2009 Tech Wrap-up Tue, Dec 29, 2009

Since it has already been hilarious to look back at the things I thought were cool in the past, I wanted to write up something about all the tools I find most useful today.

LaunchBar

What is LaunchBar? It’s kind of like trying to describe how the Internet works. It’s both simple and complex at the same time, yet all encompassing. Launchbar is an app launcher - simple. And then their blurb:

LaunchBar is a smart and powerful, keyboard driven productivity utility that lets you access and control every aspect of your digital life.

After the development of Quicksilver stagnated and I could no longer get it working (something having to do with perl and macports) I found LaunchBar. After a few weeks of retraining my fingers it is definitely something that I can’t do without. The built-in help is excellent, but there are so many features that I can only seem to add about one a month to my repertoire. Very much like learning new vocabulary or any new key combination in Emacs.

Textmate

This text editor is second to none. Except maybe Emacs which I’m using to type this. I constantly alternate between Emacs and Textmate depending on the task at hand. Textmate has incredible bundles (modes) for almost all programming languages including many of the popular Javascript libraries.

A new version has not been released in years and a development seems to have stalled out. Though, considering Emacs hasn’t changed significantly in 300 years there is really nothing to complain about. Textmate still works great!

Acorn

When I was looking for something a little more light weight than Photoshop yet powerful enough to do some fancy image editing I found Acorn. Some great built-in filters for some fancy effects. Simply a great little graphics editor for the price. This is one of those programs I don’t use very often, but when I need it - I need it.

Omnigraffle

I can honestly say Omnigraffle is an indispensable tool in my arsenal of graphic design utilities. Actually, it is about the only one I use these days. I’ve done everything: logos, birth announcements, business cards, letterhead, web page mock ups, fancy pdf editing. It is so cool I find it hard to describe. Kind of like Visio meets Photoshop -except usable by normal humans. It tends to do the right thing most of the time. Impressive.

Newer and older stuff..

Weightless threads in Python Happy Life Day!