Add a touch of class to printed documentsToday's word...

COMPUTER & Q & A

May 31, 1993

Add a touch of class to printed documents

Today's word processors let you print documents in almost jTC any way imaginable. So just when you think you've seen it all, something new appears. Watermarks.

Well, actually it's simulated watermarking. Atmospheres is a collection of images that can be superimposed over an entire page or any part of a page. The images can add style, even a touch of class, to your everyday printed documents.

A clever utility program appropriately named "Watermark" makes all work. There are five collections: Patterns, Geometrics, Classics, CityScapes and Habitats are fairly self-descriptive and contain 15 different scenes each.

The Watermark program allows you to print any picture as a transparent image. Atmospheres' images blend unobtrusively into the background. Using the "gray-scale" capability of most printers, you can choose how light or dark you want the image to appear on the page.

Versions of Atmospheres are available for the Apple Macintosh and Windows. Each collection sells for $79. The Watermark utility is included with each collection.

TechPool Software

(800) 925-6998

Powerful new battery is for life of computer

QUESTION: I turned on my computer one day and noticed that the date and time were not correct. I reset the clock, but the next time I turned the computer on, the clock was wrong again. I didn't pay much attention to this, but then a few days later, I couldn't start the computer from my internal hard-disk drive.

I took it to the repair store and was told the internal battery was dead. They replaced it. I didn't know there was a battery in my computer in the first place. How often should I change it?

ANSWER: Most of today's computers have a small internal battery that keeps the clock running when you turn your computer off. However, the battery serves a far more important function. It maintains critical system information, which is stored in a reserved area of the computer's memory.

When your system is first set up, you have to tell it what type of floppy and hard-disk drives are installed. Chances are this was done by the manufacturer or the dealer where you purchased your computer.

When the battery goes, all of this configuration information is lost. So when you powered up, it didn't know you had a hard drive installed. To avoid this situation, especially if you have an older-model computer, it is a good idea to replace your battery every five years.

A new product guarantees its battery for the life of your computer. Called Permanent Power Pack, this battery replacement unit draws a tiny trickle charge from the computer's power supply when it is turned on. The tiny charge replenishes the Power Pack's battery.

Permanent Power Pack sells for $49.95 and works with most IB compatibles. Adapters are available for different models.

MicroApps

(408) 735-1015

Software gives DOS access to Windows

Q: I finally bought Microsoft Windows. With all of those great new programs being written for Windows, I had to take the plunge. However, I've just been told that all of my DOS programs will have to be upgraded to their Windows versions. Upgrading translates into spending more money. Tell me this isn't so.

A: It isn't so. Well, for the most part, anyway. Windows is a picture-oriented program that protects users from having to delve too deeply into the cryptic world of DOS commands.

Via the mouse, it allows users to more easily perform computer housekeeping operations, such as the copying, moving, deleting and running of files. Windows can launch almost any DOS program.

Once the DOS program starts, however, you are returned to the DOS environment. It's possible that you will not be able to use the mouse there, because so many DOS programs were written to work with the keyboard only.

In addition, the DOS programs can't use Windows' TrueType fonts or the Windows clipboard. TrueType is a standard for displaying and printing characters that maintain a smooth appearance no matter what size they are printed. The Windows clipboard allows you to cut and paste any information from one application into another.

Transom, a new product from Metro Software, gives most of your DOS programs access to several Windows features, including TrueType and the Windows clipboard. When you run a DOS program from Windows, Transom links it to the Windows print manager. This allows you to take advantage of the quality print features offered by Windows.

Transom works with Windows 3.1 or higher and sells for $129.

Metro Software Inc.

(800) 697-6971 or (602) 292-0313

(Craig Crossman is the host of a weekly radio show, "Computer (( America," heard nationwide. Send questions in care of Business Monday, 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, Fla. 33132. Please include your phone number.)

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