Feb 1996 Reviews

For a full listing of this month's reviews, click here.

(Editor's Note: The WinMag Box Score rates products on installation, usability, supporting materials, functionality, performance and utility. We use a 5-point scale:
1 poor, 2 fair, 3 good, 4 very good and 5 outstanding. A list of recommended desktop systems is at the end of the Reviews section; in future months, other hardware and software products will be added to the Recommended list.)

MediaStudio Pro 2.5

Bountiful Bundle for Graphics Gang

by: Lynn Ginsburg

Standalone graphics programs are growing rare--they're quickly being replaced by bundled suites that offer complete toolkits. Case in point: MediaStudio Pro 2.5, a multimedia and graphics management collection that includes image- and video-editing programs, apps for screen capture and video capture, Photo-CD browser, multimedia conversion utility, a morphing program and multimedia manager--all for a bargain-basement price.

MediaStudio might not be an all-in-one solution for everyone. Graphics professionals will no doubt prefer to purchase their programs separately, choosing the precise tool they need for specific graphics or multimedia tasks. But business users who frequently work with a variety of multimedia and graphics tools will no doubt appreciate MediaStudio's potpourri of useful products.

The various parts that make up MediaStudio are well-integrated. Graphical and multimedia elements suitable for editing with MediaStudio's separate programs can be managed through the suite's Album feature. Using the Album, you can organize multimedia elements into separate collections, managing image, audio and video files. These elements are presented as thumbnail slides, which can be scaled from 32x32 to 192x192. Batch operations make it easy to work with large collections for activities such as printing, sorting, searching and viewing according to a variety of criteria.

MediaStudio supports most major graphics formats (as well as some obscure ones) for display, but lacks one key Net-age standard: GIF. This is a major omission considering that most online services use GIF for uploading and downloading image files.

You can start up any of MediaStudio's editors from the Album, or launch your other favorite graphics applications for editing associated multimedia elements. One small gripe: When you pass the cursor over the various launch icons, the help balloon uninformatively displays the words "Launch Program" without identifying the application. Overall, however, the Album is a great resource for juggling many disparate multimedia elements. Its well-designed but spartan interface makes it a good place to get work done.

MediaStudio's video-editing program, appropriately called Video Editor, is one of the collection's strongest apps, with the emphasis on professional-level production controls. Though MediaStudio as a whole is intended for nonprofessionals, the video

package's high-end tools confront most users with by far the steepest learning curve of any of the suite's programs; however, it's time well spent. You can use Video Editor to combine audio, video, images and titles, and to coordinate these elements using the Timeline feature. There's also a great selection of special effects and transitions, with thumbnail previews so you can see how they work before applying them.

One of Video Editor's most powerful features is its support for moving paths, which can be applied to video clips, images and text. In addition to linear paths, you can opt for a 3-D path, which simulates movement around spheres and cylinders.

I was able to produce impressive results using the path functions, easily creating dynamic titling sequences with little effort. I also liked the program's sophisticated controls for configuring output for either analog or digital playback, with varied playback speeds for hard drive or CD-ROM. For output to tape or post-production work, Video Editor can create EDL (edit decision list) files to let you track all the clips, effects and transitions that make up your video.

MediaStudio's Morphing Editor is easy to use and well-designed, and complements the Video Editor well. I was up and running instantly with the program, creating impressive morph sequences without breaking a sweat. The Morphing Editor works with either 24-bit color or gray-scale images, and will automatically resample and scale the starting and ending images so they match.

The suite's Image Editor wasn't as impressive as the other components in MediaStudio. Although it includes most standard tools for image manipulation and enhancement, the tools never go beyond the basics. The program lacks features that are standard in other programs, such as multiple layers. It's competent, to be sure, but it simply can't compete with the feature sets of other image-editing programs.

All in all, though, MediaStudio offers excellent value. It's a well-integrated package for managing a mixed bag of multimedia tasks.

