Khoi Vinh is the Design Director for NYTimes.com, leading the newspaper’s web design team. He is also one of the recent pioneers of Grid based design and the author of the popular (and beautiful) design blog Subtraction.com, where he writes extensively on design, technology and user experience matters of all kinds. Prior to joining NYTimes.com, Khoi was a founding partner at the ground-breaking design studio Behavior LLC.
Khoi also happens to be one of my favourite designers and it is a huge privilege to have him take part in this blog series.
First, I should say it takes a lot to get me to add icons, and remove icons from my Dock. That’s not because I’m so disciplined about keeping my Dock orderly, but rather because I use Quicksilver so heavily that most times I don’t even need the Dock. That said, when I set up a new Mac, I certainly do try and populate the Dock with my staple applications.
- Quicksilver – it’s practically the first thing I install on every Mac I set up. I find it completely indispensable.
- Camino – An example of how Quicksilver’s effectiveness causes me to neglect the Dock: I stopped using Camino regularly a year ago or so, but it remains there nevertheless.
- Safari – I still use it quite a bit, but it’s my second browser really.
- Firefox – I actually prefer Safari a little more, but Firefox’s add-ons give it the edge. I have it open all the time, in spite of its obnoxious update frequency and frequent crashiness. If you haven’t guessed, I have a love/hate relationship with it.
- Adium – Second only to Firefox as my most used application.
- iChat– Comes in handy once in a while when Adium can’t handle a direct connection or I need to video chat.
- NetNewsWire – Another app that should be mothballed. I used to really like this application, but its developers obviously don’t give a damn about it anymore. I’m a committed Google Reader user now.
- Peel – Handy RSS client for extracting MP3s from music blogs. I don’t open it up as much as I’d like to.
- Address Book and iCal – I use them extensively, but usually launch them from Quicksilver.
- Preview – Indispensable.
- iPhoto – I know I should get with Lightroom or Aperture, but I’m too lazy and really, all I have time for is iPhoto.
- iBank – My personal finance software. It’s way better than Quicken and doesn’t extort you for paid upgrades every few years.
- Spaces – After trying to use it for a while I decided that this was a waste of time. I should remove it.
- Time Machine – I don’t use it too often, but when I do, it’s a huge help. People aren’t impressed with it, but I think it’s terrific.
- System Preferences – Everyone needs System Preferences!
- Keynote – One of my most favorite programs ever.
- Awaken – An alarm clock/egg timer that comes in handy surprisingly often. Last year my clock radio was on the fritz for a short time, and I used Awaken to get me up in the mornings, streaming my local public radio station’s Internet simulcast. You never really expect you’re going to need to do something like that until you do.
- Numbers – I never use it. I have to admit, I still use Excel for that stuff.
- DragThing – After over decade of continuous use, I still use it on my main Mac though I’ve weaned myself off of using it on my other Macs. I like its Process Dock, which shows you all running processes. I guess I keep it around out of nostalgia more than anything.
- Word – I still have to use this from time to time, so help me God.
- Excel – Still useful, though more and more I’m turning to Google Docs for spreadsheet work.
- Photoshop – Still indispensable, though I try to use Pixelmator as often as I can, if nothing else, it saves me the 10 minutes that it takes Photoshop to launch.
- Illustrator– I do wireframes in Illustrator still, and some vector work occasionally. But it’s such a plodding, inelegant beast, I try to avoid it if I can.
- InDesign – Once in a blue moon, I need to do some print work.
- Flash – I never, ever open this program. By the way, these are all CS3 applications. I just don’t think the upgrade to CS4 is worth the money.
- Acrobat – I use Preview 90% of the time, but since I own Acrobat, I use it to edit/combine PDFs. It’s also a plodding, inelegant beast.
- Parallels – It’s great I can launch Windows on my Mac with this…but I really hardly ever need to.
- AirFoil – Terrific utility for sending audio from my Mac to my AirPort Express and Apple TV. I use it quite often.
- MacGourmet Deluxe – I store recipes in here. Well, I’m starting to. Right now I have three.
- PathFinder– I feel a little geeky using PathFinder. It’s definitely a tool that’s more about having lots of cool features than it is about being efficient… but it is really nice. Anyway, I try to use it regularly, but I can’t say I miss it too greatly when I don’t.
- Pages – Used rarely.
- Default Folder – One of my favorite utilities. Really, really helpful. It’s probably the second or third thing I install when setting up a new Mac.
- 1Password – Fantastic password management software. I really can’t live without this these days. Far, far superior to relying on the Mac OS X keychain.
- Transmit – Everyone uses Transmit, right?
- Calculator – Um, it happened to be open when I took this screen grab.
- Photo Booth – Surprisingly handy for showing people stuff remotely. When I took this screen grab, I had just used Photo Booth to send a friend in another state proof that his postcard had arrived.
- Layers – Awesome utility for taking screen grabs and preserving all of the windows and icons in Photoshop layers. Truly amazing, actually.
It’s not often you gain an insight into the machine of such an influential designer, so i would like to say a huge thanks to Khoi for taking time out to share his dock and the apps that he uses on a daily basis.
With more amazing creatives lined up, make sure to check back every Tuesday for the latest Dock Series installment.