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As the summer winds to a close, students grudgingly ready themselves for long classes and midterm anxiety. Getting educated doesn’t have to be dreary, however — not with new software to ease the pain.

As the summer winds to its close, students grudgingly get re-outfitted at back-to-school sales and ready themselves for long classes, new books, and midterm anxiety. Getting educated doesn’t have to dreary, however–not with new software to ease the pain.

Sometimes it isn’t the tests and homework that make for stressful school days, but simply getting everything organized. Inspiration Software has put out Inspiration 7.5 to help a student get streamlined. The program allows you to brainstorm, plan, and create interrelationships between processes, variables, and events. Creating a flowchart has never been so easy. Nor has whipping up other diagrams, process flows, and similar visual diagrams. The latest version makes it OS X-compatible, and includes new templates. Also, with one click, you can transfer Inspiration projects to Microsoft Word or AppleWorks. Priced at $69, the software works on system 7.1 or higher.

Once you’re organized, why not let that non-cluttered thinking boost your note-taking abilities? Web Notebook from AquaMinds Software allows students to make a simple outline or create well-ordered notes. Its expandability makes the application quite flexible, and you can make multiple sections, organize information, or keep a project journal. The newest version, 1.1.3, adds better compatibility with Safari, more extensive spell check, new cover pages, and several bug fixes that improve printing ability. The software is $69.95, and requires OS X or higher.

At some point, no matter what academic level you’ve reached, there will be a teacher who requests a timeline. Sure, you could throw one together by taping notebook paper end to end and employing a series of colored markers to note events, but the result is something you tape to the fridge, not include with your thesis. FTLCtimelines from Schisaproductions gets your work digitized, by creating timelines based on user input of events. The shareware costs $12.50–less than a pack of markers and a notebook, right?–and runs on OS X 10.2.

All this fresh planning skill will probably free up time in your study schedule for other things, like finding a way to ask that cute exchange student for a date. If you don’t know the best way to say, “How about some sushi or souvlaki after class?” then consider getting the Word Translator from Halldor Gislason. The program offers a fast way to pull up words and phrases for 15 languages, including Icelandic, Russian, Finnish, and even Tagalog, and the newest version features an updated Dutch-English dictionary. With integrated vocabulary drills, you could probably also use the software for language classes, but where’s the fun in that? Priced at $24, the shareware works on OS 8.6 and above.

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