Dr. Mac’s Rants & Raves
We used to love making “desert island” lists. The rules were simple: If you were stranded on a desert island, which 5 (or 10) record albums would you bring? Never mind electricity, audio equipment, and things you’d probably need a lot more than records and audio gear; the object was to name your top five favorite albums of all time.
I thought it would be interesting to play using Mac apps instead of record albums. Here’s how it works: You’re stranded on a desert island. You’ve got a brand-new Mac and can add just 5 third-party apps. Which apps would they be and why? Never mind the electricity, Internet, or other logical thoughts—what five apps would you not want to be without?
I’ll go first.
Exactly a year ago in this very column I said:
In closing, I’d like to highlight just three Keyboard Maestro features (out of more than 100) that save me tons of time and effort:
- Clipboard History: Remembers the last 100 items I’ve cut or copied to the clipboard.
- App launching/switching: Lets me open or switch to my most-used apps instantly with a keystroke.
- Remap keys: Example—I never use the Forward Delete or Help/Insert keys, which are adjacent to the backspace key on my keyboard, so I used to press them accidentally until I remapped both to perform a backspace. Problem eliminated.
Those features (plus dozens more) are why Keyboard Maestro sits at the top of my list.
I have literally thousands of passwords. Literally.
macOS Keychain Access and iCloud syncing aren’t bad, but for managing a large number of logins, credit cards, and secure notes, 1Password is a must. Plus, it syncs with 1Password for iDevices, which is (in my humble opinion), the only way to manage passwords on an iOS device.
Just last week I told you I prefer to compose words in a text-only program such as Ulysses or BBEdit. It was hard to pick, but Ulysses built-in organizational tools, auto-saving every keystroke, and myriad export options are why it edged out BBEdit, but just by a hair.
I spend too much time navigating Open and Save dialogs and sheets, so Default Folder X is one of those little gems I’ve grown to depend upon.
macOS rarely points those dialogs or sheets where I want them; Default Folder X gets it right every time. And, it also includes myriad convenient options like drop-down Favorites and Recents menus, keyboard shortcuts for favorite folders, and more.
Again, a tough choice between Affinity Photo and Pixelmator Pro. As a former Photoshop user, they both have the features I require. But Affinity Photo is more Photoshop-like (yes, that is a thing) than Pixelmator Pro, so muscle memory tipped the scales.
There is one more thing: I considered naming SetApp as one of my five apps… but decided that would be cheating.
So… those are my 5 desert island apps… but what about you? It’s easy to play—just send your list to [email protected], and I’ll compile ‘em and let you know the results in an upcoming column.