Hope Katz Gibbs

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Washington Post / Business

Fast Forward: Microsoft’s Student Misses the Grade [The Washington Post]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Fast Forward / Business: Page 1
The Washington Post
June 2006

WITH MICROSOFT STUDENT 2006, THE Redmond, Wash., software giant has done some serious homework—in the hope that it can help teens and tweens do the same. This $100 release (Windows 2000 or XP) sets out to provide middle and high school students with an easy-to-use reference library. It also aims to help kids get more out of Microsoft Office a copy of Office XP or 2003 is required to install Student. Cynics might say that this makes Student a fine way to get future customers hooked on Microsoft’s products at an impressionable age. But this ambitious release really is a sound idea. It just doesn’t quite succeed at its goals.

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Fast Forward: Educational Software Now A Tough Game [The Washington Post]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Fast Forward / The Washington Post
Business section

LAST WEDNESDAY, HUMONGOUS ENTERTAMENT SHIPPED the fifth installment of its Freddi Fish series, “Freddi Fish 5: The Case of the Creature of Coral Cove.” It’s the latest in a stream of $20 games featuring well-known, market-tested characters. The next day, the company held a meeting in a suburban Seattle hotel, where 82 employees found out they would lose their jobs. Humongous’ parent corporation, French video game publisher Infogrames, had decided it was “refocusing its efforts” away from Humongous’ more established franchises, such as Blue’s Clues, Spy Fox, Putt-Putt and Pajama Sam—as well as Freddi the little yellow guppy. “Rather than putting out new [character] titles every few months, we’ll be more opportunistic about it and do a better job at exploiting what we have already produced,” said spokeswoman Nancy Bushkin.

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Fast Forward / GVOX: On the Web, Music for Your Eyes [The Washington Post]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Fast Forward / Business section
The Washington Post
March 15, 2005

I’ve always wanted to learn to play a musical instrument, but it was always too expensive, or too inconvenient, to take lessons. The one time I actually sat down to learn to play a tune, it was on my daughter’s Little Tykes blue plastic piano; using a color-coded guide I taught myself “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” but I didn’t get much further. I’d like to think my kids wouldn’t have the same problem. A Web site called NotationStation (http://vrvw.Aoiationstation.net) offers one way around this time/space problem by offering its music lessons online. Gvox, the Philadelphia firm that runs the site, launched it in May after shelving its earlier line of music-lesson CD-ROMs. The company had sold less than $2 million worth of software last year and didn’t expect to do much better, given that its customers also had to buy $50 worth of hardware to connect a guitar or other instrument to a computer.

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Fast Forward: AOL, Love it or leave it [The Washington Post]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Fast Forward / Business section
The Washington Post

MY FRIEND JOHN TOLD ME a few weeks ago that he had just signed up for America Online. I was not too supportive: “Don’t you know most people hate AOL?” Yes, he knew. In fact, he really wanted broadband cable access-but his cable company wasn’t going to connect his neighborhood for another three months. “I had about a dozen of those 100-hours-free disks from AOL piling up in my desk drawer,” he explained. “While I am waiting for broadband, I figured I’d try one. It’s free, after all. How bad can it be?”

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Fast Forward: Software Reviews [The Washington Post]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Fast Forward / Business section
The Washington Post

*Hope has been a regular software / hardware reviewer for Fast Forward in the Business section of The Washington Post. Starting in 1996, she wrote dozens of reviews about the latest educational software programs to hit the market (see examples below). Others were timely reviews of software programs._ Here are a handful of samples:

SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS: EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH
LEMONY SNICKET’S A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS
THE MYSTERY OF THE MUMMY
BARBIE EXPLORER
LEGO SPYBOTICS SNAPTRAX S3S
• EXCEL@MIDDLESCHOOL
TAX SOFTWARE: At the top of its forms?

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Fast Forward: Hardware Reviews [The Washington Post]

Hope has been a regular software / hardware reviewer for Fast Forward in the Business section of The Washington Post. Starting in 1996, she wrote dozens of reviews about newfangled PCs, cell phones, and educational software programs. Here are two hardware reviews: EMACHINES ETOWER 466ID, and the SPRINT PCS.

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Fast Forward: MSN Explores a New Look [The Washington Post]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Fast Forward / Business section
The Washington Post
Nov. 10, 2000

MICROSOFT’S NEW SOFTWARE HAS A BUG—a colorful butterfly that’s been fluttering across TV screens as part of a $1 billion campaign to promote MSN Explorer, the new front end for the company’s Windows-based online service. This butterfly icon also appears throughout the new program, Microsoft’s attempt to compete with America Online’s all-in-one software. Microsoft reports that more than 1.5 million customers have downloaded the free program since its Oct. 26 release. I wasn’t in that group.

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Cyber Holiday Cards Get a New Gloss [Fast Forward / The Washington Post]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
The Washington Post
Fast Forward / Business
December 2006

There was once something special about the effort that went into making a holiday card featuring a snapshot of the family in front of a snowman or the kiddies dressed in their seasonal best.

Then big box retailers and specialty stores with a presence on the Internet — from Target and Costco to Ritz Camera — let everybody in on the tradition. They enabled us to shoot a holiday picture with our digital camera, upload it to the Web and start sending custom cards in a flash.

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More Washington Post / Business Articles


"I get by with a little help from my friends," says Hope, who gives special thanks to:

• MICHAEL GIBBS, website illustration and design: www.michaelgibbs.com
• MAX KUKOY, website development: www.maxwebworks.com
• STEVE BARRETT, portrait of Hope on Bio page: www.stevebarrettphotography.com

Contact HOPE KATZ GIBBS by phone [703-346-6975] or email.

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