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My Current Software Faves

By • Jan 4th, 2006 • Category: Tech Weenie
How the desktop looks these days

How the desktop looks these days

In the spirit of the New Year, I did a little cleaning up and backing up in my digital world. Whenever I do this, I also usually take an inventory of the things I’m using and ditch the ones that have fallen out of use. This is also the time when I try to shake things up in general as my productivity gets a little boost from some newness here and there.

Here they are:
Konfabulator/Yahoo Widgets
Not the ususal early adopter on this one, but I’ve found a few of these that I get a kick out of. Notably the built-in weather widget, chrome clock, waste basket, month calendar, and minty. Apart from the weather widget and minty the rest are more eye candy than anything else.

Object Dock
My main machines are PCs, but I’ve loved the OSX dock since it debuted. Object Dock works really well for me. I’ve also taken to running the regular Windows taskbar at the top of the screen for some reason, but I’ve decided that works nicely for me as well.

Oubliette
An open source password/PIN/login database app that has a quite nicely encrypted single password to access your stored information. Small and easily transportable, I keep a copy on my USB drive without much worry. No longer being developed, but until the encryption algorithms are completely obsolete I see no reason to look for something else.

Crap Cleaner
A system maintenance utility…to the MAX! Well, it’s a simple yet very powerful tool for clearing temp files and random flotsam from your system, including a very nice registry cleaner/optimization tool.

Allnetic Working Time Tracker
Bar-none the most perfect time tracking program for the way I work. Plus, it’s stupid cheap. Really. If you freelance or bill per hour, per project or client, this rules. I couldn’t be happier.

Gaim
“A multi-protocol instant messaging (IM) client”. I’ve been a Trillian user for years. Trillian is prettier and has more toys, but I switched to Gaim a few months ago. I tried it because Trillian couldn’t find it’s way through the firewall from hell at the office where I’ve been contracting. Gaim does. Plus, it’s been built into a “Portable” app that I carry on my USB drive.

Open Office
It used to be a big clunker. Now it’s much less of a clunker than MS Office (and it’s free). It’s dealt with every Word document and Excel file I’ve throw at it with ease. Did I mention it’s free? Oh yeah…it doesn’t permeate everything in Windows the way MS Office does. I like that.

Filezilla
I switched from VanDyke’s SecureFX when I tried Filezilla as one of the many Portable apps I now use from my USB drive. It’s open source and works great. Three thumbs up. (Can I borrow one of your thumbs for a sec?)

I love, love, love Firefox and Thunderbird for web browsing and email. I’m not the only one, so I won’t bother evangelizing these. I’ll list my favorite extensions, though.

Web Developer
Adds a menu and a toolbar with various web developer tools.
ViewSourceWith
View page source with external applications.
ColorZilla
Advanced Eyedropper, ColorPicker, Page Zoomer and other colorful goodies.
PDF Download
Allows to choose if you want to view a PDF file inside the browser (as PDF or HTML), if you want to view it outside Firefox with your default or custom PDF reader, or if you want to download it.
MeasureIt
Draw out a ruler to get the pixel width and height of any elements on a webpage.
Bookmarks Synchronizer
Lets you connect to an FTP/WebDAV server and synchronize your bookmarks that are stored in an XML file. Keeps things straight between home, office, and laptop.

The only extension I use for Thunderbird is Compact Folder Button…I use IMAP with 5 email accounts and got tired of pulling down a bunch of menus to clean up my deleted messages.

Make no mistake…I may have cleaned up my digital world, but my office is still a ridiculous mess. That’s next on the list. Baby steps…Baby steps..

Okay. Diversion complete. Back to work.

is a post-hardcore rock'n'roller, graphic designer, amateur chef, typography nerd, coffee connoisseur, radio guy, motorcyclist, skateboard commuter, and a reluctant adult. He lives in Portland's Old Town area with the lovely Dr. Adrienne and Rocco the Dog.
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