Wiztools: System 7 Mini-van
Author: Stuart Perry
Date: November, 1993
Keywords: ASD Software program utility review
Text: When you buy a Mac, you get a Mini-van. A Mini-van does lots of things, nearly everything that you need a car to do. It's convenient, relatively efficient, and it carries a lot of stuff. While there doesn't seem to be an application that the Mac doesn't run, it can be dreadfully slow at times, and although you can make aliases of your favorite programs and drop them into your Apple Menu for easy access, file finding and application launching can be an involved process and sometimes tedious process. And while System 7 has many unique features, most of which are a mystery even to an experienced Mac user, it doesn't have some tools that would simplify and speedup normal operations. This void in the System 7 Universe has prompted many third-party software makers to produce utilities that provide many useful additions to the world of your Mac. If you need it, chances are that someone, somewhere has produced a utility that simplifies your Mac activities. If you're one of those users who has several extensions and control panels gleefully marching across the bottom of the screen, zapping your precious (and expensive!) memory, you might want to look into Highware, Inc.'s Wiztools. Wiztools'philosophy is simple and straightforward. It operates much like System 6's control panel in that it organizes all nine of its features in one neat place. The main objectives are to increase speed for the user, and provide useful yet personal customizations to the Mac. Wiztools combines many features that users may have already found in shareware, or may still be looking for. Included are the main modules that make up Wiztools. 1. Finder Tools - The first in this group of utilities is probably the most versatile and useful. The main tools in this panel: allow the user to make such changes to the finder as: * keyboard macros of those Finder commands you always wanted. This means emptying the trash or shutting down can be accomplished with a simple keystroke combination. You can also change the stock Mac macros to whatever you'd like. * enabling an application switcher that will switch from open application to open application with a keyboard command, instead of going all the way up to the menu bar. * application linking that allows you to automatically assign a file type to a specific application. For example, TeachText is used to open text files that are of unknown origin to your Mac. This tool permits you to assign all text files to be opened by your favorite word processor instead of TeachText. The same can be done with PICT files, TIFF files, etc. * allowing the user to make all of the icons on the desktop small icons. With this tool, you can squeeze more files and documents onto your desktop, which is great for 9 or 12 inch monitors. * increasing the Finder copy speed to around two to three times the normal copying speed of documents onto disks, making duplications, etc. * doubling the speed of the mouse. Not since System 6 have I seen a souped up mouse utility like this. * hiding the Help balloon menu (at long last) from the menu bar. * allowing the user to quit the Finder itself. This allows that little bit of extra memory that may be required to open another application. 2. Color Switcher - A very useful shortcut indeed. The switcher lets you set predetermined keyboard combinations to either instantly switch monitor depth between two preset or bring up a menu to select any monitor depth. 3. Sub Menu - The apple menu is no longer an alias hangout for single applications. The Sub Menu module gives the Apple menu a whole new function: submenus are created for any hierarchical item in the Apple menu. This allows you to open a specific control panel from the alias for the entire control panels folder. In addition, holding a predetermined key while clicking on any folder on the desktop will bring up a submenu for that folder. You may also choose the font you wish each of these menus to appear in. 4. Launcher - Using keyboard combinations yet again, any application may be opened from anywhere within the Finder. 5. World Clock - A new twist to an old theme, this module is another modification to the Mac clock. It allows you to show the time and date of anywhere in the world with a click of the mouse. The catch is, it doesn't figure out these times for you-you have to do the math. 6. Keystroke Recorder - As a data protector, all keystrokes entered are logged into a daily file in case of system shutdown or a system error that destroys active files. This type of protection is speedier and more space efficient than constant file backups. Recovery simply entails copy and paste from a text file. These recorded files may also be encrypted.
The other three modules include: Watch Folder, for small network monitoring and security; Twins , which lets you back up and synchronize files with external hard drives or cartridges; and a module containing several simple PowerBook utilities. Overall, Wiztools is an easy utility to use. Almost all the functions can be set up intuitively. Also, any changes made to the modules do not require restart for them to take effect. The memory Wiztools takes up is very minimal. With five of the modules active, the memory it took out of my system was less than 40k. This is a vast improvement over the average utility INITs and control panels that can easily gobble up 15-30K of your valuable system memory. Wiztools combines so many features in one package, you may ask yourself, ''Why should I get any other utilities package.'' Well, don't rush off to the phone with credit card in hand just yet. While I will probably be keeping it with my other control panels, I only use about half of its features. For Instance, NowMenus from Norton Utilities does a much better, and considerably faster job of producing drop-down menus. And while ColorSwitcher was a welcome addition to my desktop, there are many shareware programs that perform a similar function for a fraction of the price. In the end, Wiztools suffers from the Mini-van syndrome-it tries to do too much for too many people, which produces a somewhat mediocre product. But if you like the idea of a control panel that does a lot of things efficiently, and in one place, and you don't mind shelling out the $75 street price for a collection of utilities that deliver what they promise, then perhaps you should look into Wiztools.
Wiztools is available from: ASD Software, Inc. 4650 Arrow Hwy., Suite E-6 Montclair, CA 91763 (909) 624-2594.
Copyright © november, 1993 by Stuart Perry