Don Hosek - Essential Mac OS X Software

This section lists software that just about anyone running Mac OS X should be using.

  1. uControl A bunch of features for keyboard and mouse control. Most notable is the ability to configure my Powerbook so that Fn+the trackpad scrolls. It took about 5 seconds to wonder how I ever lived without it. And it's free. Get it now. The one thing it doesn't do that I wish it did is allow me to map the enter key to Fn (I can map it to most other modifier keys). Perhaps in a future version.
  2. Synergy A great little program for a mere $5. It adds play, next and previous buttons to your menu bar which control iTunes. After less than a day, I realized that this was the greatest thing since sliced bread.
  3. MiCal I'm not really a big iCal user. I prefer to enter my appointments using my Sony Clie. But when I'm working at the computer it's nice to be able to check my schedule quickly. This little program adds a menu bar item which can be configured to display up to a week's worth of appointments in a drop-down menu. It's $10, which is perhaps a bit expensive compared to Synergy, but again, cheap enough to be well-worth the price.
  4. Emacs There's a text-mode version of Emacs that's distributed with OS X, but I like having something that acts a bit more like an OS X application with its own window and an entry in the menu bar, rather than being run within the terminal window. If you've installed the developer kit (it came with my TiBook, and probably your computer too), then (re)building Emacs is a snap. Which is handy because there's no binary distribution of the current version, instead you're instructed to check the files out of CVS and build it yourself. I've found that it's a reasonably simple process and works exactly as described. I love it when things work exactly as described.