This website covers knowledge management, personal effectiveness, theory of constraints, amongst other topics. Opinions expressed here are strictly those of the owner, Jack Vinson, and those of the commenters.

My top 10 tools

Interesting meme to collect individuals' favorite tools, started by the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies:

In July we asked e-learning professionals - consultants, analysts, developers, practitioners, academics, etc - to let us know what their 10 favourite tools were for their own personal working and learning or for creating and delivering learning solutions.  Here are the results so far.  

From the responses thus far, they have compiled a list of Top 100 Tools, ranked by frequency.  They've also re-sliced the data and grouped the tools into a Personal Toolset and Producers Toolset in their Learning Toolbox.

While I am involved in learning (and I may be writing a chapter on KM in a Handbook on Instructional Design), I don't generally consider myself an e-learning professional.  However, I am going to list my top tools too.  (If you do this, don't forget those handy apps that run in the background.)

  1. Outlook.  Yes, I still read and write email, and I try to keep my Inbox as near zero as possible.  I also use Outlook as my central store for contacts and calendar.  I use it for Notes/Journal much less now that I use a Moleskin or MindManager for notes.
  2. GreatNews.  This is my current news aggregator, and I am generally happy with it. 
  3. BlogJet.  This is my blog-writing tool.  It's a decent WYSIWYG editor, and it gives me a nice way to archive my posts on my computer.
  4. ActiveWords.  This is one of the behind-the-scenes applications that I miss terribly when I use someone else's computer.  I've got shortcut words that do nearly all of my routine tasks, from a Google search to searching my desktop to finding a contact to checking the weather at frequent destinations.  All those actions are started via ActiveWords.
  5. PersonalBrain.  This is my filing and general organizing system, which I've been using even longer than ActiveWords.  PersonalBrain is built on the ideas of concept mapping, where any one idea might have multiple connections (parents, children and related).  This is as opposed to a mind map, which is organized around a central idea.
  6. MindManager.  This is a mind mapping tool, and I use it for most "output" work that isn't blogging or email.  I outline papers; setup presentations; drive presentations; record notes at conferences and seminars.  I may use a word processor or presentation application to round out the production work, but it is MindManager where I get most of the work done.
  7. Twitter.  I wasn't sure if this was going to make it into the list.  I've been Tweeting for a couple weeks, and the microblogging idea certainly has its draw.  The best description I've seen is that it is like "group IM" that can be used on a phone.
  8. emacs for Windows.  This is another of those semi-hidden applications.  At its core, emacs is a text editing application.  But the core has been given many, many appendages.  I used to read mail and Usenet news within emacs, but now I use it for quick editing and scanning text documents.  Sometimes I'll use emacs to capture raw text, if I don't want to deal with Word or other applications.  If I have to deal with HTML, it is within emacs.  Any fancy text processing is done in emacs too (complicated search and replace).
  9. Lookout (no longer available) / Google Desktop.  Another pair of tools that hide in the background and find a lot of use when I'm hunting around for that thing I know I have.  Both are supposed to index and search my entire computer, including Outlook.  I find Lookout somewhat inconsistent with files and GDS inconsistent with finding items in Outlook.  So, I use both.  I've tried X1 and never became comfortable with their interface.  Should I try Microsoft Desktop Search?
  10. Firefox.  All my browsing is via Firefox, and Firefox is open as one of the first several applications that I start.  But Firefox itself isn't the central tool, its the websites and web services that I visit: search, blogs, Facebook, etc.

[found via Anol Bhattacharya]

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