Wondering about wild grapes

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Wondering what your favorite computer program is and why.

What is your favorite major computer program and why is your favorite? Let me rephrase that. If you could only have one major program, what would it be?

Would it be Microsoft Office with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, etc? You can do a lot with that suit of programs, but what if you had to pick just one? Which one would it be? Or would you have some other choice?

OK, I suppose you want me to go first, right? OK, I will, but I did really want to hear your choices first.

My choice is AutoCAD. Now over the years I have owned every AutoCAD since about 1988 and when Mechanical Desktop came out I added it to my yearly software purchases, and then it was replaced by Inventor, so have added that every year since it came out.

Inventor design information can be listed in Excel, and just by changing a value in Excel the Inventor drawing file will change to suit. That means that a secretary or salesperson can change the drawings to suit a customer or situation without the assistance of an engineer or draftsman. Some Inventor programs can also do simple FEA (finite element analysis). It is a great solid modeling program, but I have found that I can do almost everything it can do, except tie it to Excel nor make videos of the design in operation, in plain old AutoCAD.

Like I said, I have all the AutoCAD programs up through release 2011. But, the one I like and use the most is release 2007. Why, I dunno, maybe I am weird or something?? Actually, I had to use it the most because most of my customers only had that release. You see, release 2007 will not open a file made with release 2011 or any in between, but release 2011 will open a release 2007 file.

As I said, I would choose AutoCAD, if I could only have one major program. The reason is that it can do everything all the others can do. I have used it to make greeting cards that contained lots of pictures, to make text that has to fit into unique places, and of course to create designs and drawings. It is a word processor (with a spelling checker), a pallet for creating pictures and designs, a photo album maker, it will resize any photograph and rotated multiple photos to make a design with pictures, and of course engineering work. It can export to almost any file format including .jpg, .bmp, .stl, and others.

Name one other program that even comes close to the versatility of the AutoCAD program. I don’t have time to list all it can do if you know how to use all of its functions. It does both 2D and 3D work.
OK, now what would your pick be?


  1. Wow, only one? There is so much...

    I'm used to working with UNIX systems, which in the past featured several small programs all working together. Towards that end, I gotta say a good text editor is my fav. I personally use "Geany", but Emacs deserves a mention for it's incredible level of customizibility. For a true expert (not me) a copy of emacs can replace all other programs.

    That said, I'm a gamer, and there a few projects that I couldn't live without. ZSNES (http://www.zsnes.com/), Exult (http://exult.sourceforge.net/), ScummVM (http://www.scummvm.org/) and DosBox (http://www.dosbox.com/) all have a place on any computer I ever touch. Wine (http://www.winehq.org/) deserves points just for it's massive scope.

  2. Howdy Grant, Since I don't run a Mac, I am unfamiliar with the text editors. I looked up all the programs you listed and learned something. Thank you for the comment, I enjoy learning something new.

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  4. Internet Explorer since it gets me to all the sites to scratch my hitchitch.

  5. Barney, we defenitely have to have Internet Explorer. I just considder it as part of the operating system. I wouldn't know what to do without it and an email program.

  6. Mozilla FireFox by all means in this day and age,, IF I could figure out how to get IE off my computer I would.

  7. Thanks for stopping by Ben, I see Grant agrees with you.

    Frann, I really need a spellcheck, for sure. Wish there was one for the comments. Even so, sometimes I spell things so wrong it puzzles the spellcheck.

  8. I have ham radio programs that I use every day. They tell me what the solar flux and the K index are. Others enable me to chat with folks all over the world using Morse code.

    I realize that this is not the 'Wowzah' head turning stuff it used to be since the internet became popular, but its fun. No middle man, just me and my radio, and of course my computer, and an antenna. Same story with the guy on the other end.

    It used to be folks would take notice when I used a hand held radio, but now cell phones have pretty much taken the sizzle out of that too.

  9. Ernest, Yep, I remember back in the late '60s and early 70's when I first used a phone patch. That was so amazing to non-hams. I had a Heathkit mic-coder I put together.

    My Astronomy magazine tells me that the sun is getting active. It is long over due, the sun-spot cycle was extended by a few years. Now maybe it will be easier for you to get QSOs from DX stations.

  10. I wish Heathkit was still around. It's one of those things my generation never got to experience.

  11. Yes Grant, I built a lot of kits, including the HW-101.