|★ APPLICATIONS ★ PAO/PRESSE ★ LOCO-PRINT|8000Plus) ★|
Many people have expressed their frustration at the poor quality of the PCW's printout. Although good enough for many purposes, the standard printer will never look as though it were the work of an electric typewriter,
Daisywheel printers, on the other hand, can produce printout which is of typewriter standard. But there is a catch - the LocoScript wordprocessor cannot print files out on any printer other than the standard one, so even if you buy a swish daisywheel printer, you can't get LocoScript to use it.
This problem has caused some people to give up using LocoScript and defect to CP/M word processors like WordStar or Protext, which can print to daisywheels*
The fabled LocoScript-2, due to be on sale in March, will allow LocoScript users too to use a choice of printers, but until then what do LocoFans do? They buy Loco-Print from Anglo Computers.
Don't mention CP/M
Loco-Print is a program that you run once only on your LocoScript startup disc, which makes a permanent modification to the disc to alter the way the ‘Print1 command works. From then on. every time you start LocoScript using this modified disc, all files you print will be sent to your daisywheel printer rather than the standard printer.
Not all printers work the same way, so you have to tell Loco-Print which type of printer you are using. At the moment, the choices are either Qume or Diablo printer codes, which covers most of the models on the market - Brother and Juki printers are more or less the same as Diablo. Loco-Print only works with daisywheel printers, and assumes you have your printer plugged into your parallel (Centronics) adaptor on the PCW.
If you are using a special print wheel in the printer (for example with foreign characters) you can also tell Loco-Print about that.
So to the important question: how well can Loco-Print print LocoScript documents, with all their layout changes, underlining, justification and so on? The printer we used for the review was a Juki 6100, which is like a Diablo in most respects. With the version of Loco-Print provided for our review, all the pitch changes worked, although being a daisywheel printer ‘pitch' means character spacing, not character size. For technical reasons, I 5 and 17 pitch text seemed to always comes out in bold if you print in ‘high quality' mode: using ‘draft' gives better results!
Underlining and centring worked* and emboldening did work but appeared to be treated as double strike. Superscripts and subscripts didn't seem to be implemented. The different line spacings all worked, and text could be right-justified, Proportional spacing occasionally confused Loco-Print: you are safe to use proportional spacing in blocks of text with ragged right margins, but if you try to justify to the right, or centre it, the spacing goes a little awry.
Until LocoScript-2 comes along, Loco-Print is the only real way for daisywheel owners to connect up to LocoScript, If you've invested £300 or more in a printer, an extra £39 or so doesn't seem much to give LocoScript the benefit of its quality. For producing professional-looking simple text documents, Loco-Print is a valuable tool.