ST PRODUCT NEWS
2755 Campus Drive
San Mateo, CA 94403
Reviewed by Sol Guber
Financial Cookbook is the first ST release from Electronic Arts. This personal finance program converted from EA's successful 8-bit product does many common calculations needed in everyday life. It does this simply and clearly and is easy to use.
Financial Cookbook calculates future value of money, present value of annuities, internal rates of return and other functions needed for business decisions. There are 32 different "recipes" where you fill in the blanks and the program calculates the results, prints them on paper or saves them to disk.
With the first recipe, "Making Your Savings Last Forever," I tried to fulfill my dream of having enough money in the bank to never need to work again. The mouse is used to choose an option from a menu. Then a form appears with blank lines for filling in your amount of savings, the interest rate, the compounding period and your tax rate. I entered $5000 at 7 percent, clicked on COMPUTE, and a new window with the results appeared.
I learned that if I spent only $351 per year, my money would never run out. I needed $502 at 10 percent per year and $2551 at 50 percent. Although this example is unrealistic (too bad), it gives you a good demonstration of what Financial Cookbook does. It answers "what if?" questions about common household financial situations. There are formulas for savings, investments, car financing. These formulas consider both inflaion and your tax bracket.
Financial Cookbook comes with an excellent tutorial explaining in detail how to use the various formulas, and it even shows how the calculations are made. It's easy to enter the information and make corrections. It uses the GEM interface simply and unobtrusively and it has both an index and a glossary.
This program is well thought out. I recommend Financial Cookbook as a home business calculator for its variety and ease of use.
576 S. Telegraph
Pontiac, MI 48053 (313) 334-5700
Reviewed by Gregg Pearlman
Programs that play blackjack have been fairly common for some years. MichTron's Cards plays a superior game of blackjack, but it also throws in cribbage and three kinds of solitaire--klondike, poker squares and one called simply solitaire. Add slick graphics plus realistic gameplay and you've got a highly entertaining ST package.
The text on the Cards box describes the software as "fiendishly addictive" and this is not far wrong. Games go fast. The ST takes only a fraction of the time normally needed to deal a hand and it frees you from keeping score. You can use the keyboard if you wish, but it's usually much easier to select or move cards with the mouse.
Four blackjack players can try their luck against the dealer, and the odds are definitely with the house. Just as real-life blackjack, you can lose $500 in no time. And the ST can certainly count cards better than even the most seasoned player.
Klondike solitaire doesn't let you move cards as freely as you might like. It doesn't allow for much manipulation of the rows, but it still plays realistically and is frustratingly tough to win. Just when you think you had the worst hand in the world, the next one can be even worse. In a casino, this game could also cost you money. A deck of klondike cards costs $52, and you win back $5 for each card you build onto an ace, so you break even after 11 cards. It sounds much easier than it is.
Cribbage, a wonderful card game anyway, is excellent in this program. As always, the computer plays a mean game, but it's not impossible to beat. One plus is that the computer will catch all the points you might forget to add to your score in an actual cribbage game.
For the most part, Cards is an exciting, fun software package. The mouse simplifies and speeds play. And the ST won't try to collect the money you owe it. However, while the graphics are lively, watch out for that glaring purple background behind the cards in every game.