ROM Computer Magazine Archive ROM MAGAZINE ISSUE 7 — AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 1984 / PAGE 43


CBS Software
Reviewed by Gabe Torok

    When someone reviews as many programs in a month as I do, very few programs stand out as much better than the rest. Those that have that `something special' you will invariably read about in ROM. This issue, I have the privilege to review two products from a software publisher, from whom I have never seen a program that could be classified as less than "the BEST". The programs are mainly educational in nature, but combine the learning process with just the right amount of fun and games to keep the interest for years. Yes, I said years. These programs will never be outdated, and their value in education is guaranteed by both the educators who wrote the programs and the educators placing these same programs in front of the students in schools across North America.
    The CBS Software product line ranges in age from three to adult, and the subject matter spans five categories: Preschool Time, Fun and Learning Time, School Time, Career Time and Leisure Time.

Big Bird's Special Delivery.
For ages 3 to 6

    Every morning, Sesame Street greets my three year old. Now, he can help his television friends get their mail any time he pleases (and he pleases most of the time). The graphics are colorful, and after the initial running of the program, he hasn't delivered a parcel to the wrong `address'. The program's reward of the smiling faces when he gets the delivery right is sufficient reward for him to continue for sometimes hours. And, during this time he is QUIET!, He's thinking. He is learning to classify objects, to match shapes and designs, and to control the movement of Little Bird with the use of the arrow keys. With the aid of this program, he has become very adept at comparing different objects according to attributes of form, class and function, in his every day dealings with the world.
    The program is a lot of fun, judging by the amount of time he plays with it, and it's educational, verified by the barrage of questions and responses he presents me with. Highly recommended to parents of children within this age group, as a very effective entertainment while educational tool.

    Coco Notes
    For ages 6 and up.

    This program, also intended for my son, has actually been confiscated by me for personal use. I admit to not liking jazz, and to the inability to compose or even read music. However, this program requires no such input. The ever-so-popular Jazz Scats do all the work, I just tell them which notes I want them to use from how each note sounds. Using the joy stick, players catch off-shore notes on Coco-Note Isle, (I do like fishing) and when a sufficient number of notes are caught, the Jazz Scats play them back for you. The compositions are terrific and different every time. I've even hooked up a tape recorder to save some of these compositions'.
    Tired of just fishing and composing? Play the game against Cool Clam. Not only does he eat notes, he occassionally manages to eat your line. This game goes for both points and music, and the compositions are usually much longer. Playing for high scores requires considerable dexterity on the joystick, but the music at the end is a reward worth working for.
    Another game built into this program allows you to compose by picking whatever notes you choose to be a part of your composition, AND, choose your background music, or rather, your accompaniment. CocoNotes is a program that has to be heard. No description, no matter how well written, can provide a true idea of how entertaining this simple little program is. Anyone with the slightest liking for music will get hooked, if you pardon the pun.

CBS Software

Super Mailer Plus
Reviewed by Peter Ellison

    Super Mailer Plus is a new inexpensive data base program that takes care of any small business or personal mailing lists. It's attractively packaged in a plastic case enclosing an orange disk and a well written 23 page instruction manual.
    The thing that makes this mailing program better than most, is the amount of options inside the program. Lists can be made to suit the needs of the User. The User doesn't have to change to meet the needs of the program. Up to four disk drives can be used, making large mailing lists easy to create. The simplicity of using the program makes it easy for the firsttime user. The "on-screen" prompts will make it very easy to use the powerful features of the program right from the first time you boot-up the disk.
    One thing that bugs me about most data base programs is the amount of time it takes to search for something. This program has solved that problem. After using the program I was able to find a name out of a 1000 in one second. Thats what I call, "Pretty Fast!" The "Zip Sort" is a truly 3-dimensional in that it can sort up to 3 things in one file. E.g., The program will sort 1 st by ZIP/2nd by LAST NAME/3rd by FIRST NAME within each Zip code.
    Other handy features within the program include; a State code abbreviation table built in by just pushing Ctrl-S, Search on any field, Special coding field (up to 12 custom codes), Print labels (1, 2, 3 or more), Fast Sorting, Merging your files to create a combination of files, and re-definable fields, allowing unlimited applications.
    The manual that comes with Super Mail Plus is easy to understand. It takes you step by step through an imaginary mailing list, showing the different types of features that can be used. Or if you have used a Data Base program before, it has a Quick Reference table in the back so the advance user doesn't need to read the whole manual.
    This program is a nice piece of software for anyone that wants to keep some type of files. Up to 1200 records can be stored on one disk. This program can be purchased from:

Royal Software
2160 W. 11th Avenue
Eugene, Oregon

Reviewed by Peter Ellison

    "TOP-DOS" is a new DOS for the Atari computer with many of the professional features found in much larger machines. Although it has all these advance features, TOP-DOS occupies the same amount of memory space as Atari's DOS. A DOS (Disk operating System) is the set of instructions that organizes the disk into files and allows the user to access them.
    TOP-DOS does all that Atari's DOS does, and more. Features like: single line commands, create powerful command files made up of a series of operations, examine and change bytes in memory without the hassle of PEEK, POKE and PRINT, Alphabetize and compress your File Directory, Restore unintentionally deleted files, and lastly, call for HELP with a single keystroke. It is hard to imagine being able to use all these new features without using up any more of the computer's memory.
    Following its predecessor, DOS-MOD, TOP-DOS does all that DOS-MOD did and then some (see review in issue 3 of ROM). Things can be slow when working with Atari DOS, because of the number of times a person must push return just to do a simple command. With TOP-DOS a person can enter a whole command on a simple line, making it much faster with only a single carriage return.
    Creating a Command file is something Atari DOS doesn't even have. In TOP-DOS you can create a command file in which you can put messages to tell the user what the file will do. `Q' is the letter to press to get your own specially created command file. After the `Q', the name of the command file which you wish activated must be typed in. This command file may do something as simple as formatting a disk or as complex as updating, alphabetizing, and copying drive one to drives two, three, and four. What make s the command file so neat is how simple it is to create your own commands.
    The `R' (Read/Store) command gives you a convenient way to examine and replace bytes in memory, without using BASIC's PEEK, POKE, and PRINT commands or resorting to an Assembler or utility program. This command makes it quite simple to change bytes of memory if you to run a certain program. It can save a lot of time and hassle, thus giving the programmer more time to program and to fool around with DOS.
    The `S' (Set/Status) command enables you to customize many features of TOP-DOS to your own personal needs. This command isn't really necessary, but it does give the user a much more flexible and professional product to use. Things that a user can change, for example are: Prompt character, Left Margin, Right Margin, System Drive #, Num Buffers, Add Drive #, and a whole lot more, making it quite unique.
    The `T' (Trouble) command is the one used to save the operator from looking through manuals, trying to find what an error message means. For example, if a ERR 167 appeared on the screen, all that you would need to type in is `T' and "File Locked" would be printed to the screen.
    The `U' (Undelete) command is one `no' DOS should be without. What happens when you mistakenly delete a file? It is lost, right? No, you can retrieve it again by using this command, and your panicking will be over. I believe that just this command itself is worth the price of the disk.
    There are many more features in TOP-DOS that I didn't mention because I could fill the whole magazine. One more thing that is a bonus to the package is the well documented manual that comes with the disk. It has some advance programming techniques that I found quite helpful. In closing, I just want to say to anyone who owns a disk drive, "TOP-DOS is a must! No disk drive user should be without."

    TOP-DOS is available from:
Eclipse Software
1058-R Marigold Court
Sunnyvale, California