Before running off into the arms of alcohol and disco-lights, give your girlfriend the gift that will make her year ROCK (or boyfriend, since this guide is written by a girl): a kick-ass machine for a kick-ass 2010 and without spending a single cent.
Foxy Does It
Download Firefox, and cut the stream of complaints to less than 5%. Fast, smart, and endlessly customizable, Firefox will probably change both your life and hers. To get her started with Firefox potential, go ahead and customize her Firefox installation by dressing it up, installing the coolest add-ons, and really nifty Greasemonkey scripts.
Thoughtpick’s recommended Firefox add-ons:
1) Get Greasemonkey, an extension that lets you add userscripts: change Facebook’s color, download YouTube videos, and remove ads in Gmail.
2) Get 1Password 3, a password rememberer.
3) Skin Firefox up with something pretty, like Glitter
4) Get Scrapbook, which saves blurbs from websites to your hard drive along with the originating websites, with options for organization and categorization.
Chat Junkie Fix
With a gazillion chatting services that we all somehow end up signed-up to, Pidgin, a universal chat client, will make her life much easier. Not only does it support the regular lot like Google Talk, MSN, and Yahoo, but also supports Facebook, Skype, and MySpace (via third party plugins). It will make your girlfriend quite happy to have all those annoying services running together from one place, with a darn cute mascot logo as well.
Give her access to the world’s movie, music, and software collections with uTorrent, a tiny and efficient BitTorrent client. It’s probably the easiest torrent client to use, and is small enough to run on a USB stick. Go ahead and skin it for her as well.
The usual problem with Bit Torrent software is that they’re a little too complicated, but this download will make life easy.
Minimize the risk of tears with AVG Anti-Virus. No more “Sob. My laptop is totaled. Sob.”
Meanwhile, you can also make her life a tad bit better with Norton Remover, which removes the super annoying “Update your virus software” messages that are even more annoying than viruses themselves.
Download AVG AntiVirus.
A Mac Wishlist
Improve the look of a Windows machine by “Macifying” it with Stacks, and Switcher. If she likes the look of OS X’s Stacks feature—which provides shortcuts to folder on your desktop— the free application StandaloneStack brings it to the QuickLaunch toolbar. Meanwhile, Switcher lets you see all your windows in a dock-like format, a grid, or a tile-format. You can also search through your applications from Stacks.
Finally, swap your girlfriend’s desktop with a very gorgeous illustration, that will make her day, every day. I know that there are tons of wallpaper sites out there, but if you delete all your wallpaper bookmarks, and keep just VladStudio, you’ll be doing your eyes a favor.
Finally, what are your favorite softwares, tweaks, and plugins that make a machine perfect? Let us know!
Bonus: Here are Thoughtpick’s favorites for VladStudio wallpapers (click to download):