I have been thinking about the tools that make my job easier over the past weekend and those that certainly do not. Here is a brief list of those that help improve my personal productivity.
- Trillian - Instant Messaging is an essential tool for me. It makes quick conversations from one office to the next easier, and for those of us who tele-commute, it is almost like being there. But, I have folks on Yahoo, AIM, MSN, etc. Trillion handles them all very easily. Nice tool and the basic version is free.
- Windows Live Writer - I am currently managing 2 blogs. In addition to this one, I also have a blog entitled Obsessive Compulsive Reef Disorder, which talks about my reefkeeping hobby. Window Live Writer makes it so easy to post to both blogs in a single tool with point and click ease. Adding pictures, inserting links are all a piece of cake. The fact that it is free adds to its appeal.
- Microsoft Office - Being in an open source company, this one is always under debate. In fact, we used Open Exchange briefly. But, the rest of the known world uses Outlook and I can't live without it. Its not the mail that is essential because there are many ways to handle mail, but it is the calendaring. I let Office manage me. If its not on my calendar, I will miss the meeting, plain and simple. And scheduling a meeting is a piece of cake, too. You can see when people are available and schedule accordingly. Don't see a real replacement here yet.
- PDA/Phone - I have been searching for the ultimate combo unit for a long time. I have had the Treo 600, Treo 650, Treo 700p and Treo 700w. I loved my Treo, but was not a big fan of the Windows version. It had promise but I was constantly forced to reboot. And to make matters worse, we implemented Good Messaging at work for a while which disabled my standard calendar, email and contacts. That really became a nightmare. Now I have the Blackberry 8830. This is my first crackberry and I can see the addiction. It just works. It does not have a touch screen. But, I miss that less and less every day. I am hoping that the next generation of iPhones will move the bar even further and be available on Verizon.
- Netvibes - Netvibes is a great web 2.0 home page. It has slowly replaced My Yahoo for me. I can add multiple tabbed pages and get all the information I need in one spot from news, sports, weather and stock info to manage my eBay account, pull RSSS feeds and search videos and images. I can even track this blog through it and analyze web stats about our corporate site. Check it out.
My new favorite software by far, however, is Clearspace. Its not a personal productivity tool, but rather a collaboration software suite for your intranet or extranet. I am going to dedicate a whole post to Clearspace. But, you can check it out here.