04 Nov 2009

Some Fantastic Mac And iPhone Applications


I'll use this post to tell you about a few Mac or iPhone applications that I've had a fantastic time with lately.  These are typically applications that perform a common task extremely efficiently & effectively, but there are a couple Mac or iPhone applications in the list that completely transform tasks for the better.

This is by no means a comprehensive list; I think you can expect some more lists like this in the future since there are so many great Mac & iPhone applications out now or coming soon...

Quicksilver or LaunchBar

Both Quicksilver and LaunchBar are really cool & useful, but could be a hard one to get used to.  They both basically accomplish the same thing - they set a key combination (I use ⌘-Space) to bring up a floating interface that accepts type.  Whatever you type is then used as a type of search query which instantly returns what you're probably looking for...

For example, if you want to launch FireFox then you'd hit ⌘-space and start typing "firefox" - you probably won't need to get past the letter 'f' after using it for a day, though, because it learns your actions.  By learning I mean that if you downloaded another application that started with the letter 'f' tomorrow, and started using that more than FireFox, then it would learn the new application and present that to you when you typed 'f' instead of FireFox.

It can be as difficult to explain as it can be to get used to - rather than going by visual cues like taking your mouse and traveling down to your dock and knowing where a certain application sits, you have to train yourself to type out the name of the application you want to open or the name of the command you want to run.

It's well worth the initial learning curve, though.

TextExpander

TextExpander lets you set up custom abbreviations for your frequently-typed text & frequently-used images.  Additionally, there are add-ons that will correct common spelling mistakes or provide pre-made snippets that will complete HTML code, etc.

I use it a lot for beginnings of emails, since I usually start them all out the same way.  I also have a snippet for my email signature, since I don't want it included in every email I send but I also don't want to retype it.  Beyond that, I haven't gotten too far into it yet, but I'm sure it will continue to work itself into daily use.

There's also an iPhone version that accomplishes the same task on your iPhone by providing you with a place to store snippets & compose messages that can then be sent to Mail, Twitter, SMS, or copied & pasted wherever you like.

MindNode Pro

You can read through my post on Mind Mapping for more information on MindNode Pro.  You'll also read about MindNode Touch while you're there, which is a great implementation of MindNode for the iPhone.

Things

Things is a great task management application.  It's very easy to use, which is one of the most important aspects of an application that's supposed to help you accomplish more.  I'm not fumbling through menus or forced to click through options or added features - don't get me wrong, there are plenty of features in this application, but the point is that they're all opt-in features which allows me to quickly get ideas/tasks down instead of fighting with due dates, scheduling and organization right off the bat.

It also pairs very nicely with Things on the iPhone by syncing over wifi when the application is open both on the Mac and on the iPhone.  The iPhone version does just as good of a job as the Mac version in making the interface clean & easy to use.

Tweetie

Tweetie is a good Twitter application, and a new version is expected soon.  From my searches, this is the best Twitter application that doesn't use the Adobe Air platform (which I've been avoiding due to complaints of slowness I've read around the internet).  There's also a version of Tweetie for the iPhone, which is currently my hands-down top choice for using Twitter on my iPhone.

Update: The company that makes Tweetie was purchased by Twitter, and the client was re-released as the official Twitter client.

Tags

apps firefox iphone launchbar mac mind-mapping mindnode quicksilver textexpander things tweetie twitter

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