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Some Software That Makes Life Better

Here are four pieces of software that have really changed my quality of life for the better. I thought I would share them with you.

1password ($39.95). I don’t know what unit stress is measured in, but every time I see a web login page the little needle on the gauge attached to my ear starts bouncing. Considering I see about 10,000 login pages everyday, that adds up. 1password is an encrypted, desktop password manager, that integrates seamlessly with my browsers (FF & Safari at least). Every time I register for a new site, I tell 1password to remember the password. So now instead of having a list of 1,000 login details in some “secret” excel file, everything is stored and encrypted in 1password. All I need to do is remember one password, and just login once per usage session. This changed my life completely. It’s expensive, OK, but so worth it.

Skitch (Free) Almost every day, it seems, I want to take a screenshot of something, and mark it up a little, to explain how to do something, to comment on a site/design, to quickly (re)post an image to the web. Skitch is a simple little tool that does this and more. It’s a: screengrabber, image marker-upper, and image post-to-webber (and image host) all in one. It is the ugliest program that I use, but man do I love it.

Dropbox (free –> $19.99) Ever pour water on your computer and have to get a new one? Yeah, me too. Luckily, all my important files are stored on dropbox, which is: a) a little app on your machine that b) syncs selected folders with your online dropbox account. You can sync that account with multiple computers too. It is so easy & so seamless, I forgot that big brother can read everything in the cloud. Free for up to 2G, and $9.99/month for up to 50G. $19.99 for 100G. There’s even an iphone app, so you’ve always got your files at your fingertips. I just recently upgraded to the 50G dropbox.

Grand Perspective (free): What is taking up all the space on my damned hard drive? GrandPerspective will tell you, by showing you a “picture” of what’s on your drive, with the memory hogs represented by big squares. The colours are god-awful, but if you want to clean stuff out, it’s a great way to find out what.


  1. Dan Misener Dan Misener 2009-12-07

    +1 for Skitch and Dropbox. Hadn’t heard of GP, but have been looking for something like it for a while. Thanks, Hugh.

  2. Erwin Bonsma Erwin Bonsma 2009-12-10

    Thanks for featuring GrandPerspective. I am happy to hear that you find it useful. I know that the colour palette used to be horrific (see the screenshots for Version 0.90 at However, out of curiosity, do you still think that’s the case for the more recent versions (Version 0.97 onwards)?. There’s quite a choice of palettes, and I find it a bit hard to believe that none of these match your taste. But even if that’s the case, you can still change the colours. The Help documentation of the latest version (Version 1.1.0) explains how. :-)

  3. Hugh Hugh 2009-12-11

    Hey Erwin, nah the new palettes are pretty rough too ;-) something about the grading you use maybe? I don’t know. Anyway… it doesn’t matter a bit, since GP does such a nice job of doing what it’s supposed to do.

  4. Erwin Bonsma Erwin Bonsma 2009-12-12

    Okay, it seems I can’t please everyone ;-). Glad you like the application nevertheless. Furthermore, it does give me a nice quote to put on the GP website. :-)

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