My Favorite Utilities…

About twice a  year I try to publish a list of the utilities that I use all the time… not the ones I like in theory, but the ones that I use – that make programming or computing easier, faster, better.  Here’s my list for the end of 2008.


Vista Exam Diff Pro – best I know for examining differences in files and directories
Vista Fiddler – debugger for http / IE
VistaAppleLogo FireBug – Required plug-in for anyone engaged in web-programming.

Instant C# / Instant VB (Full Dislosure: They give me free copies) I am blown away by how well this product works. Give it a C# program and seconds later you have a VB program – often requiring little or no additional adjustment. Amazing.

Vista Kaxaml – lightweight Xaml editor that is just amazingly useful
Vista Tortoise / Subversion  – the easiest and most useful source control for small groups of developers that I know of. Incredibly easy to set up and host the subversion for Windows database and ridiculously easy to keep files synchronized.
Vista XmlSpy  Edit XML and much more

Communication & Blogging

AppleLogo Adium – Messaging on the mac and mroe (AIM, MSN, Jabber, Yahoo, more)
Vista GoToMyPC – access your pc securely from anywhere.
Vista Live Writer – Best blog authoring software I know of

ooVoo – High quality video conferencing free or very inexpensive

VistaAppleLogo Skype – Skype has gotten so much better it is now absolutely indispensible – check out their amazing packages of skype-in, voice mail and more.
Vista SpeedFiler – Organizes Outlook better than anything else I’ve seen.
Vista Trillian – One of the best integrated IM program I know of for the PC


Social Networking & Bookmarking

Vista Plaxo – Beautiful interface with your address book
VistaAppleLogo Facebook – Seems to me to be the emerging favorite for pure social networking
VistaAppleLogo LinkedIn – Hands down favorite for business networking

Technoratti – One of the more definitive guides to blogs on the web

VistaAppleLogo Flikr – A different kind of networking, but indispensible
VistaAppleLogo Twitter – There is something about instant gratification and a limit of 140 characters that is just terribly compelling
VistaAppleLogo Del.ic.ious – The best bookmarking service that I know of



AppleLogo 1Password – Roboform for the Mac. Tracks passwords, credit card info, personal info, fills in forms and works beautifully. 
Vista Cliptrak Pro -  Manages the clipboard better than anything I’ve ever seen, but that doesn’t come close to all this does. Organizes the clipping for retrieval, and allows you to copy to clipboard and print (formatted) directly to printer. Amazing.
AppleLogo DevMode – pull dashboard widgets out onto your desktop!  Truly great.

 FinePrint – print pages 2-up and much more.

Vista Hypersnap DX – My screen capture of choice. There are many good choices, but this work horse has more options,  is more flexible and is easier to use than any I’ve seen. Truly great.
AppleLogo iStat Menus Everything going on inside your mac, on your menu all the time.
VistaAppleLogo iTunes– I use this for books and podcasts and lectures, for listening to music (it is my jukebox). I buy digital music on Amazon where it is 256K, no DRM and cheaper but I love iTunes and I confess, I love my iPod.
Vista OnTime – (Single license is free!), incredibly powerful project management & bug tracker with incredible support. Best of breed.  PC or Web-based
VistaAppleLogo RescueTime Passively watches where you spend your time and then reports back to you. Very useful for getting yourself back on track!
Vista Roboform– 1Password for the PC – the single most useful utility I know of for creating and tracking passwords and for filling in forms. Incredibly useful and constantly improved.

Stuffit – the cannonical compression and decompression software for the Mac

Vista TimeSnapper Takes a picture of your current application or screen every n seconds.  Incredibly useful. An automated lab notebook that serves two very valuable purposes: find out what went wrong by looking back, and find out where you spent your time.
Vista Winzip – Sometimes a product is so essential you almost forget it isn’t built into the operating system. I’ve been using WinZip forever and it just keeps getting better
Vista WSFTP Pro – the best ftp program I’ve ever worked with


Absurdly Useful WebSites As Utilities

VistaAppleLogo Amazon’s Media Library – one of the better ways to share what you’re reading and listening to
VistaAppleLogo Pandora -Single best music site on the net, but well beyond that, the Music Genome Project is truly fascinating; be sure to read about what they are doing.
VistaAppleLogo – take a very long url and make it short and useful

TransferBigFile – Files too big to mail? Install this tiny utility  then drag your file to the utility drop spot (Windows only – for Mac you use a web site); your file is uploaded and an email is generated with a link to the file (encrypted if you like). The file goes away in 10 days. Lots of options such as email on receipt, etc.

VistaAppleLogo Tripit – If you travel for business, this site is indispensible – total itinerary manager – just email confirmations as they arrive and Tripit organizes it all. More useful than you’d expect.

About Jesse Liberty

Jesse Liberty has three decades of experience writing and delivering software projects and is the author of 2 dozen books and a couple dozen Pluralsight & LinkedIn Learning courses. He was a Senior Technical Evangelist for Microsoft, a Distinguished Software Engineer for AT&T, a VP for Information Services for Citibank and a Software Architect for PBS. He is a Xamarin Certified Mobile Developer and a Xamarin MVP and a Microsoft MVP.
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