Zdnet.com recently ran an article called "Crucial Apps for Surviving the Student Summer." While the article targeted younger users, it reviewed some applications that could be of use to many of us. Here are a few of the applications discussed in the article.
* WinFF: This is a Microsoft Windows and Ubuntu Linux application that lets you specify a file to convert, targeted by the device you want to use it on. It has several features I like, namely Batch Conversion, which lets you convert several types of files to one new version at one time and convert video files to audio only, which is useful for YouTube videos. You do not need to download additional files for it to convert most files.
* VirtualBox: This is a well-known free program for both the Mac and the PC to create virtual machines on your computer. A virtual machine sets aside a portion of your computer's memory and hard-drive space to basically make a "computer within a computer." You can run a different operating system or OS in a virtual machine as well as perform other tasks. The article on zdnet.com refers to using VirtualBox to run a copy of the free Ubuntu Linux, probably the simplest version of the Linux operating system around today.
* Bloom: This program is designed to upload photos to Facebook. It runs on several platforms and is apparently much faster and easier to use than the native Facebook photo uploader. Facebook does have occasional problems with its service running slow or hanging up, so any application to make a task simpler is always welcome.
* BeeTagg: This is an app that is a hybrid of the Internet Of Things, bar-code technology and several others. A QR or Quick Response code is a so-called 2D bar code of sorts. When you scan a QR code with a cell phone equipped as a reader, it can set several actions in motion. Beetagg.com has an excellent demonstration video of the QR technology in action, in which a scanned QR code links to a site online displaying information on contemporary dance.
* BitMeter 2: Anyone who uses public Wi-Fi or wireless Internet service will appreciate this app. It measures how much data or bandwidth you use, a great tool for avoiding extra charges for Internet access.
* FilesTube: This is a dedicated search site to find downloadable files such as audio, video and documents. I found it useful but inevitably ran across spam invitations, undesirable content and the like. YouTube remains the best choice for music and video content in general, but FilesTube is worth a look if you have problems finding what you need.
* Instant Messaging Programs: Two IM or instant messaging programs that are both available for various mobile devices are presented in the article. The apps are called NimBuzz and Palringo. They are multiprotocol, meaning they can be used with several instant-messaging services. This feature is handy if you have friends who use different services.
* Farmville for Apple iPhone: Love it or hate it, Farmville is a hugely popular Facebook game. I have found that there are no neutral corners when it comes to online games, as everyone has strong opinions about them, especially on Facebook. The iPhone version adds new features and will probably add to the game's popularity -- good or bad depending on your position, I suppose.