10 Applications I Can't Live Without (Part 1)

I named this post like an Isely Brothers song. I don’t know why I noticed and feel compelled to point that out, but there you go.

My original love of computers back in the 80’s arose via gaming. I can’t tell you how many hours I spent swapping out big floppies while playing Starflight. The first one is always special, and this still may be my favorite game of all time.

Now I love my computer because it makes me more efficient. At working, writing, communicating. There are so many things the computer helps me do better and faster.

Here is the first half of the 10 applications that help me the most.

1) Nero

Between my backup needs, my songwriting needs and my desire to take stuff with me when I go places, I use CD and DVD burning software all the time. Many years ago, I dumped that often pre-installed bloatware Easy CD Creator and started using Nero Burning Rom. Even Nero has gotten a little bloaty by adding in a bunch of ancillary stuff no one ever uses, but Nero is still the best at doing what counts. Burning CDs and DVDs.

2) J. River Media Center

I have been way into music since the late 60’s. I have over 26,000 songs (all legal; none shared) on my music server. I have tried every music library manager and player in the book. Winamp (killed by AOL), MusicMatch (killed by Yahoo), Windows Media Player (actually not a bad choice), jetAudio, Real Player (bloatware) and teens of others.

And the best one by far is J. River’s Media Center. It’s the best for large libraries, and for network use, and for playing. I love this program and cannot understand why it doesn’t get more run in the music space.

3) ACDSee

I love digital photography, and as a result I have a ton of digital photos. And the best photo organization and management program I have found is ACD System’s ACDSee. The batch renaming works great, and its lossless rotating is great. I like Paint Shop Pro (in the process of being ruined by Corel) better for pure editing, but for one stop shopping, ACDSee is the answer.

4) UltraMon

The only power users who don’t use two monitors on their computers are the ones who have never tried it. Nothing else, and I mean nothing, has ever increased my productivity as much as a second monitor. And UltraMon makes it even better. It allows you to move windows and maximize windows across the desktop, manage more applications with a second taskbar, use different wallpapers and screen savers and much more.

If you have multiple monitors, it’s a must have.

5) PaperPort

I went to a paperless document filing system for my personal statements and data years ago. I tried all kinds of scanning programs, but the one I settled on back then and the one I still use every day is PaperPort.

It makes scanning and filing a breeze. Combine it with a scanner with an automatic document feeder and the scanning job becomes much easier. It lets you easily scan 2 sided statements and is very reliable.

These are some of my most valued applications. Tell me about yours in the Comments.

Stay tuned for Part 2 in the next day or two.