Apps We Use: Jonathan Garro

We’ve covered a ton of the apps our team relies on in our long-running Apps We Use series which we finished up the end of May. We didn’t get everyone included, though, so today we’re back with one more installation of our Apps We Use series.

This time, you’ll get to see that apps that our writer Jonathan Garro uses in his work.




Sure, it was bought by Google and has been essentially abandoned, but a lack of new features being introduced hasn’t stopped me from using it as my primary email client. As a Gmail user that relies heavily on tags, Sparrow has been the best option I’ve found. Airmail looks like it might one day replace Sparrow for me, but right now it’s too cluttered.

Price: $9.99
Requires: OS X 10.6+
Developer: Google



I can’t say I agree with the price tag, regardless of the developer’s arguments about limited Twitter tokens. But since it replaced Twitterific on my Mac, it has become perhaps my most used app. I’m not sure how Tap Bots has managed to go this long without introducing some sort of night mode, though.

Price: $19.99
Requires: OS X 10.7.4+
Developer: Tap Bots



I’ve tried a few different apps that serve a similar function, but TextExpander has been my favorite shortcut utility. I use it mostly with email, when I have a standard response I need to send or a question I need to ask. Once you take the time to fill it up with snippets, you’d be surprised how frequently you might end up using it.

Price: $34.99
Requires: OS X 10.6.6+
Developer: Smile Software



Once you try an alternate file manager, Finder suddenly seems like a dinosaur. I create and move a ton of files a day, and Forklift’s interface makes managing it all very simple. Having FTP built-in lets it double as a fantastic tool for uploading to remote servers.

Price: $19.99
Requires: OS X 10.7+
Developer: Binary Nights



There are a million different to-do managers for Mac, and sometimes it feels like I’ve tried them all. There are some great options out there, but I’ve always come back to Things. Sure, it took way too long to introduce cloud syncing, its probably too expensive, and doesn’t offer nearly as many features as some of its competitors. But what the developers lack in speed they more than make up for with quality. Together with the iPhone and iPad versions, Things helps me keep my life organized better than any other tool I’ve tried.

Price: $49.99
Requires: OS X 10.6.8+
Developer: Cultured Code


iA Writer

When it comes to text editors, I like to keep things simple. I love the file management that Ulysses offers, but until it offers full syncing with an iOS app (rather than the oddly limited solution it offers now through Daedalus), iA Writer will remain my favorite. Its clean, simple, and syncs with my iDevices seamlessly. I’ve come to depend on the focus-mode that dims all of the text outside the current sentence.

Price: $4.99
Requires: OS X 10.6+
Developer: Information Architects



I’ve jumped around between the big three read-it-later services (Pocket, Instapaper and Readability), and I’ve found something to like in each. Instapaper makes my favorite iOS app, and Readability seems to be the most reliable at stripping text. However, I’ve gone with Pocket for what feels like more robust options for saving stuff beyond articles, and having a desktop client helps me work through my ever-growing queue more quickly.

Price: Free
Requires: OS X 10.7+
Developer: Pocket



As someone who loves to cook, I’m always collecting recipes. I used to store them in Evernote, but Paprika has recently taken over as my culinary database thanks to its incredible recipe parsing. Find a recipe on one of the dozens of supported sites, copy the URL and Paprika automatically organizes the ingredients, directions, and other information into a clean recipe page. It syncs to its iOS versions, which lets me have the recipe sitting in front of me in the kitchen on my iPad.

Price: $19.99
Requires: OS X 10.7+
Developer: Hindsight Labs


Little Snapper (Now Ember)

Ember looks great and all, but at 50 bucks, its about three times more expensive than what I feel its worth. LittleSnapper was what Ember replaced, and it does everything I need for saving and annotating screenshots, which I have to do just about every day. Sadly, LittleSnapper is no longer being offered, but if you’ve got the cash to spend, Ember is a worthy (albeit way too expensive) upgrade.

Price: $49.99
Requires: OS X 10.8.3
Developer: Realmac Software




I own Adobe Creative Suite and use it rather frequently, (especially Photoshop and Illustrator). But for 90 percent of my image editing and website mockup needs, Pixelmator has become my go-to thanks to its simple interface and lightning fast performance. Except for a few advanced features that Photoshop offers, Pixelmator is a fantastic alternative.

Price: $14.99
Requires: OS X 10.6.8+
Developer: Pixelmator



Sure, the legality of it is still somewhat fuzzy, but if I pay for a DVD, I have no qualms about ripping it to my computer, (and no, I don’t sell or even share those files, so my conscience is clean). HandBrake isn’t the most intuitive piece of software, but once you take the time to learn about the various options and formats, it becomes an invaluable tool for storing your movies on your computer.

Price: Free
Requires: OS X 10.6+
Developer: The HandBrake Team



After ripping movies to an external hard drive, I like to watch them on my Apple TV. I could use iTunes, but I like avoid that mess whenever possible. ServeToMe allows you to beam music and movies to other Macs or an iDevice. In my case, I stream movies to my iPad, which I then AirPlay to my Apple TV. I like doing this because I then have playback controls right in my lap.

