|★ APPLICATIONS ★ DISQUE ★ FLIPPER|8000Plus) ★|
The PCW was originally conceived as a LocoScript only machine. Rather than have users fiddling about running an operating system and then a word processor, LocoScript is a self-starting disc: you switch on and put it in. Simple,
The problems start when you also run CP/M programs (which means everything else). LocoScript won't run by the side of your database, spreadsheet, games, desktop publishing program, or utilities. To get from one to the other means resetting the machine (an extremely time consuming exercise) and also means you can t transfer data directly from one environment' to the other
So enter Flipper. New software house Software Imperatives have devised an installation program which can split your PCW into two, enabling you to run CP/M and LocoScript 2 side-by-side, switching back and forth by pressing [SHIFT] [EXTRA] [EXIT], the command which normally resets the machine.
Suppose you need details from your database to be included in a LocoScript document. You run up CP/M as normal insert your Flipper disc and type FLIPLOC1, Follow on screen prompts and insert a LocoScript disc. You must leave at least 256k of space on the M drive (LocoSpell is out of the question) or Flipper has no space to run CP/M on the side.
Flipping away from you LocoScript starts up as normal. Pressing [SHIFT] [EXTRA] [EXIT] now flips you straight back to the CP/M screen you just left, and [SHIFT] [EXTRA] [EXIT] again puts you immediately back to the LocoScript screen you left. You have to press [f7] 'Change discs1 here to complete anti-crash procedures'. The amount of free space shown on the M drive drops sharply and several 'hidden' files appear, showing that the CP/M environment on the side has been set up in the space that's apparently disappeared,
From now on you can proceed as normal, editing documents, saving, deleting and renaming files, formatting discs etc. and at any time just flip over to CP/M, where you can also proceed with the normal functions there. Every time you flip you get back where you left off in the other environment .
You now have two memories, effectively closed off from each other, but if you save a file to disc in either CP/M or LocoScript it will be accessible from the other. For example, if your database lets you export data, you can select all debtors' names and addresses, save them to disc, flip across to LocoScript and insert the names and addresses immediately into a document with 'insert text4. Conversely, saving an ASCII file of LocoScript data to disc and flipping to CP/M would enable you to use that data immediately in your database or spreadsheet (if they can import data).
An alternative program FLIPLOC2 makes the space for CP/M to run in larger than the space for LocoScript, and is useful for running large CP/M applications. It does squeeze LocoScript very tightly indeed though.
Flip into something more comfortable
There's a similar utility to split your PCW into two CP/M environments. This would let you run ProtextT perhaps, and SuperCalc 2. for example, sideby-side, switching between them with [SHIFT] [EXTRA] [EXIT]. As above, you return
with the document or spreadsheet exactly as it was when you left it. One of the CP/M environments you have is a bit larger than the other, and is big enough to run most programs (Stop Press for instance). To remind you where you are the prompt for the larger environment, CP/Mpi], is a with a double angle bracket.
A utility program with Flipper lets you save your currently dormant environment' - ie. if you're in the middle of a complicated Cracker spreadsheet and it's time to go to bed, you flip over to the other CP/M environment and FLIPSAVE. This saves the CP/M you've just left in its current state to disc as a very large file (possibly too big for an A drive disc on an 8000). However, the advantage is that next morning, you run up Flipper again and use the FLIPLOAD utility to restore the situation you saved last night to the other CP/M environment. After about 30 seconds you can flip across to the other CP/M environment and there is your Cracker spreadsheet (or database or desktop publisher in mid-page makeup) exactly as you left it last night
This would be useful if you want a particularly complicated program used by non-computerate operators.
All they have to do is FLIPLOAD your saved situation and they can carry on entering data or whatever without having to battle through to that part of the program by themselves.
For programs that don't work with Flipper's FLIPCPM1 program, a special emergency program FLIPCPM2 is supplied. It creates two CP/M environments as above, but the PCW is fooled into thinking that one of them is an 8256 (even on a 9512) and any program (almost, see the box) which works on an unexpanded 8256 works in this environment. It's a bit trickier to set up, and so FLIPCPM1 is the program you'd use normally.
Another utility FLIPKILL is supplied which allows you to return the PCW to its one-machine state, so that [SHIFT] [EXTRA] [EXIT] will reset the machine as normal.
Because Flipper does some extraordinary things, there can be odd side effects of using it. If, for example, you flip while the disc motor is running (just after reading something from disc perhaps) the motor will continue to run indefinitely, and maybe even crash. If you tried to flip while in the middle of printing, you'd be asking for trouble - and damage to the print head. You'd have to reset the print head after each flip.
Another odd thing that can happen is if you FLIPKILL after running your bogus 8256' in FL1PCPM2. Your PCW is now as normal but is convinced it's an 8256 until you restart it, meaning you can't access 256k of memory. Also, you may find SETKEYS doesn't work as expected if you run it after installing Flipper, and running FLIPCPM2 can generate spurious [EXIT]s when you flip, which could prove a nuisance in the program you flip to, A utility is supplied which should clear up any problems but doing anything like redefining the [EXIT] key in your SETKEYS file would be asking for trouble. Finally. Flipper needs an empty M drive to start off with and will clear out whatevers there when it runs, though of course you can put what you like in there once Flipper is installed.
If you are happy to do everything from within LocoScript, you won't need to worry about CP/M and Flipper won't change your life. However, regular users of LocoScript and even one CP/M program will find it very useful. The time and trouble it saves will make it well worth the investment, and it certainly seems to be unique.