The Tools I Use To Kick Ass Online

Posted by Matthew Snider with 2 Comments

I am online a lot. The tools in which I navigate the web and my machines are vital to my workflow being the best it can be. I plan on going into a bit of depth around why I use the tools I do. But I also wanted to get your feedback on what you use.

I will start out by saying, I am a Mac.

Starting at a young age, I was the guy who built computers from scratch for friends. Always fiddling with OS’s such as Slackware, Debian, windows and others. The hardware was always a cheaper alternative when I was in high school or even in college than a Mac.

Well times have changed, I have gone through 7 Toshiba laptops in a month (yes a month), 3 HP’s in 3 days and many other sob stories that I won’t bore you all with. It was a long road to a realization that there is something out there that is better.

Yes, I did just say that. Mac OS and Hardware is unbeatable. The sole fact that the OS and the hardware are made by the same folks and come out of the same place make me feel much better than dealing with 3rd party software drivers, hardware drivers, motherboard drivers and all of that crap that comes with setting up PCs and Laptops running Windows.

For the last few years, my family has been solely Mac and will be so until my kids are old enough to purchase their own machines.

So as a Mac guy I run lots of the same stuff you all do running windows. Just on a better OS and hardware!

To get to the list, I will try and break it down into categories for you all. For sake of ease if nothing else.


Web Browsing Workflows:

I use Firefox as my main browser and have been using it for almost a decade now. To be honest I have tried my hardest to find something new but nothing works. Safari, Opera, Chrome, IE7, 8 and now 9 just don’t come close.

The reason I can’t seem to get away from Firefox is due in part to a few special add-ons that I can’t seem to live without.

The addons that I strut around with can be found for the above browsers also except for one. Tab Mix Plus. That is all you need to know! Tabs Mix Plus is a great way for me to open bookmarked links and other links throughout Firefox in a new tab.

What say you? Chrome and Opera etc can do that… well not out of the box. And honestly that is what is stopping me from switching to Chrome along with a few other picky things. Chrome cannot open links from the bookmark toolbar in a new tab by default and there is no extension that works either (at the time of this writing). With that said, and in a world of speed for me on my Macbook Pro, I just keep on loving Firefox.

So here is a definitive list of what I use within Firefox.

  1. Adblock (must have)
  2. Firebug (I like this more than the developer tools of chrome)
  3. Gmail Watcher (must have!)
  4. FireGestures when at a Desktop machine (this allows for mouse gestures!)
  5. Tab Mix Plus
  6. Xmarks (bookmark sync between all of my computers!

Besides the list above, I try to keep add-ons to a minimal (like my WordPress plugins) to allow the browser to run as fast as it possibly can.


Web Design Workflows:

In my free time I am a design and code monkey at heart. I can be found working on client sites via my company of Koder Designs. My partner John and I are a two man team taking on anything from Ray Lewis to a church redesign. We take whatever we can get and are having a blast with it.

The tools I use range from Firefox, Firebug (within Firefox), Photoshop and lots more. For the sake of being a Mac, most of the lists will include Mac related software as that is what I use.

I use Coda for local web design and CSS hackery, Transmit (an FTP client) for file needs, Photoshop for all of my design needs along with a few other tidbits.

I have played around with setting up a MAMP server but got rid of it due to the fact that Wifi is everywhere! I also have a plethora of other items on the Macbook Pro but nothing that sticks out with out it in front of me.

So here is a definitive list of what I use when coding a client site or fooling around here at Geek for Him.

  1. Coda (an excellent coding tool that allows you save offline work, then upload it to the server)
  2. Transmit – an FTP client
  3. Photoshop – if you don’t know about this. I assume you use Paint!
  4. Macbook Pro – The only machine that is necessary for anything these days!


Web Surfing Workflows:

This is a workflow that I do daily to no certain rhyme or rhythm. I honestly start my day in who knows how many differing ways. I usually do the whole Gmail check. Comments in WordPress check and other simple tasks.

But then comes the best part of my day. Opening Reeder. hands down this is the best Google Reader software – PERIOD! I use it on the iPhone and on my Macbook Pro and I love it.

Reading through over 100 RSS Feeds kick starts my mind into overdrive. It allows me to experience things that I want to write about, live and learn from. Reading others news, ideas and seeing them grow is a great thing in my eyes.

Below I have listed out a few of the places on the net I visit on a daily if not weekly basis. Hope some of them are new for you. This is basically a drag and drop from my Firefox Bookmarks.

exljbris Font Foundry
Font News Gothic MT – Fonts archive with more than 40 000+ fonts. Zephyr font, Gill sans, Bembo font, cyrillic font download, graffity fonts, fonts.
Font Park
Font-Guide-NEW.pdf (application/pdf Object)
Movie Fonts
The League of Moveable Type
free graphite fonts download – graphite truetype font at
Architect-Bold font download free (truetype)
Typedia: Blog: Type News: Hwæt-Out
The 100 Best Fonts (in a Huge Sortable Table)
FFFF | Abduzeedo | Graphic Design Inspiration and Photoshop Tutorials
80+ Color Altering Photoshop Actions | Freebies
950+ Photoshop Tutorials
A Free Photoshop File Every Day [Download] | ChurchCreate
Free plug-ins for Photoshop | Photography | Creative Notes | Macworld
Photoshop Tutorial | Creativeoverflow
Pricing | Love Like You Mean It
Software training online-tutorials for Adobe, Microsoft, Apple & more
Migrating from Blogger (Blogspot) to WordPress without Losing Any Valuable SEO and Links
CSS3 Tutorials to Brighten Up Your Day – Noupe Design Blog
How To Create Your Own Custom WordPress Theme
HTML5 – HTML 5 AJAX Contact Form – CodeCanyon
The Top 80+ Items and Authors from CodeCanyon in 2010 | Nettuts+
50 Fresh and Awesome Free Fonts | PSDFan
ChurchThemer – WordPress Themes For Churches, Ministries, Charities.
Creating user-defined RSS feeds in WordPress
Function Reference/get sidebar « WordPress Codex
Hardening WordPress « WordPress Codex
Installing Multiple Blogs « WordPress Codex
SEO Optimization For WordPress |
WordPress – Stack Exchange
WordPress › Blogger To WordPress Redirection « WordPress Plugins
WordPress › W3 Total Cache « WordPress Plugins
WordPress › WP « WordPress Plugins
WordPress 3 Tutorials | Creating and Editing Custom Themes
This is my arsenal when I am online. I have one for my offline work as well as my Bible Studying Workflow. Maybe that is for another time!
Hope some of this is newer to you and something that can help you all out!

Matthew Snider

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Matthew is the Editor-In-Chief, and founder of Geek for i. He has produced such posts as Top 5 iPhone Apps For The BathroomMac or PC and many more. His love for iDevices started back when he purchased the original iPhone.

2 responses to The Tools I Use To Kick Ass Online

  1. Lot of good stuff Matthew. I love Reeder for Mac, I would have to agree that it is the best by far.
    Next software purchase for Mac is going to be Coda.
    Thanks for sharing all of these resources.

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