Microsoft Office 2000
The world’s premier office suite continues the long line of Microsoft hits. New features include tighter web integration for hypertext markup (HTML) conversions, an improved clipboard, animated .gif support in PowerPoint, and a new graphics component called Photodraw 2000 (in the Premium version). It looks like the highly successful Macintosh Office 98 won’t be upgraded this year, but a new version is in development.
One drawback to Office 2000 (and the upcoming Windows 2000) is that it raises the bar again for required hardware. Photodraw 2000 requires 16 MB of RAM alone, while the not-yet released Windows 2000 Professional requires 32 MB just to load. The other Office components require anywhere from 4 to 8 megabytes of system RAM each. Power users who multitask will find they need, at bare bones, 128 MB of RAMand more is even better.
One thing to keep in mind for hardware purchases next spring is that Windows 2000 Professional (also known as NT 5.0) will not be the only option for home and school users running less-powerful machines. Contrary to earlier reports that Windows 98 was the end of the line for 16-bit and DOS applications, Microsoft plans to release another version of Windows in 2000 that will continue the Windows 9.X line. It will be called Millennium and is being developed by a new Microsoft division called Consumer Windows Division (CWD).
Microsoft intends for Millennium to be the most user-friendly operating system in the history of the Windows line, with a simpler set-up, easier online software configuration, and a new motto for the simplicity of the Millennium operating system: “It Just Works.”
Professor Teaches Microsoft Office 2000 Plus
This eight CD-ROM disk set from the Pleasanton, California-based Individual Software is a bargain at $49.95 and will help users get up to speed quickly with all the Office 2000 Professional edition components (Photodraw 2000 is not covered). Keep one copy per campus for take-home staff development.
Ghost and pcANYWHERE 9.0
Symantec Corp.’s Ghost enables fast recovery when the software on a PC needs to be reinstalled, returning it to its original configuration in minutes. Technology personnel can use Ghost to create disk images of a good machine and then broadcast them to one or multiple machines on a network. Ghost also can be used to create a bootable CD disk to reinstall in a matter of minutes the entire software installation on a stand-alone workstation.
Symantec’s pcANYWHERE supports a wide range of connection methods to the internet and other networks, including TCP/IP connections and standard modems. For technology support personnel, this means they can take control of a computer remotely to fix problems or send and retrieve files from home or school.
With this innovative program from Altiris Inc. of Lindon, Utah, lab managers can monitor student PCs from the teacher’s computer, take control of one or all student computers to teach a concept, and shut down all networked computers with a single command. You can also lock student keyboards and mice while you lecture and use powerful marker tools to illustrate or highlight key areas.
Nikon 950 Coolpix
The Nikon 950 Coolpix is the first 2 million pixel digital camera to sell for under $900. The high quality of the Nikon digital photos enables schools to create yearbook photos on digital media (most yearbook companies will be accepting digital photos for the 1999-2000 school year). Whether it’s for special printing projects or web pages, the Nikon 950 is head and shoulders above the competition. It uses the popular Compact Flash cards for storage. Coupled with a laptop Flash Card slot adapter ($15 to $20) or using a USB or parallel port card reader ($50 to $80), the transfer of pictures to the hard drive is lightning-fast. This is a great camera for Windows and Macintosh users.
HP 895Cxi Color Inkjet and HP 5000 N Laserjet
The 895 model continues the long line of winners in the HP 800 series of color inkjet printers. This fast printer will produce superb colors and laser-quality black text. For networks, consider the HP 5000 N, a 16 page per minute printer with 1200 dpi resolution, 850-sheet capacity, 8 MB of memory, two open DIMM memory slots, and an HP JetDirect 600N EIO internal print server.
CD Rocket RW
This zippy external CD-recorder drive from Smart & Friendly Co. of Chatsworth, Calif., uses a SCSI interface and writes CD-R disks at 8x, writes CD-RW at 2x speed, and has 20x playback speed. The CD Rocket RW lives up to its name, as it can create a full 650 MB CD in as little as 9 minutes.