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37636
General Review Discussion / About this section
« on: March 29, 2005, 03:06 AM »
This section of the forum is for discussing and helping to nominate and test candidate programs for upcoming awards.
In all cases i would like to be able to recommend a freeware/OpenSource alternative if one does not win.

I will try to work out a schedule of awards so we have some idea of the deadlines for comments.

Skipping next week, here is are some categories i'd like to schedule, begining  April 9:

Best backup tools.. imho this really needs to be divided into two sections (maybe 2 reviews one after the other), with
Best backup tool for complete system backup, aka drive imaging (my current award choice is True Image).
Best incremental backup tool for quick incremental versioned backup of personal documents (my current award choice is Retrospect, but i'm open to being swayed to another product).

Best Text Editor (current top candidate = UltraEdit), likely to be contentious award

Best File Explorer (current top candidate = Directory Opus | Powerdesk), sure to be a contentious award

Best email client (current top candidate = thebat), likely to be somewhat contentious

Best free+commercial antiviruses (current top candidate = needs more though), likely to be somewhat contentious
(this award needs a separate winner for free, since recurring charges of the commercial ones make it imp. to be able to present a free winner)

Best clipboard helper
Best Macro tool (macro express)
Best dictionary
Best weather tool
Best launch helper
Best duplicate file finder
Best archive tool
Best disk catalogger (whereisit)
Best search and replace tool
Best small graphics viewer (irfanview)
Best screenshot tool
Best icon tool
Best webcam tool
Best font explorer/tool
Best color helper tool
Best demo maker
Best diagramming tool
Best big graphics tool (photoshop)
Best photoshop plugins
Best dynamic dns tools
Best bookmark tool
Best browser addons
Best ftp client
Best password manager
Best irc program
Best newsgroup programs (newsbin, newsrover)
Best peer-to-peer clients
Best remote administration program
Best site spiders (teleport pro or offline explorer)
Best proxy manager
Best poster/bookley/envelope printer
Best label printer
Best printing helpers (fineprint)
Best PDF tools
Best Scanner tool
Best cd/dvd burning tool (nero)
Best cooking program
best route planning
Best screensaver
Best small game
Best translator tool
Best bibliography tool
Best calculator
Best equation plotter
Best financial software
Best personal database tool
Best presentation tool
Best time tracker
Best file encryption tool
Best screen toys
Best benchmarking tools
Best spyware removal
Best context-menu addons
Best defrragmentation program
best dialogbox replacement helper
best file/registry trackers (ashampoo uninstaller)
best partition management tool
best startup organizer
best undeleter
best virtual desktop tool
best windows setting tweaker
best virtual machine software (vmware)
best alarm/reminder tool
best webllog analysis program
best html editor
best photo gallery maker
best audio player
best file splitter/joiner
best graphic file converter
best icon tool
best mp3 tag tool
best music broadcaster
best voicemail program




In addition we might have some days where we just highlight some unique small programs that don't fit neatly into a single category; nominations for those would be welcome too.

37637
i've made a new board in the Members Only section entitled Advanced Software Reconnaissance Team
where we can talk about upcoming awards in an "official" capacity.
having these discussions in a separate section will allow me to restrict access to it if we decide to do that at some point.

37638
the more i think about this the more it seems like a good idea..

i think the way to begin is for me to post a schedule of the categories planned for the next 5-10 reviews/awards.

and perhaps also the winners i have in mind.  that will give us time for people to nominate winners and look for alternatives that might be missed.

it doesnt even nescearily have to be a strict schedule, i can just post categories and people can nominate candidate winners and we can go in whatever order we want.

depending on how things worked out, the "Advanced Software Reconnaissance Team" could either be a loose collection of whoever in the forum decideds they want to post some info about a category on a given week, or it could turn into a semi-official team of people who might lend their views and dissenting opinions along with awards - sort of like when a game magazine has 5 dif reviewers comment on a game and rate it.

i still want to keep the idea of presenting awards for best-in-class, rather than simply saying, here is a good program, but it could be useful to have some "dissenting opinions" at the end of a particularly subjective choice...

before i post a list of upcoming awards, there is one thing i need to figure out, and that is to what extent should i care about such a list spoiling the surprise of new reviews.  is that ridiculous to even think about.  a voice in my head is telling me it is silly to even consider such a thing, but from talking to people sometimes they seem to look foward to the week's review where they get to discover what's been chosen.  having advanced debates about the winner for the week would lost that surprise.  on the other hand if we keep our discussions to a particular board on the forum, then only those who go in there would find out, and we could always limit it to those with permission, and anyway a small percentage of viewers to the site would go in there anyway.. so i'm probably being ridiculous..

37639
you are the 2nd person to suggest this to me, and i think youv've made a great case for this.
i cannot disagree with that you are suggesting at all.

and i really like your statement
I'm not one to look at comparison charts with other products; that's usually an advertsing gimmick because most such charts only include the desirable features of the product that is pre-determined to win against the others. I immediately mistrust them. But if you would just list the things you looked at or considered, and how the product ranks against those features (not against other products),


not so much because i think it wouldnt be useful to compare features against others, but just because i don't think such comparison tables could be created without huge amounts of work.

i will try to do this. i will try to list some objective criteria that i consider when i review a program and give it an award and where i think it falls.  for me, some of picking a best program is a subjective total experience, including the feel of the gui, and so it may be hard for us to lay out objective points about everything, but i think your point is extremely valid and should be adhered to whenever possible.

this might also be something that could benefit from others suggestions.
ie if we set up a sort of advanced team prior to each weeks review, maybe one of the things they could do is suggest waht kinds of features are important.  then if we had a list of such imp. features it would be easier to touch on them during a review.

really good idea ric, just have to figure out a way to keep these reviews doable in the required time frame.

37640
ric,

the new wave of drive imaging software is good at making a complete clone of your hd, while windows is still running - it backs up your registry and all open files.

True Image is my current favorite for this - it does a remarkable job and its very fast.
i recommend buying an external usb drive and using such a program, instead of tapes.

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