Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
My Ultimate Developer and Power Users Tool List for Mac OS X (2011 Edition) (carpeaqua.com)
234 points by rograndom on Dec 20, 2011 | hide | past | favorite | 120 comments

A decent starter list, but definitely not complete (for me at least). I'd add the following

* TotalFinder (makes the OS X finder not terrible anymore, tabs, etc)

* HandsOff/LittleSnitch (oh, you're just using the built-in firewall? that's cute.)

* Transmit (everything you could ever want in an FTP app)

* CommandQ (W and Q are way too close together)

* Mou (free alternative to Byword)

* Evernote (note-taking that syncs absolutely everywhere)

* Alfred (modern day Quicksilver)

* Growl (notify me of all the things!)

* AppCleaner (good for finding the random left-behind files)

* ClipMenu (clipboard history and saved text snippets all in one)

* f.lux (less eyestrain for marathon coding sessions)

* GasMask (easy hosts file changing)

* GrabBox (automatically saves screenshots to my DropBox public folder and copies the URL to my clipboard? YES PLEASE. replaces the need for CloudApp, etc.)

* Sublime Text 2 (cross-platform and modern TextMate/BBEdit/Vim all rolled into one amazing editor)

* SourceTree (good and free Git/hg front-end)

* Witch (finally a better Cmd-Tab)

* Moom (window tiling and profiles galore)

* Hyperdock (dock previews and drag-to-edge window resizing)

* Prey (stolen goods tracking)

* Textual (IRC)

* Adium (chats)

In terms of my actual command-line environment:

* iTerm2

* Homebrew

* (way too many individual commands to list here)

Also Chrome/FF extensions can get you some really great paid native app replacements, like RestConsole (no more need for Http Clients).

I love TotalFinder, and also can't live without flux. I don't really understand the excitement over Alfred/Quicksilver though... what does it do that spotlight can't? Just activate spotlight by pressing Command+Space, and type in whatever you want to do (you can launch a program, do a calculation, look up a word, whatever).

For myself:

With Alfred and a well-tuned Quicksilver, I can:

  * hotkey it open
  * punch in the minimum to identify the application I want (usually 1 or 2 keys, 3 for rarely-used ones)
  * hit enter
and be done with it in well below 1/2 of a second.

With Spotlight, I can:

  * hotkey it open
  * punch in the minimum to identify the application (over 2x more, almost all the time)
  * wait for it to update
  * it shows the wrong application / the last movie I played and finally displays the 3rd+ letters I typed
  * wait for it to update again
  * double-checking that it's the right application (it frequently isn't)
  * hit enter
  * hope it doesn't update *again*, causing me to launch the wrong application
the whole process typically taking >2 seconds nearly all the time, sometimes 5+ if it's a less-used application.

Quicksilver in particular has a nice 'open with...' method which gives you a couple keystrokes to pick the file, 'ow<tab>' to open with, and a couple keystrokes to open it in the application of choice, all generally in less than a second. Alfred might have something similar in the PowerPack (paid), but I haven't purchased it.

Strange, I've never found Spotlight to be that slow or frustrating. I just tried it again to be sure I wasn't kidding myself, and find that I type about 3 keys, and then there's the app I want by the time I'm finished pressing the 3rd key.

It's speedy for the first few months, but once I build up a few dozen gigabytes of documents it starts to slow to an absolute crawl. Useful when searching for documents, absolutely, and faster than alternatives. But worthless for applications, which I open far more often than the average document (from a launcher, that is).

But that might be because my .Spotlight folder is > 1 gigabyte. And that's smaller than it has been in the past - my previous hard drive had it larger than 2 gb if I remember correctly, because I had tweaked it to index my source code. On my wife's computer it's only about 400 meg, and it finds applications in about a second (still much slower than Alfred or Quicksilver).

Seems like a simpler alternative here is to disable Spotlight indexing on everything but Applications and System Preferences. First thing I do on a new Mac.

Thereby losing all search for and within documents, when faster alternatives for the most-common action exists? It's a tradeoff I'd never make, but it makes sense, and then it'd probably be lightning-fast.

Makes sense for me, but I don't really have "documents" - not on the filesystem anyway.

