Michael S. Parks' TOP TEN

Computer Crayon by APPOINT, Pleasanton, CA

An ergonomically satisfying pen mouse. It fits your hand like a pencil. Your hand never moves across the desktop. You can even mouse on your palm. Its a wunderment!

It comes in the basic Crayola colors -- just like kindergarden!

Mouse Pads (Beer Coasters)

To use the penmouse recommended above, one needs an excellent mouse pad. Cork beer coasters from your local tavern make excellent pads. Turn them over (advertising side down)! Be sure to pick coasters with a smooth back -- some are too rough. They even fit in your pocket!

ViewSonic 8 -- 20" monitor

The best money you can spend for your computing pleasure. This 1280 x 1024 monitor has pixels the size of dimes! This is the only piece of hardware I have that is consistently coveted by ALL who see it.

My picks 8,9 and 10 make a great deal of difference in the LOOK-AND-FEEL of your system. They are my only hardware suggestions -- the remaining picks are software.
Pizazz Plus for Windows, Application Techniques, Inc., Pepperell, MA

A handy graphics conversion program for Windows. Converts from one graphics format to another; resizes; crops; and saves an incredible amount of time -- especially if you do lotsa garphics.

Builder 2, I.B.M.

One of the "shoulda been" killer multimedia tools. Originally called AVC, the IBM folks created an excellent tool for multimedia. The scripting language is excellent -- it has all the necessary features for creating multimedia apps. It utilizes DVI (Intel's I750 digital video -- now out of date). For its time (four years ago) it was the only integrated environment available off-the-shelf. IBM shot itself in the foot again for loosing this market!

HiRes QFX, Ron Scott, Inc., Houston, TX

Images for the pros! Puts Photoshop to shame. A real professional image package. If you do large or high quality images this package is for you. Minimum of 64Mgb memory needed. Pricey -- but the results are awesome!

Painter 2 by Fractal Design Corporation, Aptos, California

Best paint package I've seen. Beyond the basic painting features, Painter 2.0 has some specific features that set it apart: the Bruch Palette includes Van Gogh, Seurat and the Impressionists; the Paper Palette has it all; and the brush controls are incredible! Wanna do computer art -- this is it!

FASTGRAPH 4.0 by Ted Gruber Software, Las Vegas, NV

This graphics library is just superb -- and lives up to its name -- IT IS FAST. The library can be setup for Borland C++ and Pascal;Microsoft's C /C++ /FORTRAN /QUICKBASIC /VISUAL BASIC /VISUAL C ++ /; Turbo C /C++ /PASCAL; WATCOM C /C++ and ZORTECH C++. It supports all SVGA cards known to man.

The package supports .GIF and .FLC files (quick and dirty).

Best of all -- Ted answers the HOTLINE number -- GREAT SUPPORT.

3D STUDIO by AUTODESK, INC., Sausalito, CA

The best three dimensional graphics program around -- NO DOUBT! I use this program EXCLUSIVELY for any artistic tasks. All these pages were done in 3D Studio. This package is taught as part of DISC 4398 Multimedia (a senior MIS major elective course).

It ain't a computer its a TURING MACHINE!

A lifelong wish to honor the person who brought us this tool. Alan Mathison Turing deserves the name for inventing this tool in a field of flowers in 1935. Read Andrew Hodges'Alan Turing: The Enigma, Simon and Schuster, 1983.

Let's make it politically correct to say "TURING machine" -- and abandon the misnomer "computer".

Michael S. Parks,280E Melcher Hall, University of Houston, Houston, Texas, 77204-6282, 713-743-4729
Updated: Dec. 12, 1994 -- Send comments and suggestions to: parks@uh.edu