Useful Software More People Should Be Aware Of


#1

Thought we maybe could use a thread where we can just post about that software you stumbled across that made your life easier and want to tell everyone else about :slightly_smiling_face:

To start off I would like to suggest Voice Meter Banana and DaVinci Resolve.

Voice Meter Banana is a virtual audio mixer which makes having multiple audio out devices a lot easier to manage as well as allowing one to easily filter audio when streaming. For example my friends and I occasionally stream while playing for each other but it gets really annoying when you hear yourself talking from Discord in the Stream. With VMB I have it setup so that game audio is going to a virtual audio device before going to my headphones which means I can then just have OBS record the audio from that virtual audio device and the stream never hears my Discord chat.

DaVinci Resolve is hands down the best free video editor I have used. I can’t begin to tell you how many various video editors I tried and while I would much prefer open source DaVinci doesn’t crash every 15 minutes like they all seem to do while also having some nice features that I probably will never use. Having now gotten Vegas Pro from a recent Humble Bundle I would almost say a normal user isn’t going to notice a difference between the two.


#2

I use VB-Audio software for the same purpose! It works great, though it requires some mental gymnastics (for me) to understand which audio signal is going where and for which purpose. Once you set it up, though, it’s simple to use, and I also recommend it!

I love a little app for MacOS called Caffeine, which manifests as a coffee cup icon in your system tray. When you click it, it disables your monitor from dimming/computer from going to sleep. Super lightweight, simple, and I use it extremely often.

So looking it up just now, I found out the dev stopped working on it awhile ago. It still works for me on High Sierra, but it is apparently unpredictable and my experience may be an edge case. Either way, it is so well-liked that imitators have sprouted up in its place to suit modern OSes. Here is a well liked imitation called Amphetamine.


#3

Your not the only one I may have ended up drawing out a diagram to try and figure it out lol

The simplest way I can describe to do it is:

  1. Set default audio device on your computer to VoiceMeeter Aux Output

  2. In Discord’s audio settings set your headphones as it’s default out

  3. In OBS set Desktop Audio to VoiceMeeter Aux Input

  4. Switch to push to talk on both OBS and Discord so you can interact with your discord and your viewers separately

The reason you need to set the default audio device on your computer is because most games do not give you the option to pick output device they just assume you want the default. That said you could use something like CheVolume but I haven’t tried it. I have not noticed any sort of delay in audio either for those wondering.


#4

ugh THANKS I always forget this process when I change my mic setup!


#5

I tried DaVinci Resolve a while back and loved all the features and UI, but about halfway through my first project, it started crashing every time I tried to open a different timeline and I couldn’t fix it. :frowning:

Maybe I should see if there have been any updates and try it again. I’ve been using Vegas Pro, which is a lot less fancy but, so far, more stable.


#6

Bulk Rename Utility has saved my ass on more than a few occasions. For example, one time I was working on an animation project and I had a batch of images named imagename-41 to imagename-250. In order to get them to work with the other tool I was using, they NEEDED to be frame_000 to frame_209. This tool let me rename and renumber all of the files at once in about 2 seconds.

As the name suggests, it’s a tool you can use to automatically change name of a ton of files all at once, based on a bunch of different options.

http://www.bulkrenameutility.co.uk/Main_Intro.php


#7

This one is pretty nerdy niche, but I’ve been using jq a ton lately for dealing with JSON API data. It’s a command line tool that lets you query, parse and output JSON data, and its SOOOO good! If you have a similar need, you should check it out.


#8

WinDirStat is probably the best way to deal with your files especially if you can’t figure out what the fuck has happened to your hard drive space, where has it all gone?


#9

I’ve been using f.lux for a couple of years now. Great software to reduce eye strain when using your computer at night.


#10

A script blocker like uMatrix or NoScript is one of the first things I install on a new browser


#11

I use this Stickies app constantly for unorganized scraps of text. Shopping lists, code snippets, links, phone numbers, reminders… I even use its alarm feature to time tea.

If your brain is as broken as mine from years of using “commander-style” or “dual-pane” file managers (Norton/Midnight/Total Commander, xplorer2, FAR) I can’t recommend Multi Commander enough. It’s free, the keyboard shortcuts are where they should be, and it’s got features competitive with the best commercial file managers. Bulk rename, archive management, checksums, network browsing, tabs, filters, scripting, and intense UI customization. I have no idea if any of you are the kind of nerd who would use this, but I completely depend on it, so I wanted to at least give it a shout-out.