Definitely depends on your usage patterns :)

Unless of course you have an SSD. With an SSD, Spotlight is easily fast enough to work well. To start XCode, I hit CMD-space, xc, enter, with a split-second pause before the enter. That is enough for Spotlight to catch up to my typing and I am about as fast as Alfred or Quicksilver for opening apps.

To add to Pewpewarrows' comment, I'll give you a couple of examples of things I do with QuickSilver.

I can never remember the IP address of my work's VPN, so I created a text file on my desktop with the IP as its name. Whenever I need it, I do: Ctrl+Space, ~/Desktop/[IP] to select the file, '.' to treat the filename as text, tab to go to the action part of QuickSilver, start typing "clipboard" and when "Copy to clipboard" shows up, I press enter. It can sound like a lot of steps but it gives me the IP address in my clipboard without reaching for the mouse, without having to open a file or an app.

I also use it for the integration with the address book. I type the name of the contact, select a phone number, tab to the action part and type "skype" to start calling with Skype. Or I would copy it to the clipboard to put in Google Maps…

If you've never used QuickSilver, that might sound too complicated for not much benefits, but it's something you learn over time. And it's not perfect either: I often time use Spotlight as well. (mostly for dictionary and calculator, though I'm sure QuickSilver can do it too :))

> I can never remember the IP address of my work's VPN, so I created a text file on my desktop with the IP as its name. Whenever I need it, I do: Ctrl+Space, ~/Desktop/[IP] to select the file, '.' to treat the filename as text, tab to go to the action part of QuickSilver, start typing "clipboard" and when "Copy to clipboard" shows up, I press enter. It can sound like a lot of steps but it gives me the IP address in my clipboard without reaching for the mouse, without having to open a file or an app.

If you don't mind a bit of drag and drop, a text clipping [1] may be even faster... simply drag the IP address text to the desktop, then drag it back when you want to pull it back in... text clippings make your desktop into a super-clipboard (only downside is the resulting files don't sync over dropbox)

Though I'm mostly-keyboard, I use the mouse where it makes sense, and OSX's drag and drop is a huge time-saver.

[1] http://macstarter.com/2011/01/21/text-clipping/

Quicksilver is one of those things like learning Vim or Emacs (though less complex), where the not-so-gentle learning curve gives way to a ton of functionality at your fingertips.

QuickSilver: just works, and selects correct thing you might be looking for. Spotlight: is slow, show all kinds of crap you are NOT looking for. To add insult to injury it also requires typing way more characters to get a hit, and requires several keypresses to select that item, not just return.

Z does for cd what QuickSilver does for the Finder. It's totally awesome: https://github.com/rupa/z

It's really just Spotlight on crack. Once you've done your initial search and the file/app/whatever is highlighted, you can then proceed to instantly perform actions or scripts on it. It's basically just a really nice macro feature baked into Spotlight with a new UI.

Alfred goes a step further with a built-in keyboard-based file browser, web/custom/fallback searches, email, iTunes, clipboard, Terminal, and System integration, and best of all extensions. I can't imagine using OS X without it.

I love being able to assign hot keys to apps in Alfred. I have 4-5 apps that I use 99% of the time and now I have hot keys to easily bring them up and jump between them.

Is there a downside to using the default firewall, if I don't want to do things like bandwidth-capping apps?

I'm thinking that by 'built-in firewall' he/she means the built-in firewall GUI interface. I'd be interested to know what LittleSnitch is doing if it isn't hooking into ipfw.

Maybe I am remembering incorrectly, but I thought Apple switched to PF in Lion.

You forgot to add referral links to the itunes store in all these! -.-

I used to use many of these, but I found some of the demons/replacements problematic for resource consumption (Total Finder died so many times...)

* VirtualBox or VMware

One tool that was indispensable for MySQL viewing editing: Sequel Pro [1]. I found it much more intuitive than Querious and it's free.

