Compiled by Dave Raffo
By now, you know that you need the World Wide Web to conduct your business. You're just not sure of the best way to go about it. Don't worry--there's plenty of software that can help, whether you want to create a home page, find the most useful Web sites or do some research.
Looks count for a lot on home pages, so you want the best graphic design possible. Asymetrix Web 3D lets you easily create three-dimensional graphics for your home page from your desktop. You can use it to convert images to GIF and other standard Internet formats, and then connect your design to a Universal Resource Locator (URL) with a HyperText Markup Language (HTML) editor (one comes with the program).
You begin by selecting a starter scene from the program's catalog of home-page designs; then drag and drop a 3-D model into your scene and add 3-D text by using any TrueType font. Refine your scenes with the program's special effects, and Web 3D completes the rendering process to generate your final opus.
The program comes bundled with Internet browsers and online access through CompuServe's Mosaic Direct and the IBM Internet Connection service.
Lost in cyberspace? Find your way around with WebCompass from Quarterdeck. This meta search engine for the Web lets you send a single query to multiple search engines such as Yahoo and WebCrawler. WebCompass searches far and wide, then catalogs the
information and creates abstracts. It breaks voluminous results into subtopics, and you can drill down to specific topics. Schedule regular queries of selected Web sites, and WebCompass will update the information in your database.
You can access more than 10,000 clip-art images, 250 textures, 500 photos, and 500 TrueType and Type 1 fonts for your
Web home page with CorelXARA. The 32-bit CD-ROM product is a "light" version of CorelDRAW and complements a graphics or desktop publishing package. It saves images in formats including JPEG, GIF, interlaced GIF and transparent GIF for use on Web pages.
Dashboard 95 Web Edition untangles the web you weave when checking out the sites. The graphical program, which works with any 32-bit Web browser, organizes your Favorite Places or Bookmarks so you can get around with single-click access.
Price not set at press time.
Practice safe surfing with McAfee's WebScan. The anti-virus software helps prevent the downloading of virus-infected files and e-mail. WebScan detects macro viruses such as the Winword.concept bug that can hide in Internet e-mail attachments.
No matter what kind of business you're in, you'll never tap into the mother lode with out-of-date information. GoldMine for Windows 95 helps you stay organized with its e-mail, group scheduling, paging and contact functions. The contact manager's extensive search capabilities make it easy to share information across a network or workgroup. You can drag and drop documents to contacts, and simplify reports with GoldMine's Report Writer.
$295, single user; $895, 5-user pack
When it comes to printers, Xerox does more than copy the competition. The DocuPrint 4508 Personal Laser Printer and DocuPrint 4517 Network Laser Printer set new standards in speed and functions for black-and-white desktop machines.
The DocuPrint 4508 provides output of 8 pages per minute for the price of a 6ppm printer. Aimed at small businesses and workgroups, the unit prints at a resolution of 600x600 dots per inch. It measures 7.2 by 14.2 by 13.6 inches and weighs 17 pounds.The DocuPrint 4517 works at 17ppm at either 600x600 or 1200x1200dpi. The network printer's options include a duplex unit ($373 street) the size of a toner cartridge, and a password-secure mailbox/collator.
DocuPrint 4508, $695 (street); DocuPrint 4517, $1,999 (street)
The CTX 17XA DiamondTron 17-inch monitor is part of CTX's Expert Series for graphics professionals, but it doesn't take an expert to control the picture. You can change image characteristics with one touch of the on-screen display buttons, and 30 digital controls let you fine-tune the picture. The unit's display is cylindrical, vertically flat and square-cornered; it uses an electron gun and 0.25mm aperture grille mask to eliminate distortion. A short tube neck makes for a compact enclosure. The 17XA DiamondTron displays an unlimited number of colors and supports resolutions up to 1600x1200 pixels with refresh rates as high as 160Hz. The monitor has a viewable area of 16 inches.
With its MPEG Creation Station Mark II, Smart and Friendly packages everything you need to develop, edit and master CDs right from your PC. The bundle consists of FAST Electronic's FPS/60 video capture card, XingCD MPEG encoding software and Xing MPEG Player, a Smart and Friendly CD-R 1002 dual-speed CD-Recorder with Adaptec controller, Macromedia Director 4.0 and Authorware Star, plus Incatsystems' Easy-CD Pro software. The XingCD software compresses the content after editing, the Xing MPEG Player allows viewing of MPEG clips without MPEG hardware, and the Easy-CD Pro program lets you write content to a CD.
