Must have Mac Software

From OSX to iPods, iTunes to Mac Minis, and all other things Apple.

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Must have Mac Software

Postposted on Wed Apr 09, 2008 12:39 pm

So does anyone have any "must have" Mac software?
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Re: Must have Mac Software

Postposted on Wed Apr 09, 2008 12:54 pm

Yup.

Try out a demo of CoverSutra. An iTunes Controller might seem like a silly expense but it's not if you just think of it as an "expansion pack" to iTunes (similarly priced to an x-pack, as well.) It's elegant, feature-rich, yet quite simple and it makes you wonder why iTunes doesn't include what CoverSutra does in the first place.

Also try out NeoOffice. It's basically OpenOffice but it doesn't require X11 and therefore it loads faster. Also the UI feels more mac-like and thus it fits in better than OpenOffice. Some people don't like NeoOffice's interface but I think it's comparable to MS Office 97 (a little dated, but more functional than the omgwtf Vista-era Office)

Edit: Also try out Journler if you're any one of these:

A) College Student.
B) Journalist.
C) Programmer?
D) Blogger?

Someone else (Maybe UberGerbil) also recommended Chandler, which is great because it's GTD-based project management but it doesn't integrate well with iCal and the calendar interface doesn't seem to allow a repeating schedule (work, school), so it still has some user-friendly issues.

One More Thing:

If you're migrating from Windows Media Player (pc) content to iTunes then pwny up the $10 for EasyWMA. It's the easiest, fastest way tp change your WMA files to mp3's or some other iTunes-recognized format. Just remember that your WMA files have to be DRM-free or it won't work.
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Re: Must have Mac Software

Postposted on Wed Apr 09, 2008 1:06 pm

Without knowing the types of apps you need, it's hard to answer. I can say you MUST HAVE Logic Express with any or all of the GB Jam Packs and Finale Allegro, but those are only MUST HAVE apps if you're writing music. If you need Exchange support and super-advanced MS Office compatibility, you MUST HAVE Office 2008 (NeoOffice is basically compatible the same way that OpenOffice is - if you use your personal machine for MS Office docs with crazy formatting, you really need MS Office for Mac).

Now for generic suggestions:

Camino! It takes the best features of Safari (nice interface, very fast) and combines it with a Gecko-powered renderer. It's what Firefox on the Mac should have been a long time ago.

For IM stuff, you MUST HAVE Adium X. I used to use Fire.app but it's been discontinued, and Adium X is the Trillian of the Mac world. It's pretty sweet.

If you're decompressing files from the internet, I'd suggest The Unarchiver. It's compatible with ZIP, SIT, RAR, 7z...I think pretty much all the web-standard and Mac-standard formats.

When you want to watch MPEG4 or other compressed video formats, get Perian. It's like DivX, Xvid, and everything else.

If you want to stream video/audio to your PS3 or Xbox360, NullRiver has Connect360, which they're porting for PS3 (or may have already; nullriver's site is down at the moment)

I think that's about everything generic without knowing your usage.
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Re: Must have Mac Software

Postposted on Wed Apr 09, 2008 3:25 pm

derFunkenstein wrote:For IM stuff, you MUST HAVE Adium X. I used to use Fire.app but it's been discontinued, and Adium X is the Trillian of the Mac world. It's pretty sweet.

Really it's the Pidgin/Gaim of the Mac world since it is basically Pidgin's libpurple plus a Mac GUI.
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Re: Must have Mac Software

Postposted on Wed Apr 09, 2008 3:56 pm

I can't believe I forgot to mention xtorrent. It's not just the best bit torrent client for Mac, it's quite possibly the best torrent client EVER. Easy to use and pretty to look at, xTorrent lets you search for torrents ala Spotlight style AND you can "cherry-pick" certain files out of a pack/folder. It's way awesome.
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Re: Must have Mac Software

Postposted on Wed Apr 09, 2008 4:54 pm

bitvector wrote:Really it's the Pidgin/Gaim of the Mac world since it is basically Pidgin's libpurple plus a Mac GUI.

If you have to get really technical and pedantic, I suppose, I'm just talking about the most popular multi-service IM client for Windows --> same for OS X.
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Re: Must have Mac Software

Postposted on Wed Apr 09, 2008 7:17 pm

bitvector wrote:
derFunkenstein wrote:For IM stuff, you MUST HAVE Adium X. I used to use Fire.app but it's been discontinued, and Adium X is the Trillian of the Mac world. It's pretty sweet.

Really it's the Pidgin/Gaim of the Mac world since it is basically Pidgin's libpurple plus a Mac GUI.

Adium is a much, much better app than Pidgin is, though.

