Lin-O-Type (Bradway) Review | ZX Computing - Everygamegoing

ZX Computing

By Bradway
Spectrum 48K

Published in ZX Computing #37


Lin-O-Type is a rather complicated fun program to allow you to use your printer like an electric typewriter to produce small pamphlets, publicity sheets and the like in a variety of typestyles. It is one of the programs of the "Dumpy" family, and, as such, caters for a very wide range of printers and interfaces; moreover, since it contains a hefty chunk of Basic in the Tasword 2 tradition, it can be readily adapted to fit any storage medium: tape, microdrive and discs of various sorts are all catered for. What you get for your money is a master program and a twelve page manual, nicely produced in clear type, protoreduced on a good quality protocopier and neatly bound in stiff card covers. So away you go.

The first step is to use the master program to set up your own customised version. This is necessary because the installation part of the program is subsequently erased to provide more space for use by the Lin-O-Type program proper. The master program goes through a series of questions about your printer and your interface, asking about line feeds and all sorts of other things. I merely selected the Opus Discovery interface, and then just typed in the defaults; this worked a treat on my Epson FX80. The master program finally ends by saving your customised program on your disc. After that, you're away.

You can use the program in two modes. The first mode is almost that of an electric typewriter in which the text which you type in is printed out line at a time. So I had a go at this. Great fun, too. Printed out all sorts of things - even Greek and Russian fonts. Easy! The key to this is the way in whch things are changed - press extended mode and immediately a prompt comes up on the input line - "FN?". A glance at the manual and you enter the necessary letter, A to E for the fonts in memory, F to load some more (though you can't load in the middle of a line) and so on. The type style selectd actually comes up on-screen to help you, so you really see what is happening before the printer gets hold of it.

Emboldened by this success, I read a Tasword file in and watched it being printed out in a variety of styles. Although this is a rather nice little program, I managed to find a couple of small bugs in it, principally concerning Tasword 3 files, looked in the manual and found that this sort of situation was covered by a user support number which I used several times one evening: the bugs will be removed in your copies. Nice to know user support is so good.

All in all, I liked it. The cost of Lin-O-Type on cassette is £8.50 (£1.50 extra for disc, which is not bad) from Bradway Software of 33 Conalan Avenue, Sheffield.