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An e-mail merge program, Campaign 3 is one of the most powerful communication tools you'll ever add to your PC. The program enables you to create a template letter, then personalize the missive with the name, company, address--and any other personal variables you'd like to add--for every addressee. To test its effectiveness, I personally created 100 custom-tailored letters and then used the program to e-mail every letter over the Internet--all in less than 20 minutes. Another bonus with Campaign 3: The program easily interfaces with all the major contact managers and databases.
Street Price: $495
Requires: An IBM-compatible PC, Windows 95 or higher, 16MB RAM, 30MB hard-drive space
These days, the incredible shrinking hard drive seems to be the bane of every business user. Uninstaller Deluxe reclaims precious hard-drive space safely and efficiently with just a few mouse clicks. Remnants of old programs scattered all over your PC? Gone. Untold concentrations of digital debris from all the Web sites you've visited? Gone. Fear that your hard drive doesn't have the space to add another new program? Gone.
Street Price: $50
Requires: An IBM-compatible 486
PC or higher, Windows 95 or higher, 16MB RAM, 10MB hard-drive space, CD-ROM
Santa Clara, California
For entrepreneurs serious about tracking and analyzing the stock performance of their industries, competitors or any other sector of the market, here's a powerful ally: The Investor's Accountant. The program interfaces seamlessly with AOL, CompuServe and other online services to continually provide fresh financial data for ongoing analysis. A major bonus: The package also automatically figures the tax liability for all your investments so you're prepared when the tax man cometh.
The Investor's Accountant
Street Price: $395
Requires: An IBM-compatible PC, 512K RAM, DOS 2.0 or higher, 3MB hard-drive space
While great ideas don't always happen around a keyboard, Dragon Naturally Speaking Mobile can preserve genius wherever you go. The software works with an accompanying palm-sized, featherweight recorder that captures up to 160 of your spoken words per minute. Plug it into a PC and create nearly flawless written transcriptions. Incredibly, the system can recognize more than 230,000 words and generally learns the idiosyncracies of your voice in about half an hour. Perfect for road warriors looking to forsake typing on tiny handhelds or cumbersome laptops.
Dragon Naturally Speaking Mobile
Street Price: $244
Requires: An IBM-compatible Pentium
133 MHz PC or higher, Windows 95 or higher, 32MB RAM, 180MB hard-drive space, CD-ROM, available serial port
If you've ever wished you could use e-mail to effortlessly pitch 1,000 or more newspaper editors on a story about your company, your wish has been granted. Ditto if you crave the ability to contact editors at magazines and TV and radio stations with ease. In all, the U.S. All Media E-mail Directory sports nearly 13,500 e-mail contacts for the shapers of public opinion--along with their addresses, phone and fax numbers, and other contact data. Bonus: The directory's maker keeps the database current and updates it every six months. Quite possibly the smartest $99 you'll ever spend on PR.
U.S. All Media E-mail Directory
Street Price: $99
Requires: This is a text database readable by virtually any personal computer.
Direct Contact Publishing
Being able to connect a portable PC to one at home or the office via modem has long been possible; Laplink Professional simply does it with style. All the basic features you need are here: remote-controlled operation of a second computer, file transfer between computers, printing capability from either computer and the like. But it's the extras that make the program a steal: auto transfer and synchronization of files on both computers, a SpeedSync module that updates only the altered parts of a file, and text chat for times when you're working on the program with a user on the remote end. Peace of mind for the digital pack rat.
Street Price: $61
Requires: An IBM-compatible 486DX 100 MHz PC or higher, Windows 3.1 or higher, Windows CE 2.0 for handhelds, 16MB RAM, 10MB hard-drive space, CD-ROM
Joe Dysart (email@example.com), a software analyst and Internet business consultant, has written for more than 40 publications, including The New York Times.