These are reviews of "shareware" programs for IBM and IBM- compatible computers. The programs are available from bulletin boards and computer clubs. Users try them, then pay a fee to register if they decide to use them regularly.
Roadways -- In his December update, author Doug Fitler has made a number of useful improvements to a fine program.
Before, Roadways could tell you the shortest route between two U.S. cities. Now, it can also tell you the fastest route. (The possibility of going 65 mph on some highways may make it easier to cover more miles in less time.) You can set your own average speeds if you wish, and, with information from a road atlas, add cities to the large number already in the program.
Roadways will plot your route, enable you to calculate fuel costs and mileage reimbursements in advance and print out an itinerary. After you've evaluated the program, the $10 registration fee gets you a year's worth of updates and a quarterly newsletter that offers tips on the program and occasionally on other shareware programs. The registration fee will go to Doug Fitler, Box 424, Scott Air Force Base, Ill. 62225.
Polycopy -- Making multiple copies of disks can be a chore if you use the various DOS copy commands. Polycopy is a handy utility that, as its name suggests, makes many copies of a single floppy by storing data in RAM, extended memory or on your hard disk.
After copying the files to your hard disk, you simply call up Polycopy and add a simple command such as "a" for drive A. You need only insert your source disk once, and from then on Polycopy will make as many copies as you need. It will format disks if necessary, and it supports both high- and low-density floppies. It's especially useful if you need image copies, such as bootable disks.
Since it stores data to memory or to your hard disk, you can make copies of high-density floppies without having to re-insert your source disk. You'll need DOS 3.0 or higher (including 5.0); a hard disk is recommended. Look for version 2.60 on bulletin boards.
After you've tried Polycopy for two weeks, it costs $23.50 for registration, which includes a printed manual and several utilities. Write to Polycopy Shareware Registration, P.O. Box 1126, Martinsville, Va. 24114.
LessonPlanZ -- Teachers can save time and improve classroom morale by charting their courses in advance. One teacher wrote to Charles P. Schell to ask if he could provide a program to organize lesson plans the way other Schell programs organized recipes and computer program diskettes. Mr. Schell set to work and came up with LessonPlanZ.
With it, a teacher can organize lesson plans, print them out in whole or in part and find plans and parts of plans using different search criteria. The program even prints labels for folders to organize the printouts. LessonPlanZ sets up basic categories for overall goals, specific objectives, methods, materials and evaluation criteria. It gives the teacher room for entries of one to 5,000 lines. Menus and on-line help screens simplify the task, and the program automatically takes care of such chores as inserting the name of the school.
If you decide to make regular use of the program, Mr. Schell asks a modest $29 registration fee. It goes to Unicorn Software Limited, P.O. Box 911, Wabash, Ind. 46992-0911.
The Last Word -- This trivia game puts the emphasis on literature and history. Players get a musical salute if they identify the author or occasion of a quotation. They get a jeer if they don't.
The quotations, which run to the acerbic, are fun even if you can't guess the authors, who include J. Robert Oppenheimer, H. L. Mencken, Teddy Roosevelt, Jane Austen, Clarence Darrow, George Bernard Shaw, Mark Twain and Greta Garbo. Register the program for $15 with author Gordon Haff at 3205 Windsor Ridge Drive, Westborough, Mass. 01581, and Mr. Haff will send you a fresh copy with double the number of quotations.
Case Liner -- This small program requires MS Windows. It doesn't do the cataloging of Cassette Master, but it produces exceptionally handsome inserts for cassette boxes. Author Ed Adasiewicz of 7640 Old Westbury Road, Crystal Lake, Ill. 60012, asks $10 from persons who use it regularly. The latest version is 3.0.
(For copies of these programs, send $4 each to Shareware, P.O. Box 7037, Long Beach, Calif. 90807. Or call (310) 595-6870.)