What Resource Systems Uses and Supports
Applications & Utilities
Systems Services uses in
the course of contract work, and for general support the following productivity,
system and utility software:
- Text Editing/HTML Building
- Bare Bones Software's
BBEdit©. It's worth learning HTML just to
use this fine, friendly and powerful piece of software. In fact,
you don't fully appreciate the difference between a text editor
and a word processor until you use an application like BBEdit. To
really unleash its power, however, I must find time to read that
O'Reilly book on RegEx (i.e., regular expressions). Finally moved up to version 6.5.3 (which loads much slower than the venerable old, non-Carbon 5.1.1) although a newer Carbonized 7.0.x version has
DreamWeaver© my newest Web tool of choice, one
of the few WYSIWYG page builders that deals in pure HTML (RoundTrip
HTML®, as Macromedia calls its HTML rendering engine) and doesn't
corrupt hand-tweaked code. Never being a big player on the upgrade
train (the cycle that keeps commercial software developers reaping
from the gravy train), I'm still at version 3 or UltraDev 1.x when doing work
such as this. I train folks on this application, for both Mac and Windows (I support cross-platform apps whenever I can), as it allows make-shift Webmasters a way to build sites without being hand-coders intimately familiar with HTML, CSS and the other geekable trappings of the World Wide Web.
- Marius Soutier's Crea:Text,
an excellent freeware product from Germany.
A small, free program,
its features include tag coloring and many of BBEdit's standard features,
plus CSS support (part of BBEdit 6, I know), resource-fork removal and thumbnail creation.
I tend to use it most for speeding up my meta tagging, including
instructions to web spiders and robots.
Simple Text© but with the above tool
of note, why bother?
- Graphic/Image Manipulation
Photoshop©. What more can be said about
this ground-breaking standard for graphic design and image manipulation
that has not already been said? If you work with images, you simply
must use Photoshop. It can do so much, you'll never truly master all it has to offer.
Enhance©. An inexpensive alternative to Photoshop
that at one time, early in the days of the Web, had some Web-specific
features not found in Photoshop. Photoshop's ImageReady (sub)application
eliminates the need for this program, unless budget makes Enhance
a logical alternative. Although, with the improvements to PhotoShop
over the years, I haven't used this app in quite some time.
Illustrator© A clean,
pure PostScript-based vector application. A standard for logo-development
work on the print-side of publishing, it also finds value in the
early stages of a fair amount of design work that ends up on the
Web, too. As vectors increasingly fine acceptance in Web browsers,
I'm sure this role will increase.
From Switzerland's Yves Piquet, a long-standing freeware standout
in the Mac world. One of the best freeware values on the entire
Web, GIF Builder built my first GIF animations, back in 1996 or
1997, when it hovered at release-level 0.5. For the longest time,
too; finally, it's at version 1.0.
A nice shareware product for creating client-side image maps.
- A Smaller GIF©
An inexpensive piece of shareware for optimizing GIF files.
- Publication Layout
(orig. Manhattan Graphics) ReadySetGo©.
At one time my favorite page-layout program. It got me started in
the business of electronic design and publishing; can still recall
the day I ordered it back in May of 1988. RSG offered character-based
style sheets, scripting and spot-color support before anyone else.
Offers "smart paste," a feature still missing from QuarkXpress and
PageMaker. Marketed briefly in the late '80s by Letraset, when it
was still a contender. Under Diwan's leadership, it's market focus
appears to have changed to the Middle East.
Xpress©. You have little
choice but to use it in this business, but we could see Adobe's
InDesign (which I have not used) give Xpress a run for its money.
- Word Processing
WordPerfect© A necessary product with a dubious
future. It's version for the Mac is, at least, not dubious: it's dead. Was last upgraded for the Mac in 1997 at version 3.5e. Am using version 11 for Windows, which shares the same engine as versions 6 through 10. From a grunt and geek standpoint is, in many ways, more competent and helpful than Microsoft Word.
The business world won't let us live without this product and, fortunately,
Word98 is a good, albeit bloated, product.
