What's on Stacy Reed's Desktop
by Stacy Reed - Tucows Staff
My name is Stacy Reed and I review software for Tucows. I've been interested in computers since childhood and took some basic programming classes in high school. I don't remember much about the specs of my first personal computer except that it ran Windows 3.1, and the only "graphics" program it had was MS Paint.
Now I have an AMD Athlon, 1.15 GHz, 512 MB RAM, running Windows XP Pro at work, with dual display monitors. My personal computer at home is also an AMD Athlon, 1.47 GHz, 512 MB RAM, running Windows XP Pro on a network of five computers. I am also a PDA enthusiast - I use a Palm Tungsten E every day, a Compaq iPAQ and an old HP Jornada handheld running Windows CE just for fun.
I took computer graphics and Web design classes in college so both my computers, at work and at home, largely reflect my interests. I have a passion for fractals, digital art and music. That said, here are some of the programs I keep shortcuts to on my desktop:
My favorite work-related application is a little macro program called FlashPaste that boosts my productivity. I can enter frequently used text such as greetings, standard phrases, or logins and passwords into a database where they can later be pasted into any text box by pressing a user-defined hotkey. It's quite simple and easy to learn. I use the Pro version at work and the free Lite version at home.
I regularly deal with a lot of image files which is why I simply cannot live without Irfan View. This application is one of the first things I install on a newly formatted system. I use it at work to resize screenshots of software before they are posted on our site. I also use it at home to quickly view image files or to capture images of my desktop. I like to view all of the image files that come off my digital camera in a slideshow format also. The hotkeys are really easy to learn as well. It even recognizes Photoshop documents and multimedia files! Not bad for freeware, right?
Music is a passion of mine. I often download SHN files of live performances from the Internet Archive. To play them, I use a freeware program called Foobar2000. It's an awesome audio player that I have been using both at home and at work since the first beta release. It can play every audio file format I've come across so far, and if it can't do it by default, there's undoubtedly a plug-in that will. It offers great hotkey functionality by default, but users can assign their own hotkeys as well. Personally, I think the best part of this application is the ability to keep tabbed playlists. In fact, I currently have about 18 tabbed playlists loaded in Foobar2000 right now. With all of our MP3s on one server, both my husband and I can access our music remotely from any computer in the room. Because we have a rather large collection of music on the server, the playlists offer a great way to categorize and quickly access the songs we want to hear.
I don't spend much time customizing Windows on my computer at work because I often have to revert to an older image of my drive and I find that it is a waste of time. But at home, I am running a program called ObjectDock that stores all of my desktop icons in a dock at the bottom of my screen, similar to a Mac. It's a little buggy occasionally, but it really makes my desktop look clean and organized, and of course, they offer a free version as well.
Because of the nature of my job, I'm always finding new software that will make what I do at work and home easier and more efficient, so the collection of applications installed on my machine is always evolving. Maybe I'll get a chance to do another one of these articles next year! It would be interesting to see how my software habits change. Hey, maybe I'll have upgraded my computer by then and will be running Linux! You never can tell!
Michael E. Callahan, known around the world by the trademarked name Dr. File Finder, is regarded as the world's leading expert on shareware. Dr. File Finder works with software programs and developers full-time, and in the average year he evaluates 10,000 programs. Since 1982 he has evaluated over 250,000 software and hardware products. Mr. Callahan began evaluating software online in 1982 and no one has been at it longer. He currently works doing online PR and marketing for software companies, and is the Senior Content Producer for Butterscotch.Com.