Bob and Joy
                                      
 
     By Bob and Joy Schwabach
                                                                        

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November 2003, Week 3 -- On the Money

 Money 2004

 

 

   "Microsoft Money" turned out to be one of only two programs (the other being Quicken) that would allow us to download transactions from our brokerage account and put them into a spreadsheet.

   Handy, but there's a lot more to Money than that. The new "2004" edition adds features for tax preparation and paying bills and taxes online. MS Money comes in three versions: premium for $80, deluxe for $60 and standard $30. There's a $20 rebate in all classes. The premium package provides a lot of free services from Microsoft, such as two years of online bill payment for up to 15 bills a month, and credit report monitoring. Those with investments to manage will love features like automatic notifications of breaking news on stocks and bonds in your portfolio, and news and analysis features available online with all versions of the software.

 

   This is an impressive program and we loved it. So did some magazine editors; PC Mag gave it a rare rating of five stars. There's more info at the www.microsoft.com/money  web site, which has excellent tutorials to help you figure things out.

 

   NOTE: A new book called "Easy Microsoft Money 2004," by Gina Carrillo, just came out from Que www.quepublishing.com. The $15 book has full color illustrations on every page, taking you through the program with screen shots to show what you should be loking at and what you need to click to move on.

 

Moving to a new computer

 PC Relocator

 

   We returned to "Aloha Bob" (no relation) recently, the leading program for handling the onerous task of transferring files and programs from an old Windows computer to a new one. There's a new version out and it seemed like a good time to revisit the place since many people will be getting new computers in the next couple of months.

First of all, if you just want to transfer files from an old computer to a new one you can do that without any additional programs. The simplest way is to copy the files onto a disk, a CD, a hard drive, whatever, and move that over to the new computer. You can also send files to a holding site on the Internet, such as www.xdrive.com, which charges $10 a month but has a free 15-day trial. This is also a good place to go to share files with friends and associates.

 

   None of that solves the problem of transferring programs, a much harder thing to do. The "Aloha Bob Ultra Control" version, $70, comes with a couple of cables for directly connecting one computer to another. Unfortunately, we immediately ran into a bit of techie talk when it asked us for the "IP address" of the old computer. Who knows their IP address? We got it by going to: www.lawrencegoetz.com/programs/ipinfo.

 

   So then what happened? Well, there are a couple of things to know first. One, you can only transfer programs to a computer with the same or higher operating system, it does not work in reverse. Two, you should select "expert mode" when Bob starts up, because otherwise you're not going to have complete control.

 

   You can import all your email messages from the old computer. For many people that alone is what's important. You can also save your Internet bookmarks, called "favorites" in Windows.

 

   Finally, if anything goes wrong -- and when has anything ever gone wrong with a computer program? -- Aloha Bob has an "undo" feature. Select that and all is as it was before. Web: www.alohabob.com.

  

 

 

Games

Tis the season to be jolly.

Brand new games are here, by golly.

Curl your fingers, stand and volley,

Anything else would be plain folly.

   Video game sales now surpass movie box office receipts, a crossover we predicted three years ago. It's not all kid stuff: most players are young adults, not children. Game pricing tends to be all over the lot; so to find the best deals, use a search engine like www.froogle.com.

   Lord of the Rings

-- "Nancy Drew: Danger on Deception Island," Win 98 and up, ages 10 and up.

   You can choose to start as a senior or junior detective. We always choose "junior detective," but still can't solve the crime. It's a matter of application, really; if only spent more time at it, we might be able to solve one. It helps to make regular trips to www.herinteractive.com where you can get help from other players, like "Detective Crissy, age 11," who is one sharp girl scout cookie.

-- "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King," Win98  and PlayStation 2.

   Hardly a Hobbit is now alive who hasn't been tapping a hairy foot waiting for this one. In order to play on the computer, however, they will need a powerful video card; either an ATI Radeon 7500, NVidia GeForce2, or higher. www.eagames.com.

 

-- "Rugby 2004," from EA Sports www.easports.com, Win 98 and up.

 

   If you're not familiar with rugby, it's like football, but with no pads, no helmets and practically no rules. It's best to be large and aggressive.

  

-- "The Temple of Elemental Evil," a classic Greyhawk D&D game from Atari. www.greyhawkgame.com.

  For those who have been out of touch for several years, "D&D" stands for "Dungeons & Dragons," and is a role playing game that follows certain rules of engagement. In this adventure the Elfin princess Tillahi is missing, probably kidnapped, and only you, Dick Daring, can save her.

-- Two new war games from Activision www.activision.com:

 

   Call of Duty," a World War II battle game. Highly ranked by all early players. One called it the best war game ever made. Nuff said.

 

 "Empires: Dawn of the Modern World," warfare through the ages, again highly ranked by all players. Lots of battles. As Otto von Bismarck said: "History is written in blood and iron."

 Sinbad  

-- Let's finish the current crop with "Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas," for teenagers, from Atari. The fabled hero of Arabian mythology must retrieve the Book of Peace, and it ain't gonna be easy. A whole bunch of nasty creatures are in the way, but fortunately you have the power to summon an army of skeletons to fight on your side. (Doesn't everybody?) Web: www.atari.com.

NOTE: Readers can search past columns on our web site: www.oncomp.com. You can e-mail either Bob or Joy Schwabach at bobschwab@aol.com or joydee@oncomp.com.

 

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