Archive for November, 2006
I want to talk about some software that I’ve picked up. I haven’t had too much time to become an expert in all of it, but here goes:
Quicken 2007 for Mac
You know that I’ve been trying to not pay for software, and it seemed most appropriate not to pay for personal finance software. I tried every program I could get my hands on, from the cute but useless Cha-ching, to Moneydance to Checkbook to Money (not Microsoft) to Cashbox and so on. I tested them by trying to record transactions and assign categories to them; and I also tried to import my transactions from Scotiabank online. Most of the programs just didn’t have much functionality. They couldn’t really do anything and it was difficult to keep things straight (i.e. It was hard to tell one account from another, it was difficult to put categories to transactions, and there was hardly any reporting feature available.) I remembered using Quicken on my first Dell and though I had gone over to MS Money (that was before I hated MS), I remembered that Quicken was pretty good. I looked at the web site for Quicken and it felt like they (like everyone else in the business arena) put a low priority on Macs. In fact, the Quicken.ca web site clearly indicated that if you wanted Mac software, you had to buy it from the US web site. Short story long, I got it and it’s pretty good. It has way more features than any other finance software I tried, and even though it seems to recognize Scotiabank, I haven’t yet gotten it to directly connect (however, it is really easy for me to download my transactions into Quicken and reconcile and categorize them all).The winning feature, hands-down, though is the dashboard widget. The widget allows me to enter transactions directly from the dashboard, so I don’t have to open Quicken every time. This was a bit of a problem for me before because I would start to lose track because I didn’t keep updating my information in Quicken. This makes it so much easier (and you know how I likes me widgets!)
On that note, here are a few that I recently found that are fun and cool.
Sing-that-iTune downloads lyrics to songs for you as you listen to the song in iTunes. I don’t always sing along, but it’s a fun thing to have. It even puts the lyrics into the music file for you so you can read them any time.
Xcuts is a keyboard shortcut reference that is always there to provide handy quick key combos to do everything you can on Mac OS X. It’s really useful, especially when you’re still new like me and want to use the keyboard shortcuts. Who else is going to teach you?
Quote Conjurer is just something fun for the Potter geek (like myself). It gives you a new quote each day from the Harry Potter canon. Plus, it’s got awesome Disney-style drawings of the characters we know and love. It makes me smile.
Another program I love (and this one’s free) is called Todos. It is just an easy way to get at all your applications. You tell the program to scan your applications and when you activate the program (using a quick key combination like ctrl+option+command+space, then the screen pops up with all your application icons in one window where you can click them to activate. I love it because I don’t have to hunt through my applications folder anymore. They’re all at my fingertips. Cool!
Finally, I wanted to recommend a highly addictive game from the makers of the highly addictive game, Bejewelled. It’s called Zuma and the basic premise is that you are at the centre of the screen, shooting coloured balls at the line of coloured balls snaking around you towards the hole (Hole bad!). When you get three balls of the same colour in a row, they disappear and the when the gap closes, you could get a cascade reaction of coloured balls vanishing. Once in a while you get special balls that do things like move everything backward, explode or pause. It’s a really fun game. Windows users can play it free online via PopCap Games), but I could only play the demo. When I found myself playing the demo until 3am (since I knew that once I stopped, I couldn’t get back in). I decided to pay for a licence (something generally unheard of from me). Try Zuma!