News Team Current issue History Online Support Download Forum @Pouet

01 - 02 - SE - 03 - 04 - 05 - 06 - 07 - 08 - 09 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14

Alive 6

   People are still writing utilities...

And they are,  little things, maybe even some big things out there, but I'll 
get  onto  those  in  another article (HighWire!)Right  now,  we  turn  our 
attention  to  some of the smaller things in life,  starting with  something 
that can't really be categorised easily, or explained..

'Mad Cow v2.3'
This  is a stab into something we might call 'weird-ware'?   Gregory Pawlik,
the maker of Marijuana Mail took a few minutes out to put together a  little
joke in a Gem window.  Or maybe it is a useful guide to spotting some of the
perils  of the countryside?  The screenshot below illustrates what it  does.
Click  on  the left hand button to hear the familiar sounds  coming  from  a
normal cow.  On the right, you can hear what strange noises will come from a
mad cow.

     Mooo! I'm Maaad! I'm really MAD!

'Mad  Cow' is good for a momentary conversation piece,  then a longer moment
of  embarrassed  silence  afterwards,  whilst the friend  you  were  proudly
showing it wonders what the hell you were on about?

'Hyp-View' (v0.14)
On  the  other  hand,  this little proggy falls into the category  of  being
potentially something a lot more useful.  Philip Donze took it on himself to
write  a modern replacement for the popular but currently  unsupported  'ST-
Guide'  hypertext  file reader.  There is still a role for  this  HTML-style
language,  the  instructions  for  Aniplayer,  the  very  active  multimedia
application, come as .HYP format, for example.

Hyp-View considerately takes in updated gem desktops.  No more dour and grey
monochrome  for  them.  The screenshot reveals a very pretty  control  panel
within the gem window.  Next thing,  it can display more colours in the text
than  ST  monochrome.  At least up to sixteen colours according to the  test
document,  and  I shouldn't be surprised if even more in the way of enhanced
colour support is on the cards for future versions.

       Look at the pretty icons!

It  is nicely compliant with things like multitasking O/S's (of course).  It
does a good job right now,  even with this very early version number, and no
doubt,  Philip  has got more planned for this.  The instructions and history
file are in Deutsch,  but it is easy enough to work out what it does without
any reference to them.

Overall, a nice new take on a popular but elderly application.

'Cresus' (Croesus) Money Manager
Pierre  Tonthat,  previously  best known for a strange little  Shakespearian
BubbleGEM utilising insult generator,  has been working away quietly, almost
unnoticed,  on  what looks like quite a smart modern GEM-based and GFA coded
money manager program.

The  basics  of what it does can be quite happily covered  by  a  determined
person  with a set of bank statements,  a carefully sharpened pencil,  and a
cheap pocket calculator.  That is,  if the business of keeping track of your
deteriorating  finances doesn't throw you into a black fugue of  depression.
Where  the clever stuff comes into hand though,  is with what goes over  and
above that.

So  you can use Cresus to keep track of several  password-protected  account
records,  each  in  different names and each with different banks.  You also
have  the  choice of several different currencies,  including  several  made
defunct at the beginning of this year when the Euro was introduced.  Is this
an  elderly  beta  version,  or does Pierre know something about  the  inner
workings of EU financial policy and the future of the Euro project,  that we
don't?  There  are  other functions that I can't get into yet.  For example,
there seems to be the basis of a currency converter,  this being the sort of
thing that computers are really good at,  but I can't get it to do anything.

This  may be down to the fact that I'm running an incomplete  beta  version.
Also,  there isn't a lot in the way of documentation,  so you have to fumble
your way around.

Certainly  there are more features promised,  many of them to do with  using
modern GEM features, such as online documentation, and BubbleGEM support. As
it is,  Cresus makes good use of a modern multi-tasking desktop,  with icon-
able windows,  and the ability to use aesthetically pleasing non crummy NVDI

This  will  become shareware,  when it is more or less complete  at  version
1.00.  Then  you  can  decide  if you want to shell  out  to  precisely  and
depressingly keep a close eye on where your money goes...

'Porthos' PDF Document Displayer. (v2.05 Unregistered)
If  you  spend any amount of time around a Wintel PeeCee,  a depressing  act
which  the  majority  of  us are forced to undergo,  then you  may  well  be
familiar with the portable document format known as *.PDF.

It's  a  bit like HTML,  or more familiarly for Atari users,  the  Hypertext
document.  Unlike  Hypertext  though,  .PDF  displayers for Atari have  been
rather thin on the ground, or obscure, until now.

There  is an early attempt at getting .PDF to run on the  upcoming  Highwire
browser.  This  is at a very early stage,  and my machine seems to ignore it
completely.  However,  for a more advanced product,  Wolfgang Domrose, under
the 'Software Invers' label, steps in with his production, "Porthos".

Porthos  displays  a .PDF document,  allowing you to view it  onscreen,  and
print  it  out.  It  also  allows exporting of the  individual  textual  and
graphical  components  of the document,  as Calamus vector files,  and  .TIF
images  for any graphics.  There are a series of navigation and manipulation
controls at the head of the page,  in a format similar to a web browser.  So
you  get document and page navigation,  and find in text features,  and also
various options for printing the document.

It  is  usefully multilingual,  with a choice of eight languages,  including
Polski!  These  can  be selected almost 'on the fly'.  Porthos also supports
BubbleGem, if you happen to have that installed. It also seems happiest on a
multi-tasking  machine.  I've not tried it on single-TOS yet,  but I get the
impression that it would prefer not to!

My  .PDF experience for this review was very limited,  being confined to the
single  page  and  text only example document that came  with  the  Highwire
package. One immediate impression was that this was not the quickest show on 
earth,  taking  a good few seconds to format and display this fairly  simple
document.  So Porthos could be called from within a browser such as CAB as a
third party displayer,  but you might be better off waiting for the CT60, or
running  it under Aranym to do so.  I would stress that it is unknown to  me
how cumbersome  the .PDF format is  on something sub-Pentium in any case?  I
might  add that I was also using my GEM-default 50 mhz CT2 option  for  this

Delving  in a little bit further seems to show that it is possible  to  make
changes  to the layout of your pre-loaded .PDF document,  and then save  the
changes, but I resisted the temptation.

Once  displayed,  Porthos  seems to do the job nicely,  using any NVDi fonts
that  you've got to best effect,  The general impression is one of a lot  of
work put in,  and something at the level of high quality shareware. Which is
what Porthos ultimately is.  Apart from a single readme file,  there is very
little  English  documentation,  although  fans of Deutsch will  have  great

If  you  wish  to spend more time with the .PDF format on  your  higher  end
Atari, it might be useful to contact the author on his email address:

Okay, that's it for this issue!

CiH, for Alive! Mag,Oct/Nov '02

Alive 6