Robin's Blog

My favourite OS X software

I’ve spent the last couple of months getting used to my new MacBook Pro, and I must say that overall I’m really liking it. Continuing my previous posts about my mac, here are my favourite three pieces of OS X software:


OS X Preview App Screenshot

This is the built-in image and PDF viewer that comes with OS X. Not very exciting, you might think, but it is actually a very powerful piece of software. As well as viewing images and PDFs (including lovely smooth scrolling and zooming) it will let you modify them in a variety of useful ways. For example, you can re-order pages in PDFs, combine two (or more) PDFs into one file, and crop PDFs and images. You can also annotate files with highlighting, texting, freehand drawings and any other type of annotation you could think of. Finally, the search feature in PDFs is the best that I’ve ever seen in a PDF reader. Yes, I sound slightly too enthusiastic about this, but I’ve never before found a free, easy-to-use piece of software that has this power when viewing and editing PDF files.

(I can’t provide a download link as it is built-in to OS X)


This is a free (ad-supported – you can pay to remove the ads) RSS feed reader for OS X. It’s fast, easy-to-use, and, most importantly, can be controlled entirely with the keyboard. It also displays pretty much everything that is in the original blog post, so if there is a YouTube video inside a blog post then you can play it from within NetNewsWire. This is one of the apps on my list to buy a license for when I have some money…

Download NetNewsWire


This is an unusual app, but it is incredibly useful for those of us who move around a lot with their laptops. For example, as a PhD student I spend time at home, my office at the university, other work rooms at the university (labs and so on) and various other places. Airport Location will work out where you are based on various pieces of information (such as the wireless network you’re connected to, your IP address or your geolocation information) and then change loads of OS X and application settings to make them appropriate for that location. The upshot of this is that when I get to my office my laptop is automatically muted, Skype is set to away, and my default printer is set to the local networked printer, and the opposite happens when I get home.

Download AirportLocation

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This post originally appeared on Robin's Blog.

Categorised as: Computing, OSX

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