Dropbox tips and hacks

My favorite freeware and web applications

About one and half years ago, I listed some of my favorite freebies, including software and online services. As time goes on, more and more freeware and web applications come out every single day, I think I need to revise the list while add some new ones. I believe this list will keep growing in the future.

  • Email
    Gmail, no-brainer. With this better Gmail Firefox extension, Gmail is THE BEST. For local email client, I highly recommend Thunderbird, which I use to backup my Gmail emails on my computer locally.
  • Online RSS reader
    I migrated from Bloglines to Google Reader completely. Basically two features of Google Reader make me stick to it. The first one is its keyboard shortcut support. I am a vi(m) fan so these keyboard shortcuts are definitely my cup of tea. Another one is that Google Reader’s “mark as read” is post wise, but not feed wise like Bloglines does. This makes more sense to me because sometimes I don’t have time to read all the posts in a subscription and want to get back to read them next time. Those unread ones are still marked as new in Google Reader and that’s really useful.
  • Social bookmarks
    Still del.icio.us. Actually, it’s the support of private bookmarks of del.icio.us and this del.icio.us bookmarks extension for Firefox(my favorite web brower BTW) convinced me that I can totally move to del.icio.us. And the extension even supports keywords in bookmarks just like in Firefox. The biggest benefit to use online bookmarks is my bookmarks are automatically synchronized between different computers.
  • Image browser
    XnView. I have used BreezeBrowser for five years and it’s not bad. But its new versions are not free anymore, so I want to make a change. After comparing IrfanView and XnView, I decided to go for the latter one. The main reason for me to make the choice is interface and speed. I like the way XnView handles thumbnails and full image browsing. It has a three-panel layout for convenience of folder browse and image information, but most of the time I hide the other two panels and it’s very neat.
  • Music organizer and player
    MediaMonkey. I am a long term XMMS and Winamp user, then foobar2000 because everybody is saying good words about it. Foobar2000 is good, it’s fast and powerful and with simple yet very configurable layout. But after I tried MediaMoney, I liked it at once. What I like it the most is its very powerful music organizing feature. When it’s combined with the playlist, I think that’s exactly I want from a music player: easy to organize and convenient to make a playlist.
  • File manager
    FreeCommander. Before I chose FreeCommander, I tried UltraExplorer for couple months and Total Commander for several days. The first one is free and very unique for its breadcrumb feature and highly configurable interface. The latter one is not free, and very famous because it’s very powerful with the ability to use lots of plugins. After trying three of them, I decided on FreeCommander because it has almost all the features I want, and it has the interface I am comfortable with, and it’s FREE. Actually what I like it the most is that it has dual panels, tab supported, quick filter supported, and has a user configurable center column for access to frequently used operations and bookmarks. I am looking forward to FTP support in its succeeding versions but so far I am quite satisfied.

My favorite freebies

FREE does not mean “not good”, sometimes it only means “not perfect enough”.

  • Email: Gmail. It simply rocks and totally changes my email using habit, especially my attitude toward web mail. I believe it’s not perfect yet because it’s still in “beta” stage.
  • Photo sharing: Flickr. Another “beta” service, but it stands out and blows those not-beta-and-even-not-free services away.
  • Online album: Gallery. I have been using this great software for about five years and its neat layout and robustness satisfies me a lot.
  • Blogware: WordPress. This blog is running on it.
  • Online RSS reader: Bloglines. The first one on my browser’s quick links.
  • Browser: FireFox. After several “to change or not to change (from IE)” rounds, I finally dumped IE. FireFox with Tabbrowser Preferences and other nicely written extensions surely make me one of the happy FireFox users.
  • Social bookmarks: del.icio.us. Now even there’s a FireFox extension for it.
  • DNS: ZoneEdit. Their free DNS service just makes things done perfectly. I used their service for two weeks before I finally moved my DNS records to my hosting company, and I was impressed by their efficient service and extremely simple configurations. Besides, their nslookup service is neat too.
  • Online notebook: Google Notebook. It’s a handy tool to record contents, including pictures, on a web page being visited. With the firefox extension, it’s a click away.

A cool software

Magic Map
This software is pretty cool. You input a telephone number then it will output name, detailed address and even map! Give it a try and you will be impressed.

Blog software comparison chart

I think this chart is useful for those who are hunting for the most suitable blog software for them. I ever did a simple comparison of three blogwares I am familiar with but definitely this one is more comprehensive and clear.