If you don't have to make transparent exchanges the dark side (i.e.,
the Windows world), this is the word processor to have. It's fast,
powerful and customizable.
Friendly, powerful and a friend to designers who must create databases.
You can make dB files look slick and friendly to the end-user.
Recommend this application highly; even offers database-publishing
features for the Web. Now, with version 7, offers tables and relationships in the tradtional relational model, while supporting the traditional FileMaker relationship structure introduced back in version 3. I still build databases primarily using version 5.x.
- The venerable Microsoft
Excel©. If you must use spreadsheets, and
use them cross-platform, you must use Microsoft Excel. Long guilty
of holding a clipboard with the world's shortest memory, Excel
is otherwise a spreadsheet powerhouse.
Disk Warrior©. It doesn't do a
wide range of system services, unlike many of the others, but
what it does it does better than anyone else. For diagnosing and
rebuilding damaged or problematic system directories, file structures,
etc., ... Disk Warrior is without equal. It only fixes (actually replaces with new), it never screws up, like even Norton can be prone to do occasionally.
Point MacTools Deluxe©
(now defunct); very good with System 7 systems troubles, but useless,
if not dangerous, for anything newer.
Norton Utilities©. Venerable,
time-honored, and indispensable, but used less with the advent
of Disk Warrior. Although, if I want to fix bad modification dates
or bundle bits, it's without equal. And its Speed Disk optimization
utility is very good, detailed, efficient and meaningful.
- MicroMat's Tech Tool Pro
©. Even if you
don't buy the full-featured product, don't forget to download
the free TechTool variant. It provides the best means of efficiently
and comprehensively rebuilding desktop files and zapping PRAM.
Disk First Aid©. At last, since
version 8.1, this freebie utility has some meat to it and, with
release 8.2, can even repair the hard-disk volume from which it
booted. It gets a little better with each release.
(no longer actively developed). As long as you're not looking
for Microsoft's cross-platform macro viruses, Disinfectant still
has value. And, hey, it's free!
6.0.x - 9.2.2, now working a fair amount with OS X 10.1.5 (dabbled with a very sluggish 10.0.3
for a while) and will wait until 2003 to convert several workstations to 10.2.x (a/k/a Jaguar, or "Jagwire" as Steve Jobs pronounces it).
®, 98®, NT (when I must). Have used
Windows2000 a little, and don't think I'll get near XP any time
soon. I'm amazed (if not chagrined) at how many long-time Windows
users don't even know how to right-click into their context menus.
That's one thing that I was glad to see added to the Mac, which
I gladly took to a more powerful level with Turly O'Connor's beautiful
The portable document format it creates is
a blessing for universal distribution of documents that look like
their designed-for-print originals. If you need people from more
than one platform (PDF supports Mac, Windows and UNIX and most
of their flavors) to view your files, this is the way to distribute
it. Great for the Web, an even better future in the printing trade.
Need to send typefaces to your printer in advance of the print
jobs? This free utility will do that for you, with potential time
savings on your subsequent output.
LaserWriter© Utility. Good for configuring Apple's
laser printers. I still use a trusty LaserSelect 360® from
Fetch® for FTP work. A time-honored servant, although
I'm taking a close look at Transmit
and the latest iteration of Stairways Software's Anarchie.
Since 2000, I've settled on InterArchy.
Virtual PC - the only way to run Windows: in a virtual machine,
on a real Mac! Upgraded from version 2.1.3, but still must use the old version. Still can't get version 4.02 to run on a Rev. A ROM'd Beige G3, so the latest version sits on the shelf (it takes over my LaserWriter, turns off its status lights, and won't release. I've found one other person with this problem, but there is no official explanation for it from any prominent source.)
Stuffit Deluxe for file compression/expansion. Where would
the Net be without it? A reliable deBinHexer as well.
Tom Brown's shareware archiving and compression/expansion utility
for DOS/Windows- world .ZIP files. I shouldn't need it with the
latest versions of Stuffit, but I find it more reliable and consistent
with .ZIP file work.