Sunday, January 20, 2008

Mac Applications That I Use

I've been meaning to write this entry on applications installed on my computer for a few months now, but never found time to do it. Hopefully none of those new Mac users that I told to check out my blog "in a few days", several months ago, got angry at me. If nothing else, my promise helped me to get more regular readers :).

Anyway, here is the list of apps installed on my Mac (all these apps work with Leopard, unless I noted otherwise):


A Mac without these apps would never be the same:
  • Quicksilver - an app that helps you find things on your computer and execute actions on these things. I use it to launch apps, pause iTunes, find contacts in the AddressBook, and many many many other things. Most of the cool functionality is added via plugins, so don't forget to checkout the plugin section of preferences. This app is a must have. Here are Some docs and a good video.
  • Adium - a really handy IM client that can handle all the popular IM protocols. Definitely a must have. (it's much better than iChat when it comes to IM-ing).
  • Growl - Growl is a notification system for Mac OS X: it allows applications that support Growl to send you notifications. Notifications include Adium or Skype messages, network up/down events, volume mount/unmount events, currently played iTunes song and many others. More info - One extension that I found to be incompatible with Leopard is GrowlMail for notifications, when I received many new messages at once this extension would cause the to crash.
  • MacPorts - This is a geeky one: The MacPorts Project is an open-source community initiative to design an easy-to-use system for compiling, installing, and upgrading either command-line, X11 or Aqua based open-source software on the Mac OS X operating system.
  • Firefox - no description needed :)

Nice to Have

  • iStat menus - a nifty app that displays stats about cpu load, cpu temperature, memory and network utilization, and a lot of other interesting data about your Mac. I use it as a replacement of MenuMeters which I couldn't get to run reliably on Leopard.
  • Perian - Perian is a free, open source QuickTime component that adds native support for many popular video formats.
  • Camino - yeah, as if the fact that I'm obsessed with tabs was not enough, I usually run 2 or 3 browsers at the same time to be able to take advantage of their unique features, or more often, while developing webapps, I need to be able to have more than one session open.
  • Chicken of the VNC - A handy VNC client
  • MacFUSE + sshfs - MacOS X implementation of FUSE, which makes it possible to painlessly mount all kinds of different filesystems e.g. sshfs.
  • MacFusion - GUI frontend for MacFUSE
  • VLC - alternative to QuickTime video player with build-in support for all kinds of video and audio codes, subtitle support and many other features
  • Vine Server (OSXvnc) - a good VNC server in case you need a bit more control than the Leopard's built-in server offers
  • Skype - I have a love-hate relationship with Skype. As soon as I find an alternative crossplatform communication tool with audio and video support and cheap calls to Slovakia, I'll switch. Maybe Gizmo will become that tool one day
  • NeoOffice - don't forget to install the latest Patch. I have big hopes for OpenOffice Aqua to be released soon. My initial experiments revealed some very good performance results.
  • iShowU - a cool app for creating screencasts. This is the only paid-for app on my list. But it's well worth it.
  • Caffeine - Caffeine is a tiny program that prevents your Mac from automatically going to sleep, dimming the screen or starting screen savers. Very useful during video calls, while reading PDFs or watching movies.
  • Twitterrific - a Twitter client
  • Azureus - Java BitTorrent client
  • SkeyCalc - An OTP (S/Key) calculator
  • Cisco VPN Client


  • NetBeans - there is a lot of controversy in the community when it comes to the Eclipse vs NetBeans question. I used Eclipse for a really long time, but ever since I tried NB6 Milestone 8 or so, I started liking NB more than Eclipse. I'll give Eclipse another shot in a few weeks, but for now NetBeans is my default IDE. And as far as Ruby/JRuby development is concerned, I don't think that this is going to change for a long time.
  • JRuby - a pure Java-based Ruby interpreter
  • GlassFish - JavaEE 5.0 compliant application server

Other Stuff

Other Lists

Rama and Martin composed similar lists some time ago, so you might want to check those out as well.


Simon said...

If you ever want to ditch azureus try transmission ( it is no where near as bloated as azureus and doesn't use as much resources :)

Igor Minar said...

Thanks Simon,

I'll give it a shot. Azureus has really gotten a bit out of control lately.


Danny Holland said...

Use a lot of the same. Few others I have been loving are Omni Focus (GTD) and Miro (free internet tv and video player) Like Miro a lot better then iTunes for video podcasts.