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Photo of ShiumingGreetings and welcome to another bundle of fun and games. As of writing it's only four days until I'm off to Unconventional 2001. According to the expected visitors list the Germans outnumber the Brits by 25:1. Bad timing there, England having just beaten Germany 5-1 in the World Cup 2002 qualifier, but my flight is now booked!

Recently, a visit to yielded a great discovery. Die Feder is a new, currently German-language colour magazine all about DTP with Calamus. The first issue is absolutely packed with articles, news, tutorials, interviews and glossy imagery. Best of all, it's a free, reasonably-sized download (1.6MB for issue 1, containing 31 pages) in Adobe PDF format. Calamus has matured into much more than just an "Atari killer-app", it's now a platform in its own right, supported on Atari, Mac and PC and with a growing legion of loyal users. It's achieved this by continuous development to embrace new technologies while remaining true to its original values. Others have come and gone but Calamus marches on.

Screen shot of Die Feder

It seems not only Infogrames is intent on rejuvenating the Atari brand. Manchester-based iFone Ltd sent us a press release and demo CD of classic Atari games it's developing for mobile phones. I suppose it makes sense, after all, modern phones often have large dot-matrix LCD screens, some in colour, there are now ones which can play (and record) sampled sound in addition to the simple bleeps and bloops, there are even ones which can vibrate instead of ring, ideal for force-feedback action games.

Some of the other titles mentioned do sound more ambitious than Asteroids or Pong. Maybe we'll see the hardcore gaming fraternity turbo-charging its phones with faster graphics chips, boasting about 3D benchmark results, overclocking CPUs, recasing, adding fans, heat sinks (in between cursing at beta driver conflicts) and coming full-circle to the brick-sized yuppie accessory of the '80s.

3rd generation mobile phones soon to arrive!

iFone's plan might start putting an end to those frequent and annoying "I'm on a train" type monologues one endures in the course of a day now. There's a nice thought.

Best Regards,

Shiuming Lai, Features and Technical Editor

MyAtari magazine - Feature #1, September 2001 

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