Here is a summary of a recent Computing product reviews.
Amiga, from Commodore Business Machines Inc., 1200 Wilson Drive, Westchester, PA 19380. (800) 662-6442.
The Amiga once had a great future, with special chips for slick handling of graphics, video and sound and basic software more powerful than on the Mac or PC.
But obsolete hardware, few new programs and malignant neglect from its parent company have killed the Amiga.
Users already hooked on it can stay for some years (though with increasing envy of PC and Mac owners). And anyone interested in digital video will love the Amiga-based Video Toaster from NewTek.
But all others should avoid the Amiga.
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.
OFFICE POOLS -- For people who organize office pools, Football Pool Keeper will help you in ways that will impress your colleagues. It's easy to set up and generates weekly reports for single or multiple pools. FPK comes with an NFL schedule, and author Frank Dobogai will provide college and other schedules to registered users. Look for version 1.2 or higher. Another tool for office football pools, Pro Football Picks (version 4.0 or higher) provides the office-pool player with computerized assistance using statistics published in many newspapers. It can be run from a floppy disk on virtually any kind of IBM-compatible computer.
WINCHECK -- This is about as slick as shareware gets: For home or small business, you can keep track of finances while running Windows 3.0 or 3.1. Entering data, printing checks, reconciling bank statements and generating reports all are done by simply clicking on the appropriate icon. And those icons are easy to figure out: Click on the plus icon, and you record a deposit. Click on the credit-card icon, and you record a purchase. Wincheck also has a Quicken conversion utility and can import data from Lotus 123, Microsoft Excel and other numbers-crunching programs.
PC PAYROLL -- The 1992 version, which has updated tax schedules, installs in minutes. It's easy enough to learn and supports such outrages as overtime. If your company is small enough, you can run the program from a floppy. But you still have to come up with the cash to keep checks from bouncing.
WINDOWS UTILITIES -- The folks at Wilson WindowWare, who are responsible for Wincheck, also make some impressive utilities for Windows. Command Post is a slick replacement for the Windows File Manager. You can copy, move and rename files easily, search for files and look at a file's contents, all within Windows. If you need to edit a file, you simply click on the file name, and it associates the file with your favorite word-processing program. Winedit is a text editor that can be used by programmers or by writers who need to export their text into desktop publishing programs. It goes way beyond the Windows Write program in both features and user-friendliness. Winbatch is, as its name suggests, a batch-file creator for Windows. (Remember when you used to create batch files in DOS that would do everything but turn on the coffee maker?) After trying these programs, registration for each is in the $50 to $70 range.
(For copies of the football pool programs, send $10; for Wincheck, $7; for PC Payroll, $4; for the Windows utilities, $10; to Shareware, P.O. Box 7037, Long Beach, Calif. 90807. Phone (310) 595-6870. Fax (310) 426-0110. A catalog on a disk costs $2. Please specify 5.25- or 3.5-inch disks.