Sharp's Wizard works with Windows and downloads programs...

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September 13, 1999|By Gareth Branwyn

Sharp's Wizard works with Windows and downloads programs

Before there were PalmPilots and PalmPCs in every pocket and backpack in Starbucks, there was the Sharp Wizard. Released in 1988, the Wizard is possibly the most popular hand-held organizzer in the world. It may not be sexy, it may not have bells and whistles, but it's a proven workhorse.

The latest Wizard, the OZ-750PC ($199.99), builds on the success of earlier models. It has the standard calendar, scheduler, memo pad and calculator, as well as some improvements: more memory, the ability to share data with Windows PCs (now a standard feature) and synchronization of organizer files with your PC address book. Unfortunately, it looks as though you'll have to use the Daytimer organizer software that comes bundled with the unit.

One great new feature of the latest Wizard is the ability to download additional programs. A MyWizard.Com Web site lets Wizard owners download applications created by other Wizard users. A free development kit is available there, too.

The OZ-750PC comes with the software and cable you'll need to connect it to your PC. It has 2.5MB of memory and a 239 x 80 pixel green display with a backlight option. The font size can be enlarged if you have trouble reading standard typeface.

An infrared port added to this model allows you to transfer data from one Wizard to another. The keyboard is a regular QWERTY style, and although the keys are small, the typing action is not that bad.

Despite the snazzy new design of the OZ-750PC, Wizards are still utilitarian creatures. They don't dial up the Internet, they can't control your VCR and they don't have hundreds of software titles available. But then, if all you want is a basic electronic address book, calendar, note pad and currency converter, you probably don't care about all of these highfalutin features anyway.

Information: 201-529-8200 or www.sharp-usa.com

ActionLink connects two PCs via USB ports

ActionTec's ActionLink ($69.95) is a new twist on home networking gear -- a kit that quickly and easily connects any two PC-compatible computers equipped with Universal Serial Bus (USB) ports. No network cards are needed.

The shortcoming is the size and distance of the network. ActionLink is designed to connect only two computers up to 20 feet apart. I have a setup like this, and I assume others do, too, but it's obviously a product with a very limited market.

One application is up-close-and-personal multiplayer gaming. Another is using the ActionLink to connect your laptop to your desktop PC for file transfers (at as much as 35 times faster than a serial or parallel connection). Like all USB devices, this one allows you to hook up the cables while both computers are on.

The ActionLink "kit" consists of nothing more than the USB cable, the software and a manual. Setup and operation couldn't be simpler. The product ships with ActionLink's own DynaNAT software, which makes it a snap to transfer files, share printers and surf the Net simultaneously.

If you have more than one PC in a single room, or you're looking for a way to quickly transfer data between laptop and desktop, you couldn't ask for a more straightforward solution than ActionLink.

Information: 800-797-7001 or www.actiontec.com

For more hardware reviews and computer news, check out www.streettech.com

Pub Date: 09/13/99

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