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Switcher Hangout The place for switchers to discuss their new machines, and how to work with OS X. General support can be had here for newbie stuff, like "How do I restart my new iMac?" :)

Must have Mac Programs?


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mac57

 
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Member Since: Apr 29, 2006
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Mac Specs: iMac 27" 3.4 GHz, 256 GB SSD, 2 TB HDD, 8 GB RAM

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Here is my list of Mac "must have ware":

Menu Meters (http://www.ragingmenace.com/software/menumeters): this indispensable program places a variety of real time updating meters into your menu bar, for things such as CPU use, disk use, internet up/down rates, memory usage, etc. It is very configurable and because these meters live in your menu bar, very unobtrusive. But the information is always there when you need it. I could not live without a real time view of CPU usage in particular. It is frequently the first indicator that something is happening on your Mac that you were not aware of.

iClock (http://www.scriptsoftware.com/iclock/iclockmac.php): Another menu bar addition. This one expands the normal day and time display into something much more useful, by adding the full date, various formats for the display, and multiple font selections (color too). In addition, it provides a whole host of other goodies, such as world clocks, calenders, task switchers, and so on. Very, very useful and very attractive too.

Classic Menu (http://www.sigsoftware.com/classicmenu): Classic Menu lets you build a cascading program launcher, just like Macs used to have under Mac OS "Classic" - hence the name. Think of it as the equivalent of the Start menu on Windows, or the launch button on any Linux distro. It is fully and easily user configurable. As an added goody, it lets you replace the drab monotone Apple symbol in the upper left of your menu bar with a variety of different color treatments, including the multi colored original Apple logo. This all by itself is worth the price of admission in my mind!

iStat Pro (http://www.islayer.com/index.php?op=item&id=7): this is THE definitive system monitor widget. It lets you view CPU usage, memory usage, CPU temperatures, GPU temperatures, fan speeds, internet usage, etc. etc. etc. Don't leave home without it!

OnyX (http://www.macupdate.com/info.php/id/11582): OnyX is a system maintenance and tweaking utility. There are several tools in this class, but OnyX is my personal favorite. Run OnyX's "clean up" routines once a week or once a month or so, and you Mac will continue to run like new. You will generally notice a speed up in your subjective experience of the Mac's performance after running OnyX, although the next boot after an OnyX run takes longer because OS X has to repopulate some caches.

Xee (http://wakaba.c3.cx/s/apps/xee.html): simply the best (IMHO) image viewer for Macs that is available. Xee is a purpose built viewer, not an editor. This is not a graphics editing program such as iPhoto. Instead it is an image viewer. It has the happy capability as well of being able to start anywhere in a folder of images and go back and forth amongst the images without you preselecting which ones you want to see. I *wish* Preview would do this but it does not. Xee does it with grace and style.

Smultron (http://smultron.sourceforge.net): simply the best general purpose text editor available for Macs today (again, IMHO). Simple intuitive multi file support, easy to use, attractive to look at, stable, fast. An excellent product.

iGlasses (http://www.macupdate.com/info.php/id/16105): this is like the Preference panel for your iSight camera that Apple inexplicably does not provide. It lets you adjust the brightness, contrast, color settings and so on. It also provides lots of clever effects that you can apply. However, for me, the big ticket item is that it lets you adjust the iSight so that you get a decent picture in lower light situations.

Skype (www.skype.com): Pretty much everyone knows about Skype. Free video calling that is cross platform. The Mac version is excellent and lets you video call your friends on both Mac and Windows. There is a Linux version as well, but I have had only limited luck with it.

...and finally...

NeoOffice (www.neooffice.org): this is the best freeware office suite available and is a great alternative to MS Office. It has a very high level of compatibility with MS Office and has components for all of the big programs: Word, Excel, Powerpoint. There seems to be only one downside to NeoOffice, and that is that it is slow to launch. It has been that way for years. If you are a Linux user, check out OpenOffice on openSuSE 10.3 though (NeoOffice is the Mac port of OpenOffice). It launches with eye-popping speed. I think they are preloading it as part of startup. I can't explain it any other way.

