My complete stories & my book ORPHANS

Silicon Valley Fiction
by Steve Schlich

MachoWriter Release 17 is easy to use. Although it contains 600 commands, you don't have to learn any more than 27 to produce a simple letter or memo. Follow the simple steps in the tutorial and you'll have a finished one-paragraph memo in less than a day.

MachoWriter documents are versatile; you can export them in over a dozen different formats, including ASCII, FFT, RTF, DIF, binary, hexadecimal, octal, C, Modula-2, and 386 assembly language. Printer output is self-adjusting from 1200 baud to 19.5K, and can be configured for transmission in MIDI format. You can install MachoWriter for over 356 printers (yours, of course, is not on the list). Just select your printer from one of the 35 easy-to-use installation menus. You'll need to enter your printer's initialization string, but that's a snap; you'll find it somewhere in your printer's manual. Be sure that your installed printer is connected to the parallel port and that your printer is configured to output to LPT3.

To start MachoWriter, boot your computer using DOS 3.2 or higher and type the following command line at the C:> prompt.

MW /S -P -386

Be sure to add a DEVICE=\ BIN\MW17/P-S statement to your CONFIG.SYS file, and that the correct device driver is in your \bin subdirectory.

To create a new document, choose Create at the MachoWriter opening menu, either by pressing the corresponding number, the command's first letter, or highlighting the command and pressing Enter. Then enter the name of a stylesheet. If you need to change directories, press Shift-Alt-F7 to enter Directory mode, press F3 twice to see a list, and select the correct directory. You'll be warned by an annoying beep that everyone in the office will hear whenever you make a mistake.

To get help (except in certain modes), hit F1 twice and select a command from the list. Help for that command will appear, whether or not it applies to your current situation.

Before you begin typing, press Shift-Ctrl-F2 and select a paragraph format to use. MachoWriter has over 100 formats to choose from. For a description of each format, read pages 500-632 in the Reference Manual.

MachoWriter's typing default is Overtype, so that when you go back to insert a word, you will overwrite text you wanted to keep. To delete the Overtype marker, switch into Reveal Codes mode (Shift-F11 or Shift-Alt-F8 on keyboards with only 10 function keys), position the cursor over the character. Press Del and then Enter. If your keyboard has both an Enter and a Return key, press Return instead of Enter.

Type your text and make corrections with the Backspace and Del keys. Use the cursor keypad to navigate through your text. The 27 key combinations are listed in an easy-to-use foldout chart hidden in your Reference Manual.

Saving and printing your completed document is as simple as three keystrokes, two Y/N confirmations, seven printing format choices, printer selection, and typing the initialization code. This process is covered in lessons 13 and 14.

Enjoy MachoWriter. Its power is at your command.

The End? sorry, only the beginning

copyright (c) 2000 by Steve Schlich


WRITER’S NOTE for 1988 publication: The good stuff in Pulphouse Reports Issues #49 and #50 has inspired me to demonstrate the kind of fiction I've been writing for the last five and a half years: software manuals, tutors, and help screens. What follows is outlandish but in more ways than I care to admit representative of the stuff that I and other highly-paid hacks like me churn out every day. If you've ever read a manual or hit F1 when you're confused, then you know I'm not kidding.

My complete stories & my book ORPHANS