What I install (and why)

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So I just got a new laptop (my last one was appropriated by the Enemy - I'm not sure who the Enemy is but I know they are out there) and I'm going through the process of setting it up to my liking. As I'm totally bored this morning and haven't blogged anything worthwhile in a few days, I thought I'd share what I have installed so far.

  • Google Chrome. The very first thing I installed. Basically I turned the machine on, clicked on the IE shortcut, and installed Chrome. I'd love to say this is the last I'll use IE, but I've got a VPN that makes use of a IE plugin for tokens.
  • Apache - apparently Microsoft finally got a clue and allowed you to have multiple IIS sites but it's too late for me.
  • ColdFusion, ColdFusion 901, and the Cumulative Hot Fix. I've said this a few times at the last presentation, but if you aren't running 901+CHF, then your ColdFusion server is waaaaay out of date. 901 added some significant new features and the last CHF had critical fixes, especially to JSON serialization.
  • TweetDeck - because I like to tweet. A lot. Still can't believe that they don't allow you to increase the font size. That must be crazy hard code to support since I think there has been a ticket open for it since the 1940s. Oh - I used the Adobe AIR version of course.
  • ColdFusion Builder - because I think it's the best CFML editor available. Luckily that's not a controversial opinion.
  • Evernote - because I love notes. This is an incredible product.
  • Dropbox - because it's a life saver. If you haven't tried it yet - please follow the link and I get a little kick back in the form of additional free storage.
  • Warcraft - not because I'm addicted. Honest. I swear. Actually, let me just say, I fracking love how Blizzard implements their software. They don't care if you download for Mac or Windows. When you buy their product, you own their product. You can install it on 100 machines if you want. You can - obviously - only run it one at a time - but I love that I don't need multiple licenses for multiple clients. Hey - Adobe - I'm looking at you there. Oh - I also recently started using the Curse client to help me manage my add ons.
  • Launchy - a Windows clone of Quicksilver. I almost never use the Start menu - although it's pretty nice in Windows 7.
  • Aptana - while ColdFusion Builder includes Aptana, I prefer to do my HTML-based AIR work separately.
  • Flash Builder - for Flex development.
  • Filezilla - super excellent free FTP client and server too.
  • Notepad++ - best simple text editor.
  • TortoiseSVN - best (imho) Windows based Subversion client. I'm also going to get Subclipse and GIT as well.
  • Pidgin - a multi-client IM client. It isn't nearly as nice as Adium on the Mac, but it's good enough. I've also "cut" two of my IM networks, MSN and Yahoo. I'm now down to GTalk and AIM. I'm very tempted to just pick GTalk to simplify things.

So - that's it. I need to get Mozy installed this week as well as my mobile editors (Burrito, Playbook SDKs, etc) installed. I suppose I should install iTunes - but to be honest, I don't play much music when I'm on my laptop so I'm going to try to avoid that. I'll need to get VLC as well for video playback.

For folks who are curious - the new laptop is a Dell XPS. It's pretty good so far. The keyboard has some odd choices - like the Delete/Home/PgUp and Dwn buttons being in a vertical line on the right side. The ctrl key is also a bit oddly placed. But I'm nearly properly "muscle memory" trained already.

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About Raymond Camden

Raymond is a senior developer evangelist for Adobe. He focuses on document services, JavaScript, and enterprise cat demos. If you like this article, please consider visiting my Amazon Wishlist or donating via PayPal to show your support. You can even buy me a coffee!

Lafayette, LA https://www.raymondcamden.com

Archived Comments

Comment 1 by Jim O&aposKeefe posted on 11/28/2010 at 10:10 PM

No database tools? Handy to list out what you install - in case the enemy strikes again. I usually fumble along remembering and adding things as they come up.

Comment 2 by Ron Stewart posted on 11/28/2010 at 11:20 PM

I'm surprised Firefox isn't on that list... at least for testing.

Comment 3 by johans posted on 11/28/2010 at 11:22 PM

Database - if you use MySQL then you should check out SQLyog. It is inexpensive, easy to use, and you cna also schedule backups from remote databases.

Comment 4 by Aaron Greenlee posted on 11/28/2010 at 11:29 PM

Doing anything to better secure your data in the event the Sith swipe your next one at the hotel bar?

