Atari ST

Most of my early freelance writing for magazines was focused on the Commodore Amiga computer. But before that, I also wrote for one or two Atari ST magazines, and I was also a co-editor of the 16/32 area for Atari ST enthusiasts on Micronet 800, a popular online system based on British Telecom’s Prestel (Viewdata) service, before the internet!

Oddly enough, at the time I was writing about this kind of thing, there was no Atari ST software available to edit Viewdata systems like Prestel and Micronet 800, so I was forced to do 16/32 editing work (where I went by the nickname of STu) using a Sinclair ZX Spectrum with prototype microdrives and a Prism modem, and, later, a BBC Micro Model B with Weirdbeard software and a Nightingale modem. But that’s another story.

I had pretty much forgotten what I had written about the Atari ST until very recently, when a bundle of photocopies of miscellaneous past magazine articles came to light in my loft while looking for something totally unrelated.

Two of those articles were from ST Update, a magazine which seems to have been largely forgotten today, by the internet at least, as I’ve been unable to find any scans of it online, nor could I find any reference to it on Wikipedia. It does, however, appear in the form of four small cover images listed on the website of the Centre for Computing History, which apparently has issues for August, September, October and December 1987 in its collections.

ST Update seems to have been around from at least the mid-late 1980s, evidenced from the above and my newly-rediscovered articles, both of which are on the subject of online communications (in the pre-internet era), something which I had been very involved with since my Amstrad-using days. I have also in this past week been able to acquire a single original issue dated August 1987. Sadly there are none of my articles in it, but it’s still extremely interesting, not only because of its apparent rarity, but because the two photocopied articles I have follow on from it, in the September and October issues.

Did I have anything in ST Update before August 1987, and perhaps even in December of that year, or later? That remains to be seen, and I will be contacting various museums to see if they can help, as well as the British Library in London. I also have a few other Atari ST magazines to look through and search for, so that particular quest is ongoing.

Meanwhile, since there seems to be some interest in ST Update, I have this evening taken the opportunity to scan my two articles to pdf, and they are linked as downloads below – just click on the images to open them. When I have time, I will also scan the August 1987 magazine in its entirety and place it here as well, in the public interest. In the meantime I’ve also made the front cover available as a jpg image – again, click to download/englarge.

Hope you find this of interest – and if you are reading this and have any other copies of ST Update, or know where to find them, especially if they contain articles by me, please do email me via

Stuart Williams

UPDATE 28 February 2017: Added a photocopied article by me, from an unknown Atari ST magazine, found in the loft yesterday, documenting the 16/32 Atari ST area of Micronet 800 on British Telecom’s pre-internet Prestel online system. It’s dated after May 1987, judging by the date on the Prestel screen dumps printed from a Sinclair ZX Spectrum on a ZX Printer!

ST: Don't Tell Sid! ST Update magazine, September 1987

ST: Don’t Tell Sid! ST Update magazine, September 1987

Sysop Calling! ST Update magazine October 1987

Sysop Calling! ST Update magazine October 1987











ST Update August 1987 - cover only, click to enlarge

ST Update August 1987 – cover only, click to enlarge

Article about '16/32' from an unknown Atari ST magazine, late 1987

Article about ’16/32′ from an unknown Atari ST magazine, late 1987