Bob and Joy
     By Bob and Joy Schwabach

Home (947 bytes)

Columns  (947 bytes)

Internuts (947 bytes)

  Bob's Bio (947 bytes)

Email (947 bytes)





 About Us




November 2001, Week 2 -- Talking the Talk, and Checking the Walk


 communicate 2000

   "Communicate i2000" used to bill itself as the "Swiss Army knife of communications," with quick opening tools for all occasions. Now they've added video and made it a Windows power tool.

   "Communicate Video i2000" comes with a Logitech web camera, VideoWave editing software and the Communicate program for general phone and Internet chit-chat, all for around $80. The original Communicate came out several years ago and when we wrote about it back then its strength was in the interface. The screen looked like an expensive multi-purpose office phone and if you wanted to do anything -- call, fax, get messages, etc., you simply clicked on the appropriate button. That easy interface remains, only now it looks like a video phone.


   Besides video phone calls and conferencing, Video i2000 can be used as a home or business watchdog. Leave the camera and computer on and the software will send you an e-mail and a snapshot if it detects any motion. You can click to capture more still shots or continuous motion. Video from this or any other use can be edited with the software.


   This is a nifty package, expanding what was already an award winning program. List price is $80 from 01Communique. Web:


More wireless networking



 Home Gateway

   Actiontec is another company with one great Windows product, and now breaking out into new ones. The product that we wrote about several years ago attracted a lot of reader attention and is still their best seller. It's a modem that alerts the user to incoming phone calls while you are online, and then lets you pick up the phone call and stay online.

   This, of course, allowed you to have only one phone line and use it for both phone calls and the Internet. As we say, they still sell that one and it's $75.

   Their new wireless networking system is $130 for the base station and $100 for wireless PCMCIA cards that let you connect laptops. The base station, which they call a gateway, contains a slot for a wireless PCMCIA that acts as radio receiver card and four ports for standard ethernet cables. That means you can connect both wireless and wired computers. Up to 35 computers can be connected to the base station and share the same Internet connection.


  If you decide to go with wireless cards, that shoots up the cost but adds a lot of convenience for laptop users. Transmission range is about 100 feet indoors and 300 feet outdoors. You can connect between buildings if they're not too far apart. Phone: 800-797-7001; web:


Cheap PCs


   Dell has started selling a $599 1 GHz (gigahertz) PC, with monitor, from its web site This is not the only provider of PCs for less than $600 but it is a first for Dell, which for many years has been number one or two in buyer satisfaction.




-- This is the home site for Jane's, the British military and political analysis group. It covers world events, with an emphasis on weapons technology. The coverage is wide and interesting, with lots of stories here you don't see in the regular press.


-- The name is short for "Mad Scientists' Network," and this light-hearted web site is devoted to answering the kind of puzzling science questions posed by children. Most common question: "Why is the sky blue?" For other pressing issues, be sure and visit the link to "Dr. Slime." Site is a service of Washington University in St. Louis.


-- Need a nanny? Who doesn't? Lists nanny services in U.S. Message boards include Canada and other links include Europe.

 Nick Jr

-- Commercial site for the Nickolodeon television network, but has lots of activities and fun at home ideas. There's a sing along for pre-schoolers and "Blues Clues" baseball and football games for several players.




 Middle School Math

   There are hundreds of education programs for small children but very few for those at the middle to high school level. Among the very best are the "StudyWorks" titles from MathSoft, which also makes the professional engineering program "Mathcad."

   The latest programs in the StudyWorks series are "Mathematics Deluxe," "Science Deluxe" and "Middle School Deluxe Math." I would think that adults would find most of the material in these programs useful. Mathematics Deluxe, for example, has a section on business math, covering calculations for determining the return on investment, depreciation, simple and compound interest rates and marginal cost per unit. Science Deluxe covers not only the usual scientific topics but also covers the analysis of statistics and branches far enough afield to discuss writing science fiction stories.


   These are fascinating Windows programs, wonderful stuff. Prices run $30 each. Phone info: 800-628-4223; web:



 Cheap Web Tricks



   "Cheap Web Tricks," by Anne Martinez; $20, Osborne/McGraw-Hill

   Advice and tips on how to promote traffic to your web site without spending a dime. How to get a high listing on search engines and how to join affiliate programs, etc. By the way: since we don't have ads on our web site, we don't try any tricks to increase the number of visitors.

NOTE: Readers can search nearly four years of columns at the "On Computers" web site: You can e-mail Bob Schwabach at or