Toolbox

The Toolbox is a collection of the most indespensible tools and utilities that I find myself returning to on a regular basis. There are often many ways to achieve a goal, just like there are many tools that can do the same job. Think of this as a curated list of my personal favourites. Hopefully you find a new gem you weren't aware of.

I spend a lot of time in Windows 10 these days. On Linux I'm usually in a bash shell but occasionally still take KDE out for a spin (my arcade machine and open source DAW are both based on Kubuntu). Sorry, not doing much on Mac these days.

If you are not strung up on always having the latest versions of everything you can build your own toolbox in a cloud syncing service such as Google Drive, Dropbox or OneDrive. It does pay to periodically check for security updates though.

Text Files Fonts
Graphics Audio System

Text Editing

All coders know the value of a decent text editor. Whether it's Vi, Nano, Emacs, Kate or Notepad. In Windows I have been using the fantastic Editplus for many years. It's really powerful and is just as good for HTML and CSS as it is for taking notes. It even runs great under Linux with Wine.

Edit Plus
Editplus
The ability to select columns and remove tabs or whitespace is brilliant for text manipulation.This site was written using Editplus.
wxHex Editor
wxHexEditor
Sometimes you want to edit on a different level, like in hexadecimal. Great for finding text in binaries and tweaking.
Mp3tag
Mp3tag
A powerful and easy-to-use free tool to edit the metadata of audio files. Can quickly do large numbers of mass edits.
Wine
Wine
Most of these portable utilities will run on Linux or MacOS using Wine. Wine Is Not an Emulator!

Files

On windows when you need to transfer files via SSH or SFTP I prefer WinSCP. When you need to generate key files for encryption you probably want to use PuTTYgen. The private keys can be used with WinSCP and also PuTTY.

WinSCP
WinSCP
Secure file transfers with legendary free SFTP, SCP and FTP client for Windows.
NexusFile
NexusFile
A free dual pane file manager for Windows with cusom skins and advanced file management features.
Krusader
Krusader
Dual panes, plus tabs - take that Windows Exploder! Even better than Dolphin for your KDE file mangement needs.
QuickPar
QuickPar
QuickPar is a utility for creating Parity Volumes using the Reed Solomon algorithm. Parity Volumes may be used to verify that a set of files have not been corrupted, or to reconstruct damaged files.

Connectivity

Anyone who's ever connected to a remote nix machine from Windows has probably used Putty for VT100(+) emulation.

PuTTY
Putty
The legendary terminal emulator for secure remote shell sessions under Windows.

Audio

When you have to manipulate sound there's one standout utility in everyone's kit - Audacity.

Audacity
Audacity
Absolute legendary cross platform audio editing and recording. Great for conversions and cleaning up poor audio.
Lame
Lame
If you need to do anything with MP3 you probably need an encoder. Lame is the best and plugs in to Audacity.
Ardour
Ardour
Ardour is an incredible pro quality DAW for recording, mixing and editing. Runs like a dream on Linux KDE.
Virtual MIDI Keyboard
Virtual MIDI Keyboard
When you need to troubleshoot MIDI instruments a virtual keyboard is a must. Small, portable and free is even better.

Graphics

From simple resizing of web graphics to full on digital manipulation of high res photos. We cover the gamut for your image editing and viewing needs.

Gimp
Gimp
The legendary cross platform Gnu Image Manipulation Program.
Inkscape
Inkscape
When raster manipulation just doesn't cut it anymore it's time to move to vectors. Cross platform, free and amazing.
GraphicsGale
GraphicsGale
And then sometimes you need to go Lo-Fi for spriting and pixel art.
Gimp
IrfanView
Free and lightweight. Still one of the handiest image veiwing and saving utilities on Windows. Batch manipulation is a life saver for resizing large amounts of web images.

Fonts

One of the most popular free fonts in use on the web is Font Awesome which provides all the vector scalable icons in use on this site. But the full set contains over 634 icons and I'm using only about 10. So to cut down the size you can edit the woff file and strip out the unused glyphs with the excellent free tool FontForge. A nice tutorial explaining how to do it is here.

I'm also using some free fonts available via the excellent Google Fonts. It's easy to import a font into your CSS with a line such as:

@import 'https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Yanone+Kaffeesatz';

FontForge
FontForge
FontForge - the Open Source font editor.
Nexusfont
Nexusfont
A nice, clean and free utility for managing lots of fonts on Windows. It allows you to browse through many sets, even if they are not all installed.

System Utilities

When you need deep information about a system or the ability to get under the hood.

CPU-Z
CPU-Z
When you absolutely need to know exactly what's driving this thing.
GPU-Z
GPU-Z
When you absolutely need to know exactly what's drawing this thing.
SpaceSniffer
SpaceSniffer
Amazing treemap visualisation of your filesystem when you just know something is in there using precious disk but you just don't know where to start looking.