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:
Disk Manager-Mac, for Mac Plus, SE, SE-30, II, LC or Classic with System 5 or later software. $69.95. From Ontrack Computer Systems, 6321 Bury Drive, Minneapolis, Minn. 55346. (800) 752-1333.
The Norton Desktop for Windows, for PC or compatible running Windows 3.0 in Standard or Enhanced mode and hard disk. $149. From Symantec Corp., 10201 Torre Ave., Cupertino, Calif. 95014-2132. (408) 253-9600.
Disk Manager-Mac lets you inspect, install and partition most any Macintosh hard disk. It can partition a single hard disk into separate areas that can start System 7.0 and System 6 software. That lets you switch back and forth between the two systems quickly and easily. The Norton Desktop for Windows is a collection of many useful utilities organized with a better screen and more commands than you'll find in standard Windows. It makes Windows both more Mac-like and more able to perform typical DOS functions at a surprisingly low price.
Norton Desktop for Windows
(These are reviews of shareware programs for IBM and compatible computers. Shareware programs are available from computer bulletin boards and computer clubs. Users try them, then pay a fee to register them if they decide to use them regularly.)
ExtraDOS Toolbox. Comparing this collection of utilities to a Swiss army knife doesn't do it justice. ExtraDOS Toolbox is like having an entire hardware store at your disposal.
Want to prevent accidental rebooting of your PC? Just summon Boot. Looking for a file on your hard disk? Findfile will find it. Looking for a certain group of words? Call up Textsrch. Need chimes to mark the hour? Want to silence your speaker? In all, there are 45 utilities ranging from a full-screen text-file editor to a program that will control your laser printer from DOS.
In between are programs to change the size of your cursor (useful for lap-tops) to a program that will count characters, words and lines (useful for writers and editors). While you may not need a file hex display utility, you certainly will run into a situation where you've forgotten where you put a file or need to find a certain group of words on your hard disk. The manual is clearly written and attractive.
Individual utilities cost $19 apiece, but after trying the package you'll probably want to have enough of these utilities on your hard disk to justify the full $60 registration fee. (If you want to try the whole package first, we'll send you all 45 programs for $10.) After you've tried ExtraDOS and want to continue using it, you'll need to register the programs from Foley Hitech Systems, 172 Amber Drive, San Francisco, Calif. 94131.
PAN1124. Here's a useful utility for folks who have a Panasonic KX-P1124 printer and still can't figure out how to use the so-called EZ Set Operator panel to choose fonts, pitch and other printer commands.
Pan1124's instructions and commands are menu-driven and much easier to follow than the Panasonic manual. You can set the printer to work with your word-processing program, then return to DOS and use the print command for text files in exactly the font, pitch and size you specify.
The price is right, too: Author Pam Lagier doesn't ask for any money for Pan1124. She has plans to update her program for the model 1123 and the 1124i printers.
You might also want to try a similar program, P1124-Set, which does many of the things Pan1124 does. The menu program is a bit easier to follow, although this one doesn't give you the macro controls you get from Pan1124.
Like Pan1124, author Gene Elias offers P1124-Set free of charge. (If you can't find either of these programs on your local bulletin board, we'll send you both for $7.)
(For copies of these try-before-you-buy shareware programs, send $4 each to Shareware, P.O. Box 7037, Long Beach, Calif. 90807. A shareware catalog on a disk costs $1. Please specify 5 1/4 - or 3 1/2 -inch disks.)