NEWSLETTER #23 12/01/84


We would like to remind our customers that Raised Dot Computing has two phone lines. For general business, call (608) 257-9595. For the answers to technical questions, call (608) 257-8833. Please take the time to write down both phone numbers and use them appropriately.

Raised Dot Computing will be on a winter vacation from December 18 until January 2, 1985. We hope all our customers have a pleasant holiday season.


We're happy to announce that RDC has a bouncing baby girl: BETTE. This stands for "BRAILLE-EDIT Textbook Transcribing Edition". BETTE is the enhanced version of BRAILLE-EDIT capable of producing textbook format braille. The formal release is scheduled for January 1985. The introductory prices are as follows: BETTE is $100 to current (version 2.45 and newer) BRAILLE-EDIT customers. A package of BRAILLE-EDIT and BETTE is $400 for newcomers. As always, there is a $25 discount for payment with order, so newcomers with check, money order, or plastic on the barrelhead pay $375 for the BETTE & BRAILLE-EDIT package.

We've sent out copies of BETTE to four expert reviewers. They've pointed out numerous problems with the preliminary manual. They also found a few bugs. We still welcome comments on the working documentation: send us a letter promising to comment within ten days, and we'll send you the draft in your choice of print or braille. We're eager to exterminate bugs before the "official" release date.

Each reviewer has been impressed with the approach we are taking. To our knowledge, this is the first program written for a microcomputer that can automatically generate braille textbook format.

One aspect of the program is a special "preview" feature that allows a transcriber to see exactly what will show up on the page when brailled. This means that a document need only be committed to paper when everyone is satisfied by its appearance. We hope this will greatly eliminate wasted braille paper and wasted effort.

This special preview feature requires an 80 column board. These circuit boards are made for the Apple 2 plus and the Apple 2e. The Apple 2c has an 80 column card built in. While it is possible to use BETTE without an 80 column board, potential users should know that such a board greatly enhances its utility.


Warning! Warning! Warning! There is a bad bug in version 2.50 that we just found out today. We have not yet implemented 80-column in the Editor. However, you can wander into 80-column in the Editor inadvertently. If you do, you'll be in trouble. The print display goes crazy, and the Echo will bomb out after around 1500 characters. (If the down arrow key moves you 80 characters, then you know you're in the "wide screen" (80 column) mode.

There are two ways that you can wander into this mess. If you answer "W" to the screen mode for your configuration, or if you print to the screen with "SW" or "SWE". Fortunately, it's easy to change to a more benign screen mode. Use a control/S S H to change to "hi-res" mode.

Another bug concerns the "$$t*" command. This command is supposed to set a tab stop at the current position. A recent rewrite of the program messed up this command (the asterisk shows up in the printout). If you are having problems, substitute "$$t+0" for "$$t*". The "$$t+0" will work like a charm.

Please note that we have changed the "$$n" command to make it more logical. If you use "$$n45" then the NEXT page number will be 45 (instead of 46 in the older versions). This took effect in BRAILLE-EDIT version 2.50 dated Nov. 6.

TSI Responds to "Ripping Off the Blind" -- Jim Bliss, Ph.D.,

President, Telesensory Systems Inc.

I was quite concerned to read the article by Barry Scheur entitled "Ripping Off the Blind" in the November issue of the Raised Dot Computing Newsletter and I am responding immediately to assure our blind customers and friends that TSI does indeed care about honest and fair business relationships. Not only do I feel Mr. Scheur's accusations were unfair and uncalled for, but his approach is not constructive.

TSI purchases printers and other equipment for turnkey systems as a service to agencies, companies, and individuals who want "one stop" shopping, and don't who want to go through the hassle of completing the interface, including assembling any special cables required. While we don't expect turnkey sales to carry the company, we do feel they should cover their own expenses so they aren't a burden on our other customers.

TSI's policy is to charge the manufacturer's recommended list price to cover our expenses in providing the special cable, special print instructions, explicit audio directions, customized overlay, and a thorough checkout of all printer features with a VersaBraille. In this case, as David Holladay pointed out, the retail price is $925, which is TSI's selling price when the unit is purchased with a VersaBraille. We charge $100 more (or $1095), which is the price Mr. Scheur was quoted, when the unit is not bought with a VersaBraille.

