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).

3 comments:

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.

http://www.yellowmug.com/sk4it/

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