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-tographs for your Amiga. 



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Out-performs similar Macintosh 
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MP3 

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HERETO I I^TKRI^IU Y 

At|the AMIGA Products that Youlft^d / 

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Simm Sockets (128 Megabytes max.) 

I/O Extender 119.00. 

Two High Speed Serial Ports with FIF6 up 
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The Ultimate Timebase corrector for the 

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For the Broadcast quality You expect * 

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Graphic board for Zorro M/lll Sot. 2 Meg of 
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CON4PUTING 



5 



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An Open Letter, P. 14 




9 New Products 

& other neat stuff 
BoXeR FAQ on-line, phaseS and DCE deal, 
new Amiga 99 Banquet Video, and more! 

12 Things are Lookitig Up! 

by Fletcher Haug . , 



14 



16 



An Open Letter 

by Jim Collas, Amiga President 



Untx, P.28 



Fantastic Dreams 

by Bill Panagouleas 
Better than Super Goo for Mac and Win- 
dows. The real magic is in the animation. 

19 Build Your Own Planet 

by Nick Cook 
Three steps to creating your own world. 

20 Digital Photos 

by Michael Tobin, M.D., PhD. 
Creating digital photographs and slides. 

26 This Old Workbench: Episode 27 

by Dave Matthezi's 
This long running AC series ends with news 
bits and the hope of a spin-off. ' '' 

28 Unix: Shell Programming Porta 

by Antotiello De Santis 
Examining the fimdamental and indispens- 
able programming "if then else" statement. 

32 MP3 and the Amiga 

by Fabian Jimenez 
The Amiga can encode and playback MP3s 
with surprisingly good quality, as well as 
play streaming mpeg audio off the Internet, 

39 REBOL™/Core Messaging 
Language 2.0 

by Bohdan Lechnowsky 
Lesson One: Working with a Scripting/ 

Messaging Language. 



46 Napalm 

by If rimy Campbell 
Don 'I plan on getting much sleep. 



hM.%%. 



44 AmigaS, 



News & Prei 

by jakc Frederick 
Ni'Wi from Digital Images, ¥.\'\\'> Doom 

sptvi.i! Fdition, Cjutdron 20i)0, anil tlu- 
r,\iu:i'iKilion o) SottliTS 2. 



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42 Commercial to Freew 

Games That Never Quite Made It. 

(^1/ j:ikc Frederick 
l.iko taki's .1 look at Blit/ Horahois, Hoi 

ACl.AandStcirbirds. 



36 Handling Text in PageStreamS 

by WHliiiiii F. Maddock 
Lonlrol the ti'Xt you place, how yon 
I'litoi- it .ind wh.it vrtii ran do uilli il. 



DEPARTMENTS 

FeedBock 

Editorial 

index of Advertisers 



tent 



San Diego, we have a problem. 



I attempt to keep a positive attitude when 
it comes to the Amiga, I have to. The past 
several years would have killed a pessi- 
mist. But, there are some problems that 
have been a problem in the past and, I 
believe, do not need repeating. 

A Tale of Two Trade Shows 

Several years ago, when the Amiga 
was at least being produced on a regular 
basis, there were two companies promot- 
ing Amiga shows in North America. One 
company specialized in World of Amiga 
and one used the title AmiExpo. For the 
most part, these shows were well at- 
tended, professionally run, and offered a 
place for Amiga users and vendors to 
meet. 

At Sonne point, it is not important 
who was at fault initially, one trade 
organization began to try to out maneuver 
the other. One company would announce 
a show and the other would announce one 
for the same weekend elsewhere. It 
became so bad that one year, one of the 
companies decided to hold a show in New 
York city just a month from the other 
company's announced date. 

Needless to say, even in better days, 
this was a drastic drain on the resources of 
the Amiga community. Developers were 
hard pressed to appear at two events both 
for the time required as well as the cost 
{New York can be very expensive) so they 
were forced to pick and choose. Invari- 
ably, this process continued until the 
promotion companies self destructed for 
these and other reasons. However, the 
lesson was learned, you cannot place two 
events at the same time and expect a great 
response. 

Here we go again 

Unfortunately, history is repeating 
itself. The World of Amiga in London and 
the AmiWest show in Sacramento, 
California are both scheduled for the 
weekend of July 25th. Granted, most 
people win say that these two shows have 
a different clientele. The London show is 
for England and European Amiga users 
while AmiWest is primarily for the 
Amiga users on the west coast of the 



United States. In a market as small as the 
current Amiga market, this is still a 
problem. 

Developers must examine the two 
shows and decide where they would 
want to be. Since the London show has 
been held several years and draws a fair 
crowd, that would seem to be the 
answer. But wait, the London show has 
been held in May each year, while 
AmiWest is holding their show at the 
same time as last year. Also, to be fair, 
AmiWest was announced far in advance 
of the announcement by World of 
Amiga London. 

Once again, developers are going to 
be forced to decide between venues and 
nobody is going to win. Although aware 
of the problem, at press time, I have not 
heard whether Amiga Inc. has been able 
to arrange a solution to the problem. 
Amiga president, Jim Collas, has 
scheduled meetings in London and 
Germany for other reasons. 1 hope he 
can continue the positive message he 
made at Amiga99 (see the April issue of 
Amazing Computing/Amiga) and his open 
letter to the Amiga community (please 
see page 14 in this issue). 

In all fairness, I don't know how 
much clout Mr. Collas will have in 
gettiiig one of these organizations to 
back down. I do know that the costs of 
changing the dates for these events 
could be considerable. Yet, if we are 
going to work to strengthen the Amiga 
market, we must attempt to find 
solutions to these problems. We must 
also be aware of how our actions may 
affect the entire Amiga marketplace. 

This may seem a small matter to 
some people, but I know that having 
both shows at the same time will weaken 
each event and, in turn, weaken the 
Amiga. The Amiga market is too small 
to make these types of mistakes. We are 
too small to repeat the same failures of 
the past. 

Don Hicks > • • . . . 



AmazinQ/AMLGA 

Amazinsi Compullng/AMIGA"' 



ADMINISTRATION 
Publisher: Joyce Hicks 
Assistant Publisher: Robert J. l-licl<s 
Circulation Manager: Doris Gamble 
Traffic Manager; Robert Gamble 



EDITORIAL 



Managing Editor: 
Illustrator: 
Associate/ 
Contributing Editor: 
Contributing Editor: 



Don Hici<s 
Scott Brown 

Fletcher Haug 
Shamms Mortier 



AlUAZING AUTHORS 

Nicl< Cool< Randy Finch 
Rob Hays Marc Hoffman 

Dave Matthews Antonello De Santis 

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Amazing Computing/Amiga™ i\SSN 1053-4547) Is 
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Printed in the U.S.A. Entire contents copyright© 
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We Accept 



i m 



XX' f alwj ship Vt cpaid, LI'S, COD 
ind jpprtwctl ScIkkjI and 
Government l*0.s.All r cairn5 will be 
L-isucd full siort- credit or 15^ 
rt-stoclvin^ ft-f on refunds. 



Volume 14 Number 5 1999 




Kudos and Sorrows 



Dear AC, 

I just read your most recent Edito- 
rial, and am writing to thank you for 
your thoughtful and moving effort. I am 
very sorry for your loss. My mother is in 
the midst of a battle with stage 4 colon 
cancer. 

In February of 1998, when the cancer 
was first discovered, the doctors told her 
she had only months to live. Thankfully 
she has proven them wrong thus far. 
Thanks for having the courage to tackle 
such a difficult area in your column. 

Among other things, your Editorial 
has motivated me to get a colonoscopy 
myself. I hope that you will be able to 
recover from the loss of Mrs. Gamble, 
and that you and the Amazing Computing 
team will keep the Amiga Faith. 

Best Regards, 

Mark Habinski, President 

Wonder Computers International Inc. 

Dear AC 

I just received my copy of the new 
AC today and had to write to tell you 
how utterly moved I was by your words. 
I remember now your telling me about 
your personal losses when we met in St. 
Louis, I was particularly touched by your 
willingness to talk about colon cancer in 




Business Master '^' 



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circle 126 on Reader Service card. 

Ama^unc; Computing 



the magazine and by your zeal in urging 
others to be tested. 

I'm a congregational rabbi in my 
"day job" (and an Amiga fanatic and AC 
writer by night, I guess). Having just 
spent time at the bedside of a member of 
my synagogue who is dying of cancer 
earlier today, I was particularly moved 
by your piece. I cannot imagine anything 
similar being published in any other 
computer magazine. This is what makes 
the Amiga community and AC special, I 
guess. Bravo. 

Great, packed issue, by the way. 

All my best, 
Steve Folberg 

Another one bites the dust. 

I'm an old-time computer hobbyist 
from the early 80s. I've used most every 
machine ever made. From the crudest 
kits, to the most horrible pencil-box-sized 
toys, to a few of the most powerful minis 
of the day. I even o\vned most of the 
desktop models at one time or another. 

I'm almost as old-time an Amiga 
user. From using one of the first 1000s in 
Southern California, to a 500, to my own 
500 traded in on a 3000, 1 had sold the 
3000 in early '94 and was going to get a 
4000 when everything hit the fan. I 
decided to wait and see how things 
played out. How could I have known it 
would take more than a year. So I waited, 
and waited.., 

I did a lot of traveling around the 
country over the next few years and I 
didn't have the time or money for 
anything new. What little computing I 
did was on an old Atari, Tandy, and 
Commodore 8-bit niachines I still had. 
After settling down again I checked out 
the different fields, (Mac, PC, etc.) and 
was horrified to find the Amiga not only 
had no active owner again, but also had 
not been advanced one bit from where 
Commodore had left it. So I waited, and 
waited... 

In the fall of '97, 1 needed a Mac or 
PC to run a specific software package for 
a work related project. This was quite a 



dilemma for me. I wanted an Amiga, but 
needed compatibility' for this software. I 
could not afford two machines or justify 
the cost/performance ratio of emulation. 
Also, to be cruelly honest, an Amiga at 
this stage would be pretty limp by 
today's standards. 

Worse yet, I knew the next com- 
puter I bought would be it for a long, 
long time, if not the rest of my life. The 
audio and video capabilities of today's 
machines are near the limits of percep- 
tion for the human senses. Between this 
fact and the prices, I could not justify 
buying another one in just two or three 
years like I used to, 

I figured, if it was not an Amiga, the 
only way I could handle it would be to 
make a clean, complete break away and 
never look back. No more magazine or 
newsletter subs. No more Amiga related 
website hits. No matter what I learned, if 
I just missed a new machine, or nothing 
had changed, knowing it would just be 
too sad. I think I wouldn't even keep any 
of my old Info, A/C, or Resource 
magazines, 

I ended up doing what I thought I 
never would again since getting rid of 
the last one in the mid 80s. I bought 'a 
cheap PC clone'. Belch! It's easy to jump 
on the Microsoft-bashing bandwagon as 
a matter of policy without thinking or 
even knowing firsthand, but Windows 
really IS that bad. 

Fortunately, after finishing the work 
projects, I was able to sell it to my Dad 
for most of what I paid. Windows-that- 
week update/fix/enhancement had just 
come out. No new software would run 
without it, and IT wouldn't run on 
anything older than a year, so he was 
due for his 6-month hardware fix. 

This left me again waiting, and 
waiting... Another year went by. How 
long could I possibly 'just keep wait- 
ing'.., 

A couple of weeks ago I bought a 
new PowerMac G3/350. It's wonderful. 

I love it. I'm sorry. 

Good-bye, 
T.G. 
Idyllwild CA 

Contrary to what some people will tell you, 
these are only machines. They were origi- 
nally conceived and built to perform tasks. -^ 




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GREAT CD DEAL^ 

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PINBALL ■SRAINDAMAOE' ASA 3 4 

POWER DRIVE GD-32 14 

QUAKE OR lyiYST AGA 4 5 

SOUNDS TERRIFIC ... 5 

SOUNDS TERRIFIC 2 . . 11 

STORM SCENE CD ... 17 

STRANGERS AGA .... 24 

THEME PARK ECS/AGA 27 

ULTIMATE GLOOM ... 27 

Ultimate Super Skidmarks 27 

UROPA 2 24 

VIDEO CREATOR CD-32 1 7 

VULCANOLOGY (10-HltsX 34 

Weird Scl Cllpart/Fonts 4 



~ri_AS 

\A/E 



VULCAN BE 
ALSO HAVI 



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Unfortunately, we can get attached to our favorite platforms and 
sometimes this causes us to be blinded by our etnoiions. Our goal is to 
get more work done by the best means possible. For many of us, that is 
still an Amiga. But, Amiga was never the master of all forms of 
computing — some tools are better at some tasks than others. What you 
need to do is see where this market is in six months and a year from 
now. Come and see what the AmigaNG will be doing then and see if it 
will solve your current needs and a whole lot more. 

Dear AC: 

I know you don't need a new pen pal, but just a quick 
word (or a few) of reply since I just received the April Amazing 
Amiga. 

Yes, there is some exciting stuff in this issue. However, for 
me, it's not Nfr. Collas' words (I'll wait and sec), instead, it's the 
review of Amiga Forever v.2! I just checked their website and 
ordered the CD version. I was about to order a new Dell 
Latitude, but WHOA... Everything has changed and is on hold 
because of this one program until I get AF and try it on my 
office PC. 

When the new SOOMhz P-IH notebooks hit this summer, I'll 
have cash and the AF CD in hand. Two for the price of one, 
and not such a bad price if one factors out the cost of an Amiga 
060 accelerator AND new graphics card! Now, a Windoze 
machine for dealing with the "imwashed" and a blazing Amiga 
for the same price. That alone would be great, but, a blazing 
NOTEBOOK Amiga is truly priceless. Maybe I'll even dig out 
that upgrade offer from Image FX. 

THISisexdting! - - > --^ • -' 

6 Amazing Computing 



Thanks and keep up the great work. 
Barlow Soper 

D«ar AC, 

I have to write that I agree with Peter Schaff (AC, March 99) 
that I, too, miss both the Informer authors and those advertise- 
ments not carried in AC. It seems to me that the only "combin- 
ing" was at the top, and that the only carry over was Fletcher 
Haug, and by the contents page, not even he will be around 
every month. It seems to be AC & Informer on the masthead 
only. 

I hope you will be able to f>ersuade those authors and 
advertisers who were exclusive to the Informer to join you. 

And, if you run into trouble I hope you will tell the 
readership about it and not simply cease publication and 
"disappear" like so many others. We who are loyal might be 
willing to help rather than see all Amiga publications bite the 
dust in the U.S. 

Thanks, 
Charles Walker 
Mountain View CA 

P.S. I wouldn't mind a wee bit more color, but paper is great - 1 
hate glossy. 

I made a quick tally of the past three issues (I can't count this 
one, it is still being prepared) to see what the breakdown of authors 
from Informer and AC has been. In the first issue (Jan/Feb) we had 
seven Informer authors and six AC authors and in the Marc/i and 
April issues we had five and five. I believe that would make it a fairly 
even distribution. 

Now advertising is a different story. Hardly any of the Informer 
advertisers have taken advantage ofAmazing's offers, even though we 
call them for each issue. The reason could be we cost more than 
Informer. Hotvever, we carry both tlte Informer sub list as zvell as our 
ottm and throw in neutsstand distribution to boot. In the end, our cost 
per delivered unit is lower tlian Informer's iims. Yet, we can't force 
people to advertise, we can only struggle along without them. 

As far as more color? You betcha! I want color more tlmn anyone. 
Color makes design and layout much easier. Unfortunately, with only 
four advertisers willing to pay for color, it is impossible to do anything 
more than we do today. 

What can you do? Well, first you can tell advertisers tliat you 
read Amazing Computing (they might not always believe us). Second, 
you can contribute to the magazine. This is not a closed shop, everyone 
is invited to zvrite. It is not a prison either, people do sometimes mom 
on (there are several previous Informer and Amazing authors we wish 
were still contributing). 

The last suggestion I have is that you keep the faith. Tell your 
friends about the Amiga. Write Amiga Inc. and remind them that you 
are xvaitingfor their releases. You should also stay in touch with your 
dealer even if it is by mail order (drop them a line asking about 
anything new or visit their sites on the web). ,^q, 

meose Wrife to: 

Fm^dBack 

c/o Amadng Computing/Amiga 

P.O. Box 9490 

MUSver, MA 02720 



o 





loin 
Ami' 



For information 
on Amiga 
Licensing for 
your products, 
please contact: 



Amiga International, Inc. 
Robert-Boscli-Str. IIB 
63225 i^ngen, Germany 
Pfione +49 (0) 6103/5878-5 
Fax +49 (0) 6103/5878-88 
E-^4a!l ptysch@amiga.com 
www.amiga.com 




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>evetopmentLiC _, 

oLUME 14 Number 5 1999 7 



Amioa and the Atnlga-Logo are registered trademarlcs of Amiga pevefopment Lie 

Vc ' 






^o"o<>i Time to 

"" °/ Keep Informed 
with your favorite 
/^ Amiga i\/!agazinel 

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Want to stay on top of ttie news In the Anniga Marl<et? Wont to learn all 
about your Amiga through tutorials, reviews, monthly columns, and 

more? Simple, subscribe today. 

