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Stickies: post-it notes for your desktop

image Stickies has to be one of my most-used applications over the last year or so. I have it installed at work and my wife and I have it at home too.  Essentially it works like an electronic post-it note pad. You can click on the systray icon and pop a blank “note” window on your screen. At this stage you can enter any text you like – hyperlinks are automatically recognised and the note also supports rich text and even working “checkboxes” so you can make a mini to-do list (I suggested this feature :). The underlying functionality is fantastic, too. It is network-aware, to the extent that I can write a note at work and then send it to pop up on the screen of my PC at home. The wife and I use it to “chat” with each other, usually to send links or “dinner’s ready” alerts, as her PC is downstairs and mine is upstairs. Stickies is visually customizable too – the colour of notes can be changed and you can also use “skins” – many skins are available from the author’s website.

Other features include a “manage stickies” mode – you can see all the stickies you’ve closed, search for text in a sticky, and store stickies permanently in one or more categories; you can “attach” a sticky to a window on your screen so that whenever that window opens the sticky will open as well (I have this at work so that whenever I open my electronic timecard a sticky containing a list of the timecard categories appears so I can remember which category to use for any given project); you can set an alarm on a sticky and then send it to sleep, so that when the time/date rolls round the sticky will appear and then madly jiggle about on the screen to attract your attention (I use this a LOT) and even more features that I haven’t even used yet.

Summing up, this is an absolutely indispensable tool that nobody should be without. Very small system resource footprint. Best of all, it’s completely free.

Stickies Homepage

Honourable mention: TurboNote – another great utility in the same vein, but slightly more bloated and not free.

Animator vs Animation (by alanbecker)

Just plain cool. Click PLAY.

NotePad++: excellent opensource text editor

NotePad++

There are two general kinds of editor that people use when writing. The first is a word processor, the other is a text processor. While word processors are great for organizing books or other documentation with rich text formatting, text editors have an alternate featureset for text manipulation and are typically geared towards programmers. Most text editors are far smaller than commercial word processing tools but have a surprisingly large range of features.

NotePad++ receives a Hot Download Award as one of the best text editors I’ve used recently. Previously, my favourite was NotePad2. Notepad2 is extremely small (loads in a flash) and has some very nice options if you’re just interested in editing non-rich-text files – readmes and the like. NotePad++, on the other hand, adds a huge range of features including syntax highlighting, tabbed document interface, macros, and plugins which allow a vast amount of text transformations and other functions. This editor does almost everything you could possibly want for straightforward programming or related work.

Notepad++ Homepage

Honourable mentions: NotePad2, of course. PSPad is another free editor with a giant range of features, but takes a second or two longer to load. In my world that counts as second best. Finally, for the absolute ULTIMATE text editor (shareware but worth it if you have the $) is UltraEdit. This latter editor really does do everything under the sun.

Avoid: TextPad. So many people use this tool, it boggles my mind. It’s shareware and far below par when compared to NotePad++. The default hotkey mappings don’t make any sense either. Don’t even bother.