The computer field is fast moving and prices can change rapidly. With the Radix 10 printer, Mr. Scheur shopped around with discount houses who specialize in mail order volume prices and fortunately got a price that was lower than TSI had been charged on a volume order. TSI does not try to compete with the high volume discount mail order houses. Instead, we try to focus on providing high quality braille and other specialized equipment to blind people, which is what I believe our customers want from us.

We receive shipments of Radix 10 printers once a month. The only explanation for the long delivery time quoted Mr. Scheur is that he called just after a shipment was all sold out, so he was told he would have to wait for the next month's shipment, which is customized and tested after we receive it.

For any customers who wants to "do it himself", TSI offers Crosstalks free of charge that give all the information interfacing, CCP's, cabling, and tricks for use. TSI also gives application engineering support free of charge (which Mr. Scheur has received). Many customers make use of these free services. I don't believe that this describes a company engaged in the "fine art of ripping off the blind".

I personally work with customers on an almost daily basis to help solve their problems and concerns. This often results in changes to TSI policy to make us more responsive to customer needs. Yet to make sure TSI is here the next time you call, we do have to run TSI in a businesslike way so that revenues cover expenses. Why didn't Mr. Scheur call me, the application engineer, or the product manager prior to writing his article to discuss his concerns? That certainly would have been more constructive. The TSI Customer Service Department has six full time employees who spend each day responding by telephone to customer inquiries and sales and service needs. If you have a problem that seems unresolvable, call me--I'm here to help.

[Editor's note: We are happy to publish Dr. Bliss' statement, and we encourage further reader comment.]

More Comments About "Ripoff"

[Editors' Note: We also received comments from Diann & Ken Smith of Mountain View, CA. In large part, their views paralelled Dr. Bliss'; we excerpt here two points not made by Dr. Bliss.]

...Any company is in business to make a profit. Markups on items sold are generally in the order of 40% to cover labor, overhead and expectations of a reasonable profit. The price of a turn-key system should be expected to be at least 40% greater than the sum of the prices of the individual parts. The best purchase price by a turn-key system company, may be the same price which a person would pay to a discount mail order house. This requires the turn-key system company to sell their items at a higher price than discount houses. So why should a person ever buy a turn-key system? Some reasons are: 1. The discount mail order house buys large quantities and does NOT check any item before it is resold. The item is passed on to the customer in the original factory package with only the factory guarantee. Any warranty claims are between the manufacturer and the purchaser. The discount mail order house is out of it as soon as they have the money.

...If the consumer has the expertise to diagnose all the problems and do most of his own maintenance and repairs then the discount mail order house is the logical choice. But most consumers want a system which works immediately once assembled. The excellent article "The Quandary" (also in Newsletter #22) makes the point that "many people cannot learn to use their first computer aid from any manual". Most novices need hand-holding and encouragement to really get going. If RDC charged a consultant fee for every anguished novice's phone call, many users would not be able to afford BRAILLE-EDIT. In dealing with systems companies (like RDC or TSI) consumers are, in effect, paying an extra fee for assistance from a single source.

Let's ask a parallel question about legal fees: Why should one get a lawyer to write a will? Why not just purchase a pre-printed will and fill in the blanks? One assumes the lawyer will tailor the will to the specific needs of the individual, thereby adding value, and will be available for modifications. So is a lawyer ripping off a consumer because his fee is much greater than the price of a pre-printed will?


Raised Dot Computing is gearing up for a massive upgrade to BRAILLE-EDIT. BRAILLE-EDIT version 3.00 will be released in the spring of 1985, and should have many of the features that you have been asking for. In order to write the best possible program, we need three things from you.


We are finally getting around to dealing with printer-specific features. This means that we will teach BRAILLE-EDIT to automatically send the right commands for your printer to do underlining, boldface, superscripts, etc. The catch is that we need to know about your printer. We have a collection of printer manuals at RDC. If we do not have a copy of your printer manual, then your printer will not be automatically supported in Version 3.0. If you do not see your printer listed here, send us a photocopy of your printer manual without delay. We have: Starwriter (C. Itoh) F10-40/55 Microline 82A Microline 92 Apple Dot Matrix Leading Edge Prowriter IDS-460 Paper Tiger Epson FX-80 Juki 6100 Olympia RO C. Itoh 8510A (and 8510B) Dot Matrix Comrex CR1 Comrex ComRiter Diablo 620 Diablo 630 Diablo 1650 Gemini 10X/15X Qume Sprint 11 Smith Corona TP-1


Currently, BRAILLE-EDIT will read and write standard textfiles. I recently visited a customer that had a copy of Bank Street Writer. This common word processor generates non-standard binary files. We will be modifying BRAILLE-EDIT so it can read and write these files.

