Tuesday, 3 December 2013

2013 -what worked

Over the past few years I’ve been doing a ‘what worked’ every December, but this year I’ve also been doing quarterly updates on what I actually use. So this year’s post is also my quarterly update on the tools used

  • Dropbox – used mainly to sync files across computers irrespective of file format
  • Libre Office – platform agnostic document editor for off line writing. Often used in conjunction with Dropbox
  • Evernote – used as a notes and document management system (Nixnote is used on Linux to access my evernote files)
  • Wunderlist for ‘to do’ list management
  • Chrome – browser extraordinaire
  • Gmail – email solution
  • Postbox - lightweight email client for windows to cope with slow connections - used with great success in Sri Linka
  • Evolution - linux email client principly used in conjunction with Libre Office
  • Google docs – fast means to create quick and dirty documents irrespective of platform
  • Windows Live writer – offline blog post creation TextEdit – android text editor for note taking and integrates nicely with evernote and Gmail
  • Kate - my favourite editor
  • TextWrangler - my secondmost favourite editor
  • Stackedit - Google chrome markdown editor (and blog posting tool)
  • Pandoc - converts markdown to a range of other formats
  • Microsoft Skydrive – used for document backup
  • Amazon cloud drive - also used for documents
  • Excel Web App – for these occasions when Google Spreadsheets or Libre Office Calc will not do
  • GanntProject for gannt chart generation
  • InoReader for RSS feed tracking
  • Twitter for tracking interesting things – rarely for messaging
  • Hosted Wordpress and blogger for blogging, and wikidot for creating structured web pages
  • Hojoki for tracking documents and tasks (Gives unified visibility of GoogleDocs, Skydrive, GitHub, Dropbox and Evernote)

The real change has been to the hardware used. My trusty old Android tablet is still in use for checking email and reading news websites at breakfast time - as evidenced by some of the gluckier marks on the screen. The newer seven inch device is still in use as a note taker and I see no reason to change for the moment although I do admit being tempted by the new iPad mini - more because of the software base and the availability of decent keyboard solutions than anything else.

Textedit - the android text editor is now unsupported and while I’m continuing to use it successfully I fear that one day there will be an api change on google drive or evernote that will break things.

The real change has been the Chromebook. It allows me to check my email. create quick and dirty drafs using either Google Docs and StackEdit, as well as surf the web and research things. If anything has ever demonstrated how much of my day to day reading and specification checking has moved to the web the Chromebook certainly has.

It’s also fast, well fast enough, boots quickly and shuts down quickly. It’s not a full featured computer but it most definitely provided on the go functionality.

In fact it shows why my original Asus netwbook was such an effective tool and the windows netbook a bit of a clunker - basically load time. The platform is irrelevant, it’s access to a browser that counts.

However I still use my windows netbook - the Chromebook’s dependence on the internet makes it useless for off net travel, and my windows netbook does support my Virgin 3G dongle, though admittedly I seem to have been staying in places with poor Virgin coverage lately.

My Kindle has become my recreational reading devoce of choice although my vereable Cool-er has taken on a new life as a means of reading Gutenberg epub texts.

The Asus netbook has finally reached the end of it’s useful life but I’m tempted to try Crunchbang Linux on it as a basic writing/note machine, especially as it has a nicer keyboard than my seven inch Android tablet.

Despite several attempts to resurrect them I’m forced to admit that my pair of ppc imacs are too old and slow to be much use and are most probably headed for the great data centre in the sky …

Written with StackEdit.

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