The Micro User


Author: Carol Barrow
Publisher: Innovative
Machine: BBC B/B+/Master 128

Published in The Micro User 3.11

Ideas displayed

Scratchpad, a disc based program from Innovative Software, is described as an ideas organiser. It's designed as an aid to sorting out your ideas when writing reports, articles, or even books.

Those who have ever written a piece of text of reasonable length will be aware of the importance of planning. Admittedly that most valuable of tools, the word processor, does allow you some room for error reorganising the structure of your work, when you have a flash of inspiration which should have been written three pages ago. However, retrospective remedies are never as satisfactory as a well planned whole.

So, whenever I write an article I sit down with pen and paper and note any relevant ideas as they enter my head. The result of this style of writing is three sheets ofA4 covered with out of sequence scrawl. This must then be sifted, sorted, and re-written neatly.

Scratchpad aims to bring electronic order to this ideas chaos. You input your thoughts into idea cells labelled with a suitable name. Ideas can be up to 95 characters in length.

The next idea that you have may be totally unrelated to the first and will therefore be given a separate cell. Should any further ideas be related to your previous ones then they can be added to an existing cell.

The rest of the program is devoted to editing, re-arranging and printing the ideas to produce a sound skeleton for your work.

Scratchpad is certainly a clever idea that might be a useful planning aid to the computer minded. I am not totally convinced that it is faster than my pen and paper technique.

However, the way it allows you to reorganise and display your output neatly, certainly beats my sheets of A4.

Carol Barrow

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