You may or may not find Quicksilver to be a MUST HAVE app; it's a very nice launcher+ interface. I'd also recommend VLC if you expect to be doing much media viewing -- Quicktime feels kinda bloated to me, and VLC includes support for nearly every codec in the world right "out of the box."
These are both freeware, btw.
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Re: Must have Mac Software

Postposted on Thu Apr 10, 2008 5:05 am

SNM, what does Quicksilver do as a launcher that Spotlight doesn't? I find if I want to launch an app that's not on the Dock, I just Cmd+space and start typing (I also do this in Vista because the cursor defaults to a search box when you hit the Win key)
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Re: Must have Mac Software

Postposted on Thu Apr 10, 2008 5:15 am

WOW these are some great programs I didnt know about. Keep em coming.
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Re: Must have Mac Software

Postposted on Thu Apr 10, 2008 6:02 am

derFunkenstein wrote:SNM, what does Quicksilver do as a launcher that Spotlight doesn't? I find if I want to launch an app that's not on the Dock, I just Cmd+space and start typing (I also do this in Vista because the cursor defaults to a search box when you hit the Win key)

It's probably somewhat less useful now that 10.5 is out, but Quicksilver is significantly faster than 10.4's Spotlight. Beyond that, it has a number of useful plugins that allow it to do other things -- create hotkeys to handle applications (shortcuts for iTunes, for instance), a calculator, and more.
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Re: Must have Mac Software

Postposted on Thu Apr 10, 2008 6:44 am

SNM wrote:Quicksilver is significantly faster than 10.4's Spotlight.

I forgot about that - Tiger's spotlight implementation is slow as crap

Beyond that, it has a number of useful plugins that allow it to do other things -- create hotkeys to handle applications (shortcuts for iTunes, for instance), a calculator, and more.

Cool, I might check it out then. Thanks!

ssidbroadcast wrote:I can't believe I forgot to mention xtorrent. It's not just the best bit torrent client for Mac, it's quite possibly the best torrent client EVER. Easy to use and pretty to look at, xTorrent lets you search for torrents ala Spotlight style AND you can "cherry-pick" certain files out of a pack/folder. It's way awesome.

I prefer Azureus, and if you subtract torrent search, it does all of the above...but I know some don't like Azureus because it's kinda slow.
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Re: Must have Mac Software

Postposted on Thu Apr 10, 2008 8:35 am

Some great suggestions above. Thought I'd add a couple:

iKey — Allows you to set your own hotkeys for programs. I like to be able to control iTunes with the keyboard without switching to the iTunes window.

Visualhub or iSquint — The latter is the freeware version of the former. Both allow you to convert videos. iSquint will be especially useful if you have an movie-playing iPod or a PSP. Visualhub lets you convert from (almost) any format to any other.

Check off — Freeware. My favorite to-do list app. Puts a little icon in the menu bar by your clock for easy access. http://www.checkoffapp.com/


More information on what you do (student, programmer, pornographer, etc) would be useful if you want more specific recommendations.
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Re: Must have Mac Software

Postposted on Fri Apr 11, 2008 3:32 pm

ssidbroadcast, Why NeoOffice rather than iWork 08?

Otherwise, great suggestions all around.
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Re: Must have Mac Software

Postposted on Fri Apr 11, 2008 4:58 pm

riviera74 wrote:ssidbroadcast, Why NeoOffice rather than iWork 08?

Free?
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Re: Must have Mac Software

Postposted on Fri Apr 11, 2008 5:51 pm

Alex wrote:
riviera74 wrote:ssidbroadcast, Why NeoOffice rather than iWork 08?

Free?


And Circle gets the square.

I read the iWork review by Ars Technica, and I must say that while it does seem like a compelling product I'm a bit wary of the Numbers software. I'll wait until Numbers is at least version 2.0 before chomping down on eighty dollars of software.
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Re: Must have Mac Software

Postposted on Sun Apr 13, 2008 10:54 am

ssidbroadcast wrote:
Alex wrote:
riviera74 wrote:ssidbroadcast, Why NeoOffice rather than iWork 08?

Free?


And Circle gets the square.

I read the iWork review by Ars Technica, and I must say that while it does seem like a compelling product I'm a bit wary of the Numbers software. I'll wait until Numbers is at least version 2.0 before chomping down on eighty dollars of software.


I agree with free vs $80; then again, MS Office 2008 looks like a stripped version of Office 2007 for Windows. Seems to me that M$FT is trying to convert Mac users into Windows ones if they want to use a fully functional M$ Office. I would say that iWork 08 does render other (non-free) Mac choices almost moot. I do have a question: how comprehensive is NeoOffice and is it as useful at least as much as M$ Office 2007? Are there any compelling features (excluding price) that make NeoOffice worthwhile?

I have seen a lot of very good suggestions for software here for any Mac user. Is there a superior alternative to iLife though (especially the Movie editing and DVD making components)?
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Re: Must have Mac Software

Postposted on Sun Apr 13, 2008 11:47 am

Well, if you just need it for home use, the $140 Office 2008 student/home version (same price as the Windows one) is pretty comparable...

