The First 14 Programs I Needed
A little while ago my Windows computer became unusable and it was time to reformat and reinstall. The sordid tale is even documented: Hi Ho, Oh No, Installing I Must Go.
Like most people, I'd collected a variety of programs that were used seldom or not at all. Starting over with a clean desktop, it was fascinating to watch which programs I installed because of immediate need. Here are the first fourteen.
- Mozilla Thunderbird
- I actually really liked the user interface for Outlook professional but had to give up on my really old version of Outlook when it became unsupported and a security nightmare. Thunderbird works the closest of the open source options I've tried.
- Mozilla Firefox
- I used to think Firefox was the bomb. It's piggish nature has tarnished it a bit, but it's still the best browser out there, especially when you throw in the Firebug plug-in.
- Komodo Edit
- This is Active State's free IDE. For Java work I was an Eclipse fan. For scripting languages, not so much. Komodo has the feature sets I need and is better matched for PHP (and Python) work.
- Gotta have version control for the source code.
- AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition
- Gotta have virus protection.
- I use jEdit like notepad. It's relatively lightweight and has some nice features. I'm told there's some great plug-ins for it, but I've never felt compelled to look.
- The project team I'm working with uses Skype for instant messaging. Need to "talk" to the team, so need Skype.
- BlogBridge is my RSS feed reader. It has a few warts, but over all I like the functionality. Using a client program instead of a web service does mean it isn't available everywhere, but I pretty much work from a single desktop so it's not a big issue.
- Before the rebuild I had Apache, MySQL and PHP installed individually. Since I was starting from scratch I decided to check out XAMPP. It installs like a dream. Using VHOSTS proved to be a bit of a pain to configure.
- QuickTime Player
- My preferred player for audio/video, though it has a few warts. I loath iTunes, and it's a pain in the ass that I can't install QuickTime Player by itself. iTunes was promptly uninstalled afterwards.
- Microsoft Word
- I know, I know, I should be using OpenOffice. But my Office 2000 still works and OpenOffice reproduces a lot of the suck behaviour. I've never felt compelled to switch when I would simply be replacing one set of shitty idiosyncrasies for another with no payoff. I wouldn't buy a new copy of Office, so I'm sure I'll find myself cussing out OpenOffice soon enough.
- Adobe Acrobat/Adobe Reader
- I didn't last a full day before I needed the reader for a PDF file. It turned out I needed to create PDFs, as well, with my really ancient version of Acrobat.
- Juice Podcast Receiver
- Life wouldn't be as interesting if my MP3 player didn't have podcasts to listen to during my evening walk.