My Top 5

Just about the first set of apps I install initially on a system. I use them about every 1-5 minutes without even realizing.

  • Executor - A robust and extremely customizable launcher. I don't think I click on shortcut anymore. You can map keywords to files and directories as well.
  • CLCL - Clipboard manager. Not only that, but it stores text and files that can be pasted on a demand. Hit Alt+C, you get a context menu wherever the mouse pointer is, select what you want to do, and boom.
  • AutoHotKey - A scripting language (and compiler) to automate Windows. Want to move windows around? Close, open, and run programs automatically? This is just the tip of the iceberg. I have keybinding where when I press CTRL+F11, it writes the datetime, like this: 2018-09-01 @ 08:38 PM.
  • Sublime Text - This is my replacement to Notepad. I also use this as an editor when I need to edit something quick. This is a very versatile editor, and I prefer it over NotePad2, or Notepad++. When I need to turn it up a notch though, I turn to Visual Studio Code... and lastly Visual Studio.
  • Chrome - Although I prefer Firefox for privacy (Firefox is open source), I use Chrome for its speed.

Current Operating Systems

Some I use for work, others for gaming or tinkering.

  • Windows 8 and 10 - I use these two for Windows development and gaming. If you want to be at bleeding edge, especially in the world of gaming hardware, you have to use Windows 10. I also use Windows 10 as my machine for rendering Video.
  • Windows 7 - I use Windows 7 for learning about security and testing vulnerabilities. I run this on VirtualBox.
  • Windows 98 - I use this for old windows Software and games. I run this on VMWare.
  • Linux Mint - My flavor of Linux. Use this whenever I have to work on a LAMP stack. I run this on VirtualBox.
  • Mac OS - What I use for work on my Macbook. I run Windows 10 Pro via Parallels.

Editors and IDEs

Some I use for work, others for gaming or tinkering.

  • Sublime Text - One of the favorite editors. It's my Swiss army knife of editing.
  • Visual Studio 2017 - I use this for any professional work.
    • Dracula Theme for Visual Studio
    • AWS Toolkit for Visual Studio
    • PowerShell Tools for Visual Studio
    • Web Essentials 2017
    • DocStubJS
    • Productivity Power Tools
    • SlowCheetah
    • VSCommands
  • Visual Studio Code - If I have to code anything static, like a static HTML page or work on NodeJS, then I use this.
  • Eclipse - I use this for ColdFusion code. I used to be a ColdFusion developer and still enjoy it when I have to make quick and dirty prototypes.
  • SQL Server Management Studio - I work with SQL Server professionally. Additionally, I have the following add-ons:
    • Dracula Theme for Visual Studio - I just think this is a cool looking theme.
    • SQL Prompt - Better autocomplete, snippet manager, and cool functionality, like SQL Search.
    • SSMS Boost - Has additional functionality that SQL Prompt doesn't have. There's some overlap too.
    • SQL Treeo - Makes SSMS have the ability to organize SQL Server objects in folders. Does not affect anything on the actual server (unless you want to save the settings in the database).
    I also can't live without the following:
    • SQL Compare - Used for deploying changes or see if a database has grown stale.
    • SQL Data Compare - I use this whenever I need to move data across servers or compare for integrity.

Top Games

I don't play that many games, but when I do... these are (have been) it. :)

Diablo 3

Diablo 3
Diablo 3
Diablo 3

The Division

The Division
The Division

Overclocking

Oof... too hot

If you're into benchmarking and overclocking your build, graphics card, RAM, etc., I found these tools handy.

  • AIDA64 Extreme - Get benchmarks and stats about your current build in real-time.
  • AMD Ryzen Master - AMD's tool for overclocking Ryzen CPUs.
  • CINEBENCH - Benchmark your build for gaming and rendering.
  • Core Temp - Check out the temperature of all your CPUs in real-time.
  • CPUID CPU-Z - Gives you breakdown of your CPU in real-time.
  • FRAPS - See the Frames Per Second as an overlay on your game
  • MSI Afterburner - Another good benchmarking tool.
  • NVIDIA LED Visualizer - Turn off the LEDs/lighting on your GeForce graphics card.
  • GPU-Z - Get real-time information about your graphics card.

Photography

Photography is passion of mine. These are the tools I use for post-processing.

