Saturday, September 11, 2010

Apps on my Apple: Software Provisions for a MacBook Pro

I just got a MacBook Pro after years of suffering under a Windows IBM clone regime.  So here's what I'm installing, and a little bit about why:
  • XCode
    You need the Apple development kit to do much anything useful on the Mac. I would have installed it anyway, but MacPorts required it. 
  • RVM
    This is a cool tool that lets you install multiple Ruby versions and configure independent sets of GEMS libraries (importantly, including gems like Rails) to run without mucking around with environmental variables or re-installing. Kind of like the WAMP systems for Rails development, only better.  
  • MacPorts
    • MacVim
      Emacs users, I respect you. I just don't like Emacs. 
    • GIT
      This was actually used to install RVM, but I expect it to be generally useful for accessing other repositories.
    • GitX
      A Git GUI for the Mac. 
  • Update! One day into working on a new software team, it looks like MacPorts is "out" and Homebrew is "in".  I'll switch now, since I don't have much invested in MacPorts installs. 
    • Unfortunately Homebrew is fairly new and some of the MacPorts packages are not yet available. So uninstalling MacPorts also took out GitX. 
  • Skype
  • I like Skype. I use it for chat, for voice chat, and when I'm away from a land line phone (or my wife is using it) I use skype credit to make calls. 
  • Pomodoro
    A task tracking utility aligned with the Pomodoro time management technique. A Pomodoro is a 25 minute focused and unbroken work activity, followed by a 5 minute break, with guidelines for handling interruptions. The intent is to help people get less anxious about time pressure, and into flow modes more easily.  
  • CleanApp
    For $15, this daemon will watch apps you install and help you clean up their crufty trails when you decide to uninstall them. Also the idea of freeze-drying an old disused app has some appeal.
  • Quicksilver
    Looks like a great way to avoid hunting for that right app, folder, or document icon to open. But notice that I installed it after CleanApp. Will hope it works as good as the reviews. 
Planned or Suggested by others:
I haven't had time to look or buy these, but I've heard they are pretty slick:
  • OmniGraffle
    The ultimate graphic object design software. I hear it is better than Visio, but I have been using Inkscape instead... I know it is lower level software, but it was free.   
  • Parallels
  • Like VMWare Fusion, except it blows the pants off of Fusion in terms of graphic performance. Again, I had been using VirtualBox on the PC, and I have working PCs, and since Mac OSX is BSD based I'm not sure I need to emulate Linux on this box. Except maybe for sandboxing apps I want to play with but not install directly. 
  • oXygen XML
    I just like this tool for cleaning up markup, validating CSS, and doing schema work. However, lately I've been trying to get back into real applications development work, and haven't actually needed it. 
  • Firefox, Chrome, Opera
    Just gotta have other browsers, if for no other reason than to shun Internet Explorer. 
  • Nice graphical sFTP/ssh client.  (Filezilla? Putty? Cyberduck? Forklift?)
  • Will probably need an SVN client and GUI too. 
  • Zip/archiving client, if the Mac built in functionality is not enough.
  • CD Burning client
  • Backup process
Sounds Interesting

  • RooSwitch
    Set up separate profiles for running applications. I like the idea of compartmentalizing the data for each user's usage of a particular application. Not sure if the implementation is general enough. 
  • TextExpander
    I like the idea of building a library of useful code snippets. I like the idea even more of working in an environment stable enough that such a library is practically useful to create and maintain.
  • Cocktail. Mac settings all in one place with added disk and system utilities. 

Wondering About
  • AppFresh. Will it play nice with CleanApp and Homebrew ? 
  • OpenOffice. Nobody, but NOBODY in the blogs talking about Mac software mentioned OpenOffice. Not even a little.  I don't want to fork over $$$ for yet another copy of MS Office though. I hear NeoOffice is pretty slow too. There is always Google Docs...
  • Gimp. Everyone who is serious about graphical design work uses Adobe. Also, Gimp is still stuck in the 8 bit world. Wondering of Photoshop Expressions 
  • Aptana/Eclipse. Tried on the PC platform. Not so sure I want the tons of dead weight overburden that comes along with any Eclipse based IDE.  Seems rather stupid to put up with it. RadRails at least seemed worthwhile though. 
  • Things. The idea of using a task manager is interesting, but never seems to coalesce into an effective practice, outside of a team environment. 

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