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:
Connections for Macintosh. $199 ($149 through December) from Heizer Software, (800) 888-7667. From Concentrix Technology Inc., 1875 S. Grant St., Suite 760, San Mateo, Calif. 94402. (415) 358-8600.
Connections is a personal information manager (PIM). It helps you keep and organize a to-do list, a schedule for appointments and reminders, and a telephone call log. It also keeps a phone-address directory and notes.
Connections can link and sort these lists, and share the schedule on a network. It comes closer than most PIMs to being a practical replacement for the paper organizer notebook. But it is more complex to learn than I would like and demands lots of random access memory (4 megabytes) and processor speed to be practical.
Connections for Macintosh
Rating: 3 computers
(These are reviews of shareware programs for IBM and #i 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.)
NICAD10. This utility for IBM-compatible laptop users has all the features you would ever want in a battery-life indicator.
It takes up only 16K of memory when it's loaded as a memory-resident program. You can either indicate how much time you think the batteries will last, or it will automatically figure out how long your batteries really last over a period of about 10 charges.
If it's unnerving to see your battery life measured on the top of your screen, you can move the display to the bottom or get rid of it entirely. And if you need more prompting, you can be warned at seven different stages when your battery is running low.
There's even a deep discharge function, which the Nicad authors recommend. The manual, which you can print directly from the shareware disk you get from a bulletin board or from this column, offers hints and has a trouble-shooting guide.
STROBE. If you're engaged in the great hunt for the cursor on your laptop, Strobe is the equivalent of the Texas Rangers.
By the same authors as Nicad, Strobe allows you to change the cursor size, intensity and blink rate, and uses only 1.5K of memory in the process.
I favor a large, slow-blinking cursor, which I was able to set up easily. Now it's loaded every time I boot up.
Strobe and Nicad can be tried for 30 days (I'll send you both programs for $7). If you continue using either of them after that, you need to register by sending $25 for Nicad and $15 for Strobe to KJL Software, 2970 Mira Place, Burnaby, British Columbia V3J 1B6 Canada.
(For copies of the laptop programs, send $7 to Shareware, P.O. )) Box 7037, Long Beach, Calif. 90807. A shareware catalog on a disk costs $2.)