As a follow-up to my previous article highlighting some extremely useful Windows tools, Windows Must-have Apps, I give you another selection of apps you should not be without:
ObjectDock 2 or RocketDock
For a great solution to snappy and efficient application launchpad, check out either of these applications. Both function in similar fashion, by giving you access to a Mac-like dock anywhere on your screen (usually at the bottom) from which you can launch and access your favourite and current applications, and can potentially completely replace the Windows taskbar without the loss of function or productivity.
Although both applications boast similar features and configurability, as a long-term ObjectDesktop subscriber I’m partial to ObjectDock 2 (Plus) simply because I find it a breeze to set up and use, and support from Stardock is great. But my limited experience leads me to believe that RocketDock is just as good, especially considering you get the full-featured app for free.
Put simply, if I wasn’t using OD2+, I’d be using RocketDock.
(Note, this software title is discontinued.)
This is definitely the single, most useful photo management tool that every man, woman, child, and their computer literate dogs, cats, or robotic guinea-pigs should own. It is also by far the easiest tool you will probably ever use to manage your photo libraries, and make quick alterations to your photos.
As a graphic designer, this is probably one of the simplest but most useful tools I’ve ever encountered online.
When working on-screen, you often need pixel perfect accuracy to view or target specific areas, or select specific colours; this tool helps by magnifying the surroundings of your windows pointer in order to give you greater control. The application not only allows you to specify the level of magnification from 0.5 to 30x, but also pause the display by the use of the spacebar, and also copy colour codes directly from the application by using the CTRL+C shortcut.
Mozilla Firefox or Chrome
Now I could literally (and may yet 😛 ) spend entire articles extolling the virtues of both these magnificent browsers, their benefits, and virtues, but I won’t right now. I will simply settle for saying that these are probably the best, most extensible, and user friendly web browsers available on the market today.
Their ability to allow plug-ins, extensions, skins and scripts make these browsers probably the most configurable web applications I’ve ever had the pleasure to use. Use either browser with complete confidence that you’ll get a speedy and easy-to-use experience, with the ability to further personalise your experience, and keep an eye out for future articles on both of these.
As someone who deals with all kinds of images day in and day out as part of my job, I find it’s imperative to be able to quickly identify the image files I’m after in order to get jobs done quickly. This Windows tweak helps by allowing you to preview a large number of image filetypes not normally viewable, directly from Windows Explorer. Thumbnails and tooltips are enabled for up to 19 different image types, from PNG, to TGA, to DDS, and more. Definitely a keeper!
Although some people might try to tell you otherwise, I’m a great fan of productivity and efficiency. 😛 I dislike doing things or getting to places by going the long way around and where possible, always look for those little-known shortcuts that yield the best results. This application addresses just that need for the Windows interface.
Windows has come a long way from it’s humble beginnings and its navigation has gotten a lot easier, but it can still be improved a great deal. Launchy aims to make this as quick a process as humanly possible. The simple act of applying a shortcut key combination followed by typing the first few letters of the application or task you want to begin is all it takes.
It sounds more complicated than it is, but believe me, it’s the most efficient and productive way to navigate Windows. 😉
Let me know what you think of this article’s selection. What do you think of them, even if you’ve used them in the past? Also, let me know if there are there any lesser known Windows apps you can’t live without that I should know about.