Tuesday, 10 July 2007

My favourite OS X software

It seems more and more fellow geeks are switching to Macs all the time so I thought I'd revamp my old post on recommended OS X software.

Incidentally while writing this post I ended up stumbling on my switching thoughts from 2003, so I guess I've been a very happy Mac user for over 4 years now (which also explains why that first generation 1Ghz G4 that I'm still using while on the road is so sloooowww - I can't wait for my new MacBook Pro to arrive...).

The one big change from my previous recommendations is that I don't use so many rich applications; as I can use the online versions on the move, on my desktop, laptop or phone. So I use Gmail for almost all mail - unfortunately I'm stuck with Mac.Mail for corporate email :(. I use Google Reader instead of NetNewsWire for reading blogs etc.

Since switching to gmail for email; I no longer feel the huge need for a virtual desktop anymore; I've gotten out of the habit. Expose is enough for me, especially on a 30" screen.

So here's my current list of recommended OS X software, excluding Java IDE (which I'm using IDEA but eclipse is good too on the Mac).
  • QuickSilver. I love it; though only really use it for starting up applications & tend to use it instead of the Dock
  • text editor: TextMate
  • for terminal stuff iTerm rocks. I love tabbed shells (though maybe Leopard might have this too in Terminal)
  • for creating diagrams OmniGraffle is awesome. It can even open DOT files. Also if you have some open source which creates visualisations in DOT files, then the OS X version of GraphViz rocks - as it monitors the DOT file in real time and re-renders the graph in a surprisingly flicker-free way. I've used this with some customers to watch ActiveMQ clients startup visually as they deploy their applications.
  • irc: X-ChatAqua
  • xmpp: iChat
  • MenuMeters for neat monitors of CPU, disk, network etc on the menu bar (I'm quite fond of the graph view for CPU usage)
  • VoodooPad is a WYSIWYG editor for wiki-ish things which I'm hooked on. I just wish it auto-sync'd with GDrive :)
  • ByteController for a nice little iTunes controller on the menu bar; so you don't have to switch windows when the phone goes or you wanna forward to the next track etc
  • RadioLover for recording internet radio & installing it into your iTunes library; though if you're not careful you'll end up with a monster library :)
  • Clutter is cool to play with your new monster iTunes library :)
  • Growl for notifications of things (like IRC posts etc)
  • Google Notifier for easy access to your calendar etc
  • I tend to use gCal for calendering but sync it with iCal
Thats all I can think of right now. Other advice for new switchers; give it a couple of weeks to get used to being on the light side; things are a bit different but after 2 weeks you'll hopefully feel at home.

To other OS X users out there, whats your favourite software?

Update: here's Charles Millers list - thanks! I particularly like the look of Chax (certainly until Leopard with tabbed iChat).


Charles Miller said...

My list.

Paul said...

I've always like Sizzling Keys for iTunes keyboard control. Like Quicksilver, I'm totally naked without it.


Jason said...

I got a MBP about 6 weeks ago, and I'm loving it.

I like:

- Adium for IM

- VMWare Fusion rocks

- If you have problems with your MBP running too hot, check out smcFanControl. Turning up the default fan speed makes it run much cooler.

- iGTD if you like the Getting Things Done way of managing tasks

- Blue Phone Elite is cool, and if I called or got more calls I would have bought it

- iStumbler is cool if you find yourself needing to locate a Wifi hotspot