I work in front of a computer for 10 – 12 hours per day, and having a productive environment on my Mac is vital to my mental health. I don’t always use the Mac for my work, but I use it more than others since it’s sitting on my desk with a big Cinema Display. The Mac is a productive system on its own, but gets even better with some utilities I use that helps make it more so. Here are 5 Mac utilities that rock my world.
Cinch. That 24-inch Cinema Display gives me a lot of screen real estate, and putting it to best use is helped by Cinch. Cinch enables some windows management that mimics the Aero Drag features in Windows 7. I can drag a window to the top of the screen and it instantly goes full-screen; dragging it back down returns it to the original size. Particularly helpful is the ability to drag windows to the left and right screen border, which makes the window instantly size to half the screen. It’s a great way to put two windows — equally sized — side by side for working back and forth. $7.
Xmarks. I use many different computers — both Macs and Windows — and keeping my browser bookmarks in sync across them all is crucial for my work. I also use Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari and Google Chrome to further complicate this process. The Xmarks utilities are available on every one of these browsers for both Windows and Macs, and keep all of my bookmarks and site passwords synced across them all. I never have to think about this, it just works. Free.
SnagIt. I am constantly capturing images off my screen for my work. I take snaps of program windows to share, images on a web page and full desktop images. I have to resize these images to fit the particular need, and annotate them occasionally. SnagIt is a great method to do all of the above, and it has become a big part of my work day. I shot a video of SnagIt in action if you’re curious. It’s in beta so is free for now.
SoundSource. Simple utilities are often the best, and that fits SoundSource. Anyone who often switches audio sources appreciates when that is simple. SoundSource sits in the system tray and through a drop-down menu makes it one-click easy to change input/output audio sources and set the volume level. Input/output and system audio levels can be controlled independently through SoundSource. Free.
SugarSync. The cloud service SugarSync is not a utility per se, but the Mac program functions like one in the background and keeps all my files backed up. It also keeps them synchronized to other computers I use, and it does so silently and without fail. Through the iPad app I can use SugarSync to access all of my Mac’s files on the slate. Free and paid versions, depending on storage requirements.
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