SOFTWARE I CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT:

MARCH 1998

Word Processor: Most PC's will come pre-loaded with Microsoft's Office suite which includes the venerable WORD. Personally I prefer Corel's Word Perfect. I am using their Suite 7 even though Suite 8 has superceded it. I have used it to do several desktop publishing jobs and I remain amazed at the scope of its abilities.

Internet Browsing: One of the hottest debates is over consumer's preference for Microsoft's Internet Explorer or Netscape's browser named simply Netscape. I use Netscape's Communicator 4 which is their most recent release. Since it comes with Windows 95 I do occasionally use Internet Explorer but I just don't feel at home with it as I do with Netscape.

Fax: Even thought Microsoft's also Fax Manager comes with Windows 95, I have used the FaxWorks program which came bundled with my voice modem. I feel it is more intuitive to use than the widely used WinFax Pro.

Tax: This time of year I am working daily on my tax return. For the past 3 years I have used Intuit's Turbo Tax. It can handle all aspects of my tax situation as a sole-proprietor business owner. This year I saw the benefit of continuing to use the same tax preparation package, I had 3 years of tax history at my fingertips. The depreciation of my PC and car used in the business has been painless!

Bookkeeping: Since 1990, then using my generic XT-class clone PC, I have used Intuit's Quicken for my checkbook tracking. It's budgeting and reporting abilities are wonderful and improve with each subsequent version. A few months after PINON PC was founded I outgrew Quicken for my business records. I continue to use Quicken for my personal checkbook but I now use Intuit's Quick Books for PINON PC's finances. It handles my inventory, invoicing of clients, bill paying, and tracking of AR and AP. At the end of the tax year - both Quicken and Quick Books data are easily and accurately imported into Turbo Tax.

If you ask people what software packages they prefer to use, you won't get the same answer from any 2 of them. My choices are based on my preferences, my experiences with competing brand software, and shear stubbornness.