Review: Trip! #10
Written by Adok
Month of release: October'98
RAR-packed size: 198,598 bytes
Language(s): English, German (1 article)
Related URL: http://www.webtrip.ch
Main editor: sweeper/excite
Design: sweeper, ato, ironmaze
Music: picard (cover of a tune by a finnish artist)
Text: unlock, pdoom, sweeper, ghosti, madmax, iquito
After a long delay (5 months) the new issue of this Swiss e-mag was finally released. I have had several chats with Sweeper in the meantime, and the reason for the delay was the lack of articles. I suggested him to release a poll-magazine, for he said that he had got quite a few answers to the Trip! polls file he had spread for a while, and polls are interesting things which you do not find in every diskmag. Anyway, Sweeper decided to wait a little for more articles, and now the mag was finally released. Maybe it would have never been released at all without the moral support from its readers.
It's an anniversary: This is issue 10 of Trip! Actually, however, it is NOT the 10th issue, because Trip! #8 was omitted due to an internal mistake. (Perhaps the Trip! staff will release a magazine called Trip! #8 some time? That would be quite a nice surprise. :)
This issue contains 120 kbyte of articles, new gfx, the old, stable code, new music, and of course the polls results.
For those of you who know older issues of Trip!, nothing has changed. For the others, let me quickly describe the interface: After starting the mag, you first get into a menu in text-mode where you can choose if you want to start the magazine right now, want to start it without sound, want to configure your sound card first, enable the bugreport-function or exit to DOS. You have five seconds in order to select a menu item. Otherwise the magazine will start with the current settings. The used sound system is Midas 0.40a.
Then the real interface starts. It runs under Vesa 1.x, although it would probably have been possible to realize it under VGA modes, too (mode 13h for the title gfx and the menu, and mode 12h for the text viewer). Anyway, first you get to the title picture. Trip! #10 contains a new picture showing a "funky 10-year-old brotha". After pressing a key, the main-menu screen appears, again with new, golden gfx.
In the background the music is playing. As the description of the tune says, which, by the way, is a 80-kbyte-sized standard mod file, it is a "covered part of a track done by a Finnish guy". The covering was done by Picard (the Swiss Picard, not to be mixed up with the Hungarian coder Picard/Rhyme). He apologies: "I know, covering sux but I was forced by a huge timelimit to create this little emag-background-tracky by covering it out of somewhere." The tune is not very diversified and starts getting monotonous after a while. I have heard more exciting mod tunes with a similar file-size.
The screen layout in the main-menu looks like this: On the top, there is a large bar saying "tRiP". Below, the author of the currently selected article and his affils are displayed. The article list is displayed right-bound, and it uses an entirely upper-case font. On the bottom of the screen, a logo in a similar font as "tRiP" says "issue # 10".
The control is nothing special: You select an article with the cursor keys. The currently selected article is highlighted in a bright colour. After pressing Enter, you get into the text-viewer, whereas ESC exits the mag.
The text-viewer uses an upper-case font, too. It can display 24 text-lines per page. Usually each text-line has 73 character columns. The text is displayed in block format, like it is also the case with Hugi; but since 73 characters are far less than the maximum number of character columns per line, the text blocks are also centered.
The background behind the text is black. The text colours themselves are rather bright. Trip! uses various shades of blue, green, and orange. You can read the text well. The text is usually very colourful. In some articles, for example, the first two lines are blue, the next two ones green, and then the whole thing repeats. It has no disturbing effect and looks okay.
You scroll the text using the cursor keys. After pressing a key, the text scrolls downwards or upwards respectively by 12 lines, i.e half a screen. As usual, ESC returns to the main menu.
Here and there the interface uses fade effects. The text scrolls smoothly with a little flickering. Apart from that, there is nothing special.
A Java version of Trip! is planned, too, and currently being coded by Marlboro Man.
Trip! #10 features about 120 kbyte of text. The article headlines are:
The Editorial - Trip! Staff Trip! Post - Trip! Staff Second Part of the C64 Scene - Unlock FTP Future - Ghosti Escape Party Report - Iquito Chuchichaestli Party Report - Madmax Polls Part One - Sweeper Polls Part Two - Sweeper An Eggdrop FAQ - Sweeper A CGI Beginner FAQ Part 1 Chapter 1, 2 - P.Doom A CGI Beginner FAQ Part 1 Chapter 3 - P.Doom A CGI Beginner FAQ Part 1 Chapter 4 - P.Doom
Furthermore, there is a menu item called "Credits" that leads to a graphic by Ironmaze.
12 articles, 120 kbyte of text - that makes 10 kbyte per article. That is pretty big. However, this number is distorted because of firstly the polls results, which are large of course, and secondly the text-design: There is a lot of spaces in front of every line because of the text being centered.
In the short Editorial by Sweeper and Genoz, which they wrote together at their face-to-face meeting at which they finished Trip! #10, we hear some apologies for the delay, short statements about the actions of the Swiss scene in the meantime ("buenzli was also great fun - shame on you if you weren't there"), and Sweeper advertises Excite's Buenzli #7 party report, which they released less than a month before the Trip! #10 release.
