Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Software I Use Regularly

The idea for this has been copied wholesale from Mike but hopefully it’ll give you an idea into what software I use and maybe help you if you’re on the lookout for something.

Web browsing

Firefox. I think you may know that by now. I usually add the MiniT extension since I like to be able to drag+drop tabs. Naturally IE’s there for sites that require it (i.e. Windows Update) and I have a copy of Mozilla 1.8 Alpha 4 for some reason.


Thunderbird. Again, this is a given. Even my parents use it.


Irfanview. Great for viewing images and for simple manipualtion, and it will open almost anything you throw at it. I also have Serif PhotoPlus 7 and a very dated copy of Ulead iPhoto Plus 4 for more advanced stuff.

Instant Messaging

Trillian Pro. I have friends who use all 5 networks so having a multi-network client is invaluable. Gaim has come on in leaps and bounds lately but the Windows version is a port and feels like it. Miranda is still very basic and hasn’t had a release for months. Trillian just works for me and I’ve been happy to pay for it, and renew it this year.

Office stuff This suite continues to amaze me in how feature-rich it is considering it’s free. It takes a bit of time getting used to the menus, since some items are in different places when compared to MS Office, but it’s certainly a real contender. Pretty good compatibility with MS Office makes this invaluable. PDFCreator looks after my PDF creation needs.


McAfee VirusScan Enterprise, because I get it free from the university and since it’s an enterprise version it doesn’t come with loads of bells and whistles. For a firewall, I use Sygate after ZoneAlarm had paddies with my P2P applications, although the new firewall in Windows XP SP2 is adequate. Spybot Search & Destroy and SpywareBlaster look after the spyware side, and I’ll get around to installing Ad-Aware again soon as an extra precaution.


7-Zip is good for compressing files far beyond the capabilities of other utilites. I used to use WinZip quite a bit but for simple decompression the built-in support for zip files in Windows is actually quite adequate.


A tweaking article wouldn’t be complete without mentioning X-Setup, especially as I wrote some of the code for it a few years ago (do a search for my name in the program). That said, TweakUI is invaluable, particularly for getting rid of the garish purple background that Packard Bell put into Internet Explorer’s toolbar…


SmartFTP has fallen out of favour with some people lately due to its nag screen but I still like it. Many now like FileZilla but I found the interface ugly and unintuitive. However, SmartFTP doesn’t support SFTP whereas FileZilla does, however WinSCP looks like a good SFTP client though I’ve yet to try it.

Music playing

Pre-iPod I used to swear by dBpowerAMP Audio Player but I now prefer iTunes. It needs a good machine to run well but if you have one it’s a joy to use. Winamp 5 is good for playing odd songs or obscure files and I have a copy of foobar2000 lying around too. K-Lite Mega Codec Pack ensures that I can play a whole variety of audio and video files.
I think that’s everything. No doubt you’ll be wanting to recommend alternatives to me. There’s also Freeware replacements for commonly warez’d programs which is very useful – found via


  1. WinSCP is a wonderfull programe – I spent a fair amount of my summer using it and have no complaints. And no Gimp for image editing? Sure it takes a little learning, but it’s great!
    As for IM, if you’re using Jabber then you don’t really need Gaim. I started using JAJC with a private Jabber server over summer and carried on using it externally for everything.
    I’m off to do some data recovery tomorrow, guess I should post a blog entry mentioning all my tools.

  2. Heh you didn’t mention RSS 😛 Wow I’m using almost exactly the same programs as you just using WinAce, WinAmp, M$ Office and Norton SystemWorks!

  3. I’m surprised that so many ppl use iTunes. Its a beautiful looking app but i always think a music app should be heard and not seen. Winamp5 with classic interface has always been the happy compromise to me, uses few resources and barely needs a hz of power to drive it (i have my pc playing music almost all day which is why i use a player that doesn’t affect performance). I can even play cpu intensive driving games and have winamp providing the tunes.
    Have they improved the interface to openoffice yet? I refuse to use an app that makes me feel like i’ve travelled back in time to word ’95. Just looking at it brings on an overwhelming surge of depression. (Except the customised fedore core 2 version which looks sweet, but i boot into linux to rarely to say i’m a user).
    I enjoy hand coding html, so latex sounds quite appealing, albeit scary.
    I’m afraid i can’t live without photoshop, theres just something about it thats never been matched imo. The gimp comes close but not close enough i fear.
    What development tools do you use? As in compiler & IDE?

  4. software I use

    Neil left this out, but I wanted to mention I’m trying out a new program that combines NNTP news and RSS/Atom feeds into one application…