Classic Computer Magazine Archive CREATIVE COMPUTING VOL. 9, NO. 5 / MAY 1983 / PAGE 79

Four database programs for the color computer. (evaluation) Scott L. Norman.

Four Database Programs For The Color Computer

Among the most useful tasks a personal or household computer can perform are the storage, ordering, and selective retrieval of alphanumeric information. The information may consist of lists of addresses and telephone numbers, household inventories, or a variety of personal histories; it really isn't important which. The point is that the manipulation of this sort of data is an appropriate task for today's civilized micros.

It is possible for enthusiasts to write their own database programs, even if Basic is the only language available. However, it can take quite a while to develop a suitably flexible, bug-free program. Add to this the motivation of making computer-based information management available to non-enthusiasts, and you can see the desirability of ready-to-run database manipulation packages.

In this article, I will review four such packages which run on the Radio Shack TRS-80 Color Computer: Trans Tek's C.C. File (formerly known as Quad Data Base), Computerware's Color Data Organizer, Wizard Software's E-Z File, and Radio Shack's own Color File.

The popularity of the Color Computer is growing, and so is the list of database management systems for it. My selection represents software with which I have become familiar over a period of time. I believe that it represents a good cross section of the moderately priced software available.

The four programs differ in flexibility, in features, and in format. C.C. File and Color Data Organizer are available on both cassette and disk, Color File comes in a ROM pack and uses cassettes for data storage, and E-Z File is on disk only.

I have chosen the disk versions of the first two for convenience; in fact, my copy of Color File also resides on disk, but still uses cassette I/O. All of these programs will run on 16K machines. Finally, please note that these programs are intended for "stock' Color Computers, and do not require either of the advanced operating systems (Flex or OS-9) now being used by people who have modified their machines for 64K operation.

C.C. File

Trans Tek's Bill Dye has said that the Quad in the old name of this program stood for "Quick And Dirty,' and it is true that the program is both easy to learn and relatively free of extra features. Don't underestimate it, though; C.C. File deserves high marks for flexibility and user-friendliness.

Its most attractive feature is the ability to accept data in free form. This means that there is no predefined format for the records which make up a database file, and in fact the records within a given file do not even have to have the same structure. The various fields within a record do not have to be identified ahead of time as to their alphabetic or numeric character, either.

To appreciate the freedom which this gives the user, suppose that C.C. File were used to maintain a personalized address/telephone directory. You might begin with entries having the address before the telephone number, but you could switch at any time and reverse the order for part of the directory. If it suited you to have the number first, then the address, and then the name, that would be all right, too. The search routine finds a key string regardless of its position in a record.

I will get to the mechanics of all this in a moment, but first a few preliminaries: You receive both cassette and disk versions of C.C. File in ASCII format on a single cassette. Since the program is written in Basic, it is a simple matter to SAVE or CSAVE your working copies in conventional tokenized form.

As I mentioned, I have used only the disk version, and although the cassette version seems to offer the same options, I must admit to being devoted to the speed and convenience of a disk system for file manipulation.

In any case, when C.C. File is run, it begins by asking for the name of the database to be read. If you are starting from scratch, you enter NEW and are prompted to assign a name. Obviously, several databases can be stored on a single disk; a given database can consist of up to 300 records.

Once you have named the new database, you are presented with a master menu. There are only four choices, Search and Print, Search, Update, and Quit. The Update option is used for writing the initial data, as well as for changing it at any later time. Here is where you first encounter the joys of free form data entry; each record is simply entered as a single alphanumeric string. The individual fields are separated by the @ symbol, which is replaced by a carriage return when the record is later printed or recalled to the screen by the search routine. As an example my entry in someone's electronic address book might be

Scott L. Norman@8 Doris Rd. @Framingham, MA 01701@ (617)101-0101 (No, I don't really have a binary phone number!) This would be properly formatted when subsequently displayed.

The @ sign is one of only two special control characters in C.C. File. The other is the "greater than,' >, which generates ten blank spaces in a printout or CRT display. This is handy for indenting code fields on mailing labels, for example. It is important to allow for the proper number of characters associated with @ and > when composing your entries, since a C.C. File record is limited to 250 characters overall.

If you make an error while entering a record, you merely backspace and type it again--just as in Basic. Once you have hit the ENTER key, though, it is necessary to get into edit mode to make corrections. The editing procedure will be familiar to users of Trans Tek's C.C. Writer word processor; it is more complicated to describe than to do.

