The Best Software You're Not Using

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Network Essentials

Every business needs a complement of utilities to help with network-related chores. And depending on your setup, the same goes for your home office. Here are our top picks.

DU Meter Keep tabs on the speed of your broadband or dial-up connection. This Hagel Technologies app also lets you tweak your connection's settings. $20

JanaServer On a tight budget? Share your office Internet connection and set up an ultracheap e-mail server with author Thomas Hauck's program. $57

NetInfo Scan your network, diagnose problems, and start troubleshooting. Tsarfin Computing's app lets you test your network's security as well. $25

NetZoom for PowerPoint If you need to document, say, your network equipment, turn to NetZoom's exhaustive library of incredibly accurate clip art. $299

VisualRoute Having Internet connectivity problems? Find the bottlenecks and identify the geographical locations involved with Visualware's program. $50

Specialty Programs

Sometimes you need a tool to help you with a hobby, a quirky project, or a one-time task; sometimes you just need a break from typing. Try these gems.

Auction Sentry You don't have to be tethered to your PC every time you want to place a bid on EBay. This tool schedules your bids right before the auction closes. Tools for sellers too. $15

DART Karaoke Studio Want to sing along with your favorite band? Impress your friends as the lead singer. $40

Book Collector Pro Catalog the contents of your home library by typing in each book's title, and Collectorz.com's program downloads all kinds of information on it from the Web (including related images). Sort your collection by author, genre, release date, and more. $40

Voice Studio 2003 Dictate into most Windows apps, listen to your e-mail read aloud, or create macros that respond to your voice with this app from Ultimate Interactive Desktops. $30

Wine Library Just because you store the data on your wine cellar in Microsoft Access doesn't mean you're a snob. WenSoftware also offers movie, recipe, and other libraries. $35

Christopher Null is a San Francisco-based technology writer. Edward N. Albro is an executive editor, Michael S. Lasky a senior editor, and Tom Spring a senior reporter for PC World.
Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate link policy for more details.
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