I’ve been a computer geek for some time. I pretty much live and die by the computer and software that runs my scope. I currently have a pair of laptops and a pile of free or inexpensive software.
Everyone needs a planetarium program. I started out with My Stars when I had my Dob, but now that I run a Celestron C11, I use Cartes du Ceil so I can control my scope from the same program. I still recommend My Stars to a newbie with a non-computerized scope. With a Dobsoinian mounted scope I needed something that could easily get me real time Alt Az coordinates for an object. And preferably track it in the sky. I found nothing that did this to my satisfaction, so I wrote Astro Helper.
I have several programs for session planning and to help me decide what to look at next. These include many free programs like NexStar Observers List, RTGUI, and What’s Up. Recently I decided to purchase Sky Tools 3 Pro and I find it very helpful for planning a session and ad-hoc observing of a section of the sky.
A few other essential programs are NexRemote to allow multiple programs to communicate with the telescope at the same time and Jupiter 2 to track that pesky red spot and the moons of Jupiter.
You can find links to each site on my links page.