TECHNOLOGY AND THE

COURTROOM OF THE FUTURE

(How to Avoid Being Roadkill on
the Information Superhighway)

1996 All Rights Reserved
Richard R. Orsinger

XVII. CHOICES ON COMPUTER SOFTWARE.

A. Windows 95 The Author does not use Apple computers and cannot comment on the Macintosh operating system. In the IBM and IBM-clone world, the most popular operating system is Windows 95 . Windows 95 has been out a year now. While there have been some problems for people who were upgrading existing computers to the new operating system, Windows 95 is mature enough for you to move to, if you have sufficient hardware to do so. You would want to have a machine no slower than an Intel 80486-based computer, with no less than 16 mb of RAM. An Intel Pentium-based or Pentium Pro-based computer with 32 mb of RAM is even better. In fact, with Windows 95 and the 32-bit application software that has been and is being developed for it, the speed of your processor and amount of RAM in your computer is an important consideration. You will still be able to use old DOS programs (like WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS), even under Windows 95.

The Author decided to upgrade his computer personally to Win 95, and expended many hours trying to get the new operating system to recognize several of the peripherals attached to the computer. Having concluded that hardware compatibility was too troublesome, the Author decided to have a local computer shop upgrade all of his computers to Win 95 in December of 1996. The upgrade process resulted in a crashed hard drive, and many dollars being spent to make the change-over. In light of these personal experiences, the Author would make the following suggestions regarding migrating to Windows 95.

(1) The best way to upgrade to Windows 95 is to buy a new computer with it already installed. This guarantees hardware compatibility.

(2) If you are upgrading existing computers, take your machine into a local computer store, and have them handle the upgrade, and associated headaches.

(3) Buy Windows 95 Plus, a separate program which contains enhancements and fixes to Windows 95.

(4) Move to a Pentium Pro-based computer with 32 mg of RAM, and get a sound card and speakers so that you can enjoy the multi-media aspects of new software, including music and voice.

(5) All future peripherals you buy should be "plug-and-play" peripherals that Windows 95 can configure automatically.

B. Software Suites In the Windows 95 world, applications software for the office has moved from stand-alone programs to "office suites," where different programs have been bundled together and offered for sale for a lower price than the cost of the constituent parts separately. The principal suite makers are Microsoft, Corel and Lotus. The (current) prices given below are by mail order from Computer Discount Warehouse 1-800-757-4239.

1. Microsoft Office. Microsoft Office comes in "Standard" and "Professional" versions. Microsoft Office Standard includes Word 7.0 (a wordprocessor); Excel 7.0 (a spreadsheet); Schedule+ 7.0 (personal information manager); Bookshelf 95 (reference library); and Powerpoint 7.0 (presentations software). Microsoft Office Professional adds Access 7.0 (database). Microsoft Office Standard costs $ 448.89 (on CD-ROM). The upgrade price is $ 223.97. Microsoft Office Professional with Bookshelf costs $ 538.24, and the upgrade price (on CD-ROM) is $ 314.29. Office and Professional are 32-bit software programs that can run on Windows 95.

2. Corel Wordperfect Suite 7. WordPerfect Corp. was purchased several years ago by Novell, the network people. After drifting somewhat, Novell sold WordPerfect Corp. at a discount to Corel, the Canadian company famous for its graphics software. After a short time, Corel came out with its guns blazing, in May 1996 offering WordPerfect Suite7 to new customers for $ 95.00. The cost to new users now is $ 241.00 (on CD-ROM). The upgrade price (if you are a registered user of WordPerfect or Quattro Pro) is $ 91.77. WordPerfect Suite 7 includes the following programs: WordPerfect 7.0 (Windows-based word processor); Quattro Pro 7 (spreadsheet); Presentations 7.0 (multi-media presentation software); CorelFLOW 3 (business graphics); Sidekick 85 (personal information organizer); Dashboard 95 (software which re-presents the Windows 95 interface in a more user-friendly way); Envoy 7 (electronic document publishing software). In the near future Corel will release a "professional" version of Suite 7, which will include the latest version of Paradox database. Wordperfect (Windows version) will no longer be sold separately. WordPerfect Suite 7 is 32-bit software, meaning that it is faster and more capable than earlier versions of the individual programs, and can run on Windows 95 but not Windows 3.x.

3. Lotus Smart Suite. Lotus Development Corp. is the company that invented bundled suites. Lotus Smart Suite contains : Lotus Word Pro 96 (wordprocessor); Lotus 1-2-3 release 5 (spreadsheet); Lotus Freelance Graphics 96 (business graphics); Lotus Approach 96 (a database); Lotus Organizer 2.1 (personal information manager); Lotus ScreenCam 2.1 (presentations software). Further information can be obtained from the Lotus Smart Suite Web page: http://www.lotus.com/applicat/sshot.htm. The cost to upgrade is $ 138.72 (on CD-ROM).

C. World Wide Web Browsers. The software you use to "go out on" the World Wide Web is called a "browser." It is used for browsing the WWW. The principal browsers are: Netscape Navigator, America On-Line browser, Netcom Cruiser, Mosaic, and Microsoft Explorer. According to a Netscape WWW page:

Two recent studies show that Netscape Navigator is the most popular Web browser. A full 87.6 percent of respondents to a recent International Data Corporation (IDC) survey said they use Netscape Navigator. IDC reported that the nearest competitor has 2.6 percent of browser users. In a similar study, Dataquest reported that Navigator has an 84 percent market share.*

*IDC's Global Internet User Survey, July 1996, © 1996 International Data Corporation Dataquest Corp., April 1996.

According to the IDC survey, the usage numbers for these browsers are: Netscape Navigator (87.6%), America On-Line browser (1.3%), Netcom Cruiser (2.0%), Mosaic (2%), and Microsoft Explorer (2.6%).

1. To Buy Netscape Navigator. You can download an evaluation copy of Netscape Navigator for free on the World Wide Web. The downloaded software is a complete and fully functional version. If you do not purchase the product within 90 days, your copy will expire. However, once you purchase the Netscape product, you have the rights to a complete downloaded copy, 90 days of technical support, a special FTP site for downloading, and various subscriptions that permit you, for an additional fee, to take advantage of upgrades issued within a certain period of subscription offerings. See http://merchant.netscape.com/netstore/index.html.

2. To Obtain Microsoft Explorer. Microsoft Explorer is Microsoft's web browser. It can be obtained for free from Microsoft's WWW site. See http://microsoft.com/ie/offers/default.htm. It is comparable in power and features to Netscape Navigator.

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Created August 28, 1996
Last updated August 28, 1996