Review

Reviews

Review: CT60 First Impressions

I've had my CT60 accelerator for my Falcon for a few weeks now and I believe I am only scratching the surface at what I can now do with my Falcon. Thus I feel that only now am I truly able to write just a first impressions review of the CT60 both in terms of hardware design and speed.

Installation: My Falcon has been in a tower case for approximately 1 and a half years. Believe it or not the tower casing job was done in preparation for the CT60. However in order to do such a thing before it came I had to butcher the ATX power supply as well as case LED's and switches. I simply got all these back to "factory" settings and plugged everything in. Sure enough the CT60 has all the leads and switch settings designed to hook up to modern hardware and LED's in a typical ATX case. The guide recommends all sorts of extreme care be taken, and normally I wouldn't so strictly follow such care guidelines but in this case I decided to. Carefully I installed my CT60 and checked my wiring twice (rewired the ATX case stuff back to factory), installed my stick of SD-RAM, and powered it on. Sure enough I get a gorgeous splash screen and whala, my Falcon is now accelerated. But honestly, for someone who tinkers with computers at all, the CT60 could NOT be easier to install. I think Atari ST-Ram and TT-RAM boards for the TT involve two screws, the Ct60 is next to nothing.

Article Type: 

Review: Ace Tracker - Initial Reactions

In the land of tons of trackers, who needs a new one? We do. Every tracker up until now has been unfortunately a plain vanilla tracker. Right up until Groumf tracker we haven't really experienced much that is worth talking about. Groumf tracker takes things one step further by pushing far more channels of audio through the slow Falcon, and also allows for conversion of XM's. Flex Tracker then allowed for DSP effects to be applied to samples - nice. Ace Tracker is the most unique of all music trackers I have ever seen. Take the uniquely perfect sound of Ace MIDI, and add a tracked music platform to it and what do you get? Sheer brilliance.

Article Type: 

Review: Europe Shareware - @Aug 08, 2002

What is Europe Shareware? Europe Shareware is a middle-man organization of sorts. It allows for a very easy ordering of commercial and shareware products for primarily Atari, but also for Macintosh too. Europe shareware benefits both West and East countries by allowing a common currency ordering system (USD and CDN Dollars in particular) as well as a central location to order a very vast number of software projects from.

Without Europe Shareware to order 5 software packages, you would have to: Write up 5 little letters, get 5 International money orders of different denominations and currency, do currency conversion, work with the author on a price for overseas shipping and other details, and pay postage for five letters. Europe Shareware, at least in my experience allows Americans the ability to buy a number of usually available overseas packages all in one shot, in our own currency. One single money order to Canada got me ACS Pro, the MagiC SDK, AtarICQ, Aniplayer, Winframe, and Thing desktop.

Article Type: 

Review: ACE Midi version 1.04 Registered

Although I have many interests, I am sincerely a music lover. Since a child I have learned to play guitar and sing reasonably well. I also am fairly talented at whistling as strange as that may sound. Throughout High School I played the Trombone on a daily basis and was in the Jazz band and was fairly good. The one common denominator is that I have always been musically inclined. If not for the audiophile ear, it\'s the ability to tell pitch by ear, etc. Occaisionally I have ideas that randomly come into my head to compose a song. How do I write it down? I\'ve always hated sheet music. I\'m better at picking up a guitar or something and expressing and refining the idea then I am at writing it down.

Article Type: 

Review: Abehn Mekka Symposium 2k2 Gfx Demo

A huge demoparty seems to have occurred right underneath my nose. The Mekka Symposium 2002 held in Dresden Germany on Easter must have been an interesting event. Reportedly 20ish people from the Atari demoscene showed up and something rather interesting happened. The Atari demoscene met up with a nice guy named Ephydrena who's Amiga demo group rallied for him to make an Atari Falcon demo. And Abehn was born and is a result from attendance of Mekka 2k2. I thought this demo was interesting enough that it deserved a review, but shoddy enough that it could never dethrone the awesome Hmmm.

So what's this demo got to it. Supposedly the demo's creator wanted to create something that was out of the ordinary for Atari demos. Something that was a bit more loud and noisy than other Atari demos. I definately think it accomplished this. 95% of the demo is only in black and white and features many interesting effects. There's quite a few sections where some fast moving graphics will leave you lying on the floor in a fetal position shivering with seizures. I'm not sure I'm 100% qualified to really review a demo, or the effects or complicatedness of what is going on underneath. But I will say this. If Ahbehn strives to be different, it has certainly acheived that. If it strives to show the finesse and far reaching talent that we have seen in past Atari scener native demos like Sono and Hmm, it simply fails. I was quite irritated by the weird rez changes and clicking noises between every demo effect. The entire demo felt like a silly patch work of code sections that didn't belong together. Some of the effects were really cool and others were quite simply lame. Regardless of anything I've said here it is a different flavor of demo and something interesting to watch if you have watched a lot of Atari demos. In a situation like this I will give this demo an 8. It could have been better, but it was still pretty good.

