MyInvoices/MyCheckbook/MyBackup/MyPhonebook. (utility programs) (evaluation)
by Lewis Lorini
MySoftware's recent releases--MyInvoices, MyCheckbook, MyBackup, and MyPhonebook--are not kid's stuff. For the owner of a small business--particularly somebody working at home with a basic system--each program offers solid utility for its $25 price.
MySoftware claims these programs can be learned in five minutes, which is an understatement. Of course, simplicity sometimes means a limit to choices, and that proves true for all these packages. Those limits, however, should not hamper the modest user for whom this software was written.
The best feature of MyInvoices is that it functions as an inexpensive, easy-to-use database of up to 5000 items--more than enough for most small business owners.
Customer names and addresses entered into the system can be retrieved and pasted on invoices. Producing any of five useful reports from the invoice information, including an accounts-receivable report that's broken up by the number of days that accounts are overdue, is a snap. Pull-down menus provide immediate access to the various options.
Probably the weakest feature of MyInvoices is the invoice itself. On the computer screen, it looks fine and has an adequate number of fields to insert all kinds of necessary information. When printed, however, the invoice quality is hardly professional because of the limitations of standard dot-matrix printers. To compensate for that shortcoming, MySoftware sells a selection of preprinted invoices and envelopes to be used with the program.
MyCheckbook is the accounts-payable companion to MyInvoices. It will produce several useful reports and breakdowns of checks written by category or payee, as well as a cashflow statement. As with MyInvoices, these reports are easily accessed from pull-down menus. For a very small business, this program could be an adequate general ledger. MySoftware also will supply checks that work with the program whether you're using impact or laser printers.
MyBackup is tailor-made for hard-disk paranoids who aren't ready to wrestle with more sophisticated utilities but want something better than the standard DOS backup.
The backup process operates from one screen with basically three partitions: one displays hard drive directories, another displays the files in a particular directory, and the third shows commands, drive selections, and updates of the backup in progress. Other attractive features include an estimates of how many floppies you'll need for a backup and a numbering of disks used.
MyBackup permits backing up anything from the entire drive to a single file. Files within directories or directories within directories may be singled out for backup. Those who regularly back up their hard drives can choose to back up only those files that have changed since the last complete backup--that's convenient.
For the most part, MyPhonebook does what's expected: alphabetically sorting a list of names ostensibly attached to phone numbers. It includes a couple of wrinkles, however, that make it a little better than average. First, in the business phone book (you can pick either a personal or a business phone book), you cna alphabetize by company name or by profession as well as by the person's name--not a big deal but definitely useful. And while it doesn't search for specific names, MyPhonebook does have a fast-moving index box that makes scrolling for a name a near-instantaneous process.
Don't spend a fortune on features you don't need and will never use. For most, this assortment of to-the-point electronic recordkeepers does a fine job managing your affairs.