Monday, May 18, 2009

Best Tool For The Job: Recommended Software

Windows users often want to know which software to choose for a particular purpose. For example, people often ask me what's the best Windows anti-virus software, and I tell them Avast! It didn't make this list, but my second favorite AVG did. My opinion is if more people knew about Avast! they might prefer it. It's important that any other types of software you install are also secure and bug-free. As always, you can't beat peer-review for finding the best trusted, high quality software for free. Lifehacker conducted a user survey and used the results to create a great list of recommended free software in 26 categories. Most are Windows-compatible, and many are cross-platform, or web-based so they will work on Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. Follow the link to the article or check out the summary I included below:

Best Digital Photo Organizer: Picasa (Windows/Linux)

Readers love Picasa—the cross-platform photo management software from Google—for its ease-of-use and impressive feature set, which is particularly strong for free software.

Best Instant Messenger: Pidgin (Windows/Linux)

Pidgin is a cross-platform, open-source IM client.

Best DVD Ripping Tool: DVD Shrink (Windows)

DVD Shrink (download)This freeware decrypter, ripper, and compressor is still a favorite all-in-one stop for ripping and backing up DVDs.

Best Contact Management Application: Address Book (Mac OS X)

Most folks who own a Mac look no further for a contact manager than Apple's Address Book.

Best Text Editor: Notepad++ (Windows)

Notepad++ is the go-to text editor for many Windows users looking for something better than Notepad.

Best Online File Sharing Service: MediaFire

Users love unlimited storage, and MediaFire (original post) offers just that. The service is free...

Best RSS Newsreader: Google Reader

Ever since Google launched the updated Google Reader toward the end of 2006, users have flocked to it for its impressive speed and usability.

Best Application Launcher: Launchy (Windows)

Launchy is best known for its lightning-fast indexing and searching.

Best Start Page: iGoogle

Once a very limited, bare bones collection of links, iGoogle has grown into a fully customizable dashboard of tabs and web widgets.

Best Antivirus Application: AVG Anti-Virus

The lightweight AVG Free provides protection against the various nasties floating around the internet.

Best Photo Sharing Site: Flickr

Flickr was originally conceived in 2002 as a video game-screenshot sharing web site, but it quickly blossomed into a full-fledged photo sharing site with a bustling community.

Best Personal Finance Tool: Mint

Mint is a web-based personal finance software... The service, which is completely free to use, automatically retrieves your latest financial data from your online financial institutions, then analyzes and integrates it with their service.

Best Desktop Media Player: VLC (All Platforms) VLC is the cross-platform Swiss Army knife of media players. It's lightweight, open source, and can play virtually any file—audio or video—that you throw at it.

Best Windows Maintenance Tool: CCleaner

Running CCleaner on your system frees up space, keeps your computer running smoothly, and protect your privacy.

Best Windows Backup Tool: Carbonite

Carbonite is an online backup solution similar to MozyHome. For $50 a year, Carbonite provides unlimited online backup and is another set-it-and-forget-it solution which offers off-site backup to remote servers.

Best File Syncing Tool: Dropbox (All Platforms)

Dropbox is a free, cross-platform syncing app that boasts quick, instantaneous syncs and file versioning through your desktop and their web-based interface.

Best Alternative File Manager: Total Commander

Total Commander features side-by-side file-browsing panes, enhanced file search, built-in FTP, archive management, and file comparing tools.

Best GTD Application: Pen and Paper (they're not kidding!)

We asked for your favorite GTD apps, but the nominations made it apparent that an overwhelming number of you are still rocking GTD with the tried-and-true pen and paper.

Best Note-Taking Tool: Pen and Paper (see??)

Despite a multitude of high-tech note-taking tools, the classic pen and paper still holds a special place in many a note-taker's heart...

Best To-Do List Manager: Pen and Paper

For hundreds of years prior to the computer, humankind has managed to-dos with a simple pen and paper, and for many it's still the only way to go...

Best Desktop Search Application: Windows Search 4

Where file search was once the most useless "feature" built into a Windows XP PC, the new and improved Windows Search 4.0 is a fast, extensive desktop search tool from Microsoft.

Best FTP Client: Filezilla

FileZilla is a free, open-source FTP client for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Best Password Manager: KeePass

Desktop application KeePass is a free, open-source password manager with a robust and easy-to-use feature set.

Best Download Manager: DownThemAll

Firefox extension DownThemAll (dTa) is a powerful download manager with a stable of advanced features to enhance your download experience.

Best Calendar Application: Google Calendar

Ever since it launched in April of 2006, Google Calendar has quickly built a reputation as the premier web-based calendar.

Best BitTorrent Application: uTorrent

uTorrent's first public release came three years ago today, having been developed with one goal in mind: To create a lightweight, efficient BitTorrent client.

Software was chosen based on votes from Lifehacker readers. The result is an excellent reference for choosing the right tool for the job. The only thing I would have voted differently on was the anti-virus software. They selected AVG and I would have suggested Avast! Home Edition instead. AVG is also excellent software, so this is a minor quibble.

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