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1996 Readers' Choice Awards: Business

Best Word Processor

Winner DeScribe
by DeScribe, Inc.

Despite two "deaths" in recent times, DeScribe is still our readers' choice for a word processor. Originally DeScribe, Inc. planned to close its doors but renewed interest from outside investors kept it afloat. However, even after this change of direction, the company eventually ceased development of their flagship product late last year.

However, DeScribe Word Processor continues to ship and despite lack of technical support channels, remains an excellent product. With extremely powerful frames based layout features and configurability enough for any level of user, DeScribe is a world class word processor. There has recently been yet another surge of interest from Internet users to revive some kernel of this product. Only time will tell what the eventual fate of this great word processor will be.

Runner-up Word Pro
by Lotus Development Corp.

Despite the fact that it is not yet "officially" a working product, Word Pro is our runner-up in the "Best Word Processor" category this year. While the product has been available as a demo or beta from Lotus' web site as well as the Warp 4 Applications Sampler CD, the final release (which recently shipped) requires FixPaks that have yet to be released. Still, the beta version of this product is full-featured and very stable.

As the first true "Team Word Processor", Lotus Word Pro 96 claims to revolutionize the way people create, review and edit collaborative documents. Its immense list of features includes, Internet Support; TeamConsolidate (display edits made by each team member); markup tools; TeamMail; SmartMasters; the legendary Lotus InfoBox; support for REXX and more.

Best Spreadsheet

(editor's note : The number of votes separating the top two companies in the "Best Spreadsheet" category was very small. There was a difference of only 39 votes between the two.)

Winner Mesa 2
by Sundial Systems Corporation

The Mesa 2 spreadsheet is designed for users who want to combine the power and reliability of OS/2 with the flexibility and ease of use of object technology. Mesa 2 takes full advantage of OS/2's advanced technology; every Mesa 2 file runs in its own thread, and the program supports multi-threaded feeds that update data in real time based on changes in the stock market or other sources.

Mesa 2 was purchased from Athena Design by Sundial Systems last year in a move by the company to extensively expand its portfolio of OS/2 software.

Runner-up StarCalc
by Star Division

Part of its extremely popular cross-platform suite of applications, Star Division's StarCalc is the company's offering in the spreadsheet category. Despite the sometimes frustrating inability for North Americans to gain information about StarOffice, the suite, and its spreadsheet have continued to gain in popularity.

StarCalc, available in German and English, for Windows, OS/2 and Linux, features 2-D and 3-D graphing abilities, drag 'n drop support, hyperlinks, and over 200 functions. In a market that might seem lacking in this category, StarCalc is a world class product, feature-equivalent with its Windows and Linux counterparts.

Best Database

Winner DB2 for OS/2
by IBM

It's not surprising that our readers picked IBM's DB2/2 as their database of choice. It's one of the most powerful pieces of software on any platform in the world. Part of a larger DB2 family of products that runs on OS/2, Windows NT, AIX, HP-UX, SINIX, SCO OpenServer and the Solaris Operating Environment, DB2 Server is a robust, full-function database management system that includes optimized SQL support, tools to manage data, and access to remote database servers.

Runner-up DBExpert
by Sundial Systems Corporation

Developed by Designer Software, Inc., DBExpert is another product recently acquired by Sundial Systems in their plan to develop a full featured OS/2 applications suite.

DBExpert offers the advantages of rapid database application development through easy to use Tables, Forms, Reports, Queries and REXX Macros. It is fully object-oriented in its design and interface and can be used by beginners without programming or SQL. DBExpert's ability to work seamlessly with data from DB2, dBASE, Clipper, FoxPro and Oracle databases accounts for its popularity with our readers.

Best PIM/Scheduler

(editor's note : The number of votes separating the top two companies in the "Best PIM/Scheduler" category was very small. There was a difference of only 15 votes between the two.)

Winner Relish
by Sundial Systems Corporation

The last of Sundial Systems' suite of products that appear in our awards this year, Relish is also the one that started it all. This longtime flagship product of Sundial Systems has been keeping OS/2 users organized for many years and has recently been upgraded in exciting and innovative ways.

Relish consists of a calendar, to-do list, and phone book that are fully integrated for total reliability, yet also independent for maximum flexibility. It allows users to: schedule realistically for any time and duration, double-booking as necessary; categorize commitments; repeat events; print schedules; run programs; dial calls; prioritize to-do's and more. Drag 'n drop and Desktop objects are just part of what makes Relish our Readers' Choice this year.

Runner-up IBM Works
by IBM

One of the often overlooked gems of OS/2 Warp is IBM Works and its personal information manager. This PIM offers integrated to-do lists, calendars, a monthly planner, appointment & phone/address books, and an event monitor for scheduling automatic reminders. With power and flexibility right out of the OS/2 box, many users have found that his suite of tools is all they need.