1 -800-59- Amiga 

toll-free in the us and Canada 
Tel: 508-678-4200, or FAX: 508-675-6002 

Amazing Computing/Amiga is expanding the way you 

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stay on top of the changing Amiga market, you must 

subscribe to Amoz/ng Compt/f/ng/Am/ga 

Sign up today and save! 



f to/ The "Amazing" AC publications give me 2 GREAT reasons 
to save! Please begin the subscription(s) indicated below immediately! 

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Check or money order payments must be in US funds drawn on a US bank; subject to applicable sales tax. 



AntiGravity's Interactive 

BoXeR FAQ, new deal 

between phases and DCE, 

a new Amiga 99 Banquet 

Video, and morel 



PRODUCTS 



And Other Neat Stuff 



AnflGravity.com adds 

Alien BoXeR FAQ. 

AntiGravity.com staffers have 
compiled answers to the most common 
questions about the Alien BoXeR. You'll 
find them on their new Common 
Questions page. Just click one of the 
question buttons to see your answer 
displayed instantaneously. 

If you don't find the answer you are 
looking for, fill out the simple form to 
submit your new question. 
AntiGravity.com will email your answer 
to you. If your question has been asked 
by several others, it will soon be added 
to the Common Questions page. Get 
weekly updates on the progress of 
BoXeR development by checking the 
Alien BoXeR news page. 

AntiGravity has stated that BoXeR 
development is on schedule for the May 
15, 1999 shipping date. The first new 
Amiga since the demise of Commodore 
can be yours at the special preorder 
price of only $1495 until May 15, 1999. 

Interactive Ordering 

AntiGravity also announced 
interactive product ordering through 
their AntiGravity, com web site. Website 
visitors can now build their own NeUa 
Phase-498 Alien Boxer computer, order 
it online on their secure server, and be 
one of the first to receive ttiis exciting 
new Amiga technology. 

Alien Boxer systems start at the low 
preorder price of $1495, a savings of 
$300, good until the Boxer begins to ship 
on May 15, 1999, 

AntiGravity, 1649 16'ih Street, Santa 
Monica, CA 90404, USA, 1-800-7- 
GRAVITY, Support: 310-399-7446, FAX: 
310-399-8262, http://u!WW.atitigravity.com 



Agreement between phase 5 
and DCE GmbH 

In a press release dated April 28, 
1999 from Frankfurt, Germany, Thomas 
DeUert, managing director of DCE gmbH 
and Wolf Dietrich, managing director of 
phase 5 digital products, announced the 
signing of a contract to hand over the 
rights of some popular phase 5 products 
to DCE, The agreement will allow phase 
5 to focus on its line of PPC products for 
the Amiga. 

The range of products include the 
popular Blizzard series of accelerators for 
the A1200, starting with the 1230-IV 
(with a 50Mhz 68030), the 1240 T/ERC 
(with 25Mhz and 40Mhz 68040) and the 
1260 (with SOMhz 68060), plus the SCSI- 
Kit IV module, that will fit all of them. 
The A2000 (and A1500) will also be 
represented by the Blizzard 2040 (with 25 
and 40Mhz 68040) and 2060 (with SOMhz 
68060). Both cards include a SCSI 
controller on board. Finally, at the top 
end, an accelerator for the A4000 and 
A3000, the Cyberstorm Mkin which 
includes a Wide-SCSI III controller and 
the Cyber\'ision64/3D graphic card with 
separate Scandoubler module. 

DCE and phase 5 believe this will be 
welcomed by the world-wide Amiga 
community and that there is still a big 
market for these products out there. 
Some of the products should be ready to 
ship by the end of May. Power Comput- 
ing LTD will remain the sole distributor 
for the UK and the rest of the world 



Please Note: 

The press releases and news announcements in 
New Products are from Amiga vendors and 
others. Wfiile Amazing Computing/ Amiga 
maintains the right to edit these articles, the 
statements, and claims made in these reports are 
those of the vendors and not AC, 



(except for Germany, Benelux and 
France) of these products. 

For more information and updates, 
please contact: 

Germany - DCE Computer Service GmbH, 

Kellenbergstrafie 19a, D-46145 Oherhausen, 

Phone: +49-(0m8 660673, Fax: +49 (0) 208 

630496 

pase 5 digital products - In derAti 27, D- 

61440 Oberiirsel, Phone: 49 (0) 6171 583787, 

Fax: 49 (0) 6171 583789 

UK - Power CompiilingLTD, Unit 82A 

Singer Way, Wobiirn R Ind Estate, 

Kcmpston MK42 7PU, Phone: 01234-51500, 

Fax: 0123-855400, or on the web at 

umnv.powerc.com 

Amlnet 30 -. 

Aminet CD 30 was released in April 
1999, This new title from the leader in 
freely distributed Amiga software 
collections includes GLOOM3. 
Stefan Ossowskis Schaztriihe, Gesellschaft 
fur Software mbH, Veronikastrafie 33, 
D45131 Essen 

Teli Us Sooner! 

NCAUG (The National Capital Amiga 
Users Group from DC Metro) held a 
special meeting on May 1st, tltey had a 
cookout at the offices of Softivare Hut in 
West Chester, PA, Aside from special 
deals for those who attended, they 
promised food, fun, and a surprise or 
two. All Amigans were encouraged to 
attend, you did not need to be a member. 

NCAUG is home of the famous 
Blimp Cam and is one of the most active 
Amiga User Groups today. They offer the 
latest in Amiga developments and 
informations, SIGS supporting the 
Internet, programming, and video 
production available to all members. 



Volume 14 Number 5 1999 




WEB DIRECTORY 

i ill ritt 1 IHI i M M kii ■n I 



Visit The Amiga Web Directoryi 

• The world's leading resource for the Amiga on the World Wide Web. 

• Updated daily with new Amiga web sites, industry 

news and product announcements 

• Available on six different international mirror sites. 

• The most award-winning Amiga web site ever. 

• Includes "Agnes", the world's most flexible 

Amiga search engine 

^ ^ ■' Agnes 

If you only have a few bookmarks in your web browser, make sure one 
of them is the Amiga Web Directory! Sponsored by the The 
Champaign-Urbana Computer Users Group, the "AWD" is the most 
complete resource to the Amiga on the World Wide Web. Make the 
Amiga Web Directory your starting to point to exploring the Amiga on 
the World Wide Web. Visit the AWD at: 

http://www.cucug.org/amiga.html today! 




Next time, let us know earlier. 

Contacts: Bill Borsari - 
tekmage®amiga.org, •'- " 

Mike Skov - skov@moon.jic.com, Software 
Hut - sofihut@erols.com 

New Amiga '99 banquet 
video available 

Amigan-St. Louis and the Amiga 
Atlanta Company annouce the release of 
the Amiga '99 Banquet Video. Recorded 
on Sahirday March 13, 1999 at the St. 
Louis Amiga '99 Banquet, this two hour 
tape includes the events which made the 
evening so memorable for those who 
attended. This is not the same tape 
offered earlier through Amazing Com- 
puting. 

Notable in this video version of the 
banquet is the quality of the images and 
sound. It was shot on a digital camera 
with audio directly from the speakers 
podium. The tapes which the speakers 
played back are presented full-screen 
instead of shot off the screen by the 
camera. The audio for the "Hanger AE" 
video is presented in stereo. 

10 Amazing Computing 



The keynote speakers were .NASA 
astronauts Steven Nagel and Linda 
Godwin. As the only astronaut married 
couple, they presented their unique view 
on the reality of spaceflight and their 
over one thousand hours in orbit. 

Colonel Nagel spoke on the history 
of computing in the space program as 
well as the future with the upcoming 
International Space Station. Linda 
Godwin showed a 16 minute tape of her 
mission to the Russian MIR space station 
which included a six hour space walk 
while docked to MIR. 

As an introduction to the keynote 
address. Bob Castro of Amiga Atlanta 
showed his 10 minute tape "The Secret in 
Hanger AE" which is a behind-the-scenes 
look at the Amiga computers used by 
NASA at Cape Canaveral to process 
telemetry from spacecraft. 

You will see during this first-ever 
television tour of the NASA Amigas, the 
space shuttle had just undocked from the 
Russian MIR space station and was 
sending back real-time data to be 
displayed on Amiga screens! 



Also included on this tape is the 
address by the new CEO of Amiga 
Incorporated, Mr. Jim Collas. He spoke 
on Amigas' recent past (including 
missteps made by Gateway) and of their 
plans for the bright Amiga future. 

The two hour VHS tape is available 
for $19.95 plus $5 shipping and handling. 
Subscribers to Amazing Computing can 
get their copy for only $16.95 plus 
shipping. It is also available in the 
European PAL VHS format for $24.95 
plus shipping. 

To order call 1-800-345-3360. Credit 
cards are accepted. Written orders can be 
mailed to: PiM Publications Inc. P.O. Box 
9490, Fall River, MA 02720 

For a written article on the NASA 
Amigas, visit the Amiga Atlanta website 
at: www.amigaatlanta.org 

For information on next year's 
"AMIGA 2K" computer show in St.Louis, 
Missouri, visit www.amiga-stl.com. 

New Product Custom Fits 
Computer iVIouse to Your Hand 

LS Industries of Clearwater, Florida 
has introduced a new product that will 
help the user to better grip, guide, and 
click their computer mouse. Its new 
product appropriately called "Mouse 
Drops" can be placed on any computer 
mouse or even your keyboard to allow 
the user to "custom fit" it to their hand. 
The 'drops" are peel-off, sticky-backed, 
sponge rubber pads with a mouse logo 
printed on them. 

CEO Scott Hoover says, "My hand 
kept sliding off or clicking the wrong 
button on my mouse, so I wanted to 
invent something that would eliminate 
these and other problems." The backing 
is simply peeled off and can be placed 
anywhere on the mouse that makes it 
more comfortable for the user. The 
"mouse drops" can also be placed on 
keyboards to help find often used keys. A 
package of 6 "mouse drops" is $1.95 + 
75 s S&H. For more information contact: 
LS {Industries, 621 "E" Street, Clearwater, 
FL 33756, Tel: 727-444-4456, Fax: 727-U6. 
2839, or Email broogy8@aol.com 



•AC* 



GET NOTICED 



Please send New Product 
information to: Amazing 
Computing/Amiga. P.O. Box 
9490. Fall River. MA 02720, 
www.pinnpub.com. 



WVItiWrtl^^ 1800-379-7267 

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Volume 14 Number 5 1999 



11 



A Different Perspective: 



i'l,. /i; 




Things Are Looking Up! 

by Fletcher Haug 



It has been a good two months for the Amiga. After having hit an all time low morale, 
I can now honestly say that my enthusiasm and hope has risen several notches in the 
past two months. And this is due solely to the new leader of Amiga, Jim Collas. 



Between the Amiga99 show in St. 
Louis and his open letter to the Amiga 
community, Jim Collas has produced a 
flurry of positive information. Yes, I am 
still cautious, but there are several things 
Mr. Collas said that really surprised me. 
Uncannily, Jim addressed many of the 
concerns I voiced in my April issue 
editorial, and it caught me by surprise. 

Mr. Collas confessed publicly several 
times that Amiga Inc. really fumbled 
their handling of the Amiga. In his open 
letter, Collas said, "Unfortunately, some 
of the difficulties the Amiga communit)' 
has endured in the last two years stem 
from some misguided decisions made by 
Amiga Inc." He also said, "...I realize 
how much our past mistakes have hurt 
the community and delayed progress." 
Collas continued by saying, "In my 
opinion, the biggest mistake was the 
decision not to e\'olve the current Amiga 
architecture as we developed the next 
generation." 



Please Nofe: 

The statements and position of the 
author does not necessarily 
represent those of PiM Publications 
Inc., its management, or its 
employees. Individuals with 
alternative points of view are 
encouraged to provide their 
response in writing to: Feedback, 
Amazing Computing/Amiga, P.O. 
Box 9490, Fall River. MA 02720. 



Let me tell you, company Presidents 
rarely admit to company mistakes 
publicly, and if they do, it's usually done 
by a company spokesman. Collas went 
on to say, "I will not make the mistake 
again of not understanding the Amiga 
community, its requirements, and its 
dynamics." These comments clearly 
galvanize Collas' position in a very 
public way. After making these com- 
ments, fingers will point to Collas if 
things go awry. They also show his 
confidence that he can make things 
happen. 

Tliere are other things that make me 
confident we have a real leader in Jim 
Collas. A close friend of mine sent Mr. 
Collas an email welcoming him to the 
community. He also gave him a few of 
his thoughts while he was at it. Within 
hours, he got a personal reply from 
Collas, who indicated that he welcomed 
and agreed with his comments. I can 
attest to the fact that even magazine 
editors didn't get replies to emails from 
the past leader of Amiga. In addition, 
those that met Mr. Collas all report the 
belief that he actually gets it. He listens 
and understands the power and potential 
of the Amiga community. I suppose he 
had better get it, considering he's 
apparently placed his future on the 
success of the Amiga. 

Amiga (and that's their new name, 
simply "Amiga") has also announced a 
handful of new executives, including: Dr. 



Allen Havemose, VP of Software 
Engineering (permanently Wred now, not 
just on contract); Jim Von Holle as VP of 
OEM Sales and Marketing; and Richard 
Lipes as Director of Software Engineer- 
ing for graphics and A/V. Others will 
soon be hired including a Chief Teclonol- 
ogy Officer, VP of Advanced Technology 
and VP of Finance and Operations. 
Amiga wilt also begin advertising in 
major newspapers to recruit engineering 
resources for the new San Jose facility. 

Something Is Missing 

This sounds like a lot of high 
powered chiefs coming on board. That's 
nice, but I am a bit troubled by a lack of 
any armouncement about the one person 
I think should certainly be included in 
the ranks of Amiga decision makers. Bill 
McEwen. 

Over the past 18 months. Bill 
McEwen has been the only Amiga 
corporate contact for the community. In 
my opinion, he has done an excellent job 
of solidifying and maintairung a frac- 
tured community, even while being 
effectively shackled by those calling the 
shots in the big office. 

Mr. McEwen took it upon himself to 
get involved with the Amiga by getting a 
system and learning how to use it first 
hand. I remember him commenting to 
me on how amazing the Amiga was and I- 
could tell that he was genuine in his 
belief that the Amiga could play the key 



12 



A.M.AZixG Computing 



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S29 


Video Toasler 4.3 


S95D 






Epic Encyclopedia 1998 


529 


I'lycr 4.3 


S2650 


SCS/ CARDS, ETC 




Fresh Fonts 


517 


Vidro Toaster/ Flyci 


S3455 


Blizzard SCSI 


$123 


Gateway 3 

Geek Gadgets May 98 


S19 


DPSTBC4 


5830 


Rapid Fire SCSI 2 


$140 


S19 


Picasso 4 


S375 


Spit Fire SCSI 2 


$95 


Imagine PD 3D 


$24 


GVP Spectrum 


5169 


GVP4008 


$no 


Kara Fonts CD 


$45 


Cyber^'ision PPC 


S289 


Surf Squirrel SCSI 


$132 


Light Rom 3 


$20 


D Vision 


S269 


Squirrel SCSI 


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Light Rom 4 to 6 


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Delpliina Lite 


S289 


GVP I/O 


$115 


Light Rom Gold 


525 


Dclphina A1200 


$299 


loblix 


$140 


Octamed Snd Studio 


$20 


Conceirlo for Picasso 4 


S160 


Ariadne U 


$145 


Oxy Patcher 


S26 


Mc'galo Sound 


$58 


Hydra Ethernet 


5259 


Personal Paint 7,1 


S50 


ProMidi 


$48 


Mega Chip 


$140 


Quarterback + Tools 


$49 


Vidi24RTPro 


$295 


Viper 520, Smb 


S179 










MicroniK Scan Dblr.Ext 


SI 29 


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590 


4 Way IDE 


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A1200 PCMCIA Ethernet 


5189 


Quake 


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5(1 




Cat. Weasel + Buddha 


5133 


Shadow 3rd Moon 


S38 


3.1 Books + BoftM-are 


S57 


Denise Adapt for Picasso 


S49 


Genetic Species 
Olofl^t 


S40 


OSJ J (AUG m 


S59.50 


72 Pin Sijnms 4A16,32,64Mb 


$41 


.\miga Int. Mouse + Boing Pad 520 


Please call for pirces. 




Joysticks 


510/25 


GVPG-LockNTSC 


S345 







SOfTIVARE 




Ais-eb2-3.1 


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Amiga Forevor 


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Amiga Writer 


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Art Effect 3.« 


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Art Effect UpRradc 


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AsimCdfs * 2 CDs 


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Candy Faclor>' Pro 


$li4 


Cinema 4D CD 


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Copilot Audio/ Video 


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Cross Dos 7 Gold 


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Cross Mac 


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DPaint 5 CD/Disk 


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Dir. Qpiis Mag II 


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Dir. Opus Mag Upgrade 


555 


Draw-Studio 2.x 


5124 


Fantastic Dreams 


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Fusion 3.1/Pci 


559 


Genesis 


555 


Gel Connected 


580 


Get Connected Dix 


S99 


Hi Soft C+* Lite 


$80 


Hi Soft C*t Dcv. 


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Image FX 3.2 


$239 


I Browse 


M2 


Linux 


S3S 


MakeCDDAO 


S69 


MakcCDTAO 


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Master ISO 


S75 


Miami 


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Miami Dix 


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Net Connect 2 


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Nev^' York 2 


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N'etii-ork PC 


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QuiUTextEd 1. 


