Updated 5/29/2008 to include links to services and my sample pages. I intend to keep updating the sample pages, so check in or subscribe!
Well I think I’m going to start to document my journey to the brave new software world. Wait! you say, its not new, and well you may be right! But it is new to me and from poking around in the process of learning it it seems that it is new to a lot of other people also.
I began by setting up a web site on Microsoft Live. Located at Http://TomBrander.com it hosts information about my Real Estate statistical consulting services. While Microsoft is not normally associated with great web stuff, this product is a wonderful exception. I got it when they were still handing out free domain registration, which sadly they have discontinued, now its something like $14.95 per year. The hosting however remains free. You can get a free subdomain (like http://myname.live.com) and still get completely operational for free. Since, as some have pointed out, search is the most common way to find information now on the web I don’t think the lack of a full domain registration is the handicap it once was.
I’m now exploring Linux (Ubuntu), MySql, Eclipse, Open Office. I’ve got them loaded but I have a way to go to get fully operational. I’m Using a dual boot Dell Win XP pro Machine with the newest Ubuntu Hardy. I’ll pick up some of that next time. I’m striving to create a solid free software development replacement to my entire Windows experience. I need a replacement for MS Access and eventually Photoshop CS3, although If I could get that in Wine I’d probably be ok with it.
Other neat tools/ services I’ve picked up are: Many Items in Google such as my new favorite: Google “reader” the Shared items page, Base, Mail, Docs, adsense, to do lists, portfolio, finance and a bunch of others, something new almost every day.
Jott: great for keeping notes to myself when away from the desk. It is a voice recognition system which I set on my cellphone speed-dial and use to send e-mail reminders as well as to do items and calendar items.
Del.icio.us; A great way to keep bookmarks organized so I can get to them via any computer and not use my browser which keeps them stuck on one machine.
In fact one of my main goals is to move as much as I can into the “cloud” so that depending on a particular machine and location is no longer necessary. So this means giving up on Microsoft Outlook. So far no problem.
One last item for today is getting Firefox instead of Explorer, It has been a great improvement. I happen to be in Explorer at the moment, for no particular reason but I find myself most of the time in Firefox, which seems noticeably faster and much less crash prone, when running exactly the same stuff! Update, Installed the rc1 of Mozilla 3.0 on Windows works great and the pre release 3.xx version on Linux.