I would like to know about any word processing system that generates an Apple disk file which cannot be read by BRAILLE-EDIT. If you have experience with such a system, send us a sample DATA file. Also send a letter giving the program name, and the maximum file size allowed by the system. We want BRAILLE-EDIT version 3.0 to be able to deal with as many different file types as possible.


RDC is working on some features which make use of the extended 80 column card. The BRAILLE-EDIT program will still work if you don't have such a card in your system. But some whiz-bang features require the extra memory. There's a trade-off: running headers and footers vs. running BRAILLE-EDIT on a 64K Apple 2plus. We welcome your comments on this issue.

We are planning to change BRAILLE-EDIT in a way that may cause some controversy. The configuration questions will ask if you are a beginning, intermediate, or advanced user. The program will behave the same as it does now if you are an intermediate user. If you claim to be "advanced", the prompts will be shorter and there will be more tricky advanced features. If you declare yourself a beginning user, then you will work with a simplified version of the program.

We would be interested in your written comments on this. Do you think it is a good idea? Which features should be locked out for beginning users?


The special software for the Cricket has arrived! We now have a version of BRAILLE-EDIT which will work with both the Echo 2 and the Cricket. Raised Dot Computing has Crickets in stock for $170.00. We have everything you need to make the new Apple 2c as useful as the Apple 2e--just plug the Cricket into port two! This is really exciting news. It means that a blind person can have a portable, talking word processing system for very little money. Right now, a discounter in Madison is selling the Apple 2c for $750. A package of the Apple 2c (with its one built-in disk drive), BRAILLE-EDIT, and a Cricket would cost $1,095. Ad a second disk drive and a low cost printer and you'll still keep the total bill under $1,800. (RDC can also sell the cables to connect your Apple 2c to a VersaBraille, various braillers, or a Kurzweil Reading Machine.) You could carry a briefcase system into a library and use their KRM to fill your disks.

It's ironic that many sighted persons do not consider the Apple 2c a "true portable" because it lacks a portable screen. It's one of the few times that off-the-shelf equipment is even more appropriate for a blind user (who doesn't need to lug a monitor) than for the general population. The only limitation for BRAILLE-EDIT Apple 2c users is the restricted number of ports. If one of the two built-in serial card-cum-ports is allocated to the Cricket speech box, then you only have one free port for your printer, brailler, VersaBraille, etc. There are ways of changing port settings for many different uses, but it can be inconvenient.

The new BRAILLE-EDIT software treats the Cricket exactly like an Echo. The built in configurations E1 and E2 work for the Cricket. When you answer the configuration questions, answer yes to the "Do you want Echo speech" question in order to have Cricket speech. Use the same commands to change the speed or the pitch. In every way we could check, the Cricket acts like the Echo 2.

The new TEXTALKER program does pronounce words a little differently from the old TEXTALKER. The first impression is that slow speech sounds better but fast speech sounds worse, especially the hard "K" sound. "Cucumber" sounds like "hoohumber". Street Electronics has expressed their willingness to fine tune these types of bugs out of this new TEXTALKER. We are keeping the Cricket BRAILLE-EDIT disks in a separate bin. If you want an update that will work with the Cricket, YOU MUST ASK FOR IT. For BRAILLE-EDIT purchasers, the Cricket update is $10, four blank disks, two blank double-sided disks, or free with the purchase of the Cricket. If you are a new purchaser, specify that you want a copy of BRAILLE-EDIT that works with the Cricket.

Accessible Apple Magazines on Diskette

SOFTDISK by Jim Turri

The demise of Softalk Magazine was one of the more depressing news items of 1984. For once the blind computing public has an advantage over their sighted counterparts. The same publishers are continuing to issue "Softdisk" magazine. A year's subscription is $69.95. Every month you receive two disks; you keep one and return the other. You can also get a "one-way" subscription for $89.95. That is also the price for Canadian and Mexican subscribers. Other foreign subs cost $129.95.

