
to fit in, including one at 2.30am on the Sunday morning after the
competitions had stuttered to a final halt. There will be a report
produced, which will appear fairly soon *somewhere* which contains
more detail about what happened, how we felt about it, how tired we got
etc. In the meantime, a small selection of pictures culled from various
sources will do all the talking for this log entry!
Our heroes hard at work(?) in the rather
pink party hall.
There was the beautiful
Devon coast just five minutes walk away.
Chinese restaurant, is there a such a thng as a
fiery Sunday morning on Budleigh Salterton beach!
The next major
party development will be a return to the Alt Party in October, so
we're getting slowly ready for that. In other news, well not a great
deal happened. As predicted, August was underwhelming. You tend to work
twice as hard to cover for the people that are on holiday at that time
which sucks. The current attempt to get the CT60 running with a new
hard drive turned into a fizzle for various reasons. Haomaru's spare
laptop hard drive did not manage to survive the rigours of the postal
system and the drive heads were forlornly clicking around when I tried
it. The SD-cards worked for a short time, before some unknown element
started to cause random stoppages, (faulty scsi transfers of additional
files after the first successful batch?) Then after these were
reformatted, they seemed to 'learn' not to work with the CT60 again.
Still, these can be recycled into the UltraSatan when it gets here
shortly. The original 4GB Kingston CF-card still works perfectly with
the Falcon in '030 mode but hates going to '060 mode. The spare hard
drive I acquired by post which was packaged decently turned out to be a
3.5 inch model, which is a hefty beast and won't go into the standard
Falcon case too well. Plus I've been rather short of spare time to
spend chasing the issue around, so at the moment we're stuck here.
Still, I did get to run through and view the entire Black Lotus trilogy
of demos, ported by Mikro, one Saturday. It's kind of emotional, seeing
'Starstruck' run on my original hardware, almost as if this isn't going
to be bettered, as if this is the best we're going to get on that
Still, press on, it'll sort out in the end no doubt.
Staggering through a
summer of variableness , the word on everyone's coughy lips is "Swine flu, you swine!" Strangely
enough, it's not on mine just yet, which is a welcome contrast from the
ill-behavioured lung-fest that happened this time last year. Which was
not flu of any description, but something else entirely different as
you may well recall.
Apart from that, I've been taking the post-Outline 2009 period nice and
easy, well as easy as a continual obligatory attendance at work allows
me to anyway. The new venue at Eersel was such a rip-roaring success,
it has been rebooked for next May! Yay! There is another partytime
coming up in September, as I've booked the time off to make a UK
demoparty visit to Sundown 2009.
another Alt Party,
later on, in October. In the interim, an enhanced visiting
party set forth on another expedition to Edinburgh and the free
accomodation opportunity which worked out so nicely last year. Four go
mad in Edinburgh went off without even one attempted murder of any of
the visiting party members by one of the others. We managed to fit in
doing most of the old favourites, and a few new things, such as
visiting a boat fit
for a Queen as well as a whisky tour (hic!)
Atari scene-wise, we've managed to avoid the usual summer slump after
the productive spring party for once. We've had some surprise releases
at miscellaneous parties from old hands like MJJ Productions and even a
welcome return from style over hard code kings 'Excellence in Art'.
These, and one or two others, are all aimed exclusively at the more
Amiga-like Atari STe
(enhanced) model. Oh yes, we're still awaiting two unfinished demos
from two other parties earlier in the year, not to mention the STe 20th
Anniversary megademo later in the year. (But you did mention it, you
fool!) On the hardware front, the previously mentioned Supervidel,
having been seen in action at Outline '09, has now got to the point
where pre-order registrations are being taken. Also Rodolphe Czuba is
back in the advanced graphics card frame with a successfully booting CTPCI.
So from being stagnant for years, the hardware possibilities are
suddenly dizzying. Oh, and the UltraSatan should be finally ready in a
month or so's time too.
On a more personal note, I might get around to finally doing something
with my CT60, as I've now got a choice of *three* bulk media storage
solutions. The spare laptop drive from Haomaru just having turned up,
and I've laid hands on another hard drive, and a SD-Card to IDe
adaptor. The advantage here being that the SD-cards can be recycled on
the UltraSatan and Satandisk.
Against this background of quietly bubbling optimism, it's time for the
funny pictures spot. The first entry comes courtesy of PeeCeeWorld, aka
'PlasticWorld' or even 'Pissywerld'. It is possibly the most
heterosexual gaming-rig styled box possible, unless you get Chuck
Norris to handcraft you something, with his teeth. The case design
assumes you can get nitrous oxide to the cpu for that extra performance
boost to piss all over the speed of light. The overall effect shows off
how amazingly secure and self-confident the owner of such a machine
would be in his own sexuality. They are not made in pink.. The second
picture on the right comes from inside
place when we did our Edinburgh grand tour, a place where the
word 'Caffe latte' would get you a well-deserved kicking, possibly.
Anyway, here's the mini manly gallery!
PeeCee in creation and PC
A manly pint of Heavy
in a non-gay glass!
Right, now to stagger
through the excitement desert that is August, see you back in September.
Outline '09 returns me
to my station with the reassuring news that a healthy CT60 still beats
away under the layers of complication imposed by an iffy storage device.
You may recall that there had been a long-running issue with my
original hard drive. The IBM Travelstar was a known bad job, but the
Kingston CF-card purchased to replace it didn't seem to be much better.
The latter works fine without the accelerator, but (at best) was very
unstable with it. Having had the Nature Brothers ponder the issue, it
appears that the CF-card isn't co-operative on one of their machines
either. However, their CF-card booted and ran just fine on mine! When
asking around for a better flavour of CF-card on the IRC, Haomaru,
sometime Dutch MSX-botherer volunteered to send a spare 40GB laptop
drive he had lurking and doing nothing, entirely for free! Cool or
what? If it survives the rigours of postal travel, then hopefully there
is an end to the hard drive issues and I have a fully working CT60
Which would be timely, as we have *two* demo releases for the CT60
which popped up at Outline '09. One of which was the sort of expected
and keenly anticipated port of ''Starstruck' by the
Black Lotus, coming from the capable hands of Mikro, he who is also
organising the UltraSatan storage devices previously mentioned. The
other was a nice and unexpected demo from our friends in Sweden, the
Dead Hackers Society, who gave us 'Codein' which is
effectively a very deluxe intro for a coding party in Sweden called SommarHack. This looks like a
small but concentrated gathering for the hardcore creative people in
the Atariscene. I'm not going to be able to make that one, as I'm (1.)
Not that creative, and (2.) Will still be recovering from the Edinburgh
expedition due in about a week's time.
But we're drifting badly off-topic and on to the rocks of irrelevant
wibble here. There were a couple of ST demo entries too, one of which
was the inevitable BITS release, over which we shall draw a veil
quickly. Actually, for one of theirs, it was not that bad. However, the
whole evening, CT60 demos and all, belonged to Defjam, the current
coding king on the base system, with the awesome Suretrip II - Dopecode
claiming the competition by a long country mile!
amazing flying machine at moment of
PeP intent on
winning the Bubble Bobble tournament.
The two pictures describe some different areas of the party, not part
of the mainstream but good fun nethertheless. We had a good clean 30
minutes of enjoyment with the bat-like powered glider shown above. It
is even equipped with a digital camera to take video footage and still
pictures whilst in flight! As for the Bubble Bobble tournament, I got
as far as the second round, beating 505, who had never played the game
at any point in his life?!
The party itself,
to its new location near Eersel in the west of the Netherlands,
prospered in the fine weather. A fantastic time was had by all. We
managed to speak to the Cyclone person who indicated that he might
finally get something done with Alive real soon now. There is an 80%
complete report for this party sitting on the laptop. There was also a
little entry for the executable music competition, based on some of my
ancient Enterprise 64/128 material, with one or two recent add-ons.
