Tiny protector: These days, viruses run amok-especially now that many of our machines are hooked to the Net day-in and day-out via DSL and cable modems. Your computer can be easily hacked into if you leave it on and open to outside sources. Hackers can even take control of your system, using it to propagate viruses or access your company's network. What you need is a firewall to protect you from the outside evils. TINY Software's Tiny Personal Firewall (www.tinysoftware.com) is, well, a tiny program at just 222K. With it, you can monitor who's trying to enter your system. This program runs on any Windows system, including 95, 98, 2000 and NT, and is easy to use and set up. And at just $29 (street), Tiny Personal Firewall makes security a reality for everyone.
Time is money: If you're in the service industry, reservations and appointments are the mainstay of your business. Wouldn't it be great if your customers could make appointments on your Web site 24 hours a day? Xtime (www.xtime.com) thinks so; in fact, it's one of the first companies to address the needs of businesses that require online scheduling. The solutions are already used in hospitals and more. Xtime was still in beta when we checked it out and pricing was not available.
Positive charge: If you or your accountant is having a difficult time mastering the fine art of QuickBooks, Peachtree or MAS90, TakeCharge! ($249 street), a program from Marlatt Crash Coursewear, may be just what you're looking for. Designed to enable bookkeepers to take full advantage of the features offered by those fairly robust programs, TakeCharge! promises an engaging multimedia interactive format with practical examples, checklists and challenging quizzes. You'll also find a complete glossary of accounting and business terms and, hopefully, gain a new perspective on bookkeeping issues. For more, visit www.crashcourseware.com or call (877) 272-7429.
Cassandra Cavanah (ccavanah@earthlink. net) is a Los Angeles freelance writer who has reported on the computer industry for nine years.