Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 70 / MARCH 1986 / PAGE 53


The Works! For Commodore And Apple

James V. Trunzo

Requirements: Commodore 64 or 128 (in 64 mode) with a disk drive; or an Apple II-series computer with at least 64K RAM and a disk drive. Printer recommended.

"Jack of all trades but master of none" is a saying that could be applied to a collection of programs entitled The Works! from First Star Software. However, the saying would reflect only upon the level of sophistication of the individual programs making up The Works!, and should not be considered a criticism of the package as a whole.

The Works! is a compendium of useful programs for computer novices by Fernando Herrera, who first gained prominence with a program entitled My First Alphabet, winner of an Atari First Star Award. When considering The Works!, it is essential to keep in mind the audience for which it is intended.

The package is subtitled "A Complete Collection of Home Software," and that's just what The Works! is—with an emphasis on "home." It contains 13 programs divided into four main categories: Tools, Organizers, Arts, and Learning. Under the heading of Tools, you find such programs as Letter Writer, Loans & Investments, Calculator, Weights & Measures, and Math Formulas; the Organizers section includes Family Finances, Calendar Pad, Address Book, and Stock Portfolio; the Arts section has Graphics Painter and Music Composer; and the Learning section has Typing Teacher and Math Races.

All of the programs that make up The Works! are completely functional. However, none of them are—nor do they pretend to be—the final answer in their genre. Letter Writer, for example, is a more-than-adequate word processor for writing letters. It contains basic commands such as Move, Copy, Delete, and Insert, as well as a number of print-formatting commands. You wouldn't use it to do a college term paper with elaborate footnotes, though.

Similarly, all the other programs in The Works! provide a simple, working introduction to each type of software. They take advantage of the latest windowing techniques and are very easy to use. Also, there's a certain amount of integration among the programs. For example, when using Letter Writer, you can look up an entry in the Address Book program and merge it with a letter; or you can insert the result of a calculation done on the Calculator program into a report you are writing. You're also free to copy any of the programs onto a separate disk to be used apart from the rest, if you desire.

The value of The Works! lies in this: It gives new users a taste of a wide variety of programs and introduces some of the useful functions that can be performed by a home computer. Furthermore, it does so at a reasonable cost. You could pay $100 or more for a sophisticated financial program and then discover that you don't need it or don't like to use it. Family Finances in The Works! gives you the opportunity to try a program of this type before you invest in a more expensive package.

For those new to the world of computers and computer software, The Works! provides an easy entry into a sometimes bewildering domain.

The Works!
First Star Software, Inc.
18 East 41st Street
New York, NY 10017