A couple of weeks ago Lifehacker had a great feature on what software and hardware they use day-to-day for their site (David Pogue did something similar Thursday). I found it fascinating, so I thought now might be a good time to talk about what I use here. If anyone in the hockey blog world decides to do the same thing, please drop me a line because I’m really curious how other people work.
I switched to Ubuntu from Windows a few months ago and I haven’t looked back. I have a dual-boot but the only time I go into XP is for iTunes. Ubuntu is the OS I’ve always dreamed of. It’s fast. It’s customizable. It’s stable. It’s secure. I consider XP to be a great OS but using it was like baby-sitting a toddler. I couldn’t take my eyes off it for a second. A lot of my time was spent defragging and scanning. Now, I have an OS that not only just works, but has a seemingly infinite supply of amazing software behind it. If you’re not satisfied with your current OS, I really encourage you to try a dual-boot set-up. I suspect after a few weeks, you won’t even bother with your old OS. My laptop is a Thinkpad T43 I love to death.
I’ve always preferred text editors to full-on word processors. In my Windows days, I used Crimson Editor which I think has just become Emerald Editor. I liked it a lot, but when I switched to Ubuntu, I couldn’t use it anymore. gedit, the default Ubuntu/GNOME text editor would get hung-up on long words, like URLs, which was pretty infuriating, so I took the plunge and moved to Vim, after a brief fling with Emacs. The learning curve with Vim is a bit steep, but I also moved to it for my day-job, which helped me learn it quicker. It’s a great editor, it’s very customizable, and best of all, I can run it off a thumb drive, which comes in handy when I’m not on one of my own computers.
This is pretty dull. I use Firefox. I was a big Opera person for years, but it’s too customizable. When I moved to Ubuntu, I just couldn’t bear the thought of tweaking it again. Also, Firefox plays much nicer with Google products. Once I switched to Firefox at home, I switched at work so I don’t have to ever shift mental gears. I might return to Opera at some point. It’s a great browser. But the Firefox Developer’s toolbar is pretty tough to beat, so maybe not. Both browswers run off of USB drives, which as you might have guessed, is kind of important to me.
This is pretty standard, too. Gmail for email and chat (at home, I use Thunderbird for Gmail since I love email clients. I miss Eudora. I love Gmail for adding IMAP). Google Reader for RSS (which is how I keep up with hockey news). I used to use AirSet as my calendar, but I just switched to Google Calendar since you can use it with a stand-alone calendar client like Mozilla’s Sunbird or Lightning for the Thunderbird e-mail client. So far, I like Google Calendar, but I really loved AirSet, so I’ll have to see how things go with that. I’m a big calendar person. Like if something isn’t on my calendar, it doesn’t get done.
I use an ancient version of Movable Type that I installed like in 2002. I’m embarrassed by how old it is, although it works pretty well for my purposes. Of course, every time I hit the publish button, I hear hamsters wheezing.
The only other software I use with any kind of regularity is GIMP for cropping and editing photos. To be honest, I don’t get it, and much prefer Adobe Fireworks, but I’m not going to pay for that and it doesn’t run on Linux, so I’m kind of stuck with it.
Like I said, if anyone else wants to play along, send me the link. I really love reading this stuff.