jb… a weblog by Jonathan Buys


Inspired by Mark Pilgrim’s Essentials post, I thought I’d come up with my own list of essential software.

  1. Mac OS X. Closed source or open source, I lean towards the system that performs the best. Simplicity, security, and reliability have made me a Mac fan for years. I’ve tried to love Linux, I really have, but the love is just never returned.

  2. Safari: I don’t think Safari is really “The world’s best browser”, but I do think its the best browser on OSX.

  3. Adium: Adium beats out iChat in just about everything. I could care less about video chat, and I type just fine. If I want to talk to someone, I’ll call them. Also, since $WORK uses Lotus Notes and Sametime, Adium supports getting on the chat network from home when I’m on the VPN.

  4. Shimo: Speaking of the VPN, Shimo is amazing. A major leap forward from the ridiculous Cisco VPN client on the Mac. It’s awesome, and I can’t live without it.

  5. iTunes: iTunes is not the most lightweight media player on the market, but it’s certainly the best at what it does on the Mac. It’s a mix of music, movies, tv shows, and even applications for the iPhone or iPod touch. And, if you are smart and shop at Amazon MP3, you get cheaper music, better quality, and none of the DRM that you get from the ITMS.

  6. iCal + Google Calendar: I don’t really know why I haven’t moved my calendar over to gCal completely, I really do like the UI of iCal, so maybe that’s it. Or, maybe its the desktop integration. Whatever it is, I’ve moved past Mail.app in favor of Gmail, but I’m still using iCal for my calendars.

  7. iPhoto: There’s really no better alternative available to iPhoto on the Mac. It’s either that, or using the Finder to manage my photos, and since I’ve got several years invested in iPhoto, I really don’t feel like switching to anything else.

  8. Preview: Preview is far faster than Adobe Reader for viewing PDFs, but more than that, it works great as a simple image editor as well. You can edit icons, crop and resize screenshots for the web, and annotate PDFs. Preview is one of the apps that I miss when I’m away from my Mac.

  9. MarsEdit: I dispise typing in any online, web based text editor, so Mars Edit is a life saver. Always under active development, MarsEdit has great support for Wordpress, which is all I really need. Another must have.

  10. OmniGraffle: Every now and again I need to make a graph, or a chart, or a mind map, and when I do, OmniGraffle has me covered. It’s sometimes touted as Visio for the Mac, but I think OmniGraffle is in a class all its own.

  11. TextMate: Because I can’t get my .exrc file from vi working exactly the way I want it just yet. For writing, its either TextMate or vi, and really, it’s a bit of a toss-up. I use vi for just about everything at $WORK, and I may begin using it at home, but till then, TextMate is the next best thing.

  12. Yojimbo: I collect random bits of information from all kinds of places… pictures, web pages, passwords, serial numbers, bookmarks… everything gets dumped into Yojimbo.

  13. Time Machine: I loves me some backups, and its good to know that Apple has me covered with the Time Machine. All I have to do is remember to plug in my MyBook and I’m backed up. That, and the GUI to restore files is way more fun than TSM.

  14. Xcode: I’ve dabbled in development, and I’m planning on returning soon. If you want to develop on the Mac, you have to use Xcode.

  15. Spotlight: Spotlight is an amazing technology, far more advanced than other desktop search applications. Spotlight does not rely on periodic indexing of the hard drive. Instead, Spotlight indexes the system once, and from then on, every time a file is changed, the change is written to both the file, and to the Spotlight index. Keeping the spotlight index up to date, instantly, all the time. Introduced in Tiger, Spotlight has really matured in Leopard. Its so fast that I now use it for everything that I used to use Quicksilver for.

mac setup productivity