Blog Post

Prominent Blogger Switches to Mac, Asks for Advice on Software

I’ve been following Random Acts of Reality for quite a while now. This morning Reynolds had his to say:

“I’ve recently moved my ‘business’ computing work to an Intel Macbook. And very nice it is too. However I’m wondering if I’m missing some essential ‘must-have’ bit of software or widget. At the moment I’m using Colloquy for IRC chat, Adium and Skype for MSN and similar (I have iChat, but have no contacts). Obviously I’m using Firefox. For writing I’m using Writeroom and SubEthaEdit (although at some point I’ll get Pages as NeoOffice seems a bit flaky for me). For blogging I have Ecto and for FTP I use Cyberduck. Most importantly I’ve found a game of Solitaire and have managed to get World of Warcraft working (although Second Life is terribly slow).

So my question is this – what should I be installing on this computer? What is the essential, or just plain enjoyable, software should I be getting.

Any advice?”

First, congratulations on making an excellent chioce. Second, are you kidding me? Thats like announcing you are pregnant in a room full of mothers… everyone has an opinion and loves to share it. Not that that’s a bad thing either! There’s so much great Mac software out there that everyone has their own setup that they can’t live without.

Well… he did ask for advice…

23 Responses to “Prominent Blogger Switches to Mac, Asks for Advice on Software”

  1. @nycpepe:

    I’ve always used DiskWarrior, and look forward to a new release(despite no confirming information). Also, even though I never used it, I have heard good things about FileSalvage by SubRosaSoft. Alas, it too seems to be without an intel-binary so far.

    To my knowledge, the only “credible” recovery program with a UB is DataRescue2. :( Watch those backups carefully, eh?

    However, with the transition to Intel, I do have hope that the excellent SpinRite by GRC will soon have a compatible version. It is the best solution that I am aware of for both Windows and Linux.

  2. nycpepe

    Any recommendations on disk repair and disk disaster recovert software? I dont think DiskWarrior is Intel-ready yet. I also have ProSoft’s DataRescue II. Any other recommendations?

  3. matt_s

    5 essentials for productivity:

    1. Microsoft Office: you’ll need this to communicate with the rest of the world, and, Entourage is simply the best, most complete and most powerful email client application for the Macintosh platform.

    2. CleanArchiver: you’ll need this to communicate with the rest of the world. Set it to create zip archives (it does so much more), and remove .DS_Store files that are invisible on the Mac but quite visible and confusing to recipients of your emailed archives who use Windows. I keep this in my Dock.

    3. Toast. Best burning app out there, period. Beats the hell outta the Finder & iTunes – and sometimes, iDVD as well. Some old DVD players can’t play iDVD exports, so using Toast to make VCD’s comes in handy.

    4. ASM – I’ve been a Mac user for so long, to me a Mac is not a Mac without the application menu on the upper right. OS X Macs without the App Menu just look naked to me, and it really, really slows me down. I just work faster with ASM. Yeah, I use Expose but I still want that App Menu!

    5. Carbon Copy Cloner & PSync – get an external 1394/USB2.0 HDD drive kit and clone your whole system weekly with CCC PSync. It takes only a few moments – these apps are FAST! – and you have a perfectly exact backup. Buy a qualified drive that’ll fit into your system and the external kit for it, so if your laptop’s drive dies, you can simply swap it out with your backup! You’ll be up and running in a matter of moments.

    Other apps I use quite often:

    _ShotChoice – changes the default file type for screen shots.
    _Acrobat: I create a lot of sophisticated PDFs; links, ToC, Appendices, etc.
    _OmniGraffle: creates awesome diagrams.
    _MailSiphon: checks mail on the server for all my accounts.
    _MenuCalendar: I can’t believe how many times I use this thing.

    If I had a MacBook, I’d probably get Parallels & Win XP as well.

    There’s not a single widget I use nor can I recommend. Actually, I’ve removed Dashboard, all widgets and every file relating to this from my system.

    Welcome to the club, man.

  4. Don Parr

    Always at the top of the list – QUICKSILVER – Launchbar, Butler, Spotlight can’t touch this!

    Application Uninstaller – AppZapper
    Backup – SuperDuper! & Carbon Copy Cloner
    Text Ed – WriteRoom is wonderful :)! I also use Smultron.
    Browser – Camino with honorable mention to Firefox
    IRC – Conversation
    Mail – (Apple) & GMail (Google)
    News Reader – Vienna & Blog Bridge
    Journal & blogging tool – MacJournal (Mariner Software)
    Word Processor and Spreadsheet – Write & Calc (Mariner Software)

    You should also give this a look see: Essential Mac OSX Applications

  5. Web – Firefox w/many extensions (downloadthemall, bugmenot, tabmixplus, showip, download statusbar, formfox, distrust, dragdropupload, adblockplus, adblock filterset.G, foxmarks)

    Email – Gmail notifier (works well with “gmail for your domain”) and Entourage

    Mail Filtration – SpamSieve

    Office – MSOffice2004 (yeah, I know….but it works better on OSX than on windows)

    Office Companion – OmniOutliner and OmniGraffle

    Text – TextWrangler

    IM – Adium

    RSS – Newsfire (excellent for podcasts vidcasts too

    FTP – Transmit

    Bittorrent – Transmission (Azureus is better, but the Intel port still isn’t working well)

