I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and finally decided to make it public. Opera is possibly the fastest browser currently out there – certainly the fastest available in a final release. There are four features that Opera needs so that I would use it. “Bookmark all tabs”, a dropdown selector showing the title of all the tabs (like in Firefox; I know about the tab preview, but gliding over the tab bar is cumbersome), a scrapbook like Firefox’ scrapbook extension, and good ad blocking. As it stands, I’ll probably be swayed to continue with Firefox if they live up to the 3.1 speed promise in the final release. Otherwise it will be a tough call. Hmmm… Webkit? V8? Except for Opera’s exceptional security track record, those other contenders offer nearly the same features.
- Panic – makers of the highly acclaimed FTP client Transmit, and all-round web creation suite Coda. They have some free stuff.
- SmileOnMyMac – they have a couple of brilliant utilities, my personal favourite being TextExpander. Also recommend looking into BrowseBack.
- Ambrosia – search utility iSeek for quick access to popular general or topical search engines (e.g. Google or IMDB), and deep system software for video and audio capture, and arbitrary iPhone ringtone upload.
- Rogue Amoeba – more and similar deep system software, including stuff for audiocasting wirelessly or to the web.
- DEVONtechnologies – sell a suite of software that includes a desktop web search engine (it uses your CPU rather than Google’s and gives slightly different results), an application that combines bookmarking, PDF management software, and general file management in one interface (called DEVONthink), and a note taking application. I haven’t been able to make up my mind over whether I’d profit from using any of their software, but their search utility is good when you need more results than Google provides (but it’s not better than Google, it just returns a different set). Also haven’t been able to verify for myself that they have useful artificial intelligence in their software – which they claim. They have freebies.
- Unsanity – makers of the well-known ShapeShifter application. Many of their applications are concerned with bringing back useful features from Mac OS 9. There’s some free stuff as well.
- Freeverse – quite a ragbag of applications, including several applications for diverse graphics and audio creation tasks, as well as the free “Think!” – a window-shading app. You’ll also find a whole bunch of Mac games on their site which are quite entertaining.
This is an update to an older post of mine. I was curious whether I would still fork out for the same things that I said I would a year ago – and whether I’d actually have bought any of them. NetNewsWire, which I bought before making the first post, is now free, so we can scratch that off the list. Other than that, the list remains pretty much as was
- Text Expander – this is very, very likely to be my next buy, even though it does mess with the paste buffer. I got Typinator in one of my bundles, and I’m not even going to set it up, because I know it doesn’t do cursor position, so it loses out in the coding department, especially.
- Little Snitch – haven’t bought yet, but it’s a wicked utility indeed.
- Path Finder – still thinking about buying this.
- Parallels Desktop – still the best way to run Windows – even, by the looks of it, beyond VMware Fusion 2.0. Parallels still has the most seamless file integration, something so far overlooked by Fusion, which relies on shared folders that you have to specifically set up. So you’re always shuffling files around. Not good. Parallels FTW. And yes, I bought it as part of the mupromo bundle (about which otherwise, the less said, the better).
- CSSEdit – elegance incarnate. This was sitting on the substitution bench at my last commenting, but I bought it as part of MacHeist. Still loving it as ever.
- Mathematica – haven’t bought yet. Still a possibility.
- Transmit – I now think that I will end up buying this eventually. One of those really powerful and still usable apps for the Mac, every bit like Path Finder.
- Delicious Library – What a gem, except I don’t have a camera, may not buy one soon, and I’m not convinced that version 2.0 is so much better than the original. I might give it a spin, though. Maybe there is a way to downgrade if necessary.
And if I ever got serious about web design, I would add the following:
- SubEthaEdit – still looks good, but getting pushed further down the list. Is now getting competition from several open source efforts, but seems to still be the best of breed in spite of everything. For one, it has syntax highlighting for every language with a shaking stick attached.
- Coda – I think this would be a good investment if I got serious about web dev. Not likely to happen right now.
On a further note, I’m still looking for a tabbed, syntax-highlighting text editor that recovers an entire crashed session (not like Vim, where you have to remember which files you were working on to have them re-open). Also, Cocoa would be nice. I was working with Smultron for a bit, but I’ll have to ditch it because it kills my files when it/the OS crashes (yes, surprisingly, Tiger does crash – I’m sure Leopard does, too). I’m also beginning to think that BrowseBack is kind of a neat idea.