As school begins I thought I would review the Mac desktop applications that I will most need during the semester. I hope my Mac-using ProfHacker colleagues will chime in with their own picks in the comments. Other posts for Windows and Linux apps will appear here in the coming weeks.
So, looking in order down my dock (which, for completeness’ sake, I will note that I organize vertically on the left side of my screen), we have:
- Things: I just reiterated my love for Things in a recent post about the to-do manager’s 2.0 update. I won’t gush more. It’s a great (though pricey and by no means the only great) OS X and iOS task manager. Mac app price: $49.99
- Postbox: another ProfHacker favorite. Amy reviewed Postbox, Mark discussed Postbox add-ons, and I recently announced a price-drop for the OS X Mail alternative. I love Postbox’s hotkeys for organizing mail and I love the social media integration. Mac app price: $9.95
- Tweetbot: this one’s only available as an alpha right now, but I’ve been using the Tweetbot client for iOS for awhile and I love the desktop version of the software. Tweetbot includes many power user features: you can mute particular users, keywords, or hashtags—if there’s a trending topic you have no interest in, for instance—quickly access lists; and easily manage multiple Twitter accounts. The latest update even added Tweetdeck-style column views. Even in alpha it’s a great Twitter client and I only expect it to improve. Mac App Price: $0 (for now; I expect the full release to cost something)
- Reeder: though I get much of my news through Twitter now, I do still follow quite a few RSS feeds. Reeder has a lovely interface and is easy to navigate with my arrow buttons alone. Reeder renders articles in a very readable way and integrates with a number of other web services: Twitter, Instapaper, Pocket, etc. I should also note that NetNewsWire is a very capable free alternative. Mac App Price: $4.99
- Coda: if you write for the web, there are few more useful and beautiful apps for markup than Coda. I can’t list Coda’s many features here, but my favorites include smart tag auto-completion (which saves me many keystrokes), simple uploading to the web, and live preview of web pages as I compose them. It’s well worth checking out Coda’s demo if you mark up texts for the web. Mac App Price: $75
- Zotero: We write all the time about Zotero on ProfHacker, so I expect you know about this bibliography manager from the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media. Since the release of Zotero Standalone freed the app from the confines of Firefox last year, however, my use has skyrocketed. Now Zotero has a permanent place in my dock (and, dare I say, in my heart?). Mac App Price: $0
- Notational Velocity: Jason wrote about this fast and drop-dead simple note-taking App last year. When I need to take notes, Notational Velocity opens almost instantly so I can just start writing. NV will also sync via the Simplenote web service or Dropbox. I sync with Simplenote so I can use the SN app to access my notes from my iOS device. Notational Velocity is a must-have for meetings. Mac App Price: $0
- Scrivener: I shall not extoll the many virtues of Scrivener again in this post. It is my favorite app, the one I could not work without. It could change your relationship to writing—try it already! Mac App Price: $38.25 (with education license)
- Spotify: we all need a little music sometimes. Mac App Price: $0 (unless, like me, you get addicted and pay $9.95/month for a premium subscription)
There are other apps I use, of course. I didn’t, for instance, discuss my browser or any of the apps built into OS X, such as Calendar, that I use frequently. There are also apps I use occasionally for other purposes. But the apps I keep in my dock are those I use most frequently—most on a daily basis. How about you? What desktop apps do you find most essential during the school year? Tell us what’s in your dock in the comments.