Productivity Hot Picks Free or cheap Productivity Hot Picks

O - Opensource, F - Free, CFV - Closed source or Commercial but Free version available.
Database Management Tools
EMS SQL Manager for SQL Server CFV

Comes in both Professional and Lite. The lite version is free. MSSQL 2005-2012. Standard management features for tables, functions, views. SQL Editor for running queries. Also sports a nice feature - ability to directly edit data from a query or table and toggle between datasheet and form editing view and sql autocompletion. The professional sports additional features such as a database diagrammer, import/export tools, report designer. Another nice feature is the extract data tool that can dump data and structure out as SQL statements which SQL 2005 MS Manager lacks. OS: Windows, Linux, but the Windows versions are much more advanced and the Freeware version is only available for windows.
Toad for MySQL CFV

Toad for MySQL by Quest Software is a very feature-full database management and development freeware tool for MySQL. OS: Windows
DBManager Professional CFV

Comes in 2 flavors - Freeware and Enterprise. Management tool that supports several databases: MySQL, PostgreSQL, Interbase/Firebird, SQLite, Xbase, Oracle. Databases: MSAccess, MSSQL Server, Sybase and Oracle are only supported in the Enterprise version. Sports usual stuff you would find in a DB Manager such as table design, view design, function design, user management. Also has some additional nice features like a Query Designer GUI and export feature that allows exporting to * Text Delimited or Formatted Files * HTML Pages * XML Files * Xbase Tables * MSExcel Worksheets * MSAccess databases. Allows importing from DAO sources such as MS Access and ODBC datasources. This feature surprisingly is available in both the free and enterprise versions OS supported: Windows
EMS PostgreSQL Manager CFV

Comes in both Professional and Lite. The lite version is free. Supports all versions of PostgreSQL. Standard management features for tables, functions, views. SQL Editor for running queries. Also sports a nice feature - ability to directly edit data from a query or table and toggle between datasheet and form editing view and sql autocompletion. The professional sports additional features such as a database diagrammer, import/export tools, report designer. OS: Windows, Linux, but the Windows versions are much more advanced and the Freeware version is only available for windows.
Toad for SQL Server

Toad for SQL Server by Quest Software is a very feature-full database management and development tool for MSSQL Server (2000 and 2005). It used to come in both freeware version as well as a commercial version, but they appeared to have discontinued their freeware version. The commercial version sports additional features like an sql tuning wizard that helps you rewrite your queries to be more efficient. OS: Windows
Toad for Oracle

This used to be free, but appears to no longer be
Microsoft SQL Server Database Publishing Wizard F

This free add-on tool allows you to export both structure, sqlserver objects (tables sps, functions etc), as well as data to T-SQL scripts for Microsoft SQL Server 2000/2005 databases. So it adds that missing ingredient that Generate Scripts functionality in SQL Management Studio is missing (ability to export data). It works for both SQL Server 2005 and SQL Server 2000 databases.

This package is part of the SQL Server Hosting Toolkit codeplex project. For those who are also interested in the project, you can checkout the project details at SQL Server Hosting ToolKit CodePlex

PgAdmin III O F

PgAdmin is a cross-platform PostgreSQL database administration application based on WxWidgets which comes pre-packaged with PostgreSQL. Sports a graphical explain plan and PgAgent - a service add on to PostgreSQL for scheduling tasks. OS: Windows, Mac, Solaris, Linux
Microsoft SQL Server 2000/2005 CFV

Comes in several flavors with varying degrees of functionality. The MSDE2000, SQL 2005 Express are free but have various limitations in terms of size of database allowed, number of processors allowed, lack of sql agent (for express version), analysis services and enterprise management administration tool. Other flavors are Standard and Enterprise. Enterprise has additional features such as clustering and indexable views (note MSSQL 2005 Standard does allow for indexable views). OS: Windows 2000 (Profession, server), Windows XP, Windows 2003, Windows Vista

Perhaps the most popular opensource database. Runs on Linux, Windows, and Mac and is fairly simple to manage.
SQLite O F

Free and opensource embeddable relational database. This is a file-based database. New versions of PHP have built in drivers for it, and there are ADO.NET and odbc drivers available. This is very suitable for websites when you need a database with basic relational features and is simple to deploy or for handheld devices or easy transport of relational data.
PostgreSQL O F

Free and most powerful open source object-relational client server database. Supports most of SQL 92 and a lot of SQL-99 standards and some SQL-2003 standards. It has the best Spatial Engine (PostGIS) of any open source database. Also sports a scheduling agent called PgAgent that allows for running batch files, and stored procs and functions. PgAgent is similar to SQL Server's SQL Agent. Runs on Linux, Windows, Mac, Unix

