Originally posted April 26, 2007, now archived here.
For further explanation why this post exists, see Intro to Experience Dump. This is 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…
Dental practice software – a couple of them
Restaurant menu creation software (may have been MenuMaker)
Family Tree Maker
Lyris (music program)
Nero Wave Editor
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 dentist, and a look at her new system when she got it, and evaluation of dental software for another dentist my partner didn’t quite manage to land as a small client. I’m not counting the quick showing off of their new (a few years ago) wireless data entry system my doctor showed me, which I also read about. Very cool, and now they’re going completely paperless as far as patient charts.
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 a little.
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 the office in the client’s warehouse 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 contributing to her family’s income by doing indexes, which frequently used to be farmed out to people like her working from home.
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, almost but not quite to the point of uselessness, 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, IIRC, 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 still use Brother’s Keeper, and only recently learned that it still exists as a product and now has a well-regarded Windows version.
Naturally 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, which makes me eager to see my brother get the computer and gear he needs to do his own basic recording, editing, and music CD creation.
I love maps! I used to buy and hang wall maps in my room. I love atlases and globes. Google Earth has mostly superceded it, but I was a huge fan of Microsoft’s Automap Streets. I’ve owned a couple different versions, dating back to when I had a discount available.
Lantastic should probably have gone under the online and communications part of things, and may yet fall under a partially duplicative server and networking post. I knew it inside-out when I did support 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 or the environment made one of your drivethru order station stay in an “off” state when the rest of the system registered an “on” state… that was ugly.
Which also leads me to note that besides legal software, other specialty or oddball software not included here is the above, timeclocks, accounting-related, call center software, and things I wrote or was involved in creating.
Aw heck, I’m going to add a couple of orphans to the list before I’m done. I’ve used at least a couple of incarnations of Norton Utilities. I used to swear by PC Tools. I think I used at least two versions of that, also. There may have been other such utilities. Certainly other utilities, anyway, including some things Microsoft eventually incorporated into the OS, or things too obscure to mention, like disk copying software. Ooh, make that three things. I’ve also fought with Norton Ghost. Which should probably have gone in a different section; I just happened to remember it now. 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. I also have no plans to include games anywhere, though getting some of those to work at times has given me some of my best challenges.
Update May 7, 2007 – Added FMS, which I mentioned in passing under databases, then forgot to include here (or under accounting, which would also be valid). Also added the two automotive estimating software packages I have supported. Amazing I’d forget them. 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.
Experience Posts (links to reposts):
Intro to Experience Dump
Word Processing Experience
Spreadsheets and Accounting
Graphics and Presentations
Database and RDBMS
Communications, Internet, PDA, Blogging
Legal Industry Software
Backup and Compression Software
Security, Spam, Malware…
Call Center and Tech Support Tools
Languages and Programming Tools