CommWorks for Windows

by Alan Zisman (c) 1994. First published in Our Computer Player, February 18, 1994

CommWorks for Windows ver 1.0
$199.95 (US list)
Traveling Software
18702 North Creek Parkway
Bothell, WA 98011 USA

800-343-8080 / 206-438-8088
fax: 206-485-6786

A single computer can be a useful tool, but the poor thing must get
awfully lonely. At least so I'd have to conclude after spending some
time with Traveling Software's new CommWorks for Windows.

It provides, in a single package, the software equivalent of a
dating service for your computer, with no less than four different
ways to get your computer hooked up with other machines with
similar interests.

You get a bundle including LapLink V, for copying two to-and-from another computer's drives, RemoteAccess for running programs, or using remote printers and files, TS Fax, and TS OnLine... a terminal emulator, for standard telecommunication.

As well, the program provides LapLink Alert, for security, and a Control Center button bar for easy program startup. They've even thrown in a special 4-headed serial cable for connecting to nearby computers. (A faster, special parallel cable is an added-price extra).

The program features a single install that lets you select what features you want to add, and even adds an Unistall icon to its Program Manager group.

Travelling Software has been best known for its range of LapLink
programs, packages originally designed for shuttling files back
and forth between two computers, connected with either a parallel
or a serial cable. This has been most often purchased by users
needing to keep their laptops and desktops in sync.

The version of LapLink included here makes this easy. After installing a TSR on both computers, the remote computer's drives appear as additional drive letters on your machine. You can then use the LapLink program to copy files from one to the other as easily (though not as quickly) as between two drives on a single machine. You can even set it to work automatically at scheduled times, or across a network.

LapLink Remote Access takes that one step further. In addition to simply taking care of file management between two computers, you can use a printer connected to the remote machine, or edit a data file on that computer. You can even run a program on the other computer, although low speed cable or modem makes this impractical in most cases.

Like most other popular Windows Fax programs, TSFax sets up your fax modem as a printer driver, making it directly accessible from the Print dialogues. It can be set to automatically forward your incoming faxes to another number, a plus for people on the road. You can broadcast faxes to a list of recipients, and schedule faxes for low-rate late night sending.

TSOnline is used to connect to bulletin boards (BBSs) and on-line services, as well as to other computers. It easily configures to most popular modem brands, letting users lacking modem tech-speak quickly get up and running. It offers to automatically setup for CompuServe and MCI Mail connects, an option that works well. There's an easily configurable dialing directory. It supports most popular terminal emulations and download protocols, but I din't like that it gave no progress indication during downloads. As with other Windows telecommunications programs, uploads and downloads can take place in the background, so this needn't be dead time on your computer.

Unfortunately, you cannot use both TSFax and TSOnLine at the same time. As with most communications programs, these do not permit you to share a single device like a fax modem. If this feature is important to you, take a look at Delrina's new WinFax/WinComm bundle.

Connection to other computers can work both ways... LapLink Alert lets you know of unauthorized directory changes.

All in all, a nicely implimented collection of connection programs. Like the popular software suites, if you have need of more than one of these programs, think about getting the whole bundle. Even if you don't need all of them, you're still getting a bargain.

(Note from the year 2003): The above article was originally published in 1994, as a review. A decade and more later, I've gotten a series of emails from  fans hoping that I could sell them a copy of this software or direct them to a place where it is still available. While I have reviewed software since 1991, I am not a vendor of r any products. I suggest to everyone looking for copies of older software to check at eBay or at you check on my Files webpages, you'll find links to a number of (mostly freeware) downloadable software, some of which may be good replacements for older programs.
-- AZ (September 15, 2003)



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Alan Zisman is a Vancouver educator, writer, and computer specialist. He can be reached at E-mail Alan