?

Log in

fdmts

Previous Entry Share Next Entry
09:36 am: Tools I use
Originally posted here

I work with computers for a living. Here are some of the tools that I use all the time:

Macbook Pro: I've used a Macbook Pro as my primary workstation since they were introduced, and I haven't looked back. I've had one significant hardware issue in all that time, and Apple fixed it for me at no charge. As JWZ says: I don't buy computers based on how fast they are, I buy them based on how easy it is to get things done with them, and Apple is the hands-down winner on this pretty much across the board. OS X is not Linux and it is not Windows. If you really want to run Linux or Windows, I advise you to run the OS you actually want to be using.

That said, OS X appears to be devolving into an OS designed primarily for use on a phone with a sidebar of workstation features. If that slide continues, I'll probably jump back to Linux. And cry, because Linux productivity software still really sucks.

Postbox is a commercial email reader. Given that reading mail is one of the first use cases of the internet I would have expected a good, free solution to be out there. No, Pine does not cut it. Postbox is commercial software, but so worth it. I don't even use 75% of the features (integration with social media, RSS aggregation, etc). All I want out of a mail reader is "many IMAP accounts with really good sorting functionality and not too crashy." Apple's Mail.app used to be a pretty solid piece of code, but I gave up on it as of about 2010.

Chrome: Web browsers are sort of a sore point for me because so many websites are designed to fail. At this point the cardinal sin in a web browser is blocking me or stalling my computer. When I want google, I want it NOW NOW NOW so I can get a fact without hitting a context switch in my brain. Chrome is fast and not very crashy. When it fails to render some particular site, I don't struggle, I just pop open another browser. In order of "likelihood to work," I go: Firefox, Opera, and finally Safari. The obvious exception is when I'm looking at Apple's movie trailer site, which only works in Safari.

Microsoft Office 2011: I do not use productivity software as a political statement. I do not use document editors merely to write things that only I will read (that's what VI is for). In terms of getting by in the workplace of 2012, I cannot sacrifice a couple of minutes fighting with my word processor every time I try to add comments to a document that somebody else wrote.

OmniGraffle: For making pictures. So very much superior to PowerPoint. Then I dump the pictures into PowerPoint.

Google Docs: The above notwithstanding, Google Docs got it exactly right in terms of collaborative editing. I run a small consulting group based on a few google spreadsheets.

Google Reader: Great RSS aggregator. I think Postbox does this too - but all my links are in Google already.

Fax Zero: Sometimes you're dealing with someone whose business process is stuck in 1996 and who needs a FAX sent to them. You cannot argue them out of this fact. In those cases, I print to PDF and send them a FAX.

OneBox: A great little company who provide an "800" number that I can point to whatever actual phone I want, a voice-to-text-to-email service, good conference calling, and so on. If you send a FAX to my onebox number, It shows up as a PDF in my email - as God intended.

Adium: Apple finally broke iChat beyond redemption, so I switched to Adium. I have the feeling that it's broken at some level, but I don't care enough to dig into it. Of course, I also use Skype because everybody else does.

Amazon's Cloud: I finally moved this blog over to Amazon's cloud servers. Next step, turn off the server in the basement and cancel the IP address that I've been paying for.

Powered by LiveJournal.com