Classic Computer Magazine Archive ANTIC VOL. 6, NO. 10 / FEBRUARY 1988

Utility Toolbox

Super-Directory, M-Cache and Fast

The GEM-based Super-Directory disk-catalog program works with hard or floppy disks and supports printing or sorting operations. It also lets you put comments on each program. Booting Super-Directory brings up an empty window with dialog buttons on the side. Just click on the proper button to open a new dialog box.

You can load a directory file into memory, then append it to an existing file. First, choose a disk drive to read, then click on the ADD box which brings up a new dialog box. Now enter the identifier for the disk and all all of the information will load in automatically. If you add no information to the file other than the name and the path, it'll take 10 to 15 seconds to read each directory on a disk. I can have up to 9,000 files on my 1040ST.

The SORT operation is the best part of this program. It's a real speed demon when finding and manipulating your files. In tests I ran, alphabetizing 2,000 files, sorting these alphabetized files by size, and finding all .PRG files each took about 15 seconds. The print utility has several options. But the major one is the ability to print information for each file with, for instance, a given extender.

Overall, this is a quick, user-friendly program. It has no bugs and is a fine addition to the MichTron line.-SOL GUBER

$39.95, MichTron, 576 S. Telegraph, Pontiac, MI 48053. (313) 334-5700.


M-Cache is a combination of RAM-disk and hard disk-but without the drawbacks of either. If you're a hard disk owner, you'll find it a necessity for speeding up your accesses. This small RAM-resident program stores into memory the sector data you read. So when you access the data again, your ST will retrieve the data from RAM-which is even faster than your hard drive.

After the first time, the directory data is read almost instantly. You don't even hear your hard drive spin. A special algorithm determines the most commonly-read sectors and optimizes the use of the cached data, so your short, repetitious disk accesses are decreased. M-Cache also saves data to the hard disk as well as to RAM, preventing data loss if you have a sudden power outage.

M-Cache contains the caching program itself and the Installer, which lets you decide how much memory MCache will use (50 to 200K). It also lets you determine which hard disk partitions it will monitor.

After you boot up, there's no evidence that M-Cache is even there -but if, for instance, you write programs in Modula-2 where many link files are needed, M-Cache can speed up the compile time by about 50%. Any program that needs hard disk access and repeatedly uses the same files will operate much faster-SOL GUBER

$49.95, MichTron, 576 S. Telegraph, Pontiac, MI 48053. (313) 334-5700.


Fast, a collection of desktop accessories, features a built-in DOS, Editor, Cardfile, Calendar, Clock, Calculator and ASCII Table. These all appear under one entry in the Desk menu- clicking on it brings up a window for you to select the tool you want.

ST-DOS is a resident disk operating system similar to MS-DOS. Once you learn it, ST-DOS can be more efficient than the GEM desktop. For example, to copy all the files with a .DOC extender from drive A to drive B, just type "COPY A:*.DOC B:"-much faster than clicking on each .DOC file in a window and dragging it to the drive icon. Among other things, you can set time and date, get a directory, see the contents of a file, rename or delete a file, and set an alarm. The formatting option supports four different formats, including two that can store more information than usual on a disk.

ST-EDIT, a full-screen text editor, is more like the MINCE programming editor than a word processor. It uses the entire screen, so you can't enter notes while looking at other information on the screen, and all commands are entered via the keyboard. ST-EDIT supports search, replace, block moves, copies and deletes, letter transposing, and some limited macros for using in the editing sessions. There's no wordwrap, and if you don't press [RETURN] at the end of every line, then the number of "physical" lines will be different from the number of "logical" lines.

CARD FILE is a three-level address book. In Level 1, you can print all the cards in the file, select one of two formats for all printing (list or label), and change the field names on the cards. Level 2 shows all the cards beginning with the area selected. You can edit, delete or print selected cards, create a new card, or autodial one of the two phone numbers on the card. Creating or modifying a card brings you to level 3, where you actually enter information on the card, save it or print it.

Fast also has a digital clock, an ASCII/decimal/hex table, a four-function calculator and a calendar displaying one month at a time. (You cannot access any date before 1980.)

The documentation has several mistakes and typos. Sometimes the picture of a screen or dialog box doesn't match the description, or text is missing or nonsensical. The ST-DOS section assumes you know quite a bit about MS-DOS.-DAVID PLOTKIN

$49.95. Migraph, Inc., 720 S. 333rd Street, Federal Way, WA 98003. (206) 838-4677.