New tools and software

It’s about this time of year that we look again at the software list for next year’s notebook image; what’s new and should be on student and teacher computers, and what is no longer doing the job. I keep a bit of a list on a page here called Essential Software, which I must update soon.

Meanwhile, in my thinking about software I’ve found several new things lately that I’ve begun to use on a daily basis. If you find a tool that you use daily, and does things better or more easily than you could before, then that’s useful. So, here’s some new things that I’ve found useful:

Free Commander

Free Commander is a freeware file management tool that replaces the explorer in Windows (did I mention that these are all Windows tools?) and featuring a split-pane for moving and copying files around, and a bunchof powerful functions including bulk-renaming of files. It’s on the desktop for good!


I’ve always resisted password management software because I’ve always feared losing the key! But it’s got to the stage now where every web 2.0 site out there requires logins and passwords and managing them becomes a chore. Keeping them in a text file somewhere isn’t secure. Imagine having your computer stolen with your password list sitting in a text file somewhere? Keepass is open-source, freeware and works beautifully and simply, with the ability to categorise passwords as well as copy from the program into the browser fields directly.


I’ve blogged about Evernote a couple of times, most recently HERE, where I talked about my fears of cloud computing. And I wasn’t convinced about the new version when it cam out.  I liked the old desktop version and was worried how the new version, with its online component, would distort that simplicity. However, after about six weeks of using it, it’s becoming THE place to gather snippets and fragments and notes, to ‘remember everything’ as they say.  It’s easy to have multiple notebooks in the one large ‘notebook’ so I’ve got notebooks for ‘curriculum’, ‘teaching’ ‘bikes’ etc. all of which can be easily searched and ‘tagged’ and which can be synched with an online site of your notes, accessible anywhere.

So, three tools, that are new for me, and that I now use daily.