Peugeot e208

Those of you who have known me for a longer time, know that my first car was a Peugeot 205 GTI 1.9. I was very happy with that car, which I drove during my Thalion days. Since then I have had a few nice lease cars (the nicest was a Volkswagen Golf TDi), but the past 10 years my wife and I have bought various used cars where affordability was the most important factor.

Since last week we have been the owners of a Peugeot e208, and finally I feel like I’ve got a truly nice car again. The “e” signifies “electric”, which is another step of ours towards a smaller carbon footprint. We recently also bought another house where we had solar panels installed. We do try.

Our previous car, a Chevrolet (=Daewoo) Spark 1.0 LS BiFuel, allowed us to use LPG, which was already better (and not to forget cheaper) than regular petrol. But we’d had it for nearly 11 years, and it had been second-hand to begin with: It really did begin to show signs of wear and tear in virtually all departments, so it had slowly become noisier and less realiable. Mileage also seemed to go down. In fact we mostly dared only to drive short distances of no longer than 50 kilometres.

I had been reading about EVs for a few years before deciding to make this switch. For a long time, I had thought of perhaps switching to a hybrid car, because you can always fill her up with petrol, and there are petrol stations just about anywhere. However, I did want to truly ditch dependency on fossil fuel (and, to be honest, the frankly ridiculous fossil fuel prices). I wanted to know if there were enough charging points? And how expensive would a home charging station be? I discovered that you just need to think ahead when it comes to longer trips, and a colleague of mine helped me install a regular wall socket charging point in the front outside wall of my house (thankfully we have our own parking spot) so you can use a home charging cable Type 2.

My wife and me briefly thought about a Tesla Model 3, and even the Jaguar I-Pace, but quickly considered our actual fairly modest transportation needs didn’t need such an immodest investment. We – very briefly – considered the BMW i3, but decided we actually had too much taste to want to drive such an eyesore of a car. I then considered Nissan Leaf, Hyundai Kona, Hyundai Ioniq or Peugeot 208. These latter models were much more realistic options, financially. We decided to go for a test drive with a Peugeot e208 GT at a nearby dealership.

When we first drove it, we were struck by how comfortable it was. It was like driving on clouds. The accelerator pedal was also much more responsive than that of the Spark. A very good first impression! Optically, I have always been a big fan of Peugeot cars since I first saw the 404 in the late 70s (and of course my own 205 back in the late 80s). But this e208 GT looked great from the outside, and also had a beautiful wide screen information/entertainment system, 3D cockpit, and all the trimmings. I think we both kinda fell in love with it there and then.

Next, of course, we found out that the GT is not exactly the most affordable type of 208. Because of the modest transportation needs mentioned above, we needed to go for a more modestly priced model, which ultimately became what is called the “Active Pack” version. This has the same battery and range as the GT (50 kWh battery, 362 km range), but features fewer of the trimmings (no rear view camera, for example, which is the only thing I kinda really miss, and the seat heating that my wife misses). Compared to the Spark, however, it is just friggin’ awesome: Apple Car Play (including what I guess could be called screen casting of some sort, to use navigation), automatically retracting outside mirrors, fantasic-sounding stereo system, very modern styling…and did I already mention it’s like driving on clouds? 😉

Driving an electric car – or at least driving this e208 – gives you much more feedback on your driving style. If you press down hard on the accelerator, you will see the range indicator going down too. So I think the 362 km range is more of a rough indication in ideal circumstances rather than what you can really expect to get out of it. If only the feeling of “Top Gun”-like excitement during accelerating wasn’t so appealing! The e208 has 136 hp and does 0-100 km/h in 8.1 seconds. This may sound like peanuts to you, but we were used to 15.1 seconds in the Spark, and that was when switching to petrol instead of the even slower LPG.

So now we have our first electric car. In a few days I’ll be driving my first bigger distance, from Gouda to Leeuwarden and back. That’s more than the standard range will allow, so I have to admit a feel a bit anxious as to whether I can find a parking spot with charger, or may have to resort to a FastNed charger on the highway, and of course I’ve never done that before so the simple act of first charging is already a bit of a hurdle for me. No doubt I’ll be sharing some more experiences here.