Article Type: 

Review: GemGT2 v0.45

GemGT2 is a Groumf Tracker module player for GEM. It works under MagiC and MiNT in whatever flavor of AES/desktop you might happen to choose. In my search for a decent media player for GEM, I do believe I found it. GemGT2 was created by SWE of YesCrew, and uses extremely highly optimized Groumf Tracker routines created by earx/FUN. The one thing I couldn't help but to realize is that before playing an XM, S3M or whatever particular song you have interested in an in the full version of Groumf Tracker, it is quickly converted to native Groumf Tracker format. What this means is that every module you load up, will then save out in GT2 format. This means that in a short amount of time you can revamp your entire collection of tracked music and turn it into Groumf Tracker GT2 files. As a test of the multitasking ability I snapped this shot of GemGT2 while playing a highly complex and large GT2 file, then I converted size and converted from GEM XIMG to GIF. The machine never faltered, and didn't even really feel slower at all. The multitasking ability of this player is exceptional and the authors should be commended.

Article Type: 

Review: MyMail Version 1.54

MyMail version 1.54 is the brand new updated version of this highly recognized e-mail software. MyMail uses the STiK TCP stack for it's internet connectivity. My first use of MyMail was for this review and I must admit, it was a delight. I quickly figured out that any particular feature of MyMail that I might not have liked could easily be turned off, on or otherwise adjusted through the advanced preferences menu system. MyMail seems to have quite a few features placing it over the top of other GEM mail clients. There's outbound mailing lists, spam filters that filter by dictionary keywords that you can enter. There's outgoing mail aliases... i.e. type "Mark" in the To: field instead of "mduckworth@matchie.net". The navigation system built into MyMail is rather innovative if nothing else. Pretty much anything in MyMail is done through a series of self-descriptive icons at the top of each particular window. The icons are completely self-explanatory and after 10 minutes of use, you should find yourself breezing through MyMail, no matter what language you speak. By default several of the icons including the new mail are animated. These animations I feel slow everything down... I was originally thinking of giving lower marks for this review because of them but I soon figured out you can turn off any or all animations if you so feel like it. My only real gripes of MyMail are that it does not have IMAP support which I long for in an Atari e-mail client. Just the same there is only one "user name" and password field in the setups. This means one of two things. SMTP authentication, becoming used by numerous ISP's is just not supported at all, or it is but must use the same username and password as your POP server. This is highly inconvenient as I often use different POP servers versus SMTP server. One thing Erik might consider adding is "profiles" so can have different identities (easily selectable) for sending messages, as well as retrieval from multiple POP/IMAP mailboxes. I realize this is easier said than done, so I eagerly await the next series of improvements. For now, MyMail is certainly a good client supporting the latest in TOS features such as MiNT multithreading, 16 color icons, animations, and the likes.

Article Type: 

Review: Arthur 2002 Beta

What is Arthur? Arthur is a simple language conversion utility. It utilizes custom dictionary files allowing any language to be converted to any other language. While using Arthur I couldn't help but notice one thing. The actual language conversion of just one word seems kind of slow. It almost takes a full second on my falcon because of whatever it is doing to the video. It seems kind of rediculous to me, but it's a price I'd be willing to pay as the functionality of it is very cool. Arthur has an element to it that seemingly no other GEM programs have these days. Style. As you can see by the top picture, the author wasn't afraid to throw a little color and style into the mix. Design his own special windows. It's funny that while GEM used to be aesthetically the best, it has now fallen behind, aside from the efforts of authors like Eric Reboux and the author of Arthur. All in all, it's just not a very complex program to write a review about. It does its just and does it reasonably well, and has a certain level of cuteness that will keep me running it day in and day out to convert that nagging word to English. The beta only comes with a German to ..... some language dictionary so if you are an English user, it will be fairly useless to you. But you can play around trying to translate the half-complete German dictionary included.

Article Type: 

Review: Resource Master Demo 3.2

The program I will be reviewing for you today is called Resource Master.
The version is 3.2 demo and it was created in 2000. It is (currently?)
being distributed by Application Systems Heidelberg. Resource Master is
somewhat of your typical GEM .RSC file editor. If you are confused as to
what a resource file is, you can simply click here. Although I am not very qualified to make an intensive review of the functionality of this program, what I do intend to give you is somewhat of an overview of the program. I will also start a task commonly done such as a language conversion of an RSC and report on the ease of use. The first thing I notice when opening RSM, is that the feel holds very true to the ever popular Interface resource editor. Interface is a rather old editor though which does not support current AES features amongst other things. In fact, resource master holds so true to Interface, that it even has the same built in minidesktop. Doing something like a language conversion is just as easy and/or difficult as it was using Interface. I find using this program to be a breeze. Current features available to programmers like bubbleGEM are used and used well. ItØs also easy to see placeholders like spaces in the text fields creating an easy method for which to match up spaces. All in all, from my best judgement it looks as though Resource Master is a spectacular utility able to compliment any programmer's collection.

Article Type: 

Review: EasyMiNT - @January 8th 2002

I can admit, that I am rather impressed with EasyMint. Mostly because, the amount of work that goes behind a linux distribution installer is excessive, but even more work must go behind a MiNT installer. I've setup a MiNT distribution entirely by hand and I can appreciate the work this programmer has done. No matter what the challenge though, Easymint installer did it perfectly.

One of the things I couldn't help but to notice was that the easymint installer must have been thoroughly tested, because every level of detail was paid attention to, right down to the auto folder sorting.

Using Easymint was a breeze, I simply read the file important.txt and made sure my file tree looked properly. In this case I wanted to intall every package available to me. Since I already have a freemint installation on one partition with ext2, I was a bit worried when the installer first came up with "Found one LNX partition" "writing stuff". But fortunately, it does not write things to the LNX partition without warning you several times. This gave me a chance to actually go into hddriver and add the other LNX partition that I wanted to use.

Article Type: 

Pages