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Re Execute 


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Render Fx 


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Siamese 2.1 


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Siamese RIG 2.5 


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Squirrel Zip/jaz Tools 


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Superview Prod. Stc. 


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Studio 2 CD 


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Termite TCP 


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Tutbo Print 7 


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Turbo Print 7 Upgrade 


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CDS, HD'S, POWER SUPPLIES 


NEC 32x SCSI Int. CD 


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NEC 32x SCSI Ext. CD 


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Tmc 4x12 SCSI Int. W 


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Yamaha 4x4x16 Int. RW 


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Zip Dr, r:xt. SCSI 


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Zip Dr. Inl. SCSI 


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Zip 100Mb Cartridge 


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Zip Dr. 250M!) Ext. SCSI 


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Jaz Dr. 2C Int. SCSI 


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role in changing the way people think of 
computing. Bill knows how to deal with 
the community and understands what 
needs to be done to again garner the 
community's support for Amiga. While 
only a recent Amigan, Bill has been 
adopted into the community as a true 
believer. 

Right now, McEwen is the only 
person in the decision making loop of 
Amiga (barring perhaps Derreck Lisle) 
that truly has a pulse on the community, 
and he is singularly responsible for 
giving many Amigans the needed hope 
to continue using this platform. If Amiga 
doesn't bring him on board as a perma- 
nent fixture of the company, they are 
making a big mistake, and 1 will person- 
ally loose several levels of respect for 
Amiga management. 

A Great Idea 

There is one thing mentioned by Jim 
CoUas that really struck me as a great 
idea. During a meeting with user group 
representatives, it was suggested that 
Amiga was considering publishing a 
monthly newsletter for the 400-f world- 
wide Amiga user groups. I love this idea. 



An official newsletter would serve 
Amiga very weU, and would become a 
real asset to all users if done properly. Of 
course it would promote and highlight 
all the latest on the Classic OS and 
hardware and the new AmigaSoft 
Operating Environment. But if done 
correctly, it could also be used as a 



platform, and that they are serious about 

getting the community involved in the 
future. By doing this, Amiga gains a big 
self-promoting evangelical army to 
proselytize the future Amiga. A big 
reward for a small investment. 

I think we all now have good 
reasons for feeling a little better about the 



I think we all now have good 

reasons for feeling a little better 

about the fate of the Amiga. 



valuable resource to centralize critical 
information for users. It would also be a 
great tool for Amiga to gather vital 
demographic information about the 
communit}' and act as a springboard to 
launch dealership promotions, commu- 
nity events, and shows. 

This newsletter could easily be 
coordinated with the Amiga.com website 
ensuring that it is widely available to all 
users, internet connected or not. Above 
all else, an official Amiga newsletter 
would indicate to all users that Amiga 
respects them and their dedication to the 



fate of the Amiga. After years of frustra- 
tion and aggravation over the sad plight 
of our beloved Amiga, I'm finally 
starting to feel encouraged. The pessimist 
in me warns that we still have nothing 
but words from Amiga, so don't feel 
good yet. But the optimist in me is 
starting to tap his foot in anticipation of a 
dance of joy for the future and what it 
promises to hold. .^q. 

Please Write to: 

Flefctier Haug 

c/o Amazing Computing 

P.O. Box 9490 

Fall River, MA 02720 

Volume 14 Number 5 1999 13 



An Open Letter 

to ttie Comnnunity, 

Jim Collas, 

Amiga President, April 1 999 



This is m\' first open letter to the Amiga community. In 
many ways, I am honored by the opportunity to address such a 
great community of people and represent such a unique brand 
as Amiga. There are many remarkable Amigans, both former 
and current, that are responsible for Amiga's impressive 
products and its spirit of revolutionary innovation. These are 
the people that created the Amiga phenomena and the people 
that persevered through these tough times. Amiga communities 
from across the world have kept the Amiga spirit alive. I can't 
claim any responsibility for the early success of Amiga or the 
current endurance. I can only praise the people responsible and 
hope that I can help bring a new era of greatness to Amiga and 
fulfill the hopes of the Amiga community. 

The St. Louis show a few weeks ago was the first Amiga 
show I attended as president of Amiga. From the feedback 1 
have received, the show was a great success. The show was 
well organized with good attendance and was also a lot of fun. 
The number of people who attended was approximately 1,200 
but more important is the fact that there was a 14% increase in 
attendance from last year. I made my debut as president of 
Amiga and I want to thank everyone who \veIcomed me to the 
community. I especially want to thank those who welcomed me 
until 3:00 a.m. in the morning and taught me that Amigans 
really know how to have fun. You know who you are. 




significant internal restructuring to strengthen its core business 
for the future. The intentions relative to Amiga were good but 
the situation was mismanaged. Some people have told me that I 
should stop talking about past mistakes and only look toward 
the future. 1 agree with this but I also want people to clearly 
understand that I realize how much our past mistakes have 
hurt the community and delayed progress. This is important 
because I do not want to repeat these mistakes so be patient as 1 
discuss this one last time. 

In my opinion, the biggest mistake was the decision not to 
evolve the current Amiga architecture as we developed the next 
generation. This hurt the current Amiga community the most. 
The right decision would have been to overlap product 
generations just as Apple did during the Apple II to Macintosh 
transition. Apple evolved the Apple n architecture by introduc- 
ing the Apple HI even after Apple came out with the Mac. The 
Apple in wasn't a big seller but it helped Apple II hardware 
and software companies and allowed them time to transition 
their products to the new Mac platform. 



Unfortunately, some of the difficulties the Amiga community has 

endured in the last two years stem from some misguided decisions 

made by Amiga Inc. It is now obvious to me that some very big 

mistakes were made in defining a path for Amiga in the last two years. 



In St. Louis, I had the opportunity to spend a significant 
amount of time with people in the Amiga community. Several 
times during the show, I publicly made the statement that the 
Amiga community is the greatest community in the computer 
industry. I am now more convinced of this than ever. The 
Amiga community is the most innovative, dedicated, heroic 
and enduring community in the computer industry. I am 
amazed at what the community has done with little or no 
support from a corporate entity. You have endured through 
extremely tough times and kept the spirit of Amiga alive and 
strong. 

Unfortunately, some of the difficulties the Amiga commu- 
nity has endured in the last two years stem from some mis- 
guided decisions made by Amiga Inc. It is now obvious to me 
that some very big mistakes were made in defining a path for 
Amiga in the last two years. The low priority and support gi\'en 
to Amiga by our parent company. Gateway, aggravated this 
situation. Gateway was preoccupied during this period with 



In hindsight and from the vantage of the Amiga commu- 
nity, not e\o]ving the current architecture may look like an 
incredibly stupid mistake but it was not as ob\ious to people 
coming from the PC industry. I am not trying to justify this 
flawed decision but to give some insight as to how such a 
decision could he made. Living in a computer industry domi- 
nated by Wintcl PCs skewed the thinking of people making this 
decision. In a computer industry dominated by Wintel PCs, 
computers are obsolete within six to twelve months. The 
inefficiency of the architecture requires a continuous upgrading 
of CPUs, graphics, and storage devices in order to deliver 
acceptable improvements in features and functions. This is 
what happens in an industry where revolutionary innovation 
has been replaced by constrained evolution. From this PC 
centric view, no one could imagine that a computer architecture 
that stopped evolving in the early '90s could have any life left in 
it. Obviously this view was very limited and flawed as the 
Amiga community has proven o\'er-and-o\'er again how much 
life was left in the current Amiga architecture. 



14 



Amazing Computing 



It is obvious that the community would currently be 
stronger if we had made the decision two years ago to evolve 
the current Amiga architecture. Two years have now passed 
and we are faced with a tough question. Is there still life left in 
the current architecture? I believe that there is. The release of 
O/S 3.5 in late July or early August will allow the current 
architecture to live on for a few more years. In addition to O/S 
3.5 we are looking at supporting companies that are looking at 
hardware enhancements to the current architecture. We will 
also support emulation of the current Amiga architecture on the 
next generation Amiga so that people can use most of their old 
software. I am spending time with key people in the Amiga 
commuruty to finalize trar\sition plans between the current 
Amiga and the next generation. 

Now, it's time to talk about the future! I know this has been 
an extremely difficult and painhil period for the Amiga 
community but I would like to put that chapter of the Amiga 
story behind us and look toward the future. We have a difficult 
road ahead of us with many important decisions to be made on 
our future plans. I will not make the mistake again of not 
understanding the Amiga conMaunity, its requirements, and its 
dynamics. St Louis was a good start for me but I require even 
more input to better understand the situation. As all of you 
know, the Amiga community is very strong in Europe with 
many Amiga companies and extremely impressive individuals. 
1 am planning a trip to Germany and the U.K. in late April to 
meet with more leaders in the Amiga community. The objective 
of my trip is parhally to communicate our current thinking but 
mostly to listen and understand. I v^'ant to understand the 
opinions of prominent people in the Amiga community. I will 
use this input to finalize our future architecture and plans. I 
especially need help in planning out how we will transition 
from the old architecture to the new architecture in such a way 
that keeps the Amiga community healthy. 

One thing clearly requested by the Amiga community was 
BETTER COMMUNICATION on the activities at Amiga. I 
promise to improve our communication starting with this letter 
and continuing with frequent postings on our Web site as well 
as increased interaction with the community. Our participation 
in the St. Louis show and my upcoming trip to Germany and 
the U.K. are good examples of our efforts in this area. The letter 
you are currently reading is posted on our Web site in the new 
"Executive Update" section that I will personally be updating 
on a monthly basis. In this section you will also find an update 
on major activities listed after the monthly letter to the commu- 
nity. I thirJc this is a good start and we will continue improving 
our communication as we go forward. If you have any input on 
my executive update web page or on how to improve our 
communication please send your suggestions via email to 
executive@amiga.com. You can also send email to me directly 
at jim.collas@amiga.com but I get significant amounts of email 
so it may take me a few days to respond. The 
executive@amiga.com email address goes to my assistant who 
in turn directs the email to the Amiga executive that can most 
effectively reply. 

I know that I have yet to prove my dedication or win your 
confidence but I hope to do so over the coming months. As 
many of you already know, I stepped out of a senior executive 
position with Gateway that was a very prominent position in 
the PC industry to lead Amiga. I did this because I believe 
strongly in what Amiga stands for. I believe in the Amiga spirit 
of revolutionary innovation. I believe that the PC revolution is 
over because inno\'ative revolution has been replaced by 
constrained evolution. I believe that there is a new computer 
revolution on the horizon, one that will fulfill the promise of 




Amiga 99 Tapes Available 

See History as It Is Made 

There Is now one Amiga company and the new president is Jim 
Collas. See Mr. Collas explain the Amiga's past, present, and Its 
future in his first speech beiore the Amiga community. This is raw, 
unedited NTSC VHS footage of this event from the unique perspec- 
tive of our editor. These are his private tapes which Amazing 
Computing/Amiga has made available to the entire Amiga public. This 
is your chance to see this historic event for yourself. 

Tape 1 is a 2-Hour Video of 
Friday, March 11, 1999 with: 

Opening Remark, Amiga OS 3.5 Demonstration by Haage & 
Partner. Jim Collas' First Speech IVIarch 1 1 , 1999 

Tape 2 is a 2-Hour Video of the Banquet on 
Saturday, March 12th, 1999 with: 

Astronaut Steve Nagel, and Jim Collas' Banquet Speech 
March 12, 1999(similaf to March 11, 1999 speech) 

One Tape: 

Amazing Computing Subscribers: SI 0.95 for the 2-Hour Video 

plus S5.00 S&H US and Canada or S8.95 S&H all Foreign 
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Use Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express and 
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bringing the power of computing to the masses. Most impor- 
tantly, I believe that Amiga will play a significant role in this 
new computer revolution. But Amiga can't do this without the 
full support of the Amiga community. The Amiga community is 
one of the greatest and most innovative communities in the 
computer industr)'. It is a re-\'olutionary army waiting to strike 
and reclaim its prominent position in the computer industry. I 
truly believe this from the depths of my heart and I promise to 
use all of my experience, resources, industry contacts, and 
energy to give Amiga a strong and aggressive push. I hope I will 
not let you down. 

Let's keep the momentum going as we come back for the 
future. 



Sincerely, Jim Collas 
President, Amiga 



•AC* 
VoiuMj; 14 NuMBim 5 1999 15 



Fantasflc Dreams 

Motion Studios has a new 

progrann for the Amiga that 

out does Super Goo for 

Mac and Windows. 

ty Bill Panagotileas 






Fantastic Dreams could be consid- 
ered the heir apparent of the very- 
popular classic Amiga program Elastic 
Dreams. Fantastic Dreams is a real-time 
morphing and WYSIWYG (what you see 
is what you get) image manipulation 
program from Motion Studios in 
Germany. It is available in the USA from 
Software Hut (www.softhut.com). In 
addition, there is a demo version 
available on Aminet. 

Fantastic Dreams is not an Image 
processor like ImageFX 3.2. It is, instead, 
very similar to Super Goo. Super Goo is a 




software package for Mac OS & Win- 
dows from MetaCreations. MetaCreations 
software does not follow any apparent 
style guide interface rules. Instead, big 
lavish colorful interfaces, 24-bit sliders & 
gadgets, fully rendered and textured 
graphic buttons give a look and feel as if 
you are seeing a piece of future software. 
Unfortunately, none of MetaCreations' 
software is available for the Amiga even 
with its history of innovative graphics 
and video applications. However, tliis 
has created opportunities for other 
designers on the Amiga. 







Files To Morph 
Among the variety of tools and 
files on the Fantastic Dreams 
CD are pictures to morph from 
one to the other. Although 
some probably will not look 
very different before and after. 



Super Goo is one of the best knovm 
MetaCreations products. It allows you to 
manipulate images in real-time. You can 
morph, smear, stretch, twist images very 
quickly. Many husbands ha\'e angered 
their wives by stretching the noses & 
ears of their partners scanned image 
with Super Goo. Not a good idea to try 
at home but fun nevertheless. 

Obviously Super Goo is a cool 
program that we don't have on the 
Amiga but that no longer matters. We 
now have something better. Fantastic *- 
Dreams from Motion Studios. This new 




16 



Amazixg Computii\g 




Fantastic Dreams' Funroom lets users experiment with their images by applying a new nose, glasses, or even change a tioirstyle 



Amiga company has created a better, 
more powerful and feature rich program 
similar to Super Goo. The beautiful 
futuristic interface is there as is the 24-bit 
sliders and gadgets. 

Is Fantastic Dreams Amiga style 
guide compliant? Of course not, but you 
won't mind this time. Fantastic Dreams 
begins where Super Goo left off. For 
example, in Fantastic Dreams the 
backgrounds can be changed, and many 
different versions are supplied. Also it 
has a new Funroom feature that was not 
present in Elastic Dreams. With Funroom 
you can change the noises, eyes, ears etc. 
on your image. For example you could 
even scan in your own image and give 
yourself a rad new virtual hairstyle. 

Fantastic Dreams glorious 24-bit 
futuristic interface has been enhanced 
over the one in Elastic Dreams. The 



application will even work on a low end 
8MB 68030 A1200 but, its obvious that it 
was designed for high end Amigas, 



If your Amiga does have a PowerPC card 
you will enjoy the real-time feedback this 
software gives you. You will think 



Fantastic Dreams tias extensive support for 

modern powerful Amiga add-ons like graphiics 

cards and PowerPC accelerators. 



Fantastic Dreams has extensive 
support for modem powerful Amiga 
add-ons like graphics cards and 
PowerPC accelerators. It has now been 
optimized for PowerPC so Amiga users 
with PPC cards will get the most benefit 
from this software tool. Now that Amiga 
Inc. has sanctioned 24-bit graphics and 
PowerPC for Amiga OS 3.5, Fantastic 
Dreams is one of the few programs that 
already supports these modem features. 



someone stole your Amiga and replaced 
it with an SGI. It is very responsive on 
060 and 040 based Amiga machines as 
well, however, this product really shows 
off the speed of Motorola's PowerPC 
chip. 

Fantastic Dreams comes on a CD- 
ROM and installs with the standard 
Commodore installer. Fantastic Dreams 
requires at least a 68030 CPU, 8MB of 



Volume 14 Number 5 1999 



17 




Fantastic Dreams' Composer section lets users combine two images by mixing two 
pictures togettier. 



Fast RAM and 20MB of free Hard drive 
storage. An 060 and/or PowerPC with 
32MB of Fast RAM is recommend. 

Fantastic Dreams ships with no 
printed documentation so that may 
bother users who like to have a printed 



manual. It does have an AmigaGuide 
based manual with instructions on 
installing and using the software. 

Fantastic Dreams has three different 
screens in addtion to the Funroom which 
was already discussed. Elastic, Composer 



& Manager. Elastic is where you do most 
of your image manipulation. You have 
various tools for smearing, wiping, 
mirroring & moving the image. You select 
one of the brush sizes (there are five 
preset sizes), then, wherever you move 
your brush and press the left mouse 
button, you change the image. There are 
additional tools on the right for complex 
changes like whirl, rotate, twist, stretch, 
jitters etc. These tools affect the entire 
image and are very slow without a 
PowerPC. Once you make your change 
and stamp it down on the filmstrip, on 
the same screen you can set the number of 
frames and watch a real-time animation 
of your effect. 