Even coding in BASIC on that to a very elementary level brings back
some happy memories. I'll have to try a bit harder next year, as last
place wasn't so cool, but I think that the audience liked it when it
Finally, before I call it a day for this log entry, guess what I got
running with the latest version of Hatari?
click on the thumbnail and take a look!
We may yet soon get a perfect, or nearasdammit perfect, Falcon 030
emulator at last. This is a pretty major milestone shown here!
(Update on the update...)
I was going to add the
previous entry yesterday, but found that I was unable to get FTP access
to my website. A quick fumble on over to the Zetnet site discovers a
service announcement which discloses that their user websites have been
migrated to a new data centre and that some usernames and passwords had
been changed. I had no other warning or notice of this, erm thanks
Zetnet! To be fair they were quick getting back to me with the new
details, so that is why you're reading this now.
In other news, the middle order headlines that come in before the
skateboarding duck at the end, I managed to exchange a couple of
sentences with a briefly appearing Cyclone on the IRC last night, we
will talk a lot more on Thursday...
apologies for the length of time away from this blogette. We're only a
handful of days away from the next Outline party and getting stuff
ready for it in a furious blur of preparation activity. It seems that
even more people than usual are keen to turn up there. A ticket
apparently has the missing Cyclone's name on it (read back on the last
but one log-entry.) So at least we'll finally get some answers over
what is happening with Alive 15! There is a variety of useful Atari
people to talk to there, so I'll also hopefully get some idea of what
is ailing my CT60 Falcon. It is definitely not the hard driver (HD
Driver) software version, as I now have the latest one, but still the
beast turns over and errors after the first couple of minutes running.
(I'm running a little bet with myself that it is an issue with an iffy
solder joint on the Falcon expansion port, as the Falcon is just fine
as a plain '030 machine.) Incidentally, for people who know me, and
might read this before coming to Outline, I do have a little
*something* to release there in the usual time-dishonoured tradition.
It is somewhat different from the norm, not exactly Defjam-level
brainblasting, but it should appeal to some people. Well, we'll see..
The second attempt at paying for the UltraSatan, via a very
1950's-esque international bank transfer succeeded, so I'll be telling
you all about this gadget in a log entry or two's time in the future. I
also appear to have caused a little stir with a special feature article
written for the Dead Hackers site about this widget and the possible
uses it could be put to for the Atari scene. For the single regular
reader who hasn't found it yet, just follow the link I gave you back
In the freaks corner this month, a continuation of a theme expressed in
a very old entry, namely an (under)class of woman's magazines such as 'Love it!' that cater to the
sick-making side of life. I found and took a picture of a cover of
another one which has a title hilariously stripped down to the bare
functional essentials. I've thumbnailed it so as not to put people off
with a sensitive disposition or normal intelligence level.
sure you're all better off not seeing the full horror!
This is the IPC Media description of the 'Chat' title range. - "Chat is cheeky, irreverent and fun – a
variety pack of 100% true stories, puzzles, irresistible fashion,
bargains, bonuses and surprises. (Ed-note: Yes, probably a competition to
win a free rape n' stabbing ordeal!) Our weekly promise is a jamboree-bag of
emotional stories from the poignant to the potty and always plain
gripping. Chat is your smart real-life read." Which still
leaves the crucial unanswered question, who reads those things?!
Oki, I'll see you all shortly after the Outline '09 party and tell you
all about how that went.
A quick update for you
to be going on with. Some things have been decided and set in stone.
We've got another edition of Outline coming up, at a new location in
the Netherlands. The previous party place not meeting our needs, due to
misunderstandings between the site owners and everyone else. This will
be towards the end of May, so hopefully some good weather then as you
can scroll down the page to last May's log entry and cast your eyes on
the gloriously sunny pictures from last year's event. We're also going
back to Edinburgh, this time with a reinforced visiting party including
Felice and Paula. This will happen in June.
Other things look a bit less certain, or else subject to annoying
hold-ups. The UltraSatan has been paid for, or, errm, possibly not,
according to PayPal. They are being no-one's pal by deciding that
Mikro, the manufacturer, has a business model which they don't
understand. This goes along the lines of trusted party personally known
to his customers seeks advance payment to capitalise for manufacture of
a custom-made one-off piece of kit for an obscure retro-computer. In
spite of PayPal accepting this business model *twice* before, suddenly
it is a problem and they won't release the money to him. So it might be
time to find another method to get the cash to Mikro, ho hum. Which
leaves Moneybookers, which Felice isn't too keen on, or paying the IBAN
Bank Transfer tax.
You might like this picture, as it shows the desperate lengths to which
some people (not me, I might add!) will go, to park in our street. Yes
it is a free-for-all, with no special protection, permits, or
privileges given to the residents.
Note the elegant juxtaposition
of car on both pavement and road! The low image quality does
not really do it justice. I was going to go back and take a better
picture in the morning, but by then it had gone.
6th February 2009.
The first of the new
year and it's that time of year where you're waiting for something
better to happen. Still here's a few bits to be going on with.
It looks around 90% certain that there will be a new edition of the
Outline party in Holland, even with the main organiser Havoc being out
of action due to the aftermath of a surgically corrected
non-functioning lung. Fellow Dutch demo scene insaniac, Skrebbel, has
stepped into the rather tall and thin gap left by Havoc. A venue near
Eindoven is being favourably considered and the time for all of this is
expected to be around the weekend of the 23rd/24th of May. We may even
have an extra travelling companion with us this time around, but let's
not get ahead of events, eh.
The UltraSatan I mentioned last time around has been ordered, and
Felice has expressed an interest in getting one too. So we should see
that around June or July. In addition to this, the first picture of a
completed prototype SuperVidel has been shown! This latter hardware is
a rather awesome graphics card add-on for the CT60 Falcon. The
specifications for this have been cut and pasted verbatim below from Nature's website.
* The SuperVidel is a CT60
expansion board, sitting on the internal CT60 expansion connector.
* DVI-I connector: support for both digital and analog output using a
splitter cable. This means the SuperVidel supports output to two
screens at the same time.
* Features all the colour depths and resolutions of the old Videl chip,
from mono to 16-bit, by functioning exactly as the old Videl on the
hardware register level
* Adds a 24-bit (16,777,216 colors) color depth as a 4 byte RGBA mode.
* Adds an 8-bit chunky mode.
* Ability to generate a resolution of up to 1600x1200 at 75Hz even in
the 24-bit color depth.
* Pixel clock supports the old 25.175MHz and 32MHz settings. We will
extend the pixel clock frequency settings to achieve 50 up to 225 MHz
at steps of 25MHz. At 225MHz 1600x1200@75Hz is possible.
* Onboard 128MB 32bit wide DDR2 memory at 333MHz, yielding a
theoretical bandwidth of 1350MB/s. A resolution of 1600x1200@75Hz 24bit
RGBA (4-byte) requires 576MB/s, so there should be plenty of bandwidth
left for play.
* An integrated Super Blitter, but not necessarily compatible with the
old Blitter, because it was rarely used on the falcon anyway.
* Hardware 3D support in the form of a polygon texture mapper. This
requires lots of space in the FPGA though. This feature is not included
in the first release of the SuperVidel, to save time, but the board is
easily upgraded later in the same way as you upgrade your CT60.
I'm still not holding my breath for ordering one, but it would be
lovely to see it in action at Outline '09, as the Nature brothers tend
to turn up regularly to the Outline parties. I'll thrown in a couple of
quick pictures of both these items of most desirable hardware for you.
Atari ST - UltraSatan, note *two* SD-Card drive slots. They are
hot-swappable too.. For the
Atari Falcon CT60 - Supervidel, circuit boards never
looked so gorgeous!
The other recent item worthy of note is that we appear to be having a
proper winter this year. I guess we should have been forewarned by the
journey home from the Alt Party '08 back in October, where we
encountered snow in the northern part of London, and this was back in
October! Now we've had a share of decently cold weather and snow of the
transport-killing kind ourselves! Out of interest I don't totally buy
into the "Blah, the UK is lame for
grinding to a halt with a little bit of snow, the rest of Europe copes
MUCH better!" mindset. Firstly because this is the most snow
I've seen in a decade here, so it is kind of hard to make an expensive
continual contingency plan for something that infrequently happening.
