In my line of work I wear a lot of different hats, which I truly enjoy, and which exposes me to a lot of different challenges that require different tools for getting the job done. My responsibilities can range anywhere from web development and IT, to video editing and even desktop publishing. I’d like to share some of the tools that I use regularly that help me to accomplish my goals each day.
Three utilities that I am a big fan of, both because they are free and because they are very useful.
The Unarchiver (also available in the Mac App Store) is a simple yet very powerful app used to extract compressed files. I like it for a couple of reasons. It handles practically every compression format that can be found on the Internet, making it very versatile. Another convenience is that you can configure it to dispose of the original file once extracted so that you don’t have a lingering .zip file lying around after opened. This is a great way to save time and reduce clutter.
Sendoid.com has increasingly become the way I share files with coworkers and clients. Simply visit the website, click the large green button, select a file you would like to share, and copy the URL that is created. Send that URL, and anyone who receives it can download the file directly from your computer without having to access FTP or use any additional software to obtain the file. There is one minor catch and that is once the file is sent, you must leave the webpage open in order for the file to transfer successfully. They also offer an application that prevents this from being an issue, but it requires an additional Adobe Air app to download and install.
The Safari Omni bar is one of my favorites. I use each of my different browser in different ways, Safari being my primary browser. Chrome which I often use for testing and web apps has an amazing feature called the Omni Bar which allows you to type both URLs to access a sites with as well as search queries that are submitted directly to Google. I love this feature and thankfully some one has created an Omni Bar for Safari. The Safari add on removes the existing Google search bar that appear as a default on the browser and replaces the Address bar with Omni bar functionality.
Perian is a general video decoder, which allows you to play several different video codecs from within QuickTime. This QuickTime plug-in is free and extremely useful. One codec that Perian does not support however, is Windows Media. That’s where Flip4Mac comes in. Flip4Mac will decode WMV files from within QuickTime as well, extending the file types that QuickTime is capable of playing. Having both of these plug-ins installed allow you to play most every video file type that you will come across on the web today.
For years I’ve done most, if not all, of my web development in TextMate, a well-known text editor for the Mac. As of late I’ve been slowly making the transition to an interesting new editor called Sublime Text.
I’ve made the leap for a couple of reasons; the most compelling is that it’s currently free and runs on Windows as well as the Mac. Beyond that it offers many of the same features as TextMate and a few that TextMate lacks. One such feature, which is minor but powerful, is the ability to make multiple text selections at once and then type to replace all the text that is selected. It’s a really small but great feature that allows me to make changes throughout my document more easily.
The last app that I’m going to talk about is called MindNode. MindNode is available in a pro (paid) and lite version (Free) and can also be downloaded from the Mac App Store. MindNode is a mind mapping application that allows you to visualize thoughts. I use it to scope out websites but it can be used to organize just about any kind of information that you can think of.
These are just a few of my favorite apps that I use to help me get through my workday. I’d love to hear about applications that you may use and why you like them. I’ll give them a try and if I like them I’ll write about them in a future post.
Wil Limoges is a Louisville, KY freelance web designer and Digital Savant at the vimarc group. He has had the pleasure of working for Apple as a Genius, loves science, and aspires to make great things!