Essentials, 2009

late last year there was a meme, likely started by mark pilgrim's essentials, 2008 post, on the indispensable software people use. through a series of posts, i discovered a handful of terrific desktop & web applications that i'd never heard of before. since then, i've been wanting to write a similar post, taking it a small step further and share some favorite mac & web apps, a few prized gadgets & accessories, and even a few of my preferences for organizing my desktop.

desktop organization

mac os x dock

yesterday, i came across grace smith's post describing khoi vinh's dock and i was rather surprised at just how cluttered and unmanaged it was. khoi says he's not so disciplined about keeping his dock orderly, “because i use quicksilver so heavily that most times i don’t even need the dock.” i'm not a quicksilver user (i've tried it; i just find spotlight and my normal processes to be sufficient), but i still think there's a lot of value in keeping your dock tidy, manageable and attractive. that's my dock on the left, how it looks 90% of the time.

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like john gruber, i'm a dock-on-the-side man, finding vertical real estate far more valuable than horizontal. i keep my dock icons rather tiny - just a few clicks above their smallest setting and i have magnification turned on, again just slightly larger than normal, to give a slight advantage when clicking them.

even with the dock on the side, you have a choice about where it's pinned. by default, the dock is pinned to the middle of the screen; in my case, centered vertically. i find it makes much more sense to keep it pinned to the top ...