Here are summaries of some recent Computing product reviews. Each product is rated on a scale of one to four, with one computer indicating poor and four indicating excellent:
Inside Information, for Apple Macintosh with at least 1 megabyte RAM, a hard disk drive and System 6.0 or higher. $119. From Microlytics Inc., 2 Tobey Village Office Park, Pittsford, N.Y. 14534. (716) 248-9150.
Inside Information is a dictionary organized by logical subjects rather than by alphabetical listings, that may help you find definitions or words and synonyms. It also packs a "reverse dictionary" function that can look up words to match definitions.
Unfortunately many of the definitions are too terse, many words are left out of the list altogether, and the reverse dictionary isn't smart enough to find words for many definitions. As a fun data base of information for browsing, Inside Information could be an expensive educational toy or a crossword puzzle reference. It is definitely not a practical tool for writers, business professionals, researchers, students or others it hopes to appeal to, who would be better off with a printed dictionary or encyclopedia or with a CD-ROM online encyclopedia.
Rating: 2 computers
SatisFAXtion, for IBM Personal Computer or compatible with an empty expansion slot, at least 640K RAM, 10MB of free space on a hard disk and DOS 3.0 or later. $499 ($549 for IBM PCs with the Microchannel bus). From Intel PCEO, 5200 N.E. Elam Young Parkway, Hillsboro, Ore. 97124-6497. (800) 538-3373 or (503) 629-7000.
SatisFAXtion is a "fax modem" board that you can plug into PCs. It lets you send and receive faxes through the phone line without having a regular fax machine. You send PC documents -- either created with your programs or scanned (you need a scanner for this) -- which then appear on a distant fax machine. You received fax documents -- seeing on screen what someone else fed into a fax machine, then storing the image on disk or printing it. SatisFAXtion does a good job of both tasks, has software that's reasonably easy to use and includes a 2,400 bps "data modem" -- the standard kind for sending documents from computer to computer. However, SatisFAXtion's price is a bit high -- you can buy fax modems for $140 now -- and the 2,400 bps modem is obsolete.
Rating: 3 computers