Added 22 April: FastNed charging was a breeze. There were different plugs, but only one fit the car. A full recharge was out of the question because (at this particular charger, near Winsum, at least) A) it was going to take 2.5 hours, and B) it was at least twice as expensive as at home. But charging it sufficiently to make it back home with about a 50-70 km margin took less than half an hour, so that was doable.

Added 5 May: I have in the mean time also used a regular (cheaper, slower) charging station near my stepmom’s, and another in the city of Kleve in Germany. We have a subscription at the ANWB (the Dutch version of the German ADAC or English AA/RAC) that allows you to use a key tag with RFC chip to log onto such a device, and you get billed afterwards. Quite easy to use. One odd difference: In the Netherlands you need to use your own cable, whereas these devices already have a few different types of cables attached in Germany.
On the way back home from Germany I decided to try the max speed. I reached 152 km/h, but I am quite sure I hit some sort of software limit. Next time I go to Germany I will not use the car’s “Eco” mode that has so far been activated.

Added 9 November: We’ve been to Germany a second time, and again there was some sort of software limit when reaching 152 km/h, even in “Sport” mode.

A Brief History of Tomorrow (review)

In 2019, some of my students read Yuval Noah Harari’s “Sapiens – A Brief History of Humankind”. Not only was I impressed by their ability (and initiative) to read this book, especially considering they were secondary school students, but I also thought I needed to read it myself. It was quite an eye opener, and no mistake. So when a colleague of mine who habitually makes his reading material available for others to peruse shared the ‘sequel’ to the former book I jumped on it.

This time it’s called “Homo Deus – A Brief History of Tomorrow”, published as a paperback in 2017. Boy, did this book fill me with regret that I hadn’t discovered it earlier. Because if there is one thing I could glean from this volume it’s that human development is happening ever faster…and also that this development is not going to be a lot of fun for mankind. Maybe that’s why it has “brief” in the title, whereas I originally reckoned it applied to the size of the book.

If you want to be shocked and surprised by reading the book yourself, do not read any further. Here be spoilers.

So the book quickly dispenses with the thought of the existence of God, although it does mention that some overarching belief system appears to have been (and most likely will continue to be) necessary to allow huge numbers of people to work together. It is this ability to work together that really sets us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom. Not a soul, not free will, not conscience. Harari even continues to deconstruct the principle of there being individuals. Each of us consists of a narrating and experiecing self, neither of which are perfect (in fact they have different agendas that are often at loggerheads). Our memories are highly imperfect without us knowing. Even our feelings can fool us. Feelings are nothing but algorithms, anyway. And literally everything involving algorithms can be done better by computers – if not now, then somewhere in the nearer-than-you-think future. A core thought here was, “Computers don’t need to be perfect, they only need to be better than humans.” And they are. And if they’re not yet, they will be, probably sooner than you think. Some algorithms are more difficult, so it may take more time. But computers can already pretty much do anything, including activities that were hitherto considered uniquely part of the human domain such as painting and composing music. Humans will, by and large, become economically superfluous once computers can take over their tasks (thankfully, I looked up that teachers have a less than 2% chance to be taken over by computers). And once humans are superfluous…well…why care for them? And what are they going to do with their lives all day? Rich people will some day make the cross-over to immortality, perpetual happiness, perhaps awareness within a computer.

The book left me with the the ambivalent feeling of having had my intelligence tickled and made irrelevant at the same time. Not a nice feeling, but it was nonetheless quite a roller coaster ride with a truly mind-melting or eye-opening concept on just about any page. The truth may be unpleasant (and I harbour a deep hope that these developments will take place quite a bit slower than Harari predicts), but I do feel that I am now perhaps a little better equipped to sense (and perhaps cope with) whatever is coming. The next war efforts will not be like what Putin’s attempting, but entirely cyber-based.

