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Posted by on 23rd August, 2014

What are your tools?

What are your tools?

Do the tools you use say much about you? It’s like clothing, right? You might wear a shirt because you simply like that particular shirt or you like the style… or the brand, color, fit, etc. The same can be said about the tools we use for our everyday tasks like email, calendaring, storage, etc. So, let’s see what these tools say about us.

I’ll start; I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours…

My default email client for many years. It is fast, robust, powerful and simple, yet highly customizable. Works across all my devices.
Google Calendar
A bit on the simple simple side, but very functional. Kind of like the search engine from the same company.
Cloud Storage
Google Drive
Many contenders in this area, but its tight integration with Google docs, makes this an easy decision. It is fast, functional and with more tools and space than I will ever need.
Storage Sync
Google drive comes with its default sync tool; however, the main limitation is that it will run on the account that you are currently logged in as. If you have, let’s say a personal account and a work account, you have to constantly switch (log in /log out) for it to synchronize both your accounts. The InSync tool allows you to set up multiple Google accounts while running a single tool. Well worth it.
Contact Management
I have tried many of these and this one is an awesome tool. Excellent reminder capability for groups of people you want to periodically stay in touch with. If I only would act on the reminder, it would be perfect. A nit on the spendy side, but you get what you pay for.
Project Management
Little known, based in Ireland, and simply the most comprehensive tool out there for team project management. There are many contenders out there, and I think I have tried them all. Yes, all. This is the clear winner. Well priced and fully featured.
Task Management
Free, simple, effective and runs on any and most devices. Did I mention it was free?
Team Collaboration
This collaboration tool is just brilliant. Here is a tool you wonder what has taken so long to come on the market. So simple, yet so powerful. Free and it has replaced the way I communicate with any team.
Stores all my bookmarks that I will never read later… free, cross-device and off-line reading.
List Management
Organize all your lists and virtual post-it notes easily and effortlessly. Free.
Password management
Google Music
Paid service that lets me listen to virtually any song I want at any time.
Paid radio service that has much better song preference matching and variety than Google Music.
So many note taking apps to choose from… which one? Evernote, SimpleNote, SpringPad (defunct), Google Keep, etc. I have finally decided on Microsoft OneNote with which I feel I am free to write notes anywhere on the canvas, unlike than with the more traditional and structured apps and more like real paper. I also use on occasion a pen tablet and OneNote allows me to take ink notes and drawings that other apps can’t.
Text editor
Sublime Text 3
I have been using Notepad++ for many years as a replacement for Notepad, and have recently switched to this one. Yes, it is not free, but seems to be more robust and cleaner. I am not quite used to the command only interface, but I’ll get used to it.
Development environment
Visual Studio
What can I say… my de facto development environment for years. I have given JetBrains WebStorm a try for some simpler (non .NET) web projects, but just couldn’t overcome the slowness and frequent issues. I use Eclipse for Java and Android projects.
Platform environment
Windows Azure
This is simply a superb platform as a service service platform (yes, I did just say it like that). It’s like one own private laboratory with all the equipment one could want at one’s disposal. A bit pricy, but worth it.
PGP communication
Mailvelope for Gmail
Tight integration with Gmail allows seamless communication without having to jump back and forth between apps. Everything is encrypted locally, so nothing is ever sent or save to the server. Still free, but would’t be surprised if it will be a paid tools soon.
Source code repository
As robust and fully featured as Github, but free. What else is there to say?