I wondered if the magazine would work with the Echo 2; I took the plunge and sent $12.95 for a sample issue. A delightful surprise burst forth from the Apple after I picked the "Pipeline" feature from the menu: music came out of the Apple's speaker! Then my heart sank as I realized that the music was accompanying the text knocked out TEXTALKER. But another look at the menu, and I realized that every article had its own textfile. I used the "Read a Textfile" option on BRAILLE-EDIT's second menu to generate BRAILLE-EDIT files to read.

Softdisk has a wonderful variety of professional and amateur programs; some will run with the Echo 2. And a real bonus is the inclusion of advertising; what a luxury! A sample copy of Softdisk is available for $12.95. Contact them at Softdisk Magazine, P O Box 30008, Shreveport, LA 71130-0008. Their phone is 318-868-7247

PLUMB Bulletin Board Magazine

--MAYBE -- Barry Scheur

This monthly magazine contains information on new bulletin board systems operating throughout the United States and Canada. It also provides detailed, in-depth reviews on systems already operating so that you can judge whether it's worth your time to call them. In addition, there are articles about new software and peripheral devices for telecommunications.

We may be able to make the publication available on disk in either textfile or BRAILLE-EDIT files. But the publisher will only do this if there is sufficient interest. The price for a year's disk subscription (12 issues, disks not to be returned) would be around $49.95. Would you be willing to pay this price? How would you like the material presented?

If you're interested, drop a note to: Barry Scheur, 64 Green Park, Newton, Massachusetts 02158; Telephone: (617) (965-6606) or (617) (332-2288).

PC SPEAK: Talking Software for the IBM-PC -- Olga Espinola

As an employee of the second largest bank in Worcester County, my work requires that I have a great deal of information at my fingertips. I must provide customers with accurate rates and policy information over the telephone, as well as calculating complicated mortgage amortization computations and accruals of interest earnings. Most of this rapidly-changing information is maintained and updated on IBM disks. It is crucial that I have quick access to this information so that the customers can be kept current.

With the VersaBraille and PC SPEAK software I am able to dump enormous volumes of textfiles into the VersaBraille for reference. This almost always eliminates hiring a live reader and keeps me as up-to-date as any sighted employee. Due to the portability of the VersaBraille and the PC SPEAK software, I am able to walk away from the IBM and not tie it up for the next person.

It's very easy to just plug the VersaBraille into the RS232 serial port in the back of the IBM (as if it was a serial speech device). After loading PC SPEAK I can review the directory of any disk and make decisions about which files to copy into Braille. Using a speech device would be very awkward, as most of the files have unpronounceable names. On a disk with numerous files, this can be a frustrating, time-consuming process.

The VersaBraille virtually eliminates this problem. Once the desired files are copied from the IBM disk, the directory of files chapter on the VersaBraille can either be deleted or kept for future reference. The combination of VersaBraille and PC SPEAK makes a very powerful tool in my vocational application. PC SPEAK is available from Solutions by Example, Inc., 375 Concord Avenue, Belmont, Massachusetts 02178 phone 617/489-4740

PC SPEAK and BASIC Programming

If you are a programmer, you will find that is is easy to use PC SPEAK with IBM BASIC. Several features are noteworthy: You can have keystrokes echoed back as they are entered, so you can check your typing before pressing the ENTER key. With the editing functions of the IBM, it is possible to correct typing mistakes before they become program errors. This feature is also useful where precision is paramount, as in work with tables.

PC SPEAK will also voice the menu of the function keys located at the lefthand side of the typewriter keyboard. In BASIC these keys take on special meanings, (i.e., RUN, SAVE and LIST). Whenever the screen is cleared with the CLS command, PC SPEAK wil go through this menu. But this feature can be a nuisance to the expert user: it would be better if this option could be turned off. Another improvement would be a temporary silencer command, like the CTRL-X command in the ECHO software on the Apple.

An extremely handy feature is the ability to test out an equation before writing it into a program. You can type PRINT followed by the equation in question. PC SPEAK will output the answer to that equation given certain data. You can perfect the formulas needed for a program before inserting them in the appropriate statement.

PC SPEAK needs to be improved in several ways. The most important of these is finer control of speech output such as rate, pitch, amount of punctuation voiced, etc. It's very awkward to have to transfer into Review mode to get spelling, for example. It's much easier with the Echo where you can change these parameters at any time.

