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November 24, 2008

Ten Tiny Apps That I'm Thankful For

This is Thanksgiving, so I’d like to show some gratitude for ten tiny apps that I use almost every day. If you’re a writer, blogger, speaker, or entrepreneur who uses a Macintosh, please give them a look because they will make you more productive.

  1. Adjix.jpg

    Adjix. Adjix is the best way that I’ve found to post links to web pages on Twitter. It shortens the URL of the page, enables you to edit the tweet, shows you the ever-important character count, and renders a preview of the page you’re linking to so that you can be sure of what you’re tweeting. Price: Free.

  2. BBEdit.jpg

    BBEdit. BBEdit is admittedly overkill for the HTML editing that I do. However, it does a great job of formatting text into XHTML, and it houses the SmartPants UNIX filter that I use to smarten quotes and dashes (see below). Generally speaking, if BBEdit can’t do what you want to text, it probably can’t be done. Price: $125.

  3. Foxmarks.jpg

    Foxmarks. I use Firefox on three different Macintoshes, so I need to synchronize your bookmarks across them all. Foxmarks enables you to do this as well as create a backup of them. I wish other programs did synching so cleanly. Price: Free.

  4. MarsEdit.jpg

    MarsEdit. I use MarsEdit to write my blog postings for my blog, the Alltop blog, and the American Express OPEN Forum. I compose in MarsEdit because of the built-in HTML markup features and then finish the writing in BBEdit. What would make me even more thankful: MobileMe synchronization of drafts. Price: $29.95.

  5. Preview.jpg

    Preview. Preview is simple application to open up graphics and text files. I use it to resize screenshots and to annotate them with circles and comments. It can also send your photos to iPhoto for storage. Skitch is another application that does this if Preview doesn’t have enough power for you. Price: Free.

  6. SmartyPants.jpg

    SmartyPants. I hate dumb apostrophes, quotes, and dashes but replacing them is not simple because HMTL links must contain dumb quotation marks—for example, href=”http://daringfireball.net/projects/smartypants/”. However, in regular text, I want replace a dumb quotes with smart ones. SmartyPants knows that HTML links should not be smartened while apostrophes, quotes, and dashes should. Price: Free.

  7. TextExpander.jpg

    TextExpander. This is a utility that expands abbreviations to full text. For example, it expands “gk” to “Guy Kawasaki.” I use about ninety of these abbreviations. I’d be even more thankful if it didn’t sometimes paste the clipboard not the desired abbreviation. Incidentally, I love a competitive product called TypeIt4me, but it cannot synchochronize my abbreviations across multiple Macintoshes via MobileMe like TextExpander can. Price: $29.95.

  8. Tweetdeck.jpg

    Tweetdeck. This is a front-end application to Twitter. I have to stay on top of many terms in Twitter such as “Guykawasaki,” “Guy Kawasaki,” and “Alltop” as well as private and public messages to me. It is the best way to use Twitter that I have found. Price: voluntary donation, so I sent $50.

  9. Twittelator Pro.jpg

    Twittelator Pro. I use this iPhone application to access Twitter. In a sense, for me it’s Tweetdeck on a phone. I’d be more thankful if I could customize the menus structure, but it’s still the best iPhone application for Twitter that I’ve found. Price: $4.99.

  10. Yojimbo.jpg

    Yojimbo. This is my catch-all for things like passwords, invoices, travel confirmations, and bills—basically all the stuff you know you’ll need someday but don’t know how to store. You “print to Yojimbo,” and this creates a PDF of the document and stores it in the application. Then you can do a freeform search for any text to find the information later. Price: $39.


    Update: Several readers told me to look at Evernote, and they are right. This is a cross-platform application and service that enables you to synch information across Macintosh, Windows, and iPhone. I’ve been using it for a four days, and it’s very good. You should check it out.

There you have it: my favorite tiny applications that make me more productive on a Macintosh. As you can see, a few bucks goes a long way these days! My heartfelt thanks to the men and women who created and support them. Happy Thanksgiving!

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