I used to think ….

Software I used to really care about! See, things change. Here’s proof.

I created this page as an ongoing ‘shopping list’ of software I think should be on a student notebook computer. I looked at it again today (4/10/2012 ) after a bit of a break and it sure has dated somewhat again.  I’m not even sure anymore that it’s about software at all! Here’s stuff I’ve taken out It’s part favourite software and shareware, part an attempt to record impressions of new things of value that emerge. When I got a new computer just before Christmas 2009, this was what I loaded on it.


Handy anti-spyware freee program. They say: ‘Ad-Aware Personal remains the most popular anti-spyware product for computer users around the world, with nearly one million downloads every week. Our free anti-spyware version provides you with advanced protection against spyware that secretly attaches and takes control of your computer, resulting in aggressive advertising pop-ups, sluggish computer activity, even identity theft through stolen bank details, passwords, and credit card account numbers. If you want real-time scanning capabilities, consider upgrading to Ad-Aware SE Plus for real-time protection against spyware, all the time!’

spybot Works, like Adaware, to detect spyware. They say: ‘Spybot-S&D searches your hard drive for so-called spy- or adbots; little modules that are responsible for the ads many programs display. But many of these modules also transmit information about your surfing behaviour and more to the net.

If SpyBot-S&D finds such modules, it can remove them. In most cases, the host still runs fine after removing the bot. The Spybot-S&D interface is so easy, that updates just require replacing a file of about 80k in size. Those updates are distributed by my software mailinglist, over this page and are also available from inside the programs update section.

Another feature of Spybot S&D is the removal of usage tracks, which makes it more complicated for unknown spybots to transmit useful data. The list of last visited websites, opened files, started programs, cookies, all that and more can be cleaned. Supported are the three major browsers Internet Explorer, Netscape Communicator and Opera.’

avg virus protection

At work we use Avast but I needed a free alternative for desktop computers at home. AVG has been good.


I used to have a program called Panorama Maker, which came with a camera I bought. When I lost the disk in between computers I started looking for a free alternative. Autostitch is that. They say: Autostitch™ is the world’s first fully automatic 2D image stitcher. Capable of stitching full view panoramas without any user input whatsoever, Autostitch is a breakthrough technology for panoramic photography, VR and visualisation applications. This is the first solution to stitch any panorama completely automatically, whether 1D (horizontal) or 2D (horizontal and vertical).


azz cardfile

A simple little program, blank cards which you add stuff to, but the simplest tools are often the most flexible. They say: ‘ Long ago I used to keep addresses, phone numbers and other personal information in old Windows 3.1 Cardfile, which I missed in Microsoft Windows 95. The alternatives (MS Scheduler, MS Outlook) were either too complex or inconvenient to use. I just needed a simple, small notebook with the ability to locate an item quickly. Specifically, I wanted something that consisted of empty cards – without any predefined fields (street addresses, zip, state, phone, fax, etc.).

This has been replaced for me by Evernote (I’ve blogged about it)

bulk rename utility

Very handy little program for renaming files en masse; particulalry useful for those meaningless image files that come of out cameras, IMG3039339.jpg and DIMC393922929.jpg etc etc... I know use Nexus File which does renaming and a ton of other stuff.

firefox and or flock

Firefox is well known as an open source internet browser; infinitely customisable with lots of add-ons, and built in tabbed browsing. Flock is an offshoot designed specifically to connect to the interactive web. It works closely with Flickr, Delicious and lots of blogging platforms. I have both! I now use Chrome almost exclusively!

Since then, I’ve moved all my browsing to Chrome; syncing between computers, and iPhone and iPad.

multi monitor task bar

I remember reading a survey that found that the simplest and most powerful productivity technique you could adopt was to add another monitor. I’ve tried it, and it is good. Multi Monitor task bar adds a task bar and quick-flip between monitor buttons. They say: ‘Windows only: Freeware program Multi-Monitor taskbar adds a Windows taskbar to your second monitor so that each monitor’s taskbar contains only the programs that are open on that monitor. Windows 7 handles multiple monitors automatically.


A little program that types text for you. They say: ‘ShortKeys is a utility that allows you to set up replacement text or paragraphs for any given number of user defined keystrokes. ShortKeys monitors the keyboard activity on a global nature and anytime a user defined keystroke combination is typed in, it will be replaced with the replacement text. Automate tedious and repetitive typing. Reduce errors. Type a few characters and ShortKeys will replace them with up to 3000 keystrokes. You will be amazed how much time ShortKeys will save. If you find yourself typing the same thing over and over again, then this product is for you. For the Mac is use Type it 4 Me, which is also great.

Since then, I’ve moved to PhraseExpress as the newest versions of ShortKeys re no longer free.


Open source email program. I use Gmail, but I got scared one day when Gmail was down and it looked like I’d lost all my mail so I use Thunderbird to back up my gmail. They say, ‘Simple to` use, powerful, and customizable, Thunderbird is a full-featured email application. Thunderbird supports IMAP and POP mail protocols, as well as HTML mail formatting. Easily import your existing email accounts and messages. Built-in RSS capabilities, powerful quick search, spell check as you type, global inbox, deleting attachments and advanced message filtering round out Thunderbird’s modern feature set.’

I trust Gmail more now. Should I?


An old favourite. Like AZZ Cardfile, its free-form nature is its strenght. They say: ‘reePad™ is an award-winning Personal Information Manager, Organizer, Database, and Word Processor. Portability and compactness are smoothly blended into TreePad™ with its other distinctive features: versatility and power, as well as simplicity and intuitiveness of use. TreePad™ saves you time, allowing you to keep your notes, documents, hyperlinks and images at the brief distance of a click. Download TreePad™ and enjoy better access, organization and control over all your data, notes, bills, projects, clients, addresses, letters, speeches, research, collections, classroom notes, Web pages, links, bibliographic listings, and whatever else your creativity enables you to entrust TreePad™ with, for good organization, easy access, and safe storage.’

Replaced by the aforementioned: Evernote

yahoo desktop search

Great for finding that file that you need right now! Better and more robust than the google product, this has saved me a couple of times before a big meeting!

I now use the Windows built in search, which is much improved.



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