"Trip! Post" is the news section of Trip! #10. Mostly about the Swiss scene. There is also a little note about the closing of Hornet, and about melcom's leaving all his scene groups for Acclaim.
In "Second Part of the C64 Scene" Unlock, who is active on C64 as well as on PC, talks about C64 emulators and how to transfer data from C64 disks to PC to run the programs on the emu.
"FTP Future" is a text in German language. Ghosti announces that his BBS, the Ghostbuster BBS, can now be reached via Internet and offers FTP and temporary Internet services, among other things also IRC. An instruction how to connect to his BBS using Win95/98 follows.
"Escape Party Report" is a rather old party report by Iquito about the tiny Swiss party Escape '98. He had written it before Buenzli #7 was held. First he starts writing a paragraph about the current situation at the party about every three hours. Then some positive and negative points about the party follow. The report also includes the results of the two compos that were held, the gfx and the music compo, which were both won by Shinigami. Actually the organizers also wanted to start a Pron compo, Iquito writes, but it did not work out in the end.
Madmax writes about an even smaller party in "Chuchichaestli Party Report", namely a party with only eight visitors. It was held at Iquito's place. The visitors were: Iquito (of course), Gimli, Picard, Qword, Sweeper, Fairway, Kingpin, Madmax, Unlock. Pits, Iquito's old dog, was there as well. :) They held only one compo, namely the harddisk throwing compo, which Picard won, followed by Maxmax. Both group-less, by the way.
Now let's come to the more interesting part of this mag: the polls results. They are split into two parts: In Part One of the Polls, Sweeper lists the questions and the answers, in Part Two, there is the personal information the people who participated in the polls gave about them. All in all 21 (not 20, as the article says...!) people participated in the polls. 11 came from Switzerland, 10 from other countries, namely Australia, Austria, England, Germany, Sweden, The Netherlands, Turkey, and the US.
The questions were: "What do you think is the best thing about being a scener?", "Describe the scene in mostly 5 words", "What do you like best about the scene?", "How did you come into the scene?", and "Did you ever regret entering the scene in any way?". Rather interesting questions compared to the nonsense Pain polls, don't you think so? With a few exceptions each participiant answered all questions. However, the answers are often not as long and extensive as it would have been possible. Especially to the question "How did you come into the scene?", one could have written a long answer, like I did (more than one text-page in the Trip! text viewer). Many people just wrote one short sentence as a response to each question. Well, at least did they do that. That's better as if they had not participated at all.
As regards the question "Describe the scene in mostly 5 words", there are some serious attempts to explain the term scene in only 5 words among the many answers. My favourite answer is kyp's one: "Computer based community of interest". This exactly describes all kinds of computer scenes, be it the demo scene, the art scene, the music scene, the diskmag scene, the hacker scene, or the warez scene. My answer "Union of computerfreaks creating art" may also be a brief explanation for the demo scene, the art scene, the music scene and maybe the diskmag scene, but it does not suit scenes like the hacker scene or the warez scene.
The personal information that is presented in part 2 of the polls is "handle", "group", "activity", "country", "homepage", "comment", "greets", and the answer to the question "what do you want to tell to whom?". My greet-list was that long (I copied it from Hugi #11, which had been released short before I submitted my Trip! polls) that the editors added "Greeter" to my activity list. :)
Okay, that's enough for the polls. Let's come to the last two articles: "An Eggdrop FAQ" is not really a FAQ, but an article in which Sweeper writes about his experiences with Eggdrop bot on his IRC channel, the conflicts with the other Ops who did not know how to behave, the problems with copying the user lists etc.
Finally, there is part 1 of P.Doom's CGI programming tutorial, which is, as I think, the best article in this Trip! issue. It deals with programming CGI scripts using C. Starting off with a simple HTML file generator, the reader learns how to access to files for e.g. installing a counter, evaluate environment variables and get the user input.
Unfortunately, the font does not support some characters like "%" or "=". Thus, you need some imagination to read the source codes provided with the article. It is a pity that the Trip! staff did not attach them to the Trip! #10 issue as individual files.
Conerning individual files, by the way, Trip! #10 consists of three files only. Apart from the exe and the mod, there is a short information text with a good-looking ascii graphic saying: "issue 10 released! nothing special new, just the gfx changed... send us some articles... and visit our www hq: www.webtrip.ch"
Well... The CGI tutorial is useful. Some of the other articles may be nice to read, but they do not contain a lot of new things. Somehow the news element is missing in Trip!: I have already heard of all the news items in the news section somewhere else (country.switzerland newsgroup, etc.), and the articles were not too interesting either. Maybe it is a matter of writing style.
Anyway, the polls were quite interesting, though they could have been even better. I'd recommend the Trip! staff to ask more concrete questions and also a higher _number_ of questions next time because I guess many people have problems writing a lot about such vague and general questions as they were (though, as I've said, I think that these questions were better than those which you find in the Pain polls).
The atmosphere in Trip! is good, but not the optimum either. Maybe a real background, not just a black screen would better suit the mag, as well as a font with both upper and lower case characters. The music in this issue rather discouraged reading, too. It should be less monotonous and more diversified.
But the most important thing is: not to give up continuing the diskmag, writing more articles, and trying to solve the remaining problems!