In the webcentric world in which we live today, good software development has taken a backseat (with emphasis on the good). But there are still lots of good programs out there, if you know where to look. Here is some of the software I use on a regular basis (with a focus on workstation software, not servers):
- Windows 7 Enterprise — primary workstation OS. Yes, this is up to date, as of 2023. I could write a book here about why I avoid newer versions of Windows, but I already have, so you can look at that if you want.
- Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2010 — office suite - Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, Publisher, OneNote, etc. I find every version of Office following 2010 harder to use, so I've stuck with 2010. I do use Outlook 2016 now, since Microsoft has blocked older versions of Outlook from accessing their hosted Exchange services. I'm not happy about that at all, but I have no choice if I want to use Exchange for my calendar (which I do). I don't use Outlook anymore for email though; I stopped using it for email in 2019 and have never looked back (see next bullet point).
- Roytam1's MailNews (Interlink Mail & News fork) — Email client, RSS feedreader, and Newsgroup client (yes, I use all 3 functions, I have 17 email accounts, 2 RSS feeds, and about a dozen newsgroups). Roytam1's MailNews is a fork of the XUL Interlink Mail & News that works on Windows XP and Windows 2000, and includes a few other enhancements. Interlink Mail & News is itself a fork of Mozilla Thunderbird from a long time ago. This is basically Thunderbird but with a more usable interface.
- SRWare Iron 70 — primary web browser, from Q3 2018. Five years later, it is showing its age, but I haven't worked up a replacement yet. Unfortunately, due to web shenanigans, I have to use a portable version of a more modern Chromium-based browser for some things these days. I am not happy about it one bit. I do also use the Chromefill extension in this browser, which I wrote to address some of these issues.
- Roytam1's New Moon (fork of Pale Moon) — another fork of a Mozilla product from way back when their programs worked well, a worthy alternative to modern Firefox (which hurts my eyes, even to look at). I don't use this very much, since on my machine I've found that it's generally slower than Iron, though I would like to use it more if it performed better. Unfortunately, due to web shenanigans, New Moon isn't necessarily more usable than Iron 70 in today's hostile web (though it does support NC and OC now, which remain a challenge to transpile on older Chromium).
- Notepad++ — text-editor. I do not use an IDE (e.g. Visual Studio Code), or anything like that. I use Notepad++ for all my development, regardless of the language. I use the Obsidian theme, and there's an even a theme for Asterisk dialplan language.
- KiTTY — SSH client. You've probably heard of PuTTY; KiTTY is just PuTTY with many important (to me) enhancements, such as autologin. I usually have between 5 and 10 SSH sessions open at any given time.
- (Fast) FileZilla — FTP/SFTP client. Nowadays, I use my own fork of FileZilla that I call "Fast FileZilla", since it's faster than upstream FileZilla when dealing with firewalls that can gunk up SFTP connections. Tim Kosse, the author of FileZilla, won't make a certain setting configurable for philosophical reasons (which reasonable people can disagree about), so I forked my own version and cross compiled a binary for Windows. It was annoying, but it was sort of worth it.
- Ambassador — XUL-based IRC client. I'm usually idling on Libera chat as well as my own IRC network. (IRC remains quite active amongst open source projects, and in general I have a preference for open standards and protocols (e.g. IRC, NNTP, email, etc.) and a disdain for proprietary services and walled gardens (e.g. SMS, Slack/Discord, etc.)).
- Ripcord — this is a third-party (custom) chat client for Slack and Discord. I use it to connect to several Slack workspaces since, ugh, some people insist on using them. I started using this again recently since Slack dropped support for Windows 7 and blocked me from accessing it, so I really had no choice but to find something else instead. Probably a good thing too, since the official Slack client is bloated garbage. Ripcord uses a tenth of the RAM that the "official" Slack client does.
- Adobe Acrobat Pro XI — fully-featured PDF reader and editor from Adobe, with OCR'ing capabilities. I avoid the newer Adobe CC products since the UI sucks. Acrobat 11 doesn't get in my way.
- Streets & Trips 2006 — Mapping software. There are some new versions, but Works 2006 doesn't require any activation. I mainly use this for offline mirroring of the PhreakNet payphone map, since I don't trust Google enough to keep it around for posterity.
- foobar2000 — music player, for playing music libraries. I also use Windows Media Player and VLC, just depending on stuff.
- Audacity — audio manipulation, pretty self explanatory.
- Avidemux — This is a full video editor (I think), but I only use it for splicing and concatenating videos. It's extremely fast at doing that, unlike pretty much every other video editor which processes footage in linear time.
- Kermit95 — I rely heavily on Kermit95 for scripting dialing tasks for modems. I actually use HyperTerminal whenever I'm manually interacting with a COM port, but I don't do that too often.
- WizMouse — This is always running in the background, and I couldn't live without it. It allows you to scroll windows that aren't selected. Newer versions of Windows (e.g. 10) include this capability, but 7 did not originally, so this adds support for it. Nifty little utility.