First, return to the master menu with the Q (Quit) command. Next, select the Search option, and receive the prompt for keywords LOOK FOR >. Enter any string which unambiguously identifies the record you want to change and it will be displayed, fully formatted.

The bottom of the screen now contains a secondary menu with four choices: Delete, Print, Edit, or an arrow symbol. The first two are self-explanatory; the arrow indicates that the up and down arrows on the keyboard can be used to scroll back and forth through the database. The Edit option causes the displayed record to revert to the string format in which it was entered, complete with @ and > symbols. Now, however, there is yet another menu on the screen: (I)nsert/(C)hange/(D)elete.

The cursor can be positioned anywhere in the record with the arrow keys. Typing I causes the text to open up to receive insertions, the C lets you overtype and correct text, and each time the D key is pressed the character to the right of the cursor is deleted. You can recover the formated version of the data by pressing ENTER and return to the master menu with the Q command.

In covering the editing procedure, I have actually touched on most of the features of C.C. File. As you have probably guessed from my description of the Search option there are no privileged keywords. The ability to search on any substring means that our hypothetical address book database could be searched by last initial, zip code, or telephone area code.

You can set up keywords if you wish, though. For example, you might make the convention that keywords are to be denoted by a leading asterisk or other special character (except @ or >, of course). You do pay a small price for this simplicity, though. For one thing, the match to a search key must be exact: uppercase and lowercase characters are distinct from one another. Also, it is not possible to logically combine search criteria with AND or OR; these would just be considered part of the search key by the program logic. A final point is that it is not possible to quit the search routine at any arbitrary stage. You must page through all successful "hits' resulting from your search criterion.

What about some of those other options? Recall that the Search routine gives you the choice of printing each hit or skipping to the next one. The master menu also has a Search and Print option, which prints each and every hit. If you enter a null line in response to the LOOK FOR prompt in this option, the entire database will be printed out. I have already mentioned the Q command for returning to the master menu from the edit routine: entering a Q from the master menu itself causes the database to be written to the disk or cassette in ASCII. You then exit the program and return to Basic.

Summing up. C.C. File provides a simple, inexpensive way to add rudimentary database management capability to the Color Computer. Its command syntax is easily learned (especially for C.C. Writer users), and the on-screen prompts make it difficult to get badly lost. To be sure, the program lacks the ability to sort and merge files, but in my opinion it remains a best buy.

Color Data Organizer

Computerware's Color Data Organizer is also written in Basic and has both a file sorting capability and a provision for selecting records according to numerical limits which the user sets on data fields. Unfortunately, there are rather stringent limits on both the length and format of records. Each can contain at most four fields: two numeric, two alphanumeric. The numeric fields may be up to nine digits long (the display switches to scientific notation for larger or smaller numbers), while the alphanumerics are restricted to 16 characters. As a result, the program is useful only for very restricted types of data. It would probably serve for home inventories, for example, but not for address book applications. The disk version of Color Data Organizer can handle up to 255 records; the cassette version can work with only half as many. Either will run in 16K, and in fact having a 32K machine is no advantage; this program lacks the dynamic memory allocation capability of C.C. File.

Like the other database managers reviewed here, Color Data Organizer uses nested menus to guide the user through the many options. The menu structure is fairly complex, however, and places responsibility for a surprising amount of detail on the user. For example, users must issue specific commands to open and close disk files, a chore which is normally automated in such programs.

A fresh disk contains three programs: DATA-ORG, which is the Color Data Organizer program itself; DATA-CON, for converting cassette data files to disk format; and a sample database named DATAFILE. Before starting work with a 16K Color Computer, you must enter the commands PCLEAR 1 and FILES 2 to allocate sufficient memory; this is unnecessary with a 32K machine. The first display is the Master Menu, with four entries: Storage Control, File Control, Sort-Print, and Basic.

Almost all responses are made with a single number. No matter what you are planning to do with Color Data Organizer, your first selection is Storage Control, which has its own menu: Open, Close, Directory, Create, and Return. The first two options open and close disk file buffers, Directory lists all files with DAT extension, Create defines the names of data columns for a new file, and Return brings back the Main Menu.

