If you use any Windows OS, you're probably used to the standard program installation process. First you download a program. Then you click "Next" about 5,000 times. Then you check a box that says "I have read and agree to these terms and conditions" and then you click "Next" another 5,000 times. It's that simple.
Well it turns out there's a much easier way to install many common Windows applications. A friend recently told me about an online service called Ninite which makes installation easier than I could have ever dreamed. Their website shows a list of all the applications they can install for you. You check a box next to each app that you want on your computer, then you click a big button that says "Get Installer". This downloads a file to your computer which, when run, quietly installs every app you selected. No "Next" buttons. No terms of service. It seriously might be the easiest tool I've ever used in my life. Plus, it's completely free and you don't even have to create an account to use it.
They probably don't support every single application you want on your computer, but they've got most of the basics covered. I just ran through their list and they have 14 applications that I always install on new computers. 14! That means that the next time I get a computer I can spend about one minute using Ninite to install all 14 programs instead of spending an hour going through the mindless "Next" process for each individual app.
There are other nice benefits to using Ninite. One thing I really like is that you can select a list of applications and then give your friends a link directly to the download page (here's my list of 14 - warning, that link will ask you to download the installer). So the next time a non-tech savvy family member or friend gets a new computer, you can just pick out the applications they need and Ninite will install them all. I also liked browsing the list of applications Ninite supports because I saw a few apps I hadn't heard of before.
To summarize, Ninite is amazing. If you are a Windows user, I recommend checking them out at ninite.com. Even if you don't need to install anything now, it's definitely worth remembering for the next time you buy a new computer. The only real problem I have with Ninite is that it makes me realize how stupid every other software company is for putting us through the endless stream of "Next" buttons.
Thanks to Michael for telling me about Ninite.