Composer is the section of Fantastic 
Dreams that allows you to combine two 
images. With Composer and the supplied 
tools on this screen you easily mix 
pictures together by rubbing though one 
layer on top of another image. You see 
small previews of both images one on the 
left and one on the right. A large screen in 
the middle shows you the composited 
mixer of the two. 

Some very interesting examples of 
using composer are included on the 
Fantastic Dreams CD-ROM, Many images 
are on the CD that you can experiment 
with or scan in your own. Fantastic 
Dreams directly supports ScanQuik if you 
own that product. 

The Manager screen of Fantastic 
Dreams allows you to configure the 
program to your personal tastes. Resolu- 
tion settings, animS, Quicktime or single 
image saving, motion blur, antialiasing 
are all turned on or off on this screen. You 
can also select from the various cool 
backgrounds for the foreground and 
background textures. 



Fun noom 






^<^^- 



'.-"--::::... 



Compose 
Help 



Fantastic Dreams utilizes a different mind set in creating the Interface tools for the 
software. However, once you get used to the idea of the user interface, it can be fun. 



18 



Amazing Computing 



Conclusion 

I really enjoyed using Fantastic 
Dreams and recommend it haghly. It is 
easy to use and fast. Anyone's grand- 
mother could learn to use the program 
very quickly. It would be nice to have a 
printed manual with more tutorials and a 
better English translation but these are 
minor points. Fantastic Dreams is a great 
update to what Elastic Dreams was. 1 
can't wait to see what MoHon Studios 
dreams up for the next version. They set 
out to create a better version of Super Goo 



for the Amiga and were successful. 



•AC' 



4 


^ 


Build Y 


:|H|P '^^^^■B j^i^g QP,^ flQf 3|^y (upper left) and 
IMp- ' ^^^V transform it into a world (upper 
^|t^ ^W^ right) witli one command. It looks 
^li!^"^ jpr pretty good in an appropriate 

background (bottom). 


bur O 




wn Planet 


Three steps to creating your own world. 

by Nick Cook 

Ever need to create your own STEP THREE: Go to the 
planet? Perhaps you want to use a Spherize panel (located 
space theme for a layout, but you don't under Distort). Uncheck the 
want to sift through NASA photos or Hotspot option and leave 
have a great deal of time. Here's a everything else alone. Select 
quick and easy way to make a planet OK, and you've got an 
with ImageFX 3 in just three steps. You instant planet (Figure 1, top 
don't even have to draw! right). 

STEP ONE: Use the Buffer > What could be simpler? Now just 
New command to make a plop your planet onto a suitable 
200 by 200 buffer. background and your work is done. 

Experimenting with the different 

STEP TWO: Select Clouds Painting styles available with the 
from the Hook requester. Clouds hook can change the planet 
Set the Painting style to from very Earth-like to very alien. 
Blue Sky, then render 
(Figure 1, top left), ■ 'AC* 



Volume 14 Number 5 1999 



19 



Digital Photos 

Creating Digital Photographs and Slides 
Without a Scanner 




bif Michael Tobin, M.D., Ph.D. 



The abiUty to import images into a 
computer has a variety of uses. Images 
already in a digital format present little 
problem, provided the appropriate 
software is available to interpret the 
image file structure. Non-digital images, 
such as photographs and slides, must 
first be converted to digital format. I 
ha\'e developed four methods of making 
digital images: 



(1) Seattle FilmWorks 

(2) Kodak PhotoCD 

(3) Olympus D-600L digital camera 

(4) Canon Xapshot camera 

Seattle FilmWorks 

One of the more intriguing options 
for digital photography is provided by 
Seattle FilmWorks, who not only develop 
film into prints and slides but can also 
convert these pictures into digital format 






Figure 2: Phofo captured with an Olympus OM-4 35 mm. camera and ttien developed, 
digitized, and distributed on CD-ROM by Seattle FilmWorks. Image quality is excellent. 



and distribute them on floppy disks, CD- 
ROM, or via the Internet. Initially, Seattle 
sends two rolls of film and assigns you a 
customer number that you affix to each 
roll of film when you send it back in the 
postage-free mailer. 

I had previously reviewed Seattle 
FilmWorks (http://www.octet.com/ 
-mike ty/ Projects/ photocd8.html ) 
around 1996, at which time photos were 
distributed exclusively on floppy disks 
and were highly compressed. I con- 
cluded that, while convenient and 
acceptable for some purposes, image 
quality was limited. Also, Amiga users 
had no way of viewing the images 
directly because they were stored in 
Seattle FilmWorks' proprietary SFW 
format, I was most interested to find out 
if the situation had changed. 

Seattle's CD-ROM 

Seattle FilmWorks can send your 
digital images on a floppy disk if you 
wish, but they now provide the option of 
CD-ROM storage at no extra charge. 
Photos are still stored in Seattle's 
proprietary SFW format. Seattle 
FilmWorks does not supply software 
needed by the Amiga to read these 
images. However, Andreas Kleinert has 
ported a UNIX program to the Amiga 
written by Everett Lipman that can 
convert SFW files to JPEG format. This 
program, sfwjpg, can be found on 
Aminet (http://ftp.wustl.edu/~aminet/ 
gfx/conv/sfwjpg.lha). Once in JPEG 



20 



AmaZJNC COAfPl'TlNG 




i r ^l^: mit.i - khoto^l,!! Hoi 



Welcome to Seattle FilmWorks On-Line! 

Sc&dlc FOmWoiki h *. wodd leader in. innovative Photofimphj ukd Digital 
Im&ge pTDCCSiing. Wc 'uvcrc the fint to offer PnaitM xnd SUdes from. Mnj 
type of 35imiL fil™ The Snt to pnt ycmr Hctara an Dak at an affordaUc 
price. And tbc fint to dcliveT your jdctuxcs to jaainitantly over the 

Ihttxmcf . 






CHdt lilt Bsch bynop. below M 

ThU Is Tiai^ actual sizz of the 
lmt£t Tc rtnlt're ^ fuO Iraagt. 
youjQuut downlead frcm ^s- n]3 
coHcents icrccn. 



ftmoflB BnMCSSSOIft; FBeName- 


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fa. 






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6 



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Qww 



Figure 1: 

PicA: Seattle FilmWorks website is attractive but cannot be 

used fully by Amiga users until ttiey "spoof" AWeb as 

Netscope. 
PicB: Seattle's photomoil service allows you to download 

some or all of your photos. 
PJcC: You can get a good look at your images to help you 

decide which ones you want. 



format, photos can be loaded into almost 
any Amiga image processing or viewing 
program. 

You will find that your images are 
flipped vertically. Although programs 
like ADPro and ImageFX can quickly 
correct this, flipjpeg is included in the 
sfwjpg.lha archive to perform a lossless, 
vertical inversion prior to viewing. 

Although I found sfwjpg flawless, 
Everett cautions, "As far as I am aware, 
Seattle FilmWorks does not make public 
the specifications of these formats. The 
format specifications were deduced by 
examining a number of .sfw and .pwp 
files, and may not be entirely accurate. In 
particular, some ,sfw files which were 
downloaded from the SFW web site were 
not properly converted to JFIF." 

Seattle's Website 

Seattle FilmWorks' customers can 
receive their photos before their CD- 



ROM arrives by visiting Seattle's website as" option in Networks Settings. Seattle's 



(http://www.filmworks.com) where 
they can view and download their 
pictures. To do this, they need their 
customer and film roll numbers. 



website will now be tricked into letting 
you use AWeb to preview your photos 
before downloading some or all of them 
(Figure 1). 



Seattle FilmWorks' customers can 
receive their photos before their CD- 
ROM arrives by visiting Seattle's website 



If Seattle's website detects your use 
of a browser other than Netscape or 
Microsoft Internet Explorer, it will allow 
you to download your entire roll of film 
but will not let you view your photos or 
download individual images. The way to 
circumvent this is to make your Amiga 
browser masquerade ("spoof") as 
Netscape (i.e., Mozilla). If you use AWeb, 
the process is as easy as using the "Spoof 



Although you can patch IBrowse so 
that it spoofs as Netscape, AWeb is still a 
better choice when visiting Seattle 
FilmWorks' website because AWeb has a 
Javascript interpreter, which is needed to 
take advantage of Seattle's photomail 
options, whereas IBrowse does not. 

Seattle FilmWorks places one more 
obstacle before Amigans can view their 
downloaded pictures. Photos are not sent 



Volume 14 Number 5 1999 21 




Olympus Cameras 

Figure 3 (Top): The Olympus 
D-600L digitat megapixel 
camera capable of 
1280x1024 resolution. 

Figure 4 (Bottom): The Canon 
Xapshot, one of the first 
affordable cameras to 
capture images onto a 
disk. 



as individual SIW files but rather, are 
combined first into a single, proprietary, 
PWP archive. However, thanks to 
Lipman and Kleinert, individual images 
can be extracted from the PWP archive 
and converted transparently to JPEG files 
by using pwpjpg, which is included in 
sfvvjpg.lha, 

Seattle Image Quality and Other 
Issues 

I found the quality of the Amiga- 
converted images to be excellent (Figure 
2). Images have 768x512 pixel resolution 
and 24-bit color depth and appear 
identical to those generated on the PC 
using Seattle FilmWorks' own 
Photoworks software. Surprisingly, 




Fhotoworks allows you to save SFW 
images in Amiga IFF format. Because 
there is no intermediate com^ersion to a 
JPEG file, IFF images thus produced may 
be superior for detailed applications. 
Seattle FilmWorks is a very cost- 
effective choice. For a 24-exposure roll, 
you can get slides and a set of 4x6 prints 
and an index picture, and all images on a 
CD-ROM with free Photoworks software, 
and one month's storage on Seattle's web 
site, and a new roll of film for $18.35, 
including standard USPS shipping! You 
can save even more if you are willing to 
forgo the prints. 

The Kodak PhotoCD 

If you have slides or negatives that 
you want to digitize, you can have them 
scanned at a professional photo lab and 
then put onto a Kodak PhotoCD. While 
not every photo lab offers this service, 
Kodak has information on its website 
{http://wwTv.kodak.com/US/en/ 
digital/products/photoCD.shtml) to 
help you locate a local facility. 

Users of Asimwares' AsimCDFS CD- 
ROM file system will have no trouble 
viewing PhotoCD images. On a standard 
Kodak PhotoCD, each slide or negative is 
scaimed at 192x128, 384x256, 768x512, 
1536x1024, and 3072x2048 resolutions. If 
you opt for a Pro PhotoCD, you can also 
have a 4096x6144 image, at additional 
cost. 

The detail provided by a Kodak 
PhotoCD image (3072x2048 pixel 
resolution and almost 19MB in size) far 
surpasses that of Seatde FilmWorks 
(768x512 pixel resolution, compressed 
10:1 and, when converted to a 24-bit IFF 
file, approximately 1MB in size). 

The higher resolution images 
provided by Kodak PhotoCDs are not 
inexpensive. First, you must purchase a 
PhotoCD master disk, unless you have 
space on one you already own. Using my 
local photolab as an example, the total 
cost for a master disk ($10.95), 24 slides at 
$2.25/slide, and an index picture at $5.95 
is $70.90. 

The Olympus 

D-600L Digital Camera 

If you use a digital camera, your 

photos are already digital and the only 
issue is how to get them into an Amiga 
computer. Although there is software on 



22 Amazl\g Co.Mi'vrsyc 



This Month's Feature ... 

The Genesis Odyssey PPC II 

The first PPC Amiga setting thie performance standard for Amiga Systems 

Pure speed and flexibiltity tfi rough our new 'Build -Your- Own" system. 

Order Line: 1 888 RANDOMIZE (1 888 726-3664) 

Phone: (905) 939-8371 Fax: (905) 939-8745 
Sales e-mail: sales@randomize.com Website: www.randomize.com/genesis.html 










The Odyssey PPC Starts with the following 
features and lets you build from there: 

f . PPC 603e 1 60 Mhz / 060 50 Mhz CPUs 

f 3.2 GB IDE HD, 40x IDE CD-Rom, 16 MB Ram 

r Ullra Fast SCSI and IDE Interfaces 

r. Mouse. Keyboard. Case with 250 Watt ATX PSU 

X" Genesis Customized Amiga OS 3.1 (3.5 as soon as it's available) 

V Personal Paint 7.1 



V% 



V-^' 



\. Amiga Magic Bundle » ^>, 

Now add the options: ^o^°^y; 

f 240 Mtiz 603e PPC /'«•-' 

^ BVision 24BitGrapli!CS Board ^%^ 

v. Prelude l6Btt Sound ^ ' ^ 

\ High Density Floppy Drive -^/J-* "'''' 

f" Larger Hard Drive ^ 'f ^ 

X CD-Writer ^///^ 

r Zip or Jazz Drive ^^QA/ 

V- Video Toaster Flyer ^^ 

Configure and Price your own system on-line at 
http://www,randomize,com/genesis/genodysseyppcii.htm! 



.% 



^^„°'^. 



^^ 



Aminet that supports serial transfer from 
selected Kodak digital cameras to an 
Amiga, it is Andreas Gunther and 
Versalia Computer who provide Amiga 
software for a wide variety of digital 
cameras. This software is available from 
Eyetech (http://www.eyetech.co.uk/ 
PRODUCT/PAMDC/DIGITALC.HTM). 
I have used Versalia's CamControl 
software successfully to transfer digital 
images from the Olympus D-600L 
(Fig^ire 3) to the serial port of my Amiga 
1200 computer. 

Digital camera images are immedi- 
ately viewable and the quality can be 
impressive. The pixel resolution of the 
Olympus D-600L is 1280x1024 with three 
different levels of compression. Less 
compression means more image quality 
but a larger file and fewer images that 
can be stored on the removable disk. 

The initial outlay for digital camera 
imaging can range from a few hundred 
dollars to well over one thousand. For 
this, you get to see your images immedi- 
ately, with a quality, at the high end, that 
rivals 35 mm film. Many digital cameras 



allow output directly to television or to 
thermal printers. All allovv images to be 
transferred to a computer for further 
processing. 



The Canon Xapshot 

Before the advent of digital photog- 
raphy, analog still video cameras made 
by Canon were capable of storing 50 
iiidividually erasable images on 2-inch 



Let everyone know 
where you are looking. 



Remennber to say, 
"I saw you in 



AmazingAMiGA " 

^ .M. COMPUTING C7.^ 



DSTGC/^^ 



VOIUMK 14 NU.MBER 5 1999 23 



July 23-25, 1999 

Classes and Seminars \ 

all three days ^^%s. 

Exhibit Hail: Saturday: 10am. to 5 pm. 
Sunday: 1 0am. to 4 pm. 

Holiday Inn, Sacramento Northeast 

5321 Date Avenue 

Sacramento, CA 95841 

Tel: (916) 338-5800 
Toll Free: (800) 388-9284 

Fabulous Door Prizes! Banquet! 

Amiga Personalities! 

Over 700+ Amiga fans visited AmIWest last year. This 

year we are in the newly remodeled Holiday Inn in 
Northeast Sacramento with nearly double the exhibi- 
tion area of last year. For more information contact: 
John Zacharias, AmiWest '99, c/o Sacaramento Amiga 
Computer Club, P.O. Box 19784, Sacramento, CA 

95819-0784. Email: jzachar@calweb.com 
Visit our website at: http://www.sacc,org.amiwest/ 



removable video disl<s. Images were 
viewed by connecting the camera's video 
output to a television's video input via an 
AC coupling device. One of the more 
popular Canon models vk'as the Xapshot 
(Figure 4). 

As with any JSITSC video image, 
Xapshot photos can be digitized and 



imported into an Amiga by connecting 

the camera's video output to a frame 
captiue device, such as the GVP 1V24 
video board. Images, while adequate for 
some applications, are not of the same 
quality as those produced by modem 
digital cameras. 




Figure 5: Photo of the author talcen with the Canon Xapshot. Scan lines are visible. 

24 AMAzmc Computing 



Recommendations 

If you have a digital camera, by all 
means use it. They are great fun and can 
produce excellent images especially if 
you own one of the newer megapixel 
models. Digital cameras are especially 
appealing now that software exists to 
help interface them with the Amiga. 

If you own a Canon Xapshot camera, 
you can continue to enjoy it by purchas- 
ing rechargeable BP-4P batteries from 
Pictech, Inc., who are located in Toronto, 
Canada {telephone: 416-961-5970, email; 
imaging@pictech.com). Your level of 
satisfaction with Xapshot's images will 
depend on your intended use. 

If you don't own a digital camera, I 
can recommend Seattle FilmWorks to 
process your 35mm. Him into digital 
images, especially now that Amiga 
decoding software is available. Not only 
are the prices very reasonable, but the 
images sent on CD-ROM are of higher 
quality than those previously available 
only on floppy disk. This is because they 
are much less compressed (10:1 vs. 30:1). 
In addition, Seattle FUmWorks can scan 
already developed slides and prints onto 
a CD-ROM. 

Prior to receiving their CD-ROMS, 
Amiga users can view and dovvnload 
their photos from Seattle's website by 
spoofing AWeb as MoziUa. Finally, 
Seattle's telephone support line is 
excellent, with knowledgeable and 
helpful staff, and only a minimal wait for 
service. 

Amigans will find Seattle's 768x512 
resolution suitable for many purposes, 
including Internet and video projects. For 
applications requiring higher resolution 
digital images, the corresponding slides 
can be taken to a local photo lab for 
scanning onto a Kodak PhotoCD. 

