I cannot imagine using my Mac without these five great applications. I must admit that all of them were referred to by MacPowerUsers podcast. They are not very visible, but they are there all the time to make my work productive and enjoyable:
- LaunchBar allows you to launch an application, send flies by email, append text to notes, make calculations, all without touching your mouse or switching between applications. If a Mac does not have LaunchBar I don’t even know what to do with it. I’ve learned about LaunchBar BlackBelt from Episode 7 of MacPowerUsers.
- TextExpander remembers text snippets and their abbreviations. You can use it to insert standard pieces of texts, addresses, phone numbers, foreign words, dates, etc. It’s great for writing recommendation letters! I have used TE about 2000 times saving myself some 40,000 characters of typing (a medium-size scientific article) and tons of mental energy.
- Dropbox allows sharing directories and files between your different computers as well as with other people. Say goodbye to emails with endless versions and multiple attachments. I use Dropbox for everything: writing joint articles, supervising theses, administering admissions, revising academic policies and syncing my notes. Dropbox is discussed in this MPU episode. Dropbox is also great in the educational context, just read this explanation by Dave of Academhack (who incidentally has serious privacy reservations about this software).
- 1Password generates secure passwords for your various logins and keeps them stored in an encrypted file along with your credit card numbers and other sensitive information. Check how long it takes a hacker to break your ordinary password and go get 1Password to protect yourself!
- Hazel is a bit geeky and I even hesitated placing it on the list (but there should be a structure of five!). Hazel is an automator which helps you sorting files. I use it all the time to manage academic articles, bank statements, boarding passes and other content. Hazel is extensively discussed in this episode of MacPowerUsers.
P.S. Also check the Macademic Ninja kit update posted at the end of 2012 with five more equally useful utilities.