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Tuesday, January 13, 2004  

Technology: DataViz makes software that works

As I learn a new application, Macromedia's Contribute 2, I've found myself thinking about software that I've been pleased with for years. I've just begun exploring Contribute, with all the kinks that implies.  My initial irritations are that it can be anti-intuitive and rather slow loading and saving.  I was also surprised to discover that I can't just drop prewritten and precoded material into the program.  I did that thinking I would get a completed webpage when I hit 'publish.'  Wrong.  The result was a page with all the code visible.  Back to the drawingboard.

Two programs I've used for years and never have problems with are DataViz's MacLink and Documents to Go.  The venerable MacLink, now called MacLink Deluxe and in Version 14, was initially included with every Macintosh under a packaging agreement with Apple Computer.  A few years ago, DataViz began selling it directly.  MacLink can translate just about every file format.  The most recent additions are Excel X for Macintosh and WordPerfect 10 and 11 for Windows.  Other abilities of the application include decompression of stuffed documents, viewing of documents without having to open them in a separate program and identification of items prepared in obscure programs.  It also repairs some documents or programs with erroneous coding.  Once installed, MacLink is a quiet application.  It can be set to open automatically when needed or given a home in the toolbar to make it quickly available.  Once you are a registered user, you receive news of updates and upgrades.  Upgrades are always discounted, often to $39.95, half the full price of $79.95.

Documents to Go is newer and was developed for users of Palm platform devices.  It comes in two flavors, Standard and Premium.  Standard makes Microsoft Word and Excel, AppleWorks and plain text documents usable on your Palm handheld. You can read them, edit them and use them in presentations.  Premium adds to the programs repertoire.  Like MacLink, DataViz offers reasonably priced upgrades.  The current upgrade, to Version 6 of is $29.95..  List price is $49.99.  Buy Standard for $29.95.

DataViz does not leave Windows users out in the cold. They get the same functionality as the MacLink faithful with the Conversion Plus Suite. It opens just about any Mac or Windows file and allows Windows users to read, write and format files for Mac users. CPS sells for $69.95.

Because of the fine record DataViz has established over a decade, I trust the company to produce quality products.

I am an aficionado of Macromedia's Dreamweaver, a highly rated web design program, the . I hope Contribute 2 will prove equally worthy. But, it will be a while before I can form an opinion about it. I have a tutorial to complete .

Around the blogosphere

  • Trish Wilson is shifting her fine blog to Movable Type.
  • Zizka is guest hosting over at Seeing the Forest.
  • Rick Heller brought my attention to a gathering place for moderates, Centerfield, a group blog for centrists.

  • 5:17 PM