This is a list of cool software tools I frequently use presented in the order in which I thought of them (read: there is no intended order). My rationale for creating this list is it will help other people to cut right to the meat of what’s out there–right to the very best programs.
- The best tool for creating most documents, but it has a learning curve. LaTeX (pronounced la-TEK) enables you to write in plain text and generate good-looking PDFs for a wide variety of target audiences. The bundled templates are appropriate for many types of document/publications including presentations with Beamer, IEEE publication, and the standard report and thesis work which has lifted it to dominance in the realm of academic publishing. Add-ons are numerous and include the excellent TikZ package, Sweave, and many others.
- A great text editor and my editor of choice. I am a somewhat egotistical user who takes pride in knowing more tricks than my friends. I am starting to maintain a page of Vim tips for the interested.
- Software for creating and maintaining [mind maps], a highly effective tool for organizing thoughts or projects. FreeMind has a very intuitive set of default keybindings that allow you to “just use” the software from day 0.
- A web-based HTML-to-PDF converter. It is distinct from the many other web-based tools because it treats HTML anchors correctly (i.e. generates a link within the PDF which goes to a different page rather than to the website). There is usually a better way to save web pages, but in a pinch I turn to this one.
- I have contributed patches for this one. It’s a great tool for those of us with an autofeeding scanner because you can easily split PDFs.
- Configure GTK themes–especially useful for those of us who don’t use KDE, GNOME or XFCE.
- Window resizing in Microsoft Windows is annoying once you’re used to it on <insert name of other GUI here>. This helps.
- Allows for easy configuration of Synergy using a GUI.
- Fast PDF viewer for Windows. It’s good to have Acrobat Reader installed anyway because some PDFs only seem to print properly in it.
New installation of Windows
Here is a list of programs that I normally install with Windows. This is mostly for my benefit when I am reinstalling for other people. Links below are to the canonical latest version when possible and will automatically start the download in some cases.
- CCleaner, Defraggler
- Java Runtime
- Acrobat Reader, Flash
- K-Lite (and K-Lite64 if applicable) which add support for a lot of audio/video codecs as well as thumbnailing for “weird” file types
- Another browser, such as Firefox or Google Chrome
I also make some other modifications, such as
- Installing the Task Manager replacement
C:\WINDOWSand launching it to activating
- Drop a copy of
putty.exein thw WINDOWS directory
- Change the screensaver to Electric Sheep