For a long time, I blamed the sluggish performance of the web browser on my Linux machine at home on the ancientness of the hardware. However, when my much nicer Linux machine at work showed the same problem, I began to think maybe it was just Firefox. I’ve been an avid Firefox user for many years, but my loyalty wavers when my browser can’t keep up with my keyboard. Based on the advice of strangers on the Internet, I decided to give Google’s Chrome browser a try.
Chrome is still a maturing browser, but it is fast and capable. There’s only one real drawback: bookmark synchronization. With Firefox, I had been using Xmarks to synchronize my bookmarks, but that’s not currently available for Chrome. In the “Early Access” builds of the Linux and Mac versions of Chrome, the bookmark sync that the Windows version has is available. This syncs the bookmarks to your Google Docs account, which makes it rather handy. However, synchronization is not enabled by default. To enable it, you have to pass the –enable-sync option at launch time, which is easier said than done. Fortunately, it’s not too terribly difficult.
As part of my new job, I got a shiny new 13″ MacBook Pro. Even though I’m quite a Linux fanboy, I really enjoy the quality of the hardware and OS X. However, it isn’t perfect. There are a lot of applications that I like to have available. Since I have nothing better to talk about, I figured I’d list them here:
- Adium — one of the best instant messenger clients I’ve ever used. It has support for just about every major IM protocol except…
- Skype — I don’t really use it for IM, but it’s great for audio and video calls.
- Firefox — I prefer it to the Safari browser that ships with OS X. It happens. And with that comes…
- Xmarks — a browser plug-in that syncs bookmarks. It comes in very handy when you use multiple computers. So does…
- Dropbox — allows you to synchronize arbitrary files between multiple computers. I mostly use it for configuration files (e.g. .bashrc, .screenrc)
- VirtualBox — sometimes you actually need to use another OS to do some important task (like play Sim City)
- DOSBox — is good for playing some of the older games that I like
- Chicken of the VNC — I’ve played with several VNC clients for Mac, and this one is the best.
- iTerm — hands-down better than the default Terminal.app
- ZTerm — a program to make serial connections. I used it a fair bit in my old job, I don’t anticipate needing it much in my new job.
- Colloquy — an Internet Relay Chat client
- VLC — a media player that will play just about anything
- Grand Perspective — a program that shows a graphical representation of disk usage, allowing you to find the files that are chewing up all the space on your hard drive.