Paul W. Sparks
This is a review of PAPERMATE, developed by Michael Riley and sold by A B Computers for $29.95. (115 E. Stump Road, Montgomeryville, PA 18936).
The main reason that I became interested in this software is that I have an 8K PET with upgraded memory to 32K, both Commodore and Computhink disk units and both a Commodore and a non-standard printer. With a system like this, other available word processors are not as attractive because they cannot be used with the entire system and may require extra ROM boards to install. However, after I received this system I think that even users with a more conventional setup will be interested in using PAPERMATE. It can be used with old and new ROMs, is written in BASIC and ML, and can use either a CBM or an ASCII printer. It also uses a CBM disk or can be user modified to use another disk unit. It has variable line spacing within text, variable margins within text, shift for upper case in either ROM set, all caps look, auto repeat for all keys, center text within text, right justify, multiple tab control, edit, delete, insert, block handling and out of text, header, footer, page numbering, scrolling either direction, and most words on the screen shift to avoid splitting. And it's fast.
Let's review the PAPERMATE commands. First of all there are program commands and in-text commands. The program commands are given by exiting the text to a list of one letter entries to perform functions including block handling and disk operations. The in-text commands can be added or changed at any time and are primarily printer commands such as tabs and justification.
SAVE: This command allows a text to be saved on disk. It will allow for either CBM disk or tape. Other units may be used if programmed by the user.
LOAD: This command allows loading a text from disk or tape.
WRITE: This command puts the user into the mode to enter text from the keyboard. The text may be edited at all times and the text is always available unless it is replaced by a LOAD which will put another text in memory. In-text commands may be added as you go along.
PRINT: This command will print out your text on the printer of your choice. All in-text commands will be translated into printer variables. You have the ability to stop the printout at any time and there is a feature to pause the printout at the end of each page so that if you are using single sheets they may be replaced.
FORMAT: This feature will cleanup the screen presentation if you have been inserting or deleting a lot of single words or letters in text.
KEY DEFINITION: This will allow you to change the output of one or more keys of your choice to whatever you want. The STOP key is already predefined to give a "." while in the WRITE mode. If you don't like your keyboard you can "change" it.
COMMAND: This feature allows you to give your CBM disk any command that would be used with a PRINT#15 (command channel mode).
The following commands are all block commands.
The block is defined in the text by using the bracket characters to define the beginning and the end of the block.
TRANSFER: This command will transfer the defined block to be inserted at the point that the cursor was left (in the margin) before going to the program command section.
DELETE: This command will delete all text that is included in the block.
MEMORIZE: This command will allow the user to place on disk the defined block of text (to be used later).
APPEND: This command will add any block of text to the end of the file presently in memory. This block can then be moved anywhere desired using the TRANSFER command.
INSERT: This command will insert blanks equal to the size of the defined block and move the text down out of the way. It makes space.
MARGIN: The left and right margins may be set and changed at any time. A command is available to decrease the left margin setting by so many spaces.
LINE CONTROL: Line spacing (double, triple, and more) can be controlled and changed in text. The program will allow for the option to right justify. There is a command to center the next (number supplied by the user) several lines of text. There is also a semi-automatic mode to use hyphens. One of the best features is the ability to set up multiple TABs and to change them at will.
PAGING: The page size may be specified (normally 66 lines). A header to be printed at the top of each page and a page number at the bottom of each page can be used. Two other paging commands are a pause feature so that paper may be changed at the end of each document and a command that will force the printer to go to the end of the page if a given number of lines are not available. This is very useful with tables or figures so that they are printed without being broken up between two pages.
LINKING: A title for each file is used. This will automatically be setup for disk use. A command that will call out the next file to be linked in a printing operation is available and any number of files may be joined in this manner.
FORM DOCUMENTS: There are several commands that allow the user to setup a form letter or any other type of recurring document and use a mailing list, etc. to fill the required information. The files may be set up using PAPERMATE or a separate program may be used. The file requirements are delineated.
GRAPHICS: There are two special commands that allow control characters to be sent to the printer. Therefore the secondary address on the CBM printer may be changed and enhanced graphics may be utilized.
MISC: There is a command that allows the user to insert non-printable remarks in the text.
There are a few non-command features that should be noted. All keys have a simple repeat feature that is activated by holding the key down for more than a second. The system will coexist with both disk DOSs and old and new BASIC. I do not know how it will work with BASIC 4.0 (Editor's Note: We checked with the vendor, and Papermate runs on 4.0 and 80 column machines. RCL) A simple method is described to convert for an 80 column CBM so that would indicate that it can be used with the new operating system. I would want to verify that before I bought it for that purpose. I have used it with both versions of the disk operating system successfully. One other neat little function is that if you type the REV key then the text will be typed in upper case for letter characters only and numbers, punctuation, etc. will be printed normally.
So what is wrong with it? As with many software packages I have seen, the documentation leaves a little bit to be desired. Some of the pages did not print very well. Many of the explanations were written by and for someone already familiar with the system and although they make good sense now they were quite hard to figure out at first. I believe that this system is equivalent to WORDPRO II. One must keep track of what file ties into where if you are going to insert blocks here and there. That is a function that only the much more expensive systems will perform but PAPERMATE will nicely chain files together for printing just by a single command at the end of each file. One last potential problem; if you are a novice programmer you will have considerable difficulty following Michael Riley's programming. He has done an excellent job of utilizing some very unique skills to get a lot of power from a comparatively short program and it is not easy to follow. I have changed several areas for my own idiosyncrasies and even though there is a list of variables, and program sections are defined, it was not easy and there are many pitfalls.
To summarize, the best recommendation that I can give is that this is the first program that I have been able to get my wife to use in the three years that I have owned my PET. You ought to consider this alternative if you are thinking of getting a word-processor program for your PET/CBM.