My Software Tools List: What I Put On My Machine
My new laptop should arrive any day now (yay! It just came!), so in preparation for setting it all up again, here's my list of everything I'll put on it (in the spirit of Scott Hanselman's excellent "Ultimate Developer and Power Users Tool List for Windows"):
Standard Fare and Utilities
- Windows Vista Ultimate (and soon Windows 7)
I'd put the Beta on now, but that means a repave would come too soon.
I bind it to Win-A and instantly have the best application launcher out there for Windows. Almost as pretty as Launchy and Enso (well, not quite, but we can't be too picky) and even more functional than SlickRun. After first trying it, it promptly became my launcher of choice; it's ridiculous how much you can do with it.
Absolutely necessary when running multi-monitors (latest beta works without issues). DisplayFusion looks good as well so I'm actually going to try it out as it's the first legitimate competitor I've seen for Ultramon in all the years I've used it.
Phenomenal way to securely store and use login credentials and software codes, and autofill registration and checkout forms (including credit card information). Expensive but worth it. I've also been trying out LastPass on my netbook. RoboForm's usability is a tiny bit better (for i.e. keyboard shortcuts are better, especially for initial login) and it is more secure because data is only stored locally (which I use Windows Live Sync - see below - to synchronize between multiple machines), but LastPass has the huge convenience of having a central repository so that data is instantly synced between all machines (including the ability to get access from other machines, including public ones where you can utilize one time login credentials for greater security). Oh, and LastPass if free. Regardless, use something and create strong passwords.
Tiny clipboard history manager. I've been using the beta x86 version with very few glitches for a long time now. Will be using the x64 beta on the new machine.
- Windows Live Sync (aka FolderShare)
Great way to securely sync files between your different machines, and if wanted, between different users. I use it to sync RoboForm data, YNAB data, and more.
Screen capturing software. When Peter first told me how much he loved it, I guffawed and told him it was screen capturing software! How could it be worth $50 USD?!? (even more in beaver bucks). But I tried out the trial and...well, me of so little faith: Peter was right. Phenomenal piece of software that I promptly purchased (do a google for a coupon codes for a price reduction).
- Microsoft Office 2007
Someday there will be a replacement for this software that seems stuck back in the 90's, but until there is, couldn't live without it even though it regularly contributes to a receding hair line (I am so thankful I am not a bookkeeper and I raise my glass to the wonderful bookkeepers in my life: Pat and Maxine).
Please backup, backup often, and backup off-site. Mozy makes the process easier, although I think I'll be trying out IDrive this time around because of many additional features including its ability to synchronize multiple machines to local media (external USB drive) which then syncs up online. I've got ~90GB of data so I'm hoping the synchronization process is a little faster with IDrive (Mozy churns away "replicating splines" when determining what of my local 90GB of data has changed/been added - apparently that's some sci-fi reference). Regardless, both are dirt cheap for personal home use (unlimited for $4.95/month with yearly discounts available). Eventually I'll get a Windows Home Server configured too, which will be even better!
- Windows Live Messenger (aka MSN Messenger)
Someday I'll find an alternative that works well (have tried Trillian and Pidgin, but both have bigger shortcomings either in usability or stability). At least there's a registry hack you can do to remove the ads in Windows Live Messenger (no, I am still not interested in "Singles in Surrey").
Great file compression (that can also read and write to RAR and ZIP).
A registry hack that is used to make certain keys on a keyboard act like other keys. I use this to map unused keys on my Apple keyboard to something more useful:
- f13: Print Screen (used all the time with SnagIt)
- f14: Insert
- f16: Mute
- f17: Volume Down
- f18: Volume Up
- f19: Calculator
- Right-Ctrl: Application Menu
What Vista should have done for its Alt-Tab implementation.
- YNAB Pro
Budgeting software that just works.
- Pantone Huey PRO
Torrent Episode Downloader with a great name ;-)
- Startup Delayer
- Windows Live Writer
- ffdshow and K-Lite Codec Pack
Just use this codec pack to cover pretty much any codec you need to view or listen to digital media.
Used to sync contacts and calendar with all other machines for accounts other than Exchange.
- Acronis TrueImage
- Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 Professional
Friends don't let friends develop without it.
- Subversion, TortoiseSVN, and VisualSVN
I'd like to say something about this combo, but words fail me.
Free add-in for visual Studio that automatically generates XML documentation comments for C#.
- VMWare Player/VMWare Workstation
The former is free, and the latter is expensive. The latter also makes like easier, but you can hack things (legally of course) to get the player to do what you need it to. There wouldn't be a dilemma except for the fact that the player is prettier and has Unity (where the guest application windows look just like host application windows, but with color-coded borders - much easier to tab through applications while developing)! Unity is in Beta for Windows right now, so once it's out of beta, I guess I'll go for less pretty with more functionality (and the relatively hefty price tag).
- ANTS Profiler
- Microsoft Virtual PC
- .NET Reflector
- Adobe Creative Suite Design Premium
- NH Prof
If you do anything at all with NHibernate, just buy this (beta promotional pricing still in affect).
- Beyond Compare 3
Another "just buy it" bit of software. I got a discount coupon through DonationCoder.com that is no longer there, but hopefully will return.
If you do anything with Regex, have mercy on yourself and buy this. Worth every penny.
- SQL Server
- Oracle .NET Client
- And more of the usual...
Firefox and Add-Ons
Deserves a section all to itself.
As they say, "Web Development Evolved"
Not only does it analyze web pages and help point out why they're slow, it also provides an easy way to view file references
- Web Developer
- Delicious Bookmarks
I'm kind of lost without this add-on. You can get it working with Google Chrome if you want too (and IE is supported).
Manages user scripts for firefox so that you can make a site, for i.e. Google Reader, look the way you want it to. For my Asus EEE PC, I use the "Google Reader Absolutely Compact" script to make the best use of the netbook's smaller screen.
- Hide MenuBar
Hides the menu bar which is a complete waste of screen space (and still easily available by pressing the Alt key)
Formats and linkifies addresses in your address bar.
FTP client integrated with the browser.
- Download Statusbar
- jQuery Menu
- Canadian English Dictionary
Hosehead is a word, eh!