Useful Software Guide 2011

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  • Dirtbox 3 Sep 2010 10:06:54 77,686 posts
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    Well, I think it's time for this to get a makeover. Rather than going through all the basics like anti virus, browsers and media players, of which we've already found our favourite flavours, this one's going to be more about adding functionality to make your life easier. The focus of this is for Windows, but a few of these apps are also available for OSX.
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    Replacements:
    Because there's always room for improvement.

    Notepad++ (Win) is a great little alternative to the feature-light Notepad, it's also worth keeping an eye on Bend (which I notice has been removed from the public eye), it's a sexy little next-gen notepad replacement.

    ImgBurn (Win) is a simple, usable disc burning software that does everything you'll need of it.

    Soluto (Win) is a brilliant msconfig replacement that keeps track of your boot processes and helps you through optimising all those startup apps.

    Picasa (Win) is the best picture viewer out there, you needn't bother with the main app so much but being a Google app, it also comes with a chunk of online storage and allows you to upload any pic with a right click.

    Search Everything (Win) is just as it says, it's a heap faster than the integrated Windows HDD search and lets you save a heap of processing time and all the disk thrashing of the default.

    LogMeIn Hamachi² (Win) is a small VPN app that lets you link any amount of computers up just like a LAN, but over the internet. Brilliant for all sorts of stuff, not least streaming your private music collection, copying files and folders and other such things. You can also use it to play LAN games, even multiplayer over great distances for console emulators.

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    Tweaks:
    Because as good as things are, they can always be a bit better.

    WizMouse (Win) lets you scroll a window without it being focused. A common annoyance.

    Switch to the last active window (Win7 registry hack) with a single click rather than clicking the icon, then the window preview. It always annoyed me having to do two clicks where there should only be one. It still works the original way, but this is much better. It's a simple registry tweak rather than an app.

    Default Programs Editor allows you to tweak various settings about your filetypes, how you'd like them to open, their default icon, their context menu options, all that sort of thing. Not something you'd need every day, but great if something's being a little problematic.

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    Productivity apps:
    To do shit.

    Google Docs (Win/Mac/Nix) for all your Office needs. A brilliant bunch of apps in the comfort of your browser. You can share and collaborate everything you do on it, and it'll be stored online, so you can get at it from anywhere. Offers import options of all the usual formats, which makes migration and backup simple.

    Sumo Paint (Win/Mac/Nix) is an in-browser photo manipulation and paint app that's rich on features and low on installer.

    Input Director (Win) lets you control all your computers on a network via one keyboard and mouse. It's not the most simple program to initially set up, but it's certainly not rocket science.

    Wunderlist (Win/Mac) is a simple, elegant To Do list that looks pretty and helps keep you organised. It's still in beta, but phone integration and synchronisation is to follow.

    FocusWriter (Win/Mac/Nix) could be described as a Notepad replacement, but it's a little more interesting than that. It's a non-distracting, barebones word processor. I set mine up to look like a 1980s IBM greenscreen complete with a scanlined font because it tweaks my nerd nipple.

    Dropbox (Win/Mac), in case you haven't heard is a folder syncing app that allows you to share and upload files to the internet, both privately and publicly from the comfort of your OS. That's my referral link, so if you like this, or any of my guides, you can repay me by signing up to Dropbox via it :)

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    I'll probably think of a bunch more stuff at some point later and I'll add any goodies that anyone posts.

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  • shamblemonkee 3 Sep 2010 16:35:37 14,320 posts
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    anyone know of a decent free video editing software?
  • DocX 3 Sep 2010 16:47:06 1,963 posts
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    Signed up for dropbox as your guides are always useful DB. Will install it when I get home.
  • HoriZon 3 Sep 2010 16:48:45 13,529 posts
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    uTorrent for getting legal file of course.

    VLC media player.

    I used to be a gamer like you, then I took an arrow in the knee.

  • Murbal 3 Sep 2010 16:53:34 22,078 posts
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    DropBox also available as an iPhone app making it doubly useful.
  • Dirtbox 3 Sep 2010 16:55:29 77,686 posts
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    DocX wrote:
    Signed up for dropbox as your guides are always useful DB. Will install it when I get home.
    Woop! Thanks :)

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  • Dirtbox 3 Sep 2010 16:58:21 77,686 posts
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    Sillothian wrote:
    Here a few bits of freebie software that I use-
    ...
    I'm not keen on any of those really, but you have reminded me of a couple of great things.

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  • Blaketown 5 Sep 2010 20:02:42 4,645 posts
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    Murbal wrote:
    DropBox also available as an iPhone app making it doubly useful.

    And 'Droid.

    Making it, erm, the same amount of useful but for different people.

    Brap, brap, old chap.

