Try New Software To Improve Your Experience (Or Knowledge)

We all have our favourite programs, but we often ignore the possibility that something else is better. This New Year, as we're all trying new things, try some new software to make your life easier — or at least keep you informed.

On a recent whim, I downloaded and installed Songbird, just to see how far it had come since its 1.0 release. Surprisingly, I found myself liking it so much that I ended up ditching iTunes — a long-time dream of mine — and I haven't looked back since. On the flipside, I've also tried new software and not been happy — I've used every Twitter client known to man, but in the end, I can't help but return to Tweetie for Mac, because nothing else seems as good to me.

I share my experience not because I think anyone particularly cares which media player I use, nor to argue my apparently futile case for Songbird, but to show how something as easy as downloading and trying out a new program can seriously improve one's computing experience, even if they go back to the original program they started with.

Given that, this is my challenge to all of us this New Year: Try something new. My experiment with Songbird was a pretty hefty undertaking; you don't need to try something as involved as a new media player. Start small — try a new browser or antivirus program or IM client. Most of the stuff we feature on Lifehacker is free, so what do you have to lose? If you end up liking the new program more than your old staple, then you've just improved your user experience — and if you don't, then at least you're a bit more informed the next time you say "______ is by far the best ______."


Comments

    I'm a big fan of alternative software. Yesterday I switched back to Songbird (from Banshee) because somebody created an add-on for selecting a random album and playing it. On the same day the panflute applet (linux app to control your media player from the gnome panel) was updated to include Songbird support. Now the only problem I have with Songbird is the inability to scrobble my iPod plays to Last.FM

    I like alternatives, but a few oldies I stick with.

    Eg: WinAmp, even though its old, slow and bloated these days, I still use it because Milkdrop (the visualisation) is damn awesome!

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