Internet Stamping Ground

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The internet can be a bewildering place and at times it can be difficult to find what you’re looking for.  Even with Google being just a click away, finding reliable sources for information, wallpapers, applications and so forth can be a taxing and downright frustrating exercise.  With that in mind, I’ve decided to compile a list of sites I frequent in the hopes of offering a little assistance.  Since a multitude of Linux distros enable users to download apps from their desktops (in essence) with the help of built-in features such as Ubuntu’s Software Center, this list will be for Windows users (for the most part).  Windows remains my primary OS (and probably will be for some time) for as much as I enjoy using Ubuntu, I am a gamer and unfortunately Windows still offers the best platform for gaming, though thanks to Steam that might all change as Ubuntu is officially supported by the platform.

Desktop

While many operating systems come preloaded with a multitude of wallpapers and themes, they tend to get old very quickly, luckily the internet has countless resources to remedy this dilemma.

4walled | A very handy image scraper for popular Chan sites, modify search criteria (screen resolution etc) in order to suit your needs.

The Paper Wall | Arranged by categories and resolution.  Offers wallpaper packs for download as well as a featured ‘wallpaper of the day’.

Wallpapers Wide | Offers organised categories for ease of use and automatically detects your screen resolution.

Rocket Dock | These guys haven’t really provided any meaningful updates in a long, long time, however Rocket Dock still offers a very nice and clean way to manage desktop icons.

Fences | Stardock has offered Windows users alternative themes and skinning for years now, and not until recently I began using a very nice app called Fences that allows you to segregate your desktop icons into customisable categories.

DisplayFusion | If like me, you have a dual monitor setup then DisplayFusion is definitely worth considering.  DisplayFusion allows you to spread a single wallpaper over multiple screens, set different wallpapers on each and offers a variety of window and image options.

Applications

While Windows certainly offers a variety of preinstalled software, users will typically have to download additional software and packages in order to customise their computing experience.

File Hippo | Offers a plethora of software, arranged by category.  Also offers the option to download older versions of chosen software.

CCCP | Still my first choice in codec packs, has the added benefit of installing Media Player Classic (just remember to set MPC to auto-load subtitles).

File Sharing

While file sharing sites certainly attract all sorts of controversy, they are nonetheless a necessity for millions of users, including myself.

µTorrent | My torrent client of choice for Windows, user friendly and intuitive.

Kickass Torrents | Sure Pirate Bay has been around for ages and is perhaps the most controversial file sharing site out there, but I find Kickass to be more useful and comprehensive than its infamous competitor.

Browser add-ons

By now you will have no doubt selected your favourite browser for your internet exploring needs.  I like to use a combination of Chrome and Firefox – Chrome is fast and stable but lacks features, Firefox is buggy and filled with bloat, but regardless the latter remains my primary browser due to a combination of add-ons that are fundamental to my browsing experience.

Adblock Plus | Available for Chrome as well, Adblock Plus is an extremely useful deterrent for unwanted and invasive advertisements as well as pop-ups.

DownThemAll! | A useful image scraper, I use this add-on primarily for Chan sites, open a page and download all the images without having to open each link individually.

Video DownloadHelper | The indispensable video download tool, works great with YouTube allowing you to choose the desired resolution.

Security

Comodo Internet Security | It’s a well known fact that Windows Firewall is severely lacking and one of the first things to do after a fresh install is to locate a more efficient means of securing your PC.  After trying out a multitude of free solutions, I find Comodo to be the most effective and least invasive tool to do the job.

Enjoy this post, wish to add to it? Then add a comment or click the like button.  Constructive criticism is always welcome and I’d like to hear about your favourite apps and sites too, or perhaps even better alternatives.

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One thought on “Internet Stamping Ground

  1. Good set of resources. I love Comodo as it allows my to get rid of UAC (which is MS trying to implement a *nix permission system and failing dismally because so much software requires priviledges) . Running in “Paranoid Mode”, I don’t even bother with AVG updates any more and likely won’t reinstall AVG next format. The “Game Mode” option that easily lets you run games without hassle (some games and apps requiring permissions to access things from faux network interfaces to registry entries). Been my favourite security tool since XP but it really shows its metal on Win7.
    As for utilities (and eyecandy), you may want to check this really awesome suite of apps out:
    http://arainia.com/software/gizmo/
    Sadly there’s a very small community and IDK if it’s still being actively developed (~3years since a major release) but it’s a great set of utilities from virtual drives (superior to Daemon Tools) to scripting, to docks (with an s) to databases, to editors (text, code, hex).

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