Microsoft software is just wrong. I do without, pain-less-ly. But here’s what I must have:
- Linux: I’ve been using it for years, and now have Fedora Core 4 on a few machines. Stable, secure, and quick. To hell with Bill and his overpriced crapware.
- Palm OS: Simple, elegant, smart. My Handspring Visor has been great. Best $250 I ever spent on hardware: Visor + Targus Mobile Keyboard does all I want to do mobile-wise. I love that my Palm will remember my place in notes or on my calendar, even for weeks (like over Christmas break). With the Palm Desktop or Gnome-Pilot, I can do hardcore scheduling quickly.
- OpenOffice: on Linux or Windows, way better than MS Office, and nobody knows they’re trading documents with a non-Microsoft user. The style sheet implementation in OO Writer is sweet, and I love the PDF button. I’m just starting to knock my head against the XML business OO is built on, and it’s amazingly cool.
- Firefox: Like Linux, it’s faster, more secure, and better than alternatives. Spiffy logo, too. How did I ever not used tabbed browsing? Add the Web Developer Extension, Sage, Fasterfox (make sure prefetching is turned off), and it gets even better.
- Thunderbird: IMAP all the way. It’s easy to move messages between accounts or from the server to my Linux box (when it’s time to make archives). Pretty good spam stuff (though SpamAssassin does the heavy lifting; see below). Smart security, too.
- Perl: the Swiss Army Chainsaw. When I have text to mangle, and I often do, ain’t nothin’ better.
- del.icio.us: Never lose another bookmark again.
- iTunes: Erin and I are moving our CDs off the shelf and onto the computer. Pow, less clutter, searchable, and mobile (with the iPod and iTrip).
- iPhoto: dang, digital photography makes for a LOT more photos. iTunes helps. I just wish our version had tags (we’ll own up soon).
- Bash: though I was weaned on tcsh, I’ve grown to like bash as well. Really, as long as I get some modern command line, I’m happy; stupid unix tricks with perl, sort, and uniq amuse me to no end. And quite often, they get things done.
- Adobe Photoshop Elements: the interface for CS sucks. I can’t use it. Look, I don’t want my image manipulation program to read my email, m’kay? I just want to tweak the image a bit. I’ve tried the Gimp and I do use it, but I’ve been using Photoshop so long it’s hard for me to break my photomanip keystroke and click habits. Someday, I’ll own up. (N. B. Adobe has different sites for Mac OS and Windows versions of this program. Huh? I picked the older (read: less bloated) one.)
- WordPress: I haven’t been doing this weblog thing for very long, but I’m very pleased with WordPress; its modular design works very well (go go Spam Karma 2!) and it’s been stable for me so far.
- Emacs: Yeah yeah, escape meta alt command shift, I know. But I’ve been using it too long to think of anything else, and when I started, using ‘
emacs -nw‘ over telnet was way better than downloading and uploading files. I love that TextEdit and some other programs silently do Emacs keystrokes. Add tramp and remote editing is even slicker. As above, someday I’ll probably look elsewhere, but it fits now.
- Procmail and SpamAssassin: death to UCE! Or at least /dev/null.