Secondly, because the public transport around here at least has done
its very best to keep itself going. Apart from one morning when
everything was obviously screwed, they seem to have been more punctual
than usual? Maybe because a lot of the lamers normally clogging the
roads took the advice to stay at home, which suggests any problems
they've got are congestion related, rather than anything to do with the
Still, I was able to amuse myself on the longer than usual journey to
work the other morning by taking the odd piccy or two with the
road from the bus
Problem, or opportunity?!
As for Alive issue 15, I'm really not sure what is happening? The main
man, CXT, Cyclone, or just plain Heinz appears to have dropped right
out of sight like a stone plummeting down the shaft of a bottomless
well and no-one can hear the splash at the bottom, or something. I do
recall that he previously embarked on a hard and stony self-employed
road to make a living, so in these credit-crunched times, who knows
what goes on?! It's still too early to make contingency plans
for the stuff that I and other people have done at this point, but time
That turned out to be more entry than I was expecting. Oh, and it
appears to be the third anniversary of these pages as well! It does
seem to be lasting better than the old pages did. Now to get to do some
new things on the rest of the site (yes,
say that and nothing gets done, sigh!)
It's just a few days
before the festive season '08 edition kicks off. As is so often the
case at this time of year, I'm empty of all thoughts and emotion, apart
from lists of things to do and buy, which are *thankfully* done now.
Random comments and observations will now follow in the order that my
mind bothers to recall them.
I caught up with Leon "Mr Pink" O'Reilly on the Atariscne IRC channel a
week or so ago. He is still around, and making moves to start prodding
some old source code into life on STEEM. The usual disclaimers for
breath-holding are in full force, but wait and see for more news from
My mobycam clips taken at the Alternative Party have been combined into
a single feature-length entity, assuming that 'feature length' is
around sixteen minutes. I can't be arsed to post a direct link, but you
can grab it from the usual place .
The makers of the Atari ST hard drive SD-card replacement gizmo
'Satandisk' (see several entries ago) are actively developing a new and
completely revamped version called 'UltraSatan'.This has some nice
extras like being able to access higher capacity SD-cards. It also
includes *two* slots for SD-cards, so you can write from one to the
other in situ without switching off and needing to use a third party
go-between PeeCee to transfer data. Oh yes, they are hot-swappable too.
I'm seriously tempted, as this should be reasonably priced, even with
the currently dire Pound Sterling to Euro exchange rate.
There are new versions of the Hatari and Aranym Atari emulators. Both
of these claim some sort of Falcon '030 compatibility, and Aranym
claims to have improved theirs. I've got to introduce both of these to
my laptop sometime over the Xmas holidays. A little project if (when) I
There was a work-provided Xmas party with a free bar! Yaay! It was a
free bar with terms and conditions though, so not so yaay! after all.
As part of the establishment in question having a "No being sick all
over the carpet" policy, they refused to serve doubles, and there was a
no-no on neat spirits without mixers as well. I managed to get around
the latter issue later on in the evening though. Mainly by convincing
people with colds that a neat whisky was fine for medicinal purposes,
and could they get me one from the bar whilst they were at it?
Finally, here's an interesting page-grab which
shows how old this
ascii-art thing really is.
Before they had computers in any meaningful
sense, really. Just click on
to the left to get the full
picture. If you were
doing it with this analogue clunky typewriter
medium, I guess you would
have to plan
what your next move was
going to be!
Okay, I think that will sort things out for now. I'll be back around
the beginning of the new year, thinking new year thoughts...
The Alternative Party has been and gone
and left a splattering of random and mostly pleasurable memories. It
was the biggest event of its kind ever. It had some of the best live
acts going, which was quite a long way from the first fumbling noodling
around of the organisers friends on stage with a load of gear but not
quite sure what do do with it. The 'arty' side of Alt reached new
heights too, and we had even more of our Atari friends present this
time around. As sort of hinted at in the last log entry, there was a
new Atari STe demo released, namely the Dead Hackers More or Less Zero. It
survived the rather lame and dismal competition viewing process, where
the meaning of 'idiot proof' had been tested beyond destruction. (Even
allowing for my previous exposure to the less than smooth run-through's
of Alt Party demo competitions.) A previous generation of Atari
hardware was also given the top spot at Alt Party, namely the VCS 2600,
of old style space invaders games from the late seventies, in the form
of an extremely hardware thrashing demo called Doctor by Trilobit.
There will be a full report in the next issue of Alive Mag, due really
soon(ish) now, honest! This includes all our post-party adventures,
including helping one Martin Eric-Racine move house to another country
from Finland, and getting trapped overnight in that country, due to a
fundamental miscalculation of ferry times! There may well even be an
update of the Alt Party page, along with all the other stuff that's
fallen behind horribly on here! In the meantime, here's a couple of
homage to the steampunk theme..
As it was the 10th anniversary, there was birthday
Apart from Alt Party,
just the weekend before, we (Me, Felice, Paula and Nicky) took a trip
down to North Devon, in a celebration of the New York matrimonial
mash-up, which took place at around that time last year, as you may all
recall. One of the more alcoholically enjoying themselves relatives at
the wedding reception promised an offer of free accommodation in a
place called Ilfracombe. This offer turned out to be genuine, so it
was, that we all took ourselves off down there. There's not a lot to
say really. The place itself was beautiful, we mostly managed to avoid
getting rained on, and managed to take in a few of the sights of North
Devon in an autumnal fashion, whilst dodging the surfer dudes in their
elderly Volkswagen camper vans, which seem to be fifty percent of the
motorised traffic around there. A few 'Four go Mad In Devon' styled
pictures were taken, here's a couple for you.
Felice, Nicky and Paula from left to right at Lynmouth
the phone asking for a Mr
Since then, it's been a distinctly unexciting time. We've had an early
taste of winter, we're in the build-up period to Xmas, which will get
more and more emphasised as the weeks go by. I'm slowly putting
together Xmas lists and final things to do for the forthcoming issue of
Alive. I expect the next update will be nudging up against the festive
season, so there, we're done for now.
It's now an
unpleasant if rapidly fading memory, but I think I might have found out
what was ailing me for August and a large part of September. The
website linky below gave me a lot of information that led me to a
better than 95% diagnosis of what my lurgy was. One of those things that people
don't realise what it is
Yes, it was whooping cough! There are still a lot of people at work
with it, I sympathise, knowing that they may still have some weeks to
put up with the worst part. Coincidentally, the day after my last post,
the 21st September was my first relatively 'normal' day for a while,
where it could be said I was starting to really get better. There are a
few lingering after-effects remaining, but nothing like what I was
coughing up before!
Changing the subject
completely, you might recall that a couple of past entries had a little
bit of an obsession with Kitlers, or Hitler-cats. Well I was planning
to set up a modest addendum to the feline tribute page with my small
collection of Kitler pics, but someone much better organised beat me to
it with a whole website dedicated to the subject, damn them! Never
mind, here's the linky, Meow
that's quite enough territorial demands from the feline population for
The Alt Party is next week, so close that I can smell it! Or perhaps my
sleeping bag needs a wash? There seems to be a lot of Atari bods going
now, even some people who have never been to one of these before, and
I'm also going to get to see some people I've not seen in the flesh for
years (Hi Evil! It was the last Error in Line I believe?) There has
even been some Atari related code made for it, with a neat invitro from
Paradox as evidenced by the sepia-toned screenshot below. There may be
the slightest possibility of something appearing at the party itself,
but we'll see!
I'll be back in the aftermath period, so see you all later...
Lurgy special, regurgitated....
Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a
job in an open plan office. Choose
a job in an open plan office that has randomly working air
conditioning. Choose a job in an open plan office in a building that
should have been 'redeveloped' (demolished) at least five years ago.
