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AND THE ATTABOY AWARDS GO TO . . .

Byline: Dwight Silverman Houston Chronicle

Another techno-year highlighted by a parade of computers, software and peripherals has passed.

So much stuff crossed my desk that it's hard to keep up with all of it.

But some stood above the crowd.

What follows are my second annual Attaboy Awards, pats on the back for the best of the pack. Winners receive my undying admiration and, if I can get around to it, nifty certificates created with Print Shop Deluxe.

Best Home Desktop Computer: Hewlett-Packard Pavilion. This was a tough decision, because there were some great computers introduced for the home in 1995. Hewlett-Packard may be in its rookie year, but its initial line of home PCs are of championship quality. Yes, machines from IBM, Apple and Compaq have more bells and whistles, but the Pavilion line offers the best blend of power, features quality and price. Runner up: Compaq Presario 9548.

Best Portable Computer: IBM ThinkPad 701c. Another difficult choice to make, but the "Butterfly" gets the Attaboy. If all the 701c had going for it was its keyboard that unfolds to full-size, this sub-notebook computer wouldn't make the cut. But throw in a built-in speaker-phone, infrared wireless capabilities, a 10-inch active-matrix screen and 16-bit sound, and it's a standout. Runner up: Apple PowerBook 5300.

Best Peripheral: Iomega Zip Drive. Small, inexpensive and simple to use, the Zip Drive plugs into either a parallel or SCSI port on either a Macintosh or IBM-compatible computer. It's about the size of a paperback book, uses special 100-megabyte disks and sells for about $200, making it great for either desktop or portable use. Runner-up: Datasonix Pereos tape drive.

Best Business Software: Microsoft Office 95 Professional. Easily the best-integrated office suite, Office 95 for Windows 95 now includes a way to organize projects with a feature called the Binder that easily blends Excel, Word, Access and Powerpoint documents. Other neat features include a simplified interface for Access. Runner-up: Novell PerfectOffice 3.0.

Best Internet Software: Netscape Navigator 1.22 for Windows 95. Netscape set the standard for World Wide Web browsers this year, and no other program in its class comes close. Easy to set up and use, it's available for Unix, Macintosh and Windows machines, but the Windows 95 version is the most impressive. There's also a version 2.0, but it's in the testing phase and is still buggy. Runner up: Microsoft Internet Explorer 2.0.

Best Financial Software: Microsoft Money 4.0. Quicken may be the best-seller, but Microsoft - which nearly sold Money to Novell in order to buy Quicken from Intuit in a deal ultimately scotched by the U.S. Justice Department - has come up with the easiest to use software for keeping track of personal finances. The extremely friendly interface is complemented by the ability to do on-line banking at the click of a mouse button. Runner-up: Intuit Quicken 5.

Best Software Utility: Connectix RAM Doubler for Macintosh. Although memory expanders for Windows computers leave a lot to be desired, RAM Doubler for the Macintosh works exactly as its name implies. Best of all, it does so with a minimum of conflicts in your Macintosh or Power Macintosh system. Runner-up: Casady & Greene's Conflict Catcher 3 for Power Macintosh.

Best Game: Sierra On-line's Phantasmagoria. Neither for the faint of heart nor wimpy of machine, this seven-disc CD-ROM title is an interactive horror film with great special effects, live actors and - gasp! - decent acting. You'll need a powerful computer to play it and a strong stomach, although there is a "censored" play setting for those who just can't take it. Runner-up: Broderbund's In the First Degree.
COPYRIGHT 1996 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

 
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Title Annotation:BUSINESS
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jan 1, 1996
Words:604
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