ince the great hard drive crash of 2008 [jks] I've been slowly rebuilding my computer from the ground up. No, wait that makes it sound like I'm doing something complex and technical. Rather what I'm doing is slowly re-installing applications onto my hard drive as I have a need for them. The first things on there was the software that I had on discs, like Microsoft Office and the Apple iWorks suite. From there I've been adding the programs that I've acquired from the internet, though I've been far more relaxed about getting those back on.
What applications have worked their way onto my hard drive and back into usage? Well how about a list of five just so that we can give an uneven number to go along with my uneven track record of regular blogging.
5) NetNewsWire [ng]:
NetNewsWire is one of my most used applications on my iPhone and the fact that both the mobile and desktop version of the world's most popular RSS reader is free is pretty damn cool. It's the best way to follow blogs, news websites and pretty much anything with a RSS feed. I don't use it to feed podcasts through to itunes, though it can do that as well. It's probably the best way to add new feeds, manage them into folders and also read them. The fact that it allows me to create blog posts from incoming content could be useful if i used it more.
4) iTunes [ap]:
Okay, this one is obvious. I figured it was so obvious that it might not be worth mentioning, but iTunes is my most used application by far. Whether it's loading music onto my Apple TV, my iPod or my iPhone or just giving my tunes to type by it's almost constantly running on my computer. I'm really enjoying the new iTunes 8 which seems to have solved a problem I had where, since I am using an external hard drive accessed through Wi-Fi to store my music library, iTunes would lose the library forcing me to spend about forty minutes re-acquainting iTunes with my music once a week or so.
3) Ecto [is]:
I have to admit I don't use desktop blogging software as much as I should. It really makes writing, editing and maintaining a blog so much easier, but because I use multiple computers plus my iPhone to blog I tend never to use it. However through Metroblogging Vancouver [mbv] I got a free copy of Ecto and I always give using it a go. It helps avoid having to struggle with HTML, which I often have to use when posting with Safari. Ecto's the first piece of software so far that's not free, but the fact that it's less than $20 should help make it a consideration.
2) Adium [ad]:
Apart from iTunes Adium is the only program that's almost always constantly running on my computer. This free application combines the capabilities of pretty much every instant messaging service known to man into one single app. MSN, Yahoo, ICQ, AOL and others are all there and with the addition of Facebook chatting it's got everything that I've ever used to talk to people online with. In fact between this and the very slick Facebook iPhone application I don't actually ever log in to Facebook anymore.
The one thing it's missing, and I'm pretty sure it's currently technically impossible anyway, is the ability to combine conversations with people using multiple platforms, so that you could merge a conversation you're having with someone on MSN into one you're having with someone else on Yahoo.
1) Handbrake [hb]:
Though it's kind of visually boring, hence the reason for no pictures, Handbrake is so incredibly useful. Basically it's the best, and as far as I know only, way to copy DVD movies onto a Mac. Loading television shows and movies from my DVD collection onto my Apple TV and my iPhone would be impossible without this little piece of software. Having recently loaded the complete series of Yes Minster into my iTunes library I've come to appreciate it even more. Again like everything else I've recommended, other than Ecto, it is free.