My List of Mac Gems

Here’s a secret… I am a bi-computing user. I use both Windows and Mac. A friend of mine is thinking about purchasing his first Mac so it made me think about the applications I use on my Mac. Here are some of my favorites:

LaunchBar – I would not use my Mac without it. Once you learn how to use it, you won’t want to live without it either. I learned about it from Don McAllister and you should take the time to watch his ScreenCasts (all of them) but start with SCO0011 and SCO0012 detailing LaunchBar. Once you watch it you will buy LaunchBar and never look back.

Yojimbo – I have heard it described as a digital junk drawer. I keep everything that I need to reference there, my software serial numbers, my personal passwords, quick reference notes (that sync with my PocketPC), all of my receipts, I could go on and on. The best part is that it keeps it all encrypted, each note separately so it doesn’t have to all be encrypted.

Adium – A great, free, IM Client. I am online in iChat, AOL, Yahoo, ICQ, GoogleChat, and MSN all in the same window. This is a lot like Trillian on the PC.

Circus Ponies Notebook – Another great information management tool, somewhat like Yojimbo, but Yojimbo is more like a database and Notebook is a graphically beautiful information repository. I have a separate notebook for each research project; it interfaces well with any of the web browsers on the mac and stores any video, audio, picture, and text in a tabbed notebook that is automatically indexed as you add information. It automatically creates your table of contents, and forces you to organize your information to support better research. Best of all it will export to the web and is easy to share for collaboration.

Missing Sync for Windows Mobile – I initially tried PocketMac and had all kinds of issues with syncing data. The biggest was problem was trying to get my Mac to see the PocketPC. Once it connected the sync worked but there weren’t very many options. I switched to Missing Sync and have never looked back. It is the best software if you rely on your PocketPC.

NetNewsWire – I read a lot of RSS feeds (as any geek should). This application handles them all in a very fast, attractive interface with it’s own tabbed browser integrated internal to the program. I can read thousands of feeds without ever leaving NetNewsWire and in most cases my hands never leave the keyboard. It’s very easy to scroll through feeds, posts, and open links without ever touching the mouse. There’s always a lot to read and this helps me get through it all quickly without missing anything.

Camino – There are a lot of browser options on the mac. I am a big Firefox fan. I use it on my PC and wouldn’t want another browser. It’s not a bad choice for your mac either; however, Camino is made by the same folks but optimized for the Mac. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I am all about productivity. I love to learn better ways to do things on my computer. Camino gives you tabs, a clean interface, and best of all it is fast and extremely efficient with the OS. Like the MacOS, it just works!

Transmit – The essential FTP client for the Mac. It works like any other FTP Client, but what it offers that I use constantly is a tool called a Droplet. You can add a Droplet anywhere in the OS (mine are on the desktop). The droplet is a shortcut to any server location where you have access to upload. You drag and drop a file(s) to the Droplet and it will open Transmit in the background, upload the file(s) and then close Transmit. There is also a Dashboard Widget if you prefer to use the Dashboard.

AppZapper – One of the best things about the MacOS is that it doesn’t use a Registry like Windows. So installing and uninstalling applications on the mac is very easy. You can uninstall an application on the mac by simply dragging it to the trashcan. In most cases this works like a charm; however, many times there are some small files left behind (usually preference files in the library folder). AppZapper takes care of that for you, it has an extensive knowledge of many of the applications available on the Mac and with a simple drag and drop, will keep your system clean.

Disco – Simply a great disk burning application. What makes it so great? It’s fast and easy to use! Ok… and it looks good too. It has all of the features of the expensive applications for a fraction of the price. Since I am a bi-computing user, it is important that I be able to burn disks compatible with both the Mac and the PC. Disco handles both CD and DVD to include video, and I have never had a compatibility problem.

iPodDisk – This is a free application that lets you access all of the files on your iPod. So if you accidentally lose a song, movie, or audiobook that you bought from the iTunes Store (and you have it on your iPod) you can get it back!

Snood – Ok, it’s not all about work! Snood is an addictive game that I have played ever since I found it on an old Apple LC III a friend gave me more than 10 years ago. I have both Snood and Snood Solitaire. Don’t open them unless you plan to play!

VLC – I have used this on the PC for a long time and was happy to see it is also available on the Mac. It’s an all in one video player and streaming application. Anytime I have a problem opening a video format on any system, I fall back to VLC and it works even when you don’t know the file format. All you have to do is drag and drop the file to the application and in most cases it will open!

In summary, one of the best things about all of these software packages is that none of them are expensive. They demonstrate some of the best and well thought out software development you will ever find and they are worth every penny! I would buy them all again without hesitation.

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