Here’s a cool list of 20 cool Mac Apps you might want to consider using. Although I don’t personally use Mac much anymore but I am sure it will help some of you.
Microsoft Office for the Mac is ironically regarded as being better than the Windows version, but it still costs more money than most can afford to pay. OpenOffice.org 3 is a remarkably accomplished program. The result of many years of open source development, it includes advanced word processing, spreadsheet, multimedia presentation, graphical planning and database applications. In short, everything that you get with Office, only for free. It is compatible with leading document format standards so exchanging files with people who are using Office won’t be a problem.
iPods and iPhones both support video playback, but first you have to get your movies into the correct format. A cheaper and faster alternative to QuickTime Pro is VisualHub at $23 from www.techspansion. com. Not only will it crunch a movie to the right format much quicker than you expect, it will let you convert pretty much any video format into any other video format, complete with size and crop options. There are also handy presets for converting for specific devices. Even for video professionals, it’s a very handy tool to have.
3. VLC media player
There are lots of video codecs in use across the web, and since many originate from the world of Windows, QuickTime isn’t always able to play them back properly, even with something like Perian installed. VLC Media Player is a free video player that has support for just about any video you’re ever likely to come across. It’s usually able to open and play back videos that no other application that’s currently around can do. In addition, it has advanced network features for playing streams and will get you out of a fix when you’re struggling to open movie files.
Transferring files to and from web servers over FTP can be a little hit and miss using Finder. A great free solution is Cyberduck, which is a powerful but easy-to-use program that supports all leading file transfer standards and protocols and makes transferring files as easy as dragging and dropping. With support for Spotlight, Keychains and iDisk, it integrates perfectly with OS X and is the perfect companion for iWeb if you’re using your own domain. You can even bookmark and store settings to manage multiple FTP accounts easily.
There are many parts of OS X that you can normally only access using the command line. Unless, that is, you use OnyX, a free system cleaning and maintenance utility. It’s able to perform important system maintenance and cleaning tasks like clearing out logs, caches and temporary files that build up over time, can become corrupted and can even slow down your Mac. It also gives you access to hidden OS X settings via the Parameters tab, including customising the appearance and behaviour of the Dock, Finder, Dashboard, Safari and Exposé amongst others.
6. iStat Pro
iStat Pro is a great free system monitoring widget for OS X, comprising nine sections which can be hidden or shown. It will display detailed information about your Mac’s CPU, RAM, hard drives, network addresses and data transfer, battery, current uptime and the temperature inside various parts of the Mac. It does this by hooking into the many sensors that your Mac has but doesn’t allow access to through Finder. It’s a good way to keep an eye on your Mac’s insides and troubleshoot any problems.
Removing unwanted applications from your system is rarely quite as simple as dragging the app to the Trash. Programs tend to place library and support files in other places you may not know about. AppCleaner is able to find the small files deposited around the system by apps during their install and remove those at the same time as the main app. It’s possible to protect some apps from being deleted so you can use it with confidence and stop your Mac becoming cluttered with unwanted support files.
This curiously-named image and photo editor from www.chocoflop.com is an interesting alternative to Photoshop and iPhoto. Well designed, it is able to work with RAW files and export and import in many file formats. It also has tools to retouch images and paint on them, and dozens of filters, layer support and more. Unlike iPhoto it can work with rich text layers, and has a feature-set that is significantly more advanced.
Software Update handles OS X and Apple programs, but keeping track of updates for your many installed applications can be tiresome. Some have check for updates options but they all work separately from one another. AppFresh checks osx.iusethis. com to notify you of new versions of all your programs, widgets and preference panes. It lets you download them, too, though as it’s currently in development you could simply use it as a notifier until it’s thoroughly tested with all applications.
10. Adium X
iChat is a great instant messaging program but not compatible with all the many instant messaging account types in use around the world. Adium supports just about every protocol in existence and is available for multiple platforms, so however obscure someone’s setup, you should be able to talk to them. It’s also highly customisable so you can change its appearance in minute detail. With great features like tabbed chats and file transfer, it can manage multiple account types in a single window so you’ll never miss an online chat again.
11. Carbon Copy Cloner
For those without Apple’s Time Machine, Carbon Copy Cloner is a great free way to create byte-forbyte copies of your hard drives for backup and restore purposes.
MacLoc activates Leopard’s Fast User Switching function, making it look like you have logged out when you leave your Mac, even though all apps and documents will still be active.
Use coconutWiFi for free to scan for wireless networks when out and about with your laptop, and see if they are password protected or open.
14. Dock Spaces
Use the fabulous Dock Spaces to store up to five different Dock configurations and switch between them from the menu bar.
Pingus is a free clone of the ultra-addictive classic Lemmings game, available from the Apple website games section or from MacFormat issue 200’s disc.
SnapNDrag is a simple but useful screenshot utility that lets you click and drag to take grabs and select different image formats as you do so.
NeoOffice is a port of the excellent and free OpenOffice.org suite of office applications that runs natively on OS X and can exchange documents in Microsoft’s Office format.
18. Hide Folders 2008
Use Hide Folders 2008 to conceal your files and folders from others to keep them private. If you do wish to share them, they can be made visible again by setting a password.
Skim is a free PDF reader and editor with advanced functions like the ability to annotate and edit PDFs and extract data with more flexibility than OS X’s own Preview application.
20. YouControl: Tunes
This program sits in the menu bar and gives you quick access to all aspects of iTunes playback, including artwork without you having to leave your work.