The Programs and Tools in my Toolbox

Useful and Essential Programs for Everyday Computing

Some random program



emoticon:computer Everyone who uses computers for a period of years finds a number of programs they can't do without. As computers have crept ever further into every niche of our lives [1], the number of essential programs has grown and grown.

This list is the set of tools that I find invaluable in my daily computing. It includes development tools for programming, housekeeping utilties to make computing more pleasant, and some programs that are just for entertainment.

Most of these tools are shareware or freeware, but there are one or two commercial programs I use regularly. I obviously choose free and open source code wherever possible.

These programs are all best of breed in their field. I have settled on these after much trial and error, frustration and experimentation. Having said that, there is still room for improvement, so if you have any suggestions feel free to let me know. Smile

This list includes a few web services and some programs I use on my server. It doesn't include operating systems or programming languages [2].

As the list of programs I use (and am dependent on) grows, it becomes harder to maintain them and remember to keep them all up to date. Doing a fresh install of Windows has become more of a nightmare than it ever was before.

This list serves two purposes. First I hope it is either useful, interesting or provocative. Second, it is a place for me to keep a list of all the programs I use.

I haven't included the tools I use on my PDA: which is a small set of tools, but less interesting to most people.


I don't really play games. Life leaves me precious enough spare time as it is. Laughing At university I developed a taste for Doom. That game has now become part of computer history, but I occassionally play a few of its descendants.

System Administration

This little group of programs are all to do with keeping my computer as pleasant to use as possible, as well as virus, spyware and adware free. Some of these tools enable me to be productive on another computer, as well as my main one at home.

Programming Tools

I program in Python at home and at work.

Utilities & Applications

Film & DVD Tools

The computer becomes multimedia home theater. Smile

Unfortunately the great variety in formats used to distribute multimedia files means that it can be confusing knowing which programs and tools are needed simply to play some files. Burning video to DVD to play on a normal home player is another challenge as well. This section lists the tools I've had to use to in order to play and burn films using my PC.

Online Tools

This set of programs are ones related to the internet in some way. Some of them are web-applications, others run on the desktop. Missing from this section is Firefox the Web Browser, which has a section all to itself.

Website Related Tools

Missing Tools

Most of these programs I'm very happy with. There are still a few tools missing from my toolbx.

Firefox the Web Browser

emoticon:firefox One of the programs I use the most is Firefox the web browser. Needless to say it's a great browser. Unfortunately I still have to use IE for compatibility testing.

The best features of Firefox are tabbed browsing and the many different extensions available.

Like many people, when I first installed Firefox I played around with an enormous number of different extensions. After a while I settled on a few that I used regularly. The number that I used was surprisingly high though.

Here is list of all the Firefox extensions I'm using currently.


[1]Or at least my life. Smile
[2]I use Windoze on my desktop, and Debian on my server. I mainly program with Python, but have recently been making forays into C# for my work.
[3]I've recently downloaded the new beta version of windows media player 11. It is very good looking, and seems to behave fine in practise.
[4]Unsurprisingly, Ogm (Ogg Media Format) is related to the Ogg compression format, and can include Ogg compressed audio streams.
[5]I'm storing a few hundred megabytes, and the bill for my first month was $0.14

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Last edited Sun Oct 01 20:10:00 2006.