July 2003

Cyber News and Reviews is a monthly column published for parents, teachers & business owners featuring kids educational software reviews, business software reviews (small business & home business), games and entertainment articles, a free resource since 1995.


FrontLook Super Theme Designer Packages for Microsoft FrontPage from DPA Software and JumpStart Advanced 2nd Grade from Knowledge Adventure

By Howard Berenbon

FrontLook Super Theme Designer Packages for Microsoft FrontPage from DPA Software

Web designers from beginners to advanced who use Microsoft FrontPage to design their Web sites must take a peek at the FrontLook Super Themes from DPA Software.  This is an add-on program to FrontPage that allows access to professionally designed page styles with the wrap around look.  They offer several styles in a number of inexpensive packages (7 are currently available, most at only $39.95) allowing the designer to merge a custom set of graphics into standard FrontPage themes, automatically, no graphics design experience required.  If you’re developing a new Web page, you can skip the FrontPage theme and select a Super Theme right from the start, or add to an existing site design, accessed from the FrontPage Format menu.

After a quick installation from a single CD and then running FrontPage 2002, I found a new addition to the Format menu: Super Themes. Clicking on Super Themes opens a list of the installed Super Themes you can preview.  Once you’ve decided on a Super Theme (from a dozen variations per package), click OK to start the installation process, and in a matter of seconds your new site structure will appear.  If you’re modifying an existing site, this process may take a few minutes depending on the number of pages in your design.

You should have a working knowledge of FrontPage 2000 or 2002, like the basics of starting a new Web design, adding text and graphics, links and more.   Once the Super Theme is installed, it’s up to you to customize the page to fit your needs.  Add Navigator buttons and text, add your company name and logo, add a copyright at the page bottom if required, add your graphics and photos and add text in the prefab text boxes provided.   If this is a new Web design, you’ll need to apply the Super Theme for each page you add to your structure.  If you’ve added the Super Theme to an existing site, FrontLook will add the Super Theme selected to all your current.

Most Super Theme packages sell for $39.95 and require a multimedia PC, Pentium 200 MHz or faster processor running Windows 98, ME, NT4, 2000, XP and Microsoft FrontPage 2000 or 2002.  For more information, or to order, visit DPA Software.

JumpStart Advanced 2nd Grade from Knowledge Adventure

JumpStart Advanced 2nd Grade (ages 6 to 8) is the latest and greatest, upgrade to their JumpStart educational software series, which includes JumpStart Preschool and JumpStart 1st grade. This series has been around for at least 7 years offering exceptional quality with educational quantity for kids from pre-school to middle school. Each title offers high quality graphics, sound effects and music to provide entertainment with learning.  As a bonus, you'll find the JumpStart Animal Adventures Karaoke CD with 8 sing-along activities.

The newest JumpStart 2nd Grade title has many more features then the original (first reviewed here in February 1998) and is better than ever. This latest version offers something completely different: seven selectable learning styles with help from all the popular JumpStart characters: Frankie The Team Leader, Eleanor The Reader, Casey The Athlete, Pierre The Musician, Kisha The Artist, CJ The Scientist and Hopsalot The Math Whiz.  If you’d like the JumpStart Advanced to suggest a learning style, have your child answer a series of questions and the software will tailor learning just for you.  Also, a very nice feature allows the difficulty to be self-adjusting.

After a quick installation from a single CD, signing in and picking a JumpStart pal assistant, you're on your way to your goal: find parts to an invention to solve the problem.   You’ll snoop around the globe like a detective with your JumpStart cartoon partner and look for clues toward your goal.  Your first mission will be to solve the problem on Mount Jumpmore.  You get your assignment and a briefing at the spooky looking mansion called Spy Headquarters.  The villain Dr. O, who happens to look like a giant snail, defaced the monument with mustaches.  Your goal is to collect the required gadget pieces and assemble them back at Hopsalot’s Invention Lab in JumpStartville.  The invention will do the trick and make the fix.  The activities include the Amazon River Hop, Louvre Exhibition, Red Squares, Outback Hovercraft Trek, New Orleans Flea Circus Piano, Serengeti Cave Codes, Save the Penguins and Hopsalot’s Invention Lab covering art, writing, vocabulary, music, math, science, social science and geography with a full year of 2nd grade curriculum.  Most are in the form of arcade style video games.

Kids can, and will, spend hours and hours just roaming the world of this new JumpStart title having some fun while learning a little bit about everything a 2st grader needs to know.  My daughter Becky spend some time with this title, and although she just competed 3rd grade, found it challenging.  It's definitely a product your kids will enjoy.

If you have an early version of JumpStart lying around the house, you can trade it in for a cool $10 rebate (it must be a JumpStart Preschool, Kindergarten, 1 st Grade or 2nd Grade to qualify).  If you don't want to give up that original JumpStart title for sentimental reasons (it could become a collectors item), then go ahead and buy your kids the newer version.  It's the right decision.

JumpStart Advanced 2nd Grade sells for $24.95 and will run on any multimedia PC, Pentium 233 MHz or faster, 64 MB RAM with Windows 98/ME/2000/XP and a 12x CD-ROM drive. It also runs on a Power Mac G3 233 MHz or faster with 64 MB RAM and a 16x CD-ROM drive.

Howard Berenbon

Software Companies Mentioned

DPA Software
W327 S4150 Spring Ridge Court
Waukesha, WI 53189
Phone:   262-968-1940
Fax: 262-968-1942

Knowledge Adventure, Inc.
19840 Pioneer Avenue
Torrance, CA 90503
Phone:     1-800-545-7677
URL education.com