8-bit Software Disc Magazine Issue 13 - June 1991
(c) Duncan Webster 1991 (all rights reserved)
PROGRAMMERS RETURN SCRIPTS
I would like to thank all members for answering my request for
programmers return sheets to be saved onto disc. I am amazed and
delighted to report that ALL members have returned their discs on
which I found letters, comments and articles. I have managed to read
ALL of the disc files so there are no problems with Word Processor
compatibility (yet). Seeing as you have all taken this new procedure
so well, I thought I would highlight a few other points about the
content of the programmers return in general, and I would be further
obliged if you would all note the following ...
Although the task of filing and locating comments is much easier for
me now they are all on disc, I still find myself having to sort
through masses of pointless comments or "waste" reports as I myself
call them. Whilst the majority of correspondence received is very
useful to both myself and the programmers concerned, the volume of
pointless comments is beginning to mount as membership increases and
having to sort through 100+ manuscripts weeding out this "waste"
material is beginning to take up too much of my time.
To take an example, I have selected a few comments from various discs
issued in the past - some were published, but most were not ....
a) Good program, but I'll probably never use it (very common one).
b) Waste of disc space - full of errors.
c) Can't get it to work on my machine
d) Quite useful - will probably use it one day (!).
I could go on for ages. However I have decided that I probably didn't
explain the style of comments required clearly enough, especially in
the case of new members, so I will list below the kind of comments
required and NOT required ...
a) If you are indifferent to any program (ie. you are totally
uninterested in it) then DON'T COMMENT ON IT AT ALL.
b) If you DO use a program issued by 8BS, or a particular program
catches your eye, then THIS is the program you should review.
c) Keep your reviews to the point - Note down as many good points, bad
points and suggestions for improvements as you can.
d) I am most interested in how easy a program was to use (if
applicable) and whether a manual, or an amendment of an existing
manual would be at all helpful.
The above is just a GUIDELINE. The bottom line is to keep your
comments to the point, and as informative and as useful to the
programmer as possible. Writing a paragraph on how GOOD a program is
will only make the author blush and will not acheive much else. We
already know that 8BS programmers are brilliant, and we don't need to
be continually reminded of it (well, not much anyway).
8-bit Software Programmers Return Scripts are not provided to just pat
programmers on the back, and the programmers themselves should know
this. By all means indicate that a program is good if you think so,
but keep the basis of your comments to the good points, bad points of
the program and the suggestions for improvements.
From this issue, I would like ALL members to forget about having to
review at least 3 programs on the disc. As from now, even if it is
only one program, I would like you to just comment on the program or
programs that interest YOU. If you HONESTLY cannot find a single item
of interest on the disc, then please make an entry into the magazine
on ANY subject that DOES interest you.
If you are going to criticise a program, and I DO encourage you to do,
then do not waste time saying "this program is rubbish .." etc. Just
highlight the points that need attention as well as lacking features
I hope that none of you will take offence at any of the above.
Overall the comments are constructive, useful and motivating on
occasions. A lot of members need not change their reviewing habits at
all. However for the benefit of newer members, I am going to pick on
an individual member (stop looking the other way, it might be you!!)
and print his comments below. The comments relate to A S Shakoors
Address Book and Shares Accountant. The programmers return below is
that of member Id 72B, and although it is critical, it contains enough
ideas for improvements to last Mr. Shakoor a lifetime. I hope that Mr
Shakoor is not offended and he finds the suggesions below as valuable
as I would ...
Issue 12 program reviews: User ID: 72B
Complete Address Book
1. Can't use a house name instead of a number
2. Does not differentiate between Surname and other names or initials
3. Not enough lines for addresses
4. No mention of Postcode
5. Can't find a name using only surname: Have to use Exact Entry
6. Menu item 3 "search for addresses" really means "change address"
7. Menu Item 4 hangs with no such variable at 610
1. Does not allow for additions or deletions or dividends on a
particular shareholding. This could be important whether the
holding was large or small. For instance, many people save units
or Investment Trust Shares on a regular savings plan. Each
purchase would need a new "share" as far as I can see.
2. No overall view of portfolio as a whole
3. The graph only seems to refer to the share price and not the value
of the holding, and even so shows no difference between an original
share "price" of 1 and a current one of 2.21 (These are actual
share prices of Midlands Electricity plc at launch and now)
He goes on to detail that the market leader in programs like this
retails for over #100.00 and thus Shares Accountant is a very good
effort. The comments on Address Book are just the kind required for a
program that has potential for improvements. However the mention of
savings plans within Shares Accountant is probably well outside the
scope of what the program was originally intended for, and there is no
such program on the commercial market at present detailing savings
plans as they would require maintenance on a daily basis over a period
of 10+ years!
If all that has been said above has left you in a whirl, then use the
above example as a basis for your future comments, or alternatively
send an article in for this magazine as such articles require no
particular guidelines at all - just write.
All that remains to say now is to hope that User 72B's face stops
glowing by next month, and that Mr Shakoor doesn't go and jump off the
top floor of the nearest car park without a parachute. I am sure I
speak for all members when I say that I am looking forward to the next
versions of Address Book and Shares Accountant very much indeed.