What else is on your Mac?

In what is most definitely the epitome of yak shaving, I’ve been exploring other applications that maybe, might, possibly be nifty to have on my Macbook. This, of course, means that I’ve now installed demos of several apps that will be run only once – if that – and then discarded because they’re a) not worth the price, b) don’t meet my needs, c) should probably have never been released on an unsuspecting public in the first place. There might be some wheat (I’m gluten-free, so maybe we’ll try for buckwheat) amidst the chaff, but I’ll have spent the better part of a day goofing off with apps instead of writing. This is a “bad thing,” but with Snow Leopard sitting on my desk and a determination to do a clean install, I’m feeling a pressing need to settle on what apps will make the cut before I perform the upgrade.

I’m wondering what others have on their Macbooks in addition to Scrivener…? The apps I use most often (besides Scrivener, iTunes, and iCal) are The Hit List, Evernote, Writer’s Cafe (only its Storylines feature, which I’d drop in a heartbeat if Scrivener added something similar), and Pantry (so everyone in the family can sync their grocery list additions with my iPhone).

Oh, and just FYI, the apps I’m installing this afternoon to check out are Acorn, Fresh, Deep, Yep, and Leap. Any comments on those would be appreciated.


PS - I did also write four pages this morning, so the day is not a complete wash.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Circus Ponies’ Notebook
FinderPop (no Snow Leopard version yet, but there will be one eventually)

iStat menus
Aptana Studio

That list is a lot longer than I remember. Keep in mind everything only the stuff before iWork is worth anything.

Wow, that Pantry app actually requires me to keep track of HOW MANY tomatoes I’ve got in the fridge? (Runs away screaming.)

Does it track half eaten chinese take out?

Most useful:
(plus Scrivener, of course)
DevonThink Pro

(Yes, I really use all three. DTP is the massive research database. DevonNote is the lightweight scratch pad. EverNote is good for chronological logs of things, plus is more readily accessible from other computers.)


(DevonAgent is great for integration with DTP, but I much prefer FireFox for general browsing.)

Apple apps that I actually use:
Address Book

Because my clients made me use it:
Microsoft Office – The less I use it, the happier I am – thank you Scrivener! – but it’s the one format all my clients will accept without question. And the change tracking can be useful.
GraphicConverter – Indispensable for cross-platform graphic file wrangling.
OmniOutliner – Given a choice, I rarely outline. But when a client wants one, this is the least painful way to give it to them.

Stuff I don’t use much, but keep around because it does a few things well:
MindManager – Used it a lot under Windows. Mac version isn’t as capable, and is less necessary. – Macs have Scrivener!
CircusPonies Notebook – In a paper filing system, there are always a few sheets of reference information that you don’t need often, but need to find them instantly when you do. I keep that stuff here.
Curio – I use it like Scrivener for visual projects like presentations.

Stuff that’s really cool in concept, but I can’t seem to get past the learning curve:
Personal Brain

Indispensable utilities:
BackJack – offsite backup
Quicksilver – application launcher and other cool stuff
Sciral Consistency – recurring task manager
SplashID – password storage
SuperDuper – disk-to-disk backup
Time Machine – system-level Undo

(Yes, that’s three backup programs. Useful for, respectively, if the house burns down, if the disk blows up, and if I shoot my data in the foot.)

Railroad Tycoon
ChessBase – supports my online chess habit. Windows only, but I’ve got VMWare.


Every day use:

Nisus Writer Pro
OpenOffice 3.1.1/NeoOffice (for exchanging files)
Mike’s cards (for fun)

Frequent use:

Adobe CS4 Premier Collection (Acrobat Pro, Bridge, Device Central, Dreamweaver, Drive, Fireworks, Flash, Illustrator, InDesign, Media Player, Photoshop)
iWork 08
Bookends 10.5.6
Circus Ponies Notebook (just starting to use)
Reunion 9

Occasional use:

Papyrus 12.5
Ragtime 6

Almost better to ask what’s NOT on my MacBook! Because it would be too embarrasing to provide a total list, I’m going to edit it to those applications that I actually use on a regular basis (and have bought a license for – there are several apps that I’ve trialed and haven’t bothered to remove yet).

Scrivener (articles, books)
MacJournal (journal, brainstorming)

Information Management:
DevonThink Pro 2.0 beta (long-term research organizaton)
Yojimbo (quick data dump)
Circus Ponies Notebook (for raw note-taking)
Bento (for structured information)
Numbers (I have the 2008 iWork suite, but mostly just use the spreadsheet)

Curio (gathering data for non-writing projects, scrap books)
Tinderbox (sort of my mind mapper, with lots of extras)

Graphics/Web Building:

Applications I own and like, but have not really entered my workflow:
The Hit List
Pages, Keynote

Okay, if I don’t end there, I’ll start to cry.

