Essential Software Tools – Updated!

For some time now, I’ve been considering posting a list of digital tools that I find useful both as a librarian, and as a blogger. Initially, I was hesitant to do so because I didn’t think it would go over well, however, after my very successful gaming post I changed my mind. The following is a short list of useful tools, that just might help you be more productive while blogging, working, and playing. The best part is that all of these tools are free for the taking:


  • GIMP – If you don’t absolutely require Photoshop, this image editor is for you
  • FastStone ImageViewer – Great for image file conversion
  • UnFREEz – Create GIF animations
  • Inkscape – Consider this the poor man’s Illustrator
  • Audacity – Amazing program for editing audio files
  • 7-Zip – Need file compression/decompression? Then this is for you
  • FileZilla – Reliable and easy to use FTP utility
  • CutePDF Writer – No hassle way to distill PDFs
  • Simple File Shredder – Permanently delete any files you trash
  • Ad-Aware – Penicillin for your Chlamydia infected hard drive

Web-Based Utilities:

  • GuerrillaMail – Get an anonymous short-term email account
  • senduit – Upload <= 100MB file anonymously get private link that lasts <= one week
  • TinyURL – Convert any convoluted URL into something “tiny”
  • YouSendIt – Send any file (up to 100MB) over the Internet without using email
  • – One full gigabyte of free storage
  • Zamzar – Convert files into many different formats
  • – Bookmark pages online
  • Rollyo – Roll your own search engines
  • Pipes – Create your own mashups
  • Tor – Anonymize your online presence

Palm Programs:

  • Converter – Fantastic measurement converter
  • ChemTable – Periodic Table handy for those chemistry questions
  • CryptoPad – Encrypt any files on your Palm Pilot
  • MetrO – Subway maps
  • eReader – Read a few eBooks… Many are FREE

Clearly, there are many applications for these tools in a library environment as well. For example: can be used when a patron forgets to bring his/her removable storage, YouSendIt can be used when a patron needs to send a file but doesn’t have an existing email address, and Rollyo can be used for a consolidated search of websites pertinent to your municipality (city, library, historical society, etc…). I encourage everyone to experiment with these free software products, you won’t be disappointed!

Lastly, I want to mention what I consider to be the best social networking tool crafted thus far, StumbleUpon. Part Reddit, part MySpace, part channel surfing remote control, StumbleUpon is a phenomenal tool for expanding your circle of friends, and promoting your website in cyberspace. Use it!

* I’ve added two more utilities that I initially neglected to mention: Zamzar, and Simple File Shredder!


~ by Woeful on October 7, 2007.

15 Responses to “Essential Software Tools – Updated!”

  1. […] For the complete list, please refer to my blog, @ the Library! […]

  2. How about Open Office? It’s a great substitute for actually purchasing the Microsoft Office suite. And, who doesn’t want to save $2-400?

  3. Definitely Eric, Open Office is great! As is Google Docs & Spreadsheets. I had a hard time drawing the line, and I wanted to mention programs that are a little off the beaten path. Someone else, elsewhere, had another excellent suggestion, Flickr! I could go on and on…

    Ma.gnolia is a versatile bookmark sharing site
    Meebo is great tool for IM consolidation
    Bloglines is an even better RSS aggregator with their newest release
    wetpaint is great for creating Wikis
    claimID is a good way to utilize the OpenID standard making logging into user accounts uniform
    Ning is for people who want to create their own social networks

    … And then there’s the onslaught of “blogging” tools like: Technorati, FeedBurner, StatCounter, Blogcatalog, Blogflux, MyBlogLog, etc…

    These are just the (shining) tip of the iceberg… There are great web hosting services too like bluehost! For a more comprehensive list of design tools go to snap2objects. I was thrilled to see a few of my favorites listed on their site. Lastly, for the best Web 2.0 applications visit SEOmoz.

    If anyone cares to share their favorite tools, I welcome the input!

  4. Thanks! I’ll share these with my coworkers. Always great to get to ideas.

    Did the foot-cream guy ever come back to visit? Foot Fetish Guy has been MIA since his wife caught him looking at one of my co-worker’s feet a couple of weeks ago. I suppose he got himself into some hot water.

  5. … I’m glad to say that Crusty never returned.

  6. All free! Freeeee! Ok, I’ll stop now. 😉

    I heart Open Office. Alas, I was too late in discovering it before I dropped $$$ into Microsoft Hell.

    Meebo I have mixed opinions about. While it is a nice IM consolidator, it tends to be very buggy. Not good when you have a meebo widget on your library homepage and people are wondering why you’re offline all the time when the library’s open.

    On the CutePDF Writer, does the free version have the ability to convert scanned images into pdfs as well?

  7. I figured you were trying to draw the line somewhere. There’s a lot of great stuff out there that some people don’t know about. Some of what you posted I hadn’t heard of either, so thanks for the great information.

  8. Hi G.I.L.: CutePDF will PDF anything just as long as you send it to the “Cute” virtual printer! Give it a shot.

    Eric: I’m glad you think some of my suggestions useful. Let me know if you think of anything I missed!

  9. Ooo, I need to go try the ones I haven’t heard of. Thanks!

    If only I could get my coworkers to use TinyURL… But no, someone’s gotta send a link that wraps, then several others have to reply that the link doesn’t work, etc. But then we’ve got multiple degreed librarians who can’t figure out how to delete a file off a public PC (why do people scan in their passports and save them to the hard drive?), even though I made a lovely little handout with step-by-step instructions and screen shots, so it’s all wishful thinking.

  10. […] Essential Software Tools (tags: technology library) […]

  11. Hello PL! TinyURL is great, good luck.

  12. “Chlamydia infected hard drive”


  13. No worries, a little dose of Penicillin goes a long way 😉

  14. My hard drive is not that kind of girl. Fresh!

  15. I hear that all the kids are doing it.

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