I bought my laptop over two years ago when I was running a wellness center. It was never meant to be a workhorse and I put it through the ringer the last two years. It's helped me create web sites, edit video, create WordPress headers, and so much more.
It finally had it this week and I knew it was finally time to invest in a desktop. I'm lucky to have two computer experts at home and with the help of my husband and stepson, I had a brand new, custom-built desktop ready to take on any video and graphic challenges.
But with a brand new Windows install, I had to start from scratch and install my favorite programs. I had to do it fast to catch up from the lost work time from the slow laptop, so I installed The first programs I needed to do my work and the rest over the weekend.
Here are my top ten programs I cannot live without:
I had my stepson install Google Chrome for me right after he installed Windows. Having an internet browser made it simple for me to find and install other programs myself. Another great thing about Chrome is you can create a Chrome account through your old computer, log in to the same account on your new computer, and it will easily transfer all of your bookmarks, extensions, and other settings. Also, since I use Gmail, Google Docs, Hootsuite and other web-based programs, I was up and running in no time.
Firefox is another great browser and I use it for different reasons. Firefox has better extensions for web development, including my favorite, FireFTP, which allows me to transfer files directly to a web server. It's also great to check how a web site looks on the most popular browser. Finally, I have several Google accounts and I can stay logged in to one on Chrome, and another on Firefox.
3. AVG Anti-Virus Free 2012
With so many great choices out there, it's hard to excuse not having an antivirus and antimalware software installed on your computer. I've used other programs including Ad-aware and SUPERAntiSpyware, but after a quick Google search I found that PC Magazine named AVG Anti-Virus Free 2012 the best free antivirus software. It even ranked better than it's paid counterpart.
I initially had this lower on the list, but I had to move it up. Next to having antivirus software, having an automatic way to back up computer files is the second most ignored business task. If I were to ever lose my computer or the hard drive crashes, I probably could find the other files I need in my email or through the other two programs below. But when I think of the time I would waste or how unprofessional it looks, I just shudder. (FYI - I am a Backblaze affiliate.)
Dropbox is the easiest tool for me to share files with my clients, including blogs, images and video.
I LOVE Evernote. I have it on my computer, on my phone phone and I've accessed it through the web. I use Evernote as a virtual combination notebook, journal and filing cabinet. I save business ideas, writing ideas, article clippings, meeting notes, etc. I even have it synced with my Livescribe pen so any notes I write get saved on Evernote too. And my favorite part: I have it synced with Chrome so any search I do in Google (through the Chrome browser) also searches my Evernote files.
Need an alternative to Microsoft Office? OpenOffice is one option, but when it was first acquired by Sun and then Oracle, key OpenOffice developers left Oracle and started LibreOffice. LibreOffice has six applications called Writer (word processing), Calc (spreadsheets), Impress (presentations), Draw (business graphics), Base (database management), and Math (formula editing). The trick with using LibreOffice is setting the default file formats to match MS Office, for example .doc, and always double check your presentations on the computer you're going to present on.
I've been using TextPad since the late 1990's. You can have multiple tabs open, it highlights code and runs light and fast.
9. Adobe Photoshop
I try to use the Aviary Chrome extension whenever possible for simple image cropping and resizing, but for creating WordPress headers and other web graphics, Photoshop is my go-to program.
My other go-to program for screen capture videos and editing short video blogs.
There are still other programs I need to add for other equipment like my Livescribe pen and my camcorder. But other than that, I have all I need for my social media management business. My next post will be on my favorite web apps that I can access on any computer.