[1] http://www.sequelpro.com/

My 11" Macbook Air setup is a bit unconventional:

* Debian Wheezy (I haven't been able to create a customized and focused OS X setup)

* Puppet (For managing the installation and configuration of all the following applications)

* ssh

* zsh (beats bash in my book)

* ufw (best alternative I've found on Linux to BSDs pf)

* tmux (obsoleted screen for me)

* vim

* ack (intelligent recursive file search)

* git

* rsync

* curl

* keychain (stores password decrypted ssh keys in memory)

* awesome (tiling window manager configured in Lua)

* urxvt (running in client-server mode to save resources)

* spotify

* mplayer (for playing videos and audio not streamed from spotify)

* unclutter (hides the mouse after X seconds of inactivity (I rarely use the mouse))

* firefox (with pentadactyl for vim-like browsing)

* chromium (for testing on webkit)

* mupdf (lightweight pdf viewer)

* sxiv (lightweight image viewer)

* rdesktop (if I need to connect to a Windows machine at work)

* rtorrent

Most puppet modules and application configurations can be found here: http://github.com/uggedal

What kind of battery time do you get? I've been thinking of installing Debian on my MBA 11" for a while, the only thing holding me back has been battery time.

My 1.4GHz Core 2 Duo 11" lasts about 4.5 hours with Debian.

What is this keychain? ssh-agent stores the decrypted keys in memory, too.

Keychain is a frontend (of sorts) for ssh-agent and ssh-add that helps you keep a single instance of ssh-agent running across login sessions.

Pretty rad: http://www.funtoo.org/wiki/Keychain

Given my personal experience I have to warn people away from HTTP Client. It is bug-ridden and broken. Many of the UI elements break in weird ways during normal use. I had to quit and re-run the application many times just to bring it back to a usable state (only to have it break again immediately).

Spend your money on Rested instead. I don't quite understand the OP's assertion that "RESTed is a little bit more complex than HTTP Client." Considering Rested actually works I'd consider it a lot more simple than HTTP Client.

Edit: To be clear, I am in no way connected with the author of Rested. I'm just a very satisfied customer.

Or just use curl. httpclient is just a wrapper for curl.

I've been having good luck with http://code.google.com/p/cocoa-rest-client/

I use the RESTClient Firefox extension for this kind of thing. It also does oauth, which is nice.

If Terminal.app feels like plastic scissors, you can try iterm2. It beats the crap out of Terminal in terms of configurability.



And it's broken. Screen updates are way slower, and stream redirection plain doesn't work. Terminal app is pretty good.

This is odd, for me there is no lag on Lion when I hold down the backspace key. And what do you mean by stream redirection? That usually means this:

> echo "derp" > foo.txt

That has nothing to do with iterm2 and everything to do with bash or whatever shell you are using, I think.

Might you be confusing iterm2 with iterm? Iterm2 is a completely separate piece of software than iterm, it's not the second version of the same one.

I mean things like 2>&1 or 2>/dev/null (redirecting error stream to stdout etc). This did not work for me last time I tried it. This coupled with significant lag when scrolling/listing huge dir, typing made me quickly abandon it. Terminal app does everything I really need and it's fast and reliable.

These things have nothing to do with the terminal emulator you're using and everything to do with your shell.

  > I mean things like 2>&1 or 2>/dev/null
  > (redirecting error stream to stdout etc)
These things are usually handled by the shell...

Sure, but if I execute a command like

    `sudo find / -ctime 0 2>/dev/null` 
in both iTerm and Terminal side by side, I would expect them both to print out the same thing, but that was not the case.

cat a big logfile on iTerm, cat a big logfile in terminal.

Then for some really screaming performance, cat a big logfile in xterm. Then, for insane performance cat a big logfile in mrxvt or rxvt.

Anti aliasing really slows things down, so performance is faster in the "native" terminal apps when that turned off, but with x11, theres way less than millisecond delays for printing stuff on the screen. I do like my terminal to be fast.

I thought I was the only one that witnessed slower screen updates. I don't know if it's the same thing, but for example, holding backspace to delete a few characters seems to lag (on an SSD with 2600k @ 4.5ghz and 8GB DDR3). I know I can just do C-u, but the lag is irritating nonetheless. Not to mention I actually like Terminal.app so I don't have a problem continuing to use it.

The original versions of iTerm gave me this problem, but since it was forked and called iTerm 2 I have never, ever had this problem. Are you using the newest version?

This sounds more like the original iTerm than the newer iTerm2 to me. They're separate projects.

I am genuinely surprised at how much others spend on software. I started totaling up his list (excluding monthly services like dropbox) and stopped when I reached $500, which was right around Cornerstone.

You've already sunk money into a Computer. If you pay a little more per year on software, how much better is your computer? It's a tradeoff which depends upon how much money you have, and how much utility you will derive.