Here is the procedure for building a new file from scratch. Choosing the Create option of Storage Control, you are presented with a third-level menu which asks for the titles to be assigned to the four data fields. The numeric columns are specified first, and input data are later called for in this order. When you have entered and approved all four titles, you are asked for a filename. There is an explicit (if small) warning in the instructions not to specify an extension; the program assigns /DAT to all data files. With the filename and data column headings specified, the program writes the name onto the disk (drive 0 assumed). The Storage Control menu then returns.

Ready to enter data? Select the Open option of Storage Control and you are prompted for the filename. The disk is read and the Main menu returns; now select the File Control option. This time there are only three options on the second-level menu: Input, Look, and Return. As you might expect, Input is used for data entry. The third-level menu prompts you for the four data fields in turn, and upon completion, gives you the option of re-doing the whole record or approving it and going on.

There is also a running display of both the next unused record number and the total number of records still available for your file. When you have finished, an M command gets you back to the File Control menu. Before you can call it quits, though, you still must return from File Control to Main, then go back to Storage Control to give the Close command. Disaster awaits if you remove a disk or quit the program without closing the file buffers.

One quirk in the system: The program drops leading zeros from numerical data, which can make zip codes look rather strange.

What about some of those other options? The Look option of File Control is used for viewing, deleting, or changing data already stored in files. Once again, it is necessary to bounce back and forth between the Main, Storage Control, and File Control menus. The third-level menu for Look asks you for a beginning record number and then it displays a command line giving your options: (F)orward one record, (B)ack one, (N)ew record somewhere else in the file, (C)hange the displayed record, (D)elete it, and (M)enu, which returns you to File Control. If you select C, you must re-enter all four fields--there is no finer selection or change process. The D option clears alphanumeric data fields to blanks and puts zeros in the numeric fields, but does not renumber subsequent records to close up the file.

The Main menu has one more selection which I haven't explained: Sort-Print. This is actually one of the better features of Color Data Organizer. The second-level menu gives you, naturally enough, Sort, Print, and Return (to Main menu) options. Sort causes the titles of the four data fields to be displayed and asks which one you wish to sort on; the sort will be in ascending order. The disk drive goes on as soon as you respond, since this option rewrites your file.

The sorting routine isn't especially fast, being written in Basic, but at least you have the option of using either numeric or alphabetic data to order your file.

The Print option is fairly versatile. First, you are given the choice of printing in a 40-column label format or an 80-column report format. The former prints each field on a separate line, in the entry order: both numerics, then both alphabetics. The title of each field is printed to its left.

The 80-column format is more flexible, allowing the user to specify the order in which fields are to be printed. The four fields of each record are printed on a single line with titles at the top of the printout. You are also allowed a limited degree of selectivity in choosing the records to be printed. This takes the form of setting inclusive upper and lower bounds on the data in one of the fields. Finally, you can specify that the data in either of the numeric fields (but not both) be totalled at the bottom of the report.

Unfortunately, Color Data Organizer lacks a capability for selecting records according to keywords or other strings. The setting of bounds for print selection is your only option along these lines.

How to characterize this program? I must confess to being disappointed. The data format seems just too restricted to be of general utility, although I can imagine using it for some technical data, where the scientific notation feature might be appreciated. I also think that the ability to select records from a database for on-screen examination is absolutely essential, and that some sort of keyword capability should have been included.

Finally, although the whole Storage Control/File Control system is less cumbersome than it may have sounded from my description, it is still more cumbersome than it should be. In fact, this is my principal criticism of the program. I feel that database management systems should serve the user who is indifferent to the charms of the computer and who merely wants help in organizing his information.

E-Z File

This is a rather quirky, frustrating program. Although most of the operations of E-Z File are straightforward, there are just enough oddities to be annoying. In addition, there is one absolutely crucial omission in the documentation; if nothing else, I hope that this review can rectify that particular oversight.

The E-Z File disk contains three programs. A short loader called GO sets up the storage parameters and loads the main program, which is itself called E-Z FILE. The main menu of 16 options is then displayed. There is no printed documentation; instead, the user is advised to use the Load File command to call up E-Z INST, the third disk file. You can then display the complete set of instructions by invoking the List File option.

The instructions aren't especially long, and I am all for generous on-screen prompts, but, I do think that a set of written notes should have been included. It is possible to generate your own by using the Print File option, but the printed format is very poor. There is also evidence that the program has been undergoing modification at a rate too fast for its own good. There are several discrepancies between the option numbers assigned by the on-screen menu and the instructions. The menu is correct in all cases.

