program icons

Having to reinstall windows twice from scratch (first was when I migrated to Windows 7 last week, second was when my RAID setup failed when I transferred to a new motherboard two days ago), I’ve discovered which of my apps are absolutely essential for my computer. Here’s a list in a somewhat descending order of importance:

  • Mozilla Firefox 3.5 – my main browser. It’s slower than the next browser, but it makes up for it by having extensions like the widescreen “killer extension” Tree Style Tab.
  • Google Chrome 2 – Without the tree style tab, I can’t have as many tabs open in Chrome so it’s relegated as my secondary browser. I have two monitors in my rig and Chrome sits on the right monitor with Facebook on while Firefox sits on the center monitor (the left monitor slot is reserved for my laptop). I also use chrome for Google searching when my center screen is occupied.
  • Yahoo! Messenger 9 – I rarely chat online but I still have Y!M on for the same reason why I still have a cellphone even though I rarely text or call: it’s just there to provide a (free) means of contacting me. The mail alerts are even more important – without Y!M mail alerts I probably would have migrated to GMail a long time ago.
  • Launchy 2 – my program launcher. All my programs are just an Alt-Space away. And before you suggest the Windows 7 Search Bar, yes, I’ve tried that for a few days and I found out that it’s too slow in Windows 7 RC1 especially when compared to Launchy. The latter also doesn’t show up in the center of the screen, forcing my eyes to shift a few degrees to read the search list. Maybe when the search bar speeds up, or if there’s an option to show the search bar at the center of the screen, I might use the latter instead of Launchy.
  • GIMP 2.6 – No pirated software means no Photoshop. Fortunately, GIMP is more than enough for daily photo editing tasks.
  • Notepad++ 5 – my text-editor-that-can-parse-unix-newlines-properly. Useful for reading server logs or any random text file that I need to read.
  • KeePass 1.16 – my password manager. All of my passwords hidden behind a strong 20 character password. I’m using version 1 so that its database could be used with my Linux laptop.
  • Steam – I’ve been buying legal video games ever since I got a job that pays enough for me to consider not pirating games. Problem with legal games is that storing the boxes and the discs can be a hassle. With Steam games, I don’t have a storage problem (because the game is just downloaded off the net) nor do I have to keep discs around in order to get through the DRM (because Steam’s DRM is already integrated).
  • 7-zip – for unzipping and un-rar-ing files. Also for archiving.
  • Adobe Flash Player, Adobe Air, and JDK 6 – to allow Flash and Java programs to work on the browser and desktop. Note that .NET Framework 3.5 is already installed along with Windows 7. Also, Silverlight isn’t that popular yet to merit a download.
  • WordWeb 5 – Ctrl-Alt-W for spell checking and synonym hunting is a habit I picked up from my previous work. I had to turn off the one-click lookup because it screws up with games (Ctrl-Right Click is crouch + zoom, a common move in shooting games).
  • VLC and CCCP – for playing videos. CCCP gives me the option of using the lightweight Media Player Classic.
  • PDF-XChange Viewer – my replacement for Adobe Reader. Decided to try it out after a recent Lifehacker poll.
  • VirtualBox 3 – my development environment, virtualizing Ubuntu instances for both development and testing.
  • PuTTy – my IDE. :P Seriously, though, I prefer connecting to my Ubuntu instances via PuTTy/SSH instead of using the virtual machines own terminal. It’s not faster, but it allows me to use the screen real estate of my main PC which is a big plus.
  • Mozy – my backup scheme. All hard drives borked? Not a problem with Mozy.
  • AVG Free 8.5 – free anti-virus software so that Windows would shut up about not having anti-virus software installed.
  • FileZilla – for transferring files via FTP or SFTP. Used mostly for managing my website.
  • 3.1 – for opening my game-related spreadsheets e.g. Mafia Wars ROI spreadsheet, TWEWY pin progress sheet, Persona persona sheets, etc. Also there to open random Word-documents-that-should’ve-been-PDF files.
  • TweetDeck – like Y!M, allows me to forgo manual checking of my Twitter home page.
  • JWPce – my Japanese wordprocessor + dictionary. Useful for translating unfamiliar kanji.
  • JR Screen Ruler – for determining the exact pixel width when doing web development.

Excluded, of course, are the hardware drivers like ATI Catalyst and Creative Audio Control Panel, as well as the specific games on my Steam games list.

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3 Responses to My Essential Apps

  1. […] a follow up to my previous post, here are the extensions installed in my Firefox installation. I’m not really a power user […]

  2. […] a follow up to my previous post, here are the extensions installed in my Firefox installation. I’m not really a power user […]

  3. Helen Bredson says:

    Thanks for great tools! I use them sometimes.
    But as for languages, I prefer online tools, like google translator and thesaurus dictionary.

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