The Ten Best: Software packages

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The Independent Online

1 Apple iLife '06 (Mac) £55

This package lets you edit and share photos, videos and music in dozens of ways, from burning home movies to creating Podcasts and even constructing websites in minutes.

www.apple.com/uk; 08000 391 010

2 Office Professional 2003 (PC) £400

Each of the Office programs (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Access and Publisher) has become standard in its field. An updated Office 2007 will be on sale from January.

www.microsoft.co.uk; 08706 010 100

3 Photoshop Elements 4.0 (PC/Mac) £65/£60

You don't need to be a darkroom fanatic to want good image editing software. This version of Adobe's professional Photoshop package has nearly all the power of its big brother.

www.adobe.co.uk; 020-8606 1100

4 Novell SuSE Linux 10.0 (PC) £40

Linux is an Open Source operating system that can replace Windows. This contains the latest version, plus more than 4,000 programs. Some PC knowledge will help.

www.novell.com; 01344 724 000

5 ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite (PC) £40

This one-stop package protects from hackers, crackers, phishers and identity thieves, as well as the thousands of net viruses. The price includes a year of automatic updates.

www.zonelabs.co.uk

6 Norton Ghost 10.0 (PC) £40

Hard drives can and do fail. The best solution is back up your computer regularly, using CD and DVD discs or, preferably, a second hard disc. Ghost does all this automatically.

www.symantec.co.uk; 08702 431 080

7 Google pack (PC)

Free

This freeware collection features a fantastic web browser (Firefox), media player, photo organiser, spyware remover, instant messenger and more to download.

http://pack.google.com/

8 Encarta 2007 Premium (PC) £40

Microsoft's encyclopaedia software contains 64,000 fact-checked articles, plus photos, videos and sound clips. It has just about everything needed to research school work.

www.microsoft.co.uk; 08706 010 100

9 Driving Test Success Theory (PC) £10

This package could put you in the driving seat. It contains all 1,200 possible questions from the theory section of the Driving Test, complete with hints and explanations.

www.focusmm.co.uk; 01889 570 156

10 Who Do You Think You Are? (PC) £30

Track your family history using this genealogy software. It comes with discs containing basic parish records and census data, although you'll find much more online.

www.gsponline.co.uk

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