Tagged: tools

Top 10 Most Used Programs on my PC

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 has been my first choice of paint program for years. I’ve dabbled with later versions, but I always go back to PSP 8, which I think is from 2003. The latest version is here.

8. Wamp

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.

4. Skype

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!

1. Firefox

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?

JapanSoc Toolbox


Welcome to the JapanSoc Toolbox, a page full of resources to help you get the most out of Japan’s fastest growing social bookmarking site for the foreign community.

I’ve listed them in order of release, with new additions added as they become available. Please let me know if any of them are broken.

The JapanSoc Bookmarklet – Submit while you surf

JapanSoc Bookmarklet

The bookmarklet is added to either your browser’s bookmarks or links bar. You can submit a page to JapanSoc just by clicking this button, saving time and encouraging you to submit more articles! Find the bookmarklet on your JapanSoc profile page and read the instructions for the browser you use. Note: As an alternative, consider the Nipponster Toolbar described below.

JapanSoc Social Bookmarking Button

JapanSoc Social Bookmarking Button

This handy little button can be added to the foot of your blog posts, allowing your readers to submit your articles to JapanSoc. If you’d like to include a JapanSoc button on your site, grab the code and buttons from How can people soc my articles? on the JapanSoc FAQ.

JapanSoc FeedBurner FeedFlare

JapanSoc FeedBurner FeedFlare

What you see in that image above are links at the foot of a FeedBurner RSS feed. Clicking the JapanSoc link allows you to submit an article directly from the feed, which is incredibly useful if you use a feed reader such as Google Reader. The JapanSoc FeedFlare was created by Ken from WhatJapanThinks.com and can be used by anyone who has burned their feed with Feedburner. If you’re confused, watch the introduction to FeedBurner video in this DailyJ post, and then read Ken’s article so you can implement the JapanSoc FeedFlare into your own feed.

JapanSoc Voting Button

JapanSoc Voting ButtonThe JapanSoc Voting Button is the best way to encourage your readers to submit and soc your posts. It’s the most visual button and screams to be clicked! Although I’ve only tested the plugin for WordPress.org blogs, there is code you can copy and paste into your site to make it work on non-Wordpress blogs. If you’re looking for interactivity with your readers, more socs and more exposure, then this is the tool for you! Read more about the voting button.

Update: The WordPress plugin for the JapanSoc it! button is now available directly from WordPress. Read about the updates here: New JapanSoc it! Button. April 14th, 2009.

Nipponster Toolbar with JapanSoc It! Button

Nipponster Toolbar

This toolbar is unique in that it is designed for people like us. You’ve got a Japan-specific search engine, English-Japanese and Japanese-English translation tools, other useful links and gadgets, and of course, there’s a JapanSoc It! button, so you can submit articles while you surf. You can download the toolbar here.

JapanSoc Widget for Mac OS X

JapanSoc Widget for OS X

This flash-looking widget was designed by RockingInHakata author, Deas Richardson. About this tool, he says:

I whipped up an OS X widget to display the five most recent top stories AND allow me to submit new stories to JapanSoc directly from my Dashboard. I tried to keep the colors consistent with the actual site as well. If you are a JapanSoc member, or looking to be one, maybe you’ll find some use for it?

I’d love to try it, but since I don’t have a Mac, I have to settle for the video of the widget in action on Deas’ JapanSoc OS X Widget post. Incidentally, he has also made a Nipponster widget for the above mentioned, Japan-specific search engine.

JapanSoc RSS Web Widgets

JapanSoc Web Widgets

These two web widgets are an alternative to using the FeedList plugin above if you don’t have a WordPress blog. They can be embedded in sites such as iGoogle, Facebook, MySpace, Blogger and WordPress, too. Each widget represents a different JapanSoc feed; the orange one is for the main Top Stories feed, while the blue one is for Upcoming Stories. You can even customize their appearance by changing the colors and showing summaries of each story.

Stay up-to-date and keep you readers informed of the latest headlines from JapanSoc with the JapanSoc Web Widgets!

Additional Resources

Check out and bookmark this blog’s JapanSoc Info page. It has become the home for all things “JapanSoc”.