Accueil > BLAGUES-L > Archives 1996 >

Date: Fri, 29 Mar 1996 08:41:07 -0500 (EST)
Subject: BLAGUES-L: Software Reviews

>From: Professor Falken
>Date: Thu, 28 Mar 96 4:30:07 EST

These software reviews are all from Project Nonsensizine, a collection
of joke files available on my home pages at


Leisure Moron
Requires: MS-DOS, 128k RAM, Monochrome or better

"Make me one with everything."  Millions of people find Zen meditation to 
be a relaxing means toward self improvement.  Why, then, as we move into 
the twenty-first century, do we still use old, outdated means of 

No more.

Zen, a new program from Leisure Moron, allows you to meditate through
aid of your computer.  This program is very easy to install.  A simple
one disk installation takes no longer than 30 seconds, and the user is 
then ready to begin his meditation.

The main menu has two simple options: Meditate, and Exit.  The exit 
feature works extremely well, placing you straight back to the DOS
prompt.  It can be accessed via the keyboard or mouse, and works equally 
well through both.  Nonsensizine ran a test, exiting Zen under twenty 
different conditions.  Every time, this well behaved program dropped the 
user back to the OS with no complaints.

The Meditate option works equally as well.  As soon as you choose 
Meditate, the screen clears.  The computer runs a series of NOOPs in an 
endless loop.  The result is absolutely nothing, the prime objective of 
Zen meditation.

Zen works remarkably well on slower computers, accomplishing just as much 
on an 8088 as is accomplished on a Pentium processor in the same amount
of time.

Zen will also work on laptops, however, this is not suggested for serious
meditation, as eventually the batteries will run out, and the computer
will power down.

Zen will run under DOS or Windows.  Zen is also completely DesqView
aware, perfect when you want to do word processing or number crunching
while you meditate.

However, Zen has its drawbacks.  It lacks a save feature.  This is highly
annoying after hours of meditation.  Often you will need to stop 
meditating to eat or sleep, and the sad fact is you cannot continue where 
you left off; you must start over.

Zen also has poor documentation.  The 135 page user manual turns out to 
be one page stating: "Put in the disk and run it," followed by 134 blank 
pages.  However, Zen compensates for this with an excellent user support
line.  Call the toll free number, and you will be connected with an
infinitely looping tape recording of silence.

Leisure Moron has announced that it will release a new version of Zen.  
Among the improvements will be a screen saver and VGA support.  Also to
compensate for the lousy silence generated by the PC speaker, 
SoundBlaster support will be added, for wonderful eleven channel silence, 
in stereo no less.

While Zen meditation is not for everyone, Zen could be the perfect
solution for the computer user who wants to be one with everything.


Requires: MS-DOS, 1 MB RAM, EGA or better

Tic-Tac-Toe.  To some, it's a mindless children's game.  To others, it's 
a test of skill and intellect.  Enter Tic-Tac-Toe Master 2000, the only
Tic-Tac-Toe computer program recognized by the ITTTL (International
Tic-Tac-Toe League).

TTTM2K contains a database of every single possible board layout.  This 
not only makes TTTM2K the most comprehensive program of its kind, but
also makes for a computer opponent who can constantly grow with your 

The interface is quite intuitive, and moves come naturally.  The game is
completely configurable to the extent of ITTTL rules, giving you the 
option: "Should I go first (Y/N)?"  This is a program that will grow WITH 
the user.

When TTTM2K was pitted one on one against Sergun Tic-Tac-Toe, the fifty 
game series ended quickly.  TTTM2K picked up zero wins, zero losses, and 
fifty draws.  Arguably, you could say that Sergun TTT is just as good a 
Tic-Tac-Toe opponent, but its $30 price tag makes it a costly adversary.

TTTM2K will also allow two players to play each other, eliminating the 
need of paper and pencil, and will optionally coach players as to what 
their next move should be.  TTTM2K is known for such wonderful advice as 
"If you don't play in square nine, your opponent will be able to move 
there for the win," and "start in the center square."

TTTM2K will also play against itself.  The results can be fed to the 
printer, giving a great outlook into the mind of the computer.  A sample 
game printed out is below.

Game number 54102 in 100000 game series.
Computer vs. Computer.
Tie game, 0-0, 54101 draws.

  | |  .  | |  .  | |  .  | |  . X| |  . X| |  . X| |  . X|O|  . X|O|X .
 -+-+- . -+-+- . -+-+- . -+-+- . -+-+- . -+-+- . -+-+- . -+-+- . -+-+- .
  |X|  .  |X|  .  |X|X . O|X|X . O|X|X . O|X|X . O|X|X . O|X|X . O|X|X .
 -+-+- . -+-+- . -+-+- . -+-+- . -+-+- . -+-+- . -+-+- . -+-+- . -+-+- .
  | |  . O| |  . O| |  . O| |  . O| |  . O| |O . O|X|O . O|X|O . O|X|O .

TTTM2K's drawbacks are few, its bonuses many.  While it does lack an undo
feature, such an option might make the game of Tic-Tac-Toe too easy.  The
over-the-modem play allows you to play any local opponent, and indeed, 
over the Internet against anyone in the world.

TTTM2K also includes a solitaire version of the game.  While this
reviewer was able to solve it in six moves, the documentation claims that 
it can be won in three.

While Tic-Tac-Toe isn't as popular as it once was, TTTM2K promises to
bring new life to the old classic.


Hardware Innovations
Requirements: Windows, 8 MB RAM, 486 or better

Testing, testing, one, two, three.  Look, ma, no keyboard!  This is so

I am watching the words pop up on this screen as I speak.  Voice 
recognition hardware has often been criticized as slow, impossible to 
use, expensive.

Say What?, from Hardware Innovations is a remarkable program.  As fast as 
you can speak, words fly onto your word processing document.  I only 
spent two hours on the installation, and I'm already talking to the 
computer as if it were second nature.

The $799 price will probably be lowered in the next few months, as rival
companies come out with similar products.

I can see no reason why computers five years from now will need 
keyboards.  The voice recognition available today makes me riiiiiiing 
riiiiiiing, damn phone.  Hello?  Hello, honey.  Yes.  I'm working now.  I 
won't be out of here for a few more hours, I have a magazine to write 
here.  No, I'm sorry.  Well, if we had gone out Friday like I wanted, we 
wouldn't have this problem, now would we?  No... No... I _AM_ trying to 
make this your fault!  It _IS_ your fault!  Oh, yeah, and you're always 
right.  Uh-huh.  Quit trying to blame this on me!  I don't live with 
daddy anymore!  I have to work for my living!  Yeah.  Right.  Rot in 
hell.  Click.  Oh, yeah, the article.  Computer, please erase this last 
paragraph and we'll start over.

I can see no reason why computers five years from now will need 
keyboards.  The voice recognition available today makes me confident that 
this is where the future of input is going.

While voice recognition is expensive now, it has no drawbacks.  Say What? 
is a great program if you've got the money and want something REALLY 

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