A Guide to the Best of Southern California : COMPUTERS : A Speed Break

VDE IS A word-processing program for people who like their programs lean, mean and simple, and that includes people who simply appreciate a clean, well-written program as well as those who write on laptop computers that have limited disk-storage space. VDE executes all the standard operations necessary for writing articles, books or screenplays but uses only 43K of disk space (compared to the 500K or more required by many commercial programs).

In spite of VDE's small size (or perhaps in part because of it), VDE is blazingly fast. It keeps the entire file in RAM; therefore searches, re-formats and block moves are instantaneous. Even the loading and storing of files is speedy. And VDE is simple to learn (it mimics WordStar commands but comes with an installation program that allows you to program the function keys any way you want to. Under VDE, any one file is limited to 80K (12,000 words), though you can load as many as eight files in RAM simultaneously and bounce back and forth between them as fast as you can tap a key.

Unlike some best-selling commercial programs that cost up to $500, there is no charge for VDE if you download it via modem from a bulletin board, and only a nominal charge if you get it from a commercial-software library. VDE author Eric Meyer of Norman, Okla., issues periodic fixes and updates. A manual on disk with the applications file (merely print it out on your printer) is available.

VDE (and Eric Meyer) can be reached via the Glendale Litera bulletin board, (818) 956-6164. To download, follow instructions on the bulletin board (VDE is stored as a compacted file called VDE15.ARC). Or VDE can be obtained by mail from various software libraries, including the Public Software Library, P.O. Box 35705, Houston, Tex. 77235.

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