    VNC – Chicken of the VNC

    Firewall Enhancement – LittleSnitch

    Wireless Detection – KisMAC

    Backups – SuperDuper

    Notifications – Growl

    Media Playback – VLC, MPlayer, and Flip4Mac

    Audio Redirection – Audio HiJack

    DVD Ripping – MacTheRipper

    Video Encoding – Handbrake

    Media Cataloging – Delicious Library

    File Management – OmniDiskSweeper

    ScreenShots – SnapNDrag

    Web Screenshots – Paparazzi

    Folder Customization – FolderBrander

    Uninstallation – AppZapper

    Clipboard Manager – iClip

    Archival – RARexpander and SimplyRAR

    Collaboration – SubEthaEdit

    Maintainence – TinkerTool and TinkerToolSystem, ServiceScrubber, Cocktail

    Desktop Switching – VirtueDesktops

    Widget – Radar in Motion (2 copies, 1 regional and 1 local), Dictionary/Thesaurus, YellowPages, WhitePages, Conversion Calculator, iStatPro, Stickies, ChuckNorrisFacts :)

    Dos – DosBox (for really really old games like Lemmings)

    Recipes – Conniseur

    Customization – ClearDock and ShapeShifter (require Application Enhancer) (Shapeshifter is still beta for Intel)

    Alarm – iRooster

    Terminal Emulation – iTerm (not to be confused with the system Terminal)

    ..and finally, to bring it all together, Quicksilver

  6. John Davis

    Some apps I couldn’t do without:

    Automates typing. Make your own shorthand. Speeds up typing enormously. Works in EVERYTHING.

    Superbly simple and FREE. Great for maintenance.

    Comic Life
    Someone else mentioned it. Use it to make comics or even posters. Wonderful and amazingly cheap.

    Gorgeous. I haven’t begun to plumb its depths. Also FREE.

    Does most of what BBEdit does – also FREE and by the same people.

    For playing videos, plays more formats than Quicktime. FREE

    Plays formats that iTunes doesn’t – OGG, Flac, etc.

    And in spite of controversy, I find the apps that come with a Mac to be very good.

    Bare bones, but does the job. I just wish it had a few more keyboard shortcuts.

    Works well for me. The junk filter picks up 90% of the crap.

    Superb, but you have to have enough memory.


    Incredibly useful, especially the shortcut which enables you to define the word under your mouse in more or less anything. In Safari, I sometimes find a word I need to define on a web site. Pressing a shortcut pops up the definition of the word under the cursor.

    Personally, I don’t have a problem with it. I don’t notice much difference in speed with any of the browsers – and there certainly is a lot of choice these days. Safari works for me.

    EXCELLENT – I run my business on it. My staff subscribe to my calendar and I subscribe to theirs. We can adjust schedules on the fly.

    There are others – but these are the main ones.

    Yours sincerely,

    John Davis

  7. MonkeyT

    OmniOutliner Professional. You’d never think a simple list-maker could insinuate itself into your life the way this one will if you just start using it. Download the demo.

    For loads of fun, go find the KinklessGTD scripts for it. That plus Quicksilver can really change your work habits.

    OmniGraffle, if you have any need for it at all. Nothing does a better job at that sort of work.

    TextWrangler if you must, but the folks at BareBones really do great work, and they’ve earned the money you would spend on BBEdit. It’s amazing.

  8. Mike Napolitano

    LaunchBar (like butler/quicksilver) is the best piece of code i have ever purchased on any platform. Whatever you do, take the time to learn the ins and outs of this app, and you will massivly improve your productivity. It is basicaly a finder replacement when you dial it in.

    Default Folder to enhance open/saves.

    Witch 1.02. should be a feature in expose.

    Sharepoints for making network shared volumes and folders.


    Ililfe of course

    Parralels for windows apps with no reboot.

    BBEdit for text editing.

    Chronosync for scheduled backups and syncro

    Cocktail for scheduled weekly maintenance

    Diskwarrior for disk happiness

    Of course the Creative Suite is as it should be on the Mac, but I’d wait until the universal version next year. Indesign under OSX is a thing of beauty…

    All good stuff, but learn Launchbar first. People watch me use my mac and they assume it’s all scripted how fast every goes. naving folders, sending email. searching in spotlight or google, opening applescripts/apps, etc. all with a a keystroke. the app learns as you use it. un freaking real…


  9. An absolute must-have in the productivity department is Quicksilver. It’s kind of silly — and difficult — to describe what it does, but once you try it you’ll get hooked. Trust me.

  10. Ronald Pomeroy

    More Goodness…

    Anything from Panic Software…but especially Unison (NNTP)
    GoogleEarth (Planetary productivity killer)
    Google SketchUp (3D Modelling productivity killer)
    TextMate (unless you need SubEthaEdit’s collaborative capabilities)
    1 NetNewsWire (RSS Reader – get the full version)
    1 OmniGraffle


  11. I do have MS Office, but it will probably be the last version I ever buy. I’m using iWorks more and more every day, and you can’t go wrong with the iLife apps. If you download a lot of apps to try out like I do, then AppZapper can be indispensible. Others, in no apparent order:
    • Transmission
    • Audio Hijack
    • SnapzPro
    • ffmpegx
    • GraphicConvertor
    • MactheRipper
    • Onyx
    • Omnigraffle
    • Toast
    • Transmit
    • Transmission
    • VueScan

  12. I use MarsEdit for blogging and NetNewsWire for RSS. You might want to try Camino for your web browser. Same folks that do FireFox do Camino. There are tons of other programs for you new Mac. Just depends on what you want to do with it.