Those little apps I just can’t live without

Recently Derek Jones shared a little addon for Textmate with me called ProjectPlus.  I love it, and now I wonder how I was getting along without it.  This isn’t the first time someone has shared a little utility or app with me that I’ve found indispensable.

So here’s my list of lesser known apps that I use on a regular basis.  I won’t re-list any that I mentioned in CodeIgniter textmate bundle and other stuff that’s saving me time, but I am in fact still using Jumpcut, USB Overdrive, Caffeine and AppDelete (which I “bought” by donating money towards).

There are a few new stars that I can’t get along without anymore, and a few “old faithfuls” that really deserve mention.  While I’ve listed prices for most of these, I should note that some of them can be found in software bundles, or even as free downloads. I got shovebox and 1password this way; with ExpanDrive I “friended” them on Facebook and got it for something like half price (don’t entirely remember).

ShoveBoxShoveBox is now a “what did I do without it” app for me. It sits in my menu bar, staying handy for me at all times. I’ve never tried Yojimbo but I’ve heard great things about it, but ShoveBox does it all for me. If you’ve ever used .txt files or Dashboard stickies to take quick notes… then ShoveBox is for you. Try it out free ($25 to keep).

1PasswordNext up, 1Password. Flippin’ brilliant password management.  Use it, love it, generate (and remember) passwords like “roig-ox-thud-i-orr-i” with ease! $40, and well worth it.

Fairmount for DVD decryption. Free and open source.

EventBox is what I use to manage my RSS, Facebook and Twitter accounts. If you grab it while its still in beta, you can get it for $15.

ExpanDrive is what Mac’s remote drives should have been. Nuff said.

Also noteworthy is Chax which adds a bunch of really handy features into iChat. Yes I prefer iChat to Adium, please keep your hate mail to yourself….

What are your “can’t live without” apps?

This entry was made on and filed into Mac.


Jon Trelfa wrote on

I’m a windoze user, but, UltraEdit Studio is probably the single most “can’t live without” app.

Andy Ford wrote on

You already mentioned Caffeine in your previous post, so no need to re-hash that although I love it dearly.

Perhaps one of the handiest ‘little apps’ for me is Xscope from IconFactory. It’s great for CSS developers. I use it daily to precisely measure pixels, grab colors (it’ll copy the hex value to your clipboard), and measure distances between things (and lots of other stuff).

To shamelessly self-promote a bit, I use my own EmChart to look up pixel to em conversions. I launch that as a standalone app using - another little app I can’t live without - Fluid.

I’ve been using the Missing Drawer TextMate plugin, so I’m interested to compare it to ProjectPlus.

A couple others worth mentioning are YemuZip and TinkerTool.

Jared wrote on

Great list, although I assumed this would be work-related. I “bought” Firebug ($50), for instance. I mean, c’mon. How can I do without it? Also, I couldn’t live without FF and Winamp ( And Notepad++, although it annoys the heck out’ve me sometimes, like updates. And jQuery, which I should donate some fund$ to, as well as buy a beer for the jQuery easing guy. Oh! and FireFTP. Shout out to AdBlock crew.

Boris Kuzmanovic wrote on

1. Skitch by Plasq is an easy grab, annotate, rotate and export/publish/drag image app.
2. MAMP Pro is a Mac, Apache, MySQL and PHP control center. It comes with a great DNS service as well.
3. Cornerstone is a Subversion client for power users.

Erwin Heiser wrote on

Lots of good stuff here, but the one I always install on every mac is Popchar Pro. For reading PDF’s I actually prefer Skim over Preview.

John wrote on

Navicat for me. Absolutely love it.

Leslie wrote on

Ah, Skim is great! When it comes to PDFs, I completely prefer it over Preview and Acrofat Reader.

I find Today really useful for quick entry of iCal events. Its the only one in this genre that supports email alarms, at least that I know of. While not exactly a “little app”, I’ve found DevonThink Pro 2 an incredibly useful step up from Yojimbo, though its likely overkill for most people.

Andy, Emchart looks very useful, thanks for the heads up!

Derek Jones wrote on

I’d have to add Butler to the list!

Jon Trelfa wrote on

What’s this strange feeling of jealousy I’m experiencing toward you Mac users?  I’ve never really felt “left out” before.  :D

Rick Jolly wrote on

For windows users:
-beyond compare for comparing and resolving differences between files or folders
-Advanced Find and Replace. Why doesn’t windows ship with this?

Jared wrote on

Regex Coach

Password Safe

Adam Khan wrote on

Zooom2 is the first thing I instal. TwoUp does a tiny subset of what Zooom2 does but better. MenuPrefs. Name Mangler. Disk Inventory X. iReadFast. Hear. HotSpot Shield to pretend you’re in the USA. Yugma for screensharing. Menu Bar Tint. Movino (Symbian phone users only).

Adam Khan wrote on

Oh yes: TextExpander. SizzlingKeys (similar to other iTunes controllers but I settled on this one). I also like dJay. Biggest waste of money on software: launch2net—expensive and useless.

Drew Town wrote on

I use Dropbox all the time because I’m constantly working on different computers.  You get 2 gigs of space, everything auto-syncs and their web interface is great for finding old versions and deleted stuff.


Gaston wrote on

Must have: Default Folder X. If you have a Mac, give yourself a nice gift.