Edit: I almost forgot about SpeedCrunch. If you’re baffled about why most calculator software pretends to be a physical calculator with a UI dominated by a big grid of buttons, SpeedCrunch is what you want. Just type an expression, hit enter, see the answer. It’s got history, functions and variables, a built-in collection of constants and formulas. A happy medium between the Windows calculator and a full-on numeric programming environment.


#12

Stretchly is an app that reminds you to take breaks and stretch. Useful for both home and office environments!


#13

this one is probably common but Notepad+ has totally replaced a lot of text editing programs for me.

little conveniences like how it stores new files in memory without having to save a permanent copy, automatically putting text between brackets or quotes really make it useful for a basic text editor for short writing or taking notes

i also use writemonkey for slightly longer writing, since it gives me a word count/length when spoken which is useful for writing on the internet or getting an idea of how long a video might be from the script


#14

Slightly meta, but I’ve recently become a fan of Chocolatey for installing software on Windows and keeping it up to date. (I’d also highly recommend ChocolateyGUI so you don’t have to deal with the command line.)


#15

I switched from PUTTY to MobaXterm for all my remote session needs because I like having my terminals be tabbed and have ftp in the same spot. It has a lot of other great tools built in as well such as a nice gui wrapper for nmap.

Etcher is my go to boot ISO burner now. Simple and straight forward.


#16

Speedcrunch is great! It’s a little bit like another really good tool I like a lot, Soulver, which is sort of like a spreadsheet in a list form with a calculator. Really nice, and not at all skeuomorphic. (I daily groan about how the VOIP software at work tries to pretend it’s a physical phone. It’s so awful, including the little tiny, hard to discern “voice mail light”.)


#17

Lots of really good software here!

For anyone that’s getting into PC/Desktop repair, keep these three sites near you:

SysInternals Tools - https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/

Extremely powerful debugging software and power tools for Windows. ProcXP (Expanded Process Explorer) and AutoRuns will always help you find and get to the possible crux of many problems. Once you’re more comfortable in knowing what tools to use, you can get quick access to these tools using live.sysinternals.com and picking out what you need piecemeal.

Nirsoft - Nirsoft.net
Freeware utilities that are surprisingly useful! works on Windows ranging from 98 to Windows 10.

Ninite - Ninite.com
Easy to install/update common software like Firefox, PuTTy, and N++, very uesful when rebuilding a machine or just needing to install something in a pinch.


#18

Seconding windirstat because it saves a ton of headaches every time your hard drive gets full. Pair it with my other suggestion, which is Duplicate File Finder. I’ll recommend it with caveats, because it’s a free product that very much wants you to buy the company’s other non-free products, but as long as you pay attention to what you click when you’re downloading/installing it should be fine. It’s really helpful if you’ve got folders of old hard drive backups all nested in one another. There are other options out there, but I’ve stuck with this one mainly because it can compare file contents so it’ll still find File.jpg and File (1).jpg. Also because once you organize your hard drives, you generally don’t need to use it again very frequently!

My other favorite free app is Greenshot, which is like Windows snipping tool but better because instead of having to open it and then hit a hotkey, you can just bind it to printscreen (or any key) and automatically pull up the screenshot tool in one key press. Then it can be configured to automatically save into any folder. Plus a bunch of other features.

In the same category, GifCam is an easy way to make gifs, which is still surprisingly annoying to do these days.

As a bonus, here’s a Reddit thread with hundreds of suggestions for free software, which some useful person has compiled into a neat list at the top!


#19

I don’t use it often, but if I need to seriously work when I have little to no concentration left, I use an app called Self Control which allows me to block websites for a designated period of time. It’s enough of a pain to get around the lock out that I rethink bothering and just go back to work.

It’s a Mac app but the author lists some Windows alternatives in the FAQ.

edit.
Bear is a brilliant (lightweight) Evernote alternative for those that don’t need too many bells and whistles. It organizes content using tags rather than folders which I’ve personally grown quite partial to. It also uses markdown to style notes.

YACReader is how I organize and read comics that I don’t buy through Comixology.


#21

Programs for file sorting and animation:

File sorting
Ive been using windirstat for a while but tree size is so much better, it displays the information easier and it scans the files quicker

Animation
Another program a lot of people are not aware of but its super great is OpenToonz its been used by sutdio Ghibli to animate some of their movies, it has a bunch of super neat features for hand drawn animation including the program for scanning drawings on paper that recognises your lines really well!
There’s a ton of neat features the only con is that its all new so if youre looking to start using it i recommend youtube tutorials. Theres two playlists id recommend: this one and this one