Frabjous day - I have a new laptop. I’d been waiting for ages for the next model of MacBook Air to be released, so I pounced at the weekend. And I think that makes it time for the geekblogger’s favourite: the “OSX Apps I Install First” list. I’ll avoid the obvious ones like Chrome, Spotify, Dropbox & XCode, and skip straight to the meat. Hopefully there’s something here you haven’t heard of before that you can try…
Do you like Terminal, Spotlight or Chrome’s universal search feature? Then Alfred is for you. It’s a fast app-launcher, file-finder & web-searcher that’s absolutely the first thing I put on every Mac. More flexible than Spotlight, faster than QSB and currently thriving (unlike the almost-zombie Quicksilver), I can’t recommend it enough.
We were burgled last year. My laptop - my working life - was taken. I had Time Machine backups, and I got lucky (they didn’t steal my external hard drive) so I got it all back. But never again will I risk my music & my photos1 on the laziness of thieves.
In the weeks following the burglary I tried several off-site backup solutions2. BackBlaze is the bee’s knees. It’s written by ex-Apple employees, and it shows. Actually, it hides. It just sits quietly in the background ensuring that my data’s always backed up to a second country. It also does second duty as a poor man’s version control system, and third duty as a find-if-stolen service. But it’s absolutely, 100% worth the price of a latte a month. Get it.
I’m not a graphic designer. I’ll never be a graphic designer. So I can’t tell you exactly how Pixelmator compares to Photoshop. I can tell you that it does more than everything I need, it’s about 95% cheaper than Photoshop, and it’s one of the most polished pieces of software I’ve ever used.
My ‘hobby’ iPad app, Time for Tea, was designed in Pixelmator and I think the result is pretty good (for a non-graphic designer):
(That’s the current peak of my design skills. Any shortcomings are mine, not Pixelmator’s.)