For those folks new to downloading software from the Internet, it can be a scary prospect, especially when your anti-virus software goes haywire after detecting malware and other nasty items you didn’t intend to download. One option to see if other users have downloaded the software and found “extras” embedded in the software is to read reviews posted on CNET.com. CNET has a specific area for downloading software, which should add an extra layer of protection from malware, but it isn’t foolproof. Rather, I rely on the reviews of the software to see if others have already encountered issues with the download.
CNET.com is an all around good website for reviews and insights about new software and technologies. I really like that there are “editor” reviews, along with “user” reviews. The interesting part is that the editor reviews don’t always match the user reviews, but you can sort of average them out to see where the software or technology falls. The editors’ reviews are generally comprehensive and easy enough to follow; the user reviews may have more jargon and personal preferences (e.g., “I liked the software, but hate the background color for the menus.”). When looking to purchase new technology, I will watch the editor videos since they often have a realistic view of the product (as compared to the company website for the product).
CNET also has technology related news, so you can keep up to date with the fast-paced changes of this field. The How To section is a little disjointed as the tutorials are not always about technology/software (e.g., “Save Space and Organize Spices on Your Fridge“). It might be easier to head over to the Video section and look at the How To videos there, rather than just read How To articles. These videos are generally better produced than what you find on YouTube, since anyone with a webcam can post to YouTube without professional lighting, audio, or editing.
Like most popular websites, you need to be careful where you click as there are banner-ads and “you may also like” links that take you away from CNET. But, the ads aren’t too overwhelming, though they slow down the page from loading, which is a pain.
[You may be wondering why I’m providing information about a website that reviews software, when my blog focuses on reviewing software. Well, CNET doesn’t always have reviews on the digital media tools I use and review (e.g., Canva). Besides, I feel that my audience should have all available resources on hand when deciding to use software, either personally or professionally. I’ve also found that it’s generally easier to search and find reviews on my blog than CNET.]