Here are some totally rad computer programs everyone should have!
1. Dropbox. I mentioned this one in my writers post. What it is, simply put, is a shared folder. You create an account an you can store your files on the Dropbox website, to be accessed anywhere. That's pretty unoriginal. Dropbox is expanded upon by its downloadable app/program that allows you to have a folder on your computer (or tablet/phone) that you interact with as you would any other folder, but it is always linked to the web-folder. Now you can simply drag and drop your items into the folder, arrange them whenever and however, and you never have to log in again. Also, you can download this app to many devices and, after logging in with your account, these become copies of that folder. When you update one, all the others update immediately (assuming they are connected to the internet).
I use this mainly for my story writing. With the folder accessible at every computer I normally sit at, I have unlimited access to my documents that I sometimes want to edit or look over on the fly. Can't edit via my iPhone, but I still find uses there -- I upload a list of comics I'm looking for when I'm heading to a shop. There are also sharing features where you can create a "shared" folder in your Dropbox. This allows you to share certain files without having to give access to your personal account. I have one shared folder for my D&D crew -- now we all have access to character sheets and whatnot. If someone forgets their stuff or laptop (which they always do), it's a simple matter to look up/share a computer.
Also, Dropbox just added this thing where it saves screenshots (the thing that happens when you press the Print Screen button) automatically. This makes it MUCH easier than having to paste it somewhere, especially when you're trying to take a screencap of your awesome desktop to post later in a blog post...
Cost: Dropbox is completely free, unless you decide on more space than their starting amount. I haven't and more than likely won't.
2. Scrivener. I also mentioned this last time. It is a program for writers/authors that excels in document management, formatting, and creating unique elements such as timelines pulled directly from your content. If you're not sure exactly what that means, take a look at this video :
As I said, I don't own it, but I eventually plan to. I can see it being incredibly helpful for longer works. It's basically a word processor with ALL the bells and whistles that I always find myself wanting without jumping through 20 hoops and applications.
Cost: Scrivener costs $40. This is why I don't have it yet, though I did play around with the free trial a bit.
3. DisplayFusion. If you use multiple monitors, DisplayFusion (or a similar program of your choice) is a must. I enjoy DF's interface out of the few that I've tried. It allows me to seamlessly add additional monitors, each with their own settings. This can be as simple as maintaining separate wallpapers to how your screens line up (none of mine are the same size, so this is a pretty useful addition).
Cost: I have no idea what the cost of the Pro program is. I used the trial to get my setup going and haven't had any issues since. Pro has more options, but the basic is all you need to get functioning.
4. Rainmeter. If you want a truly custom desktop experience, Rainmeter is what you need. It allows for custom, user-generated content to be added to your desktop. This can take any shape or form imaginable, and has a decent number of contributors -- I've got a slew of different styles for free from the good folks over at DeviantArt.
|My current desktop. It changed fairly often, thanks to Rainmeter.|
I personally enjoy Fallout a good deal, so making my desktop look like a Fallout PC Terminal was too good to pass up... It's bland looking, but that's what I like about it. There are many beautiful options available as well.
Cost: Free and completely awesome. Takes a bit of getting used to, but is simple to modify after that. And you can mix and match parts from different creations, you're by no means restricted.
5. Start Menu X. Going one step beyond what Rainmeter allows, Start Menu X lets you modify... well... your Start Menu.
I know there are ways to change the icon of the Start Menu, but I haven't done that yet. What I've found most useful is the ability to create folders and sub-groups in the start menu, and the initial custom layout is much more appealing than Windows' standard fare.
Cost: Another deal where Pro gets you more, but free is enough for me.
Anyone else out there use something else interesting/useful? Share your programs so they can all be mine! ... Please?