Freeware Worth Paying For – Lotus SmartCenter 9.0 – Evaluation
AS A PERSONAL information manager (PIM), Lotus SmartCenter is skimpy, offering only pop-up lists of appointments and tasks, and a bare-bones address book. But as a Windows 95/98 desk accessory, SmartCenter shines: This SmartSuite spinoff is a nifty toolbar that offers ever-ready access to the above data, your favorite file folders, and the latest Internet info, with no need to launch your browser and click on bookmarks. And through November 1, it’s free for the download (Lotus Development Corp., 800-343-5414, www.lotus.com/ smartcenter).
Like the Taskbar, SmartCenter can dock at the top or bottom of your screen (looking sharp in your choice of patterns and fonts), or hide until you summon it. Suitable sound effects accompany the opening and closing of drawers (zoomable to full screen size) that organize everything from Travelocity and MapQuest travel data to stock quotes, weather forecasts, and your favorite Web pages.
SmartCenter’s periodic updating of Web info is predictably easier with an always-on cable or DSL modem than a dial-up link, and it’s a hefty download (4.5MB). But it’s one of the simplest, handiest software designs of the year.
HOME OFFICE COMPUTING’S product scores are weighted averages of 1- to 10-point ratings for: Value (30 percent of total), Performance (30 percent of total), Ease of Use (20 percent of total), and Suitability for Home Office Use (20 percent of total).
V = Value
P = Performance
E = Ease of Use
S = Suitability for
Home Office Use
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