Here are summaries of some recent Computing...


Here are summaries of some recent Computing product reviews. Each product is rated on a scale of one to four, with one computer indicating poor and four indicating excellent:

Z-486-25E, $8,699. From Zenith Data Systems Inc., 2150 E. Lake Cook Road, Buffalo Grove, Ill. 60089. (800) 553-0331 or (708) 808-5000.

Macintosh IIfx, $8,669. From Apple Computer Inc., 20525 Mariani Ave., Cupertino, Calif. 95014. (408) 996-1010.

The Mac IIfx is the fastest Macintosh Apple makes. The Zenith 486-25E exemplifies the fastest PC you can buy for the same price from a big-name PC maker. The two machines can be equipped with identical memory, disk and graphics. When running Windows software, the Zenith feels about the same speed as the IIfx. However, running DOS software, the Zenith is faster at the same tasks, though harder to learn than the Mac. I don't see a big gap between the fastest PCs and Macs, though Apple will soon need an even faster Mac to compete with the new 50MHz 486 PCs. When you're considering Mac vs. PC yourself, compare them running the software you care about. Don't just compare sterile benchmark figures of purified performance.


Performance: 4 computers

Ease of use: 3 computers

Value: 3 computers

Macintosh IIfx

Performance: 4 computers

Ease of use: 4 computers

Value: 3 computers

(These are reviews of shareware programs for IBM and compatible computers. Shareware programs are available from computer bulletin boards and computer clubs. Users try them, then pay a fee to register them if they decide to use them regularly.)

Tenant File. Here's an inexpensive program for landlords and property managers. Tenant File will track all kinds of rental properties, with separate ledgers for owners and tenants. You can track rental payments, print receipts and notices of overdue rent, keep track of details on every piece of property you own, and find out quickly how you're doing financially.

When a tenant moves out, information moves to an inactive file, so that you can start fresh with a new tenant. If you like reports, Tenant File won't disappoint, especially the property description reports, which tell you everything you need to know about that property.

Property managers can track all their units, complete with owners and other essential information. The shareware version you can download from bulletin boards or receive from this column for $7 will track up to 10 properties. Registered versions will track up to 500 units.

Registration for the shareware version is $25. The 50- , 100- and 500-property versions cost $39.95, $49.95 and $99.95, respectively. To register, write to W. G. Software, P.O. Box 3829, Austin, Texas 78764.

EZ-Cards. Managing lists of people in your business and personal life can mean names scribbled at random and stuck inside your checkbook. Or you can get organized with a program such as EZ-Cards, which would be useful for managing lists for volunteer groups, holiday cards, business contacts or your organization's newsletter.

With its help screens and ability to find and sort entries, EZ-Cards stands above the crowd of shareware list managers. After you've entered a name, address and phone number, you can print labels. The learning curve for EZ-Cards is short; if you can type, you can handle this program. After you've tried EZ-Cards and find it useful, register by sending $25 to Bob-Kit Software, a mom-and-pop firm that offers technical support and updates. Folks who do the right thing and register will get the latest version of EZ-Cards. Address is P.O. Box 13717, Detroit, Mich. 48213.

(For a copy of Tenant File send $7, for EZ-Cards send $4, to Shareware, P.O. Box 7037, Long Beach, Calif. 90807. Or call (213) 595-6870. Please specify 5 1/4 - or 3 1/2 -inch disks.)

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