Software I use, 2014 edition

in Geek Inside

“What software do you use for x?” I must hear this at least once a week, so when Andrew and Bryan both wrote about the software they use on their laptop, I figured I’d do the same. If it doesn’t help you discover new cool apps you may not know about, it will help me next time I have to set up a new machine! :)

I will start with the apps that run in the background, and that I couldn’t live without.

Background apps

Dropbox and Google Drive are always there, keeping an eye on important folders on my laptop.

I use both Cloudup and CloudApp to share screenshots, screencasts, and other documents with just about anyone.

I don’t know what I would do without 1Password. If you don’t use a password manager yet, please install one. If you don’t want to pay for 1Password, Keepass is a good free alternative.

I’ve grown to love Clocks. It’s really useful if you work across different timezones.

When on the go, I use Sidestep to proxy all my traffic.

If there was one app I would like you to remember at the end of this post, it would be F.lux. This small app changes the color of your monitor display depending on the time of the day.

I have played with RescueTime and Timing to track my time in front of the screen, but never really used the apps to their full potential. They both end up running in the background all the time, and I don’t really look at the results.

Productivity

While I am not big on GTD software (sorry Bryan, I haven’t tried Things yet!), I do enjoy getting things done, quickly. :)

Alfred and Textexpander are 2 huge time savers, and I rely on them a lot, for work and for just about anything I need to do quickly on my computer.

When talking notes, I use either nvAlt or Simplenote. Simplenote is handy because of its synchronization with my phone, and nvAlt doubles as a simple GTD app once you install small extensions like nvRemind.

I don’t do much image editing, but the little I do, I do with Pixelmator. It’s way cheaper than Photoshop, and it does a lot.

Development

Coda was the first software I purchased, a few years ago. It’s been my code editor of choice for years, but I recently switched to Atom. I wanted to give this new app a try, and there are already many packages allowing you to extend the app to fit your needs. I’ve also played with PHPStorm. For file transfers, I use Forklift.

Although I have installed vvv and use it from time to time, I still use MAMP for most of my local development.

However, since I do most of my code work on remote sandboxes now, I’ve slowly switched to using Mac’s Terminal app for everything instead of the apps above. Oh, and I use nano. Don’t judge.

I’ve tried a few Terminal apps, and used Total Terminal for a long time, but I’ve recently uninstalled it and use only the default app.

I switched from Bash to zsh when I discovered Oh My ZSH. I use it everywhere I can now!

Since we’re talking about Terminal, I must mention ack.

I use Gas Mask to manage my hosts file.

I spend most of my time in Chrome (you can’t beat its developer tools, and its extensions), and I use Firefox, Safari, and multiple instances of Windows for different versions of IE (thanks to Virtualbox and ievms).

Communication

Limechat is still my favorite IRC app. I even used it as Slack client for a while, but I eventually gave up and installed the official Slack app to see all the custom emoticons my colleagues were using.

I use Adium for IM (Live Chat) and Jabber (WordPress.com and Jetpack Subscriptions).

I still use Skype from time to time, but hopefully at some point I can switch to Slack for everything.

Oh, and since we’re talking about communication, I must mention QuickTime player and its screen recording option, as well as gify and Cloudup to create and share small animated gifs. An image is worth a thousand words! :)

And to store the URLs of your best gifs and keep them handy for later? I will give you 2 options:
boom if you spend your time in your terminal.
– Textexpander / Alfred, already mentioned above.

For the rest, it all happens in Chrome: I use the Tweetdeck Chrome app to keep an eye on my twitter accounts, and Gmail’s web interface for all my emails. I could never find an email client offering all the usual keyboard shortcuts as well as Gmail’s Multiple Inboxes’ view.

That’s about it I think. How about you? Are there any apps that you think I should try?

  1. Thanks Jeremy. I have discovered many new apps.
    For GTD I use Omnifocus.
    For Markdown, Multi Markdown Composer. It support TOC.
    Never Try Atom. I’m still on Sublim Text
    For time tricking I use this awesome app Soulver to calculate.
    Big fan too for Alfred and Text Expander.

    • There is a lot I like about it!

      – Autocomplete is much better than in Bash. For example, you can type nano twitter – Tab and it will suggest all files with twitter in their names, not just the ones starting with twitter.
      – To move up a directory, no need to cd ... Just .. is enough.
      – Their template system allows you to have a pretty command prompt, with useful info. See this post.
      – There is a lot more, but I would really suggest you to try and discover for yourself :)

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