It is probably simplest to run through the menu selections in numerical order. Number 1 is called Give to New File on the screen and Create New File in the instructions. At any rate, it is, indeed, the choice for starting out to build a new database. When you select it, the screen clears, and you are ready to enter the first record as a single string of up to 249 characters. A dark graphics block is set at the proper position to remind you of the length limitation, and the prompt RECORD: 1 appears at the bottom. When you have finished with the first record, the ENTER key generates the prompt for the second, and so forth.

Unlike C.C. File, E-Z File does not use special delimiter characters to separate the different fields within a record. If you want a multi-line format at this point, you must enter a series of blank spaces to position the cursor. There is an easier way to go about this, and I will discuss it below when I get to the Edit option. Right now, though, I must bring up the documentation flaw that I mentioned.

There eventually comes a time when you have entered all the material for your database and want to return to the main menu to name and save it. But how? The instructions don't give you a clue. A null line (the ENTER key by itself) doesn't work--it just generates a blank record and brings up the prompt for the next one. Well, folks, it seems that E-Z File uses its own null character, and it's a beauty: two exclamation points separated by the number sign. That's right, the !#! combination terminates data entry. It doesn't actually get the menu back, though. It returns the first record in your database, and you must then step through the whole thing (using any key) until you reach the end. Then, and only then, does the menu reappear.

The idea of using a special character or series of characters to mark the end of the data entry process may be worthwhile. However, I must take Wizard Software to task for leaving the user in the dark. I only stumbled upon the !#! combination because it is also used in the Search and Replace routine to indicate a null replacement string. Let's hope that future documentation corrects this error, because the overall performance of E-Z File is far from shabby.

Assuming that you have gone through the data entry phase and gotten back to the main menu, Option 2 (Edit) may be in order. The editing procedure is similar to that employed by C.C. File, with the same Insert, Delete, and Change options. The four arrow keys control cursor movement, and there is an autorepeat feature.

You start with the first record in the file and advance by moving the cursor to the end of each record in turn. A prompting line at the bottom of the screen gives the numerical value of the current cursor position, the number of the record being edited, and the total number of records in the file.

The Change option is more flexible than that of C.C. File, since it can be used to add material past the end of the original record. This paves the way for better formatting. The idea is to place the cursor just in front of the last character in the original file, hit C, and start typing. In this mode, the ENTER key is recognized as a linefeed (instead of a call for the next record, as in Option #1). Thus you can use ENTER to set up a multi-line record.

The whole process is a little awkward, though. It calls for entering just the first line of data for each record on the first (Option 1) pass, and adding the rest on a second pass under Option 2. Is it worth it? It all depends on how much you care about the appearance of your database.

Option 3, Add to Present File, is quite simple. It just sets up the prompt for the next unused record number, and data entry proceeds as usual.

Option 4, is Search and Replace. You are prompted for the target string for the search and for a replacement string. As in C.C. File, there are no privileged keywords. If you just want to examine your "hits,' and not necessarily change them, you answer the second prompt with the notorious !#! combination. The program displays each hit in turn, and informs you of its entry number in the database and the cursor position at which the hit was found. Any key will advance you to the next hit, if there was more than one. When you have reached the end of your hits, you get a DONE message; pressing any key will return you to the main menu.

If you know at the outset that you want to replace your target string, you enter the replacement in response to the initial prompt. Unfortunately, in this mode you never see the actual hits--just the DONE when the whole process is finished.

Options 5 through 7 allow you to kill, save, or load a data file. They are quite straightforward. You just supply a filename when prompted. Files are saved in ASCII format.

Option 8 is used to get a screen listing of a file after it has been loaded into memory. You get one record at a time, starting with the first and must scan through the entire file before you can do anything else. There doesn't seem to be any way to break off in the middle of things. If you want a printed list, use Option 9; you are given the choice of deleting the record numbers from the printout. By the way, the print is single-spaced with no extra spaces between records. To spread things out, you must insert additional linefeeds with the Edit option.

Option 10, Auto Header, is used when setting up a new database. It allows the user to specify a header which will be repeated automatically at the top of each record. If this feature is desired, it should be the first option used in the setup procedure. It will call Option 1 after the header is specified.

Option 11 allows you to change the default disk drive number for loading, saving, or killing a file from zero to another value. Option 12 toggles the Verify command on and off.

