Software I use
Created 4 February 2007, last updated 12 May 2009
This is a summary of the various pieces of software I regularly use. For the most part, links here are to blog posts I’ve written about them, but some links are direct to the software page.
I use Windows, primarily out of familiarity and habit. Here are extras I use to augment Windows:
- Cygwin, for adding dozens of useful Unix utilities.
- John’s Background Switcher, for displaying pretty pictures on my desktop.
- TaskSwitchXP improves the Alt-Tab behavior so you can see what program you are switching to.
- Taskbar Shuffle lets me rearrange my taskbar icons.
- Launchy is an unobtrusive launcher similar to Quicksilver.
- TweakUI gives you a bunch of control panels Windows doesn’t provide.
- DisplayFusion provides nice support for multiple monitors.
- SpeedFan monitors CPU temperatures.
- AutoHotkey remaps keys to change the compromises on laptop keyboards.
- SpyBot is great at finding and eradicating malware of all sorts.
- SpaceMonger is a tree map showing where your disk space is going.
- TrueCrypt provides encrypted mountable disks.
Special mention to Sysinternals’ tools, which are always the Cadillac in their class:
- Process Explorer is a Task Manager on steroids.
- Autoruns shows you what will run when you start Windows.
- Process Monitor tracks file and registry access in real time.
For surfing, I use Mozilla Firefox, with these add-ons:
- Greasemonkey for writing extension scripts for other people’s sites.
- Tab Mix Plus adds more options to how browser tabs work.
- SwitchProxy makes living with proxies easier.
- Download Statusbar puts download progress in the status bar instead of a dialog.
While developing web sites, these Firefox add-ons are great:
- Firebug is an amazing in-browser debugger.
- TamperData lets you inspect and modify HTTP requests and responses.
- YSlow analyzes pages and recommends changes to improve their speed.
- Web Developer adds a huge number of helpful utilities.
- Remove Cookies for Site helps while testing.
My other communication tools:
- Thunderbird for email.
- Bloglines for reading RSS feeds.
- Pidgin for instant messaging.
- Twhirl for following Twitter.
- FileZilla for FTP transfers.
- PuTTY for secure terminals.
Tools I use for writing software:
- Python as language of choice.
- Subversion for legacy source control.
- Mercurial for new source control, especially with Bitbucket project hosting.
- Beyond Compare, an impeccable file comparison tool.
- Komodo Edit for lightweight text editing.
My go-to apps for graphics work:
- GIMP for graphics editing.
- Lightroom for photo storage and tweaking.
- @icon sushi for manipulating Windows icons.
- CoolRuler, a handy pop-up pixel ruler.
- ZoomPlus, a well-executed screen magnifier, with measurement and clipboard support.
Little doodads that don’t do anything useful, but I enjoy having on hand:
- Golly, an amazing implementation of Conway’s Game of Life.
- Xaos, a realtime fractal zoomer.
- Aptus, my own Mandelbrot renderer.
- Chaoscope, a strange attractor display program.
- My blog, where many reviews of other tools appear from time to time.