I said back in my post on Caffeine that I’d write a post about my favorite OS X apps. Here are the ones I can’t work without.
First and foremost is Growl. Growl is a notification system for OS X that displays unobtrusive messages from other applications that support it. I have it configured for notifications from most of my background apps: Mail.app, Adium, Textual, NetNewsWire, Twitter, and so on. One of the most useful add-ons I’ve found is HardwareGrowler — have you ever wanted a better way for your system to communicate to you when devices are connected or disks are unmounted? This is it.
Adium is an instant messaging client for grown-ups. It supports just about every chat protocol out there, lets you apply all sorts of themes to both message windows and contact lists, and offers customization for every facet of the app. It doesn’t support video chat though, so don’t go deleting iChat.
TextMate is my go-to text editor, with highlighting and syntax-checking modes included for most major programming and markup languages, and plenty of community-supported extensions for more esoteric ones. It provides integration with commonly-used build systems and interpreters, including XCode. If you program on a Mac, it’s well worth checking out.
NetNewsWire is a cross-platform (OS X and iOS *grin*) RSS reader. You can hook it up to your Google Reader account to synchronize feed subscriptions and read/unread status for articles between all of your accounts. I’ve replaced my iOS client with Reeder though, so it might be time to replace my OS X one too. Suggestions are welcome.
The aforementioned Caffeine is a great way to keep your Mac from dimming its screen or going to sleep if you’re reading something, watching a movie, or giving a presentation.
Flux adjusts your screen’s color temperature to match that of your indoor lighting after sunset. It gets rid of that “eerie blue glow” from using a computer at night and makes it easier on your eyes. Completely automated; just install it and let it do its thing!
In the same vein, Nocturne lets you invert your screen to make it easier on your eyes at night. It’ll set it to monochrome and apply an optional color filter to it to give you red or green on black.
I Love Stars is a menubar widget that lets you rate the currently playing iTunes song with a single click. You can have it flash or play a sound to remind you to rate a currently-unrated track. It’s great for making yourself rate more of your library.
BashFlash sticks another button on your menubar that watches for running Flash plugins in Safari. If one starts consuming a lot of CPU time, it turns red, and clicking on it gives you a menu with the option to kill Flash. Useful!
MacPorts is great for those moments when you go “Gosh, I really wish I had a copy of ImageMagick (or LAME, or ctags, or figlet, or...) right now!” sudo port install ImageMagick, and it’s there.
These are the things I use every day. I hope you’ll find at least one of them as useful as I do.