jb… a weblog by Jonathan Buys

The Recipe

From time to time I wonder if I could get by without any 3rd party software installed on my Mac. What would I have to do to adopt to not using the software I’ve become accustomed to? In no particular order, as of this moment I’ve got:

I also have a few apps for work:

Why would I want to do this? The idea of opening up any Mac and being able to get right to work without any setup is appealing, but honestly, how often do I move to a new Mac? Not very. And the apps that I do use are pretty easy to set up.

Some apps, like MindNode or OmniGraffle are almost impossible to replicate. And others, like Day One, offer so much more than built in apps that I wouldn’t want to move away from them. It’s possible that any third-party app might go out of business or be abandoned, but if I’m careful about what I choose I think I can be reasonably safe in trusting them.

Both the 3rd party apps and the built in apps are playing in a fairly level playing field. They use the same APIs (although the Apple apps get to use some private APIs), the same underpinnings, the same frameworks. The 3rd party apps are, for the most part, simply better done. Like Bear vs Notes for example. Bear is absolutely the better application. Beautiful, well thought out, and has useful features that Notes misses. And, Notes insists on using that ridiculous faux-paper background, and makes it difficult to change the font or font-size of the text. Bear is better, but Notes is built in. But Bear is just a quick trip to the App Store away, but sync costs $15 per year. But at least it’s a good business model that should keep them around. If not, Bear exports my notes easily, so I think it’s safe.

I think the unique mix of applications that are installed on each persons Mac or iOS device is interesting. It’s like a recipe for a good soup, some ingredients have more flavor than others. Some are fresh, some may have grown a bit stale. Some you can grow yourself. Everyone has their own recipe that works best for them, and by sharing we can learn from each other. Using only the built-in apps is like buying pre-made soup off the shelf from WalMart. You can live off it, but the good stuff is found elsewhere.

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