Mac update 2008

25/12/2008

Nearing the end of the year I keep track of the software that I use the most in my mac. Firstly, valeologist I am a researcher—I always struggle with the word scientist—so the programs I use the most have my own bias:

  • Statistical analysis: R (free). R it is the closest thing to a lingua franca for computational statistics: it is cross-platform, resuscitator flexible and its graphics are great. The mac version comes with a much better script editor than its windows counterpart.
  • Writing: LaTeX, for which I use MacTeX (free). Sometimes I do provide in this blog my reasons for this choice. Initially I was using TexShop as editor, but I have moved to TextMate.
  • Reference management: Bibdesk (free). Some eye-candy on top of the time-proof BibTeX format.
  • Text editor: TextMate (€39). Well, I do pay for good software, and TextMate has the right combination of features, footprint and macness. I do miss one or two features, but clearly not enough.
  • Presentations: Keynote, which is part of the iWork suite ($79). In fact, this is the only part of iWork that I do use. When teaching some subjects (like statistics) I do require a fair number of equations in the presentations, for which I use LaTeXiT (free). Some times I embed Google Earth flyovers in presentations, for which I use iShowU ($20).
  • Keeping it organized: EagleFiler ($40) for project archives, web snippets and email archiving. Good quality software and a very responsive developer.
  • Keyboard goodness: Quicksilver (free) acts as application launcher, search utility, etc.

Concerning web interaction (I do keep a few sites), my list is not that long:

  • Browser: Firefox (free). Safari is nice, but I would miss the following plugins: Firebug, Zotero and Delicious (in that order).
  • FTP: Cyberduck (free). I have fairly simple requirements in this department, so I find it difficult to justify paying for something like Transmit.
  • Blogging: MarsEdit ($30) is a solid and straightforward piece of software; worth the money.
  • Twitter: I use Twitterrific (the ad-supported version) to update twitter, which updates this site’s sidebar and my facebook status.

By the way, Rui Carmo keeps a good list of mac alternatives to windows software.

Important new addition: MoneyWorks.

A cursory web search on accounting software for the mac will lead mostly to disappointment. The big players (Quickbooks and MYOB) have shocking versions for the mac. On the other hand, most small players (like iBank or Cha-Ching) only target the personal finance market. I just started working with MoneyWorks, which is a decent and usable (I have no better adjectives for this category, it is accounting software for God’s sake) program for small businesses. Almost enjoyable!

Filed in mac, software

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