Title: Microsoft Student 2006 Word Count: 735 Summary: The previous versions of Encarta in cluded a host of homework tools. Th ese have now been made into a separ ate product called Microsoft Studen t. Keywords: Article Body: The previous versions of Encarta in cluded a host of homework tools. Th ese have now been made into a separ ate product called Microsoft Studen t. Homework assignments are the bane o f most students I know (not to ment ion their hard-pressed and nescient parents). This is mainly because o f the tedious and mind-numbing chor es of data mining and composition. Additionally, as knowledge multipli es every 5-10 years, few parents an d teachers are able to keep up. Enter Microsoft Student 2006 - a pr oductivity suite which includes the Encarta Encyclopedia, assignment t emplates, tutorials, graphing calcu lator software and a Web Companion. Similar to the Encarta, MS Student' s Web Companion obtains search resu lts from all the major search engin es without launching any additional applications (like a browser). Con tent from both the Encyclopedia (th e full Encarta encyclopedia is buil t into MS Student) and the Web is p resented side by side. This augment ation explicitly adopts the Interne t and incorporates it as an importa nt source of reference - as 80% of students have already done. This may raise important and intere sting issues of intellectual proper ty, though. Web content copyright-h olders may demand royalties from Mi crosoft for the use it makes of the ir wares in its commercial products. MS Student would do well to also in tegrate with new desktop search too ls from Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, a nd others. Students will benefit fr om seamless access to content from all over - their desktop, their enc yclopedias, and the Web - using a s ingle, intuitive interface. MS Student's templates are actually clever adaptations of the popular Office suite of products - Word, Ex cel, and PowerPoint. They help the student produce homework plans and schedules, projects, book reports, presentations, research reports, ch arts, and analyses of problems in m ath, physics, and chemistry. Detail ed step-by-step tutorials, Quick St arters, and pop-up toolbars (menus) guide the student along the way in a friendly, non-intrusive manner. The graphing calculator is a wonder . It has both 2-D and 3-D capabilit ies and makes use of the full scree n. Aided by an extensive Equations Library, it does everything except cook: trigonometry, calculus, math, charting, geometry, physics, and chemistry. And everything in full c olor! And if this is not enough, the luck y owner is entitled to one year of Online Math Homework Help: step by step instructions and hints for sol ving math problems (including algeb ra and geometry). The program addre sses most math textbooks and more a re added all the time. For the student keen on the liberal arts and the humanities, Student 2 006 provides detailed Book Summarie s of dozens of classic works. Besid es plot synopses, the student gets acquainted with the author's life, themes and characters in the tomes, and ideas for book reports. This i s buttressed by a Book of Quotation s and the entire corpus of the Enca rta Encyclopedia, dictionary, and t hesaurus. This is the first release of a grea t contribution to learning. Inevita bly, it has a few flaws and glitche s. Start with the price. As productivi ty suites go, it is reasonably pric ed had its target population been a dult professional users. But, at $1 00, it is beyond the reach of most poor students and parents - its mos t immediate market niches. Installation is not easy. MS Studen t 2006 makes use of Microsoft's .Ne t technology. As most home computer s lack it, the installer insists on adding it to the anyhow bloated Wi ndows Operating System. There is wo rse to come: the .Net version insta lled by Encarta 2006 is plagued wit h security holes and vulnerabilitie s. Users have to download service p acks and patches from Windows Updat e if they do not wish to run the ri sk of having their computers compro mised by hackers. Fully installed, Microsoft Student 2006 gobbles up more than 4 Gb. Tha t's a lot - even in an age of ever cheaper storage. Most homesteads st ill sport PCs with 20-40 Gb hard di sks. This makes the Encarta less su itable for installation on older PC s and on many laptops. Despite the hype, relatively few users possess DVD drives (but those who do, find the entire encyclopedia available o n one DVD). Finally, there is the question of p ersonal creativity and originality. Luckily, MS Student does not spoon -feed its users. It does not substi tute for thinking or for study. On the contrary, by providing structur ed stimuli, it encourages the stude nt to express his or her ideas. It does not do the homework assignment s for the student - it merely helps rid them of time-consuming and mac hine-like functions. And it opens u p to both student and family the wo nderful twin universes of knowledge : the Encarta and the Web.