  • Adobe Lightroom - How I touch-up my photos. It’s great for working with photos in batch. I don’t use it for organizing them though. I use Flickr for that.
  • NikCollection - Amazing collection of plugins for Lightroom or Photoshop.
  • ImageMagick - SDK for editing photos programmatically.
  • iMazing HEIC Converter - Convert images made from iOS (my iPhone) to JPEG.
  • Photo GPS Extract - I can right-click on a photo that has GPS coordinates and it takes me to Google Maps where the photo was taken.
  • PhotoTransferApp - Quick and fast way to transfer photos and video from iPhone to your computer and vice versa. This is much faster than a wired connection for me.
  • Affinity Photo - Photoshop was too expensive for me, so I opted for this. Looks and functions like Photoshop.
  • Batch Purifier - Able to delete EXIF information for a set of images.
  • EOS Utility - Canon’s camera utility in case I want to tether my camera to my computer.
  • Image Resizer for Windows - right-click a set of images and resize.
  • GifViewer - Lightweight animated GIF viewer for memes.
  • ColorPic - An Eye-dropper, color picker tool.
  • Ruler - A ruler. What else?

System

Some tools I use to help run my machines.

  • AutoHotkey - A language and compiler all rolled into one. You can automate tasks in windows, read files, run programs, resize windows, remap keys, and other cool stuff.
  • Chocolatey - a package manager for Windows. Automate software installs. This saves so much time when building a new machine.
  • Console2 - A better CMD app.
  • BGInfo - Shows informative wall paper with computer stats.
  • Clink - Enhances CMD so that you can do CTRL+paste and other cool stuff.
  • WinDirStat - Shows you a diagram of what kind of files are taking up space. Nice breakdown.
  • SyncBack - Been using this for years. Very reliable. I use this for syncing folder and drives.
  • RecoverMyFiles - Did you shift-delete something? I’ve been able to successfully recover several files with this, not small, but in the gigs.
  • DAEMON Tools Lite - Need to make an ISO out of a DVD? This is what it’s for.
  • Powershell - Still use this for Windows scripting.
  • Perl - Programming language I use for scripting and scraping sometimes.
  • WinRar - File compression at its best.
  • SysInternals - This is a whole collection of tools I use, including PsKill, when programs just won’t go away.
  • WhatsInStartup - Get a list of programs that run when Windows starts.
  • FileTypesMan - Control what programs are hogging file associations to themselves.
  • SetFileDate - Need a way to change the file date of a file? This is how.
  • Fiddler - See how programs make network connections. I use this for troubleshooting web site performance.
  • Wireshark - A more advanced version of Fiddler.
  • hMailServer - Good email server, especially for development.
  • Cygwin - A command console that runs Linux utilities.
  • Sharpkeys - Remap keys on your keyboard.
  • LockHunter - Can’t move or delete a file because a program is locking it? Break the lock! I would say this works about 75% of the time, so it’s worth it.
  • ProcessBlocker - Runs in the background. You specify which program to block. If that program attempts to run, it kills it.
  • Unlocker - Similat to LockHunter.
  • ProcessExplorer - Gives you a more in depth list of programs running in the background.
  • Rufus - Takes a USB flash drive and formats it to make it bootable for Windows or Linux installation.
  • UNetbootin - Similar to Rufus, but for Linux only.
  • Win32 Disk Imager - Writes images to USB flash drives.

Security and Privacy

I like keeping my stuff private. Don't you? :)

  • LastPass - Great password manager. You can use it on your phone as well.
  • PINs - Manage passwords locally on your computer. Does not use any outside service like LastPass.
  • Sandboxie - Run programs, including your web browser, in a sandbox (virtualized environment), to avoid viruses or other nasties.
  • Glasswire - Great firewall for Windows.
  • Comodo Firewall - Free firewall I use on my home servers.
  • PrivateInternetAccess - Reliable VPN service. Use this at home and phone.
  • Little Snitch - Firewall, network monitor, and alerter. This is for the Mac.
  • TrueCrypt - Way to encrypt entire drives and partitions.
  • Ghostery - Chrome Extension - block ads and tells you who’s trying to track you
  • HTTPS Everywhere - Chrome Extension - Makes sure you’re browsing the site’s HTTPS pages. Also has an option to block all HTTP requests (only allow HTTPS).
  • Script Safe - Chrome Extension - Block JavaScript on a per-site basis.
  • Custom HOSTS file - Huge list of ad servers on the internet you want to block.
  • DeleteOnClick - Make a file unrecoverable after deleting.
  • Eraser - Another way to make files unrecoverable.
  • HashMyFiles - Gives you MD5 and SHA1 hashes of a file.
  • HashCheck Shell - Another way to view various hashes of a file.

