Open Thread – Can’t live without this application


We all have that one application that we can’t live without. It’s the first thing we look at in the morning, and the last one we use before we shut down for the day. It’s always on our minds, and always open on our computers.

What is the one application that you can’t live without? Email applications are a given, so we’ll take that one out or the running. So lets talk about the one you really can’t live without, and how it makes your day better, and more productive.

For me, it has to be Google Docs. I always have it open to my list of current documents in progress, updating and adding to any of them quickly and easily. I love this application because it’s so easy to use from wherever I am located, and I can access it on any computer.



For me it’s got to be FeedDemon, it saves me so much time (although, because it’s so easy, I’ve doubled my RSS reading list over the last 12 months, so that point is debatable!)

Leo F

Definitely Firefox, as it has become my platform for almost everything. I barely need local apps at this point. LF

Chris Williams

Firefox and The Bat. I use four email accounts daily, for everything from work contacts to newsletters to job searches. These two take up about 80% of my day. The rest I usually spend in OpenOffice or my Wiki.


DQSD, Dave’s Quick Search Deskbar. Sits in the toolbar and lets me search for anything anywhere and quickly build site specific searches. Windows-S puts the cursor there and from there I can email or search amazon (amaz), ebay, Congressional bills at Thomas, google news (gn).

Really couldn’t live without it.

Robyn Tippins

Google reader – Just changed over from Bloglines about a month or two ago. The plumber was up too much for me.

Firefox – I spend 90% of my day in this browser using WordPress, Google Reader, pulling Adsense reports, opening Basecamp, Netbank, LinkedIN, Doostang, TechMeme, etc.

I like the printable CEO Emergent Task thingy too.

Mary Deaton

My browser, of course! I use FireFox unless I have to use IE. I did download IE 7, but while there are certainly improvements, it is not going to change my default browser.

IM is always on; it opens auotmatically when someone sends a message, so that counts, doesn’t it?

Word. I like Google Docs, but it is not robust enough for what I do. I do use it when I need to collaborate with someone, especially for client reviews.

Google spreadsheet. I never use Excel anymore. For me, a spreadsheet is seldom more than a list maker with a built-in calculator. I do all of my hours tracking and my invoicing with Google spreadsheets. I just invite the clients to view the invoice when it is billing time.

I think I need a bigger monitor!


Probably backpack or Firefox.. but there are so many others (Google Personalized Homepage, Google Reader come to mind)


Gaim – My favorite AIM client. Allows me to view people in my buddy list under aliases (I just put their real names) rather than their screen names; smoothest performance for me than others like Trillian.


I prefer not to rely on web-based organizers etc. as internet at home isn’t the best so if I realize I need to do something from home, chances are I can’t get to the information for a while. So for me it’s VoodooPad. I can have all the pages I need and they’re all linked, so for me it’s incredibly handy. I basically can’t go half an hour without checking it.

My web tools are Taco HTML Edit, GIMPshop, Inkscape… on my PC Photoshop was open nearly all the time.

And while I’m all over Flickr and other sweet sites, I don’t use them to organize my life. Not the way I work ;)

Brandon Wood

Google Reader, without a doubt. I have my web browser open all day, and Google Reader is almost always open in a background tab.

Daniel Sofer

I’m surprised no one has mentioned Basecamp — that’s my home page, which I use to manage my web clients and try to keep all the balls in the air.

That’s besides Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Flash that are all open most of the time.

Nitin Badjatia

Despite being a hardcore Tablet PC fan, I’m moving closer and closer to Firefox becoming my operating system. Tweaked with the appropriate extensions, and auto-starting with the right tabs (Gmail, WSJ, Google Reader, Tasks [ – now GTD friendly], Personalized Google homepage, Google Notebook), I’m connected and ready to roll. I love the ability to operate ‘lean’.

Beyond this, Outlook is still king on the work front.


i’ll do web apps, because i’m a web dev and designer. so dreamweaver, photoshop, and firefox and i are always open. but that’s part of the job.

what i can’t live without having open are: – a brilliant, efficient rss reader – web-based IM client that covers AIM, yahoo, MSN, google, ICQ ( – i pay for webmail. have for years. and still find this webmail client better than gmail. i’ve never found something it couldn’t do. – the calendar i use. i don’t use it enough to need it to integrate with anything, which is it’s main downfall.


WordPress without a doubt. I don’t think I could have ever designed my own blog without it. I’ve used other blogging interfaces and WordPress is still the easiest to work with in my humble opinion.


Producivity – Emergent Time Tracker

Blog reading – Omea Reader

Development – Visual Studion .NET 2005

Email – Gmail/outlook


Links: delicious, my web 2.0

Research: google


Aside from email, the programs that I launch and leave running while I work are: Firefox, Gmail Notifier, Dreamweaver, Windows Explorer and Photoshop. Couldn’t work without ’em.

David Boyer

Netvibes has become indispensable for me. I run all my feeds through it, including my iCal feeds from Google Calendar and my Basecamp projects making it the main focus in my GTD workflow.

Amie Gillingham

Active Refresh. Not only do I do my daily reading this way, we also use it to manage events on our site by watching feeds of actions in quasi real time.


Quicksilver for the Mac. i cringe when using a windows machine solely because of the lack of this software.

Dave Child

Entirely not on my mind at any moment is StrokeIt. I find it hard to use computers without it thought. Easily one of the best pieces of software ever written – does exactly what I want it to do, and so well that I rarely actually remember I’m using it all the time.

Fred Oliveira

You pretty much read my mind, Chris. I was doing a post this morning about emotional connections to applications – and those people can’t bare to live without – and here you are posting this. I’d say my top two applications would have to be Gmail and Goplan – one manages my email, the second manages pretty much all my activity (from personal projects to work). Oh, and Flickr. Naturally.

Jochen Lillich

For me, Backpack is indispensable. It’s a web-based Getting Things Done toolset where I can build pages from lists, notes, files and pictures. It’s accompanied by “Writeboards”, wiki-like pages I can easily write structured texts on. Backpack and Writeboard pages can be shared with other people for collaboration.

I use Backpack to, for example, manage my tasks (aka “next actions”), keep checklists, plan vacations and outline my next podcasts. And, most importantly at the moment, I have a Backpack page for my christmas wish list. :-)


I’d have to say it’s Colibri on the pc. It’s an application launcher that you load apps by typing their names, similar to Quicksilver on the Mac, but not as cool sadly. Anyways, it saves me so much time for me instead of having to go to Start and find an application.


I would have to say mine is NewsFire. It’s the first thing I use when I open my MBP and the last thing I use before I close it for the day.


That is a good question, my faverotie application is Evolution, I can’t live without it, I like how it integrates with the Gnome desktop, it is brilliant :-)

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