Software/Apps Guide


NECESSARY Software/Apps | Cloud/Online/File Sharing/Chatting | Multimedia | Firefox Plug-ins | Useful Stuff | Microsoft Stuff | Mac Stuff | Linux


Encryption is a must:
Forget about what connotation is in your head about encryption, whether it be due to the media or politicians.  Encryption is not about hiding shady or nefarious activity.  Encryption is a critical component to ensuring your digital security, beyond protecting your files, but also protecting your operating system from attack.  In fact, to further prove this point, if you are using Windows, you should create a Microsoft Account, use that as your login to the computer, and save your BitLocker keys to your Microsoft Account.  I am not exactly sure if Mac OS X or Ubuntu offer such features, but I know both offer cloud user accounts, so try.
For mobile it is a bit trickier, but if you have iOS 8 (or higher) you are fine, and if you have a newer version of Andriod (e.g. Lollipop, Marshmallow, or higher) you should turn on encryption by going into Settings->Security->Encrypt Phone (might be slightly different depending on device).  Sorry Windows Phone users, I am not even going to try to see how to do any of this on there.

READ BEFORE YOU CLICK, this should always be true, but especially when you are installing things.  If you get a ton of toolbars or anything else you do not like it is because you choose to not read.

The Software/Apps I Immediately Install
Google Chrome
My preferred web browser, originally because it stood out from the rest.  Others have caught up, but I use all of Google's services so I like this browser best.  You never need to update Flash with this browser as well.
LastPass
Secure, encrypted password manager for all of your websites, apps, etc.
This, or a similar alternative, is absolutely mandatory in my view.  How to use this should be an post by itself.  Long story short, think of the hardest password you'll be able to remember (that you have NEVER used before) and use that, go log into every service you use and let LastPass capture that.  Then go change every single password for every service you use and use the random generator from lastpass to make it long and complicated.  Turn on the 2-authentication log-in for every service you have that allows it (google, dropbox and lastpass to say the least).  But get Authy (see below) to make that a little less painless for when murphy's law strikes (i.e. you ruin/lose your phone).
Dropbox
Cloud storage service that allows you to sync files across devices and in a collaborative way with other people.  Microsoft Office documents can be edited by multiple people simultaneously.  I only put Dropbox up here because it is widely used and I use it alongside my favorite cloud storage service, iDrive (see below).
Authy 
This is a program that saves your double authentication (2-step verification.  You should have this turned on where ever possible, no matter how annoying it makes it to set up a new device or log-in somewhere new.  Double authentication makes it where even if someone had your password (or captured an authentication file from you) they could not log into your account from a new location.
AdBlock Plus
This browser plugin exists in some form (maybe not ABP, but same difference) on every major browser (chrome, firefox, opera, ie, safari).  For me it is a necessity, but it may block some sites from working and in that case you can toggle it off for that particular site.  Both Google Chrome plug-in and the Firefox plug-in are ABP in this case.
FlashBlock
Flash components not only slow your computer down, but flash is a common route to infect your computer.  Again, this is a browser plugin that exists in some form on every major browser.  Unfortunately, even more common than when using AdBlocker, using FlashBlock can destroy the functionality of certain websites.  Obviously, it blocks the flash video that you are trying to watch on most websites.  But for websites you trust you can turn it off entirely, and for any video, or other component of a website you want to use can be toggled on simply by clicking it.  It is kind of a nuisance but it is worth it.  The Google Chrome plugin I use is called Flashcontrol, Mozilla Firefox is FlashBlock.
Adobe Acrobat Reader
This one is odd because it is actually probably safer to use the built-in-PDF readers in your browser and what not.  But you will inevitably need this for something, particularly if you are filling out a PDF form.
VLC Player
This will play any type of audio or video file you can find.  Saves you the trouble of trying to install the right codec pack or get whatever special software is needed for filetype X. Everything just works.  I don't use it on mobile devices, although if you start to use some of the powerful features you might want to.
µTorrent
My preferred torrent client, although it is not as lightweight and ad-free as it used to be.  Be sure to go through the settings and force encryption.
LibreOffice
This is a free alternative to Microsoft Office.  You can open, edit & create Word, Powerpoint and Excel files.  I use Microsoft Office, but you cant argue with free, especially if you dont have MS Office.  I don't actually install this ASAP, but I would if I didn't have MS Office.
7-Zip
Now-a-days most operating systems can handle common archives (ZIP files, etc), but this application seems to handle them all and have every feature you would ever need.
Plex 
This is an awesome media server, similar to XMBC (might actually be based off of it) but much more polished and easy to use.  Install the media server application on a computer and you can stream any file and many online services to essentially any device you own.  It works with all the mobile platforms, from a browser, on your chromecast, appleTV, pretty much you name it.
Cloud/Online/File Sharing/Chatting
iDrive 
Authorized Resellerasdf
Google Drive 
asdf
Box 
asdf
Microsoft OneDrive 
asdf
Google Music 
asdf
Pidgin/Adium/Digsby 
asdf
Browser Plug-ins/Add-ons/Extensions (AdBlock, Flashblock, Authy & LastPass Above!)
ForecastFox 
asdf
TabCloud 
asdf
EZProxy 
asdf
Google Dictionary 
asdf
Google Chrome 
asdf
Clearly 
asdf
Gmail Chat Muzzle 
asdf
Web of Trust (WOT) 
asdf
Adobe Creative Suite Replacement Apps (Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign)
Program
asdf
Program
asdf
Security and Goodies
Program
asdf
Program
asdf

Where This Stuff Works Key
 Microsoft Windows
 Mac OS X
 Ubuntu (Linux)
 Android
 Apple iOS