Tools I Use on a Daily Basis (Posted on May 18th, 2013)
So you're probably wondering why do I care what tools some random person uses. However, if you're reading this blog you're most likely an entrepreneurial type person or a developer or both. Either way getting incite in to the tools that someone else uses can give you an idea of what spaces need innovation, what tools you should build for, or simply a new tool for you to use. I tried to keep the list small and relevant but in the end I don't use many tools because technology has evolved to the point where I don't have to.
Operating systems I think are one of the biggest debates as to which one is the best for developers, right next to IDEs. I've had the opportunity to use Windows, Linux, and Mac in different environments so I feel I have a good overview of the different OS pros and cons. With all that said, no matter how good you may think a Mac is, it's not worth the cost of the operating system. What I mean by that is go take the price of a Mac then subtract the cost of another system with equivalent hardware running another OS. You'll see what I mean very quickly. If developments your thing Ubuntu makes a great OS and is what I use for creating apps. Out of the box Windows is a great OS and it's what I use for my day-to-day OS needs. I unfortunately fell for Windows 8 so hopefully Windows 8.1 will be better. Other than that you can read more about my operating system setup over here if you'd like it.
Integrated Development Environment (IDE)
There are truly so many great options in this space. I've spent days just looking through and comparing all the different options. I've found that there really isn't any end all be all IDE for every language out there. Though one could make an argument for the plugin intensive emacs or vim.
With that said most of my development these days happens in Python and Ruby so I've been using Komodo Edit. For the price of free and no annoying popup ads (I'm looking at you Sublime) you get an awesome IDE which can run your code and handle autocomplete of non-standard libraries. There's also additional support in there for Rails and Django by default. If you're a Node.js monkey there's also support for that as well.
If you're goal is Android development then your environment of choice should be the new Android Studio.
I guess you could say I was lucky and got my domains in on Google Apps before they want pay to use. I use Gmail for all my domains and it's super sweet. There's really nothing bad to say about it. E-mail should be simple and Gmail makes it so. I've also used Thunderbird as a desktop client and thought it was awesome as well. Thunderbird made it simple to manage multiple e-mail accounts from one interface. I like simple.
I've had an iTouch for about 5 years. That thing is solid and built to last, kind of like cars from the 60s. It has gotten software updates for about 3 years, still holds a charge for quite awhile, and has never really broken down on me. While I like the Android platform slightly better the hardware quality of this bad boy goes untouched.
On the flip side I have a Galaxy S3 which feels, and is, very flimsy. I don't like putting cases on my mobile devices so maybe it's my fault. There's also the battery drain issue that Samsung has refused to address. Basically once a week my phone will just start rapidly dying. Battery could go from 100% to 0% in a few hours. I've sent the phone to Samsung to be fixed and they've just sent it back with a factory reset. Thanks Samsung... Don't get me wrong when the phone is working it's fantastic. The calendar and memo app help keep me organized on the go. However, it's disappointing to see an iTouch out preform a former flagship phone that is still waiting for Android 4.2 from AT&T and other carriers.
I, along with a group of my friends are still using the gold standard of IM technology, AIM. The platform has really come a long way since it's original inception back in 1997 and the core features are still there. You can group chat, private chat, video chat, share files, and integrate with other services. I think all the cool kids now a days are using Skype or Facebook chat though.
I'm using LibreOffice. It's a free knockoff of the Microsoft Office suite and a fork of the OpenOffice suite. When Oracle took over OpenOffice a lot of the devs left and started working on LibreOffice. OpenOffice is still under some development over at the Apache foundation but I think it's safe to say LibreOffice is the future.
Google Drive/Google Docs have been super awesome for sharing and collaborating. There's no software to install just simply drag the files into your Drive account and you can access them anywhere you want. Google Docs has been great for working on papers on the go. As a college student, being able to add in details as you think of them makes it much easier to write papers.
Long Computer Use
As a developer I'm inclined to spending many hours in front of a computer screen at a time, especially in the early morning hours. If you're not using f.lux you should get on that. It adjusts the color temperatures of your display to a more organgy glow as the night wears on. This makes it much easier to fall asleep.
If you have any tools you really like to use and would recommend post them in the comments below. Thanks for reading!