2440 South Jasmine
Denver, CO 80222
$10, 48K disk
Reviewed by Charles Cherry
Most Atari owners are aware of Daisy-Dot, a program that prints text in a variety of excellent near letter-quality fonts on Epson and Star printers. Daisy-Dot took the Atari world by storm last year because it works so well and is public domain.
Now welcome Daisy-Dot II. It's more than just an upgrade, it's a whole new package. It makes desktop publishing a reality for the Atari. While News Station and Newsroom work as page layout programs, Daisy-Dot II makes it easy to "typeset" an entire manuscript. To prove this, the excellent, 25 page, manual is included on the disk as a Daisy-Dot II file. JUST print it out.
The manual demonstrates multiple fonts(even on the same line), microspaced justification, block left, block right, centering, proportional tabs (for microspaced tables), bold print, double width charaders, underlining, and included pictures. And that's just the first page. Daisy Dot II also does superscript and subscript, prints chained files, prints a range of pages and prints multiple copies.
The disk has 15 fonts, including the high-resolution new Senator style. There's an elegant font editor to design your own, and a utility package that converts Atari screen fonts into Daisy-Dot fonts and automatically creates italicized font versions. In case that isn't enough, on the back of the disk is the graphics printing program Billboard (reviewed in Antic, February 1988), which has been modified to print pictures to the disk in files that can be merged into your Daisy-Dot document.
Daisy-Dot II is decidedly not WYSIWYG--what you see isn't what you get. It takes a couple of steps to produce a finished manuscript. First, compose your text in your favofite word processor, then print it to disk. Load this disk file back into the word processor and do your formatting using Daisy-Dot II commands. Save this file, load DaisyDot II, and finally print the file. Since you never see the results on the screen, it may take a couple of tries to get it right. But you'll improve with experience.
Tha letters in the individual fonts cannot be taller than the printhaad on your printer. This means that banner headlines and other large effects are out. Of course you can include large lettars as pictures, but pictures cannot be mixed with text on the same line--unless you run the paper through the printer a couple of times. Since all the printing (including text) is essentially a bit-mapped graphics dump, the program is slow and uses up ribbons.
Daisy-Dot II only works with Epson MX, FX, and Star compatible printer. It does not work with some very early Star Gemini-10X printers, but Daisy-Dot author Roy Goldman is working on the problem.
Nevertheless, the results are fabulous, or better than I'd have thought possible. As a final nice touch, Daisy-Dot II is well-behaved and will work with any DOS, meaning that you can use your high-speed drives and mega-RAMdisks. For instance, pairing n with TextPro and a large RAMdisk will speed up things wonderfully. You can instantly shuffle the programs back and forth in the RAMdisk. You can also load and save the text instantly and print from the RAMdisk (including fonts).
Daisy-Dot II is still public domain. You can get it free from your local user group, bulletin board, or a commercial online service like CompuServe or GEnie. You can also order it directly from the author. For $10 (or more) he'll send you the double-sided disk with the documentation already printed out. Wherever you get it, if you like the program (and I can't imagine anyone not liking it), send the author some money. The only thing rarer than a program like this is a programmer like Roy Goldman--support him.