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Personal Technology and Internet

Tools I’m thankful for

In the spirit of thanksgiving, even though it isn’t a tradition here where live, and following the same path as some posts I’ve read today, here’s 5 software tools I’m thankful for.

(Of course this is not a comprehensive list, but today these are the ones that come to my mind)

Syncthing

This tool basically lets us sync files with multiple devices without relying on a central service/server (unlike Dropbox or Google Drive). So we don’t have to rely on a 3rd party service to sync your documents, it is all done in a p2p fashion with high security standards.

No Internet connection? no worries, it works through the local network as well.

BorgBackup

I use Borg for most kinds of backups. Many will argue that there are alternatives that do X and Y better, but Borg has all I need for this task and does its job very well. It is compatible with many services, has a nice CLI and several decent GUIs.

Backups are critical, so we should rely on a mature tool that we can trust.

VLC

I don’t remember the last time I had “hair pulling” struggles when trying to play a video file or disk. VLC is one of the reasons why (perhaps the biggest of them). It’s a light and versatile Swiss army knife for dealing with video content and it handles whatever I am trying to do: watch a stream, open a video with a strange encoding or even convert between file formats.

uBlock Origin

Nowadays the mainstream websites are almost unbearable, they are slow, heavy and full of ads (displayed in many formats with all kinds of tricks). Not to mention the huge effort they make to track you “everywhere you go”.

This “little” browser extension takes care of blocking and removing a big chunk of that annoying content, making the pages faster while helping us avoid being followed online.

Python

To finish the list, a programming language and its interpreter. Throughout the last decade I ended up using several programming languages, either on my job and for personal projects, but there is one of them that I always fallback to and is a joy to use.

Easy to read and to write, available almost everywhere, it might not be the a perfect fit for all tasks but allows you to do a lot and quickly.

By Gonçalo Valério

Software developer and owner of this blog. More in the "about" page.

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