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MrFish

AtariWriter 80 - In Emulation

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Is there a trick to getting AtariWriter 80 to run correctly in Altirra?

 

In general, it seems to be working for me, but word wrap is not functioning correctly when text is inserted (see screenshot), and disk access seems to be hit and miss -- when going back and forth between the word processor and proofreader.

 

Is this as good as it gets in Altirra, or is this by chance how it runs on real hardware (I sure hope not)?

 

I'm using Altirra 2.80 and the disks available from AtariMania. I've tried all the disks supplied, and I've tried using the alternate drivers from the Altirra "Additions Disk" too. I've also tried flipping off all the disk acceleration options.

 

Thanks,

MF

 

post-6369-0-66023800-1473577348_thumb.png

Edited by MrFish

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I've already got The Last Word on my website. I'm trying to assess whether AtariWriter 80 is essentially an 80 column version of AtariWriter Plus, which was a great word processor in its day, or if it's a shoddy/rushed attempt.

Edited by MrFish
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Are you sure its not just a hack?

 

My friend and his wife used Atariwriter and Atariwriter Plus all the time as they were the ones typing in all the manuals back then but even though they had an 80 col add on I never heard them speak of Atariwriter in 80 cols and they actually owned Atariwriter etc which was ironic, manuals for pirated games but written on a 100% legal Atariwriter...

 

Mixed morals :)

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AtariWriter 80

Ultimate 80-column word processing for 8-bit


Review by Matthew Ratcliff


When editing, the [bREAK] key forces a screen redraw, at which time AtariWriter 80 reformats the screen nicely. But while inserting text, the display is not always updated correctly.


Break key seems to fix it.


Full review:



madi

Edited by Madi
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The funny thing is, on the back of the box they show a screenshot of the 40-column version.

That's because it's the wrong image. Actual rear of Atariwriter80 package is on this page (scroll down about ten items):

 

https://inverseatascii.info/2015/09/24/s2e01-atari-atariwriter/

 

Edit: direct link:

 

https://inverseatascii.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/aw80boxbacksm.png

Edited by flashjazzcat
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AtariWriter 80

Ultimate 80-column word processing for 8-bit
Review by Matthew Ratcliff
When editing, the [bREAK] key forces a screen redraw, at which time AtariWriter 80 reformats the screen nicely. But while inserting text, the display is not always updated correctly.
Break key seems to fix it.
Full review:

 

Ah, yes, it does seem to take care of the wrapping problem. Thanks Madi.

 

But now the question is, why aren't screen redraws handled by the software itself when necessary? This is obviously a predictable case that should be handled.

 

I also had the same problem noted in the review, where garbage characters appear at the bottom of the text. I had this problem when pasting large amounts of text into the word processor, which wasn't cured by using the <BREAK> key trick.

 

It seems like a half-baked piece of software that also has some bugs. I definitely won't be adding it to my site.

Edited by MrFish
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That's because it's the wrong image. Actual rear of Atariwriter80 package is on this page (scroll down about ten items):

 

https://inverseatascii.info/2015/09/24/s2e01-atari-atariwriter/

 

Edit: direct link:

 

https://inverseatascii.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/aw80boxbacksm.png

 

I wondered. That's weird. I wonder how things got mixed up at AtariMania on that?

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Regarding word-wrap: it looks like they decided that reflowing everything during edits was going to slow the refresh rate down to a crawl, so they just didn't bother with it. If you exit back to the main menu then select edit file again, the text appears cleaned up. I would have expected a "reformat paragraph" command which could be issued from the editor, but can't find it so far. Quite a few word processors of this period worked in a similar fashion (Superscript for one), but the lack of an obvious means of reformatting after edits is a little puzzling.

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Are you absolutely married to "AtariWriter 80"?

 

"Married?"... No, we couldn't even make it through the first date.

Edited by MrFish
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Regarding word-wrap: it looks like they decided that reflowing everything during edits was going to slow the refresh rate down to a crawl, so they just didn't bother with it. If you exit back to the main menu then select edit file again, the text appears cleaned up.

 

Yes, that does work too. I suppose speed would most obviously be the reason given the known limitations of Atari's XEP80 driver. In comparison to a 40 column word processor, there is much more to draw. In the end, it's still clunky, whether or not it was common for the time. Like I say, I'll be leaving this one on the shelf where it belongs.

 

 

I would have expected a "reformat paragraph" command which could be issued from the editor, but can't find it so far. Quite a few word processors of this period worked in a similar fashion (Superscript for one), but the lack of an obvious means of reformatting after edits is a little puzzling.

 

There is, that's what Madi brought up about the <BREAK> key.

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In comparison to a 40 column word processor, there is much more to draw. In the end, it's still clunky, whether or not it was common for the time.

AtariWriter80 seems to be refreshing the screen reasonably quickly, but edits which cause a lot of successive lines to reshuffle are always a bottleneck. I guess they didn't want to risk the editor looking sluggish. The big advantage of the edit/reformat model is that you can do some quite sophisticated WYSIWYG stuff (indents, centering, justification, etc) right in the editor without much speed penalty, but AtariWriter80 hasn't capitalised on those possibilities, which is understandable given it would require a major rewrite of the editor.

 

There is, that's what Madi brought up about the <BREAK> key.