For example, unlike Windows, there is no free and convenient svn utility on the Mac. If I were using svn on the Mac frequently, Cornerstone (which is quite expensive by my standards) would be a necessity.

Twenty years ago, computers cost $5000 and $500 worth of software was no big deal. Well today, that $500 dollars will buy you just a much a productivity boost, so why is it no longer worth it? Don't compare the $500 to the price of your computer; compare it to your already-spent salary plus overhead.

In my view, most of us who love free software have a knee-jerk reaction to paying money for software. Try spending a little more per year on software and observe whether or not it improves you life. It did for me.

> For example, unlike Windows, there is no free and convenient svn utility on the Mac.

If you aren't command-line-phobic, svn has been included by default on OSX for a while.

However, I do agree about paying for software that improves your productivity... if you amortize it over even a year (think monthly cost vs. productivity/entertainment value), it's likely cheaper than a caffeine habit... and I usually use software for years.

>For example, unlike Windows, there is no free and convenient svn utility on the Mac.

What's wrong with doing "brew install svn" ?

What's wrong with the copy of svn already distributed with Mac OS X? :)

Productivity is much better with a decent GUI like TortoiseSVN. Want to see the diffs for multiple files you have changed? Just double click each. No mucking about with command line windows and cutting and pasting filenames or what have you.

On Windows there is TortoiseSVN which makes svn more efficient. On *nix, I used the XEmacs module. Of course I know how to use the command line also and do use it for one-file commits on occasion.

If you are using SVN routinely and do not use a GUI, you are wasting your time.

> mucking about with command line

I have never understood this phrase, and I see it a lot from Windows users. When I use the command line (and I spend ~12 hrs/day on it), there is no mucking. There's no frustration with it.

I'm honestly asking: what do you mean by mucking about?

  > For example, unlike Windows, there is no free and
  > convenient svn utility on the Mac.
Back in SVN days I used SmartSVN (http://syntevo.com/smartsvn/index.html ) on Windows, Linux and Mac. Free version was enough for my needs.

This list is really GUI-centric. If you spend most of your time on the commandline, you don't need several of these.

Also, in many cases an employer might pay for some of the software.

Over time it isn't so bad. I'll buy a new $30-50 application maybe twice a year (and maybe a $20 upgrade another twice a year). Now, I've got a nice collection, and it never seemed like a lot of money.

In my opinion Mac OS X is already pretty great and I don't need to add very many things. Focusing on all of the different apps and tools we use seems like a dangerous rabbit hole.

I recently had to re-install Lion on my MacBook Air - here's what I installed after: http://milesmatthias.tumblr.com/post/14366026639/i-re-instal...

If we're making our own lists, here's some that others haven't mentioned:

* Jumpcut - http://jumpcut.sourceforge.net/ - simple and unintrusive clipboard history

* dterm - http://decimus.net/DTerm - popup terminal

* bwana - http://www.bruji.com/bwana/ - man pages in your browser

* Grand Perspective - http://grandperspectiv.sourceforge.net/ - disk usage program

I watched the dterm video, and it looks interesting, but the lack of an apparent scrollback (as soon as I type a different command, the previous output is gone) would bug me. (Plus, does it support history, including search, etc?)

I'm using TotalTerminal - it's not context aware, but it's easier for me to launch it with Ctrl-` than to open a new virgin terminal whenever I need to do something really quick.

The only real win for dterm is the context-aware factor, but I find it to be a big-enough win that I keep it around. If you just need a quick virgin window and are using iterm2 (as you should be) then you can go into Prefs > Keys and set the global hot key toggle and then select the 'hotkey toggles a dedicated window with profile' to get a dterm-like overlay window that is a real terminal session.

I can't imagine life without Guake. Nice to see that OSX has its own version. In fact, I now do all of my development in Guake with tmux and Vim.

GrandPerspective is pretty terrible.

I recommend DaisyDisk instead - http://daisydiskapp.com

DTerm is fantastic. It's not something I use often but the times when I do need/want it are what makes it fantastic. A simple example is that I wanted to make a txt file on my desktop so I hit the shortcut, typed touch x.txt and bam, there it was.

My hardware is a brand new 13" MBA with an old monitor, comfort curve keyboard, bose notebook speakers, and the magic trackpad.

For software, homebrew and perlbrew are essential. vim and tmux are how I do everything related to my job.

