What applications do you find useful in blogging?
I give a list below of some that I use and recommend. Give me some feedback on these or others you use.
File and website management
Personal Brain (see Using your brain) is a non-hierarchical system of storing links to web pages, email, documents and other files, as well as applications. It’s the first thing I go to when a boot-up in the morning. I am continually using it to bookmark useful blogs and websites, and to provide easily accessible links to spreadsheets, documents and applications I use. In many ways it has replaced windows explorer for me
Google’s iGoogle is useful for collecting together all those often used web sites (e.g. Wikipedia, library, banking) feeds, news, searches (constantly updated), etc. It’s like a home page. I particularly like the ability to have continuously updated links.
I prefer Google Reader and use as my defualt feed reader for blog sites and web pages. I also use it for my podcast feeds (in preference to itunes and podcaster) as it has the advantage of locating all feeds in one place. Reader also enables me to set up feeds to Google searches on selected subjects and include them in widgets. These can be placed in my iGoogle page and on web pages and blog sites. (See for example my In the news and Evolution News widgets).
A useful recent addition to Google reader is the “show details” function which shows the number of subscriptions (only those through Google Reade) to specific sites. It’s interesting to get some idea of the popularity of blogs via their Google Reader subscriptions.
I normally use Copernic Agent Professional which aggregates results for 15 search engines (including Google) in normal web searches and can be used for a wide range of different types of searches (patents, software, images, newsgroups, science publications, etc.). However, I find Google Images useful very rapid location of images for adding to posts and Google Scholar useful for locating information from more authoritative scientific publications. These are easily accessed from icons in the browser toolbars.
Google Alerts is also handy and it can provide update feeds of searches for inclusion in Google reader and iGoogle.
I prefer the Firefox browser and use a number of extensions. The most useful to me is CoLT which makes it easy to copy either a hyperlink’s text or both the link and the link’s text (in a format you specify). Two handy context-menu items make this possible, and don’t add clutter; the items are only visible when right-clicking a link!
Commentful is a service that watches comments/follow-ups on Blog posts, Digg submissions, Flickr galleries, and many other types of content. When ever there is an update, i.e a new follow-up, Commentful notifies you instantly. I can also get Commentful updates as a feed and access them from Google reader.
Using your brain