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October 30, 2008 / Dan

What’s on My Mac

Everyone ready for a really geeky post? Good, let’s get started.

A couple months ago I started to run out of space on my hard drive. Of course I shuffled stuff around and deleted as much stuff as I could, but with an iPhoto Library growing by leaps and bounds thanks to you-know-who it was inevitable that I was going to have to do something to get more storage space. So I finally made the painful decision to upgrade my hard drive in my MacBook Pro. Painful, because the process is fraught with danger. (Opening up any laptop is generally not fun, MacBook Pros are especially difficult.)

Last night the package came in and I installed it. The process was stressful, but everything went according to instructions. I also decided rather than just copying everything back over from my old hard drive, I’d go through and manually install everything I used. This would give me a good chance to evaluate what I was really using and get rid of the cruft. Below is a fairly comprehensive list of what I’m using on my Mac. (This is really more for me than anyone else, this list is going to be pretty boring.)

Basic Stuff

  • Safari – My current browser of choice. I tried WebKit Nightly builds for a little while, but the unpolished nature of them could sometimes be frustrating.
  • Firefox – With extensions WebDeveloper ToolbarFirebug, and Quartz PDF Plugin. I really only use Firefox when I’m doing development.
  • Camino – For when a site won’t work in Safari. Much more Mac-like than Firefox.
  • Opera and Webkit – Simply for testing websites, these don’t see much day-to-day use.
  • Mail, iCal, Address Book, iChat– I’m a sucker for integration the way OSX does it. I use BusySync to keep iCal and Google Calendar playing nice.
  • iWork ’08 – Office was one of the first things to go when I started running out of hard drive space. Pages, Keynote, and Numbers are all great.
  • iLife ’08 – Most notably iPhoto, but iMovie sees some occasional usage as well, the other apps are there if I need them. I use the iPhoto plugins Flickr Export and Keyword Manager.
  • iTunes – Of course.
  • Miro – For watching video podcasts. (Jessica and I are getting rid of cable, so this will be getting more time in the coming months.)
  • iBank – Quicken on the Mac is not good. iBank is not excellent, but is continually improving.
  • NetNewsWire – Synced with NewsGator so I can read my feeds in multiple locations. Was using Google Reader until this went free, then decided to check it out and have never looked back.
  • OmniOutliner – I’m always glad when I crank this up to create some sort of outline or list for doing something. Has a myriad of uses.


  • Adobe CS3 Web Premium – I use most all of this suite. Photoshop, Illustrator, Bridge, Fireworks, and Flash see enough game time to live in the dock.
  • BBEdit – I wish I was good enough with this to use it to it’s full potential, but when I really want to do some serious text editing, this is what I use. It was the first web development tool I got on the Mac, so I feel some allegiance to it.
  • Coda – Awesome tool from the guys over at Panic. 
  • CSSEdit – For when I’m just going to be doing CSS work for the day.
  • VectorDesigner – When I don’t want to wait for Illustrator to start up so I can draw a star and save it.
  • Pixelmator – When I don’t want to wait for Photoshop to start and Preview can’t do the job. Rare occasion, but still use it.
  • Wacom Tablet – Not really an Application, more of a driver, but I needed to put it down because it will really change the way you work on graphics.
  • Transmit – The FTP client of choice. Another one of the first programs I bought for a Mac, not only do I feel allegiance to it, but it’s pure awesome.
  • MAMP – Wonderful test environment that goes with me.
  • MySQL Tools – Because I don’t want to have to remember the command line to give a user permissions to a database. 
  • VMware Fusion – Virtual Machines were some of the first things to be deleted when I started running out of space. Now I’ve got room to have several and I’m looking forward to it.
  • Colloquy – Ok, not really a developer tool, but I use it to hop on the Drupal IRC rooms occasionally.


  • PreviewQuickTime ProVLCMplayer OSXPerian – All excellent media apps that shouldn’t be under-estimated.
  • VisualHub – I read the instructions on how to back this up carefully when it went end of life. I’ve always found it indispensable and was sad to see it go.
  • ffmpegX – I used this before VisualHub was around. It’s on my hard drive now because of VisualHub’s demise.
  • iStopMotion – I don’t think I’ve every actually used this, but I’m always envisioning that day when I’ll do a picture montage or something similar that this would be really useful for.
  • Handbrake – What can I say, it’s awesome.
  • Audio Hijack Pro and Fission – Two of my most recent additions. Haven’t used Audio Hijack Pro yet but I do see a use in the future. Fission I use to losslessly edit MP3s and other audio. Much better than the respected Audacity for simple edits. 
  • CoverSutra – Could definitely live without this, but it’s nice to have and it came in a bundle.
  • Amazon MP3 Downloader – Um, because.
  • ComicLife – It’s amazing how funny pictures become when you can add a caption to them.

