In the August 1993 issue, I discussed modems, which are devices that allow computers to communicate with each other. I also discussed some communication concepts and the major decisions that you need to make when choosing a modem. In the October 1993 issue, I discussed several communications software programs that run under DOS. They were Procomm Plus, QModem Pro, Smarterm 340 and HotFax.
In this issue, I will describe some communication programs that require the Windows operating environment. These Windows-based programs vary from their DOS counterparts in their support of mice and their use of the graphical interface. They all are extremely powerful and have the standard features of pull down menus, mouse support and "hot keys". The programs are listed in alphabetical order by company name.
Crosstalk, from Digital Communications Associates, Inc., emulates 18 terminals, has 12 transfer protocols, the CASL scripting language and allows multiple logon sessions. It also has a unique feature called Quick Pads which are on-screen, boxed areas filled with buttons. These buttons can be used to send keystrokes to the host system or run a script. You can easily modify the size, name, layout and action of each button. The program comes with Quick Pads for many of the major on-line services.
Procomm Plus, from DataStorm Technologies, Inc., is a powerful communications program with 34 terminal emulations, 11 popular file transfer protocols, ASPECT scripting language and DDE support. It has a built-in demonstration which explains the screen layout and the description of the "hot keys". The scripting language allows you customize the screen to display the received information in graphical formats from bar graph displays to an interactive chess board.
Smartcomm, from Hayes Microcomputer Products, Inc., emulates 9 terminals, has 8 file transfer protocols and has the SCOPE scripting language. You can install the software to run in one of 5 different languages (English, Spanish, French, Italian or German). There are 100 large easy-to-read "hot keys" which can be scrolled vertically and you can set the number of rows that are visible at the same time. You can modify these buttons to perform program functions including running other Windows applications.
QuickLink Gold, from Smith Micro Software, Inc., supports send and receive fax modems and allows you to send a fax from any Windows application that can print. It also features automatic COM port detection during installation and a modem monitor which displays the status lights of the modem graphically on the screen. This is useful if you miss the lights of an external modem. Received faxes can be viewed, printed or "read" using the built-in OCR (Optical Character Recognition) module which will save having to re-type an incoming fax. The communications portion of this program has 9 file transfer protocols, 5 terminal emulators, along with a scripting language. It has an extremely powerful setup mode where you can radically alter the "look and feel" of the program to your own tastes. It allows the 3D effects of indenting (lowering) and raising of text, along with the additional effects of grooving or ridging the boxed areas. Text colors can also be altered and the style of Check boxes and Radio buttons can be chosen from 50 different styles. I wish all the Windows applications had this much setup flexibility.
© 1993 Rick Smith All rights reserved.