Backup

Good to have more than one offsite backup location.

  • SpiderOak - Use this to backup files where I also need to restore / view when I’m on the go.
  • Box - I keep files that I may need on the go, but don’t need super high security or privacy.
  • iDrive - The main place I store all my files.
  • Google Drive - Another place I store files.

Virtualization

I run various servers depending on the task.

  • VirtualBox - What I currently use for hosting Windows and Linux environments. And it’s free. I do think though that it’s not as fast as VMWare or Parallels.
  • VMWare Workstation Player - I still use this to run some legacy Windows 95/98 apps.
  • Parallels - I use this at work on my Macbook laptop to run Chrome OS and Windows 10.

Videography

Another passion of me is filming and editing. Here's what I use.

Audio

What I use for editing audio and making music.

  • Audacity - Main sound editing tool.
  • Lame - Used for audio compression.
  • Foobar2000 - Alternative music/audio player.
  • Ignite - I use it for making music with my MIDI keyboard.
  • iTunes – Used to manage my music. Despise this tool to no-end, but it’s the only way to manage my Apple Music subscription and music.

Software Development Tools

  • Sublime Text - One of the favorite editors. It's my swiss army knife of editing.
  • Beyond Compare - Best way to do a file comparison. Even does Word and Excel documents. I integrate this within Visual Studio.
  • GIT - How I manage source control for some personal projects.
  • Visual Studio 2017 - My main editor for Windows/Web development. Use it primary for developing anything C# / ASP.NET MVC related.
  • Postman - Use this to test web services. Love this handy tool.
  • Free Hex Editor - Sometimes I want to peek what’s inside an executable. This is what I use.
  • NodeJS - Use to setup my JavaScript environment.
  • NimbleText - When I need to multiple columns of text. Used this a lot when doing quick data imports into databases.
  • RegexBuddy - What I use to build regular expressions.
  • Python - When need some quick and dirty Windows scripting / automation done, I use Python.
  • firstobject XML Editor - If I need to prettify XML, I use this.
  • Evernote - This is how I manage all my code snippets.
  • LogParser - I use this when I need to parse through IIS logs.
  • SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) – What I use for managing SQL Server databases


    Additionally, I use the following add-ons and tools:

    • SQL Compare - Compare the schema between two databases. You can also publish changes across databases.
    • SQL Data Compare - Compare data between tables. Can move data across them as well.
    • SQL Prompt - A better auto complete. It includes a code snippet manager, and other handy functionality not built within SSMS.
    • RedGate MySQL Comparison - Just like SQL Compare / Data Compare, but for MySQL
    • SSMS Boost - Adds additional functionality to SSMS that RedGate tools don’t provide.
    • SQLTreeo - You can now add folders and organize databases in them. Crazy.
  • Visual Studio Code - If I have to code anything static, like a static HTML page or work on NodeJS, then I use this.

Productivity

  • CLCL - Clipboard manager. Not only that, but it stores text and files that can be pasted on a demand. Hit Alt+C, you get a context menu wherever the mouse pointer is, select what you want to do, and boom.
  • Free AlarmClock - Just a quick reminder tool. Plays sound and shows pop-up to remind you of a task.
  • Fences - Organize those millions of pesky shortcuts you have on your desktop.
  • PDFSam - Split or Merge PDFs.
  • Snagit - My ideal screenshot tool. Can record video as well.
  • Chrome - My main web browser.
  • Executor - A robust and extremely customizable launcher. I don't think I click on shortcut anymore. You can map keywords to files and directories as well.
  • Foxit Reader - lightweight PDF reader.
  • Visio - Main tool I use for database and network diagrams.
  • Word - Main program for writing.
  • Excel - How I edit spreadsheets.
  • BareGrep - What I use for file search and inside files. Can search using regular expressions.