Windows home and student - Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote (wtf ever that is)
Mac home and student - Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Entourage (sans Exchange support)

I'd rather have Outlook/Entourage than OneNote. Now, if you're looking for more in your office suite, 2008 for Mac is sparse - no Access or Publisher, still $300 (if you click the Shop Now link, anyway...from the Apple store it's $400)

If you want something better than iMovie and iDVD, there's always Final Cut Express - though the gap between the two both in price and in features is pretty hefty. For my needs, iLife is fine, and I doubt you'll find anything better at the price.
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Re: Must have Mac Software

Postposted on Sun Apr 13, 2008 12:32 pm

Without knowing your particular needs, I'd say if you've got an Intel CPU, then the must have Mac software would be BootCamp. That way you can run Windows and thus 99.999% of all software.
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Re: Must have Mac Software

Postposted on Sun Apr 13, 2008 1:05 pm

wtf? get out, Troll!
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Re: Must have Mac Software

Postposted on Sun Apr 13, 2008 6:15 pm

derFunkenstein wrote:Well, if you just need it for home use, the $140 Office 2008 student/home version (same price as the Windows one) is pretty comparable...

Windows home and student - Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote (wtf ever that is)
Mac home and student - Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Entourage (sans Exchange support)

I'd rather have Outlook/Entourage than OneNote. Now, if you're looking for more in your office suite, 2008 for Mac is sparse - no Access or Publisher, still $300 (if you click the Shop Now link, anyway...from the Apple store it's $400)

If you want something better than iMovie and iDVD, there's always Final Cut Express - though the gap between the two both in price and in features is pretty hefty. For my needs, iLife is fine, and I doubt you'll find anything better at the price.


Onenote is self explanitory. It is a note taking program (I LOVE onenote). Onenote is designed much better for taking notes than any other program I've used so far, it's also great for using with a tablet. It is able to record sound if your computer has a mic if that's what you want.
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Re: Must have Mac Software

Postposted on Sun Apr 13, 2008 7:16 pm

it's soooo not self-explanatory (remember, I use music apps - notes are something else to me), and your explanation tells me it's unnecessary on a platform that doesn't have a tablet.
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Re: Must have Mac Software

Postposted on Sun Apr 13, 2008 7:38 pm

Ehh, onenote is great without a tablet, it's just onenote is even better with a tablet (I don't have a tablet). It's gotten great reviews from our faculty at our school.

As for mac tablets.. (It's rediculously heavy, overpriced, and a mac and not a mac at the same time) at 5.5 POUNDS that's as heavy as my 14.1 t61p with the battery drive bay!!!!!
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Re: Must have Mac Software

Postposted on Sun Apr 13, 2008 7:50 pm

derFunkenstein wrote:wtf? get out, Troll!


hahaha, I liked that.

riviera74 wrote:I do have a question: how comprehensive is NeoOffice and is it as useful at least as much as M$ Office 2007? Are there any compelling features (excluding price) that make NeoOffice worthwhile?


Yeah. At school the WinXp desktops all have Office2007 so I'll give a sum up of the differentiation. First off, I'd like to say that the new interface for Excel 2007 is screwy as hell. Don't get me wrong, it looks pretty and everything but, I think that they changed too many things all at once. I can see that they were trying to differentiate their product, and perhaps reinvent the wheel too, but the changes to the interface should've been more gradual. I haven't touched Word2007 much but from what I've glanced at it looks like it got the same treatment.

Disadvantages to NeoOffice? Yeah, there are some. The PowerPoint app, ironically called Impress, could use some work. It's a bit slow and the interface is pretty clunky. Not exactly ready for prime time. Luckily it does save in PowerPoint 97/2000/Xp format, and while I've never tested it, it could probably open and read such files too. Also I have no idea what "Draw" is supposed to do. I've never used something so user-un-friendly since Corel Draw4.

But as a Word substitute it does pretty well. Similar to modern cellphones, it tries to "guess" which word you're about to write as you're typing. At first this was sortof of a putoff since A) I wasn't use to it. B) At first it was usually wrong (it seems to learn patterns I think, tho). C) And I never knew how to finish the word until recently, so even if it guessed right, I would just use the guess as a spelling guide. (FYI to finish a correct guess you just hit 'Enter'). One distinct advantage it has over Word is it's hands-off implementation of Styles. The Styles tool is still there, but unlike Word it seems to be alot less intrusive. Can save in 97/2000/Xp and the 2007 .docx format, but I reccomend the former over the latter.

The Excel portion seems equally capable. It does cell references and cell calls in the same fashion as one would expect. So far the only feature missing, perplexingly, is the "Insert Header and Footer" feature, which is kindof a bummer since some people do ask for at least a file reference call on printed documents for auditing purposes. However it will at least let you save in .xls or the newer formats.

