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8 Essential Applications

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8 Essential Applications

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The past couple weeks I got two new computers.  That means twice the installation fun.  On my main computer, I installed Windows 7 Beta along with all my apps.  Once everything was exactly the way I wanted it and it felt like home…the Blue Screen of Death.  Not once, but five times in three days.  (You would think that after all this time Microsoft would have canned the BSD for a friendlier message).  Needless to say, I counted down the minutes until Windows 7 RC released.

The biggest win out of this process was centralized data.  Going through so many installations it was essential to not rely on data being stored locally.  The below list of software saved the day for me:


image Live Mesh (link) - The number 1 must have program is Live Mesh (or an app/service similar to it).  Mesh has been totally non-intrusive and reliable.  The biggest compliment I can give Live Mesh is "the app acts like it isn’t even there".  After loading Mesh on my system, I can grab some coffee, and come back to a system that was exactly like it was before.


image Evernote (link) - Much like Live Mesh, Evernote non-intrusively backs up everything you give it.  People have been preaching Evernote for a long time, but  it is only recently that I have showed it love.  And, unlike many applications, Evernote has showed me love back.  (Now, in my spare time I need to program Mason’s Evernote idea and retire early).


Windows Live Writer (link) - Hands down the best blogging software.  I truly wish they made a Mac version.  If you do install Live Writer, take note, you will be prompted to install a number of other Microsoft Live pieces of software.  I get why they do it, but when I install a piece of software, I only what I ask for.


image Virtual Clone Drive (link) - another must have.  I have a number of ISO’s that I needed installed.  Virtual Clone enables you to mount the ISOs like a CD/DVD ROM.  Other than the the required reboot, Virtual Clone has saved me countless hours burning CD/DVD’s.


image Tortoise SVN (link) - The best SVN client for Windows.  I also like VisualSVN for Visual Studio.  There is a little disconnect between Tortoise and VisualSVN.  Tortoise wants to check in the whole directory and VisualSVN want to check only the necessary project files.  There are kinks between the two, but all in all Tortoise is a must.


image Pidgin (link) - The only IM client you’ll need.  I’m sick and tired of AIM, MSN, Yahoo Messenger loading their ads and welcome screens.  Pidgin gives it to you straight.


Development tools – The standard development tools for Silverlight development


Mac software – I work on a beautiful 17inch MBP.  There are always two apps that must be installed on a Mac (besides above apps) InstantShot and MainMenu.  InstantShot is a free screen grab utility and MainMenu is an automated maintenance application.



image Jungle Disk – I signed up for Jungle Disk expecting to use it as my main backup utility.  I wasn’t fond of the setup and I never got it to install on the Mac properly.  After backing up my data, which was terribly slow, I never reinstalled the application.



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