I have been around computers since preschool during the 80s, and now my whole family pretty soundly has computers all over the place and so the best programs for certain tasks get found and used. So, as nobody reads this blog and it's sooo pressing to know. The following are programs you should use.
Web browsing with a much improved browser. I also highly recommend getting adblock as an add-on.
Post it notes for your computer desktop. Many members of my family use them, and use the network features as well. It is not uncommon to toss notes around the house with the program.
Instant Messenger client for all the major instant messenger software suites. It does ICQ, AOL, MSN, Yahoo... and save the hassle of caring about the messengers and having too many odd tray programs.
Displays bandwidth usage and statistics for your computer. You can tell how much information is moving through your system.
Basically the it program for IRC communications. Has a built in language and a vast number of scripts for it. I've written quite a few myself.
FastStone Image Viewer
Graphics viewer. I use to use ACDSee for such a purpose, but they got too clunky.
Team Talk 3
Very basic network speech capabilities, a must for slightly dispersed LAN parties.
Mouse Gestures for windows. Draw a 'C' to close. 'W' for web. Amazing how often they are exceedingly useful.
Still makes the list even though Vuze is just stupid. Great bit torrent client with a good set of fantastic features.