My Tools

Here are a stack of computer related tools that I like to use.

The Tool
This is an all purpose problem solving tool the I have found works great on computers and even many other items around the home or office:

Internet

Web Browsing
Mozilla Firefox is my prefered method of browsing the internet. It is small, fast, free, and quite secure.
Get Firefox!

Firefox Extentions:
These are added components for Firefox to extend its capabilities (find under Tools -> Extentions):

  • Forcastfox – have the daily forcast for your area shown in the status bar or or other location in Firefox.
  • infoRSS – have stocks and news feeds scroll across the status bar.
  • Deepest Sender – post to your WordPress blog right from Firefox.
  • Aspellfox – correct spelling in text entered in webpages
  • Foxytunes – control your prefered audio player from your Tunderbird status bar.

Email
Mozilla Thunderbird is an excellent, powerful, full-featured email client. If Thunderbird can’t do it, you can find an extention that will add that feature.
Get Thunderbird!

Thunderbird Extentions:
These are added components for Thunderbird to extend its capabilities (find under Tools -> Extentions):

  • Enigmail – encrypt email so only the intended recipient can receive them. Requires GnuPG and the other person has GnuPG encrypt and decrypt tools.
  • Remove Duplicate Messages – removes duplicate messages from your milboxes. Especially good if you like to CC yourself on your messages.
  • Foxytunes – control your prefered audio player from your Tunderbird status bar.
  • Contacts Sidebar – add a contacts list to your Thunderbird window. Makes it easy to attached addresses to emails.
  • Palmsync – an address conduit for the Palm to sync the Thunderbird address book with the Palm device. Be sure to install the correct version. This is not really an extention but uses the extention features to install the conduit.

File Transfer (FTP)
Filezilla – this is my prefered client since the license is “GPL’ed” so one does not have to be a special entity to use it for free.

Instant Messaging (IM)
Gaim – This is a real nice program to manage an assortment of instant messaging profiles. This client can connect to and manage Yahoo!, AIM, ICQ, Jabber, and many others so you can use one small program to IM all your friends without having to install each difference client. My prefered IM service is Jabber since it does not require a central server, not a propietary protocol and can be secured using SSL. Other useful Gaim plugins:

  • Guifications – some popups for watching for friends to sign-on and off and assorted other indicators.
  • Gaim-encryption – nice pluggin to encrypt communications between two Gaim users. Uses RSA shared key encryption. Near impossible to “crack” the encryption.

Security

Windows Antivirus
AGV Anti-virus – A free version for home use only. Very good anti-virus tool for windows.

Windows Spyware Removal
Spybot Search & Destroy – when browsing the internet and downloading software or installing from CDs, there are often small data collecting programs that are installed and used to track what you are doing. Worse programs even attempt to “hijack” your computer. This can remove these and monitor your system to prevent these spy programs from installing.

Software Development

Editors

Crimson Editor -  a very good code editor.  I have used often to debug FORTRAN and write and edit HTML and PHP codes.  And it is free.

Hackman -  if you enjoy editing “real” code (hexidecimal) than this is probably for you.  The ‘Lite’ version is free but limited to the size of file.

Code Compare

ExamDiff -  nice little tool to visually compare files.  Of course you get even more features if you by the ‘Pro”‘ version but this free version does the job quite well.

Bug Tracking

Bugzilla – a bug tracking system to effectively keep track of problems.  This is a server software and one of the best available.  Problably overkill for most but can be adjusted for needs.

Linux Fun

Linux on Bootable CD/DVD

  • Knoppix – a full blown Linux distibution on CD. Use a USB Flash memory device and this CD and you can brows the internet, write and edit documents and anything else you want. BTW, this is all free, just need the CD and a PC that can boot from the CD drive.
  • GameKnoppix – Ok this is the same as the above but loaded with games. This link is for Bittorent downloads so you will need a client for that. CD and DVD versions of Koppix and GameKnoppix here.

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