These are a few of my favorite Mac programs:
- Ecto — This is the program I use for blogging when on my own computer. For a long while, pretty much since it’s been available, I’ve been using the version 3 betas and while I’ve definitely had a few hiccups here and there (primarily with posts that contain photos), I love the new interface. I also appreciate the Amazon helper that lets me easily insert Amazon.com associate links in my posts and gives me some nice choices as to how those links show display (Image, Image & Text, Text only as well as the ability to form the html link code around text that I’ve selected from my entry instead of inserting the text from Amazon). Additionally, it has great keyboard command support with nearly every command having a keyboard shortcut. Highly recommend it if you want an offline blogging solution.
- Scrivener — My favorite environment for writing, combining the power of a research & notes organizer with one of the most elegant full-screen modes you’ll find on any Mac app, Scrivener allows you to collect materials, break up your work into sections which you can then re-arrange as you like, and create a space that allows you to focus on the storytelling without any distractions. However, Scrivener is not a Word Processing program and while it can handle some basic footnotes, and other WP stuff, you do have to export stories out as before doing serious WP processes. A recent update provided some basic scriptwriting support, but I wouldn’t recommend using it for long scripts of any kind. Primarily this is a tool that is designed for fiction and footnote-light essays. If that’s the kind of writing you do, check this one out.
- Quicksilver — I am, like every other fan of QS, just a tad besotted with this program and can’t imagine OS X without it. For those who don’t know, at the most basic level it is a quick and powerful app launcher. But so much more. With only a few keystrokes I can control iTunes, copy files that are nested several folders deep inside my documents folder, enter appointments into iCal, add to a text file, add a note to Yojimbo and so much more.
- Geektool — Call me lazy or forgetful, but I really like having my upcoming events and todo lists on my desktop so that I don’t have to be responsible for looking at my calendar every day. Geek tool is a Pref Pane that lets you put text or images right on your desktop. This means that I always have my iCal events for 7 days and my iCal todo lists in my face whenever I look at my desktop. Plus, I have it set up to show what is playing on iTunes and Pandoraboy, so no matter what Space I’m in, no matter how many windows are open, I can see what is currently playing. Not so much needed for listening to my own music, but great when listening to Radio Paradise or Soma FM or my Pandora stations.
- Dock Library — Maybe it’s a holdover from my Windows days, or maybe I’m just one of those annoying people who have to go out of their way to prove that they are different. Or maybe I have not given myself over completely to the Steve Jobs aesthetic, but I do like to tweak my desktop environment more than a lot of Mac users. Back in the Tiger days (ahh those nostalgic Tiger days they seem so long ago), I was using Shapeshifter to adjust my menu bar and the general look of my computer. I find that the new aesthetic of Leopard is much more pleasant and that I don’t really miss Shapeshifter (which is good because it doesn’t work under Leopard). However, with the new dock shelf I have a new item that just begs for some customization. Switching out the .png files that make up the dock is pretty simple when you know where they are and get some replacements from sites like LeopardDocks.com or LeopardDocks.net. Simple, but kind of a pain and Dock Library makes it so much easier. All you have to do is install the app and then import new themes that you can download or make, and the program will automatically copy those images to the proper folder (you do need to enter in an admin password) and automatically restart the dock and voila! a new dock look. I find that I like the darker looks better as they blend in more with most of my desktops.
- SafariStand — I like Safari. I tend to use it as my primary web browser. However, I wouldn’t be able to do so without the help of SafariStand. While Stand offers a number of additional abilities to Safari, it is the fact that I can use Stand to force Safari to open all links in new tabs instead of new windows that allows me to use Safari without going bonkers from the profusion of windows that would occur otherwise. The other thing I use it for is forcing the downloads window to close automatically after a download is finished. If I couldn’t do either of those I would be using another browser as my primary browser and, as a switcher, I enjoy the fact that I can enjoy using the default apps that come with a Mac. Even if they do need a few tweaks here and there.
That’s my list and I’m sticking to it! (Although I’ll probably add a few more apps in another post.)