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I tend to have a handful of 'core' applications that cover most of what i need. On the other hand, there tend to be some programmes that i need once in a blue moon, and i'm finding that i'm forgetting what they are. At one point i had a wiki for it, but i'm curious how other people handle the problem.

So, what's the means that you use to keep a database or other record of rarely used, but useful applications?

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I keep the installers (yes, I run Windows at the moment). –  Nathaniel Mar 31 '10 at 3:35
    
Could you give some example as to what you're reffering to ... your question is quite vague as it is now. –  ldigas Mar 31 '10 at 3:37
    
@Nathaniel: So do I... this is what happens when you have 2 TB of hard drive space you don't know what to do with. –  Mark Mar 31 '10 at 3:37
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a recent example was when we needed to split up a PDF on an office system. While PDF split and merge did the job, i couldn't remember what it was called and had to google randomly till i found it. I think its counter productive to keep everything when i can look it up somewhere, and download the latest version –  Journeyman Geek Mar 31 '10 at 3:47
    
@The Journeyman geek - you need to split a split a pdf, google for "pdf split" ... the first that pops up is the above mentioned. I mean, remembering a name like "PDF Split and ..." when needing to split a pdf ... is hardly troubling. It's not like it's called "beezlebumbitum". Next thing we'll be needing a list of tools ... "hammer a nail" --> tool --> "hammer" –  ldigas Apr 6 '10 at 18:51
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6 Answers

I use one of two techniques (linux solution):

  1. Search your package manager - it contains descriptions for thousands of apps & will tell you if they are installed or not.
  2. If I'm pretty sure I have it installed, but can't remember it, I open a terminal and type:

    man -k <whatever I'm interested in>
    

to return a list of programs (with manual pages) that have the text above in the name or description.

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A couple of years ago I created a text file called software.txt. If I ever find an application that solves a particular problem or I think is neat, I make a note of it there. It's small, portable, and doesn't require any additional software to read it.

Then after I've wiped my PC and am trying to find that really cool bandwidth monitor that I can't remember the name of, I just check my software.txt file:

duplicity - encrypted backups
vnstat - bandwidth monitor
Pyroom - Distraction free full screen text editor
Handbrake - DVD Rip and Video Encoder
Dia - Visio Style Diagrams
alltray - put any program in system tray
...
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Use gmail or google docs to store the list, now you can upload a few files to docs too, if you have webspace you can wget the software and link it too your document with description or just link it to the source , using google docs has the added advantage of sharing/ collaboration.

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MediaWiki works well for this purpose in that you can store links,screenshots,guides etc. all in one place that(depending on your configuration) can be accessed from anywhere. Actually wikis in general are good for this purpose. It also gives you the added benefit of letting other people use your knowledge base.

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In OS-X, I use the Finder/Spotlight comment feature to associate keywords with unusual applications and custom scripts. They show up in Finder windows and are quickly searchable with Spotlight.

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I realize I'm late to the party, but a solution that has worked well for me is to put apps in Dropbox, using Universal Extractor to avoid installation, then use PStart to organize and launch the apps. Pstart lets you search for apps and provide descriptions, as well as organize them into categories. It's perfect for those times when you know there's an app for what you want to do but you can't remember what it was called.

I probably have over 500 apps, but they're easy to manage. enter image description here

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