Ramasoft - Junior - Wordpro|Amstrad Action)Applications Bureautique
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There are not many educational or child-based programs. There are even fewer word-processors aimed specifically at children. In fact, the only other word-processor along these lines is Logotron's Pendown (reviewed in AA 18). Ramasoft has added another. Junior- Wordpro.

Don't expect much in the way of packaging or documentation: a standard cassette or disk box and a single photo-copied sheet are the sum-total. However, packaging only increases cost and documentaion is not always necessary. The instruction sheet claims Junior Wordpro is a gentle introduction to word-processing well as practical experience. The rest tells you how to load and start work using Wordpro.

If you're using a colour monitor, I pity you. The colours are garish and enough to put you off your food. Add to that a cursor that thinks it's a strobe-light and you're off to a bad start. Still, utility programs have never been noted for their beauty (except, of course, Bonzo Doo Dah). If you have a choice of monitor I recommend green. The screen, in 40 columns, consists of a couple lines at the top and bottom telling you what effects certain key combinations have. The space in between is for the written word.

Moving the cursor

Once the cursor flicks into view you can start hitting keys. Everything you type will appear on screen. If you hold down a key a character will appear and keep on appearing until you release the key - this is standard auto-repeat. The problem is that the delay before auto-repeat starts is too short. For children, who tend to deliberate over keystrokes, this is disconcerting.

Touching Control and the up-arrow key takes you to the top of your text or document. A similar key combination moves you to the bottom: Control down-arrow. But by the time you reach the end of the text you'll have forgotten why you wanted to get there. It takes a good 20 seconds - even more in a long file - for the system scrolls down one line at a time.

When you reach the end of a line, the computer beeps at you, and if the current word too long moves it to the next line, and moves the cursor down. This is "word-wrap." Great, but after a while the continual beeps drive you insane - turn the sound off.

Junior-Wordpro uses double line-spacing: there's a blank line after each line of text. This is a nice feature that makes easy reading for the kids. If you carry on scribbling to several screenfuls, you'll eventully meet an inverse line. This is a page-break - where the new sheet of paper will start when the printer does its job.

Function keys perform operations on your text or take you to other menus:

  • F1 takes you to the choices menu. From here you can choose to write, print, load or save text.
  • F4 centres text. Place the cursor anywhere on the line you wish to centre and press the function key. Centering is rapid - unlike certain full-blown word-processors (namely Mini Office).
  • F8 lets you insert characters.
  • F9 enables you to erase the complete document.
Wordpro works in "overwrite" mode. This means that anything you type remains intact until you write over it. If you backspace over a word and try to insert a letter somewhere, the character that was there before will be replaced by the new one. This is not always desirable, which accounts for the "insert" function - it makes room for new characters.

Readable print

It is always thrilling to see your work in print. Pressing Escape or function key 1 gets you to the choices menu. From here you can elect to print out your document. The text is placed in the middle of the paper and is emphasized to make it as readable as possible. What you see on screen appears on paper.

Wordpro is rather a mixed bowl of fruit. On one hand it has juicy features for the beginner. On the other, there are pips that I feel will cause many people to spit out word-processing. Either hand in the pocket, the pricetag is reasonable.

Wordpro versus Pendown

Pendown looks as though many months were spent on its design it is eye-catching and has bags of options. Wordpro is basic, short of fnlls, but ideal for the first-time user. It also costs half as much as its closest rival. I place Wordpro in the easy-readmg-to-12-years range and Pendown's upper limit higher.


★ PUBLISHER: Ramasoft
★ YEAR: 1986
★ CONFIG: ???
★ AUTHOR(S): ???
★ PRICE: £8.50(tape) , £11.50 (disk)


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