More Ramblings from a Los Angeles Programmer

May 3, 2007

Some things I can’t live without

Filed under: coding, technology — Josh DeWald @ 8:08 am

There are a few very simple tools and techniques I use every day that save me tons of time and pain. Most of these are command-line type stuff.

  •  CTRL+R – In bash, you can type part of a command line from your history, hit CTRL+R and you can cycle through the ones that match. Basically it’s incremental search for your command history. I use this every single day. Thanks Harry!
  • Tab completion – Not having to fully type a word is quite astounding. To get to Google Reader in firefox I just type ‘r TAB”. Especially useful for long filenames with spaces. The running theme is my own laziness obviously 🙂
  • Remapping of Caps Lock to Control – Fellow emacs users out there will really appreciate this. Seriously, do it. How often do you actually use the Caps Lock to capitalize? CTRL+S just got a whole lot easier. For those non-emacs folks out there, how often do you CTRL+C, CTRL+V or CTRL+F? That’s what I thought.
  • The command line – I guarantee I can navigate directories faster than clicking around. If you’re a Windows user, there’s Cygwin. Seriously, install it. The 4th thing I do (after installing Firefox, AVG and Spybot Search & Destroy) on a new computer is install Cygwin.

Some daily things I use, but are far from being productivity enhancers:

  • Google Reader (or any RSS aggregator) – This could be argued to be a productivity enhancer if you’re already going to read a lot of blogs and comics. Why not have them all in one place and only see them when they are updated? I’ve never been a fan of bookmarks anyhow (except for the Bookmarks Toolbar Folder in Firefox for the ones I use daily).
  • StumbleUpon – My oh my aren’t you addictive. Been using this for a year or two. This is a Firefox add-on toolbar (the most important part is the ‘Stumble’ button) which takes you to a random site based on what others with your same interests have marked as being cool (which you do via the ‘I like it’ button on the toolbar). This is the only add-on toolbar I use. Every person I mention this to comes back to me a day later with how many hours they spent hitting ‘Stumble’. I’ve discovered many of my current blogs via this.

Based on those last two, I really don’t “browse” the internet anymore, it’s all pretty targeted in a sense. Even in StumbleUpon you can set it to just show you Wikipedia articles if that’s your fancy.

One last one:

  • My wife – We are alike in so many ways, but different enough to make it interesting (or frustrating, if you ask her).

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