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10 Must-have applications that will improve your work flow

Adrian Singer, 02-25-2007
I often get asked "what's the best anti virus program", "the best HTML editing program" or "what's the best way to chat with friends on AOL/MSN/Yahoo without installing three messengers"...

So I decided to put together a short list of 10 Must-have applications. We all have these tools installed on our machines here in the office. And you should too.

== Security & Protection

1. AVG Anti-virus

Forget about Symantec or Mcafee. They slow down your machine, consume a lot of memory, miss a lot of viruses and are expensive. Check the forums and you'll see everyone agrees AVG by Grisoft is the best anti virus around.

2. Spybot Search & Destroy

Your machine getting a little slow lately? More than likely you got infected with a spyware trojan. Spyware slows down your machine, potentially communicates sensitive information, changes your browser home page and other nasty effects. Spyboy Search & Destroy is the best FREE spyware & adware removal tool.

== Communication

3. Trillian Multi messenger

Got friends/customers/colleagues on Yahoo, MSN, AOL, ICQ and GMail? If you're like us, you don't like juggling between 5 different messengers, each with its own user interface, chatlog history, buddy list etc. Trillian by Cerulean Studios is the best multi-messenger around. You can add friends from every single messenger platform known to man. Trillian's best feature is its tabbed interface, letting you chat with 20 friends at the same time from a single window with tabs. Slick interface, effective and the basic version is 100% FREE.

4. Thunderbird Email client

If you're still using Microsoft Ourlook or Incredimail, you should stop today. Once your mailbox gets too big, these email clients bog down your machine, making you wait long minutes whenever you need to search anything in your email. Thunderbird, in our experience, is the best all around email client. It's super fast, has no limit on mailbox size (Outlook caves with 1GB of storage) and comes with great IMAP support. Go ahead, switch to Thunderbird today and setup your email with IMAP, so that if your machine dies you don't lose a single message.

5. Yuuguu - Web conferencing

Need to share your desktop to demonstrate your latest product to a client or collaborate with colleagues? Forget WebEx. WebEx, the current industry web conferencing leader, is very expensive (pay by the minute), slow and takes 6 minutes to install. Meet Yuuguu - a web conferencing solution that's just as good as WebEx (we actually find it faster), takes two minutes to setup and is 100% FREE.

== Website Management

6. Total Commander - FTP utility

An FTP program lets you easily upload/download files to your website. While there are a lot of FTP programs around, we found Total Commander by Ghisler as the absolute best. It's reliable, fast and easy to setup.

7. Dreamweaver - HTML Editor

A lot of people like to use Microsoft Frontpage. You all should uninstall Frontpage right away. Frontpage has a tendency of generating HTML code that is not fully compatible with browsers other than Internet Explorer. Dreamweaver by Adobe is a great HTML editor, fully compatible with all browsers, light weight, supports WYSIWYG editing (for those who don't know HTML) and requires no server side extensions to work.

== Synchronization

8. FolderShare - sync files, transfer huge files

If you have a machine at work and one at home, FolderShare is really a must-have for you. Assuming you installed ThunderBird with IMAP, you'll have access to all your email folders from anywhere in the world. But what about all those other important documents & files on your office machine? Introducing FolderShare. Get it installed on your office & home machines and you'll have 24x7 access to all your files as well as web-based access to your files from anywhere in the world. We also use FolderShare for public folders with huge files that need to be shared by several people. Easy to setup, Doesn't consume too much of your bandwidth and most importantly - 100% FREE.

9. Google Docs

Goodbye Microsoft Office. It was fun while it lasted. We stopped using Microsoft Office altogether with the introduction of Google Docs. Google Docs is a fully web-based word-like and excel-like editor, that's FREE, supports full real-time collaboration and smart built-in versioning. You could easily send a file to a client/peer, have them edit the file with their comments and view revisions, without ever having to deal with sending documents back & forth or trying to figure out the infamous track changes feature. Head over to Google Docs and got yourself an account today. Import your existing spreadsheets & frequently changing documents. You're going to love it.

== Image Editing

10. Paint Shop Pro

While Adobe's Photoshop is considered the ultimate professional photo editing software, we found Corel's Paint Shop Pro a lot more user friendly and more suited for the average user, who's not a professional web designer. For easy cropping of your MySpace picture, screen-capture to send to a client or image-touchups, don't even bother with Microsoft's built-in "Paint" program. Install Paint Shop Pro today and you'll be amazed with how easy it is to use.

Alessandra Grieco, 02-25-2007
Thanks for putting this list together Adrian! I use CuteFTP as my FTP program and I think it's just as good as Total Commander.

Love the tip about Yuuguu. Looks promising

FolderShare - I try to stay away from Microsoft products as much as possible, but sounds like you're happy with FolderShare so I'll check it out.

Diego Munoz, 06-18-2009
I followed your tip about Yuuguu. But people who try to access to my first webconference can't see my desktop. :(
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