by Michael Tannenbaum C.P.A.

"When in printing mode, the program defaults to spooling."

Recently, I participated in several seminars on microcomputers. The VisiCalc program was demonstrated and a discussion held on the current state of microcomputers in accounting firms. The demonstration and discussion proved provocative: We were swamped with questions on applications. One of the most frequent was whether a microcomputer could be used as a word processor as well as a general purpose computer. Non-micro owners were confused. They could not imagine the same computer accomplishing both tasks.

Word processing computer vendors often emphasize the superiority of their dedicated processors over general purpose devices. However, except for display differences, a dedicated word processor and a general purpose computer are often identical. A word processor is a general purpose computer with a word processing program.

While many word processors can be used as general purpose microcomputers, not all micros are good for word processing. Some display only 40 characters on a line and their keyboards do not have a Selectric-compatible layout. A dedicated word processor has an important advantage: It is easier to learn. This element, often called user friendliness, is usually the main reason for selecting a dedicated over a general purpose device.

In comparison to other Tandy products, the Model II is equipped to serve as a word processor. Not only is the keyboard Selectric-compatible, but the 80-column display and graphics capability allow the Model II to emulate many features of dedicated word processors at a fraction of the cost. Scripsit and the Daisy Wheel II printer configure a very capable word processing work station.

New Improved Scripsit

Now Scripsit has been Improved. Evidently Tandy listened to field reports and tried to incorporate all good suggestions.

The changes for the better become visible as soon as the menu page is displayed. Each numbered cell facilitates quick selection of a document for review or edit. The expanded processing options include printing, enabling the time display and ending the session.

The ability to print from the menu offers a first clue that the printing function is extensively revised. It is possible to print one document while revising another with a one disk system. Previously, this option (spooling) was only possible with two drives. If you select the print option, the document password request appears followed by a new monitor menu.

When in printing mode, the program defaults to spooling. To take advantage of this feature hit the escape key to return to the directory. You cannot delete or copy the document being printed, and certain disk functions like backup and format are inhibited. You can, however, open another document and perform all normal document entry and editing features.

The modified printer driver permits printing the special characters. French and Spanish characters available in the Daisy Wheel II character set have been predefined in a print control table. You can modify this table to match the character set and control functions on other printers.

To specify a special character such as Trade Mark(™) select the control key and the letter x. The letters A-Z designate the character or printer feature desired. The special character is displayed in reverse video preceded by the letter x. This display method indicates effectively the use of these special characters.

Because the Daisy Wheel II is capable of half-line spacing and reverse line feeds, Scripsit can accommodate superscripts and subscripts, important to the scientific community. Appropriate graphics characters visible in full video mode indicate the use of this feature. Graphics characters also indicate foreign letters formed by overstriking a letter with a diacritical mark. To use this feature, the system's printer must be able to backspace.

Although Scripsit utilizes features of the Daisy Wheel II, instructions facilitate the installation of other printers. Instructions are also provided to customize Scripsit for the special needs of each environment. Line feeds can be insert ed after carriage returns, zeros slashed the cursor character changed and the strike through character changed. To properly calculate line width when justifying text by character, Scripsit must know the width of 10 and 12 pitch characters. This information can be altered to suit the printer available.

Text Entry

Text is entered in the same manner as Scripsit 1.0. After the new document is described to the system, a blank screen is presented to the typist. This working page is divided into two sections: the data entry portion and the system message area. The system communicates with the typist on the bottom two lines of the screen. After 22 lines, the copy scrolls up. During normal data entry, the 23rd line contains the document format line. The typist can change this line at any time. On the 24th line is the document name, cursor position, window start position, line spacing indicator, margin settings and entry mode indicator.

Scripsit always displays data single-spaced and unjustified. Many word processors display the copy as it will be printed. This can be an advantage when assembling text from different documents where the source documents might have different margin and line space settings. Scripsit, however, can overcome this problem by repaginating prior to printing. The repaginate utility conforms all pieces to a common standard. Scripsit's display method provides the greatest amount of data in the CRT space available.

During data entry, requests for utilities such as Global Search and Delete, Get Page, Print and so on can be initiated by depressing the control key and the first letter of the desired routine. If the particular sequence of commands does not gain the desired results, hitting the Escape key produces a series of menus. This menu command procedure is a major change from the previous version of Scripsit. In that version, hitting Escape twice brought you back to the menu accompanied by curses and exclamations as the

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