I had a conversation with a good friend recently about leaving his current company and possibly starting his own business. Our talk turned to tools that would allow for collaboration and remote work. He was familiar with many of the cloud-based tools available but wasn’t sure which he should use. I shared my current toolkit and decided to provide it here as well.  Even if you aren’t a software developer, you may find many of these tools useful.

Hardware

  • 17" MacBookPro – My primary work machine. If I plan on doing any dev work, I bring it along. While it is larger than necessary for true mobility, its size allows me to view multiple applications without constant switching .
  • 27" iMac desktop – This computer remains at my permanent address. It provides a larger workspace when I am working out of my home office and serves as a backup when my laptop is unavailable (twice in the last 3 years). 
  • iPad (1st Gen, 32GB , 3G) – Many argue that it’s not for content creation, but I find that it is sufficient for most tasks (I draft most of my blogs posts and even wrote a children’s book on it). It also serves as a test device for application development and a repository for all of my digital media (eBooks, WWDC videos, podcasts). I got rid of my television as well because I can stream movies/shows on it (Bonus!).
  • iPhone 4 – As an iOS developer, this is another required test device for me. My first Apple device was the 3G model and I upgraded to this model when I started developing for iOS full-time. I probably would’ve kept the 3G otherwise, since the iPad runs the same apps.

Software

  • Evernote – a ubiquitous note capture tool. I use it for everything from design notes to bookmarking pages from the web (no more synching between browsers). The notes are synched between all of my devices so whenever I need to access information, it’s there. Notes are also accessible from my iPhone/iPad.
  • Github – a cloud-based repository that I use for source control. I used to use Subversion (and Visual SourceSafe before that) but I find Git much easier to use and more effective for collaborating with others on projects. I haven’t tried to use it for non-programming projects so if I weren’t a developer, I probably wouldn’t find this tool as useful.
  • Dropbox – another cloud-based storage service that allows me to sync documents between machines or share with other Dropbox users. I use it to store music and video. The files are even accessible from my iPhone/iPad.
  • GoogleDocs – web-based tool is for document collaboration with others, allowing simultaneous editing without having to send versions back and forth via email.
  • Pivotal Tracker / Rally – web-based project management tracking tools that breaks projects into stories (smaller well-defined deliverables). The tools even tracks my velocity (how fast I am accomplishing tasks) and adjusts the schedule accordingly. A great way to learn about how much time it really takes to get things done.
  • Things – this tool is closer to a traditional to-do list but allows me to group tasks into projects and projects into areas of my life (personal, work, family, home, etc.). I can quickly place a task on the list of things to be done today, on a specific date or an undefined someday. It allows me to capture something that I want/need to do and forget about it. It also allows me to immediately see what I need to do next once something is completed.
  • Pomodoro – I have trouble focusing on only one thing so this tool helps me tackle tasks in smaller chunks of time (25 minutes) with breaks in between. 

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