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:
IBM PS/2 Model L40 SX. $5,995 with 2 megabytes of RAM, 60-megabyte hard disk and external numeric keypad. From International Business Machines Corp., 1133 Westchester Ave., White Plains, N.Y. 10604. (914) 642-4662.
The PS/2 Model L40 SX is a notebook-sized PC-compatible computer. It has a large and fast hard disk, a fine keyboard, room for lots of RAM, a variety of options and a large flat-panel display that can show 32 shades of gray. It also has a good price, at least for anyone with an IBM corporate or educational discount. Unfortunately, the display is hard to read, the batteries don't last long enough, the processor is about to be obsolete (new machines introduced last month have faster processors or processors that extend battery life), and the whole thing weighs a couple of pounds too much.
Performance: 2 computers
Ease of use: 3 computers
Value: 2 computers
Roadways. A proper vacationer plans the trip while sitting amid bed-and-breakfast guides, road maps, chamber of commerce leaflets, lists of motels that accept pets and children, and diaries of vacations past.
Now you can add the computer to your vacation or business trip plans. In spare time left over from his Air Force duties and his work as managing editor of One Thousand, a magazine geared to Tandy 1000 owners, Doug Fitler has written a program he calls Roadways. Designed for Tandy machines and all IBM and IBM-compatible computers, it enables you to figure the shortest routes for vacation and business trips. You can even calculate mileage reimbursement for expense accounts and tax records. You can print out routes. Or take the route records Roadways creates and, without retyping, incorporate them in letters, memos or September's school essay on How I Spent My Summer Vacation.
Pop-up menus and pop-up windows make things easy. You can use a mouse if you have one. And with the help of a road atlas and a calculator, you can add to the list of 200 cities that comes with the program. Fitler asks a $10 registration fee. You can write to Doug Fitler at Box 424, Scott Air Force Base, Ill. 62225.
(We'll send you evaluation copies of these programs for $4 each and a catalog of shareware programs on a disk for $1. Write to Shareware, P.O. Box 7031, Long Beach, Calif. 90807. Or call (213) 595-6870. Please indicate 5 1/4 - or 3 1/2 -inch disks.)