MacLightning 2.0 reviewed
Author: Diane Herrick
Date: May, 1987
Keywords: writing grammar program DA utility spelling spell checker review
Text: I would like to thank S.M.U.G. for the opportunity to win MacLightning 2.0 at the March meeting. As part of my thanks, I would like to offer a few words about my experiences with MacLightning. MacLightning is a desk accessory that can check spelling and grammar as you type (interactively), or when you are through typing (non-interactively). It is stated in the manual that MacLightning runs with over 90% of all Macintosh software (I haven't come across any compatibility problems with MacLightning yet). As a desk accessory, MacLightning is located under the apple in the menu. Once MacLightning is selected, the dictionary (over 80,000 words) must be loaded into memory. This may require ejecting a disk. If you have a hard disk you will really enjoy MacLightning. One of the frustrating things about MacLightning is the disk-swapping that is a necessity at times. If there is enough room in RAM, the entire dictionary will be stored there. If not, a word cache will be built consisting of approximately 3,000 of the most commonly used words in the English language. In the interactive mode, the Mac 'beeps' when you misspell a word. Depending on how fast you type, and how good a speller you are, you can get your Mac beeping fairly regularly. If you stop to correct each mistake, you may risk losing your train of thought. MacLightning allows you to type up to 200 characters past a beep (mistake), and still remember where the correction must take place. MacLightning only remembers the last word that was misspelled in the interactive mode. You must make your corrections as you go along or you risk losing the location of all those misspelled words. I chose to use only the non-interactive mode due to the obnoxious beeping, although some may find the interactive mode helpful. In the non-interactive mode, you can chose the size of text that you wish to have checked. Once your text is selected you can ask MacLightning to check the selection. MacLightning analyzes your selection for number of words checked, number of words misspelled, average word length and longest word (I have not yet figured out how useful these last two items are to me). A list of misspelled words appears, which can be arranged alphabetically, and duplicate misspellings are deleted. You can then select a word to change. A window with the dictionary appears. The word which is closest in spelling to your misspelled word is highlighted. If you decide to go with MacLightning's choice, you only need to click on it, then select to paste the new word into text. First, MacLightning must find the misspelled word again. Once the word is found you can change it, or change all words that have the same spelling error. After changing that word, you must go back to your misspelled list and repeat the process. For words that are misspelled, you can circumvent the dictionary by selecting the word in the misspelled window, then clicking in the change window and retyping the word correctly under 'change to'. The whole process appeared to be cumbersome at first, but there are a few short cuts which are not spelled out as clearly as they could be in the manual (if at all). MacLightning does allow you to add or delete words to your dictionary, and will customize your RAM cache of words to words that you use most often. More pluses are the option of looking up words phonetically and the thesaurus module which may also be added. The dictionary is quite simple to look words up in. The grammar checking is only available in the interactive mode, and includes four common grammatical errors. By the way, I am confident that this article does not contain spelling errors because I checked it with MacLightning....Thanks again, SMUG!
Copyright © may, 1987 by Diane Herrick