Daily News from New York, New York on May 12, 1996 · 693
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Daily News from New York, New York · 693

New York, New York
Issue Date:
Sunday, May 12, 1996
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1 5 TECUM W tf I . iMM!? La 531:1:. . SOFTWARE SAMPLER By GEORGE MANNES Daily News Business Writer fn lending education and entertain- lrnment on CD-ROMs for children is Urn? a lot harder than software companies would have you believe. But if you want a disc that helps elementary school-age children learn about geography, music or reading, these discs are worth a look. First Amazing Xfcrld Explorer CP-ROM Activity L'wk B, ,J,, ,x i. vf -rffJ hrW-r1 I IIIIBII -MMinii-f. a WORLD EXPLORER Judging from its title, "My First Amazing World Explorer" (DK Multimedia) sounds like a mouthful of self-promotion. But this recently released introduction to geography actually lives up to its billing. The animated atlas gives kids a fun tour of the globe a peek at the people, animals and landscape you might find in every country in the world. Home in on Southeast Asia as you look at the program's world map, and you can look at a fanciful, beautifully drawn view of the region, featuring a palace, a rice paddy and an oversize blossom as landmarks. Click on each and you learn more about the region for example, that here you can find the world's largest flower, a bloom whose foul smell earned it the name stinking lily. Featuring maps, indexes, games and undersea tours, the disc is loaded with information. It's not particularly deep, but only some of it feels like a recita tion of meaningless factoids one of educational discs biggest pitfalls. Little surprises and the overall design make "Explorer" fun to explore. Before you learn about the importance of rice in the world, you see a little animation of a rice worker getting dunked in a paddy. What's also nice about the disc is the freebies that come with it a grab bag of goodies inluding real stickers, a treasure map to put them on, an animal habitats jigsaw puzzle and two activity books for learning more about maps and geography. Y ': ' W world ot rhythm and molody iwrana mats . r.. n .f.?l..l . A - fii'm castle musicians play back what you've learned. Even at the easiest of its three skill levels, the disc takes a little while to get the hang of. It's frustratingly unclear, for example, that you have to click on your assistant, Fiddle, to get started on each of your challenges. In addition to the game, the CD-ROM contains rhythm and melody tools that you can use to compose short musical sequences and find your own special beat Although ultimately rewarding, these composing tools probably will require a sit-down session with a parent and the instruction manual to sort through the disc's complex system of palettes, tiles, beats and rhythmic events. The "Juilliard" disc is labeled for ages 9 and up. I MUSIC ADVENTURE Though it could have used the user-friendly design of "World Explorer," "Juilliard Music Adventure" (Theatrix Interactive) is a good low-key introduction to musical theory for budding Beethovens. Designed as a visit to a cartoon castle where a gnome named Gnoise has imprisoned Queen Chantre, the disc throws down a gauntlet of musical challenges you must overcome to free the queen. To solve each problem, you have to learn about a particular music theory retrograde rhythm, for example, or musical sequences. Once you have it right, the animated TOY STORY You can be much younger than nine to enjoy "Disney's Animated Storybook: Toy Story," just released by Disney Interactive. The CD-ROM is an entertaining tool for kids learning to read and just plain entertaining for kids younger than that The disc's format follows what has become a standard formula for CD-ROM-based talking storybooks. Instead of illustrations from a child's picture book, you look at a series of; screens, each containing a tableau! from the story. In the corner of the; screen is the text of the story As the! program's narrator reads it the corre-j sponding words in the text are high-1 lighted. Children can read the book at their own pace, have it read to them straight: through or jump to a favorite page. Unlike a printed book, the pictures; don't just sit there. In the opening page, you don't see a frozen image oij Woody reading announcements to the other toys. You listen to him speak and watch him move around with the other i toys. t5 And, like good animated storybooks it's responsive to your mouse clicks, i, Click on a word in the text and hear ' it read again. Click on a Slinky dog and watch it stretch. Click on Mr. Pota to Head and he turns on a tape player Although the storybook format i. commonplace, it works for "Toy Story' ! . and makes it an excellent offering. Kids will enjoy the scores of jokes , and animation they can uncover throughout the disc. They can stretch the Slinky dog, push the buttons on an animated Buzz Lightyear and get woody to start dancing. , PRODUCT INFO: "Disney's Animated Storybook: Toy Story" : (out of four stars) Windows, Macintosh Disney Interactive $40 (800)900-9234 "JuUlfard Music Adventure" Windows, Macintosh Theatrix Interactive $34.95 (800) 955-TR1X "My First Amazing World Explorer" Windows, Macintosh DK Multimedia $29.95 (800) DKMM-575 TEST DRIVING TODAY'S HARDWARE V) o 9 o . AS 2 MP SSS Each week, the editors of Home Office Computing will present one of the hottest new pieces of computer hardware In this section. This week, we feature the latest color InkJet printer from Hewlett Packard Hewlett Packard DeskJet 855C Suggested price: $499 (800) 752-0900 or (415) 857-1501 Rating (out of four) We were generally pleased with the DeskJet's features. It posted the fastest printing times for both text and graphics when hooked to the Mac. Running under Windows, it printed text faster than all the other printers but lagged behind all but the Epson Stylus Pro with pictures and graphics. The DeskJet's printing has rich and vibrant colors. It was as if more ink was being sprayed on the paper. . Because ,of this,; however, some de-; tail present in samples from other printers was lost in the DeskJet's prints, especially In yellow, gold, and brown registers. The DeskJet comes with an indexed, 68-page user's guide covering both Macintosh and Windows setup. Both setups were easy, but the manual isn't as clear as most It also jumps annoy-ingly back and forth between Mac and Windows. The separate manual approach used by Epson is easier to follow. If HP could get rid of the lines on output and clean up the detail, then the DeskJet would rate as one of our favorites. Certainly it gets the award for the brightest printing. f - howe ormcs coMfvrmoioajss7au wmmwmmm aA"-- r S.frV-.-fcl.A , : ' ' '.' ' - tr1"m-f'ni1ltr'm-n-- fr"' '- ' x r inTfiriiniinn n mnan i.r : I

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