Recently someone introduced me to this software: F.lux
Basically it’s a program that changes the color of your screen as it gets later at night to put your eyes at ease so it’s not like looking into the sun at midnight. You can change your time zone and the degree of effect it has, and disable it for a time when doing color-sensitive work. At first I thought it was crap until I turned it off one night and nearly blinded myself with my computer’s natural light. It’s a pretty cool tool for reducing eye strain when working long hours at a computer, and it’s free. Check it out.
Once it indexes all your files on first run, keep it running all the time in your task bar. It’s vastly better than Windows search. It reaches all files in your computer and the results are instant, even updating as you type. Wildcard characters are supported, and you can sort the results. I use this program multiple times a day, it’s so much easier to just type the name of a file or folder buried somewhere than browsing for it. It may take some time to get used to using it in your workflow but once you have you’ll never want to lose it.
If you’re using Windows 7, here are a couple of gems that you may not have discovered yet.
Very handy screenshot tool that lets you draw scribbles and highlights on the captured image. Way more convenient than using PrintScreen and an image editor, or some other third party screen capture tool. Launch it via: Start > Search > Snipping Tool
Very simple tool to zoom into your screen, whether for accessibility reasons, or to get a closer look when doing design work, etc. Launch it via: Start > Search > Magnifier. You can also simply use the default hot key, Windows + Plus key.
I’d say Evernote is my overall favorite desktop life-improving software. It’s so easy to just select an area of the screen and Evernote snapshots it and syncs it to my account. Later, while on the bus or whatever, I just open the Evernote app on the phone and review the information I’ve collected. With proper tagging of the input, it’s like having an extension of my memory.
(Although it’s a pity they managed to clutter the latest Evernote version, I liked the old versions better as they were more stripped from eye-candy and loaded the nodes faster.)
The lack of undo is indeed annoying, but the eraser tool works well enough to remove badly drawn lines.
I also agree with you. It’s a pity that a few other basic tools aren’t included such as box drawing and text labels, but I still enjoy the program for what it does. It’s great for those simple moments when you just need to quickly grab a screenshot and scribble a big fat “click here” arrow on top.
Patchbay + Studio & Session management application. Imagine that you just save currently running applications and connections between them. After reboot the only thing that you need is to open that session again. Also your virtual studio can have few different “rooms” for different purposes.
Actually, there is a bit more to it. It changes the color temperature, effectively reducing the blue light emitted by your screen.
The real benefit of this isn’t that you don’t get blinded, but that it counteracts the negative effects of blue light on your endocrine system.
Blue light suppresses the release of melatonin in your brain, which can cause disruptions in your circadian rhythm.
This is not only a concern with computer screens, but with all light sources containing blue light, but f.lux can help reduce your overall exposure to blue light.
To also add some more on-topic, I would like to recommend Cobain Backup, a free backup program for windows.