BY CLAYTON WALNUM
Recently, people complained that it was difficult to determine whether a program in ST-LOG was "disk-only" or "type-in." Originally, we included this information at the beginning of a program's accompanying article, but many felt that they should not have to flip through the magazine in order to figure out exactly what they were buying. We agreed. So for the last couple of issues we have included the "disk-only" information in each program's description in the table of contents. This method, although effective, is anything but elegant.
Finally, it was suggested by D.A. Brumleve, the author of ST-LOG's children's column, The Compukid Connection, that what we really need is an icon that can convey, at a glance, the necessary information about each program. She further suggested that this icon indicate not only whether a program is disk-only or type-in, but also whether it runs in color, monochrome or both.
I thought this was a great idea, but also felt that a single icon that could convey this much information would be difficult to come up with. Ms. Brumleve disagreed, and to prove the point, she had ready, less than 24 hours later, exactly the type of icon she had described. Needless to say, we purchased it for use in ST-LOG.
The bottom line is that, from now on, the ST-LOG table of contents will contain icons that will give you, at a glance, the answers to the following questions:
- Does the article offer a program on disk?
- Is there a complete type-in listing?
- Does the program run in color, monochrome or both?
PHOTOGRAPHY: GARRY GAY
Note the words "complete type-in listing" in question #2. We sometimes include, for the benefit of interested programmers, program listings that, although they show a complete program, cannot be run without subsidiary data files—usually picture files—that would be impossible to include in type-in form. We don't consider this type of program listing to be a type-in, so if an icon indicates a type-in listing, you may be sure that you do not require the disk to run the program.
At the bottom of the table of contents you'll find a key that will tell you how to interpret the icons. After reading the key once, you should never have to refer to it again. The icons are almost self-explanatory.
From this point on, you'll never have to search through the magazine or read the entire table of contents to get the information you need about a particular program. I don't think we could possibly make it any simpler. You're welcome.