News Station, News Station Companion, Publishing Pro / graphics / cm.

From: Michael Current (aa700@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 04/21/92-07:40:20 PM Z

From: aa700@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Michael Current)
Subject: News Station, News Station Companion, Publishing Pro / graphics / cm.
Date: Tue Apr 21 19:40:20 1992

Reprinted from the A.C.E.C. BBS (614)-471-8559



     An editorial in the June, 1987
issue of ANTIC urged readers to write to
Springboard Software requesting release
of the Newsroom page designer for Atari
8-bit computers.  I have used Newsroom
(on a well-known 8-bit computer that's
inferior to the Atari) and I can tell
you that Atarians have better software
than Newsroom available right now!
     Reeve Software is a small Atari
software company in Illinois.  Alan
Reeve's News Station ($29.95, 48K disk)
is more versatile and easier to use than
any current version of Newsroom ($49.95,
Apple, IBM, C-64).  News Station was
programmed specifically for the 8-bit
Atari, so it takes good advantage of the
Atari's powerful graphics tools.
     Here are some of the ways in which
Reeve's News Station leaves
Springboard's Newsroom eating dust.


   Any Atari font       5 fonts
   64 font sizes        2 font sizes

   No preparation       3 steps needed

   Print Shop icons     Clip-art disks
     (3 sizes)          ($30-$40 each)
   Micro Illustrator
   Direct drawings

     And now, the brand-new News Station
Companion ($29.95, 48K disk) brings in
four new features that give the base
software considerably more power.  The
Companion creates headlines that go
across the top of the entire page,
matching Newsroom's "banner" mode.  It
compresses eight 52-sector News Station
plate files into a single page file that
requires much less disk space.  Long,
multi-page text files can be accepted
now, as well as unconverted KoalaPad
     The $60 total cost of News Station
and News Station Companion is $10 more
than Newsroom.  But News Station is a
better value because the only way to get
additional graphics into Newsroom is to
buy clip-art disks at $30 to $40 each.
In money-saving contrast, News Station
can import graphics from all the most
common Atari formats.
     Also from Reeve Software is
Publishing Pro ($39.95, 48K disk) is an
"advanced version" of News Station that
can produce a full page of text and
graphics without using plates.  But to
accomplish this, it sacrifices some
versatility and ease of use.  Text fonts
and sizes cannot be changed within a
page, and you must figure the X,Y
coordinates to position each element of
the page.
     News Station was given a short
write-up in the July, 1987 ANTIC feature
review of printer software (page 17).  I
felt that the reviewer missed much of
the versatility of this program, even
though he called News Station "an ideal
tool for putting text into a picture"
and admitted that the program "works
fine for two-column printouts."
     Simple page-design software like
News Station and Newsroom get around the
memory limits of a 48K or 64K computer
by dividing a full page into eight equal
"plates." Each plate uses a single
computer screen which is saved as a
separate file.
     This method may not be "true
desktop publishing" like Pagemaker,
Ventura Publisher and Ready, Set, Go, or
the Atari ST's Publishing Partner and
Fleet Street Publisher.  But it doesn't
carry the hefty price tags ($120 all the
way up to $900) of these laser-oriented
programs either.
     Eight-plate page-design software
uses standard, inexpensive dot-matrix
printers and is terrific at producing
informal newsletters, flyers, signs and
brochures -- are all most people really
need for their personal desktop
     News Station and Newsroom both come
with five built-in fonts.  But News
Station also lets you use any
nine-sector Atari font -- in eight
heights and eight widths.
     A height-to-width ratio of 2 to 1
seems to provide the best-looking
characters, but there are times when
variations might make a font more
     The standard Atari font remains in
memory along with one selected user
font, which can be changed at any time. 
Once placed on the screen, characters
remain in the chosen font.
     An article might have a large
headline, a slightly smaller subhead and
normal-sized copy.  Subheads can also be
used throughout an article to emphasize
sections of the copy.
     Text can be entered onto the plate
from an ASCII file on disk or by typing
it in.  News Station does not have word
wrap, but because the program remains in
type-over mode, changes can be made
     News Station text files must be
broken down into plate size before being
transferred.  However, News Station
Companion eliminates this restriction
and lets you set pages in as many as
four columns.
     News Station accepts three types of
graphics:  Print Shop icons,
Micro-Painter files and direct drawings,
using a joystick, KoalaPad or Suncom's
Animation Station as input devices.
     Any number of Print Shop icons can
be entered directly onto the plate and
enlarged to double-size or triple-size.
     The ability to use Micro-Painter
files opens the door to use of virtually
any graphic by using The Rapid Graphics
Converter (ANTIC, November 1985) to
adapt other graphic files.  A utility in
News Station Companion also makes it
possible to use Micro-Illustrator
graphics directly, w.
     There are few commands in News
Station and most are mnemonic. 
[CONTROL] [G]raphics toggles with
[CONTROL] [T]ext.  [CONTROL] [A]tari and
[CONTROL] [U]ser toggle the
     font in use, selected with
[CONTROL] [F]ont.
     Putting a graphic onscreen requires
typing [CONTROL] [G] to put the program
in graphics mode, typing [CONTROL] [D]
to get a directory of graphics, putting
the cursor at the upper left-hand corner
of the location you want the picture and
then selecting the picture from the
directory which scrolls the bottom of
the screen.
     If you don't own News Station
Companion, you need to use indirect
methods to print a banner headline
across the top of the page.  To do so, I
counted characters.  For plate 1, I
counted back from the center, placed the
letters in two different sizes and
fonts, and then saved that plate.
     The next step was to do the right
half, working outward from the center,
but instead of clearing the first screen
I matched characters so they would line
up correctly, and I used the type-over
mode to clear unwanted copy.  X and Y
coordinates are available, but I find it
easier to match using a previous screen.