This is a site sponsored by us. We focus mostly on using PostgreSQL relational database, but also do comparisons between the various popular databses as well as ANSI-SQL tips that can be applied to most relational databases
OracleXE CFV

Oracle Express Edition. A free crippled version of the regular Oracle database, but has some nice features like Oracle Locator (that provides the oracle limited GIS OGC functionality but not advanced OGC functionality such as buffering, intersection etc.) all the base features of Oracle such packages, stored procs etc but of course no clustering or partitioning. Also comes packaged with an SQL Editor and browser. Only one processor will be used and 1GB ram and 4GB database, but you can install on a multi-processor server with more than 1GB ram. It’s a good bet if you want to get a basic feel for Oracle databases.
SharpMap O F

A free and opensource mapping tool kit for the .NET 2.0 Framework. It is written in C# and supports various GIS datasources such as PostGIS, MssqlSpatial, ESRI Shape, now SQLite, and other OGR datasources such as MapInfo. It works in ASP.NET as well as Windows desktop development.
Boston GIS

This is a site sponsored by us. We provide examples using opensource, opengis or freely available GIS tools and GIS SDKs.
OpenLayers O F

This is by far our favorite javascript API for GIS. It allows you to overlay various GIS webservices against MS Virtual Earth, Google etc. It makes a nice companion with UMN Mapserver.
UMN Mapserver O F

A web mapserver originally created by University of Minnesota, but then extended by many GIS specialists. It can be integrated with any webserver running Linux, FreeBSD or Windows and I think Mac too. It runs in two modes - as a CGI executable utilizing html templates or as a PHP, Perl , Java or .NET module that can be easily called from PHP, Perl scripts or JSP or ASP.NET. It supports numerous spatial databases and formats (ESRI shape, ESRI SDE, Oracle Spatial, PostGIS, MapInfo Tab, Tiger to name a few). It outputs several formats - PNG, Gif, Jpeg, Flash, PDF. Precompiled Windows binaries with support for PostGIS, Oracle Spatial, Shape, MapInfo tab are available. One of the really cool things about it is balance between standards, simplicity and features. It supports the core OGC standards WMS, WFS, WCS for both as client adn as server. Because It requires no installation and can be run against an Apache webserver, it is possible to run this baby on a flash drive which I think makes it a great solution for EMS type situations where you are disconnected from the internet or if you want to ship something short and sweet to somebody.
FWTools O F

FWTools GIS toolkit is composed of a number of tools. It contains UMN Mapserver as one of its packages. My favorite tool packaged in the suite is OGR2OGR which allows you to convert data from various data sources into GIS datasources. Check out our tips on OGR2OGR usage.
OS Support: Linux, Windows

An opensource spatial database management extension for PostgreSQL
Quantum GIS O F

This is an Open Source desktop mapping and spatial analysis package. It supports Linux, Windows, Unix, and Mac OSX. It is ideal for viewing WMS, WFS, ESRI Shape, Postgis, TIFF and numerous other formats and is very beginner friendly.
Networking, PC Troubleshooting, Sys Adm
Process Explorer F

This handy tool allows you to see all the files being accessed or trying to be accessed by a particular application. Very handy for troubleshooting application crashes.
AutoRuns by sysinternals F

This software allows you to quickly access commonly used windows registry locations such as where viruses commonly install malware, or programs get themselves in startup and allows you to quickly delete them or turn them off. Comes in windows GUI version Autoruns.exe and command line Autorunsc.exe. Very handy and no installation required. OS: Windows of most flavors
Junction by sysinternals F

If you ever wanted to create Linux/Unix style symlinks in Windows, then this tool is for you. This tool can create directory symbolic links in Windows 2000/Windows 2003. I assume it would work in XP as well.
Windows PowerShell F

Windows PowerShell is an improved shell environment released by Microsoft as a free download much closer in flavor to the Linux/Unix Bash environment than the Dos shell environment. It even has man, rm,rmdir, cat, mv and same variable and looping constructs as Unix bash. It adds a little bit more to the mix than that by allowing querying of XML files, WMI objects and Registry.

