Team Murder No Brain No Headache.

20Aug/06Off

Some OS X Software I Like

I've actually been using OS X pretty exclusively for the last couple of months while plotting what to do with my other laptop that is just sitting there with a pretty ancient and unmaintained installation of Gentoo sitting on it which I'm pretty reluctant to do much with since my time has withered away to almost nothing these days. Anyway, the thing is that I've actually used it enough to start developing tastes for different implementations of software. I'm not a huge of fan of most of the Apple software that comes rolled in with the OS though I appreciate it being there especially since competitor #1 thinks a couple of games and a nearly useless text editor is all they need to include in terms of software.

That said, the following couple of applications feel like they should be part of the OS or at least included in the default install since they're both insanely useful and free as well. The unfortunate fact that we all know is that no one benefits from Apple sucking up some bit of free software and including it in the OS. It's unfortunate but also true. You can read all about that along with the gnashing of developer teeth somewhere else because delving into it is just something I don't have enough depth of experience using the platform to judge with any confidence.

OnyX is nearly fucking magical and saves me so much tedious manual work that I don't think I could use OS X without it. Eventually the cruft and sloppiness would drive me crazy and I would just start reinstalling the whole works every six weeks or something. OnyX will basically take care of those tasks that you don't want to like forcing Spotlight to rebuild its index or deleting kernel cache. There are some tools that do similar tasks but none of them seem as complete or as well thought out as OnyX. I'm also really glad that this is not only a free application but one executed with an obvious degree of skill and commitment to doing things 'the right way.' Any system level utility should be used with a higher than normal level of caution unless your backup regimen is more disciplined than and you think you might live to be three hundred years old. I've yet to see any glitches in OnyX and there is something about that (the appearance of perfect performance thought such a thing cannot exist) slickness that instills much more confidence in me than it probably should.

Server Vault is another free tool that won't save you if you don't know what the hell you're doing but will drastically simplify the task of working with handfuls of different servers and provide a more complete interface than you could ever dream of. The system of organization works well for organizing a bunch of different projects spread out over different servers as each entry allows you setup a website, a database host, an FTP server, a hosting account, and some other essential entries. From there you can go to each with a single button click. It started as an internal tool from a design company but they decided to share the love. If I've done work on one of your sites in the past I made a quick entry or too in this tool myself so asking for help shouldn't mean that you have to send me a user name and password for the millionth time. That elimination of nuisance is a blessing all by itself. It isn't the most sophisticated tool on the planet and doesn't get weighed down by a whole lot of extraneous features. It does a couple of jobs really well and that is more than most pieces of commercial software can reasonably claim.

Somehow I thought there more that needed mentioning but they'll probably occur to me when I'm trying to go to sleep, bother me for a few minutes, and be forgotten forever. I hate that.

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