Taking the venture out of a publisher. (using Ventura Publisher) (Special Anniversary Issue)
by Robert Bixby
You can't use Ventura Publisher for very long without grudgingly admitting that it has a few flaws. It lacks two-up printing, for example, and a few other little things that would be nice to have. Fortunately, Ventura is popular enough to make it profitable for small programming companies to create utilities to fill in the gaps.
EDCO (EDCO Services, 12410 North Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa, Florida 33618; 813-960-2356) is such a company. EDCO provides simple solutions to two Ventura deficiencies most vexatious to typesetters: hyphenation and kerning.
They hyphenation problem involves words improperly hyphenated according to the standard dictionary. This shows up when a word containing a syllable of a single character appears at the end of a line - Ventura often breaks words incorrectly. The EDCO Hyphenation Dictionary is free of these errors, and it allows you to enter new words in the dictionary, complete with specified hyphenations to prevent errors from occurring. You can even specify how many letters should appear before and after a hyphen to prevent short words from breaking at all and long words from breaking before or after single letters
LetrTuck is an interactive kerning engine that allows you to adjust the kerning of letter pairs in the 24 most popular PostScript fonts: roman, bold, italic, and bold italic forms of Avant Garde, Bookman, New Century Schoolbook, Palatino, Helvetica, and Times. You can specify a change of as little as 1/1000 of an em space. You can even enter letters not ordinarily kerned and specify a kerning value. LetrTuck and the EDCO Hyphenation Dictionary are available for $99 each or $148 for both.
2Up Publisher (Laser Age Software, 3231 Ocean Park Boulevard, Santa Monica, California 90405; 213-470-1397; $159) is another interesting package designed to make up for what I consider a glaring inadequacy in Ventura: the lack of two-up printing. Two-up means setting up your pages so the resulting printout can be folded into booklet form.
With Ventura you can create landscape pages with two frames side by side, but then there's the problem of pagination. Laying out a booklet unassisted is both a nightmare and a headache rolled into one. To create a 32-page booklet, you could spend hours cutting and pasting text to get it in the right positions, and page numbers have to be entered by hand. That's a lot of work you shouldn't have to do.
It seems that Ventura is designed to frustrate creation of a simple saddle-stitched booklet, but thankfully, 2Up Publisher is designed to take care of that problem. You simple create pages in Ventura Publisher using a special format described in the 2Up Publisher manual and then print them to a file. 2Up Publisher then extracts the pages from the file and rearranges them so they can be saddle-stitched.
2Up Publisher only prints to a PCL printer, meaning it uses only PCL font files. If you're used to printing from Ventura for Windows to a PostScript device, the result is an unacceptable change of available fonts. Nonetheless, once you've set up Ventura to print in the appropriate format and made the necessary adjustments, 2Up Publisher will generate perfect pages as advertised.
As I've mentioned before, I'm a man on a quest; I'm looking for the perfect pointing device to replace the mouse. The news from Quixoteland is that I may have found my true love - a device that makes pointing easier and allows me to draw with a natural motion. The creature's name is MousePen (Appoint Systems, 1332 Vendels Circle, Paso Robles, California 93446; 800-448-1184; $109), and though it's a little fat around the middle, it works like a real pen.
You can hold it like a pen, draw on your mouse pad as if it were a sketch pad, and even draw with it on other surfaces, provided they aren't too slick. The mouse ball is a bead with a smooth finish rather than the rubber-coated ball bearing found in most mice.
Although I have several standard mice standing by to take the MousePen's place, I haven't rushed back to them yet. If the MousePen barrel can be made thinner, this sharp new input device will border on perfection.