As the pace of the information age picked up speed in 2016, the number of software programs that made daily life better were on the increase.
My Choice Software offers many of these programs on their site, but before you download them, check out our reviews to make sure they are right for you.
1) Windows 10
Despite the controversy generated by the aggressive tactics used to coerce users of earlier Windows operating systems to convert to Windows 10, the latest incarnation of this iconic computing platform has gotten glowing reviews from many software critics.
The start menu has a clean and gorgeous design that will wow those that open it up for the first time. The user interface is optimized for those using mobile platforms such as tablets and smartphones, though it renders just as well for those on laptops and desktops (yes, people still use desktops).
Cortana, Microsoft’s voice-activated assistant, continues to compare favorably to Apple’s Siri, and Edge has improved greatly on the many failings of its predecessor, Internet Explorer.
The web is filled with tons of useful and inspiring information, but the challenge has always been about finding a way to capture it for use in projects.
One alternative, saving web pages using one’s browser, has always been a clunky way to do it. However, that need seems to have been solved by Evernote, as it captures the essence of a photo, web site, or confirmation page with the click of a button.
Install this as a browser app, and you’ll have that photo close at hand for an art project, that recipe for that unique meal you’ve been looking to cook, or the vital info you’ll need to check in at your hotel smoothly.
3) VLC Player
Frustrated by having to have a handful of different programs to play varying media types? We were too, until we discovered VLC player.
Containing all the codecs necessary to read video and audio files of all kinds, you’ll be able to uninstall the other programs that take up too much space on your hard drive, and just use this handy program for all your media needs.
4) Microsoft Office
Although this venerable suite of digital work applications, which offers word processing, spreadsheets, presentation creation and database maintenance solutions, has been under assault from free options like Libreoffice and Google Docs recently, it has stayed on top due to its continuing tradition of innovation.
Its latest wrinkle comes from its embrace of the cloud, as it has infrastructure built into the program that allows users to share files with other Microsoft Office 2016 users.
One neat trick: rather than just checking grammar and spelling, the 2016 edition of Word also allows you to highlight any word or phrase and check for synonyms and translations to other languages.
5) Dragon NaturallySpeaking 13
Let’s face it: typing documents is so 20th century. Although early versions of voice recognition software often struggled with reading the human voice with enough consistency to be useful to anyone except for those unable to type, current versions of this technology promise to finally give our fingers and wrists that much-needed rest we’ve all fantasized about.
The present version of Dragon NaturallySpeaking has improved its accuracy by 15% over the last version, and it permits voice-to-text functionality in most programs, including Notepad.
Unlike web-based translators, it negotiates homonyms better, and it isn’t bound to the page on which it operates, making Dragon’s program preferable to professionals looking to talk out their ideas than type them.