Occasionally I write about tools that I use in my day-to-day work under the category of Tools I Use. I was recently going back over the list of tools I’ve written about, and thought it would be interesting to revisit them.

If you didn’t see the earlier posts, maybe this will help you find a tool that will make your life or work easier.

  • Markdown Here is an extension for various browsers and the Thunderbird e-mail client that allows you to write in Markdown and then convert to rich text/HTML before sending. I still use this tool frequently. It’s really useful if I want to include code snippets in an e-mail I’m sending.

  • Pocket is a “read later” application with browser extensions, mobile apps, etc. Whenever I find something that I want to read but don’t currently have time for, I save it to Pocket and then read it when I have time. This is probably the tool that I use most out of any of these. As I mentioned a few months ago, I’ve been using their new recommendations feature, so you can follow my Pocket recommendations at https://getpocket.com/@rcoulman.

  • Remember the Milk is a to-do list application. I still use RtM daily. I had slowed down my usage for a while, but found I was forgetting things, so this year I’ve re-committed myself to using it for everything and it’s making a big difference.

  • LastPass is a password manager. I continue to use it. It now has an “emergency access” feature that allows you to give someone to have emergency access to your password vault after a configurable delay. That way, you can be sure that your family can get access to what they need in case something happens to you.

  • CrashPlan is a multi-platform backup application that can back up both locally and to their cloud service, Crash Plan Central. I continue to use this as well, and it recently saved us a lot of grief when my wife’s hard drive crashed and we didn’t have good local backups. Yes, we remedied the local backup problem, but it’s still a good idea to have redundancy and off-site backups.

  • Nostalgy is an extension for the Thunderbird mail client that provides keyboard shortcuts for filing e-mail and navigating folders. Lately, I’ve been using Thunderbird’s archive and search to manage my e-mail, so I don’t use Nostalgy as much. But I keep it installed and use it occasionally for navigating folders.

  • PlantUML allows you to generate UML diagrams from a text-based syntax. I don’t need to draw UML diagrams often, but when I do I still use PlantUML and its handy editor extensions.

  • Dash is a documentation browser that allows you to view and search documentation on your computer even when not online. It’s a super-handy tool that I continue to use.

  • RubyMine is an IDE for writing Ruby code. I still use it for personal projects and side work, but I don’t use it at work much any more. No one else on my team uses it, and we pair-program a lot, so we’ve settled on Atom as our common editor. I like Atom, but I sure miss RubyMine’s refactoring tools.

  • UnitTest++ is a unit testing framework for C++. I don’t write much C++ these days, but this is still my go-to framework when I do.

  • git-timemachine is an Emacs package that allows you to easily travel back and forth through the git history of a file. As with RubyMine, I don’t get to use Emacs as much as I’d like these days, but this is still a handy feature. I recently discovered an Atom package with a similar name that does roughly the same job.

  • magit is also an Emacs lisp package. It provides a really nice interface for git. When I use Emacs, I use magit. Sometimes, I fire up Emacs just to use magit to do something tricky that I’m not sure how best to do from the command line.

  • Chosen.js is a JavaScript component for select boxes. I’ve only used this on one project, but when I need a similar solution again, it’ll be my first choice.

After going through this list, I realize that I’ve apparently either found good tools that work well or I’m just stuck in my ways. Not much has changed over the years I’ve been writing these posts. There are definitely more tools to add to this list; I’ll continue to add posts to this series over time.

Let me know if this list introduces you to a tool that helps you.