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My Favorite Mac Apps: Erica's Take


So Victor comes to us and says, "Quick, what are your favorite apps?" Without pausing to breathe or think, the words "OfficeCreativeSuiteQuickeys" tumble out of my mouth. That's because these are the three software packages for Mac that I cannot live without. These three apps are where I spend 80-odd percent of my working life.

By the time I can pause and reflect, I realize that I have picked three apps that provide the least Mac-like user experience. With all the rich and beautiful OS X software landscape out there, I've picked the plain but reliable dinosaurs. They're ugly. They're ported (at least Photoshop and Office are). They work.

This isn't to say that I'd change my list upon further thought. Between Word, Excel, Illustrator, Acrobat, Photoshop, and Quickey's Macros (so I rarely have to actually touch a mouse, eek), these packages get the job done. Throw in the equally ugly Eudora mail program (the original, not the almost unusable open source update that's floating around) plus Apple's cadre of less beautiful utilities, namely Terminal, Safari and TextEdit, and we're talking maybe 90% of my work time.

Sure, I've used Apple's Mail, Preview, iPhoto, iWork, Pages and so forth but I always end up going back to the more capable name-brand power-houses. The user experience might not match the slick Apple software but my efficiency goes way way up.

As for the built-in Keyboard prefs or QuickSilver, QuicKeys gives me all the programming control I need for creating and executing my macros. If I'm going to do a job more than once, I'm probably going to write a macro, whether it's sorting my mail or writing my TUAW posts.

In the end, I'm really happy with my paleo-software. One of the big reasons that I'm still (still!) using my 733 G4 Mac as my primary computing machine is that I know I'll have to re-buy these programs should I switch fully to Intel-based computing.

Instead, I'll hang with my favorite dinosaurs and keep getting the job done.

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