Outstanding Apps That Will Increase Your Productivity – Part 2

2011/04/28

In my last post I wrote about a few useful apps that help me get work done and return to field recording quickly. I covered sound converters, writing apps and administrative apps.

This post we’ll look at more apps that can help you work better, organize your sound effects library and get back recording faster. I’ll highlight utilities, internet, website coding apps and social media apps.

Utilities

  • QuicksilverQuicksilver ($Free, Mac OS X) a tool that Mac power users cannot do without. At first glance it seems to allow you to open apps with a few speedy keystrokes. Once you delve deeper you’ll find that it is an immense, intelligent program that anticipates your needs. With only a few keystrokes you can:

    • find any file and then perform hundreds of actions on that file
    • play iTunes tracks instantly
    • launch websites
    • resize pictures
    • create email
    • move, copy, rename and delete files
    • manipulate clipboard text

    Quicksilver allows me to work faster and more intuitively. Their slogan is ‘action without doing’. When you try it you’ll see it’s true. It’s hard to overstate how useful this program is.

    Windows users can use Colibri, SlickRun and Launchy. They’re similar but reportedly not as good.

  • LaunchBar – for a few years Quicksilver was not being developed. LaunchBar ($35, Mac OS X) filled the gap. It lacks some of the power that Quicksilver has but is arguably more stable.

  • A Better Finder Rename – when I license my Airborne Sound sound effects library the delivery requirements often require extensive renaming to fit with a partner’s particular system. A Better Finder Rename ($19.95, Windows, Mac OS X) is a power-user batch renamer. It is the only app I’ve found that has the ‘rename from text file’ feature. Renamer (formerly Renamer4Mac, $19.95, Mac OS X) is a lightweight alternative.

  • Quickeys – this app alone has saved me literally months of my life. Quickeys ($59.95, Windows and Mac OS X) is an intuitive automation program. If you have programmed macros you’ll be familiar with the concept. Quickeys watches you launch apps, switch or resize windows, open web pages and more. Then, press one key trigger and Quickeys will repeat the same actions blindingly fast.

    Find yourself launching the same websites and applications every morning when you start work? Need to trim five seconds from the end of every Pro Tools segment in a track? Repeating typing functions in a huge list? Do it once and then Quickeys will repeat the action with just one keystroke.

    You can download a 30-day demo here.

  • ScreenflickScreenflick ($25, Mac OS X) is a screen and video capture app. It’s not overburdened with featuritis: it has just enough features to get up and recording videos quickly.

    Need to explain to a client how to log onto your FTP server? No need for a phone call or an elaborate email. Record a screen-capture video of yourself doing it first then email the video to them.

Internet Applications

  • Transmit – there are a lot of FTP clients available. Filezilla is an open-source, cross-platform option ($Free, Windows, Mac OS X and Linux) but could use an interface overhaul. Some like Fetch ($29, Mac OS X) or Interarchy ($27.95, Mac OS X).

    I find the best of the lot is Panic software’s Transmit ($34, Mac OS X). It has a slick interface and is packed with thoughtful and useful features including bandwidth limiting, SSH commands, S3 support, desktop volume mounting and more.

Website Coding Applications

  • Taco HTML Edit – I find that creating web pages for Airborne Sound and jetstreaming.org with WYSIWYG is unreliable – paragraphs, text and pictures can appear slightly different than what I intended. The only way to be sure, I found, is to hand code.

    I avoid cumbersome and expensive apps like Dreamweaver and stick with lightweight app Taco ($24.95, Mac OS X). Of course you can code in TextEdit or Notepad, but here the tags are colour coded so your code looks clean and is accessible. Some like to use Bare Bones Edit ($99, Mac OS X). I plan to spring for the rave-reviewed Coda ($99, Mac OS X) at some point; it looks amazing.

Social Media Applications

  • TweetDeckTweetDeck ($Free, Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, Android) allows you to tweet simultaneously to Twitter, LinkedIn and more.

    This is one area that I’m a bit out of touch so please share any cool apps in the comments.

Other Resources

Here’s a list of open-source (meaning free) software for the Mac (http://opensourcemac.org/) and Windows (http://opensourcewindows.org/). I can’t vouch for any of the apps but it’s a resource for free downloads.

Know some outstanding apps? Leave suggestions for other readers in the comments.

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