MacHome Journal Reviews 

MacPublisher Pro

Design & Print Studio

Pong (porting from PC to Mac)




Not everyone needs the most powerful page layout program. When you just want to create simple newsletters, invitations, or invoices, a practical option is MacPublisher Pro.

You literally need to know nothing about page layout, graphic design, or publishing to use MacPublisher Pro. A toolbar along the left side of the page provides basic drawing and text import tools. Along the top, you'll find two more toolbars for formatting pages by changing text color, size, font, and paragraph alignment. It would be helpful if the boxes for color, shade, line, and line width (among others) had labels. With no icons or text to indicate their purpose, I was left wondering which to use; I had to hold the cursor over each box to see pop-up titles.

When you open a new document in MacPublisher Pro, you can create pages from scratch or use one of over 50 templates. A quick run through its tutorial will explain importing text and graphics in minutes. To create your own, customized document, there are a host of tools for pagination and editing. Despite the lack of live scrolling on the scrollbar, you can move the page at will with the Picture Mover Tool.

The clip art collection that comes standard with MacPublisher Pro is voluminous. Preview the 170-page Clip Art Gallery booklet bundled with the program, which lists all the clip art and fonts available on the CD as a quick reference. But although the clip art is extensive, it's also cartoon-like, making it a limited resource for other styles.

If you don't have a lot of money to spend and you are neither technically savvy nor a graphics artist, take a look at MacPublisher Pro. It has the tools and templates you'll need to get started quickly, despite small lapses in design. Although the clip art is extensive, you might not find it applicable to your specific needs. Overall, though, this is a great way to start publishing.



If you want to turn yourself into a publishing whiz, capable of whipping up glitzy printed materials, you're going to need some software. And if you want this transformation to happen overnight, you might take a look at  Design & Print Studio, an easy-to-learn and inexpensive publishing package.
As with other programs of its ilk, Design & Print Studio comes with  more than 100 templates for greeting cards, business cards, banners, signs, letterheads, calendars, envelopes, invitations, and postcards.
Design & Print Studio makes a good introduction to professional desktop-publishing programs, since it has a similar look -- as with QuarkXPress or Adobe's InDesign, your document appears in the center of the screen in a "pasteboard" area surrounded by tools that select and manipulate the objects on the page. The difference is that when you launch Design & Print Studio, you're asked what kind of document you want to create -- such as business card, sign, or flyer -- and then you're asked what kind of layout you'd like to use, chosen from a list of different arrangements of text and graphic elements.

It's not nearly as capable as Corel's Print Office 2000, which we reviewed last month, but Print Office does cost more than three times as much -- $65. Print & Design Studio lacks the photo component that lends a lot of class to Print Office. Not only does Print Office contain a CD full of digital stock photographs, it also allows you to perform special effects such as turning photos into impressionist paintings. Print Office also allows you to export your creations to the Web, although it converts all of your text to graphics.

The Final Decision
If you're brand new to computers and you want the easiest, least expensive way to dive into desktop publishing, pick up Design & Print Studio. But if you yearn to work with photos, you might want to spring for something a bit more sophisticated.



Pong was one of the first video games, and at the time 20 years ago, controlling a line segment that bounced a square blip across the screen was great fun. With gamers' expanding and more sophisticated tastes, this updated Pong offers something for even today's players. While the concept remains rooted in bouncing a ball past an opponent, the addition of powerups and interesting level twists like obstacles and helpers makes Pong an entertaining diversion. What's missing -- and it's debatable if this is a bad thing -- is that Pong won't make you play it for hours on end. It's a good break from the rest of the world, but it won't keep you from your day job.

Pong is more than an update of its original namesake. While the ball bouncing remains the same, various tweaks make the remake last longer. Dozens of themed levels put you on a soccer field, ice, or lake, but the variety is more than novelty. Each board has its own hazards and feel; a jungle level has rolling logs to push the ball to one side, and the ice level has polar bears and seals to help protect your goal. Collected powerups let you hit with great force or otherwise take an advantage. Even multiplayer matches let four friends compete. While these additions are part novelty, they're also why Pong is still interesting.

Some of the levels are tiresome, like a mid-level clown board, but it's easy to skip past low points and focus on the quick gameplay that Pong provides. For a brief game of Pong with modern sensibilities, look no further.







Ross Tibbits, May 2001

David Weiss, February 2000

Zack Stern, August 2001