Software Enemas (and other mature blog titles)

Recently, I decided to purge my PCs of unnecessary or inferior software products. Below is a tally of the casualties and victors amongst the cleansing.

Google Apps FTW!

My company recently switched from Microsoft Exchange in favor of a Google Apps for our domain's email, calendar, and instant messaging. The result: I was able to completely obliterate all traces of Microsoft Outlook as well as the rest of the god-forsaken office suite. It's a no-brainer, really. Globally-accessible email / calendar / address book that ties into your IM, as well. If for whatever reason I need to use some sort of bloated word processor or *shiver* spreadsheet program, I can always download and install OpenOffice (and immediately uninstall it). Seeing as how this migration process left us in a transitory position between IM providers, I've stumbled upon a new IM client, at the behest of some fellow coworkers ...

Digsby

Trillian is dead. Long live Digsby. This versatile little IM application supports all major protocols (including Jabber). Out of the box, it also supports email and social networking notification for all the usual suspects. Its ability to consolidate multiple contacts despite provider or account into a single aliased contact (with account messaging priorities) is mega-rad. It appears to be written in python and is very extensible with YAML theming and skinning. All contact list modifications and application configuration is centralized, so if you install the app on another PC, that's it ... you'll login with a completely consistent interface. Google Calendar notifications are in the pipeline, so double-plus to Digsby.

Firefox 3 RC3

I'm inpatient when it comes to well-written software. As such, Firefox 2 has recently been replaced with the vastly superior Firefox 3 RC3. An embedded SQLite database opens the door for all sorts of interesting extension customization and makes things such as searching history or bookmarks much easier. More importantly though, memory utilization is vastly improved, JavaScript execution speed is blazingly fast, and having the option of restoring state upon application restart (without having to annihilate the firefox.exe process, or install yet another extension) is pretty frickin sweet. Coupled with the Nightly Tester Tools extension, selective enabling of extensions that haven't yet been ported made upgrading a no-brainer. Uninstall Firefox 2. Install Firefox 3 RC3. All profile settings preserved. Duh.

Ultimate Defrag

What it lacks in leet 2.0 naming, this program more than excels for those of us stuck in NTFS / FAT32 turmoil. Raxco PerfectDisk certainly earned it's place in the land of milk and honey, having long promoted file contingency based on access times. However, this little freeware / trial application raised the bar. The addition of selective directory structure / file type defragmentation prioritization on a per-disk basis, alongside a crapload of fine-tuning options, and some disk sector eye-candy, all packaged in a 1.7 meg distribution is mad wicked. There is no defragger but Ultimate Defrag. I've never gotten a hard-on for a defragger ... before today ... honestly.

ReSharper 4.0 Final

I'm one of those guys. One of those Java developers who wakes up one day to find that something has gone horribly wrong. Suddenly, all you look at is C# code. I'm really no zealot, and despite the language being tied to the most pervasive of the antiquated software monopolies with an utter lack of cross-platform consideration, it really is a decent language. Visual Studio isn't half-bad, either, as anyone who's used their debugger is forced to admit (seriously ... they're listening). However, I could not imagine having to develop without Resharper 4.0, which is ironically developed by the same guys who put together arguably the best Java IDE, IntelliJ. The refactoring options, semantic static source code analysis, and other nerdly capabilities that this product offers are a necessity. Furthermore, the developers at JetBrains must be sustained on a diet of methamphetamine and Red Bull. It's the only way I can comprehend their ability to squash bugs as they do, having been privy to the Resharper 4.0 EAP development cycle. Another obligatory plug for JetBrains ... I'm now loving TeamCity over any other continual integration tool I've used.

So there you have it. Learn from the purge. Likewise, I'm interested in any nifty software that any of my 0 readers have stumbled upon. Unless, of course, you happen to mention Twitter, in which case you'll be shot in the face.

Edit:

CoolIris

I somehow have neglected to mention CoolIris, a whiz-bang 3D image and video player extension for all major browsers. I had thought it would be one of those eye-candy plugins that remains unused, but I've been surprised by just how much I actually like this thing. It makes browsing places like DeviantArt and YouTube much more tolerable.


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