Adium is for OTR and annoying scripts I've written[1]. Chrome for the being Chrome. I use dropbox like an addict, too.

I tend to script everything I need with Perl, including mechanized tests and creating quick REST APIs[2]. Being able to use v5.14 in place of whatever comes natively is a nice touch.

Homebrew brings in git, tmux, haskell, racket, go, and redis.

Combinations of these tools let me do pretty much what these other lists allow but I probably haven't had the most elegant experience, either.

[1]: http://www.adiumxtras.com/index.php?a=xtras&xtra_id=4187 [2]: https://metacpan.org/module/Test::WWW::Mechanize

Emacs. 'Nuff said.

Just kidding. Actually MacVim, too.

The current gen i7 MacBook Pro is an insanely great machine.

- I pretty much can not work without VMWare Fusion.

- Tower for git, Cornerstone for svn

- Sparrow, for I want a second mail client beside Mail.app that does not suck

- TextExpander is pretty useful

- Pixelmator. It's enough for what I need to do.

- Reeder, my favourite RSS client

- The Unarchiver, in case anyone did not know that one

- Spotify

- Outbank, for European bank accounts

- Transmit. Awesome FTP client.

I appreciate this list, but I do wish the author would have linked to the software websites instead of to the app store. On the iPad, these app store links are useless.

(As a side note, why can't these links be a little more intelligent? If they know I'm using an iPad, why not redirect to a better fallback?)

I would highly endorse Slate (https://github.com/jigish/slate), a free, open source, awesomely configurable window manager for OS X. Also Vimium (http://vimium.github.com/) for browsing the web is incredible. It's made browsing much faster and more enjoyable. Both were developed by former co-workers of mine.

Hey neat, my app https://GetCloak.com/ made it into the list. And we're still beta -- though v1.0 is coming quite soon.


I'm using it right now, as is a friend I recommended it to a few minutes ago, thanks to this post.

Sweet, thanks. I did a "hey, HN, check out my beta" post a few months back. When we hit 1.0, I'll probably do another. I look forward to your feedback.

looks good and like something i've been looking for (easy to set up vpn when using public wifi), but with only limited contact details on your site hard to build trustworthiness tbh.

Hi arb99,

If you click "learn more" you get a lot of information about both the company and the team, including our address, phone number, photos and bios of the three of us, and links to our Twitter accounts.

What contact information were you looking for?

We see ourselves as (in part) being in the business of earning trust. That's obviously a difficult job, so whatever suggestions you can offer we'd definitely appreciate.

Cheers, Dave

Oh ok. I only saw a mailto: link w/ an email address :)

> There is absolutely no reason for me to have 16GB of RAM other than to brag about the fact that I have such a ridiculous amount of memory.

16GB in a desktop really isn't that ridiculous especially as a developer that might run VMs. In a non-mac with 4 ram slots, its <$100, which is very attainable. He is running an iMac with only 2 slots, making the RAM more like $250, but for a developer, this still isn't that much.

All iMacs since late-2009 has four slots[1].

[1]: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1423#1

I agree, I always end up hitting my 4GB limit with a VM open and Chrome with 12 tabs. Upgrading will be the next thing that I ask from the boss.

As hard as I try, I can't seem to get used to the prettier Finder replacements.

Some additions:

  * MuCommander (Norton Commander-style file manager)
  * ShiftIt (window management/"Aero Snap"/Moom alternative)
  * Isolator (widow focus indicator)
  * SecondBar (menu bar for your second monitor)
  * KeyRemap4Macbook/PCKeyboard Hack (remap keys,  capslock=command, etc.)
  * BetterTouchTool (trackpad gestures, middle click!)

I haven't used Appfigures, because I was turned off by my sales figures being stored online, but [AppViz 2](http://www.ideaswarm.com/AppViz2.html) is a really great app and I can't recommend it enough. Beautiful graphs, intuitive app, good customer support. etc. etc. AAA+++ would use for iTunes Connect stats again.

I completely agree, AppViz 2 is an excellent app for checking and storing sales reports, iAd revenue, customer reviews & app ranks.

I tried Omni Focus (I was in the beta programme, and I had been using than Schoonover's Kinkless GTD before, from which Omni Focus derived) and didn't like it. After some time I discovered Org mode and this works for me.

