Thought it might be of some interest to share details of what software and services I use on a regular basis on my PC. Then again, it might well be incredibly boring. Here goes anyway.
I use FireFox most of the time. Tabbed browsing and the speed are the two plus points. I have three tabs set up as home pages: this blog, Gmail and Palimpsest. I sometimes use IE for things like online banking, and when I need to visit Microsoft webpages for things. For email, I use Gmail almost exclusively for my day to day emailing. I’ve never used a webmail client so useable. I have the Notifier tool running, which alerts me when new mail comes in, so I don’t need to be refreshing my inbox evey two minutes. I also regularly use Thunderbird for other email accounts for domain names I own, such as this one. I don’t touch Outlook Express with a bargepole. On the blogging side of things, I use WordPress to run this blog and would recommend this to anyone who has their own domain and database available. Otherwise, I would eschew Blogger, despite its nice integration with tools like Picasa, Hello and the Google Toolbar, because I find it slow and unreliable. Instead, I would recommend using MSN Spaces which is quick, fully featured, pretty customisable and easy to use. I use Filezilla as an FTP client and the new version 7 of the MSN Messenger IM client.
I read blogs offline with FeedDemon which is remarkable for being a piece of software I have actually paid for. It also integrates seamlessly with BlogJet, an offline blog post writing tool, which I have also shelled out the readies for. I don’t always use it though and sometimes good old Notepad comes in handy for quickly writing a post or note. I really wish, though, that ~ctrl-backspace~ would delete a word, rather than inserting a fairly useless character. There are no doubt plenty of free alternatives out there, but all the ones I have ever tried complicate things too much.
Occasionally I read blogs online with BlogLines which is a super service. PubSub and Technorati are useful blog search engines. For web search, it’s Google UK for me, though I do give MSN Search a go now and again. Google News and the BBC News sites are regular visits. WikiPedia likewise. The Guardian provides the best online content of any British newspaper, in my opinion, in terms of accessibility and depth.
I use Picasa to track my digital images on my PC, and wish it could integrate with blogging tools other than Google’s Blogger. These closed practises Google is developing pee me off sometimes. I usually host my pictures using a free account at Flickr and have downloaded their uploading tool, which works well. For other graphics work I use the Gimp – mainly because it is free. If I need to do any editing of websites, then I use 1st Page 2000 which is pretty comprehensive and (more importantly) free.
My choice of office suite is (perhaps obviously) OpenOffice.org, which does everything I need it to. I am not convinced that it is anywhere near as good as MS Office, but for my needs it is perfect value. For security, I run the ZoneAlarm firewall, AVG anti-virus, Adaware and Spybot Search and Destroy. Am considering downloading the MS Anti-Spyware package at some point too.
I listen to music with ITunes as I have an Ipod, and watch DVDs with InterVideo WinDVD which came installed and seems to work quite well. For online media content I have Windows Media Players, RealPlayer and Quicktime all installed.
I think that is everything. Will update/correct links as necessary. Let me know if there is anything I should try out.