|★ APPLICATIONS ★ PAO/PRESSE ★ MICRO DESIGN PAGE PRINTER|Amstrad Action) ★|
|Micro Design Page Printer||Applications Pao/presse|
MicroDesign is an excellent DTP package, but what do you do iff you want the best possible printed output? You get hold off MicroDesign Page Printer, that's what...
Reviewer sits in front of his CPC, watching as a picture emerges from his trusty but battered Epson printer. Trembling horribly, reviewer thinks of the dilemma he's in.
This is a printer dump program. It produces excellent quality results. It's aimed at a limited market. It's rather slow. Five months ago, reviewer sat in front of a printer dump program (Colourdump 3 from MJC Supplies), which produced excellent quality results. It was aimed at a limited market. It was rather slow. Reviewer awarded it 70% - and got slammed by MJC Supplies.
Reviewer wonders what he's going to say about this one. Yes, it is slow: 25 minutes to print a quality “strip” format file, making over an hour and a half for a really high-resolution four-strip page. Goldmark suggests going to brew yourself a cup of coffee, but reviewer reckons you'd need a pretty hefty cup of coffee while a whole page was printed (especially at high quality) and would probably die of a caffeine overdose. Just as well reviewer doesn't drink coffee. Reviewer understands that such programs are always going to be slow, but he knows very well that nifty programming (for example, not bothering to “print” an empty line, but simply feeding onto the next line) could make it a whole lot faster. Reviewer said something similar last time. Reviewer still got his head ripped off.
Reviewer stares in awe at the results. If an Epson 9-pin can print that well, he thinks, perhaps there's no need to save up for that HP Deskjet he saw advertised. Reviewer wishes he had a 24-pin printer to see what the results in 24-pin mode are. If the demo print on the back of the instructions is a 24-pin print-out -and Goldmark would be crazy not to copy a 24-pin high quality print-out there, thinks reviewer cynically - then he is astonished at how good it is.
Of course, he remembers, it is aimed at a limited market. For people who produce pages with MicroDesign and need really professional quality output, amongst whom reviewer does not number himself (he uses his own DTP package, and now thinks that a rewrite of its print routine might be advisable), this program is highly recommended. Reviewer thinks perhaps it would be nice if it let you print smaller size .DR files, rather than simply full pages - after all, users may want to print out really smart disk labels - but recognises that full pages are going to be the most common use anyway. Reviewer reckons that Goldmark could make themselves a good few bob by adapting it to cope with Stop Press and PowerPage format pages, neither of which have particularly wonderful print modes, but he knows that at the moment, the program is aimed at MicroDesign users, and it's not on to review it as anything else. Reviewer would only complain about non-sup-port of other formats if the program was advertised just as any old “Page Printer".
Reviewer thinks that the presentation and error-trapping are greatly improved over the other printer dump he reviewed, although still not perfect (reviewer managed to crash the program by pressing ESC, which does cause problems with protected BASIC loaders), and that the idea of playing the Blue Danube to relieve the boredom of printing is a pretty smart one. He thinks that the percentage complete gauge at the bottom of the screen is rather neat, too, or would be if it worked: still, reviewer reasons, at least Goldmark have the honesty to point this out in the instructions, and promise free upgrades. Reviewer thinks that a self-calibrating clock would be wonderful, and would give the program 100% just for that, but editor tells him to stop being stupid and asks him if it's any wonder AA gets complaints about his reviews if they're all like this.
This is a good program is good that does what it sets out to do well, but it's not perfect, and to give it an exceptionally high score simply wouldn't be accurate. But then neither would it be accurate to give it an exceptionally bad score, because it IS a good program. If you're not in a hurry, the results are excellent.