From the May 1999 issue of Startups

Too often, Internet accelerators have problems working with major online services like AOL and CompuServe. Not so with NetSonic Pro. Universality was a key component behind the design of this program, and it delivers the goods when used on all major ISPs and browsers.

Load this baby onto your PC, and you'll find a noticeably faster Net connection and a significantly enhanced ability to jump quickly around a Web site. Old friends of the program will appreciate new features like auto-refresh and its ability to pre-fetch in background the text and graphics of links on any Web page you're viewing.

NetSonic Pro
Street Price:
$39.95
Requires: an IBM or compatible PC, 758K hard-drive space, Windows 95 or higher. Works with virtually all major browsers, including Netscape 3.0 or higher, Internet Explorer 3.0, Aol 3.0 or higher, CompuServe 3.02 or higher, and Opera 3.10 or higher
Web 3000
Redmond, Washington
(425) 836-3000
http://www.web3000.com


Joe Dysart (joedysart@aol.com), a software analyst and Internet business consultant, has written for more than 40 publications, including The New York Times.

Ad Libs

Can't afford to hire a crackerjack advertising pro to jump-start your advertising campaign? Then leverage the insights of more than 20 with this program. In an hour or so, you'll be able to interactively create a blueprint for a 12-month advertising plan specific to your industry. AdPlan 3.0's e-mail directory of more than 10,000 media contacts for submitting your business's online press releases is worth its price alone. But you'll also profit from its Web Site Submission tool for automatically submitting your company's Web site address to more than 950 sites, customer survey templates, and GeoMap Archive for targeting specific geographic regions.

AdPlan 3.0
Street Price:
$129
Requires: An IBM 386 or higher PC, Windows 95 or higher, 8MB RAM, 35MB hard-drive space (Mac version available)
Orbital Communications
Framingham, Massachusetts
(508) 620-6610
http://www.orbitalcom.com

Net U

Used to be the Net could only be mastered after much gnashing of teeth and truckloads of Jolt cola. No more. Instead, it's all here on The InfoHighway Encyclopedia. With beautiful graphics and an intuitive interactive interface, this offline Net simulator introduces you to the Net at your own pace. Grasp a fundamental understanding of how the Net works, how to use Web research tools, how to use e-mail, how to participate in discussion groups and the like. Indispensable for the beginning surfer.

The InfoHighway Encyclopedia
Street Price:
$50
Requires: An IBM 486/66 compatible or higher PC, Windows 95 or higher, 12MB RAM, 16-bit Sound Blaster compatible sound card, 2X CD-ROM
Concept Action Multimedia
Montreal, Canada
(514) 866-0434
http://www.concept-action.com/ang

I Say Tomato, You Say Tomahto

Nothing is less impressive--and more costly--than a loftily expressed business concept riddled with mispronounced words. The American Heritage Talking Dictionary 5.0 helps you guard against such self-betrayal with access to more than 90,000 spoken words. You can keep the dictionary onscreen while using other programs. Plus, it's not a hard-disk space hog: All the audio can be accessed from the program's CD. Now everyone can sound like they went to Harvard.

The American Heritage Talking Dictionary 5.0
Street Price:
$30
Requires: An IBM 486/66 compatible or higher PC, Windows 3.1 or higher, 8MB RAM, 2X CD-ROM, sound card
The Learning Company
Cambridge, Massachusetts
(617) 761-3000
http://www.learningco.com

Voice Over

This is a clever employee- attendance management solution that enables you to clock employees' whereabouts using their "voiceprint." Employees "clock in" and "clock out" by speaking their own password to TimeWolf, which verifies their voiceprint against samples it already has stored. Plus, TimeWolf frees you from the tedium of tabulating traditional time sheets by generating those reports automatically. Only drawback: no module for listening to the sorry excuses of the chronically late.

TimeWolf
Street Price:
$79
Requires: An IBM or compatible PC, Windows 3.1 or higher, 20MB hard-drive space, CD-ROM
Lone Wolf Software
Bellflower, California
(800) 473-9457
http://www.lonewolfsoftware.com