Tools and gadgets

I've been planning to write about tools and gadgets for quite some time now. I believe anyone in my field is fully aware of the need to find, select, and learn to use the right tools for the job, whether the job is writing scientific code for image processing applications, or getting things done while still keeping your sanity. In this post, I'll speak a bit about both categories of tools (and refer to a very popular gadget that incorporates several of them).

I hope to get back to this topic often, because there are so many great (and free!, at least most of them) tools out there, that I think you will enjoy if I share some of my favorites and what I'm using them for.

The reason I'm writing about it today is because it was one of the most intense days in the "tools and gadgets" department in a long while...  Check it out...
  • I woke up wondering if Google had already released its browser, Chrome.
  • I taught a "Cutting-Edge Web Technologies" class where I spoke about Chrome and showed the DOM Inspector and the Web Developer toolbar (both of which are Firefox add-ons) to my students 
  • I taught my second class of the day, where I had a chance to talk about and demonstrate the use of ping, traceroute, and VisualRoute to my students. 
  • It's 2:30 p.m. and I've already used three different browsers (IE -- for a very brief while --, Firefox and Safari), my usual GTD tools (Palm Desktop, the excellent Evernote, Outlook, and GMail), my gadget of choice (Treo 680), but the day is far from over...
  • Around 4:00 p.m. I made a decision that was outlined several weeks ago: I got an iPhone 3G (uh, oh) and you know what that means... new gadget (yay!), new tools (especially with the App Store...), and the need to convert and synchronize data so that I can soon retire my faithful Treo (and bid farewell to the Palm platform that I enjoyed so much since the early 2000s).
  • The iPhone AppStore is awesome! It's been just a few hours and I'm wondering: "Am I at risk of being diagnosed with appiphilia?" LOL. My first picks: Brain Tuner, Wikipanion, Pandora Radio, and Evernote. But I have many more apps that I want to check out, including these and these
  • Late afternoon: as I fiddle with iPhone and its new apps, I realize that Google Chrome is available (for Windows only at this point) and download it to my PC at work (using Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection Client for the Mac and the Cisco VPN client, two essential tools for getting things done remotely)
  • I also sign for a trial of the MobileMe service, hoping that it will make my "PC at work + Mac anywhere + iPhone anywhere" setup work well and synchronize properly
  • At that point, I take a break from the fun apps and try to get serious about getting years of data from my Palm-based platform to my iPhone (and other apps)... Headaches ahead?
  • First success: thanks to a very neat tool (CompanionLink for Google), I get my calendar and address book transferred over from my Palm Desktop for PC to Google Calendar and GMail Contacts, respectively. Good. Not perfect, but good.
  • A while later, I got my contacts exported (in VCF format) from Palm Desktop and transferred over to the Mac's Address Book (and eventually, MobileMe and the iPhone).
  • Also got photos and videos transferred over without a problem.
Still pending: Tasks (To Do lists) and Memos out of the Palm and into the iPhone... 
Maybe tomorrow... with new tools... (?) 

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