First Steps on the Drone Path

Bird’s-eye views are not normally possible unless you have a helicopter at your disposal. So when I found out drones were becoming affordable I bought and sold a few second-hand ones (starting in October 2016), experimenting with them a bit. I started with a seemingly (long story) dysfunctioning second-hand DJI Phantom Advance. Gave up on that in January 2019 when I got the Parrot AR Drone 2.0 Elite Edition. That one worked fine, but I thought it was really bulky and noisy and somehow didn’t motivate me to use it. So none of them really ticked all the boxes, but thankfully I discovered an Indiegogo campaign for the Micro Drone 4.0, initiated by Extreme Fliers. The specs were amazing, the price was under $200 and I went for it straight away. It hit the required funding (over €1.5 million) in late March 2019, so that made me quite happy. Now all I needed to do was wait. I also ordered some extra batteries, at which time I had only spent a little over $200 (drone was €145, 3 extra batteries €65).

Those of you who have heard of the Micro Drone will by now already realise what I didn’t really want to realise until mid May 2020: the specs had deteriorated (in particular a flight time of less than 5 minutes per battery charge) and the entire device was not going to get delivered until after the summer (well over a year later than projected). In fact, the whole thing might indeed be a scam. Over 14000 comments on the Micro Drone’s Indiegogo page and a “backers unite!” effort to get their money back will provide you with plenty of disaster tourism to whet your appetite on.

Be that as it may, sometimes you’ve just got to take your losses and move on. Thankfully the Covid crisis left me with nothing to spend my holiday money on, so I could get a proper drone. Not second-hand, not via eBay, but new. And the kind backers at the Micro Drone page on IGG had been going on about another and much better drone to get as a replacement, the DJI Mavic Mini. It was about twice as expensive, but a flight time of up to half an hour on a single charge, and a range of up to 4 km sure seemed to more than compensate that. At just under 250 grammes (amazing!) you also don’t need to officially register it. I went for the DJI Mavic Fly More Combo, which included two extra batteries, a smart charger, propeller protectors, a carrying case and a bunch of spare propellers. More than enough to have a lot of fun with.

In the days between ordering the item and receiving it I watched quite a few videos n Youtube. There was a guy who made it fly 5 kilometres and back (over a flat landscape), and someone else who made it go up 500 metres. Exciting stuff, with beautiful videos as a result.

But it wasn’t until I actually got my hands on the Mini that I truly realised what it was like to have a properly manoeuvrable sky camera at my disposal. You suddenly view terrestrial objects in a different light, like how to approach them from the air, where to take off and land without trees or too many inquisitive people, which viewing angles would be most advantageous. It gives you a feeling of tremendous freedom, and a rekindled appreciation of places you visit, or even the town you live in. Seeing things from above is just, well, frikkin’ awesome.

Obviously, the first flights are adrenalin-fueled. The first time I got a “connection lost” message, or a “strong wind” warning made my bollocks drop and stomach knot. The first time flying over water. The first time you see a bird flying by under it. The first time you accidentally use  “sport mode” when you’re pretty close to trees. The first time you actually lose sight of where it is. When you see some birds showing semi-aggressive interest in it. But after a couple of flights you get a feeling of how to navigate and, quite literally, the sky becomes the limit.


  • it is really very compact: drone + remote + 3 batteries fit in a modest 26x20x6 cm carrying case
  • single-charge flight time is almost almost 25 minutes or more, which is usually enough for at least 2 and usually more sessions
  • very good video quality, more than good enough for a non-professional user
  • easy to use for an utter novice such as I was (and still am, a bit)
  • nice automatic video shoot options (though you eventually won’t use ’em that much I guess)
  • very convenient “go back home” option to get it to fly back to where it took off
  • wonderful range


  • no collision detection – if you pay no attention, it will just fly into things
  • no tracking option (I understand they didn’t include it in the software because otherwise DJI would not be abe to sell the somewhat more expensive models anymore)
  • the batteries take quite some time to charge (up to 90 minutes per battery)
  • the propellors seem pretty fragile
  • it sees where it is, and will automatically adjust maximum height depending on where it is, or even not take off near an airport (I can see how that could be a “pro” rather than a “con” for many people 🙂 )
  • flying at night is really not useful, the camera doesn’t pick up too much
  • the camera is always horizontal, so no yaw like on a helicopter

I made a bunch of short-ish videos of flying around Gouda that I edited (without sound) and put on a Youtube playlist in case you’re interested. Despite there being more cons than pros, I would unreservedly advise anyone who wants to get a drone that is more than a child’s toy yet no expensive professional one to get this Mavic Mini. The pros are much, much bigger than the cons, for sure. Expect to pay a bit under €500 for the Fly More Combo package.

