Tools

This repo's main purpose is to keep track of what I use to be productive on my computer and other devices.

Inspired by Nikita Volobeov's my-mac-os repo.

My Windows Desktop

Applications

General

Firefox - Web browser

  • Fully-featured, beautiful, and open-source

  • Great add-ons that extend the functionality

    • 1Password - my password generator and vault

    • uBlock Origin - the best ad-blocker currently available

    • DF YouTube - allows you to hide certain parts of the YouTube interface; great for when I use YouTube to study or for research

    • HTTPS Everywhere - makes sure that all websites that can be redirected to HTTPS are redirected

    • Eagle - a companion to the Eagle desktop app, which I talk about later; allows me to save interesting images directly from Firefox

    • Dark Reader - dark mode for sites that don't have it; useful for late night browsing

    • Instapaper - a "read it later" service that I think I'll be replacing with Pocket

    • Zotero - a companion to the Zotero desktop app, which I talk about later; allows me to save research materials directly from Firefox

  • Not based on Chromium and probably the last mainstream browser for a while that won't be

Firefox

Spotify - Music player

  • I pay $4.99/month (thanks to the student discount) and can listen to pretty much any song I want to

  • I've tried to self-host my music before but so far I haven't been able to let go of Spotify

  • I enjoy listening to music when I'm deep into a problem or when I'm doing mindless browsing

qBittorrent - Torrent Client

  • Free, open-source, and reliable

  • People tend to have strong preferences for torrent clients. I wouldn't put myself in that group per say but I am a creature of habit. Every fresh Windows install includes an installation of qBittorrent since I've used it for years and feel comfortable with it. Maybe I'll try out something else but, to be honest, I don't torrent much on my main computer.

Mullvad VPN - VPN Client

Productivity

Visual Studio Code - Editor

  • Feature-rich, a massive community providing great extensions, and it's open-source

  • I use the One Dark Pro theme along with the Fira Code font (ligatures enabled of course). These two combined makes writing anything from a blog post to a website a great visual experience.

  • I use the following extensions (please keep in mind that not all of these extensions are installed all the time):

    • Remote - WSL - I use Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) quite heavily on my main PC and this extension makes it seemless to use VS Code with WSL.

    • Python - Adds a boatload of features to help write, read, and refactor Python code.

    • PowerShell - Helpful for the rare times I need to write a PowerShell script.

    • Markdown All in One - Adds much more powerful Markdown support to VS Code including keyboard shortcuts, auto-preview, and more.

VS Code

Windows Terminal - Terminal

  • Miles ahead of the regular Command Prompt but it is still in preview

  • Supports PowerShell, CMD, and WSL all in one

  • While I do like this new terminal I still find myself just using the VS Code integrated terminal for most things given how convenient it is

WSL - Windows Subsystem for Linux

  • This isn't really an "app" but I figured I'd include it here given how often I use it

  • For those unfamiliar, WSL is a way for the Linux kernel to run on Windows

  • It's not perfect and it still doesn't compare with running native Linux but given that I love BASH and feel much more comfortable using Linux command line tools, this is a nice compromise

Anki - Flashcards

  • A feature-rich flashcard app that is built on the idea of spaced repetition

  • I use this to learn pretty much anything that can be put into flashcard format (math formulas, English and Italian vocab, etc.)

Zotero - Research organizer and bibliography maker

  • A simple yet powerful app that allows you to organize research materials (websites, PDFs, books, papers)

  • The main purpose is to put together a bibliography but I mostly just use it for the organizational aspect

Docker Desktop - Containers

  • Docker Desktop is the best way to get started with Docker on Windows

  • I use Docker whenever I want to have a stable environment without the need to install different tools and frameworks or worry about compatibility

  • Nowadays I use Docker mainly to create a development environment for Jekyll, which is what my main site is built on

Adobe Acrobat DC - PDF Reader

  • I read a good number of PDFs on my computer. Whether they're white papers, ebooks, or study guides, I like having a good PDF solution that's fully featured (even though I tend not to use the more advanced features)

  • I used to use Foxit Reader, a free and fully-featured PDF reader, for years but recently switched back to Acrobat since I have a one-year sub to Creative Cloud and figured I'd give it a try. We'll see if it holds up.

7-Zip - Archiving and Un-archiving Tool

  • I used to use WinRAR like most people but, on a whim, decided to try 7-Zip. In UI is dated but man is it powerful and fast. A simple utility for sure, but one that I use almost daily.

Creativity

  • I was able to grab a one year subscription to Adobe CC last year (2019) at a discounted rate because of Black Friday and my student discount

  • I mainly use Adobe XD for UI design and Illustrator for logos and branding

  • I also have Photoshop and InDesign installed in case I need them

  • If I can get the same deal again I'll probably stick with CC but I also own Affinity Photo, Designer, and Publisher so that I don't need to rely on Adobe

Eagle - Design inspiration

  • This seems to be a relatively obscure app but I love it for the simple fact that I gives me a nice way of organizing the design inspiration I find online

  • I'll typically throw any logos, websites, or industrial design that I like into Eagle

Gaming and Fun

Steam - Gaming

  • I don't play video games as much as I used to but my main collection is still on Steam

  • I also use Steam VR with my Oculus Rift to play VR titles like Beat Saber

Oculus - Gaming

  • This app allows me to use my Oculus Rift headset to play VR titles