MacBook Air and Five Apps28 May 2011
Patrick Rhone has a wonderful podcast and website known as Minimal Mac. When he interviews guests he asks, what he likes to call the “MacBook Air question.” The gist of the question breaks down to: you are given the base 11-inch MacBook Air model and you need to choose the five most important applications you would install on it.
The idea is rather brilliantly minimal and definitely a fun and constricting way to look at computer ownership. Most of us litter our computers with applications that we hope, one day, might come of use. Anyway, here is my list:
- Alfred - All of my application launching (all five of them) goes through Alfred. In addition, you can fire off applescripts, command line arguments, open files in specific apps, move files around, control iTunes, and do just about anything…all without ever touching the mouse or trackpad.
- 1Password - Easily the go-to password manager(software) for the Mac. Within the last year, I moved all my passwords here and haven’t worried once because a web service may have leaked my password into the open. Completely indispensable in my mind.
- Vim - I have been a long time vi/vim user and there is no way I could find myself on a Mac without the ability to jump into the the best text editor ever created. Yeah I said it, deal.
- Dropbox - Dropbox paired with the Mac App Store is the only way to set up a new machine. In addition, Dropbox is great for keeping dot files, books I am reading, and other projects in sync across a myriad of different computers. Sure there might be some security issues of late but, who puts their credit card numbers in plain text files…named “credit card numbers” in their dropbox?
- Omnifocus - Fuck iCal, Things, and every other lame calendar or “todo” application. Omnifocus is the grandaddy of GTD and will always be a staple on any Mac, iPhone, or iPad now and in the future. Let’s be honest, computers need to be more about getting complex stuff done over watching Youtube videos and trolling our friends “wicked awesome lives” on Facebook.
If we were allowed 2 dark horses:
- Textexpander - Textexpander allows me to have a bank of snippets that get “expanded” into anything when a certain key stroke is completed. I have snippets for blogging, dates, email signatures, words I consistently misspell, and just about anything else. This application is definitely integral in my everyday work flow but, if push come to shove, it doesn’t make the top five.
- Yorufukoru - Yorufukoru is the best Twitter application that no one has ever heard of or can say. It might not look as slick as the official Twitter client; however, it follows Apple’s HIG guidelines and embodies the simple yet, insanely powerful mentality.