At the end of 2007, I listed a number of applications I couldn’t live without that year. I recently realized I hadn’t updated the list for 2008 so I decided to do it now. Some applications remain unchanged, but others have been replaced or dropped off the list all together. I’d like to say “Thank You” to all the Mac developers out there who help make the Mac the premier computing platform today. These are the applications I couldn’t live without in 2008, in no particular order.
Blogging wouldn’t be as fun or as easy without MarsEdit. The ability to draft posts offline allows me to work anywhere and publish once I get online. I love the ability to add new categories without visiting my WordPress powered site. If you blog without MarsEdit you aren’t being as productive as you could be. My one wish for MarsEdit would be bullet and numbered list support.
While there are a number of good ftp clients for the Mac, many of them aren’t free. I’m not a power ftp user and Cyberduck allows me to get the job done. Cyberduck supports ftp and sftp and has integration with Spotlight, the Keychain, AppleScript, and Growl. If you don’t want to spend money on an ftp client, give Cyberduck a try. If you try Cyberduck and use it frequently, consider a donation to the developer (I donated).
In 2007 I used iBank to manage my household finances. Sometime in 2008 I switched to Cha-Ching as my Mac money management application of choice. Neither application is perfect, but I liked the UI and ease of use of Cha-Ching. Cha-Ching 2.0, currently in beta, improves the UI and a number of other features. There is even a Cha-Ching iPhone application in beta (I’m testing it right now) that will sync your Cha-Ching database to your iPhone. When both of these Cha-Ching applications are officially released, it will create a killer experience.
Caffeine is a one trick pony but it works like magic. When watching TV shows or movies, just activate Caffeine and it will stop your display and Mac from going to sleep. You don’t have to mess with your power settings, just a click to activate and a click to deactivate it when your done watching your video. Preventing your display or Mac from going to sleep couldn’t be easier. I use this all the time when watching my EyeTV recordings or viewing TV shows on Hulu.
If you have to use Windows and don’t want to reboot into Boot Camp, VMware Fusion is a great application to add to your arsenal. Though Parallels was first on the scene, VMware has closed the gap in a relately short amount of time. I use Fusion to access some IE only websites for my work. I’m so thankful I don’t have to tote home a Windows laptop and can instead just fire up WMware Fusion. Get VMware Fusion 2 for about $60 from Amazon.
If you read RSS feeds on multiple devices, you need NetNewsWire. The ability to read feeds from nearly anywhere and have everything seamlessly sync is absolutely amazing. I can read feeds at work, feeds on my iPhone (iTunes link), and feeds on my Mac and the changes are all kept in sync. NetNewsWire syncs with NewsGator online and the mobile version of NewsGator to allow reading from almost anywhere. Mobile NewsGator even has an iPhone optimized version which I actually prefer over the native iPhone application. If you are an iPhone toting Mac user and haven’t tried NetNewsWire, why are you waiting?
Skitch is a screen capture application from Plasq. It’s been in beta for well over a year but is very stable and ridiculously useful. Nearly every single picture you see here on Apple Mac HQ has been captured or edited with Skitch. The ability to easily resize and markup a picture and drag it from Skitch into the MarsEdit media uploader makes adding pictures to Apple Mac HQ dead simple. Skitch even comes with it’s own web-service which allows easy uploading and image sharing. When Skitch hits 1.0, there is no question I’ll plunk down my credit card to purchase it.
1Password is a password manager and form filler for OS X. These days nearly every website has a login of some kind. 1Password will help you login to those websites with ease. 1Password works will nearly every browser on OS X. If you ever find yourself forgetting your passwords or having to manage different passwords in your different browsers, you need 1Password. Currently, the 1Password iPhone application (iTunes link) is even free!
BusySync is the glue that keeps my family schedule together. My wife uses Google Calendar to keep her schedule up to date while I use iCal. BusySync makes syncing between iCal and Google Calendar completely transparent. I update my iCal and then when I sync my iPhone, my calendars and my wife’s calendar is available anywhere I have my iPhone. The synchronization of calenders prevents those moments when someone isn’t home in time to go somewhere or those “where are you” phone calls.