Welcome to the archive
This post is old… It's probably been exported and imported from at least three different blogging platforms over the year. That probably means that there are broken images and links. If the post is technical in nature, any adivce is out of date and irrelevant. Or more likely, it was the wafflings of bored-past me with too much time on his hands. If it is the latter I would probably cringe if I re-read it. But it's here because it's part of my past, not my present.
This is by no means a definitive list of all the useful small applications, however these five are the ones that I use regularly and find just fantastic to use! Did I mention they are free?
1) Quicksilver (http://www.blacktree.com) - Free
For a basic user this is just an application launcher allowing you to leave the dock and use the keyboard driven interface to open applications. The more it is used the more useful it is as it 'learns' what shortcuts you, as an inpidual user, use for programs. It also can interface with other programs allowing you to create inpidual shortcuts for certain regular tasks.
2) Caffeine (http://lightheadsw.com/caffeine/) - Free
This tiny OS X application sits in the menu bar and prevents your computer from going to sleep. On the face of it not amazingly useful, however it is great when watching BBC iPlayer.
3) Isolator (http://willmore.eu/software/isolator/) - Free
Another menu bar app that is great for removing distractions from the desktop around you. It blanks everything out, including the dock, apart from the active window allowing you to work in peace without the distractions of programs such as Adium, Mail or Skype.
4) Freedom (http://macfreedom.com) - Free
Freedom gives you freedom from the internet by turning all networking on your Mac for a specified period of time, at the end of the time (set by the user) the network preferences are enabled allowing access to the internet. The only way to break the network break is to reboot the computer, which is a pain!
5) GimmeSomeTunes (http://www.eternalstorms.at) - Free
Marketed as the only iTunes controller you will ever need it almost fulfils its title! While it is capable of much more than I use it for its primary function is to automatically search for cover art and lyrics for your iTunes library. In addition it has Last.fm support built in, hot keys allowing user specified shortcuts for iTunes and a mini-controller that sits in the top menu.