Working from my Ubuntu desktop all day has given me an interesting perspective into what works and what doesn't when it comes to applications. In this article, I will offer you a roundup of software titles that enable me to make my day a more productive one. These applications range from productivity tools down to the Web-based tools that I use on my desktop.
1. Dropbox – While there are countless ways to connect your work with others on the Web, nothing allows me to collaborate as easily as Dropbox. From sharing documents to sending images for others to view, Dropbox allows me to share files and directories without putting my own computer onto the Web for the world to see. I love the fact that Dropbox offers compatibility with my Ubuntu desktop and Android phone. It also provided me with access on iOS, back when I was using an iPhone.
2. Parcellite – During the course of a day, I find myself needing to copy into memory a wide range of URLs for work. But rather than pasting them into a text file, I instead opt to have immediate access to them via a clipboard manager called Parcellite. I love that Parcellite supports custom hotkeys, captures hotlinks only, and you can even setup Parcellite to avoid whitespace and trim newlines. It's a must have application for anyone who does a lot of copy/paste work for coding, writing and so on.
3. Wunderlist – While I wouldn't go so far as to suggest that it's a Google Calendar replacement, it does offer solid "to-do list" functionality. Wunderlist is completely cross-platform, with support for Ubuntu, Android and more. I use Wunderlist to quickly and easily manage my tasks on any given day. One of the most awesome features about Wunderlist is the ability to create new tasks either via the application or by sending an email. This email task creation feature has saved me a tremendous amount of frustration more than once.
4. gscan2pdf – I have come to rely fairly heavily on my document scanner these days. I use it for invoicing, some receipt scanning and other related tasks. What sets gscan2pdf apart for me is its ability to combine multiple documents into a single PDF file with great ease. Even better, I can also save my scans into various image formats as well. Bundle the aforementioned features with plenty of scanner control options via SANE and gscan2pdf is an instant must-have app.
5. gMTP – I don't need to access my MP3 players every day; however, I'd say that I'm mounting them to my Ubuntu installation for easy access every week or so. I do this when my playlists need to be updated, or I simply need to make some changes to my iRiver MP3 player. While it's fair to point out that many software music managers offer fairly decent MTP support for music players like my iRiver device, I've found that gMTP tends to offer a more consistent experience. Remove, add or otherwise tweak your device's contents without any hassles. I recommend looking into gMTP for anyone struggling with getting your MP3 player to cooperate.
6. FreetuxTV – This is an app that I tend to run in the background while I'm working on various projects. FreetuxTV relies on a variety of webtv and Web radio content sources. For folks here in the States such as myself, I've found access to CNN and other local news stations readily accessible via FreetuxTV. I especially enjoy the ability to record a segment from a program when I need to step away from my desk, allowing me to catch up on the news at a more convenient time.
7. gPodder – Much like the application selection I mentioned above, gPodder also offers me the ability to stay in sync with the latest happenings throughout my areas of interest. But unlike the above application, gPodder allows me to easily subscribe to podcasts and even gives me the ability to choose the media player that I use to view them on. The really cool part about using gPodder is that I can sync up my media player or smartphone so I can watch my favorite podcasts on the go.
8. Skype Call Recorder – Unlike the other applications I've shared thus far, this one needs to be used with caution. You should only use Skype Call Recorder when both you and the other party you're speaking with agree to the Skype call being recorded. After receiving permission from a client to record a call, I am then able to refer back to their inquiry later on. This allows me to become more effective in assisting them, plus it means I can go back and revisit details from the conversation I might need in future consultations. The audio recordings that this application creates sound decent and over all, it's a solid option for recording Skype conversations.
9. VLC – My time is valuable to me; therefore, I choose to use a media player that grants me the most media playback with the least amount of hassle. Hands down, the winner in this space is VLC. Unlike other software media players which can be hit or miss sometimes with Ubuntu, VLC will play anything that you throw at it. Even better, VLC does a splendid job playing most DVDs as well. You can also use VLC to capture video from your webcam and even stream it your LAN if you should choose to do so.
10. LibreOffice – Despite what you may read elsewhere, most people are able to make the switch to LibreOffice fairly easily. For most situations, LibreOffice offers ample functionality in the word processing and spreadsheet arenas. I find myself relying heavily on Writer for my article writing and then later on, using Calc to handle my finances. Both applications are critical to my daily routine; however, I must admit I don't use the other LibreOffice apps very often.
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