Version Master 2.0.1 (Free, $19.95/year Optional Subscription)
Symmetry Software Corporation
The good news is that the Mac is finally back, and software makers are taking notice. The bad news is that it can be a real chore to make sure that all of your software is up-to-date. Even if you frequent a site like the spiffy VersionTracker, taking an inventory of all of your software and finding the latest versions can be a daunting task.
Version Master eases this task considerably. It will scan your hard drive(s) for files of specific types, and report this information in a list that contains the application name and version number, among other things. This functionality alone is very useful, but the big fun comes in when you get online and choose the Retrieve Version Information option.
Version Master will contact their database (which they say contains info on over 50,000 titles!) and populate the Current Version column in the application. At a glance, you can now see what you have versus the latest version. Plus, each entry will now have a color indicating a status of either Out-Of-Date, Up-To-Date, Undetermined or Unverified. To prevent some weenie from submitting a bogus version number, the folks at Symmetry will verify that a version actually exists, otherwise it will get an Unverified status.
If you choose to subscribe to the service, you will receive a personalized summary of titles that have been updated. This can be done on a daily, weekly, biweekly or monthly basis. Another benefit of a subscription is that the application will also report the Download Location, Product Home Page and Company Home Page for each piece of software. A Sherlock plug-in rounds out the package.
The free Version Master application alone is very useful, and when combined with the subscription service, will keep your Mac software as up-to-date as possible.
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John is a software engineer who works in the corporate R&D group of a Fortune 500 company, focusing on all aspects of communications technology. He has several degrees that claim he knows what he's doing when it comes to computers. After watching co-workers reinstall Windows, search for device drivers, and experience other horrors during the day, he's glad that he comes home to a Mac (compatible) computer. Have any comments, suggestions, or favorite Gadgets? Drop John a line at