Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Best Mac Software for Students (and everyone!)

As a Junior at Rice and an avid Mac user, I thought that I would compile a list of software that I use all of the time. Most of it is free, some isn't, and some comes with your computer.
Here is my list of indespensible software:

~~~~ Freeware ~~~~

I think that most people will agree with me when I say the best software is free. It truely is.

  • Journaler - Journaler is a blog program that can be used for much more then that. It allows you to create an entry and then drop it in a folder. It keeps your post nice and orderly and internal to the program. My use: I use this program to take notes in. I can keep all of the notes in seperate folders labeled for my classes. It gives you the option of attaching things to an entry as well, so if I have something related to a specific class day, I'll just attach it. After trying Pages, Notebook, and other note software, this one definately is the most organized.
  • Schoolhouse - ok, this program has some faults for the college student because it seems to be written for High School Students and doesn't include such things as weighted grading scales. But the simplicity of this program, the mac feel, and the compatability with iCal and iPod lets this program win out. I tried Assignment X, but it was just too complex and still didn't have the features I wanted. I also tried Due Yesterday and had loading issues. It works great on my palm, but I couldn't get it to sync for the life of me. One cool trick that Schoolhouse has is the smart folders. You can create a folder that tracks exams, assignments, etc seperately. I put my whole sylabi into Schoolhouse so now it will track my assignments all semester without me having to refer to the paper. So with a little tweaking, this program works great for the college student!
  • Smultron - Weird Name, Great Notepad. This little program is a replacement for Notepad. It can be used just to compose (it wraps text), or for programming with keyword coloring. I used to use Textwrangler, but this program works so much better. It does the same stuff and more. And oh yeah, it has Tabs like any good program should.
  • Writeroom - True Full screen writing. You can set the color, font, size, screen widgth, and more to create the writeroom that works best for you. Mine is Black with Green writing. It look Matrixy. This is a feature that I used to only be able to find in programs like MacJournal, which I had to buy. This little program is great.
  • Virtue - Because some mac users actually don't have this program... Virtual Desktops. You create desktops and have programs on seperate desktops to reduce clutter. And Virtue has an option that lets you auto jump to the desktop of the chosen app. This program is a MUST HAVE!! I can't imagine living without it.
  • MegaZoomer - This is a program that lets you full-screen any cocoa based application (which is most Mac software). I have totally fallen in love with this program. Used in connection with Virtue with the Program Spotlighter turned on, this program does wonders to my computer's desktop organization.
  • Fermata - I am not sure what the symbol means in music, but this program allows you to freeze and unfreeze programs manually so that you can keep them open but not using any CPU space. This is great if you have to run any CPU hogs like Photoshop, Matlab, or Firefox. I like to freeze my internet browser when I am not using it or if I switch to another one without closing the first.
  • Active Timer - This Programs keeps track of what programs you are using on you computer. It is a great time tracker when you are on your computer. Beat that procrastination. Yeah, I know... You were only going to surf for 5 min. Right.
  • Textpander - This program lets you type one thing and really type another. Like if I type 'RSDSi' my computer writes Rice Social Dance Society. I was able to put the logic symbols and the greek symbols and the phonetic symbols in there so that I can take notes in Logic and Ling with my laptop. This program is going to pay-ware, but it is still free here.
  • Neo-office - I am a relatively new Neo-Office user, but from what I can tell, it is a complete replacement for Microsoft Office (And who would want Microsoft Office, it's huge!!!)
  • Gimp - It is a replacement for Photoshop and works pretty well. The only trouble is that it needs X11, which is an optional install with your OS, so if you can't find your CD, you will have to find a way to get it. It has more features then Fireworks (below)
  • Freemind - although I own and use MindManager, this is a VERY good free version of it. It has a lot of features that you can't find in many mind map programs out there. It can be a bit touchy at times, but it does the job.
  • Orator - Got a webpage that you have to read for school, but would rather lie down and close your eyes, get this program. This programs takes any text and converts it to a .mp3 file so that you can listen to your webpage instead of read it. Sweet.
  • Zulupad - This is a wiki based notepad program. It works as a good note-taking program, but my favorite use for it is a web-page text designer. You can have a page for every one of your webpages and link them together like you plan to have it work. Use with Curio (below) in which you can design the graphical layout, and you got yourself a well designed webpage.
  • Todos - "all" in Spanish - this program shows you at a glance all of the programs on your computer. Works great as a launcher, and very cool to see.
  • Adium - If you are still using IChat, here is a program for you. And there is a skin that gives you a floating Buddy LIst. and your chat windows are in tabs, so they don't take over your desktop.

    ~~~~Paid (but worth it) software~~~~~
Sometimes, there is a good one that they just insist on charging for. Here is a list. I am leaving out the big expensive chunky ones like photoshop and dreamweaver (Although I do include Fireworks). We all know those are powerful if you need them. These are programs that you may have never heard of or may have and just don't use. I love all of these and believe that they are well worth the money!
  • Intaglio - This program is the best Vector based page-layout program I have ever seen. Even from when I was using Windows. I still amaze myself with what I can do in this program. You know the Second Cup Swing logo? Hank made that with Intaglio. The best feature that this program has, in my opinion, is the ease at which you can make larger then one page layouts. It just lays it right out for you.
  • Curio - this is a thought collector. It has an internal internet browser that lets you research things and drag them into your workspace. You can scrapbook with it, you can reseach with it, you can design a website with it, you can do all kinds of things with this program. And there is a pen/pencil/highlighter tool that writes on anything!!
