File Junkie

By

A knock on my door this morning brought my HP Pavillion dv1000 safely into the house. So far, I love it. Besides everything I already mentioned about it, I'm finding the keyboard to be one of the most natural of a vast assortment of keyboards I've sampled throughout my years of portability. In addition to smartly putting the Windows key where it belongs, a set of arrow keys combined with 'Back' and 'Ok' buttons improve Web navigation when I'm not using an external mouse. All the media controls are backlit, which I assume improves usability in the dark, although I haven't tested that theory yet.

Before it seems like this space turned into the weekly saga of Jake's laptop misfortunes, I going somewhere with this. Getting a new computer, whether it's a laptop or desktop, always causes me to reflect on the applications I need installed. This is doubly important with a portable machine, because I may be somewhere and the install CD is back at my house or I'm disconnected from the Internet and can't get a particular feature I need.

A massive combination of freeware, shareware and commercial apps, this is pretty much everything I consider necessary in order to function on a daily basis. Believe it or not, I use every app on this list almost daily. My name is Jake and I'm a file junkie:

AccountLogon keeps track of my passwords, offers one-click access to Web sites, and locks it all down with hefty encryption.
Adobe Reader 7 is a must for reading PDF files. There are several alternative free PDF readers, but I stick with the original.
Adobe Audition is the audio editing app I use for most recording and editing functions.
Audacity is the free audio editing app I'm attempting to document to make it easier to get more people interested in making good audio.
AudibleManager gives me access to audio books where I want, when I want.
AudioShell is a slick little freeware shell extension for correcting title and artist info on MP3 and WMA files.
Blowsearch Secured Messenger unifies my instant messaging and provides encryption
Cakewalk Kinetic is the music creation app I'm currently in love with. It isn't quite GarageBand, but it does so many things very well.
Copernic Desktop Search is the ultimate desktop search application. It's free and it beats the pants off of Google and MSN.
DiskTriage helps me figure out where all my drive space went. I'm famous for going from 200GB to zero in a matter of days.
DivX Codec provides movie playback for tons of great video/
FeedDemon is my favorite news aggregator, with great support for podcasts, custom search criteria and the best customization features currently available.
FileZilla replaces SmartFTP as my client of choice. File transfer is boring but required.
Flac Frontend isn't really required, but I love all the legitimate free music available in Flac format.
Flash isn't just about the 5 minute wait with the two-second payoff.

Google Toolbar finds everything on the Web that Copernic doesn't already see on my desktop.
iTunes, is still required even though I no longer use an iPod.
Metapad is my HTML editor. I regularly overwrite notepad.exe on every Windows install with this app.
Microsoft AntiSpyware is the best free AntiSpyware app on the planet, period.
Microsoft Word is still required because OpenOffice has the worst spell check known to man.
Outlook 2003 has it's faults, but I can't live without an integrated calendar/email/contacts list.
Photoshop Elements gives me flashbacks to getting free versions of Photoshop LE with everything.
QuickTime still pretends they have exclusives on every movie trailer online.
SnagIt is the only screen capture tool I'll ever use. The editing features rock!
SySense tracks my Google Adsense stats throughout the day.
Windows Media Encoder broadcasts the radio show no matter where I am in the world.
Windows Media Player 10 is my gateway to Napster To Go and all around goto player.

It's possible I left something off this list. I'm sure I'll be cursing the next time I'm on the road and in dire need of a feature I can't access. There are a few apps I left off intentionally because I don't use them daily. Of the apps on the list above, I use every single one every day, with the exception of AudibleManager, which I use to grab new audio books and want available when I need it. Unless my counting is off from not having enough fingers and toes, that's 27 apps I won't leave home without. Is there anything you can't bear to part with when you upgrade or hit the road? What's your list of required apps when you install a new system?