15 Essential Tools - “The Broobles Pack”
January 7th, 2006
Google today announced the Google Pack. It’s what Google calls “a free collection of essential software”. Although most of the software on the list is not really essential, the idea of a Google Updater isn’t that bad (reminds me of cygwin), and it might even get useful if they start allowing new applications to be added to the list.
Anyway, here is a list of desktop (Windows) applications seen as “essential” from my point of view. Note that not all of them are free, but they are well worth the price, and the free ones are well worth a donation. I will list only the tools that I use on a daily basis, more or less they run all the time. I will cover other excellent apps in another post. Apart from rich feature sets, these apps perform extremely well. I spend a lot of time in front of computers so power and speed is what I need.
1. Total Commander is the ultimate file manager, it is the most essential tool in my collection. Listing it’s features would be worthless, they are numerous. Whatever you think a file manager should have, TC has it and it does it superbly. Using it since 1996.
2. Opera is my browser of choice. In the old days Opera was the only browser that performed normally on low end boxes and it outperforms others even now when I run lean and mean machines. Firefox *is* cool and flexible, but it just doesn’t beat the speed, flexibility, user-friendliness and innovativeness of Opera. Using it since 1997.
3. PSPad is a superb free editor. Apart from using various IDEs throughout the day, I need a fast and powerful general purpose text editor and PSPad is the perfect one for anything apart from really huge files (>500MB) for which I use UltraEdit. PSPad is smart, easy and powerful.
4. KeyNote is the application I use to store all kinds of data, references, code snippets, RFCs, ideas, etc. Anything I need to store for future reference goes here.
5. Agenda At Once. OK, I know you never heard of this one, but it is the most useful PIM around. I was shopping for a descent PIM for over a year, tried every one of them and finally settled with this one. I’ve been using it for half a year now and it still amazes me how easy and intuitive it is. If you need a fast and flexible personal organizer, just get this one.
6. Great News. Although I’ve been using it for just a couple of months, it does reside on my desktops constantly, so I have to list it. GreatNews is a really superb RSS reader, a faster alternative for my previous favourite RSS Bandit.
7. FastCheck is my email checker, a great little app that monitors my Fastmail account (needless to say, all the mail that’s sent to me via various domains and services ends up at Fastmail).
8. Putty is my SSH window to the Unix world around. Whether it is the boxes on the LAN, my web accounts or a console view to IMAP servers, there’s always a few Putty windows open on my desktops.
9. AVG has been my anti virus software since 2002.
10. Outpost Firewall is the thick wall around my home network, protecting me since 2001.
11. Copernic Desktop Search is my desktop search engine of choice. Something just didn’t feel right with Google’s and Yahoo’s products.
12. SyncBackSE is the backup tool I use. It is the little hard worker which ensures that my data is properly synchronized and backed up.
13. Any Password is what I use for managing my passwords. To be honest, I haven’t tried others, but this one works nice for me.
14. Yankee Clipper III is my clipboard manager.
15. And the last app on this list, but not the least important one, is DigiGuide, my TV Guide
As I mentioned, these are the essential tools I use on a daily basis. Other excellent software I use often will be covered in another post.