Stories by Lincoln Spector

Create a Composite Home Page

To find what you need online, you're probably jumping from one Web site to the next. But once you've actually found what you're looking for, how will you ever remember where it is?

Shareware PIM Versatile but Difficult

German software company MdeSoft has added password protection and other features to the latest version of its personal information manager, but unfortunately the product isn't any easier to use.

Two-For-One Net Access Offered

Broadband Internet access is great in the home or office, but you still need that dial-up connection when you're on the road. So if you travel, you're stuck paying for an additional account--or are you?

WinZip Gets a Facelift

A new version of Nico Mak Computing Inc.'s popular WinZip compression program promises enhancements in both appearance and convenience. The downloadable beta version of WinZip 8.0 offers an improved alternative wizard interface that will step you through more tasks than previously. The program also behaves more like Windows Explorer: When you right-click files, for example, you get file options like Print or Edit. Perhaps the best new feature lets you compress and e-mail a file in one easy step--if you're using a MAPI-compliant e-mail program such as Outlook or Outlook Express. Nico Mak Computing warns that some of the beta features may not make it into the final release, due before summer. WinZip 8.0 will cost $29 for new customers; the upgrade is free for registered users. Nico Mak Computing, 877/724-4600,

Free Support Free-for-All

When vendor support fails, where do you turn? We try nine support sites to see which ones provide the answers you need, at a price you can't refuse.

Answer Line

I often need to free up room on my hard drive. Could you provide me with a list of file types that I can delete without asking for trouble?

PowerDesk Manages Files Without Explorer

PowerDesk has always made Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Explorer look like a truly pathetic file manager. After all, the tool from Mijenix offers a split view that lets you work with two folders in one window, a move and copy dialog box, and integrated Zip file support. Now PowerDesk is about to get even better -- and, with some limitations, it will even be free.

Why Germans Are Slow to Surf

American consumers are spoiled. We're used to Sunday shopping and smoke-free restaurants--luxuries you won't easily find in Germany. And you can add cheap, unlimited Internet access to that "not found here" list.

Everyone's a Movie Critic

The movie reviews you find most places will give the opinion of a professional. But if you want to find out the opinions of people just like yourself -- the ones who actually have to pay admission -- you may be out of luck.

Crash-proof PCs Via the 'Net

Have you ever wished that you had someone standing over your shoulder while you install an application, warning you of conflicts with your other programs and suggesting solutions? Well, now there's someone to do that -- at least if you have a business with 500 or more PCs and are willing to pay a monthly fee on each of them.

Get HDTV on Your PC -- Some Day

Want HDTV in your living room but can't afford it? There may soon be a cheaper and, perhaps, even better way to watch high-definition broadcasts: on your computer. After all, your monitor already has the necessary resolution, and a PC is well suited for HDTV's interactive capabilities.

Answer Line

I share my PC with two people but don't want them to access my programs and files. How can I lock them out of selected parts of my system?

Excite's Universal In-Box: A Mixed Bag

If information is coming at you from too many directions, Excite@Home's Excite Inbox promises a solution. This Web site gives you one in-box for e-mail, voice mail, and faxes, and, perhaps best of all, you get it all for free. The only problem? It's not a particularly good in-box.