Classic Computer Magazine Archive CREATIVE COMPUTING VOL. 11, NO. 9 / SEPTEMBER 1985 / PAGE 82

MindReader. (software) (evaluation)

The title conjures up visions of tarot decks, rune sticks, astrology charts, and other prognostic devices. However, nothing could be farther from the truth. MindReader is a word processor with built-in keyboard macros. It is designed for executives and professionals who need to write short one- to three-page letters.

Its big gimmick is an interactive keyboard macro that anticipates what you are going to type. The program compares the characters you are typing with words or phrases stored in a dictionary. When enough characters match, a pop-up window appears in the text with a short list of choices. You pick one and the rest of the characters fill in on the screen automatically.

For example, typing "inv" triggers a pop-up menu with the choices investment, invest, investigation, inventory, invitation, invite, invoice, and involve. If you want the word "investment," you pres the 1 key and the program automatically finishes the word.

Likewise, you can call up a glossary and insert whole sentences, paragraphs, or other boilerplate material. A Rolodex feature is also integrated into the program and allows you to insert names and addresses with a couple keystrokes and set up mail merge documents.

In theory, the idea of filling in the rest of a word with a single keystroke sounds great. However, in practice, those pop-up boxes wink in and out so much that it makes the program look like an explosion-filled arcade game. To say that they are distracting is an understatement.

You can disable this feature, but then you are left with a no-frills word processor with only a few special editing and formatting functions such as centering, underlining, and boldfacing. It does make good use of the function keys and has terrific sound effects. MindReader also contains a rudimentary daily scheduler, calculator, word jumble game, and practice function.

With a suggested retail price of $189, MindReader will appeal only to those whose minds need a lot more than reading. The concept is admirable, but those pop-up windows create a distracting screen. You are better off learning to use a more sophisticated word processing program and adding a keyboard macro program, or, purchasing one of the many inexpensive no-frills word processors already out on the market.

Products: MindReader (computer program)