Acknowledgements 

The author would like to thank 
Wendell Watanabe, Mike Leavitt, and 
Keith B. Noble for their suggestions on 
spoofing with AWeb and to Stephen 
Leibowitz and Linda E. Ketchum for 
reviewing this article. 

•AC* 

Please Wrlfe to: 

Dr. Michael Tobin, M.D., Ph.D. 

c/o Amazing Computing 

P.O. Box 9490 

Fall River. MA 02720 




Did you get the April Goodies? 
Amiga Inc., Amiga 99, & much morel 

VOLUME 14, # 4: April 1999 

New Products & other Neat Stuff, Amiga Radio News, Free TV 

Paini, DVS TowerHawk, and morel 

Envoy 3 CD from SchaUruhe, A look at this latest version, by Ted 

Wailingford. 

A Different Perspective, We are afflicted with Amigaitis, by Fletcher 

Haug. 

Aladdin 4D: Animation, The real magic is In animation, by Dave 

Matthews. 

Amiga Forever Version 2, Emualting Amiga on a PC just got easier, 
by Dave (Matthews. 

Hot Sluffl, Add some smoke to add some heat, by Nick Cook, 
The Most from PageStream3, Learning the User Interface, by William F. Maddock. 
AROS: Amiga Reasearch OS, What is it? Is it real? Is it legal?, by Aaron Digulla. 
Unix: Shell Programming Part 2, It is all in the structure of the script, by Antonello De 
Santis. 

Amiga Games News & Previews, Virtual Grand Prix, The Scavengers, DafeiiBloodiine, 
Satellite 1 3, Alive and Super-Frog rerelease, by Jake Frederick. 
Outfall, by Jerimy Campbell. 
Super Bubble Remix, by Jake Frederick. 
Amiga 99, A tront-row seat at this major Amiga event. 
Amiga OS3.5, Amiga OS3.5's new abilities. 
Jim Collas at Amiga 99, faces the faithful Amiga users for the first time. 

Miss March? Madness! 

Linux, Jim Collas, Studio Printer, & Moref 

VOLUME 14, # 3: tUlarch 1999 

New Products & other Neat Stuff, Amiga Port Monitor, LightROfVl 

Super Bundle, clickBOOM's new web Portal, 2BadSheep. BoXer 

Exclusive, Free Web Serk^er, and more. 

A Different Perspective, What if I was to tell you that the next Amiga 

had already been produced and was selling for $349, by Fleecy Moss. 

Bingo, Using ImageFX to get "around" a problem, by Nick Cook. 

Studio Printer V2.21, One way to improve your printer output is to 

improve communication between your printer and your Amiga, by 

Steve Folberg. 

Aladdin 4D: Fountain of Sparks, Aladdin's unique particle system 

sparks creativity, by Dave Ivlatthews. 
This Old Workbench: Episode 26, Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, by 
Dave Matthews. 

Unix: Shell Programming, Exceeding limitations: open yourself up to a more rewarding 
Amiga experience, by Antonello De Santis. 

How to HTML: Part: Lists and Menus, Make your website stand out with a few simple text 
manipulation secrets built into HTML, by Ralph Stark. 

Linux Red Hat 5.1, by Ted Wailingford. _i_. 

Linux File Server Solutions, by Ted Wailingford. 
Debian 2.0 GNU Linux, by Nick Cook. 
PC Ports Part 2, Heretic & Hexen, by Jake Frederick. 
Magic Cards, by Jerimy Campbell. 

Games News & Previews; Abducted, Trauma Zero, Maim & Mangle, by J. CampbelL. 
Code Name: Nano, by Jerimy Campbell. 

A Quick Take on QuickTime and the Amiga, Want to see some of those clips from the 
movie sites or even catch a South Park episode? Time to hook your Amiga up to a 
QuickTime player, by Fabian Jimenez. 




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fo start your subscription or order the Back Issues you hove missed. You can also order by moil with 

a check or nnoney order to: PiM Publications Inc., P.O. Box 9490, Fall River, MA 02720. 

Fax 1-508-675-6002. For a connplete list of Back Issues, visit our web site: www.pinnpub.com 



This Old Workbench: Episode 27 

Season Finale 



This long running AC series 

ends with a few news bits 

and the hope of a spin-off. 

By E>ave Matthew$ 



First off, I am putting This Old Work- 
bench on hiatus for a while. When I 
started this column, in the May 1996 
issue of Amazing Computing, I had no real 
thought that I would still be writing 
about the 'classic' Amiga Workbench in 
1999. As the final days of this millennium 
wind down, 1 find myself hard pressed to 
find fresh ground to cover as far as 
enhancing the Amiga's OS. 

Don't get me wrong, I still love the 
Amiga's OS, and I still hope to write 
more articles in the future, but I can't feel 
I'm doing the Amiga, Amazing Computing 
or its readers any service by rehasfiing 
material I've covered before, and over the 
last three years, I've covered quite a lot of 
ground. So, although This Old Work- 
bench won't be a regular series, as events 
warrant, I will write new episodes, Also, 
I'll probably extend "This Old Work- 
bench" to "This Old Amiga", and 
broaden the coverage to include Amiga 
enhancements beyond the Workbench. 

As always, your feedback is impor- 
tant to me, so if there is anything Amiga 
Enhancement-wise you'd like to see, let 
me know, and I'll cover it if possible. 

Aminet Home Moves 

You may have experienced some 
difficulty reaching Aminet if you used 
the Washington University archive at: 
http://ftp.wustl.edu/~aminet/ 

Apparently, WUarchive had one too 
many crashes, and Urban Mueller has 
decided to move the main Aminet 
archive to a server in Germany. How- 
ever, the WUarchive site will continue to 
be an Aminet mirror and is now back 
online. 



Newlcons v4.5 

Well, there's been some news on the 
Newlcons front, unfortunately, not ail of 
it good. Version 4.5 of Newlcons is a 
maintenance release, and it may be the 
last version we see for a while. To quote 
from the Official Newlcons Web site: 

"Now the bad news. If you haven't heard 
already, Eric Sauvageau, our program- 
mer, has ceased further de\'elopment of 
Newlcons. While he still has his A1200, 
he is now spending most of his time on 
his new PC. Unfortunately, this is the 
second hme I've had to announce the loss 
of our main coder to another platform 
(Nicola left the project after version 2), 
Eric has been kind enough to do one last 
version to optimize things further and fix 
some minor bugs." . . 

Philip Vedovatti, the AESIcons guy, 
is still involved with Newlcons, so all 
hope is not lost. Check them out at: 
http://www.amiganet,org/NewIcons/ 

Visual Prefs 1 .5 Beta 

For the adventurous out there. 
Visual Prefs 1.5 is available for public 
beta testing. Note that programs being 
beta tested are not yet finished, usually 
have some missing functionality from the 
finished product, and may contain bugs. 
If you aren't comfortable taking a chance 
with new, possibly buggy software, don't 
download this. If you haven't tried 
Visual Prefs yet, you might want to start 
with the officially released version 1.4: 

http://ftp.wustl.edu/pub/aminet/ulil/ 
wb/VisualPrefs.lha 



Rniga Morkbench 1,364,4 



% 



Ran Disk 



Kali iee$$ 



St i letto 




Sh Iva 




Kal i 



Ql; 

Otil it l£s WBStai 

■4 



Too Is 



Dev 



ir- 1 Prefs 




Figure 1. 

Aside from bug fixes and such, one 
of the really neat things in the 1.5 beta 
version is experimental support for 
bitmap images for the gadgets (see 
Figure 1). You can download Massimo 
Tantignone's beta at; http:// 
home.intercom.it/~amigaws/Eng/ 
Projects.html 



26 



Amazing Computing 



araphtcs nen 6^911^929 other wen 




AmigaOS 3.5 Preview 

to Use Glowlcons 

As you know (at least if you've read 
the April 1999 issue of Amazing\) Work- 
bench 3.5 is going to use Newlcons, 
specifically. Matt Chaput's very nicely 
done G tow Icons. You can find out more 
about AmigaOS 3.5 at Amiga Inc.'s web 



site {www.amiga.com) and try out the 
first release of Glowlcons for a preview 
at Matt Chaput's site (http:/ / 
reality.sgi.com/mchaput_aw/). 

As always, you can reach me at 
dsmatthews@geDcities.com. Also, look 
tor "Tills Old Workbench" episodes in 



syndication at my website: 

http://www.geocities.com/ 

SiliconValley/HilIs/2359/ 

Please Write to: 

Dave Matttiews 

c/o Amazing Computing 

P.O. Box 9490 

Fall River, MA 02720 



•AC» 



Volume 14 Number 5 1999 27 



samnle.doc 



File Edit Table View insert Format Tools 




r*~_djj-tj 




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The small broTm iox JUmp GO r 



over 



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Maxwell Is another very good free word processor for Unix like OSs. 



Shell Programnning Part Three 

To realize significant shell scripts, we'll start 

examining the fundamental and indispensable 

programming "if then else" statement. 

by Antonello De Santis 



The shell scripts we examined in the last article have a 
linear structure. What does this mean? It means that when you 
run them, the shell interpreter executes every instruction in the 
script, from the first to the last one. 

When you start writing more complex scripts, such a 
structure is not going to be powerful enough to accomplish the 
operations you want. You may want the script to behave in one 
way when some conditions are verified and do different actions 
when other conditions are verified, 

For example, you may be writing a script that displays the 
content of a text file if it exists, or creates a new file if it doesn't 



exist. Such a script would be impossible to write if we could 
only use a linear structure. In fact, in such scripts every 
instruction is executed. If instead, in our example we want to 
execute some instructions if and only if a particular condition is 
present, we want to execute other instructions. The shell 
interpreter, as well as every other programming language, 
provides you with a set of statements called "control struc- 
tures" allowing you to write non-linear scripts. 

One of these structures is the "if then else" statement. Its 
syntax is quite simple: 



28 



Amazing Computia'g 



if [ condition ] 
then 

instructions 
else - 

other instructions 
fi 



saiiiple.iloc 



Flic Edit Table View [nsert Format Tools 



Help 



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When the shell interpreter 
finds an if then else statement, it 
first checks the condition (called 
"guard") to find out if it's true or 
not. If the condition is true, it 
executes the instructions after the 
"then" word until it reaches the 
"else" word and then jumps to the 
first instruction after the "fi" word. 
If the condition is false instead, the 
interpreter jumps to the first 
instruction after the "else" word 
and executes every instruction till 
"fi", then it goes on executing the 
script after "fi". 

The if condition must be 
specified between a couple of 
square brackets, leaving a blank 
space both after the first bracket [ 
and before the last bracket ]. Note 
that we left a couple of white spaces 
before the "instructions" to be 
executed after the if and else words. 
This is not required by the shell 

interpreter, but it's preferable to use some white spaces to put 
in evidence the set of instructions to be executed after an if or 
else word to make the script's source code more readable. 

To realize the above example we should write a "pseudo' 
script like the following: 

if [ file exists 1 
then 

show file's content 
else 

create a new file 
fi 



Let's now see a real script called "firsHf" about using the if 
then else statement. 

#!/b)n/sh 

echo -n "Write a number please: " 

read a 

if I $a -ge ] 

then 

echo "The number you have typed in is greater than or equal 
toO" 
else 

echo "The number you have typed in is less than 0" 
fi 



bccuwifoj: 




over the 




Word 
Replacement 



ismalle 



English 



[gnorel Ignore All | Replace| Bacltj Add To Dictionary | 



Quit 



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35 in 



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Maxwell's ssarcii and replace feature. 

The output of the script is: 



S ./firstif 

Write a number please: 5 

The number you have typed in is greater than or equal to 

We first ask the user to t>'pe in a niunber and then we store 
it in variable 'a'. Next we check wether the content of variable 
'a' is greater than or equal to 0. This is accomplished using the 
flag -ge (greater then or equal to). 

Assuming that the user has typed in number 5, the guard is 
true and so the shell interpreter goes on executing the set of 
instructions after the then word and prints on the standard 
output "The number you ha\'e typed in is greater than or equal 
toO". 

You may be wondering if you always have to specify the 
else statement. The answer is no. You can, for example, desire 
to write a script that executes certain Lnstuctions if a condition is 
verified, but don't do anything in particular if that condition is 
not verified. 

The structure you have to follow in such a situation is this: 

if [ condition ] 
then 

instructions 
fi 



Volume 14 Number 5 1999 



29 



impress. tcl 




ImPress, a nice and user friendly desktop publishing program. 



As you can see, you simply don't specify the else state- 
ment. Remember to write the fi keyword though, because it 
defines where the set of instructions to be executed ends. 

Another variant of the if then else statement is the "if then 
elif then... .else fi". This is helpful when in a script you don't 
have to check just one, but several conditions. Let's see a 
sample script called secondif. 

#!/bln/sh 

echo -n "Write a number please: " 

read a 

if [ $a -ge ] 

then 

echo "The number you have typed in is greater than 0" 
elif [ $a -eq ] 

echo "The number you have typed in is equal to 0" 
else 

echo "The number you have typed in is less than 0" 
fi 

The output is: 

$ ./secondscript 



Write a number please: 

The number you have typed in is equal to 

The meaning of this script should be clear. We ask the user 
to write a number and then print out the standard output if the 
number is greater than, equal to or less than 0. You can specify 
as many "elif" as you want, but always remember that the 
statement must finish with keyword "fi". One more note about 
the if then else statement concerning a syntactical specification. 
Some programmers prefer to write the "then" keyword on the 
same line as the "if [ condition ]", you can accomplish this by 
following this scheme: 

if [ condition ]; then 

instructions 
else 

instructions 
fi 

The only difference respect to the usual if then else 
structure is that you have to write a semicolon ';' after the [ 
condition 1. 



30 



Amazing Computing 



Conditions. 

The shell interpreter can check a big set of conditions that 
you specify on the guard of the if then else statement and of 
EVERY other control structure we're going to examine in next 
articles. You are allowed to use conditions made up of string 
comparison, arithmetic comparison and file conditionals. Check 
the three boxes in these pages to see every possible flag. Let's 
see one more example to see how to use file conditionals on the 
guard of if then ebe control structure. Let tfus script be called 
"fileif". 

#!/bin/sh 

if[-e$l] 

then ; 

more $1 

else 

touch $1 

echo "File $1 has been created" 
fi 

This simple script checks if the file passed as argument 
exists, if it does then its content is displayed, else a new text file 
with the name passed as parameter is created. It must be called 
like this: 



$./fUeif- 

.bashrc 

content 



■/.bashrc 



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Reader Service Number 123 



In this case we've launched the script specifying the bash shell 
configuration file that is in your home directory as parameter. 
Assuming that such file exists, its content is displayed on die 
standard output. Now let's call the script in this way: 

$. /fileif -/file.txt *"■ • ' 

File /your-home-dir-path/file.txt has been created 

In this case instead, assuming that file.txt doesn't exist, a 
new empty text file called file.txt is created in your home 
directory. The condition [ -e $1 ], tells the shell intepreter to 
check if the file specified in variable $1 exists. If it exists its 
content is displayed using command "more", else a new file 
named as specified into variable $1 is created. 

Check box 3 to see every file conditional allowed to be 
used as guard in control structures. 

See you next month with other programming control 
structures! .AC» 





Box 1 


- String Comparison 


Flag 

string 
stringl = 
stringl != 
-n string 
-z string 


string2 
= string2 


Result 

True if the string is not empty 

True if the strings are equal 

True if the strings are not equal 

True if the string is not NULL (not empty) 

True if the string is NULL (empty) 



Box 2- 


Aritlimetic Comparison 


Flag 


Result 


exprl -eq expr2 


True if expressions are equal 


expri -ne expr2 


True if expressions are not equal 


exprl -gt expr2 


True if exprl is greater than expr2 


exprl -ge expr2 


True if exprl is greater than or equal 




to expr2 


exprl -It expr2 


True if exprl is less than expr2 


exprl -le expr2 


True if exprl is less than or equal 




to expr2 


lexpr 


True if expr is false, false if expr is true 



Box 3 - File Conditional 


Flag 


Result 


-d file 


True if file is a directory 


-efile 


True if file exists 


-ffile 


True if file is a regular file 


-gfUe 


True if set-group-id is set on file 


-rfile 


True if file is readable 


-sfile 


True if file's size is not 


-u file 


True if set-user-id is set on file 


-w file 


True if file is writeable 


-xfile 


True if file is executable 



Volume 14 Number 5 1999 



31 



^^ 1^ ^ 




MPS and the Amiga 

The Amiga can encode and playback MP3s 

with surprisingly good quality, as well as play 

streaming mpeg audio off the Internet. 



There is a new revolutionary file 
format that may affect the way you buy 
and listen to music someday soon. The 
new file format is called MP3 (mpeg 
audio 3) and its ability to deliver CD 
quality audio flies that are small enough 
for PCs to handle have many in the 
music and computer industries excited, 
but unsure as to how things will work 
out. The pundits are arguing over how 
PCs can benefit from MPS music, and 
preser\'e the rights for the artists %vho 
created the music. 

While Amigas are not as potent as 
the latest PCs or Macs, owning an Amiga 
does not prevent you from participating 
in this revolution. The Amiga can encode 
and playback MP3s with surprisingly 
good quality, as well as play streaming 
mpeg audio off the Internet. 



by Fabian Jimenez 



What's the Deal with MP3? 

