The tools of my trade

May 11th, 2004

Following in the footsteps of many other technical sites published by programmers, I want to go through, list and thank the developers of the tools that I use to blog and code. I use all of these tools at one time or the other and believe that they give me great power in what I do.

Text editor – TextPad:
I use TextPad exclusively. I have actually paid the shareware price for it because I believe that this product is a gem. It has plug-ins for almost every kind of code, jas keyword highlighting built into it and has never, ever caused my system to crash (knock on wood). It is free for use and has a very simple plug-in development structure. It is fast, has a very small footprint and DOES NOT put in hidden characters of death. I also use it for all of my windows based text editing in PERL, ASP, C/C++ etc. I love TextPad. Check it out sometime.

Browser – Mozilla FireFox Nightlies:
I do all of my regular browsing, testing and reading in FireFox. I had used the release version of FireFox before getting tired of some of the bugs and decided to turn to the nightlies. I have been pleasantly surprised with every download of a new nightly. These browsers are fast, is always in active development and are stable for the most part. The best feature of FireFox is the lack of browser highjacks by stupid ad sites. If you havent used FF yet, you are missing out on your Internet experience.

SSH – Putty:
Putty is a full featured SSH/telnet client that is extremely configurable and is very reliable. I have been using it for almost as long as I have been involved with UNIX based systems and would not consider using anything else. It is also completely free and you can setup profiles for various servers. Again, a tool I cannot imagine life without.

IRC – XChat:
I use XChat for my IRC conversations. Till recently, I was a little unsure about XChat and still see some problems with the DCC code, but I continue to use it.

Email – Outlook:
I use Outlook exclusively for all of my email stuff. I have used other clients in the past but Outlook far surpasses any other email client in my opinion. I have been hearing really good things about the new Mozilla client, but the myth lives up to its name. “If you are extremely happy with your existing program, you will not switch.” I use an external SPAM filter which I talk about later, but Outlook provides for easy reading, easy organization and has all the bells and whistles that I need. I especially love the reading pane and the ability to view all email as plain text. It wins in my book.

SPAM filter: SpamBayes
I have been writing Spam filters and researching filtering technology for a while and SpamBayes is one of the best. I use the Outlook plugin and after about a week of training (I have been using it for over 9 months), I have ZERO spam. It is powerful, written in python, and it works. Period. To top it off, it is free!!

I have always built my own systems and continue to use them. I own 5 machines at this time. I have an Athlon 1.7 which is my desktop and main machine and runs Windows XP. My server runs RedHat 9 (soon to be migrated to Debian) and is an Athlon 1 GHz, I own a 400 MHz Blue and White G3 running OS 10.2, a Celeron laptop from Toshiba running XP and an Ultra 1 running Solaris 9. All of my machines are old and they serve me well. I would like to get a fast machine as a replacement for my desktop sometime in the next year, but unless something breaks, it might not happen.

I own three 21″ Hitachi and Sun monitors which are all used and have either been free to me or have been bought used at some computer fair. I love them all and could not go back to a smaller monitor. I have a KVM switch for each of the monitors so I can put two computer per monitor (almost).

I own three camera. The first is a simple digital Kodak DC300 which cost me fifty bucks at Wal Mart. It was nice for the time. The second is my venerable Nikon D70 which is probably the most expensive electronic equipment I own. I learn new things about photography and about that camera everyday. It is a gem! I also own a Minolta Maxum HTSI Plus which is a 35mm camera and is a workhorse. It is inexpensive and takes great pictures.

I use VC++ 6.0 and .NET for all of my C++ and .NET development. Period.

I use various other little peices of software now and then. That list includes post-it notes lite, Photoshop, PaintShop Pro 8, file renamers, text searchers within files etc.

So here is my list. What is yours?




  1. Pier says:

    Regarding the spam filters suggestion..
    I like better’>SpamBully. It is a nice and easy to use Bayesian spam filtering program, it integrates with Outlook and Outlook Express.
    The way SpamBully is that it views your current email folders’ contents and learns from that to help distinguish between spam and regular emails.
    Also it has a lot of great features such as Friends/Spammers lists, email blocking by country/language, Allow/Block words and phrases, attachment blocking…

  2. Ozh (6 comments.) says:

    Err … ? Using Textpad, Putty, Firefox, and … Outlook ????? Jesus. Get a real client dude :)


  1. monkinetic says:

    Weblog Tools
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  2. The Toolset
    I’ve been looking for a prompt to sit down and detail out my system. So, I’ll take up Weblog Tools call to list my gear. I’ve chosen my own categories – some in common, some not. Thanks to the coders, developers and creators out there who…

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