I think the Org mode journal style just fits the way most people plan much better than the GTD ramified list approach. You have a file per project or maintenance domain and you jot down your priorities, interleaving tasks where they are relevant tasks. Then Org mode's tools put together the lists you need when you are getting through your tasks. There's no need to internalise a complex external model, a step that clearly many people fail at when they try to apply GTD.

More generally, I find that when I started using OSX, I used a lot of the Apple-esque programs but over the years I've mostly migrated back to software that runs on Linux. OSX has increasingly become a wacky UNIX with a nice GUI to me. The superbly integrated Parallels is the only non-bundled software on OSX that I would really hate to live without.

RCDefaultApp: can't you just set the default app in the info popup for any filetype?

PDFpenPro: Preview can save your signature and add it to a PDF for you

The Preview signature thing is rather recent, IIRC.

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Charles http://www.charlesproxy.com/

One of my faves on the list: http://panic.com/~wade/picker/

Nice time saver

Man, I don't get a "developer color picker" that doesn't have a giant box with the hex color init. Fortunately, there's hex picker: http://wafflesoftware.net/hexpicker/.

Also, here's a script I use that turns color picker into an app: http://hints.macworld.com/article.php?story=2006040805092015.... (But only sort of, it's still one of those weird windows OS X has that you can't close the normal way.)

What I really miss is a good tiling windows manager. I tried many apps out there, OptimanlLayout been the latest, and I still can't find a nice productive experience (a la xmonad, scrotwm or awesome).

(I know I can use x11.app but It's freaking unusable)

I was really hoping to see a fix for OS X's mouse acceleration. It's annoying when using the OS, and completely broken when I fire up StarCraft or something else that requires fast and precise mouse movements.

(I'm using a Microsoft mouse on a Mac Mini)

This works very well to remove OS X's mouse acceleration:


I haven't been able to user the Razer drivers for my DeathAdder because of bizarre behaviour and you may have just shown me the solution, thank you!

I believe, at least for certain newer models, Microsoft's driver will correct the acceleration curve.

I personally use a Logitech and it seems to do the same.

Very nice list, thanks for sharing!

OT: is LaunchBar/Alfred really that better than Quicksilver? Has been some time since I last touched a Mac, but I was totally amazed by the magic that was Quicksilver.

I posted a "Stuff i use" comment some time ago: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1881098

Springy. http://www.springyarchiver.com/

An archiver for OS X that actually works the way you expect, by opening a window to let you look inside and selectively extract from archives, rather than just spurting files all over the place unbidden like the built in one and all the other replacement ones seem to do.

For some reason it took me ages to find this when I switched to mac. Drove me mad.

The built one doesn't spurt anything: if the archive contains a directory or a single file it extracts that in place, if it contains a bunch of files it will create a directory with the archive name and put the files in there. This is what I want 99% of the time.

Yes, but what if I want one file deeply nested inside a massive archive, like a source tree or something?

In the scenario you describe, I generally use the dtrx script.


As I said: 99%. I like default tools to be optimized for the common case, corner cases are just corner cases – how often are you extracting a single file from a massive source tree?

Don't know if the author of the post knows it is on HN, and his blog doesn't do comments...

He talks about might wanting a different diff tool than Changes. Might recommend Kaleidoscope (http://www.kaleidoscopeapp.com/). I like it, however the one thing that I do hate about it is the lack of a directory compare feature. It can only compare two files together.

I like Araxis Merge, especially the edit in place feature.


It does directory comparison. Kaleidoscope seemed pretty, but not as powerful.

£79 for a file merge tool!?!?! I don't really like FileMerge, but that's crazy. I still can't find a decent free(ish) tool that is better than FileMerge...Anyone got any other suggestions?

Yes, it costs money. I've used the Mac version for several years now, and the windows version for maybe 10 years before that. I think I've had my money's worth. Given that it works for me better than anything else, the cost is nothing. I don't mind paying for software that makes my life better.

It has a free 30 day trial, so give it a try and see if it is worth the money.

* emacs

* Terminal.app


* DiffMerge

* GitHub.app

* Graphviz

* Chrome, Adium

I have not spent 1 cent on software for my Mac so far. The only software that tempts me is OmniGraffle, because it really is that good.

I live on the command line and quite often, in open source software.

* calibre - ebook management and conversion

* Teamviewer. Cross platform remoting: http://teamviewer.com/ I use it for support sessions and remote pair programming.

