6 great non-audio tools worth checking out

I live inside the sequencing environment most of the time, but there are of course times where I have to venture out of the world of plugins, synths and samples and do other stuff to keep the studio and business running. Here are some of my favourite tools for doing just that:

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Simplyfile – a brilliant tool for organizing your Outlook inbox.

I get quite a lot of email every day, relating to many different projects – and keeping organized is thus pretty important to avoiding the dreaded inbox overload. SimplyFile helps you stay on top of the email barrage by letting you easily file emails into their appropriate folders, and makes navigating Outlook a breeze as well, all using keyboard shortcuts.

The latest version even adds batch processing to make it even easier to regain control of large inboxes. It tracks your filing habits and is actually quite good at making sensible suggestions as to where a particular email should be filed.

It’s a real time-saver, works much better than a rules-based approach (at least for me), and it’s turned out to be one of my favourite Outlook tools.

So if you ever feel that your inbox is getting the better of you, or if you’re juggling many projects at once, I’d really encourage you to take this for a spin!

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Xobni – keep up with your contacts, right in Outlook.

Xobni offers a great way of integrating your LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter accounts into Outlook, and also provides threaded messages, easy access to attachments and links exchanged, contact details and pictures, and more.

Very handy – and maybe I’m easily impressed, but it still gets me when I get an email from someone I haven’t communicated with before, and it automatically pulls up the photo of him or her from LinkedIn or Facebook.

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Total Commander – makes managing your files a breeze.

When I started out using PCs ages ago, the fabled Norton Commander was the go-to tool for file management, and Total Commander works in much the same way. With its two-pane file window approach, numerous handy keyboard shortcuts and customizations, FTP support and lightweight operation, it’s pretty much a Swiss army knife when it comes to file management.

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OneNote – Keep your notes and screen captures organized.

One of the more overlooked programs in the Office suite is Microsoft’s OneNote. With a flexible layout for organizing and searching your notes, a great type-anywhere-on-the-page approach and support for easy screen captures, it’s incredibly handy for keeping track of your meeting notes, to-do’s and basically anything you want to jot down and actually be able to find again.

As I understand it, EverNote does pretty much the same thing, but I haven’t gotten around to trying that yet – and for me, OneNote gets the job done.

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NOD32 – a lightweight, non-intrusive antivirus solution.

Since my main sequencing machine is also used for online activities such as email, web browsing and collaboration, staying secure is obviously a pretty sensible thing to do. I’ve found NOD32 to be a no-hassle solution that doesn’t affect performance in a noticeable way.

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F:Lux – avoid eye-strain on those long work sessions.

This is a tool I came across recently and I’ve really grown to like it. It basically adjusts the color settings on your display according to the time of day. Everything gets a somewhat more subdued glow to it in the evening, and if you – like me – spend long days (and nights) working on the computer, this can be quite a relief for your eyes.

It takes a bit of getting used to and you may need to adjust the colour levels to your taste, but after a while, your eyes will thank you for it. Just don’t use it when doing any kind of graphics work where colour accuracy is important (that would be any kind of graphics work, I guess :) )