Scott McLeod recently shared 13 tools he couldn’t live without. Here are 12 of mine and 2 honorable mentions.
iPhone – I know there was a world before the iPhone, but I prefer not to think about it. Increasingly, I use it more and more around the house in lieu of my laptop if all I’m doing is Tweeting or reading my RSS feeds.
Google Docs – Almost everything I write at least begins life as a Google Doc. Sure, it may end up in Scrivener or Pages for fine-tuning or formatting when it’s ready to be published, but for just getting something down “on paper” it’s tough to beat GDocs.
Gmail – Other than my work email (FirstClass. Blech.), all of my various email accounts are managed in a single Gmail account. I’ve been a Gmailer since it debuted (2004?) and can’t imagine not having it.
Fever – My RSS reader of choice. We all have “top-tier” feeds that we never want to miss and “lower-level” feeds that we read if time allows. Plus, how guilty do you feel when you have “713 unread” in your Google Reader? Fever is a single-user web app that you run on your own server. Basically your top feeds or daily reads are “kindling” and your secondary feeds are “sparks.” The sparks are kept out of the main view and there’s no nagging “unread feeds” indicator so you can ignore them guilt-free.
Why have sparks at all, then? Here’s where Fever gets interesting… There is some magic algorithm that monitors all your feeds for common topics or links and then gives you a “temperature reading” of the hottest topics and links in all of your feeds. So – for once – it is actually BETTER to subscribe to more feeds as they’ll provide the sparks. Then for daily reading you just cruise through your kindling. There is also a web-based iPhone version (no native app) that looks as good as the full browser-based version. Geek Note: As mentioned above, you have to run Fever on your own server or hosted web space. There is some setup involved, but it took me less than 15 minutes. After that I was able to import my OPML from Google Reader and I’ve done zero maintenance since.
iTunes – I’m a music fanatic. I have music on constantly when I’m at my desk.
Quicksilver – “Act without doing.” When I sit down at a Mac without QS, I am immediately lost.
Firefox – It’s a little pokey lately, but my plug-ins don’t work in Safari.
Skitch – This was an easy one to almost forget, but I use it at least 2 or 3 times a week. Someone wants to know what settings to use in Adium or where a certain preference is located in our district email client. Instead of writing, “Open Preferences. Click the ‘Accounts’ tab. Find the box for SSL and check it. Then enter ’443′ in the ‘ports’ field…” it’s easier to just pull up my settings and use Skitch to make a screen capture.
Dropbox – Provides access to your stuff from multiple computers as well as the peace of mind to know that your stuff is backed up in the cloud should your hard drive take a dirt nap.
ActionMethod – The best task and project manager I’ve used in a long time. Complete with an iPhone app. After trying many, many other apps this is the only one that works like I think. Plus, there are nifty paper products to complement your online setup.
Evernote – The place to dump everything that has other place to go. Scans of receipts, software licenses, anything.
Caffeine – Not an “every day” application, but it’s nice to have when you need it. Click on the coffee cup in your task bar and it fills up. Now your display won’t go to sleep. Ever. Very useful if you’re presenting. Saves you the embarrassment of being in the middle of a presentation when your display goes to sleep or your screen saver comes on.