Choose a job in a office where the Oxford English Dictionary people
hastily breeze through wearing biohazard suits to refresh their entry
for 'sick building'. Choose
didn't really happen here but turned into one long
sickly autumn instead. Choose
that gets all your attention for the next four
weeks. Choose to watch everyone else get it as well. Choose to pick up
an opportunistic successor infection whilst your immune system is still
knackered from the first one. Choose to cough up copious amounts of
lung snot at night. Choose your future. Choose life. But why would I
want to do a thing like that? Ahh, I did! I made my coughy fevered bed,
so I have to lie in it. - With some sort of apology to Irvine Welsh, I
A surprise update leaps in, as a slow recovery from the 'thing' mentioned last time is
interrupted by a fellow-travelling virus, even before the after-effects
of the other one have completely gone. So it's occasional outbreaks of
a coughing apocalypse, dizzy spells and headaches, not to mention the
lung snot I mentioned before. It'll get better, one day....
In other news, a mobycam grab which was going to feature in this update
had an unexpected promotion to the pages of the leading satirical mag, 'Private Eye'. It can be found at
the bottom of page 24 (Literary review aka 'Bookworm') in issue 1219,
the current one on sale at time of updating this entry.
But we all love Jezza,
don't we?! This earned me a nice crisp tenner (£10).
UK readers will need no
further description or elaboration. Others might want to know that
Jeremy Clarkson is a professional media troll, very good at what he
does. He can be intermittently amusing, especially on the motoring tele
programme 'Top Gear'. But to a lot of people his style and humour is a
big turn-off. The picture was taken at the premises of WH Smug in
Northampton, when they were in the middle of a reorganisation. I get
the feeling that the juxtaposition of category and reading matter was a
deliberate joke on the part of a member of staff. Good job I was there
to make sure it remained for posterity!
That'll do for now. Next time I'll be in a better frame of mind and
body for updating.
It's been a while, so a
big update is due. Since the last time, The first thing that happened
in June was something of extreme shittiness, as Molly, the dafter and
more openly affectionate member of the family feline menagerie died.
She had been losing weight for some months beforehand. An initial vets
visit gave us
some early hope that this was due to an easily controllable (by drugs)
hyperactive thyroid gland. But a few more weeks later and it became
apparent there was something else going on as well which was killing
off her red blood cells and ultimately that was the end. The vets were
very good, and tried to do everything they could to help her. Here's a
how I prefer to remember her. Molly, you were a silly cat, but very
loving, you will be missed.
Molly being mobycammed, wants to see
Meanwhile, Cloe sees no evil whatsover...
The feline tribute page will get the usual update soon. The other cat
Cloe is still very much alive and healthy, and seems to have expanded
her normally quiet and sensible personality to fill some of the space
left by Molly pretty well. If it goes much further, we may be talking
in terms of some kind of after-life possession by Molly?!
Of more general and less dismal matters, Nicky and I did something
for our summer holiday, namely avoiding the sunnier parts of the world
and going to Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, a known sun-dodging
country! Well we managed to carve out a good time there, having the use
of a comfortable apartment near the city centre in one of the 'antique'
districts of Edinburgh free of charge as it was provided by a family
of Nicky's was a good start. We managed to take in a number of the
sights, including the zoo and the castle, pictures are attached below.
Here's a recipe for Scottish-style artery-killer cheeseburgers, this
was picked up from our local chippy, which is a tourist recommended
place, and seems to be a joint Italian-Lithuanian operation.
1. Everyone else's cheeseburgers,
processed cheese slice and meat in a bun with salad, garnish, McDonalds
2. Scottish style, take one processed
cheese slice, place on top of a frozen burger, dip in batter and
deep-fry! Enjoy, and die!
view from the
castle looking down to the city
Rhino-plasty at the zoo!
As for the rest of it, I've finished my Alive 15 stuff, but no-one else
did, so there was not a release at the Evoke Party after all. Gives me
time to add some more stuff at least. I'm also experimenting with
adding a compact flash as a replacement hard drive to my CT60 with (so
far) partial success. This works perfectly well in normal Falcon 030
mode, but does not want to know when running as a CT60. There remains a
definite question mark over the health of the current 'Travelstar' IBM
IDE internal drive (known as 'Deathstar' for its reliability in certain
quarters!) and I'm not totally sure there isn't an issue developing
with the CT60 itself, or the area around the expansion port as it does
not like to boot sometimes, and randomly freezes at other times? I
suspect an upgrade of my HD-Driver version might help with the CF
problem at least, more later, as they say.
August was dominated by some strange lurgey type thing which gave me,
and a lot of other people at work, the
hell. It's been about four weeks. In keeping with the
brief and terse style of this miniblog, I'll gloss over the sleepless
nights, interrupted sleep when able to sleep, the coughing and choking
fits that result in out of body experiences, and a general malaise
where your horizons shrink to just getting through the next few
minutes. Still, I'm getting over it now.
I ought to be updating the Geek pages too, as I've got a new addition
to my hardware family. This is a laptop, a Dell Latitude D610, not the
Asus EE-PC or Advent sub-notebook I envisioned getting at the start of
summer. The reason for that is that the Dell comes as a secondhand
machine, courtesy of Felice's current place of employment, COMPLETELY FREE OF CHARGE! As a two
year old lappy of a good spec, it is more than an adequate addition to
the family. It might need a bit of money spending on it, as in needing
a replacement for the rather worn battery, but it is still a major
bargain even with that. It will be replacing the old Compaq tower, and
the space where that currently goes will ultimately see the rehoming of
Kev 'Taff' Davies Milan '040 into it, whenever he finally manages to
get that to me?!
Ok, all for now, the brand new and revamped Alt Party, is coming up at the end
of October, we're all ready for it. Might get an update in before then,
if not, then you'll hear all about it next time!
Outline '08, we're back
from Outline! It was the best one yet. I guess I wasn't the only person
missing out from last year. Most of the usual suspects were there, even
some, like Sh3 and MSG, who made a special last minute trip to get
there. Of the rest, I'm sure we'll be back for next year, as it is
better than 99% certain that we will get another edition next year.
The competitions came back to a more active focus and a higher standard
than in the last year or so. Apart from three proper and decent demo
entries from Checkpoint, Paradox, and a combined Lineout and RG
team, there was also a fake (cough!) entry from some other people. We
also only just missed out on a new CT60 demo and (Falcon?) 4ktro from
Mikro as well, and I'm pretty sure that there were a couple of other
might-have-beens still awaiting their chance at some future date. So
not quite a Fried Bits or Error in Line vintage, but close enough.
Although using the tried and trusted car/skipful of retro-computery
stuff in the boot combo, we varied our route this year, to the party
place at Teh Boemsgoed, made famous or notorious by the 2005 Outline
party. Instead of taking the ferry from Harwich (aka 'Toilet by Sea') to the Hoek van
Holland, we opted for a swift dose of the Channel Tunnel instead. The
reason for this was mainly due to the convenient and fast Stena
Discovery being pulled from the route and replaced by a slower ship
instead. The Eurotunnel was fast and handy, even allowing you to take
an earlier train if you were early, which we did. Apart from there
being more driving in general, we still shaved a couple of hours off
our normal trip timing.
Here's a couple of pictures from the party. A full report will appear
in the next edition of Alive Magazine, which will be due for an August
The partyhall, complete with Atari
and Earx in a coke-drinking live act watching pose!
In other party
news, with the help of the Nature Brothers, we tried to install the
Ethernat, which has only been sitting around for a couple of years.
Apart from a false alarm with my replacement Mint operating system,
we've taken most of the
requisite steps, and all I have to do is plug the thing back in.
Anyway, must dash, party report to finish..
Outline '08, we're off to Outline! It's all booked and paid for. The
party famine is finally being broken. And yes, I am aware of a little something being made by some people
affiliated to me intended for this edition of Outline as well.
Watch this space in the early part of May. One thing I can add, is that
the Satandisk, mentioned several entries ago, seems to be holding up
well as a development environment - oops!
