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After three months, what's really being used

One of the goals I have with this blog is to give you some perspective on how my experience with a Mac changes over time. Today it's been exactly 3 months since I bought the MacBook and over that time I've played with what seems like hundreds of applications, though only a few of them have actually stuck. I did the same thing after I had the MacBook for 3 weeks and it's changed a bit since then.

So here is a list of the applications I use heavily on my Macs. Note that since I have a Mac Pro as my primary desktop I use a slightly different mix of applications on it than I do on my MacBook, which is now my meetings / travel machine.

Safari
I spend a lot of time in my web browser and Safari continues to be my browser of choice. I have Firefox on my machine and use it for some non-Safari sites at times but by default I look at the web through Safari glasses. I love the performance from it. This is not a knock on Firefox; I'm a huge fan of that browser and really like where the Mozilla folks are taking it. For some reason on my Macs I just seem to gravitate to Safari.

I have had some crashes on Safari lately, especially when I'm pushing it hard, opening several tabs that have lots of Flash based components. This is a pretty new thing and I'm not sure if this is a function of a defective build of Safari. If it continues I may well switch to Firefox full time.

1Password
Though it's a relatively new addition to my application list, 1Password has quickly risen to the top. I honestly didn't think I'd use it as much as I have. I love that I can jump between my two browsers (Safari and Firefox) and can still get immediate access to my login credentials wherever I happen to be. It has my profile so it can fill out forms for me quickly and it also is a nice place to securely store my information. I still need to work up a decent strategy for keeping both of my Mac's 1Password data synchronized without having to buy into .Mac though.

Adium
I switched from iChat to Adium a little over a month ago and have loved it. Adium is a fantastic little application for integrating chat from AIM and Google and has the customizability I need to make it work exactly the way I want it to. It can't do the video portion right now but since my daughter got tired of the video chatting capability it hasn't been as much of an issue. I do shut down Adium and fire up iChat if I need to do the video chat thing, though I'd love to do that directly in Adium.

VMware Fusion
I've written quite a bit about how I'm using VMware Fusion. For the $79 I paid it's been, dollar for dollar, the best value for me being a recent switcher. What do I like so much? I've got a nice little 21GB VM that contains Windows XP and my entire development environment on it. When I moved it from my MacBook to my Mac Pro I had to re-authenticate Windows XP (and use one of my other license keys since I now am running it on two different machines), but I had my entire environment up and running within about 10 minutes. It was glorious not having to rebuild the entire development environment. This is more a function of VMs in general but it's just fantastic to be able to do that.

Fusion is pretty slick because I can use it in a variety of different ways and the performance I get from it, whether it's on my little MacBook or my Mac Pro, is outstanding. I guess you could lump Windows XP / Visual Studio into this mix too.

iPhoto
I really struggled with iPhoto at first, coming from Picasa on Windows. iPhoto and Picasa are similar enough that I expected them to work the same, though there are some major differences that take getting used to. I think I've gotten to a point with iPhoto that I'm much more comfortable with it now and when I got the Mac Pro I actually stopped using Picasa on my Windows machine and moved everything over to iPhoto. iPhoto has worked fine for the kind of quick photo editing I need to do - I don't usually need global changes to pictures, just quick touch-ups here and there, red-eye removal, level adjustments and cropping. iPhoto is fine for that stuff.

I'd really like more power in the slide show department. I've bookmarked FotoMagico as something to evaluate but haven't gotten around to it. Outside of the basic photo editing I mention above I really just need the ability to create compelling slide shows and match them up to a soundtrack easily.

NetNewsWire
I don't know what to say about this program other than it works great, does exactly what I need it to do and helps me quickly scan through the news and blogs that are important to me. I have not put NetNewsWire on the Mac Pro - that activity is handled exclusively by the MacBook because keeping up with my news feeds is something I really want to keep current (ie. what I've read and what I haven't).

Update: Several people mentioned that you can synch NetNewsWire through the free Newsgator service. I set it up to use that and am now happily using NetNewsWire on both machines. Thanks very much for the tips folks!

