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Top Ten Software of 2003

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From the folks over at Small Business Computing comes this list of the top 10 software products during 2003 (all prices in US dollars):

10. Google Toolbar and Deskbar – The free toolbar gives all-the-time access to Google, the Web’s most extensive search engine. With the toolbar you can see the page rank for the site being surfed. It also includes a pop-up blocker and a highlighting tool to highlight your search term right on the page — and lots more. The deskbar is a small window that pops up when you want to search the Internet and don’t want to launch an Internet Explorer browser window.

9. System Mechanic 4 Professional – During 2003 Iolo Technologies added Panda anti-virus and firewall software to its $70 system optimization and housekeeping package. The combination offers an alternative to Symantec’s SystemWorks, Personal Firewall and other utilities.

8. Jasc Paint Shop Pro 8 – This digital photography and image editing software offers a $109 alternative to Adobe’s $649 Photoshop.

7. Intelligent Spam Filters – This category refers is to a new breed of spam filters that perform intelligent, on-the-fly content analysis. This new type of spam killer includes Outlook add-ons such as InBoxer, to freeware programs like spamihilator.

6. Adobe Photoshop Album – The $50 Photoshop Album offers an easy, friendly way to organize, search, touch up, print or e-mail your collection of digital images.

5. Dragon NaturallySpeaking 7 Preferred – Version 7 of this pioneering speech-recognition package is called “simply remarkable” by Small Business Computing. It costs $200 and with just a half an hour’s setup, “you can truly dictate to your PC, rattling on in your normal voice and enjoying versatile shortcut commands…. If Microsoft bought this software, Time and Newsweek would be running cover stories about a new millennium in human/computer interfaces. It’s that good.”

4. Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004 – Microsoft’s second-generation operating system for multimedia-optimized computers. It’s a “classy, attractive way to manage your digital photos, music files, TV and radio favorites, and more.”

3. Activewords – The $50 ActiveWords Plus is an interface that reacts when you type words on the keyboard. ActiveWords is “an exemplary power tool for quickly performing repetitive tasks, launching favorite programs or Web pages, and applying the idea behind Word’s AutoComplete to customize and optimize your whole computing environment.”

2. OpenOffice.org 1.1 – OpenOffice is a free, open-source, Microsoft-file-compatible word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, and drawing suite. Interchanges for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, as well as PDF export and a macro recorder, are also included.

1. Microsoft Office 2003 – “It’s somewhat anticlimactic or obvious, but it’d be foolish to deny that the new editions of Gates & Co.’s ultra-dominant software suite are the most significant of the year. *** …Outlook 2003’s reorganized reading layout and built-in spam blocker, as well as the Small Business Edition’s impressive (but unshareable or single-user) contact manager, are a real help to end users….”

Read the full text of the article here.

A few points are clear from this article. Google is the king of search, and cementing its position. And Microsoft still rules the world of operating systems and basic office applications — although the open-source hordes are nipping at its heels.

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  • I tried to give away to a few friends a copy of the new, sealed full version of Word 2003 that I received from a recent Microsoft beta test and nobody wanted it LOL. The Google Toolbar and Deskbar are cool, as is the Alexa toolbar. Most folks can improve their Alexa ranking for their blog by simply installing and running that.

  • I thought Alexa was bundled with some nasty ol’ spyware, which is why no one uses it? Maybe it’s been removed, but their reputation sure took a hit once that news came out a couple years back.

  • The only “spyware” they have, to my knowledge anyway, is that they transmit the URL you are visiting to their servers to update their stats. They fully disclose this in their EULA.

    If you have information about them doing otherwise, please share it.

    Otherwise, I’d say download it, give it a try, visit your blog at least once per day (I’m assuming you do anyway) and watch what happens to your ranking in their engine over the course of 30 days.

  • M

    What about Mac OS X 10.3 Panther?