10 Software Tools You Can’t Live Without! (Part 1)

June 20, 2012 5 Comments by Anthony

In last week’s post I bamboozled my readers a little with a “bait and switch” article about the importance of headlines. This week is my “mea culpa” so I’m sharing the love with ya’ll! One of the elements of this blog (referred to in my first post) was to, “make use of the amazing technology that surrounds us.”

So, here you go!

These tools are my secret sauce to productivity, creativity and digital bliss. Wield them carefully.

10 software tools you I can’t live without:

#1: Dropbox

Why I love it: Tired of emailing and copying files between your desktop, laptop, flash drive and work computer? This magical folder is an online repository that updates via the “interweb” and keeps all your files in sync. Whatever goes into your “Dropbox” is available on multiple machines and in the latest version.

How it works: Dropbox is a program that you install on each machine you wish to share files. It’s a free service, and you can download the software from www.dropbox.com. As long as you don’t use more than 2 gigabytes, the service remains free. If you wish for more space the pricing starts at $9.99/month for 50 gigs. Here is a link to the pricing guide.

If you use multiple machines, this program will change your life!

*Note: due to information security, you may not be able to install this at work. Make sure to check with your company’s IT department before installing any software on a work machine.

#2: SnagitWhy I love it: Do you ever wish you could just reach out and grab an image off your screen and say, “that’s what I’m trying to show you!” Snagit is your solution. This one is pretty simple, it “snags” anything viewable on your screen, and captures it into a picture file of your choice – typically a .jpg or .png for you techie types.

How it works: This is a piece of software you purchase and install on your PC or Mac. You can download a free 30 day trial, and if you decide to purchase Snagit the cost is $49.95.

#3: Instapaper.com (and mobile app)

Why I love it: Ever wish you could “DVR” the internet, and read stuff later? Yep, now you can.

How it works: Instapaper is a website that allows you to add extensions (toolbar buttons) to your web browser so you can read things you find online later. This service strips out only the text from almost any web page so you can read without the clutter. You can read via your browser, or better yet, download the Instapaper app for iPad, iPhone or Android and read wherever, whenever, on your mobile device…yes, you can even read on your Amazon Kindle!

It’s like creating your own newspaper one click at a time, without any ads…awesome.

#4Why I love it: Hi, I’m Anthony… (Hiiii, Anthony), and I’m an audio book addict. “Leaders are readers”, I love this quote. While I do like to read, I also like to move. With a desk job, it’s relaxing to go for a walk and listen to a great non-fiction business book.

How it works: If you love audio books, but don’t love the high price tag, than Audible.com is for you. It’s a subscription based service where you get “credits” for a book each month. There are a few different plans you can choose from, but the main plan is $14.95 /month. This might seem a little high, but most audio books are well over $30, and you can freeze your membership for a $10 fee if your credits start to pile up (I’ve done this twice in four years).

This service supports all major mobile devices and music players. You simply download the book to a computer and connect your iPod, iPhone, iPad, Android, Zune…anything really, and it takes care of the rest!

They have a promo for $7.95 if you want to test drive your first audiobook.

Caution: you will get hooked!

#5: Carbonite

Why I love it: Because my life is on my computer. And I value my life.

How it works: Carbonite is an online service that backs up everything on your computer to an off-site data storage facility in “the cloud.” It uses a small program that runs in the background on your PC or Mac and takes note of every file change. If you edit a document, it saves it continuously and keeps multiple versions on file in case you lose one – this is very handy and has saved my behind on several occasions.

You are also able to access all your backed up files remotely through an internet browser and the new mobile app they just launched. There are a few options for service levels, but to backup one computer for $5.99/month seems like a bargain to me.

You might be wondering, “where are the other five? I only counted five in this post!”

Tune in next week for Part two!

Which software tools are you loyal to and why?

Cover photo by pennuja


  1. Jeremiah
    10 years ago

    I couldn’t live without:

    Other great tools:

    • Anthony
      10 years ago

      Thanks for the ideas Jer. I wouldn’t know what to do with some of those developer tools, but JoinME is a GREAT tool for the right price!

      Never heard of Toggl, I use excel to track time…might have to give it a try as it’s mobile and cloud…cool.

  2. Ron
    10 years ago

    With snagit there could be some question of copyright infrigment would,nt you think Just a thought ?

    • Anthony
      10 years ago

      Good point, Ron. Like any tool, it can be abused…it’s up to the user to be honest for sure…

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