Tools and Gadgets (and GTD)

I know, Fino get with the program, but I just heard this GTD (getting things done) term on Lifehacker this week. Sounds like a career of conferences from a certain David Allen and reminds me a little of the 7 Habits craze from Steven Covey back in the nineties. Apparently, this article in Wired magazine thought the same thing. Anyway, gotta get around to reading the book or at least some web pages.

My own take on this (using the Lifehacker format):

The Basics

  • Firefox: Best browser, nuff said. Course, when I really have to, I use Safari or (AHHH!) Internet Explorer. But for IE, I try using Firefox + the IE Tabs extension.
  • Quicksilver: I’ve gotta go back to using this more frequently as I know it is a must. Lately, its been primarily Spotlight.
  • TextMate (Mac) and Notepad++ or Gvim (Windows): Everyone needs a good text editor, and these two are my picks. (TextMate is not free although the other two are. It is worth it though).
  • KeePass: Still have to get around to using this but its high on my list.
  • Adium (Mac): Best aggregate I have ever found.
  • GNU Utils: Leopard, of course via Terminal has it all, but under Windows, this tool set is pretty complete and feels to perform better than Cygwin.
  • Skitch (Mac) and SnagIt (Windows): These two are indispensible for Powerpoint and blogging.
  • Time Machine (Mac): I should probably get something like Moze but for the moment, TimeMachine does the trick. For critical stuff like, (no laughing), my iTunes library, I have 3 backups.
  • Mail (Mac) and Outlook (Windows): I haven’t been able to switch to other perhaps more nerdy but also perhaps less user-friendly tools for task/calendar management. I would love to be totally Google Calendar or iCal but the tasks are missing. That’s where Outlook (groan) excels as I have yet to find as good a calendar as Outlook 2007…

Primary OS

I am primarily Leopard, when I can stay on it, and otherwise its XP. I don’t really see the point (but am open to comments on this) of using a LINUX clone inside of the excellent UNIX that Leopard really is. I am interested in OpenSolaris but have had no time for investigating. I have also worked extensively in commercial Solaris, HP-UX and AIX.
Hardware

  • A 15-inch 2.66 GHz MacBook Pro with 4 GB RAM and the 250 GB HDD. I run both Windows XP and Leopard on this machine with VMware. Like Gina, I used to Boot Camp and virtualize that partition in Parallels—but when I needed more internal hard drive space, I killed the Boot Camp partition and now just virtualize XP. I also have a 23″ Apple Cinema HD monitor, the extended USB keyboard, and a USB mouse for the house and for the road: wireless mouse and keyboard, Logitech R-RB5 for presentations, and an Ergonomique notebook stand.

Peripherals

Besides a stack of external hard drives, a Freebox 5 router, an HP All-in-One, I’ve got:

  • Time Capsule: for backups of my wife’s MacBook and my MacBook Pro and, with little success so far, intended as a secured AFPD fileserver. Stay tuned…
  • An iPod Touch, which I upgraded to 2.0 two weeks ago. Lovin’ it and waiting to go to the US in August 2008 to buy the new iPhone 3G despite the issues with battery life. That’ll be the subject of a future post.

Webapps

  • Gmail: I love Gmail and am considering using it for my professional mail via a forward as well. I also have been testing Leopard’s Mail which at least can aggregate from Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail, Exchange and MobileMe even if the syncing and especially the deletions are a bit kludgy.
  • NetNewsWire: I should also further evaluate Google Reader, but the iPod Touch 2.0 NetNewsWire app and the excellent tools and browser in NNW have me hooked for now.
  • Outlook Calendar/iCal/Google Calendar: As previously mentioned, can’t find the ideal solution in this area. Still looking.
  • Twitter: I don’t have enough folks on twitter yet for it to be interesting but it is certainly faster (and less time-consuming) than Facebook and MySpace. LinkedIn is another favorite though for networking with “professionals”  and especially being seen by recruiters :)
  • WordPress: Blogging is finally coming around to Fino and I found that WordPress had a decent web interface and, more important, a good iPod Touch 2.0 AppStore (free) client program.

I also am starting to use del.icio.us.
Self Assessment
A very late Web 2.0 adopter, I have probably been doing things in the dark and the hard way for way too long. Hopefully, this list is a start to get me headed in the right direction.

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About Michael Finocchiaro

IT Architecture Guru for large PLM software company but dabbling in Web 2.0 and other stuff.
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4 Responses to Tools and Gadgets (and GTD)

  1. Prathap Yalavarthi says:

    Hi Fino,
    Most of this list is same as mine. However I never used Mac, instead I use linux as Windows alternative. Since you asked for reason to look into linux, here are my points.
    1. Variety – Unlike Windows or Mac, linux has lot of variety. So you can play with them and see what they are doing with OS.
    2. Creativity – Linux is not very widely used in the desktop area. So it gives an easy option to take risks and be creative. I never thought an OS can be booted from CD or even run from a USB drive. Especially small footprint Puppy linux can be run completely from Memory. It is amazingly fast and I cannot believe that it launches apps before I move mouse away from the desktop icon.
    3. Since you are already familiar with unix or GNU tools, it is easy for you to get comfortable with linux.
    Just play with the top distirbutions such as Ubuntu(or Mint), Suse, Fedora and see how it feels.

    Some interesting web apps for me are.
    1. RememberTheMilk.com
    2. Igoogle.com – I use this instead of google reader. I have multiple tabs with specific topics like java, linux, python, health etc. It automatically adds popular feeds based on your tab name. You can delete them if you don’t find them interesting.
    3. Grandcentral.com – one number for life- not sure if this is available outside US.
    4. Google Notebook – with firefox plugin – I use it to store all the notes, commands or code snippets here. Also store interesting snippets from web here like interesting TPI/TANs from PTC Tech Supoort.
    5. Assembla.com – to store my programs online.

    Interesting tools that I use are
    notepad2 – replacement for notepad. I usually replace the notepad with this on all my windows machines. Instructions can be found from their site.
    Copssh – Turns any windows machine into ssh server . It is lightweight and easy to install compared to cygwin.
    Autohotkey – shortcuts for text on Windows.
    Jedit – I love it so much that I install it on my machines. It can be used as simple text editor to complex ide with plugins.

    Regards,
    Prathap

  2. mfinocchiaro says:

    One of these days, I’ll get around to investigating LINUX, but that’ll take a back seat to getting my iPhone 3G setup, cleaning up my photo collection and starting my new job.

    As for Remember the Milk, I know it looks pretty good but a yearly subscription price is keeping me from using it for the moment. I am using Toodledo for the moment but disappointed with its calendar integration :(

    iGoogle looks a bit cluttered to me but the tip about the tabs and automatic feeds sounds like something to check out.

    Haven’t checked out grandcentral…

    I have been (under) using Google Notebook for quite a while. Thanks for the reminder!

    Don’t really code anymore but I’ll check out assembla.

    I like Notepad++ but I’ll give Notepad2 a shot.
    CopSSH sounds very promising.
    Hadn’t gotten around to working on autohotkey but sounds a bit like Quicksilver for Mac.
    Haven’t tried jedit either…

    Cheers,
    Fino

  3. Pingback: 2010 in review | Fino’s Weblog

  4. Pingback: GTD Review | Fino's Weblog

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