Here are summaries of recent Computing product reviews. Each product is rated on a scale of one to four, with one computer indicating poor and four indicating excellent:
Freelance Graphics for DOS 4.0, for PC or compatible with at least 640K memory, hard disk, DOS 3.0 or later version and graphics display. $495. From Lotus Development Corp., 55 Cambridge Parkway, Cambridge, Mass. 02142. (617) 577-8500.
Harvard Graphics 3.0, for PC or compatible with at least 640K memory, a high-density floppy disk drive, a hard disk and a graphics adapter. $595. From Software Publishing Corp., P.O. Box 7210, 1901 Landings Drive, Mountain View, Calif. 94039-7210. (800) 336-8360.
Hollywood 1.0, for PC or compatible running Windows 3.0. $495. From IBM Desktop Software, P.O. Box 2150, Atlanta, Ga. 30301-2150. (800)-IBM-7699.
Not one of these three presentation graphics programs has all the features I'd like to see. For now, Harvard is the simplest to learn and the best if your charts involve lots of numbers and calculations, but it doesn't show your charts as you make them and lacks an outliner. Freelance could be the best if you're building charts from 1-2-3 spreadsheet data or if you also work with OS-2. But Freelance has limited color abilities and an awkward connection to its spelling checker and outliner.
Hollywood is a Windows program that shines in organizing and reorganizing sequences of charts. But Hollywood needs more processor and memory than the others do and does not have the numeric strengths of Harvard nor the tight 1-2-3 links of Freelance.
Rating: 2 computers
Harvard Graphics 3.0
Rating: 2 computers
Rating: 3 computers
(These are reviews of shareware programs for IBM and compatible computers. Users try them, then pay a fee to register them.)
Amortization Master. If you're shopping for a home loan and looking for a simple program to figure mortgage payments, try Amortization Master. Amortization Master will do negative amortization loans, figure balloon payments and give you lots of reports on how much you're spending on principal and interest. After trying Amortization Master, you need to register by sending $30 to Antelope Systems, 3190 NW Nyssa Court, Beaverton, Ore. 97006.
WinPost. If your business and personal life revolve around those sticky yellow Post-it notes, you'll have to be the first in your office to get WinPost. Once you've installed WinPost, you'll be able to create notes in different sizes. You can even change the color of the notes. By setting an alarm, you can write yourself reminders and be alerted in tones ranging from a simple beep to the William Tell Overture. When the alarm sounds, the yellow (or red or puce-colored note) pops up on your desktop. Look for version 3.0b on your favorite bulletin board. After trying it for three weeks, you'll need to either register or take it off your hard disk. Registration costs $30 from Eastern Mountain Software, P.O. Box 20178, Columbus, Ohio 43220.
(For trial copies of Amortization Master and WinPost, send $4 each to Shareware, P.O. Box 7037, Long Beach, Calif. 90807. Or call (213) 595-6870. Please indicate 5 1/4 - or 3 1/2 -inch disks.)