Essential Tools – Keystrokes StyleBy
It all started with Liz. A phone conversation for her BAD blogger series and suddenly an idea for a weekly feature is born. I gave it test with Practical Blogging, Bloggertunity and ConverStations and the response has been positive. So the series will continue.
To usher in the New Year, I am doing an expanded version today featuring, me! I can’t narrow my list down to the three most essential tools so I will share with you what I use daily!
I work from home and am very fortunate to have to have a high-tech office. My main system is a Dell Dimension 8400 with a 21″ flat screen monitor. I also have an iMac G5 that I use for print projects mainly. The newest member of my hardware team is my Sony Vaio laptop which sits on my desk next to me or goes with me to the living room when I want to work in there. We have a wireless network set up so all my computers are online. I have 3 printers – HP Photosmart 2510, HP Laserjet 1012, and Minolta Colormagic laser.
Up until recently I was an IE6 kind of a gal – but that has changed since I got brave and tried Firefox. I love Firefox! So I use Firefox to browse the Internet on the Dell and the laptop, Safari on the Mac. I have IE7 installed just for checking sites when I develop them.
I use Google’s Feed Reader and Technorati to keep up with my favorite blogs and bloggers.
Also a former Outlook chick, I have switched to Mozilla Thunderbird. Since I have multiple email addresses all feeding into the same inbox, it has some features that really work for me. I love that when I am composing a message all I have to do is click a drop down to decide which account it will be sent from. Another feature I like is that is shows that there is new mail, but doesn’t actually download it until I am ready.
I keep track of my time spent on projects as well as income using Microsoft Excel. I know, I know, I should be using something more sophisticated like Quick Books, but this system has always worked for me and the accountant is very happy with the detail.
WEB DEVELOPMENT & BLOGGING
Currently I have sites being hosted at Host Gator, Jumpline, and Triangle Web Solutions. Host Gator is my favorite at the moment, but I won’t put everything there. My attitude is that if it isn’t broken, don’t move it. Jumpline has provided incredible stability for the sites (mostly static business web sites) I have hosted there for 8 years. They have had almost NO downtime and you just can’t argue with that. Their tech support is great.
Fireworks is my favorite for creating quick, web-ready graphics. Again, it’s all what you get used to, but Fireworks is so easy. I do have Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, I just don’t use them as much.
I do most of my development in Dreamweaver. Some people will tell you that using a WYSIWYG editor is cheating, but I’m all about efficiency. I do code by hand using notepad from time to time, but Dreamweaver is my first choice.
Three of my blogs are now WordPress blogs. WordPress has been very easy for me to work with and is so powerful. I do have a lone Blogger blog. It is still there because my 10 year old son helps me with it.
I love that my Host Gator sites come with about 8 different web stats packages pre-loaded. My favorite is Awstats. I also use Webtrends on my Jumpline sites. I have tried Google Analytics (I have it on my Blogger blog) and think it is pretty good for the price (free). Recently I have started using MyBlogLog to keep track of my blog stats. Awstats does fine in this department, but MyBlogLog gives me just a little more info in the format I can use it best.
Are you asleep yet?Â I’ll gladly answer questions about any of these tools if you want more information. And as always, let me know what you use daily – I may ask you to be my next feature.