Crosstalk inter.comm Suite 3.0

Get 32-Bit and You'll Be Rarin' to Go

The new 32-bit version of Crosstalk is easier to use and more feature-laden than ever. It retains automatic scripting, flexible telephone directories and a large supported-modem collection, and adds a full version of Netscape 2.0, a TCP/IP stack, ftp and Internet mail software. There's also a 16-bit Windows version with some incremental enhancements.

The 32-bit version adopts settings from an older install and prompts the user about ambiguities. In our tests, it showed trouble with references to the ancient, now unsupported, VIDTEX terminal type that required a hand edit for each entry. With that one exception, Crosstalk excels at terminal emulation.

Crosstalk's CASL scripting language is simple and intuitive, and uses an autorecord button. You can quickly and easily create custom buttons for frequently used keystroke combinations. Crosstalk features button bars for popular services such as MCI Mail, Official Airline Guide, Dialog and CompuServe.

Crosstalk inter.comm Suite 3.0
Price: $179
Pros: Easy upgrade; fast operation; flexible phone book
Cons: Old keyboard shortcuts
Platforms: Windows 3.x, 95
Disk Space:20MB
Attachmate Corp.
800-426-6283, 206-644-4010
WinMag Box Score 3.5

Symantec pcAnywhere 32

Remote Control Sans Head-Scratching

PcAnywhere's options are flexible yet straightforward. A click on the Quick Start button activates wizards for many operations. Additionally, pcAnywhere's button bar accesses key functions including host and remote sessions, file transfers, network connections and more.

To set up a multi-user host, you start by clicking on the Be a Host PC button. Double-click on the Add a Host icon, and a wizard will request information such as the name and type of connection. You define connection details by setting the new icon's properties.

PcAnywhere's Properties dialog has tabs for modem, connection and session parameters. You define callers' access rights using the Callers tab. If needed, a wizard will help you establish user accounts. The Security Options tab lets you establish safeguards such as failed-connection logging, limited log-on attempts per call and automatic disconnects for inactivity.

Another option captures a remote-control session for later playback. When a pcAnywhere client connects, it starts in terminal mode, where you enter your log-on name and password-or you can set up the session for automatic log-on.

Symantec pcAnywhere 32
Price: $149
Pros: Feature set; ease of use
Cons: Wizards offer only basic help
Platforms: Windows 95, NT 3.51
Symantec Corp.
800-441-7234, 541-334-6054
WinMag Box Score 4

LapLink for Windows 95

Communications For Everyone

LapLink's 32-bit remote-control, file transfer and chat program offer tools to please the weathered global nomad and the less-experienced homebody. For Internet fans, it includes TCP/IP support. For newcomers, it offers automatic help screens and tabbed dialog boxes so configuration screens aren't overly busy.

You can have LapLink 95 start before the Windows 95 log-on screen appears, letting callers establish a session when the host isn't logged onto your network.

This program also uses data already stored in Windows 95's Dial-Up Networking, a welcome addition. It supports Win95's long filenames and will automatically truncate them when posting files to Windows 3.x machines.

Experienced users will appreciate LapLink's new TAPI support, which lets multiple programs share modems. TCP/IP support lets you connect via subnets or the Internet, providing truly global access for the cost of a local call.

Our tests showed that the 32-bit LapLink's file transfer speeds are definitely faster. Transfer rates for direct cable connections increased by 50KB per second to 100KBps over the old version.

LapLink for Windows 95
Price: $149; upgrade from LapLink 6.0, $49
Pros: TCP/IP; Dial-Up Networking
Cons: Physical security
Platforms: Windows 95
Disk Space: 7MB
Traveling Software
800-343-8080, 206-483-8088
WinMag Box Score 4

Extra Personal Client 6.1

Hook Up To Anything

Attachmate's long-term connectivity experience shows in version 6.1 of Extra Personal Client, which is ready to connect to everything from IBM big iron, to an AS/400 running System Application Architecture (SAA), to the World Wide Web or Digital's All-In-One office system.

Like a Web browser, Extra lets you bookmark connections for quick access to different hosts. Once you've established a complex system connection, it's just a button-click away in future sessions. This version, available in both 16- and 32-bit editions, works more smoothly than its predecessors. There's room for improvement, though; for example, you must set up new asynchronous sessions for Extra even if you're already using Microsoft's SLIP/PPP services. But it is still among the easiest programs for connecting a PC to the mini/mainframe world.

Extra now supports OLE 2.0 on the Windows side and ftp, Kermit and advanced program-to-program communications (APPC) on the heavy-metal side. If your database needs DB2's massive power, Extra comes with Select, a DB query front end for both mainframe and AS/400 DB2 databases.

Oddly, some programs are only supported in 16-bit Windows. For example, if you like the IRMA style of IBM 3270 emulation, you have to use the 16-bit client. That aside, Extra is an outstanding multisystem networking product.

Extra Personal Client 6.1
Price: $425
Pros: Simplifies host access
Cons: Some emulations restricted to 16-bit
Platforms: Windows 3.x, 95, NT
Disk Space: 12MB (Win95), 16MB (NT)
RAM: Varies; up to 25MB
Attachmate Corp.
800-426-6283, 206-644-4010
WinMag Box Score 4

FocalPoint 5.0

Sweet Suite For Comm Mastery

Global Village's FocalPoint provides fax, e-mail, Web browsing and telephony support from one somewhat crowded interface. It offers a universal inbox for calls, faxes and e-mail. The inbox appears in the FocalPoint Tracker, which lets you drag and drop messages to mail folders, disk drives or network connections; you can also open folders, play back messages and control most FocalPoint operations.

The program's voice-mail capabilities aren't too extensive, but there are multiple, password-protected voice mailboxes, plus greetings and prompts, Caller ID screening features, canned music for callers on hold, (minimal) fax-on-demand support and speakerphone functions.

FocalPoint uses Quarterdeck's Mosaic, but you can use any browser you wish. The status bar stays active during Web surfing, so you can always access the Tracker. The program also uses Caere's OCR utilities.

If you access the Internet via one connection at work and another on the road, you can maintain a different setup for each location and change locations with a button click. It contains most of the configuration files you'll need for CompuServe and America Online, and includes data from many national Internet service providers.

FocalPoint 5.0
Price: $99
Pros: Centralizes comm services
Cons: Separate CD-ROM and diskette versions
Platforms: Windows 3.x, 95
Disk Space: 10MB-17MB
Global Village Communication
800-329-9675, 408-523-1000
WinMag Box Score 4