During the Traveling Geeks’ trip to the United Kingdom last month, I spent some time polling the Geeks about the productivity and must-have tools that they use during the course of a typical workday.
I did the same thing during the first Geeks trip to Israel last year and came away with a wealth of apps, some of which I incorporated into my daily routine: See Tools the alpha geeks use. Back then, the list included Qik, TweetScan, FriendFeed, Skype, Bloglines, Pandora, Foxytunes, NetVibes, Socialthing, Seesmic, Adium — and it serves as an interesting snapshot in time of what tools some of the top Bay Area bloggers and technologists were using in spring 2008.
This time around there was more emphasis on social media services like Twitter as well as multimedia apps. Among the tools in the Geeks’ arsenal: Zemanta, Tweetdeck, HootSuite, PeopleBrowsr, Mindjet, Shopstyle and Friendfeed (Twitter and Facebook are givens). Remember, this is a partial, on-the-fly list of useful tools — intended to introduce readers to some apps they might not be using — and not a comprehensive list, and it also doesn’t take into consideration any of the startup apps’ we were introduced to in the UK.
Also, whether you’re a geek or not, please add your favorite tools in the comments so we can all learn what works for you!
Here’s our rundown:
• WordPress, the open-source platform for my Socialmedia.biz and Socialbrite.org blogs
• Snapz Pro X, to capture images and movies from any Mac computer screen
• Paparazzi, a wonderful tool for Mac users to capture entire Web pages — even the portions that appear below the fold
• Final Cut Express for almost all my video editing
• Gmail for email and to store files in the cloud
• Delicious for social bookmarking in the cloud
• VLC, the open source media player, to watch videos in almost any format
• Facebook for wasting time
• iPhone apps: Google maps (for location), Stanza and eReader (for reading), experimenting with Twitterfon, Tweetdeck, Twittelator and Simply Tweet for Twitter, Evernote (for keeping notes online), Loopt and Google Latitude for geo-awareness, Yelp for restaurants, Rocket Taxi, iTalk and QuickVoice (for interviews and recording random thoughts)
Robert — the former famed Microsoft blogger — has gone to an all-Mac household (“I like the OS better,” he says), though he runs Windows 7 using Parallels Desktop on his MacBook Pro laptop.
Robert generally chooses his apps to run in the cloud rather than buying OEM packaged software. “I’m trying to move my life completely to the browser. Ido everything on the Internet. The only thing I do locally is video editing,” for which he uses iMovie for his personal videos.
Some of his choice apps:
• Friendfeed (“Friendfeed is my chat application.”)
• PeopleBrowsr, for social media search
• Mindjet, for mindmapping presentations
• Tweetdeck, to manage Twitter
• Seesmic, to post video and manage Twitter
• Google Docs and Spreadsheets for free office applications
• CopyPaste Pro: “If I had to recommend only one tool for Mac users, this would be it. It remembers the last 200 objects of any media type that I cut or copied to the clipboard.”
• Skype for voice over IP
• Google Talk for chat
• Social Media Classroom (of course)
• Diigo, a research and knowledge-sharing tool
• iPhone GS for video and Mobypicture and Pixelpipe apps
• WordPress to power a long list of blogs
• Sky uses a Flip Mino recorder and occasionally its internal software to do rudimentary video editing.
• FeedWordPress: Sky configured this plug-in to suck our individual blog feeds into the TravelingGeeks.com WordPress blog.
• YARPP (Yet Another Related Posts Plug-in), a Firefox plug-in for Firefox that finds related posts within my blog and I have configured it with a special CSS so it also displays little thumbnails next to the suggested posts.
• PGP to encrypt email and confidential data on his computer.
• Google Docs, chiefly for sharing word docs in the cloud.
• Zemanta, the Firefox plug-in. “I can’t believe how much better my posts are, how much more relevant and complete they are.”
• Sky runs Ubuntu, a Linux distribution, on a virtual machine. VMWare Fusion is the VM he uses to run Windows XP and Ubuntu 8.04; he “tests” incoming viruses by running WMWare “sandbox,” which he then throws away after infected.
• Tweetdeck, which he prefers over Seesmic Desktop.
• Ecto to blog when offline and to cross-post more easily
• Shopstyle, a shopping application that provides a visual search for online goods.
• Tumblr, a blog platform and app that lets you publish videos and pictures from your cellphone, especially useful for lifecasting or moblogging. “Tumblr is amazing — if your grandmother didn’t know how to blog, go on there, it’s life-changing,” Meghan gushes.
• iPhone apps: Mint, Yelp, Stanza (free app that lets you download and read from a selection of more than 100,000 books and periodicals), Pano ($2.99 app that lets you take seamless panoramic photos on your iPhone), and TalkBubbles ($4.99 app that lets you add dialogue in comic strip-like bubbles to your photos)
• Skitch lets you annotate websites with comments, drawings, arrows, etc., then upload the sketch to their website and share it or blog it. “It’s just plain fun,” she says.
• Zemanta, a Firefox browser add-on that lets you easily add images to your blog posts. I started using Zemanta on my WordPress blogs after meeting the company’s CTO and hearing Susan and Meghan rave about it.
• Tweetdeck, a free downloadable app for both your computer and iPhone that lets you manage your Twitter stream.
• iMovie, part of Apple’s iLife suite, to easily edit her videos. “No boy interns,” she sighed with a wan smile.
• A Twitter Custom Search bookmark on her Firefox browser toolbar (see her post on how to do this).
• Skype with screen sharing (see Are You There? Skype is My Traveling Geeks Lifeline).
• Innovate Ads “video spokesperson” and video banners for my book, Talk Show Tips. See Creating a High Converting Video Spokesperson for Your Landing Page).
• iMovie with YouTube uploader
• Tweetdeck on her Mac Mini
• Pine, an old-timey email application
• iPhone apps, including Rimshot and Trombone (sound effects)
• EasyTweets: manage multiple Twitter accounts, SMS and email keyword alerts, schedule, import feeds, and more
• GroupMail, a way to send personalized email marketing campaigns from your Windows desktop
• Outlook, the perennial email client, and a customized Outlook marketing tool (a proprietary tool that converts Outlook stuff to formattable stuff for export and distribution to customized groups)
• Google Maps
• Flip camera
• Ad-Aware for spyware
• Acronis for data backup
• Skype for international conversations and chat
• Sharpcast for syncing your data across the Web
• Voyij.com for travel searches
• iMovie 8, “a great tool for quick video editing and upload”