Picks: Best of 2007 Part 1 of 3
|Software that can help||Good for||Cow Rating|
|Using novaPDF Lite you can easily create high quality searchable PDF files in an...|
|Debt Elimination at its best! Debt Analyzer is the perfect tool to help eliminate debt and...|
|Organize all your recipes. Search an online archive of over 150,000 recipes by ingredient,...|
|Easily backup, synchronize, or restore your files to another drive, FTP server, ZIP file,...|
Each year, around the end of November, I reach a new milestone in software reviews. For example, in 2007 on November 18 I evaluated program number 240,000 since 1982. As I look back over the years that's a lot of software, and yet I've enjoyed every minute of it. And when I've reached a new milestone it always makes me reflect back on the programs that I've reviewed that year. The ones that really stuck out in my mind. The software products that were different, unique, or a cut above the rest. So, as is my habit each year, the next three weeks will be devoted to my "Best of 2007" These are the programs I enjoyed reviewing the most during the year. I hope you enjoy them.
Genius Family Tree, by Genius Solutions is a slick program for handling your family tree and all its branches. I'd never really looked at many genealogy programs so it was really interesting to me. Genius Family Tree makes it really easy to enter the information on all of your relatives and once you get the information in there you can do quite a bit with it. The program is easy-to-use and intuitive. I particularly liked it because it's visual in nature and lets you see things easily. Genius Family Tree makes it really easy to enter the information on all of your relatives, past and present. I reviewed Genius Family Tree as part of a roundup of genealogy software. I learned quite a bit in doing this roundup. For example, Genius Family Tree supports a genealogy standard known as GEDCOM which means you can import data for other sources that also support the standard. Genius Family Tree is visual in nature which is a feature I really liked. In getting ready for this yearly roundup I was surprise to see that Genius Family Tree is no longer for sale. The author has retired. On the plus side, however, he published a registration code for anyone who want to use a full version of his program. What a generous thought. So, if you're getting into genealogy give Genius Family Tree a try. The free registration code is: 365 246 984 . Nicely done.
AVS Audio Tools, by Online Media Technologies Ltd. is a full-featured package of ten (10) audio tools. The tools work together to let you accomplish just about everything the average person would need to do with audio. There's an audio grabber that helps you rip music from CDs. There's also an audio uploader that you can use for uploading audio to your handheld devices. In testing it out I uploaded some pictures of my grandchildren and some ringtones to my phone. Which reminds me, there's also a ringtone maker that helps you to create your own ringtones for your phone. Works quite well and isn't overly complicated. The screen shot shows a picture of this tool in action. You can use it to make some really individualized ringtones. The package also has an audio converter that supports a large number of audio formats. Also in the package you'll find an audio recorder. I used this one to create some sounds for my computer. There's also a CD creator, a tool for burning MP3s, as well as a CD cloning tool. Last but not least is an Internet radio recorder. Slick. What impressed me about AVS Audio Tools was that it packed so much functionality together into one package for a very low price. So, if you like audio this is one of the best buys you'll find.
System Requirements: Windows 2000/2003/XP
BigOven Recipe Software, by Lakefront Software, Inc. is wonderful software for doing everything with recipes. I looked at it because I really love to cook and I've done all the cooking in our family for 31 years. To be honest, I don't write down many recipes, but the thought of software that took care of your recipes was interesting to me. The program makes it easy to enter your personal recipes. This is great for your own use, but it's also helpful for sharing your recipes with family and friends. The program is very easy-to-use and I think it's perfect for both new and experienced users. One of my favorite features is the grocery list. Don't you hate it when you go to cook something and you're missing a couple key ingredients? Well, not with BigOven Recipe Software. All you do is drag and drop a recipe onto the grocery list and the program makes you a grocery list! The program makes it a snap to deal with quantity issues. Have a recipe that serves four, but today you have to serve 20? The program figures it out for you. You can mark recipes that you want to try, create meal plans, and get new recipes from the huge online database. If you like to cook, this is a program you owe it to yourself to try.
