Essential Keystrokes is…

where I share my favorite tips, tools, reviews and commentary on web design, marketing, blogging, new media and related topics. For more about this site and the voice behind it, check out my About page.


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Essential Keystrokes – Success From The Nest Style

By Char

Essential ToolsTony Clark of Success From The Nest blogs regularly on the issues parents who work from home face and related topics, but what makes his blog so memorable are the custom illustrations that go with each post. The illustrations are priceless and often leave you wondering which came first – the drawing or the post? Like many of us, Tony had a hard time narrowing his list down to just three essential tools so he gave us more.

  • HomeSite – Tony is an old school hand coder, and still uses HomeSite for all his XHTML, PHP, JS, etc. He’s also picky about layout, so he actually writes all his blog posts in HomeSite, marks them up, and then posts them to WordPress. It’s kind of the orphan child of the various “couplings” Macromedia (now Adobe) has made over the years. He’s looking for a replacement (preferably one that runs on both Linux and WinXP) but for now, he hasn’t found anything I like as much. (Audience? Anyone have any suggestions for Tony?)
  • GIMP and FireWorks – Technically these are 2 tools, but Tony uses them in conjunction so much, he pretty much considers them as one. Since a majority of his work involves silly pictures and other images, he couldn’t live without these. Tony jumped the Photoshop ship to GIMP about a year ago when he got tired of Adobe picking his pockets. He also teaches cartooning to kids and teens, and wanted to be able to offer them a free alternative to Photoshop. Tony agrees Photoshop is better in some respects, but NOT $1000 better.
  • Skype – Yes, Tony is one of those Skype fanboys. He began using it for all his long distance business calls last year, and hasn’t had a phone bill since. Now that they’re charging again for calls, it’s still cheaper than any plan he can find. Since many of his contacts use Skype, the calls are free (Skype to Skype). It’s also great for recording calls, especially for podcasts.

Runners Up – This was a little like asking Tony to choose his favorite child, so he included some of his other tools he really couldn’t live without – Audacity, AVG AntiVirus (Note from Char: this is a free antivirus program I have been using for years – highly recommend), FileZilla, Google Reader, and of course Firefox and Thunderbird.

What’s in your toolbox? Leave me a comment and let me know what keeps your online world moving. Would you like to be featured? Just drop me a line and let me know.

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Thanks for inviting me to participate, Char. This is a great series.


You are welcome Tony! It is always interesting to see what others use to keep their online presence going.


I’m on a Mac, and use Photoshop, TextWrangler (text editor), and Cyberduck (FTP client) for my blogging needs. If need be, I’ll fire up Dreamweaver or Flash as additional tools. But my blogging platform is WordPress, which once the theme is there, doesn’t require too much fiddling!


Webomatica – thanks for sharing your Mac tools. I have a Mac but have yet to use it for any of my blogging. I should grab Cyberduck and give it a try.

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