10 November 2007

New Tools

I've been using a few new tools lately, and also got rid of one I've used a long time. First up, now that I'm running Leopard on my Macs, I've found I just don't need or want Path Finder. Path Finder has been great, I've used it for a few years now. But, with the new features in Finder, and the niggling issues I've had with Path Finder, it was finally time to end my use. The Finder's new sidebar, stacks, quick look, and the fact that you can show the directory path at the bottom of Finder windows (this was a big-little feature in Path Finder for me), brought me back to using it.

Update (12 Nov 2007): A new version of Path Finder has been released that integrates MUCH better with Leopard, including supporting Quick View, and having an "Open in Finder" replacement that works completely. I'll have to see if I go back again to using Path Finder...

Some new tools, both web and Mac that I've been using a fair bit lately include:

Mind Meister

I haven't used mind mapping tools much in the past. I've tried various ones several times, but they either were too cumbersome, too slow, or just didn't seem useful. I found out about MindMeister from someone on Twitter, and have a couple mind maps running on it now. I'm also collaborating on one of them with others. MM is fairly preferment, quite easy to use, nice to look at, and the collaboration bit is super nice. I'd like to see them add a way to insert a URL/link, where that link could be clicked on, but that's about the only issue I have so far. Interesting to note, if you get the Premium account (a measly $4/month!), they have offline editing. They are using Google Gears for this. Another intriguing bit is that they have an API. I haven't looked into this yet, or haven't thought about how I'd use it, but I always like to see services that have this as an option.

Mars Edit 2

The 2.0 version, now produced by Red Sweater Software is quite nice. In days of old, I'd preferred ecto, but this new version is simple, effective, fast, and quite nicely, has great Flickr integration. I've been using Flickr quite a bit, especially with my other blog, and often put multiple photos in a post. Mars Edit makes this trivial.


Navicat is a GUI database tool. I used to use CocoaMySQL, and YourSQL and such on Mac, but YourSQL doesn't seem to work these days, and CocoaMySQL seems out of date, and I think wasn't under development anymore(?). Navicat, while a commercial product, has been rock solid, and I've found to be quite useful. Admittedly, I use it a lot of simple browsing, simple queries and value changes, etc., but the dependability and quality of it have kept it in my tool chest (and got me to buy it). One other nice thing here is that while it has a real Mac UI, it is a tool also available on Linux and Windows.


Acorn is a slick, simple new image editor by Gus Mueller of Flying Meat Software (likely better known for VoodooPad). It's extremely fast to load up, and I'm finding it's my top pick to do things like saving images in another format (if they aren't in my Lightroom library - otherwise I use Lightroom), make minor tweaks, crops, etc. The speed is one of the best things - it launches super fast, and is very fast to use, so it's an excellent tool for quick work. Interesting note: you can write plugins in Python or Objective-C.

Pack Rat

I use 37 Signals Backpack extensively. It's my GTD system, and I keep tons of notes and information I need in it. Backpack's web interface is somewhat slow, especially if you switch between various pages a lot (and don't want to keep said pages in lots of browser tabs). I have a half completed AIR app to be my Backpack client, but Pack Rat seems to be the ticket now. It has synchronization, offline editing, and so on. I am sold, and have essentially not used my browser for Backpack since.

Panic Sans font

Last, but certainly not least, is the Panic Sans font. This is a fixed width font, great for coding. I've been using the Bitstream Vera Sans Mono font for quite some time, but Duncan's recent post about this discovered a few new ones. Panic Sans is actually a font found inside the Coda app's package. It's very similar to Bitstream Vera Sans Mono, but slightly nicer. Duncan's post has good info in that particular post, but also see some of his followup posts on the subject.

What's new in your tool chest?


Vic-vic said...

I agree MindMeister is a good tool and is developing aggressively and well.

There are others fulfilling a similar function that you might want to look at, though. These are the other ones I know of: bubbl.us, comapping.com, glinkr.net, mindmaps.kayuda.com, mapio.com, mapul.com, mind42.com, mindomo.com, wisemapping.com, webofweb.net

The master list of mind mapping &
information management software