Swiss Army” software

Most geeks are enthralled by Swiss Army knives. “Look at all these features!” they say, “It even has a spoon!” … But the Swiss Army knife is, by definition, a compromise. When compared to actual silverware, a Swiss Army spoon falls far short of the mark. Fanboys and apologists accept this “Swiss Army” compromise because of the convenience offered. They no longer have to carry the right tool for every job, because they have one tool that’s good enough for most jobs. In the limited capacity of pants pockets, convenience wins over suitability almost every time.

Application developers, being geeks, often fall into the same trap. They develop a “Swiss Army” application that does a lot of things poorly, but does nothing nearly as well as a single well-targeted app would. But a modern computer isn’t limited like my pockets. I can comfortably fit as many tools as I want or need. My favorite apps to use are almost always the little ones that do one thing exactly right.

I’m introducing a new category on Technophobe for all the apps that are exactly the Right Tool for the job. It will soon be full of these amazing single-serving apps and widgets that do one thing and do it well. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.