According to the MP3.com FAQ, 
MP3 is either MPEG-1 (Motion Picture 
Experts Group) or MPEG-2 audio, layer 3 
compression. With the help of an 
encoder, you can compress very large 
audio files (usually AIFF format) down 
to surprisingly small flies without the 
loss of CD audio quality. A typical Ave 
minute song can occupy an AIFF file of 
up to 60 megabytes. Using MP3 compres- 
sion, you can scale this file down to just 
about 5 MB, a 12 to 1 ratio. A typical 
music CD stores up to 74 minutes of 
music, about 15 to 20 titles. A CD 
containing MP3 files can store up to 10 
hours of music, easily around 200 songs 
or 10 uncompressed audio CDs. 

Obviously, one might wonder with 
MP3's advantage, why isn't it making 
great inroads into the music industry? 





The reason may lie in MP3's "under- 
ground" beginning. Since MP3 files are 
manageable in size, MP3s became very 
popular by pirates and bootleggers. 
Internet sites sprang up everywhere 
offering various song titles for download 
and trading. The economic implications 
of MP3 were troublesome to the music 
industry. Recently, Lycos' partner. Fast, 
was sued by the International Federation 
of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) due 
to their MF3 Search Engine for violating 
a portion of copyright law known as 
"contributory infringement". Clearly, the 
industry has been less than pleased about 
MP3. 

However, there are also good uses 
for the MP3 file format. One of the main 
beneflts of MP3 is that it has allowed 
aspiring music artists the ability to 
distribute and market their work without 
the need of a large investment. On 
MPS.com's web site is a host of free 
music available for all tastes. Even 
established artists are starting to see the 
value in MP3. Artist like David Bowie 
and the Beastie Boys have offered free 
music from their web sites as a reward to 
their loyal fans. Aminet has a good 
amount of MP3s available under their 
"mods/mp3" directory. 

Recently MP3.com also announced 
the appointment of Gateway's CEO Ted 
Waite to their Board of Directors. A very 
excited Ted Waite stated, "I believe in 
digital distribution of music, and with 
more and more consumers and artists 
flocking to MP3.com, I think that they 
have only scratched the surface of how 
people will learn about, listen to, and buy 
music in the future." Several MP3 
playback appliances like Diamond Rio's 
Walkman-like player, and Empeg-Car 
MP3 car stereo are increasing in popular- 
ity. 



Ryan's MP3 Linux based car mp3 player 
32 Amazing Computing 



I -I (AWEB«1>-.5HQUTcastl 




Shoutcast features various Internet Radio stations witti varied genre from Ciassic Rocl<, Techno-Dance, and even 
a 24-Hour a Day Adam Sandler station! 



piprpi^:^ 



iwnSh 
©rownSomebodysBaby 
lirovwTenderlsTheNight 



Up 



Down 



fidd., 



AmlgoAMP is ttie most CPU intensive playback progrom on the Amiga. 




Remove | Siuffle [ lid 



VoLUMj- 14 Number 5 1999 33 



SongPiay 



04:56 IBrownRunnitigOnEmpty.mpS 
05:43 3BrownShapeOfTheHeart.mp3 
04:23 IBrownSomebodysBaby.mpS 



MPEG1 -Hi 1 28kbps 1 1 025HZ/1 6b Stereo 



01:f8 






3dB 



4<tB 



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j!g|^coiJ s I Ef]f!^l 




CPU 



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looy: 



SongPlayer's playback on standard Amigas is close to CD quality at 14-bits, and it is CD quality on supported sound cards. 



Not to be left off the boat, Microsoft 
announced their own version of a 
compressed audio file format called 
MSAudio 4.0. Microsoft claims better 
compression and security for their 
formal, but it is not known if they will 
open source their version like MP3. 

Encoding MP3s 

Lets be frank here. If you have access 
to a souped up PC or Mac, use that 
machine for encoding. While good 
encoders exist for the Amiga, nothing 
beats muscle power for making these 
files in a reasonable amount of time. Case 
in point, if you use a Pentium 11 based PC 
with Xing's AudioCatalyst (http:// 
www.xingtech.com) you can encode a 
song ill less time than it takes to play it 



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34 



Circle 155 on Reader Service card. 



Amazing Computing 



back at normal speed. On an 040 Amiga, 
it typically takes around 4 hours to 
encode a song. An 060 Amiga can do it in 
an hour and a half. Which would you 
rather use? 

If you plan to encode and decode 
MP3 files I recommend your Amiga have 
at least a 68030 CPU at 50 mhz, with a 
68060 or PowerPC being ideal. Also, you 
will need to get support files like 
mpega.lha (mus/play) or 
mpegajibrary.lha (util/libs) for certain 
programs to use MP3 files. Owners of 
PowerUp accelerators and Amiga sound 
cards are advised to seek out MP3 
related programs for their hardware to 
improve the quality of their encoding or 
playback. For example, folks who use 
Haage&Partiier's WarpUP should try 
mpega-WarpUP.lha (util/libs). Addi- 
tional files needed include 
asyncio.library (dev/c ), and the AHI 
audio system "ahiusr.lha" (mus/misc ). 

Mike Cheng of CStarvvare (http:/ / 
lLnux.tc3net.com/cstar/ ) has made a 
MP3 encoder for the Amiga called MP3 
Encode. Located on Aminet as 
MP3Enc.lha (mus/misc), MP3 encode 
has several CPU specific versions to 
allow your Amiga to encode tracks off a 
CD. You may wish to use a "ripper" to 
extract songs off various CDs on to your 
hard drive before encoding if you have 
the disk space. MP3 Encode is a CLI 
based program based off publicly 
available Linux source code. Several GUI 
front ends are also available off Aminet 
like EasyEncode. While not as sophisti- 
cated as the packages available on the 



PC, they do make the job easier. 
EasyEncode by Jan Schwenke is avail- 
able from Aminet (mus/misc). 

Encoding a song is as easy as the 
following command: 
TEMP;>encodecd0:AIFF_Stereo/Track.3 
"NameYouWant.mp3" 

This is assuming that you wish to 
encode the third track from a CD in CDO: 
to an assigned volume called TEMP;. 
Also, the program "encode" has to be 
placed somewhere in your path state- 
ment, like the C: directory. Notice that 
the subdirectory used from the CD was 
"AIFF_Stereo". There are other directo- 
ries on the CD that should be ignored. 

Playing MP3s on an Amiga 

There are several programs and GUI 
front ends that allow you to playback 
MP3s on your Amiga. However, Ln the 
interest of time I will highlight only three 
playback programs: SongPlayer, 
AmigaAMP, and StreamMP3. The 
beauty of Amiga MP3 players is that 
most of the necessary files are located on 
Aminet for free. The following programs 
were tested on my Amiga 4000 with an 
060 CPU, AmigaOS 3.1, 48 Mb fast RAM, 
stock audio, and Picasso96 RTG soft- 
ware. 

For those Amiga users with 030 and 
040 CPUs, there are ways to improve 
playback of MP3 files on your machines. 
Increasing buffer size, decreasing sound 
quality, and using the "mono" setting 
will help prevent slow, distorted 
playback. There are many sound cards 



on the Amiga that can also help by taking 
over the sound generation from the main 
CPU. People who use CyberGrapliics 
RTG need to download Cyber56khz.lha 
(gfx /board) to increase the calibration of 
the audio playback. Apparently the 
Amiga's sound chip has timing issues 
with the screen refresh rate. This pro- 
gram bumps up Paula's ability to allow 
playback of 56 kHz samples based on 
CyberGraphic's timing, not the AGA 
chipset's. Picasso96 users do not need 
this file, it is handled automatically. 

One interesting thing to note. When 
playing back MP3s on my Amiga, I can 
multitask with no pauses or drop off in 
the music's playback, I once copied an 
MP3 off a CD to my hard drive while 
playing back the same MP3 on 
SongPlayer with no interruptions. 
Frequently on my PC at work, I would 
experience short interruptions during 
playback when Windows decided it 
needed to spin my hard drive (despite 
having 64 Mb of RAM). 

AmigaAMP 2,5 

AmigaAMP 2.5 (mus/play), by 
Thomas Wenzel, is a port of XAmp (or 
Vv^inAmp) is certainly the prettiest Amiga 
MPS player. Featuring versions for 68k 
and PPC, AmigaAmp features the ability 
to use the thousands of "skins" available 
to WinAMP. Skins allow AmigaAMP to 
change the appearance of the program's 
GUI. AmigaAMP uses the mpega. library 
on the 68k processor, or an internal 
decoding engine for the PPC version. 
Sound is played back using the AHI 
audio system, but due to the CPU load 
does not approach CD quality. 
AmigaAMP supports 1D3 tags (scrollable 
file information) and play lists. 

AmigaAMP is the most CPU 
intensive playback program on the 
Amiga. Surprisingly it also featured the 
poorest playback quality (without using 
a sound card). Thomas admittedly states, 
"AmigaAMP is optimized for visual 
appearance and accuracy, not for speed!" 
Installation was fairly simple, just 
expand the file archive where you want, 
no assign statements are needed. 

Other Amiga MP3 playback pro- 
grams now feature the ability to use 
"skins" also, with better playback 
quality. For example, TMLG (mus/play) 
and AMPLifier (mus/play). These other 



programs look the same as AmigaAMP, 
but feature slightly better audio quality 
during playback. Thomas is focusing on 
improving the program's quality and 
adding visual plug-ins like a Spectrum 
Analyzer. For more information on 
AmigaAMP, surf to "http:// 
amigaamp .amiga-software. com" . 

SongPlayer 

SongPlayer (mus/play), by Stephane 
Tavenard, is a multi-format audio file 
player that includes support for MP3. 
While not as pretty as AmigaAMP, its 
playback quality is far superior. 
SongPlayer requires MUI and AHI. On 
standard Amigas, playback is close to CD 
quality at 14-bits, and is CD quality on 
supported sound cards. SongPlayer 
allows play lists, and has limited ID3 Tag 
support. 

SongPlayer's installation is handled 
by a fairly standard installation script. 
While SongPlayer doesn't support skins, 
you can redo the GUI by modifying the 
button's IFF file. 

SongPlayer features a nice sound 
meter and spectrum analyzer during 
playback. As mentioned earlier 
SongPlayer handles multiple file formats 
including IFF, AIFF, WAV, AU, and 
CODA. 

StreamMP3 

StreamMP3 (comm/v«vw), by 
Sigbjm Skjret, is an ARexx script that 
enables you to stream MP3 files directly 
off the internet. Requiring rxsocket.lha 
(comm/tcp), this file functions as a plug- 
in for Ibrowse or AWeb. While not a 
stand-alone playback program. You can 
use Stream MP3 to listen to MP3 encoded 
streaming audio from many web sites 
like Shoutcast (http:// 
www.shoutcast.com). Shoutcast features 
various Internet Radio stations with 
varied genre from Classic Rock, Techno- 
Dance, and even a 24 Hour a Day Adam 
Sandler station! 

Streaming MP3 files of course lack 
the overall quality of playing back the file 
off your hard drive. The faster your 
connection to the net, the better your 
results will be. Given the limitations of 
standard analog phone lines, don't 
expect CD quality unless you are lucky 
enough to have ADSL, ISDN, or cable 
modem connections. ■. 



Included with StreamMP3's file 
archive are instructions on how to set it 
up with IBrowse or AWeb. There is no 
installer script, but copying the files 
where they need to be isn't rocket 
science. You will also need to edit the 
ARexx script to tell it where the needed 
"rx" (to execute ARexx scripts) file 
resides. 

Conclusion 

Despite not having the modem 
muscle power, or true 16-bit audio, 
owning an Amiga doesn't mean you 
have to miss out on MP3. There are 
many programs that will allow you to 
either encode or decode these files with 
relative ease. This article only begins to 
touch upon the many issues surround- 
ing MP3 files, and the programs you 
can use for them on your Amiga. I 
encourage you to explore Aminet and 
other Amiga web sites to find the one 
you like best, especially owners of 
Amiga PowerPC and sound cards. 

For more information, check out 
these web sites: 

MP3 on the Amiga - http:// 

www.terravista.pt/guincho/ 

1139/amiga_mp3.html 
MP3.com - http; //www. mp3.com 

MP3Car.com -http:// 

www.mp3car.com/ 
AmigaAMP - http:/ /amigaamp. amiga- 

software.com 
CStartWare - http://linux.tc3net.com/ 

cstar 
Aminet - http://ftp.uiu-paderbom.de/ 

aminet 

One last thing. For you hacker 

types, surf on over to http: / / 
homel.gte.net/flogger/mp3car and 
make your own Amiga based MP3 Car 
Player. Casey Halverson outlines what 
is needed, as well as the theories 
behind such a project. As expected, 
Casey, Amazing Computing/Amiga, 
and myself are not responsible if you 
toast your Amiga and your car if you 
make an attempt at this project! 



•AC* 



Please Write to: 

Fabian Jimenez 

c/o Amazing Computing 

P.O. Box 9490 

Fall River, tAA 02720 



Volume 14 Number 5 1999 35 



Handling Text in PageStreamS 

Getting control of what text you place, how you 
enter it and what you can do with It. 

bif Williaiii F. Madiiock 



Last issue we ran through some of the 
more important aspects of the 
PageStreamS user interface. This month 
we will go over the basic text-handling 
features of PageStreamS. 

Although it shouldn't be necessary to 
say this, you should always have your 
copy of PageStreamS open and ready to 
go when you get to these articles. Unless 
specifically stated, we tvill be using a US 
Letter sized page in portrait orientation. 
Eventually we will be creating a particu- 
lar project, but for now, we'll just be walk- 
ing through the basic features of the pro- 
gram. 

Text Objects 

In PageStreamS there are several 
ways to get text onto the page. First, you 
can either type it in directly or import it. 
And in either of those cases, you can put 
it in a "Text Frame" or you can just place 
the text cursor somewhere on the page 
and put the text there. 

The latter method is known as creat- 
ing a text object. The normal way of do- 
ing this is by typing the text directly onto 
the page. This is convenient for short 
stretches of text such as headlines or pull 
quotes. A headline is simply the title of 
an article or story. A pull quote is a short 
bit of text pulled from the article or story 
and placed in such a way as to keep, or 
gain, the reader's interest. An example 
from a product review might be like the 
one at right. 

To create a text object, go to the 
ToolBox and click on the icon that looks 
like a capitol "A". This will put 
PageStreamS in Text Mode. Move the 
mouse pointer over your (hopefully al- 
ready opened) page and click the left 
mouse button. This places the text cursor 
on the page at the point where you clicked 
the mouse. When you're creating a text 



object, there is no set right margin, so if 
you're going to have more than one line 
of text, you'll have to enter the linefeeds 
manually by hitting the return key, tike 
you would on an old style typewriter. 
Now, go ahead and type something. 

Congratulations! You've just created 
your first text object in PageStream3. 

Text Frames 

When I was editor of the G.A.C. FLAK 
newsletter, I used text objects and text 
frames all the time. Text objects are easy. 
You type in a few words, pick your font, 
fine tune the placement, and you're done. 
Text Frames are a different story. There's 
lots more to them, but you'll find that you 
use them much more than text objects. The 
vast majority of your PageStream text will 
go into text frames. 

There are two ways to create a nor- 
mal text frame in PageStreamS. Either you 
use the menu command Layout/Create 
Text Frames... or you click in the ToolBox 
on the icon that looks like a bunch of lines. 
The former method is more automated, 
and therefore more useful for creating sev- 
eral pages worth of Text Frames. 



"7/76 Amazing 
PageStreamS 
Makes DTP easy! 



ff 



When you use the ToolBox to create a 
text frame, your pointer will change to a 
crosshair. You create the text frame this 
way by drawing it out in the same fashion 
that you would use to draw a box. Place 
the pointer at one corner of the space you 
want the text frame to cover, click the 
mouse, draw it down to the opposite cor- 



ner of the target area and click the mouse 
again. Your new text frame will be created 
to fit the bounding box you just drew. Of 
course, you can use this same method to 
produce text frames with one, two or three 
columns per frame by holding the left 
mouse button over the text frame icon in 
the ToolBox and choosing the one, two, 
or three column icon from the bar that will 
appear. 

You can also use the menu command, 
mentioned above, to create frames in a 
more automated fashion. Choosing this 
command will bring up the Create Text 
Frames requester. At the top there will be 
a pop-up menu for selecting the chapter 
you want to add the text frames in. Leave 
it set to Untitled for now. 

Below that you will see a group of 
four editable text gadgets, for setting the 
inside, outside, top, and bottom margins 
(when working on a single-sided docu- 
ment, as we are now doing, inside is left). 
My defaults are set to 0.5", 0.5", 1", and 1" 
respectively. Anything reasonable should 
do just fine for our purposes here. 

Next to that is a pair of editable text 
gadgets. Labeled "Columns", this group 
lets you set the number of columns in the 
frame, and the spacing (or "Gutter") be- 
tween each pair of columns in the frame. 
My defaults have these set to 2, and 0.25" 
respectively. 

Below this are gadgets to set the 
range of pages that you want to create the 
frames on, and a check box for selecting 
whether or not to link the created frames 
to each other. Linking frames allows text 
to flow smoothly and automatically be- 
tween them. 1 always have this checked. 
Set the "From" and "To" gadgets to 1 and 
10. Once everything is set right, click on 
"Create" to create the text frames. 

