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Archive for cory miller

I love Fridays! Not just because it signals the end of another great week, but because it means it’s time for another Essential Tools feature. I am very grateful to be highlighting such talented pros every week. This week is no exception! Let me introduce you to the essential tools of Cory Miller – founder of the iThemes WordPress Themes collection and

In Cory’s own words:

I’m a pretty simple and practical person. I like easy-to-use tools. A good tool does its job and gets out of my way. This is why I still use a basic text editor (TextEdit) to write my to-do lists.

I’m like most people — if it works, I keep using it. Having said that, I probably use 20% of features available in any tech tools.

Here are the stupid simple and boring daily tools that make my life easy ….

  • Gmail – I don’t remember what I did before Gmail. I do MOST of my work via email. And as such I have several years worth of email correspondence in it. The search function alone is worth it as I use it numerous times a day to remember and find things.
  • iPhone – It sounds cliche, but I love my iPhone. I use it prolifically to check email, send texts, get driving directions, use the calculator, check my calendar, monitor Twitter and read all the blogs I want to keep up on. It’s my true companion everywhere I go. I have all kinds of apps on it, but probably use 5 or less ever.
  • Firefox – It’s the best browser around. I still use my trusty add-ons to do some tinkering with sites and code (Web Developer toolbar and FireFTP) but love how it remembers my tabs (like placeholders to go back and read, or blog about something).
  • iCal - I’m on a Mac and iCal, the Mac desktop calendar that syncs with my phone helps me not forget important dates and events. I’m not the most superorganized person on the planet, but iCal helps me keep things simple and organized.
  • TweetDeck - Over the last year, my use of Twitter has skyrocketed. It’s a great relationship builder and communication tool. I use TweetDeck to monitor our brands and respond.

Subscribe to the Essential Keystrokes feed so you don’t miss a single Essential Tools feature. Next week will feature WordPress MU rockstar Andrea Rennick.  If you are interested in sharing your essential tools for business, drop me a line at cpolanosky [at] gmaildotcom.

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Essential Tools Featuring Randa Clay

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In 2007 when I featured Web Designer Randa Clay in the Essential Tools series, WordPress was at version 2.1, Twitter was in its infancy and not even on Randa’s essential tools list.  Three years is like an eternity in Internet time and and I am happy to be featuring Randa again.

Over the past few years, Randa has established herself as one of the top Word Press designers and experts in the field. She has been named one of the top female designers, created some of the first “follow me on Twitter icons” leading to the creation and subsequent sale of and has recently launched a new WordPress resource site called

So what tools does Randa consider to be essential now?

Quad Ruled Notebook- perfect for taking notes, jotting down ideas, sketching logo ideas and site layouts. - An awesome, simple task management application. It’s set as my home page when I start my browser and I can easily keep track of various tasks and appointments. (Randa introduced me to TeuxDeux a few months ago and it has definitely become one of MY essential tools.)

iPod Touch – this is the best gadget I’ve ever bought. It’s like carrying a mini-computer with me everywhere. I don’t have one of those cell phone carriers that offers the iPhone, but the iPod Touch is almost as good. I love being able to sit in McDonalds while the kids play and get caught up with email, go through my feed reader and of course, playing Doodle Jump!

PMetrics - This is my stats program of choice. I have Google Analytics on my sites too, but for me PMetrics is easier to take in at a glance. (PMetrics is my favorite, too,  primarily because it offers real time stats that are even more meaningful.)

TweetDeck – Great tool for keeping up with Twitter friends. I love being able to group people, manage multiple accounts and even keep up with Facebook all in one place.

Firebug – Like many designers, I find Firebug to be the most useful tool when coding a site. It makes it easy to track down what elements are styled by which CSS selectors and where exactly that extra div tag is that’s causing your site to go all wonky.

Adobe PhotoShop – I used to rely on Illustrator for much of my design work, but have gradually moved over to mostly Photoshop over the last couple of years as I’ve come along the learning curve.

WP Cufon - I use this plugin for almost every site I do these days. It makes it possible to use more fonts than just the “web safe” ones for headings, etc.

Subscribe to the Essential Keystrokes feed so you don’t miss a single Essential Tools feature. Next week will feature Cory Miller, the creator of iThemes – a collection of premium WordPress themes.  If you are interested in sharing your essential tools for business, drop me a line at cpolanosky [at] gmaildotcom.

Categories : Essential Tools
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