I have various documentation available, including learning PASCAL, PC WRITE, PERSONAL EDITOR, LOTUS 1-2-3 etc. They are available in VersaBraille cassette and Apple disk. I hope to have them available soon in IBM disk. For exact titles and costs, please contact me. Please write in braille, or on audio or VersaBraille cassette. (Readers are expensive!) Miss Olga Espinola Worcester County Institute for Savings 365 Main Street Worcester, MA 01608


A close friend of mine just got his VersaBraille updated with the latest model C software. One "feature" is that it will not store the table of contents when the Versabraille loses power. There are reports that it also does a "panic eject" when you just tap the eject button.

I would like to hear from anybody about their experiences with this "upgraded" Versabraille. My phone number is (707) 442-7247.


by David Holladay

My interfacing certificate may be revoked because of my blunders with the DECtalk. For the last several months I have been saying that the DECtalk is tricky to interface to the Apple. It turns out to be very simple to connect DECtalk to the Apple Super Serial Card.

Set the Super Serial Card jumper block to "terminal". Set the switches for 1200 baud with no auto line feed. Set bank one to: OFF ON ON ON OFF ON OFF. Set bank two to: OFF OFF ON ON OFF OFF OFF.(This is the same as the "basic recipe" except that auto linefeed if off, and the baud rate is 1200 baud.) Connect the serial card to the corner port on DECtalk with a straight male-to-female serial cable.

Version 2.50 of BRAILLE-EDIT has been modified to work well with DECtalk. When you set up a configuration, the output section of the dialogue will go as follows: do you have a visualtek dp-10? NO do you want echo 2 speech? NO do you want primary output to a slot? YES enter slot number: 2 (or whatever) is this voice output? YES is this DECtalk? YES

The only remaining problem is getting proper handshakes. You need to tell the Super Serial Card to use Xon/Xoff handshakes. The Apple Super Serial Card can be controlled by the use of special control sequences. It is possible to send a control sequence to the Super Serial Card to change its parameters. You can override any of the switch settings and you can set some parameters that cannot be controlled by switch settings. There is no switch to set the SSC for Xon/Xoff handshakes. But there is a control sequence that can do it.

Write a BRAILLE-EDIT chapter that consists of the following five characters: control/I, upper case X, space, uppercase E, carriage return.

Each time you want to set up the DECtalk to listen to long files, you need to "print" the setup chapter to the DECtalk first . Have one of your "printers" be the slot number for DECtalk. Use the Print Option to direct that setup chapter to the DECtalk. Any use of a control/reset will undo the handshakes. If you have to do a control/reset, you will have to "print" the chapter to the serial card again.

Anyone working with DECtalk should feel free to call me for interfacing help on the technical hotline (608) 257-8833.E10 Garbage, garbage, agarbage more and more more and more


After the publication of the last article on the use of the Brother printer to produce Dipner dots in the July 1984 issue, I found out that the process would not work with parallel printers. It turns out that you need to send some control characters to the parallel card to turn off auto linefeed. At the beginning of your text, insert four spaces. Then go back and type escape, followed by control/C > (greater than), control/C D, followed by a carriage return. These will work for the Apple 2e and Apple 2c. If you have an Apple 2 plus, substitute a control/C semi-colon for the escape. In either event, you will put four characters into a text, an escape character, the character which is ASCII 30, a control/D, and a carriage return.

These control characters in the beginning of your text adjust the vertical spacing. You can enter another control sequence to adjust the horizontal to allow you to put a few more braille cells on each line. Insert four more spaces. Go back over them and type the following: escape, control/C ? (question mark), control/C K followed by a carriage return.

If you want to, you can store these sequences as a separate chapter on your program disk. When you use the Print Option to produce the braille, first specify the chapter with the control characters, then specify the chapter with your braille.

Those of you who try this method and have any problems can contact me. My address is: Marshall Pierce, 208 S Linden Avenue, Westmont, IL 60559, (312) 968-7488.


An occasional question on the Raised Dot Computing technical hotline is, "Why don't the word processing commands work right for me?" The word processing commands can do many lovely things, but their proper use requires some care. Perhaps they frighten the uninitiated because data entry mode does not reveal their effects. Before using them on real documents, experiment with practice data. You too will discover the great fun of playing with their flexibility. You can preview their effects by printing to the screen.