You will note that the Page number 
gadget in the bottom of your document 



36 



Amaziiwg Computing 




tfr P«ln v^M- m<r>ir- 









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rnisa 






fl:vSrr<f lavvi f<ri?OTa, «i5Sel Ln-sra q^-qim -dolrit : 



rA.« aojut^^-tvu; 



5*r> o4i« <lijpjd?H!LU fiti l<L'<K<tit i!r«r!irttt hqp^<:«[ 




Loremipsum.png file creates an unusual but workable document. 



window reads 1/10 now. This means ttiat 
you are on page one, and the last page con- 
taining an object of some kind is page 10. 



Go to the ToolBox and select the text 
icon (the "A"). Now move your pointer 
over the text frame you created earlier and 



click the left mouse button. Once you en- 
ter text mode, your pointer changes to a 
shape more conducive to placing a text 

Volume 14 Number 5 1999 37 



€^.^^^ 



-<-^^ 




This Month's Feature ... 

The Genesis Odyssey PPC 11 

The first PPC Amiga setting the performance standard for Amiga Systems 

Pure speed and flexibility through our new "Build- Your - Own" system. 

Order Line: 1 888 RANDOMIZE (1 888 726-3664) 

Phone: (905) 939-8371 Fax: (905) 939-8745 
Sales e-mail: sales@randomize.com Website: www.randomize.com/genesis.html 

The Odyssey PPC Starts with the following 
features and lets you build from there: 

f PPC 603e 1 60 Mhz / 060 50 Mhz CPUs 

f 3.2 GB IDE HD, AOx IDE CD-Rom, 16 MB Ram 

f Ultra Fast SCSI and IDE Interfaces 

f Mouse, Keyboard, Case with 250 Walt ATX PSU 

t' Genesis Customized Amiga OS 3.1 (3.5 as soon as It's available) 

X" Personal Paint 7.1 

t^ Amiga Magic Bundle > ,,. 

Ht th 

Now add the options: ^ot^'^Oy^^u 

f 240 Mhz 603e PPC fj^^V 1 ^/„ -i 

r BVIsion 24Bit Graphics Board %,- *!' - *>» 

r" Prelude 16Blt Sound ^ 

r High Density Floppy Drive 'i /l^ 

r Larger Hard Drive y^ *r A 

f CD-Writer ^/// ' 

r Zip or Jazz Drive ^^Cl^/. 

K Video Toaster Flyer ^'o ' 

Configure and Price your own system onOiine at 
^" hHp://www.randomize.com/genesis/genodysseyppcii.html 



« 



XK> 



cursor. If you have good eyes and a good, 
high resolution display, you will notice that 
there is now a flashing text cursor in the 
top-left of the frame in which you clicked. 

Now you can start typing text in 
manually, or you can import the text. Se- 
lect the menu command File/Insert Text. 
This will bring up a file requester. If the 
defaults are still set as they were at instal- 
lation, you should be in the "Text" direc- 
tory under the PageStreamS: assign. In this 
directory you should find a file titled 
"Loremlpsum". Select that file. This will 
bring up the Insert Text requester. This 
shows you which format PageStreamS be- 
lieves the text is importable as. It also al- 
lows you to set some options. I have "Con- 
vert Quotes" and "Convert Dashes" se- 
lected, while "Line has LF" is unselected. 
"Character Set" is set to "Amiga", and 
"Text Codes" is set to "<None>". For now, 
just click on "Insert". 

This should give you about two and a 
half pages of Latin text. Don't worry, you 
don't need to read it. It's just a sample. 
Honest. 

Once the Lorem Ipsum text is im- 
ported, it will all be highlighted. This is to 



allow you to immediately begin formatting 
it as you wish. The text will be flush with 
the left margin and ragged on the right 
margin. This is known as Left-Aligned 
text. Select the menu command; 
Type/ Alignment/Justified. 

This will reformat the text so that it is 
flush with both side margins, like you 
might see in a newspaper or a book. Next, 
select the menu command; 
Type/Hyphenation/Auto Hyphenation. 

Tills will hyphenate the words in the 
text according to a hyphenation algorithm, 
allowing you to save space while gi^'ing a 
more evenly spaced appearance to the text 
on the page. 

Next, choose the menu command: 
Type/Keming/Auto Kerning. 

This also helps make the text appear 
more evenly spaced by controlling the 
spacing of various pairs of letters. Your 
page should now look similar to the one in 
the picture on page 37 . 

Next, open the edit palette if it's not 
already opened. Select the menu command 
Windows/Show Edit Palette. The edit pal- 
ette is one of the best features of 
PageStreamS. It brings so much conve- 



nience to PageStream3. It's almost unbe- 
lievable, in fact. 

In text mode, showing the character 
attributes, the edit palette shows which 
font is being used, which text stj'le, if any, 
which type style (Bold, Italic, etc.), type 
size, type width, kerning and line spacing 
(leading). If you click on the paragraph 
symbol (1), the edit palette changes to 
show the paragraph attributes (alignment, 
paragraph style, if any, first line indent, left 
and right margin indents, and spacing be- 
fore and after each paragraph). 

We will be using the Edit Palette ex- 
tensively in future installments, so, while 
the Edit Palette is still open, select the menu 
command Windows/Remember Window 
Positions. This way, each time you open 
PageStreamS, that treasure will be there 
right away. 

In the next installment, I'll get into 
graphics a little bit. This will be a little more 
fun for me. 

My email address is wmaddock@icon- 
stl.net if any of you have questions or sug- 
gestions. 

•AO 



38 



Amazing Computing 



REBOL(TM)/Core Messaging Language 2.0 

Lesson One: Working with a 
Scripting/l\/lessaging Language 



/'I/ Baliilaii LcclDiowabf 

Qtialit}/ Af^timiicc Coonliiuitor 

REBOLTcdmolooici 



You're at your computer thinking, "Gee, what tool am I 
going to use to do "this*?" If you're asking that question about 
a scripting or 'net-related project, that answer will more than 
likely be REBOL if my experience with it is any indication. 

In this column, I hope to enlighten you on how REBOL/ 
Core 2.0 differs from its previous incarnation (1.0.3) and also 
teach you how to use it by a genuinely useful example. 

New to 2.0 

2.0 has many additions and changes since REBOL/Core 
1.0.3. The code has been extensively rewritten on all platforms 
resulting in a 50% decrease in size. The average executable has 
now been reduced from the previously miniscule 250K or so to 
around 125K. Compare this to the size of Perl (measured in 
megabytes) and you'll see what I'm talking about. 

This total rewrite has also allowed the speed of the 
interpreter to increase by 10 to 20 times or more, in some cases. 
This is great for those time-consuming tasks often required in 
data-processing. 

Also, error checking has been added allowing the user to 
trap and handle errors which might have otherwise caused the 
script to exit before completion. An example of a script-killing 
error occurs when trying to access a web page which no longer 
exists or is not accessible. The error can be caught and handled 
by the script now instead of exiting. 

AH these features are great for a scripting language, but 
REBOL/Core is also a "messaging language". Its real strength 
lies in its ability to easily send and receive messages over a 
network, such as the Internet. Perhaps one of the most exciting 
additions to REBOL/Core 2.0, in my opinion, is the ability for 
users to define their own Internet and messaging protocols. 
This becomes really exciting once the possibilities come to 
mind: a truly cross-platform instant messaging protocol; an 
easily-written network game; and more. 

"Flexibility" is one of the key words in REBOL scripting. 
Much of the flexibility only found in very low-level languages 
like assembler is now possible in a very-high-level language. 



Tutorial 

To show some of the power of REBOL/Core 2.0, 1 will 
show how easy it is to write software which will help you keep 
up-to-date with your favorite web pages. REBOL scripts can be 
written in any editor which can save the file as ASCII (standard 
text). Keep in mind that this tutorial is being written before 
REBOL/Core 2.0 development has been completed, so some 
minor details may ha\'e changed. 

Also, please remember that once tfiis script is written, you 
will be able to run it without any changes on nearly any 
computer running any 32-bit operating system ever created. 

First of all, we will need the REBOL header. It tells the 
reader all about the script. 






REBOL [ 

Title: "REBOL Web Miner" 

Date: 8-Mar-1999 

Author: "Bohdan Lechnowsky" 

File: %rwm.r 

Email: bo@rebol.com 

Purpose: { To extract links from our favorite web pages 



As in REBOL/Core 1.0.3, strings can be represented by 
quotes or curly braces (D). Quotes are used for short strings, 
and curly braces are used for strings which span multiple lines. 
The REBOL interpreter will automatically convert between the 
two based on the data found within. 

Also, files are specified by a leading percent sign (%), and 
dates are specified by day, month, year format. 

The keyword 'REBOL' tells the interpreter it has found the 
beginning of a REBOL script. Any text found before the 
'REBOL' keyword is ignored. This is especially useful for 



About the auttior; 

Bohdan "Bo" Lechnowsky is Quality Assurance 

Coordinator for REBOL Technologies 707-467-8000 

(htfpV/www.rebol.com) 

Just a reminder, you con download the 

REBOL Messaging Language for all Platforms -FREE- 



VowME 14 NvMBUR 5 1999 



39 



attaching REBOL scripts to emails or web pages which can then 
be executed without extracting the script from the email or web 
page first. 

Now that we know about the header, let's start out with a 
useful function. We wilt need a function which extracts links 
from an HTML page (basically, a long string). Here is what the 
function header looks like: 

find-links: func [html] [] 

'find-links' is the name of the function. Because it is followed 
by a colon (:), it is telling the interpreter that this is the name of 
the function, 'func' is a REBOL 'native' stating a function 
definition is about to take place. 

The areas surrounded by square brackets ([]) are called 
'blocks' in REBOL/Core. Functions require two blocks; 
function arguments and the function body. In this function, we 
are calling the HTML string to be processed 'html'. 

REBOL/Core 2.0 supports built-in function help and 
datatype definitions. To add these to our fimction header, it 
would look like this: 

flnd-links: func [ 

"Finds 'href links in an HTML page and outputs them as a block" 
html [string!] "The HTML text to parse"] [] 

The first string in the block is the description of the function. 
The '[string!]' following the parameter name tells the inter- 
preter to only allo^v strings to be passed to this function. This is 
an optional addition but handy for reducing the amount of 
code the user has to write. The string following the datatype 
definition is the description for the 'html' parameter. After this 
fimction is defined and when the user types 'help find-links' at 
the REBOL prompt, the following is displayed: 

Finds 'href links in an HTML page and outputs them as a block 
Argiunents: 
html — Tlie HTML text to parse (must be: string) 

(The exact output of the help function may change in the final 
release of 2.0.) 

Now on to the body of the function. We want the links to 
be output as a block when the function is complete, so we 
should define an empty block first. 

links: make block! 

The interpreter will now make an empty block and assign it to 
the word 'links'. Next, we will need a loop to pull out all the 
links. In HTML, a link looks like this: 

<a href = "http://www.rebol.com">REBOL HomePage</a> 

Here is what the processing loop could look like (but we 
will streamline it shortly): 



while [found? find html "href"] [ , 

html: find html "href" ;step 1 

html: find html "=" ;step 2 

html: next html ;step 3 

end: find html ">" ;step 4 

Unk: copy/part html end ;step 5 

link: trim link ;step 6 

append links Unk ;step 7 

1 

'while' is a REBOL native that takes two blocks: a true/ 
false comparison and the body. The body is only interpreted 
while the comparison block is true. In this case, we are telling 
the interpreter to only process the body if the substring we are 
looking for, "href", is found after the current position in the 
'htmi' string, 'found?' returns true if the result of a 'find' 
operation is successful and false otherwise. 

Step 1 moves the pointer of the string (which is always at 
the beginning of the string when it is defined) to the point 
where "href" was found. 

Step 2 moves the string pointer to the first equals sign after 
the "href". 

Step 3 moves to the next position after the equals sign 
(because we don't want to include it as part of the link). 

Step 4 looks for the first occurrence of the greater-than 
symbol (>) which will indicate the end of the link. 

Step 5 copies out the substring that starts at the position 
after the equals sign and ends at the position before the greater 
theui symbol (the link). 

Step 6 trims off any spaces from the beginning or the end 
of the link. 

Step 7 inserts the Unk into the block named 'links'. 

All this can be accomplished elegantly in REBOL/Core 2.0 
with a one-line command. It isn't as easy to read for a beginner, 
but it becomes easier with experience and has a much cleaner 
look. Coding in the REBOL language can be seen as more than 
just accomplishing a task, it can also be a higher form of art. 



while [found? html: find html "href"] [ 

append links (trim (copy/part (next (find html ' 
html ">"))) 



")) (find 



This version also interprets faster. The parentheses are 
only added here for clarity's sake. The second line of code 
could also be written as: 

append lirJs trim copy/part next find html "=" find html ">" 

Analyzing the process of interpretation makes this much 
easier to understand. First, the interpreter sees the word 
'append'. It knows 'append' takes two arguments: the block or 
string to append to, and what to append to it. The first 
argument is easy as it is currently an empty block named 
'links'. The second argument of 'append' starts with 'trim'. 
The interpreter knows that this takes one argument, a string to 
trim spaces from, 'copy/part' retiuns a string specified by a 



40 



Amaz/ng Computing 




Got Amazing? 
Don't Miss an Issue 
Subscribe TODAY! 

1 -800-345-3360 



Visit us on the web at: www.pimpyb.conn 




starting pointer in the string and an ending pointer in the 
string. This process is continued in a similar manner until the 
entire line is interpreted. 

REBOL/Core 2.0 also has a parse dialect that can handle 
this sort of thing in a very efficient manner, but for the pur- 
poses of this tutorial the above method works Just as well. 
'Parse' is a very powerful feature of 2.0 that suits itself well to 
very complex parsing applications. It also allows the definition 
of alternate dialects tailored to particular needs. 

Another interesting feature I slipped into this example is 
the ability to assign a value to a variable at any point during the 
interpretation. Notice how 1 inserted the result of 'find' to the 
string pointer 'html'. This keeps us from having to do the 'find' 
of "href" in the 'html' string twice. 

Our completed function and the remainder of the pieces 
needed to pull out the links from a list of web pages will look 
like this: 

REBOL [ 
Tide: "REBOL Web Miner" 
Date: 8-Mar-1999 
Author: "Bohdan Lechnowsky" 
File: %rwm.r 
Email: bo@rebol.com 
Purpose: { 
To extract links from our favorite web pages. 



] 



find-links: func [ 
"Finds 'href links in an HTML page and outputs them as a block" 
html [string!] "The HTML text to parse"] 



links: make block! 
while [found? html: find html "href"] [ 
append links (trim (copy/part (next (find html "=")) 
(find html ">"))) 

] '' / 

return links 



urls: [ 



http://www.rebol.com 

http;//www.cucug.org/aminew.htm] 

http://www.pimpub.com 



newlinks: make block! 
foreach url urls [ 
append newlinks find-links read url 



Notice that in addition to 'find-links' there is also a 'urls' 
definition. This block contains three URLs to process. It could 
contain any number of URLs without any change to the 
processing code as the 'foreach' will process them one-by-one 
automatically. This could have been read in from a text file just 
as easily. 

'newlinks' is a block which has been initialized to hold all 
the links found from all the sites. 

'foreach' is a powerful command which allows the 
interpreter to pull out items from a list one-by-one each time 
through the loop until all the items have been processed. This 
is great for processing lists of items, as in this case. Each time 
through the loop, the value 'url' which was specified in the 
'foreach' header holds the next url to process from the 'urls' list. 

At this point, embedded commands are used once again to 
get many things done in a small amount of space. First, the 
current location specified by the value of 'url' is read in as a 
string and passed to our funcfion 'find-links'. 'find-lii\ks' 
returns the list of links found and appends them to the 
'newlinks' list. 

I hope this has been a good introduction to the power of 
REBOL/Core 2.0 and has offered some ideas of what it can be 
used for. Next time, we will expand on this script and turn it 
into a really useful tool for mining the information you want 
from the web automatically. 

In closing, I would like to thank Danny Ramsey, REBOL 
Technologies' Chief Technical Writer, and Carl Sassenrath, 
creator of the REBOL language, for their input to this article. 

•AC* 

Please Write to: 

Bohan Lechnowsky 

c/o Amazing Computing 

P.O. Box 9490 

Fall River, MA 02720 

Volume 14 Number 5 1999 41 



To Freeware: 

Games That 

Never Quite 

Made It 

by jakeFreiierick: . . -, , 




For one reason or another, it's not 
uncommon for a commercial game's 
development to be halted prior to its 
release. Usually these games remain half 
finished, sitting on a hard drive some- 
where to collect dust. Sometimes, as in 
the case of the recently released Putty 
Squad, they vsdll get snatched up by a 
different publisher several years later. 
Once in a while, when a game is near 
completion, the authors will finish it and 
put it on the internet for anyone who 
wishes to download. Here's a quick 
roundup of a few of these commercial- 
gone-freevvare games. Keep in mind that 
some of them are quite old, so don't 
expect compatibility and system friendli- 
ness to be on par with the commercial 
games of today. 



Blitz Bombers 

Despite being grouped in a genre 
that is rapidly becoming as prevalent and 
ridiculed as Breakout clones. Blitz 
Bombers stands out amongst the compe- 
tition. It is, as you may have guessed, a 
Bomberman clone that has you running 
through power- up filled mazes, drop- 
ping bombs in an attempt to destroy your 
opponents. Since the game was intended 
for commercial release it shows a little 
more polish than your average PD effort. 

