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8/16/2006
08:25 PM
Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner
Commentary
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What's Your Favorite Software Ever?

The blog Lifehacker has a neat take on our Greatest Software article. They ask their readers to describe their favorite software ever. Not necessarily the best--just their favorites. The nominees are an interesting bunch, ranging from 25-year-old software th

The blog Lifehacker has a neat take on our Greatest Software article. They ask their readers to describe their favorite software ever. Not necessarily the best--just their favorites.

The nominees are an interesting bunch, ranging from 25-year-old software that ran on DOS and Unix to the latest software of today. It includes games, applications, and utilities. A fun, fast, and interesting read.

Here's my shortlist:

Firefox, which also gets the nod from several Lifehacker commenters--including Rose, who writes that it's "like the cherry-flavored Pez of computer programs."

Cherry-flavored Pez? Sounds ghastly, Rose, but I know what you're trying to say.

Notetab Pro: I'm writing this post in Notetab right now. It's a desktop text editor that I use for 90% of my writing. Microsoft Word introduces a lot of ghastly stuff into text meant for the Web, but a good text editor like Notetab produces nice, clean, plain text, with no formatting. I can't say Notetab Pro is better than other text editors out there, but it's the one I'm used to, and I've been very happy with it for years.

On the occasions I need formatting, I use Word and I'm happy to have it. But Word is just awful for writing for the Internet.

MarkDown: A text-to-HTML conversion tool for Web writers. I'm writing this post in text, then I'll convert it to HTML using Markdown and post it to the InformationWeek Weblog.

Markdown takes some time and skill to install. You need to install Perl first, and then figure out a way to activate Markdown using a batch script. But once you get that done, you can convert text to HTML in seconds.

ClipMate makes a copy of every item you copy to the clipboard. ClipMate extends standard Windows behavior, which lets you save and reuse just one thing at a time. ClipMate is kind of buggy, but still very useful.

The Palm Desktop calendar/address book/to-do list. It's very, very simple, and it synchs with my Palm Treo smartphone. I'm a simple guy, and I like to synch things to my Treo. That's all I ask for in life.

Well, actually, I do ask for one other thing in life: Keep cherry-flavored Pez far away from me.

RecentX: RecentX extends Windows My Recent Documents. RecentX keeps track of every document you've opened for the last couple of weeks, and allows you to easily find the document you're looking for by searching on text in the filename.

GAIM: A simple, tabbed, open-source instant-messaging client that supports AOL, Microsoft, Yahoo, IRC, Jabber, and more.

These tools are all cheap, and many of them are free.

What's your favorite software?

(Cherry-flavored Pez. Gah. I want to rinse out my mouth just thinking about that stuff.)

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