LisaWrite Wish List
Part 2, by Nathan C. Myers
Page Ruler. LisaWrite should allow moving the "top line" indicator up over the header indicator (perhaps moving the header indicator, too) so that text can be up close to the page boundary. Whenever text is saved to the disk, or loaded, or switched between "preview pages" and "don't preview pages", or when the page ruler is displayed, the display jumps to the beginning of the document. This is very annoying. "Preview pages" seems to work fairly well, but you can't see where the page boundary is unless the page ruler is turned on. There should be a line across the page showing its position even when the ruler is not on.
Elevators. The elevators do not provide enough information about how much of a document is visible within the window. The following technique may be applied to any application and really ought to be built into the Toolkit: the elevator's size should be proportional to how much of the document is visible in the window. Precisely, the ratio of elevator size to "elevator shaft" length should equal the ratio of window size to document size. The immediate objection that arises is that in extreme cases the elevator would get too small to see or handle. The obvious solution is to specify a minimum size for the elevator, perhaps half the present size. Since in extreme cases an exact quantitative report is not necessary, just noting the small elevator provides all the information needed. In fact, it provides no less information than the elevators as currently implemented. In intermediate cases, the proportional elevator would save a great deal of time spent scrolling around trying to find a particular area of the document, or just trying to see how big the document really is. The bottom border of the edit window does not really need "page mover" view buttons, but it really should have an elevator, preferably a proportional one.
The cursor. When one begins typing, the pointer disappears. This is as it should be, but when you go for the mouse again, the pointer reappears in what always seems to be a random position, as one is rarely interested in where the pointer was when it disappeared. It should instead appear where the text cursor is, since that is the current point of interest. It is critically important to allow use of the cursor movement keys. Using a mouse is fine when you need to move halfway across a page, but for moving right one space or up one line, it's far too much trouble to reach all the way to the mouse.
Editors' Note: Having a constant elevator size seems much more appealing than having to point to a shape that represents the same function but which has a different size at different times. Perhaps symbols inside the elevator box itself could represent the window's size and location?
AppleLisa Wants You
The AppleLisa Association is a non-profit organization of Lisa users that is now forming. Some of the group's initial activities: publishing a newsletter called Icon and establishing a template library and special interest groups. To become a member, send $40 and your serial number to AppleLisa Association, Box 634, Santa Clara, CA 95052.
LisaCalc Print Tricks
Are you wasting time, paper and ribbons printing a whole spreadsheet when just a copy of one or two columns is all you need? A letter from Bill Stanley of the Computer Shoppe in Greensboro, North Carolina described the following methods of selectively printing columns from a LisaCalc spreadsheet: to print only one column from a sheet, put page marks on each side of the column and then print only that "page" by specifying the necessary range in the Print... dialog box. To print only the extreme ends of a sheet, say columns A and F, just Cut columns B through E, print the page, then Undo Last Change to restore the sheet.
Rubber Band Freezes DMP
We'll frequently start printing on our dot matrix printer and then suddenly need to momentarily stop the printer to make some small adjustment, such as repositioning the paper. Sadly, unselecting the printer causes the Lisa to stop and force us to cancel the print job. Apparently, only holding down the mouse button makes the printer pause. A rubber band (for collaring the mouse to keep the button down) has now become a standard piece of Lisa hardware at Signal.
that mysterious unused connector inside the Lisa behind the floppies?