An E-Z File database can be sorted into ascending order with Option 13. That's the good news. The bad news is that each record is treated as a single string and sorted from the beginning. There is no capability for sorting on an interior field, or for sorting into descending order. The sorting routine handles all ASCII characters, however.

Options 14 and 15 are used to modify existing databases by inserting or deleting individual records, while Option 16 returns you to Basic. If you choose to insert a record, you will be asked for the number of the entry after which you want to make the insertion. If you respond with ENTER, your insertion becomes the new entry #1. Of course, the sorting routine can be used to straighten things out later.

I have gone on at some length because of my distress at the flaws in the documentation of E-Z File. To be sure, it isn't the perfect database manager; there are too many processes requiring the user to cycle through the complete file, for example. Still, the program deserves a fair shake. The naive user doesn't have to worry about a multitude of nested menus, and many of the operations are really rather straightforward. If future versions are supplied with adequate documentation, E-Z File could be a serious contender for your database dollar.

Color File

The last of my review subjects, Radio Shack's Color File, is the most powerful in many ways. It is furnished in a ROM pack, leaving almost all of RAM free for data. About 15,000 characters can be stored in a 16K computer. Of course, this means that cassettes must be used for data storage, which does slow things down. Based on the amount of tape used, I would assume that the files are recorded in ASCII. Color File is written in relocatable machine code, so that I was able to copy my version onto disk. Of course, I still have to use cassettes for data, but at least I am no longer required to unplug the disk controller every time I want to use the database system.

Color File has a fairly complete set of commands for re-ordering the records in a file, selecting records, and printing the results of the selection processes. Onscreen prompts are always available and do a good job of keeping you informed of where you are in the menu hierarchy. As a final touch, the program comes with seven predefined file formats: Addresses, Warranties, Home Inventory, Investments, Auto Maintenance, Medical History, and Resume/Vita. You can define your own formats, too.

When the program is fired up, it first asks if an old field is to be loaded. If you are starting afresh, you next get the menu of predefined formats. Let's work through the construction of an address file.

The next prompt is for a filename. Since this is a cassette-oriented program, the filename is not strictly necessary. It does make it easier to locate the correct file on the tape, of course, and is to be recommended. After you supply the name, hitting ENTER twice brings up the file structure (seven fields, plus their names) and a command line at the bottom of the screen.

At this point, the command line contains the master menu:


Taken in order, these allow you to add a record to the file, change the current entry, delete it, select a group of entries for display, put the file in order, save the file to tape, and print selected entries. At this point, the ADD is highlighted, which indicates that it will be implemented if the ENTER key is pressed. In fact, that is the only option available for an empty file.

When you press ENTER, a cursor appears in the first position of the first field. At the same time, the command line changes to display the second-level menu. For the ADD command, this is:

ADD NO! MOR with ADD highlighted again. Now it is time to enter data (name, address, city, etc.) for the first record, with the ENTER key generating a linefeed in the usual way. Only uppercase letters can be used for alphabetic entries, and at this point your editing capability is very limited. You can correct the current line by backspacing and overtyping, and that's all. When you reach the end of the first record, you can add it to the database by pressing ENTER once again, or you can invoke one of the other options with its first letter.

NO!, which also appears in several other second-level menus, cancels the current option and returns the main menu. MOR is used for general editing of a complete record before it is added to the file. Now the four arrow keys can be used by themselves to position the cursor, or in conjunction with the SHIFT key to perform editing functions such as insertion or deletion of spaces, or the deletion of a line. There is no autorepeat function.

After each record is added to the file, you return to the main menu and are prompted with another blank form. When you are finished, you can move on by pressing the up arrow. The display shifts to a kind of title page, giving the name of your file, the total number of entries, and the first fields of the first and last entries. New users are often surprised to find that the database has already been sorted in ascending order according to the first field--machine language sorts can be very fast.

As I shall describe later, you can rearrange the order of records quite easily. You can review the database by using the arrow keys now. Press ENTER to leave the title page for the first record, then use the right and left arrows to move forward or backward through the file. The down arrow moves you to the final entry, and the up arrow returns the title page.

Color File makes it fairly simple to carry out all of the standard operations on a complete file. Pressing ENTER when the last record is on display gets you back to the ADD function to add another file, for example. If you want to change something you see when reviewing one of the records, enter C for the CHG option. You get the appropriate second-level menu: CHG NO! MOR.