The word processing commands are discussed briefly in Section 22 of the BRAILLE-EDIT Manual and in the BRAILLE-EDIT Reference Card. They might well have a name like "format commands", but they have their current name for historical reasons. They are loosely modeled after typewriter usage. Each command is a sequence of several characters beginning with two dollar signs. The sequence is embedded right in the text of a BRAILLE-EDIT chapter, where it looks meaningless in data entry mode. When the chapter is printed on any print or braille device, paper or screen, the characters in the command no longer appear, but the command is executed. When you type at the beginning of a chapter, it appears as in data entry but not in the printout. Yet its presence causes page numbering.

You must use only lowercase letters for these commands. They must also have a space or carriage return on either side. There are two exceptions. You should omit the preceding space at the start of a BRAILLE-EDIT page. You may also omit the space or carriage return between consecutive commands, except when the first is a tabbing command. When you enter text from a braille device, use Nemeth digits (dropped letters) for the numbers in these commands.

Most BRAILLE-EDIT users are quite comfortable with the three BRAILLE-EDIT "format symbols": $ p (new paragraph), $ l (new line - carriage return), and $ f (new page - form feed). Don't let us disturb that for you. With no exceptions, enter them as four characters: space dollar-sign lowercase-letter space.

Understanding Margins

The part of BRAILLE-EDIT which presides over printing is rather intelligent. When this print-thinker is called on by the Print or Multicopy Print Option, it uses an imaginary BRAILLE-EDIT carriage to help it create lines of text as it goes along. This BRAILLE-EDIT carriage will of course land somewhere on your printing device, but the print-thinker leaves that for you to worry about. The left end of this landing zone is the physical left, the printhead's return spot, which can be adjusted on most printers. You do not want the right end to disappear off your printer.

The BRAILLE-EDIT carriage needs a width. It can be a prestored value, either one built in for a screen mode or one gotten from a printer description. You can also set it with a $$w command. On a typewriter the carriage is marked with character positions for reference. We always use "absolute position" for the analogous BRAILLE-EDIT character position, based on the BRAILLE-EDIT carriage. With a BRAILLE-EDIT carriage width of 72, they range from 0 at the left to 71 at the right. On a typewriter you can set aside part of the carriage by setting up margins. The margin commands set aside part of the BRAILLE-EDIT carriage in the same way. As on a typewriter, the absolute positions are useful for positioning even when margins are in effect.

The default left margin is 0. A $$ml command can set the left margin to the right of this physical return spot. Yet we recommend that you set up your routine boundaries without the margin commands. For the left boundary, adjust the printer and paper; for the right, set the BRAILLE-EDIT carriage width. The margin commands are especially useful when the printer is hard to adjust or when you want more flexibility.

The left margin command $$ml7 puts the left margin at absolute position 7, setting aside the leftmost 7 absolute positions. Similarly the right margin command $$mr5 sets aside the rightmost 5 positions. The margin commands of course use up space from the BRAILLE-EDIT carriage. With a carriage width of 72, a left margin of 7, and a right margin of 5, the remaining length available is 60. The printing is restricted to positions 7 through 66.

Most of the numerical word processing commands use absolute character positions. These include the $$p commands for moving to a designated position and the $$t commands for setting tab stops. Their independence from the margin commands, even letting you intentionally place material in the otherwise blank margins, is quite useful for certain applications. But the $$i command, which sets new paragraph indentation, moves relative to the lefthand margin. So its number is based on the current lefthand margin. With both the $$ml7 and $$i5 commands in effect, each paragraph begins at absolute position 12, 5 spaces to the right of the left margin of 7.

Who's Boss?

When the print-thinker is called on, it receives and interprets a chapter as a "print stream" of all the characters (both text and word processing commands) in the order seen in data entry. It receives and uses word processing commands to create lines of text as it goes along. The print-thinker does not do anything with such a command until it encounters it in the print stream.

Some of the commands, like the $$a and $$p commands, cause an immediate action right at the spot where they appeared in data entry. Many others influence future operations such as moving to a new line, a new paragraph, a tab stop, or a new page. The influence of such a command is not evident until the next use of that operation. They can also be overridden by later commands. This closely resembles the use of a typewriter. Changing a typewriter's left margin or line spacing lever does not affect the current line; it is irrelevant until going to the next line.

