APPLICATIONSCOMPTA, BOURSE, BUDGET ★ SECOND OPINION|8000PLUS) ★

Second OpinionApplications Compta, Bourse, Budget
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What can be more nerve-racking than making an important decision that involves a vast number of elements and will cost you dear if you make a mistake? Second Opinion is a new program which aims to bring the well-known infallibility of computers to bear on your decision making process.

You can't honestly say that Second Opinion is for people who don't like making decisions. It actually forces you make perhaps hundreds of small decisions instead of one big one. But what it certainly does is force you to think through the process of decision making and helps you get your priorities right.

It also gives you the impression that you are taking theie chance element out of decision-making and seems to give you a scientific basis to your decisions, which many people will regard as invaluable.

Despite a sophisticated look, the program is delightfully simple to use. The most complicated part is negotiating the complicated protection system involving listing figures from a virtually unreadable code book.

 

This teaches you an important truth about Second Opinion. It is designed for organised minds. Disorganised people like computer journalists who would lose the codebook in half an hour would be better sticking to tossing a coin or consulting a crystal ball. The very layout of the program suits the careful, logical personality.

This shows up well in the manual which is painstaking to a degree that is almost counter-productive. All the information is there, with a good case study to allow you to easily get into the program, an excellent index and even road maps' to help you find your way through the menus. In the end there is too much information giving the impression that the program is far more difficult to learn than it really is.

Critical criteria

What would you use Second Opinion for? It can be used to tackle any problems which you can split up into component

parts and give each part its correct importance. The case study given is for a job application where the options are the candidates and the criteria are the qualities needed for the job. However you can use it for deciding on which house to buy. whether to expand your business or whether to drink tea or coffee.

Your first task is to work out a list of the options you have. These can be anything - actions (a list of career moves), objects (all the types of cars you are considering buying) locations (when buying a house or going on holiday) and even people (job candidates or prospective employers)

You then list the criteria - whether the house is near the station or whether the job applicant will work for under £20.000. Each element is given a weight' a figure between -10 and 10. A plus figure makes the criterion more desirable and a minus more undesirable.

You take each option against each criteria and give it a rating' - a figure out of 10 to indicate how well the option fits the criterion

Then it doesn't take long for the computer to work out the answer giving you a plus or minus figure to each option. At that point you still have to decide whether you will accept the program's decision or not But if you have strong feelings that another option is far better it would seem that the program had helped you make your mind up anyway.

Changing its mind

If you don't like the decision (and are really keen), you can go back and change the criteria until the program gets it right. This allows all kinds of 'What-lf options. What if it wasn't important how much you spent on your car - yes then the Porsche would be the best one to buy.

Throughout this process you can always save the files to disc, as an ASCII file or print them out. You then can go back later and adapt existing files as circumstances change.

The value of this kind of program is not so much in the decisions it comes up with but rather that it forces you to be rigorous and logical in what factors you consider and the importance you attach to each

At the end of the day someone who really can't make up their mind will probably be unable to decide on whether or not to shell out £42.75. But for people with the patience and organisation Second Opinion could help decision-makers sleep more soundly in their beds.

8000PLUS

★ PUBLISHER: HeptaCon
★ YEAR: 1987
★ CONFIG: PCW + CP/M
★ LANGUAGE:
★ PRICE: £42.75

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L'Amstrad CPC est une machine 8 bits à base d'un Z80 à 4MHz. Le premier de la gamme fut le CPC 464 en 1984, équipé d'un lecteur de cassettes intégré il se plaçait en concurrent  du Commodore C64 beaucoup plus compliqué à utiliser et plus cher. Ce fut un réel succès et sorti cette même années le CPC 664 équipé d'un lecteur de disquettes trois pouces intégré. Sa vie fut de courte durée puisqu'en 1985 il fut remplacé par le CPC 6128 qui était plus compact, plus soigné et surtout qui avait 128Ko de RAM au lieu de 64Ko.