Posting has been light the past week because (1) I visited home over the weekend, I was (briefly) sick, and (3) I've been on one of my upgrading-the-tools-I-work-with-instead-of-actually-working kicks. Procrastination is pretty satisfying when I can justify it to myself as investing time to increase efficiency.
Not that I haven't gotten results. I've found some great tools that will make my computing life easier (most of these are from Scott Hanswelman's Computer Zen):
- Microsoft Windows Live Writer. I hate writing blog posts on the Blogger web form, but writing in Word or Notepad meant tagging everything in HTML by hand. All of the other blogging software I tried was either buggy or expensive. Live Writer just works, although it can't upload images to Blogger.
- Better Gmail. From lifehacker. This is a Firefox plugin that enhances Gmail. You can make all mailto: links launch a Gmail window, show meaningful attachment icons, and more. Very cool.
- Slickrun. If you like the keyboard and the command line, this is for you. From Computer Zen:
A free floating dynamic "command prompt" with alias support that continues to amaze. My tips for effective use: read the instructions, edit the slickrun.ini file and bind it to Window-R. Also set ChaseCursor so when you hit Win-R, you'll have a floating transparent command line anywhere your mouse is. I recommend you also use larger fonts! Get to know this little box. It's the bomb.
- Gridmove. Makes my wide-screen laptop monitor actually useful. Press a simple key combination and snap your open windows to preset locations. I'm using it right now.
- Notepad++. I probably wasted most of my time looking for a good, free text/XML editor. None of the ones I found are perfect, but this one comes closest. It has context highlighting for almost any language you can think of and has a decent (not great) XML plugin. It's ability to show line-break characters saved my ass last week.
- Tidy Start Menu. My start menu is a mess. So is yours. Fix it with this.
Geeking out over. Now back to work.