Update on 12 February 2022: By now there are nearly 34500 comments on the MicroDrone IndieGoGo page and I have needed to replace two Mavic Mini propellor blades. I am still very happy!

Nuraloop – The Second Coming

A little over two years ago I received the amazingly wonderful purveyor of sonic ecstasy, the Nuraphone (reviewed here). Almost a year ago I found out the same manufacturer was going to do a much more compact, in-ear-only version, the Nuraloop. Having been utterly impressed by its big-and-burly cousin, I transferred the required pre-order fee without any further thought. Originally planned for last December or January, the release date was moved down quite a bit due to Corona. I was pretty sure it would be worth the wait, though…or would it?

About a week ago I got out of bed and checked my email, finding a confirmation that the device was going to be shipped any day now, and could be expected within 1-7 working days. To my considerable surprise the Nuraloop arrived that same day, early in the afternoon! I eagerly unpacked the item, pleased by the thought that must have gone into the package design. Very functional, very aesthetically pleasing.

The Nuraloop earpods aren’t like many of today’s earpods in that they are not two separate pods. I knew that beforehand, obviously, and didn’t mind that at all. I am always losing things, and to me this just makes them more difficult to lose. An arguable disadvantage is its proprietary charger cable. No standard USB connector on the Nuraloop side. But it is very sexy – it clicks on with its magnet, and can’t be connected wrong due to the magnet’s polarity not allowing it. I am a sucker for these little stylish design touches. It makes for a very positive first impression.

Except for the pods and the charging cable, the packaging also includes eartips in 4 different sizes, a travel case and an analog mini jack cable. Like the charger cable, this mag(net)ically connects to the “Nura” thingamajig in the middle. It is very flexible, like those of its bigger cousin.

First thing you need to do, like with the Nuraphones, is connecting them to your smartphone via Bluetooth and downloading the Nura App. It will then examine your hearing, including its idiosyncracies, and create a Personal Hearing Profile. This takes about two minutes in total (part of which is spent giving you feedback on whether the earbuds are fitting snugly enough).
When it started playing music I was pretty much over the moon with how great everything sounded. That was when I discovered that the ‘Personalize’ option hadn’t even been enabled! Once it had, my jaw literally fell open, a lame “w-o-w” escaping. “Music in Full Colour” they call it, a description that couldn’t be more apt. It’s every bit as impressive as the sound quality of the Nuraphones, however in this case coming from a much smaller set of pods. I was impressed no end, blown away.

The Nuraloop has all the same features as the Nuraphones, including near-identical Active Noise Cancelling (ANC). And the touch buttons have even improved! Whereas the big cousin merely supports separate left/right click/double-click, the Nuraloop buttons support click as well as rotate (making rotating motions with your finger). Much more intuitive and user-friendly than its bigger predecessor.

The Nuraloop really is the full package. It’s everything it promised, every hyperbolic statement come true. I would unreservedly recommend these to anyone who actually loves music.

The Nuraloop retails at € 229 (excluding shipping) from the Nura website (where you can also find out about the features I have not covered here).

1917 – Does it live up to the Hype?

As a regular visitor of the cinema I had seen the trailer for Sam Mendes’ epic new film, world-war-one-flick “1917”. Much was made of it supposedly having been shot in one take. Always the sceptic, I found myself paying close attention to continuity errors (of which I spotted none, but I am only human) as well as tell-tale scene change enablers such as moving behind a thick tree, entering a very dark room, or close-ups of dynamically moving scener (water, flames, etc.). I estimate the movie was shot in about 4 to 8 takes, melted together through well-designed camera movements. Well, definitely two takes (scene change when Schofield falls back down the stairs).

