Posts Tagged mac

My Commonly Used Mac OS X Applications


A colleague of mine recently got a MacBook Pro and asked me what some of my favorite Mac applications are. Having made the transition from a Windows PC to a Mac a few years back, I distinctly remember all the trial and error I went through in learning about the Mac and finding apps on a new platform. This question also brought a perfect opportunity for a new blog post!

So without further ado, these are some of my most used applications for Mac OS X 10.6, ignoring built in Apple apps:

  • 1Password – password manager
  • Adium – universal im client
  • AppCleaner – mac app uninstaller
  • BetterTouchTool – better customization for multitouch input devices
  • BetterZip – zip utility
  • Chrome – net browser
  • FaceTime – webcam chat
  • gfxCardStatus – graphics status
  • Growl – notifications, must have!
  • iStatMenus – system stats
  • LittleSnapper – screenshots
  • Notational Velocity – note taker
  • OmniDiskSweeper – check disk space usage
  • PathFinder – file browser replacement
  • Perian – video codecs
  • PhoneView – download/archive iphone files
  • Pixelmator – photoshop replacement
  • Pomodoro – productivity timer
  • Secrets – configure secret options
  • Skype – voip/chat
  • Steam – pc/mac gaming
  • svnX – mac client for subversion
  • Tagr – id3 editor for media files
  • TextWrangler – text editor
  • Things – task management
  • Transmission – torrent
  • TrueCrypt – encrypt files
  • VirtualBox – virtual machine
  • VLC – media player
  • Xcode – mac development

Apple apps that I use most often are:

  • iCal
  • iPhoto
  • iTunes
  • Mail
  • Remote Desktop
  • Terminal
  • Time Machine

And applications that I use every once in a while depending on the task at hand.

  • Boxee – media front end
  • Carbon Copy Cloner – disk imaging backup
  • Cyberduck – ftp client
  • ExifTool – photo metadata editor
  • Firefox – browser for net development
  • GeekTool – display stats on the desktop
  • Hugin – panorama maker
  • iStumbler – wifi browser
  • kdiff3 – diff
  • Office for Mac – word proecessing
  • Remote Desktop – microsoft rdp viewer

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TextWrangler with Subversion on Mac

Amazing what you’d find if you read the manual!

Even though TextWrangler is a window-based editor for the Mac, it comes with this useful terminal command: edit. Executing this command loads TextWrangler from the command line.

How is this useful for a window-based environment like the Mac? Well just recently I was configuring my Subversion environment on my Mac and wanted to use TextWrangler for my comment editing needs. Using the edit command, making this configuration is as simple as loading up the config file (by default in ~/.subversion/config) and changing the editor-cmd entry to:

editor-cmd = edit -w –resume

-w blocks the edit command from returning until the file is closed in TextWrangler.

–resume will restore the last top-most app before TextWrangler launched. In this case, the Terminal window.


Now every time I checkin, the svn command will automatically launch TextWrangler with the comment file for me to fill out!


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WWDC 2009 Keynote Reactions


The live coverage blogs

Kind of fun to see where the bloggers are sitting by viewing the perspectives from their pictures. The AJAX auto updating blogs are awesome. Those that require refreshing… not as much. Also the picture qualities are very different. You can tell which site has the bigger budget with the quality of their pictures.

One of the live blogs I was monitoring died towards the end of the keynote while the other 2 kept going. Turns out they were relying on the WWDC network to stream their live blog while the other 2 must have had their own network. Shows who is more prepared!


Although the updated battery life is appreciated, I just feel this is another typical Apple move: milking the consumers once more. Although I have to say by dropping the prices this time around instead of introducing another insanely priced product, it makes the move a bit more tolerable.

OS X and Snow Leopard

Funny that they highlight Exchange support as one of the major features of the new OS. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t Exchange a Microsoft thing? hm…

Over 6 GB in extra HD space. That’s nice! Too bad the same can’t be said of Windows, exponentially increasing size with each upgrade.

New Chinese input is really cool. I’m sure my Chinese friends will love that! Doesn’t work for those of us who suck at writing though… I hope the existing input methods are still there!

Expose from the Dock for an application sounds familiar… what happened to trash talking Windows 7?

64-bit, finally catching up to Microsoft!

$29 upgrade price is great! I don’t think Microsoft would do anything like that. They would slap on some new “UI Improvements” and charge another $100 to upgrade. Although this point is debatable since sometimes Microsoft introduces new technologies for free with Service Packs (ie. XP SP2). I’d say those occasions are rare and most of the time Microsoft would charge the typical $100 for upgrades. Let’s see if those Best Buy Vista/Win7 upgrade prices rumors are true.

Exchange Support

Fill in email and password, and set across all 3 apps! Sucks since Outlook is just 1 app! I guess it’s a “better than nothing” approach without building another Outlook.


Great that they acknowledged the developers. It is the developers that helped Apple make iPhone the platform it is today.

AT&T, the worst part of the iPhone experience in the U.S. No mention of MMS nor tethering. Get ready to turn in your first born in order to get such features.

Nice Safari improvements.

FindMyiPhone… an awesome service on the crappy MobileMe. :( C’mon hackers! Find a way to use this without Apple’s MobileMe!

The doctor app for the iPhone looks amazing. I’m sure a specific doctor friend will love it. ;)

Sucks some of the demo’s failed. Oh well, it happens.

All the new features rumored (besides video chat) are there. Good that the prices have remained the same… now it’s up to AT&T to see who qualifies for this “upgrade” price and how much the rest of will be paying. Monopolies suck!


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Deleting a Stubborn File

During the past week, I was consolidating a bunch of files from my smaller external drives onto a new, larger drive (more on this in a future post!). The new drive is formatted as HFS+ (Mac) while the smaller drives are formatted as NTFS (Windows). I didn’t pay attention to the copying, just dragged and dropped from the source (NTFS) to the destination (HFS+).

While going through the files on the new drive, I noticed some duplicate files. Even though the new drive is much larger, of course I still want to save space! Weird thing is trying to delete these files: Finder would ask for my password (sudo?), and afterwards do something, but the file remains… it refused to be deleted!

Perplexed, I thought it might have been a permissions problem:


But as you can see, I am the owner and I have the permissions.

Wondering if it has something to do with Finder, I dropped into Terminal and tried to delete the file manually:


OK, Operation not permitted… perhaps I need to be a super user?


Gah.. still no luck. :( So getting frustrated now, I started browsing around to find some answers. Not finding anything and finally about to give up thinking there’s some NTFS -> HFS+ or file system error, I just happened to look up and noticed the icon for the parent folder has a small… padlock?


Going up a level, and looking at the info for the parent folder revealed that the folder was Locked.


So I unchecked this and BAM, I was able to delete the file now. So turns out the “Locked” folder causes anything inside to become read-only. Besides being a nub and not knowing about the locked feature, I was assuming the behavior would be similar to Windows. In Windows, a “Read-only” file/folder can still be modified by just accepting an extra message box. In OS X with Finder, anything locked is seriously “locked” making everything read-only until it is “unlocked”.

Some more noob info about the Locked feature in Finder:

  • Contents of a locked folder cannot be modified. This means nothing can be added, modified, or deleted. Right clicking the contents of the folder shows a different set of options.
  • Corollary to the previous rule, contents of a locked folder cannot be moved to another folder. Contents can only be copied. Using the CMD key while dragging will not force a move.
  • Locked Folder A with Folder B inside. Any files/folders inside Folder B are excluded from the locked rules. That is they can be modified without any restrictions.

So if you are having trouble deleting a file in Mac OS X, try checking if the folder is Locked! Don’t make the same nub mistake as I did. :P

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