--Info File--MediaStudio Pro 2.5Price: $349Pros: Price; range of toolsCons: Limited image editor; no GIFPlatforms: Windows 95Ulead Systems800-858-5323, 310-523-9393WinMag Box Score: 3.5

CoSession 6.0

Full Functions from Afar

by:Rich Castagna

Unobtrusive" is the watchword for CoSession 6.0. This Windows 95 remote control program doesn't even hog screen space with its two modest main windows--one called Host and the other labeled Viewer (for the remote end).

Most of what's new about CoSession is under its covers. First and foremost is its compatibility with Windows 95, which provides a neat link to Windows 3.x systems. When you install CoSession, the program searches out your modem and attempts to match it up with one of the 300-plus models on its own modem list. If it doesn't find your precise model, you can use generic settings to achieve favorable results. It is odd, however, that CoSession doesn't take advantage of its new environment and simply tap into Windows 95's installed-hardware database to find your modem.

The Host and Viewer screens are quite similar, and not very different from those in the program's previous version. Both screens have large buttons on the left for access to basic operations, and the currently selected phone book entry sits on the right, above another big button that opens the phone book for additions, deletions and editing.

On the Host screen, you enter the names and phone numbers of users who are authorized to access the host machine. For each entry, you also add a log-on name and a password. To define additional security measures for a particular remote user, select Options from the Setup menu. In the Options dialog box, you can enable password security, set dial-back, limit the number of log-on attempts, establish a time limit for a log-on to be processed and set an automatic log-off after a predefined period of inactivity.

For each caller, you can describe file transfer privileges and directory access rights. You can also set the Host screen to blank and its keyboard and mouse to lock after a successful connection.

After setting up your connection profiles, a click on the Wait Call button will put CoSession in a ready-receive state and minimize it to Windows 95's taskbar.

The Viewer screen setup is much like the Host's. You create phone book entries for each host or type of connection desired for a single host. In the Viewer Setup dialog, you can store log-on names and passwords to automate host connections. You can also choose to blank the Host screen and prevent input at the host machine if these parameters have not already been set on the host side.

Making a remote control connection involves only a click on the Call button. When the two ends connect, the remote end sends its log-on and password. After a successful log-on, a click on one of the Viewer screen's key operational buttons--Remote Control, File Transfer or Keyboard Chat--gets things started.

The software's remote control performance is good, with support for up to 16 million colors. As with most remote control programs, keeping screen resolutions and color levels low--and at the same settings for both Host and Viewer--speeds the process considerably. To its credit, CoSession leaves your graphics driver intact and works with it--or at least around it--without replacing it as some other products do.

This version's file transfer facility is easier to use than that in the previous edition of CoSession. Just about everything you do in this improved interface is drag-and-drop. Some new behind-the-scenes technology speeds up file transfers, too. If the transferred file already resides on both the host and remote ends, CoSession examines each and only transfers the portions of the file that have actually changed. This is similar to LapLink's file-swapping smarts, and can be a great timesaver. You're not restricted to connections using modems and dial-up phone lines with CoSession. You can also use the program with two PCs linked by a serial cable (null modem) or by a network. The network protocols that CoSession supports include IPX/SPX (Novell NetWare), NetBIOS (Windows 95, Windows for Workgroups and Microsoft LAN Manager) and Winsock (Internet and TCP/IP networks).

One of CoSession's shortcomings could affect your remote control strategy. Its dial-back capability is limited to automatically calling only pre-entered dial-back numbers, so it can't accommodate "roving" dial-back, where the caller is asked to enter a phone number for his or her current location.

That limitation, plus CoSession's insistence on finding your modem on its own rather than asking Windows 95 for the information, are the only dents in this otherwise finely finished remote control program.