Not that anyone will ask me, but I think the film deserves whichever Oscars it can get. It’s impressive, visceral, confrontational and overwhelming, with good acting and an ending that will keep you on your toes until Benedict Cumberbatch’s final immaculately spoken words. The uselessness of war breathes throughout the narrative, which is the message the viewer will take home.

This is really worth a visit to your local cinema. One of the better war movies since “Saving Private Ryan”.

The Atari ST and the Creative People – Volume III

Today was the day on which I received the third and final Volume in the impressive set of tomes dedicated to the history of the Atari ST and the scene around it. Entitled “Return of the Borders”, this one covers 1994 up to 1998. There is a lot of info on the Falcon, the Jaguar, what happened to Atari (and the brand name), and of course various key games and demos that appeared on those various Atari machines. More strikingly than in earlier Volumes, “Return of the Borders” features coverage of many Atari (or Atari-related) conventions that were organised in the book’s time frame.

Whereas Volume II filled me with a sense of sadness and perhaps even longing, Volume III allows me to look at the whole experience from rather more of a distance. I was never really part of that era, and every page piques new interest in me. Some truly amazing stuff was happening all over the place, and for the first time did I read about all these demos and conventions that I had only really ever heard of. And there they are, front and centre: the people who did it all. Filled with legendary names like DHS, TSCC, Avena, Reservoir Gods, Lazer and Synergy (including a mention of the legendary Crapman game!), page after page sends me into throes of admiration for what these crews did. And once more this Volume is beautifully illustrated, professionally printed and bound. A book for the ages, like its earlier two brothers.
I have to admit I was surprised by 3 pages spent on the final issue of ST NEWS, including pics of a variety of bands wielding the “ST NEWS – THE Atari ST Disk Magazine” T-shirt. It conjured up a smile and a tear, which coincides with the overal sensation of the whole “The Atari ST and the Creative People” series.
Awesome. Respect, Marco!

This book, as well as the earlier two Volumes, can be purchased at If you’d like to read my 2018 review of Volumes I and II, check out this page.


The Atari ST and the Creative People

For those of you who know me, or who have seen other posts of mine on this or other sites, you may recollect that I spent 12 of my formative years active (to some degree) on the Commodore 64, Atari ST and Atari Falcon. It was a period full of energy and creativity, during which I was fortunate enough to be able to hob-nob with many key people in the Commodore and Atari scenes. This afforded me countless personal and professional opportunities big and small, the most impactful of which was being able to work at Thalion from autumn 1989 to spring 1991, a period when I was surrounded by astonishingly talented people among which I always felt at least a little out of my gourd.

The growth of the ST scene, from its tender beginnings in early 1986 to what (in my world) would be the crisis in Thalion in late 1990, is the subject matter of Marco Breddin’s first 400-page tome in the intended-to-be-three-volumes series “The Atari ST and the Creative People”, appropriately entitled “Breakin’ the Borders”.

Product of a very ambitious idea, it came to fruition with the release of the first volume in May 2017, a tribute to the optimism and friendship that became the hallmarks of “the early Atari ST scene”. I do feel that the dictionary definition of the word “lavish” ought to, from now on, be required by law to include “in the way such as Marco Breddin’s books about the Atari scene”. Although some may know my love of hyberbole, I am not in the least exaggerating now. Beautifully designed and capably edited, the book chronicles the rise of the demo scene through the technical stepping stones it met and conquered. All of this, needless to say, explained in sufficient detail to keep sceners interested, yet simple enough for a layman to come to grips with. And, obviously, illustrated lavishly with a multitude of screenshots and scene member profiles.
Reading through it was like travelling back to a time when entirely different things mattered in life (no family life, no ‘real’ job, not even school, at least not much). I became immersed in the zeitgeist where border busting, games, demo acquisition, disk magazine writing and just having hedonistic Atari-related fun were the things around which my life revolved. I dare say there is no better way for a former Atari scener (or even an out-gourded satellite such as myself) to re-live those days again.
I was honoured to have been quite closely involved in the creation of this first volume, which I suppose made seeing and reading the end result even more enjoyable. I played a part in the story, and it was awesome to realise that.