Okay, nice to know I’m not the only one who has tons of applications sitting around waiting to “enter the workflow.” =) SuperNoteCard and Curio are two apps that I was really excited about when I purchased them, but I haven’t used as much as anticipated. And I’ve encouraged my teens to use Circus Ponies Notebook, but I don’t do much with it myself.

As far as Pantry, I’m way too lazy/disorganized/disinterested to create an inventory of the kitchen. That would require digging into the back of the fridge, and I’m afraid of how much half-eaten Chinese takeout has taken up residence. The sync feature is what makes the app useful – the whole family now shares a common shopping list, and my husband and I can access it from our iPhones, so whichever of us is at the store is sure to get everything. The software definitely has its flaws, and I’ve made numerous feature requests, but it’s a good start.

My Applications folder has 138 items in it.

I do use some of them. Really.


I have a heavy load too, but my favourite apps are:

Nisus Writer Pro
Tables (Spreadsheet)
Yojimbo (More and more just for passwords and serial numbers)
Together (Using it more than Yojimbo for general data)

Then other important ones are:
Lightroom (for the library)
Lightzone (for serious photo editing)
Graphic Converter (for quick and dirty photo editing)
OmniOutliner (don’t use it nearly as much these days)

And there are more

The trouble with this sort of thread is that you learn about new software and then, of course, you download it … I’ve just downloaded Lightzone. I have to admit is does look very interesting. Damn. Applications folder now has 139 items.


This thread put me on to Leap and it looks awesome, I think I’ll be getting it despite the relatively high price.

Scrivener, Pages, Nisus Writer Pro (trialling), Papers, Devonthink Pro

I am a software groupie and have dozens of apps I have bought and don’t use :neutral_face:

One that I find essential is Launchbar – http://www.obdev.at/products/launchbar/index.html – a general keyboard-based utility to launch apps, jump to e-mail addresses, look up words, do calculations… It’s been pretty well discussed in other Scrivener forums; for me, though, it works so well for all that I want to do that I keep the dock on my machine hidden (the OS keyboard toggle command for that is option+cmd+d) and call it up maybe once a week for some odd thing that I need. Launchbar does everything else.

Apps I can’t do without:

Scrivener, of course
QuickSilver – a must
Adobe Photoshop CS4 and Fireworks CS4
Fresh – LOVE it
Path Finder
MS Word etc
Apple iWork suite (I use Pages for PDFs)
OmniFocus (yes, in addition to Things :slight_smile:)
SOHO Notes (looking forward to the new version0
EverNote (just to use with Curio)
Personal Brain
Yummy FTP
DevonThink Pro
CodeMaster Pro

Just downloaded Yep and Leap, which I think I’ll buy, because they help me to browse all my stuff…

That’s what I use most… there’s lots more apps I use occasionally. :slight_smile:

Apple’s applications: Safari, Mail, iCal, Address Book, Time Machine

The essentials

Writing: Scrivener, Mellel, Pages (for exchanging files with Word users)
Information Management: Devon Think Pro Office
Planning: Contactizer Pro
Bibliography: Bookends
Photography: Adobe Lightroom
Backup: Chronosync, Mozy
Presentations: Keynote
Private Information: Secret Book
Scanning: VueScan

Other applications of daily use

iFlash (for learning vocabulary etc.)

I use the following:

Ulysses (as a backup to Scrivener) Can’t make myself trust one program.
EagleFiler (as a backup to Yojimbo) Like I said, I have trust issues.
Devonthink Pro Office
OmniOutliner Pro (as a backup to Opal), do you see a theme here?
OmniGraffle Pro

These are my majors.

MacOSX Guru
Email: macosxguru@gmail.com
Blog: themacosxguru.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @macosxguru

Out of curiosity, how do you like Tinderbox and do you use it regularly?

Have not previously encountered SizeUp, so I’m trying it. Although it throws up the odd weird visual artefact, I think it could be a time-saver on my 22-inch screen.

Thanks, Timotheus!

I have mixed feelings about Tinderbox. There are times when I love it, and there are times when I have to look at the program and scratch my head in frustration.

It is very powerful. It is unique. It does things which you never expected a program to do.

However, the learning curve is huge. I keep getting the feeling that I am missing something. I have read the Tinderbox Way, the book written by the developer of the program several times. I have read the manual at least ten times. I keep up with the user forum regularly. I really want to use the program. I find that after all this effort, I like the program but I am barely scratching its abilities.

So, it is frustrating. But people who are brighter than me assure me that it is an integral part of their workflow, so I am still trying to do just that. I keep plugging away at it, hoping that one day I will truly grok it and get to Tinderbox nirvana. I haven’t reached there yet.

I don’t think this is exactly what you wanted to hear but if you go to the Tinderbox forum you will find that there are quite a few people who share my fascination and frustration with the program.

Email: macosxguru@gmail.com
Website: themacosxguru.blogspot.com/
Twitter: twitter.com/macosxguru