(my) !Teletext vs Teletext+


IMPORTANT: I am not a user of Teletext+. My information has come from advertising materials, and email discussions with people who own a copy of Teletext+.

Accordingly, this information may not be completely accurate. I extend an invitation to Paul Skirrow if he'd like to send me a copy of his program on a limited trial basis, or (instead) if he'd like to write a reply to this comparison.
I also extend an invitation if he is interested in things such as how my DST adjustment routines work...contact me.


You'll find the Teletext+ support here...



From the Teletext+ website, last updated 1st July 2003. Much of the original text (below) still seems to be valid, so here is a bulletted list of points... That's just going from the support page!


The original text...

In the spirit of healthy (!) competition, I'll first point out that Teletext+ costs money (the advert that I have quotes the software only for £32.50 including postage but excluding VAT (thus equals £38.19) but note that my price is around six years old - check the website for current prices).
Teletext+ is apparently normally supplied 'single user' for a 'single computer', and it seems as if the software updates are an additional expense, plus paying for new printed manuals if you require them.
This suggests to me that the detailed information you'd expect to be in the manual isn't supplied in data form with the software. Of course, not being a Teletext+ user, I reserve the right to be perfectly incorrect about this. :-)

My !Teletext? It is free. Run twenty copies on twenty computers, I don't care. Give a copy to everybody you know as a Christmas present...that's fine too.
You don't get a printed manual though. You'll have to print it out yourself. But, wait, do you?
Just load the !Help file into !Edit and cut out the bits that interest you and drop them into your DTP package (there's no excuse - Computer Concepts gave away Impression Junior a few years back (maybe it is still on their website?), and the original Ovation can be bought at a nice price (something like £10 from APDL!)), make the text size smaller, maybe 9 or 10pt, so you can fit more on a page. You can probably get the important details on both sides of a piece of A4. That said, I've tried to make the program simple and obvious... in fact emails with several of my users, they failed to notice a glaring typo as they never bothered to read the help file! :-)

The script help is available as a StrongHelp file, so it is right there on-screen when you'll need it.


Here is a simple comparison, from advertising material.

I think it is pretty standard that the pages are displayed in a window, and that you can click on a page to send the receiver looking for that page. Something Teletext+ does that my software doesn't is the ability to search for specific sub-pages. My software will grab them all in the normal rotating style. You can, of course, use the cursor left and right to call up subpages as you desire.
It appears that the Teletext+ cache is held in memory (is this correct?). My software keeps it on disc. This is less friendly if you have a floppy disc, but it does mean that you can quit and reload my software without worrying about the cache. It'll still be there. Also, there's no concept of cache size, the cache just expands as data is received, and shrinks as outdated pages are removed, either manually or by reloading the software (which auto-tidies). And as everybody with a 1Mb machine will agree, it is preferable to access the disc drive more often, than to use up precious memory!
The Teletext+ software has a 'Predictive Caching' facility, where the pages you view are 'scored' and highest scoring pages are fetched for you first. My software does not do this - I would find it difficult to fully test multi-channel reception with no off-air signals (I don't get UK TV here in France!), and anyway it's a bit of a doddle to cobble together a script to do it automatically. Let's face it, fetching the pages and compiling a nice with-colours-too OvationPro document is pretty damn sexy, isn't it? Take a look at the script called '!startup' for an example of how to do it, or look at the picture on the 'what's new' page to see that it looks like - the one that says who's on the Jay Leno show...
Oh... And once the '!startup' script has fetched the pages for me, I can view them in the main viewer as they're in the cache.
There is a 'warm up' sort of thing on both programs - you can ask my software to AutoScan for you. This will set it looking for all pages from 101 onwards. In practice, this takes a while so it is always preferable to write a little script to fetch what you specifically want. The Teletext+ warm-up will fetch pages according to score.
My software does not automatically save all sub-pages when saving a page (though there are commands in the script to do this). You can save, from the main viewer, as:

If you'd like to send the files over an electronic mail service, my software even has an option to UUcode your selected save file. Simply choose a type (say, sprite), and then choose UUcode.
The script can output teletext frames, ASCII, and OvationPro DDL.
There is no automatic keyword searching, as is provided by Teletext+, but there is no reason why you could not add this yourself by using the find() function provided by the script. Once you have all your desired pages fetched, commands exist to walk the cache without worrying about which pages are actually where in the cache. Simply walk it, and search for the things you'd like to see...
Again, there is no automatic data logging. You can use the script to implement customised data logging. The script supports integer and floating point maths, with a variety of standard mathematical functions. Two example scripts are described on-line here. The first will read a temperature in celsius and output what that temperature would be in fahrenheit, while the other reads various exchange rates and calculates 5 euro to 100 euro in 5 euro steps, displaying what the euro value would be in the various currencies (pound sterling, american dollar, and australian dollar)... like this:
             16/05/2003 20:21 GMT   
Euro:Pound rate  :   1.4023 (0.7131)
Dollar:Euro rate :   1.1581         
Euro:Austr$ rate :   0.7567         
Euro    Pound   Dollar  Australia$  
  5      3.56     5.79    3.78      
 10      7.13    11.58    7.56      
 15     10.69    17.37   11.35      
 20     14.26    23.16   15.13      
 25     17.82    28.95   18.91      
 30     21.39    34.74   22.70      
 35     24.95    40.53   26.48      
 40     28.52    46.32   30.26      
 45     32.09    52.11   34.05      
 50     35.65    57.90   37.83      
 55     39.22    63.69   41.61      
 60     42.78    69.48   45.40      
 65     46.35    75.27   49.18      
 70     49.91    81.06   52.96      
 75     53.48    86.85   56.75      
 80     57.04    92.64   60.53      
 85     60.61    98.43   64.31      
 90     64.18   104.22   68.10      
 95     67.74   110.01   71.88      
100     71.31   115.81   75.67      
The clock checking of my software is stricter. It seems from past discussions in email that Teletext+ only corrects a clock if it is more than two minutes out (my software will correct it if it is more than 5 seconds out), and that the daylight savings check only works in the UK (mine has not been tested anywhere other than here in France, by me, but it has been written to work anywhere, so long as the computer is set up to match the times as understood by the channel you're tuned to).
A couple of weeks back, when the clocks changed, I actually forgot to update the clock in my RiscPC. No worries, as soon as I next loaded !Teletext, it told me it had changed the daylight saving configuration for me. Cool.

As I'm not a Teletext+ user, I cannot compare the 'script' methods used by each program. If you'd like to take a look at the script interpreter built into my software, please look at either the script guide or the examples - links on the main teletext index...
Full user control over page checking and flash durations is provided by my software.
My software does not have 'alarm' facilities, but it supports a message protocol so that you can write a simple program to run scripts...which may be controlled by, say, !Alarm.


It seems, at a brief outline, that my software may be more powerful but it requires a higher degree of user interaction, like writing scripts and so forth...while Teletext+ is much more 'automatic', it does stuff for you, taking care of things in the background.
As a programmer, I obviously prefer my software - not just because I'm obviously going to be biased, but because I prefer to be able to tailor things to my exact needs. I can write a '!startup' script that fetches the highlights for the week on Mondays, and Jay Leno's guest list on Thursday-Sunday; while fetching the news articles every day. Cool, huh? :-)


I'll leave it up to users with both products to draw other comparisons and reasons for or against each product. There are a number of things my software doesn't do that Teletext+ does, and vice versa. Obviously - use what you like the most...


Here's the Teletext+ link again - http://www.octosys.co.uk/ttxsp.html
(and remember, my software is free - why not download your copy right now?)


One final thing

If anybody has a spare copy of the script details for Teletext+, please could they send it to me, as I see the example on the support page is:
     #define subtitles

     #search subtitles
and I scratch my head to wonder how exactly that is supposed to work.

A !Teletext script looks more like:

; WthrNantes      - the current weather in Nantes

  if (A ! &804F) message("Please set satellite receiver to CNN.")
  if (A ! &804F) go("channelcheck")

set F to status(frames)

; turn off polling to speed it up a little


set G to 2
  selectframes(463, G)

  set L to 2

    if (B = 0) go("continue") ; no Nantes here...
      ; got Nantes
      setchar(35,5,32)        ; remove 'x/x' pagecount
      appendline(5,2)         ; the date
      appendline(L,2)         ; the report line

      ; work out the temperature
      filewritestring("Temperature for Nantes : ")
      filewritevar(M,2)       ; allows "-9" to "99"
      filewritestring(", in Farenheit: ")
      set Z to M              ; Farenheit is...
      add(Z,40)               ; Celcuis plus 40
      mul(Z,Z,9)              ; multiplied by nine
      div(Z,Z,5)              ; divided by five
      sub(Z,40)               ; minus 40
      go("finish") ; don't need to scan any further
    if (L [ 24) go("lineloop")     ; branching can go back and forth
  if (G [ F) go("frameloop")


; re-pollify

; reopen "the usual" windows
getframe(100)                 ; force it back to 'index'
poll_now()                    ; extra poll for windowopens

; ensure file is Text, then run file (loads into !Edit (etc))
filetype("<Teletext$Temp>.WthrNantes", &FFF)
oscall("Filer_Run <Teletext$Temp>.WthrNantes")
poll_now()                    ; poll, so file has a chance to load
pushkey(&1AE)                 ; Ctrl-cursordown

terminate()                   ; we're done

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Copyright © 2004 Richard Murray