Posted by: Dustin Faulkner | August 11, 2008

Excuses, Free Stuff, and Goats.

You ask me why I haven’t updated my blog in almost two weeks? Well I’m not sure what to tell you. I believe laziness has a lot to do with it. Also, maybe a case of writer’s block. But a very defined and specific case of writer’s block. You see, I’ve had plenty of ideas of things to write about, but when it comes down to sitting in front of the computer and writing it, I become helpless. My body becomes limp like a three year old struggling to  keep from getting picked up by his mother. I’m not sure how I’ve overcome this paralysis.

It might help to let you know what is going on outside my house as I am typing. A goat has escaped the prison yard that borders my house. After picking up my dog and putting him in the basement to protect the fugitive, I have left my mom to handle the rest.

Last week I really wanted to blog about freeware that I use on a day to day basis. I think one thing that stopped me was the huge amount of linking I would have to do to make it a nice and accessible list. Most of these programs are open-source, meaning computer software that the source code has been made available under a copyright license that meets the Open Source Definition.This allows the public to be involved in the development and construction of apps that have use for the internet as a whole. It is a methodology that I feel strongly about. The internet is one of the few places socialism works.

<Goat Crisis 2008 update> just had to find a phone number online for my mom for the man who owns the goats. She typed in “phonebook.com” and was perplexed when they kept asking for money. She just doesn’t understand the concept of what the internet is. She has no idea how to use a seach engine to find what she wants. She is the internet scam artist’s perfect victim. She will be the cause of my eventual nervous breakdown.<Goat Crisis 2008 update>

<ahem> So, free stuff!

Okay first has to be Firefox. Next to linux, probably the widest use of an open source project there is. When people have computer problems, the first thing I tell them to do is switch from Internet Explorer over to Firefox. Usually solves 51% percent of the issues.

Next is Open-office. An alternative to the Microsoft Office suite, It has saved my butt plenty of times. It can open and save in any Office format that you need.

My newest addition, Emerge. It’s a shell replacement for Windows Explorer. It’s really reinvented my work flow on my computer. It’s dropped my ram usage by 60 megs and I can increase that even more by removing the rest of it’s parts. The program is completely modular and you can add and remove pieces at your leisure. When I’m working on music or Photoshop, I turn off everything completely except for Emerge Core. which is the main part. It makes your desktop look great. NO ICONS. everything is accessed through a right click context menu.

In addition to Emerge I use two other programs to help get to my most used programs faster. ObjectDock, and Launchy. Both allow me get what I want faster and easier than Emerge or Explorer allows for, but for far less memory usage than Explorer on it own.

Trillian. My instant messager. While Trillian Pro actually costs money, good ol’ regular Trillian is totally free. It allows one program to access all of the IM networks. Like AIM, MSN, YAHOO, and ICQ. It is skinnable, which is nice addition for me, and has a tiny memory footprint compared to AIM.

<Operation: Goati Freedom Update> Okay, the guy and my mom helped the goat back into it’s cage. I suppose he will just have savor the few minutes of liberty he was allowed. <Goat Liberation Front Update>

And to complete the list of programs that I leave running is WInamp. An oldie but a goodie you might say. I love Winamp. With it’s FLAC support, skinnable interface, and easy to organize media library, what’s not to love about it?

With the exception of OpenOffice, all of these apps run 24/7. So docking and hidden windows are important to me. As you can see, my desktop looks very clean and allows for a quick workflow.

By the way, Launchy, Trillian, and Winamp are all hidden most of the time. I move my mouse to the side of the screen for Trillian. I press Alt-Spacebar for Launchy, and I rollover the bottom for Wimamp.

She looks like the real thing
She tastes like the real thing
My fake plastic love

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