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Top 10 Tools I Can’t Live Without

Posted by on Thursday, October 4th, 2007

We all have our own unique ways of working. A large part of any persons individual productivity is the tools they use. Here is my top 10 Must Have Tools (and why), please add yours in the comments!

  1. FirefoxFirefox – I started out with Mosaic, then Netscape. For years I was an Internet Explorer user but then Microsoft dropped the ball and the Mozilla team ran with it. Firefox is stable, extensible and fast enough. One of the killer features that made me defect was the tabbed browsing. Of course most web browsers now have that feature. Firefox plus Greasemonkey takes an already rockin’ browser into a world of its own.
  2. ScribeFire – One of my main jobs is writing on blogs. This means lots of linking, bookmarking, making notes and of course the actual writing. I would say using Scribefire I can do it all in half the time. Scribefire is a Firefox plugin that provides blogging tools including a centralized word-like text editing interface.
  3. SkypeSkype – Many of my calls are long distance as it is rare for me to have a client in the same country as I live. Skype makes these calls free or much cheaper and allows me to roam around and not be tied to a land-line. With my trusty headset I might look like a geek but I can hear and be heard right across the globe.
  4. Fastmail – While many people swear by the free Google GMail my web email service of choice is the paid service at Fastmail. The main advantage is as well as having a web client you can also access your email using imap, allowing me to sync my desktop client and see in a web browser exactly the same email store.
  5. WebDav – Talking of web based storage, a fantastic way to get your files on the go is WebDav. Drag and drop your files and folders just like you were working locally. Check out your web host to see if this is an option.
  6. SSH – This is an extremely nerdy choice but it has been a life saver in the past. SSH allows you a secure command line login to your remote server. On Windows of course you can use Remote Desktop, and other platforms will have VNC, but when the proverbial hits the fan you can rely on SSH and old school commands to get the job done.
  7. WordPress – I love WordPress, I wouldn’t recommend any other blogging platform for the individual or small team. But WordPress can be so much more than a blog! Use it for publishing your corporate website, internal project documentation, team collaboration, making notes, bookmarking, even as a discussion platform.
  8. Photoshop – There are cheaper options. I will probably never use even half the features. Photoshop still rules. There is little it can’t do, and if you wander into any design studio you can be sure there will be at least one machine running it. Productivity means being able to do what you need to do well and fast. Once you have learned it, Photoshop makes that happen for working with images.
  9. BlogBridge – I need my RSS feeds and I need them with me. While many people can argue in favor of their fave web clients I keep returning to BlogBridge happily time after time. It is a Java based desktop application so works wherever Java works and stores your feeds offline so you can read on the train, in the air or bus home.
  10. Flickr – Flickr for me is more than just an online photo gallery, it is a photography archive, a community and a source of royalty-free images (Creative Commons Licensed pics). It’s useful, fun and a constant source of education.

OK, I have shown you my must-have tools, what do you use on a daily basis and why? Let me know in the comments …