--Info File--
CoSession 6.0
$80 (street)
Pros: Push-button operation; Enhanced file transfer
Cons: No "roving" dial-back
Platforms: Windows 95, 3.x
Disk Space: 5.5MB
Triton Technologies
800-322-9440, 908-855-9440
WinMag Box Score: 3.5

Now Up-to-Date for Windows 95

Nothing's Passé with this PIM

by:Joel T. Patz

The year's still young, so now is a good time to make sense of your calendars and contact lists. Now Up-to-Date for Windows 95 promises to dispel the chaos and put information and organization at your fingertips. This new 32-bit PIM offers time management, contact information and communications for single users and multiplatform workgroups.

Now Up-to-Date's Quick Access Manager can appear at startup or be launched from within any application. It provides immediate access to your address book, daily schedule and QuickPad, an on-the-fly notebook for capturing information that gets linked to your address book and calendar. You can use QuickPad's SmartWords feature to save typing time by associating frequently scheduled events with a word--type the word, press the spacebar and the event is scheduled in the selected time period.

You can personalize your calendar with customization options that include font, style, color, event layout, header text and appointment categories for at-a-glance recognition. Add electronic banners and sticky notes as desired. The address book offers customization, too, with arrangeable fields and sorting options.

You can reschedule calendar events using drag-and-drop, and alarms remind you of important meetings. Use Find and QuickFind to search your address book according to criteria such as keywords, categories or specifically marked entries.

Now Up-to-Date is TAPI-, MAPI- and OLE 2.0-compliant, so you can dial your contacts by modem, communicate via a compatible e-mail program, and attach documents, files and graphics to your calendar or message from other OLE programs. On a network, Now Up-to-Date can be used to schedule group events, and users can selectively share information. When an entry is modified, authorized network users are notified, and changes to schedule and contact data made offline are easily reconciled with the network database.

The program also prints calendars, labels, envelopes and address books in a variety of popular formats.

Now Up-to-Date's tight integration of its features allows users quick access to information they need to do their job--nothing more, nothing less.

--Info File--
Now Up-to-Date forWindows 95
$99 (street)
Pros: Easy access to calendars, well integrated
Cons: Breaks no new ground
Platforms: Windows 95; 3.1 and Mac versions available
Now Software
800-722-5963, 503-274-2810
WinMag Box Score: 3.5

Instant Multimedia

Make Your Charts Hop (Literally)

by: Rich Castagna

Why settle for flip charts when you can have charts that flip? Instant Multimedia adds instant excitement into PowerPoint 4.0 by animating elements in the presentation program's templates.

The slim application takes over when PowerPoint's done. In Instant Multimedia's modest window, you provide the name of the presentation you want to animate and, after the program loads the file, the first slide is shown in a preview window. You select an animation style from a drop-down list that is applied to all slides in the presentation.

You then run the entire presentation to test the animation, or view the slides one at a time. Instant Multimedia's effects include transitions, and the program can animate text, graphics and chart elements. For example, I chose an effect that made my slide titles drop into place, after the dotted lines beneath them were assembled piece by piece. Instant Multimedia's most dramatic touch was on a slide in which a bar chart's bars appeared to grow out of the x-axis.

Options are rather limited, but when you click on the Options button, the program's display will double in size. Instant multimedia offers presentation additions such as highlighter and notation pens, slide advance options and sound.

Instant Multimedia's strength is its simplicity, but it's also its weakness. Right now, the program only accepts files saved in PowerPoint 4.0 format. The next version should remedy that limitation.

--Info File--
Instant Multimedia
Pros: Ease of use
Cons: Limited features; PowerPoint only
Platforms: Windows 95, 3.1 (requires PowerPoint 4.0)
Gold Disk
800-982-9888, 408-982-0200
WinMag Box Score: 3.0

HotDocs 3.0

Boilerplate Special

by:Cheryl Dominianni

I can still remember the agonizing hours we spent struggling to customize contracts at a job I once had. Too bad we didn't have HotDocs back then. HotDocs 3.0, which I tested in beta, converts boilerplate word processor documents into automated templates. It runs within the major word processors--Microsoft Word, WordPerfect and Ami Pro/Word Pro--and is available in 16- and 32-bit versions.