TextMate
I recently purchased a TextMate license, getting tired of the nag screen and realizing that I really did like it. I love powerful text editors and TextMate fits the bill nicely. I know that only a couple of people reading this blog will get this reference but it reminds me a lot of Brief, my favorite editor from the DOS days. Don't ask me why, it just does, and that's actually a huge compliment. I find myself turning to it often. The fact that it has built in templates for just about everything means I'm pulling it up for more and more things now. I'm playing around with Ruby on Rails again and TextMate appears to be a great editor for that language and framework.

iTunes
I've been an iTunes junky for years and now that I have the Mac Pro as my primary desktop I moved my music collection over from Windows. My music moved fine but my playlists got pretty hosed up, mostly because when I did the move I reorganized what was a complete cluster-muck (yeah, I know, wrong letter) of file locations into something resembling and orderly list.

Microsoft Office
I am using a trial of MS Office for Mac 2008 and I think that's what I'm going to end up purchasing, though I'm going to shop around for the best price. I need a word processor, spreadsheet and presentation software and have been happily using Office on the Windows platform for well over a decade. I'm one of the few people that grew to like the last version of Office for Windows and many of those design principles appear to have been carried over to the Mac version. This is influenced in no small part because I've had people send me some DOCX files that didn't render very well in the trial version of Pages that I was hoping to use, leading me to go with something I was pretty confident would work.

On the downside it is pretty sluggish and is just different enough from the Windows version that I have to hunt and peck through it to find some things but it does work.

iStat Menus
This was one of the first tools I installed and it has become a part of the way I use my machine. Having the CPU meters, the network I/O monitor and the quick Memory and HD gauges is wonderful. I feel like I know what's going on with the machine at all times. If you care at all about the status of your machine I highly recommend iStat menus. Oh yeah, it's free too!

Cyberduck
Though at first I simply used the Connect to Server function in Finder to hit FTP locations I quickly outgrew it. I saw several recommendations to try out Cyberduck and really like it. FTP applications to me need to be as simple as possible - all I really need to do is quickly push a couple of key files up to my different web locations and Cyberduck makes that very simple.

Gmail Notifier
Since I'm a Gmail junky and still use the web to access my account, the Gmail Notifier is something I reference all the time. 

So there you have the applications I currently use every day, all the time. There are lots of other features that I use too (like Time Machine, Spaces, Spotlight, Preview, etc), but I really think of those as OS X features. 

I also have other applications that I use infrequently like iMovie, VLC, Audacity, Burn, HandBrake, iStumbler and Journler. Each of these applications are important to me, I just don't use them on a daily basis. This is more a function of my workflow right now than anything else though. As I mentioned earlier, this will change over time.

I have had so many people recommend QuickSilver to me it's unreal. I have downloaded it and watched several videos on it's use, I just haven't actually installed it and started playing with it. I'm sure if I do I'll become attached to it, especially if my 1Password experience was any indication. My only hesitation is that I know it will change my work habits quite a bit if I adopt it the way others have.

So what am I still looking for?

I would love to find a replacement for Microsoft Visio - hell, a Mac version of that would be wonderful. It's great for logic flow diagrams and I also use it to mock up my UIs quickly.

A detailed replacement for Microsoft OneNote would also be nice. It's what I'm using Journler for but I haven't found the application that has the kind of features I want out of OneNote. I think the strongest feature is the tabbed UI model it uses - it really is slick.

I won't get into the development platform issue right now since that's worthy of several posts.

45 comments:

TerryG said...

Two things:

1. Omnigraffle for Visio replacement, and is better by a country mile.
2. Forget about Office and use NeoOffice.

Charles said...

I use Quicksilver only as a hotkey launcher, for example I have ctrl-option-command-m setup to launch Mail.app. I did roughly the same thing when I used Windows.

I'm using OmniGraffle Pro as a Visio replacement. It's very nice for diagrams but I still prefer Visio. OmniGraffle generates nicer diagrams but is lighter on features, can't save to Visio binary file format, and worst of all, can't read Visio embedded metafiles.