Utilities & Miscellaneous 

  • 1Password – Oh how I love thee, let me count the ways. Seriously though, I didn’t realize how good a password manager could be until this little gem.
  • Angry IP Scanner – For scanning networks when you can’t remember the IP of the server and it would be faster to scan.
  • AppZapper – For removing apps and their sundries. 
  • Automator – Comes on every mac and I’m finding more and more uses for it.
  • Awaken – Came in a bundle and sometimes comes in handy. We used it in the first exhausting days of Rabun’s life to track feeding times.
  • – A MobileMe member exclusive, I use it to back up my iPhoto library to a portable hard drive to put in the fire safe.
  • Caffeine – For those times when you want to keep your Mac awake.
  • Chicken of the VNC – A good VNC client, although I also use the built in Screen Sharing app that’s now in Leopard.
  • coconutBattery – To see just how awful my battery is doing.
  • CoRD – Better than Microsoft’s own Remote Desktop app.
  • Delicious Library – I need to update my library with all my recent purchases, but for some reason I like having all my books, CDs, and DVDs cataloged.
  • DestroyFlickr – An excellent interface to Flickr and the best AIR app that I’ve found so far.
  • Disco – For simple burning of CDs.
  • Disc Inventory X – To see where you’re using all that space at.
  • Flickr Uploadr – For when I want to get a picture onto Flickr without going through iPhoto or the web page… when would that be again. I don’t know, but it’s there.
  • Fluid – For creating site specific browsers, which I have for Google Calendar, Docs, and Mail, Facebook, Flickr, Remember the Milk, and WordPress.
  • iStumbler – For finding out how many and how good your wireless networks are.
  • Keyboard Cleaner – For when you don’t want to cut your Mac off and you don’t want to rename your hard drive, but you do want to clean your keyboard.
  • Name Mangler – Useful for renaming a bunch of files, but I also use Automator for renaming groups of pictures.
  • Paparazzi – For taking screen captures of websites.
  • Snapz Pro X – For taking screen captures and doing instructional videos.
  • Skype – Don’t really use this a whole lot, but it’s there if I need it.
  • Speed Download – Came in a bundle, again, I don’t use it a lot, but it’s there if I want to.
  • SuperDuper – Great utility for making a bootable backup of your hard drive. Used this before replacing my current drive.
  • The Unarchiver – Useful for uncompressing more than just Zip files. Handles all those weird file formats very well.
  • Unison – I don’t have a Usenet account anymore, but if/when I do, this is what I’ll be using to access it.
  • SoundSource – Useful if you are constantly plugging/unplugging a USB headset.
  • Secrets – Preference pane that reveals a lot of hidden stuff in OSX.

Wow, that’s a long list.

There were a couple of apps that didn’t make it onto the new hard drive. They shall remain nameless, because they’re not necessarily bad, I just didn’t have a use for them.



Leave a Comment
  1. Jim Perdue / Oct 30 2008 2:43 pm

    Interesting…we use Quicken on ours and have been fairly pleased. What were your issues?

  2. Patrick Gillen / Oct 30 2008 4:17 pm

    I have istopmotion for the same reasons. it’ll probably never get used. You definitely have a ton more than I do! Awesome Dan!

  3. Dan / Oct 31 2008 8:41 am

    @Jim – Quicken is fine, it’s just not very Mac-like. And it doesn’t (or maybe didn’t) come pre-installed on the MacBook Pros, just the Macbooks. So I didn’t have it any way.

    @Patrick – Yeah, it’s a whole lot of stuff, but the vast majority of the smaller apps are either free or came in some sort of bundle from MacHeist of MacZot.

  4. Lisa Hardegree / Oct 31 2008 1:03 pm

    Wow, you are a nerd. But I guess I am just as nerdy for reading the ENTIRE list. I loved your “don’t want to wait for Photoshop to open” I thought it was just my slow computer and old version – guess I’m not alone.

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