jb…  New Mac Essentials - 2014 Edition


It appears I’ll be getting a new Mac soon, which means it’s time to take inventory of what I need. I’ve written about this a couple of times before, and it’s interesting to look back and see what apps stick, and which have gone by the wayside.

Obviously, I’m still using OS X, and I’m still using most of the built in apps like Safari, Mail, Calendar, Contacts, and so on. I still backup with Time Machine, although I’ve added a secondary, off-site back up with Backblaze.

Apps from 2008 I stopped using:

  • Adium - Work forced me to move to Lync, which is terrible, slow, and bloated, but at least it crashes every now and then.
  • Shimo - The built in VPN client in OS X is so good I don’t need Shimo anymore.
  • Google Calendar - I don’t use Google anything anymore.
  • MarsEdit - I’ve got a lot of respect and admiration for Daniel Jalkut over at Red Sweater, but I manage this blog with Jekyll, and do all of my writing in MacVim. I think at one point I just didn’t upgrade my license.
  • TextMate - I mentioned in the old post that I couldn’t get my configuration working for vi. Well, that’s no longer an issue, and my MacVim setup works just fine.
  • Yojimbo - I wish I could say that I still used Yojimbo, and that Bare Bones came out with an iPhone client that synced seamlessly using iCloud. But, that didn’t happen, and Evernote ate Yojimbo’s lunch. Even when I obsess about file storage and personal information organization, I eventually realize that Evernote is the best choice for what I want, which is to not think about what I’m storing where.

Apps from 2012 I stopped using:

  • NetNewsWire - I really, really wanted to believe that Black Pixel was going to do great things with NetNewsWire. I decided I didn’t want to wait anymore, and I’ve moved on.
  • DEVONthink - Call me when DEVONthink To Go 2.0 is out, and has sync that works.
  • Chrome - Used only when I absolutely, positively, have to use Flash.
  • Read Later - Beautiful app, but I moved on.
  • The Hit List - I finally drank the MacSparky Kool-Aid.

Now, what I am using.

Essential Utilities

  • Quicksilver - Still the best. I’ve tried switching over to Spotlight full time, but there are too many features from Quicksilver that I miss.
  • Dropbox - Until iCloud Drive makes sense.
  • Caffeine - So my Mac won’t fall asleep when I don’t want it to.
  • Moom - Keyboard window management, this is a fantastic tool.
  • TextExpander - For all your text expanding needs. I don’t use this nearly as much as I think I could, but I get enough out of it that I notice when it’s missing right away. Normally as soon as I go to name a file.

Library Applications

  • 1Password - I can’t imagine trying to keep over 400 strong, unique passwords without 1Password.
  • Evernote - Sometimes I go a little nuts on information management. Evernote sits and waits patiently for me to get my wits about me and come back.
  • Day One - I’m an infrequent journaler, but the more I use Day One, the more I value this app. Looking back at the past year of entries is a great way to put a smile on my face.
  • Oh, and, um, iTunes, I guess.

Tools for Creation

  • MacVim - Still the best tool for writing words and manipulating text.
  • Marked - Recently upgraded to v2, Marked continues to earn its spot in my Dock, right next to MacVim.
  • OmniGraffle - The best diagramming tool.
  • OmniFocus - For keeping all the big and little things I need to do, and helping me know when to actually do them.
  • Photoshop - I bought a copy of CS5 while in grad school, Photoshop is the only part that I’m probably going to keep using. Possibly Illustrator, depends on what the next year or so brings.

Spare Time

  • Hibari - Still my favorite Twitter app, although I’m not sure if I’ll be able to keep using it for long
  • ReadKit - ReadKit combined both Read Later and NetNewsWire, and although the reading experience is first rate, I miss the smooth keyboard navigation of NNW. However, ReadKit integrates with all the latest RSS services, and NetNewsWire does not. Like DEVONthink though, call me when you’ve got good sync to iOS.

In addition to the apps, I use a handful of command line tools from time to time, installed with Homebrew. I’m getting too old not to.

If my transition of apps that I use had a theme, it would be moving to systems where mobile is a priority. I’m no longer using Yojimbo or NetNewsWire, and to be honest, I’m a little disappointed in that fact.


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