To create a template, open a boilerplate document, start up HotDocs and choose Create. You provide a name and an optional description, and HotDocs brings up the document, ready to be edited into a template. In the document, you select words or phrases that will change when it's reused. The program inserts a variable for each of these words or phrases; you describe the variable's properties using a series of dialog boxes. Continue this process for all text that's subject to change and then save the completed template.

To use the HotDocs template, open it and supply the information requested by the dialog boxes. When all the information is provided, the customized document is generated.

HotDocs ensures the proper use of names, pronouns, computed values, optional paragraphs and other variable data that you've defined. Optional paragraphs are controlled by a true/false variable. Answer "true" when you're creating a document to insert these paragraphs; a "false" reply skips over them.

Enhancements to version 3.0 of HotDocs include faster document assembly, increased repeat capability to allow automation of more complex documents, partial test assembly, longer prompts (up to 1,024 characters) and expanded use of variables. The new release also includes general business templates.

HotDocs is easy to use, and the templates you create with it are superior to similar offerings available in your word processor. The program should easily find its way into law and medical offices, insurance firms and human resources departments, but it should be considered by anyone who spends too much time wrestling with filling in standardized business forms.

--Info File--
HotDocs 3.0
$99; upgrade, $39.95
Pros: Integration with word processor; ease of use
Cons: Data entry
Platforms: Windows 95, 3.x
Capsoft Development Corp.
800-500-DOCS, 801-763-3900
WinMag Box Score: 4.5


Matchmaker's Promise: What You See Is What You Get

by: James Alan Miller

You may think color matching is a concern only for graphic artists. But to use a color printer most effectively, it's important for all users to calibrate their monitors and printer reproduction as closely as possible. Colorific brings the techie tinkering of color matching to an understandable level.

Colorific works with Windows 95's Kodak-developed ICM color control, which relies on defaults, instead of on part of a monitor's INF file. If your monitor didn't come with a profile, it's likely that color integrity is compromised.

Before running Colorific, stabilize on-screen colors by warming up your monitor for at least 30 minutes.

First, select your monitor from Colorific's list. If it's not included, choose a "generic" monitor equal in size to yours. After selecting a monitor, calibrate for brightness, contrast, and red, green and blue by following a series of screens. Next, select one of Colorific's color-reference cards--two are included, for fluorescent or incandescent lighting--and place it within the area marked on the screen. Using the card as a guide, adjust the contrast control to finish and create a color-correction profile.

The thin manual is informative and easy to follow, with diagrams and screenshots to complement the text.

Some monitor manufacturers--Nanao, NEC, Nokia, Mitsubishi, Optiquest, Iiyama and Sony, among others--include Colorific with their monitors, but the program is also available separately. If it doesn't come with your monitor, it's worth getting. It's a simple, inexpensive way to ensure proper color matching.

--Info File--
$49.95; upgrade, $14.95
Pros: Installation
Cons: Must recalibrate frequently
Platforms: Windows 95, 3.x
Disk Space: 2.5MB
Sonnetech Ltd.
415-957-9941, fax 415-957-9942
WinMag Box Score: 4.0


Firm Financial Facts

by:Joel T. Patz

The answer to the question, "So how's business?" is never easy for owners, financial managers or CEOs. The answer might be easier if the information--profit and loss, cash flow and financial ratios--was at hand. But that data depends on planning, forecasting and modeling, which typically require weeks to prepare. Cashé will help slash the time it takes you to pull that information together and prepare an in-depth study of your business.To make this application strut its stuff, you provide the financial information to develop the strategies for managing cash flow, determining the benefits of investing in property, plant and equipment, and examining scenarios of major business decisions. The more detail you enter, the better. But Cashé will work well with minimal information, too, then automatically adapt its sophisticated output when more information becomes available.

Cashé's built-in analytical engine is revved up to handle income statements, assets and liabilities, investments, and accounts payable and receivable. You set up a Business Profile that includes where you pay the most state taxes, the SIC code which best describes your business, the fiscal year end date, the forecast period and the type of currency to be used in the analytical process. Next, you enter the company's actuals, beginning balances and other relevant data for planning and modeling. You're then ready to begin performance testing for any imaginable scenario.

