creative tools: various sundry miscellany

March 30, 2009

This is part of a short series on Creative Tools. Other posts in the series (so far) include: Creative Tools: Hardware, Creative Tools: Backend and Creative Tools: Production.

I intended to have posts about software in the Creative Tools series. Welcome to this third. As I was putting the first two together, there were too many apps that merited a mention but didn’t really belong in either the Backend or Production category. I use most of these apps weekly, if not daily. Most of them streamline processes down to one or two steps that would be more complicated otherwise.

1Password: 1Password is a must have for Mac users, in my opinion. It is accessible in your browser with the click of a button, and and keeps track of all of your passwords so you don’t have to remember them or write them down. You can practice good security habits and use a different and complex password for every site. Bonus points for the ability to sync your passwords across multiple systems.

Billings: While on the hunt for an app to handle time tracking and invoicing for freelance work, I found at least five worthy candidates. Billings was the winner for having the features I needed in the most simple interface. Time tracking by project is easy to implement, it interfaces with address book, and there are quite a few nice invoice templates included.

Delicious Library: Delicious Library is considered one of the best looking Mac apps, but it is also one of the handiest. I’m particular about tracking the books in my collection, and appreciate being able to see a visual respresentation of my library at any time. It is helpful for me to have books sorted into special shelves like Unread Books or Kindle Books.

Leap: A year ago, I began using Leap to sort my documents by tags instead of folders. Leap made it possible. I haven’t totally abandoned folders, but use Hazel to sort documents automatically based on my Leap tags. You can read more about my system here.

Yep: Yep is Leap’s cousin. It lets you scan documents as PDF’s and sort them by tags. I only keep hard copies of what I have to, and file everything else away in Yep. Scanning documents takes a little time, but not much more than filing, and the retrieval process is quicker, and available anywhere I have my laptop.

Skitch: Skitch is the best way to grab images from your screen, like all the icons in this post. Love it. Don’t know what I’d do without it. Well, I do, but it wouldn’t be as easy.

FileChute: FileChute is, well, a chute for files. I have it setup with my blog server as a simple way to host images. All of the images in this post were captured with Skitch, and then dragged directly to FileChute to be posted on the server. They never even touched my local hard drive.

Pixelmator: I use Pixelmator any time I want to do a quick edit on an image such as a resize. It’s capable of much more, but I’m already equipped and familiar with Photoshop. But Pixelmator is the best of the entry level image editors that I’ve seen.

TweetDeck: TweetDeck isn’t very pretty, but the multiple columns make it my favorite way to track Twitter. I especially like the TwitScoop panel, but I’d recommend you close it if you are a fan of Lost and aren’t watching it while it is airing on the East Coast.

I love sharing these apps, because I appreciate how each of these developers has found a way to streamline or improve a unique workflow. After these three posts about software, you might think I have an app addiction. Well, maybe I do. But be honest with yourself (and me)…if you took the time to read this, you probably do to. So, I’d love to hear what apps you find useful for your unique workflows.

Latest Posts