Miscellaneous Software

This post and others like it relate back to an introductory post that explains the point. This is an edited variant of something I wrote in 2007, in this case the section for a few odds and ends of industry-specific (other than legal), hard to classify or one of a kind software. I may be forgetting some that would fit here, particularly ones there might have been since I compiled the list back when. In no particular order, the list as best I can remember…

Dental practice software – a couple of them
Restaurant menu creation software (may have been MenuMaker)
UPS Worldship
Lotus Organizer
MS Project
Brother’s Keeper
Family Tree Maker
Lyris (music program)
Nero Wave Editor
Automap Streets
Google Earth
Norton Utilities
PC Tools
Norton Ghost
FMS (Franchisee Management System) for PDA (Property Damage Appraisers)
ADP automotive estimating software
Mitchell’s estimating software

The dental stuff is from free advice to my old dentist, a look at her new system when she got it, and an evaluation of dental software for another dentist my partner tried to land us as a client.

The menu software was on a machine I replaced for a restaurant owner, so I installed it on the new one and got to play with it.

I’ve encountered UPS Worldship in a couple of places. While in one I mainly just installed and configured it, in another it was a major troubleshooting exercise in a client’s warehouse/shipping office when it wouldn’t work properly.

wINDEX was an old DOS program for creating book indexes. I got to play with that years ago when a friend was in the indexing business.

I bought Grammatik as part of a package along with WordStar 5.0, and found it a highly entertaining early effort at grammar-checking. Considering how long ago that was, and that grammar checking still doesn’t work perfectly, it was a surprisingly good effort. Ironically, a grammar checker is most needed by someone who can’t write, but people who can’t write have a harder time knowing when the software is being silly and ought to be ignored.

Lotus Organizer wasn’t, if I recall correctly, also an e-mail program like Outlook, but more of a standalone calendar an PIM. I liked it a lot, though never used it heavily myself.

If I recall correctly, the main reasons I ever looked at MS Project were curiosity, and because a customer was trying to use OLE (COM) automation of it from a VB program. Come to think of it, I may also have helped my brother-in-law, who had actual uses for it.

Brother’s Keeper for DOS and Family Tree Maker are my dabbles with genealogy software, mainly the former. One of my colleagues in VB support was trying to write his own, which I thought was cool, and got some help from me.

I have used or played with or helped with various music and sound players, creators and editors. I find that kind of thing especially cool, despite not being musically talented myself.

Lantastic could perhaps have gone under the online and communications part of things, or under a server and networking post. I knew it inside-out when I supported Tranti POS systems. On one level it made sense to use an off-the-shelf network solution to link the machines. It ended up being a problem, as there were just enough issues with it to create bad situations over which they had no control. If your 50 ohm terminator was bad, we could replace that. If something funky with Lantastic made one unit go off the same page with the rest, that was ugly.

I’ve used at least a couple of incarnations of Norton Utilities. I used to swear by PC Tools. I used at least two versions of that, also. There may have been other such utilities. Certainly other utilities, anyway, including things Microsoft eventually incorporated into the OS, or things too obscure to mention, like disk copying software. I’ve also fought with Norton Ghost. Which should probably have gone in a different section; I just happened to remember it here. There’s just been too much for me to remember it all. This is meant to be a “mostly” overview, making clear the scope and range of experience, not an exhaustive list.

Added FMS, which I mentioned in passing under databases. Also added the two automotive estimating software packages I have supported. There were some other utilities used in the same office, like one for dialing a service with salvage yard pricing and parts availability, but they were less significant and I don’t remember their names.

Next up, security, spam and malware.

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