By Harold Glicken
The folks who produce Turbo- Project have been sending emails to please, please try their products, which promise to organize projects ranging from building a solid-fuel rocket to remodeling your broom closet. Whatever needs doing, TurboProject promises to help you figure out what you need, whom you need and why you need them. After that, you’re on your own. It’s a difficult and lonely road.
Little do they know that while I buy software for personal use by day, I turn into Clark Kent’s alter-ego by night, when I review software. And, like you and your neighbor Jimmy Olson, I’m inclined to download trial versions of software before I shell out cash from my meager pension.
Downloading the free trial versions of TurboProject for Windows PCs is simple enough. You browse to TurboProject.com, give over a few pertinent details about yourself, and you get a download link by email. That’s the easy part.
The interface looks a lot like Excel, except it’s more confusing. Nothing about the interface is intuitive. I found the file/new project icon easily enough but everything, including a cheesy, unhelpful online tutorial, is reminiscent of shareware programs. Ouch.
Like any program that lacks intuitiveness, TurboProject has a tutorial built into the program itself. Except to use the tutorial, or any help function, I was instructed to download a program from Microsoft that would allow my Windows 7 Pro 64-bit to read the help files. When I followed the links on the Microsoft support site, there was no link for the 64-bit version of Windows 7. There was only a link to the 32-bit version. But before I could go any further, I had to validate my copy of Windows. Apparently I passed, because I was given what looked like a link to the coveted 64-bit version that would let me run the tutorial. Except that it wasn’t really a link; it was just a long, confusing string of letters and numbers.
I Googled the string of letters and numbers, and discovered that the file can’t be downloaded using Internet Explorer. A Microsoft file that can’t be downloaded with its own browser? Earth to Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Wash.: You have a problem.
It seems as if you name a project, assign a start and finish date, allocate resources — all the things you’d do with pencil and paper. My project has to do with figuring out how TurboProject works, why I might need it, and why I can’t get its help files to work. I’m guessing government people love this program.
All you do is spend money on it with few expectations, like the bridge to nowhere, which is where I’m putting it on my hard drive. I may be Clark Kent by day, but I’m not Superman by night when forces of evil make the scene.
Paid versions range from $50 to $250. I tried the $50 version, which is for small projects. Support for common questions is by email. The only question I have is how this program works. Come in, Redmond.