Scott's Weblog The weblog of an IT pro specializing in cloud computing, virtualization, and networking, all with an open source view

My (Evolving) Multi-Platform Toolbelt

A few days ago I posted a tweet about a new tool I’d (re-)discovered called jrnl. Someone replied to that tweet, asking me to list my “multi-platform toolbelt.” While it’s still evolving (every day!), I thought it might make for a good blog post. So, here’s a list of my still-evolving multi-platform toolbelt.

  • Sublime Text: Over the last few years, I’ve moved to creating the vast majority of my content in Markdown (MultiMarkdown, to be more specific). At first I was using OS X-specific text editors (first TextMate 1.x, then BBEdit), but last year I switched to Sublime Text. Sublime Text supports OS X, Linux, and Windows. I don’t have any Windows-based systems, so I only use it on OS X and Linux.

  • Wire: My use of Wire is still a bit limited, but only because the reach of the platform is also still a bit limited (this is a classical example of network effect). I’m currently using Wire on Linux and OS X, with plans to extend to iOS and Android. (If you’re using Wire, feel free to look me up! My username is “scottslowe”).

  • IMAP/SMTP: I’ve standardized on using IMAP/SMTP for all my e-mail accounts, which gives me quite a bit of flexibility in clients and OSes. It’s very likely I’ll standardize on Thunderbird (which supports OS X, Linux, and Windows), though I’m not quite there yet.

  • CalDAV/CardDAV: To help keep my contacts and calendars up to date on all my devices and platforms, I use CalDAV and CardDAV (on OS X, iOS, and Android—haven’t found a good Linux client yet). is my CalDAV/CardDAV provider (great service, by the way—highly recommended).

  • Unison: This cross-platform file synchronization tool helps keep my files in sync across my OS X and Linux systems.

  • Dropbox: Dropbox gives me access to non-confidential files from any of my devices or platforms (OS X, iOS, Android, and Linux).

  • VirtualBox: VirtualBox supports Linux, OS X, and Windows, providing one solution for hosted virtualization. It’s not nearly as feature-rich as VMware Fusion or VMware Workstation, but given how I use hosted virtualization (see this post) it’s the best fit for my workflows. (I still use VMware Fusion on my OS X workstation as well.)

  • jrnl: jrnl is a CLI tool is used for journaling, and has built-in support for encryption (a plus for me). The nice thing about jrnl which is itself multi-platform (runs on OS X and Linux) is that it also works with Day One, which is a hugely-popular journaling tool for OS X (and one that I use).

  • Enpass: This multi-platform password manager supports OS X, Linux, iOS, and Android (other platforms are supported, but those four are the only platforms I use). It’s not quite as feature-rich or polished as 1Password (which supports OS X, Windows, iOS, and Android), but it will do for now. (Hey Agile Bits, all you need is a Linux version of 1Password—hint, hint.)

  • TaskPaper-formatted text files for task management: I’ve adopted the TaskPaper format for using plain text files for task management. Check out this post for more details.

  • Firefox and Firefox Sync: For web browsing, I’m using Mozilla Firefox and Firefox Sync across Linux, OS X, iOS, and Android. I’ll occasionally use Google Chrome as needed.

Some tools that I’m still evaluating:

  • Hexchat (for IRC; works great on Linux and also supports OS X and Windows)
  • XMind (for mind mapping; works OK on Linux but haven’t tested it on OS X yet)

Well, that’s it for now. I’ll keep this post updated as my toolbelt evolves. In the meantime, if you have any suggestions for tools that I should evaluate, feel free to hit me up on Twitter (or Wire, for that matter).

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