CHG allows you to use the arrows and SHIFT key as before to perform editing. If you go all the way through a record and still want to do more editing, use the MOR option: you can't select CHG twice in a row for a given record. If you decide to delete a complete record, just select DEL. This has a simplified menu: DEL and NO!.

The real advantages of Color File lie in its provision for sorting a database and selecting records from one. It is worthwhile to describe these operations in some detail.

The second-level menu for the Select operation is:

SEL NO! FLD ALL = # < > At the right of the command line, in reverse video (dark on light, for this program), is a box reading FLD = followed by a number. This is a reminder of which field currently provides the basis for the selection process. The default is Field #1. The general procedure for setting up a selection operation is as follows (note that you can do this with any record on display, not just one which satisfies the selection criterion):

1. Define the selection field by entering F and responding to the prompt with the field number. Items could be selected by zip code from the address book example by specifying Field 6, for instance.

2. The cursor moves to the first position of the designated field. Now enter the value to be used in the selection (the key). If there is any additional material in the key field of the particular record on display, clear the rest of the line.

3. Specify the selection criterion, using of the last four options on the menu. You can designate "hits' as having a match with the key (=), as having a total mismatch (#), or as having the designated field greater than or less than the key (>, <). The selection criteria work with both numeric and alphabetic fields, with this ordering convention: Punctuation marks before numbers before letters. If you choose the = criterion for a numeric field, your hits will have to exhibit exact equality with the key. Alphabetic fields use a criterion like the Basic INSTR. A hit is made if the key appears anywhere in the designated field.

4. Use the Select option to perform the search.

The machine language search routine is very fast. The selected records form a separate database which can be resorted, printed out, or used as the basis for further selections. This allows you to combine search criteria. For example, it would be possible to find everyone in the address book whose last name begins with N and who lives in Massachusetts.

Using the selection routine does not cause any of the original data to be lost; you can get the whole database back by going to the second-level Select menu and choosing the ALL option.

What about changing the order of a file? This employs the ORD selection on the main menu, and generates the second-level menu

ORD NO! FLD ASC DES plus an FLD = reminder like the one in SEL. The new options, ASC and DES, are used to specify ascending or descending order for the sort; the other options should be familiar by now. When you save a file, the last sorting criterion is saved along with the data.

The final options on the main menu are used for saving a file on tape and for printing it. TAP gives you the option of making two copies of your database. Note that it doesn't let you record a separate database, using records selected from a larger file, you always wind up with the whole file on tape. This is probably a reasonable safety feature.

The way to beat it, assuming you have already made a safety copy of your whole file, is to set up a selection criterion which picks out the records you don't want, then delete them, one at a time. Now the ALL option will combine this empty subset with the records left behind by the selection process, which were the ones you wanted in the first place. Recording this should give you the desired subset on tape.

This has been pretty long-winded, but I think it demonstrates some of the real power that Color File has. The final touch is the ability to define your own record structure. You can specify up to seven fields, and will be asked for the numeric or alphabetic character of each. All of the Color File options are available to user-defined files.

Summing Up

As I mentioned at the outset, this review has treated just those personal database management systems which I myself have used. One thing I have learned is that in software reviewing, as in everything else, personal quirks and preferences play a major role.

I need the ability to select subsets of a database for examination and prefer not to be too constrained in data format. I am also a firm believer in the use of disk systems for maximum flexibility, although the Color Computer system has enough foibles to make me question the wisdom of that.

Putting it all together, I rate Trans Tek's C.C. File an absolute jewel of a best buy. Color Data Organizer is just too constrained in format for my taste, and I think it needlessly burdens the user with operating system details. E-Z File, in my opinion, still needs work; I hope that the vendor sees fit to produce some printed documentation and fixes some of the rough edges, because there is a useful program in there somewhere.

And that brings me, kicking and screaming, to Color File. I like it. It is considered bad form in some quarters to admit that you like a Radio Shack product, rather like playing Mantovani records on a fine stereo system, but there you are. Color File is really quite powerful, and the screen prompts are generally enough to keep you on track. If all else fails, you can always get out of trouble by hitting ENTER a few times. My biggest reservation is the ROM pack/ cassette storage combination. I encourage Radio Shack to follow up on their work with Spectaculator and Color Scripsit, and issue a disk version of Color File; it's a good program.

Products: Trans Tek C.C.File (computer program)
Computerware Color Data Organizer (computer program)
Wizard Software E-Z File (computer program)
Radio Shack Color File (computer program)