It’s been a while since I reported on the state of my Macintosh. Here are a few apps that I’ve been using a lot recently.
I’ve had Evernote installed for quite some time, but I didn’t really start using it until after I got my iPhone. So I was interested to read Ars Technica’s report that 57% of Evernote’s users are using the iPhone client. Evernote is a great example of the “rich application architecture of the future”. Evernote’s family of applications include desktop clients for Mac OS X and Windows, a web applications, and mobile clients, most notably the iPhone. All of these pieces work together to make a great integrated solution. This is the kind of ecosystem that we were building around Chandler, although we never got to the mobile part, and as the Evernote data suggests, we would have been fine just creating an iPhone client. Of course, hindsight is 20/20.
Apple helped Evernote tremendously by providing a barely functional notes application on the iPhone, and then providing no way to sync notes back to a Mac. So the iPhone Evernote client fills a great hole in the iPhone application suite. That got me started using Evernote for information that might need to move back and forth between desktop and device. The next step up for me was that I started using Evernote to take notes for conferences. I used to use Ecto for that, and I would then rewrite my notes into a blog post. But I missed having the raw notes, so I decided that instead of creating a billion drafts in Ecto to hold the raw notes, I would just take all the notes in Evernote, and then write the posts in Ecto. This of course had the added benefit of me being able to use other features of Evernote. I definitely think that the Evernote team is doing something that desktop and mobile software developers ought to be paying attention to.
Another good example of this desktop/web/mobile trend is the fantastic 1Passwd password manager for Mac OS X and iPhone. I got 1Passwd as part of a MacUpdate software bundle some time back. It took me quite some time to start using it, because I was happily using Firefox’s built in password manager. 1Passwd has the advantage of working with Firefox, Safari, and NetNewsWire on my desktop. It does a much better job of dealing with odd web site logins. It does a great job of managing my ridiculous number of passwords. Actually it has a great password generator built in, which makes it easy to stop the common practice of having a few relatively easy to remember passwords that you use everywhere. Which is just plain bad security. 1Passwd also has an iPhone version, which means that accessing sites from my iPhone is no problem at all either. Great piece of software.
The last piece of software is PathFinder, which is PODS (plain old desktop software). PathFinder is a great replacement for the Finder, and the latest version, 5.0, adds a dual plan feature that makes file management tasks much easier. You can also manage sets of tabs. I use this feature to manage projects, by creating a set of tabs for each project. I can then flip a PathFinder pane into exactly the configuration that I want for working on that project. It’s a shame that Apple has been so lackadasical about improving the Finder. Maybe this will improve with the rewrite of the Finder for Snow Leopard. In the meantime, PathFinder is a good solution for those of us that need a little more than what the Finder provides.
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