For those of you who are students, or currently operating in some sort of academic environment, I highly recommend Lifehack.org. It is a great site for resources and support including suggested programs to increase your productivity. If nothing else, check out the ultimate student resource list. Wish I had had this (ok, and some self-discipline) in college. My current favorites from the list are as follows:
1. OpenOffice.org: I’ve actually been using this office software suite for quite a while. Not as pretty as Microsoft Office (spit thrice), but far more intuitive to use, compatible with every file type known to man, and (oh yeah) free. Don’t subsidize Bill Gates’ dysfunctional, resource-greedy software: Damn the Man! Start the Revolution!
2. GIMP.org: Sounds kinky, I know. Nevertheless, this is a great cheap alternative to Photoshop. And when I say ‘alternative’, I mean it is comparable, unlike the ‘editing’ software that came with your 3-in-1 printer/scanner/copier.
3. Mozy.com: A great online data backup program. For free, you can store 2GB, which oughta at least cover all those priceless papers and prize-winning essays you’ve been accumulating. For a fee you can get a lot more space, but at that point you might as well buy an external hard-drive. But if you’re a cheapskate like me, 2 gig will do the trick. I actually own all of my music on CD’s anyway.
4. Bubbl.us: This is a free “mind map” program. The concept of mind mapping is new to me, but this site seems to be a good place to start if you want to try to use this concept to organize your ideas into a coherent whole.
See Steve Bishop on mind maps if you, like myself, aren’t hip to this groove (he’s “Green Neocalvinist” on the sidebar).
He has all kinds of links and whatnot that should clear it all up for you, and get you started down the glorious path of trying to see all of your thoughts simultaneously. If you already map your mind, let me know what program you use, and why you like it.
5. Not related to the lifehack list, but rounding out my top five nonetheless, wishlist.com. Consolidate all of your coveting into one convenient place. Easy to use, organize, and publish so others can see all the desires of your heart and maybe even buy them for you.