Software to make your OSX usable in my opinion
July 26, 2011 3 Comments
This post is mostly for friends who have recently gotten Apple laptops and are trying to use them to code. I’m an OSX novice, but do have a particular style of work and I’ve found the few tools needed to turn OSX into a usable platform for my style. They may help you too.
Last Updated: Jan 10, 2012
- Google Chrome
- Better Touch Tool & Better Snap Tool (please pay for it! It’s the most useful non-free app on this list, and is about $3.00!) –
I use them to do :
- three finger tap is a middle click (great for pasting in terminal, and closing tabs in chrome, etc.)
- command 2 (maximize window), command 1 (left half window), command 3 (right half window) … etc the pattern
- three finger swipe left/right in chrome is forward/back tab
- three finger swipe up in chrome is close tab (nice!)
- dragging windows to screen edges does the right maximize/size effect
- option arrows moves around spaces (though now four finger gesture with Lion is pretty sweet)
- middle click (three fingers) on ‘fit’ button actually does maximize
- and so many more.
- Better Snap Tool: also: function-control – move window under cursor. function-option – resize window under cursor. This alone is worth your $3.00.
- Seriously, better touch tool MAKES OSX WORK, and you should donate by purchasing better snap tool, as the developer requested.
- Caffeine – stop computer from dimming after 15 minutes/etc while watching movies
- Lime Chat – Irc
- iTerm2 (was:
TotalTerminal (used to be Visor) -)I bind the slide-down visor terminal to F12, so whenever I hit f12 a nice terminal (with opacity) slides down and I do my thing. Used constantly, along with emacs.
- iterm2 – Thanks to feedback in the comments, I’ve tried out iterm2 and like it a LOT. It’s likely to replace TotalTerminal for me. They are both Very similar (and both have a top-screen mode that can be shown using a single key. But you have to turn this on in iterm2).
- LibraOffice – I don’t really use MS office, doing most of my work in google docs/sheets/etc or wikis, but for me LibraOffice is sufficient for those rare cases
- Adium – Chat
- Skype – sometimes you gotta’
- Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection – works fine
- Chicken of the VNC – works fine for now, though I am a rare VNC user (I prefer NX when I can)
- Emacs – I prefer the windowed version rather than the default command line version of emacs right now. I’m still working on making them play nice together, but I use this for most of my development.
- homebrew – I try to keep my dev machine pretty sparse, but my job requires mysql, rabbitmq, memcached, and some other things. All well ‘scripted’ by the folks on homebrew. Things I have installed through brew: git, aspell, memcached, markdown, mysql, nmap, wget, tree, readline, rabbitmq…
- dropbox- works nicely
- noobproof as a firewall GUI to make sure some ports I use for $WORK are not available to the outside world (along with the OSX firewall being enabled)
- MouseLocator is pretty cool, I use it right now, though I’m not sure how long I’ll use it.
- AppCleaner – it’s what I use to delete apps, since it’s pretty good at throwing away preferences as well
- AppFresh – Keep those apps up to date.
- I cannot recommend gfxCardStatus because it kept causing problems for flash on Chrome, sorry! It would have been useful. I’ll keep trying it.
- Monolingual – Only if you’ve got space problems (you bought the 120GB SSD?) you can strip some languages from some OSX apps. I wouldn’t try this on Microsoft apps, and be sure to google before use to find any problems. If you’ve got the HD space, don’t bother.
- Notational Velocity / nvAlt – pretty good for some types of notes. I like it. [Note: I’m not really using this anymore, though I still think it’s a good application]
- I also use iCal and, gasp, Mail.app! Both of these of course are backed by google mail and calendar. iCal works fine, no issues. Mail.app is about where gmail was a few years ago, but I find it much more convenient to have a local mail app rather than go into browser. Just a personal preference, gmail still kicks ass. I use IMAP with my many gmail accounts. Let me know if you have any questions about the setup.
- I also use meteorologist for my weather lookup needs, and I’ve got growl installed for notifications.
Use use spotlight as my launcher – which means: I set my dock to only show running programs (and chrome, which I do occasionally close to free mem). I just use command-space – program name to launch things, I don’t use the ios launcher feature nor do I go to Applications directory Although I thought I would immediately get it – I did not bother with quicksilver / Jeeves yet. That may change.
- I now primarily use QuickSilver, and while I find it annoying for a few things, it’s better than spotlight for the rest. I mostly use it as an app launcher along with clipboard history, nothing too fancy.
- perlbrew of course to get a current perl. Don’t mess with the downlevel Apple perl
- I sometimes use JackSMS for fun when I leave my laptop at coffee shops, but I haven’t relied on it yet. I was hoping to build a solution with Proximity to have my phone auto-control Jack.
- ack for code search
- Herald for Mail.app notifications of new mail. [Note: I’m note using this anymore, since I check mail relatively regularly by revealing the dock which I normally have hidden]
- OmniGraffle for diagraming (not free)
- DashExpander – text expander, though I don’t use it often