Today I received the second Volume of the series (finished last week or so), another impressive tome now titled “Beyond the Borders”. As with the first book, it has been thoroughly researched and – but of course – lavishly illustrated. Practically all the key players in this second era of the story, from 1991 up to and including 1993, have played their part in the creation of this second depiction of Atari scene history.
In my personal life I had quite seriously picked up uni again (studying English) and was less involved in the scene side of things after also having left Thalion. On the Atari ST side, my activities were rather limited to doing the now more and more multi-media ST NEWS and regularly making updated versions of my virus killer. Reading this second book makes all the feelings flood back – including the sense of loss of no longer being a meaningful part of the scene (granted, due to my own choices), growing apart from my best friend, no longer being part of legendary Thalion, and the debacle of the should-have-been-a-much-souped-up-and-barely-recognisable-to-be-based-on-“Dino-Eggs”-but-in-the-end-barely-an-equal “A Prehistoric Tale” game.
Volume 2 also describes the things the Atari company were up to. The feelings of optimism from Volume 1 are replaced by anecdotes of half-cocked marketing/development decisions and scene members reckoning the Atari hardware has no challenges left: After all, the borders had already been broken. So the sensation of reading part 2 is very different from part 1. Less positive, for certain, at least to me. However, I want to be quick to add that this is no shortcoming of the book. If anything, it is a shortcoming of my involvement in the scene, the behaviour of the Atari Corporation, and of my personal circumstances at the time into which the book so capably immerses me. The fact that the book conjures up those feelings is, if anything, a testimony to Marco’s engaging writing style and depth of research.
Volume 2 finally allows me to catch up on everything I had missed back then – crews I had sadly missed hearing about, as well as their wonderful demo achievements. Thalion had continued after my departure too (at the time I had been as pessismistic as to assume everything would fall to pieces because prospects in general had been pretty bleak), and now I can read everything about “Ambermoon”, “Lionheart”, “Trex Warrior”, even “Airbus 320”.
And Volume 2 goes much further in scope even than the 1992-1993 Atari scene and Thalion, for it also extensively covers contributions by people other than “the classic scene crews” that were no less meaningful.

Volume 1 described the challenge of breaking the borders on the ST, but Volume 2 broke open the borders of my own preconceptions into showing me that there was so much more than the ST/Falcon scene that I had been familiar with. And I, for one, am certainly looking forward to Volume 3 (“Return of the Borders”) which is announced for 2019.

These books can be purchased at You are also able to find information about the IndieGogo campaign for Volume 3 there, which among other packages also include a way to get all three volumes (the “Connoisseur Trilogy”).

The Awesome Thing that is DemoBase ST

I remember fairly well the days of old. In this case I mean the days near the end of July  2015, well not that old then perhaps, when within the space of two days I discovered GameBase 64, GameBase ST, Atari ST TOSEC and DemoBase ST. I could barely contain the intense feelings of nostalgic joy that coarsed through my veins, making my retro heart pulse and throb. In the days that followed I relived the even more ancient – and more authentically true – days of old, from the mid 80s to the mid 90s, playing all the games I used to like so much. “Jumpman Junior”, “Dino Eggs” and “Fort Apocalypse” were among the first, also the earliest games I had procured in my virtually virgin C64 days. And from there it went to many other fondly remembered C64 games, too many to list. I spent hours configuring stuff and trying to get a STelladapter to work. Next were equally endearingly memorized games and demos from the Atari ST era. Glorious days when the world I was in, and I myself, seemed both more innocent and more alive.

The GameBase efforts had been underway for years. I had been very slow to discover these gargantuan undertakings – a GUI offering a variety of good emulators that allowed for just about any title (whether game or demo or whatever) to be selected and smoothly run, all from within one convenient package. Similarly, various TOSEC endeavours had been created for just about every retro computer or console platform worth its salt (and, frankly, some so obscure they were perhaps not worth all that much salt). A bit of research revealed ready-made databases, whereas a bit of torrenting yielded vast collections of titles, ready to be merged with the GameBase files. The equivalent of years of collecting, all at one’s fingertips, running pretty smoothly and accurately on one’s own PC. GameBase 64 took up a little over 11 Gb, GameBase ST less than 5 Gb. Peanuts!

