Public Domain Software on File

Pages216-217
Publication Date01 Apr 1986
DOIhttps://doi.org/10.1108/eb044701
AuthorLynn Jackson
subjectMatterInformation & knowledge management,Library & information science
SOFT
WARE
review
Public Domain
Software on Tile
LYNN
JACKSON
PUBLIC DOMAIN SOFTWARE ON FILE offers a great wealth of
programs on subjects that range from biorhythm to physics. Many of
these can be of great use to many
people.
However, the package also con-
tains many programs which do not seem useful at
all.
If you would like to
substantially increase your software collection at one fell swoop, this
might be the package for you. It contains 20 floppy disks with 250
programs, each of which can be copied selectively to meet special needs.
The categories covered are: Business, Education, Graphics, Home
Management, Music, Utilities and Potpourri.
The package runs on any Apple II series computer with 64K main
memory.
A
printer, color monitor, joystick and games paddle are needed
to make full use of all the programs. It sells for $195 from Facts on File,
Inc.,
460 Park Ave. South, New York NY 10016. (800) 322-8755, (212)
683-2244.
T
o use this package in a library, you
can make copies of all the disks, to
protect the originals, then let the
patrons borrow the copy disks and
recopy any programs they want,
using their own computer at home. In this
way, they can pick and choose at their leisure
and provide their own blank disks for
copying.
Enjoyable education
There are six Education disks and they
include quite a range of materials, including
many games. I found these education disks
the most interesting and enjoyable in the
package. If they were better organized, so
users could more easily find what they
wanted, these would probably be the most
popular of the disks.
Most of the games seem to be demon-
strations, requiring little interaction from the
user. In one of the games, there appears to be
no way to end the program other than giving
the right answer. This difficulty in escaping
is repeated with many of the programs in the
package. It is aggrevated by the fact that the
procedures for ending vary widely from one
program to the next.
During this review, use of the Graphics
disks was a problem, since the computer
being used had neither a joystick nor a
paddle. About twenty-five percent of the
programs require the use of one of these
devices.
Interesting trivia
The two Home Management disks contain
some interesting trivia programs. There is
a
calendar program that will display the
days of
any month of any year after 1581. Other
programs produce recipe files, address lists,
mailing labels, and video library lists. These
can be nice for those who have a printer
connected to their computer. Still other
programs calculated such results as lift
expectancy and RDA food values. There is
also a decision-making program, which 1
believe could have been deleted from the
disk
with no loss to anyone.
The two Music disks allow users to choose
from a number of tunes, including: Happy
Birthday, Oh Christmas Tree, Beer Barrel
Polka, Auld Lang Syne, Jingle Bells, Silent
Night, The Star Spangled Banner, Songs
of
Childhood, Yankee Doodle, and some Bach
and Mozart. All are played by the computer
on request. If you want to hear something
out
of the ordinary, you can play a sound effects
demonstration, or you can compose your
own
tune.
The two Potpourri disks contain a collec-
tion of trivia programs that can be enjoyable
to
use.
If you would
like to
find out how many
days you have lived, or your biorhythm, or
how to translate words into pig latin, these
are for you. On Potpourri disk number two,
there are programs for playing chess and
word games, for using Morse code, even for
printing a banner, if you have a printer.
For
the serious programmer
The three Utilities disks contain a lot of tech-
nical material which will likely be of most
use
to serious programmers. Average computer
users will probably not find much that they
want here. The programs include: reading
and listing disk sectors; a disk organizer
used
to modify catalog directories; a disk for-
matter that initializes multiple disks with
your own greeting; an Applesoft line editor
that lets you edit and set references to fre-
quently-used memory locations; a binary file
editor and search list used to debug binary
programs; and a DOS modifier and peeker
that enables you to change DOS commands,
and gives you a list of command and error
messages.
Business calculations
I found some interesting programs on the
two
Business disks, but was not sure they would
prove useful to most patrons. Among these
business programs are marketing formulae
and various calculations: of interest and
depreciation, of loan payments and principal,
216 The Electronic Library, August 1986.
Vol.
4, No. 4.

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