My favourite software

February 21, 2008

I missed yesterday (bad Kensson, no banana). The last couple of days have been manic, which is no excuse.

One of the questions that came up in an interview yesterday was ‘what’s the coolest piece of software you use?’ My immediate answer was Aquamacs (Mac), a text editor based on emacs (a Unix editor) but with a more intuitive interface added. But I got thinking, is it really the coolest?

I would be very hard-pressed to function an ocean away from TCB without Adium (Mac), for instance, and a day of temp work systematically replacing links to one website with links to another has given me a whole new respect for bash (Unix). The temp assessments I’ve done recently have involved a flash-based version of Word and Excel which was clearly coded up by a team of poorly-trained monkeys-on-typewriters, perhaps trying to develop software for that play they’d always wanted to write about a Danish prince. All of which makes OpenOffice (cross-platform) and NeoOffice (Mac) that little bit more estimable.

Likewise, Internet Explorer has been developed to the point where it took more than three hours of intermittent use today before it crashed, which is a vast improvement over the last version I used. FireFox (cross-platform), on the other hand, is astonishingly good, and a clear front-runner in the ‘does practically everything’ category.

I’m going to give a shout-out to CyberDuck, QuickSilver and RapidSVN (all Mac), which I’ve only recently started to use but have suddenly become indispensable. With that bombshell, my list of cool apps has become the same top ten Mac apps list that everyone posts, for which I apologise. But I’m still going to leave it there without linking to Stellarium or Skim or Ventrilo or VoodooPad Light or even MailPlane, the only thing on this list that you have to pay for.

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