Mac-In-DOS Plus by Pacific Microelectronics Inc. is a Macintosh-to-Windows transfer utility that lets Windows machines view high-density Macintosh disks and copy the Macintosh files to the Windows machine for conversion to a Windows format. Programs like Microsoft Word, for example, can import Macintosh documents (for Word) once Mac-In-DOS Plus converts them.
If you use a PC-compatible computer but have clients who bring you word processing documents, graphics, spreadsheets or other files on Macintosh diskettes, this is your first step toward looking like you can handle it all.
List price: $99.95
Requires: Windows 3.1, 95 or NT.
Pacific Microelectronics Inc.
Rebecca Frances Rohan has been a computer and Internet journalist since 1988. She is a contributing editor for Internet Shopper and Intranet Construction Site.
If you've ever downloaded files from the Internet, you're probably familiar with Pkware's popular file compression utility, Pkzip. Version 2.50 for Windows takes most of the hassle out of creating zip files, lets you view the contents of files without unzipping them, and allows you to use zipped files by simply double-clicking on them. Anyone sending files via e-mail, or just trying to get data into manageable size, will benefit from this utility.
PKZIP FOR WINDOWS 2.50
List price: $49
Requires: 486 PC; 4MB RAM for Windows 3.1, 8MB RAM for Windows 95 or 16MB RAM for Windows NT; and 1MB hard-drive space.
Transparent Language Inc.'s Easy Translator 1.0 helps you understand documents, e-mail or even Web pages written in Spanish, French or German with English translations that take only seconds. You can even translate a simple message of your own into recognizable Spanish, French or German without understanding the target language. Convert among all four languages in any direction with this package.
When you open Easy Translator, a small tool bar sits on top of your regular applications. To translate text from your applications, select a language direction, then just select and copy the desired text, wait a few seconds for the processing message to disappear and paste the translated text wherever you want it. To translate a Web page, choose a language direction and "Internet," then click an icon. The translated Web page appears in your browser window as if it were the original.
Although Easy Translator provides the gist of the translated document rather than a polished message, it's an extremely handy tool for sending and receiving messages quickly and easily. The program also comes with Web addresses for foreign-language sites.
EASY TRANSLATOR 1.0
List price: $49
Requires: 386 PC; Windows 3.1, 95 or NT; 8MB RAM; 15MB hard-drive space; and CD-ROM.
Transparent Language Inc.
Though it may sound more like a family program reserved for after hours, Microsoft Home Essentials 97 actually makes excellent business sense. Home Essentials 97 comes with full versions of Microsoft's Word 97, Works 4.0, Encarta 97 encyclopedia, Greetings Workshop, Arcade and the already free Microsoft Internet Explorer Web browser--all for $109. The three-CD-ROM set offers a single install/remove menu for adding and removing any and all programs in the package.
Microsoft Word is a popular and powerful word processor, and Word 97 upgrades alone are selling for $75 in mail order catalogs. You get the full Word 97 with features like drag-and-design tables. Works 4.0 is an integrated program that's gotten many a home office user into word processing, database, spreadsheet, address book and communications (modem) software under one easy interface. Works lets you think by task rather than by program, offering a single list of Task Wizards for everything from correspondence and billing to employee time sheets and volunteer/civic chores. Works' To-Do List Wizard creates slick sheets you can check off electronically as you accomplish tasks. Use the time created by your new-found efficiency to send personalized greeting cards to clients with Greetings Workshop, or keep your facts straight with the multimedia Encarta 97 CD. Users who take advantage of Microsoft's effort to cater to the homebased market will get a good deal all around.
MICROSOFT HOME ESSENTIALS 97
List price: $109
Requires: 486DX/66; 8MB-12MB RAM; 99MB-140MB hard-drive space; a double-speed CD-ROM; Super VGA; and a minimum 256-color monitor.
What A Character!
Almost every business needs to create brochures, Web pages, slide shows, newsletters, or other materials that call for compelling graphics. If you want your graphics to be unique and some of the best around, break out of the clip art and stock photo mold with Artville's breathtaking illustrations and photos.
Artville's Business Characters, for example, will make your newsletter look like you have an artist on staff; artist Susan LeVan created all the CD-ROM's highly stylized, angular drawings that depict business realities. Barton Stabler's Roundhead Families fill another CD-ROM with an opposite aesthetic, where softness and recreation rule a world of happy, faceless, round-headed families.
Artville's themed object photos are refreshingly unique in their narrow focus. If you've been unable to use more than about 5 percent of the theme photos offered by other companies, it's probably because their themes are too broad. Artville's intense focus is available on CDs of art tools, glamour tools, musical instruments and more.
The company offers a choice of image sizes within a single CD, but note that one large, high-resolution image can be from 2MB to 16MB, so the requirements for 5-plus MB of hard-drive space--and the 5-plus MB RAM--are conservative. The smaller images are approximately 500K. Request a catalog or visit the Artville Web site, where you can download free zipped files containing thumbnails of the images and the Kudos image viewer to see them.
List price: $289.95
List price: $149.95
Requires: Macintosh System 7.0 or Windows 3.1, 95 or NT; 5-plus MB RAM; 5-plus MB hard-drive space; a 256-color display; and CD-ROM.