Here are summaries of recent Computing product reviews. Each product is rated on a scale of one to four. One computer indicates poor; four indicate excellent.
cc:Mail. $195 for server plus $595 for 25 users. From cc:Mail, a division of Lotus Development Corp., 2141 Landings Drive, Mountain View, Calif. 94043. (415) 961-8800 or (800) 448-2500.
Microsoft Mail 2.1 for PC Networks. $695 for server plus $1,349 for 20 users. From Microsoft Corp., 1 Microsoft Way, Redmond, Wash. 98052-6399. (206) 279-4679 or (800) 426-9400.
Electronic mail, or e-mail, has become a fundamental use for most business computers. For companies with more than a few computers, the best way to set up e-mail is to link the computers into a local area network, or LAN, and then to buy a LAN e-mail program. Microsoft Mail for PC Networks has all the basic features you'll need in e-mail but is more expensive and difficult to use than cc:Mail from Lotus.
Performance: 3 computers
Ease of use: 3 computers
Value: 3 computers
Performance: 3 computers
Ease of use: 2 computers
Value: 2 computers
These are reviews of shareware programs for IBM and 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.
This week we deal with full disclosure. First you'll bare your financial secrets, then you'll analyze your computer the way an auditor takes apart your financial statement.
Financial Manager, Easy Budget. Tracking income and expenses child's play when you know what you're doing. With this financial program for personal budgets and small businesses, the learning curve is so easy you'll be crunching numbers in a matter of minutes. Installation on a hard disk takes a few minutes. You also can run the program on a laptop or a PC with just a floppy drive.
The documentation is concise and easy to follow, and after a quick tutorial, you can rely on help screens to guide you through setting up budget categories and figuring out budgets for your household or small business.
Registration costs $29.95 from Day Computer Software, 1128 Maple Drive, Mountain Home, Idaho 83647.
Infoplus. Say you've just purchased a computer, and you want to make absolutely sure that what you bought is what you paid for. Infoplus will tell you what kind of video card you have, how much memory, how many serial and parallel ports and all the keyboard and mouse information you could ever ask for.
In all, there are 20 pages of data that Infoplus ferrets from your computer, and you can either view that information on your monitor or print it all out. Best of all, Infoplus is public domain, which means that once you download it from a bulletin board or get a copy from this column, you don't have to pay a cent more. Look for version 1.55 or later.
If your warranty is about to expire, you might want to take a look at a program called BurnIn, which puts your PC through its paces far more thoroughly than you could and reports any problems that you may not have noticed. Look for version 4.5 on bulletin boards. After trying it, registration costs $15 from George Campbell, 1472 Sixth St., Los Osos, Calif. 03402.
(For copies of Financial Manager, send $4; for Infoplus and BurnIn, send $7. Write to Shareware, P.O. Box 7037, Long Beach, Calif. 90807. Or call (310) 595-6870. Fax (310) 426-0110. Please specify 5.25- or 3.5-inch disks. A shareware catalog on a disk costs $2.)