The Assumptions tab reveals six major categories (sales and expenses, payroll, cash management, assets, liabilities and equity, and externals) and 16 subcategories, such as cost of sales, benefits, line of credit, investments, debt and taxes. The program combines the information you fill in here with your initial input. It then calculates exceptionally high-quality pro forma financial statements using your own default or Dun and Bradstreet industry averages.

Additional analytical tools further refine the information for a variety of conditions. You can view the summary Big Picture, and quickly and effortlessly design Trends and Variance, Breakeven, ROE and ROIC, Ratio and Valuation analyses. You print statements as they appear on screen or modify them to suit your requirements.

Cashé's excellent documentation and context-sensitive help complement its sophisticated analytical tools.

--Info File--
CashéPrice: Introductory, $995 (street)
What-if scenarios;documentation
Cons: Price
Platforms: Windows 3.1, 95
Disk Space: 8MB
Business Matters
800-993-3600, 617-899-8700
WinMag Box Score: 4.5

Select Street Atlas 1.0

Map App's a Guide for Rides

by: Hailey Lynne McKeefry

No more zipping down interstates with a Hagstrom map flying in my face. Next time out, I'll be prepared with maps I've created using Select Street Atlas. The CD-ROM contains a country-full of street maps, which you can customize and print with a variety of markers and points of interest.

You search for a destination using a number of criteria, including state, city/place, zip code, area code/exchange, county or street. It's possible to view maps in 10 levels of detail, from National (which displays 3,200 miles of territory) to the half-mile Detail view. You pinpoint map locations with the program's 100 icons, with highlighting or with text.

What sets Select Street Atlas apart from its competition is its database of 1 million location markers in 20 categories (banks, hospitals, gas stations, hotels, restaurants and so forth). If you're visiting a new city you'll value this additional map information. A second CD-ROM provides address and phone information for each location in the database, along with a utility that searches the database for specific business locations. You can also import listings from Pro CD's Select/ Phone telephone directory, which is available separately.

Before you put the pedal to the metal, take Select Street Atlas for a spin. It's a solid addition to any traveler's arsenal of survival apps.

--Info File--
Select Street Atlas 1.0
: $99 (street)
Pros: Location database
Cons: Portability (need CD)
Platforms: Windows 95, 3.1, NT
Disk Space: 5MB
Pro CD
800-99-CD-ROM, 508-750-0000
WinMag Box Score: 3.5

Schedule It

Datemaker Dodges Conflicts

by:Tom Ponzo

It's a dog-eat-dog world out there. If maintaining your daily schedule is taking a big bite out of your day, you might be barking up the wrong tree. Consider Schedule It. The program handles individual and group calendars with aplomb and runs on both Windows 95 and 3.x, so mixed client environments on a network are no problem.

Schedule It covers the personal calendar basics with ease. You can display your schedules six different ways: daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual views or on a Gantt-like chart. Your daily planner can be broken into 10-, 15-, 30- or 60-minute time divisions.

The program's extensive drag-and-drop support is its strongest point. Doing just about anything in the program's three main functional areas--Appointments, To Do lists and Events--is remarkably easy. It's possible to create an appointment four ways: you drag the Clock icon from the upper left corner and drop it onto any part of the calendar; you click the New button in the daily calendar interface; on the daily appointment display, you double-click on the time you wish to set up an appointment; or you select Schedule from the Create menu.

Schedule It works with MAPI-compliant e-mail systems and can send appointment notifications to group meeting participants. The notification process and Schedule It's integration with your e-mail system is limited--recipients can reply to the message, but the program doesn't automatically enter the appointment on their schedules or the meeting organizer's scheduling.

The program is effective at alerting you to scheduling conflicts when you're setting up a group meeting. It not only identifies a conflict, but suggests alternative dates and times based on the invited attendees' personal schedules. Schedule It can be used effectively for resource scheduling as well.

