I'm kinda surprised that I rarely hear much discussion here about using dive simulator software. IMO it's an incredibly useful and educational tool. I also think that with these simulators you can get so much more insight about your dives than just focusing on tables.

For example:

My software (Suunto Dive Manager) allows you to enter a time/depth dive profile by just by clicking on a graph to enter points. Okay, the implementation isn't that hot, but anyway...Using this data, plus the SAC rate you enter, tank size, nitrox mix, computer settings, etc., the same algorithm used in the computer runs and shows you the status of your hypothetical tissue compartments, your remaining NDL and air, computer displays as if this was a real dive, etc.

With it you can really get a feel for (for example), things like: when you begin offgassing in all your compartments during your ascent; under what situations will your NDL actually keep decreasing as you ascend; how do the different tissue compartments with different time constants respond during different dive profiles, etc.

There are quite a few complex, realtime nonlinear relationships between air consumption, tissue loading, NDL, nitrox effects, etc., that I think you'd miss if solely looking at tables and not running simulations.

What do you guys think? Do you use them?