Contents of the BARDEN.DOC file
23 February 1991
1312 Gatwick Rd.
Glen Burnie, Md.
I bought a Tandy 1000TX, then decided I would like to have a bilingual word processor. My Tandy came with a program called DeskMate 3 and a CGA monitor. DeskMate 3 is a graphics user interface(GUI) with several basic programs - a word processor, data base, address book, draw program, spreadsheet, etc. The programs use one of the graphics modes of the CGA. On a graphics screen, the upper 128 ASCII charters are in RAM and can be redefined anyway you wish. You can make your own foreign characters. But there is no easy way to print these characters to the screen.
This is what I wanted. Have my regular English characters. Change the extended ASCII keys to foreign characters. Switch between the two sets of keys with the push of a button.
I found a utility in PC Magazine, Sept 29, 1987, called KBX.COM. This is a memory-resident utility. Pressing a hot key pops up a display of the extended ASCII keys. You enter an extended ASCII character by holding down either NumLock or ScrollLock and pressing a key from the keyboard. This wasn't suitable for a bilingual program. But it was memory resident and it would swap an extended ASCII character for a keyboard character.
I fooled around with it, took out about half the coding, and changed some more around. I fixed it so that you did not have to hold down a key to enter an extended ASCII character. Instead, pressing NumLock toggles a flag. When the flag is set, every keyboard character is swapped for one of the characters in a table in the program. When the flag is reset, the keyboard characters are processed normally.
My Tandy 1000TX with DeskMate III is now bilingual. Not only do I have a bilingual word processor, I also have a bilingual data base, calendar, notepad, etc. This is something you don't get even with the expensive bilingual word processors. I am extremely happy with it and would like to share the method with others.
However, I am not a programmer. This program works on my computer. I am not sure it will work on other computers or if it will work with an enhanced keyboard. I would love to have some programmer take a look at it, suggest improvements or whatever. This is not a copyrighted program. As far as I know. Maybe it is still too close to the PC Mag version and would be covered by their copyright. Which brings up another question. Is it? Too close to the PC Mag version, KBX.COM.
If someone wanted to take this idea and develope it as their own, fine with me. I would just like copies of any improvements and I would like to be able to share it with my friends.
Bye the way, if you are wondering what good a is bilingual computer without a way to print your files, there is a way. At least for my computer and my printer. Granny's Old Fashioned Software sells a memory resident printer enhancement program. It prints out the upper 128 ASCII keys(many don't) and it comes with a character editor. So I just loaded the upper 128 ASCII keys into the character editor and changed them to correspond to my foreign letters.
I am sending along a copy of my foreign character set. If you do not have a word processor with a graphics screen, you can load basica and switch to a graphics screen in basica. The foreign characters will show up on a basica graphics screen and you can switch back and forth between English and Cyrillic with the NumLock key.
Also included is my program, NumLoc4.asm, PC Mag's KBX.com, and NumLoc4.doc. Numloc4.doc is a copy of NumLoc4.asm and questions beside the parts of the coding, I was not sure of.
Bye the way. Do you know that when you program in basica, the basica editor does not get its characters from the keys you press. It displays these characters on the screen, then when you press enter, it reads the line from the screen and stores that line in the program. It does not store the program lines you type from the keyboard. So what? Well it sure caused me a big headache. I wrote a little program to simulate foreign language flash cards. An English word would flash on the screen, and you had to enter the foreign translation. The program compares your answer with its answer and tells you whether you are right or wrong. Simple. However, a cyrillic "A" looks just like an English "A." I wrote the program with the answers in it. Then the basica editor read the screen, found Cyrillic "A's" (chr$(128)), decided they were English "A's" and stored them as such. I could never get a right answer, when I ran the program, because I was entering Cyrillic characters, but the answers were half in English.