There are a lot of programs filling up my hard drive, but only a few of them are useful enough for me to use everyday. Here’s a list of the top 10 most used programs on my PC, in reverse order:
10. Word 2007
Perhaps not as high up the list as you’d expect, I use Word for writing school curriculum, and that’s about it. Maybe if there was an English language pack available for it, I might use it more often, because I really do love the new 2007 design.
9. Paint Shop Pro 8
This is a more recent addition to my PC. It’s a full Apache, MySQL and phpMyAdmin package for developing websites offline. In other words, it turns your computer into its own server. Wamp has been a pleasure to use after first trying the overly sensitive EasyPHP.
7. EditPad Pro
Can you believe I used Windows Notepad since I got my first PC in 1998 until August 2008. Imagine how much time and stress I could have saved if I’d got EditPad Pro earlier. The differences between the two text editors are enormous, but I particularly like the tabbed windows and the color-coded text in EditPad Pro. If you hand code your websites, I recommend EditPad which is free, but even more so the paid “Pro” version.
6. Ace Text
I bought AceText as part of a set with EditPad Pro above. It’s hard to describe, but is like an extended, permanent clipboard. It’s insanely useful for pasting quick memos, reminders and links into, and its neverending and searchable clipboard is just so handy!
5. Excel 2007
I’m not big on spreadsheets, but I find Excel 2007 to be perfect for a things-to-do list and as a general “whiteboard”. I also record my web earnings and expenses, and make fancy little graphs so I can mull over my income trends.
I don’t have a huge list of contacts, mostly close friends and family, and a few J-Web buddies for good measure. It’s always on, and I find text chat is incredibly convenient for sending quick messages. Skype also lets my parents watch their grandson every few days, and vice versa.
3. Smart FTP
I had to pay for this one after the trial expired, but it was worth every penny. Smart FTP is a program that lets you transfer files between your computer and a server on the internet. It’s so smart, I often find myself using it for simple file management on my computer, instead of using Windows Explorer!
2. Windows Mail
I don’t think I’ve ever had a web-based email account. I know that Hotmail and GMail are incredibly popular, but I’m a traditionalist when it come to email, and Windows Mail is perfect for my needs. WM is the sequel to Outlook Express. It comes packaged with Windows Vista and has two huge advantages over its predecessor: First, it’s got excellent spam filters, and second, emails are stored as individual files, making them easy to move, copy and back up. Windows Mail is always open and ready to serve my 12 email accounts!
I love Internet Explorer, but a couple of weeks of unexpected crashes last December forced me to switch to my backup browser, Firefox. I’ve been meaning to return to IE7 now that it’s all patched up, but since Firefox doesn’t do a bad job, it’s still currently the most used program on my PC.
It’s not that Firefox itself is great, it’s just that a web browser is essential for connecting me to a whole other set of web-based applications which would require a list of their own!
And the rest…
Some other programs that are worth mentioning are Boilsoft MOV Converter, which lets me convert video from my cell phone to more common formats; Hypercam for recording directly from my monitor (great for making tutorials); Twhirl, a program that brings Twitter to your desktop; and my most recent purchase, Flash Slideshow Maker.
I can vouch for every program I’ve talked about here, but don’t part with your money before you try the trial versions which most of them offer. Make sure they are right for you!
What programs do you use the most on your PC?If you like, you can find me on Twitter at @nick_ramsay. I'd love to hear from you!