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# Sunday, 05 June 2005
Despite my lately-discovered tendency for open-source evangelism, I constantly use proprietary software in my day-to-day computer exploits. Here's a list of a few of the more useful ones:
  • Everyday use:

    • Windows Live Writer - Microsoft's blog client/word processor. Microsoft entered a saturated market full of mediocre and/or abandoned software, and simply did everything right from the get-go. This is one hell of a tool - stable, convenient and extensible. Recommended.
    • XMPlay - a great audio player for Windows. Has excellent module playing capacity, plays streaming audio perfectly, basically does everything WinAmp does only better and in a much lighter package. I have yet to find a (preferably portable) open source platform which compares..
    • Microsoft Outlook - Outlook has its moments, but I've enjoyed working with Mozilla Thunderbird a lot more. I originally switched to Outlook for its PDA synchronization capabilities (via ActiveSync); since this is no longer an issue for me, I'm planning on switching back to Thunderbird as soon as I can find the time to take care of the migration.
    • Total Commander - I simply can't work properly without a Norton Commander clone. I switched from Servant Salamander to Total Commander and so far never looked back. An open-source replacement is definitely #1 on my wish list though.
    • AVG Free Edition - the free (for home use) version of the AVG Anti-Virus is an impressive piece of software. It's lightweight, nonintrusive and simply works. I'm sceptical that open-source antivirus software can be as up-to-date and effective as proprietary software.
    • Windows XP Professional - bought a copy with my laptop, and can honestly say I do not regret it. It is impressively full-featured, completely stable, has terrific hardware support (I will tell the story of my Linux hardware woes in another post) and despite being very powerful it is also very intuitive to work with.
    • Trillian Basic - a free multi-IM client (I use ICQ and MSN). It's not lightweight, nor it is the fastest, but from all the multi-IM clients I've used (GAIM, Miranda, Trillian) it has the best combination of stability, features and looks.
    • ACDSee (at work) - Best of breed photo browser. The new version seems quite bloated, but it's still the best program of its sort I've used (since version 3...)
    • XnView (at home) - Great photo browser that's fairly quick and lightweight. Free for non-commercial purposes, basically does everything almost as good as ACDSee.

  • Development tools:

    • Visual Studio 2005 - being a primarily .NET developer, this is an absolute must-have. It has a lot of issues though, and missing some features that I can only enjoy with ReSharper.
    • JetBrains ReSharper -the quintessential upgrade to Visual Studio. Improved autocompletion and syntax highlighting, fully customizable code reformatting, code navigation, refactoring, code templates, unit test runner and more, all in one package. I've been using this since version 1.0 after seeing a presentation by Roy Osherove, and nowadays I find it daunting to work without it.
    • Araxis Merge - best of breed commercial diff and merge utility. WinMerge and the various diff/merge utilities that come with source control provides (Vault, Perforce etc.) simply can't compare.
    • Stylus Studio - I tried this out as an alternative to XmlSpy a few years ago and got hooked. Although it's still a terrific XML IDE, unfortunately they have very annoying registration, activation and upgrade policies, so I may yet take XmlSpy for a renewed spin.
    • SourceGear Vault - the source control provider we use at work. It's like a moderately improved version of SourceSafe: reasonably fast, fairly full-featured and mostly works. I've used Microsoft VSTS and Perforce since and both are far superiour, but also considerably more expensive.

  • Occasional use:
    • Nero Express - a lightweight version of the fully-fledged Nero. This has been my CD-burning software of choice for about 6 years. Since a copy came with my laptop I haven't found the motivation to seek a proper open source replacement yet.
    • PowerDVD 5.0 - probably the only reason I still use PowerDVD is because it came (OEM) with my laptop. I don't watch many movies on my laptop so I couldn't be bothered to find an open-source replacement.
Sunday, 05 June 2005 18:34:44 (Jerusalem Standard Time, UTC+02:00)  #    -
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