Things I Use

I think it’s time to publish a series of posts describing my favorite and essential software tools. They might not be useful to anyone else, but they could be handy the next time I need to rebuild a development machine or bring a new colleague into the fold.

You’ll find posts in this series in the “Tools” category. Some special favorites might also wind up in “Secret Weapons”.

I’m not a naturally well-organized person, so quite a few of these items are safety nets I’ve used to keep me from walking over the edge of a precipice. Most of these tend to be related to customer relationship or project management, billing, tax accounting, and other “boring” — but critical — tasks.

Other things in the list are productivity enhancers, and some are applications I love because they help me craft a better product.

Like a carpenter, having decent quality tools in my toolbox and knowing I can rely on them is important to me. There are some amazing free tools out there, but often it’s worth spending real money for professionally crafted and supported software.

To stretch the analogy: would you trust a guy to remodel your kitchen if he shows up with no tools and asks to borrow whatever hammer and hand saw you have lying around?

Among the items in the upcoming posts you’ll see some I categorize as “secret weapons”. Additional notes on each of those will explain why I believe these (perhaps) lesser-known tools result in huge productivity gains.

As always, your mileage may vary.

I’ll be trying to break these things down into subcategories. Check back for updates.