My Freshly Packed Toolbox

I just got a new MacBook Pro and while setting it up, starting from scratch as I usually do, I thought I’d make a list of the things I’ve decided to install this time around:

  • 1Password: For all of the passwords.
  • CreativeCloud: Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Acrobat, Camera RAW.
  • Air Video Server HD: Great for streaming videos from a Mac to an iOS or tvOS device. Handles all the transcoding for you, so deals with most formats transparently.
  • Atom: Current code editor. Been using this for a while. Switched from Coda to TextMate to MacVim to Sublime Text to Atom… been considering giving Brackets a try…
  • Backblaze: Backup! Have had too many external HDDs fail, and considering their price point, Backblaze makes a lot more sense.
  • Bartender 2: Gotta tame that toolbar so I can still read menus and also still access all the things in the toolbar. Pops them back in if they need attention though, which is nice.
  • Battle.net: I’m a sucker for Blizzard games.
  • Caffeine: So small and simple… just to stop my Mac falling asleep when I don’t want it to, but letting it do its thing the rest of the time.
  • DaisyDisk: I love a simple, visual way to dig through all the shite that builds up on my hard drive so I can see where space is being used and free it up.
  • Deliveries: Where my parcels at?
  • Docker: Would love to make all my development environments Docker-based. Not quite there yet, but one day. Would sure make resource management for local dev a bit nicer.
  • Dropbox: Because the cloud is just… a safer place to put my stuff than keeping it on this lump of aluminium I’m carrying around and potentially spilling coffee on.
  • Endurance: Notices when your machine is unplugged and drops below a battery usage threshold, and starts minimising unfocussed apps, dimming the screen, letting you know about resource hogs you might want to terminate to squeeze some more time out.
  • Fantastical 2: Great calendar app! Syncs with Google Apps / G Suite and lets you type appointments and reminder in almost natural language. Also pulls in other accounts like Facebook, etc. (Goodbye, Sunrise. I miss you.)
  • Firefox: Mostly for those times when Google Chrome’s DNS caching is too aggressive. Or if I need to test something on a different account.
  • F.lux: I was skeptical about this light temperature affecting sleep patterns stuff at first, but I’ve found it really does help me. Maybe it’s placebo, but it’s still helping, so I don’t care.
  • GitHub Desktop: Sometimes there are things that are just easier to do from the app than from the web UI.
  • Google Chrome: decent developer tools that I’m comfortable with and support for all the modern things I want to be able to use. Also fully in the Google Apps / G Suite ecosystem, so playing it safe there.
  • Google Drive: Handy for syncing files I use regularly for work and may like to have when I’m mobile, in particular.
  • iA Writer: current favourite app for writing in which supports Markdown, simultaneous preview pane, and syncing.
  • iTerm2: A number of features that make it nicer to use than the built-in Terminal app for macOS.
  • Just Press Record: A nice way to sync dictated notes and also does automatic transcription. The transcription isn’t especially accurate, but it’s a good starting point and I find it easier to verbalise my thoughts initially than writing them down, and then come back and edit.
  • Keka: Does a much better job of dealing with the various archive formats I throw at it than macOS on its own.
  • Keybase: This is one of those apps where on first use, you feel like it’s a solution looking for a problem. However, I love it for transferring sensitive information in a nice encrypted way to colleagues. Also has a new desktop client that’s getting better and better!
  • Kitematic: GUI for managing local Docker containers with DockerHub integration.
  • Loading: Sometimes I can’t work out what’s currently using my network connection, and this little toolbar app shows me. It’s spinning basically all the time, but at least I can see what’s making it spin.
  • MacID: Hooray! Using your iPhone, Apple Watch, and TouchID for all the things. Auto- locking/unlocking is very handy when in a co-working space.
  • Magnet: Throw those windows around wherever you like, super quickly. Left, right, up, down, fullscreen… just nice.
  • Microsoft Office: Still dealing with Office files from all over the place, and Keynote just doesn’t match up to PowerPoint for dealing with display of data… yet.
  • Monity: Making use of the sidebar widgets on macOS to peek at my machine’s resource usage. Helps work out what might be making the machine run slowly at any given time.
  • Newton: Email clients… pffft. At the moment, I quite like this one. It used to be called CloudMagic.
  • Paw: It really is “the most advanced API tool for Mac”. If you work with REST APIs, or similar, often then you need to get yourself a copy of this app.
  • PiPifier: macOS apparently has picture-in-picture mode now… but not everything supports it by default. This Safari Extension adds it to places it isn’t yet. Like Netflix.
  • RescueTime: Keeping track of my productivity, living the quantified life.
  • ScreenFlow: Favourite screencast app so far. Lots of features without being over-the-top. Even for just general basic video editing.
  • Screens: Control your Macs. Either from another Mac or from an iOS device. On your local network, or across the internet (maybe don’t do that unless you have a VPN setup). Saves me running up and down the stairs a lot!
  • Sequel Pro: Nice solid app for poking around in your MySQL servers, doing exports, or seeing what’s what.
  • Simplenote: I used to use this a lot, and so I have a lot of data in there. But iA Writer has basically taken over from this.
  • Sketch: One day maybe we won’t need Adobe products at all! I get more and more files sent to me for Sketch instead.
  • Skitch: Great little app for marking up screenshots or photos or whatever. Resigned myself to the fact that it may disappear soon, as it used to be on all platforms, and if I’m honest I wouldn’t be surprised if all of Evernote disappeared sometime.
  • Skype: For Skype calls! Actually haven’t used it all that much lately as other tools have really taken over from Skype for the most part. FaceTime, Zoom, and now Slack has just added video to its calling feature.
  • Slack: For joining all of the teams to talk about all of the things! This is basically my work office, but with multiple teams… kind of like a large co-working space with different floors.
  • Softorino YouTube Converter: Want to watch a YouTube clip offline? Problem solved!
  • Sophos: Free anti-virus. Because Macs aren’t immune to getting viruses, they’ve just been a smaller (and maybe a little harder?) target historically.
  • Steam: Sometimes I play games. But not often, tbh.
  • Things: Much like email clients, I’ve struggled to find a GTD / TODO app I’ve been happy with. Have been using Things for a while though, and it’s pretty decent.
  • Transmit: I don’t always FTP, but when I do, I use Transmit. Great support for FTP, SFTP, Amazon S3, etc.
  • TripMode: I just got this on a recommendation, so I’m yet to try it, but I’m glad to have it. So annoying having to quit and relaunch apps that use data heavily when you tether on mobile data or something. TripMode notices when you swap networks and lets you create a whitelist of apps that can use that network, per network.
  • Tweetbot: Twitter client of choice.
  • VirtualBox: Virtual machines for development.
  • VLC: For the watching of the videos when iTunes doesn’t like the codec.
  • Wallcat: Beautiful desktop wallpapers that change daily.
  • Waltr 2: Provides a drag-n-drop interface for loading videos and other media from your desktop to your iOS device, and converts on-the-fly for any formats not natively supported.
  • Zoom: Fantastic video calling for group calls. Have had almost 40 people on a single call, and it handled it completely fine, unlike some other group calling platforms coughGoogle Hangoutscough.

So there that’s my list of the 50+ apps that made it onto the new machine. Would love to know if there are any glaring omissions where I don’t have an app that you can’t live without! Let me know ๐Ÿ™‚

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  1. Andrew Norcross said:

    Terrific, as I’m about to do the same with my new one.

    heads up: there’s a newer version of caffeine called “amphetamine” in the App Store