Sep 07 2011
- Notepad++ - I can’t see people still struggling with that notepad.exe! Rightlick on any file and Open in Notepad++. Especially good with Vibrant Ink color theme and Dina programming font. Now with Hex Editor plug-in.
- KeyMapper – I’m pretty sure your notebook’s keyboard has one or two keys in the wrong place. KeyMapper can fix that. Now you can use it on Windows 7 too.
- LibreOffice - I assume you know about OpenOffice.org, is a free alternative to Microsoft Office, 100% compatible with Excel, Word and PowerPoint (Ok, 97.3%). But did you know that many bugs in OO are not getting fixed due to political reasons?! Apparently Sun has all kinds of concerns that get in the way of the community. Enter LibreOffice — a developers-managed fork of OpenOffice.org, with many more bugs fixed, performance improved etc.
- UltraMon. I suspect UltraMon developers have good friends in Microsoft. Otherwise why would Microsoft not add second-monitor taskbar to Windows 7? I hope they’ll fix it in Windows 8, meanwhile I use UltraMon.
- Google Desktop. Using this mostly to search Outlook emails, fast.
- PureText – finally you can copy HTML, rich text, or syntax-highlighted code, then paste it as plain text by pressing Windows+V!
- ZoomIt – next time you give a presentation surprise your auditory by zooming in on UI feature you’re talking about (Ctrl+1) and drawing a red rectangle (Ctrl+LeftMouseDraw).
- Paint.NET. Give yourself a break from paintbrush and use a real tool for once. That is assuming you don’t already use Adobe Photoshop!
- 7-zip. Somehow 7-zip just feels right even for regular zip files! Still using WinRAR for those rare RAR files though.
- Daemon Tools Lite. Never burn a disk again. Best CD/DVD emulator in the world.
- Flux – ideal for your home computer, this gem of utility changes your monitor’s color gamma to match the ambient light. Feels easier on the eyes, looks nicer, and supposedly helps prevent computer-induced sleeping disorders. Loving it!
- Console2- if you frequently work with command line prompt, you will love this. It gets Command Prompt to where it should be in 21st century. Have your Powershell, Visual Studio Command Prompt, Cygwin and regular DOS prompt all in one place and customized. Lately I’m using it with this AutoHotkey script. Change the script’s extension to .ahk, tweak the path to console2.exe if necessary, put it in My Documents folder and AutoHotkey will find it every time it starts. Then press Ctrl+` to pull the console.
- Google Chrome is my browser of choice: Acid3-compliant, fast, slim, with tons of extensions:
- Google Reader - if you still go through your daily ritual of checking your favorite sites for updates, please stop! RSS has been invented for a reason and Google Reader is a great online RSS reader that keeps all your “feeds” and their read/unread status in one place globally accessible from all your computers.
- Miranda IM - my favorite multiprotocol IM client. No banners, no visual clutter, no tons of unneeded features.
- TweetDeck - twitter client.
- ILSpy - now that Reflector is dead, this open source clone is a life saver.
- WiX – for those who needs to create an installations and is fed up with Visual Studio setup project, Windows Installer XML toolkit is the way to go.
- WinDbg – every senior developer has to master this one. Troubleshoot system crashes, debug memory leaks and simply look cool.
- Programming Fonts: Dina – I’ll never use Courier New again. Consolas doesn’t cut it either. For me, Dina is the best for its compact size and very legible characters. There’s a TTF version available here. Don’t forget to turn ClearType off to get the best rendering in VS 2010!
- ReSharper – if you think you don’t really need it you’re wrong. Get the trial, print out the shorcuts and see the difference!
- Before I got smart and started using all these tools, here’s the technique I used to compare the files: I would open the two versions in two different windows, align the first lines, and start switching the windows real fast to visually spot the differences. Don’t laugh, some people still do that. While choosing a diff tool is often a matter of personal preference, the one I’m currently using is BeyondCompare ($30).
- If you use Subversion for source control I bet you also use TortoiseSVN + AnkhSVN for Visual Studio integration. If you don’t use Subversion I can only hope that you’re on Git rather than on TFS or, God forbid, on Visual Source Safe.
- BareTail - great utility for watching log files. Scrolls the screen as the new lines are written. You can specify substrings to highlight in color. They also have a commercial version that can do regex, filter tail mode, and more.
- VS2010 Pro Power Tools (don’t confuse with PowerCommands for VS2010) makes the tabs UX sane! These two, along with VS Color Theme Editor are my favorite VS2010 extensions.