mac essentials, part one: apps

February 8, 2007

One of the things I love about the Mac community is the innovation that goes on among independent software developers. I’ve really refined my workflow on my MacBook since the first of the year, and I’m pretty happy with it.

In honor of several friends who have gotten their first Mac in the last few months, I’m sharing the software that I find the most valuable. In this post is a list of the apps that I am using hands on weekly, if not daily. I’ve tried to rank them in the order of how useful they are in my workflow:

  • Quicksilver – It’s hard to do Quicksilver justice in a few words, but it’s completely changed how I use the Mac. It’s a quick application launcher and so much more. My favorite feature is the ability to add an item to my to-do list with only two keystrokes.
  • Kinkless GTD / OmniOutliner Pro – Perhaps it’s an oxymoron to say that I’ve gradually adapted the getting things done system, but Kinkless has put me over the top. OmniOutliner Pro seems to be a pretty useful program, but right now I’m only using it to run the Kinkless GTD script, which is excellent.
  • Microsoft Office – Sorry iWork, but I’ve used Office for years on a PC and I’m happy to stick with it on a Mac — Word and Excel anyway. I really have no use for PowerPoint, and I prefer the simplicity of iCal and Mail over Entourage.
  • Firefox – Extensions give Firefox the edge over Safari for me.
  • SKEdit – I love SKEdit. It is a simple program that can be used for FTP, but mainly, it functions as a text editor for files that reside on a remote server. It’s quick and easy for editing WordPress templates or other files directly on the server.
  • Yojimbo – I did a lot of looking at different programs for storing information and Yojimbo fit my style the best. It’s got a great interface and, most important of all, tags. It’s become for me what OneNote was on a PC, although I can navigate through it much more quickly than I could OneNote.
  • Parallels – Who knows if Logos will ever release their Bible software for the Mac, but with Parallels, I’m not sure it matters. I use Parallels and XP Home to run Logos and Quicken (because all the reviews of Quicken for Mac are pretty dismal). And no…I’m not in a hurry to upgrade to Vista on this machine. XP has all I need for this purpose.
  • Delicious Library – It kind of seems wrong to include Delicious Library this far down after I raved about it a few weeks ago. It hasn’t fallen out of favor with me — it’s just doesn’t get the same day to day use for me as those that are listed above.
  • Yep – A simple, but useful program that lets you scan in papers and store them for future use. Most important of all…tags. I love tags.

These are, of course, only third party apps. I haven’t listed any of the standard software that is part of OSX or iLife that I use such as Mail, iCal, iTunes, etc. In the next few days, I’ll post some utilities that I find handy.

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