Introduction: Software for the Nerdy, Paraniod, or Even the Overworked.

This is my first instructable, and it is a guide showing you several of the programs that I love on my computer, because I want to give something back to this wonderful site. These software applications will cover a broad range of uses, including: legitimate work, data protection, data monitoring, internet use, etc.

Step 1: Internet

Okay, there are three programs i would like to describe for internet use, the first of which is opera Opera's website describes it as "The coolest, fastest, and most secure free Web browser available", and i agree 110%. Some of the things I love about it are: speed dial (a feature that allows you to have 9 home pages, to some extent (see picture), BETTER tabbed browsing (where a page would originally open a new window (pet peeve), opera opens a new tab, and the fact that if you close it, the next time you open it, it will have the same pages up.

The other program i would like to mention is utorrent. **NOTE: I am not endorsing internet piracy. Torrents, as with all peer-to-peer transfers, have legitimat uses, many things are in public domain, or are open-source**. that being said, utorrent is the lightest torrent software out there (weighing in at ~200 kilobytes). While I do not have any experience with other torrent programs, utorrent has treated me well. the great advantage to using torrents over other peer-to-peer transfers is that you are far less likely to pick up a virus, especially if you screen your transfers well.

The third is Sygate Personal Firewall. It is far better than the crappy windows firewall, which i disabled after this was installed. this software will ask you about which software you want to access your network. Every time something attempts to access the network, sygate will give you a nice little popup asking whether this software should be allowed through, at which point you can press yes or no, with the optional check to remember the answer for that software. it will also perform checks when software changes, i.e. when you update, or a program is mutated into a virulent form. It will also allow you to turn access fully on or fully off, fully open network is necessary for windows file sharing.

Step 2: N3rdy/1337 H4x0rs!

Okay, sorry about the leet, but it was irresistable. this step will include some of the nerdier software i use.

Yahoo Widgets is quite useful for all sorts of things, if you can find the correct widget. It can be used for things like analog clocks, news tickers, little games, or more hardcore things like ram/cpu monitoring. It also has some pretty random things, like the mouse odometer i use.

There are several applications that will use your unused cpu cycles for distributed computing, including Folding@home, or Background Pi, which I use. Because your computer is not running on 100% of it's processing capacity 100% of the time, these programs will use the processing power that your other software is not, calculating things like pi or the folding of protiens. I have used both, I like both, but you may like folding@home because it produces pretty 3d pictures of the protiens if you look at the progress.

Daemon tools is a program that allows you to mount iso images from your hard drive as if they were actual cds. Basically, if you hate having to put discs in for your video games/etc, install this software, rip iso's of your discs, and mount them as cd's. (okay, so it has come to my attention that daemon tools has spy/adware attached to it, though it is simple to not install that part. here is a guide to installing it without the unwanted software, and here is a more detailed descritption of the software... sorry guys, but I simply unchecked those boxes because I did not want a search bar.... that was a long time ago... sorry again)

If you are paranoid like me, I would suggest TrueCrypt What it does, is produce an encrypted file (or device), which it mounts on your computer as if it were a physical disk. This means that the data is unreadable without the use of the password, which is a key to decode the data. It can encrypt your windows partition (your c drive) easily on-the-fly, however it will format any other partition that you want to encrypt, so back up your data before encrypting your d drive, flash drive, etc.

Step 3: N3rdy/1337 H4x0rs Cont.

Just about everybody who has used linux at one point or another is familiar with virtual desktops, keeping the taskbar from getting gummed up with shizzle. Virtuawin produces multiple desktops that you can switch between, allowing you to have programs open in the background (media player, etc), without it gumming up the taskbar.

Speaking of gumming, having small ram really sucks... but there is software to help. there are many ram optimizers out there, all of which do virtually the same thing. I am using BySoft FreeRAM. it will free up some ram, after a short pause. quite useful, actually.

Step 4: Other

3-d animation is a boatload of fun, but 3-d studio max is incredibly expensive, especially if you are just messing around. Blender is a great, open-source 3-d rendering/animation program. I have used 3-d studio max, but i prefer blender, especially considering it is free. Here is a video on youtube, made by myself, about cell mitosis.

on another note, VLC Media Player is an excellent media player, it can play virtually any media format you can find (even those crazy .mkv anime episodes you acquired through honest, legitimate means. It does not store media information like itunes, windows media player, winamp, etc, so you may want to keep those around for listening to mp3 albums.

SOME OTHER SOFTWARE THAT I DO NOT PERSONALLY USE, BUT MIGHT SUGGEST: i do not use these programs, mainly because my school provides the far more expensive programs they replace.

Gimp is an open-source image editing program, essentially replacing photoshop, fireworks, etc.

