Guide to The Best Software Programs & Application

Posted: 30apr2001
Updated: 11sep2001


To bypass this Intro page, where I outline the selection criteria, and go straight 
to the programs ->
Guide to The Best Software Programs & Applications.

How do you select the right program when many claim to do the same thing? 

For example, suppose you want to rip your all-time favorite songs, from your 
all-time favorite CDs, so you can burn them all onto a single, custom CD. 

So you fire up Copernic, or your favorite search engine, and type CD digital 
audio extraction program
in the Query box. Within secs, you're confronted 
with a grocery list of possibilities. 

You find AudioCatalyst, AudiograbberMusicMatch, Windac, Exact Audio Copy,
, & many othersAfter an hour of comparing features & specs, you're more 
confused than when you began. (Sound familiar?) 

So you decide to ask a few friends what they recommend, and they all give you 
different answers. 

Many programs claim to be the best, but which is the right one for you? Will the 
program perform as advertised? Should you download a demo of each contender? 
Do you have time to try them all? Would you rather choose the best option right 
from the git-go? 

Can you find a freeware program that perform as good as pay versions? better? 


The concept behind this guide is: it's better to choose the right program first ..
instead of wasting your time learning one that (you later discover) represents a 
poor choice.

If you don't have time to research software programs, their features, or inquire 
of people who've used the various programs, we offer some quick-n-dirty solutions. 
I try to download and test a new program (demo) every day or two.


Background: I install all programs to Win2K after a fresh reboot. If a program 
has trouble installing to Win2K after a fresh reboot, I don't even mess with it. 
I simply delete the it and go on to the next one. 

    Selection Criteria:

1. Performance. Performance is #1. It's more important than either user-
or cost. We're willing to take some time to learn the program, 
and pay extra for it.
So if performance isn't your #1 criteria, these selections 
may not apply to you. 

2. User-friendliness. Even though performance is #1, we'd rather not spend 
all our time trying to figure it out. Doesn't matter how powerful an app is; if we 
can't figure out how to use it, it does us no good. 

In general, the more powerful an a program is, the complex it is. But many powerful 
programs are also intuitively designed. If taking the time to scale a program's learning 
curve pays good dividends, we'll take that route. If not, we'll pass.

3. Cost. We'd don't mind paying a little extra to get a well-designed, well-coded 
program. An unintuitive interface with buggy code is no bargain, at any price. 

Cost definitely matters, but not as much as performance or user-friendliness
Again, if this criteria doesn't jive with your own selection hierarchy, this guide 
might not apply to you. 

Despite a willingness to pay for quality, we always strive to find freeware programs, 
which offer excellent performance and ease of use. They're out there.

Program are listed -> HERE