LET THESE TOOLS STAY SECRET
Niche software doesn’t have to appeal to the masses, so it often doesn’t even try. Here are just some of the secret tools that failed to meet our high standards. • Academic Timetable Software ( www.snipca.com/27621) and FET ( www.snipca.com/27622) are opensource timetabling tools, designed for teachers, but surely ideal for planning all kinds of activities (clubs, events, that pub quiz you always wanted to host). However, they’re a complete headache. And if FET’S written instructions are a sign of educational standards, we’re all doomed. • Limesurvey ( www.limesurvey.org) is that rare thing - a free survey tool. The catch is you need a web server to install it on. It’s just about possible to do that at home with a spare computer, but why should you have to? Creating and analysing surveys should be possible with a plain old internet connection. • Soplanning ( www.soplanning.org) is a business tool with potential as a collaborative to-do list tool for the rest of us. But its website is a riot of corporate jargon, and its own ZIP file is a catastrophic mess. Doesn’t bode well for a tool that’s meant to help you get organised. • Gnuplot ( http://gnuplot.sourceforge. net) sounds superb. This open-source tool is popular among Linux users for creating graphs and scripts. But even though it has a Windows version and is regularly updated, Gnuplot refuses to run on most modern Windows PCS.