Product: Stop Press 64
Publisher: Slogger
Compatibility: Acorn Electron
Reviewed by: Derek Walker
Originally published in EUG #03

Release

Stop Press 64 is Slogger's latest product for the Electron and is a conversion of the AMS Stop Press. Slogger has utilised the speed and shadow memory of its Master Ram Board to produce a fast and user-friendly environment for Desk Top Publishing.

At present Stop Press 64 is a hardware and software expansion offering a User port (for mouse) and two versatile ROM/RAM sockets which can be mapped into any pair of the twelve available (this excludes the keyboard and BASIC) pages. Stop Press is mapped into page 10, the unused PAGE held by BASIC. The circuit board is fitted inside the Electron lid at the rear beside the keyboard with the User Port protruding from the left hand side. The circuit board is hard wired to the Master RAM Board and a new operating system (v3.1) is installed. A cartridge version with or without User port should be available later this year.

The package is very easy to use; just insert the system disk and press SHIFT-BREAK. A few seconds later you are presented with a Mode 0 screen with a Menu Bar across the top and 10 icons down the right hand side. No page create is required (as with Pixel Perfect) and it is very economical with disk space e.g. 37.5K bytes per page.

The icons - selected by pointing with a mouse or cursor keys - enable you to scroll the window (another icon shows which part of the page is visible), Load and Save Pages, Screens and Cutouts from any drive, Cut & Paste - Stretch (enlarge/reduce), Rotate, Flip and Zoom (Pixel Edit), Enter Text - Files from View/Wordwise or from the keyboard, Graphics - Spray, Paint, Patterns, Circles, Triangles, Box etc. Print - Page, Screen, Cutout in various page dimensions and quality, and much more...

To place or move anything on the page is very simple, for example placing text. First set the window size (e.g. a column) by selecting the window icon and moving the cursor (crosshairs) to one corner of the column. Fix it there by pressing the "select" button then move to the opposite corner and fix it again by pressing "select". Now select the Text icon (the letter "a") then select (from the Menu Bar) the Font, type of Justification, Height and Width of characters. Now choose the source of the text - a text file from disk or simply typing from keyboard. If the View/Wordwise option is selected, a window is opened in the centre of the screen showing a list of your files on disk; simply move the pointer onto the filename and press the "select" button. All you have to do now is watch the text appear on the screen and format itself within your defined area.

Conclusions

The graphic capabilities of Stop Press 64 are excellent - especially when it is possible to draw not just lines and circles, etc but also to edit pixels. It would be nice to see a disk or two of clip art for those who are not budding Picassos.

Seventeen fonts are supplied (Sans serif, Old Englishe, etc) which are easily selected, stretched and rotated giving a wide range of effects.

The whole page is stored in memory therefore disk access is minimised and you can play around with your page all you like before you choose to save it.