12-29-2010, 02:18 PM
I have been thinking. We have antivirus topics there and what to do as a new Mac user topics. But over and over in the help topics we recommend the same free software to people. So I am going to make a nice little list of what I think is some of the essential software each new mac user should seriously look into downloading for their Mac. Just to make their life easier.
Only free Apps will be listed here on the whole.
Perian - The swiss-army knife of QuickTimeŽ components
Why to get it: This optional install allows the quicktime player (the main media player on the Mac) to play all kinds of weird and wonderful video types. And for those coming from the Windows side this will allow quicktime to play most of your media files you loved while using Windows.
Apple - Downloads - Video - Flip4Mac Windows Media Components for QuickTime
Why to get it: Perian described above is great. But it can not handle .wmv or .wma files. Those 2 file types are very common in the Windows environment. And this download allows those 2 file types to be played through Quicktime (The main media player on the Mac). There is only one catch here. Flip4Mac will only handle unencrypted .wmv and .wma files. Nothing I know of will allow you to play the encrypted ones on your Mac.
Click To Flash
Why to get it: Firstly I'd like to say the first web browser you should be using when you are new to the Mac is Apple's Safari. Even if you are a Safari fan on Windows I'd suggest to start the Mac experience off with Safari (which is included on every purchased Macintosh computer.) Then later on if you feel the need you can move to your favourite browser.
And what Click To Flash does is disables (in Safari) all the flash content when a webpage is loaded up. But as the name says you only need one click on the flash object to activate it. So with this download you access only the flash content you want to. And you don't have to waste bandwidth downloading pointless flash that is useless to you. One all but very useful download. It will enhance your web browsing experience through safari 100% over and more.
AdBlock for Safari
AdBlock for Safari
Why to get it: If you are sick of all the advertising in every webpage you visit in safari, then downloading and installing this will fix that problem. All of those ads will simply not be downloaded or appear on any page. Saving you bandwidth and making the web pages you visit look a whole prettier in the process.
Why to get it: As the website says:
"Mactracker provides detailed information on every Apple Macintosh computer ever made, including items such as processor speed, memory, optical drives, graphic cards, supported Mac OS versions, and expansion options. Also included is information on Apple mice, keyboards, displays, printers, scanners, digital cameras, iPod, Apple TV, iPhone, iPad, Wi-Fi Cards/Base Stations, Newton, and Mac OS versions."
How is this information useful you ask? Well this Application is like an encyclopaedia for every single Apple product ever released. So if you are ever unsure about any of the technical specs of the Mac computer you own now or have owned in the past, this Application has the information for you. Also if you ask a question on a Mac help website such as this one and they ask you for example "how much RAM does your computer have?" or "what CPU does your computer have?" or some other strange technical spec question you have the answers. They are all in this Application.
And as an added bonus most products listed in the Application have a detailed history of how the product came to be. Nice to know for anyone interested in this kind of thing.
Titanium's Software • Home
Why to get it: First I'll just begin by listing the website's info on what these 2 Applications are.
OnyX is a multifunction utility for Mac OS X which allows you to verify the Startup Disk and the structure of its System files, to run misc tasks of system maintenance, to configure some hidden parameters of the Finder, Dock, QuickTime, Safari, iTunes, Login window, Spotlight and many Apple’s applications, to delete caches, to remove a certain number of files and folders that may become cumbersome and more.
Maintenance is a System Maintenance and Cleaning utility for Mac OS X which allows you to run misc tasks of system maintenance: repair permissions, run periodic scripts, reset Spotlight’s Index, rebuild the LaunchServices database, delete Application, Font and System cache, check the status of the Hard disk...
Yes it true OS X (the Mac operating system) has very little issues with viruses, maleware, worms and trojans. So you can forget about antivirus on your Mac. You will not need it. But every one in a while it is nice to in a way clean your Mac and make sure it's running in tip top shape and these 2 applications do this task for you.
Onyx gives the user many different options to keep their Mac in tip top shape. And is also good as a tool if there is a very rare issue with your Mac.
Maintenance on the other hand is the same as Onyx but the Application is optimised to the point where you only have a few options. And in essence all you need to do is click start and it'll work it's magic on your Mac. This is the one of the 2 use mostly. It has less confusing options then Onyx does. Perfect for the new to the Mac person who just wants a simple one click to keep the Mac in tip top shape. I use this App about once a month give or take. It's not something you need to use every day. But every month or so whenever you can get around to it, use the Application and your Mac will thank you for it.
Thanks to TattooedMac - He suggests Main Menu.
This Application does the same things as Onyx/Maintenance does. Just another very nice free option to choose from.
Adium - Download
Why to get it: Social networking is a bug thing these days on the internet. And most people would be familiar with how you can chat to your friends on windows messenger or Yahoo chat IM or their favourite chat Application. For those who don't, this is a way through typed text to communicate to your friends or family be they next door or on the other side of the world. And you can have an almost real time text chat to them As long as they have an internet connection and a computer you can contact them.
But there are many many different chat programs/applications out there to chat to each other via the internet. And you need the same APplication as they do to chat to them. And this can get annoying as then you have to download the Application each person has and learn to use each different one. Annoying at the best of times. But Adium on the other hand can communicate to 18 of the world's most popular chat programs (or networks). So any of your friends or family are using one of these 18 applications to chat (and it's most likely they are) you only need to have this one Application Adium to chat to them all.
Why to get it: Sure it's nice to install Applications. And use them, and have fun doing so. But there are times you want to remove APplications from your Mac. And sure you can drag the application or application folder to the trash and hit Empty trash from the finder's finder menu. But often little random files associated with the application are left on your Mac.
Most times these little files pose to threat to your Mac if they stay there. But it is nice to have the removed too. So all you have to do is drag the application you rant to remove onto the App Cleaner App and hit delete and it will remove the unwanted Application and all of it's associated files into the trash. You will still need to then go into the finder's finder menu and hot empty trash to permanently rid your computer of the files. But using the step with App Cleaner makes sure all of the unwanted parts are removed. A very handy service I would recommend.
AppDelete and AppZapper are in essence different Application with the same functionality as App Cleaner. But those two Applications are not free. I mention them as some people swear by them. I would say try the free one first and if you are happy with it's results then there's no need to purchase the paid applications. Personally I prefer AppZapper. But for 95% of things (in essence most of what people will do) App Cleaner does the job just fine.
Colloquy: IRC, SILC & ICB Client
Why to get it: Read the first post in this link below. It tells you exactly how to use and install Colloquy.
Also read the first post on this link below to explain the Mac-Forums IRC room.
This Application lets you enter internet chartrooms and chat to many people all at once. Like a big friendly chat. Our forums have one of these chartrooms set up. So if you are interested ask about it on the forums and I'm sure someone will be willing to help you through it all if you are interested.