If you're a fan of Gmail I highly recommend Google Reader for your RSS feed reading.

Jon said...

David,

I'd second the recommendation for Omnigraffle Pro. As for a OneNote replacement, have you taken a look at Yojimbo?

GJefferyMD said...

Omnigraffle instead of Visio FTW. Also, apparently Microsoft stuck OneNote inside Word in their Office 2008 suite. I used to love onenote on windows too, and only recently stumbled upon the option on regular word. They set it up as another view, like normal / print view, there's a notebook view. You can even select the binder and different colors for the tabs. It has the to-do and search functionalities too. Anyway, welcome to the mac

Jon said...

Arrgh! I knew that I'd forgotten something - Notebook. It's another unique notetaking/diagramming/organizer/freeform database... thing.

Rob said...

I switched to the Mac back in September, or so, and I wouldn't go back to Windows unless forced to do so at gunpoint.

You can give OmniGraffle a try, but unlike terryg I don't think it's anywhere near as nice as Visio. It's about as close as you're going to get on the Mac. The new Pro version can now open Visio binary files. I'm a Visio snob so you should definitely try for yourself.

I use Quicksilver daily, and love it.

Another application I use daily is MarsEdit, from Red Sweater. It's a weblogging client and can post to a number of different systems, love it.

David H Dennis said...

For a word processor and spreadsheet, you should at least give a look to the included trial version of iWork (Pages, Numbers and Keynote).

I really enjoy the fresh approach of Pages and Numbers to their respective fields. I don't do much in the way of presentations, so Keynote isn't too important to me, but whenever I've tried it I've really admired the way it was designed.

The main drawback is that I'm not sure how good compatibility is with Microsoft Office, since I don't use Office enough to care.

So give them a look - you might be pleasantly surprised.

D

dave said...

omnigraffle pro is very nice, as is xmind mindmap pro for other visuals...

as for onenote - look at devonthinkpro - i've use both yojimbo and devonthink, but prefer devon for sophisticated storage needs...

raviudeshi.com said...

The biggest OneNote competitor for years has been EverNote -- and with their recent upgrade to being cross-platform, they've added a Mac version. I don't use a Mac (preparing to upgrade in a month), so I haven't tested it, but I highly recommend it based on the Windows version.

Take a look at http://www.evernote.com. I think it's still in private beta, but I can send you an invite -- just use the contact form on my site to shoot me an email.

Good luck and thanks for all the Mac-switching help!

David Alison said...

@TerryG: Thanks for the tip on Omnigraffle - I'll check them out. The UI on NeoOffice seemed a little clunky to me.

@Charles: I did use GoogleReader for a while but just got an e-mail from a reader named Keith who pointed out that NetNewsWire can synchronize with the Newsgator service for free. Yet another reason to love that application!

@David Dennis: I did try out Pages and loved it - nice and light without all the baggage of Office, though I had problems with file compatibility.

@All: thanks for the great suggestions folks! Please keep them coming. I appreciate it.

Ken said...

You might take a peek at OmniOutliner to see how it matches up with your needs from OneNote. I've never used OneNote but, from looking at a description of its functions, OmniOutliner does carry quite a few of them. And, like most OmniGroup applications, it's a very good OS X citizen. Best of luck in your continued search.

devburke said...

You seem happy with Adium, but if you ever decide to explore, try out iChat with the Chax plugin. I know you said you wanted a better log viewer integrated into the program. Chax provided that (under the Window menu). It also provides an "All Contacts" list, so you don't have to have a window open for ever account you're using. If you use the same group names across different accounts, you can integrate the different accounts even better. It also provides things like Growl notifications, showing status changes in the IM windows, and resizing the contacts list to fit the number of contacts, plus more. I think it's great. But again, nothing wrong with using Adium if you're happy with it.

I recently discovered a pretty good open source free virtualization program, VirtualBox. It's probably not as good as VMWare Fusion of Parallels, being free and (I believe) younger, but for people not ready to shell out a bunch of money to try, say, a Linux distro, it's surprisingly good.

