Application Shopping

I tend to get stuck in my computing habits during the year. So each December vacation (since last year anyway) I’ve taken to trying out new applications. Here’s the list (so far) for this year:

  • TotalFinder

    Adds tabbing, docking, folders-on-top, and more to OSX’s native

    So far I love it. The docking feature (named “Visor” and not to be confused with their other app of the same name) allows for a Finder window to animate in/out with a hotkey (⌥` by default), or whenever I switch to the Finder app. And with tabs, I don’t have to manage 50 different Finder windows any longer.

    It’s priced reasonably at $15 and has a 14 day trial period. I’m sure I will be buying it.

  • Visor

    I’ve been learning Git lately ( which involves a lot of usage. Like TotalFinder, Visor allows you to dock Terminal to your screen and animate it in/out with a hotkey (^` by default).

    Free and open sourced at

  • XRefresh

    Refresh your page Firefox whenever a file changes. So, I give a path to my working directory (I use MAMP so it’s “/Applcations/MAMP/htdocs”) and whenever a file changes, Firefox simply refreshes. No more toggling back and forth between Textmate and Firefox, constantly hitting ⌘r to refresh the changes just made. Working with 2 monitors makes this even easier since I can have Textmate running on one and Firefox on another. I never have to toggle over to see my changes.

    It is composed of an addon to Firebug and Ruby Cocoa (has a native OSX installer). Start the server via the command line with xrefresh-server, open a new Firefox window and watch with wonderment.

    You can also set it to soft-refresh any css updates to avoid page reloads.

    It’s awesome, free and open sourced at

  • Tower

    Since my Terminal skills (mostly it’s my typing skills) are pretty rough I thought I’d also try a GUI for Git. I use Versions for SVN and Tower has so far proven to be the equivalent for Git.

    It’s currently free and in beta, but it will be priced once they have a solid release. I’m sure I’ll buy it.

  • Alfred

    Billed as a “productivity application for Mac OS X, which aims to save you time in searching your local computer and the web”. And that’s exactly what it is. I’ve used Quicksilver for years, but the original developer ceased updates a log time ago and the community has kept it (mostly) alive (you find a good build at

    I new I’d eventually have to find a replacement and Andy Clarke posted about Alfred this week.

    It’s free and currently in beta. An intersting note on how they plan to make money giving it away for free their FAQ page states [emphasis mine]:

    “We can provide the Alfred core for free thanks to users who support it by purchasing the Powerpack. We also include affiliate codes in Amazon links

    It’s a great model and I’m interested to see it how it scales. I might buy the Powerpack, but I want to get familiar with the Alfred core first.

If anyone has any other recommendations I’d love to hear it.