Even though Adobe's Lightroom is far from complete at the time of this writing and will likely have "many" (Adobe's word) new and changed features by the time it is released, it can make a major change to your workflow right now. And while it's still in beta, it's free.
Furthermore, although unfinished, the product is extremely productive. It will do quite a bit more than Camera Raw and, at least in the Macintosh version, performs its tasks at several times the speed and with a lot more workflow efficiency. (Currently, Adobe's new Windows version is in need of performance and feature improvements as it can be unbearably slow, especially when showing images at 100 percent resolution. Adobe assures us that this is a transitional state of affairs.)
At the time of this writing, Adobe had just released the Windows version, and had also upgraded its Mac version to run in a universal version that would take full advantage of Apple's new Intel CoreDuo processors. (Lightroom's major competitor, Apple Aperture, does not have a Windows version, and Lightroom is not the hardware hog Aperture is, either.)
In this revised and updated Short Cut, I introduce you to the Lightroom (Beta 3) workflow, its fives modules, and its particular appeal to RAW shooters. I also include coverage of the new Windows version of Lightroom.