James Turk

My Tools (2007)

[This is an old post from a blog I had in 2007, I put it up here for posterity. I’ll write a 2015 version eventually to compare.]

Hardware: My laptop is a PowerPro J 10:15, which is a Compal IFL90 sold by the great people at PowerPro. I bought my first laptop from them years ago and it served me amazingly well, and when it came time last month to replace it, I went back to them (I’m not a huge fan of their site, but once you get past that they have a well deserved great reputation). One of the most important things for me was that I could buy it without an OS installed, but their service and support is amazing, and the IFL90 is a nice looking notebook that has been performing amazingly well.

My mp3 player is a iRiver IHP-120 which has served me amazingly well for the last four years. It’s probably the oldest gadget I still actually use, but I use it constantly and despite looking pretty beat up it works about as well as it did the day I got it. Actually even better since being loaded with the rockbox custom firmware.

I also have a 22” widescreen monitor that I got at an extreme discount but never actually use. In theory it was a second monitor for my laptop but in practice it sits unplugged in my room since I never got in the habit of using it.

OS: Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon) I’ve used every edition of Ubuntu since 4.10, and it has been my primary OS since 5.04. When I got this laptop I left some unpartitioned space in case I decided to install Windows, but on my old laptop I hadn’t booted into the windows partition in about a year, so I’m not really sure if I’ll ever even bother.

Browser: Firefox. Notable extensions include Greasemonkey, Firebug, and the Web Developer Toolbar. I also use the Gmail Notifier, del.icio.us toolbar, and ForecastFox.

Development: For quick editing, I use GEdit or vim depending on the context. When I’m working on a real project lately I’ve been happy with Komodo Edit, the free version of the Komodo IDE. It has great Python support and is simple enough to be usable as opposed to a full blown IDE like Eclipse/PyDev. When I was using Java I did use Eclipse, but I feel that lightweight languages deserve lightweight editors. I also find Meld to be an invaluable tool, both for examining local files and using as an aid when dealing with directories under revision control (an oft-overlooked feature)

Media: I do actually still buy CDs, which I then rip with ripperX seeing as it just works where sound-juicer and others either aren’t flexible enough or take far too much configuration. I tag/organize things with easyTag and then play them with the terrific KDE music app amaroK. VLC is a must for playing videos/DVDs. On the rare occasions where I’m creating something I either fire up the old standby Gimp, or use the SVG drawing tool Inkscape, which has allowed me to make things that looked nice with my severely limited artistic talent.

Everything Else: I use Pidgin to stay in touch with people. From time to time I still fire up OpenOffice although I have been transitioning to Google Docs. When I’m writing things for school I prefer to use LaTeX and I typically do my editing in Kile, a superb KDE LaTeX editor. Google handles my email/calendaring needs (but I do have my GooCal imported into Evolution for it’s nice Gnome integration. Gnome Do, Tomboy, and Compiz’s window grouping plugin all deserve a mention here as well.