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James Serra's Blog

James is currently a Senior Business Intelligence Architect/Developer and has over 20 years of IT experience. James started his career as a software developer, then became a DBA 12 years ago, and for the last five years he has been working extensively with Business Intelligence using the SQL Server BI stack (SSAS, SSRS, and SSIS). James has been at times a permanent employee, consultant, contractor, and owner of his own business. All these experiences along with continuous learning has helped James to develop many successful data warehouse and BI projects. James has earned the MCITP Business Developer 2008, MCITP Database Administrator 2008, and MCITP Database Developer 2008, and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering. His blog is at .

Three must-have tools you should use everyday

There are three tools I use every day without exception.  They all save me valuable time in surfing the net:

Delicious – This is a free bookmarking tool that works so much better than the built-in bookmarking in IE.  You can install a Delicious toolbar that allows you to bookmark a page like IE does, but it goes one step further in allowing you to tag each page.  Plus your bookmarks are saved on their website, so you can view the bookmarks on any computer.  No longer do I have to try to remember on which computer I saved a certain bookmark.  Plus it’s real easy to search your bookmarks by tag or by a word in the title.  Finally, you can create multiple favorite toolbars – I create one for each of my environment (i.e. work, home).  Main competitors are diigo.com and pinboard.in and others.  Despite postings on the net, Delicious is not going away – it was recently sold by Yahoo to the YouTube founders.

RoboForm – A password manager and form filler.  I have accounts on hundreds of websites, many which use different usernames and passwords.  With this tool, when you login to a site it will save all the login information, allowing you to login to the site in the future with just a mouse click.  And your logins will be kept in sync between multiple computers.  Also, it saves a TON of time but allowing you to store your personal information that you can use to automatically fill out any form with the click of a button.  So any form asking for your name, address, email, credit card info, etc, is all filled out automatically with a mouse click.  Another time-saver is to use it to quickly fill out a form that you are testing over and over.  They offer a 30-day trial and the cost is $9.95/year for unlimited computers.  Competitors are Kaspersky Password Manager and these.

Google Reader – A free web-based aggregator, capable of reading Atom and RSS feeds online or offline.  Instead of jumping from site to site trying to determine if your favorite bloggers have posted anything new, just login to this site and it will track which bloggers have new posts that you have not read yet.  Then you can easily read all the posts in one spot.  Here are the competitors.

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