It's 2006 and I think we should be well past platform wars - yeah, Windows won but Mac users won too. I continue to be amazed at the smart ways in which Mac OS X is evolving. I have been using a Mac (virtually) daily for 20.25 years and it just keeps getting better. I suppose in hindsight the old stuff looks pretty ordinary. Enough nostalgia.
Here are some compelling apps which I can't seem to live without.
QuickSilver - a great Mac app launcher and so much more. Makes a lot of my Mac totally keystroke driven. Seems odd for a GUI but ever the pragmatist I figure if there's a faster way embrace it. For example from my keyboard I can bang out a diary entry and post it to iCal. I can easily append text snippets to text files. Free from Blacktree Software. Check out the great tutorials available from http://vjarmy.com/archives/2004/03/quicksilver_a_b.php -- QuickSilver is deep but you can get great value just by using a fraction of its power.
Time Out! - an essential tool for anyone who gets engrossed in what they're doing on the computer and forgets to move. When I am in the groove I seem to be able to crank along for hours only to discover when I go to move that I have become the human pretzel. Time Out! encourages regular breaks - I have a mini-break set every 15 minutes for around 30 seconds - enough to stretch and avert my eyes. I schedule my main break for 9 minutes every 50 minutes. That way I have a very productive 50 minutes, then time out for a cup of tea or a small wander. Then back into it. Free (and worth much more than that) from Dejal Systems.
EasyBatchPhoto - the best tool I've found to quickly process a bunch of photos into a consistent set in terms of size, resolution and adding watermarks. It is US$24 but well worth it if you handle photos regularly and put any value on your time. I used it to munge a bunch of Company Christmas Parties to load on our intranet. It would have been crazy to do by hand. From Yellow Mug Software - while you are there check out the rest of their software. They bundle it all up for a great price - well worth having.
iLife06 from Apple - I updated (well bought it all again really) for the faster iPhoto (it certainly is) and as a bonus received iWeb (and others). For my limited needs in terms of processing family photos to our family website it does the job no fuss. Just what we need and no more.