Inspired by Scott Hanselman I bring you my own list of software I absolutely positively cannot live without. This list of software has taken years to compile: I didn’t start out with a list of software as a goal, I simply needed to get a job done. Every single time I need to get a new job done I go out and select the top ten pieces of software which solve a given problem. This list is narrowed down until I’m left with a single piece which will go into my tool box. I refine my tool box continually but some of the piece of software has lived in my tool box for many years, EditPlus is one such piece of software, WinRAR is another. Some categories are left out entirely as time moves on, examples of these would be FTP and IRC which I used religiously previously but have no need for recently.
My quest for an ever increasing level of quality in my tool box has even taken me so far as to consider an different platform than Windows altogether. I’ve yet to explore the Apple platform but I do find that some very interesting pieces of software live on that particular platform. Maybe in the future, for now I’m bound to the Windows platform.
LaunchyProvides fast access to your start menu by popping up a window in which you type the name or part of the name of the program you wish to launch. No need to click on the start menu ever again. My thoughts on Launchy.
TweakUIAllows for customization of a lot of Windows XP settings. I primarily use this tool to change the location of the “My” folders pointing to locations outside of the Documents and Settings folder in order to facilitate easy backup and faster access. I usually keep my folders on a separate drive than the Windows drive in a folder called Users. Also I point the My Documents folder to the root of my user folder instead of the documents folder which gives me quick access to all my files from the start menu,
Firefox needs no further introduction. I debated long and hard whether to include it or not. Since I use this browser pretty intensively I figured that I’d better put it on my list as it is usually the first piece of software to get installed. I like Internet Explorer 7 and I think that the user interface of that particular browser is better than what we get with Firefox, but Firefox brings lots and lots of plugins to the table which enables us to customize to our heart’s content. Specifically I enjoy TabMix Plus as it allows me to configure my tabs exactly the way I want them.
The easy-to-use interface makes it a snap to stay informed with the latest news and information. You can completely customize the way feeds are organized and displayed and set up custom news watches based on keywords. You can even download podcasts and audio files and have them show up on your portable audio device. In addition, FeedDemon now synchronizes with NewsGator Online and the rest of the NewsGator RSS Suite. The software is pre-configured with dozens of feeds, so you can unleash the power of RSS right away. My thoughts on FeedDemon 2.
FeedDemon 2 replaces Omea Reader as my RSS reader recommendation due to persisting bugs in the Omea product.
BlogJet is a weblog client for Windows that allows you to manage your blog(s) without opening a browser. Those who are seriously concerned with blogging, cannot imagine their work without using this wonderful tool with elegant interface.
EditPlusNotepad replacement supporting multiple documents in the same window. Automatically colors code with support for many languages.
FoxItPdfReaderA faster less cluttered PDF reader.
For burning CDROMs and DVDs. I’m not too fond of the latest version of this software so I may end up finding something better. If you have a suggestion please feel free to mail it me.
PureText is basically equivalent to opening Notepad, doing a PASTE, followed by a SELECT-ALL, and then a COPY. The benefit of PureText is performing all these actions with a single Hot-Key and having the result pasted into the current window automatically. I use this tool all the time when copying snippets from sources around the web.
WinMergeA visual text file differencing and merging tool. It is highly useful for determining what has changed between project versions, and then merging changes between versions.
ResharperJetBrains ReSharper is a Visual Studio .NET add-in that brings intelligent C# code editing and coding assistance features to VS.NET. By intelligent features we mean usage search, powerful refactorings, smart type completion, using assistant and more. In brief, ReSharper truly understands C# code. My thoughts on Resharper.
Consolas FontThe Microsoft Consolas Font Family is a set of highly legible fonts designed for ClearType. It is intended for use in programming environments and other circumstances where a monospaced font is specified. This installation package will set the default font for Visual Studio to Consolas. My thoughts on the Consolas Font.
CopySourceAsHTMLAn add-in for Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 that allows you to copy source code, syntax highlighting, and line numbers as HTML. CSAH uses Visual Studio's syntax highlighting and font and color settings automatically. If Visual Studio can highlight it, CSAH can copy it, and your source should look the same in your browser as it does in your editor.
Cool Commands for Visual Studio 2005Adds a couple of useful features to Visual Studio 2005: Open Containing Folder for Files,Copy Reference, Add Projects from Folder are the ones I use the most. My thoughts on Cool Commands.
Paint.NETAn image and photo manipulation software It supports layers, unlimited undo, special effects, and a wide variety of useful and powerful tools. Covers the basic image editing needs. My thoughts on Paint.NET.
PicasaPicasa is a photo management tool from Google which provides a very nice interface for browsing your photos. Also includes basic photo editing tools such as red eye removal.
CropperCropper is a screen capture utility. It makes it fast and easy to grab parts of your screen. Use it to easily crop out sections of vector graphic files such as Fireworks without having to flatten the files or open in a new editor. Use it to easily capture parts of a web site, including text and images. It's also great for writing documentation that needs images of your application or web site. My thoughts on Cropper.
GetCanon!Image downloader for Canon digital cameras. It's small, quick and simple. It can download images, rotate them automatically and delete them from camera. If you hate the "designer" interface of Canon utilities and hate Windows messing with image filenames, this is the right tool for you.
iTunesiTunes doesn’t really need an introduction. I use this guy because of the very nice integration with the iPod and the sleek podcasting support.
AirFoilSend any audio to the AirPort Express. My thoughts on AirFoil.
Archiver with support for almost all the archive formats out there. I use this one to avoid having multiple archivers installed and because it integrates nicely into the Windows shell.
Daemon Tools ISO Mounter
A tool for mounting ISO images as CDROM drives.
FolderShare is a service that allows you to securely keep files synchronized between your devices, share files with friends or colleagues, and remotely download your files from any web browser. I use this tool for both remote backup and synchronization between work and home.
Bittorrent is becoming a pervasive means of distribution on the internet and this client brings a whole lot of features to the table making it on par with clients such as Azureus and BitComet but at the same time being smaller and more importantly not a Java based piece of software
The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent
my employer's view in any way.