Sounds like someone already told you, but your issue of keeping NetNewsWire in sync across computers can be solved by setting it up to sync with NewsGator Online. The only reason I've stuck with Mail.app so far is that I like the Safari integration (I usually delete read RSS articles, like I do with e-mails, so Safari is a good way for me to see older ones). I've come very close to switching though.

As for MSOffice, I'm not a fan of how expensive it is. As people have said, NeoOffice is a good solution (based off of the ever-popular OpenOffice.org, but made better for OSX). It's still not perfect, and I believe it's in Java, so it's kinda slow, but it's free and good. What I'm really on the lookout for is in September, when OpenOffice.org 3 comes out, with a planned (finally) OSX native version. And if we're lucky...an interface update (admittedly it still looks like it's from the 90's).

devburke said...

Oh and I'm curious, why use Gmail notifier over just using Gmail in Mail.app? Actually, I think I can see the purpose, if you use a lot of labels and everything. Gmail's IMAP isn't that good. But if you just use it for basic inbox to trash mail, despite being slow, it's nice.

Victor said...

David, Mailplane is highly recommended.
http://mailplaneapp.com/

victor from www.typicalmacuser.com

Anonymous said...

OpenOffice 3 is pretty much the same as how NeoOffice looks now, not much different in my opinion. I don't really like Neooffice because of its lack of compatability. For example if I make a document with loads of pictures, tables, charts and graphs then the formatting will not show up very good in neoffice/openoffice...

Therefore for best compatability your best of with iWork or MS Office 2008

Hendrik said...

I can recommend ExpanDrive for FTP use. It allows you to mount FTP folders as virtual drives that you can use from Finder or any other Mac app. It works amazingly well. I switched to that from Cyberduck myself.

Mikael said...

Take a look at ToMacs as a way to sync your keychain (1Password) and other stuff with several macs.

I use NeoOffice instead of MS Office. I also paid $79 for iWork, really nice package and it does more than I need.

Take look at Together. Really handy way of storing all kinds of stuff and then being able to find it.

Mozy just released a Mac version. I use the free version to back up my keychain and Together archive.

/Mikael

Mike Sax said...

Check out Notebook from http://www.circusponies.com/ for the OneNote replacement. I'm also experimenting with Evernote, which is less fancy but can sync and do OCR of screenshots and scans (which ends up being much more useful than you'd think).

Robert Marini said...

1. OmniGraffle ftw!
2. Evernote instead of OneNote. It's in public beta but the anywhere accessibility feature is enormously powerful

If you like NetNewsWire, you can easily stick it on the MacPro. With a free NewsGator account, both will sync effortlessly and keep track of read/unread. They also have a fantastic iPhone web app.

Mike Roselius said...

David - lot of different OneNote replacements - it's something you'll spend the next month trying out and researching.

Evernote - been mentioned
Notebook - been mentioned
SohoNotes - chronosnet.com - used to be stickybrain. Pretty good - but I found it resource intensive and kinda pricey.

DevonThink - devon-technologies.com - also a highly rated tool - can be pricey but well rated.

VoodooPad - flyingmeat.com - My personal favorite. Really more of a personal wiki. They have recently updated to 3.0 and added the ability to store video, sound files etc. Makes it more of a competitor to the others.

Try them all - one of the things I really enjoy is that all of them are integrated into the services menu - Mac's version of "send to" so it makes it easy to connect to these apps from safari or other applications you may be in.

HTH

buzz said...

Aah, a fellow Brief user! There are still a few of us dinosaurs around! On the editor front, I've found that TextWrangler from BareBones software does everything that I need. Just couldn't justify the expense of BBEdit or TextMate based upon the features that I use.

I really like pages, and have recommended NeoOffice in the past; both are very capable word processors.

HOWEVER, a bit of a reality check - if you need to share documents with other office users, especially if you are using change tracking or precise layout (eg. Corporate Forms), Office is the only game in town. The other available options just can't cut it when it comes to these features. Yet.