System Requirements: Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/2003/XP
Debt Analyzer, by Insight Software Solutions was a program I reviewed because there's so much interest in debt and finances. The neat thing about Debt Analyzer is that it lets you look at, and improve, your financial situation. What I really like about Debt Analyzer is that it gives you the total picture of your debt and lets you try different options and approaches. The program is easy-to-use and intuitive and you don't have to be an accountant to figure it out. The ability to fiddle with "what if" scenarios can be very useful. You can have up to fifty (50) debts in each debt plan and you can have multiple plans. While working with Debt Analyzer you can see how things would go if you just did minimum monthly payments. You can enter what a debt is, what the balance is, what the requested monthly payment is, what your normally pay, and even the date the payment is due. You can use accelerated payments to get your debt paid off sooner. Debt Analyzer also provides you with a budget feature so you monitor your income, spending, and debt. Slick! Debt Analyzer can also be used to figure out loan consolidation. You can see what you save by consolidating, what it will cost, and you can even create a graph that shows your time savings. You can generate a range of reports and graphs. These help you to see your progress ... where you've been and where you're going. You can even produce a calendar so you never miss a payment date. Debt Analyzer is powerful, yet it's also very easy-to-use. Perfect for users with all levels of experience. Give it a try, I recommend it.
System Requirements: Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/2003/XP
Another program in 2007 that I was immediately take with was SyncBack, by 2BrightSparks This is a powerful backup solution that's also extremely easy-to-use. It's also FREE. In working with the program it didn't take me long to decide that it was a cut above similar products. In addition to backing up your important files the program can also be used to synchronize computers. The interface is clean and intuitive and the program is perfect for both new and experienced users. SyncBack has a wide range customizable features and I always like that. The program makes backup easy. SyncBack can backup your important data to hard drives, network drives, external hard drives, DVD, CD, and even to FTP sites. It can backup files that are locked or open so you can be sure every file is backed up. It's quick and easy to create a backup profile and the program takes you through the process step-by-step. At each step there is built-in help so that if you don't understand something you can get help then. In many programs you'd have to quit and go find out what something meant, but not in SyncBack. The help is right there when you need it. Slick! SyncBack lets you schedule your backup profiles to run or you can run them with a mouse click. Restoring is just as easy. The program also allows you to create groups of profiles and this is a very handy feature. The program is loaded with handy features and extras to the point that you'll find yourself upgrading to SyncBackSE, the full version of SyncBack. This is a backup and sync program that you have to try for yourself.
System Requirements: Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP/2003/Vista
novaPDF Lite, by Softland is a program I found when I had a need and it was so good I decided to review it. The program I had been using to create PDF files started acting quirky so I looked around for a replacement. This is what I found and it really did the job! To start with the program is very intuitive and extremely easy-to-use and that makes it perfect for both new and experienced users. Unlike some similar products, novaPDF provides you with lots of power for creating PDF files. You can utilize functions like compression, shared printing on a network, security, and more. The program makes it a snap to turn your Word documents into industry-standard PDF files. You can also convert files from Powerpoint and Excel. novaPDF lets you set it as the "default" printer. What does that mean? Well, it means that in any program when you tell it to print it will automatically generate a PDF file for you. Very slick. Another cool feature is "user profiles." I used this to set up different criteria for creating PDF files. One profile used one set of parameters and another would use parameters that were totally different. This gave me the flexibility to switch back and forth quickly and easily. I was creating some PDF files for the Shareware Industry Awards Foundation and I was pleased to find that the files created with novaPDF could be searched! That's not true with many similar programs. Excellent. novaPDF makes it easy to create top-notch PDF files that have all the features you could want. You can compress them, password protect them, print them, save them, and lots more. This is truly a full-featured program that lets you take advantage of the many features PDF files offer. So, if you've been looking for a product to help you create PDF files, you have to take a look at this one. Very nicely done -- I recommend it.
System Requirements: Windows /2000/XP/2003/Vista
I hope you'll join me for Part 2 of 3 next week as I continue to look at my Best of 2007.
If you have a question on how to do something on the computer you can ask me and I'll review some software and give you a solution to your problem. You can email me by clicking HERE You may not receive a reply, but all requests will be considered.
Michael E. Callahan, known around the world by the trademarked name Dr. File Finder, is regarded as the world's leading expert on shareware. Dr. File Finder works with software programs and developers full-time, and in the average year he evaluates 10,000 programs. Since 1982 he has evaluated over 250,000 software and hardware products. Mr. Callahan began evaluating software online in 1982 and no one has been at it longer. He currently works doing online PR and marketing for software companies, and is the Senior Content Producer for Butterscotch.Com.
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