A slew of these format influencing commands at the end of a chapter will do nothing for it. The $$ml and $$l commands, for changing the left margin and line spacing, do not affect printing until the next time a line is started, whether or not that came from a carriage return entered by you in data entry. Similarly a command setting how to move to a new paragraph, $$i or $$s , does not affect printing until the first paragraph marker after it.

Printing several copies or distinct chapters "at once" is similar to printing a single chapter. Using just one command to print several chapters also creates a single print stream, in which word processing commands remain in effect until overridden by others. In fact a print stream is continued if the same command is used again immediately (not accompanied by the usual disk whirring).

Printing several chapters in the same print stream can have dramatic effects. It eliminates the need for repeating format set-up commands. Your awareness is needed to use only the desired effects and avoid trouble. For example page numbers can continue sequentially in a print stream or they can be restarted with a new $$nb or command. A $$d command resets all printing parameters to their default values. These are margins of 0, single spacing, the paragraph handling set by $$s2$$i5 (double space and indent 5), and no tab stops. Beginning a chapter with $$d will prevent the accidental use of leftover formatting.

Separate Set-Up Chapters

Many formats are used repeatedly. Some may be fairly complicated, especially if they use special escape codes for your printer. Saving these as separate BRAILLE-EDIT set-up chapters minimizes tedious repetition of mistake-prone data entry. You can format an entire print stream by beginning it with a set-up chapter. Separate format chapters make it easy to experiment without contaminating your text and also to print the same text in different ways. For print proofreading you can print a text with a prestored PROOF chapter setting up double spacing and wide margins. It might contain $$d$$l2$$ml10$$mr10 followed by a space. Then you can use a different set-up chapter for the final printout.

It is sometimes convenient to copy a set-up chapter as the beginning of another chapter. You might copy a partially complete letterhead and salutation chapter into a new chapter which will become a letter.

Does Your Printing Device Matter?

For the most part the success of the word processing commands does not depend on the printing device in use, whether it is print or braille, paper or screen. The print-thinker does not carry out these commands by sending out printer-specific codes. Rather it sends out appropriately counted carriage returns, spaces, form feeds, page numbers, and the like.

The major exception to this universality is the method of underlining used for a ... pair or for a $$h command. Most dot matrix printers will not perform it properly. Right now you must use special printer codes to achieve underlining on these printers, made easier by using a personal transformation chapter. The print-thinker does not attempt to underline for these commands when printing to a configuration-identified braille device (but remember that an N printer is assumed to be print).

Simple Troubleshooting

If a word processing command is not executed but is printed instead, the problem is actually clear cut. The command was written incorrectly and was not recognized. There are two immediate suspects. The appearance of any uppercase letter in a word processing command or improper spacing will cause such a failure.

Lowercase Only Please: Even if you are SURE that a mistakenly printed word processing command does not include any uppercase letters, it is worth a double check. Maybe you entered data entry mode just to insert some word processing commands after doing everything else. A depressed shift lock key during this short operation might easily have gone unnoticed. Also a good hideout for unintended uppercase characters is a chapter which has been edited on a VersaBraille or other braille device. Unless you are using computer braille on your braille device, you may as well use its lowercase lock (not the default on the Model D VersaBraille).

Spacing Considerations Again: To be recognized, a word processing command MUST have the proper spacing around it. It must follow a space, a carriage return, or another word processing command, or start a BRAILLE-EDIT page. It must also be followed by a space, a carriage return, or another word processing command; only the tabbing command may not be followed immediately by another word processing command. Even at the very end of a BRAILLE-EDIT page, a word processing command must be followed by a space or carriage return. VersaBraille users, watch out. When a VersaBraille chapter is loaded onto the Apple, the last character on a VB page may become the last character on a BRAILLE-EDIT page.

The carriage return immediately before or after a word processing command is obeyed. Also a space immediately before a word processing command is printed, even at the very beginning of a BRAILLE-EDIT page. However, the space immediately following a word processing command is interpreted as a terminator and then thrown away, not printed. Thus the appearance of a word processing command with a space on each side will be accompanied by the printing of just one space, exactly what one ordinarily wants.

Coming Attractions

The next installment will discuss some of the ins and outs of specific commands and their interactions. It will also look at how to perform specific applications, like outdenting. We want you to enjoy the word processing commands, including some new ones on the way.