Of other news, not too much, I recently travelled up to York for a few
days for a family members wedding, the first since the big New York
trip last year. We're still groping around for some kind of 'what to do
next' for the summer (Nicky asking about this one), and I'm looking at
a likely visit to the new and revived Alt Party at the end of October.
On the CT60 side of things, a few SDL game ports are coming forward,
with some hopefully non-idle chat about porting some demos from other
platforms to it as well. One or two people may have already taken steps
to doing this? I hope they feel up to sharing their results with the
rest of us soon!
One last thing before I go away, I'd like to share the cunningly
oldschool ascii interpretation of the Outline 'busy Atari bee' logo
  
   
  
    
   
    
     
  
    
  
   
    
    
      
     
Lovely eh! And I'm just a
little bit jealous of the ascii design skills used, but only a little
bit, as the revenge is on the way! -- Damn
March 8th 2008.
Lifesign, just a little
lifesign, let you know I'm still here.
I've just returned to CiH-GHQ in the last few days, there are no more
knee replacements affecting parental members of the family to take
place anymore. It has taken this long to update the page, because like
the last time, nothing interesting at all happened within the last
couple of months.
On a good news front, I have managed to pre-book the time off for
Outline '08, which is going to take place from the 1st to the 4th May,
so if I want to do something for that party, I had really better start
soon! One excuse for my laziness has a sort of clue in the last entry,
where you see the picture of Molly sitting in front of my screen. She
is such a loving and happy cat, she always put herself between me and
the computer, one way or another. Sitting on my lap, paws resting on
the keyboard, leading to all sorts of hilarious shift key-repeat errors
and unexpected movements onscreen was another of her specialities. Now
I have no cat-related distractions, and some free time to actually be
able to call my own, maybe we can get on?
Little picture, Paula would appreciate this one, having a polar bear
fetish and all.
Ok, that's it again, should have a bit more to tell next time.
I-i-i-i-t's Xmuss! So
in the immortal words of Slade, we are staring down the barrel of
another festive season. The knee-op thing didn't take place on the 17th
December due to a variety of reasons, not least of which was one of the
surgeon's family members experiencing a medical emergency all of their
very own which forced a sudden cancellation. This is now due to go
ahead for the 28th, so at least we get a normal Xmas before the
knee-challenged party is whisked off for another hopefully more
You might be interested to know that I managed to get my hands on the
rarer than plutonium Nintendo DS in the end. Amazingly it was from the
retail shed of someone with whom I had dealings with a long long time
ago, back in the Wellingborough computer club days in the early to
mid-nineties. This was none other than the man who once had a
£499 1MB Atari Falcon on sale for five years without ever selling
it, give it up for Ralph Kotecha! You da man! I guess that his
relatively hidden location meant he was able to keep hold of his stock
just a litle bit longer than anyone else.
I'm off work right until the new year now, so time to put my feet up a
bit. Here's a couple of miscellaneous cat pictures that I took today
with the mobycam.
wants to have a go on my
Mini-Mac! Or is it just the mouse she is interested
Cloe narrowly avoids being wrapped up in Xmas paper and getting stuffed
under the tree!
I suppose I ought to be doing a litle bit of something creative and
possibly Atariscene related in the following days, I guess I'm waiting
for the boredom to hit properly. Just give it a couple of days then
we'll see! Anyways, merry Xmas, Joyeux Noel, and whatever the Swedish
greeting might be (May all your reindeer be nice and tight?!) See you
all in the new year. Yo, 2008, I'm talkin' to YOU, sucker!
Here we go, it's
knee-replacement, episode deux folks!
The 'sort of Novemberish' speculation, a couple or so entries ago
actually turned into the 17th December, where we were hoping for 'sort
of January' instead. I guess that orthopaedic surgeons want to get in a
bit of overtime to squeeze some cash for that last minute Xmas bargain?
It is going to make Xmas itself interesting, at least the affected
party will be out of hospital before the 25th, but no vigorous
dance-based party games are allowed! Also the depth and quality of my
New Years celebrations might well take a hit, typical, just when I
managed to actually book the time off I wanted for a change!
Still waiting for Milan '040, no hurry Kev, I'm infinitely patient!
Of other tech toys, I'm on the never-ending Nintendo Xmas quest, in
this case, not for the Wii, which is rarer than an unsecured
weapons-grade plutonium stockpile, but for the nearly as unavailable
Nintendo DS. In the very few places where they are on sale, the retail
trade insist on 'bundling' them with not particularly attractive games
for the late middle-aged demographic I'm buying the DS for. Just when
Nintendo deserve a cheer for finally starting to break away from their
over-specific age-related niche marketing, the retail and distribution
trade come over all dinosaurish and insist on foisting full-price
copies of "Barbie Doll Attack"
and "Bratz Cannibal Holocaust"
on everybody! (Rant mode off.) I'll try to get a further update in
around Xmas, and let you know how that all went in the end.
Still on tech toys, and whilst on the premises of 'Toys-R-Us' (ugh!) I
spotted a minature laptop, which upon closer examination, was not one
of those fake kiddy laptop early learning toys, but was an actual real
laptop, about half the size of the traditional chunky square flat
Windowze-driven room-heaters we all know and love. Upon even closer
examination, it appears to be very close to this machine
with it's hardware spec. Also it appears to be running some form of
Linux, features Mozilla Thunderbird as the in-box browser, has wi-fi
and a camera built in. I didn't linger too long, but if it is not
actually a direct knock-off of the OLPC, it seems to be very closely
"inspired" by it. Remembering what I was really there for, I restrained
my hand from going for the credit card...
A quick couple of mobycam pictures to brighten up an otherwise
The Fmsx emulator running on my just about
working MInt set-up on the CT60 Falcy.
Paula with neighbours Hitlercat (quite
a charming creature in spite of appearances!)
I've not totally turned off my creative side either, I'm starting to
get idea's for another issue of Alive Mag, and I've been working on a
collaborative alternative history project, sort of cannibalistic evil
magical beings versus a 1940's tech-level human race in a total war
setting. The first couple of excerpts from my side are done, I'll let
you know more later, probably through the electronic pages of Alive Mag.
I think this will take us nicely to the Xmas period. I've got a bit
more spare time there than I normally get, due to overbooking of spare
holiday in case my first and second choices didn't come off! So I think
I'll update some more around then.
There have been many
statements made by famous people, whose words reach down the ages in
such a profound manner, that their meaning remains powerfully timeless
even to this day.
Off the top of my head, I can think of words like "The eagle has landed"
- Neil Armstrong. Or perhaps "I have a dream"
- Martin Luther King, or even "Get out of yo' bed and
do something, yo' lazy child!" (Martin Luther King's mother.)
We're not forgetting Adolf Hitler's final Berlin bunker utterance, in
the dying days of the 3rd Reich. "Eva, ven I'm dead und
gone, who vill look affter mein cuddly toy froggie Humfrey?!"
(You made that last one up, didn't you, CiH, you git!)
Well it is time to add some more famous words of huge consequence to
the record books, as I will now say that "FELICE HAS GOT MARRIED!"
I'm now talking about the New York trip in a past tense, and Felice was
forced into his best suit at gunpoint (well, an electric shaver in
plastic bag disguised to look like a gun), and driven in company with
myself by a maniac Yellow cab driver to the Empire State building, and
the deed was done on the 55th floor of said building, when the stretch
limo bringing the female half of this famous marital glueing-together
managed to force its way through the NY traffic, ten minutes late. So
congratulations to Miss Paula Thomas, who is now Mrs Paula Spowart, or
is it Felice is now Mr Paula Thomas? I get so easily confused these
days? I nearly forgot, Nicky came out with us as well, and did a nice
job as bridesmaid. I think
Felice appreciated my best man's speech detailing some of his more
memorable past exploits, the other family members certainly did!
I have got pictorial proof, lots and lots of pictures, so I'll see if I
can pop something suitable onto these pages.
All together now, ahhhh! - Nicely
emphasises the 'Just Married" and
'New York' aspects as well.
