Professor DOS. (educational software) (evaluation)
by Len Poggiali
Everyone needs help with DOS. If the simplest MS-DOS command befuddles you, or if you're an intermediate user out to achieve expert status, you'll find Professor DOS an instructive and efficient learning tool. In addition, the program's accompanying SmartGuide for DOS should prove an invaluable memory-resident DOS reference guide.
Featuring over 30 onscreen tutorials, Professor DOS covers a wide range of material. The first of seven sections includes lessons on the function and history of DOS and on how to use the Professor DOS program. Sections 2 through 7 cover commonly used commands, hard disks, the DOS 4.0 shell, batch files, advanced commands, and special tools.
Use your keyboard to access all tutorials, and take advantage of the excellent onscreen index.
Each lesson begins with a statement of objectives and ends with a summary. The program presents information in a straightforward fashion, with prompts that provide continual assistance. Graphics enhance and clarify what you're being taught, and sound effects draw attention to specific concepts.
Constant interaction between you and Professor DOS assures that you'll understand what you need to understand. The program helps you assess your knowledge and understanding of the material in a variety of ways. Quizzes come in many forms, including true/false, fill in the blank, and matching columns.
As valuable as this program is, it does present a few very minor difficulties. If you take too long to reply to questions or give incorrect responses, the program displays the correct answer. Unfortunately, the answers POP up so quickly that some users may not get a chance to reply before the system gives the answer.
Also, some information is phrased unclearly. Instead of indicating that a period precedes the extension of a DOS filename, the program suggests that the period is part of the extension: "The extension can be up to 3 characters long and includes the period."). It would've been better to refer to the period as a separator between the filename and the DOS extension, which can be associated with applications in later versions of the operating system.
The Professor's worthy companion-SmartGuide for DOS-may OPerate solo or work inside another program. With the stroke of a key, SmartGuide provides useful information about numerous DOS commands. Facts pertaining to other DOS topics, tips for users, and special tables (ASCII codes, for example) are available as well.
SmartGuide functions not only as a memory-resident reference tool but also as a timesaver. From the Utilities option, you may create a menu of your 15 most-used DOS commands. One keystroke will transport them to SmanGuide's line editor, and pressing Enter will send them to DOS to be executed.
Both programs are very easy to use, thanks to the expert design of the menus, the excellent tutorials, and the concise 31-page manual. Ease of use combined with solid educational and practical value make Professor DOS and SmartGuide for DOS musts for the perplexed beginner, the curious intermediate, and the would-be expert.
IBM PC and compabbles-$49.95
125 Shoreway Rd., Ste. 3000
San Carlos, CA 94070-2704
800) 331-3313 outside CA)
800) 870-2042 (inside CA)
415) 595-M (Bay Area)