Women's Ware. (evaluation) Betsy Staples.
Elizabeth B. Staples 39 E. Hanover Avenue Morris Plains, NJ 07950
Guess what! Someone has finally created a line of Software for us--women, that is. Oh, I'm sorry; I should explain that sofeware is what makes a computer do whatever it is you want it to do. You know, those little flat black things that Dad slides into the front of the cursed machine when he wants it to process words or perform some other miraculous feat.
Anyway, these programs are called Women's Ware, and we'll feel very comfortable buying them because they look just like pantyhose hanging on their cute little rack (I'm planning to save the little white hangers for Jason's T-shirts). You know how intimidated we women are by anything that doesn't relate to clothes or food.
The really great thing about these programs is that Neon Software, the manufacturer, has had the guts to call a shallot an onion. They know that the feminism of the past decade is just so much pigeon poop. They realize as you and I do that we really are the shallow, helpless wimps men have known us to be for centuries.
The folks at Neon know that we can't possibly cope with computers the way men do. They know that women and computers are like melted Crisco and lemonade. They have allowed us to come out of the closet and acknowledge our stupidity and ineptitude. What a relief!
almost as if they had been listening to our conversation during the commercials between the soaps last week. They know that we are mystified and intimidated by the activity that takes place in dens and basements of our split-level tract homes. And they have come to our rescue.
To give you an idea of just how terrific these programs are, let me give you a brief description of a few of them. My favorits is Recipe. You know how you keep your favorite recipes in that old loose leaf binder Martha and Penny made for you in Sunday School and how you always make notes right on the page with each recipe so you won't forget that Billy hates asparagus and stuff like that? Well, I used to have a book like that, but no more.
Now I keep my recipes on the Women's Ware Recipe program. It allows me to type in my recipe along with a category heading (like Dessert--my favorite!). I can then store the recipes in the computer instead of that old fashioned book or file box. When I want a certain recipe, I just run downstairs to Dick's computer room, wait for the computer to
do its "self-test,' load what they call DOS, load my Recipe program, ask it to find the
recipe I want, and print it out on the printer. Isn't that great? It makes me feel so modern! And it helps me fill in my spare time, so I don't feel so guilty about sitting around the house all day.
The other program I like a lot is called Checkbook. You know how Dick has always said that only a nitwit would use a computer program to do something that could be done easily with pencil and paper? Well he's right. I just love balancing my checkbook by computer. And I can imagine how much fun it would be if Dick would let me pay the bills.
The other programs in the series are just as neat as Checkbook and Recipe. I also have Freefile, which allows me to keep track of such important stuff as when I last watered my houseplants; Directory, which will be really handy for sending out our annual Christmas letter; Filebox, which is a lot like a file box; and Calendar, which lets me list the kids' activities tidily on the computer instead of on that unsightly calendar we used to have on the kitchen wall next to the telephone.
I didn't get the program called Budget, because Dick is the one who does important things like that. He gives me my allowance each week; all I have to do is spend it--and I sure don't have any throuble doing that!
I sure am glad that Women's Ware doesn't have one of the those programs for "word processing.' I know that would be too hard for me. Dick uses it all the time, and he says that the girls in his office can do it too, but I can't even imagine what I would do with a program like that--I'll stick to checkbooks and recipes, thank you.
The programs themselves are real easy to use, you just use those keys with the F's on them on the lefthand side of the keyboard to choose what you want to do. Then you type the information you want right on the screen that appears. The only problem I had was that the F10 key sometimes means "proceed' and sometimes means something like "stop this program and do something that makes it necessary to load DOS and the program all over again.' Silly me, I kept forgetting what it meant which time, so I had to spend a great deal of time messing with those dumb disk drives.
The other thing I found strange was the fact that some of the screens take up the whole screen and some of them only use half of it, and when you are using only half of the screen, the stuff that was on the other half of the big screen stays there. Dick says this might have something to do with the fact that we don't have a "color graphics adapter.' He says it would have been easy for the programmer to have fixed it so we poor folks who don't have color graphics adapters could have used it too. But I'm not complaining, it's easy to overlook one small shortcoming in such a wonderful collection of programs.
Oh, I almost forgot to tell you about one of the best parts of the Women's Ware line: the instruction book. Computer people call it "documentation,' but that's such a big word, and Marie, the woman who wrote the booklets, says we don't have to learn computer words. Anyway, when you read the book, you feel just like Marie is talking to you. She tells you cute little things about her family and makes you feel like she is just as stupid as you are.
For example, in the Filebox book let, she starts out: "Hi, it's me--Marie. Let me tell you about my great idea! It occurred to me this afternoon after I had checked through a pile of papers and finally called information for the number to call a restaurant to find out what time they serve Brunch! It makes me lose my breath just to tell you all that. You should have been here when I was doing it!' Marie really is a dope, and she doesn't mind letting it show. It's about time someone like her got involved in this secret world of computers that men are so excited about.
Another nice thing is that each Women's Ware package comes with a coupon that lets you save $5 on another program. Those Neon folks really do understand women, and they know how important coupons are to us. They also know how hard it is for us to get money from our husbands after they have spent all our money on computer hardware, so they have kept their prices low. Just think, only $79.95 for Filebox and $49.95 for the other packages. And when you compare those prices with the cost of thousands of file cards, little metal boxes, address books, and pencils over the years, you can see what a bargain they really are.
Well, Mom, I gotta go. My friend Pat (the one who works) just stopped over and when I showed her my Women's Ware and the picture of my new friend Marie she muttered something about ". . . every sister ain't a sister,' and stomped into the kitchen to get a cup of coffee. I guess I'd better go see what's esting her.
Photo: This is Marie with her husband (rt.) and the executive vice President & Neon Software. Notice that Marie has not yet figured out that the important Staff is on the front of the monitor.
Products: Women's Ware (computer program)