Tools we use


  • Aquamacs — Finally, a version of Emacs native to Mac OS X.
  • Colloquy — IRC client for OS X.
  • Delicious Library — Fantastic program for keeping track of your books, music and movies.
  • Dropbox Amazing file sync utility.
  • ecto — Blogging client for Mac OS X.
  • FBReader — E-book reader for Linux desktops and PDAs and, most importantly, the Nokia 770.
  • Fetch — Venerable FTP client which supports Kerberos sessions.
  • Firefox — The best open source browser around.
  • Flip4Mac WMV — Windows Media components for QuickTime.
  • Gimp — The GNU Image Manipulation Program. Now available as a Mac app.
  • Google Earth — Amazing.
  • GPG Tools — Tool for encrypting/decrypting with GPG; useful if, like me, you can’t get GPGDropThing to work.
  • Growl — Very nice notification system for OS X.
  • GutenMark — A handy tool for automatically generating HTML and LaTeX markup from plain text e-books, like those found on Project Gutenberg.
  • Inkscape — Open source vector graphics editor. The free alternative to Illustrator.
  • iWork Because Microsoft Office is garbage and OpenOffice is a cheap knockoff of garbage.
  • LaTeXiT — LaTeX utility for quick equation typesetting.
  • Macaulay 2 — Free computer algebra package geared towards algebraic geometry and commutative algebra.
  • MacFusion — GUI interface for the Mac port of the FUSE framework, which allows you to access filesystems you might ordinarily access via FTP or SSH directly in the Finder.
  • Mac GPG — GnuPG encryption for OS X.
  • MenuCalendarClock — Useful menubar calendar.
  • Mira — Use your Apple Remote to control more than just Front Row.
  • NetNewsWire — The gold standard for RSS readers in OS X.
  • OmniOutliner — A fantastic program for creating lists and outlines.
  • Papers — PDF manager with a specific emphasis on scientific papers.
  • Pathway — Visual, network representation of your meanderings through Wikipedia.
  • Perian — Enables QuickTime support for many other video codecs.
  • Pukka Nifty Delicious client.
  • Quicksilver — Launcher and framework for OS X.
  • Skim — PDF reader with built in annotation and "snapshot" capabilities which plays well with LaTeX’s PDFSync.
  • Skype — Free video calls made easy.
  • SuperDuper! — Fantastic backup software for OS X.
  • TestXSLT — Handy Cocoa application for testing XSL transformations.
  • TeXniscope — Nice PDF/PS/DVI viewer for Mac OS X that supports LaTeX’s PDFSync.
  • TextMate — Remarkable text editor for OS X; this is my current text editor of choice.
  • TextWrangler — Free, capable text editor from the makers of BBEdit. I use TextWrangler for very large files, which it handles much better than does TextMate.
  • Transmit — OS X FTP client.
  • Twitterific — Standalone Twitter client for OS X.
  • VLC — Highly capable media player.
  • VoodooPad — Wiki-like notepad which is fantastic for keeping track of lists, notes, ideas and deadlines.
  • Xee — Image viewer for OS X with more functions than Preview.


Safari hacks

Note: At one time or another I used all of these fairly regularly, but the only one that’s still installed on my system is Inquisitor.

  • DownloadComment — Automatically adds its source URL to the Spotlight comment for each file you download.
  • GrowlSafari — Add Growl notifications to Safari.
  • Inquisitor — Spotlight for the web.
  • Pimp My Safari — A repository of Safari hacks.
  • SafariBlock — AdBlock for Safari.
  • Safari Enhancer — Turns on the Debug menu and other enhancements.
  • SafariPlus — Essential plugin for per-site cookie management.
  • SafariStand — Multifeatured plugin that adds a lot of functionality
  • SurfRabbit — Customize how virtually any page is displayed.

Firefox extensions, themes and tools

Note: I don’t really use Firefox much anymore, so many of these are probably out of date.

Movable Type plugins

Note: The main blog is now powered by WordPress, not Movable Type, so you’ll probably only see these being used in the older archives. For a list of WordPress plugins used, see below.

  • Markdown — A text-to-HTML converter that renders an easy-to-read syntax into valid XHTML. Used to format all posts.
  • MTAmazon — Uses Amazon’s API interface to retrieve and display products. Used on the books page.
  • MT-Blacklist — Useful tool for blocking and cleaning up comment spam. Used wherever you see comments.
  • MT-Refsearch — Technically a hack, not a plugin, this allows me to direct readers who land on the front page from search engines to posts containing their search terms.
  • Regex — Allows search and replace in templates using regular expressions. Used in the main index and archive templates to render entry URLs without the trailing .php.
  • ShortTitle — Retrieves a “short title” from the keywords field of an entry. Used to make entry URLs less ungainly and to retrieve URLs for the linklog.
  • SimpleComments — Presents comments and trackbacks in a single list. Used wherever you see comments.
  • SmartyPants — Translates plain ASCII characters into correct typographical HTML entities. Used in conjunction with Markdown to format all posts.
  • Textile — Another text-to-HTML convertor. Formerly used to format all posts, since replaced by Markdown.
  • Word Count — Counts the number of words in an entry. Used in the excerpts feed to provide a word count along with the post summary.

WordPress plugins

  • Akismet — Comment Spam killer.
  • FeedList — Enables republishing RSS and ATOM feeds through WordPress. Used for the linklist on the main page.
  • Miniblog — As the name suggests, creates a miniblog useful for asides, linklogs, etc. Used for the quote of the day feature at the top of the main page.
  • PHP Markdown — A PHP port of John Gruber’s Markdown text-to-HTML converter. Used to format all posts.
  • Weighted Words — Creates a list of the most commonly-used words on your WordPress blog scaled proportional to frequency. Used to create the zeitgeist at the bottom of the main page.