The rest of the NY trip
was brilliant, but one thing I didn't manage a lot of was rest and
recreation, it really isn't that sort of place. I am still having
moments of brain-spazzing tiredness, but most of that is now down to
the back to work vibe. At time of writing, the happy couple are still
in the States, currently dodging Californian wildfires in Anaheim, but
they should be back with us soon. I have another picture I'll share
with you, where Felice got ambushed by a mad street rapper when we were
waiting in the Times Square queue to join the open-topped tour buses.
It's a still from a movie clip, hence the
blurryness. Felice coped quite well with this gentleman.
In other news, Felice and I managed to get to the latest Jagfest
edition in Rochester, the Saturday before we boarded our Virgin
Atlantic flight to NY in fact. That went pretty well for a daytrip
edition, with myself showing off the Satandisk and STe combination
described a couple of blog entries ago. The Falcon CT60 was left in
peace at home for a change. I still haven't got around to loading the
new emulator ports onto it yet, but I'll sort that out when I next get
a good clear day to myself.
Finally for this edtion, there is something else, I've been in contact
with Kevin 'Taff' Davies, formerly 'Taff' of the Maggie team, who has
just got married himself (for a second time) and is downsizing his
hardware collection. For the price of a stiff drink or three, I'll be
getting his Milan '040! Cool or what! A nice late birthday present when
he is in the area to deliver it sometime in November. Right, the next
time I'll probably get around to this is when Xmas will be getting
near, probably, so see you then.
I've been a dull person
with little conversation, hence the lack of updates...
The knee-op thing went fine, the associated recovery and domestic
assistance programme only ended last week, and I've re-established
operations at the normal CiH-GHQ address. My atari interests have been
sadly neglected in that time, although Heinz finally got his backside
into gear and managed to release Alive
14 approximately eight months late at the Evoke party,
yet another event I had to have to miss out on, although Felice made a
successful road-trip there with a decent "Me-substitute" in the form of
MUG-UK. There is even going to be a new edition of the mighty Alt Party taking place from the
2nd to the 4th November, problem is, Felice and I are still recovering
from our New York trip, and we will both be financially exhausted. As
the other knee is scheduled to be done sort of November'ish, I guess
I'm going to have to write off 2007 completely, and reset my scene
calender for Outlook 2008.
Other parts of my web "empire" are getting creeping updates, the
emulation resources page will be getting some new material, as ports of
some more classic computers and consoles have been created for the
Atari TOS platform, I'm looking forward to trying out Spectrum 128, MSX
and Colecovision on my CT60.
Ah well, time to go off and do something vaguely creative, see you a
bit sooner next time...
There's a new widget in
my life which turned up just a week or so ago. This is a storage device
for my 'humble' Atari ST which uses SD-Ram cards as a replacement for
those bulky mechanical (and hard to get these days) ASCSI hard drives
for the ST. It goes under the moniker of "Satandisk", but not for any
sinister occult reasons, I might add! This arrival is down to a small
group of talented Slovakians, and we only had to wait six months to get
it, which is a vanishingly short time in Atari hardware development
terms. (Not mentioning all the work done beforehand though!) It really
shows how far hardware has come in twenty years, where a hard drive
enclosure which took up a fair chunk of coffee-table real-estate in
olden tymes, has now reduced to a little box a few centimetres cubed.
Cool or what?!
The beauty of SD-cards, apart from their smallness and cheapness, is
that you can format for dual PeeCee/Atari compatibility, and with a
suitable card reader for the PeeCee, you can transfer back and forth
between the two machines without any hassles. It makes bulk transfers
between the two a breeze, and also backing up your ST's data onto the
dubious safety of another machine's hard drive is an option! Satandisk
then also works pretty well as a hard drive for the ST in its own right
(You notice I mention 'PeeCee' more than a few times without mentioning
the word "Mac". Well I found that OS X can read such a card, it can
also transfer files to it, but then tends to add a lot of 'hidden'
files of its own, which do naughty things to the card to stop it being
read again by the ST!) So I'm using the old Compaq machine as a
go-between, which is much better all round.)
I was one of the lucky people who got an early Beta test version of it.
At the moment, it is sporting a 256 mb Kingston SD card as my ST-hard
drive. Apart from one or two user-made cock-ups, I've managed to get on
fine with it. I also took some pictures of Satandisk in operation to
share around, so here they are.
Here's a little
running, actually the front end of a Dbug menu.
very early desktop showing
Satandisk in operation, the coloured icons aren't from my STe running
Falcon TOS, but are
due to a neat little program which give coloured icons to a low-res STe
This is more like it, a more
'matured' desktop, running TOS 2.06, a logical filing arrangement, and
a growing pile of files
on the disk as well. One feature of
having a dual ST/PeeCee compatible
medium, is that you can only have a single
partition. Hence the fact that
everything is drive c:\
In other news, mother finally got her knee-op date, which is about two
or three days from now! Which is where life gets interesting, as I will
be relocating there for a bit. I should be able to carry on at least
some normal activities, as I'm bringing this machine over with me.
Apart from that, not a lot else to tell really, so see you all again
I guess we're overdue
for an update here. I've been slack, and lacking motivation as my major
'creativity anchor-point', the traditional Easter/Spring Atari coding
party had been unattainable for this year. We're still waiting on the
knee-replacement op thing that I mentioned last time. By the time it
was safe to consider the Outline trip, there was no time available at
work to book off anymore! So my life is still on the pause button and
I'm a little pissed off with that. It also seems that not a lot else is
currently going on elsewhere, and people are generally slack,
demotivated, and all-consumed with the nine-to-five grind to do
anything interesting recently. On the brighter side, we're booked up
for New York in the Autumn. Maybe it was a good job we didn't get to
Outline, as it looks like New York will be the monster that eats all
the travel budget for this year!
Of possible future interest, The Sundown Party in September, which is
that rarest of things, a UK-based demo party, down in the sunny
Southwest (Budleigh Salterton to be precise!) This is not specifically
an Atari party, but we will see if we can get a grey Fuji-shaped
machine in there this time? Also, it looks like there are possible
stirrings to new life for the ALT Party concept, after a couple of
I forget to mention before, I picked up an Amiga A1200 some time ago,
mainly as a curiousity/gaming rig, but with half an eye on getting a
semi-decent accelerator card for the many demo's for it. I'll have to
update the geek page at some point soon.
There is at least one strange picture to close with, here it is!
My name is Kitler, Meow
There is a cat
who looks like that in our neighbourhood! Apart from the peaked cap and
iron cross of course. Unlike the real thing, he's a friendly little
moggy as well, just a tad unlucky with the colour combinations!
See you next time, in a hopefully slightly more cheerful frame of mind.
February 17th 2007.
We're in the middle of winter survival going through the motions
blah thing! - Not a lot has happened since the last time, mainly
experimenting with various minor illnesses, and slowly adding to my
collection of the small idiocies from the spam-makers universe. I've
been contacted by a representative of "Llyods Bank" who were concerned
with multiple password failures for my non-existent account with them.
The clincher this time has to be a Japanese imperial army WWII survivor
email that got lost in cyberspace for the last ten years, only
struggling to daylight and popping out in my inbox recently, the header
reads thus - "Dial-up access has
become affordable, and the advent of ISDN will doubtlessly accelerate
this trend." Cool or what? Let's party like it's 1997!
There is going to be another Netherlands-based Outline party in
mid-May, the only problem for me this year, is that this timing is very
likely to coincide with a knee replacement operation going on with
mother, who will need us around when that takes place, so I don't know
if I'm able to go or not at the moment. Sucks a bit.
In other news, Felice is getting married! In Mid-October, in the Empire
States Building in NY!! For those of you familiar with the more
interesting parts of Felice's past imagination, I can verify this one
is CORRECT. The other party in the marital soup is busily stirring the
arrangements into life. I'm also going to be there, so is the
previously mentioned Nicky as well.
Finally, a BBC news headline announces an "Action plan for killer asteroids".
There is going to be a draft UN treaty sorted out about what to do in
the event of a large lump of spacial rock threatening to make a big
hole in the Earth. I wonder if they will be able to draw on the
invaluable knowhow and experience of the ancient arcade game makers.
