I run my own small business, equipped with a few Macintosh computers and Microsoft Office, which allow me to do most of what I want. However, it has come to my attention I could use a good 'basic' project-management tool. Do you know of anything suitable for the Mac? Name and address supplied DQ: When one considers how difficult it can be to suggest a simple word-processor to a mate, imagine how hard it is to recommend a project-management tool? Microsoft's near-monopoly of the desktop market makes the choice a little easier, although there are a few decent alternatives these days. Project management is a nebulous thing, however. This software can be simple or horrifically complex. For a small operation, simple is the way to go. I have looked at a few sites offering Mac or multiple-operating-system versions of their product. I suggest you download the demo versions and try them out. For project-management software, you need to understand the system well before you buy. Make sure you test those tasks that are essential to running your business. Don't forget to test for multilingual text entry, if needed. Products based on the Java programming language, which is adaptable to any computing environment, should not be a problem. Pay a visit to the following sites: www.webintellisys.com ; www.itaskx.com ; www.nova-mind.com/Merlin ; www.sharedplan.com ; and office.microsoft.com/en-us/products/default.aspx. I am an investor in all sorts of products, including stocks, currencies, futures, options, bonds and warrants. I need software that will allow me to monitor and evaluate my overall operating portfolio at any given time. Further, I want to see the overall picture of my transaction costs (and maybe think of ways to control them). I have come across two suites - Quicken Premier 2008 and Microsoft Money Plus Premium 2007. Have you evaluated these software suites before? Which is better? Also, do you know where I can get evaluation copies? Alex, Mid-Levels DQ: I have not done the kind of in-depth assessments you want and these products deserve considerable space rather than the few words available here. I entered 'review of MS Money Plus' into Google and obtained a few useful-looking hits. It would take time for you to look into these to see if they suit your needs. The same is true of Quicken. Some local publications and financial institutions have software that allows you to examine your portfolio in Hong Kong and even explore alternative scenarios. However, this might not be appropriate for you. Check out the various plug-in modules for Microsoft and Quicken, which may be able to perform some of the tasks you've outlined. Be careful you get what you want and the software actually does what it says it does. The following sites have pointers to versions where you can try before you buy: quicken.intuit.com; www.microsoft.com/money/default.mspx .