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A CD-ROM that’s mere ly good makes creative use of a computer; a great disc like Echo Lake gives the machine a soul. Mimicking a wooden desk in a cozy lakeside cottage, the program is a terrific tool for creative writing and self-expression. Such resources as clip art, sound effects, and thought-provoking questions make it easy for kids and adults to compose autobiographies or family chronicles — volumes that can be printed out or copied onto a floppy for Grandma’s enjoyment on her computer. Unfortunately, a giftbook I made incapacitated a friend’s PC — a disaster Delrina ascribes to my not installing the included version of Video for Windows when I first put Echo Lake on my own machine. A-

Originally posted September 8 1995 — 12:00 AM EDT

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