SmartWRITER Elite
by Walters Software Co.
Reviewed by Jim Notini

SmartWRITER ELITE, by Jim Walters, is a new enhancement to the SmartWRITER Word Processing program that is built into each and every ADAM Computer System. Numerous bugs in the Operating System of the ADAM are fixed via the implementation of the SmartDSK Operating System (this system is used by all Walters Software Co. programs so therefore all ramdisk setups are compatible when switching between Walters programs) as well as the ability to gain access to disk drive #2 and a ramdisk (these two hardware items were not accessible through the built in version of SmartWRITER).

Other major enhancements include 9-pin and true 24-pin drivers for dot matrix printers, the ability to setup embedded printer commands to change type styles within the document and for the first time the one and one half line spacing bug has been correctly fixed (this bug previously would cause the printer to skip one and one half lines when it encountered a blank line) to skip only one line. More importantly, a SmartBASIC patch program has been included that allows the user to customize the embedded printer commands that are setup on the SmartWRITER ELITE program disk or data pack by themselves if they require access to different print styles that their dot matrix printer offers.

SmartWRITER ELITE is available on either cartridge, disk or data pack and comes with a seven page instruction manual as well as a two page addendum on how to use the patch program to change the embedded printer commands built into SW Elite. The instructions are extremely easy to understand and detail every possible aspect of using the SW Elite program. Once the cartridge or computer reset switch is activated, the SmartDSK Operating System is loaded in followed by the SW Elite program. The only SmartKEY menu is then displayed with options for setting up either 9-pin or 24-pin printer drivers depending on what type of printer that the user owns. Once the choice is made, the computer resets to the Electronic Typewriter mode and by pressing the ESCAPE / WP key, the word processor mode is entered with all the advanced features that SW Elite offers.

The initial setup of the SW Elite consists of: Data Drive 1 (Drive A), Ramdisk (Drive B) if a memory expander is found in the system, Disk Drive 1 (Drive C) and the dot matrix printer access on. To change the configuration of the SW Elite program if the default setup is not to your liking, a sequence of "CONTROL" key and specific letter keypresses are required. The CONTROL sequence keypresses are as follows: < CONTROL + W > directs output to the ADAM Printer; < CONTROL + D > directs output to a Dot Matrix Printer hooked up to the ADAM via a Parallel Printer Interface; < CONTROL + T > sets up the drives as Data Drive #1 (A), Data Drive #2 (B); < CONTROL + R > sets up the drives as Data Drive #1 (A), Ramdisk (B); < CONTROL + X > set up the drives as Disk Drive #2 (A), Ramdisk (B); < CONTROL + Y > sets up the drives as Disk Drive #2 (A), Data Drive #2 (B). Note that Disk Drive #1 is always configured as drive (C) for all options above.

Also note that the ramdisk size is set depending on the full size of the Memory Expander installed in the ADAM and that a second digital data drive (B) is not required in the system in order for drive B to be reconfigured as the ramdisk. When using the ramdisk option to store files to it, always remember that when worked has been completed, the files will somehow have to be saved to disk or data pack before powering down or using another program that is not compatible with the SmartDSK Operating System setup. In order to save the files back to disk or data pack, one will either have to reload the files) from the ramdisk and then resave them to disk or data pack. Another way to perform this task would be through the use of one of many Waiters Software Co. utilities such as ADAM's Desk Top, AutoBackup or SmartDSK III. I personally would have preferred to see a ramdisk file copy feature built into the SmartKEY main menu. This would allow the user to reboot the SW Elite media (the contents stored on the ramdisk are not destroyed by loading another Waiters Software program unlike other ramdisk software programs developed by other programmers) and then proceed to copy the file(s) desired off the ramdisk to disk or data pack. A much faster process than reloading / resaving the file(s) through SmartWRITER and more convenient for those purchasers of SW Elite who don't own one of the aforementioned Waiters programs.

The use of embedded printer commands for accessing a DMP's built-in capabilities is a function which many ADAMites are very familiar with through their usage of such programs as EVE's SP-1 Patch, Digital Express' ShowOFF II and Hexace's SmartWRITER'S Helper. SW Elite uses the caret " ^ " sign as well as an upper case letter to specify when to start the new print style and when to end the style. For instance, if you wanted the words "SmartWRITER ELITE" printed in expanded print you would type it into SmartWRITER like this: ^ MSmartWRITER ELITE^N. When you print out the document, the ^ M and ^ N will not be printed but everything in between the two caret combinations will be printed in expanded print. As SW Elite is supplied, their are ten active print options: Emphasis, Double Strike, Italics, Compressed, Elite, Pica, Near Letter Quality Pica, Near Letter Quality Elite, Expanded and Form Feed that should work with any DMP. There are also two open embedded printer codes that can be setup by the user through the patch program. Users of SW Elite will have to consult their DMP owner's manual for specific information on which styles can be used in conjunction with one another.

The SW Elite Patch program is accessed by first loading SmartBASIC V1.0 and then running the HELLO program on the SW Elite media (if you purchase the cartridge version of SW Elite, you will have to send the cartridge back to Waiters Software Co. in order to modify the embedded printer codes). In a few moments the patch program will display a menu from which you may begin to enter in two new printer codes or edit the ones built-in. Since SW Elite is copy protected, all modifications will have to be made to the original disk or data pack unless a backup copy is purchased, so instead of taking chances, purchase a backup copy immediately from Walters Software Co.

SmartWRITER ELITE is a tremendous enhancement to the SmartWRITER program. We have all wondered how Coleco's programmers could have let so many bugs go by unnoticed, but thankfully, SW Elite is yet another step forward in clearing up some of these deficiencies as well as offering dot matrix printer users the ability to access their printers capabilities without having to use multiple programs or learn a new word processor. I would have liked to have seen the ability to setup more embedded printer codes to have access to at once, but at least a program is supplied to reconfigure the codes.

System Requirements

Memory: 64K or larger
Printer: ADAM or Dot Matrix Printer
Drives: 1 DDP or Disk drive
Others: No other requirements
Options: Memory Expander/Dot Matrix Ptr

Software Ratings

Ease of Use......A+
Overall Value....B+



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