Smart and Friendly
For less than $300, Connectware PhoneWorks 28.8 provides you with a full duplex speakerphone, fax/voice-mail system and Internet access services. The PC adapter card comes bundled with Fax Works software that combines fax, voice and data. It includes an address book and lets you schedule faxes for off-peak hours. The Internet Phone software lets you make toll-free phone calls over the Internet to eliminate long-distance and international charges, and the product includes account packages for America Online, CompuServe and Prodigy.
If a 150MHz Pentium Pro processor isn't enough to make you take notice, the Compaq Deskpro XL 6150 Model 2100/PD also comes standard with a feature that isn't even an option in other PCs: a PD-CD drive that rewrites to a 650MB optical disk.
The Model 2100/PD ships standard with 32MB of RAM, a 2.1GB hard disk and Windows NT Workstation 3.51 on CD-ROM. It also features 64-bit graphics, dual in-line memory modules (DIMMs) that allow expansion to 512MB of RAM, an audio-based Vocalyst Keyboard and a SilentCool Fan to cool processors.
Compaq was quick out of the gate with two other 150MHz Pentium Pro models. The Compaq Deskpro XL 6150 Model 1050/CD comes standard with 16MB of RAM, a 1GB hard disk and a quad-speed CD-ROM drive. The lower-end Compaq ProLinea 6150e ships with 16MB of RAM, a 1GB or 1.6GB hard disk and quad-speed CD-ROM drive.
Deskpro XL 6150 2100/PD, $6,499; 1050/CD, $4,999; ProLinea 6150e, from $3,999
Compaq Computer Corp.
Sharp has loaded all your multimedia notebook needs into the 7.3-pound, 2.3- by 11.7- by 9.7-inch Sharp PC-9070.
The notebook has a 133MHz Pentium processor, 64-bit PCI bus, removable quad-speed CD-ROM drive and 12.1-inch Super VGA active-matrix display. It also includes a 28.8Kbps voice/fax/ data modem, Sound Blaster Pro 16 audio, 32-bit graphics with MPEG decoder for video compression and infrared capabilities. It ships standard with 16MB of RAM and a 1GB hard disk. Stereo speakers, a microphone and front-control panels for the audio features are also included.
A similar unit, the Sharp PC-9040, offers a 120MHz Pentium, while the Sharp PC-9010 has a 100MHz Pentium. All three transfer data through their infrared communications unit at 4Mbps.
The PC-9010 also provides a dual-scan display, 8MB of RAM and a 772MB hard disk. The CD-ROM is optional. The three models ship standard with 256KB of write-back cache and lithium ion battery pack. You can expand the memory to 40MB of RAM, and replace the 3.5-inch floppy drive with a second lithium ion battery pack.
Prices not available at press time
Sharp Electronics Corp.
Do you treat your notebook worse than Joe Louis roughing up a contender? You might want to try the Amrel Rocky Pentium notebook, which definitely doesn't have a glass jaw. Amrel claims the Rocky keeps working even after it's dropped or immersed in water. It comes with either a 90MHz, 100MHz or 120MHz Pentium processor, and 10.4-inch TFT or STNcolor LCD.
From $3,800 to $5,800
With the CorelVideo videoconferencing system, you can hold meetings, share documents, or distribute videotapes or live news feeds across an office building or small campus via LAN connection. The system supports up to 80 users with one PC serving as a central switch.
Per video desktop, $499; CorelCAM camera, $499
The Number Nine Imagine 128 Series 2 graphics accelerator delivers true 128-bit graphics by using 128-bit technology in the graphics processor, the internal processor bus and data path to memory. Its 128-bit data path lets the graphics system draw either 16 8-bit pixels, eight 16-bit pixels or four 32-bit pixels per clock cycle. The series is available in configurations ranging from 2MB to 8MB of EDO DRAM, or 4MB to 16MB of EDO VRAM.
Number Nine Visual Technology Corp.
You can compress video for CD-ROM titles and other multimedia programs at your 486/66 PC with TrueMotion-S Compressor. The TrueMotion-S software has a seven-to-one compression time ratio on Pentium-based PCs.
Lotus' SmartSuite 96 Edition for Windows 95 incorporates team computing applications geared to take advantage of Win95's 32-bit technology.
