My Top 10 of 2006

2006 was the year I got my first Mac (PowerBook G4). It was also the year I got my second Mac (20″ iMac) and my third Mac (Mac mini), so you could say that I got well and truly hooked!

Owning a Mac had been a long time desire of mine, so it was hardly surprising given my slightly obsessive and compulsive nature that having got one I would get another one (think young kid in a sweet shop), but three really was pushing it even for me. What is great though is the fact that I (well we) use them all the time:

– the Mac mini is my main computer and I use it for pretty much everything. Hooked up to a TVMax and a LaCie external drive it acts as a digital media hub as well as my main computer for all my day to day stuff.

– the PowerBook still gets used a lot as I tend to use to do my application reviews, especially if I am not sure if I will want to keep on using the product. I also have certain IM accounts that I only use on that Mac, but its main use is that I use it for editing other peoples videos as this is something I have started doing (at a very basic level) since I got my Mac(s), and

– the iMac is my wife’s computer. We both watch movies on it that have been recorded, and as they are all networked together it is possible to sit at any Mac and get our “own” stuff, but basically it is her baby.

What made me purchase so many? Well the design for one thing, the ease of use for another, but primarily I just love the whole community “thing”, especially the wealth of software and “gadgets” that exist. Throughout the year I have reviewed some great software, products and books. For now though I want to share with you with personal Top 10 applications, based solely on these that I use the most on a regular (at least twice a week basis). In no particular order:

MarsEdit: a great tool for blogging, I use it as a combination text editor and scratch pad to produce everything from a quickie news post to a more detailed article. when coupled with NetNewsWire it makes a very powerful blogging tool. Needless to say I use this pretty much on a daily basis,

NetNewsWire: even though I am having some timeout issues with my own sites RSS feed I love this application. I reviewed it earlier in the year and my views haven’t changed, nor has the way in which I use it across three computers. Again I use this daily, in fact many many times a day,

eyeTV: this is the software that makes both the TVMax and the eyeTVHybrid two of my all time favourite Mac accessories. Again both have been reviewed in 2006 so I will focus here on the software. It is simple to use, has a good editing feature, and allows me to record stuff from my TV, store it on my LaCie drive and view it on either my Mac mini or back on the TV. I stream movies across the network to the iMac, where we can also watch programs on the TV in my wife’s den. I simply adore this software and whilst not an every day basis it is used 3-4 times a week at least,

Airfoil: this is an application that again I have reviewed, and I use pretty much every day. It is perfect for me as I have two airport express “music networks”, one that is connected to the B&O and encompasses 4 rooms and 8 speakers and one that is connected to the surround sound system connected to the Sony TV in my wife’s den. Airfoil allows us to stream the music from iTunes to both “music networks” at the same time AND music from the web i.e. Pandora,

Dockstar: a very simple application, again reviewed this year, and one that sits there all the time in the dock as a really quick and easy means of identifying how many unread emails I have from my various email accounts,

VoodooPad Pro: definitely an application that I use daily since I reviewed it. I use it to store all my personal details as I love the way it syncs with my iPod(s). I use it less for tasks now as I have really got into stickies these last couple of months, and I use PTHPasteboard and TypeIt4Me more and more these days in the construction of articles, reviews etc. I used to use VoodooPad to save all my short term notes and shortcuts.

OmniOutliner: a longtime regular, my use of this comes and goes depending on how detailed the work or project is that I am doing. It is ideal when I want to work on multiple documents at the same time under the same project

Delicious Library: pretty much a daily regular since its review. I don’t know how large my library is compared to other peoples BUT I can tell you how big it is 🙂 We have 308 Movies of which 15 are on Sky +, 34 are on the iMac and 26 are on the Mac mini; 432 albums, of which 43 have been downloaded from iTunes; 12 Games (PSP, PC, PS2, Mac) and 239 books of which 29 are audio books (and 4 are currently on loan to friends). All this info is presented via some cool book shelves with graphics of the item, and the data is also synced with one of my iPods. Anal I know but if you like to know what you have and where it is this is a great application

GIMP: I am growing to use and like this more and more, certainly since I reviewed the book GIMP2, but also since I accepted that my own photographic abilities don’t justify the investment in Photoshop. This application is free, and is a lot more powerful and user friendly than I initially thought.

AppZapper: a “must have” in my view for anybody, this is certainly a great asset to me as I am always installing and “zapping” applications. Again I reviewed it early in the year.

So that is my Top 10 based solely on applications that I personally use pretty much daily. I could have done a Top 20 as there are some really great applications that I use all the time that I have left off the list. Tempting as it is I wont list them here as that would sort of make a mockery of having sent so long trying to narrow down the Top 10.

As ever, I would really like to hear from you with you Top 10, or suggestions as to what I should look at, and if you twist my arm I may even tell you my 11-20 applications 🙂

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