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Software Apps and Websites You Can't Live Without - Salvador Dali in a lawn chair.
I'm invisible without 3D glasses.
Software Apps and Websites You Can't Live Without
Tabbed browsing, alternative pdf readers to the resources-greedy Adobe Acrobat, meta-chat clients — literally thousands of assistant programs and plug-ins make our digital lives easier.

Ever since I adopted Mozilla's tabbed browsing, I snarl in disgust every time a website's shoddy design twists my arm into using Internet Explorer (or as shas at one day called it, interNERD exploDER).

So, this leads me to ask, are there any browser plug-ins, stand-alone applications, or websites that you simply can't live without? What software tools improve your web experience or shave hours off the time it takes to do a repetitive task?

As soon as we get a new power supply for it, I'm hoping to get Jimmy's old computer (and trade out its video card for my much spiffier one, not that I play computer games that much anymore besides an occasional game of StarCraft and online Scrabble). In such an event, I will be wiping and reinstalling, which means that I'm rethinking the way I use my computer. I'm not thinking really hard about it, but a little.

So, what websites make your digital existence complete? What little helper programs either feed or break your habits? What apps make you need to change your shorts?

Tags: , ,
mood: rushed rushed
music: back beat moody jazz club

10 Voices in a Chorus | Lift Your Voice Aloft
jopasm From: jopasm Date: March 10th, 2006 02:03 am (UTC) (link)
Well, you'll be using a PC and most of my "real" work is done on OSX these days...

VLC for media playing - with the assorted codecs that are available.
Firefox - lighter than full-blown mozilla
CutePDF - free, it lets you print to PDF. I've started archiving useful web pages in PDF format so I have them on-hand even when I'm on the road or away from broadband.
Scintilla - nifty little programming text editor I've used a bit recently, it integrates in the context menu so I don't have to change file type associations.
AVG Free Edition - we recommend this to our customers. It seems to work as well as any other virus scanner on the market and, hey, it's free for home users. Spybot S&D and Ad-Aware are also must-haves.

That's about all I can think of off the type of my head. My PCs are mostly used for playing games with the occasional bit of "real" work such as writing a quick & dirty PHP script, etc. Since it has the 19" monitor attached the PC is also used for web browsing as often as the laptop.
lost_angel From: lost_angel Date: March 10th, 2006 05:29 am (UTC) (link)
I've been meaning to get the new firefox lately...not because I dislike mozilla's bulk (I actually prefer it because I have several design tools built in that I use, such as I can search within the url bar without having to use my mouse to click search, just by hitting down on my cursor arrows and it selects "search google" for me) but because mozilla.org will no longer be supporting mozilla.

Will recommended cutePDF to me, too, and I went ahead and downloaded it.

Jimmy is an absolute fan of AVG Free Edition. It's definitely on my to-download list.

I write code (well, xhtml and css) almost exclusively with Visual Slick Edit. How does Scintilla stand up when compared to VSE?
jopasm From: jopasm Date: March 10th, 2006 05:39 am (UTC) (link)
I'm not sure - I've never used Slick Edit. I needed a quick, dirty, text editor to work with some PDF, preferably one that understands programming languages so it will help my find brackets I've missed closing, etc. Scintilla did what I wanted, is free, and integrates nicely with the context menu in Windows so I can right click on a file (HTML, PHP, Java, whatever) and open it with Scintilla. That way I don't have to change the file type associations so when I double click it opens correctly in whatever it's supposed to open in.

I'm rapidly getting addicted to Dreamweaver. It produces ugly code, but it produces it quickly, and with the project I'm working on now fast/easy code is what I need. I'm mostly using it for PHP generation - I have a database with approximately 50 fields and Dreamweaver will automagically generate things like search forms and update forms. I really need to learn to write better HTML and learn CSS - I need to do a site layout and I have clue where to begin other than with my standard (ugly) frameset.

I'll show you and Jimmy the site sometime (I don't want to post the URL in a public forum 'cause it's still on a test server). If I can get it going it will be pretty nifty. Hopefully, maybe, I can integrate it with a web-based map server that will pull in GIS data and auto-generate/display maps of the excavations. That's on the "wish" list at the moment.
haabda From: haabda Date: March 20th, 2006 09:05 pm (UTC) (link)

Check out PDFCreater. It is an open-source PDF printer. It has more options than CutePDF. http://sourceforge.net/projects/pdfcreator/
birdofparadox From: birdofparadox Date: March 10th, 2006 03:04 am (UTC) (link)
you want the firefox addon that lets you open an IE tab.. in firefox.
lost_angel From: lost_angel Date: March 10th, 2006 05:19 am (UTC) (link)
sxyblkmn From: sxyblkmn Date: March 10th, 2006 05:27 am (UTC) (link)

i can't live without Photoshop and InDesign CS

also use SmartFTP

and the DeadAIM plug-in for AIM is a must have. gives you tabbed IMs.

and i've gotten hooked on iTunes (yeah, i know. sheep.)
lost_angel From: lost_angel Date: March 10th, 2006 05:36 am (UTC) (link)
Oooo, don't feel so bad about iTunes. I know I'm especially guilty since I've espoused an anti-DRM lifestyle, but Jimmy got a year's subscription to the unlimited Yahoo music and we've enjoyed the hell out of it.

What is InDesign CS?

Tabbed IMs? That's fantastic. That's actually what I've gotten the most out a Trillian Pro install, but it no longer works for msn messenger. Perhaps there is hope for AIM after all. It has always annoyed me so much for years. However, I'm considering GAIM as a trillian alternative.
sxyblkmn From: sxyblkmn Date: March 10th, 2006 05:51 am (UTC) (link)
adobe indesign is a professional graphic design software and page layout app.
i'm teaching myself how to use it at the moment...

and yeah, after having tabbed IMs, i can't go back to not having it. it's just too sweet.

i've never heard of GAIM before though...
haabda From: haabda Date: March 20th, 2006 09:06 pm (UTC) (link)
GAIM is a great open-source IM client that works with all the major IM services out there. http://sourceforge.net/projects/gaim/
10 Voices in a Chorus | Lift Your Voice Aloft