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Most Users May Not Notice, Say Researchers

RESTON, VA. ( — AlphaMail, Simon Sucks, and ElfinFind are expected to be among the top-selling software programs this year, according to market research firm PC Data, which forecasts a "conspicuous drop" in traditional help utilities and a surge in what it calls "vengeful, senseless and exasperating" utilities.

"There's no particular reason for it," said PC Data analyst Pauline Printz. "Sometimes we just make these predictions and see what happens."

Among the programs likely to be top sellers:

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· Where in the World Is That Damn File? (; $39.95): Takes a file at random from your hard drive and hides it in "somewhere on the Internet." Great educational utility that teaches users how big the Internet really is. Also provides a valuable lesson in backing up data.

· ElfinFind (Search and Annoy Utilities; $19.95): Internet search utility, automatically scans the Web for references to the word "elfin" and continuously delivers results to your desktop, even when you beg it to stop.

· Flashback 2.0 (Luddite Software; $49.95): Remember your DOS commands? Better brush up, as this utility irrevocably converts any PC into a 1981 model IBM XT with 128k RAM running DOS 2.0. (External 5.25-inch floppy drive sold separately.)

· Simon Sucks (Taunting Technologies; $199.95): A Prefatory Command Utility based on the popular game Simon Says. After installing Simon Sucks, users are required to type in the words 'Simon Sucks' before each mouse click in any program. Users who forget to type 'Simon Sucks' are 'Out,' and their computers will lock up. Users must then reboot using the 'Tell Simon You're Sorry' emergency disk. Replaces the popular 'Mother May I?' Prefatory Command Utility.

· AlphaMail (Don't Call Me SoftWare; $99.95): Email plug-in that autoresponds to all incoming mail with message: "WHATEVER YOU HAVE TO TELL ME, SAY IT TO MY FACE."

· BetaMail (Don't Call Me SoftWare; $699.95 for those who like the price, $999.95 for anyone who complains): Doesn't actually do anything, and if that's a problem, the price is $1,299.95.


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