Thursday, July 8, 2010
What I Do - or - What Are You "Packing?"
Here's my list (I've selected/combined those items I felt most important to me):
Hardware: Dell with Intel Core 2 Duo CPU, 4 GB RAM, 500 GB hard drive. My computer is never "big and bad enough" for me, but unfortunately I do have a budget. Nevertheless, if you are going to be editing videos and working with a lot of images, just make sure you have lots of RAM, a fast processor (CPU), and a large enough hard drive to store it all (500 GB is sufficient).
External Storage vs Online Storage (for backup): My main solution for all is Carbonite.com. It is relatively inexpensive and offers unlimited storage, and works in the background. I do have a second internal hard drive and I use flash drives, but I rely on Carbonite for my main backup. If my computer gets stolen or my house burns down, at least all of my information will be safely stored on Carbonite.
Firewall, Virus Protection, Spyware: Norton 360. It's a hog, but it works. I might switch to McAfee some day, but for now, this works. I also use Spybot (free) for routine cleaning of spyware.
File cleaner: CCleaner (free) and Spybot. Norton 360 also offers a similar feature (plus it reminds you to do it!).
Scanner: You need a decent scanner if you are scanning photos and documents. My pick: Epson Perfection V500 Photo Scanner. It doesn't need time to warm up, and it does a great job. It also comes with a sheet feeder (extra cost). (I just wish it had a good 4 x 6 photo feeder too.)
Media Player: I use both iTunes and Windows Media Player. Depends on what type of output music CD I need (my car stereo doesn't play MP3 files).
eBook Reader: I'm a retro girl: hard copy with a night light.
Internet Browser: Both Mozilla, Internet Explorer 8. Hackers love IE8 and they can lock you out from the internet (I know from experience). My solution: ALWAYS keep Mozilla loaded on your computer. If IE8 won't work, you can use Mozilla to get to the internet to start finding programs to fix your computer.
Blog and Blog Reader: Mostly Blogger.com, but experimenting now with WordPress.com. I like Google Reader for reading my blogs.
FTP: SendThisFile, but will now check out FileZilla (per geneabloggers.com posts on this subject).
Text editor (for blogging): Notepad (comes with your computer) and TextPad (free). Both are excellent for drafting blog posts for later copying/pasting into your blog. (FYI - never use Word for drafting blog posts; it inserts pesky codes in your blog and your blog post may not save.)
Graphics: Adobe Photoshop Elements, Publisher, Powerpoint, PicPick editor (see below).
Screen capture: PicPick is free, and excellent! You can export to its editor, Word, etc., or to the clipboard. You can easily add markups such as arrows, circles, etc.
Social media: Facebook.com (for family and friends), LinkedIn.com (for career), and Twitter.com for genealogy and fun. Facebook is wonderful for genealogy: I am constantly sharing my genealogy finds (via posts from my blog to Facebook).
Social bookmarking: StumbleUpon.com. This is another one of those websites I learned of via geneabloggers. Very nice.
Social profile: None yet, but I see that geneablogger.com's Thomas MacEntee prefers Retaggr.com. Looks like I'll be checking out Retaggr.com to learn more!
URL shortener: Su.pr - absolutely necessary if you are twittering.
Software for email, calendar: Microsoft Office products, Google's gmail.com -- all sync with my iPhone.
Accounting: My husband (thank Heaven!), Excel, plus I recommend QuickBooks for small businesses.
Web Conferencing: Microsoft SharedView (it's free!)
PDF generator: Adobe Acrobat, but a good freebie is PrimoPDF.
Genealogy database: RootsMagic, PAF.
Genealogy tools: GenSmarts (excellent for suggesting research on your ancestors, also available at RootsMagic), AniMap (good for viewing county and state changes over the years, available at Legacy.com). I also use Ancestry.com's app for transporting my database files on my iPhone.
benderconverter.com and zamzar.com. I also use Audacity (a free program) to convert old cassette recordings of my ancestor interviews to digital files (also need the proper audio input cord). I use Premiere Elements for movie editing.
Also, when I am searching for a review, a suggestion for a software program, or a website to solve my current computer dilemma, I turn to komando.com. She has already reviewed most sites and software and will never lead you astray.
That's my geek list! I hope you find some of these suggestions helpful.