Price: Free ($2.99 for companion apps for iOS)
Requires: OS X 10.5+
Developer: ZQueue



I am a huge Instagram fan, and I like being able to view my stream on my Mac. Carousel is a great-looking Instagram-viewer that I have running just about all of the time. It also allows a great deal of interaction, so you can favorite, respond, follow new users, and more.

Price: $3.99
Requires: OS X 10.6+
Developer: Mobelux



I’m no fan of iTunes for a variety of reasons, so I’m always on the lookout for a new music player. I tried out Tomahawk for AppStorm last year, and it has won a place in my dock. It compiles several music sources from around the internet into a single app, so that you can find just about any song you’re looking for. It isn’t the prettiest app I’ve ever tried, but that shouldn’t matter too much when you need to listen to music.

Price: Free
Requires: OS X 10.6+
Developer: The Tomahawk Team




I always feared it would happen, and eventually it did: My menu bar items crept so far to the left that they met up with app menus. Bartender helps organize and hide certain utilities that you want to keep running without taking up space. Its a simple solution to a problem that I can’t believe Apple has never addressed.

Price: $15
Requires: OS X 10.6+
Developer: Surtees Studios



iCal (I don’t care if it’s called “Calendar” now) is great and all, but having the ability to quickly add new events from the menu bar is, well, fantastic. Natural language input, a wealth of shortcuts, and quick search has helped all but eliminate the need to ever open iCal.

Price: $19.99
Requires: OS X 10.6.6+
Developer: Flexibits



With the space limitations of solid-state drives, I use several external drives for storing music, movies, photos, and design files. Every drive I use for storage has a twin right next to it for backups. FolderWatch is a great way to keep everything in sync automatically. You get a great amount of control over sync-behavior, including whether you want two-way or one-way syncing.

Price: $11.99
Requires: OS X 10.7+
Developer: Brothers Roloff



Why hasn’t Apple just purchased this and integrated it into OS X? When you want to drag a file from one place to another in your system, it can be surprisingly complicated. Yoink is a little tray that slides out whenever you drag something, allowing you to drop it while you navigate to the folder you want to drop it. You can control which apps it ignores, which is particularly useful if you’re working in Photoshop and constantly dragging things around.

Price: $3.99
Requires: OS X 10.7+
Developer: Matthew Gansrigler


Frank DeLoupe

Speaking of Photoshop, having a quick way to deal with your color palette is important to speed up your work. This little eye dropper sits in your menu bar and lets you pick and save colors anywhere you see them. You can do this with Photoshop but having a menu bar tool helps me out immensely.

Price: $0.99
Requires: OS X 10.7+
Developer: Jump Zero



Sadly, Apple keeps making it harder and harder to customize the look of OS X. Until it’s impossible, though, I’m going to keep swapping out ugly icons for better ones, (I’m looking at you, HandBrake). Candybar was abandoned by Panic a while back but was picked up by Iconfactory, which has done a good job keeping it on life support. You still can’t change resource files for apps downloaded from the Mac App Store, but for system files and native apps, Candybar helps make your Mac your own.

Price: $12.95
Requires: OS X 10.2+
Developer: Icon Factory



I’ve never bothered to encrypt my whole hard drive but I do like protecting certain folders that contain personal information, such as tax returns and other financial files. Knox helps quickly create protected folders, and since its made by the same folks that created 1Password, I have faith that the protection is strong.

Price: $34.99
Requires: OS X 10.6+
Developer: Agile Bits



The simplest of utilities, it is also one of my most-used. Anything you copy on your Mac gets sent to the companion app on iPhone, and in turn, automatically copied to the iPhone’s clipboard. Tap Bots has seemingly abandoned it, so the iPhone app is stuck at iPhone 4 resolution, but it still works for me, and I use it daily.

Price: $3.99 for universal iOS app, Mac server is free
Requires: 10.6+
Developer: Tap Bots




Team Fortress 2 – I’ve never been a huge gamer, particularly not on my Mac, but every once in a while I need a good distraction. TF2 is my favorite way to pass an hour on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Of course, my dog isn’t pleased when I wake her up with a frustrated yell after being stabbed in the back by a pesky spy.

Civilization 5 – I’ve played Civ games since the second version, and Civ 5 is the best yet. The depth to the game ensures that it never gets old, and that every game you play is completely unique. Just be careful you don’t have anything going on the rest of the day, because it is perhaps the most dangerous time-suck every created.

Price: Prices vary
Requires: OS X 10.6+
Developer: Steam

Other Stuff

Here’s a list of stuff I obviously use but likely required no explanation:

That’s All for Now!

That’s the last of our Apps We Use posts for a while — but we’d still love to hear your thoughts if you think Jonathan should change out any of his apps. Or, if you’ve recently changed the apps you use, we’d love to hear what Mac apps you’re relying on to get your work done in the comments below.