Assistant Technical Editor
Requirements: Atari ST computer with
at least one disk drive. Printer optional.
Do you know how many ounces are in a liter? Quick, what time is it in
Moscow? What's the zip code for Denver? Who won the Super Bowl in 1974?
No, we're not playing another version of Trivial
Pursuit. These are questions you can answer in seconds with the Hippo Computer Almanac for the
Atari ST, a valuable information resource that points the way toward a
new generation of intelligent software.
The higher processing speeds and greater disk
capacities available with the new generation of personal computers are
making possible more powerful and sophisticated programs. For example,
much larger databases are becoming available for use in the home.
Although the Hippo Computer Almanac
is not yet in the class of an encyclopedia on a CD-ROM, it is loaded
with information. Over 35,000 pieces of information, in fact, according
It Understands English
Like any good almanac, this electronic repository contains information
on such general topics as history, geography, sports, languages,
science, awards, and units of measure.
Perhaps the best feature of all is that you
communicate with the program by typing plain English sentences. A
parser routine swiftly evaluates your query, and the program usually
retrieves the information in less than ten seconds. If the almanac
doesn't know the answer to a question, there's no cryptic comment or
error message. The screen simply displays, "I don't know."
Of course, even with a first-rate parser, there are
always going to be occasions when the program won't follow your
questions. However, the Almanac does have the ability to find the
closest match to any request, and it tries to satisfy any query.
If, after several attempts, you still can't make the
program understand your question, just type HELP. Online help is always
available in all categories. The help screens are easy to understand
and even offer sample questions illustrating the format for
communicating with the program. As your familiarity with the Almanac increases, you'll learn
how to communicate in the least number of words. For instance, "Time
London" yields the time of day in London, England, eliminating the need
to type "What time is it in London, England?"
A Personalized Almanac
You can also customize your version of the Almanac. For instance, it's easy to
set up the database so the program knows where you are geographically.
This makes it possible for the Almanac
to calculate time zone differences and mileages between your
home town and distant lands. You can also use the "remember" command to
store important personal information in the Almanac, such as birthdays,
anniversaries, and phone numbers.
The Almanac is
easy to use without extensive instructions. In fact, a single
information sheet is provided instead of a manual. There is also an
easy-to-use print option that lets you make hardcopies of anything you
Browsing through the Hippo Computer Almanac is fun. It's
an engaging program that entertains at the same time that it offers a
useful database of information.
Hippo Computer Almanac
Hippopotamus Software, Inc.
985 University Avenue, Suite 12
Los Gatos, CA 95030