My "Must-Have" Mac Apps

I started a new job at Tenable Security last week. While my official title is Information Security Analyst, my actual responsibilities will be much more research and writing oriented. Tenable was kind enough to give me an option between a Mac or a PC laptop, and since I've been working on Macs since about 2009, I chose the Mac.

As a result, I got to set up a totally stock MacBook Pro for the first time in a while, and I figured I'd do a quick write up on what the apps that I headed straight for.

  • f.lux - Flux is an interesting little app. What it does is remove the more artificial color from displays. I've been getting headaches and watery eyes as I work lately, which I pretty much attribute directly to spending 12+ hours in front of the computer each day. Flux immediately helped reduce those headaches and strain. It also helps with my sleep schedule. Since I started using Flux, I've noticed that when it gets close to bedtime, I'm actually tired, and don't have much of a problem falling asleep.

  • Quicksilver - Quicksilver is basically Spotlight on steroids. It does better searching, can do Automater scripting, and just basically makes it easier to move around my Mac. I would say that about 90% of the time, if I'm launching an app, it's from Quicksilver. I use the default Ctrl+Spacebar command to launch Quicksilver, and then anything I need is just a quick type of a few characters away. I feel lost without Quicksilver.

  • TextWrangler - A while back, I was looking for a Notepad++ equivalent for Macs, especially after Apple screwed up TextEdit with the Mavericks update. After a bit of digging, I ran into TextWrangler, and it was exactly what I was looking for. I use it for text editing, a scratch pad, and about anything else I can think of. I haven't noticed if it does syntax highlighting, but it might.

  • Caffeine - Caffeine doesn't seem like much, but for what it does, it's incredibly useful. I often switch between devices, or get to talking to a coworker and suddenly the display goes to sleep. Caffeine puts a little coffee cup in the menu bar that just needs clicked to keep the display awake until I manually put it to sleep. I use this much more on my personal MacBook, but it's still a great little app to have available when I need it.

Those are the key little apps that I use. Obviously things like Fusion and Office are always installed, along with a plethora of browsers, but I think they're a little obvious.

I'll also do a quick writeup of some of my System Preferences soon. Things like Hot Corners can be a little weird, but I find them absolutely necessary.