Editor's Choice

Looking for software recommendations, apps, and generally useful stuff? These editors' selections highlight various technologies that merit our Editor's Choice seal of approval. We think you'll find this listing to be a valuable resource for discovering and vetting software, products, and apps. We've run these things through the paces and chosen only the best to highlight so you can get right to the good stuff.

Do you know a product, project, or vendor that could earn our Editor's Choice distinction? Please let us know at ljeditor@linuxjournal.com

Most of the work I do on computers is done via the command line. When I'm off on vacation somewhere, that means shoddy Wi-Fi and cell-phone tethering. Because cell-phone tethering gets expensive quick (I also have three teenage daughters with which I share a data plan), I try to use free Internet whenever I can. The biggest hassle with that method is dealing with broken SSH sessions.

I was chatting with Fred Richards on IRC the other day (flrichar on freenode) about sneaking around hotel firewalls. Occasionally, hotels will block things like the SSH port, hoping people don't abuse their network. Although I can respect their rationale, blocking an SSH port for a Linux user is like taking a mouse away from a Windows user!

Although the technology itself has been around for a while, RSS is still the way most people consume Web content. When Google Reader was ended a few years back, there was a scramble to find the perfect alternative. You may remember my series of articles on Tiny Tiny RSS, Comma Feed and a handful of other Google Reader wannabes.

I personally like Google's Chrome interface. It's simple, fast, elegant and did I mention fast? Unfortunately, I don't like how locked down the Chrome OS is on a Chromebook, nor do I like its total dependence on Google. I also don't like the lack of ability to install Chrome easily on generic hardware. Thankfully, Budgie is here to help.

I love Bitcoin. It's not a secret; I've written about Bitcoin mining and cryptocurrency in the past. I'm the first to admit, however, that we're at the very beginning of the cryptocurrency age.

If SSH is the Swiss Army knife of the system administration world, Nmap is a box of dynamite. It's really easy to misuse dynamite and blow your foot off, but it's also a very powerful tool that can do jobs that are impossible without it.

RAID is awesome, and LVM is incredibly powerful, but they add a layer of complexity to the underlying hard drives. Yes, that complexity comes with many benefits, but if you just want to spread your files across multiple storage locations, there's a much easier way.

For years I avoided installing keyboard shortcut tools on my computers. I thought dog-gonnit, if something needed to be typed out, I'd type every letter myself. Recently I capitulated, however, and I must say, going back seems unlikely. If you've never tried a text-replacement app, I highly recommend doing so.

I don't listen to music very often, but when I do, my tastes tend to be across the board. That's one of the reasons I really like Pandora, because the music selection is incredible (in fact, I can't recommend the Pithos client for Pandora enough—I've written about it in past issues). Unfortunately, with Pandora, you don't get to pick specific songs.

Controlling a remote computer is something you're all familiar with. Whether that means RDP to your corporate Windows Server (we don't judge), Apple Remote Desktop (which is really VNC) to your OS X machine or VNC/X11/etc. into your GUI Linux machine, it's always a pain in the rear.

I use my phone more often to log in to on-line accounts than I use a computer. I can assure you it's not because typing passwords on a tiny keyboard is fun. For most of us, we just have instant access to our phones at any given time during the day.

For avid readers who can't find the time to visit their local library or struggle to carry giant tomes of awesomeness around with them, eBooks have become a convenient way to consume books. Whether it's on a Kindle, a Nook or in an app on your phone, eBooks are the ultimate in portability. Sometimes, however, it can be difficult to find the book you want in a format you can read.