SmartSuite 96 contains 32-bit versions of the Word Pro word processor, Freelance Graphics, Approach database and the SmartCenter suite command center. Updated versions of the 1-2-3 spreadsheet, Organizer scheduler and ScreenCam multimedia tool are also included.
The suite provides direct Internet access through America Online's Global Network Navigator. SmartSuite 96 comes with free upgrade coupons for upcoming 32-bit versions of 1-2-3, Organizer and ScreenCam.
The suite's TeamReview, TeamConsolidate and Versioning features use OLE 2.0 to make it easier to edit and review documents.
Lotus Development Corp.,a subsidiary of IBM Corp.
Combine a flowchart with a spreadsheet, and you have Clear Process, a processmanagement program that graphically analyzes business procedures.
Clear Process includes two Clear Software products, allClear III flow charter and spreadsheet-based Clear Analyzer. To use Clear Process, you define the process with a flowchart, analyze the process to identify possible improvements, and redesign and optimize the process to incorporate the improvements. You then simulate the process and report your findings in a presentation-quality output.
The program lets you fashion diagrams from any dBASE, 1-2-3 or Excel file.
It's never too early to start figuring your income tax returns. And with Kiplinger TaxCut, it's still not too late to thoroughly investigate your best filing options. The program lets you compare different tax scenarios side by side and receive advice from Kiplinger experts. The CD-ROM multimedia version includes a nearly hour-long video of taxpayers discussing problems with responses from Kiplinger editors.
$39.95; state editions, $24.95
Block Financial Corp.
Besides being a 32-bit application, the latest Personal Tax Edge has improved its Tax Guide, printing and interviewing features. It now has 80 federal forms, schedules and worksheets.
$19; State Tax Edge module, $19
Create, tabulate and analyze surveys, tests and other forms with Raosoft SurveyWin 3.0. Design forms by dragging and dropping questions and possible responses anywhere on the page. The program's database compiles the answers and gives you results in graph, table or text form. You can include questions in yes/no, multiple-choice, numeric, weighted or open-end comment form.
206-525-4025, fax 206-525-4947
The Page Magic Gold Edition CD-ROM desktop publishing suite for small businesses combines the Page Magic desktop publishing program, Design Magic drawing and illustration application, and NEBS Business Image Collection of more than 1,000 pieces of clip art. The program supports OLE 2.0 and runs on Windows 95 or 3.1.
NEBS Software & Services
The Tamarack Personal Document Scanner isn't a multifunction device by itself, but it works as a copy machine when combined with a printer. It also acts as a plain-paper fax machine when used with a fax modem and laser printer. The versatile sheetfed unit is for the small/home office market.
The PDS uses a Compact Image optical sensor and performs black-and-white scans at 6 seconds per page with a resolution of 200dpi. The unit connects to your PC's Enhanced Capabilities Port for Windows 95 compatibility, or to a standard parallel port if no ECP is available. The scanner's pass-through connector lets you operate your printer directly from the PC so you can transfer information to the printer right from the scanner. The scanner measures a compact 3.55 by 12 by 2.7 inches and weighs 2.5 pounds. It supports OLE 2.0 and TWAIN-compatible apps.
Why be content to let scanners only create documents? Now you can also use scanners to electronically distribute, share, file and store documents.
Hewlett-Packard's new scanner series provides its first sheetfed scanner and a new color scanner. Both include Visioneer PaperPort 3.0 software to let you organize, file, fax, edit and copy documents, and Caere OmniPage OCR software.
The Hewlett-Packard ScanJet 4s measures 3.5 by 3 by 12.5 inches and provides 400dpi enhanced and 200dpi optical scanning resolution. You can move documents into more than 75 applications with one mouse click. The ScanJet 4s scans a typical page in less than 10 seconds.
The Hewlett-Packard ScanJet 4c scans at 2400dpi enhanced and 600dpi optical resolution. It has 30-bit color capabilities.
ScanJet 4s, $349; 4c, $995
Taiwan-based Pacific Image Electronics enters the North American market with the Pacific Image Scan Ace II color flatbed scanner. The 30-bit color scanner supports 600x1200dpi optical and 4800x4800dpi interpolated resolutions. It scans documents measuring up to 8.5- by 14-inch legal size. The scanner's CyberView software has an icon GUI for easy-access controls, and offers a large preview area.
