Over the years I have used computers to get things done, either professionally or for my personal use.Computers have exapnded to more areas, so have my tools. Some jobs remain the same, many new possibities have been added.
So here are my favorite tools:
Notebooks are the way of the future it seems. Bulky minitowers are for gamers, for the rest they are too noisy, too large and a waste of space.My current notebooks are DELL Latitude, though I manage to change once in every two years (some one has to test the new model…).
- Operating system
Windows XP with Service pack 3. Does all I want, is fast enough and is rock solid. Supports all hardware available, and does so in a friendly way. The days have gone that to be a computer user one had to be a nerd. Well, it still helps to be a nerd to keep a PC running smoothly…
Internet Explorer 6 SP1 is good enough for browsing the web, at least all sites work in that program. Stable enough also. I use Firefox also, to check compatibility when designing and checking a website, also RSS enabled sites work well with Live Bookmarks.
The older computers here run older versions of Windows and all work nicely together on the home LAN . Even the Linux systems of my oldest son behave in this network.
- File handling and FTP
While Windows (Internet) explorer is good enough for most tasks involving files, TotalCommander is a nice ftp client and does add power to the file management.
- Editing and word processing
For pure text processing I now use notepad for the simple things and UltraEdit when I need power. This is not only for editing text, like programs and html, it is syntax sensitive. It has functions to do binary editing, search and replace in files, character set conversions and it can be used as a simple IDE for program development. Recommended.
For documents I continue now for many years now to use Microsoft Word. Though it is a dinosaur and often much too powerful and helpful (I am in charge, not you!) it delivers good looking documents with the layout I want, table of contents, page numbering, headers, footers, headings etc. To be honest, Word for Windows 2.0 from 15 years ago is already good enough!
- Programming and web development
I do not do much programming anymore. It seems a solution for every problem is available on the internet. Pascal is still here, from Turbo Pascal to FreePascal.
For webdevelopment (which I consider to be a mixture of word processing and programming) I use UltraEdit. Yes, I develop in pure html, combined with css.
For playing audio Winamp is still the best tool. For audio processing, especially when recording the vinyl records and repairing artefacts Adobe Audition is the best tool.
- Watching video
Watching video on television with a S-Video connection from my notebook is what I do often. BSPlayer shows a good picture, and the separate control makes operating convenient. Add the K-Lite Codec pack to show all formats.
- Video editing
Adobe Premiere Elements 3.0 is the right tool. Nice and easy to configureDVD menus, easy to add video and photos to, rock solid. This program requires modern cpu’s btw, SSE extensions are essential since version 2. Works fine with my Samsung miniDV camera with a firewire connection.
A handy tool for copying DVD’s is DVDShrink.
Capturing video from my older analog cameras is done with a separate computer, a Pinnacle Studio de Luxe PCI card andï¿½Pinnacle Studio software version 8. The picture quality is excellent, the software is so intolerant of other programs and instable that I had to dedicate an older computer for this task, running Windows 2000 and only Pinnacle software. Not recommended.
- Photo editing
Adobe Photoshop Elements 5. The Quickfix mode is excellent, the full edit mode is powerfull enough. This has replaced Paint Shop Pro, which lacks an adequate quickfix. And when working with many scanned slides and photos speed and power combined is so important.
Irfanview is my favorite tool for viewing, slideshows and quickly do simple things like cropping and conversion to other formats.
ABBYY Finereader is the perfect tool to get a scanned document into editable format. For scanning I still use my trusty HP 4C, scanning itself is done with the batch mode of Irfanview.
- CD and DVD burning
The package is a bit too big, Nero Burning ROM is enough for me to burn data on cd and dvd, and burn video on DVD.