Required OS X programs

March 28, 2004

I've been asked by quite a few people for a roundup of the Mac OS X applications that I find essential. The following is a brief list of those programs:

OmniWeb 5 (beta)
Without a doubt, the best web browser I've ever used on any platform (and I've used pretty much every browser available since ~1993). Expect a full, exhaustive review when this gets out of beta.
QuickSilver
Though I've only been using this for about two weeks, I'd hate to be without it. If you prefer to use the mouse as little as possible (like myself), then Quicksilver will probably completely obviate your need for the dock. I haven't yet taken that step, but I'm not ruling it out. For a more in-depth look at this excellent program, check out Todd Dominey's write-up or Rui Carmo's evaluation.
NetNewsWire
The is the news aggregator for OS X. This is actually the first program I installed when I moved to OS X.
MenuMeters
This is the best utility I've found for keeping track of system resources (processor utilization, memory/disk allocation, bandwidth monitoring, etc.). It has a small resource footprint, is very configurable, and all of the statistics sit unobtrusively in the menubar.
Mail.appetizer
A great plugin for Mail.app — I wrote about this a while ago.
iTerm
Let's face it, if you came to OS X because of Unix like I did, it probably didn't take you long to figure out that Terminal.app just wasn't going to cut it.
RBrowserLite
This is a fairly decent FTP program. Like most GUI Mac applications, it likes to use multiple windows for things that can and should be contained in one. Notwithstanding this annoyance, it's a solid program. My only real gripe is that it tends to eat up a lot of CPU when you do multiple transfers. Truth be told, I still use NcFTP (command-line FTP client) for most of my file transfer needs, but when I'm doing large batch jobs I turn to RBrowserLite.
Xinema
QuickTime will not allow you to full-screen a movie unless you buy the Pro version, which, and I think this goes without saying, is completely ridiculous. Xinema not only lets you full-screen, but also offers better playback control (fast-forward/rewind using the arrow keys, etc.).
BBEdit
Easily the most powerful text-editing/coding package available.
SubEthaEdit
I find myself using this text-editing application more and more. In fact, I've used it to type up all of my posts for the past couple of months. Its big claim to fame is the ability for multiple users to edit the same document in real-time, but I've found that it's actually a really great editor besides.
SideTrack
SideTrack is a replacement driver for the trackpad (touchpad) found on Apple PowerBooks and iBooks. Among other things, it allows you to do vertical and horizontal scrolling with the trackpad.
TinkerTool
TinkerTool is an application that gives you access to additional preference settings Apple has built into Mac OS X. This allows you to activate hidden features in the operating system and in some of the applications delivered with the system.

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