Print Shop Shareware Bonanza
If you produce useful products at reasonable prices and make them easy to use, I'll write raves for you. One 8-bit Atari programmer who qualifies is Chris Ware-ham of Shepherd Software. You may recall my enthusiasm for his Billboard giant-banner program in the February 1988 Antic. Well, Chris has followed that up with another six interesting shareware and public domain offerings.
The most significant are Icon Printer and Video Jukebox ($10 each), utilities for Broderbund's ever-popular Print Shop. Icon Printer prints 49 icons per page. It dumps an entire disk of icons to your printer automatically, complete with names, in disk order or alphabetical order. As a bonus, Icon Printer lets you rename icons. Like all of Chris' programs, the user interface is clean and simple.
Icon Printer is set up for Epson FX printers and compatibles, but can be modified to support almost any printer. Even if you only use Print rarely, you need a program like this.
There are lots of utilities for Print Shop icons, but Video Jukebox is the first I've seen that addresses the program's Screen Magic capabilities. Basically, it converts Micro-Painter and Micro Illustrator screens to Screen Magic format and back, meaning that you can capture Screen Magic kaleidoscopes for your paint programs and add fancy Print Shop lettering to your microscreens.
Video Jukebox does other things that are less useful but more fun. It displays pictures while running the Atari rainbow in the background- incredibly dramatic with the Print Shop kaleidoscopes. The rainbow can be changed by pressing any key combination, producing more variations than I thought possible.
Video Jukebox can play music while the picture is displayed, affecting the speed of the rainbow in strange ways. The overall effect can be amazing. Pokey Player, the excellent public domain program, is used to produce the music and is included on the disk along with 34 songs. I would say that the easy-to-use Video Jukebox is another must-have for Print Shop junkies and a very useful tool for people who want Print Shop fonts in their microscreens.
F-15 Construction Set ($7) lets you design new flight maps for MicroProse's F-15 Strike Eagle. It requires the original game and is a little tough to set up. But after you've got it working, you can easily modify the existing missions, save them and play them. There are a few restrictions such as not having more targets than the original mission, but you get enough flexibility to keep up with world events.
DO-Disk ($7) is the only clunker in the batch. It's basically a sector reader-not a sector editor-that lets you search for a character string, or map (trace) the files. The results can be printed either onscreen or on the printer. But DO-Disk can't change the data on the disk, it can't even display the data in hexadecimal format. Any decent sector editor will run rings around DO-Disk.
Interestingly, DO-Disk includes a "mini" sector editor-L. Fogassy's public domain Modify Utility. It's more useful than the DO-Disk, and together they're almost a complete system. Still, you'd be better off with a full-featured sector editor.
The final product is a public domain nutrition tracking program, Eat Well, Live Long, Prosper! ($5), based on a public domain BASIC program by Vance Houston and translated into ACTION! You enter your statistics (age, weight and sex), and then Eat Well asks what you ate (or plan to eat). You choose your answer from a list of almost 500 items (you can add to the list).
Try the programs. If you like them, send the money to Shepherd Software. All of them, even the DO-Disk, are easily worth the low price. Do yourself a favor and introduce yourself to Chris Wareham's work. By the way, the latest version of Billboard ($10) is much easier to configure for various printers.
48K disk. Shepherd Software, 1215 West Jackson, Spearfish, SD 57783.