Thankfully, the fundamental 
gameplay that made Bomberman such a 
hit in tlie first place has remained intact. 
The action is as fast and frantic as ever, 
and there are plenty of power-ups to 
keep you going. The major tiding that sets 




BIHz Bombers 

Blitz Bombers apart is the polish and 
attention to detail. Each stage has its own 
look and theme with fitting music, 
creating a uixique atmosphere from level 
to level. You'll find yourself blasting 
holes in Egytian tombs, icebergs, and 
chips on giant motherlands, among other 
things. 

While most games of this type 
provide hours of multiplayer entertain- 
ment, the majority have lacked any sort 
of single player mode. Blitz Bombers 
addresses this problem, offering a decent 
single player game that requires you to 
perform various tasks such as finding 
keys and destroying generators. It's 
essentially a race against the clock as 
most of the enemies simply wander 
about the mazes aimlessly, either not 
knowing or not caring that a man in a 
brightly colored suit is detonating 
powerful explosives in their environ- 
ment. This can be entertaining for a 
while, but is not fast paced enough to 
have any lasting appead. 

At the end of the day. Blitz Bombers 
is still just one of hundreds of 
Bomberman clones dressed up and 
presented with a little more flair. 
However, as Bomberman clones go, it is 
one of the better offerirvgs. The game's 
only glaring flaw (which some may 
consider fatal) is its habit of locking up 
after the first round of a multiplayer 
game. If this type of game appeals to you 
then you certainly won't be disap- 
pointed, just don't expect to be blown 
away by its innovation. 



Blitz Bombers 
42 Amazing Computing 



RatingiB 

Download Blitz Bombers from Aminet/ 

game / 2play / BiitzBombers.tha 

Hoi AGA 

The story behind Hoi AGA is really 
a sad one that reflects the root of many 
problems in the Amiga industry today. 
Team Hoi, who was responsible for a 
number of demos earlier in the decade, 
created a platformer featuring a cute, 
green character named Hoi in 1991. After 
having the game delayed, pirated, and 
only receiving a mere $500 for their hard 
work the team decided to make the game 
freeware for everyone to enjoy. 

The most outstanding aspect of Hoi 
AGA is its clever gameplay. Rather than 
stomping or shooting hordes of pesky 
enemies, as in most platformers. Hoi 
takes a more creative, timing and puzzle 
based approach. Level two equips you 
with a rocket pack and projectiles which 
fire from your mouth, but it's not taken 
to the extent that it becomes even 
remotely violent. Most of the time you 
will find yourself examining an enemy's 
movement pattern to find the easiest 
route of navigation around it or reacting 
to a platform that just appeared to 
replace the one you were standing on. 
Each challenge is unique and succes- 
sively harder, giving the game a real 
sense of progression. Thankfully there is 
a trainer mode which gives you infinite 
lives as some of the areas are frustrat- 
ingly difficult. 

Hoi's graphics are quite good in a 
cartoony sort of way. The demo scene 
roots are obvious, the levels are filled 
with eye straining effects (particularly 
the "Epileptic Finale") that prove you 
don't need a 3D engine to make a game 
look decent. Though the music is great, it 
would have been nice to have a few 
sound effects, as well. 

The only thing that Hoi really lacks 
is a decent interface. There is no title 
screen or credits, just a window that pops 
up, asking which level you want to start 
on and how many lives you want. This is 
understandable, though, considering the 
way the developers were cheated, they 
probably gave up before adding the final 
details. 




Starblrds 



All in all. Hoi AGA is an excellent 
game that proves the platform genre still 
has plenty of room for original concepts. 
It's unfortunate that the de\'elopers were 
treated as they were because 1 u'ould 
gladly pay a commercial fee for the 



game, even now, when it's over five 
years old. 

Rating: A 

Download Hoi AGA from aminet/ 

game/jump/hoiagaremix.Iha 



Volume 14 Numbhk 5 1999 43 



Starbirds 

Let's get one thing straight right 
from the beginning, original is not a 
word that should be in any way 
associated with Starbirds. The game 
fits squarely into the category of 
"sideways scrolling shoot 'em up", a 
title worn proudly by classics such as 
Project X, R-Type and hundreds of 
other similar titles over the years. 
While many developers have at- 
tempted to further the genre by adding 
various gimmicks and enhancements 
most opt for the tried and true formula 
of mindless blasting that has been 
around since Space Invaders, Starbirds 
falls into this category, offering little in 
the way of refreshing ideas and putting 
the primary focus on solid gameplay. 

There really isn't a whole lot to say 
about the game. The acHon consists of 
flying around shooting anything that 
moves and collecting the occasional 
power-up. The graphics are below 
average, and the background song can 
get on your nerves. So what, I hear you 
saying, does Starbirds offer? Fortu- 
nately it does a fairly good job at what 
makes or brakes a game. It plays well. 
It's certainly not the most exiting 
example of its genre by any stretch of 
the imagination, but the acHon is fast, 
the enemies are varied and there is 
some decent firepower to be had. And 
did I mention that it has a simulta- 
neous two player mode? 

Granted, Starbirds is a solid effort 
that offers most of the things a good 
shoot 'em up should. It's just a little too 
simple and uninspiring for today's 
rigorous standards. However, due to 
the lack of this type of game in recent 
times, it will probably appeal to those 
who enjoy a little nostalgia now and 
then. 

Rating: C+ 

Download Starbirds from http:// 

www .haage-partner.de / starbirds / 

index_e.htm 



•AC* 



44 



Please Write to: 

Jake Frederick 

c/o Amaz/ng Computing 

P.O. Box 9490 

Fall River, MA 02720 

Amazing Computing 




Amiga Games 
News and Previews 



by Jake Frederick 



It's frustrating when there are so 
many great previews and screen shots, 
but such a slight trickle of completed 
games. The best thing to do while you're 
waiting is to download the demos and 
give the authors feedback on changes, 
additions and things you liked. Most 
developers want to hear criticism, after 
all we are ones who will be handing out 
the cash for the final product. Mean- 
while, go get yourself a copy of Napalm 
and hassle ClickBoom to finish the TCP 
networking! 

Digital Images News 

Although their efforts to bring us 
Quake II were not successful. Digital 
Images have not given up. Heretic 2 and 
F22: Air Dominance Fighter are the latest 
pursuits in DI's ongoing effort to bring 
quality PC games to the Amiga. Some 
may view this with a fair amount of 
skepticism given the company's previous 
failed attempts, but their perserverance 
and commitment should be recognized 



and commended just the same. Other 
titles in the Digital Images pipeline 
include Wild Fire, a third installment to 
the popular Zeewolf series, Kitjitsu 
Warriors, a 3D beat 'em up, and Digital 
Soccer, a 3D soccer game. 

A demo of the space trading 
simulation Space Station 3000 v^fill be 
available shortly. The demo is said to 
show off the game's first person shooter 
sequences which will take place when 
boarding opponent's space ships and 
bases. These sections will use the Genetic 
Species engine, which Dl has licensed 
from Marble Eyes, so they should look 
great and run at a reasonable frame rate 
on moderately expanded machines. 
Other Space Station 3000 features 
include: 256 color graphics, CDDA audio, 
rendered animation sequences, and 
support for OCS, ECS, AGA and graphics 
cards. You'll need a CD Rom drive, 20 
megs of hard drive space, 1 meg of chip 
RAM and 3 megs of fast RAM to play the 
game. 



Evil's Doom Special Edition 

Titan Computer has just released a demo of the new role 
playing game, Evil's Doom Special Edition. The game features 
dozens of hand drawn characters and locations, full motion 
video and speech sequences, hi-res 256 color graphics, and a 3D 
engine for dungeon sections. To play Evil's Doom you'll need 
AGA or a graphics card, an '030, a 2x CD-Rom drive and 50 
megs of hard drive space. It's been a while since the Amiga has 
seen a decent RPG, especially one that looks this good, so it 
looks as if we could all be in for a treat. 

Download the demo from Aminet/biz/demo/ , 

EvilsDoom^demo.lha 

Cauldron 2000 

Cauldron 2000 is a freely distributable, third person, 
mulHplayer, internet death-match game in development by the 
GoAD (Gathering of Amiga Devetopers), a group set up to 
allow Amiga developers to share ideas and resources with each 
other. The group is currently seeking a C or C++ programmer 
who has access to a PowerPC card to continue the game's 
development. If you think you can be of assistance e-mail 
Michael Flaherty at michaelf®bakakaba. 

Settlers 2 Cancelled 

Unfortunately it has been confirmed that Titan Computer's 
planned port of Settlers 2 has been cancelled. The company has 
stated that Bluebyte, the original developers of the popular 
strategy game, were concerned with the amount of work they 
would have to put into the Amiga conversion. Despite Titan's 
assurances that all of the work and customer service would be 
handled by them, Bluebyte decided to cancel the project. 



If you have any announcements you would like to share 
with Amiga gamers send me an e-mail at gonzo@acadia.net. If 
you're not net accessible write me at : Jake Frederick c/o 
Amazing Computing /Amiga, PiM Publications Inc., P.O. Box 
9490, Fall River, MA 02720. 



•AC* 









?^}jf ;B jine r.(fsh{-s<?! 






Evil's Doom Special Edition 
by Titan Computer 



<W''' 



VoiuMi; 14 NuMBim 5 1999 



45 






•^n 



ariifiUifN'dhliPf'^iJi*^ --'-*;« 



Napalm 



Don't plan on getting mucti sleep for awtille. 

By Jerimy Campbell 



Napalm is the latest offering from 
ClickBOOM. It is a real-time strategy war 
game that allows you to take control of a 
vast war campaign and decide the 
actions of all friendly units. The game is 
large and comes packed on a CD-ROM. If 
you are an enthusiast of this type of 
simulation and intend to buy Napalm 
then don't plan on getting much sleep for 
awhile. The details of the game are 
excellent. The buildings and landscape 
are very detailed and realistic. It almost 
reminds me of a satellite photo. The 
animations of structures being built, 
soldier battles, and explosions are 
entertaining and the sound effects are 
superb. There is no doubt a lot of time 
went into making Napalm visually and 
audibly life like. 

As the suprAne commander you're 
responsible for establishing a headquar- 
ters and home base from which to launch 
your campaign. This base includes things 
like refineries, barracks, factories, power 
plants, research centers, radar outposts, 
defences, etc. From this base you 
generate your army by manufacturing 
troops, tanks, jeeps, aircraft, satellites, 
and other constructs of war. To generate 
the money for all this construction, you 
must send out your oil rigs to drill for oil 
which is what greases the wheels of all 
your production. 

At the beginning of the game you 
can choose to play as either Earth! ings or 
Robots. I tried playing it both ways and I 



didn't notice a whole lot of differences 
other than the fact that the vehicles and 
weapons look and function differently. I 
especially liked the robots flame 
llirowers. Their fiery ordinance proved to 
be very effective. 

There are a great many units 
available in Napalm, but many aren't 
available until you get into the later 
campaigns. The first couple of campaigns 
only offer the basics, like infantry, 
bazookers or flame throwers, light tanks 
and armored vehicles. In later games you 
get to use the good stuff, like rocket 
launchers, heavy tanks, artillery, nitro- 
glycerin, paratroops, laser tanks, 
plasmer, antigrav units, and nukes. 

The landscape is not revealed until 
you send vehicles or troops to explore it, 
or once you establish a radar outpost 
later in the game. Exploring uncharted 
territory is rather exciting as your squad 
of infantry, bazookers, jeeps and light 
tanks will inevitably happen upon the 
enemy. Once a battle is begun, it is 
important that you develop an attack 
strategy instead of simply flinging 
everything into the fray. It is much better 
to selectively send certain elements of 
your squad against specific opponents. 
By doing this, you can spare a lot of 
casualties and generally have a better 
chance of winning a battle. 

As with a real war, you must plan 
ahead and consider all your options 
before making a decision to act. One 



incorrect maneuver could cost you the 
battle. Napalm allows you to create 
specific units and assign them a key- 
board number. In this way, you can set 
up strongly armored tank units, fast jeep 
imits, bazooka squads, engineer units or 
any combination you need. With a quick 
key stroke, you can gather a specific unit 
and send it to any needed area. The 
clever player soon discovers that 
positioning units in ambush positions 
and luring the enemy into the trap can 
win many a battle. 

Once you whittle down your 
enemy's attack units, it's time to take on 
the enemy base. It's important that you 
attack a base with care as it can be 
brimming with powerful defenses. Send 
in a fast moving unit to sur\'ey just what 
defenses a base has. A good tactic is to 
take out enemy oil rigs first, cutting off 
the supply of vital cash generating oil. 
Once that is accomplished, you should 
try to eliminate the enemy's means of 
producing more weapons. Do not simply 
destroy all the enemy buildings. It is 
much better to take over select buildings 
with an engineer or technician unit once 
it is weakened. This will prevent the 
enemy from repairing the building and 
keeping it in production. Of course, 
destroying buildings is certainly neces- 
sary, but beware of the devastating 
fireball and firery debris from an 
exploding building. It can kill or wound 
units dose by. 



46 



Amazing Computing 



l-m^t 



Overall, the front end of Napalm is 
well laid out and intuitive, although it 
is very obvious that a lot was borrowed 
from the classic game Dune n. That's 
not a bad thing, since Duiie n was 
probably one of the best Amiga games 
ever. 

Napalm does not have a terribly 
steep learning curve but for the novice 
it may seem rather tough. There are a 
number of key functions that you will 
need to memorize to become proficient 
with Napalm, so at first, you will be 
referencing the small 10 page booklet 
that passes as the games manual. In 
short order, the key functions become 
familiar, and you'll be able to play the 
game quite efficiently. 

You can do most everything with 
the mouse but the key functions make 
for excellent shortcuts. There are three 
ways to scroll the screen; mouse 
(smooth scrolling by holding down 
rmb), arrows (they appear when you 
move the cursor to the edge of the 
screen), and the cursor keys. The 
manual suggests that you should never 
need to scroll. Scrolling was an integral 
part of every other similar game I've 
ever played so that suggestion seems a 
bit impractical. However, by assigning 
map locations to the 1-9 number keys, 
you can jump to critical areas quickly, 
and this greatly limits the need to scroll. 

Hard drive installation is fairly 
simple and I don't foresee anyone 
running into any difficulties. The 
installation installs the executable file 
and a set-up program that you will 
need to run before playing Napalm. 
The set-up program is rather basic but I 
recommend you select "ask at boot up" 



for resolution selection. This will enable 
you to find the best screen mode that 
suits your system. You may also have to 
give some thought to which network 
setting you want. 

I initially played Napalm in HiRes 
interlaced and it looked gorgeous: almost 
as good as if I had a grapfucs card. For 
quite some time I couldn't get past 
simply looking at the incredibly detailed 
graphics and animations. However, in 
this screen mode, soldiers are quite small 
and things are a bit slow. Large battles 
tend to be too slow and tedious to play. 
Once I started playing the game seri- 
ously, I was forced to switch to LoRes 
PAL to speed things up. In LoRes PAL 
everything is larger and it doesn't look 
quite as good (but still very nice) but 
game play is much faster. I actually had 
to cut the game speed in half to slow it 
down while in LoRes PAL mode. 

The manual recommends you have 
20 Mb of free hard disk space but you 
still need the CD in the drive to access 
data duriiig play. Napalm comes with 
very attractive packaging and an 
adequate manual and if you require more 
information or updates simply go to 
VkT\'w.clickboom.com. 

Minimum requirements in LoRes 
screen mode are: AG A, 020 CPU, 16 Mb 
Fast RAM, but an 030 CPU is recom- 
mended. To play in HiRes, ClickBOOM 
recommends an 060 CPU, 32 Mb RAM, 
GFX board, enabled CD music. I never 
managed to get the CD soundtrack to 
work on my system. I believe that was 
due to low Chip RAM; Napalm uses all it 
can get so you may need to kill some 
background system programs to free as 
much as possible. ClickBOOM didn't 



answer my email inquiries about this 
problem. 

I experienced one software failure 
during play and it was quite a big one. 1 
had been playing for about an hour and a 
half and was gaining the upper hand on 
the enemy when it happened. I didn't 
save my progress and I lost so much that 
I thought I'd never play Napalm again. 
However, I began playing again the next 
day which is a testament to this game's 
addiction level. 

I am not exactly overjoyed with 
ClickBOOM's new Portal web page. I 
tried to go there to download the 
Napalm 1.2 upgrade but it first made me 
enter my boom# which I had to look up, 
then it made me register Napalm online 
even though I sent in the registration 
card. I still was unable to download the 
upgrade because of a wait. I tried to visit 
the Portal again a week or so later and 
was unable to get to it at all even with 
my boom number. This sort of thing is 
very frustrating to me. 

I think that every aspect of Napalm 
is very polished and feel that 
ClickBOOM has done a bang up job with 
this title. Even the transition screens 
looked slick. I'm pleased and actually 
surprised that such a sophisticated new 
game wiU run as well as it does on a low 
end Amiga. Even though I have little 
time to play this type of game 1 caught 
myself coming back to it again and again. 
I have no choice but to give Napalm an A 
rating. 

Napalm was tested on an A1200 060, 
50 Mb RAM, with 3.0 OS. Visit 
www.clickboom.com for all the latest 
ClickBOOM news. 

•AC" 
Volume 14 Number 5 1999 47 



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