OS: Runs on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 2003
PsTools F

This is a handy MS Windows SysInternals toolkit that contains command-line tools for checking what is installed on a remote pc, remotely checking who is logged on to a pc, changing passwords on a remote pc, executing processes remotely, checking what services are running on a remote pc and suspend and shutdown and reboot of a remote pc. Only works on windows Oses.
Office Productivity Tools
FireFox browser O F

Lightweight (the windows download file is about 5 MB), very powerful, web standards compliant browser. Extendable with various plugins. Supports most popuplar Oses (Windows, Linux, Mac and more). Key features - Tabbed Browsing, Quick toggle search engine list, RSS readers (via plugins), Web Developer tools for debugging javascipt, highlighting form fields, tables, and more.
DebugMode WINK F CFV

Wink is a tutorial and presentation screen capture software similar to TechSmith's Camtasia product, but Free for private and business use for most purposes and can run on most Linux desktops as well as windows desktops. Output formats are Macromedia Flash, EXE, PDF, PostScript, HTML, BMP, JPG, PNG, TIFF, GIF. OS: All windows Platforms, Linux x86
PDFCreator O F

Free and Opensource tool for creating pdfs from any windows application. It installs a PDF Printer and printing to that virtual printer generates a PDF file. Has features such as ability to password protect, encrypt. Can also output files as TIFF, Jpeg and other formats in addition to PDF. Also has a COM API for integration with Windows desktop apps. OS: Windows
Portable Open Office O F

A portable version of the popular OpenOffice package that fits on your USB drive and can be run from your USB drive. Features a word processor (Writer), spreadsheet (Calc) - can open most excel spreadsheets, Impress (the OpenOffice equivalent of PowerPoint, can open powerpoint presentations)
7Zip O F

Free and Opensource compression software for Windows . Way better than Winzip in our opinion because it can open many more formats and much larger files too and is truly free. It is also better than the compressed folder feature built into windows XP, 2003 because it can handle compress larger files. OS: Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 2000/XP Compression formats: 7z, ZIP, CAB, RAR, ARJ, GZIP (gz), BZIP2 (bz), Z, TAR, CPIO, RPM and DEB formats
Portable GAIM O F

Portable Instant Messaging tool (IM) that can fit on your USB and talk with MSN, AOL, Yahoo, Jabber to name a few.
Portable VLC Media Player O F

Portable version of VLC Media Player so can run off your USB flash drive - can play various audio and video formats (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, XviD, WMV, mp3, ogg, ...) as well as DVDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols. It can also be used as a server to stream in unicast or multicast in IPv4 or IPv6 on a high-bandwidth network.
ActivePDF Primo PDF CFV

Allows exporting any file to PDF format from any windows application simply by printing to the virtual PDF printer it installs. OS: Windows
VisionApp Remote Desktop CFV

Allows for management of Windows remote desktop and terminal services connections. Allows you to store password credentials and configuration settings such as size of screen, what to share (disk, printer, sound,clipboard) and how to connect (by console or non-console mode). Its very handy if you have a lot of remote desktop server connections to connect to consistently. It also offers tabbed view and a cute overview snapshot of each computer. OS: Windows
Paint.NET O F

Free and Opensource photo-manipulation software for Windows 2000, XP, Vista, Server. Latest version requires .NET 2.0 runtime installed. Supports 32 and 64-bit systems. It supports layers, unlimited undo, special effects, and a wide variety of useful and powerful tools. A Washington State University project.Paint.Net has recently been ported to Mono.NET as well so can now run on Linux
Portable GIMP O F

A portable version of the GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) that can run off your USB flash drive. It is a program for photo retouching, image composition and authoring. Has many of the featues of Adobe Photoshop and can even read Adobe Photoshop files. OS: Portable version only works on Windows, but GIMP supports Linux, Unix, Windows, Mac OSX or any OS that there is a GTK+ runtime for.
Square Gear Fonts: Matthew Welch F

Free Barcode fonts among other custom fonts. I found this site when looking for free or cheap bar code fonts. The 3 Of 9 barcode fonts really work and are free for both commercial and private use. Its amazing that you can buy a bar code reader and they rarely provide prepackaged bar code fonts.
Programming Development Tools
FileZilla FTP Client and Server O F

2 separate apps - a robust FTP Client that supports both regular FTP and SFTP. A simple to install and administer FTP Server that will run on windows/linux.
Visual Wget O F

Visual Wget is a visual (non-commandline) version of Wget that runs on Windows 32-bit and Windows 64-bit OS. In addition to providing a windows like feel to Wget, it has a simple job management feature that allows you to save jobs for future run. Requires .NET 2.0 Framework.
ImageMagick O F

An embeddable toolkit for converting images from various formats changing colorspaces (RGB, CMYK) and doing basic image effects. Supports several OSES (Linux, Windows) and languages (C, PHP, C#, VB, Perl, etc.). Supports over 90 different image formats. OS: Windows, Linux, Mac
FlashDevelop O F

Free Open source IDE for Adobe FLEX/AIR and Active Script (2,3) Flash development. It is written in .NET and sports intellisense, nice code editor. It lacks the WYSIWIG features of Adobe's FlexBuilder. OS: Windows

PSPad is a free light-weight programming editor for MS Windows similar in style to NotePad++. Some nice features it has that NotePad++ lacks are an integrated FTP (pretty nice). A very nice text difference tool for comparing files. Very very basic intellisense for languages like PHP, HTML, CSS. TidyHTML functionality. Ability to do a google search on a highlighted text directly from editor. It however does not appear to be a plug-in based architecture like NotePad++ so probably harder to extend.

