in i-Heaven

I have a new Mac. A MacBook Pro to be precise, and it’s my first intensive use of a mac since Dad brought an Apple 2e home for the weekend in 1982.

It’s great! For example, I was just writing my syllabus and used the word squiz (which I have always spelled squizz and it corrected me, even though I was writing in US English!). OK, so this is minor, and may actually also be true on a PC for all I know, but I think I’m going to be very happy. Moving universities seemed like a good time to switch platforms.

So, what software does any self-respecting linguist mac-user (or mac-user linguist) need?


10 responses to “in i-Heaven

  1. One tool I would very strongly recommend to any Mac-using linguist is PopChar. It makes it much easier to find and enter special characters in just about any application.

  2. I use IPA Palette. Don’t know what the link is but there’s a long thread about unicode and IPA input at RNLD somewhere. And it’s free! In conjunction with this I use unicode hex input which you can add to the little drop-down menu beneath the Australian/US flag in the top right hand corner. It means you can add weird characters via alt codes which is faster (no clicks), especially if it’s the same weird characters each time.

    Also, I installed Parallels which runs a windows operating system in a window in OS. I wanted it so I could run Toolbox and it’s a very nifty bit of software but it slows the whole system down and it’s also quite fiddly and buggy. If it’s just Toolbox that you want to run, apparently it’s better (and cheaper) to install Crossover but you’ll have to ask someone else about this.

  3. Hi Claire,

    I used to use PopChar but like Piers I now prefer IPA Pallette

    I’d also recommend TextWrangler a powerful and free text editor for doing your grep.

    As Piers says, Shoebox can be run under CrossOverMac; I find it works very well and you don’t need to buy a copy of Windows along with Parallels just for the one app.

    Are you using LaTeX? If so I guess you know about MacTex? What editor are you planning to use?

  4. Get to know Automator. It saves a lot of times for tasks you need to perform regularly and/or in large batches.

  5. IPA Palette (mentioned above) is pure gold. You click on the little flag that selects your input language and it pops up a little IPA chart that you can select symbols from. The url is

  6. Not linguist-specific, but for my browsery/bloggy needs, I use Firefox, NetNewsWire (feed reader), MarsEdit (blog writer), and Devonthink (notes/document organiser and a zillion other things).

    Other stuff: Mail for email, GraphicConverter or iPhoto for basic image manip, Keynote for bits and pieces (it’s slideshow stuff but also good for adding text/shapes/etc to images), Twitterpod for twittering, the builtin Dashboard dictionary and thesaurus, iCalEvents, AdiumX for instant messaging, Colloquy for IRC, BBEdit for writing HTML, flickr uploadr for flicker uploading.

  7. The best part about Macs is the ease of using freeware that would otherwise have to be run through a shell in Windows (like cygwin, which never seems to work). FontForge is great if you want to design your own fonts and Inkscape, a vector graphics editing program, is fantastic for all sorts of illustrations, but especially maps. Just find an SVG map on Wikipedia and add your own data on top of it.

  8. For odd characters the built-in character palette is great, especially since it can keep a list of favorites. IPA Palette is a good adjunct. You can get free IPA keyboard layouts and a layout editor from SIL..

    For multilingual typing I like Mellel. It’s unparallelled for mixed-script typing, and has all kinds of good features, though the UI could use improvement. It can’t do non-unicode characters (some of which are present in Charis for example), but that doesn’t come up a lot.

    For general sound editing, I like Amadeus Pro.

  9. Mellel also integrates with Bookends, which is rather nice.

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