Top 10 OS X apps to supplement blogging
Last week I shared a little info regarding the WordPress plugins I rely on to keep 5ThirtyOne running as it should. The list received a decent amount of attention and opened the door as far as questions regarding the rest of my personal setup. More specifically, favored applications and methods for shuffling content on to 5ThirtyOne.
I’ve rolled through my applications folder in an attempt to collect the Top 10 OSX applications to supplement bloggers in this blog era. Understand that the list does not reflect actual desktop blogging apps. Rather, the focus is on apps which supplement blogging.
Granted, a true grassroots blogger would manage just fine with nothng more than a WordPress.com account. Chances are that anyone who has landed on this post is interested in a little padded convenience as opposed to raw functionality. Bloggers have access to a great collection of applications and utitlites to create a consistent blogging environment.
Never leave the keyboard with Quicksilver
Blogging requires constant contact with the keyboard. Any action that require you to lift your finger tips away from the keys will henceforth be labeled as anti-bloggism. The key to alleviating such non-productiveness? Quicksilver. Launch files, open folders, meta tag items, upload to Flickr, etc. without ever leaving the keyboard. The list goes on and on. The possibilities seem endless thanks to an assortment of plugins and tutorials which revolve around this wonder app. Price: Free.
Browsing + Blogging = Firefox / Flock
While I am a strong supporter of Flock, I’ve returned to Firefox due to a small quirk I’ve noticed in the way the integrated WYSIWYG editor handles markup. As a feature rich “Web 2.0″ browser, Flock rocks. Intgrated blogging, Flickr / Photobucket, social bookmarking, and drag n’ drop everything, the average blogger has nothing else to ask for. See the definitive Flock review and decide for yourself.
As hard as I tried, complete control over browser behavior fit my routine a little better. Add to that the fact that Firefox supports keywords for instant access to bookmarks. If it’s a browsing & blogging “experience” you’re after, grab Flock. If you’re looking for bare bones control, continue on with Firefox. Price: Free.
Del.icio.us + Pukka = Endless ideas
The secret to maintaining a steady flow of traffic is consistent posting habits. The social bookmarking site del.icio.us can be used as both a content & marketing resource. Naturally, bloggers can use this service to conveniently tag items of interest for future reference. Personally, I recommend Pukka for adding pages to del.icio.us. Pukka allows users to quickly tag and describe links for [quick] saves to multiple del.icio.us accounts. Oddly enough, pages seem to save to del.icio.us a lot faster than the standard bookmarklets. Price: $5 + Limited Demo.
Your river of news within NewsFire
One of, if not the most, visually pleasing RSS reader to date for OSX. With iChat-esque notifications of unread items, live search, favicons, and complete integration with software such as Pukka, Ecto, and MarsEdit, NewsFire handles feeds like no other. Every imagineable keyboard shortcut comes pre-configured for opening links in defualt browsers [behind the reader!], posting to del.icio.us [via Pukka], marking individual feeds [or all feeds], jumping through unread items, auto-discovering feeds, and too many more to continue listing. My favorite feature? Smart Feeds. Think Apple Mail ‘rules’ (filters). Specify exact words or phrases, specific feeds, or an assortment of other options for guaranteeing that your personal interests are continually pushed to the front. Feed reading has never been so simply. Price: $17.99 + Limited Demo.
Handle FTP needs with Transmit
After spending equal time with Fetch, Cyberduck, and Transmit, there is no hesitation electing Transmit as my FTP-client of choice. Supporting Droplets, Synchronization, Spotlight favorites, iDisk & WebDAV support, and sidebar previews for files, nothing else compares. Keep your local WordPress themes folders sync’d with your server install. For a full peek at Transmit’s offerings, check here. Price: $29.95 + Full Demo.
Quick image editing thanks to Image Trick
Don’t let Image Trick’s diminutive size and simplicity fool you. I leave this little app sitting in the dock for quick access by drag n’ dropping images directly on to the icon. Image Trick utilizes Tiger’s Core Image filters to transform and tweak screenshots, photographs, and misc images on your computer. Don’t wait around for Photoshop’s 15 second warm up when you can crop & edit your blog post images in the same amount of time. Price: Strong free version with Pro options for $9.95.
Poke at PHP, JS, XHTML, & CSS with TextMate
Syntax highlighting, project view, file tree view, live spell check, and tabs are just a few features that some may point out in similar applications. Fortunately, TextMate has a few tricks up its sleeve to differentiate it from the rest including an arsenal of automated snippets, code folding, and a slew of keyboard shortcuts often requiring a cheat sheet as reference. A personal favorite is the keyboard shortcut for code validation and live code previews. Compiled projects also save time when reopening TextMate after brief breaks. Price: $50 + 30 Day demo.
Voice Candy audible reminders and notes
It was only recently that I stumbled upon Potion Factory’s Voice Candy. Yet, I’ve managed to log an incredible number of audible notes and reminders thanks to the configurable keyboard shortcut. Mine is set to CMD + Enter which automatically opens and initiates Voice Candy. Gimmicky to some, the added voice over effect add a little bit of fun to your audio notes. Create dated reminders [which will even go so far as waking your computer from sleep], create iTunes playlists, or email reminders to yourself and others. Audio clips are saved as Quicktime .MOV files. Give Voice Candy a try as I’ve discovered that audio notes are easier to create and save when compared to Stickies. Price: $12.95 + 15-day full demo.
Dictionary at your fingertips
Definitions and spelling can be so tricky at times. Thankfully, Apple’s integrated dictionary serves as both a defining reference and spelling check. Live search as you type functionality allows users to begin typing words as OSX begins to query possible matches. Alternatively, Quicksilver users can invoke text mode, enter a word, and perform a dictionary look up action [granted Dictionary + Growl support is enabled in the preferences]. Just try not to overload your blog posts with heavy words forcing readers to look for definitions. Price: Free.
Despite being a written medium, blogging requires quite a bit of time in chat rooms, instant message sessions, and conference calls. Maybe it’s just me, but there is a whole lot of actual talking involved despite prior preconceptions concerning “blogging”. “Digg this! Did you read about… Let’s talk about our goals for the month. Yada yada yada.” I’m guilty as is any other blogger reading through this. How do I handle all this side chatter? Adium & Skype. No other way to go. Blogging is more than type, post, and comment. Blogging is about communicating with peers and readers. Adium handles the brunt of the instant messaging needs supporting the big four + more while Skype handles the VoIP and land line calls.
Aside from the actual publishing platform, what tools do you use in pursuit of blogging stardom? Drop your Windows & OSX tips below. Digg this.
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