Will their efforts culminate in a small triangular wireframed spaceship
to deal with the problem, something like the illustration below?!
And yes, I'd go on the
list to fly it!
I nearly forgot, it's
the first anniversary of these new update pages, happy birthday! I will
be back before another year passes, don't worry.
Whooh, it's been three
months since I visited this page, amazing when your attention is
elsewhere etc. Anyway, a quick update whilst Xmas is breathing hard
down my neck. I've not been sacked from my new (in Sept) job, they seem
to like me in fact. Also kicked out another bunch of text for the
forthcoming in the new year 'Alive 14'. There haven't been any other
site updates, but that might hopefully change fairly soon. In other
news, I actually seem to be *losing* some weight, as I discovered I
dropped a jeans size recently, and possibly a couple! Still, Xmas
overindulgence will pause, if not reverse some of that positive trend.
In a grumpy old git aside, I feel like starting a charity called
"Headphone Aid", to supply high quality listening devices to the 'yoof'
of this borough, who insist on noise-polluting the interior of public
transport with their mp3 playing moby's, usually with a rendition of
"Yo! Motherf*ck*er da Bomb!" by DeeJay Tonedefc*nt on their tinny
speakers. Alternatively, if it works out cheaper, I might suggest
another charitable body called "Baseball Bat Aid"?!
I had a few fire-water and coke's tonight, as part of a works 'do'. I
managed to stop before reaching any bleariness tipping point, as I've
got to be up and about tomorrow, but I'm still fairly prone to making
typo's. So it is not a good idea to continue any further. I'll be back
sooner next time, I promise!
Not much to report for
this month, mainly settling into the new job. I now say "CPW"
unselfconsciously in casual conversations with people, "CPW" being the
abbreviated term for 'Carphone Warehouse'. I think there were other
things that I took away from the training as well ;-) Generally things
have been very quiet over the last few weeks, but it looks like my
social calender is kicking into a higher gear soon, especially at
weekends, and at a time when it is by no means guaranteed I can have
all my weekends off anymore! Ho-hum...
There was one thing I got through my email, which I thought I'd
share with you all. This is a so-called "FRAUD ALERT!!!" email, which only
served to alert me to the fact that whilst fuckwits can use computers
in general, and do a fair job of copying and pasting, it's the fine
details that let them down! Just take a look at the grab (Fake link to
phishville mercifully removed, and the extra comments are mine, done in
a Pouetized style of course.)
thicky division of
'Fraud International' strikes again !
Right, no more for now, see you again next time...
Time to catch up on the
last couple of months, it has been mostly good news, or at least if
there was some less good news, it managed to come with a silver lining
hidden in its baggy pockets.
Firstly, I've got a new permanent job starting in September. It is with
a national broadband provider, (I'm not going to say who, but UK
readers can think "Mowbli" and make an informed guess!) It does provide
a significant upgrade to my salary and benefits package over the last
job, let alone the (bare) survival rates that I'm currently temping on.
So as you can deduce, I'm quite pleased with that development!
Secondly, I've got a new(er) car which replaced my faithful but shagged
out Fiat. This chose to stop being able to go around corners, which
mitigates heavily against its continued usefulness. Unfortunately, it
is old enough for 'official' parts for a new steering column and
ignition system to not exist anymore, which would mean hunting in
scrapyards at the dead of night, at which point I decided it could
become a spares donor itself! The new model is, erm, another Fiat, but
one which is a lot less knackered, and came to me courtesy of a nice
man at the council who needed something bigger. It's very reasonably
priced for what it is as well. As I was sort of half-thinking of
changing vehicles anyway, it was a fair result all round.
A holiday in Turkey with the fair Nicky got in there for July, luckily
a while before the 'War on Terror' panic mode kicked in, and they
started searching inside people's bottoms at airports for hidden
explosives! There is a hilarious holiday photo, which will follow
shortly, but needless to say, it redefines the whole concept of holiday
souvenirs! It was taken on a boat trip along with a bunch or other more
or less normal pictures by a Turkish holiday-bothering paparazzi dude.
And there has been more Atari scene activity, with a stunner of a full
sized demo called "Derealization" for the CT60 (Falcon '060) by The Dead Hackers Society to round up a
very satisfactory few months. Oh, and Alive mag has released its
thirteenth issue! It was worth the work, even the stuff which was done
under a deadline in the middle of a heatwave. Time for some eye candy
Derealization demo. It
looks even better when it's
The holiday memento concept is tested to destruction!
And no, I didn't actually buy that plate! Ok, that'll do for now,
We're slow this time
around, but quite a lot has happened since the last time.
Firstly, an authentic 'shit happens'
opener. I lost the job that I had for the previous seven years.
Careless of me? Well just another 'restructuring',
job doesn't exist anymore. (And a few others as well,
I might add.) However, I managed to bounce back quickly with a
reasonable long-term temporary job at the local council, which gives me
breathing space to look for a decent new permanent job. And not to
mention I did get a little bit of money for being laid off, ho-hum..
On the other hand, I managed to get to Outline '06 in the Netherlands.
This was billed as a multi-format party, but with a combination of the
good old Atari scene, and the best bits of the mainstream peecee and
Amiga scenes, rather than the lame bits which clog up the bigger
parties. We travelled over on the 2nd of June, and wound up at an
unusual place called "De Panoven",
a campsite built on an old brickworks, with some of the
workings left intact as an industrial museum.
What's she gonna look
like with a chimney on her?!
came to Outline '06, and all I got was this seriously cool beermat!
(and the t-shirt!)
I won't go into huge detail, as there is a report pending for the Alive
diskmag, which will do that, but needless to say, we had a great time
there, and I even managed to do some work beforehand, in connection
with another part of this website, the part which featured that lame
'Rainbow' themed slideshow in fact. This is another reason why general
website updates have been missing these past few weeks. But instead,
you have been invited to "Dreme of
a boozy evening!
Which reminds me, I've got to update that part of the site shortly as
well. Never-ending round of work here!
In other news, well not a great deal else. I ought to get on with some
diskmag stuff, as deadlines are fast approaching, and then there is the
little matter of yet another summer holiday to enjoy with the lovely
So it might be a few more weeks before I'm back again, so talk amongst
yourselves for a bit...
Hey-ho, and back again, as I
blow the dust off the previous month.
In general news, the very
overdue CT60 demo revolution has started to arrive, with a great new
production from Evolution called 'Supernatural'.
'party version' (ho ho!) and a bit short, but it does have some
superb 3D textures, and may be the kick I need to update the demo
With duly contrite apologies
to real hardware fans including myself, I have "sinned" by playing the
movie version before trying it on physical hardware, but I'm awaiting
another major release from *snip!*
which is due in the next few days, before I burn everything to CD-ROM
to transfer to the CT60.
On the other hand, I've made
up for missing the Noise Party, by booking to go to Outline '06. I get a feeling that
there will be quite a lot of people, who weren't able to get together
this Easter, also going there!
And changing the subject
completely, here we have the first documented appearance of 'BOOBS FROM BEYOND THE
GRAVE!' in the pages of the unmissable "Love it!" magazine. This is a
publication on sale at the checkouts of most major supermarkets, and
with articles like "My mate chopped
up evil ex - Then fed him to
the pigs!" it is a twisted darkside mockery of the traditional
wholesome and knitting orientated 'Women's
Weekly' style. I bet the sort of person that buys those mags,
and laps up the dispiriting tawdry muck within, are the same people who
want to "ban" the whole internet,
"speaking as a concerned mother, to protect the children."
Note, these are real covers for an actual publication which I
grabbed on my Mobycam at the local Morrison's, they are almost beyond
parody, but you've really gotta try!
Was Professor Frankenstein a cosmetic
Just wait for Future Publishing's "Serial Killer Format"!
