My List of Apps You Don't Want to Miss (for Mac)
Updated: Jul 18, 2019
Like anyone else, just for fun or because I read about them on someone else's blog, I have downloaded many apps. After my experience as a university student and now a freelance translator, here are the apps that didn't make it to the garbage bin.
Caffeine ‒ This free app let you give your Mac a virtual boost of caffeine preventing it from going on standby and keeping it "awake". I used this app a lot when I was studying at home or in class. Especially if I was using the computer screen to read long documents or to look at slides while I was taking notes. No more little gestures on the trackpad to wake it up!
f.lux ‒ A must-have for any person working long hours in front of the computer. In a nutshell, this free app knows when the sun is setting and gradually makes your computer screen colors "warmer". Trust me, you notice the amazing difference only if you put another screen without f.lux next to your computer. Why would you like to have your screen with warmer colors? Well, it's the blue light from electronics that disturbs your sleep (read this article from Washington Post or this one from Harvard). In the morning all goes back to normal, but you wouldn't notice anyway (unless you put another screen without f.lux next to your computer *smiley face*).
TextExpander ‒ This isn't a free app, but it's worth a try. As its name says, this app expands text. To give you the simplest example, I created the shortcut ":eam", which the app expands to "Enrico Antonio Mion", my full name. Since I have installed it ‒ a little more than a year ago ‒ I have saved 5 hours and expanded 2.369 shortcuts. Yes, it gives you statistics. If you like to play with AppleScript, this app can do so much more. Following the instruction of this article, for example, you will never forget a mail attachment ever again! (It happened once to me, and it's not a good feeling... especially because it was a job application). Have fun trying it!
Timing ‒ This is another app that I ended up buying after the free trial period. It simply tracks the time you spend on your computer and creates fancy graphics. It runs in the background and I check it every now and then to see how many hours I spent on translating (and to see if I am working too much!).
Luca ‒ This isn't an app, really. It's already installed on your Mac computer, and if you're an English speaker it might go under the name of Alex. Luca is my Italian assistant that will speak the every o'clock hour. This feature helps me track time. A friend of mine says that it's creepy, but I personally don't look at the time at all when I am concentrated in a translation project and I don't have office hours to respect so I wouldn't know when to stop working (as many freelancers, I work from home).
Totals 3 ‒ This is an accounting app. A few months ago I was looking for a software to better organize and issuing my invoices. I was tired of copying and pasting Excel sheets. When I was looking at what my fellow translators were using I couldn't find much, so I started my own research. In the end, I preferred to pay for this not-so-cheap app rather than getting another one because it does it all. It takes a while to get the grasp of it ‒ frankly it was quite discouraging to use at first ‒ but I eventually told myself that I would have bought Totals only if during the free trial period I could create a fully personalized invoice template for each of my working languages (English, French and Italian) and only if I could print customized account statements to present as tax records. I managed to do both and invested in this app. I am very happy with it and it gives me a piece of mind knowing that it creates back-ups of all the data so that I could transfert it to another computer.
Here ends my short list of apps for Mac. I am sorry if I included paid apps, I never liked to find a list of great apps only to realized that most of them are not free. Sorry. You can always check them out and make good use of the free trial (and remember to download f.lux, it's my favorite!).