Text Patterns - by Alan Jacobs

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

tools of the trade

These are the applications I use most often on my MacBook, in descending order:

1) My web browser is OmniWeb. Despite a somewhat archaic appearance — drawers in Mac apps are so 2003 — it’s the most feature-rich browser in the Mac world, and the features are well-chosen and well-designed. I’m especially attached to its workspaces and search shortcuts, and the ability to set site-specific preferences for all kinds of webpage behavior.
1a) When I’m in OmniWeb, the pages I visit most often are Gmail and Google Reader for my RSS feeds (I’m not going to bother linking to those); Remember the Milk for tasks; and Pinboard for bookmarking. I think Pinboard, despite or because of its simplicity, is a big advance over Delicious.
2) I write almost everything, from books to these blog posts, in BBEdit, which has been my text editor of choice for about a decade now. I stopped writing my books and articles in a word processor in, I think, that year I already mentioned: 2003. I do most of my text formatting via John Gruber’s Markdown, but more and more often I’m using LaTeX, which often sends me to TeXShop — an amazing free suite of writing and typesetting tools.
3) My “everything bucket” is Together. It used to be Yojimbo, but Together works slightly better for my workflow, and has a more responsive and less grumpy developer.
4) Because of my interest in the graphico-visual display of thoughts I like making certain kinds of class handouts in the remarkable OmniGraffle. To get a sense of what OmniGraffle can do, take a look at Will Benton’s comment on this post.
5) Oh yeah, iTunes.
And that’s about it. I rarely venture outside those apps.

5 comments:

  • No DevonThink Pro?

    I was going to put a link to Steven Berlin Johnson's piece "Tool for Thought," but for reasons not obvious to me I can't paste into this text box, which is strange because I can paste into all my other applications and into other text boxes.

  • DevoinThink is overkill for me — I don't need nearly that many features. I own it, but i don't use it. I also think that apps that try to do everything tend not to anything excellently. I prefer the more restrained model exemplified by Together and Yojimbo. But each to his own taste, and needs, of couse.

    I think someone — possibly someone named Ari Schulman — is working on the comboxes, but we are constrained by the limitations of Blogger.

  • Alan
    Why Remember the Milk for tasks, and not something software based like taskmate? I am looking for a good tasks option and have recently been playing around with software rather than internet options, but am open to new choices.

    Peter

  • Peter, I use RTM primarily because of its outstanding iPhone client (since I do a lot of my task management on my iPhone). Also, I don't like having an additional app open just for tasks — otherwise I would definitely be using TaskPaper, which I think is a brilliantly simple app.

  • alan
    that's helpful. i have been playing around with it and like it a lot so far. been considering the hop to the iphone for a functionality standpoint alone (i use a mac, so coordination with computer is significantly easier than it is with my blackberry now).
    peter

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