- The Washington Times - Monday, December 24, 2001

This column appears on Christmas Eve, making it a bit late to run out and buy a computer not that some of you aren't going to try, but it's a bit late nonetheless.
My quick advice: Don't get overloaded with stuff you may not need, do get the most RAM and hard disk you can afford, and do drive safely, won't you?
Now that those points are out of the way, here are some thoughts on software to get for your new computer.
Anti-virus software I don't know if this is a reflection of a post-September 11 world or not, but I've had more viruses show up on my PC in the past three months than I think I've seen in the past three years. What I would say is that viruses and other nasty programs are flitting around the Internet at a horrendous rate.
The best defense, I've found, is a two-pronged offense: first, a good anti-virus program. I like the latest version of Norton AntiVirus, or NAV for short, from Symantec Corp. (www.symantec.com/nav). The program is $50 on its own or $70 as part of Norton SystemWorks 2002, which adds the Norton Utilities to fine-tune your PC and Norton CleanSweep to get rid of unnecessary files. Either way, the program does a great job of blocking viruses and, if you have an Internet connection, it'll go out on the Web to look for (and install) updated virus definitions.
Couple NAV with the 2002 version of Microsoft Outlook, and you get great e-mail protection. NAV handles the viruses, while Outlook blocks unfamiliar scripts and program files. This one-two punch has saved my computer's bacon several times.
There's a version of NAV for Macs as well, and while the viruses that strike Windows PCs are no threat to Macs, common sense would suggest that buying an anti-virus program for your Mac is also a wise choice.
The ultimate file finder Is called OnePlace, and you can get it from either FranlinCovey (www.franklincovey.com, or in area stores) or direct from its creator, Enfish (www.enfish.com), although the latter now calls the $100 program "Enfish Personal."
The software analyzes your computer desktop activity and information to determine what is important; identifies, presents and links relevant data from disparate sources such as e-mail, documents, photos, etc.; and then organizes, integrates and cross-references this information for quick access.
The program is nothing short of amazing. I can type in one word and pow get all my e-mails and information for a given event, all in one place on my computer. It's blindingly fast and has yet to let me down.
You should check out this program, for which a free trial is available.
A star performer Microsoft Office.X for Macintosh, $500 (or $300 if you upgrade from a competitor) combines word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, e-mail and personal information manager (PIM) programs with the features of Mac OSX.
Along with supporting OSX's rather cool interface, the programs in Office.X are fully compatible with their Windows counterparts, making file exchange easy. Entourage, the PIM in the package, is a stunning performer that's fast, capable and comprehensive.
Although some people would suggest that Microsoft isn't the firm to "get" the Mac way of thinking, Office.X destroys that notion. This is a program that combines the power of Microsoft Office with the Mac's ease of use. It follows the intuitive Mac command and window structure, it can prepare complex and simple documents and spreadsheets, and it looks great on screen and on paper.
Given the sad departure of WordPerfect from the Mac arena in the past couple of years, it's good to see a really capable office suite step up to the plate. Microsoft should be congratulated, and you should check out this program to make your own work sparkle.
Write to Mark Kellner in care of The Washington Times, Business Desk, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, D.C. 20002; send e-mail to [email protected], or visit the writer's Web page, www.kellner2000.com. Talk back live to Mr. Kellner on www.adrenaline-radio.com every Thursday from 8 to 9 p.m. EST.

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