Notes on Software that I Use

Below are some thoughts on software applications that I have found useful. I have no relationship with the vendors other than that of customer and user. I’ve skipped a few omnipresent programs that I use but have nothing in particular to say about, such as web browsers. Comments and suggestions welcome.

Operating system: MacOS (laptop and office desktop); Android (on my phone).

Bibliographic database: I switched to Zotero from EndNote in February 2016. I use Zotero Standalone as well as the Firefox add-on. As Zotero matured, its advantages (excellent data acquisition, superior keyword management, free and open source, excellent web server sync and sharing, better data import/export, etc.) overwhelmed the small number of features where EndNote could still be said to have an edge.

File synchronization: For a long time I tried to keep all my files based on just a single system, aside from backups. But it makes much more sense to keep mirrored copies of critical folder trees on each computer in use, as well as on a server drive. Careful synchronization then becomes a must. I use Syncovery. I also use the amazing Dropbox, but I don’t try to keep all my working files on it.

Password management: KeePass is free, open-source, thoughtfully done — in short, lovable.

Text editor: Sublime Text 3 won me over. I like the clean GUI, customizability, and the excellent selection of third-party plug-ins.

Statistics: Stata 14, and occasionally R.

Word processor: I was a WordPerfect dead-ender, cherishing the memories of versions 4.2 and 5.1, which got me through college. The realities of academic publishing and collaboration, along with the need to work with Chinese-language material, made me reluctantly switch to Word. As I learned more about it, I came to embrace its paragraph-based, object-oriented ways. For those not already familiar with Word’s finer points and the efficient but widely neglected styles feature, definitely see the late Shauna Kelly’s site, and also the MVP site.