COMDEX highlights. (spring 1993 computer show in Atlanta, Georgia)
by Rosalind B. Resnick
For computer professionals worldwide, COMDEX offers a dazzling array of high-tech gadgetry. But COMDEX also features plenty for the home office user, and this spring's show in Atlanta was no exception. Stashed among the splashy displays of high-end products were lots of offerings capable of boosting productivity without busting your bank account.
Here are several new hardware and software releases that caught my eye:
The Microsoft Mouse. Reengineered to be more ergonomically correct, Microsoft's mitten-shaped pointing device won't make you reach for the Motrin at the end of the day. Capable of being used with equal comfort in either hand, the new, improved mouse is designed to boost your speed and efficiency when you're working with one of Microsoft's better-known products, Windows. Mouse mashers will also enjoy the snazzy, new software driver that minimizes mouse movement on the screen with features like Snap To, which automatically snaps the cursor to the default button in Windows' dialog boxes, and Locate, which returns the cursor to the center of the screen if you momentarily lose it. The serial and mouse port versions cost $109.00 each; the driver alone sells for $19.95.
PackRat 5.0. Polaris Software's award-winning personal information manager for Windows has been totally revamped, so you can spend less time figuring out how to use it and more time putting it to work. New features include customizable folders, forms, and lists; electronic mail capability; full integration with other Windows applications; macro scripts and a programming language; and SmartStart customized workspaces for lawyers, managers, and other professionals. The upgrade costs $99; the stand-alone version had not been released in stores at press time.
HP 10OLX. The latest version of Hewlett-Packard's popular palmtop PC is a savvier road warrior than the original (the HP 95LX). The HP 10OLX features built-in Lotus cc:Mail Remote, data communications, and PC-software compatibility for number-crunchers on the go. It still comes in a trim black case and weighs in at 11 ounces, but the guts of the machine have been totally redesigned. It has everything from the faster CPU to the higher-resolution screen to the interactive serial port. All this for only $749 (list price).
PagePlus 2.0 for Windows. This full-featured page layout program by Serif provides a low-cost alternative to such desktop publishing heavy-weights as QuarkXPress and Aldus Pagemaker. Pageplus, which retails for $59.95, offers style sheets, floating palettes, rotation of text and objects, kerning, tracking, text filters for a variety of Windows word processors, PANTONE color selection, spot and process color separations, and support for Object Linking and Embedding (OLE). Serif also offers low-cost add-on packages such as TypePlus ($19.95), which lets you manipulate text, and FontPack One ($19.95), which offers 100 TrueType fonts.
TravelMate 4000E WinDX2/50. If you have some extra money burning a hole in your pocket, consider Texas Instruments' hot new 486 color notebook ($4,999), which gives you all the power of a desktop PC in a slim 6.2-pound case. The newest TravelMate features a brilliant 640 x 480 VGA display, a high-speed video system for lightning-fast graphics, advanced BatteryPro power management for longer battery life, and a full-travel keyboard with 12 separate function keys plus dedicated Page Up, Page Down, Home, and End keys.
Stacker Special Edition. Unwilling to let DOS 6's new DoubleSpace data compression utility go unchallenged, Stac Electronics rolled out Stacker Special Edition ($49.95) at the show, trumpeting it as a low-cost solution for computer users leery of trusting their valuable data to a first-generation product. The new Stacker, designed only for PCs with DOS 6 already installed, replaces DoubleSpace with Stacker files and adds such features as Stackometer, which lets you monitor your hard drive's data compression ratio, and Stacker Tuner, which lets you balance speed and space. Stacker Special Edition also lets you use powerful DOS commands like Dir, Chkdsk, and Defrag on your Stacker drives.
QmodemPro 1.5 and Qmodem for Windows. Mustang Software's latest releases let you send and receive electronic mail using one integrated program regardless of the originating E-mail source. Version 1.5's new Remote Imaging Protocol (RIP) emulation allows callers to view full-screen graphics and use a mouse when connected to an online bulletin board system with RIP support. The Windows version lets you view GIF images during transfer (with magnify mode for closeups); it also supports DDE and drag-and-drop capabilities for file selection and message text.
With productivity boosters like these, you won't need to spend like a power user to get your office up to speed.