By Jon. For Online Currents
By Jon: First published in Online Currents – Vol.19 Issue 5 & 7, June & September 2004
Buying entertainment software – for home or school – is like buying books. You can pay top prices for predictable best-sellers written for a mass audience by a reliable team, or you can shop around a little, haunt the bargain bins, and pay much less for something a little different. Quirky, distinctive software – like quirky, distinctive books – can capture the imagination and teach kids – and grown-ups – something a little different. Information on mainstream entertainment programs can be found on the Web, in computer magazines, and in newspaper reviews, such as the Sydney Morning Herald’s Icon. This article is a more personal guide to some of the more intriguing byroads travelled during twenty years of buying entertainment software. If your kids are never quirky then read no further. Not all the programs mentioned here are still available from their original suppliers, but many can still be obtained through eBay or the Web. In any case, part of the fun is discovering your own treasures.
By Jon: First published in the AusSI Newsletter, 2003
Syntactica (http://www.syntactica.com) is the latest ‘automatic indexing’ system for the general public. Unlike Indexicon and other earlier programs, Syntactica is a web-based service (see Glenda Browne’s extensive review of automatic indexing in LASIE V27, No 3, p58-65, reproduced athttp://www.aussi.org/conferences/papers/browneg.htm).
Users pay a subscription fee which entitles them to upload their own documents to the Syntactica site. An opening balance of $US10 is credited to new users, allowing them to try Syntactica out on up to 100 pages of text before a payment is required. A registered user is given their own password-protected workspace in which the ‘indexes’ are kept and made available.
By Jon: First published in Online Currents 2005 – 20(1): 1
An open letter to software manufacturers
For common courtesy and good customer relations: if I’m installing and using your new program – call it StarAlyzer, from Liquidity Software – then: