The hills are alive

With the sound of people writing about those utilities that they find oh-so-useful. So I thought I’d join in the fray with my own little pick of programs that I find indispensable. All of the following tools are free (of course).

This tool is what all difference programs wished they were like. It makes reviewing changes between two files/directories a breeze. You can have a look at the individual changes and “migrate and move-to-next difference” in one click. You can edit the files directly if you don’t want to quite take the difference or you notice something that you need to fix on the spot. My only minor gripe is that you can’t force overwrite of a read-only file, but then I suppose that’s what read-only means.
This program lives on my pen drive on my keyring and similarly it stores all of those digital keys that define my life. It has a simple user interface and is very intuitive to use. You store your passwords in sets so you can have all your work passwords in one place, all your forum passwords in another place, whatever you choose really. It has a very nice facility to auto-type the passwords and logins to whichever window had focus, and also you can define the auto-type to perform things like entering the tab key, pausing and everything so there should be no problem to get it to work on anything. Of course it’s ability like I said to run on a pen drive makes it pretty close to being perfect.
CDBurner XP Pro
A rather pretentious name for what is a very simple program. It burns CDs and DVDs and that’s it. I like the simple UI unlike it’s bloated commercial competitors. OK it does have all the bells and whistles but if you want to put some files onto a CD or DVD it’s hard to think of better free program to do it.
Love it or hate it Microsoft’s free FxCop tool is great for making sure your .NET code is up to scratch. Sure it generates 10 pages of ‘issues’ for a hello world application but go through it and you’ll be guaranteed to find some things wrong with your code that you never thought of. It’ll drive you mad but it’s needed so use it
A simple framework and UI for performing unit tests on your .NET application. If you want to write a stable engine for an award winning product (like I do :D) this application is your best friend. You probably know about it, if you don’t you should. You write a test harness that uses your dll and can test various public methods and functions to make sure as you change and add things that the existing functionality doesn’t break. OK you write perfect programs that never break and always work first time, in that case feel free to ignore me.

Notable mentions…
AudioGrabber – listen your music collection whilst you work.
Google Earth – the coolest way to waste your time exploring the world.
Firefox – need I say more?

That’s quite enough for today. Back to ANTS Profiler