Bell & Howell Apple II update

From: Richard Erlacher <>
Date: Sun Jan 27 22:44:38 2002

I didnt' test it or tax it in any way. I just wrote down everyone else's
complaints and added to that the one that I had, nameley that it wouldn't do
the columns the way the salesman had sworn (not that anyone other than the
boss believed it). It was a claim that has caused me to look askance at any
editor that made the claim that it could do column editing, since that's not
very well defined.

I've yet to see an editor that could, with simple commands edit a page laid
out in two columns such that it didn't mess up the right column when a word
was deleted or added. (It just occurs to me that I've never tied this on a
Mac or Windows.) It's clearly not a trivial thing to do.

see below, plz.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Ethan Dicks" <>
To: <>
Sent: Sunday, January 27, 2002 5:48 PM
Subject: Re: Bell & Howell Apple II update

> --- Richard Erlacher <> wrote:
> > BTW, that MASS-11 was claimed to work on the PC in the same way as it
> > worked under VMS, but it didn't...
> I wrote:
> > > Even the accountants still used MASS-11 for wordprocessing and
> > > VAX MAIL for e-mail, even though they had a PC...
> I didn't mean to suggest that we used MASS-11 on the PC - we only used
> it on the 11/750. It was a dog, but since we had daisy-wheel printers,
> the output was quite acceptable. We mostly wrote sales letters and
> end-user documentation with it anyway, well within its abilities.
The assertion, true or not, that it worked the same on VMS and DOS was why it
was present on 20 or so microVaxes and 150 or so PC's on that project.

After giving MASS-11 one try, I went back to using Wordstar. When my hardware
work was moved to a different facility some months later, they were still
tring to make some software tool do what MASS-11 couldn't, namely edit in
separate columns under DOS or VMS. It became an interesting challenge, and
one fellow thought he could do it with a database application. I tried to
edit the original source with a task-specific 'C' program that parsed out the
two corresponding entries, since there was, purportedly, distinctive
punctuation that identified each block for each column. Unfortunately, I
never got that in place either, and my parser fell apart completely once the
punctuation scheme was violated. It was, in retrospect, quite comical. Here
we had about 60 people trying to do this, and, in the end, we (they) still did
it all by hand, which was what one consultant had predicted, when the task was
started, would be the easiest solution. I guess there is reason to give them
the big bucks.
Received on Sun Jan 27 2002 - 22:44:38 GMT

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