Searching for the Moon

Shannon Clark's rambles and conversations on food, geeks, San Francisco and occasionally economics

The apps I use today – Windows XP and Web

Posted by shannonclark on February 10, 2007

As a follow up to my post about buying a Mac, here is a quick and dirty list of the apps I use every day, as well as the apps I have installed but use less frequently.


1. Firefox. I use Firefox as my primary browser, I have the Google Toolbar installed but at present few other extensions.

2. Skype. Launched at startup, I use Skype frequently though not as much as I should (too often in loud surroundings/without a good headset (note, need to buy a headset for my new iMac)

3. Google Talk. While I often launch Google Talk sessions directly from gmail in Firefox, I use the Windows Gtalk app mostly for the notifications about my gmail.

4. Trillian. For all my other IM needs, Trillian consolidates my MSN, AIM, and Yahoo! Messenger accounts into one app and adds adhoc IRC as needed (at conferences for example)

5. iTunes. Mostly to sync my 512mb iPod Shuffle. I mostly do not use it for downloading podcasts for that I use,

6. Doppler Radio. My podcatcher of choice. A bit dated now, but it works generally reliably and it offers automagical file and iTunes management – i.e. I rate something 1 star and it automatically deletes it when I next sync. I tend to sync once in the morning and once at night and generally download about 400 mb of new podcasts each day, deleting a similar amount as I listen to them and rate them 1 star.

7. Outlook. While it is no longer my primary first place to use mail (that has migrated to gmail) Outlook is still my archive, repository of years worth of rules, and I have a number of highly useful plugins installed (Lookout for search, Plaxo for management, LinkedIn for management, PayPal for inserting payment links, and a few less frequently used plugins such as anagram)

8. Adobe Reader. Not that I love it, but I do open and read a lot of embedded and downloaded PDF files.

9. PDF Exchange, a trial version that came with another app I use, but I use this relatively frequently for quick and simple print-to-PDF when I am away from my home network.

10. MindManager 6 from Mindjet. I use this a few times a week (and should use it much more often) for capturing notes, brainstorming, and project management. Invaluable tool for capturing and storing (and relating) lots of knowledge in a highly visual manner.

11. Gmail (web) – always have a gmail tab open

12. Bloglines (web) – I usually have a Bloglines tab open as well

13. Printer controls for my Panasonic Printer. Mostly these add special features such as duplex and multiple page per page printing, features I use almost everytime I print something out (except for boarding passes)

14. Activewords from my friend Buzz’s company. I use this a few times every day to trigger commands on the fly vs. using the mouse or menus. I don’t use it as fully as I should but it definitely saves me time and lots of effort. [no longer actively using as for some reason it has stopped working and repeated attempts to reinstall have failed, need to take the time to troubleshoot this but haven’t had the time/energy to do so]

15. Really boring, and I should be using something better, but I very often fire up a simple notepad to jot down a quick note that I immediately save (my Apple confirm order number for example)

16. WordPress both here and installed on my servers, I wordpress to power two of my three primary blogs.

Apps I have installed but rarely use

1. Microsoft Office. I have the full, legal versions of Word, Outlook, Powerpoint and Excel and I almost never use any of them. For one, they are all overkill for nearly everthing I might want to do today, and more critically they impose themselves while adding little value for me – I’ll tend to use blogging tools when I’m writing, simple calculators for quick calculations, and MindManager when I give a rare presentation that can’t be done with a whiteboard or browser window.

2. Visual Studio (no longer installed but I have actually TWO full licenses which Microsoft has given me for attending various conference). Mostly because I rarely code these days, but also because they do not offer features that are well suited for LAMP style development, rather they offer great tools for full on .NET development which I only rarely need to do.

3. Audacity. I do use this more than either of the apps above, but generally only for turning my laptop into a quick and simple audio capture tool with a microphone in. Not great, but definitely functional (and the price is right).

4. Bittorrent. I rarely use bittorrent, and generally only for downloading legal content (Dave Slusher’s Evil Genius Chronicles for one primary example). I have switched to mostly Azareus for my bittorrent needs, but generally only on my mac where I have ample disk space.
5. Neverwind Nights. I have the Platinum version and while I have played it some, I have not played it much – in no small part because it really is not all that great on my laptop, but also because being pretty bad at it and not having played a lot of games of late I found myself making many mistakes and not being clear if/how I could recover from them.

6. Plazes. I occasionally run it, but I always forget to most of the time I am out and about.

7. Windows Live Writer. I have this, but haven’t fully configured it yet, should be worth configuring and testing however (and likewise I have Blogjet installed but also not correctly configured). Why I don’t use an offline blogging tool I’m not entirely sure, in part I suspect it is due to inertia – it is just easier to simply post directly or via a bookmarklet.

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