  • whatthefu 5 Sep 2010 21:09:04 869 posts
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    Is there a program that would let me load a cue file of an album and allow me to remove the tracks I dont like and add tracks from another mp3 album that I do like?
    These are mix albums/single file so I need a cue editor to do it.
  • Hunkyjim 5 Sep 2010 21:09:21 178 posts
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    Dirtbox for mod
  • coastal 6 Sep 2010 00:38:44 5,382 posts
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    Movies/TV Shows media management.

    I'd recommend Ember Media Manager. It's loads better than the one I wrote. Takes a while to load all the data in but works a treat scraping info from imdb/tvdb, posters and fanart.

    Switching audio devices.

    My audio changer for Windows 7- horrendous plug I know
    Vista Audio Changer
    STADS for XP

    bf3: sergeant_shaftoe

  • DFawkes 6 Sep 2010 02:51:08 22,787 posts
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    Why no Norton Antivirus? I thought that was DBs favourite program, I bought 4 copies to cover all my computers thanks to his wise instruction. Well, he said it was shit, but as a coprophiliac that's a good thing.

    Only software I'm a big fan of is Paint.net. It's not great, but it does all my basic image editing needs and seems relatively light weight most of the time.

    I'd kick the living daylights out of the producers of Tipping Point - Ghandi

  • Dirtbox 12 Nov 2010 20:02:45 77,686 posts
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    Here's a cool productivity app for those few of you who don't till the fields or sweep roads for a living.

    Wunderlist

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  • Lexx87 12 Nov 2010 20:04:59 20,869 posts
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    Cheers DB for these! Solutu is a new one for me def check that out.

    Speak the truth hussy!

  • Deleted user 12 November 2010 22:42:03
    Sugarsync is a pretty good alternative dropbox solution too.
  • FooAtari 13 Nov 2010 01:30:59 3,955 posts
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    DB, your Dropbox and Wunderlist links are back to front in first post.
  • Bloodloss 13 Nov 2010 01:50:02 4,499 posts
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    Post deleted
  • iokthemonkey 13 Nov 2010 05:45:21 4,664 posts
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    DFawkes wrote:
    Why no Norton Antivirus? I thought that was DBs favourite program, I bought 4 copies to cover all my computers thanks to his wise instruction. Well, he said it was shit, but as a coprophiliac that's a good thing.

    Only software I'm a big fan of is Paint.net. It's not great, but it does all my basic image editing needs and seems relatively light weight most of the time.

    Cheers Fawksie - I was looking for a program I used to use years ago (i.e. Paint.net) but couldn't remember which one it was. So thanks for that!

    http://that-figures.blogspot.com/

  • Dirtbox 13 Nov 2010 07:20:41 77,686 posts
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    FooAtari wrote:
    DB, your Dropbox and Wunderlist links are back to front in first post.
    Cheers!

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  • speedofthepuma 13 Nov 2010 07:56:02 13,283 posts
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    Another useful thread from DB, thanks.

    /marks interesting.

    I lurk. If I've spoken to you, I'm either impassioned, or drunk.

  • matrim83 13 Nov 2010 07:56:42 5,587 posts
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    Hmm Picasa sounds interesting. Gonna give it a try now. Thanks.

    Valar morghulis.

  • Dirtbox 13 Nov 2010 08:06:51 77,686 posts
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    I messed up the link for that as well somehow, sorted now though.

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  • PearOfAnguish 13 Nov 2010 08:20:08 7,202 posts
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    Two of my favourites are WinPatrol, which sits there and watches your system, telling you when there are new startup programs, changes to browser homepages, file associations etc and LastPass, a password management tool. KeePass is another good one but I prefer LastPass for its online storage and excellent browser integration.
  • Deleted user 13 November 2010 09:35:19
    shamblemonkee wrote:
    anyone know of a decent free video editing software?
    There's a few around for Linux, but for Windows I guess that Blender would be one solution.

    (yes, it's a 3D application, but it also has a built-in non-linear editor and compositor)
  • Dirtbox 13 Nov 2010 10:31:21 77,686 posts
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    Windows has Windows Live Movie Maker which is alright. Not amazing by any stretch, but does most things adequately enough.

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  • Lexx87 13 Nov 2010 10:37:41 20,869 posts
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    Solutu is a really nice bit of kit! I realise they have a long way to go but I love its simplicity.

    Speak the truth hussy!

  • Dirtbox 13 Nov 2010 10:40:26 77,686 posts
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    Yeah, it's quite good. As more people use it, more programs are added to the genome so it'll get better over time.

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  • Syrok Designer, Tarsier Studios 13 Nov 2010 10:46:30 14,033 posts
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    Does this count?

    Sumo Paint - Browser based image editor. Very good if you don't have access to Photoshop, since it has all the basic photoshop option such as layers, etc. And it is of course free.
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