($39; www.connectix.com, 800/950-5880) resurrects the most compelling feature of Connectix’s old Speed Doubler 8, namely, the ability to duplicate only new or changed items. CopyAgent goes further to offer speedy network copying. Intego’s
($70; www.intego.com, 877/946-8346) offers comprehensive firewall protection for individual users. NetBarrier filters incoming traffic, and it is the first utility to check outgoing traffic, as well, to protect your personal data from theft.
FastTrack Schedule 7.0
($299; www.aecsoft.com, 800/346-9413) is simple enough to make first-time users productive but feature-rich enough to keep sophisticated users happy. Voice recognition on the Mac platform still needs some work, but IBM’s
ViaVoice for Macintosh, Enhanced Edition
($141; www.ibm.com, 800/825-5263) improves on the original ViaVoice by adding direct dictation into any Macintosh application, AppleScript support, and a USB-ready headset.
MYOB Accounting Plus Version 9
($199; www.myob.com/us, 800/322-6962) remains the best accounting program for small and midsize businesses. Enhancements include multiuser support, recognition of foreign currencies, and improved search functions. AEC Software’s powerful
($299; www.aecsoft.com, 800/346-9413) is a specialized project-tracking database that serves novices and experienced users alike.
With guided tours of 25 rooms and 3,000 images and illustrations, Montparnasse Multimedia’s
Louvre: The Virtual Visit
($50; www.montparnasse.net, 800/843-2665 for Barnes&Noble.com distribution) is the next best thing to seeing the French museum in person. The DVD-ROM software is easy to navigate and offers a wealth of information about art and history. Edmark’s
($80; www.edmark.com, 800/362-2890) successfully blends text, audio, and video to teach kids the history of topics ranging from cave painting to the Vietnam War.
For people who make their living writing, producing, and creating, Official Software’s
Official Copyright 1.5
($71; www.officialsoftware.com, 888/325-5445) is a straightforward and informative tool for protecting intellectual property. ISI ResearchSoft’s
($299; www.isiresearchsoft.com, 800/554-3049) is an improvement on what was already the best bibliography-management application available. This version adds some welcome interface changes and beefed-up search functions.
Surpassing the original Diablo might seem like a nearly impossible task, but Blizzard Entertainment’s
($45; www.blizzard.com, 800/953-7669) pulls it off. This sequel improves upon the original’s lush graphics and adds new adventures and characters. Activision’s
Quake III Arena Mac
($46; www.activision.com, 800/656-5426) doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it is a masterful first-person shooter game. Great graphics and network play help this game stand out from the crowd.
Boa CD-RW 12x10x32x FireWire PM
($369; www.ezq.com, 714/694-0031) takes the fear of ruining discs out of CD-R burning by using a Plextor mechanism with BURN-Proof technology. Microtech International’s
IBM 1GB Microdrive
($499; www.microtechint.com, 800/626-4276) is impressively small on the outside but big on the inside. IBM introduced this PC Card-size drive last year, but pushing it to an amazing 1GB capacity this year puts it in a class of its own.
Personal Digital Assistant
Palm m100 Handheld
($149; www.palm.com, 800/881-7256) is an outstanding value, offering almost everything its more expensive competition does (except mail and expense software) at an entry-level price. It’s bundled with Mac desktop software and a Mac adapter. For those who crave Internet access, the
Palm VIIx Handheld
($449; www.palm.com, 800/881-7256) is a dream come true. With it, you can surf the Web using text-only Web clippings. You can also send and receive e-mail through a Palm.net account or access POP accounts using third-party software.
The Newer Technology
($699; www.newertech.com, 877/605-0010) is the only way to turn an iMac into a G4 with the Velocity Engine. The ATI
Radeon Mac Edition 32MB DDR AGP
($279; www.ati.com, 905/882-2600) makes a leap in graphics-card speed and power. This card will inspire a new generation of games and 3-D-design applications.
Apple wised up and ditched the crippling round input device that shipped with its computers, in favor of the
Apple Pro Mouse
($59; www.apple.com, 800/692-7753). With high precision, the sleek-looking optical mouse glides across any surface, and it makes mouse pads obsolete.
Microsoft Trackball Explorer
($75; www.microsoft.com, 800/426-9400) was the first trackball to use optical technology. It comes equipped with Microsoft’s excellent Intellipoint mouse software.
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