I love Apple Macs. Steve Jobs and his team has created one of the best platforms for enjoyable and effective creative outlets. But that's just what it is: a platform. What you build upon it is what makes it unique and amazing. Technology is what you make it. Read on to see a list of the applications I install almost as soon as I reinstall my computer's OS.

Essential Software: Basically I install this stuff within the first hour of having everything up and running and I wish that Apple would buy most of this and integrate into Mac OS X.
  • Growl - Unobtrusive Systemwide Notifications When events happen around your computer, most application can tell Growl to send a nice little title with a description to the upper right corner that let's you know what's happened and then it fades out. Most of the time you can click it to go off and see it. But It's like having one foot in the stream of constant updates and one foot out. Seriously, Apple needs to buy this. Free
  • Fresh - Pop up recent files handy do-dadd Hit a keyboard shortcut and the 6-ish most recently added or altered (that's a big one) files are there, ready to be dragged into anything (even open/upload dialog boxes). Handy as hell. <--Hell's probably not too handy, huh? Sayings are weird... $9
  • Jumpcut - Simple Clipboard History Saves the last 20 things to grace your clipboard. Super helpful. I catch things I copied the day before often enough. Usually it's just for working with 3 or so things without having to recopy any of it. Super helpful. Free
  • Fluid - Site Specific Browser aka Turn Gmail into an App Web pages are turning into applications more and more. Why not treat them as such? Fluid turns any site and creates a browser that is dedicated to just that site. Super helpful for frequently visited and left open sites that get lost in your browser's tabs. Some ideas: Gmail, Google Docs, Google Calendar, Facebook, Web Host Panel, Project Sites, Wikipedia, Google Reader, Any News Site. You can get really tricky by turning your Fluid site into a Menu Extra SSB (pretty easily) that puts the browser up in your menu bar. This works even better when the site you are using in that browser is an iPhone optimized site. I heard about it here. Free
  • Adium - Multi-Account, Multi-Network IM Client. Sadly doesn't do video chat. Free
  • AppZapper - The Uninstaller Apple Forgot. $13
  • Caffeine - Screen Dimming Inhibitor. Useful for watching videos online & not having to move your mouse every 5 minutes. Free
  • MultiClutch - Trackpad Gestures > Keyboard Shortcuts. If you have a laptop that allows for 3 finger swipes for browser forward/back, this will let you do a whole lot more. Free

Organizational and Productive Software

  • Evernote - The Best note taking software EVER. Never lose another note again. Syncs with a Windows version and online version accessible from any broswer. Syncs with your Blackberry, iPhone/iPod Touch, Windows Mobile, Sony Ericson, or Palm Pre. You can email notes to it. You can tag your tweets to be sucked into Evernote. You can send text or picture messages to it and then IT SCANS THE WORDS IN IT AND MAKES IT AVAILABLE FOR SEARCH. I basically have a pocket scanner with my iPhone (thanks to a macro lens case) that I can search the words in later. Seriously. This is amazing. There's web clippers that you can install in Firefox/Safari/IE that will allow you to highlight text then send it to Evernote and it'll snag the source url you grabbed it from. It'll geo-locate your notes too and you can see them on a map. The free version will allow me to add 16,000 notes or 380 photos in a month. Haven't even come close to my monthly limit. FREE
  • Anxiety - Minimalistic to do pop up that links into the system wide to do list, newly available in Snow Leopard. This means it shows in iCal, Mail, Dashboard Widgets, any 3rd party to do app, and can sync to Blackberry/Palm/iPhone nicely. Free
  • Dropbox - This syncs a folder to a web service that will in turn sync it down to any other computer running Windows, Mac, or Linux that you want. Super helpful as a backup. If you keep your working files in there, you'll always have a current off-site backup. Also, there's a public folder that you can toss big files, then get a public link for. I sent my friend a 4.4 GB file once. Start out at 2 GB free, then you can get up to 5 GB by inviting friends. Pay accounts are available to get up to 50 & 100 GB. Free
  • OmniOutliner - Outlining and note taking on steroids. This app was my savior in the final years of college. Seriously, it helped out SO much. Screw MS Word for notes, that's for righting the final paper. Towards the end, I dreamed of having a personal wiki through VoodooPad that housed all notes in all classes, because knowledge usually overlaps in courses and taking notes can be redundant. Expensive at $40, but if you use it lots, it's worth it.
  • Blogo - Simplistic, quick blogging software. This got me starting to blog more recently. It's quick, it has what you need and doesn't have what you don't need. I often think of something I want to post, fire it up, type it out, send it up and I'm done with a blog post up 5 minutes after I had the idea about it. It handles multiple images well, and will let me jump over to HTML mode which is nice. $25
  • Tweetie - Twitter client for Mac. FINALLY. This makes the entire process SO much better. Fires updates through Growl. Multi-accounts, TwitPic support, Short URLs support. It's awesome. A few ads in the timeline that are totally fine to deal with gets you the free edition.
  • 1Password - This is the BEST password manager ever. So much more too. It's smart. Everytime you enter a password, it asks to remember the password, then tosses it in 1P. Later when you want to go to the site, you can click it in a list, it asks the 1 Password, then it opens the page, fills in the info, and hits enter and bam, you're in. Syncs with iPhone. Check out this video, because seeing is a way better way to explain it. $40

Web and Graphic Design Software:

  • Coda - One Window Web Development This app now takes care of 80% of my work on web sites. CSSEdit is better at just editing CSS, but this still has all the auto-completion that I need (makes work so much faster with a much lower chance of getting a syntax error. I especially like that they have a "Preview" mode, which is really just Safari (alright, it's WebKIT) running in another tab. Super helpful if you work on awesome Content Management Systems like I do on a regular basis. This basically made me stop using CSSEdit, TextMate, & Transmit (which are all very awesome BTW).
  • Firefox with Firebug - The reason I didn't quit Web Design Firebug lets you get under the hood of a web page the way that lets you understand it and, more importantly, lets you live tweak the HTML & CSS of a page. It really aids understanding and cuts down on the maddening cycle of: See error, change code, upload, wait, refresh browser (w/o a cache), wait, observe how it almost worked, repeat. Thank you Firebug dude, one day I will donate a million dollars to you. One day. On Firefox, I love the awesome bar. You know, the awesome bar, it used to be the address bar, but now you can type it a whole lot of other stuff. It's like live search for your history & favorites. It kicks ass.
  • Snippet - Awesome, quick, smart code snippets. $13


  • I Love Stars - Easy iTunes Ratings in Menu Bar Smooth, simple, and effective. If you like your iTunes song's rated, then keep this up in your menu bar and you just click the rating you want.
  • PandoraJam - Better Pandora Experience. You can stream Pandora to Airport Expresses and it umm, can record Pandora. Yep. $15
  • Skitch - Take screenshots, draw little arrows and put text on screenshot to explain your idea, click button to upload to internet, then copy link to the image to toss into IM/Email/Twitter. Helps explain concepts A TON. Also, check out Jing (Windows too) to record video of your screen, which also tosses it up online with a url. Both Free.