Howardism Musings from my Awakening Dementia
My collected thoughts flamed by hubris
Home PageSend Comment

Cool Software for Mac OS X

When I first got my Mac, I made a list of the software that I was using … of course, that list is old as some of the software just didn't make the grade over time. So maybe it is time for me to revise my list.

  • Notational Velocity is my favorite note taking software. With my collection of scripts, I'm made this app the kingpin of my external cranial memory.

  • Launcher is how, just by typing a few keystrokes, I launch an app without a mouse. I thought that Apple's Spotlight would make this app irrelevant, but I use both since they each have their purpose††Not convinced? See this guy's commentary .

  • Growl … This program allows other programs that run in the background as services to register and send messages to Growl. Growl then temporarily displays the message in a small, unobtrusive but noticeable translucent box.

    You'd be surprised at how nice this is. The song track information from iTunes, new mail messages, updates to web sites, and alerts of new messages from my instant messaging programs can get displayed through it. My backgrounded backup scripts also use it. Its pretty slick, but I'm sure that Apple will build a replacement for it.

  • Adium … a pretty, multi-protocol instant messenging agent. Since I log into multiple IM services, the last thing I want is half-dozen apps for each one.

    Skype for the Mac now does video conferencing, and does it pretty well††Skype is better at video conferencing than doing iChat to PC users running AIM .

  • 1Password is a program for remembering all of your thousands of passwords on every web site. Then when you browse to your Facebook account or whatever, you click a single button in your browser to log in. The nice part about it is you can easily sync these passwords between your computer and laptop. I also find it helpful in filling out forms and credit card information.

  • XMarks is an extension to Firefox, Safari and other browsers for syncing your bookmarks. While this is handy for browser whores like myself, it is nice to have the same bookmarks on your different computers.

  • Caffeine is a tiny program that allows to prevent your Mac from going into screensaver mode and falling asleep. This is useful when you are watching a movie on your mac, or in a web conference.

  • Glimmer Blocker is an adblocker, but instead of running in your web browser, this runs at the operating system level and blocks anything that attempts to access ad sites.

  • Little Snitch is a program that blocks all network access to any program unless you allow it. It is obnoxious at first, as you configure each program you trust, but after that, you can rest easier.

  • Acquisition … a P2P file sharing program. While I don't use it very often, I've settled on this Gnutella program for getting my Phish boots.

For the Geeks

My list above is especially created for my sister. However, more and more nix-heads are switching over to the Mac, so here is a little brief blurb about tips and software for them.

  • Mac Ports is the first thing you should install. Your mac already has python, java, perl and ruby built in, however, some of the choices/versions of command-line tools may not be to your liking. With this software you can install the GNU version of ls and other utiltiies by entering: $ sudo port install binutils

  • Aquamacs is a very nice implementation of Emacs for the Mac.

  • Gity is a GUI interface to Git. Yeah, I usually use the command line, but at times, this is a great way to get an overview of lots of branch changes.

  • Fugu … a file transfer program that allows you to transfer using secure FTP and SCP. Granted, I mostly just type "scp" in my Terminal program.

  • Cyberduck is a good standard FTP program.

If I missed your favorite, let me know.

Tell others about this article:
Click here to submit this page to Stumble It