What's a Toaster?

  • Definitely SnagIT!, Evernote, EmEditor, and Notepad ...   Definitely.

  • Notepad. If it's not in the "Send To" menu I am likely to cry.
    Outlook, Word, Excel.

  • I am probably the "odd duck" in the group, but I don't find any software is "just a toaster".
    For years, I just used notepad because it was pre-installed and I didn't need anything more fancy.  Then I discovered notepad++.

    If your software is "just a toaster", you will never know of all the better toasters out there.
    For example, if you have a 1 slice toaster and have had that for years, you would be used to having toasted tomato sandwiches with 1 slice being cold.  Then you hear about 2 slice toasters that all of your friends have.  So you pick one up and it is so much better than the 1 slice toaster.  Then you hear about 2 slice "wide" (for a bagel or texas toast) and you HAVE to have that because your texas toast keeps jamming your current toaster.
    Then there is the 8 slice toaster.  You grab it because, if 2 is 100% better than 1, an 8 slice should be 400% better than 2... until you discover it isn't.  You only cook 2 slices at a time 80% of the time and 4 (when you are very hungry) the other 20% of the time and you have never needed to cook 8 at a time.  BUT if you are running a restaurant, an 8 slice toaster might not even be big enough for you depending on how much breakfast you sell.

    Saying that all "zip" based tools are just toasters is like saying "my hammer can fix all problems".  That isn't to say that winzip isn't a good program or that it is bad that you bought it.  There is very rarely 1 tool that suits everyones needs.  If winzip fits your requirements, I see nothing wrong with buying it.  But if winzip is the 1 slice toaster and you bought it because it was all you had ever used and all you had ever needed, you may have made a mistake.
    The same applies to almost all other software as well - the OS, the offfice suite, the IDE's, etc.  The same applies to hardware as well, but not as much anymore.  For example, you may need a laptop for what you do, while I may prefer a desktop.  You may prefer to buy a pre-built system while I may prefer to build it myself.  You may prefer intel while I prefer AMD.  For the most part, hardware is about preference, but if you are doing sound processing (mixing and mastering) and trying to do that with onboard sound and a cheap CPU/GPU you are going to be grumpy.  You need to have the right tools for the job.
    The exception to that is when the company dictates what you can and cannot use.  where I work, we are a 90% Windows, 9% Linux, 1% MAC shop.  Working in the technical part of the company, I need to have some experience on every system I support (I don't support the MAC machines).  So I have a windows desktop and a few linux VMs.  This allows me to keep up on both systems well enough to support everyone I need to.

    TL;DR - use the right tool for the job.  Getting good quality tools for the job is important, but too many features can make the cost vs benefit not worth it.  There is rarely a case where it is "just a toaster".

    The above is all just my opinion on what you should do. 
    As with all advice you find on a random internet forum - you shouldn't blindly follow it.  Always test on a test server to see if there is negative side effects before making changes to live!
    I recommend you NEVER run "random code" you found online on any system you care about UNLESS you understand and can verify the code OR you don't care if the code trashes your system.

  • Ninite, for installing/updating software.  Never start a new computer without it.  Any time any of my software complains it's out of date, I run Ninite to update them all (well, the ones installed using Ninite, that is.)

    (all available through Ninite)
    Firefox.  Chrome.  Each one toasts web pages a little differently.
    7-zip.  Why pay for a compressor/decompressor?
    Search Everything.  Way faster and more powerful than Windows indexing.
    Greenshot for screen captures.
    Irfanview for image viewing.
    VLC for video playing.
    ImgBurn for burning CDs/DVDs/Blu-Ray discs.
    NotePad++ for text file editing.
    Revo Uninstaller for getting rid of software at EOL.
    Audacity for audio editing.

    CCleaner for keeping Windows cruft-free, from Piriform.
    Recuva for deleted file recovery, from Piriform.
    DiffMerge, from VoidTools.

    Any time I see new software offered at a price, I compare the list to what is above.  If it doesn't come head-and-shoulders above what's there, I don't give it an immediate pass.

  • UltraEdit or UltraStudio for file editing.

  • P Jones - Thursday, July 26, 2018 11:25 PM

    Eight years ago I said

    Word, Excel Visio, Outlook and lately Notepad++, which is brilliant and handles larger text files than MS products, although I had to think about that one the other day when I did an update and lost my ftp facility. Oh and WinDiff for comparing scripted databases, stored procs and tables.

    I'd still say mostly the same today apart from WinDiff which has been replaced in my toolkit by WinMerge and Visio to which I no longer have access (job change, removal of the database linkage tools and I'm too stingy to buy it when I can use the online draw.io or OneNote).
    OneNote has gone right up up to the top my list since it works synchronously on all my devices, I use it every day and I collect loads of items from the internet directly to it - I have different notebooks for different topics whether it is for learning German, recipes, SQL Server topics, WordPress, data for my web sites, general notes or shared with OH notes. Even my shopping list and the packing list for the camper is on OneNote as I can add something on my laptop or desktop and tick it off on my phone.

    I first was exposed to OneNote in 2012, and was hooked right away, but the thing that made it indispensable for me was it could find text in image files, come on that is sweet, real time OCR.
    I use it all the time and think I just might be the best application Microsoft ever came up with.

  • Perforce. Notepad, until I discovered Sublime Text. Windows OS, when I get to choose.

  • Gary Varga - Friday, October 24, 2014 7:45 AM

    Have I missed the point?Toasters are generic e.g. browsers, text editors, word processors, file comparison tools, code editors, source control systems, etc.Surely if we say need to use Chrome, Notepad++, Word, WinCompare, Visual Studio, TFS, Git, etc. then we are saying these are NOT toasters but our chosen tools!!!

    Great social experiment watching "What is a toaster" digress into "...my favorite have tool"

    The more you are prepared, the less you need it.

  • Good point.  Then, I'd guess that "toasters" would fall into categories (pick any one, as one's pretty much as good as another):
    - A web browser
    - A file compressor/decompressor
    - A text file editor
    - An image file viewer
    - A video file viewer
    I'd say that those are the most common "toasters".  Everyone may have a favorite, for one reason or another ("My toaster burns my favorite hockey team's logo into the sides of my bread!") but any software that can fit into that category will perform the most important tasks (toasting bread) as good as any another.

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