     News Station Companion is a
collection of four utilities that make
the original News Station even more
powerful and versatile.
     The Companion's Plate Manipulator
utility makes it a lot simpler to create
banner headlines across the top of the
page.  The banner can be created on a
single plate, which can then be enlarged
to cover the full top of the page.  Or
it can be centered, as is, on top of the
     The Plate Manipulator takes the
single plate and converts it into plates
1 and 2.  If the centering option is
selected additional material could be
added to fill the extra white space.
     The manipulator can also be used to
expand two plates vertically, which
permits placement of an extra-large
     Another important Companion utility
permits use of longer text files.  The
text file is loaded into the Companion
utility and a page, broken down into
eight News Station plates, is created, a
routine that does take about 20 minutes.
     The page can include 1, 2 or 3
columns of type -- 80, 39 or 26
characters wide.  If the 26 or 39 column
option is taken, I recommend loading the
plates back into News Station and adding
a vertical line to separate the columns.
     If the file is longer than a page
the program allows conversion of pages
by page number.
     The basic News Station program
accepts KoalaPad Files that have been
transformed into Micro-Painter format. 
But only the top five-sixths of the
picture can be used.  But now a
Companion utility allows direct entry of
graphicd from a KoalaPad (or Suncom
Animation Station) file and also
     permits using either the top
five-sixths or the bottom five-sixths,
or even just a center section.
     The fourth utility in the Companion
is the Library.  A News Station plate
requires 52 sectors of disk storage and
an entire page (eight plates) takes up
416 sectors (52 X 8). The Companion
compresses eight plates into a single
file, which makes it possible to save
two pages on one side of a disk.

     Publishing Pro is an advanced
version of News Station which lacks much
of the versatility News Station offers.
That sounds strange, but Publishing Pro
can produce a full page of text and
graphics without using plates.  However,
fonts and sizes cannot be changed within
an article.
     Publishing Pro material must be
entered using X,Y coordinates.  Banners
and headlines are entered first, and
then areas for copy and graphics are
blocked out for direct entry or disk
     Publishing Pro provides an onscreen
outline of where the headlines, articles
and graphics will appear on the page.
     PaperClip seems to be the best word
processor to use with Publishing Pro. 
Matching PaperClip column margins with
Publishing Pro margins provides an exact
count of lines needed for the column.
     Once completed, a Publishing Pro
page may be saved to disk as a News
Station page of eight plates, or it can
be printed.  Saving the page in plate
form permits some final editing.
     Preparing a page with Publishing
Pro requires extensive planning to
properly locate the headlines, text and
graphics at the correct coordinates.  I
might use Publishing Pro to create a
page with one headline and text across
the full page -- or if I'm really
pressed for time.  News Station, though,
is my first choice, especially with the
enhancements of News Station Companion.
     News Station advertises that "what
you see on screen is what you get on
paper."  And in working on page layout,
that's the most important feature for

     NEWS STATION            ($29.95)

     PUBLISHING PRO          ($39.95)

     Reeve Software
     29 W150 Old Farm Lane
     Warrenville, IL   60555
 Michael Current, Cleveland Free-Net 8-bit Atari SIGOp   -->>  go atari8  <<--
   The Cleveland Free-Net Atari SIG is the Central Atari Information Network
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