Pacific Image Electronics
Designed as an upgrade to internal CD-ROM readers, the NEC MultiSpin 4x4 CD-ROM Changer is a quad-speed, four-disc changer with a 250ms average access time and a 600KBps data-transfer rate. The changer uses a 5.25-inch design. It accepts one CD at a time without a tray or caddy, and uses an internal disc elevator to switch between discs. You can also use the MultiSpin 4x4 as a CD audio changer.
You can point and click your way to easy CD-ROM disc switching with the Panasonic SQ-TC500N. The networkable, half-height quad-speed five-disc autochanger features a 600KBps transfer rate and 300ms access speed. It can change discs in 5 seconds. The autochanger weighs 2.9 pounds and measures 1.6 by 5.75 by 8.7 inches.
Panasonic Communications & Systems Co.
Samsung enters the CD-ROM market with the Samsung SCR-630 quad-speed drive. The internal drive has an access time of 220ms, 611Kbps data-transfer rate and enhanced ATAPI interface.
Samsung Electronics America, IS Div.
With the rollout of a new six-pack of Multiscan monitors, Sony addresses the varying needs of everyone from first-time PC owners to graphics professionals.
The Sony Multiscan 15sfII, 17sfII and 20sfII are enhanced versions of the Multiscan sf line for business users. The Multiscan 17seII and Multiscan 20seII are big-screen additions to Sony's line for graphics professionals, while the Multiscan 15sx is an entry-level monitor for under $500.
All the monitors are Plug-and-Play compatible and feature Sony's Trinitron CRT and aperture-grille technology. Sony's Digital Multiscan technology reduces the number of serviceable parts in the units. The monitors are EPA Energy Star and VESA DPMS (Display Power Manager Signaling) compliant.
Resolutions range from 1280x1024 for the 15-inch Multiscan 15sx and 15sfII and the 17-inch Multiscan 17sfII, to 1600x1200 for the 20-inch Multiscan 20seII.
The new Multiscan sfII and seII monitors feature on-screen controls, while the 15sx has controls on the right-front panel.
15sfII, $649; 17sfII, $1,099; 20sfII, $2,299; 17seII, $1,399; 20seII, pricing not yet available; 15sx, $499
Whether you depend on a monitor to display graphics or financial graphs, the Compaq QVision 210 offers the necessary screen size and high level of settings control.
The 21-inch (19.5 viewable inches) monitor offers enough real estate to reduce your scrolling and panning. On-screen controls adjust image size, position and rotation; screen geometry; and color temperature.
The QVision 210 comes with 16 preset screen configurations, and you can configure up to 14 additional settings for automatic screen positioning within separate applications. It also features AssetControl for remote tracking of all monitor information.
The monitor features 0.26mm dot pitch, scan rates between 30 and 93.4kHz, and 1600x1200 flicker-free images.
Compaq Computer Corp.
800-888-5858, fax 713-514-4583
The Hitachi Accuvue UX color monitor series incorporates Hitachi's new UltraColor CRT technology into three different 21-inch displays.
The screens offer 19.92-inch diagonal views and resolutions up to 1600x1200 at 85Hz. They include the UltraFine dot-pitch asymmetric shadow-mask design, microprocessor-based autoscanners and advanced high-frequency video amplifiers for document-imaging pros.
UX4721, $2,049; UX4921, $2,465; UX6821, $2,495
Hitachi America Ltd.
A built-in amplifier and two stereo speakers highlight the LG Electronics Multimedia Monitor 1535. The 15-inch monitor features a 14-inch viewing area, nonglare screen with 0.28mm dot pitch, noninterlaced video display, resolution up to 1280x1024 and 33 user-definable memories.
LG Electronics U.S.A.
The MicroTouch SpaceSaver VM-10 Touch Monitor is targeted at touch-based cash register systems. The 10-inch display monitor is available with MicroTouch's ClearTek analog capacitive touch screen or VersaTouch resistive touch screen.
It weighs 16 pounds and measures 10.4 by 11.2 by 12 inches.
With VersaTouch, $1,280; with ClearTek, $1,395
The Sampo AlphaScan 17gx features a 17-inch flat, square CRT with 0.26mm dot pitch and a 15.75-inch viewing area. The AlphaScan 17gx has a 1600x1200 maximum resolution and is Windows 95 Plug-and-Play compatible.
404-449-6220, fax 404-447-1109