All Systems Go
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Micheal Bledsoe, owner of E=MC2 Ltd., a Sacramento, California, total-solution provider for individual users, SOHOs and BROs (Branch Regional Offices), uses his own equipment to intentionally create the massive computer crashes his clients are likely to experience by piling software on their systems. In doing so, he needs strong utilities to repair the damage. "I have about every Symantec product," Bledsoe says. "I've been using Norton Utilities for more than 10 years; I used Norton AntiVirus prior to becoming a reseller."
Bledsoe tried other anti-virus products but prefers Norton for its ease of use, among other things. Bledsoe also likes Norton's broad range of virus definitions and automatic updates, which have saved him and his customers numerous times.
With the Norton disks and Windows 95 recovery disk, Bledsoe boasts he can recover from just about any desktop failure. And he should know--he starts his computer with 45 to 50 programs to pin-point problems. The drama increases when he's working on a customer's system: "You're trying to bring back data and charging a lot of money for it," says Bledsoe. "You're not sure it will come back up, but there it is."
Lately, Bledsoe has been recommending customers buy three products to save his time and their money: pcANYWHERE, Norton AntiVirus and Stack Replica Version 3 (for NT). With those programs loaded, Bledsoe says, "I can get a completely crashed system back with three keystrokes."
Rebecca Frances Rohan has been a computer and Internet journalist since 1988. She is the author of Building Better Web Pages (AP Professional).
One Stop Paper Shop
Houghton Mifflin's Guerrilla Business 1.0 creates business plans your targeted lender will find hard to resist. Cover sheets, tables of contents, statements of purpose, organizational and marketing plans, financial documents, financial statement analyses and supporting papers--normally these documents are anything but simple to prepare. Luckily, your automated army includes detailed step-by-step instructions with good examples, plus the tools to write, create spreadsheets and add illustrations, not to mention toll-free tech support. The realistic examples, integrated interface and consistent sub-steps make Guerrilla Business a mission you can accomplish.
Guerrilla Business 1.0
Est. street price: $29.99
Requires: a 486/66 MHz processor, Windows 3.1/95, 8MB RAM (12MB for Windows 95), 6MB hard-drive space, a 2x CD-ROM drive, a mouse (a 256-color display and a printer is also recommended)
Houghton Mifflin Interactive
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It's hard to believe what $70 can buy--Norton SystemWorks 1.0, which has been pressed onto one CD-ROM, plus a Bonus Pack CD. With a single install, the main disk provides Norton Utilities 3.0, Norton AntiVirus 5.0, Norton CrashGuard 3.0 and Norton Web Services 3.1. The bonus CD contains Norton Mobile Essentials, Visual Page, WinFax Basic Edition, pcANYWHERE Express and Remove-It 98.
You can guess what Norton AntiVirus and CrashGuard do; Norton Utilities is a set of troubleshooting, monitoring and recovery tools. I installed Norton SystemWorks on a relatively clean system--a brand new motherboard and recently formatted drive with just Windows 95, a few necessities and several review programs. Norton found no less than 11 things to untangle and did so, keeping a history of the procedures. Other utilities: Norton Web Services and LiveUpdate Pro grab patches and updates from the Web; Norton Anti-Freeze helps after a frozen program forces the "three-fingered salute" (CTRL+ALT+DEL); Norton System Doctor monitors resources and alerts you to problems; and Norton SpeedStart cuts loading time for applications. There's more: Check it out for yourself at http://www.symantec.com
Norton SystemWorks 1.0
Est. street price: $69.95
Requires: a 486/66 processor, Windows 95/98, 16MB RAM, 95MB hard-drive space, a 2x CD-ROM drive, a 256-color VGA display (a sound card is also recommended)
Make 3-D letters out of gold blocks, drape them in fabric or fire them up like molten metal--then make them rotate, pulsate or turn on a dime with Ulead's recently released Cool 3D 2.0. The second incarnation of Cool 3D looks a lot like the first--you type your letters, decide on a size and font, then choose color, texture, angle and lighting effects. It's all point-and-click--no grappling with graphical terms. Get the right angle by spinning the word with your mouse and seeing what looks best. Add motion, and then save it for the Web, printing or a presentation. Version 2.0 includes plug-ins for animated explosions and fire.
Cool 3D is perfect for nonartists who want quick results. The boxed version includes 500 bonus textures, 25 bonus fonts, 5000 bonus Web objects, animations and Ulead GIF Animator 1.5. Remember to install the included Microsoft DirectX 5 drivers as well. You may want to download the DirectX 6 drivers from Microsoft's site (http://www.microsoft.com/directx./download.asp), since 6 is the version Ulead recommends. You can download a fully functional 15-day trial version of Cool 3D from Ulead's Web site.
Cool 3D 2.0
Est. street price: $49.95
Download price: $39.95
Requires: a Pentium processor (166 with MMX recommended), Windows 95/98/NT 4.0 (with service pack 3), 16MB RAM (32MB recommended), 24MB hard-drive space, a Hi-Color or True Color display, a mouse
Ulead Systems Inc.
Tired of typing the same information or opening programs to insert ISO characters? Macro Express 1.0 can help. Your word processing and spreadsheet programs probably have macro editors built in, but can you record a macro and run it in any Windows program, e-mail, browser or software? You can now. Macro Express gives back time lost to tedium and eliminates mistakes. It also maps keys to cut hot-key conflicts. Download an evaluation copy--you'll probably register when you see how Macro Express saves you time and keystrokes.
Macro Express 1.0
Est. street price: $34.95
Requires: Windows 95/98/NT
Insight Software Solutions Inc.
E=MC2 Ltd., (888) 273-8915, http://www.emcsquare.net