Master of the Home Office: Tools of Trade

As a matter of fact, I’ve been working from home for over 12 years by now. Thus, looking at all the panic and craze of the rest of the world with “we have to go into home office” kinda makes me both annoyed and amuzed: So you want to reinvent the wheel, kids? 😀

Before getting to my current list of my “tools of trade”, I’ve got to point out: My focus is on usability and form follows function, not “looks fancy, works crappy”. Also, collaboration tools have to GET THE JOB DONE. No long fumbling around, explaining how they are supposed to work, etc. pp. That means, no fancy bullshit project management tools either. The KISS principle. Nuff said. On to the list:

  • Trello – for task and team coordination, in the kanban way; I’m using it for more complex projects, and also whenever I’m supposed to work together with one or more person
  • Telegram / Facebook Messenger – chat of choice; for larger teams, Slack might be the better choice; on the desktop I’m using the Telegram Desktop app, and until recently, Pidgin + the Facebook Plugin, but as the latter one seems to have some nasty issues, I’m currently using Caprine as an intermediate solution
  • Geany – Minimalist cross-platform IDE of choice, for general development purposes, but also used for editing my weekly to-do-lists, which are simple structured text files
  • Time Slot Tracker – one of the very few stand-alone time tracker programs for SINGLE users; allows connection to JIRA and the likes; requires Java, and looks a bit fugly, but is very easy to use
  • Git – decentralized version system of choice
  • XAMPP – my preferred all-in-one local development web server package of choice; instead of figuring out how to compile AND configure everything nice and fancy, one gets a big package that covers ALL of your web developers needs. Or at least for the classic LAMP stack 😉
  • Inkscape – Vector graphic editor, very nice for sprucing up those dry website sketches; also rather helpful for creating logos and the likes
  • Krita / LazPaint – both used as Photoshop replacements; the first one is more focused on digital painting, while the other is more into classic graphics editing; in the nearby future, I might be switching to good old Paint Shop Pro though (I originally started with PSP in the late 90s / early 2000s, being the first real graphics editing program I’ve used thoroughly, before moving to PS in 2001)
  • Debian / Ubuntu / Manjaro – Linux as my platform of choice
  • Libre Office – for all those pesky tasks like writing invoices, fumbling around with abysmal CSV data your customers clobbered together etc. pp.
  • Krusader – my favorite file manager of choice, with the power of KIO underneath, which enables you to use anything KDE is able to, eg. SSH / FISH, SFTP / FTP, etc. pp. But whenever I’m forced to work with Windows, my weapon of choice is Total Commander 😉
  • VirtualBox – for virtualization of any kind .. esp. Windows, or when I’m in the need of a decent photo graphics editor (ie. Photoshop); also got the advantage of “forwarding” PCI/e ports directly to the guest system, eg. a nice powerful professional graphics card (eg. the nVidia Quadro M2000M in my ThinkPad P50).
  • Skype – for video calls; although I’m using it so seldom its kind of irrelevant; instead, Telegram is another nice option
  • Sipgate – for land line / regular phone calls, I’m mostly relying on German Sipgate; its easy to connect to a Fritzbox, but also works very nice on your regular smartphone, eg. using Zoiper
  • Orage (XFCE) / aCalendar (Pro) – as I do not really organize my appointments on my desktop system, there is no real need for a full-blown solution, hence I’m only using Orage for noting down important appointments once in a while; but normally I’d do that on my phone using aCalender (Pro), which also syncs with Google Calendar and across several devices

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