Microsoft makes many excellent products that, like a wine, may not develop any quality until aged. Truly, one can run the full gamut of emotions when recalling all Redmond’s inhouse, licensed, or acquired products (e.g., Visual Basic; DriveSpace; Visio)
Note that some of the software I list as free do accept donations so please help these excellent software projects survive or, better yet, thrive.
ColorSchemer ColorPix (commercial: Free)
ColorPix is a Windows Portable app that doesn’t require any installation – it’s a great part of my Dropbox toolkit! This little color picker supports onscreen magnification of a region under mouse cursor and lists values for a number of different color formats.
Real Time Logic resells a WebDAV client that addresses a HUGE weakness in Windows – it’s like of secure WebDAV support.
Dropbox (commercial: Free for 2GB – 4GB)
Life before Dropbox required too much effort. It’s no exaggeration that this one tool can revolutionize your life. Gone are the days of emailing or copying pictures or documents. Automatic synchronization between hosts, enhanced sharing services, automation, versioning… Android phone, Linux, OSX, Windows… My clients, friends, family – they all fell in love. I’m eyeing Team edition for my company…
The Darwin Gimp project is very simple to get going with gimp and they also provide excellent instructions on application portability (i.e., location of app within filesystem).
The Launchy project produces a cross-platform application launcher for Windows, Linux and OSX. It brings functionality similar to OSX’ Spotlight consistently across each of your operating systems. Press ALT+Space and start typing. Launchy can find applications or documents and even adds calculator functionality similar to Spotlight.
UltraVNC is a remote access client to systems using the ever-popular, cross-platform Virtual Network Computing (VNC) protocols. Long back I used to use TightVNC. I’m not quite sure why I switched from Tight it’s been so long, but I think it was due to the UltraVNC mirror driver performance primarily. I know I used to have some Tight encoding issues but, if I recall correctly, it was primarily the CPU load reduction of the mirror driver. The NAT-to-NAT handler.
VLC Player (free)
The VideoLAN Client is the ultimate media player, in my opinion. This is a staple on all my OS builds. I really should right an article just on how fantastic VLC is.
WinSCP is a wonderful FTP/SFTP client – steady and solid.
THE one-and-only nmap – for Windows.
Sokoban/Sokoban 3D (free)
Simple Sudoku by Angus Johnson(free)
Mr. Johnson has written a wonder Sudoku program, Simple Sudoku, that covers a range of skill levels and a breadth of features. On his website, he also includes instructions for his strategy on solving sudoku puzzles. (My only feature request would be that the set for numbers would be adjustable. That is, allow puzzles using 1…6, not just 1…9.)
For a list of resources to help plan, design, implement, troubleshoot, upgrade or migrate Microsoft Systems please see my page at Microsoft System Resources