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:
Magazine Rack for PC or compatible with at least 640K RAM, a CD-ROM drive and DOS 3.1 or higher (with CD-ROM Extensions). 10MHz or faster processor, color display, mouse and expanded memory recommended. $89.95. From Information Access Co., 362 Lakeside Drive, Foster City, Calif. 94404. (800) 227-8431.
The Magazine Rack is a CD-ROM disk packed with the full text of more than 100,000 articles from 300 magazines on business, computers, health and general interest. All you need to read these articles is a standard PC and a CD-ROM drive. You search the articles by keywords, authors, subjects or dates and read the articles on screen or print them. The price is great for a CD-ROM. I like having this much information at hand, but I wish it included the article graphics (it has none) and that it collected all the important magazines (some big names are left out). I also wish that it came out once a month or at least quarterly instead of once a year.
Performance: 3 computers
Ease of use: 3 computers
Value: 4 computers
(These are reviews of shareware programs for IBM and #i compatible computers.)
FAX Manager. There's absolutely nothing wrong with scribbling your name, along with the recipient's name, on a blank piece of paper when you send a fax. As long as you dial the right number and your handwriting is legible, you're in business. If you want to impress the recipients of your electronic junk mail, you can invest hundreds of dollars in fancy graphics software. Or you could spend 20 bucks on a program such as FAX Manager, which is as easy to use as a No. 2 pencil.
You configure it for your computer and printer, which takes about a minute. Then you enter your name, phone number, company and the recipient's name. If you send a lot of faxes to the same person, you can store the information and call it up later. You can enter a message on your cover sheet, or you can print uncustomized fax cover sheets for others in your department.
(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.)