How many computer programs do you use?

By only installing/transferring programs and files to my new computer as I need them has been enlightening. Mainly because I didn’t realize how many different programs I access on a daily/weekly basis. I figured I mainly used a mail client, browsers (I use firefox, chrome and safari), skype, preview (to view pdfs), Calendar and the coding environment for my project. Which is already 7+ applications. But, it turns out I use way more than that.

I also use a rss reader (Reeder), grab (to capture screenshots), TaskPaper (to keep track of my programming to-do lists and notes), TexShop (for writing papers), Excel (for analyzing data), OmniGraffle (for creating images), and OmniSketcher (for creating graphs).  I use the included dictionary, Dropbox, R (for stats), and TextEdit. I also have a few games that are good for short breaks – Mahjong, solitaire, sudoku.

I also use small apps like Pomodoro, RescueTime, Weather Network, Caffeine and Flux. These are programs that pretty much run whenever my computer is awake. And I use them for things like tracking and keeping me on task and managing my computer screen’s brightness/colour profile.

Because of this, I’ve found that it feels like every day I’m installing another program. Yesterday, I was debating on whether I should install the version of Microsoft Office I own (2008), or if it’s time to finally get the newer one. I never did come to a conclusion. Although, as it is, my new computer doesn’t have a cd drive, so I either need to install off my old one, or finally get around to buying an external one.

I’m also finally getting to a point where I need to start transferring more of my old files. I’m starting to work on a paper, which means I need to bring all the data files over and continue/finish the analysis. And, it’ll be useful to bring over the general bibtex file I use, so I don’t have to completely start over in building it.

On the plus side, my new computer is finally starting to feel ‘normal’ and all set-up. There’s becoming less and less of a scramble as I find I’m missing whatever program or file I need. And, my new computer still has much more free space then my old one, and is significantly faster, which makes a noticeable difference when I’m working on my program. Now I’ve just got my fingers crossed that this one will make it through the rest of my degree no matter how long (eek) or short (fingers crossed) that is.


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