It seems designed to appeal to
a substantial demographic of psychotic women, like that Glenn Close out
of Fatal Attraction. Gentlemen, if your new ladyfriend has a stash of
back issues of this heartwarming rag, then get the hell out, don't
argue, or try to explain, just run!
One wonders if these zombie
tits will eventually turn around, and attack their new owners in an
undead fashion. In which case Jordan, aka Katie Price, had better
blummin' well watch out!
Why not go all the way, and feature "ZOMBIE TITS FROM OUTER
SPACE!!" in the next
issue? It would be dead good!
Jordan, aka Mrs Peter
Andre, in grave danger without realising it, yesterday...
Ok, that's quite enough for
this episode, of screaming madness and fevered dreams of large dangling
helium bags, see you all again soon!
Hooray it's Spring! I'm
getting a quick update in, as I'm going to be going through one of
those periodic disruptive periods, where CiH GHQ is going to be at a
couple of temporary locations, until mid-April which might make keeping
up with this page a bit spotty again. Of recent interest, we had Felice
and Paula over yesterday, with Paula taking part in the Flora Half-Marathon at the
Silverstone Grand Prix circuit. Yes, that's right, she had to go around
without a car! A little tip for people who are interested in this
place. It is very
bare and open, as befits an old airfield, and in the current
semi-winter conditions, the wind seems to have a direct line from
Siberia! In other news, the prospects for Outline '06 are a lot more certain,
it is now better than 90% certain that we are going. Also, I've been
personally busy, and another part of my interweb zone has a new
release to show on it.
kind of guessed Zippy was a
And George is deeply
Yes, those pictures are
for real, but not actually done by me. We are planning a further and
more ambitious release, to coincide with the previously aforementioned
Outline '06 party.
Not a huge amount to
report, but I've added an NEC Multisync CRT
screen to supplement my existing LCD screen and replace the knackered
old 14 inch thing that has been gathering dust for years. It was an
Ebay acquisition, and for a stupidly low amount as well. At a slightly
bigger size (17 inches), it boosts the onscreen real estate on the Mac
by a decent margin, and provides a flicker-free eye-soothing version of
my CT60's current extended screen mode. On the latter machine, you can
push it quite a bit further, but it really isn't too clever, when your
eyeballs start spinning in their sockets in perfect synch with the
In other news, Havoc the tall
Dutchman has been pulling his finger out
over 'Outline '06'.
They've got a plan, a location, and some dates, which are
the 2nd to the 5th June. I'm kind of fixing to go, having to
suffer the deep lack of an Easter party this year, but there is a
rather large and stealthy elephant in the building, as Nicky is looking
into moving house. I'll just have to make sure that the Outline weekend
is ring-fenced from outside interference at an early stage (arf!)
I've acquired a new member of the
computing household in the last few days (Thanks John H!). This is an
elderly AMD K6-based PeeCee, a Compaq
Presario running Win '98. It is hardly a state of the art
machine, but perfectly good enough for my main intended task for it,
for it makes quite a good virtual Enterprise 64/128
with the right emulation software.
There's going to be a write-up of some classic games and also some of
the newer stuff produced under the Hungarian renaissance for that
awesome but tragically undersold machine for the Alive diskmag, but I think I might
have found one of the killer games for it already. This is a
Ball-blazer type game MagicBall,
plays closer to something found on the ST/Amiga
generation, rather than a quick and dirty ZX Spectrum knock-off.
I also had a quick fiddle around with something called 'Pacman City', a slower-paced
explore-em-up arcade adventure, loosely based on that famous arcade
game character. Games of this quality are a small handful on the
Enterprise 64/128, the majority of material being quick ZX-Spectrum
knock-offs, and not really reflecting the full potential of the hardware.
more detail on this, when I get going on the article
Now this doesn't look like a
Speccy game at all!
Neither does this!
(Pacman City, an arcade adventure.)
A shitey development is being
made public on my part, as I'm not going to be able to get to this
Easter's demo party, the Noise Party.
this off for as long as possible, but Grey (Michal M.)
from the Polish scene asked me. The reason is mainly one to do
with me not being able to get away until after the 18th April. However,
there is a further edition of the Outline party, promised for around
the end of May(ish), and I would very much like to get to that one.
February 3rd, 2006.. Ahaaarrr!
Is this "talk like a pirate"
month or what?
Right, we are cuttink der
crap, and it's been over two years since the last update, and I figured
it was time to replace the old "Maggie News" with something that is
easier to maintain and update on a more regular basis. Since the last
time, I've got a whole new computer to go with the rest of my stuff.
This is a Mac Mini, which goes quite well with the broadband connection
that I also got last year, literally moments later. Coincidence? yeah
I'm playing with a simple webpage constructor, built into a new
(re)build of the Mozilla browser, called "SeaMonkey" for the Mac. Nice thing
is, it doesn't just browse, but it can also be set up as a mailer,
there is an IRC client built in, an address book is thrown in, but best
of all, from my point of view, is this rather neat webpage builder. From my perspective, SeaMonkey seems to closely resemble "Wensuite" on the Atari Falcon!
I guess I will still handbuild some of my stuff, but this is going to
be VERY useful for those pages
which need fairly frequent maintenance, like this one! The intention
was always to move my web-building onto the Mac, to make use of the
better tools and resources there, but keep the other "creative"
projects on my Atari setup. Now we're getting closer to that reality,
with recent updates to parts of the site, including a brand new
resources sub-site on my NTL webspace.
So what has happened in the past two years, grasshopper?
Well as a long-time Atari demoscene botherer, it's been a mostly quiet
couple of years. There's been no great breakthrough for the CT60 as
yet. There have been some bits and pieces, glimpsed promises of greater
things, but no grandstanding megademo's as yet. if anything, the
humbler members of the Atari ST family have been getting more of an
intensive workout, with the superlative "Beams" demo for the Falcon, and a
timely 20th anniversary tribute megademo for the ST. Anyway, you can
get a good idea of what has transpired in that area, from my screengrab gallery.
My diskmag activities continue apace, the Alive diskmag is still going. We're
up to issue 12. There was a fairly major editor change from STS to Cyclone for issue 9, but the mag
continued unscathed. There has also been some
involvement with other publications such as 'Chosneck' and even a few
articles for the PeeCee diskmag ''Hugi'
Nicky, who has been mentioned more than once in the old news pages is
still around but we're just friends, albeit very good ones.
Ironic really, she hates being
photographed, and this is quite a good one from a holiday last year in
There was some shit stuff to cover briefly here. Dad died of
complications from advanced stages of Prostate cancer in the summer of
2004. It was NOT a nice year!
The cats are happily unchanged from when I last updated that page.
Molly is exactly the same as before, but Cloe is getting a bit more
assertive and revealing
a mischievous personality!
The 'rush to broadband' led me to take up the Mac Mini. I've also
thrown some more cash on the CT60 Falcon, with that machine enhanced
further, with un upgraded cpu, a revision-6 68060, capable in theory of
up to 100 mhz, (but not quite in practice), and a CTCM control module,
so you can tweak the cpu speed on the fly! We are still awaiting the
Ethernat USB/Ethernet card, and there are two proposals for graphics
cards add-ons as well.
I've started an occasional
Ebay habit, and in a triumph of commonsense over infinite wealth,
managed to win an Enterprise 64, the foolishly given-away computer of
my youth. I will be getting an old PeeCee (shame!) to run the E64/128
emulations. There is a crazy long-term plan to start coding for the
soundchip on that
machine, to raise its profile on the retro-chip music scene.
Generally, I'm in the same job and living situation as two years ago.
I'm too comfortable I guess? it's horrible
how time drifts so easily..
Of related interest,
the one person who has transformed his life in the last couple of years
with a fatal femme, Paula, and took
up residence with her. We even managed to get her and Nicky to see
something of our strange parallel geek existence at the Outline '05
Easter party. Now that was a blummin' miracle it went off as well as it
Anyway, that's enough updating for tonight! I'll be back as soon as I
can, which will be quicker than two years, honest!
The old Maggie News pages are here..
Return to the Header page here..
(C) CiH, as and when he can..