Adam Mc

Thoughts on the web.

My Favorite Apps of 2009

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This time of year there are literally hundreds of “top” lists. Top songs of the year, Top movies of the year, top websites of the year, top news stories of the year, on and on and on…..

Well, just like the rest I got the thought
“Hey! I should make a list of the top-”
That was it, the thought lasted about .3 seconds till I remembered that it’s the end of the year so everyone else is already doing that.
So instead I’ve decided to make a list of my favorite apps of the last year. The only requirement for an app to make my personal list was that I liked it. Or rather, I liked it A LOT. Here it is in no particular order:
Dropbox (dropbox.com) OS X, Linux and Windows


Sure, plenty has already been said about the greatness of Dropbox here, here and here. But here I am, adding another ringing endorsement onto the heap.

Not only has Dropbox made simple tasks, like moving a project file from one computer to another, ridiculously easier, but it’s also kept those same files in sync with one another even after 100s of revisions across multiple machines.

If you use more than one machine, or have multiple people who work on the same files on a regular basis or just want to create a secure and 100% backup of certain information on your computer then you need to know the perfect synchronous harmony that is Dropbox.


Firebug (getfirebug.com) w/ Firefox (Required) OS X, Linux and Windows
Once again, another app that has had it’s fair share of high profile endorsements. Firebug is essential to my workflow. After slaving for hours (or minutes) over a text editor wrangling code into shape it’s nice to be able to take a step back and view the result in a browser.

What’s better than just viewing? Being able to grab an element and modify it in realtime! Beginner or pro; if you make stuff for the web, you need to be using this.

Hulu Desktop (hulu.com) OS X, Linux and Windows

Sometimes you need a break from the daily grind and sometimes you don’t really want this break to involve leaving your desk. Hulu.com’s library of Movies and TV shows, all available for instant streaming has been a great way to fulfill this need for quite sometime.

Well, Hulu Desktop takes the streaming OUT of your browser and puts it in it’s own standalone application that works just like any other desktop video player. The bonus? It has access to all of Hulu’s regular scheduled programming.

I use it to catch up on whatever shows I missed during the week or to watch shows I would never have time to see without it. (Or just watch 30 Rock, Firefly and The Office over and over again….)

Espresso (macrabbit.com) OS X

There are a lot of text editors out there and everyone who works on the web has their favorite or preferred app. Mine is Espresso.

It’s project management, quick publish and Snippets features are the bees knees. The active user community that consistently adds new features and code libraries doesn’t hurt either.

I first got Espresso thanks to the always impressive MacHeist. Up till then I had been using Text Wrangler and had dabbled with TextMate, had MacHeist come just a month or so later and I might be writing about critically acclaimed TextMate right now, but that’s not how it happened.

Remote (apple.com) w/iTunes & airport OS X , Windows and iPhone/iPod Touch
Do you have an iPhone or iPod Touch? Do you have an Apple Airport Express? If you answered yes to both of those questions then you should immediately download the FREE Remote app for said iPhone or iPod Touch, link it to your iTunes library and then hook some speakers up to your Airport.

Now you can enjoy the pure awesomeness of controlling your entire iTunes audio library via your iPod/iPhone from anywhere in your home. Sitting on the couch or laying in bed and being able to listen to any song on my computer three rooms away: brilliant!

If you want to learn more about doing this go here. If you have an iPhone/iPod Touch but no Airport Express read this.
Favit from Favstar.fm (favstar.fm & favit – app store) web & iPhone/iPod Touch
Funny is easy to find online. But finding funny that is fresh and new ALL THE TIME, that’s a little harder. Or at least it was, until favstar.fm came along.

Favstar.fm relys on an oft overlooked feature of twitter.com: “stars” or “favorites” (thus the name – favstar) I won’t go into all the details here, just try it. C’mon it’s just one click. Go to favstar.fm – I’ll make it real easy: CLICK HERE. If you don’t laugh I give you full permission to come back here and heckle me.

Note: “Favit” is the name of Favstar.fm’s official iPhone/iPod Touch app. You can find THAT here: favit

What the Font (myfonts.com) web & iPhone/iPod Touch and ColorSnap (sherwin-williams.com) iPhone/iPod Touch

Both of these apps are often overlooked. So, keeping with the theme I lumped them together for this post.
“What the Font” is a font finder. This web and/or iPhone app allows you to take an image, highlight the text and send it in. Seconds later the app will come back with a list of possible fonts that match what you highlighted. See a sign/ad/logo with a nice font and want to know what it is – just a quick photo and a few seconds later: Poof! You have an answer.

“ColorSnap” is a color finder. This iPhone app is from Sherwin-Williams, the paint company. I first downloaded it to find paint color codes while at the hardware store looking at…. Sherwin-Williams paints!

But a short time later I learned the TRUE value of this FREE iPhone app, it doesn’t just display official Sherwin-Williams paint colors. It displays RGB codes too! Now I can snap a picture of anything I see and after a few seconds have not only the RGB code for that color but RGB codes for the split complementary colors.

Google Chrome (google.com) OS X, Linux and Windows



I’ve used Firefox for years and when Chrome was released I never felt a need to try it. My thoughts at the time where along the lines of, “Firefox is great! It has extensions! I love it!”

Fast-forward a few months and Chrome for OSX is released, around the same time Firefox had started to become a bit bloated. The bloat was more my fault then Firefox’s but, I needed my extensions!

So instead of just downloading Chrome out of necessity and letting it sit in my applications folder next to Safari and Opera till I wanted to test something, I decided to give it a real try. I’ve been impressed ever since.


Quick and stable, the switch to Chrome feels just like it did when I first switched to Firefox years ago. After suggesting Chrome to a few other people, they’ve also made the switch and love it too. I still support Firefox and Mozilla’s Open Source message, in fact, when I’m working I always use Firefox. But if I am browsing for any other reason – it’s Chrome all the way.

Honorable Mentions

Last.fm – Streaming internet/mobile radio and personal music catalog: Awesome.

Windows 7 and OSX Snow Leopard – The two new super powers in operating systems. Both have their own different and huge advantages.

Twitteriffic – A Twitter OS X and iPhone/iPod Touch app.

Red Laser – iPhone barcode/price comparison app.

So that’s it! Those are my favorite apps of 2009. Feel free to share yours in the comments, or just tell me why mine aren’t your favorites.

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