From the March 2000 issue of Entrepreneur

Tax time! With taxes due just around the corner, you'd better run--not walk--to Quicken's TurboTax Web site. From here, you can order the product for delivery or use the online version, TurboTax for the Web. The software is more affordable than ever at $64.95 (street) for TurboTax Home & Business with a free copy of TurboTax State via a mail-in rebate. In addition, TurboTax customers will be able to file electronically with the IRS for free. There's also a ton of free tax-preparation information on the site. Call (800) 335-1348 or visit http://www.turbotax.com.

Wanted: research assistant: We all know the Web is full of pertinent information--if only you could get your hands on it. Wouldn't it be great to be able to offload all those tedious Web searches to a research assistant? Unfortunately, most of us can't afford a dedicated researcher, but we can afford the $60 (street) KCSL's X-Portal Findware, a software program that takes plain-language questions and automatically searches the Internet and X-Portal's included reference materials (encyclopedias, an atlas and more) for the best answers. X-Portal rates the quality of the answers returned by the various search engines, which helps you weed out useless information. Check http://www.kcsl.ca for details or call (416) 222-6112.

Easy Internet access: If you're an AOL user thinking about making the switch to a standard ISP but are afraid to take the plunge because the thought of leaving your comfy AOL home puts you into a cold sweat, fear no more. EarthLink now offers a program that's as easy to use as AOL's, while offering the benefits of faster connections and better customization. From within EarthLink 5.0, users can access the Web, check e-mail and chat. Multiple users can sign up under one account--making it easy to share a computer with co-workers. EarthLink also includes SideCar, a window that runs independent of the standard Web browser and gives you access to selected content, links and e-mail notification. Users also have ready access to 6MB apiece of personal Web space on EarthLink, which can be used for posting Web pages and even storing and transferring files. For more information, visit http://www.earthlink.com or call (800) 395-8425.

More shelf space: Planogramming is an art form successful retailers must learn--whether they know it or not. Relating specifically to the placement of products on displays and shelves, planogram software helps users design, display, manage and chart their inventory and shelf space. Large chain stores invest thousands of dollars into planogram software, but Logical Planning Systems has a better answer for smaller stores--its Shelf Logic 2000 ($750 street). Shelf Logic 2000 can be used by store managers, buyers, salespeople and merchandisers for creating a visual analysis of product and shelf space through schematic and photographic planogram printouts. For details, visit http://www.shelflogic.com or call (888) MY-SHELF.


Cassandra Cavanah is a computer journalist with an entrepreneurial focus who's made a homebased career of writing and consulting on tech-related issues. She can be reached at ccavanah@earthlink.net.