Pimping a few products I’ve started using

Wednesday, January 10, 2007 4:18 PM

XanaNews - NNTP readerReaders of this blog are all to familiar with my displeasure over any and all NNTP news readers out there on the market. Over the last two years, I’ve settled with Omea Reader. Finally I had enough and found I stayed away from newsgroups because I hated opening Omea. After asking around and having so many suggesting I try out XanaNews, I decided to finally give it a shot. It basically has everything I’ve been looking for with only one or two exceptions (namely no alerts when there’s activity on a thread I’ve participated on). But those few lacking features were mitigated by the features it does bring to the table.

Aside from every other NNTP reader out there, it has some slick (and configurable) conditional color highlighting (not just in the message pane, but also in the newsgroup list as well). You can also batch up message downloads (for instance, I have a “SharePoint” batch that pulls downloads all new messages from specific groups I’ve selected). A killer feature that most seem to be lacking: an outbox! I can finally reply and post to newsgroups from the plane, sending them when I get reconnected. Very nice!

Only blemish on it: the keyboard shortcuts aren’t what you’d expect (such as what we have in Outlook or FeedDemon) and I’ve yet to find a way to customize them. Not terrible, but definitely not ideal.

All for … wait for it… $0.00! Not sure what the exchange rate translates that into your currency, but I’m guessing it’s a pretty good price point for your budget.

» http://www.wilsonc.demon.co.uk/xananews.htm

MindJet’s MindManager Pro 6 - mind mappingI must have been under a rock because the technique of mind mapping was not a familiar concept to me. After a tip, I took a look at the technique and also MindJet’s MindManager Pro suite… specifically the demos on their Web site. I was instantly blown away and could easily see the benefit to this! Always in search of better ways to get the same tasks accomplished or automate tasks, I’m a huge fan and proponent of tools like OneNote, NotePad++ (tabbed notepad with easy zoom commands), and Console2 (tabbed console windows). MindManager Pro is another one that’s recently been added to my arsenal.

I’ve only used it to create a handful of maps, but it’s killer! I’m working on a chapter for an upcoming book and while I’d normally brainstorm into OneNote, I used MindManager. It was super easy to get my thoughts onto the map and, most importantly, it was VERY fast.

This one isn’t free… but like OneNote, Outlook, FeedDemon, and anything DevExpress… it’s worth it’s weight in gold.

» http://www.mindjet.com/us/products/mindmanager_pro6

Wouldn’t it be nice if companies started putting the most common (or let you pick the most common) keyboard shortcuts in the status bar at the bottom of their apps? Most apps use only 20% of the status bar. Sure would be nice if companies would show you the most common commands rather than you either having to open the menu to see what they are (as they usually put the shortcuts in the menu items).

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