Much has happened recently in the word processing world, so much in fact, that it's starting to become hard to track. For those of you who haven't been watching as closely as we have (we're word processor junkies, and word processing is probably the most common task for which people use computers), here's the news, labeled for your convenience by weasels (apologies to Dave Barry).
New PIMs for Word -- Very good news: Word 5.0's modularity has started to pay off, and Microsoft has made new Grammar and Spelling plug-in modules (PIMs - and you thought PIM stood for personal information manager). The grammar checker had a nasty habit of crashing when running under System 7 on a 68000-based Mac, and the Spelling PIM slowed to an incredible crawl if you added more than a few hundred words to a custom dictionary. Both of those bugs are now fixed, and the Spelling PIM has been generally improved. You can get the new PIMs by calling Microsoft tech support at the number below and being nice. Or, if you wait a few weeks, Microsoft may make the PIMs available on the online services.
Microsoft Tech Support -- 206/635-7200
Microsoft Customer Service -- 800/426-9400
Laurel Lammers, Microsoft Corporation
WordBASIC cancelled -- Bad news: All is not completely happy in Microsoft-land, and Microsoft recently announced that they will not ship the WordBASIC plug-in module for Word 5.0. Period. MacWEEK quoted Microsoft Word product manager Leslie Koch as saying that WordBASIC will have to wait until the introduction of Word 6.0 in mid-1993. This means that all of you who had hoped to automate tasks within Word 5.0 will have to rely on QuicKeys or nothing at all. The Word 6.0 release will reportedly share most of its code with the Windows version of Word, much as Excel on the Mac and Windows share 80% of the core code. This means that the Mac version will be completely rewritten, which will hopefully take care of some of the lingering problems with figure, footnote, and table numbering discussed on the nets recently.
Michael A. McGuire -- email@example.com
MacWEEK -- 08-Jun-92, Vol. 6, #22, pg. 4
WriteNow 3.0 ships -- Good news: T/Maker has shipped version 3.0 of their small, fast word processor, WriteNow. We haven't had much time to seriously evaluate it yet, but a review is on its way. In short, WriteNow 3.0 is small (287K program size, and although it prefers 490K of RAM, it can use as little as 325K), fast, and has a really snazzy implementation of styles, including both character and paragraph styles, a domain previously inhabited only by Nisus among Macintosh word processors.
T/Maker -- 415/962-0195
Paragon Concepts changes name -- Marketing news: As far as we can tell, this has nothing to do with their products, but Paragon Concepts, makers of Nisus, Nisus Compact, QUED/M, and several other products, recently changed its name to match its flagship product, much as SSI renamed itself to WordPerfect Corporation some years ago. From now on, Paragon will be known as Nisus Software. Making a clean sweep, the company has moved to 107 S. Cedros Avenue, Solana Beach, CA 92075.
Nisus Software -- 619/481-1477
Nisus XS slips -- Bad news: Jim Bates of Nisus Software Tech Support reported on CompuServe that Nisus XS, the module to provide System 7-savvy features to Nisus, has been postponed again. Jim says that Nisus Software anticipates releasing Nisus XS at the end of the year. Orders are no longer being taken for XS, but if Nisus Software is standing behind loyal customers who have already ordered the update. If you ordered Nisus XS before 09-Jun-92, you will receive the update for free when it does ship, and your credit card will not be charged. If you have already paid for Nisus XS or had your credit card charged because the Nisus XS purchase was combined with another product, your money will be refunded and you will receive XS for free when it ships.
I must say that I am extremely disappointed to hear that the release date has slipped again, but I hope that Nisus Software uses the extra time to come up with a truly amazing product. As powerful as it is, Nisus has perhaps even more potential than power, and for those of you who still wonder how it compares to Word, keep an eye out for a short comparison from Matt Neuburg, author of our definitive Nisus review in TidBITS-116-#118.
Jim Bates, Nisus Software -- firstname.lastname@example.org