Want automatic download
of images representing album covers and artists/performers in your database ? Try AmpJuke's "Scan metadata" feature. Read more
Do you know any good programs to rip CD's and encode them as MP3, OGG, WMA and/or APE ?
Yes. You really should consider using CDex. This is one of my absolute favorites, since it allows for ripping and encoding within the same program.
There are also many other benefits related to CDex. I suggest you take a look at it here.