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==  Review:  Aminet 4 CD-ROM                         By:  Jason Compton  ==
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Aminet, that huge online bastion of Amiga software available to anyone with
FTP access, is wonderful.

It's also tough to get to if you don't have FTP access.  Even if you do,
unless you have a T1 line or better, you might tire of downloading
EVERYTHING all the time...

Enter the Aminet CD-ROM series.  As the name implies, there's been more
than one.  Largely, this is caused by the fact that Aminet's just too big
to fit on one CD-ROM...that, and it's constantly being updated.  This
edition, dated November 1994, features all of Aminet's music, the most
recent uploads since Aminet 3 (the Aminet discs are more or less
quarterly) and the "best" Aminet has to offer.

Taken from the back of the jewel box, the breakdown is as follows...

1700 Songs
1600 Applications
250 Games
100 Demos
100 Pictures
80 Animations (Including an almost-complete Eric Schwartz collection)

Even though they don't admit it, they also have all of the Amiga Reports
from that time period, except 2.26, which for reasons unknown to man has
never been validated there...

Anyway, the CD is considerably more friendly to navigate than your average
FTP client.  An intricate system of AmigaGuide documents lead you through
the disc, going so far as to decompress files and, in the case of some
types of files, running the appropriate viewing apparatus on them.  (Amiga
Report can be accessed on this CD without ever typing a character, for
example.)

A very powerful and fast (considering the CD media) search program will
compile its own AmigaGuide list of all applicable files when it is
invoked, allowing you to click merrily away at whatever it is you want.

The music section itself is impressive...using MultiPlayer, the AmigaGuide
interface will randomly pick a song to play for you.  The 230 megs or so
of music are guaranteed to please.

Of course, all of the archives exist in the regular Aminet directories if
you choose not to use the AmigaGuide interface-for a BBS, perhaps.  The CD
is not self-booting for CDTV/CD32 to keep the cost down, which,
considering the end price (keep reading) is a good thing.

The organization on this disc is amazing.  I cringe to think of the work
put into the AmigaGuide interface alone.  Urban Mueller, head
administrator of Aminet, deserves some respect.

And some money.  The Aminet CD is sold in two different forms: A "Share"
edition, meaning you pay bottom-dollar for the CD (About DM 20, or US$13)
but only the distributor and the manufacturer (Stefan Ossowski's
Schatztruhe, who also pressed the Meeting Pearls CD) see any of that.  A
"Gold" edition (About DM 30, or US$20) gets about US$2.00 to Urban and
friends (the rest being swallowed by those pesky distributors and
dealers).  The concept behind the Share version is that you send Urban and
pals whatever you see fit, while the Gold gives them your money off the
top and clears your conscience without having to write an extra check.

If you own a CD-ROM drive, and don't maintain an Aminet mirror, the Aminet
CD line is a must-have.  The value is outstanding, this particular CD is
wonderful to use, and if nothing else, it's a good way to keep old issues
of Amiga Report around.

Aminet CD 4 (Gold/Share)
Stefan Ossowski's Schatztruhe GmbH
D45131 Essen
Germany

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