Ah, thanks - totally overlooked that. I suppose that's exactly what we're looking for, then.

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I've done some more editing and now I find that if I have more than a screen full, every time I cursor back up to the top, the screen needs to be manually refreshed to fix wrapping errors at the top. I can't see any reason for this at all.

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I've already got The Last Word on my website. I'm trying to assess whether AtariWriter 80 is essentially an 80 column version of AtariWriter Plus, which was a great word processor in its day, or if it's a shoddy/rushed attempt.

 

It indeed is an 80 column version of Plus. The feature set is basically identical. When I researched all the AtariWriters for InverseATASCII, I didn't have any problems running it under Atari800MacX. Link to my episode is here, with a bunch of screen shots as well comparing all the AtariWriters.

https://inverseatascii.info/2015/09/24/s2e01-atari-atariwriter/

 

Hope it helps.

Wade

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Ya'll do remember that AW80 requires the XEP80.. which ran off the joystick ports and I believe had its own screen buffers, command set, etc.. I believe there was an extensive hardware review done on it by the traditional tear apart hackers/reviewers of the day.

 

I used AW80/XEP80 extensively in college for research papers.

Edited by kheller2

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It indeed is an 80 column version of Plus. The feature set is basically identical. When I researched all the AtariWriters for InverseATASCII, I didn't have any problems running it under Atari800MacX. Link to my episode is here, with a bunch of screen shots as well comparing all the AtariWriters.

https://inverseatascii.info/2015/09/24/s2e01-atari-atariwriter/

 

Hope it helps.

 

Hi Wade, yes, I saw you had a review for it after FJC linked to the box back for AtariWriter 80. Noticing your review mentioned nothing about the problems (and noticing that you gave it 8 bits, along with AtariWriter Plus), I started to think it had more to do with running in Altirra. I can't recall for sure, but I think phaeron may have formerly mentioned that support is limited for XEP80 in Altirra.

 

I actually listened to most of your episode on the AtariWriters earlier today; it's a great episode, with some great historical information.

 

I have a Mac, so I did plan on trying it in Atari800MacX. TBH, I really want to like AtariWriter 80, because I regard AtariWriter Plus highly in the realm of ancient word processors. I prefer to use Altirra, but if it runs fine for me in Atari800MacX, I'll be satisfied.

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BTW, I'd been meaning to mention it before, but part of your site banner gets cut off when Firefox's window is fully expanded on my 1080p monitor. It's fine when the window is only 3/4 or 2/3 width of the screen, but expanded, part of the title cuts cut off.

 

post-6369-0-49983100-1473648949_thumb.png

 

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Ya'll do remember that AW80 requires the XEP80.. which ran off the joystick ports and I believe had its own screen buffers, command set, etc.. I believe there was an extensive hardware review done on it by the traditional tear apart hackers/reviewers of the day.

 

I used AW80/XEP80 extensively in college for research papers.

 

Yes, well, it wouldn't run at all if Altirra wasn't emulating the XEP80 to at least some extent.

 

I was hoping someone with real hardware would chime in. I take it everything worked fine, aside from the general, relative slowness that the XEP80 driver is known for?

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Hi Wade, yes, I saw you had a review for it after FJC linked to the box back for AtariWriter 80. Noticing your review mentioned nothing about the problems (and noticing that you gave it 8 bits, along with AtariWriter Plus), I started to think it had more to do with running in Altirra. I can't recall for sure, but I think phaeron may have formerly mentioned that support is limited for XEP80 in Altirra.

 

I actually listened to most of your episode on the AtariWriters earlier today; it's a great episode, with some great historical information.

 

I have a Mac, so I did plan on trying it in Atari800MacX. TBH, I really want to like AtariWriter 80, because I regard AtariWriter Plus highly in the realm of ancient word processors. I prefer to use Altirra, but if it runs fine for me in Atari800MacX, I'll be satisfied.

 

I only experienced a few "screen glitches". I'm not sure if they were emulation related or occur on real hardware as well. If I recall right, it was mainly missed refreshes toward the bottom of the screen. But I probably mentioned it in the episode.

 

BTW, I'd been meaning to mention it before, but part of your site banner gets cut off when Firefox's window is fully expanded on my 1080p monitor. It's fine when the window is only 3/4 or 2/3 width of the screen, but expanded, part of the title cuts cut off.

 

attachicon.gifinversere cut off.png

 

 

Thx. I've noticed that too, but only during initial configuration of the WordPress theme. I thought I had it worked out. The themes are sometimes a struggle with hosted WordPress because you can't edit the templates. It worked right in the previous theme, but I had to switch themes to get "excerpts" so the notes section in iTunes would show up correctly. I don't use Firefox, but I'll look at it and see if theres anything I can do to help it.

 

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With MrFish on the Atariwriter 80 being a shoddy bit of kit....

 

To release a text editor (from good pedigree) that has a horrible bug and just add a work around rather than fix the issue is just lazy, I read what Jon said about why they did it (thanks for the explanation) but you would really have thought it would have been taken more seriously than pressing a totally unrelated key to update the display..

 

Perhaps Sue, my friends wife who did the typing of the instructions had tried 80 and found this issue, she was a lady who took her work seriously and this would have made her livid. She just stuck to Writer and Plus and churned out hundreds of pages of instructions that ended up being printed out on peoples Epsons etc :)

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