As anyone who has recently stopped by Time Goes By knows - ad nauseum - I've been spending a lot of time over the past week refurnishing my computer following a big-time crash. In addition to re-installing Windows, it also required re-downloading all the little toys and goodies I regularly use.
So I thought it might be fun over the weekend to recommend our favorites to one another. I'm not talking about the big programs like word processors and Photoshop. Nor the little necessary utilities like a PDF and zip reader or a media player. And I don't mean widgets for our blogs either. Just those little helpers that sit in the toolbar of a browser.
A couple of days ago, Bitteroot left a comment suggesting FoxMarks as a convenient way to secure bookmarks. Since I use the Firefox browser for everything except visiting Microsoft sites (which, in their provincialism, requires IE), I'm trying out FoxMarks to see if I like it. I do know about del.icio.us, but it never worked for me; maybe it's that I can never remember where the dots go in the name. Different toys work for different boys - and girls.
Given the amount of snow that can fall here in a short period of time, predicting winter weather has never been more important to me than since I moved to Maine. My favorite weather toy comes from weather.com.
It sits in the top toolbar of Firefox (undoubtedly, there is an IE version) and tells me the temperature and weather - current, tonight and for the next two days. Mousing over any one of those items opens a small box with further information like wind speed, humidity and the time of sundown, and there are links to video reports, Doppler radar and other weather-related data. It installs easily from the home page of weather.com. Very cool.
Many different kinds of web services have such toys, and there must be thousands of Google Toolbar toys by now. I like an uncluttered desktop, so I use only a few: several news sources like Reuters, CNN, BBC International, The New York Times; quick links to a thesaurus, Google blog search, my Google calendar and Wikipedia; and a button to toggle search term highlights off and on.
It's one-click simple to install the Google Toolbar and once that's done, just drag the toys you want onto the toolbar.
What about you? What toys do you use and which do you recommend? Don't forget to leave links for us to find them.
[Today at The Elder Storytelling Place, Linda Davis tells a story every HR person should be requiredto read, titled Hiring the Elder.]