Yeah $300 btw for the MS Office 2008 suite is way too expensive, but I'm not sure I'd blame Microsoft on that one. It might be an Apple-added tax since it competes with the $80 iWork suite. Not sure if that breaks the rules, tho.

I also just remembered a totally unrelated suggestion: Kitty Spangles Solitaire. Men insecure about their sexuality or trapped in their macho stereotypes need not apply. Also if you have simple tastes in your Solitaire, then there's probably a widget out there (or there's Free 3d Solitaire) for you. At any rate, as long as you've got some kid gloves to put on, or perhaps a girlfriend to compete against/lose to, Kitty Spangles is a solid package. It has good polish and a well thought-out design, and the backgrounds are just soothing to my eyes. Doesn't hurt that it's cute as hell, too.
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Re: Must have Mac Software

Postposted on Mon Apr 14, 2008 5:44 am

Yeah $300 btw for the MS Office 2008 suite is way too expensive, but I'm not sure I'd blame Microsoft on that one. It might be an Apple-added tax since it competes with the $80 iWork suite. Not sure if that breaks the rules, tho.

Office for Mac has always cost that much, going back to when they first packaged them together. And like I said - if you can do without exchange, it's only $140 (SRP) and can be had for less than that online. At only $60 more than iWork, bundled with a vastly superior (and more compatible) email/calendar client, and guaranteed Office 200x compatibility, it's hard to say no to Office 2008. I know people do anyway. :lol:
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Re: Must have Mac Software

Postposted on Tue Apr 15, 2008 8:03 am

Sorry for the double-post, but the question of HTML editors came up on a listserv and I thought I'd throw out a really awesome and free one that I've been using. PPC binary, but runs great under Rosetta...this is one of those apps that just doesn't need to be converted to x86 or universal binary, though I'm sure eventually it'll happen.

KompoZer
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Re: Must have Mac Software

Postposted on Fri Apr 25, 2008 12:27 pm

For more Must Have Mac Software, check this out. http://arstechnica.com/guides/tweaks/five-security-apps-linux-osx-windows.ars/2 We all need to be safe from internet threats to our Macs :evil: , just like fellow Windows users. :wink:
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Re: Must have Mac Software

Postposted on Thu Jun 12, 2008 8:05 am

I stumbled across Menu Meters

Its a cool little free app that does the following:

MenuMeters is a set of CPU, memory, disk, and network monitoring tools for Mac OS X. Although there are numerous other programs which do the same thing, none had quite the feature set I was looking for. Most were windows that sat in a corner or on the desktop, which are inevitably obscured by document windows on a PowerBook's small screen. Those monitors which used the menubar mostly used the NSStatusItem API, which has the annoying tendency to totally reorder my menubar on every login.


Check it out.
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Re: Must have Mac Software

Postposted on Thu Jun 12, 2008 1:17 pm

tanker27 wrote:I stumbled across Menu Meters
Check it out.


Functional + points, ugly - points, hogs the menubar - lots of points.

I just use iStat widget gauges for that sortof stuff.

Btw, if you're on a portable mac and the auto-dimming screen feature bothers you, give your mac some Caffeine.

Project Managers out there might want to give xTime Project a look. So far, I think it's alright.
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Re: Must have Mac Software

Postposted on Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:23 pm

I prefer smcFanControl2 for fan/temp monitoring and Activity Monitor running with its dock icon set to CPU history to track resource usage. Way late to the game on that one, I know.

For those of you interested in MS Office alternatives, OpenOffice.org has gone totally Aqua with the 3.0 release. Grab it here if you want something cheaper than MSOffice, more compatible than Pages, and faster than NeoOffice.
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Re: Must have Mac Software

Postposted on Wed Oct 15, 2008 4:36 pm

I would like to add a few to this list:

DiskWarrior- I manage probably around 1200 Macs, give or take, and DiskWarrior has saved several Macs from needing to be re-imaged. This is one of those things you never think you'll need (until you do).

Data Rescue II- This one is also in my toolbox. If your hard drive won't even mount and DiskWarrior can't fix it, Data Rescue II has had good success with finding these drives to salvage data. You can also use this to find files that were deleted by accident.

Lingon- This is a good Launchd GUI

CronniX- Cron GUI

Mac HelpMate- Free Cache Cleaner (similar to Onyx)

StateTool- This isn't a must have, unless you're a system administrator. If you're trying to roll out a configured software package, you can use State Tool to find out exactly which files are being modified to construct your own packages and deploy

VLC- Media player with just about every codec under the sun

MacPorts- For all of your Linux software needs on OS X. You can use Port Authority if you're looking for a GUI... I think it's around $10.
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