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Software
Personal Productivity
Mapping software and personal finance programs keep you headed in the right direction--literally and financially.


Friendly, smart, intuitive--and always at your beck and call. If this sounds like the ideal personal assistant, it is--and it comes in the form of software designed to make your life easier. Personal productivity applications include programs that help you balance your bottom line and point you in the right direction.

The key developments in this software category have been more incremental than revolutionary. The programs that address financial concerns have grown friendlier, so they're easier and faster to use. And the amount of intelligence built into these programs has also grown. Software developers active in this arena are keenly aware that their apps are likely to be used once a month (or even less frequently), so learning curves are short, flat or barely present. Because these apps tackle familiar chores, they've become more intuitive, closely mimicking the manual procedures they automate and anticipating logical courses of action.

Mapping (trip-planning) software hit its stride in the past year, becoming simpler and faster, and offering more detailed maps. These programs have traveled beyond streets and highways, too, adding information about tourism sites, state and national parks, hotels and businesses. In doing so, mapping software evolved into trip-planning systems that are more useful than paper map replacements.

The Web will play a larger role in the personal productivity category. On the financial side, stock updates and other time-sensitive information can be disseminated with unparalleled dispatch; bill paying, account updates and other transactions will leverage the Web even more--a factor that seems more contingent on public confidence than available technology. The Internet, too, is a logical destination for mapping programs. Some mapping software relies on government data that tends to be updated infrequently, so new roads often don't appear or obsolete roads fail to disappear. The Internet will provide far more timely updates for mapping databases.

AND THE WINNERS ARE ...

MAPPING


PERSONAL FINANCE


PERSONAL INVESTMENT

Personal Productivity: The Winners




Copyright © 1997 CMP Media Inc.