3 min read

The Hardware and Software 2013 I’m Most Thankful For

It’s time of year to give thanks. As a programmer, e-book reader, blog writer and web surfer, I should express my sincere appreciation to such hardware and software (I use majority of them at daily basis and most of them are free):

0. Hardware

Lenovo Thinkpad W520 (This is not free): my workhorse machine, now replaced by W530.

1. Google Stuff

Google Chrome (Windows and Android apps): The first thing to do when getting a new machine is using IE to download the Chrome, then I can just keep moving.

Gmail, Google Maps, Google Voice, Google Talk, Google Search, Google Drive, Google Keep: just can’t live without them!

Google Nexus 7 (This is not free): first generation. This year I got four tablets, the same nexus 7(that’s a long story..), now I only hold one and I love it: compared to iPad, it’s much portable to hold in my back pocket; to iPad mini, it’s much cheaper! This tablet is heavily used for reading and offline navigation.

2. Windows Applications Supporting Tabs

I’m a big fan of “tabs” and feel much more comfortable when launching everything into tabs: web pages, text files, PDF files, Windows Office files (Word, Excel, PPT), and even folders:

Clover as replacement for Windows Explore;

Google Chrome as replacement for Internet Explore (IE);

Foxit Reader as replacement for Adobe Reader;

Office Tab (This is not free) to open Microsoft Office Word, Excel, Powerpoint files in tabs;

MTPuTTy to open Putty sessions in tabs.

3. Programming and Accessories

Notepad++: best of best to open and edit all the text files within a folder.

Vim: my only choice in Unix boxes; it can only serve as a humble SAS IDE.

SAS (This is not free): I’m primarily a SAS programmer and I live on it, my first choice for data manipulation and reporting.

R and Rstudio: R is hot and this February I followed a R programming course in Coursera, Computing for Data Analysis by Dr. Roger  Peng of Johns Hopkins, Biostatistics Department. It’s nice to learn a new language and I’m now well prepared to jump into R vs SAS debate. Also, Rstudio is a elegant IDE.

Powershell: since I finished a project by Powershell (almost at learn-by-doing basis), I must say it deserves efforts to learn.

Perl: I learned and used little bit of Perl this year. It’s ugly but good enough to get work done, and most important, it’s pre-installed in every Unix machine I worked with. Vim+Perl seem the perfect pair to survive in any Unix world. By many good reasons, I should keep learning Python, but Python currently doesn’t help me to make any bucks.

Cygwin: My W520 has Windows 7 installed and Cygwin offers nice collection of Unix tools I’m interested in.

Github: I put my collection of SAS utilities on Github.

Beyond Compare (This is not free): best on file/folder comparison.

4. Reading and Writing

Calibre: my first choice of e-books management, alone with the Android app, Calibre Companion (this is not free).

Feedly: Google Reader was dead and now Feedly is even much better than Google Reader! My first online resource collector.

Moon+ Reader Pro: my favorite reading app in my phone and tablet, better than Kindle app and any others, nice Dropbox support.

Windows Live Writer: The only Windows Live product left in my machine, I use it to write every of my blog post, best offline writer(its developers also produce Rstudio).

5. Miscellaneous

Dropbox: it’s even better than Google Drive!

Pandora: I leave it open when at home.

Password Safe: I dumped hundreds of passwords there…