Open Office is an open-source alternative to microsoft office, with nearly all of the same features

magic iso is an alternative, if you do not want to use Daemon tools...

Step 5: Closing Thoughts

Here we are at the end. I have shown you some of the software i like to use, though there is plenty more... Please leave comments that may provide helpful advice, like how to improve my instructable, or software that you use... i may pick it up and add it to this instructable.

This is the end of my first instructable, I hope it wasn't utter crap. Goodbye, and remember, The cake is a lie.


nerdtoob made it!(author)2013-07-19

Oh my God The Zombie Hunters is your desktop!!! epic!!!! 11! 1!!! 1

thefoodman made it!(author)2010-05-11

 Which is better Google Chrome or Opera?

aussie_simon made it!(author)2010-02-04

I'd like to heartily recommend VirtualBox by Sun (

It allows you to create virtual PCs and take snapshots of their running states which you can revert to at any time - perfect for trying out downloaded software.

The one downside is that it doesn't easily support (but can be done) multiple monitors. For that try VMWare's Player (

jamiec53 made it!(author)2009-10-24

cool! check out more programs here

temp made it!(author)2009-09-18

May you please put the video back onto you tube. I liked it and was going to suggest for my science teacher to show in class. But now I cant.

masterme120 made it!(author)2009-02-08

The version numbers are incomparable with each other. By your logic, if Firefox were to suddenly become version 1,000, then it would be better than Opera? Version numbers can only be used to compare a program to previous versions of a program.

stuuf made it!(author)2009-04-30

Version numbers for Open Source projects always grow more slowly than their commercial counterparts. Since they don't have to convince people to buy an upgrade every 14 months, OSS programs/libraries usually only bump major versions when the code gets rewritten from scratch or incompatibly changes interfaces to other software. Besides, shouldn't Firefox/Thunderbird/SeaMonkey be at versions 8 or 9 by now if they continued the Netscape numbering?

ejdo made it!(author)2009-08-27

yes, but like junkyard john said, blender 2.5 is completely recoded, and its not v. 3, its just 2.5. OSS developers (thank god) don't really care about version naming conventions. leave that to Microsoft and windows 7

Windows 7 should be at least windows 28. Does that mean it is better then linux, who's kernel is only at v. 2.6? NEVER!!! :)

Junkyard+John made it!(author)2009-08-27

Haha, I'm not even sure if there are version numbering conventions

ejdo made it!(author)2009-08-28

well... yes there are, but every project uses a completely different one

zeero360 made it!(author)2009-07-05

But think, if opera is 9.5 (at the time of posting) and firefox is at 3.1, then opera has had more time to develop its software.

Junkyard+John made it!(author)2009-07-06

No two software projects use the same numbering convention. For example, Opera might add a 0.5 everytime they do a bugfix. FIrefox goes into the hundredths for that. The number scales between software are not equal. Look at Blender 3d, for god's sake. They add a HUGE amount of features every time they go up 0.01. Their 2.5 release includes a re-writing of the whole visual structure and event handling...if they went with opera's updating scale, they would be at like 249.0 now!

rocketman221 made it!(author)2008-07-30

vlc media player is the worst program I have ever seen. it took over all of the file associations on my computer and there is no way of setting them on the program. and i can't stand that orange cone icon thing it puts on all of the media files. the only reason it is still on my computer is that another program that i use a lot needs vlc to run.

erikals made it!(author)2009-08-06

wats the name of the program? yeah, vlc sets the file associations too. The only way to reset them is to: 1. Click on any open folder window. 2. Choose Tools>Options. 3. Click the File Types tab. 4. Navigate to the file types that u dont like. 5. You should get the idea.

masterme120 made it!(author)2009-02-08

If you have Vista, just go to default programs on the start orb, then set your default programs, and I think you can figure it out from there.

rocketman221 made it!(author)2009-02-08

i dont have vista. i would rather use ms-dos than vista.

masterme120 made it!(author)2009-06-13

I also hate Vista. I use Ubuntu mainly with vista only for gaming.

fwjs28 made it!(author)2009-06-06


Junkyard+John made it!(author)2008-08-19

6 simple steps: 1: Right Click the file that you would not like to have opened with VLC. 2: Click Properties 3: Click 'Change' next to 'opens with' 4: Select another media player of your choice 5: Click Apply 6: Next time you install something, pay attention instead of clicking next, I agree, and finish. Do some research before you accuse an open-source program to the "the worst program I have ever seen."

wizerd+745 made it!(author)2009-08-04

blender rules

fwjs28 made it!(author)2009-06-06

now the 10 beta is out and its looking fineee...

Capt.+Fat made it!(author)2009-05-10

Another cool thing for your computer is Dream Render. It allows you to play videos, music, and your own creations as your background.

