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Friday, January 29, 2010

Top 10 OS X tools & utilities I couldn't live without

These are either free, cheap, or not super cheap but worth every penny. All of these have made my life easier. I often wonder how I got by before I discovered each one of these. This is not a paid advertisement! (free ones are noted with an asterisk *, though donating to the developers is a nice idea!)
  1. Quicksilver * - It's hard to define Quicksilver because it does so many things. Basically, you can configure it to perform tasks on your Mac with keystrokes. Launch apps (obviosuly), but also launch searches on commonly-used websites, do math, pause iTunes, add an event to your calendar, etc. It's magic. I couldn't live without it. Seriously.
  2. SubEthaEdit - This is the greatest text editor I've ever found - and I've tried alot. It's fast and simple, yet has all the functions you'd ever need. I have it open all the time to use as my scratch pad, do regex on data, or convert characters or line endings. I don't do much actual coding in it, for that I use Eclipse, You certainly could, as it has syntax highlighting for all big languages.
  3. WireTap Studio - This is my go-to app for almost all audio work. It's primary function is to rip audio from any source (mac audio, or from any app specifically), but it has a great audio editor built in. It's not as functional as Audacity's but it's so much easier to use. OK, it's no Logic Studio but sometimes you just need a fast, quick and dirty audio editor.
  4. Default Folder X - OS X's built-in file system navigation is decent, but leaves something to be desired. If you open/close/save lots of files each day like I do, this app is incredible. It integrates seamlessly into the OS.
  5. SuperDuper! - I'm a backup freak (learned the hard way), and this app makes it a cinch. There's no backup scenario that SuperDuper! can't handle. It's saved my ass several times and besides that, it makes transitioning to new hardware a breeze.
  6. iTerm * - Best terminal app I've ever used. Tabbed terminals, and so much more.
  7. X11 * - This little piece of genius is actually part of the OS X distribution (optional install, Xcode tools). The wonder of it is, it allows you to run graphical *NIX applications (like GnuCash) natively. OS X is itself a UNIX distribution, after all. Of course, you'll also need a slick package manager like MacPorts or Fink to install your apps (I've used them both and they are both pretty nice).
  8. VLC * - Plays pretty much any media file that's playable. Soooooo much better than Quicktime. Even comparing it to Quicktime is insulting to VLC, because it does so much more. There are so many neat, tweakable functions I continue to discover. And it's a joy.
  9. Disk Inventory X * - I am also a disk cleanup freak. When your hard drive is full, or approaching full, sometimes it's hard to see where huge chunks of data are located in the filesystem. This lays it all out for you visually so you can go in and delete, delete, delete.
  10. Reggy * - Super handy little regular expression tester.

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