Best Communication Application

Winner ZOC
by EmTec Innovative Software
download from EmTec (ZIP, 750k)

On top of the other awards EmTec has won this year for its newly acquired EmTec Network Suite, the company has also been recognized by our readers for its original product: Zap-O-Comm (aka ZOC).

ZOC is a communications application extraordinaire, raved about by users of OS/2 and Windows. It features ISDN support for CAPI V1.1 (OS/2 only); TTY, VT52, VT100, VT102, VT220, AVATAR and ANSI emulations; English and German versions; ASCII, Xmodem, Ymodem, Zmodem, and CompuServe-B file transfer protocols; GIF/JPG display while downloading; an autodialer with autologin and learn mode; REXX language for scripting (same on all platforms) and more.

Runner-up HyperACCESS for OS/2
by Hilgraeve, Inc.

Hilgraeve claims that HyperACCESS will, "get you on-line fast with the hottest, most graphical 32-bit communications software!" Some of the other great features of this popular big brother of the HyperACCESS Lite shipped with OS/2 Warp include: a huge list of supported modems; automatic port detection with new "Commsense" technology; a library of 1000s of ready-to-call on-line systems; graphics file viewing on the fly; support for multiple threads, semaphores, and the graphical look and feel of the Workplace Shell; Zmodem, Ymodem, Ymodem-G, 1K-Xmodem,Xmodem, CompuServe B+, Kermit, and HyperProtocol (the fastest of all); and a host of terminal emulations.

Best Graphics Application

(editor's note : The number of votes separating the top two companies in the "Best Graphics Application" category was very small. There was a difference of only 19 votes between the two.)

Winner ColorWorks
by SPG Inc.

SPG's ColorWorks broke the mold for graphics applications by doing things in a different, but much more powerful way than the rest of the field. In an age where you can't even think about running PhotoShop in less than 32 megs of RAM, ColorWorks' footprint is only 1 meg and its DIMIC (Dynamic In Memory Image Compression) support can compress an image in memory as you work on it. Now that third party vendors are beginning to supply plug-ins, ColorWorks' future looks even brighter.

Runner-up PMView
by Peter Nielsen
download from the OS/2 Supersite (ZIP, 1.3meg)

Not all image viewers are created equal. PMView not only supports the widest range of image formats we've seen in any program, it also blows the rest away for speed and features. It has drag 'n drop integration with the WPS, an amazing thumbnail browser, slideshow and image processing power and a lot more too.

Best Disk/File Utility or Suite

(editor's note : The number of votes separating the top two companies in the "Best Disk/File Utility or Suite" category was very small. There was a difference of only 5 votes between the two.)

Winner FileManager/2
by Barebones Software
download from the OS/2 Supersite (ZIP, 1.4meg)

A longtime favourite of the OS/2 community, File Manager/2 (FM/2) is a shareware OS/2 file / directory / archive maintenance utility. The program's documentation calls it, "a sort of super-Drives object, something midway between the Drives objects and a more traditional file manager". It features all the functions of file management utilities from other platforms plus abilities unique to OS/2 such as long file names, etc. Whatever you call it, though, it's tops with our readers.

Runner-up GammaTech Utilities
by SofTouch Systems
download demo from SofTouch Systems

Like any mature operating system, the OS/2 market boasts its share of data repair and recovery utilities. One of the most popular with our readers is SofTouch System's GammaTech Utilities.

The GammaTech Utilities for OS/2 are a suite of Presentation Manager and command line disk and system utilities that perform volume recovery, optimization and essential maintenance operations easily, often without extensive technical knowledge. The utilities support both FAT and all HPFS versions, including HPFS versions 2.3, 2.4 and HPFS386. All the utilities support long file names and extended attributes.

Best WPS Enhancement

Winner Object Desktop
by Stardock Systems

Is it a third-party upgrade to OS/2 Warp or is it just Stardock? Object Desktop is so smoothly integrated it's hard to tell where Warp ends and OD begins! The Keyboard Launchpad is a godsend to some people and the Virtual Desktops of the Control Center can expand the working space of your Desktop by tenfold or more. If downloading from the Internet is your thing, Archive Folders will prove more valuable than the wide array of unzippers, decompressors and unpackers themselves that OD supports. On top of all these features add a new and improved folder class, performance enhancements to many objects and one of the best file/object managers on the market and you'll see why our readers rave about OD.

Runner-up NPS WPS
by TAKASUGI 'N.P.S.' Shinji
download from the OS/2 Supersite (ZIP, 101k)

The best things in life are free, they say, and one of them is NPS WPS. This little utility is crammed with an assortment of Desktop enhancements such as mouse wrapping, mouse sensitive window activation, icon arranging on a grid and full-window dragging. It also has some cosmetic enhancements like window shadows and some "Oh Wow!" window open/close animations.

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