  • Omniweb - This is the browser for researcher and students and anyone that likes to look up many different things and save everything even if the program quits on you or you have to restart. It lets you have multiple workspaces for collecting different topics of information and automatically saves everything.
  • Notebook - It is, as the name suggests, like having a spiral notebook, but the pages are as long as you want them to be
  • Pages - Most mac people will already have this program as a replacement for Word, but if you are still a word user, ditch it today. Pages has a great use of Styles and can save and read things in many formats, including .doc. Add Neo-office to this and you have an Office Free computer (yay!!!)
  • Mind Manager - if the Java aspects of Freemind are driving you crazy or you need something a bit more, try MIndManager. It is a great little mind mapping program that doubles as a project manager. Sweet.
  • Fireworks - this is my graphical program of choice for Mac. It doesn't have as many features as Gimp or Photoshop, but it does the basics really well. It works well if all you are doing is fixing up pictures for the Web.
And if you are a student, check out Academic Superstore before buying any sort of software!! I Cheaper software!!

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First Day of Classes

It is amazing how the best things for you really hurt. Pain. And that rubbery feeling that goes with intensity.

What am I talking about?

I walked to school this morning. And then walked a mile to the store at lunch. And then back to Rice. And at 5:30, I will be walking home. Yeah. That is a lot of walking. And now I am a bit tired and sticky. But, I was told, that within the week, I won't feel it anymore. I hope so.

I am going to do well this semester!!!

This is my Goal!

I ended up dropping my Religion Seminar without going to it. Now I need to return books. I also have to return my lin al book. I decided not to take that either. It occured to me today that I could easily pass/fail my accounting class. But part of me doesn't want to. If I were smart, I'd pass/fail the leadership class. They have a tendency to give lower scores then you'd think.

I am going to really struggle with getting to Accounting (it's at 8). But I am going to do it. I managed to go to work everyday this summer. That was empowering. Granted, I started being late, but I did make it. I am going to wake at 6:30 and leave home by 7:30 and walk to accounting. I will be getting up early and in shape at the same time.

Despite one hour that left me with a sour feeling the rest of the day. The first day of school was a good day.

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

My Day with Wendy

I spent my day so far with my cousin Wendy. She has MS and can't drive so I took her to the Spa to get a facial and to run errands.


I don't understand the consept.
The massage your face with cream.
Yeah. Sounds nice.
But for $80?


I was really good to see Wendy! I haven't seen her in almost 2 years. She has gotten a lot weaker since then and her vision is worse, but she can still get around pretty good.

She is in Houston and so I am. I don't know why we haven't gotten together sooner. :-/


Now I am about to work more on stuff that I was working on last night.

But First, a drink

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Mac - Hey Folders!!

Hey all you Mac users, I found this cool little free utility that is cool and uber simple. It is called Hey Folders!! and allows you to change the folder color along with highlighting the words in Tiger.

Check it out:

Cool eh? And the best part is that it's free. So download now.

Discovered through: Freeware Mac

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006


I have a fetish. At least, I think it is a fetish.

I like Sheet Protectors.

A lot.

I have a ton of them and use them for all kinds of paper holding projects. One of my favorites is notes from class. I make a binder with all of my notes from a class and then when I am studying them, I can write all over them with dry erase markers.

But Today....

I make....

A Presentation Binder!!!!

I am working with a Non-Profit Corporation to help it get started (more on that later), and I am putting together an info binder with Mission, A Photo tour, and Organizational documents to show key ideas of the Non-profit and how far along it is on formation.

It's Pretty!!!!!!

Everything is in SHEET PROTECTORS!!! Hot Damn!!

Ok, I am weird and I know it. So Shoot me. (please don't really...)

I still have folders to sort through. Back to work....

But I leave you with this from Savage Chickens:

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Advice Perception

Here is a little tip that I recieved from a friend. It is very useful and can make the difference between success and failure in certain cases:

When you go into a meeting of any kind, be open to what you get out of it. Don't limit yourself to one thing and then, if you don't get that one thing, give up. Instead, set a goal to get 3 things out of the meeting, even if they are not your primary targets.

For Example:
If you have a meeting with someone in order to ask them a favor for you and they decline, Ask them if they know of any one that may be able to help instead or where you can look for information about whatever you were asking them to do, or any other information that they may be able to offer.

With this perseption, you will never go away from a meeting empty handed!!!!!

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Me Now

I have ignored this blog for a long time in favor of my Live Journal, but no longer. I am tired of LJ. It is time to return to the joy of blogger.


It is amazing what one summer can do to a life.


It is amazing what one year can do it a life.

More Change.

I am no longer the person that I was a year ago.

- I am no longer a physics major.
- I am no longer stuck in a book that I read to read and not to remember.
- I am no longer straining for something that I have found to not be real and true to my life.
- I have a new mission. A New Goal.
- I am no longer so stuck in the Academic world that I am afraid to leave it.


And though all that, I have begun to re-discover myself as I used to be.

As much as a hippie as I could be with my mother around.
+ Loving life.
+ Seeing that majic that is everywhere in the world.
+ Having a high Self-esteem.
+ On a mission. From the Universe.
= free spirit, loving her world.

How did Christianity make such a bad impression on me. I mean really? Its not that bad. The religion isn't. It is the church that I seem to keep having problems with. They just are not very open. At least most are not.

I have also learned that you don't have to be coniving to survive in life. I am still learning this one.


I am still growing and still learning, but I know my path. My path is to follow the unpath, where ever it may lead me. Putting one foot in front of the other.

Time to get to Work.....

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