SuperCoPilot made it!(author)2009-04-06

ZOMBIE HUNTERS BATTLE CRY!!!! for those uneducated in the battle cry google The Zombie Hunters

temp made it!(author)2009-01-04

PUT THE cell mitosis VIDEO BACK ON YOUTUBE!!!!!>=|

duckythescientist made it!(author)2008-12-23

Does Instructables have a Folding@home team? If so, what is it so I can join!!?!

Foaly7 made it!(author)2008-09-07

Can you set TrueCpyt "Drives" to read from physical drives and how to read the drive, like a DVD drive mounted through TrueCrypt and reading DVD disks from the CD Drive? Or could DaemonTools do that? (I mean read a ripped DVD "Image").

bgugi made it!(author)2008-10-16

i would like to answer your question, but could you please try that again?

Foaly7 made it!(author)2008-12-18

Never mind. I read the DaemonTools website, so no worries.

Klect960 made it!(author)2008-12-10

Iz Bysoft Free Ram Free or do u hve to get thu illegal and shifty ways

bdblock94 made it!(author)2008-09-20

hay can you make an instructable on how to use blender?

Rockerx made it!(author)2008-10-11

I might I've used it for about a year now...

bdblock94 made it!(author)2008-10-21

OK, pm me if you do

Rockerx made it!(author)2008-10-22

Will do

Junkyard+John made it!(author)2008-08-19

Firefox 3.0 has the same 'special' features that Opera has, and its open-source!

bgugi made it!(author)2008-10-16

it really does come down to personal preference: your choice of internet browser is your choice. also remember: i wrote this back in february, before the release of ff3. but i love it for other reasons too, like the f12 context menu (opens a menu allowing you to enable or disable things like proxies, javascript, sound (really wonderful when m00t decides ROW ROW, FIGHT THE POWAH!), etc) i am now a firefox user. why? i switched to ubuntu, and opera didn't seem to want to install correctly. i don't mind firefox, its a real gem of the open-source world, and it is really no better or worse than opera, like i said, its all personal preference.

Junkyard+John made it!(author)2008-08-19

Other than that, nice 'ible

Argon27 made it!(author)2008-08-07

This was a triumph... I'm making a note here huge success. lol Great job!

2k%21 made it!(author)2008-08-06

the cake is a lie!

skull555 made it!(author)2008-07-31

pretty good =)

Spinning_Rings made it!(author)2008-06-30

what does it mean when it says Opera is secure? What does it do to stay secure?

rocketman221 made it!(author)2008-07-30

i havnt had any viruses since i switched to opera. when i was using ie i would have to remove several viruses each month.

bgugi made it!(author)2008-07-01

it remains unused. because it is not as popular as internet explorer and firefox, people are far less interested in finding exploitable code. i'm sorry i can't give a more detailed description, but feel free to do research on it.

checked made it!(author)2008-07-22

+1, good start.

you've helped me with a program i was looking for!

here's some you may want to look at:

CPUZ/CPU ID (free)
- this tells you your computer specs. everything you need to know.

Alchohol 120%
for imaging, mounting, and using virtual drives,
- not free, but well constructed

Partition magic 8
multibooting operating systems
- not free

want media off of websites like youtube or myspace?
(firefox required.) -

CC cleaner is great for managing your pc.
- its free too.
you may backup/delete registries, or pc files
-you may add/remove programs quicker than in the traditional windows manner
- change which programs start up when windows starts

3rd party firmware
do you own a router? people have open source firmware that optimizes your router.
-increased support and performance
- more useful than official editions

and of course, acquire these by their appropriate and legal means.

JellyWoo made it!(author)2008-06-24

can you post an instructable on how to use blender? thanks

autodidact_nyc made it!(author)2008-06-23

Thanks, there were a couple of proggies in there I didn't know about. This is a nice little guide for people who were not aware they could do all this fun and useful stuff.

awkrin made it!(author)2008-06-02

have u ever noticed that it is starting to become less geeky that many teenagers(usually 13+) know tons about computers and can even do some coding, so this stuff isn't really nerdy.. anyway thx I never knew u can make win use only 123 mb of ram (mine uses 550 right now with itunes, firefox, hamachi and 50 other little processes out of 1gb)

HardCoreHacker made it!(author)2008-05-25

What do you mean a heatmap?

bgugi made it!(author)2008-05-27

in the upper-right hand corner, under the thingy with the numbers, on the right side - the box. it shows the frequency of screen regions my mouse has visited since i restarted that app - this was right after a reboot.

pappyld04 made it!(author)2008-05-22

I've got the Google web accelerator and a KeyScrambler (not sure which flavor gadget it is), and there are some that I haven't tried yet. But there are a lot of BS ones that you have to search through for the goodies!

carrierpilot1357 made it!(author)2008-04-18

how did you make your heat map so small!

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