chautemoc blogged
Oct 15, 10 9:21pm

Essential software

Formatting yesterday has naturally prompted me to reinstall all of my favourite computer software, so with that, I'd like to present a nerdy list which you might also make use of.
  • Paint.NET - A great freeware photo editing program. I love the design, UI, Windows 7 features, general ease of use, occasional/substantial updates, and comprehensive suite of tools. For advanced editing, this might not be enough for you, but for between the default tools and and the user-made plugins, it should be plenty for most. I've donated to this project and I recommend others do as well.

  • Sumatra PDF - Very lightweight and basic PDF viewer. Again, if you like advanced features, this isn't for you, but for a basic viewer that does what it says and well, I highly recommend it. It looks kind of nasty from the website image, but with a PDF in there, it's actually quite nice. Foxit is a decent alternative, but I hate its update system among other things. Adobe Reader of course is just a horribly optimized program.

  • Mozilla Firefox - I'm a longtime Firefox fan, mainly because of its extensive customization capabilites. For awhile now I've used a 'streamlined' design which I just love. Firefox 4 is looking way too much like Chrome for me, but hopefully I'll be able to customize it enough to look more like it does now. As a program, I don't hate Chrome, I just think it's redundant to have two programs which look and operate very similarly.

  • Mozilla Thunderbird - Infinitely more efficient to use than webmail, especially if you've got multiple accounts. If you've tried it before and found it hard to setup, recently they've updated it to make it much, much easier. Like Firefox, it's customizable, lightweight, and has a clean look.

  • MozBackup - Essential for Mozilla users who want to get their customizations, emails, bookmarks, etc. back in place after formatting instantly with no fuss.

  • CCleaner - Nice program for tidying up your registry and also unwanted files. Redemption has said it seemed to mess up his registry once but I've been fortunate enough to have used it for years with no issue. Frequent updates -- only complaint is there is no built in updater.

  • Defraggler - From the CCleaner people, I enjoy this one for the quick defrag and folder defrag features, the latter for when I just want to clean up a game folder for optimal play vs. waiting an hour for the whole system. It uses the same system as the Windows Defragmenter as well, so there's no worry about what it's doing to your computer.

  • Digsby - a lovely multi-protocol instant messaging client I've switched to recently after the abhorrent new Windows Live Messenger. Digsby isn't perfect but it does the job better than any other at the moment. Mostly I really enjoy it though -- it's customizable, clean, efficient, and probably a bunch of other nice things.

  • Scrobbler - For the music nerd. I use this to track the music I listen to so I can share it with people, and also to get recommendations and local concert recommendations. Excellent stuff.

  • FRAPS - Essential for the game screenshot junkie like myself. Occasionally I'll even make videos. :)

  • Windows Media Player - iTunes is nice but continues to become more and more bloated for no good reason. Songbird pretty much went the same route, and foobar2000 is...unsettling somehow (I am very particular). WMP is also not perfect but also does the job better than any other for me -- I've customized the design so it more or less resembles the old iTunes. Last I checked it's light on memory as well. Of course the Windows 7 integration is nice too. If you're not on Windows 7 I can't recommend it as the previous designs are awful and performance seems to be subpar.

  • Microsoft Security Essentials - My favourite security program as of last year. I used Avast for a long time, and that's another great one, but I prefer MSE's user friendliness, better design, and Windows 7 integration. Very lightweight, intelligent, and efficient.

  • Tweetdeck - Thanks to Dany for introducing me to this. Like Thunderbird, it's very efficient if you're running multiple Twitter accounts. Unfortunately it does use a lot of memory and performance isn't too great, but I expect this to be improved greatly over time -- it's only on version 0.3.x after all. Besides, the efficiency far outweighs these downsides.

  • Image Resizer - Very efficient if you're working with images a lot. I use this pretty much daily for news articles and reviews and so on -- not everyone has a 22' monitor after all! Images are adjusted proportionally based on your chosen dimensions with just two clicks.
I think that's about it! If you have any recommendations of your own, feel free to share.


Responses (3)

0 thumbs!
walnuts Oct 19, 10
I've personally found Outlook 2007 to be far nicer on the eye than Thunderbird. I know it shouldn't matter, but I need to be able to look at what I'm using without cringing, and unfortunately Thunderbird does that for me personally.

However, like you, I also use:

* (this is great)
*WMP (only program that connects with my MP3 player, so it's kind of necessary!)

However, a great list of programs including my favourite, freeware! I'll be looking at PAINT.Net, been looking for a photo editor for a while now.
0 thumbs!
chautemoc Oct 19, 10
Yeah, I wouldn't mind an improved look for TB, but I prefer it to Outlook still. There are skins for it, but I don't like any of them.

And yeah, I should've called it essential freeware. I don't use anything but. No excuse for pirating!
0 thumbs!
walnuts Oct 19, 10
I try and use freeware when I can, but sometimes they can't offer exactly what I want, so I either go without or shell over the cash.