GEnie: at your command. (General Electric information retrieval system; personal computers)
by George Campbell
If you've avoided subscribing to a commercial online service because of the high cost, recent developments at one major service will change your mind. General Electric's GEnie system has blasted away the normal online fees for many of its functions. For old and new GEnie users, time has literally stopped.
At the same time that the IBM/Sears Prodigy service is raising its monthly rates and adding surcharges for electronic mail, GEnie has eliminated charges for online time on over 100 new Star*Services. For a fee of only $4.95 per month, you can have unlimited GEnie access during nonprime hours to services like the Grolier Encyclopedia, online shopping, and travel reservations. Other free products include electronic mail, stock quotes, news and weather, plus online games.
GEnie has even eliminated the traditional $29.95 sign-up fee, allowing you to sign up and test the system at no charge. Even the first month's fee will be refunded if you decide to cancel the service. To make online life as easy as possible, GEnie also offers a free communications package, Aladdin, which has tools to improve access to GEnie products. You can download it directly while online.
Everything on GEnie isn't free, of course. Using roundtables for downloading software, accessing realtime conferences, or participating in the chat line will cost $6.00 per hour for users with 300-2400 baud modems. If you need these services, though, they're still a bargain. CompuServe, for example, charges $12.50 per hour for similar services.
If you have a modem and haven't yet tried out the vast resources of commercial online systems, this is a great opportunity. To get more information or to sign up, call GEnie's customer service at (800) 638-9636.
Although GEnie is a bargain, one of the benefits of CompuServe is its selection of shareware and freeware. Now that Microsoft's Windows 3.0 graphical user interface program has taken the PC world by storm, many users will be on the prowl for good Windows software.
Within days of Windows' release, the first shareware programs appeared on bulletin boards across the country. CompuServe led the way, with a special Microsoft-operated forum, just for Windows. To access it, enter GO MSWIN at any CompuServe prompt. At last count, there were over 1000 shareware and public domain programs for Windows available in the\at forum, and the number is growing quickly.
If you're not a CompuServe customer, don't despair. Most local and national BBSs offer many of these shareware and public domain programs. I've put together a list of some of the most popular Windows programs available online, with brief descriptions. Filenames are those used on CompuServe.
EYE CON.ZIP - Just for fun, this program displays an icon with eyes that follow your cursor around the screen.
ICONDR.ZIP - Design and edit your own full-color icons for Windows. This is the most popular program in the Windows forum on CompuServe.
WNCLK 2.ZIP - This program includes alram options and stopwatch features, and it can beep on the hour.
ICONLI.ZIP - A collection of 330 predrawn icons for your Program Manager creen. Most popular programs have an icon in this file.
MAGIC111.ZIP - Magic! is a screen saver for Windows 3.0 It blanks the screen with animated display when you're not working. It also features password protection.
MBW12.ZIP - Mandelbrot for Windows lets you view the famous Mandelbrot fractical image. The program includes scaling and zooming features.
ORG120.ZIP - Organize your notes in this diarylike personal information manager. Excellent searching tools and pages that turn like a real diary are special features.
PS.ZIP - Paintshop converts GIF graphical images into BMP or PCX formats, and vice versa. After conversation, you can edit images in Paintbrush.
PSNT3.ZIP - This file contains all the screen fonts needed to display accurate depictions of PostScript fonts in Windows applications.
UC-20.ZIP - Unicom 2.0 is a full-featured communications program for Windows 3.0 One of its most attractive and useful functions is its ability to download files while you work on other projects.
WINTR3.ZIP - A Testris-like falling-block game for Windows 3.0. Be careful not to become too obsessed with this one.
WIN2.ZIP - WinExit lets you exit Windows with a single mouse click instead of the usual three.
XVTDRW.ZIP - XVT Draw is a full-featured, object-oriented drawing program for Windows. Use it like a simple CAD program. It even offers easy curve-generation tools.
ZM30.ZIP - Zip Manager lets you manage your archived files from within windows. It can handle ZIP, ARC, and LZH file formats.
This list of programs is just the beginning. As more and more shareware authors move into programming for Windows 3.0, new programs appear almost daily. Try them out!