After having been on OS X for 5 or so years, I have collected a bunch of little helper apps that do one specific thing very well. It never fails that I have someone sitting next to me that sees me using one and is thrilled to know such a thing exists. Here is my list of current favorites:
- Alfred (free) - an application launcher and search utility for your desktop, this replaces Spotlight and Launchpad. I found Alfred after Quicksilver started getting buggy and slow. I don't know how I would even use my computer if I didn't have Alfred. I also highly recommend the PowerPack (~$22USD) which adds a bunch of niceties.
- BetterTouchTool (free) - rearrange and resize windows easily. Nice to be able to quickly split screens with one key combo.
- Boom (free to try, $7.99USD) - as someone who is hard of hearing, I struggle with a lot of audio and video on the web. Not everything comes with subtitles or transcripts, so being able to boost the audio above system max is very helpful.
- Caffeine (free) - keep your screen awake, regardless of your power saving settings. I use this when I am reading books, watching movies, or giving presentations.
- GamePad Companion ($7.99USD) - configure game pads for playing video games. (I play a lot of SNES + NES ROMs and use these wireless Logitech controllers, which are compatible with this app.)
- Nocturne (free and open source) - switch into what basically amounts to night vision mode. This is an awesome app for people with light-sensitive migraines. I prefer this over some of the other ones that automatically switch based on the light sensor built into the laptop. Favorite settings: hide desktop and tint colors to greenish-gray and black.
- Rowmote/Rowmote Pro ($.99USD, $4.99USD) - allows you to use your iphone as a remote control, mouse, and keyboard. I mainly use this for watching tv shows and movies on my computer, but it's also great for controller presentations (although lack of physical buttons can be tricky for that). One of the only iphone apps that I have never given up on.
- Shush ($2.99USD)- I just found out about this recently from James. This gives you push-to-talk or push-to-mute functionality over your mic system-wide by just pressing one key. If you do a lot of conference calls or screencasting, this is an app you wanna have.
- Skitch (free) - take screenshots of areas of your screen and anotate them. (Note that I linked to the pre-version 2 release because when Evernote took it over it became bloated and useless. Otherwise you can try out the latest release.)
- TotalFinder (free trial, $18USD) - adds tabs to finder, plus there is a "dual mode" which allows you to basically split a tab down the middle with a different folder on each side.
- Witch ($13.99USD) - allows you to command tab through windows, instead of just applications. This is great if you're like me and tend to have a ton of windows open at once. Helpful if you miss alt-tab from Windows.
What helper apps can't you live without?