Browsers, RSS Readers and OPML, Oh My!
I thought I would let everyone know what I am using everyday to surf the web, and get things done. I know there are hundreds of applications out there, but I am just going to over the applications I am using to get things done and what I think of them.
Like most people out there I am using FireFox 18.104.22.168, I use it mainly because it has the tabbed browsing. You see I like to open links in new windows, so I can stay on the orginal page, while viewing the sites or articles that the author is linking to. If I were to use Microsoft's Internet Explorer, I would have tens of windows in my taskbar. Also I guess I am an anti-fanboy of Microsoft, but those feelings are subsiding with age I guess. Now some of the extension's I have with my Firefox installation are StumbleUpon, and Skype Sidebar.
- StumbleUpon is a extension that adds an extra toolbar to your browser, so that you can automatically stumble upon different websites that are included in the database. This is a great feature if you are like me, and like to find and read new/different websites.
- The Skype Sidebar extension allows me to have access to the skype program, inside of my browser. For those unfamiliar with Skype I will cover it further down in the article.
I use a combination of email services. I use Gmail for a email address that I sign up for websites and other options, while I use Thunderbird view my POP3 email that comes with my internet access. I do this because my POP3 address only goes to friends and family. Which means I don't get alot of spam, or unwanted emails, while with the GMail account I use their spam filters, which catch about 95% of all Spam.
Well these days you need to have a Feed Reader. What a feedreader does is take the RSS, Atom, or OPML file, and updates the program to allow you read multiple websites in one program. There are plenty of these programs out there, but I like using Google's Reader. This is an online feedreader, which mean it will follow you no matter where you are as long as you have internet access and a browser. I like it because of the online feature, plus it allows me to "Label" my feeds. Labels as Google calls them are just tags/categories for your feeds. So I can have my Tech feeds grouped together while my Space feeds are grouped seperately. Google Reader is fairly easy to work with, and I have only ran into a problem accessing it once, but that was due to Google updating it's server.
I happen to use avast! antivirus for my AV protection. I use avast! because first its free for personal use, secondly it updates fairly often, and has yet to fail me. While it isn't a depature from other AV software, I like and suggest others use it.
For a Firewall I use ZoneAlarm's free version, have you happened to notice I like free stuff but who doesn't? It's pretty straight forward for usage, you allow programs to access the internet through the program.One feature I like is the Lock Internet Activities, this feature locks all programs from accessing the Internet, which is great for me since I leave my computer on almost all the time, and is a safety provision I use.
For a spyware removal tool, I use Lavasoft's Ad-aware SE Personal. Ad-aware finds most if not all of the spyware on my computer. If my computer starts to act differently than it has before I usually do a reset, if the odd activities continue I will do a spyware scan, and an Antivirus scan. This usually takes care of 99% of all problems I run into.
Well lately I don't use instant messengers, but the 2 I do use are MSN Messenger and Google Talk. Not much to report on these that most people don't know already. So I won't.There is one Messenger I will talk briefly about, that is XFire. XFire is a gaming IM program that also collects game useage, server info and a few other things. Xfire allows gamers to find and play with their friends. I use it sometimes, I enjoy it, so if you play online games give it a look, so you can keep track of friends and enemies.
Ok this is where things get interesting. I use Skype, for my Voice Over IP(VOIP) usage. As of right now, Skype is offering free calls out to any number. There is an exception, Americans can only call Americans, while Canadians can only call their fellow countrymen. So when I want to call my family, or order a pizza, all I do is use skype to call, that saves minutes on my cellphone, and is easy since most likely I am sitting in front of my computer anyways.
As far as media players, I have the whole mix of them from Windows Media Player to Quicktime Player to Real Player. I'm not going to go into these since they are well known and have been reviewed and talked about else where.
I hope this gives you a slight look at what I use, and maybe I have pointed out some programs that you could use.
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Copyright John Tintle