Schedule It is a simple solution to the knotty problem of getting a number of people in one place at the same time.

--Info File--
Schedule It
Pros: Price; installation; drag-and-drop creation
Cons: E-mail integration
Platforms: Windows 95, 3.x
Disk Space: 8MB
RAM: 4MB (8MB recommended)
Outlook Software Corp.
800-925-5700, 214-713-6370
WinMag Box Score 4.0

Kiplinger's Small Business Attorney

Good Counsel Raises the Bar for Legal Docs

by: Joel T. Patz

Lawyers often take it on the chin unfairly, but one thing is true: If you use an attorney for all of your business' legal work, it's going to be expensive. Kiplinger's Small Business Attorney isn't a substitute for a living, breathing barrister, but it can help you prepare contracts and other legal documents.

The program includes more than 80 business contracts and documents divided into major categories: financial, sales and marketing, personnel and employment, sales and purchase of goods, corporate, technology, real estate and personal-asset protection. The document titles range from Security, Sales Employment, Partnership and Value Added Reseller agreements to Conflict of Interest Guidelines, Bylaws, and several types of Leases, Wills and Powers of Attorney. Highlighting a document title provides a usage description; clicking on the Document Discussion button brings up a non-legalese overview.

When a document is opened, blanks or decision points that need to be filled in appear in color. Double-clicking on one of these launches the Expert Guidance feature, which provides an explanation, advice and other essential information to help you make your decision. To understand more about a specific issue, click on the Business Law button for context-sensitive information.

You can use the program's word processor to edit your documents or export them to another program in RTF (Rich Text Format). The CD-ROM multimedia version offers video clips that provide more detailed explanations of the documents.

Small Business Attorney is easy to understand, intuitive and instantly usable.

--Info File--
Kiplinger's Small Business Attorney
Pros: Educational and planning tools
Cons: Not a substitute for attorney
Platforms: Windows 95, 3.1
Disk Space: 6MB
Block Financial Corp.
800-813-7940, 913-385-2800
WinMag Box Score 4.0

Decisive Survey

Inbox Vox Populi

by:James E. Powell

Sometimes the best way to get information is to ask. But the more people you ask, the more difficult the process. Decisive Survey uses e-mail to distribute and collect question-naires easily and efficiently.

You build a survey as a series of text blocks and questions. Individual question responses can be single or multiple choice, free-form text or ratings. You can also direct respondents to skip to questions based on particular responses, but there's no way to ensure that these instructions are followed.

Distribute your survey via almost any e-mail system, online service or groupware system. To reach a wider audience, you can also send the survey over the Internet.

After filling in their answers, respondents return the survey by e-mail. Decisive Survey checks your inbox, collects new replies and automatically adds the responses to the database while checking for validity. Surveys with errors are flagged, and you can scan and edit them. The program also tracks who has responded and lets you exclude respondents from your tabulation.

With the results, the program creates crosstab reports, customizable charts and lists of free-form responses. You can filter responses, and display results by question or respondent.

The user manual needs improvement, and the online tutorials are superficial. But if you experiment with a sample survey, you should get the hang of things quickly.

--Info File--
Decisive Survey 1.0
Unlimited surveys, $495-$2,495, depending on responses
Pros: Survey setup; e-mail link
Cons: Linked question types
Platforms: Windows 95, 3.x
Disk Space: 10MB
Decisive Technology
800-987-9995, 415-528-4300
WinMag Box Score 3.5

Head to Head: Internet Suites

Five Vehicles for the Information Highway

by:Karen Kenworthy

To some, the Internet is the information superhighway. But it's more like an electronic truck stop: all the info you can digest, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Internet client software--your electronic knife and fork to partake of online offerings--lets you browse the Web, download files from ftp (file-transfer protocol) sites, send and receive e-mail, join discussion groups (NetNews) and search for new delectables.

