Essential Software Applications

There are lot of computer software applications that we use on day today basis which not only is helpful but often saves time and sometimes increases productivity. I have few of them that I wanted to share and would also like people to recommend their favorite utilities through the comments

Launchy – This is one of the must haves for me – Launchy is a open source key stroke launcher (opened and closed by a combination key, ex ALT+ Space bar), the application can be configured to launch just about any program, by simply typing the first few characters, that is installed in your system without using the mouse and searching through the crowded start menu. It runs both on Windows and Linux. It’s light weight and fast. It also has an integrated calculator which is very useful. Give it a try and you’ll be addicted.

Some of the Firefox browser based Plugins

xmarks – This is a essentially a bookmark manager with a built-in sync capabilities through the web, what this means is you bookmark a webpage at work and in the evening when you go home the same link is available for you there. It has a profile feature through which you choose which links to Sync. The links are also available in xmarks website which you can access in any computer that is connected to the internet. Recently, they have also enabled the same feature for passwords that are stored in Firefox password manager. Security of the passwords have been taken care by using a master password that only you know and that is not stored in their servers.

Evernote – It’s same as xmarks but it’s for notes. This is more like MS OneNote but only better, It also has a sync feature that makes notes, that you captured, available in all computers that you use. It has a Firefox Plugin as-well as a standalone windows client to capture notes. Again, since the notes are synced through the web they are available anytime you want from their website.

Update scanner – I recently discovered this and find it pretty useful. The Plugin can be configured to look for changes in webpage at periodic intervals. For ex, you are following a thread in a forum and wanted to know if somebody has a posted a new message. Instead of doing this the traditional way, you add the link of the post to the utility and set a scan time of say 1 hr, the utility will do a background connect to the webpage and notify if there’s a change in content – in our ex, a new post.

Zotero – I have been using this for only a week now, for me it’s basically a Evernote (EN) replacement as they have blocked the EN website in the company and I can’t use the Sync feature anymore. Zotero does what EN used to do for me.

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