Word processing, type size, and the Line Printer VI. Ted Byrne.
Word Processing, Type Size, And The Line Printer VI
Scripsit is a curious devil. Radio Shack has several nifty printers capable of all sorts of graphic tricks, but you can't make them work from inside their own word processor. The problem has been attacked by the Acorn folks, among others, with augmentation packages like SuperScript.
Richard Wilkes has written a clever program that offers features such as underline and boldface. The problem is, I own a terrific printer, the Radio Shack Line Printer VI, and it won't do those things. It prints a whole array of graphics characters, but while these are handy in many Basic programs, they are rarely useful in word processing. Pitch and font changes are what I want.
Pitch controls the space between your lines and the font determines the size and shape of the printed letters. The LPVI is a real workhorse: it has an adjustable and detachable tractor feed, a friction drive (for single sheet printing), an out of paper alert, and the ability to accept paper from 2 1/2 to 15 wide. It is a substantial, big time printer with many features, including a bi-directional printhead that I have clocked at over 100 cps and about 35 lines per minute. Its size dampens its noise and reduces vibration (especially compared to the din of a daisywheel).
Yes, I like the thing, and it has put in over a year of service with no problems save one: there have been many times when I have wanted to use its ability to print different sized type and spacing but had to resign myself to the fact that Scripsit wouldn't let that happen. Then it occurred to me--after all that time-- that I was wrong.
Let's back up a little. The LP-VI offers four different fonts (see Figure 1) and three different pitches (Figure 2). Yet Scripsit offers no commands to call up these different modes. What I had forgotten was that the printer can be locked into any combination of these pitches and fonts before Scripsit is entered.
The combinations are software directed, so I simply wrote a small start-up program that I enter before Scripsit. I then choose my graphic modes and call up Scripsit knowing that the printer commands will hold until cancelled.
The LP-VI is normally set at six lines per inch with 132 characters per line. But with this program I can now choose between normal, compressed, compressed /elongated or full elongated modes . . . printed at 6, 8, or 12 lines per inch. My basic listings are no longer impossible to see without my glasses, and when I give speeches and talks, the elongated mode really beefs up the notes for my aging eyes.
Another advantage of modifying font and spacing is the ability to pack data onto fewer pages. This article runs about two and a half double-spaced pages of normal typing, yet it fits handily onto about two thirds of a page, still doublespaced, in condensed form at 12 LPI.
I would still like to have a Scripsit modification which fully supports these controls from inside the program, but it is such a terrific word processing system and so darned inexpensive that I can't complain now that I have this little utility program.
Table: Figure 1.
Table: Figure 2.