Software that makes my job easier

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The Kanbay-Adjoined merger just got finalized, and the IT staff is asking us to prep our laptops for replacements. I figured I’d make a list of the programs I typically install when I first get a new machine. I’m not including the Microsoft stuff (Office, SQL Server, Visual SourceSafe, etc) that every SQL Server DBA needs, but just the other stuff that I can’t imagine working without. In no particular order:

Flock – awesome web browser based on Firefox, but integrates additional functionality like blog editing, mapping, Flickr uploading, and more.

Total Commander – Explorer shell replacement that resembles the old Norton Commander. Integrated FTP, favorite directories, directory comparison.

UltraEdit – powerful text editor with the ability to do search & replace in files.

Gaim – one client for all instant messaging programs. Better than running half a dozen.

GizmoProject – voice-over-IP. My phone calls come in wherever I’m logged in, and can simultaneously ring on both my computer and my cell phone. Cheaper than Vonage, plus more features.

Acronis TrueImage – backup program that can actually do backups while you’re using Windows. It also builds a separate recovery partition on your hard drive, backs up there, and offers a boot menu to do an emergency restore. Perfect for laptops who need to back up and recover on the road.

Royal TS – open source Remote Desktop client that saves passwords, lets me easily manage lots of connections inside a single window, and resize on the fly.

Case Studio – affordable data modeling tool with almost all of the features of the big boys, like Embarcadero and Erwin. Great support for SQL Server 2005. Very responsive support staff.

Float’s Mobile Agent – Bluetooth utility for Sony Ericsson phones. Syncs my contacts with Outlook, pops up caller ID info on the laptop when my phone rings, lets me send & receive SMS’s on the laptop without hassling with the phone’s keyboard. I’m really looking forward to picking up a Cingular 8125, but I’m a little bummed out that I’ll lose some of the slick SMS integration of FMA.

Attensa – RSS newsreader for Outlook that can sync with their online service. My RSS articles are synced between home and work, and I can access ’em on the road via the web as well. I haven’t started using it for podcasting yet, but when I get the new laptop, that’s definitely my next step. I’m using iTunes right now, but the drawback is that I can only sync at one place, either home OR work, but not both. When I leave work at the end of the day, I want to have the latest podcasts on my iPod for listening on the drive home. With iTunes, that’s not an option unless I use my laptop for my primary iTunes source, and with the size of my music collection, that’s a no-go.

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