|★ LITTÉRATURE ★ ENGLISH ★ ALL IN ONE BUSINESS COMPUTING-AMSTRAD PCW AND MINI OFFICE PROFESSIONAL|8000PLUS) ★|
|All in One Business Computing-Amstrad PCW and Mini Office Professional||Littérature English|
Mini Office is simply one of the best and most powerful allpurpose packages available for the PCW. It has a word processor, database, spreadsheet* graphics and communications packages, any one of which would be well worth the £29.95 overall price alone.
The problem (apart from a few rather serious initial bugs, now apparently all ironed out in the latest version, 1.07) has always been the manual. While fine as a set of quick reference notes for someone familiar with the ideas of word processing, spreadsheeting, databasing etc., it was no use to the average user. It also left out significant details. John Hughes' book sets out to put right all the shortcomings of the manual and get even the novice working straight away,
The great thing about “All in One Business Computing" is that the author has not attempted to take any shortcuts, stylistic or technical. Everything is lucidly and simply explained with (more amazingly still) absolutely no recourse to that annoying affliction that most technical writers suffer from - using long strings of unrelieved jargon.
Neither does the book assume any prior personal computing experience in its reader. Before navigating the murky waters of Mini Office proper, Hughes devotes his first chapter to the ins and outs of the CP/M operating system, an ideal introduction for all those who haven't as yet ventured any further than LocoScript.
Routine operations like copying, formatting, making backups and adding new printers are explained in a coherent and confidence-building way as are the most important of CP/M's various utilities.
The book seems to reach the perfect compromise; it neither talks down to the reader nor does it gloss over important details.
Use it don't lose it
All in all the book comprises fifteen chapters of which four are devoted to Mini Office s word-processing module, three to communications, two to the database and spreadsheet modules respectively, and finally one to the graphics module.
Hughes works on the principle that, as the reader and user of Mini Office, you can only really get to grips with the facilities on offer by actually using them. The manual adopts this same approach of ‘hands-on* learning, but where the book triumphs is in its ability to locate a destination, for example a mailmerge exercise, and provide thorough and unambiguous directions as to how to get there: producing a matrix document, then designing a database layout, merging data into the matrix document, outputting the letters and so on. In other words, not only does it explain what you're doing, but why you're doing it - precisely where a lot of software textbooks fall down. The examples that he provides of the various uses to which you could put the various modules are realistic and helpful.
He also goes to great lengths to explain that Mini Office is one very powerful and versatile package as opposed to five individual programs that have just been bought together. In other words, he stresses the integrated programming aspect of Mini Office in a way that is not at first apparent on reading the manual. He shows, for example, how the word processing and database modules can work together in much the same way as the spreadsheet and graphics modules can. He explains how files are transferred between modules and how to access data saved by one program while you are running another. He also shows how each module will present what is essentially the same data in different ways depending on the format being used.
A welcome feature not found in Mini Office's manual is that you find out explicitly what you can t do - for example import data from LocoScript into the database, or export it to another database.
The instructions provided by Hughes for performing a certain operation are step by step and very detailed. The book is also comprehensively illustrated with frequent screen shots to help you on your way. The results of each important keypress are illustrated, as are the options that are consequently available to you.
Whatever you use Mini Office Professional for, whether it be number-crunching, business graphics, or plain old word-processing, UAII in One Business Computing" guarantees a comprehensive, noholds-barred treatment of each of the five modules, A worthwhile investment for any MOP user, whatever their level of experience.