Those Little Utilities That Make All The Difference

I tend to obsess a bit about creating a nice work environment. Software environment, that is.  This blog post focuses on the setup that I have that works for me, specifically those little glue utilities that are so helpful. So I won't cover the big local apps (email, browsers, productivity, dev/test) or web apps (todos, photos), that's for a future post.

Witch ($14, Many Tricks) - Maybe the one I use the most.  I find that the default OS X cmd-tab switching to be annoying by cycling through apps instead of windows. Maybe that's just because I spent so many years living in windows and this mimics the Windows behavior, I don't know, but this is what I consider natural.

WItch Screenshot

Adium (free) - Best IM and IRC client I know of.

iTerm 2 (free) - Replacement for built in Terminal isn't bad, but the one feature this has which I miss from old terminal programs is auto copy selection contents when switching to another app. I do that all the time. Doesn't just save a few keystrokes -- seems every time I expect my selection to be in the clipboard, and when it's not, I find myself hunting around.

Fluid (free) - I like web apps I use a lot (gmail, Remember the Milk, Google Calendar) to function like real apps: own icon, startup and quit behavior distinct from other browser windows, etc.  I've now come to appreciate those as Site Specific Browsers (SSB's), and Fluid is the best way of doing those.  It's a little strange as that relies on Safari, and I use Chrome for everything else, so those SSB's don's share cookies or anything else, but that's not a big deal.  Fluid even has some nice little special cases, like adding unread mail badges to your gmail icon (neat!).

Homebrew (free) - the missing Mac command line package manager.  There are others (most notably MacPorts) but I've tried both and this one seems cleaner and easier.

My current package list is:

  • autojump, multitail -- surprising gems
  • macvim -- worthy of its own blog
  • watch, wget, figlet, dos2unix/unix2dos, wget -- how can they not be included standard?
  • fping, wireshark -- network hacking
  • gnupg -- crypto


Comments powered by Disqus