Cool Tools - a Weekly Roundup

January 13, 2008

WriteRoom

About 6 years ago, a customer brought a PowerBook 100 in for repairs. She was a writer and when I asked why she was still using (and spending good money on fixing) that ancient Mac when she could easily buy a new one. She replied that she’s much more productive on the old one because there are no distractions. That the limitations of the machine and software actually help the user to do one thing really well…

This really stuck with me and now years later, trying to scribble things down, I’m feeling that same thing more than ever. Then I thought - why hasn’t anyone made a text editor that would run in full screen? Well, luckily, they have.

rtorrent

When you get poor download speeds over BitTorrent you usually think it’s because of lack of peers, misconfigured firewalls or throttled upload speeds - a crummy BT client is somewhere at the end of the checklist. Yesterday I discovered that a proper client can make all the difference in the world.

Same metafile, ~60k/s max download with BitTornado 0.3.8, 112k/s max with Transmission 1.0.1, 460k/s with rtorrent. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the difference and had to check my router stats which were consistent with the rate reported by rtorrent.

curses-only interface, available throught fink or macports.

GLTerm

I was fishing around for a full-screen Terminal app (distractions, remember…) and ran across GLTerm. Not only can it be used in fullscreen, but it also does an amazing impression of those old computer terminals I was never allowed to touch as a kid. :-)

Too bad only the Classic renderer seems to work on Leopard. :-/