Getting The Most From Your Printer (Babani) Review | ZX Computing - Everygamegoing

ZX Computing

Getting The Most From Your Printer
By Babani Books
Spectrum 48K

Published in ZX Computing #28

Getting The Most From Your Printer

Sometimes authors bite off more than they can chew and I'm afraid this is true in this book. Attempting to write a general book for the wide range of printers available is ambitious; to try and do this in an A5 format book of a mere 84 pages is bordering on the foolhardy. Add to this the fact that the book covers all the popular computers and the job seems impossible.

Right from the start, Penfold has to admit the enormity of his task and immediately cuts down the range by saying that he is primarily concerned with Epson compatibles. The fact that the author is a man of considerably writing experience shows through in the easy matter of fact way he tackles the range of commands available to Epson users.

He starts by explaining the ASCII principles as applied to printers but wastes much valuable space by going into long explanations of the codes and their mnemonics such as NULL, HT, DEL and DC2. As you can see, some of these mnemonics are not clear and many are redundant, few are ever used in printer parlance these days. With space at a premium, I'd have preferred to see this space given over to a clear explanation of user defined characters which get no mention whatsoever.

The next section of the book is excellent and covers commands sent to the printer behind a control code (CHR$27). Kicking off with Elite pitch, the text moves briskly through Pica pitch, the text moves briskly through Pica pitch and on to empahsised, double strike, enlarged and condensed print. Then the lesser-used super and subscript modes are described with a hint about using a smaller line spacing to use these modes for printing small labels.

After briefly touching on underlining and combining various modes he eventually gets to more meaty considerations of line spacings and graphics printing. In amongst this, there is a bit more wasted discussion of word processors and printers which is so limited in scope as to be little better than useless.

On the whole, this is a book which is strangled by its own ambitions. In his desire to please, the author spends far too much time on the more easily understood commands and spends little time on the much more difficult areas of printer graphics. Help for the hopeless but no hope for the helpless in this slim volume.

Eric Doyle