Geeks With Blogs
Matt Roberts Rails and .NET
I own a mac, I'm a fan of macs, but I'm not a mac-fanboy. I think they're bloody great machines, and that OSX is by far the best OS out there, but I appreciate they're not for everyone. Even osx has (cue dramatic pause) .. flaws. Copy a folder somewhere in OSX, and if the folder already exists on the destination it will prompt you to entirely replace that folder - WOT NO MERGE?! Anyway, apart from that minor niggle, OSX is awesome, especially for web development (in rails).

So where am I going with this? Recently a colleague at work has also taken the mac plunge and joined the collective, and so I thought it would be good for me to list the top (free) tools and applications that I couldn't live without on the mac. So, here they are:-

1) Firefox 3 and Safari 4
I can't decide between these, so I use both. Firefox rules for its extensions, while Safari is very fast and slick.
2) Adium
Adium is a very nice IM client for the mac. Its light, simple, free of crappy adverts and other such bilge, and best of all, its a green duck. Nuff said.

3) iStat Menus
This is a really good system monitoring tool, that sits un-obtrusively in the apple menu, um, thing. Its seriously useful and very configurable, and gives me a reasuring insight into whats happening in the mac

4) Google notifier for mac
Its a mail / calendar notifier for the mac. From google. Nice.

5) Quicksilver
Ah, the swiss army knife of the mac world. This tool rocks. The blog above is a great write up on Quicksilver, and how to use it.

6) VLC
Quicktime player is OK, pretty good for .MOV files, but well not that good for other formats. VLC on the other hand is one of those "just works" apps. it plays videos of most formats. It plays them well, and rarely complains. Nice.

7) Tweetie
My mac twitter client of choice. Its a shame is ad-supported, but it really is a nice client, does everything I need, and has a good clean UI.

8) Growl.
I can't believe growl isn't actually built into OSX. Its a simple un-obtrusive notification system, that I first heard of when doing automated testing in rails. Turns out a lot of apps support growl notifications. Or maybe growl is just hooking into some central osx notifcation event broker. I dunno, but its very nice, and must be installed.

9) TextMate (or MacVim)
Damn it. This one isn't free. But, its very cheap, and for your money you get a very very nice text editor. If you know about rails, you already know about this. If you don't want to pay, I also recommend macvim ( Its a mac port of VIM, done very nicely, and VIM is very nice, as long as you're prepared to master it. And theres some good rails stuff out there for VIM (

10) Transmission
I used this bittorrent client while I was waiting for uTorrent to be available for the mac. I liked it so much I stayed with it. Its simple, effective, pretty much does what it says on the tin.

Thats it :) By sheer co-incidence it came to 10 applications. I hope you find this list at least marginally useful, and i
Posted on Thursday, June 4, 2009 4:39 PM osx | Back to top

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