Sprite Stress , Apr 19, 2008; 07:45 a.m.
You have various options available to you.
1) Download the Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) plugin from the Adobe.com web site. Google "Adobe Camera Raw" and search for it on adobe.com.
IMO, that is the least palatable approach.
2) Use Nikon Capture NX to "develop" your NEF files, and then perform a Save As operation and convert the NEF into a TIFF (16bit or 8bit as desired). Then edit the TIFF in Photoshop as needed.
3) Use Adobe Lightroom to "develop" your NEF files. Setup Lightroom to auto generate a matching TIFF or PSD to auto-load in Photoshop for external editing from Lightroom. Lightroom remains the primary photo organizing database.
I mostly use option 3, although it is easy to mix in option directly from Lightroom by configuring Capture NX as an external editor from Lightroom.
Option 1) sucks because it doesn't provide any way to store the settings applied while loading the NEF file via ACR. Lightroom on the other hand, basically contains all the functionality of ACR within its develop module. Lightroom stores the "development" settings, and can even store more than one set of "development" settings for a given RAW NEF file. Lightroom has proven to be the photo database tool of choice at the moment for anyone who is the least bit serious about DSLR photography.
So get Adobe Lightroom, read its documentation carefully about configuration: to automate loading files from camera / or NAND media, to automate "development" if desired, to configure it for external editing with photoshop or other editor(s) - including automatically file increment naming and so on. Lightroom also provides excellent features for outputing JPEGS from a "collection" of one or more photos maintained by the Lightroom database. If you have both Nikon and Canon cameras as I do, Lightroom provides a single application that works with most RAW formats, TIFF, PSD, JPEG and so on. It is an unsurpassed way to manage photos at the moment. Lightroom simply rocks.