The first thing I look at when looking at a new application is the feature list. Many of those feature lists tend to be really long, and most of the time I find myself using an app without taking advantage of its lesser-known features.
A program’s usefulness isn’t necessarily proportional to the size of its feature list. There are some apps out there which have only one function and a minimalist interface. This doesn’t mean that they’re less useful than their feature-rich brethren.
I’ve compiled a short list of free, single-function Windows apps that web workers can add to their toolbox. They’re worth looking at if you want some added useful functionality without putting too much strain on your computer’s resources.
Why it’s useful: It’s a helpful tool when you’re copy-pasting text or code from one window to another: you don’t have to go back to the taskbar to choose another window. This is especially useful if the source of the text can’t be copy-pasted and you have to retype it, such as text embedded in PDFs, image files, etc.
Details: You can learn more about PushPin here. According to the web site, it runs on Windows 95 to NT4, but I’ve used it on both Windows XP and 7 without any problems.
What it does: Texter is a text substitution app that allows you to assign abbreviations to phrases or lines of code that you commonly use. Since I started using it, I haven’t found a single application that it won’t work with.
Why it’s useful: As a blogger, I often find myself typing long lines of code to format my blog posts. Since the code I use is repetitive, I can just save them onto Texter and use the abbreviations to type them automatically onto a WordPress text box.
I also use Texter for template messages and signatures which I use in Gmail, LinkedIn, and other social networking accounts. Although I use Gmail’s Canned Responses feature for email-specific signatures, I use Texter to save those template messages that I use across several communication tools.
Texter has some advanced uses, too, but I find that the basic uses are more than useful enough make the app worth downloading.
What it does: Taskbar Shuffle allows you to rearrange items on your Windows taskbar and system tray, so you can put relevant items close to each other.
Why it’s useful: Windows usually arranges taskbar items chronologically, which isn’t very useful if you have lots of programs running and you need to switch between windows often. With Taskbar Shuffle, you can just drag and drop these items in an order that complements your workflow.
Details: You can get more info about Taskbar Shuffle from this site. The app runs on Windows 95 to Vista. Windows 7 users don’t need Taskbar Shuffle, since this feature is already built-in.
What it does: It allows you to assign a different display resolution to a particular window. Available resolutions include 640 x 480, 800 x 600 and 1024 x 768.
Why is it useful: Web workers who want to see their blogs or web sites in different resolutions can do so automatically. You don’t have to change your monitor’s resolution or view your designs from different computers.
Details: Click here to access Sizer’s official web site. Although it works with older versions of Windows, Sizer doesn’t work with Windows Vista and Windows 7.
What it does: USB Disk Ejector does exactly what its name implies. It allows you to eject USB devices more smoothly.
Why it’s useful: It’s a hassle-free way to eject USB devices such as memory cards, external hard drives, and flash drives. I hate it when Windows tells me I can’t eject a device because it’s currently in use (even if it isn’t, as far as I can tell).
Details: You can download USB Disk Ejector from this site. It works on Windows 2000 and later versions.
Do you have other simple but useful apps to add to this list? Share your suggestions in the comments.