Following on from my post about what stops me from dropping Windows altogether, I thought that I would put together a more complete post about the Windows applications I find myself using.
- Memory Map –
If ActiveSync is installed, the standard license allows you to push a copy of the Windows Mobile version to a handheld along with extracts of (or whole) maps, POI, routes, etc. It is also best to plan routes and add new POI on the desktop as its easier than the small interface on the handheld. There are two versions of the software. One will only run Ordnance Survey maps due to their overly restrictive license (in any other industry they wouldn’t be allowed to get away with it). The other will run any map other than OS and also allows you to scan your own maps. If you buy the OS one for British maps, you can download the other from their US web site. Both can be installed at the same time and they don’t seem to mind.
- Google Sketchup
- Laridian Pocket Bible for Windows –
I generally use the Windows Mobile version of this excellent software but sometimes have the need to see larger passages, do side-by-side comparisons or write more extensive notes. The latest versions of the desktop now synchronise notes, etc.
- MobiPocket Reader for Windows –
This is able to translate ebooks from HTML and PDF into its native PRC format which is what I mainly use it for. It can push the file straight to a Windows Mobile device. It can also capture RSS feeds and do reading on the desktop.
- ActiveSync –
Yeuch! A necessary evil. The Linux sync software is notoriously difficult to get running and keep running and there are still some Windows Mobile installations that require a Windows machine with ActiveSync. It is though, the most dreadful and unstable software I use. I keep all of the options turned off so that it doesn’t mess up the handheld.
- MyMobile –
This is the epitomy of a simple piece of software that just works! It allows access to the screen and keyboard of the Windows Mobile device within the desktop. Really useful if you use the phone a lot, especially as a PDA as well. It also has a file manager that is a lot faster than the ActiveSync one.
- Microsoft Office 2007 –
Although I often try to use OpenOffice for general tasks, there is no getting away from the fact that MS Office is light-years ahead in terms of features. If, like me, you rely on these for your day-to-day work then you need MS Office. I would say though that I would no longer purchase a copy for home use (not that I’ve ever needed to thanks to always having access to business laptops) – OpenOffice is more than sufficient for general use.
- Internet Explorer –
It is a sad fact that there are still too many web sites that require IE to work. Thankfully all of the banking and finance sites seem to have got their act together.
Well, it is still a pleasantly small list. Don’t get me wrong, I am not against Windows, it’s just that I like having a choice and believe that real competition is good for everyone both users and suppliers. Further, I cannot really agree with the restrictive licensing that MS are always trying to force on people given the large price they put on both the software and updates. Nor can I really agree with the stifling of innovation that is the result of overly restrictive trade practices. The competition from Linux and open source is good for the market though I would really like to see OpenOffice start to innovate more rather than trying to play catchup with Office.