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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.

Turn a USB stick into a spare ver­sion of Win­dows us­ing Ru­fus

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