Top 10 Productivity Software

March 15, 2007 12:09pm CST
1. Copernic Desktop Search This is really one software that I use once or twice a day. The basic premise of this software is to let your computer organize your documents for you. It works like Google desktop except that no browser is required. The interface is spizzy and searches are quite fast. The most common use is when I need to find a certain document or name. Just typing in the term will allow me to find the documents. An example will be when I receive a call from a client regarding his invoice. I just have to type in his name and the matching documents will show up. This software really saves almost everyone precious time. Mass Appeal: 4.5/5 2. Office 2007 Well well, if you are still using older versions of MS office, this newest edition is really going to be a sure upgrade. The basic functionality of MS office is all still there except that now, you can ACTUALLY find and use them. There is a funny story at Microsoft when they were developing this edition of Office. They did customer surveys and focus groups to see what new features they wanted in the next edition. 90% of the features that customers then requested were actually already in Office 2003. Of course Microsoft realized that their software was powerful enough. Now they just had to give us a way to get into the features. And Office 2007 does that really well. The User Interface has been revamped. It’s kind of hard to explain it. There is a trial version online. Do give it a spin when you have time. One more thing I really really really like is the ability to easily make your documents/PowerPoint look much more professional. The text effects/PowerPoint themes have been spruced up. A few clicks and the boring layout, color scheme is replaced with something more professional looking. Get office 2007 early and impress your colleagues with a wonderful looking PowerPoint. Mass Appeal: 4.5/5 3. Antivirus Oh my god! If you do not have anti virus, please get one now! Personally I try not to use antivirus software from large branded companies. Now this is really quite against intuition. But just think about it. Being a large antivirus vendor means that you have a lot of customers. Which means that if you are a hacker/cracker/adware, you will be more likely to test your malicious program against the largest antivirus software so that you will be able to reach as many innocent unsuspecting users as possible. This is the reason why large antivirus software frequently fails in virus detection test. Its not that they are incompetent, it is because the hackers are making sure their software can get around them. I have Avira Antivir on my desktop ( It’s free and its virus detection skills are above par. My friend recommended this software to me when he was trying to clean away a virus that spread via USB memory sticks. He was the first person to introduce the virus into our computer lab and soon, everyone in my engineering module had the virus not only in their lab computers (which had a big name antivirus on it) but also on their laptops. Well at least AntiVir managed to get rid of the virus. Phew! Mass Appeal: 3.5/5 4. Timesnapper I found this software through (a Personal Development Site). This software runs in the background, automatically taking screenshots and saving them. It’s a great recovery software if you are writing a word document and your computer reboots. You can just open up timesnapper and see what you had been writing when disaster struck. It is also useful for reviewing the day before you go to sleep. You can run through the screenshots like a movie and basically see what you did all day. Mass Appeal: 3.5/5 5. CutePDF I get really irritated when I see PDFs with watermarks on them. I was reading quite a few executive summaries for a business plan competition. Horrifying, some of the summaries had watermarks on them (e.g. Created by PDF factory. This is a national business plan competition and you can actually submitting a plan that has a watermark on it? Do not allow the same mistake to happen on you. CutePDF acts like a printer. You can convert any documents to a PDF as long as it has the print function. It’s free and there is no watermark. What more can you ask for? Mass Appeal: 4/5 6. Opera Nope, this is not some multimedia software. It is probably the 3rd largest internet browser in the world. (And probably the largest mobile phone browser). I know a lot of people using Internet Explorer (at least upgrade yours to IE7 ya?) and Firefox. But I prefer opera as it’s really fast. And there is a zoom function which resizes the page that you are viewing. Sometimes I just want to lean back and read a long article leisurely. Other times, I want to watch YouTube videos when I am on my bed. The zoom function tries to fill up the screen as much as possible. Mass Appeal: 5/5 7. The only internet software in this list. This is a site like many others where you can upload a file that is too large to send via email. Really useful for those large PowerPoint that everyone in my group has to vet before we go for presentation. Mass Appeal: 4/5 8. RealVNC This is software that allows you to remote control to another computer. The software has to be installed on both computers and there is a password authentication when you connect. It is really useful when you want to control the computer in the other room or when you are at work and need a file from your home computer. Bundle this with hamachi and you will have your personal file server. Mass Appeal: 3/5 9. FoxIt reader Simply put, this reader opens PDF file in 1/10 the time required by Abode’s Reader. How many PDFs do you open a day? Think of the time you can be saving by not watching the adobe reader splash screen. Mass Appeal: 4/5 10. Super This is a super video encoder/decoder. Mainly I use it to encode videos so that I can watch them on my PDA. To my knowledge, there isn’t any other encoder/decoder that supports such a large variety of codecs and is free. Mass Appeal: 3/5
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