Better living through software

Here are some software decisions I've taken, in no particular order, that have helped make me a happier geek:

1. Choosing a good indexing/search application. I tried them all and even shelled out seventy-odd bucks or something for X1 before settling on Google Desktop Search. It just plain works, doesn't make my computer choke and I actually have the luxury of forgetting that it exists until I need it.

2. Quick Launch. This is essential. I use both QuickStart and RunFast. Searching through folder hierarchies (or the Start menu) to reach applications is a ridiculous waste of time.

3. Source Control and offsite backups. I had always had the first part of the equation down but sucked at the latter. So, what better thing to do than to launch your own service that makes it easy to do both these things. Now I can set up repositories/manage user permissions/etc. online in a few clicks and sleep well knowing that they are backed up offsite at regular intervals.

4. Borg implants. Well, not really -- but I've replaced a couple of the standard issue Federation parts on my Windows install with 3rd party apps that are way superior. This includes the Winc utility for managing Wifi connections (after the Windows Zero Install stopped being able to connect to my home network) and replacing the Windows Bluetooth stack that came with my Acer laptop (which is otherwise an amazing machine) with the Widcomm software (version 4.x -- took a lot of hacking to get this to work, thankfully the process is well documented -- make sure you follow Skillz' advice on that page if the Microsoft drivers keep installing automtically for you.)

5. Ditched Trillian for Miranda. Now I can customize my IM experience to no end. Life is good.

6. VNC and VPN. I can be anywhere, anytime (ok, on any machine at any time) and do anything. Closest you'll get to playing god :)

7. Skype with a bluetooth headset (and the Widcomm bluetooth stack), a 3G data card (although I'm not too happy with the quirks of my Vodaphone card) and a good mobile phone (just moving to my new 6680) with AgileMessenger. Being reached or reaching people is no longer ever an issue :)

8. Moved to Thunderbird over a year ago. No more being under the influence of Outlook.

9. Ditched IE (a long time ago) for FireFox and Opera.

10. Switched to using FileZilla for all FTP stuff. (I still use the Dreamweaver Files/FTP view when I'm working in Dreamweaver though.)

11. Switched to using FAME alongside the Flash IDE (as well as SEPY and PrimalScript). Still tweaking my Eclipse setup since every day someone seems to release a new open source plugin or project!

12. Switched to using Trend Micro PC-Cillin as both the anti-virus app and firewall on my laptop. Works like a charm so far and hasn't cause me any headaches.

13. Set up a music server downstairs running Napster ... I love being able to explore the vast library of tunes :)

If I think of any others I'll add them to the comments. Feel free to do the same... I guess the next big step in gaining control would be to move to Linux. Somehow I keep finding an excuse to put this off :)