Microsoft Introduces Two New Interactive Titles for the Home…

REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 7, 1996 — Microsoft Corp. today announced Microsoft®
Complete Gardening and Reader’s Digest Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide, two new interactive titles that give homeowners the information they need to tackle gardening and home maintenance projects with confidence.

Each title brings its subject matter home through thousands of photos, illustrations, audio clips, videos and animation. Both titles make full use of multimedia to explain key gardening and home maintenance concepts. For example, an animated clip in Complete Gardening teaches you how to prune by having you saw off a tree limb. Likewise, Reader’s Digest Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide teaches you the best way to tackle any repair, calculates the total materials you’ll need for your projects, and keeps a running shopping list of everything you should buy.

Both titles include tips from the experts, interactive tours, and personalized shopping lists and diaries that allow users to keep track of everything they need for their projects – or just want to remember. The two products are more useful and engaging than books because consumers can easily view step-by-step techniques in video and animation, learning at their own pace until they understand processes fully.

“People want to maintain and improve their homes and gardens, they’re willing to spend money doing it, and they want to be proud of their results,”
said Mary Ord, managing editor in the consumer division at Microsoft.
“Whether they’re novices or pros, they want cost-effective, successful solutions – and they want to have fun. They can achieve optimum results with Microsoft Complete Gardening and Reader’s Digest Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide.”

Enjoy the Pleasures of Gardening, Even Without a Green Thumb

Microsoft Complete Gardening includes a range of features that make it easy and enjoyable for users to get the most out of their gardens, to have fun and get inspired, and to save money:

  • Personalization lets gardeners specify the region, plant characteristics and garden conditions that interest them, so they can go directly to the information they most want and need.

  • The Plant Encyclopedia includes photos, care tips and other information about nearly 4,000 plants, including annuals, perennials, herbs, bulbs, fruits, shrubs, trees, vegetables, vines and grasses. The built-in Plant Selector makes the encyclopedia quick and easy to use.

  • The Problem Finder , filled with dozens of photos, helps gardeners quickly identify the diseases, pests and other pitfalls – such as adverse water, light and soil conditions behind the most vexing garden problems. Then, Problem Finder suggests the best solutions for a given problem.

  • Techniques and Advice uses animation, video, illustrations and photos to offer advice from experts on planning, planting and caring for any type of garden. For example, it explains how to design a garden, choose the right tools, prune trees for maximum health, and garden for specific climatic regions.

  • Regional Garden Tours provide relaxing, inspirational visits – via photos and narration – to 20 outstanding gardens in North America.

  • The Media Garden lets gardeners browse a colorful illustrated garden and learn techniques at their own pace through 50 animations and videos.

Microsoft Complete Gardening includes an unprecedented combination of horticultural expertise from throughout the country, offering the best advice tailored to each of the nation’s regions and climates. Leading contributors include the New York Botanical Garden, Missouri Botanical Garden, the Holden Arboretum, Chicago Botanic Garden, Boerner Botanical Gardens, Memphis Botanic Garden, Old Westbury Garden, University of California Botanical Garden, Cornell Plantations, Matthaei Botanical Gardens, Callaway Gardens, and Huntington Botanical Garden.

Essential Homeowner’s Guide Offers Step-by-Step Projects, an Interactive House

Reader’s Digest Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide is the only home maintenance and repair software based on the world’s most popular home-repair book – The Reader’s Digest
“New Complete Do-It-Yourself Manual,”
which has sold millions of copies.

With nearly 1,000 articles, Reader’s Digest Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide is packed with more expert advice and information than any other home-repair software guide. It’s also the only guide that provides a single-screen illustrated overview of all the steps in a home project. With the Reader’s Digest Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide, homeowners get the following:

  • More than 550 projects with in-depth, step-by-step directions and techniques demonstrated in video and animation. Maintenance and repair projects range from
    “Restoring heat in an emergency”
    “Unclogging a blocked drain”
    “Curing basement dampness”
    “Repairing wallboard and plaster.”

  • A guide to more than 600 hand and power tools , with thousands of photos, illustrations, videos and 3-D animations based on the Reader’s Digest Book of Skills & Tools. It explains the proper use of each tool, provides safety tips and offers substitutes. Homeowners also get advice on how to use and buy more than 165 materials. Information about tools and materials can be accessed easily from within any project.

  • Sixteen estimators – more than any other home improvement software – help homeowners save time and money, reducing guesswork and costly trips to the store, by calculating the amount of materials needed for projects from painting to putting up wallboard.

  • List Maker saves time by providing a convenient, centralized place to keep shopping lists; find seasonal maintenance reminders; and keep notes, contractor phone numbers, budget information and more.

  • How Your House Works , an animated, interactive 3-D house, makes it fun and easy to learn at an individualized pace about all of a home’s major systems, including heating, plumbing and wiring.

  • Guided Tours let the user sit back and learn from the tips and mistakes of real homeowners as they explain the ins and outs of topics such as
    “Seasonal tune-ups,” “Coping with emergencies,” “Preparing your home for sale”
    and many others.

  • Sample Contracts help the consumer avoid pitfalls and get the job done right when hiring professionals.

Pricing, Availability and System Requirements

Microsoft Complete Garden and Reader’s Digest Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide are scheduled to be available in April for approximately $34.95.

Each product requires the Windows®
95 or the Windows NT
™Workstation operating system version 3.51 or later (they do not run on Windows®
3.1 or earlier), a multimedia PC with a 486/33 or higher microprocessor, 8 MB of RAM when using Windows 95 and 16 MB of RAM when using Windows NT, 10 MB of hard-disk space, a double-speed or faster CD-ROM drive, a Super VGA or higher-resolution monitor with minimum 256-color support, a Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device, a Windows-compatible sound card, and headphones or speakers.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft, Windows and Windows NT are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

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