My Favourite Software

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mac software review

After what seems to have been a super-successful macheist, I thought that now was a good time to describe my all time favourite Mac software. So, here’s a list of the best bits: the ones that I probably couldn’t live without:

TextMate

This is probably obvious, but an extensible editor is one very useful way of turbo charging your computing life. Once you’ve learned how to use it, you’ll find that you can automate simple jobs away, leaving you free to focus on getting things right, and done.

I use project plus, and a shed load of bundles. GetBundles is probably the most notable, as it lets you easily stay up to date, and get new ones.

Terminal.app

Apple’s terminal is nice and powerful. I augment this power with Cairan Walsh’s magical plugins Blurminal, and Terminal colours. The first lets you add a nice Guassian blur to your terminal, making it easier to distinguish between your terminal’s text, and whatever you have behind it, and the second lets you use aesthetically pleasing colours. I prefer Tango colours, which you can find in gnome-terminal, and copy to Terminal.app.

In my terminal I have zsh. But then if you’ve been here before, you know that!

I heartily recommend from Bash to Z Shell, hence the following affiliate link:

Firefox

My browser of necessity is Firefox. I’ve seen several posts about Firefox being left behind by newer browsers, like Chrome and Safari. Whilst this is true with regards to many things, look and feel in particular. I’m hoping that Firefox 3.5 will improve the javascript side of things: 3.1b3 is already considerably faster that 3.0.7.

The killer firefox feature is, of course, extensions. The extensions I can’t live without are:

ExpanDrive

I realise that there are free alternatives, but ExpanDrive is awesome. It’s rock solid, and lets you treat SSH servers as disks.

LaunchBar 5

I was late enough to the Mac party that I missed the massive Quicksilver buzz. Now, I find it too unstable to use. LaunchBar on the other hand, is great. It’s like a supercharged spotlight, and once you’re used to search templates, you’ll be addicted forever. LaunchBar 5 is still in beta, but is now available to buy. The price is a bit steep, but worth every penny.

Little Snitch

It pays to be paranoid. Little Snitch lets you set custom blocking rules. The practical upshot is that whenever something wants to access the ‘net, you know about it.

Other Stuff and Conclusions

I snapped my menu bar so you can see other things I use. Menubar-annotated

I used Little Snapper, which was in MacHeist, and appears to be fiarly similar, it is actually pretty damn cool, but not as fluffy as skitch! It can upload to sites via SFTP, which I how I included this.

I got Coversutra in a previous heist, and I’m completely addicted to it, which is why I haven’t let LaunchBar take over.

Twitterrific is another must. It’s unobtrustive, and help make twitter what it should be – there’s no point in reading peoples tweet 9 hours after they happened! EventBox is an interesting alternative, but I still find Twitterrific more slick (for now).

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