When you bought your Atari, did you feel that you
ought to do something more than just play games? I did, and after
waiting a couple of years, I finally took the plunge and bought three
'business' packages from Atari.
ATARIWRITER is a ROM cartridge based word processor,
and can be used with disk drive, cassette and any printer, ATARI or
otherwise. Instructions provided are excellent and the program is so
user-friendly, that you can be typing away within minutes of first
opening the carton.
When first booted, the program's main menu appears
on screen offering such choices as Create, Edit or Delete File, Format
Disk and Index of Disk Files. After selecting the Create mode, you can
begin typing straight away with the cursor tracing your progress. The
cursor is not the usual square but a blinking underline. At any time
you may return to the main menu by pressing ESC.
Editing, carried out in the Insert mode, is
simplicity itself. CTRL commands can shift and delete blocks of text,
move the cursor to the end or beginning of lines, paragraphs or files,
set margins or page length and more. A Preview function, allowing
sight of the completed 80 column text on the 40 column screen can be
called up - an extremely useful feature. Any recurring errors can be
traced and rectified by a Search and Replace command, saving much
Overall this is one of the best pieces of software
for the Atari on the market. Easy to use and versatile, it provides
facilities that some other word processors costing over twice the
price cannot boast. My only complaint? Well, I use an Epson printer
and although the program can print control codes, if you don't support
it with an Atari printer, you must translate the character required
into the printer's decimal code, a rather tedious task. Another
example of Atari's reluctance (refusal?) to support non-Atari
products. All is not lost however for I discovered later that Chipsoft
produce a printer driver allowing full, direct from the keyboard, use
of all the program's facilities. Needless to say, I snapped this up
and my only grouse with the package has
THE HOME FILING MANAGER is a 16K disk based program
that can best be described as an electronic card index. The package
comprises two disks, one to boot the main program and the other being
the master data disk for file storage which can be copied to suit.
There is also an excellent instruction manual.
Again, choices are made from a menu that can be
easily accessed at all times allowing cards to be created, edited and
printed. In addition, cards can be called up by title search or by any
phrase appearing therein. Each card is graphically represented, like
its paper counterpart, with 12 ruled lines. Any cards produced by your
search are neatly marked by a graphic 'paper clip'. All entries are
automatically sorted alphabetically by title and can be easily edited
or deleted as required.
This is an ideal home utility for storing addresses,
referencing books, stamps etc. which, although limited when compared
with such as File Manager 800, is highly recommended to the single
disk drive user.
The last item of the trio, FAMILY FINANCE is again
disk based and requires 32K. The instructions provided are easy to
follow and the program operates from two disks, one dealing with
actual income and expenditure and the other, using data from the
former, relating it to a user determined budget.
Up to 13 individual categories can be input and
financial details entered as required. No graphics are employed and
displays such as Income against Expense or Actual Income against
Budgeted Income can be provided, either on a monthly or annual basis,
in a straightforward columnar format. Files can be easily added to,
edited or deleted.
I found this to be a rather
slow, limited utility that certainly did not fit my requirements.
Unlike other, albeit more expensive, packages, it does not project
results but rather provides a simple summary of past transactions
within a relatively narrow range of categories. No facility, for
example, is provided to keep track of payment/clearing of cheques,
something which I think is a must for any home financial program.
In conclusion, three packages of, to my mind,
varying value. Before parting with your hard earned cash, try to see
them running. I can wholeheartedly recommend the first two but don't just take my word for it. Unlike arcade games, you must,
I feel, spend some considerable time determining in advance which program is closest to your own requirements, rather than, as was my case, trying to alter those requirements to suit the program.