Category: Software

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Bundling Bungle

Later in June, lawyers rallying for and against Microsoft will present closing arguments in a proceeding that has the potential to radically change how the technology giant sells software. A federal judge would then deliberate about what sanctions she should impose against Microsoft in an attempt to prevent future anticompetitive business and technological practices that violate U.S. antitrust law.

No matter what she does, nothing will likely undo the stupidity that got Microsoft into trouble in the first place. The company insists it has the right to integrate whatever technology it wants into Windows. That practice led to two trials, one still ongoing after—count `em—four years. But the practice Microsoft fiercely defends—almost as a God granted, religious right—is stupid. Microsoft has been busy integrating technologies into Windows that make no sense being there from a business perspective—and they actually make new PCs harder to sell and use. The right Microsoft defends and the way it has been used is just plan dumb—unless of course the objective is to protect the monopoly and not benefit consumers. That latter point is one reason why this case never seems to end. 

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To Make Java, Count Beans

There are a lot of farmers out here in the Maine Outback. The potato is the largest crop—and one of the main sources of revenue for the region. So it is no wonder, in this day of shrinking farms and revenues, these agricultural entrepreneurs must be savvy small business owners. Here, the savvy means maximizing profit and minimizing time doing so: using good business accounting software.

Four bean counters stand out from the pack: DacEasy Accounting & Payroll 95; M.Y.O.B. Accounting with Payroll 7.0 by Best!Ware; Peachtree Complete Accounting 1.0; QuickBooks Pro 4.0 by Intuit. All are full-featured accounting programs designed for small- to medium-sized business. None are specific to any one profession, but each comes with get-you-going templates. As someone who freelances from home, I found the templates made setting up the books a snap. 

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Smooth Operator

You would think that in this day of Windows dominance, choosing an operating system would be easy. Not so. There are currently three different Windows in the marketplace—3.11, 95, and NT—as well as IBM’s OS/2 Warp. And choosing the wrong OS can be costly to your business.

Folks here in the Maine Outback are typically cautious. Until a few months ago, DOS/Windows 3.11 was the favorite desktop operating system. Now Windows 95 reigns king. But not with everyone. Many businesses are holding fast to the older Windows or waiting to see if the new Windows NT will outshine 95.