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Article #2 (29 is last):
Newsgroups: freenet.sci.comp.atari.product.16-32bit.reviews
From: aa400@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Marc A. Lombardo)
Subject: GramSlam/Word Processing/Commercial
Posted-By: xx004 (aa400 - Marc A. Lombardo)
Edited-By: xx004 (aa400 - Marc A. Lombardo)
Date: Sat May  4 18:07:51 1991


GramSlam from Phil Comeau Software
AIM Magazine March, 1991
Written by Bill Pike (PAC)

WRITE IT RIGHT, RIGHT?
RIGHT!

     When I began writing reviews, I was just having fun passing 
on what I learned - both the good and bad points of programs and 
systems.  I consistently used a spelling checker and I thought if 
the spelling was correct I couldn't be far wrong.
     As I continued, I had more than a few critical comments about 
my murdering of the "King's English" (sometimes by slow torture) 
from friends and others.  I found the need, read that necessity, 
to improve my grammar.
     If I was using in Itty Bitty Machine (IBM for the 
uninitiated), several programs would be available to check 
grammar, at a cost of from $75 to $250.  However, not using an IBM 
emulator, that option was not open to me.
     To make a long story shorter, about a year-and-a-half ago I 
found a demo of a program called GramSlam.  I tried the program 
and it was just what I needed.  And, the price was right.  
Needless to say I ordered the full working version within a few 
days.
     Version 1.0 was awkward to work with, but it did the job.  
The program is now at version 3.0 and works very well indeed.  
GramSlam checks for 1,200 abuses of the English language.  I am 
now using it consistently for all my writing.
     There is a demo version of GramSlam version 3.0 on CompuServe 
for those who wish to look before buying.  I have nothing but 
praise for the companies providing this option of "try before you 
buy" instead of sticking you with a program which doesn't do what 
you wanted.


LET'S GET TO IT

     Enough of the background!  GramSlam is a Grammar and Style
Checker.  It compares words and phrases in a document with a 
listing of possible errors.  The listing has been compiled by Phil 
Comeau from nine college level and beyond books of grammar and 
style.
     The program can also check for variations between American 
and English language spellings.  yes, you can add your own pet 
phrases to the program if you wish.
     Some of the features are:  It works on any Atari 16-bit 
computer in medium or high resolution.  GramSlam runs as an 
accessory or from the desktop.  Multiple levels of checking - from 
Brooklyn to formal London - are supported.
     The program works with any text editor/word processor that 
can output an ASCII file.  A readability index (FOG index, years 
of schooling needed to understand the document) is shown after the 
check is complete, along with statistics about the document.  It 
even checks for double words.
     GramSlam can output to the screen, a printer and/or a disk 
file - all at the same time.  You are shown the problem it has 
found, the context surrounding the problenm and a suggested 
correction.
     The program is a bit dumb - it just looks for words and 
phrases, so some suggestions should be taken with a grain of salt.  
I suggest saving the file to disk along with the screen display.  
This allows you to open a second window in your work 
processor/text editor containing the "problem" file next to the 
original document.
     The manual for the program is well written, and covers just 
about everything you could wish.  However, it doesn't cover how to 
install the program on a hard disk.  Oh well, we can't be perfect.  
Just copy all the files to a folder anywhere on your hard drive 
(how about your word processor folder?)
     The manual has a discussion of how GramSlam works and its 
limitations.  Another section shows examples of errors along with 
the level assigned to each type of error, to give you an idea of 
just what the program is reporting.  The reporting environment is 
discussed and examples are given.  You are shown how top edit 
(add) your own pet errors for the program to find.  There is also 
a discussion of how to interpret the information in the Document 
Statistics shown at the completion of a check.
     There is only one bad point I can find with the program - it 
only works well with ASCII files.  Non-ASCII files can be checked, 
but the program does get confused.
     Why it is suggested to install the program as an accessory, I 
don't know.  It is also suggested that you install GramSlam as an 
application (do you wish to check every file with a particular 
extension?).  I just run GramSlam as a program.  I suggest saving 
your document in your word processor format first, then saving the 
ASCII file for checking by GramSlam.  That way, you can load your 
file back into your word processor and easily make changes later.

     GramSlam 3.0
     $34.95 plus $3.00 shippping
     Phil Comeau Software
     43 Rueter Street
     Nepean, Ontario
     Canada K2J3Z9


-- 
Marc A. Lombardo           User Address:aa400@cleveland.freenet.edu   ~ ~ ~
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