The Perfect Setup

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been experimenting with lots of software, trying to find the best solution for some things I needed (indexing solution, source control, etc..)

Well, I think now I have finally found my perfect setup, it probably won’t last for long since I’m always looking for the next application, for the better solution, and my requirements from the computer keep changing. But… for now it’s perfect.

Operating System:

  • Windows XP Pro, I honestly don’t have any complaints about it, I’ve been using it for years and it never crashed on me.

System Tools:

  • Total Commander, the best file manager ever written, with so many features, tabs, multi-rename, synchronization, thumbnails, ftp, open all sorts of compressed files, and so much more.
  • Launchy, the best application launcher I have ever used. I change the hotkey to Win+Space (because Alt+Space opens the window context menu). Version 2.0 is a little heavy, so for now I’m staying with version 1.25. I also use the Mathy plugin for some advance math.
  • Sysinternals, now owned by Microsoft, contains Process Explorer (Task Manager on steroids), FileMon (find out who’s accessing the hard drive), Autoruns (finds every application that loads on startup) and lost more.
  • Locate32, this is my indexing solution, it works like Linux’s locate, there’s a database file that is updated manually (or with a Scheduled Task), it contains only filenames, dates and sizes. Just press Win+F and you can search the entire hard drive in a second.
  • 7-Zip, a file archiver that supports lot of formats, including their own high compression ratio format, very comfortable and lightweight program.
  • Tweak UI, change lots of hidden windows configuration items.
  • Avast Anti-Virus, I’m using the free version, and so far didn’t have any problems with it.
  • TrueCrypt, Creates a virtual encrypted disk within a file and mounts it as a real disk.
  • KeePass, password manager.
  • Notepad++, I don’t use text editors much these days (I used to be a VIM-junky, but I’ve become a spoiled programmer after working with Visual Studio and Eclipse…), but when I do need to edit some plain text, html, or a short python/batch script this tool really comes in handy.
  • AltDrag, an Autohotkey script that I tweaked to work the way I like it. Basically what it does is simulate Kde/Gnome’s alt+mouse-click to drag windows and alt+right-mouse-click to resize windows).

Audio & Video:

  • Foobar 2000, the best music player I’ve ever used, quick, lightweight and full of features (tag editing, ReplayGain, file conversion, file operations, etc…).
  • VLC media player, open source video player, supports almost every codec (no codecs required for installing).
  • Quicktime Alternative, I only use it for watching trailers because it’s got this cool features of downloading the entire trailer, saving it as a file and playing it (I like watching the HD trailers, and it’s annoying to watch them in streaming).

Internet:

  • Firefox, Best web browser ever made! I use it with the following extensions:
    • DownThemAll
    • Delicious Bookmarks
    • PicLens
    • Aardvark
    • ScrapBook
    • Better GReader
  • Thunderbird, I use it with Gmail IMAP, works great!, I use the CuteBird theme to make it look more Mac-ish, and I use the Lightning plugin to add a calendar.
  • Miranda Instant Messenger, GoogleTalk, Icq, Messenger, all in one lightweight package. I’ve been using it for years.
  • WinSCP, free SFTP, FTP and SCP client. Supports scripting, synchronizing between local and remote directories and much more.
  • Windows Live Writer, Very comfortable blogging tool (I’m using it right now to write this post), you write the post as you’ll see it on the blog (see my previous post).
  • Google Reader, Not a desktop application (although you can use it with Prism and make it sort-of-a-desktop-app), but a still very useful application.

Graphics:

  • IrfanView, Very handy image viewer/editor, supports EXIF, simple editing (cropping, brightnest/contrast, smart rescaling and a lot more).
  • Gimp, The GNU Image Manipulation Program. I use it for enhancing photographs, doing HDRs, adding effects to photographs, making web design graphics, icon editing, animations and all sorts of other generic graphic work.
  • Inkscape, Vector graphics editor, the latest version is a lot more stable. Very useful for web design.
  • AutoStitch, I use this one to make panorama shots (combine single photographs into one giant photo).

Development:

  • Visual Studio 2008 Express, for all non-commercial C# work.
  • Eclipse/Aptana Studio, for most of my web work (PHP/html/javascript/css/etc…). Aptana is one of the best Javascript editors I’ve worked with, Intellisense works very well (a little buggy, but much better than anything else I’ve tried).
  • Python, best solution for quick&dirty scripting. I used to use it with wxPython to write GUI applications, but once I started using Visual Studio for C# GUI applications I couldn’t go back to wxPython.
  • IPython, an enhanced Python shell, makes testing pieces of code a lot more comfortable.
  • TortoiseSVN, Explorer-extension for SVN source control (also works inside Total Commander…), very easy to use and you can create a local repository with no web server required.
  • WampServer, easy-to-install Apache+MySQL+PHP package, has a tray icon to quickly start/stop the services.

Office Tools:

  • OpenOffice, the open-source Microsoft Office alternative. I actually like better than Office, since it doesn’t try to figure out what I wanna do, If I want something I just do it and that’s it, no false-positives. Another thing I like about it is the PDF export feature, you can easily create a PDF with bookmarks, hyperlinks, encryption, and more.
  • PowerPoint Viewer, Unfortunately OpenOffice isn’t 100% office compatible, especially for presentations…

Comments

Itay said…
Great post! I'm glad you decided to stay with XP =). Next time around you'll be using a Mac.
AMIGrAve said…
Hi David.

Could you make available your autohotkey AltDrag script ?
David Elentok said…
Sure, the .exe compiled version, and the source.

It's based on the "Easy Window Drag (KDE)" script (I just made some changes).

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