Office 2008 is not without its warts, but IMHO is far superior to Office 2004, if only for performance (I have to deal with massive spreadsheets regularly and brought 2004 to its knees, even on my quad Xeon Mac Pro). My biggest complaint is the keybindings which match the PC version rather than following Mac standards.

Thanks for a great article!

Fred said...

Hi
I use NeoOffice when I work on a document that will be co-written with people using "the other" office.
But when I create a doc from A to Z, I love Pages

Keynote is miles over powerpoint! And keep in mind that a .key document is in fact a folder with all the unmodified pictures in it (useful if you dipose the originals)

Plaxo form syncing your multiple macs (calender, address book)

Rgds

William said...

Try the beta for open office 3. It is native and runs good. there are some preference tweaks that make it (or any OO.o versions) open faster.

Anonymous said...

I've been using a mac for about two years. I still have some impt programs that are windows programs so I use VMFusion. One thing that had troubled me, however, was mail/calendar. I had a nagging feeling that each should be doing more; I recently purchased Office 2008 and started using Entourage. For me, I love Entourage: allows me to better manage my multiple mail accounts better than Gmail. I would go so far as to say that Apple's mail and calendar are far behind in functionality. Again, all this is based on a person's personal needs and preferences, and for many Apple's offerings will be fine. I use Safari but I like OmniWeb much better. In fact, I like Firefox and Camino better than Safari ... I also use 1Password and Quicksilver; but I recently purchased Overflow. Love Overflow: it allows one to minimize the number of programs in the Dock but still very easily access those programs. It's similar to Quicksilver, but Quicksilver goes deeper, faster. But check it out ... can't speak to the latest version of iWork. I had tried iWork during its first year and it was adequate. Also, if you want a great database, then check out DevonThink ... I have OmniOutliner, but don't use it as much as I do Power Structure (for writing scripts and books). Power Structure is much more helpful. My name is Carl.

Chris Howard said...

ThinkFreeOffice is always worth a look (although the desktop version is not free.)

Have you looked at Google's Notebook app? However, as a browser extension, it only works in FireFox or IE. (This is one area Safari is sadly lacking. It needs some sort of API like FF to add extensions to it. And that's the one reason I keep going back to FF.)


DevonNote might be worth a look too.

Zacaman said...

If at some point you need to make use of iDisk (part of .Mac) or any other WebDAV server, there is simply nothing better on the market than Transmit. I went from overnight (failed) file uploads to my iDisk websites folder to transfers that took minutes, if not seconds. An amazing app, well worth the $29.95. Check out Panic's other great apps while you're there.

Anonymous said...

I prefer LaunchBar to QuickSilver. It's certainly more expensive, but I find the interface friendlier and it does everything I ever used QuickSilver for (launching, dictionary, and calculator). Also LaunchBar is not a beta.

http://www.obdev.at/products/launchbar/index.html

Michael Wulff Nielsen said...

I would also second OmniGraffle any day. It's quick, reliable and intuitive.

Andrew said...

You mentioned you don't use NetNewsFire on your mac pro because you want to keep your read count accurate, it has a sync function that will let you keep your feeds read/unread lists accurate on multiple machines, there is also a windows client should that need arise.. they also offer a web interface, and an ipod interface.

I also Reccomend OmniGraffle Pro for visio based tasks.

Anonymous said...

There were a lot of references to OmniGraffle being the Visio replacement, and I add my vote to it. I have the previous version that can import Visio XML files only, but the latest version can import Visio Binaries.

As a OneNote replacement, Yojimbo and SOHO Notes were mentioned. They are similar, and I look at Yojimbo as the SOHO Notes challenger. I live with SOHO Notes, looked at Yojimbo, and am still with SOHO because of its comprehensiveness, which SOHO continually expands. To me, SOHO Notes is a crucial application.

I also own Circus Ponies Notebook, which I had hoped would provide me what I have gotten from SOHO Notes. It didn't cut it. Nice concept, but to me, too clumsy to use. I never got into the flow with it.

