My Preferred Apps For Doing What I Gotta Do
There are certain tasks I have to perform on a daily basis. I'm sure many of you are doing the same things with your computer, and I thought it might be interesting to hear what tools others prefer.
Below are typical requirements in my day to day life and the application I use to make it happen. I try lots of stuff to see what sticks and whenever possible I choose the simplest, most cost-effective solution.
Surfing the Web
Without a doubt, my browser of choice is Firefox. I've been using Firefox exclusively for three years and I honestly don't know how all the IE people manage. My Firefox add-ons alone make my life a great deal easier. I should point out that I prefer the portable version of Firefox that's completely self contained.
I said goodbye to Outlook long ago and recently I said farewell to Thunderbird. My preferred app for email is Firefox and the service I use is Gmail. You can fetch mail from multiple accounts and reply to those messages from that account. The search capability, overall usability, labelling and efficiency is second to none.
I used to use the portable version of Sunbird, but now my preferred app for calendaring is Firefox and the service I use is Google Calendar. These Google guys just get it, and their calendar complies with both the iCal and XML standards. The integration with Gmail is just a huge ass bonus.
I use the portable version of FileZilla. In the past I've done the WSFTP thing and the SmartFTP thing and even the CuteFTP thing, but Filezilla is simple, slick and free.
When I require an image for a page or site I'm designing, or whatever, I use Photoshop. Unlike most of the other apps on this list, Photoshop isn't a free download. In fact, it's rather pricy. I've tried The Gimp, and I salute the spirit of The Gimp, but Photoshop is my choice.... for now.
XHTML / CSS Coding
For years and years I used a free app called First Page until work bought me a license for Dreamweaver. First Page was a free download whereas Dreamweaver costs almost as much as Photoshop. After using Dreamweaver for a while, I find I use it for much more than hand coding XHTML and CSS. It's just a really fast and easy to use text editor with some nifty bells and whistles. It lacks the spirit of NVU, but it's a better editor. Just avoid the "Design" tab and all is well.
I'm a Gaim man. I use the portable version of Gaim, and I use it to simultaneously log in with a MSN, Yahoo! and Gtalk identity. Go Gaim and you'll never log into that MSN messenger again.
Documents and Spreadsheets
I'm rarely on a PC that doesn't have the Office Suite, but I'm still more likely to create a document using Google's new Docs & Spreadsheets service. To answer my own question then, my preferred app for documents and spreadsheets is Firefox. Google's Docs & Spreadsheet integrates nicely with their Gmail and Calendar, so if you receive a .doc file from someone via email, you can easily open it in Docs & Spreadsheet.
For years and years, I used Winamp, but when my collection started growing I tried iTunes. I'm still using iTunes, mainly because of the fast searching capability. As a power listener, I constantly want to isolate songs by a certain artist or songs with a certain keyword in the title. Of the apps I've tried, iTunes made this the easiest and gave my results the quickest.
I don't mean to sound like a broken record here, but again my preferred app for checking and reading my RSS feeds is Firefox. Specifically, I use the Sage add-on.
That's pretty much everything I do on a pc. I share my pictures on my Flickr account and power this blog by Movable Type. I envision a day when my answer to all of these questions is Firefox. That day is closer than you think.
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