THE WRITE STUFF
Vic Barnes takes a look at a no-holds-barred program which may reveal a little more than you expected.
I'm a Leo, fiercely independent, strong and loyal and a born leader. I am also extrovert, emotional, sensitive and creative. And if that isn't enough add lazy, intolerant, extravagant, untidy and lackadaisical. Who says so ? My personal astrologer (actually, a girl I know who dabbles in such things) says so. If you read horoscopes regularly -and more important - if you believe them, you will be more than a little interested in the business of character assessment. There are scores of techniques for doing this ranging from feeling the bumps on your head to reading the verrucas on your feet! I'm not sure what merit these methods have, but I do know one of the longest established and most accurate of these 'sciences'is graphology - the analysis of handwriting.
Tucked-away in the middle of their advert, the Chorley, Lancashire software house, Intraset give details of a program that will turn any CPC owner into an instant 'trick-cyclist'. All you need is fifty quid (yes, £50!) and enough curiosity to part with it! When the pain in your wallet has subsided you will be left with an imaginatively titled acquisition, GRAPHOLOGY and its companion hardback book, A Manual of Graphology by Eric Singer. Graphology is no gimmick. It is a precise and serious science and is used by police to assemble evidence in forgery and fraud cases. Handwriting can never be completely disguised because certain of the writer's natural characteristics will always be apparent to an experienced graphologist. A number of large companies also employ a graphologist to analyse job applicants'handwriting before carrying out final interviews. Many a job has been lost, or gained, on handwriting alone and nobody ever knows!
The program runs under CPM and accesses and writes to side 2 of the disc rather a lot. You will need back-up copies, of both sides of the program disc, plus a further working copy (or two) of side 2.
You don't need previous knowledge of the subject to immediately run the program and achieve accurate results. There are only a few jargon words which might present initial problems, but quick recourse to Eric Singer's book soon puts you on the "write' lines!
Apart from inputting the subject's name and addres, no typing is required.
The program does everything for you and is based around multiple-choice menus. Each time you identify a characteristic - from the writing under analysis-you simply highlightamatch-ing item on the menu and the program writes to disc. As you work through the items on each menu a file is gradually built up. You can view individual characteristics (at any time) by pressing one key
before deciding to 'write' to disc . After methodically working through each of the menus, side 2 of the disc will contain an ASCII file. You now have the option to print the results. If you decide to do this your printer will churn out a reasonably composed document. A better idea is to import the file to a word processor by using its ASCII 'load'option (on Brunword this is ESC ). What you will see on screen is a file of text with a carriage return at the end of each line. These have to be removed to enable you to edit the text into a more easily d igested form and also eliminate the unavoidable repetition of phrases like 'the writer'and the sample suggests'.
If you do the job accurately and thoroughly, it will take about an hour-and-a-half to analyse an A4 sheet of handwriting. (Editing the file on a wp obviously takes time too.) The main menu contains 17 items which are the major areas of assessment. Most of these have sub-menus for more precise identification. And even some of the submenus have sub-menus! It isn't as confusing as it sounds, but does mean you can be very sure of the characteristic you are trying to identify.
To give you some idea of the scope of the program, the main menu delves into, Detailed personality traits, Handwriting and emotions, Handwriting and health, Characteristics of criminal types and Sexual attitudes and behaviour (really!). It also takes into account size, line slope, movement and flow, line and word spacing, margins, slant, pressure and the three zones of writing (which has a 14 item sub-menu). There is a separate analysis section for signatures only.
The 'holdingfire' illustration is agood example of how effective the program's analysis is. The numbered characteristics reveal the following traits about the writer:
- Demonstrative and capable of open affection.
- Under pressure with an anxiety about the future.
- A bit of a day-dreamer.
- Cheerful, optimistic, excitable and a fighter.
- Vulgar and lacking in taste.
- Gives physically at the expense of self-gratification.
- Experiences periodic self-pity and little physical pleasure. Sexually disappointed.
I can assure you that the above is frighteningly accurate. I wrote it and it's based on a writing style I.affected during my early 20s! At that time I was something of a prat, but I hasten to add my writing is nothing like it today!
Naturally, I did about six analyses of various friends'handwriting before I wrote this. Without exception, all admitted the final results were more than 90% accurate. There were traits and characteristics revealed about my own personality that only I know about and I'm certainly not telling you! However, it did give me an idea. Perhaps I could persuade the hard, overworked scribes on ACU to send me samples of their own fair and flowing script - including the Editor!
Now, as a special service to our readers, here are some of the things you never knew you didn't know and were too frightened to ask! Is The Dungeon Master warm and fluffy? Does Jim Johnson have the fastest fingers in the business? Is the Editor really the ogre everyone says he is? And is Vic Barnes a middle-aged hooligan? Read on . . .
The Dungeon Master: warm and fluffy (sorry, I'll start again). The DM is '. . . generally cheerful, enthusiastic and optimistic, but likely to be excitable. He has a capacity forgetting things done because he sees the sequence and logical order in which to do them. .. a bit of an exhibitionist he has a need
for attention.' (As if you had't already guessed!)
Jim Johnson is'... enthusiastic and exuberant, has very high goals and is a bit of a dreamer. He has a strongly casual, general attitude to life with an over-emphasis on physical expression ... he is self-confident, talkative, tolerant, imaginative and egotistical.'Wow, Jim, how on earth do you manage to fit in games reviewing?
Now, this is where I have to ve very careful. The Editor'... is skilled in the use of words, speaks fluently with an above-average vocabulary. He has an excellent understanding of written material and remembers most of what he reads. His energy level is com-paraticely high and the need for a pleasant and colourful environment is fairly important.' Just in case you were trying to work out the last bit, Mr Perfect lives in Cornwall!
All I am prepared to reveal about myself is - according to the program -1 am'... self-reliant with a strong sense of self-esteem and with a confidence that is often surplus to requirements.. . talkative, enterprising, gullible, fussy and a show-off.' (And those are just the good points!)
But there is more! I had an idea. I remember Peter Brunning (of Brun-ning Software) telling me that Clacton, one of his fonts, was based on his own handwriting. Yes, I realise he edited it and removed all traces of his personal writing characteristics, but I wondered if Graphology would detect the soul-lessness of the computerised script. Judge for yourselves with this extract from the print-out:'... has a feeling of grandeur and a desire to be recognised as important... appears to be in a kind of vacuum, devoid of spiritual and sexual instincts.' (I think that's pretty good, don't you?) Obviously, the above is just a bit of fun and although the program did detail those characteristics they are only a minute percentage of the complete analyses. The actual assessments run to a few pages and are much more 'in-depth' than those outlined.
As to whether the program is worth £50 or not, I'm not sure. Anything is worth what you pay for it - if it is what you want. With Graphology you certainly get a great deal of research and work for your money. You also get a serious program which will accurately analyse handwriting with the minimum of effort on the user's part. It's a great 'party piece', but when used correctly might just upset the wrong person, because it 'pulls no punches'. Graphology will leave your soul bare and bleeding.
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L'Amstrad CPC est une machine 8 bits à base d'un Z80 à 4MHz. Le premier de la gamme fut le CPC 464 en 1984, équipé d'un lecteur de cassettes intégré il se plaçait en concurrent du Commodore C64 beaucoup plus compliqué à utiliser et plus cher. Ce fut un réel succès et sorti cette même années le CPC 664 équipé d'un lecteur de disquettes trois pouces intégré. Sa vie fut de courte durée puisqu'en 1985 il fut remplacé par le CPC 6128 qui était plus compact, plus soigné et surtout qui avait 128Ko de RAM au lieu de 64Ko.