piece written on the 29th October 2013 by  

Over the years I’ve read a number of articles on the top 5 software products to use and in my opinion it’s been over done. So today I want to tell you about 5 pieces of software that I personally use that aren’t necessarily the best but they fulfil a need in my day to day business. I apologise now for talking about some pieces of software that are only available on Mac; I’m a Mac user so I guess this could be expected.


1. Droplr

Strangely, Droplr has become one of my most used tools. I work in digital marketing and am often communicating with partnering companies, developers or designers and sometimes a picture really is worth a thousands words. I’m forever taking screenshots and attaching them to emails or sending them over Skype, so what better than a piece of software that creates an efficiency for me. Quite simply, Droplr allows you to take a screen shot or a capture of a portion of your screen and provides you with a short URL. To break that down, I can simply click a button, select of section of this screen and I’m given this link: ¬†http://i.imod.co.za/stHw – Clicking the link will load the screenshot in your browser – as simple as that! No more drag and drop, no more renaming files and so forth, just click, drag and upload. A cool feature is that once the screenshot has uploaded to the Droplr server, the short URL is automatically saved to your cache. In other words, just to command-V or ctrl-V. The software’s available on Mac, Windows, iPhone and iPad. If you want your own name, as i have i.imod.co.za as mine, you’ll need to subscribe to the service and pay a small fee – I believe that it’s worth every cent.

2. Jing

Another fantastic piece of software is called Jing. Very similar to Droplr although this one is for screencasts. With a simple click, you can select a section of your screen and record a video. There are an assortment of features, but I really like the fact that it can compile an SWF file (Flash file) which I can then upload to a web server and send a link through to the person who needs to view it. This then allows the person to play the movie right there in their browser, sound and all included. There are some solutions that are better than Jing, but I find its light-weight approach is what keeps me hooked and I don’t think I’ll be moving any time soon. There’s a paid version that allows you to record for longer and offers different video format types but I’ve managed to get buy on the free version.

3. DaisyDisk

DaisyDisk is another one of these small but highly useful applications that provide you with more insight into what’s going on with your computer in terms of hard drive space. DaisyDisk provides you with a beautiful visual representation of your hard drive and breaks it down into segments to allow you to quickly and easily see what is taking up all the space. Clicking around the segments breaks it down even further and that’s where I found the power. Each time my hard drive gets close to being full, I can simply click around the segments, isolate the trouble causer and remove it if necessary. A really simple, yet powerful and useful application that I highly recommend. Thanks to Andre for showing me this one a few years ago.

4. TextWrangler

I was always a fan of notepad, for note taking or programming but after moving to a Mac I was never completely happy with TextEdit so I searched for something light-weight but effective and that’s when I came across TextWrangler. Bare Bones, the software developers behind Text Wrangler have another product called BBEdit that is their flagship product, but it’s somewhat over the top for simple requirements and that’s what lead them to Text Wrangler. It’s not completely without features though, you can still establish a connection with a server, you can compile in terminal and so forth. I just like how quickly it loads to be honest, just a couple seconds and off you go!

5. TotalFinder

I just simply can’t live without TotalFinder. TotalFinder is an extension to Finder.app for Mac computers. The beauty is that it brings a powerful suite of features including: tabbed browsing, system file exposure, dual view mode, cut and paste, folders on top and more! If you’re a Mac user and you’re not using TotalFinder when I suggest you download it immediately! I have nothing more to say about it, just make sure you download it (it’s free).

So there you have it, those are 5 pieces of software that I use on an almost daily basis and cannot do without! Of course, others would be FileZilla, Dropbox, the Adobe Suite, TweetDeck, Chrome, Skype and Office (yes, yes, I know).

What’s your favourite piece of unconventional software?