Learn to Type... If you are trying to learn how to type, you'll love the software program - Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing. It's available for $34.95 from Global Software (1-800-8-GLOBAL).

This program is well worth the money because it actually makes typing fun. I tried this out on my friend Laurie, who had never sat down at a computer in her life. She was labeled as the "typical" hunt-and-peck typist. However, she even loved this program.

Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing is menu driven and the more you use it the more it adapts to your particular strengths and weaknesses. (Aren't computers smarter than ever now?) It also entertains you while you learn by providing 2D and 3D graphics, lifelike keyboard and "guide hands" to show you the perfect technique for added convenience. We especially liked the Racing Game, where the faster you type the faster your race car travels.

Can You Run a Company?

Capitalist Pig, exclusively available from DataCal (800)336-5988 (Stock NO: M37001) for $29.95 is worth every penny! It's the best thing I've seen - especially if you are just starting a home-based business.

Capitalist Pig simulates a real business environment to test your entrepreneurial skills to the limit. To play, you set your plan, fill an empty building with employees and product, and then what you say, goes. Of course, like real life and real business, things don't always go as planned. Like that break-in the other night (uh-oh, did you buy insurance?), embezzlements (the accountant seemed trustworthy), tax audits, even terrorist attacks. The game is economically accurate too, with actual statistics and world events built into the model for all businesses created between 1901 and 1991. Adding to the fun are colorful animation and realistic sound effects. Try your hand at business building. Go boom or bust. All you need to invest is a little of your spare time!

Thumbs Down on This One

"cardsNOW" is a software program for designing business cards. It's available from Global Software (1-800-8-GLOBAL) for $39.95.

First of all, business cards are normally printed with a raised print. Anything less makes you look unprofessional and amateurish. In addition, people will normally use a color ink for their logo or company name. Both of these options are NOT available with this program, which degrades the quality look of your business cards considerably.

So why spend $39.95 for a program and $10.95 for 25 sheets of perforated business card paper, when you can send a camera-ready master to any mail order printer and have 1,000 professional business cards printed in RAISED lettering as well as 2-color for around $30? How long does 1,000 business cards last you? That's about a 6-month supply for us, which would not warrant the extra money to spend on this software program.

A Low-Cost Graphics Library

"Lotus SmartPics", exclusively available from TPC Connection (800)800-5555 for $75. Over 2,000 high-quality and professional graphics to enhance all your documents, flyers, memos, reports, bulletins, presentations and other business communications.

And as an ADDED BONUS, when you order "Lotus SmartPics" you get FREE Bitstream L'il Bits Winter Holiday Font Pack. These fonts are also a designer's dream. You get unique ones like SnowCap, the ornate Cloister Black, the elegant Shelly, Allegro, or the ghostly FreeForm 721. Now all you have to add are turkeys, snowflakes, bells, sleds and candy canes to name a few.

Graphico's Mail Order Private Collection is available for $15 from Graphico's Clipart, P.O. Box 488, Bluff City, TN 37618 and contains 2 high-density 3 1/2" diskettes full of mailboxes, borders, money and enhancements any mail order dealer will use over and over again. It's perfect for "beginners" as well as "pros."