It’s been an exciting week for ripe with fancy new hardware for the studio and the President visiting one of our favorite clients for a burger – Ted’s Bulletin! We’ve always told anyone who would listen that Ted’s Bulletin has some of the tastiest food around, so it shouldn’t have come as a surprise when Obama decided to treat a group of campaign volunteers to some pop tarts and burgers. However it did come as a surprise (at least to us), so we spent a giddy Friday morning reading all the various articles and searching for a good shot of Obama with our famous Bulletin newspaper menu. Turns out he actually signed one!
So congratulations to Drew, Mark, Perry, Ty and the rest of the matchbox / Bulletin crew, and a special thanks for the great photo! You may want to keep an eye on that signed menu… we may or may not try to steal it.
And in what will seem like less interesting news by comparison – Ian was overjoyed this week when his brand spankin’ new iMac was delivered to the studio. It’s always fun to get a new computer, and Ian, being the geek he is, spent an enjoyable afternoon gleefully installing all of his favorite tools and applications. There are a lot of hidden gems out there for Mac users, so without further ado, we present a list of our favorite apps! Each one comes with our highest recommendation.
Apps for Everyone
We blogged about Spotify previously, but it’s currently our favorite application out of all those listed here. Basically Spotify allows you to stream virtually any song you can think of by almost any artist for free. For an extra $10 a month you get access to “offline mode,” which allows you to play your music in Spotify even if you don’t have an internet connection (ie. on a plane). There are also other great features like collaborative playlists (you should add music to ours, we need new tunes!), Facebook integration, Pandora-like Artist Radio… the list goes on and on. It is a wonderful application that everyone should have, and it’s not just for Mac users! Windows and Linux users can get in on the fun as well. Click here to set up an account and download the application. We hate to gush, but Spotify is just great.
Adium is our chat client of choice. It’s simple, easy to use, supports all the big chat services (Google Talk, AIM, Yahoo, MSN, ICQ, Facebook, etc) and has a vibrant community creating custom skins, icons and smilies. We personally like the Yahoo smilies… although 90% of Bryan’s IMs end up being nothing more than this: Click here to download Adium.
To go with your new Spotify account you might want to consider grabbing Airfoil as well! Airfoil is a handy little tool that lets you send audio to other devices and speakers on your network. So if you’re playing music on one computer and want to listen to it on your iPhone (for example), Airfoil can help you do that. Click here to download Airfoil.
Another application that’s not Mac-only – Dropbox is a cloud storage service with some handy features. They offer 2 gigs of storage for free (which is plenty to start with), and the application itself integrates seamlessly into OS X. Our favorite aspects of Dropbox? The ability to sync files across multiple machines (for example, Ian shares a lot of files between his home computer and his new studio computer) and the wonderful Public folder Dropbox provides (which you can use to quickly and easily send a big file to anyone). Click here to download Dropbox.
If you’re like Ian and you hate having a cluttered desktop or dock, Quicksilver is the app for you. Once installed, Quicksilver allows you to launch applications, perform functions in Mail, Address Book and various other programs simply by typing the first couple of letters. Shortcut icons are for chumps! Click here to download Quicksilver.
Apps for Designers and Geeks
Coda, in Ian’s opinion, is the best coding application you could ever want. It combines a fantastic text editor, FTP, file browsing, a preview tool and CSS editor into one program. What’s more, it has support for third-party plugins and the Coda community is always churning out handy new widgets to streamline your coding workflow. Click here to download Coda (free trial, a hundred buckaroos to buy).
Made by the same folks who make Coda, Transmit is by far the most reliable FTP application available on OS X. While there are a lot of free alternatives, Transmit is the only program we’ve come across that you can always count on. What’s more, the most recent version allows you to treat your bookmarked FTP servers as disks, meaning you can just drag and drop files onto them straight from Finder. Insanity… wonderful, wonderful insanity. Click here to download Transmit (free trial, thirty-four bones to buy).
One spot where Mac software has traditionally lagged behind PC’s is in 3d modeling… but no longer! Blender is a fantastic free open source tool that provides pretty much all of the same functionality you’d get with any of the big-name 3d platforms. It’s also available on PC and Linux, if you’re not an Apple junkie. Click here to download Blender.