Home media buffs will find what they need in this versatile and stable suite for authoring and editing DVDs and CDs, but pros may want more.
Adobe Acrobat 7.0 Professional is a comprehensive application that's necessary for publishing documents that can be read on any platform.
For mobile professionals, Sprint Mobile Broadband offers a compelling alternative to hot-spot services.
AutoCAD LT is perfect for draftspeople, engineers, and technical illustrators who don't have to work in 3D. For 3D work, you'll need AutoCAD 2002.
PayCycle serves businesses with an affordable, easy-to-learn online payroll system.
SurePayroll is a convenient service for white-collar businesses--though it's pricier than PayCycle and slightly harder to use.
Nero 8 shows off a new interface for getting started that makes the many tools easier to find from the get-go. Some welcome new features include HD support, although this rich suite can still confuse.
Free voice calls and voicemail, built-in Web searches, and drag-and-drop photo sharing make Yahoo's new instant messenger a fun, powerful IM tool.
Amazon Unbox has taken its knocks, but it's a strong choice if you own a Windows PMC, or if you don't mind watching movies on your monitor.
Despite some limitations, Google Maps for Mobile is a simple and handy app that brings interactive maps, driving directions, and traffic info to your mobile device.
If you want to fill a personal home page with dozens of individualized newsfeeds and tools, Netvibes does a cleaner job than rival services from bigger brand names.
Google's IM client is bare-bones, though it lets Gmail users chat by text and voice for free.
Google Gmail Beta
Google Apps lets you brand online services with your own URL, but it doesn't eat the costs of domain registration as Microsoft Office Live does.
If you often wish you had a way to share your photos and home movies while away, Orb might be the perfect solution.
Google Home is a breezy service that lets you create a custom sign-in page chock-full of news and widgets.
Fresh on the heels of its acquisition of DVR company Meedio, Yahoo's entry in the alternative Media Center front-end sweepstakes, Yahoo Go for TV, is currently available as a beta release from the company's Web site. The program offers easy media management in a free package, but hardware support is limited, and the emphasis on driving branded online content knocks local file browsing to second place.
The brainy Google Desktop 2 does a mixed job anticipating the content you want. Still, it provides a handy link to files, apps, and Web sites that you access the most, and its search is powerful, too.