My list of useful tools/services
Since I started to use del.icio.us I have found many lists of popular freeware/applications that people use. This is my list of free services/applications that I use at work and home.
I used to use dictionary.com most of the time but it started getting really slow so I switched to Merriam-Webster instead. I setup quick-searches for both of these so in IE/Maxthon I can just type “d cats” to look up the definition for cats.
I used to use an IMAP account but I found that I had to install a PHP-IMAP (Ilohamail) application on my server so I could access the IMAP account without installing any email programs on other peoples computers. Anyways, I switched to gmail and it’s the best webmail I’ve ever used. I use it as my main email account now and I’ve switched as many friends as possible over to it. And of course you should check out the gmail notifier.
I read pretty much everything through RSS feeds now. I tried a bunch of different RSS applications but Bloglines is by far my favorite approach at reading feeds. It lets me read at work and at home, always fast, and it really easy to use. It also lets you create dummy email addresses that you can use to sign up for accounts and if they start to spam you then you can just delete the email address. I was finally able to sign up for newsletters without worrying about getting spammed. And a great application for bloglines is the bloglines notifier that sits in your tray to let you know when you have new feeds to read.
All of these are social bookmark sites. I personally prefer del.icio.us over the others since it has a wonderful API to work with if you want to write any applications that use it and it also seems to be the most popular which I would think is important for a social bookmark site. I store almost all my bookmarks on del.icio.us now and use it as a way to sync bookmarks between work and home (using my BUD program). And if you’re bored you can always check out the most popular links of the day.
Boardgame Geek - Euphat And Tigris
Drag On Go Server - Go
I’m a fan of being able to play games in a detached manner. I want to be able to make my move and then come in a few hours and make another. Both of these servers are setup in that way.
A browser with tabbed browsing, popup and ad blocker and much more. It still uses IE to render all the pages so any page that works in IE will work in Maxthon. I also use various quick searches in both IE and Maxthon. For example, to search in google just type in the address bar: “g cats”. This will return all the google results searching for “cats”. You can download my
Quick Search Registry File to install my quick searches. Here is the list of quick searches contained in this registry file:
- g Search google
- gg Search google groups
- d Lookup word(s) in the dictionary
- usd Convert US money into Canadian
- cad Convert Canadian money into US
- i Search IMDB
- ep Search epguides for a tv show
- a Search animenfo for an anime
- rd Reverse look-up in a dictionary
If you’re looking for an alternative to IE then this is the browser to use. I use Maxthon still though.
A SSH/Telnet client. Use this for connecting to *nix machines or for SSH tunnels.
A very easy to use FTP program. Works great for all that I have to use FTP for at work.
Control a computer from anywhere else on the web. Easy to install and setup.
Completely free anti-virus.
Apparently the best free software firewall.
Use this to get rid of spyware.
Another program to get rid of spyware.
Probably the best network protocol analyzer.
Graphics and Audio
MP3 Book Helper
Used to tag MP3 files. Lets you tag full directories at a time or single files.
A very good replacement for the Paint program that comes with windows. Not as feature rich as The Gimp but I find it a lot easier to use and it does everything that I need to do with images at work. It requires the .NET Framework
Bunnyhug Video Input
I use this application for watching TV on my computer. It has all features that I want in a video input application. It requires the .NET Framework
This is what I use for playing all my DVD’s and other videos. It can be configured to play any file format you can think of. If you want it to play DRM WMV files you will need to buy the WMV Professional version.
Used to capture any part of the screen to a file.
Used to pick a color from any pixel on the screen. Very easy to use.
Let’s you put any application into the system tray (aka notification area)
Hide any application to the tray or hide it completely from the taskbar and tray. Lets you reorganize the order of your applications in the taskbar. I use it for hiding applications that I’m not using for a short period of time.
Put your Windows Key to some good use and setup some shortcuts to launch applications.
Windows XP Power Toys
Tweak many options with Windows XP. I use it to turn off autorun on all drives, auto-login, and get rid of all the icons on the desktop.
Use this to configure which applications are started on startup.
Burn CD’s or DVD’s.
Lets you mount any ISO image as a virtual drive. Useful if you want to test an ISO before burning it or to just let you avoid having to swap CD’s.
For ripping DVD’s onto your hard drive.
For shrinking a DVD to fit onto a DVD+R/DVD-R.
PsyBNC is an IRC bouncer that stays connecting to all the IRC servers that you want to connect to. If your IRC client gets disconnected then PsyBNC will automatically start logging messages for you and when you reconnect it will send you all the messages you missed. It also lets you connect to multiple servers and combine them all into one session. And the other feature I really like is you can connect to the BNC from multiple clients and it will still forward all messages you type and get sent to you to all the clients. This lets me connect from my linux client and windows client at the same time. I use PsyBNC in conjunction with Bitlbee for instant messaging.
Bitlbee is an IRC gateway for various instant messaging protocols. It lets you login to your MSN, AOL, and yahoo account all from your IRC client. After combining this with PsyBNC you can stay always connected to all your IM services.
This is my IRC client of choice. There are so many other free IRC clients to choose from that I recommend you try a bunch of them before committing to a single one. Most windows people will probably like mIRC the most.
Who Lock Me
I just discovered this application from Mark Taw’s List of useful applications. It tells you which applications have a file locked when you try to delete it.
Used to merge two files together or compare two directories and see the differences between them. I use this as my main merge/diff tool.
Subversion integration into the Windows shell. This is my preferred method of connecting to a subversion repository.
Shareware but yet still “free”
This is the only application I use for compression/decompression. It does everything that WinZIP does but in my opinion better. WinRAR isn’t freeware but it lets you run it even after the 40 days with a nag screen.
A great replacement for notepad. Though not freeware you can still ‘evaluate’ it for as long as you want. Only annoyance is the popup when you first load it up.