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Archive for January, 2009

How do you choose new software? For many people for many years it’s been pretty simple – go for whatever Microsoft does and get on with it. However some problems just can’t be solved that easily, like buying a website or database, which are more about buying a service than a product. And the growth of open source has also shifted the goalposts, as has the rapid growth in online services, such as Google Docs or online meeting planners such as Doodle.ch. So is there a simple process everyone could can follow?

It very much depends on what you want, when you want it and who you’re asking, but US-based IdealWare has suggested six simple steps for when you’re in a hurry and have specific needs – “something that’s neither a big investment nor particularly strategic”. It offers a very useful starting point, and I particularly like the fact that Step 2 suggests that you investigate whether your current software can do the job.

This is a really useful point, especially given the wealth of features in Microsoft Office. So as well as suggesting you check out their Six Steps I would add that it’s always helpful to have reference books available, especially books such as Office 2003 Timesaving Techniques in the Dummies series. This goes beyond the basics and includes tips for Excel, Word and the rest of the Office suite and I use it at least once every month for fiddly things I don’t do very often.

Of course for more advice on just about every topic I’d always recommend looking at LASA’s ICT Knowledgebase, especially for larger projects such as websites and databases.

Idealware: Selecting Software on a Shoestring

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How do you choose new software? For many people for many years it’s been pretty simple – go for whatever Microsoft does and get on with it. However some problems just can’t be solved that easily, like buying a website or database, which are more about buying a service than a product. And the growth of open source has also shifted the goalposts, as has the rapid growth in online services, such as Google Docs or online meeting planners such as Doodle.ch. So is there a simple process everyone could can follow?

It very much depends on what you want, when you want it and who you’re asking, but US-based IdealWare has suggested six simple steps for when you’re in a hurry and have specific needs – “something that’s neither a big investment nor particularly strategic”. It offers a very useful starting point, and I particularly like the fact that Step 2 suggests that you investigate whether your current software can do the job.

This is a really useful point, especially given the wealth of features in Microsoft Office. So as well as suggesting you check out their Six Steps I would add that it’s always helpful to have reference books available, especially books such as Office 2003 Timesaving Techniques in the Dummies series. This goes beyond the basics and includes tips for Excel, Word and the rest of the Office suite and I use it at least once every month for fiddly things I don’t do very often.

Of course for more advice on just about every topic I’d always recommend looking at LASA’s ICT Knowledgebase, especially for larger projects such as websites and databases.

Idealware: Selecting Software on a Shoestring

Read Full Post »