Periodically I take a shot at listing my favorites: some folks find useful items they hadn’t looked at and it forces me to take a long hard look at whether it is time to try something new.
Today: Favorite Utilities
- Favorite Mac Utilities
- Favorite iPhone Apps
- Favorite Programmer Utilities
- Favorite Non-fiction
- Favorite Fiction
- Favorite Programming Books
- Favorite Music (uh oh)
On the one hand, I can’t imagine why you’d care. On the other hand, building a community is more than just code; and sharing favorites can be more than just utilitarian. In any case, you (no, really, you) are strongly encouraged, asked, pleaded with; to comment, add your fave’s and etc.
Favorite Utilities 2009
NB: This list does not include my favorite programming utilities, and is just those utilities that run on Win 7 (which is now on all my Win machines)
Amazon’s Media Library – one of the better ways to share what you’re reading and listening to. Dynamic, configurable, pretty easy to cope with.
Auto Hot Key – Finally! Add macros to a simple text file and they work everwhere. I have two files: auto-correct (fixes common spelling errors instantly) and my macros. For example “@me” instantly changes to http://www.SilverlightGeek.me The syntax is simple and adding or modifying a macro takes seconds.
ClipX – Very sweet, small, easy to use clipboard manager, with “yank-pop” and with reserved phrases you can reach easily. Learning time: 2 min.
Evernote – Create (or clip) notes about anything, organize to the extent you want, find them instantly, access via PC, Mac, phone, web. Truly brilliant. Truly indispensable. Uses include everything from meeting notes to taking a picture of your car and asking it to lead you back using the GPS. You can also ask “show me every note I wrote in the past 2 years when I was within 50 miles of right here” – great for biz travel. See iPhone Utilities.
Exam Diff Pro – best I know for examining differences in files and directories. More coverage under Programming utilities, but I also use it for comparing documents.
FinePrint – print pages 2-up and much more. Can save a lot of paper and a surprising amount of printing time. Installs as a printer.
GoToMyPC – access your pc securely from anywhere. Just great, though I may give it up if the built in functionality in Win7 is sufficient.
GoodSync – Easy, efficient backup or synchronization between computers.
Hulu Desktop – Changed the way I deal with TV. I’m not much of a TV watcher, but the ability to queue up shows, subscribe and watch on my PC (for which I highly recommend the iMo Pivot 7” USB screen) has meant watching the Daily Shows that I’d otherwise miss.
Live Writer – Best blog authoring software I know of. Be sure to pick the best of the plugins.
Pandora – The Music Genome Project. Single best music site on the net, now on phones as well and I swear it is getting better. Be certain to find their technical background material and to explore how the service works. This is not “wisdom of the crowds” this is “quantify all you can about music and then find other music that is similar in meaningful ways. See this good intro from the NY Times.
Roboform – Individual passwords for every site, generates strong passwords, master password to protect them all. Easy, fast, effective, customizable and totally reliable. Now supports sharing across multiple PCs. Partial integration with 1Password (see Mac Utilities).
7Stacks – Nice small utility that lets you create a stack of links on your toolbar. In the image shown, my stack is linked to a folder; anything in the folder pops up in the stack.
Trillian – All your IM Services in one place. I particularly like the ability to tie actions to events. I’ve set it up so that adding the word urgent to the text causes it to make a special sound. Very flexible.
Virtual Clone Drive Allows you to mount an ISO, BIN or other image file onto what appears to be a physical drive, but is actually a virtual drive. Very slick (and free!)