Self-Study Tutorial For Amstrad PCW 8256Applications Divers
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An audio tape could be the answer for novice Joyce users who are having problems with LocoScript. Sue Maybee dons the headphones.

Listen with LocoScript

The PCW8256 has made available to a new section of the public a powerful word processing system. This section of the public has no experience of using even an electronic typewriter, let alone a word processor, and is struggling to learn all about it from a manual.

In pre-Joyce times the only members of society using word processors were those professionally trained to do so, now is the post-Joyce era and anyone with £399 plus VAT to spare has, potentially, a whole new world opened up to them.

To the initiate, a word processing system can be a strange beast; and to someone who is not even aware of the meaning of typing terms like "justify", "proportional spacing", "pitch", or "line spacing" the beast must appear even more strange and untameable.

To the rescue

To help these poor souls Head-Line Communications Limited have put together an audio self tutorial package specifically for the 8256 and LocoScript.
For some time the value and use of audio systems of learning has been known, schools and colleges make available audio tutorial packages for many subjects including languages, Open University has been using radio to teach degree subjects, even the forces use audio methods in their "free running courses". Of course "talk and chalk" cannot be replaced by this method of teaching, but it is a useful tool, especially when supplementing written instructions, in this particular case, the PCW8256 User Guide.

LocoScript from head-Line Communications.

Head-Line Communications have put together this package "Wordprocessing with LocoScript" very neatly. It consists of four sessions contained on two audio cassette tapes, an instruction leaflet and Quick Reference Guide to LocoScript which can be used when you have finished the sessions.
Session one starts off well with a good introduction, and makes it clear that a working copy needs to be made of the master disc, one of the major initial problems for new users of Joyce, judging from the letters and phone calls received by the Customer Services Department at Amstrad.

Once the need to copy the master is established the learner then has a problem trying to follow the Disckit procedure as described in the Manual, so the concise instructions given in the Instructions leaflet with this package will help the novice a great deal, and Head-Line is performing a great service by helping alleviate the pressure on the busy switchboard at Amstrad.

Beginners only

In no way does Head-Line claim to be able to create an expert WP operator in four sessions, but states plainly that its aims are to make the listener competent in the WP operations he is most likely to need in his every-day work. It has not been assumed that the listener is a typist or is even familiar with the PCW keyboard, and describes where a key is when the listener is first asked to use it. This works well as a device to allow the listener to keep up with the instructions on the tape without having to stop the tape and break the flow, which would be distracting to say the least. Bleep signals are given to mark the points where the listener should turn off the tape and practice the operations.

As the sessions progress and the beast is slowly tamed the tape still gives complete explanations of every operation so the tamer is able to get the feel of working at a fairly normal, even, pace (getting used to having the whip in his hand!) not having to keep referring back to previous parts of the tape or to the user guide whilst in the middle of a new trick. I was pleased to note that the package covers organisation of work. It is an aspect of word processing that the novice might well overlook, particularly in the early stages, and cause problems later on when there is a large volume of work which needs re-organising. If the user can start good word processing/housekeeping habits early on, as in any field, it makes life a lot easier later.
Head-Line Communications have produced a package which will help many to come to grips with the basic elements of LocoScript. For anyone with a previous knowledge of word processing the sessions might seem slow, but for the raw recruit they should help make the
experience of learning a little less daunting.

Filling the gap

Because the PCW8256 has put word processing well within the reach of many who must have regarded it previously as rather mysterious, audio sessions like this will fill the gap in the market between the manual and the training courses which are available. Disadvantages with this type of learning are really the same as any that do not involve a personal interaction with the teacher, but there is always the manual to fall back on, and failing this, the Customer Services Department has become used to dealing with the panicking ranks of the word processing army of raw recruits!


In conclusion, a nicely arranged package, easy to follow. It does not cover the more involved operations with LocoScript but will be a good starting point for those experiencing learning difficulties with their Joyce.

ACU #8602

★ PUBLISHER: Caxton Software
★ YEAR: 1985
★ CONFIG: ???


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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.