Which Software Is Essential On Your Laptop?

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Over the last few years I've installed, reinstalled, wiped etc., quite a few desktop machines and laptops. (see an earlier post on this topic)

My latest machine (Macbook Air) arrived earlier today, so I've been setting it up in between answering emails, phone calls etc.,

Here's what I have on it so far:

  • Microsoft Office. We're a Microsoft partner and a LOT of documents I get sent are in Word, Excel or Powerpoint format.
  • Adium. For all your instant messaging needs 🙂
  • Evernote - very very handy for keeping track of notes, todo lists etc.,
  • Skype. I use this a lot for messaging and talking with colleagues. Also use it heavily for recording the podcast with Conn every week
  • Acrobat reader - PDFs .. need I say more
  • Adobe Flash player - used for a lot of sites and services
  • Microsoft Silverlight - for some odd reason MS Exchange Outlook Web Access works better with it
  • Spotify - I am totally addicted to this
  • Firefox (with several plugins) is still my favourite browser. I am using Safari a bit more often these days, but Firefox is still my default browser
  • Pixelmator - very handy for quick image editing

What am I missing?

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8 Responses to Which Software Is Essential On Your Laptop?

  1. Stewart CUrry May 22, 2012 at 4:36 pm #

    Going along my top bar…

    Sparrow – better than Mail
    Bowtie – shows what’s playing on Spotify/iTunes
    Text Expander (shortcuts for frequently used text)
    Alfred – a better Spotlight
    Caffine – stops the monitor from dimming, useful if you’re presenting
    MAMP, Codekit, Coda for web stuff

  2. Conor P May 22, 2012 at 4:37 pm #

    From what I can see on my screen right now:

    Skitch (free) – Absolutely essential for quick screen-grabs.
    Mailplane (€18.95) – For any Gmail/ Google Apps users – easily handle multiple accounts
    Old Tweetdeck (free) – For the Twitters
    DragonDrop (£2.99) – For moving files around, super-handy, wiggle your mouse and drop the file into a little window that appears, then you can find where you need to move it to. Look it up, I’m not explaining it terribly well.
    Fantastical (£13.99) – Expensive, but a great and somewhat semantic way of adding new calendar entries to iCal/ Entourage

  3. Kevin Murphy May 22, 2012 at 4:40 pm #

    Whuh? No Twitter software?

    I expected you to have some kind of military-grade social networking management console reminiscent of the bridge of the Enterprise.

  4. David Cake May 22, 2012 at 4:50 pm #

    No dedicated Twitter client? And you aren’t using anything along the Quicksilver lines (I’m using Alfred these days).

    Personally, I find a good text editor is essential, but it isn’t for everyone – I find a good editor very useful for sysadmin type tasks. BBedit for me, but there are plenty of alternatives.

  5. Michele May 22, 2012 at 7:38 pm #

    I used to be a Tweetdeck fan, but we switched to using Hootsuite for the company accounts, so I’m also using it for my own stuff.
    While I loved the old Tweetdeck the collaboration in Hootsuite was worth it – we’re *less* likely to have two or three of us answering the same tweets now 🙂

    I don’t use Google Apps, so while I’ve looked at the various applications mentioned I can’t use them 🙂

    Thanks for your comments – there’s a couple of apps mentioned there that I must try out


  6. Georgie May 23, 2012 at 1:28 am #

    No ZOC Terminal for SSH? Much handier to have saved SSH logins and tabs.

  7. Michele May 23, 2012 at 8:41 am #

    I’m not familiar with that software. I’ve tried various SSH / SCP etc., software over the last couple of years, but I was never that impressed with any of them and ended up going back to the original “terminal” 🙂
    Thanks for your comment

  8. Michele May 23, 2012 at 8:43 am #

    @David – If I keep the amount of software installed under control then I won’t need a Quicksilver type solution 🙂 I am still using QuickSilver on my office desktop, though I don’t use it as much these days .. I tend to add the stuff I use regularly to the dock

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