Here are summaries of some recent Computing magazine product reviews. Each product is rated on a scale of one to four, with one computer indicating poor and four indicating excellent:
GreatWorks, for Mac Plus or later with at least 1 megabyte of random-access memory and a hard disk. $299. From Symantec Corp., 10201 Torre Ave., Cupertino, CA 95014. (408) 253-9600.
ClarisWorks, for Mac Plus or later with at least 1 megabyte RAM and two floppy drives. Requires 2 megabytes RAM and a hard disk for using communications module. $299. From Claris Corp., 5201 Patrick Henry Drive, Santa Clara, CA 95052. (408) 727-8227.
Works programs offer lots of program abilities for a small combined price and with compact memory and disk demands. They are particularly good deals for small businesses, home users and portable computer owners. Microsoft Works has been the leader on the Macintosh but is now challenged by GreatWorks and ClarisWorks. Except for an edge in GreatWorks graphics, ClarisWorks is equal to or superior in every module, and with its tighter integration and macros for automating tasks, it is a clear winner.
Rating: 2 computers
Rating: 3 computer
123-TALK -- Computerized speech has come a long way. This educational program for kids ages 1 to 7 actually sounds like human speech (by way of a synthesizer, of course). There are eight interactive programs, including easy counting, addition, subtraction, find the number and a keyboard banger program for very young shareware fans.
PICABC -- Another program that talks back to you, PICABC operates under the Windows 3.0 environment (it won't work without Windows). The disk you download from bulletin boards or get from me covers only one of four categories (animals). Your child points the mouse to the letter E (or presses the E key on the keyboard) and an elephant pops up, along with a computerized voice that pronounces the word. The pictures are beautiful, the voice is clear, and for shareware users who pay the $20 registration fee, three more categories (food, people and things) are provided.
(For copies of these programs, send $4 each to Shareware, P.O. Box 7037, Long Beach, Calif. 90807. Specify 5.25- or 3.5-inch disks. A catalog on a disk costs $2. Phone (310) 595-6870. Fax (310) 426-0110.)