There you go - my list of "must have ware" for your new Mac.

My Macs: iMac 27" 3.4 GHz, Mac Pro 3.2 GHz, PowerMac G5 Quad 2.5 GHz, G4 Cube with 1.2 GHz Upgrade
My iStuff: 64GB iPhone 5, 64GB iPad4, 30GB iPod Video, 16GB iPod Touch
My OS': Mac OS X Lion, Mac OS X Snow Leopard, Mac OS X Tiger, Mac OS 9.2.2, openSUSE 10.3
I was on the Mac-Forums honor roll for September 2007
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wcarr3

 
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Member Since: Mar 30, 2007
Location: Maryland
Posts: 208
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Mac Specs: MBP, 13.3" || iMac 20" 2.16 GHz C2D, 250 GB HD, 2 GB RAM, || 32GB i-Phone 4 || 32GB AT&T 3G iPad

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mac57 View Post
Here is my list of Mac "must have ware":


iGlasses (http://www.macupdate.com/info.php/id/16105): this is like the Preference panel for your iSight camera that Apple inexplicably does not provide. It lets you adjust the brightness, contrast, color settings and so on. It also provides lots of clever effects that you can apply. However, for me, the big ticket item is that it lets you adjust the iSight so that you get a decent picture in lower light situations.
Great find with iGlasses! I never knew such a product was available for the iSight camera. I really needed it since my Mac is located in an area where the lighting isn't all that great.
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kmkl

 
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Member Since: Mar 11, 2008
Location: Canada
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Mac Specs: iMac 24" 2.4GHz 2GB RAM 320GB HD

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isn't iGlasses shareware?? and the interface isn't all that great...
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tharmsen

 
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Member Since: Apr 25, 2007
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Work Related:
Office 2008
Concept Draw (Visio like tool)
Steelray (MS Project like tool)
PhotoShop
Remote Desktop Connection (remote to Windows PC's)
Adium (like Trillian / IM client)
SnapZPro (video/image capture)
Flip4Mac (Media player)
Skype (phone calls)
Parallels (or VMWare Fusion)
Transmit (FTP)
Stuffit (old Zip type client)

For Fun:
Transmission (torrent client)
DivX converter
WoW
EVE Online
MPEG Streamclip (video compression/converter utility)
iStat Pro

Those are my primary applications.
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wcarr3

 
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Member Since: Mar 30, 2007
Location: Maryland
Posts: 208
wcarr3 is on a distinguished road
Mac Specs: MBP, 13.3" || iMac 20" 2.16 GHz C2D, 250 GB HD, 2 GB RAM, || 32GB i-Phone 4 || 32GB AT&T 3G iPad

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmkl View Post
isn't iGlasses shareware?? and the interface isn't all that great...
Yes it's shareware ($9.95). Is there anything better out there?
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kmkl

 
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Member Since: Mar 11, 2008
Location: Canada
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wcarr3 View Post
Yes it's shareware ($9.95). Is there anything better out there?
are you buying it?
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wcarr3

 
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Member Since: Mar 30, 2007
Location: Maryland
Posts: 208
wcarr3 is on a distinguished road
Mac Specs: MBP, 13.3" || iMac 20" 2.16 GHz C2D, 250 GB HD, 2 GB RAM, || 32GB i-Phone 4 || 32GB AT&T 3G iPad

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmkl View Post
are you buying it?
Huh?? Not at this time, I'm still trying it out. I'll have to make sure I like it first before I buy it. Again, do you know of anything better that does the same or similar as iGlasses?
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kmkl

 
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Member Since: Mar 11, 2008
Location: Canada
Posts: 305
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Mac Specs: iMac 24" 2.4GHz 2GB RAM 320GB HD

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some of my 3rd party apps:
Transmission
Adium
VisualHub
Gimp
Inkscape
Coda
the iWork suite (ok so it's from apple, but it didn't come with the computer.)
VMware Fusion
CoverSutra
GimmeSomeTune
Shades
Airfoil (never used by me)
Cabos
Handbrake
img2icns
Mactracker
UnrarX

EDIT: o and Perian, Flip4Mac,DivXcodec
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