Well, I figured it’s been a while since I posted. I thought I’d write a post about the tools that I use, their links, and the like.
I currently use Firefox‘s Aurora browser. It’s just like Firefox, just a little more cutting edge. I have installed all of the others that matter to me, Chrome and IE, but recently the addons available for Firefox has been a blessing (and a curse). I only use IE when I have to.
I currently use Thunderbird for email. I rarely use the web sites of those email services I use. I have three seperate gmail accounts, a hotmail, an AOL and a Yahoo, which all work for free within Thunderbird.
For IM’s and the like I use Trillian. The skinning capability of Trillian allows me to run the dark skin I like, fitting with my Windows 7 Aero theme. I also run Windows Live Messenger for now, but that’s likely to change here soon and bundle it into Trillian. Trillian will allow you to connect most, if not all, networks you could ever want to be connected to. Facebook, AIM, Yahoo, MSN, Gtalk and Jabber are the ones I use. If I have to connect to an IRC network at all, I can do so through Trillian as well, although it’s IRC features are lacking. Skype requires it’s own download, but does integrate with Trillian.
For any major communication through IRC still, I use XChat 2.
I have tried alternatives, like Digsby, Pidgin, mIRC and whatnot. Just doesn’t keep my attention like Trillian and Xchat 2 does.
I use Google Docs the most for documents. Skydrives abilities leaves something there for desire, where Google Docs allows me to get everything I could possibly want as long as I have an internet connection. For more offline documents, I’d use OpenOffice or it’s spawn LibreOffice.
For PDF’s, I typically do use the Adobe Acrobat Reader. I have tried alternatives, but one or another feature is missing and stuff doesn’t display right, so I stay with the maker of the PDF format.
I’ve started trying out Mindmaps and Gantt software. The easiest I’ve found to use for mindmaps is FreeMind. You can just start putting your ideas down in the hectic style that is your brain. Gantt charts and the like are taking me a while to get used to and set up, largely because i’m not an organized person. GanttProject is the best that I’ve come across so far.
Ebooks are also starting to come to me in one form or another. I started using Calibre at the request of a friend. Easy to set up, supports the Kindle Fire, which is the only ebook reader I’ve tried, and many others that I may not think of. Does have a generic profile too for those no name ones.
Pictures, being a form of documents, are hard to manage as is. I use Picassa for integration with my Google account. Also supports features that are sought after in programs like iPhoto on the Mac. Faces, places and so on.
Music is a form of document as well. I mostly use Windows Media Player here, but Winamp is very good as well.
I stick with the typical Microsoft Visual Studio for programming. They have an express(free) version that would suit a programmers needs from the beginning. I also use Eclipse for the Android development, since it seems the best integrated IDE for Android. Code::Blocks didn’t grab my attention and wasn’t as easy to use really.
GIMP for image manipulation is going to be my choice. Not much to say here except it’s a free version of photoshop. Again, not being artsy, I’m not good at it, but it gets the basics done.
For remote projects on Linux boxes and the like (web development, php and SQL, or MUD’s), I stick with Putty for the SSH stuff, and WinSCP for file transfers.
Other than music, listed above as documents, I use the Hulu software for most of my entertainment with videos. I also use my internet browsers for things like Netflix and Youtube. VLC is great for the downloaded videos, like camcorder stuff and shared videos because it plays almost every format out there.
Games that I play range from EVE Online (I have a seperate blog for those adventures) to World of Warcraft to Guild Wars to other items that is free. Need For Speed The World is a different change of pace when you want to get away from the typical stuff you play, as well as World of Tanks, Pirates of the Burning Sea, Pirates of the Carribean (if you’re a fan) and Minecraft (cheap). This is expanding with some free stuff from Gamefly that I’m trying out, but I don’t know how long that’s going to last. Also, with any MMO, you’re looking at communication while in game, you can’t go wrong with Teamspeak or Ventrilo. I’ve tried Mumble, which is a great free alternative if you don’t want to buy/rent a server for more than 5 people.
Also to note, I use the Xbox 360 for a lot of entertainment. Randomly I’ll log into old MUD’s I’ve played with cMUD, zMUD’s reincarnate. MM2K (no longer developed, see link for MM2K6) and plain old Telnet doesn’t work well with me.
Downloads happen a lot with gaming, programming, blogging and just plain boredom. For torrents (my dabbling into almost every major linux OS – Thank you VMWare) I use uTorrent.
For browser downloads, I use the DownThemAll addon for Firefox. Those that might not be in Firefox I use Free Download Manager (rarely).
I hope I helped you find some software that is free and great for your day to day use. If you have any comments, alternatives you’d strongly recomend or just want to comment on anything I’ve said here, please feel free. We use the Disqus plugin, so no need for another username and password.