And DemoBase ST, although based on the same idea as GameBase, took things one step further: A step most convenient for the demo-loving Atari ST scener, whether former or current. As it happened, DemoBase ST strove to offer an as-complete-as-possible collection of individual (!) demo screens. The aim was to allow anyone to browse any screen by any demo crew, even individual ones from larger mega demos. You could then launch them, where DemoBase ST took care of the appropriate emulator launch parameters.
Version 2 of the DemoBase ST project, created and maintained by nigh-professional wild-mud-runner Dave Haylett, had been firmly underway since at least the beginning of 2007 with its release on That year saw a flurry of additions and improvements, until things started slowing down a bit in 2008 and grinding to an unfortunate halt during 2009. At a later date he also lost his source code (or at least thought he had).
I am immodestly pleased to say I may have had a bit of a hand in Dave’s finding the motivation and energy to pick up again where he had left off. In fact, he re-built version 3 from the ground up, bypassing the limits of the original version’s design decisions and adding a host of new bells and whistles.

The main features of DemoBase ST are:

  • One double-click launches you straight into a demoscreen – no disc images required, and no searching through main menus. Intros, Loading Screens, Main Menus, Hidden Screens and Reset Screens are also included;
  • Emulator settings, command-line switches (like -STFMBORDER) and correct TOS version are all pre-applied;
  • Over 3,200 demoscreens in the library so far;
  • Over 10,000 screenshots to help you find your favourite screens, or that one screen that you’ve been wanting to see for years;
  • Play custom slideshows of each screen in any megademo of your choice, or all screens by a particular coder, or any screens at random;
  • Mark your favourite demoscreens and play them from their own area, or even in a slideshow;
  • Play the music from any demo while you are browsing the archive, or add them to a jukebox feature;
  • Find demo screens based on title, crew name, megademo name or even which elements they contain (scroller, balls, 3D, STOS, interactivity, or 25 others)!

The whole thing is packaged in a very flexible and quite intuitive user interface that is utterly configurable. It even has many (dozens?) of little hidden demo effects that pop up left, right and centre (though, worry not, they can also be switched off). It is evident that Dave has delivered a labour of love, a respectful tribute to the world of ST demo screen creation. The new version of DemoBase ST, which started life somewhere in 2017, is now finally ready for a public release via its new online home at If you loved the world of ST demos, you owe it to yourself to check it out!

Ready Player One

 “Ready Player One” just has to be the best movie of the year (though I predict it might be second-best after “Jurassic World – Fallen Kingdom” as of June, despite that movie’s alleged narrative shortcomings). A cool story, convincing special effects, one of the most awesome car chases every imagined, a none-too-obtrusive love angle, and oodles of pop culture references. Even a good and positive message for today’s gamer generation. It’s a bit like “Pixels” for a more mature audience. And the 3D aspect of the film was quite convincing and engaging.
Steven Spielberg hasn’t lost his touch!

 Up next, I hope someone is going to do a film adaptation of Tad Williams’ “Otherworld” books!

Avengers Infinity War (4DX version)

 Now before you continue to read, I should add two disclaimers: a) I am biased against ‘new’ film technology, and b) There are going to be spoilers.

  Yesterday I experienced my first 4DX movie. This is, basically, where you can watch a movie with augmented environmental effects such as scent, rain, fog, seat movement and wind. After having witnessed this nearly two decades ago in “Honey I shrunk the audience” in Disneyland Paris (back then I think it was still called Euro Disney) I thought it was enjoyable but a gimmick, really, nothing more than a gimmick. So when the cinema my wife and I most often frequent built a 4DX hall, I was not all that keen on trying it out. My non-keenness had probably been caused by my overall disappointment when it comes to another ‘new’ movie technology: 3D. Although a few movies did have an added sense of realism in 3D (computer-animated Pixar flicks, “Avatar”, “Gravity” and “Life of Pi”), most of them were souped-up versions of 2D movies (“Alice in Wonderland”, anyone?). When I have the choice to see 2D or 3D, I always opt for 2D. This is partly caused by cinema tickets being expensive enough as it is, and 3D movies being even more so.