Comment 5 by Edward Beckett - Florida SEO posted on 11/28/2010 at 11:55 PM

I've got to drop a plug for my favorite text editor here - <a href="http://www.editpadpro.com//...">Edit Pad Pro</a>. Quite simply - It's the best text editor I've ever used. Just check out <a href="http://www.editpadpro.com/e...">the testimonials</a> If that's not enough, download it and try it - and you'll agree - It rocks.


Comment 6 by Meengla posted on 11/29/2010 at 12:00 AM

For database management there are some free 'Lite' versions of EMS Database tools for both MySQL, MS SQL Server and others.

Oh, so is Ray getting away from Apple? If so, then good!

Comment 7 by Raymond Camden posted on 11/29/2010 at 12:05 AM

@Jim: I forgot. I normally use Aqua Data Studio. They give free licenses to OS developers.

@Ron: Meh. I don't need to worry much about cross platform testing. I have been using the latest FF beta though and it's kinda nice.

@Aaron: Not really. My most sensitive data is in the cloud.

@Meengla: Yes, my desktop+laptop are now Win7. My wife and kids still have Macs. For now.

Comment 8 by Ron Stewart posted on 11/29/2010 at 12:16 AM

@Ray RE Firefox: yeah, I've been using the Firefox 4 nightly builds for the past few months and there are aspects of Firefox that I still prefer to Chrome (the biggest for me being bookmark keywords). And with the ability to get rid of the menu bar, the UI is now almost as small as Chrome's and the speed (both of startup and in usage) is pretty much indistinguishable from Chrome.

RE Aqua Data Studio: +1 -- nothing comes close as far as I am concerned. It has more than paid for itself with things like schema comparison and the ability to script data as well as structure.

Comment 9 by David Hammond posted on 11/29/2010 at 1:06 AM

From the description of Launchy, it doesn't sound like it has anything over the Windows 7 start menu -- I use the search feature all the time. Maybe a good app to eliminate, especially if it is duplicating the indexing that Windows already does?

Two additional programs on my list would be 7-zip and Keepass Password Safe, which works great with DropBox.

Comment 10 by Raymond Camden posted on 11/29/2010 at 1:10 AM

@David: I use Launch because I was -so- addicted to Quicksilver... but to be honest - Windows Start _is_ very darn similar. I may force myself to use just the start menu for a while and if I don't miss Launchy. I'll nuke it.

Comment 11 by Jim Priest posted on 11/29/2010 at 3:59 AM

Have you checked out Ninite? One click installer for a lot of these apps. Makes setting up a new PC a little less painful. :)


Comment 12 by Raymond Camden posted on 11/29/2010 at 9:09 AM

Interesting. I don't know if I'd trust a - non standard installer. Maybe I'm just paranoid.

Comment 13 by Guust Nieuwenhuis posted on 11/29/2010 at 3:50 PM

Ray, how do you install your Ecplise-based applications (CFBuilder, Flash Builder and Aptana)?

As three standalone applications?
Or on top of each other?

Comment 14 by Raymond Camden posted on 11/29/2010 at 5:19 PM

@Guust: Stand alone. I know I could run them all within one editor, but I just prefer keeping them separate.

Comment 15 by Lola LB posted on 11/29/2010 at 5:23 PM

Thanks for the list! I've got to send out my MBP to have the optical drive replaced (thank heaven for Applecare) so I need to get more stuff installed on my backup PC laptop. What are you using for email? I'll likely install Thunderbird.

Comment 16 by Raymond Camden posted on 11/29/2010 at 5:27 PM

@Lola: Not to sound like those dorky MS commercials, but I use the cloud - GMail. My company uses Outlook so I've got that installed on my desktop, but I just use the web interface on the laptop.

Well, I did have Thunderbird installed on my last laptop - but it was only to help test HTML emails from one of my web applications.

Comment 17 by Robert Zehnder posted on 11/29/2010 at 7:06 PM

Actually, this looks pretty close to my clean install nowadays. I generally ditch Apache for nginix web server. Nginx is doesn't require installing reverse proxy, etc. It can easily be setup in the config script in a few seconds (literally.)

