CFOG's PIP, December 1988, Volume 7 No. 6, Whole No. 68, page 98

WordStar 4 Printer Overlay Update

by Benjamin H. Cohen

I don't think that I owe MicroPro any thanks. They never could help me with my problems. But a bit of persistence finds the answers to some questions. Thanks, on the other hand, to someone whose name I don't remember who answered another person's question on the Cincinnati Osborne Group's RCPM which led me to the answer to another question.

Problem number one: setting up the Transtar 130 printer with WordStar 4. I've probably reported this earlier, but suffice it to say that I came up with two problems: (1) every time I go to print something I get a letter "P" in the left margin at the top and (2) I couldn't get the printer to justify proportionally spaced text. Suffice it to say that MicroPro didn't have any answers.

The solution to both problems was to un-learn something. I knew that the Transtar was essentially the same as a Silver Reed EXP 550 printer and installed WS4 using the SR550 printer driver that is specified for the Silver Reed EXP 550. Well, actually, the Transtar emulates the Diablo 1610, and I should have installed the Diablo Daisy Wheel printer driver. Now WS4 works, doesn't print any extraneous letters at the beginning of printouts, and handles all the printing capability of my printer nicely. Of course it hardly matters, since I normally use Magic Series for printing with my Transtar 130 since it gives a much nicer appearance to proportionally spaced text. [The text of this article to this point is being printed with WS4 on the Transtar 130. After this paragraph the text of this article will be printed with Magic Series on the same printer.]

The cause of the first problem was revealed in a message on the bulletin board of the Cincinnati Osborne Group's RCPM. Something in the printer driver, or in an initialization string, erroneously thinks that the printer responds to some ESCape sequence which includes the hex character "50", which is equivalent to ASCII "P". Thus, perhaps the printer overlay, perhaps in the initialization string, the string 1B 50 (hex) or 1B ?? 50 (hex) is being sent to the printer in an attempt to tell it to do something, I don't know what. But the Diablo 1610 printer doesn't respond to the hex sequence involved, so it simply prints the letter "P".

I wasn't successful in finding where this string was sent to the printer. There was no initialization string in my WS.COM setup, and try as I might to search for 1B 50 in the WSPRINT.OVR file being used and replace it to see if that changed things, I could not find the right string.

On the other hand, I was using a DIABLO.VDP overlay for VDE which sent a "P" to my Transtar 130, too! Looking at the printer initialization string I found 1B 0D 50 in its initialization string. Removing that string eliminated the problem.

Well, thanks to COG, not much thanks to MicroPro, I can now print justified PS (but not true justified PS) on my Transtar 130 with WS4. Frankly it's no big deal: I generally write with VDE and print with Magic Series: it looks a lot better, takes less time to write and edit, and no more time to print!