 So I had eyed that 4DX hall with scepsis ever since it was finished about half a year ago. But yesterday my 4DX cherry was popped. The movie I wanted to see, “Avengers Infinity War”, was only being shown in 4DX at the time when it was most opportune for me. So I considered my hand somewhat forced. And, to be honest, I was a bit curious.
I love superhero movies, though I used to be one of those people who thinks you should have one superhero per movie. Granted, “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Avengers Unite” were good examples of the current trend to have as many heroes in a movie as possible. It’s like superhero porn, really, and I’ll be damned if it isn’t becoming my guilty pleasure. It must be quite a challenge for filmmakers to have someone like Captain America in a movie also featuring The Hulk and Iron Man, and actually make Captain America appear like a genuine superhero. Or Hawkeye, or Black Widow for that matter (if you forget she is played by an apparently ever more breast-augmented Scarlett Johansson, you might forget all about her).
“Infinity War” has the regular Iron Man, the Hulk, Thor, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Dr Strange, Black Panther, Spiderman and a bunch of lesser known heroes (but thankfully not Deadpool, who should only be in his own movies) fighting the apparently not-even-beatable-by-The-Hulk bad guy Thanos and his also pretty unbeatable sidekicks. They are on the lookout for the six Infinity Stones which, when combined, will allow him to provide mercy to the entire galaxy by allowing there to be more resources per person. His way of attaining this is decimating the entire galaxy’s inhabitants by half. Needless to say, the Avengers and their friends rather don’t appreciate this intended genocide of billions or perhaps trillions of citizens.
The movie is a long thrill ride of various well-orchestrated battles which definitely capture the imagination. Slowly but surely the viewer can but realise that Thanos is winning. The odds against the good guys are tremendous. And by the time all the stones have been collected and half the inhabitants of the galaxy turn to dramatic dust in the wind you have seen Groot die, and Dr Strange, Spiderman, Starlord, and too many other good superheroes to even want to remember (also because the pain is still too near).
And then the end credits roll.
The whole movie thus leaves me with a bit of a hangover. It’s not even an open ending, it is simply no ending at all – like “Titanic” ending when it hit the iceberg, or “Alien” at the moment the thing bursts out of John Hurt’s chest. I’ll just have to go and see the next one – which is probably what the Marvel people want.
And Black Widow as a blonde? Preferably not. I don’t even remember if her character survived or not.

 But the 4DX, now.
I could be nice and capture the whole experience in a positive word. That word would be “interesting”. But I could, and perhaps should, also describe it as “distracting”. I didn’t really realise there were going to be scents and at a certain pretty random moment in the movie I smelled something that was the nasal equivalent of one of those bad-tasting Beanboozled Jelly Beans. And the wind, oh, the wind. Whenever something ran or flew there was wind. I was slightly overdressed with a pretty warm hoody and T-shirt but it was quite chilly. Noisy, too! And unless there was pretty static dialog (this happened only a few times in this particular movie, which was to be expected) the seat was constantly shaking and throbbing. With loud noise the bottom of the back vibrated, and when someone got stabbed there was a sort of stab in the collective audience’s backs as well. It made me think of one of those automated massage chairs, and I have not done one of those anymore after my first trial. Thankfully I could disable the water/fog effects because these would not be too convenient for wearers of glasses (as this was a 3D movie, everyone wore glasses).
I found myself trying to determine when certain effects were being used, looking at it perhaps like the programmers of such devices might, and sometimes came up empty. The lightning effects happened quite randomly, really, and, like I said before, the scents were pretty unrelated to the movie. The chairs were also much less comfortable, as you kinda have to continuously sit upright in a certain way to prevent yourself from gently being slither-shaken out of it. About halfway through the movie I had a seriously sore bum.
So, all in all, I hope 4DX is not here to stay. Wikipedia says it’s been around for over a decade already. I was hoping 3D was not here to stay, either, but I guess I will just have to consign myself to being disappointed there.