Getting a new machine often spurs me to go out and find some new tools and utilities. Here’s some recent finds:
DiskMon – see disk activity
One of the great tools from SysInternals that provides low level disk i/o information but more importantly can minimize to the system tray and provide you with a disk activity in the absence of an LED.
John’s Background Switcher – brighten your desktop
Another desktop wallpaper changer but this one can head off to Flickr to grab the images. As Flickr contains photos of just about anything you might want to specify a couple of tags to get the sort of things you like. GrinGod suggests HDR as a good starting tag and I’m inclined to agree.
Gmail Manager – don’t miss a message
This Firefox extension is essential if you want to use Gmail as your primary system. It provides the ability to switch between accounts as well as putting an unread count in the status bar and fixing all the mailto: links to head to Gmail compose. It can also pop up Outlook style new mail notifications trumping a sound of your choice if your co-workers don’t mind your laptop making odd sounds throughout the day.
Adblock Filterset.G Updater – keep ads at bay
Adblock is an essential tool to keep the distracting annoying advertisement pollution at bay. Setting up the rules however can be a boring and long affair but Filterset.G Updater will do that for you by downing a master list off the net. Nice.
I’ve been looking for an on-line news reader for some time and have been generally unimpressed with Google’s offering. Bloglines didn’t appeal to me but Rojo however looks pretty cool. Create an account, find the blogs you want (it knows about many of them already), tag them into categories if you like and off you go.
You can also Add Mojo to blog posts to get them noticed by others and tag individual stories if you like. The interface is pretty clear and easy to use and very Ajax.
I’ve actually known about this for some time but never got round to mentioning it here. Pandora is like a personalised radio station – you tell it the names of a few bands you like and it uses it’s human-crafted database of artist techniques/styles/traits to build you a radio station of like music. At any point you can say you don’t want any more from this band or add additional artists in and the station will intelligently adjust again.