Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing: Version 2.0 for Multimedia. (Software Review) (Compute's Getting Started with Multimedia Applications) (Evaluation)
by Alfred C. Giovetti
This may come as a shock, but there's no super-typist named Mavis Beacon. Les Crane, founder of Software Toolworks' parent company, made up the name for his ideal of the best typing teacher. Then he found a woman who looked like this ideal to pose for the picture on the box. The real Mavis Beacon is an artificial intelligence program with infinite patience, insight, and sensitivity to your frustrations. Mavis can do things no human teacher can do with over twenty charts and tables that analyze your typing. You'll even learn which keys are your strongest and which are your weakest.
Many hail Mavis Beacon as the best typing-teacher program. The CD-ROM Windows multimedia version makes this winning program even better. It's called Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing: Version 2.0 for Multimedia (The Software Toolworks, 60 Leveroni Court, Novato, California 94949; 415-883-3000; $99.95). It not only can be used to train you to type what you read, but also what you hear. This version adds digitized speech and digital audio music, recorded in stereo, with the quality and clarity of CD-ROM based audio.
Multimedia Mavis now has verbal dictation of 10 prerecorded letters, with the ability to add your own dictation letters. You simply use a utility program, such as Window's Sound Recorder, to create a way format file to go with a matching text file of the same name. Stop, go, and rewind controls simulate a dictating machine or tape recorder. The help topic has fourteen different voice-overs that let you read and listen to the help files. There's also a self-running spoken overview and demonstration of the program.
This latest version still has some of the problems of the earlier versions. Keys typed after a mistyped letter are read as multiple errors until the correct letter is input. Settings for various learning configuration preferences still can't be saved and must be reset at the beginning of each session.
Multimedia Mavis adds the convenience of Windows, with its task switching and built-in utilities, and the enhanced voice, sound, and music capacity of CD-ROM to this critically acclaimed, award-winning program. The latest incarnation of the oldest and best computer typing tutor is the best Mavis yet.