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May 29 2017

My Top Mac OS X “Must Have” Apps (Business & Geek)

A somewhat a casual blog post if compared to my usual Storage, Virtualization, and Cloud topics. My day-to-day activities involve a high degree of organization with productivity tools to manage the business side of my job, but I also need comfort and easiness when geeking out with infrastructure solutions, demos, automation and even ‘hobby’ coding.

I do not care so much about the app cost as long as it does the job well and the easiest possible way – so some apps may have a higher $ associated. I do however understand that not everyone can think or act like that.

 

Here are my Top OS X “Must Have” Apps.

What do you think? Any apps I should give a go?

 

Fantastical 2

If you are not using Outlook, Fantastical 2 is probably the best replacement for the weak OS X Calendar. The app tightly integrates with IOS and Apple Watch. I recently started using Fantastical 2, and the app is already on my favorite list because of the excellent integration with Google Calendar and its ability to work with room and resource scheduling.

 

Grammarly

Grammarly is a safe-heaven with grammar auto-correction, contextual spelling, sentence structure, and punctuation capabilities. It integrates natively with Safari and has an OS X desktop app, but is still missing native any app integration for OS X, such as Mail. Still a very useful tool for native and non-native English speakers.

 

Alfred

Alfred is probably the best replacement for OS X Spotlight, but what makes Alfred shine is its ability to execute very complex workflows that can include AppleScripts, shell scripts, Ruby or Python code. You can download hundreds of workflows being shared by the Alfred community that provides integration services with the most diverse set of OS X apps or Web Services. I have also created and published workflows to interact with Nutanix (here).

 

ScreenFlow

My go-to app whenever I need to screencast or video record a demo. I tried other tools in the past, but I like the simplicity and functionality that ScreenFlow brings to OS X. I have been using ScreenFlow for a long time, and the tool gets better with every release.

 

MailTags

I like Apple Mail for the native stack integration with OS X, but I have to agree that Mail lacks essential functionality. MailTags provides basic message tagging with keywords, projects, importance, due dates, calendar and more. You will find MailTags-related commands and information in contextual menus, Message Attribute submenu, Preferences, and even in the drop-down menu from the search field, which will suggest categories such as keywords and projects when you start typing. I cannot operate Apple Mail without MailTags.

 

MailButler

I have recently included this Mail plugin in my list. MailButler brings Gmail-like features to Mail, like contact photos with Social Media profile search, emojis, and reminders to add an image or attachment if you have mentioned one in a message. When you attach large files, MailButler automatically uploads them to the cloud and links them in your message. The Professional version adds scheduling (so your emails get delivered at the optimal time), tracking (so you know if your email got opened), follow-up reminders and much more. Not cheap, but helps with my productivity.

 

CleanMyMac

There are many free and paid tools out there to keep your Mac tidy. I like CleanMyMac as it has been working great for me for a long time. It is simple and does a good job removing garbage, completely uninstalling apps, running maintenance scripts, letting me manage all installed extensions and much more. Useful!

 

Docker

The new Docker for OS X has become my test bed whenever I need to deploy or test a Linux app. For me, Docker is replacing Fusion and VirtualBox whenever possible. It does require some prior knowledge to operate given the CLI-based commands, but once you learn it, there’s no way back. Optionally, you may also download Kitematic for the visual experience, but at this time the functionality is somewhat limited.

 

Sublime

If you code you need an IDE, and for me, Sublime Text Code Editor is the go-to tool. Sublime provides Autocompletion, Syntax Highlight, Code Folding, Customizability, Powerful Search, and Simultaneous Editing. Given it is maturity, Sublime has hundreds, maybe thousands, of existing plugins for all the critical languages. Exclusively for Python, I always use the Anaconda plugin that transforms sublime into a rich featured Python development stack that also ensures the quality and style of the code. It may not be the best Text Code Editor for a single language, but certainly the all-in-one tool for someone like me.

 

Evernote

By now everyone should be familiar with Evernote. I use for personal journaling and archival, but the tool has become indispensable in my apps library. Evernote allows you to capture a note or memo in any format (web clip of a product or service review for reference, a photo of a business receipt, audio file, or text meeting or handwritten notes) and make it accessible and searchable on virtually any mobile device, on the web, or laptop. They also have collaboration tools, but I do not use. That said, their PDF text search is what keeps me going back.

 

Other honorable mentions:

– VMware Fusion (for Virtual Machines)
– Filezilla (easy FTP)
– MS Office (sure, there’s no real OS X alternative to Office)
– Eclipse (yeah, I still use it for Java)
– Moom (manage your OS X windows)
– iTerm (replacement for Terminal)
– Zoom.us (powerfull replacement for WebEx)

 

This article was first published by Andre Leibovici (@andreleibovici) at myvirtualcloud.net.

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