Interview with a Vampire... or the next best creature of the night... a SysOp - Colin Fisher-McAllum of 42BBS
My personal Falcon, apart from having 14Mb, is bulk standard. The poor girl is very impatient to loose that description. Ever since I told her about Nemesis she has been itching to be upgraded. Actually, "standard" is not really a good way to describe my Falcon because she has an Expose card fitted and lives under my desk with the BBS Falcon. Both are connected via a switchbox to a Mega ST keyboard and a Multisync monitor. The girls are connected to each other via MIDI cables to aid the transfer of data. One day I'd like to network them via the LAN. They also share my DeskJet 560c printer, again via a switchbox. With a CD-ROM, a Zip drive and an internal 420Mb IDE this completes my system. The BBS Falcon has 4Mb RAM and a midi PC tower containing four SCSI hard drives, a CD-ROM, a DAT drive - for backup - a SyQuest 44 and a trailing lead to attach my Zip drive for bulk file transfer. Both machines have a 28k8 modem.
Then there is my Mega ST, this is set up in my bedroom and is used solely for MIDI. Finally, I have an STfm that we use for testing review software for AtariPhile. Oh yeah, and a final-finally, I have a very little used Jag.
It seemed to me that each time I went to my computer keyboard was to do work for the FFF and the "fun" was going out of my computing time. This is why I started a MIDI system. The music [OK - noise] I produce is not of a quality that I would want others to hear, but it is giving me so much FUN. I now feel pleasure creeping back into my everyday tasks on the BBS etc. because I can go and have some time at play. I also get a great deal of pleasure out of working on the HTMLs for AtariPhile.
This must be a well worn story by now, but I was a latecomer to computing. I got a Speccy in 1987 and soon outgrew it. I ordered an STfm from Silica Systems, they were out of stock and offered me an [as yet unlaunched] STe. I accepted this and was delighted to see a couple of months later that they were advertising the STe at £100 more than the STfm. Having an early STe I had the buggy TOS1.6 and eventually found I had the DMA problem too.
I am glad I can read this question as meaning programs - plural :-) At the moment I have so many fave proggies. To start with my everyday operating environment is just so pleasurable. The combination of MagiC5, Thing, Freedom and Kobold is a dream. I use, and enjoy, Papyrus and Positive Image a lot, however, for shear computing power, my numero uno for use on a Falcon has to be Apex Media. On a standard Falcon it is just stunning what this animation package can do. I am waiting with baited breath for Apex Alpha.
Time to come out, I think... I was a yuppy! I used to work in advertising. High pressure but very good money. Life, however, has a way of keeping a person in their place. In 1981 I was diagnosed as having Multiple Sclerosis. It's a real downer at times, but I find the time I spend at my computers keeps me sane[ish]. Because of my health my time at the keyboard is limited, so sometimes things often do not get done as quickly as I would wish.
The greatest thing to come out of Falcon FacTT File for me is the friends I have made - especially Kev Beardsworth. To share good news or bad news, if I'm feeling high or low, when I need a chat he is the person I call.
Regarding the work of the FFF, ie AtariPhile and 42BBS, I haven't been doing my job well if the people reading this have not heard of us. However, AtariPhile is an all Atari magazine in HTML format. We like to think of it in that way as opposed to being a diskmag - even if it is available on disk [send a DD disk with two stamps - one for return of you disk the other towards our costs - per issue, to AtariPhile, 11 Pound Meadow, Whitchurch, Hants. RG28 7LG. We are working on issue #4, so let us know what issue(s) you require] as well as on our web and ftp sites. Point your browser at:
to view our latest publication or all issues are available from 42BBS [and other BBSs on the FANfile network] PD libraries and:
Talking of 42BBS... it runs at speeds up to 28k8 has all the usual networked message areas plus a thriving local scene. There are support areas for Atari Net Locator [ANL], InterActive [the shareware support scheme], Maggie diskmag, Reservoir Gods [Falcon Programmers], Scotland's TOS/Atari Group [STAG] and Wessex Atari Group [WAG]. Oh yeah, there's a support area for Croft Soft Software that includes the Atari Authors Association and Atari Times :-)
Colin Fisher-McAllum October 1996