Recently, I started accumulating some of my favorite tech tools in Evernote. So let's start with that:
Evernote (free) - online note taking software. I use the basic features, which is simply taking notes. Very quick to jot notes when working on PC. Evernote has the best iPhone and iPad apps, too. All three sync seamless to the cloud. It keeps me organized with folders, tags, and search. Microsoft OneNote comes in at a close 2nd.
Dia (free) - Dia.exe is an awesome Visio clone. Visio is far superior, but Dia gets the job done well for free. I use Dia for flowcharting and brainstorming.
SQL Server Management Studio Express (free) - Thanks to Teach Yourself SQL in 10 Minutes book, I write most of my own SQL scripts. It is the most efficient way to extract data for data analysis. Then, after connecting Excel to the database, I copy the script in data import and use Excel as a reporting tool. Every CFO should talk to their IT department to get access to the DB. Don't take no for an answer.
SQL Server Business Intelligence Development Studio (BIDS) (free) - We use Deltek Vision for our and it uses SQL Server Reporting Services. I can create custom reports and deploy them inside the Vision application.
Microsoft Visual Web Developer Express (free) - Build your own dynamic web-based reports quickly and easily. With drag and drop features, the non-IT person can build VB, ASP reports and deploy them to the web or intranet.
Notepad++ (free) - Sometimes you just need to see the code to fix it. This is the best code viewer, especially for part-time hack like me. Notepad++ color codes the most common languages including html, xml, vb, sql, etc. For an iPad source code editor, try Textastic.
FileZilla (free) - The free FTP solution. Now that 'the cloud' has become mainstream, I don't use this often, but it's the best when I need it.
Dropbox (free) - What can I say about Dropbox. It is the best thing since sliced bread. Use you PC and windows file folders as you do everyday, but have them backed up to the cloud. Then access them from anywhere with any computer.
Join.me (free) - Bare bones, simple web meetings. Join.me just works. The best thing is that there is NO download for the end user. You download a very, very small app to share you screen. Since it uses flash, there is no download needed to see your screen.
Screencast-o-matic (free) - I can't tell you how many video turtorials I have created. Instead of writing out a page of step-by-step procedures, just throw together a 2-minute video. Web-based, so there is no download.
Vimeo (free) - I use YouTube to share personal videos with the world, but I use Vimeo for work. Vimeo has the easiest security feature. Simply password-protect the video and restrict it from search.
MovieMaker (free) - I've never used a Mac, so I can't compare, but MovieMaker gets the job done. My most-used feature it the split edit tool. I use the Windows built-in sound recorded to add voice. It's also easy to add background music, which I highly recommend.
Keepass (free) - I take password security very seriously. My pet peeve is that 90% of passwords are written in text within 3 feet of the computer. I just can't take that risk with the financial and personal data that I keep. So, I use Keepass. Not only does it encrypt my passwords, it form-fills my web sites with two clicks.
FoxIt Reader (free) - I love the annotation features of FoxIt Reader. I make all my tick marks and comments using this pdf tool. I recommend a dual-monitor system, though.
Paint.net (free) - This is a step about MS Paint. The two features I use that MS Paint does not have is the magic wand and layers. The magic wand highlights all empty areas. Then hit delete to get rid of the white space and create transparency. You have to save it as .png, though. This is great for embedding signature in letters and pdf's.
RunningAHEAD (free) - This is the absolute best running log on the web. I love the dashboard, custom reports, and Garmin upload.
FileMakerGo ($20 iPhone $40 iPad) - This is the most inexpensive way to develop your company's first iPhone app. Typically, companies just need to publish reports and information to it's employees. Build you database in FileMaker or sync it with SQL and build you layouts. You need the desktop app FileMaker ($299).
FreeMind (free) - Organize your thoughts with this free, easy-to-use mind mapping software.
ZixMail (free) - My bank forced me to start using this 3 years ago and I love it. I bought the annual subscription because I liked it so much. Never send an unsecure email again. More and more of my banks and financial institutions are using this tool. I should invest in the company, because it is most likely to become the standard.
These are my favorite tech tools that I use daily. What are your favorite tools?
[Image credit: umpqua via Flickr] My first computer (: