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:
Island Write, Draw and Paint 3.0, for work station running Unix operating system (such as Sun, H-P, DEC, IBM RS-6000, Silicon Graphics, Sparc and others). $995. From Island Graphics Corp., 4000 Civic Center Drive, San Rafael, Calif. 94903-7413. (800) 255-4499.
Summary: Island Write, Draw and Paint offers Unix work-station owners most of the features a Mac or PC owner would expect in basic word processing, page layout, drawing and painting. However, the Draw and Paint modules don't pack any exciting edge over PC or Mac programs, and the Write module actually lacks some vital elements found in PC and Mac software. Island WDP is good enough and easy enough to get you comfortably by on a work station, but it is not a compelling reason to move to a work station.
Performance: 2 computers
Ease of use: 3 computers
Value: 2 computers
These shareware programs for IBM and compatible computers can be downloaded from bulletin boards for a small cost.
Debt-Free: With the frenzy to refinance home mortgages, here is a program that is timely and helpful. The idea behind Debt-Free is to help borrowers get out of debt as soon as possible. For example: A $150,000 home loan, financed at 8 percent over 30 years, demands a payment of $1,100 per month. By paying an extra $100 per month, Debt-Free figures you could pay off your mortgage seven years and seven months early, thus saving you $73,000 in interest.
Similar calculations are done for other loans. With a "what-if" feature you can figure out all kinds of loan scenarios. A payment log shows how much has been applied to principal and interest, and it adjusts to varying payments each month. The amortization schedules are very fast. Debt-Free is useful for consumers, Realtors and folks who have money to lend.
Registration costs $31.95 from Accutax Accounting, 1127 Miami Blvd., Delray Beach, Fla. 33483.
(For copies of these programs, send $4 for Debt-Free, $25 for the Datawave Personal Edition, to Shareware, P.O. Box 7037, Long Beach, Calif. 90807. A shareware catalog on a disk costs $2. Specify 5.25- or 3.5-inch disks. Phone (310) 595-6870. Fax (310) 426-0110.)