I also own Voodoo Pad, which I find as a great adjunct to SOHO Notes. When you want to collect information that is highly inter-related, develop ideas and understanding about a topic, it's great. Note the word "adjunct" though. It is not a SOHO Notes replacement.

Brian

Mikael said...

iStat Menus are cool but so are MenuMeters. Also free...

/Mikael

Anonymous said...

David,

You said you want more power in the slide show dept. Check out PulpMotion, http://www.aquafadas.com/en/pulpmotion/. It is an amazing program. The slide shows are unbelievable. It will do exactly what you're wanting. It has a bunch of options for exporting. It is a litte pricey, $49, but I think it is well worth the price. I lucked out and got it in December in the MacUpdate Promo Bundle for $50 with 10 other great programs. The programs were Forklift, RapidWeaver, Swift Publisher, Marine Aquarium (love this screen saver), XSlimmer, MemoryMiner, Yep, XMind 2008 Pro, iStabilize, and PulpMotion. One thing I love about Macs are the software bundles that come out. You really get a lot for your money with some of them. Thanks again for the great info.

Sleepy

David Alison said...

@Sleepy: Wow, PulpMotion looks very cool. Here's a direct URL in case anyone else wants to check it out:

PulpMotion

@All: I really appreciate the great comments folks, and all of the application suggestions. Omnigraffle is now at the top of my list to evaluate.

VesperDEM said...

Hey David, I couldn't help adding my 2¢ worth on the application front.

I use Transmit for FTP. It's a bit more powerful than CyberDuck and isn't that expensive.

I'll add my recommendation to OmniGraffle as well as LaunchBar. OmniGraffle Pro has to be the absolutly best graphics program I have ever used. LaunchBar isn't as complicated as QuickSilver, but that's a good thing to me. I could never wrap my head around QS and LaunchBar does a lot of what QS does, but in an easier to handle package.

Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac is a speed pig. I have to use it for sending out resumés since just about everyone in business uses a version of Microsoft Office. I personally use iWork most of the time. Pages is a great word processor/page layout program and Numbers is really powerful. Keynote is way better than PowerPoint and all the iWork programs can export their documents to Microsoft Office files if needed.

You mention that you use Gmail Notifier. I tried using that for a while, but when I notices how much memory that program used, I decided I could do without it. I just keep Gmail open in a tab in my browser. I can see if new mail is available by looking at the title of the tab.

One other program I would recommend is Together. I had been looking long and hard for a program that could "save" web pages incase the site hosting the page or the page itself went away. Together allows me to keep a copy of a webpage in the program along with bookmarks, notes, images, sounds, movies, etc... all in a nice UI. The items can be tagged so that you can find them again later easily.

Oh also, if it hasn't been mentioned or you haven't come across it yet, Leap is a great Finder supplement. Also works with tagging and makes finding files on your computer pretty easy and fun.

Mikael said...

To vesperdem...

Why do you send out resumes as Word files? Those can be edited. Better to export from iWork or NeoOffice to PDF.

Regrarding Gmail. I use Firefox most of the time and there are some great plugins I can't be without. Gmail Manager is one. It allows you to keep track of multiple Gmail accounts and switch between them with a mouse click. I also use Thunderbird with my Gmail accounts.

/Mikael

Atlantic Wave Radio Podcast said...

I used to use CyberDuckFTP but recently its been very buggy, crashing a lot so I ditched it for Yummy FTP which has seen my up/download rates increase amazingly. I frequently upload largeish files (50mb) and it has halved the upload time at least.

Taco HTML Edit is not just for HTML its great for CSS and PHP too as well as text files and SQL files, etc, just an all round great editor.

Why would you pay Microsoft for their office product these days? Go get Open Office or even better at the moment intel based NeoOffice has worked for me for more than a year now and never let me down, even on encrypted massive excel files.

I will second the fact that the one best app I ever purchased was 1Password, get it, get it, get it, get it, get it, oh yeah, get it! :-) get it? LOL

I have to say I am in LOVE with Apple Pages as a publishing app, it is so easy to use its almost criminal.

