How I Work


One of my frequent stops these days on the blog circuit is Lots of cool things to do, both at the keyboard and in life. Recently, a couple of questions about How I Work were put to a number of productivity experts and their own staff, and I thought I'd give the questions a try

What desktop software do you use every day?

  • GNU Emacs : I'd say I spend probably 75% of the time in this text editor. Although that barely scratches the surface of what Emacs can do. I've been using it since it first came out, all those years ago, and I'd be lost without it. It gives me a common "desktop" on which to work, and works across many different platforms.
  • Firefox : My browser of choice. I probably spend 10% or more of my time in this web browser, both for work and for play.
  • Thunderbird : for years I used the Mozilla suite, but found it was getting creaky around the edges. Thunderbird gives me the same email client, only modernized and sleek. It has very powerful filters for carefully filing away the hundreds of emails messages I get every day.
  • Microsoft Visual C++ 6.0 : There isn't much "visual" about it, and I think it is a ten year old development platform, and basically I hate it, but it is the industry standard, so that's what we use. We are slowly, every so slowly, making our way over to Visual Studio 2005, but who knows when that effort will begin in earnest. My favorite Windows development platform for personal projects remains Borland's C++Builder, although I haven't moved up to 2006 yet.
  • Cygwin : the Unix compatible commandline environment for Windows. Like Emacs, it keeps me from going crazy as I hop from one platform to another. I use the Bash shell, rxvt terminal and the Cywin/X X server. I still use JPSoftware's 4NT shell. It has taken great care of me for many years, every since the 4Dos days. If you want a real commandline and don't want to bother with the beast that is Cygwin, go for 4NT.
  • PowerPro : Windows utility extraordinaire. I'd be lost without it. I use it mostly for the easy shortcuts it gives me. You can set up your own personal toolbars that can be put almost anywhere. I have one that goes in the title bar of the active window. But there's a million and one things you can do with it, as it has a very powerful scripting engine, adds all kinds of special Windows UI tweaks, notes, virtual desktops, keyboard and mouse macros, you name it. It used to be called Stileto and was one of the few shareware programs I've ever actually used enough to pay for.
  • Perforce : the SCS (Software Control System) we use at work at my prodding. I've been carrying it along to various jobs, and I still have a single user personal copy. It has a wonderful client/server model that works incredibly well for us work-at-home types.
  • Rhapsody : My music player of choice. I was seriously dismayed when they were acquired by Real, who remain, in my book, one of the worst companies out there for installing junk on your computer. I have some computers I'm still trying to erase their remnants from. I use Media Player Classic, an OpenSource program, on those rare occasions when I need to play an RM file.
  • Palm Desktop : Don't really use my Palm much, but I do use the Desktop as my address book and calendar.

What web sites do you use every day?

  • Bloglines : My RSS reader. Easy to use, nice interface and available where ever I am. Perfect.
  • RememberTheMilk : I've started using this site as my "Getting Things Done" list application. It doesn't really have hierarchical items, but other than that I've found it to be easy to use and very flexible. By using Javascript, you get nice keyboard shortcuts (if you turn off the Firefox "search when you begin typing" feature, which I miss).
  • Wikipedia : It is a rare day where I don't end up at the Wikipedia.
  • : I leave this open to further investigate interesting bands that I hear on the Rhapsody radio stations.

What PDA/personal organizer/system do you use to keep organized?

I have a Palm Treo Color, but I don't use it all that much. Just as a portable address book, really. I spend most of my time at my keyboard, so a portable organize just isn't that important.


Give SlickRun a shot - it's free and you may very well end up addicted.

I've seen it mentioned on, but I'd be willing to bet that PowerPro can do everything SlickRun does, but much more. But maybe I'll take a look at it.

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This page contains a single entry by Jonathan published on May 23, 2006 8:48 PM.

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