A database abstraction layer for PHP. Similar to PearDB.
Eclipse O F CFV

All-Purpose editor, most suited for Java Development, but plug-ins exist for PHP among other languages. Sports autocompletion, integrated debugger, error checker etc. Its built on top of Java so will run whereever a Java VM exists.
Notepad++ O F

A very lightweight replacement for Notepad. It is a notepad with configurable syntax highlighting and folding, and simple code-completion, function list, multi-tab editing, code zoom-in zoom-out extemely handy if you are going blind or you want to surf your code. OS: Windows
Visual Studio Express Suite CFV

Development tools for Microsoft.NET desktop and web developments. Its hard to believe Microsoft is giving these away. In many cases these versions are just as powerful as the full Visual Studio products, but are broken down into Visual Web developer Express, Visual Basic Express, Visual C# Express, SQL Server Management Studio Express. OS: Windows requires .NET + .Net SDK to be installed beforehand
PHP Designer 8 CFV

PHP editor for windows. Lists classes, functions, includes, color codes, has intelligent code completion and debugging functionality OS: Windows
Jedit O F

An all purpose program editor. It’s a pain to configure but sports a lot of features like directory hypersearch, code browser - segments all classes, functions, subs, diff comparison for comparing code file changes, superior code completion for Java, Perl parser/validator, PHP parser - validates PHP code as it is typed, folds. Runs on any OS that supports Java (e.g. - Windows, Mac, Linux). One of my favorite features is the Code2HTML plugin that allows you to color code your code for html output using the built in editor scheme and output to css style html. Very handy if you write a lot of programing tutorials. It supports lots of languages - over 90 and can support more easily.
Code Lobster CFV

Multi-Purpose code editor with intellisense (code-completion) support. Has a Freeware version for PHP. Types of coding has good support for are PHP, JavasScript, Jquery, PHP Smarty templates, CSS, HTML to name a few. Has FTP, PHP debugger. Plugins available for working with Drupal, Joomla, CakePHP, CodeIgniter, Symfony, Laravel, Wordpress, Smart, Twig, Jquery, NodeJS. OS: Windows
Wget O F

Wget is a mini web-crawler that is commonly found preinstalled on Linux/Unix machines, but may not be known by Windows folks. Well it does have a windows version. If ever you wanted a quick commandline that will call a web page, sequentially download files from an ftp, then look know further. Wget is it and nicely packed as a single self-contained command-line executable. I have provided the link to the Windows version since Linux folks probably already have the little tool installed on their servers/computers.
Eclipse PHP Plugin O F

PHP plugin for Eclipse. Has outline view, debugger, task list etc. for PHP. A must have if you are using Eclipse for PHP editing.
PHP Smarty O F

A must have Template Engine for PHP.
Programming Resource Sites
ASPNet - 4 Guysfrom rolla

An informative site for the ASP.Net developer. Chuck full of examples. ASP.NET examples, products

Development site chuck full of programming examples for C#, VB.NET ASP.NET,

PHP Classes

A repository of freely available PHP classes that you can incorporate into your own projects

SourceForge is the biggest repository of Opensource projects. There are always great gems to be found.

Many free and relatively cheap scripts and classes for web development. Sections include PHP, ASP.NET, ASP, Javascript to name a few.

This is a social bookmarking site that is focused on just programming and database related topics.

Mike Gunderloy's blog that showcases neat new products for windows. Most of the products are for windows programming development, but every once in a while he covers other products of general interest to the windows user or non-windows programmer.
Awstats O F

Awstats is a free and opensource Web Log analyzer and web statistics reporting tool. It is written in Perl and works equally well on Windows as well as other Perl platforms such as Linux/Unix
StatCounter CFV

This is a web statistics service similar to Google Analytics and deployed using javascript similar to the way Google Analytics works, but has some unique features that Google Analytics lacks. Check out the cool visitor map that allows you to track individual users. They offer both a free version and a non-free version. The free version has all the functionality of the non-free but has smaller logging space (so not suitable for big sites)