There were a few other interesting suggestions in here though. Thanks for the post Ray.

Comment 18 by Raymond Camden posted on 11/29/2010 at 7:09 PM

What are you using a reverse proxy for? My Apache is just for local dev.

Comment 19 by Robert Zehnder posted on 11/29/2010 at 8:47 PM

@Ray Well, it has been quite some time since I have installed ACF, but Apache will still have to have a way to pass off CFM files to the JRUN servlet to process the CFM. I forget JRUN usually does this automagically. :)

Comment 20 by Raymond Camden posted on 11/29/2010 at 8:54 PM

Errr... don't you just use the connector when you install CF? Maybe I'm missing something but when I install CF I just tell it to connect to Apache. That's all.

Comment 21 by Robert Zehnder posted on 11/29/2010 at 9:08 PM

Well, I generally use Railo for development since that it was a majority of my clients use and I try to keep my dev as close to the production environment as possible. While there are Railo installers out there that will compile the AJP/Reverse Proxy for you, I prefer to be a little more hands on.

Didn't mean to Hijack your thread Ray. :)

Comment 22 by Raymond Camden posted on 11/29/2010 at 9:10 PM

No worries on 'hijacking' the thread. I see this as on topic.

So it sounds like you enjoy pain. More power to ya, buddy. ;)

Comment 23 by Nathanael Waite posted on 11/29/2010 at 9:20 PM

I saw you use dropbox. I use a product called sugarsync. Similar http://www.sugarsync.com/ interesting is they give you 60GIG for 9.95 per month. Instead of the 50GIG that drop box gives.

Comment 24 by Robert Zehnder posted on 11/30/2010 at 1:16 AM

I use dropbox daily as well. SugarSync looks promising, but I also use it to sync to my *nix boxes as well. Makes deploying projects across multiple boxes/environments a snap.

Comment 25 by Raymond Camden posted on 11/30/2010 at 1:20 AM

@Robert: I don't normally "code" on Dropbox, but for my last presentation I did just that. I put the CFMs under the folder I made for the PDF and other crap.

You know - I'm tempted to move my webroot project to Dropbox. I pretty much use webroot just for crap files, experiments, and the like.

I'm not sure how I'd feel about moving 'real' projects there. Specifically I'd be worried about how SVN acts under dropbox. In theory it should work fine - but... I don't know. It just worries me. Anyone here done that before?

Btw - thanks to all who followed my referral links. I'm up to 4.25 GB of space now!

Comment 26 by David Hammond posted on 11/30/2010 at 1:40 AM

I use Mozy for backup too, and DropBox mainly just to sync my passwords to my phone. SugarSync looks interesting in that it could potentially replace both applications. I wonder if anyone has any comments regarding SugarSync vs Mozy for backing up large amounts of data?

Comment 27 by James Brown posted on 12/1/2010 at 2:39 AM

No git?

Comment 28 by Raymond Camden posted on 12/1/2010 at 3:02 AM

2nd to last bullet point: "I'm also going to get Subclipse and GIT as well." :)

Comment 29 by Raymond Camden posted on 12/2/2010 at 5:15 PM

As just an FYI, today I told Launchy to not run on startup. I didn't uninstall it, but it is effectively dead to me. I'm going to keep it on the list above since I think it is a cool program and I figure folks moving from the Fruit computer to Windows may want it as an option. And shoot - I may change my mind in a few weeks. I do that. ;)

Comment 30 by Brian Meloche posted on 12/13/2010 at 7:07 PM

On Launchy, I never saw a need for it on Vista and Windows 7 machines, since you can get a lot of that functionality from Windows start. I do install it on XP installs, including my Virtual PC XP mode in Windows 7.

I thought I'd add, since others hadn't yet, Instead of Apache, I install WampServer, which also installs PHP (meh) and MySQL.

Comment 31 by Phillip Senn posted on 1/15/2011 at 2:48 AM

Your comment about Chrome made me think about the Google Chrome Frame for IE.

I just had to laugh when I read:
"After installing the plug-in, you can test it by adding cf: in front of any URL from the address bar."

Comment 32 by Phillip Senn posted on 1/15/2011 at 3:02 AM

I want to add Beyond Compare from scootersoftware.com as a "must have".