Teaching basic lab skills
for research computing

Setting Up a New Windows Machine

Setting up a new machine is never fun, but it's always interesting to compare what different people have in their toolkits. Here's what I have installed so far on the desktop machine I'll be using to do Software Carpentry course develpoment:

  • Windows XP (yes, I still use XP)
  • Cygwin (a collection of Unix emulation tools for Windows)
  • Adobe PDF Reader
  • Audacity (for sound editing)
  • MikTeX (an all-in-one LaTeX for Windows)
  • GIMP (the open source clone of Photoshop)
  • Google Talk (for chatting with my co-conspirators)
  • Inkscape (an open source vector drawing tool)
  • iTunes (this course brought to you by Beethoven, John Coltrane, and a variety of 80s bands)
  • MATLAB (I'm using R2008b)
  • MWSnap (for doing screen captures)
  • Microsoft Office 2007 (because most scientists who use anything, use Excel)
  • OpenOffice (but I'll mostly use MS Office)
  • Python 2.6 (because some of the packages I want don't exist for Python 3 yet)
  • R 2.11 (because after Python and MATLAB, R and Perl are our next target languages)
  • SciPy (which gives me almost everything I want that isn't in the standard Python install)
  • Skype (for talking to collaborators)
  • VLC (for viewing video files)
  • yED (for creating and editing simple bubble-and-arrow diagrams)

What's missing (so far) are the science-specific tools that I'll be adding as needed for particular topics—I'll blog about those as I install them. What's interesting is how many of these tools are free (as in beer) and open (as in modifiable): I'll be blogging soon about the distinction, and why I think both are important to science, as well.

CYGWIN=binmode ntsec tty

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