While not a complete list, I have personally used and recommend all of the below software and services.
Digital Photography and Image Editing
- Picasa – The defacto standard in Photo Organization. This is no longer supported by Google but I still use it. An alternative that I hope improves a little more is Mylio.
- Adobe Photoshop Elements – Solid but have been thinking about moving to the freeware application Paint.Net
- KeePass Password Safe – Securely store all of your username’s and passwords.
- Norton Internet Security – If you have anything earlier than the 2009 version, get rid of it.
- OpenDNS – Effective internet security is no different than physical security. It’s all about layers of protection. You configure OpenDNS at your router and when configured to filter out malware, phishing, etc, it protects your devices by looking at the URL (website name) and checking to see if it’s a good or bad place. If it’s bad, it doesn’t tell you (or the malware if you have any on your network) where it is. As a side, if you want to block porn sites and other things for your children, you can do it with this as well.
- PowerArchiver – I switched to this from WinZip for handling compressed files (.ZIP) years ago.
- Notepad++ – Great text editor. If you don’t want to pay for it, try out
- SnagIt – Great screen capture tool.
- OneNote – Great free note manager from Microsoft. Keeps your notes sync’d between devices and the cloud. I used to be a huge fan of Evernote but they marginalized the free version to only allow syncing with 2 devices. So if you have a home machine, work machine, and a phone, you are out of luck.
- OneDrive, Google Drive, and Dropbox. Take your pick but these are the mainstays for sharing files. If you are a die-hard who wants to just sync between your devices and not the cloud, Resilio (aka BTSync) is your answer.
- CrashPlan – Real-time backup of your files. Free 2GB of backup space. I have a Synology DS-213 NAS that is configured with Crashplan giving me two layers of backup (one to the NAS, one offsite to CrashPlan).
- Skype – Keep in touch with friends and family with this video chat software.
Remote Desktop / Support
- TeamViewer – When you need access to another computer or to give access of your computer to someone else, this is a great application and free for Personal Use. LogMeIn is also a good alternative but no longer free.
- Mint – Keep track of your finances online.
- Everyone needs email. The question is do you want to be in the Microsoft or Google eco-systems. Both are great products. For those with their own domain names, I no longer know of any good free ways to tie them to either service – they are all paid now. For the value, I usually recommend Microsoft Office 365.
Mac Only Utilities
- TimeMachineEditor – Great app that makes sure that TimeMachine isn’t running and slowing your machine down when you are working.