Andrew Ducker (andrewducker) wrote,
Andrew Ducker

Some programs you might find useful

There are a variety of computer programs I find useful, ones which tend to get installed on any machine I use pretty much instantly.

The first one of these is Firebird - the cut-down, browser-only version of Mozilla, which used to be Netscape Navigator, back in the olden days. I was never a Netscape fan, but Firebird is fast, smooth, easy to use, never has popups, manages to avoid most of the most hideous ads and is generally a nicer browser than IE. It comes in a basic version which you can then add 'extensions' on to, customising it with extra functionality as much as you like. The two extensions that I always add are 'Tabbed Browser Extensions' (because I've fallen madly in love with tabbed browsing) and 'Open in IE' which adds a right-click option to open a page in IE, for those sites that wilfully refuse to work with Firebird (I bump into about one a month).

Second is the Semagic Livejournal Client, which is my primary method of posting to LJ. It keeps track of my friends list (reminding me of people's birthdays, telling me when people friend me, etc.), shows me my history in a useful format and has all sorts of keyboard shortcuts for posting links, lj-cuts, etc. It's about 5000 times easier to use than the web interface to LJ and I just wish that it could also act as a reader.

Third is my email client, The Bat!. This has three major advantages over Outlook Express - (1) it's not vulnerable to all of OE's many security flaws, (2) it can send plain text emails easily and not get confused about HTML, etc. and (3) it does simple templates much better, including a random quote at the bottom of each email. It works with both POP and IMAP and the filtering abilities are very good. It also handles housekeeping well - for instance, I've set it to keep the last 100 emails I've sent as a decent compromise between space and utility. You can try it free for 30 days and I highly recommend that you give it a go.

Email leads us neatly onto program four, POPfile. POPfile is a Bayesian filtering system for POP clients. Which basically means it's a spam filter. You point your email program at it and give it a few snippets of information and it uses textual analysis to guess if an email is spam or not. It learns as it goes along, with you telling it what counts as spam and what doesn't. After a few months of usage it's now accurate around 99.95% of the time for me. You can also whitelist your friend's addresses to make sure they don't get caught. Oh, and it can handle multiple filters, so my mailing lists, friends, spam and other mail all come into different email boxes. Oh, and it's free.

Last but not least is metapad, a simple notepad replacement. It's not fancy or clever, it's just notepad, only a little smarter - it can cope with Unix text files better than notepad does, understand links and is generally just a bit nicer to use.

Anyone got any programs they can't live without?

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