Every once in a while I'd like to take some time and evaluate existing software that I use on a daily basis and also new programs that caught my attention recently. In this cycle I did some changes that made my life easier and I want to share them with you.
I picked several software packages ranging from VM software to HDD utilities and there were some real keepers. But before I go there let me say what I stopped using:
1. Google Docs - Very disappointing. I always strive to have some balance in my MS oriented professional life. I found that the integration between Google Docs and blogger.com would be really beneficial for me. The fact that I can work on blogs and organize my ideas from any location is also appealing. However two issues bothered me so much that I had to put an end to this. The first one was the broken integration between Google Docs and Blogger. Why on earth offer a cool feature and not make it work! For months I tried to live with the fact that the blog post title was not properly transferred to the feed thus making my blog entries look broken. Google's forums contained numerous complains about it, but never got fixed for more than a year. I also found that making formatting work properly was always a game, since there was some strange transformation going on. Posting code snippets is always tricky, but man that was terrible experience. No more. I switched to Live Writer and I am supper happy. True I don't get to work on any PC, but for 95% of the time home and work are fine, and the formatting works great. Not to mention the plugins, which add tons of good features. Most notably the code snipped import.
2. Norton Anti Virus - After dealing with this software for many years and the lack of support and the constant upgrade issues, the hog it has become recently is unbearable. My wife's PC literally stopped working after I installed the latest version. Needless to say I uninstalled it and while I am looking for an alternative I use AVG. I am looking for something light, effective and fast.
But I am really exited about the new software I got to use recently.
1. VMware Workstation- This is such a relieving change. As most SharePoint devs and presenters, I work in VM most of the time. Snapshots, memory management, USB support, networking options, all these features work so much better for me. The only annoyance I encountered is that after upgrades there is some nasty bug that happens every time. There is a fix posted on VMware's forum, but it would be best if it they work it out. It looks like an issue from couple of version behind.
2. One Note - This is a great tool to collect notes, snapshots and track ideas. Helps me immensely to jiggle multiple projects. The export feature makes it super easy to send out a package to somebody on the team.
3. Diskeeper Pro - A must for every PC, I've had older versions and this one seems to be doing a great job. I don't have much to say, because the thing just works it's magic in the background and rarely I have to do something with the UI.
4. Windows Live Writer - just what I needed for my blogging. Lightweight, simple control, extensible with tons of good plugins, formatting works.
Now back to business until the next cycle of software evals.