* Parallels. VM. Use it primarily for testing web apps in older versions of IE.

* Netbeans. Great search tools (search in files, search for classes, functions).

I'd love to get a compare/contrast between Cornerstone which the article mentions and Versions:


I sadly still have to use SVN for some things and have been using Versions for quite some time now. What does Cornerstone do that Versions can't do?

I'd be interested in that too - Versions is great, though not perfect. Looks like one thing Cornerstone has is a built-in diff tool: http://www.zennaware.com/cornerstone/index.php

That's definitely a plus. I currently use DiffMerge which I really like because I can use it with absolutely anything, no matter what my source control is.

I'm surprised to not see Quicksilver on a list like this. It's definitely the tool that keeps me coming back to OSX. Most of the "replacements" for it on other platforms (and on OSX) implement very few of its power-user features.

I don't really understand the appeal of Quicksilver. If I want to quickly launch some random program, I just press Command + Space (activates spotlight), type in the first two or three letters of the program name, and press enter. You can also do calculations and look up words in the dictionary. Isn't this what most people use Quicksilver and Alfred for?

Most that still use Quicksilver to today are likely not "most people". The "object-action-object" command of QS is not something Spotlight is capable of (e.g. drag files on desktop to trash, open these images in Photoshop, all without involving a mouse click).

I've quit QS for LaunchBar few years ago (when the author announced the development for QS has ceased) then Spotlight then Alfred. I think Alfred did better than Spotlight as a launcher because of slightly better results (e.g. typing "pho" in my machine list Photo Booth and iPhoto but not the one I want the most: Photoshop) and few little touches here and there where Spotlight didn't get it right (e.g. "press enter to copy" for calculations).

I use file actions a lot (move these files, trash this, etc.), so Spotlight is pretty much out of question.

It's been mentioned, but check out Alfred. I'm a big fan.

DTerm is great for when you want a quick shell prompt but don't want to have to switch to Terminal.

SteerMouse + Logitech mouse of your choice.

First things I install on a new mac are:

* TotalTerminal -- a quake-like CMD-~ terminal extension

* RightZoom -- CMD-Shift-Q for maximizing the window to current screen

If you want something to help you learn and practice music, there is nothing quite like Transcribe!. You can adjust speed without changing pitch, change pitch, multi band eq, highlight and repeat regions, analyze a selection for the notes occurring in it, etc... http://www.seventhstring.com/xscribe/overview.html

Childish list for people who haven't learned to use the command line.

Boot up Mac, install XCode to get gcc/clang etc, and install MacVim, but you don't have to, vim is there out of the box. Install perhaps additional tools like lynx, pgrep, pfind, ncat, ngrep, nmap, wget, seq (some are included in Lion but I don't use Lion) etc and you got standard UNIX toolchain to build everything, from "hello world" to world's most complex multi-million line applications.

I'm probably going to buy a MBA soon after working with Debian & Openbox on a dated netbook for too long.

I spend most of my time in side-by-side Vim/shell/ssh sessions inside tmux within the Guake terminal.

If MacVim is a standalone app, why do people use it? Isn't one of the nicest things about Vim that it lives in the terminal and can be launched from any root in the terminal?

The only good reason to use MacVim is support for millions of colors so color schemes look nicer. It also supports full screen mode (now in Lion Terminal does too, but before this used to be a missing feature), also it's easier to launch MacVim as external editing tool for other apps like Firefox with Pentadactyl extension (this allows you to edit any text box/area with vim). Other than that, you really don't need MacVim, unless you are very anal about colors :D.

Using the GUI version of MacVim does give you a couple of other really important features which no one will be able to do with out....

...a squiggly redline under your spelling mistakes and easy mapping of the command key for shortcuts. I think you might also be able to do more with fonts (e.g. italics for comments) too.

On a more serious note, I tend to use both MacVim and iTerm 2 in maximised windows (not full screen as such) on separate monitors. E.g. iTerm2 on the laptop, MacVim external.

I could run MacVim in a terminal but I don't get anything from it either. Of course working remotely is a different matter.

MacVim also uses a native open dialog, as well as Finder right click 'new macvim buffer here', both of which are kind of nice.

Cool. I'm a huge Pentadactyl fan, and that point (launchability) makes a lot of sense. Thanks.

Applications are open for YC Summer 2021

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact