Review: Master Control (Rainbow 1981-11)
One of the things that has bugged us about the Extended Color Basic command set is that there is no AUTO function included for ease of line numbering, especially when doing long lists of DATA statements. MASTER CONTROL gives us a line numbering function that works with ease -- and that's just one of some half a hundred things it does to make life easier for anyone who is writing programs.
This little gem (available from SOFT SECTOR MARKETING. 6250 Middle-belt. Garden City, MI 48135 for $24.95) automatically enters 50 commands at the touch of a finger. All you have to do is press the down arrow and any of the keys, which are marked with BASIC statements, and the statement you want appears on the screen.
For example, if you have the automatic numbering in effect, you can write a line number and the DATA statement by pressing the "ENTER", down arrow and "D" keys only.
For those of us who frequently type "IF" as "OF" and who seem to always hit the "#" instead of the "$" in CHR$. this is a real plus that hills those syntax errors.
The commands which need them (Such as MID$) that have opening parenthesis in then, have the parentheses opening as part of the assigned statement.
In addition. the MOTOR. TRACE, AUDIO and RUN commands execute directly -- without your having to press the ENTER key. This really saves a lot of time.
Finally, there is what SOFT SECTOR describes as a "custom key". which you can program to be anything you want. This is a major bonus' If. for instance. you are running through a long series of IF statements which a couple of parameters. you can program the custom key for that whole list of parameters — and save literally hours of typing. This is all excellent feature.
How do you keep track of what all the keys stand for? SOFT SECTOR supplies a template to overlay on the keyboard. That also means you can take it off if you want.
While the template itself has a sticky backing, you can stick it on some cardboard and just cut holes for the Keys. We did this and it worked very well.
MASTER CONTROL is written in machine code, so it is very fast. It only takes up 1100 bytes and can be relocated -- especially important if you have or anticipate upgrading to 32K. It does require 16K to operate, but does not require Extended
However, a number of the commands are Extended commands. They, obviously, won't work without Extended.
MASTER CONTROL is a workmanlike program that does everything well. If you are doing any amount of your own programming, it is well worth the moderate cost in terms of typing hours saved alone.