This is what I have downloaded on my new laptop so far:
Firefox – browser. Including my entire profile with bookmarks, passwords, plug-ins and preferences which made the switch very smooth.
Thunderbird – email. I use Thunderbird (by Mozilla) to download and integrate email from my yahoo and gmail accounts. I like that it is offline, the possibilities for sorting, the ease of making filters and folders. Not only incoming mail, but also replies, are saved online on my gmail account as well, so if my machine would break down I can still get it.
Skype – phone, chat. I enjoy the moodlines, as well. I do not use any other IM and wondered if I should.
Vienna – for rss reading. Great, open source, works fine, looks good. I am trying to lead and feed everything to here: news, blogs, but also bookmarks for sites with no rss, tag-feeds, photo feeds. Still figuring out the best way to organize folders.
NeoOffice – office package with text, numbers and presentations tools. I tried Open Office first but installing was troublesome (although Leopard has the x11, a little component that is required). I tried NeoOffice instead and it worked fine, so I settled for that. The text tool is off course different from Word, and I think I will only know how much when I start working with it a lot. And when I do, I think I would want to get Word, just to be sure not to loose time trying to master the little differences and not to run the risk of loosing lay-out etc when exchanging with others.
Skitch – grab and past for images. I want to use it for quickly grabbing visuals and past them in blogs or online. It looks like that is what it will do, but have not started real work with it.
Google desktop – I use it (only) for finding things quickly on my machine.
Google earth – love it, although now Google Maps have got better do not use it as much.
Quicksilver – for launching and quick tasking. Incredibly quick to find programs, bookmarks or the like, and QS then can perform many “standard actions” without having to switch to the program. Supposedly great, but I can’t be bothered to really explore and get into habit of using.
iGTD – for Getting Things Done. Looked promising and integrates with Quicksilver but I discovered I can’t be bothered. It is still sitting there, for the day when “i get really organized” but there is more on my list for that day! For personal effectiveness I only need the right mindset and a good task list.
and this is what I use online:
Netvibes – for startpages. It is not good as a feedreader, but to present feeds “portal” style. I am slowly discovering that it is to collect links and resources about a theme you might be interested in -and share that as a startpage. I like the image search where you can see visual tagfeeds from photo or images in one view.
and Flickr (photos), G-docs (joint writing), G-calendar (I let it feed to my iCal; so I share what I like), WordPress (publishing), Del.icio.us (public bookmarking), Ning (for hosting communities), Twitter (sharing little signs of presence). I am on Facebook but use it minimally: my latest twitter feeds into the Facebook status and my friends´statuses go to my feedreader.
On my wishlist to check out are a few tools for project management or GTD: Basecamp, Remember the milk, Nozbe.
What I noticed in my software and tool use:
The downloadable and online applications are so much more important than before! I have hardly used the Office-type applications, but couldn’t do without the browser and email and feedreader. This used to be the other way around. Now the question arises what this says about my work. It is the same with reading. From reading books I have shifted to reading blogs and skimming articles and texts online.
I am not very inclined to pay for software. I really like the open source principle, the Freedom of Code, Creative commons etc, but I have to be honest, the free part of it is ever so handy.
I am not a tool tiger, after this migration I am now tool-tired: I can’t be bothered. Whether Vienna or NetNewsWire is the slightly better rss reader, as to why I can’t get into really using Quicksilver and iGTD: I can’t be bothered; the alternatives to these are good enough. And good enough is fine. The 3 milliseconds I win when using these are not in the critical path of my projects; the limiting factor is my mind, my distractions, my procratinating strategies anyway.
And: what I am used to is important. The extra time it takes to keep up with the new tools, find and install them, import old date into them and learn how to use them, is hardly ever worth the trouble.