Thursday night The Big Bang Theory returns to the airwaves for its fourth season. At Linux.com we're big fans of the show, especially Linux user Dr. Sheldon Cooper. To gear up for the return of The Big Bang Theory, Jack Wallen answers the question (in Sheldon's own voice), "what would Sheldon use?"
Knock knock knock.
Knock knock knock.
Knock knock knock.
Hello Linux.com readers. It is I, Dr. Sheldon Cooper. As you all know I am a theoretical physicist at Caltech University who has a penchant for Linux. It only makes perfect sense. After all, why would a physicist of my caliber stoop to the likes of a lesser operating system such as Windows unless I have to? So when the powers that be from Linux.com came to me and asked if I would be willing to shine some of my brilliant light upon what applications its readers should be using I practically jumped at the chance.
Now I know what you're thinking. You're concerned that I will highlight only applications whose tone and scope only serve the world of theoretical physics. To you reader, I say "nay." For the purposes of this article I am going to climb down that ladder of intellectual evolution and focus on five different applications that I might use on a more mundane basis.
You might be asking yourself "But how can Dr. Sheldon Cooper narrow such a vast field of tools down to just five?" That, my dearest reader, is very simple. I will first weed out every worthless application that Wil Wheaton would use on a regular basis and, out of those remaining, will choose the five that I use the most.
And now, without further ado, I present to you the five Linux applications you must use (If only because Dr. Sheldon Cooper uses them).
Now before I give you the reason I prefer Chromium over Firefox, Opera, or Konqueror, I must clarify the definition of speed. From the physicist's point of view, speed is the rate of change of distance with time. So to associate speed with a web browser is a bit of a fallacy. However, for the sake of the average comprehension, I am going to adopt a more wide-spread definition of speed where speed equals fast.
With that said, I can now tell you why I use Google's Chromium Browser. It's fast. Oh, but it's not just fast. It is fast like The Flash. And when a PC application can reach the levels of such an amazing comic book character, that application is on my machine. But Google's Chromium Browser isn't a one-trick pony. Oh no. I often take advantage of the Incognito Mode to avoid any of my colleagues and/or peers¬† from being able to track my research through my browsing history. A scientists' research is sacred after all, and Google's Chromium Browser does the best job of hiding that information from prying eyes.
And, like Firefox and Opera, Google's Chromium Browser is theme-able. I do enjoy a good whimsical theme on my browser. My theme might change based on my mood, the particular sci-fi series I am currently enjoying, or maybe even a sarcastic jab at one of my "crew" as today's youth might call Leonard, Raj, Wolowitz, and Penny.
But mostly - Google's Chromium Browser is the only browser with the "speed" to match The Flash!
Let's face it ladies and gentlemen, if you had my research schedule, or had to keep in constant contact with the amount of peers, colleagues, and associates as I, you would demand an application that could manage that feat with the same skills at which a Klingon warrior would wield a Bat'leth. Of all of the groupware suites I have employed over the years, none can match the reliability of Evolution. Oh sure, the Microsoft world lays claim to market share with their Outlook. But how often do you hear the wailing moans of Outlook users as they discover their .pst or .ost files have gone corrupt and rendered Outlook useless?
Evolution is one of the more flexible groupware suites available. There is no other Linux application that will, so easily, connect to a Microsoft Exchange server afer all. And for anyone who's place of employment tyrannically insist its users connect to their Exchange Server, Evolution is the only choice for Linux users.
And besides, its name is Evolution - the change in the inherited traits of a population of organisms through successive generations. By giving it such a name it implies that, over time, it has or will improve to match its surroundings or environment.¬†
Oh sure, I could write my Pulitzer-worthy papers using vi or even LaTeX. The problem with that is those who would be accepting those papers know not of such tools. Much of the world seems locked into Word documents, RTF, PDFs, and the like. And at the rate I am producing papers, I simply do not have time to waste on generating such formats using command line tools. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a good frolic with the command line as much as the next guru, but when time is of the essence, I do not have the luxury of processing text through various commands. I must produce publishable, submittable, prize-winning documents with the accuracy of Spiderman and the might of The Hulk. To do that, I use OpenOffice.org.
Of course I do remove the spell check and thesaurus as those are useless tools for an intellect such as mine.
Research requires consummate organizational skills. Mother nature, however, does have a rather ironic sense of humor in that the more brilliant the mind, the more challenging every-day organization can be. Although it may seem I am a highly organized, well-oiled machine, inside of my mind is chaos. Because of this, I need a tool to help keep my thoughts arranged in some semblance of order. For this I employ a dandy of a tool called Basket Note Pads. Don't let the Mother Goose-ian name fool you; BasKet is a tool that no brilliant mind (or less than brilliant for that matter) should be without.
BasKet allows the user to create highly organized notes, collect research (and even share said research), and even make intelligent to do lists. And if a good to do list was all my meemaw needed to keep herself organized...well...Oh, I must apologize. I shouldn't get overly maudlin over memories of meemaw.
I can't help myself here. As much as I want you to think it's all business and no play for old Dr. Sheldon Cooper, I can't leave out my favorite desktop addition Cairo-Dock.¬† No matter how hard I am working, this little whimsy of a dock keeps my desktop as efficient as a Mac, but as flexible as spring steel. I know, I know...you are probably thinking "What is Dr. Sheldon Cooper doing bothering with eye candy on his desktop?" I can't help it! Those little bouncing and spinning icons and pop-up, animated windows make me feel like I am using an operating system from the future. With The Doctor's TARDIS, I managed to bend time and space and acquire a copy of the Minority Report interface. Cairo-Dock helps me get one step closer to Future Sheldon, the time-altering super hero who's atoms know no bounds.
I should say the usefulness of the above applications are a priori. Although it is not beyond me to say "If it's good enough for Sheldon Cooper...", but I will refrain. Instead, I will say this "If it's good enough for Wil Wheaton to use, it's not good enough for Sheldon Cooper". And with that, my beloved Linux.com friends, I must bid you Qapla'.