I love computers. But I don't love how long it takes for programs to open, or trying to remember the e-mail address of my uncle in Ottawa, or hunting for the URL to a site in my clogged bookmark list. That's why I like ActiveWords so much.
ActiveWords is a cool piece of software. And if you ever meet its greatest booster, Buzz Bruggeman, you'll know why ActiveWords is such a great name. Mr. Bruggeman barely pauses for breath as he sings its praises.
Floridian Bruggeman and his tech partner, Quebecois Serge Beauregard (yes, that is his real name), dreamed up the software a couple of years ago. Once you install ActiveWords, it allows you to write your own "language" to launch programs on your PC, go directly to favorite websites, open e-mail to frequent correspondents, and more.
Here's how it works. Type in a couple of letters that you have chosen to name your program (say, "eu" for the Eudora e-mail program), hit the space bar, and the program launches. Or if I want to send an e-mail to my uncle, I type "Hez" (his nickname) and the e-mail program opens with his address already in place. You can also use it to insert long passages that need to be repeated in a document. And much more. You need never go near the Start menu again.
There is also a neat function that shows you how much time you've saved by using ActiveWords, and, by extension, how much money you've saved.
ActiveWords works only with Windows 95 and 98. The one drawback is a bug in the software that makes it hard to use on Compaq computers. But there's a way around it. And the bug will be gone by the next version of the software.
You can download a copy of ActiveWords at www.activewords.com and try it for 30 days. Then, it's just under $50 if you want to buy an activation code. So far, it seems worth the investment.
(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor