I work in the IT department of a medium sized Pacific Northwest college ... I have played with compressed audio formats for about 5 years now and you are on the right track. .ogg is definitely the way to go in my opinion - not just sonically but politically. Dont get too carried away as I did and rip everything to MP3 thinking its going to remain the standard. There is no standard not just in compressed audio but in extended formats as well. I think we are at a bit of a crossroads technologically.
Honestly, I own and have used a lot of sound software: Sound forge, D.A.R.T and a few others that escape my mind but I mostly use the cheap software that came with my old Nomad Jukebox. I hear the way to go is to run Linux and use the free open-source programs that eat CDs and spit out .ogg files as fast as you can put the CD's in.
Beware of FREEWARE programs if you havent heard of spyware yet, you better read up on it. Look for shareware you pay for and check the forums there are a ton of .ogg forums you can post on.
One of my geek buddies bought this program for $25 and says its great.
I have yet to check it out. He says there is no associated spyware agent in it but who knows. Pay particular attention to the EULA to see if there are provisions that allow the program to gather data from you OR use your internet connection. Email the author up front and ask point blank
Part 2 :
Check you hardware make sure you dont have a weak link. Get a FAST CD ROM drive I suggest a Plextor or Kenwood used to make a 72X CD player. Id stay away for DVD drives. Make sure the CD is on its own IDE channel and UDMA is turned on in the BIOS if possible Check the UDMA settings in the OS as well, stay away from external USB drives if you can help it. Use Windows 2000 or later if your on a Microsoft platform, OS X (10.3 or 10.4) if your on a Mac. Make sure you have lots of RAM Id get at least 1 Gig (I run 4 Gig)
I also disconnect from the net when I rip music and disable virus checking.
Thats my 2 cents hope it helps.