Applications and Utility Software

A lot of software that was sent to us to consider for publication was software to make tasks on the computer easier. There were many areas that needed simplifying in those days for non-hackers, whether it was disk management or communications, or even programming tasks. We'll leave you to ponder how much things have really improved since then (in most ways they have, but in some ways...)

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Kelly Puckett wrote a very nice set of extensions to Applesoft Basic called ShortCuts. They simplified many common programming tasks, and added some great formatting and sorting capabilities to the language. They used the same "Ampersand" type of extensions to the language that Dave Shapiro used in Cat Graphics.

William Swanson wrote Disk Arranger, a utility to help organize disk files. We were only in a floppy-disk world then. There weren't "sub-directories", and files weren't stored or displayed in any particular order, so this was a handy tool to keep things organized.

David Winzler wrote one of the first "disk repair" programs, which are still very valuable and in demand today. If a disk or file became unreadable, Disk Repair Kit would attempt to read the contents of the disk and repair whatever errors it could.

image Shortcuts manual image Shortcuts DSK archive
image Disk arRanger manual image Disk arRanger DSK archive
image Disk Repair Kit DSK archive

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Bill Shaw wrote a communications program that made it easy to use almost any modem to exchange messages and files. Just like the printer situation that Robert Rennard resolved with Paper Graphics, Bill's Home Connection provided one consistent interface that worked with all the various modems available.

The Home Data Manager evolved from a series of tutorial articles Mark wrote in SoftSide and Creative Computing magazines. The articles showed how to read and write database information to disk, and how to program a simple database application in BASIC. Home Data Manager was a souped-up version of the result of the articles, with a new graphic interface over the front end.

image Home Connection manual image Home Connection DSK archive
image Home Data Manager manual image Home Data Manager DSK archive