Not everyone needs the most powerful page
layout program. When you just want to create simple newsletters,
invitations, or invoices, a practical option is MacPublisher Pro.
You literally need to know nothing about page layout, graphic design, or
publishing to use MacPublisher Pro. A toolbar along the left side of the
page provides basic drawing and text import tools. Along the top, you'll
find two more toolbars for formatting pages by changing text color, size,
font, and paragraph alignment. It would be helpful if the boxes for color,
shade, line, and line width (among others) had labels. With no icons or
text to indicate their purpose, I was left wondering which to use; I had
to hold the cursor over each box to see pop-up titles.
When you open a new document in MacPublisher Pro, you can create pages
from scratch or use one of over 50 templates. A quick run through its
tutorial will explain importing text and graphics in minutes. To create
your own, customized document, there are a host of tools for pagination
and editing. Despite the lack of live scrolling on the scrollbar, you can
move the page at will with the Picture Mover Tool.
The clip art collection that comes standard with MacPublisher Pro is
voluminous. Preview the 170-page Clip Art Gallery booklet bundled with the
program, which lists all the clip art and fonts available on the CD as a
quick reference. But although the clip art is extensive, it's also
cartoon-like, making it a limited resource for other styles.
If you don't have a lot of money to spend and you are neither technically
savvy nor a graphics artist, take a look at MacPublisher Pro. It has the
tools and templates you'll need to get started quickly, despite small
lapses in design. Although the clip art is extensive, you might not find
it applicable to your specific needs. Overall, though, this is a great way
to start publishing.
If you want to turn yourself into a
publishing whiz, capable of whipping up glitzy printed materials, you're
going to need some software. And if you want this transformation to happen
overnight, you might take a look at Design & Print Studio, an
easy-to-learn and inexpensive publishing package.
As with other programs of its ilk, Design & Print Studio comes with
more than 100 templates for greeting cards, business cards, banners,
signs, letterheads, calendars, envelopes, invitations, and postcards.
Design & Print Studio makes a good introduction to professional
desktop-publishing programs, since it has a similar look -- as with
QuarkXPress or Adobe's InDesign, your document appears in the center of
the screen in a "pasteboard" area surrounded by tools that select and
manipulate the objects on the page. The difference is that when you launch
Design & Print Studio, you're asked what kind of document you want to
create -- such as business card, sign, or flyer -- and then you're asked
what kind of layout you'd like to use, chosen from a list of different
arrangements of text and graphic elements.
It's not nearly as capable as Corel's Print Office 2000, which we reviewed
last month, but Print Office does cost more than three times as much --
$65. Print & Design Studio lacks the photo component that lends a lot of
class to Print Office. Not only does Print Office contain a CD full of
digital stock photographs, it also allows you to perform special effects
such as turning photos into impressionist paintings. Print Office also
allows you to export your creations to the Web, although it converts all
of your text to graphics.
The Final Decision
If you're brand new to computers and you want the easiest, least expensive
way to dive into desktop publishing, pick up Design & Print Studio. But if
you yearn to work with photos, you might want to spring for something a
bit more sophisticated.
Pong was one of the first video games, and
at the time 20 years ago, controlling a line segment that bounced a square
blip across the screen was great fun. With gamers' expanding and more
sophisticated tastes, this updated Pong offers something for even today's
players. While the concept remains rooted in bouncing a ball past an
opponent, the addition of powerups and interesting level twists like
obstacles and helpers makes Pong an entertaining diversion. What's missing
-- and it's debatable if this is a bad thing -- is that Pong won't make
you play it for hours on end. It's a good break from the rest of the
world, but it won't keep you from your day job.
Pong is more than an update of its original namesake. While the ball
bouncing remains the same, various tweaks make the remake last longer.
Dozens of themed levels put you on a soccer field, ice, or lake, but the
variety is more than novelty. Each board has its own hazards and feel; a
jungle level has rolling logs to push the ball to one side, and the ice
level has polar bears and seals to help protect your goal. Collected
powerups let you hit with great force or otherwise take an advantage. Even
multiplayer matches let four friends compete. While these additions are
part novelty, they're also why Pong is still interesting.
Some of the levels are tiresome, like a mid-level clown board, but it's
easy to skip past low points and focus on the quick gameplay that Pong
provides. For a brief game of Pong with modern sensibilities, look no