I spent my first night with a Rosetta Stone trial last night. It was better than I thought it would be, and I have a couple of quick thoughts on why it worked so well for me.
To catch you up: I've resolved to learn Spanish this year, and because I'm a technology nerd, I realized I needed to use something more than a book and some paper flashcards. So, I opened up a discussion earlier this month about what software and services I should use. My first three choices were: a simple flash card vocab app, the El País app, and a custom podcast created by my (native-speaker) father of him reading Roberto Bolaño's Los Detectives Salvages. We haven't started podcast yet, but I'm finding my other decisions are working out. (More on that soon.)
The way I've conceptualized this quest is in three three-month chunks. The first three months, I'll be rediscovering all the Spanish vocabulary I already know and refamiliarizing myself with the grammatical constructions I used to know. The next three months, I'll be finding my weaknesses and upping my level of speaking and writing. And the three months after that, I'll be really working on conversation.
I will probably end up using different applications for each of those three periods -- but I'm not going to be dogmatic about all that. For the first phase, Rosetta Stone seemed to make a lot of sense to start working with. The company gave me a free trial, but if I end up sticking with it, I will purchase the program.