Favourite Software 1
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mailto:stephen@which.net
It is often useful learning from the experiences of others when it come to software and web-aids. It can be a painful process having to load trial software and then finding that it is inappropriate for one's needs.

Here is a set of software tool that I have used extensively and with which I am satisfied.

FRONTPAGE EXPRESS for WEBPAGE DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION

With Frontpage express, you can learn to produce your own webpages and at the same time learn how to use Frontpage Express. I haven't used the larger Frontpage program, but I imagine that it has similarities with this program. I have provided the link to the course material for "Frames" although I chose personally not to use these.

I have never felt it necessary to learn HTML code beyond having a resonable conceptual understanding of its use. FRONTPAGE EXPRESS is available as part of the Internet Explorer package with a free licence for domestic use. FRONTPAGE EXPRESS provides most of the basic functionality that most hobby sites would ever require. Java and HTML code may be pasted into boxes if required. The help pages in Frontpage Express are almost non-existent. Fortunately, I managed to learn to use the whole package in about 10 hours, not having designed webpages before, using software based training courses. These are available from my site at http://www.geocities.com/s.lewis/fpxpress.zip (954,591 bytes). The more advanced Frames Course is at http://www.geocities.com/s.lewis/frames.zip (867,787 bytes).

Problems:

  • dreadful helpfiles;
  • poor integration between design creating and reading the webpage - but this is quite easy to work around;
  • inefficient use of HTML; too many spaces and unnecessary characters inserted; and
  • seems to slow down drastically as pages become large.

Plus points:

  • easy to learn;
  • pretty compresensive;
  • free licence; and
  • works extremely well without having to learn HTLM.

Rating: 8/10

 

TERRAPIN for UPLOADING YOUR WEB PAGE

I have tried a number of FTP upload programs, but this has got to be the best. It's simple to set-up and saves a lot of wasted time in use. The support people actually respond to you quickly when you have a question http://www.tpin.com/.

A terrapin advances along the screen as upload progresses. When the terrapin reaches the end of the line, there is audible cherring and clapping of hands. The software licence is not free after the trial period, but the price is very reasonable.

Problems:

  • None!

Plus Points:

  • quick to learn;
  • good support;
  • tries again and again and again on its own when it does not establish first time contact with the ditant server;
  • easy to see when activity is in progress;
  • retains an off-line map of files that have been uploaded;
  • enhanced by useful sounds; and
  • can select multiple files to upload and then go away to sleep.

Rating 9/10

 

COOL EDIT for RECORDING SOUND FROM AN ANALOGUE SOURCE AND FOR MANIPULATING DIGITAL SOUND

Cool Edit

When you come to record analogue sound for the first time, you will quickly realise that the recorder provided with Windows 95/98/NT by Microsoft is wholly in adequate, and worst of all is time-limited to about 1 minute (from what I can remember).

CoolEdit gets over these prolbems.

Problems:

  • it is not possible to select the input level from within Cooledit albeit that the red bar along the bottom shows the peak level and works very well. You will need to set the input level at the source appliance; and
  • I had some difficulty making small Real Audio files with the latest version.

Plus points:

  • easy to record from analogue;
  • records MP3, WAV and other sound file types;
  • input level indicator a must and works well;
  • good waveform illustration;
  • very feature-rich with additional plug-ins available;
  • able to compress sound and adjust level after initial recording;
  • not free, but licence fee is affordable after free evaluation; and
  • able to cut out unwanted sound segments.

Rating: 9/10

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