Twiddling Thumbs and Programs

October 10, 2003

I got one of those little USB Thumb Drives to use when I visit my clients. Basicially to hold the little utilities I like to use for my tech calls. My clients are 100% Windows users: 50% XP, 50% Windows 98. So I wanted to make sure I had products available that worked on both systems. Most of these, if not all are freeware/open source products available at

  • Mozilla Firebird
  • WSFTP Lite
  • AbiWord
  • IfranView
  • AVG Antivirus
  • Netgear EA101 ethernet driver (my backup USB ethernet I carry in my pack)
  • AdAware
  • PowerArchiver
  • VNC
  • Google Toolbar (to help stop popups under client’s IE machines)

My goal for the final few months of the year, is to migrate my clients to Mozilla…and possible off of Norton Antivirus. I get more calls to clean up spyware and virus’ than I can count and Norton does a poor, and bloated, job of keeping a system clean. AVG’s free Antivirus along with AdAware should keep most systems clean, without a noticeable decline in system performance. It’s part of the reason I always recommended the free InoculateIT before CAI killed it.

I keep my old NetGear EA101 in my toolkit, mainly as a backup to a bad ethernet card or to test for one. I haven’t had to use it much, and honestly wish it had an OS X drive too. The other programs are just to use if needed.

I don’t know if I’m a huge supporter of the open source movement. I guess I could care less about the source, and just want cheap and quality. Microsoft products don’t supply either. Open Source provides the cheap, but sometimes the quality just sucks. Time = Money, and dealing with a stupid problem in an Open Source program might wind up costing you more. I think I weeded out the bad programs in my little list above, but it took me forever to do so. I’d hate to think of all the manhours spent in dealing with just the bad ones.