BlueCog.com My mostly-technical blog is at www.bluecog.com

I have some code on GitHub (old).

Music by the Shack Monks.

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Software I use often

I use VirtualBox a lot to run virtual machines for various things: dedicated tasks, one-off experiments, trying different operating systems, and browsing the web.

Get Firefox

Mozilla Firefox is still my web browser of choice, though I also use Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge.

I use Mozilla Thunderbird for email at home.

Notepad++ is a freeware text editor that I use when I'm not working in an IDE but Windows Notepad just won't do (like when I want to select columns of text to copy and paste). It is good for editing source code and XML, and it has a lot of plug-ins available to extend its capabilities.

When doing development on Linux I use Geany, gedit, or Vim for editing code (depending on the project, day of the week, phase of the moon, etc.).


Audacity is an excellent (and free) audio recording and editing program.

Also related to audio files, Mp3tag by Florian Heidenreich is a very nice tool for editing the ID3 tags in MP3 files. It can also edit metadata for a number of other audio file formats.


In addition to the GIMP, and an old version of Paint Shop Pro, I have been using Paint.NET for photo and image editing.

WhereIsIt is a program for cataloging media such as CDs, DVDs, or diskettes. I use it to catalog the many data backups and archives I have on CDs. It could take hours of searching through those CDs to find what I am looking for without this program (all the while mumbling "Where is it? Where is it? Where the #@$& is it?").


The file compression utility I use most often is 7-Zip. There are other ZIP-file utilities out there, but 7-Zip handles my routine file compression needs.

For FTP file transfers, which are rare these days, I use FileZilla.

Programming tools

I have been doing more programming with Python lately.

I use Git for version control.

My favorite file comparison utility is Beyond Compare 3 by Scooter Software. They have a fully-enabled trial version you can use for 30 days (I like that it counts only the days you actually run the program, not calendar days, when counting down the trial period). For me it was well worth the cost to register it for my main development PC since I often need to compare files and this program does a slick job of it. I have also used WinMerge in the past. It's free and works well. Both of these programs integrate with Windows Explorer and allow you to select files for comparison from the right-click context menu (in WinMerge, I prefer to select Enable advanced menu in Options⇒System⇒Integration).

I still think Delphi rocks (and paved the way for Visual Studio), but I only use it rarely now, in case I need to maintain an old Win32 app.

Au3 icon

AutoIt is a very nice scripting tool for automating Windows. I discovered AutoIt when I was searching for an alternative to VBScript (and Windows Scripting Host) which was just not working well for a specific automation task. Glad I found it.

Programmer Nostalgia

Turbo Pascal 3.0

This is where it all began - my being a programmer, that is. Well actually it was BASIC on the VIC 20 and then the TRS-80 where it began, but Turbo Pascal is where it kicked in. Turbo Pascal became Borland Pascal which eventually became Object Pascal, the language behind Borland Delphi which is now Embarcadero Delphi.

Paradox: For years the DOS version of Paradox was my "Swiss Army Knife" for quick data manipulation. Paradox was easy to program using the Paradox Application Language (PAL). I built a number of applications using it, some of which remain in use as of 2007. As of 2008 I am moving Paradox to the nostalgia section though I'd bet some of those apps are still running.