These five Internet client packages share common traits: All have a dialer and TCP/IP stack, and provide Web, ftp and e-mail.

All-In-One Internet Kit 2.0

This collection of applications is hardly all-in-one, but rather the result of culling components from different sources, then wrapping them all up with an installation program and documentation.

All-In-One's Web browser is a lackluster program that does not support features such as tables and tiled backgrounds. If you're still using Windows 3.x, you'll need to install the included Win32s extensions.

The rest of the collection is more impressive. The e-mail client--Pegasus Mail--spell-checks outgoing messages and has a glossary/ abbreviation feature that speeds typing. You can use it to automate message processing according to specific text strings in message fields. Copy or move messages to folders, forward to other users, print out messages or develop your own rules-based message filter. UUEncode and MIME formats are supported, and attached files are converted to and from BinHex, a popular Macintosh format.

The suite's ftp client--TCP Pro ftp--also excels, with drag-and-drop to move files between local and remote file systems.

The NetNews client, News Express, lets you create powerful rules to filter out unwanted messages and select those worth downloading. Throw in very usable telnet, Archie, Ping, Finger and Whois clients, and you've got a very nice, if unrelated, collection.

--Info File--
All-In-One Internet Kit 2.0
Price: $
Pros: E-Mail; NetNews; price
Cons: Web browser; proprietary encryption key
Platforms: Windows 95, 3.x
Disk Space: 10MB
Wentworth Worldwide Media
800-638-1639, 717-393-1000
WinMag Box Score: 3.5

Crosstalk 2.3

This venerable comm app has added an Internet suite. It's a Windows 3.x program that also runs under Windows 95 and NT, but under Win95 some configuration options are not available. The suite's key feature is its use of Netscape 1.0 as its Net browser, NetNews and gopher tools.

Crosstalk's telnet and ftp applications are limited but relatively easy to use. Still, they pale by comparison to the Internet Mail application. It offers easy-to-read file folders, along with simple, flexible configurations and idiot-proof MIME transfer options.

Crosstalk's experience in terminal emulation shows. Perks include keyboard mapping via a virtual keyboard display, point-and-click scripting and the CASL scripting language.

Installation isn't difficult, but it's not very user friendly. Crosstalk's documentation explains Internet intricacies in detail, but some illustrations--and a few features--don't match those in the applications.

As an Internet suite, Crosstalk 2.3 is less than stellar. But for a connectivity package that does everything from running a BBS to cruising the Web, it's a good choice.

--Info File--
Crosstalk 2.3
$179; $100 (direct)
Pros: Netscape 1.0; non-Internet connectivity options
Cons: Price; ftp; Telnet
Platforms: Windows 95, 3.x, NT
Disk Space: 13MB
Attachmate Corp.
800-426-6283, 206-644-4010
WinMag Box Score: 3.5

Explore Anywhere 2.0

Explore Anywhere's dialer can switch between LAN and dial-up connections without editing configurations. Its TCP/IP stack supports high-speed ISDN connections via the emerging WINISDN.DLL standard, which is expected to be in a future Windows 95 edition and is already shipping with some ISDN adapters.

The Web browser is disappointing. It doesn't support tiled backgrounds or tables, and doesn't display graphics until all the images are received. It's a 32-bit app, so you must install the included Win32s extensions for Windows 3.x. FTP Software says a dual 16- and 32-bit version will be offered soon.

Mail OnNet, Explore Anywhere's e-mail client, is a gem. Once an event trigger--such as receiving mail--occurs, OnNet searches affected messages for specific text strings (with Boolean support). When it finds a match, it can forward, delete, move or save the message, convert it to text or direct actions in another program.

The ftp client uses a dual list-box interface to navigate local and remote file systems. Buttons initiate file transfers and text-file viewing and so forth.

Explore Anywhere includes an ftp server, so you can set up your own ftp directories for sending and receiving files. The server can be configured for read-only access, directory restrictions and password-protected user accounts. The optional access log records errors and unauthorized access attempts.

The suite's telnet application emulates many terminals, including VT320, VT220, VT100, VT52 and SCO ANSI. You can remap keyboards and set terminal specifications.

Explore Anywhere also includes Keyview, a nifty file viewer that can handle 170 file formats, including most business and multimedia application formats.

--Info File--
Explore Anywhere 2.0
Pros: High-end connectivity support; ftp; e-mail
Cons: Web browser; price
Platforms: Windows 95, 3.x, NT
Disk Space: 13MB
FTP Software
800-282-4387, 508-685-3300
WinMag Box Score: 3.5

Internet Chameleon 4.5

Internet Chameleon comes with a database of 2,000-plus Web sites, but its WebSurfer browser is merely adequate, lacking support for tiled backgrounds and tables. The Chameleon ftp client's standard dual list-box design is easy to understand, but nothing special.

Administration and e-mail are Chameleon's strong suits. The installer automatically preserves your Internet connection, even on a LAN, unless you install NetManage's own dialer and stack. The dialer supports multiple Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and locations, and the stack supports DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol), a protocol that lets a server assign IP addresses automatically to individual workstations.

The e-mail program includes a spell checker and a rule-based router that scans only the From, To, Subject or Sender fields. If a search string is found, the router can move the message to a folder, forward it or delete it. Several rules can be in effect simultaneously, so more than one action can occur with a single message. You can substitute NetManage's ECCO Pro PIM for the program's address book, and Internet e-mail will be added to ECCO's calendar, scheduling and contact-management features.

The telnet client emulates an impressive terminal variety-- ANSI, SCO ANSI, AT386, VT52, VT100, VT220, VT320, TVI950, VI955, WYSE50 and WYSE60--and offers full control over nearly every aspect of emulation, including a graphical keyboard remap feature.

Three utilities--named after NetManage's mascot Newt--are included. NewtView displays .BMP, .JPG, .GIF, .TIF, .PCX, .DCX and .PCT graphics. NewtSound plays .WAV, .SND, .VOC, .AU and .IFF sound files. NewtShooter adds the Internet to other Windows apps with a small Newt button on each program's title bar. Highlight a URL, click the Newt button and WebSurfer finds the site.

--Info File--
Internet Chameleon 4.5
Pros: Connectivity options; e-mail; can Internet-enable other apps
Cons: Web browser
Platforms: Windows 95, 3.x
Disk Space: 16MB
408-973-7171, fax 408-257-6405
WinMag Box Score: 3.5

InternetSuite 1.0

InternetSuite's setup program preserves an Internet setup or can install its dialer, stack and Location Manager. Location Manager stores profiles for multiple Internet connections, so you can quickly switch access methods. The browser lacks table and tiled-background support, but it's easy to use. InternetSuite's Helper builds URLs with button-clicks and minimal typing; you can view several Web pages at once.

The Message Center combines e-mail and NetNews clients in a single program. It doesn't check spelling or support MIME formatting, but it does automatically UUEncode attached files. It even compresses files in UNIX's Compress (.Z) format and can stuff multiple files into a UNIX TAR archive.

The telnet client supports VT52, VT100 and VT220 emulation, in both 80 and 132 column mode. Keyboard options include several languages, and the ASCII and DEC Multinational character sets.

The suite's highlight is its ftp client, a utility that resembles Explorer or File Manager. You can open several simultaneous connections in separate dual-paned windows. The left pane has a hierarchical tree, with an entry named "Ftp Network World," followed by ftp sites you've located and the directories on each. Reach them by double-clicking on the name. The right pane is a sortable display of the selected directory's contents. You can run File Manager or Explorer alongside, and drag and drop files between programs.

--Info File--
InternetSuite 1.0
$39.95 (street)
Pros: Installation; ease of use for novices; price
Cons: Web browser; e-mail; telnet
Platforms: Windows 95, 3.x, NT
Disk Space: 8MB
Quarterdeck Corp.
800-354-4757, 310-309-3700
WinMag Box Score: 3.5