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:
• Firefox, with occasional forays into Flock and Safari; Firebug and Zemanta plug-ins
• WordPress, the open-source platform for my Socialmedia.biz and Socialbrite.org blogs
• I just started using HootSuite 2.0, a Web-based, Ajax-smart Twitter application that I find superior (so far) to the downloadable Tweetdeck and Seesmic Desktop apps. (I’m @jdlasica on Twitter.)
• Zoho Writer and Zoho Sheets, which are superior to Google Docs (though I use the latter when forced)
• Fetch tied to BBEdit, to manage files on my blogs’ servers
• Snapz Pro X, to capture images and movies from any Mac computer screen
• Flickr Uploadr, to batch-upload photos to my Flickr photostream
• 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
• Google Talk and Skype for most of my chats
• Delicious for social bookmarking in the cloud
• Google Reader to keep track of blogs and share stories to Socialbrite
• Vimeo and Blip.tv for video sharing
• VLC, the open source media player, to watch videos in almost any format
• Still alternating between iTunes and Pandora for my music jones
• Still trying to learn QuickSilver (so far unsuccessfully) for keyboard shortcuts. Considering LaunchBar.
• Google calendar to manage my events, though I need to get back to using Upcoming more.
• 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
• iPhone 3GS, SimplyTweet and whole bunch of other apps
• 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
• Final Cut Express
• Seesmic Desktop
• iPhone GS for video and Mobypicture and Pixelpipe apps
Sky Schuyler, CTO of the Dalai Lama Foundation, served as the tech lead on our trip and time and again generously shared information about his tech habits. Some of his favorite tools:
• 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.