GraphicConverter isnt as fully featured as PaintShopPro but it is easier than PSP's newer versions getting back to the simple image re-sizing and basic image editing, more than iPhoto for editing but not anywhere near as Photoshop, i.e. enough for most people.

Transmission for Torrents and SpeedMail, DVDremaster, Twitterific, Copernicus and LogMeIn are all great too.

and iTunes of course, where would we be without that!

VesperDEM said...

@Mikael: Because that is what the recruiter or company wants them in. When I interview with someone, I always have several copies of my resumé with my so that I can give them a printed out copy.

I suspect that these requests are so that they can print out the resumé in a readable format instead of the crappy format that websites like Monster.com display them in.

Swiss said...

For a power slide show application, I recommend Photo-to-Movie from LQGRAPHICS: http://www.lqgraphics.com/software/phototomovie.php?sfgdata=4

It has the best manual pan and zoom customization of all other apps.

David Alison said...

@Swiss: Thanks man - looks like an interesting app. Mother's day is right around the corner so I need to get this little "project" cranked out soon!

Pecos Bill said...

Agreed on Omnigraffle though I've not explored others.

If you want the ultimate control over a slideshow nee presentation, why not iMovie? The latest has good controls over the Ken Burns effect and you can play with the soundtrack. Garageband can really play with the soundtrack then dump into iMovie.

I'm curious. Have you tried Camino? I did eons ago but I'm thinking it's time for a revisit.

I use IMAP into GMail as well. Their help system shows you how to set it up. It's a bit weird (tags v true folders), but I prefer a mail app over a web page.

David Alison said...

@Pecos Bill: I haven't tried Camino yet but then again I've got enough going on with Firefox and Safari that I'm not too worried. I may end up switching to Firefox though because I'm starting to see some stability problems with Safari using Flash - I've had the browser crash on me several times now and it indicates that it's Flash that's causing it.

Jon said...

@David

If you're considering switching browsers, and you don't have a pressing need for the plethora of plugins that make Firefox so attractive, then you really ought to give Camino a try. It uses the same Gecko rendering engine as Firefox, but is a native Mac app. The app opens faster - and renders pages faster than - Firefox, and you don't have to suffer through non-standard UI behavior.

Another option is to basically upgrade Safari. Webkit is the browser engine and system framework for Safari, and you can download the nightly builds if you so desire. It passes the ACID3 test (I got a 100 on my machine at least), and they're doing some really interesting work with CSS - gradients, reflections, masks and the like.

And if you're doing hand-coding of web pages (or web interfaces, I'd assume - I'm no expert), you might also want to check out Coda. I'ts an integrated environment for doing just that. It's a combination HTML/CSS/FTP/Terminal/Previewer/debugger - all in a single window. Honestly, my code-fu is weak, so I can't take full advantage of it's capabilities, but I've heard some very good things about it.

David Alison said...

@Jon: Thanks for the tips! I did look at Coda but was not all of that impressed. Then again, I'm really not at an HTML point right now in my application development. Most of the work I'm doing is back end plumbing for now. I may take a look at it again in a couple of months.

I actually came across another issue for me that is having me look more and more at Firefox - the handling of an XML stream. Safari simply removes the tags and displays the data but Firefox renders it properly. Right now I'm doing my basic browsing in Safari and my development oriented work - especially the initial testing - in Firefox. Maybe Camino will be a nice compromise there.

I have used Webkit builds before and am comfortable with them, though I don't know that these newer builds are going to address the crashing issue I've encountered lately - which is a Flash problem. Hopefully Adobe will get that fixed.

dennis said...

david,

for ftp i tried cyberduck, but found it slow at times so i purchased for $30 the app Transmit (by Panic). it works great and i love it.

firefox also has an extension called fireftp, that lets you ftp from a browser window and it works very well.

dennis

Frantisek said...

Native beta version of Open Office 3 is out! Seems stable to me.