For those new to the mac
I talk to more and more people these days that are new to the platform or interested in it. A big issue they have is knowing what programs to use, so I figured I'd start a thread to get people off the ground.
Feel free to add to it.
Office (word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, etc):
MS Office -
The obvious one. Microsoft makes it, it will work flawlessly between Windows and OS X, probably the best choice for power users and those the often deal with multiple environments
This is Apple's first step into a modern office solution (Appleworks was looking really dated). It consists of Page and Keynote, a word processor and a Powerpoint type application. Keynote is great, but Pages as a slight learning curve on it, especially if you come from MS Office
iWork does not have a spreadsheet application. however if you are looking for on that fits with the iWork style, give Tables a look
I'm sure you've all heard of it and know what it is. Its a good all around free solution, however as of now you need to have X11 installed (its easy to do and free, but kind of a pain and the app doesn't look quite native). Rumor has it the next version to be released for the Mac will be native, that will be amazing
This is just OpenOffice with out a need for X11. The last version was crap, but I think the new beta out is pretty decent. It will be interesting to see if there is further development after OO.o goes native
Plays music and now videos. You already have it, you know it, I won't waste time here. Other full featured music players are hard to come by on the Mac because no one feels they can outdo iTunes, no ones sees a need and everything is already so well integrated with it
The video (and audio) player for the Mac. with the right plugins you can make it do much more. More on that later. Upgrading to Quicktime Pro will give you a few nice editing features as well as a wide variety of output formats and settings, its good to have around
This is a Quicktime plugin that allows you to play Windows Media files. The new version works great. Microsoft stopped development of their player for the Mac and handed things over to the Flip4Mac people and they did a nice job
Divx plugin for Quicktime, not much to say here
The new kid on the block, you may have seen it posted on digg not long ago. This will add Divx, FLV, and other codecs you may want. I haven't installed yet. Really the only thing I can think I'd want out of it is the FLV support
The play it all player. If it won't play in Quicktime give this guy a try.
Not used too much, but sometimes it may come in handy. Similar to VLC
Real Player -
You don't use this for much, but sometimes you need it. All I have to say about it is this -- It doesn't suck as bad as it does for Windows. Downloading it is still a pain though
This is the best looking, fastest, most useful P2P app I've ever come across. It uses the gnutella network, but also added support for torrents. However, if you don't pay the shareware fee is has some awful nagware, its a big turn off to most people that don't pay up front.
A free open source version of Acquisition. It isn't quite as pretty of feature rich, but it gets the job done
If this is in your dock people will instantly know you're new to the Mac, but use it if you wish
The newest torrent app out there for the mac, from the same guy that makes Acquisition. Its free for now while in beta. It brings the ease of standard P2P apps to the world of torrents. Its nice.
You know this one
Some other torrent software
Disk Utility -
This is already on your system (/Applications/Utilities/). It will allow you to verify your disks, partition, create software raids, burn iso and dmg files to disk, repair permissions, etc. You can also (and sometimes need to) boot off your OS X install CD to run the app, it is located in the Utilities menu once the desktop boots from the CD
This is a great all around utility. I can't even begin to go over all the funtions, it does system maintenance, interface tweaks, etc, etc. However, be care, it is very powerful and you can overdo it and mess things up if you aren't careful. There are scripts that run in the background on the Mac at 3am, if you computer is off they don't run, OnyX can run them manually to keep your system running smoothly
App Zapper -
The missing uninstaller. Now uninstalling an application isn't hard (just drag it to the trash), but if you want to get it all (which is normally just a small preference file or a folder) you can either use Spotlight, or do it the fun way with AppZapper. Just drag the app you want to get rid of onto it, it will find what needs to go and "zap" it. You'll be installing apps just to "zap" them
If you are a pro, or just have a lot of fonts, you need this. Font Book that comes with the Mac kind of sucks for font management. Best of all, its free.
This is a hard one to explain. Think of it as part application launcher, part everything on your system rolled into one. It allows you to perform tasks with many of your apps without ever opening them. Its takes some time to learn, but once you do you'll work faster and easier then you ever though possible
Or I should actually mention the whole CS2 suite of apps. I don't think this needs a description
Graphics Converter -
I don't use it, but many swear by it. Give it a look
The Gimp for OS X. If you're too cheep to buy Photoshop or are an open source fan this is the way to go.
Comic Life -
This is just fun. Make your own comics with simple drag and drop. Its a very interactive app with sound effects and all, its a joy to use and produces some really great results
Comes with the mac. Its the fastest browser on the mac, bar none. Use it for a week, you'll fall in love
I shouldn't have to tell anyone here about this
you know where to get it
The mozilla folks made a browser just for the mac. The story I heard was that this browser gave them the idea for Firefox. If you want gecko with more of a mac style, this is it. Still needs some work imo.
Yet another cross platform browser, and the true innovators of the web browser
You can tell this one was made for the mac, drawers, thumbnail tabs, etc, etc.
A Safari clone with lots and lots of extras. Its worth the download for the page turning effect alone. It never quite seems finished though
Yet another browser
Other Internet Stuff
A nice full featured RSS reader with integrated web browser. You can catch up on everything without ever leaving this app.
Another RSS reader for the minimalist. Very slick interface. Newsfire also adds support for audio and video feeds. I use this app to watch the Rev3 shows.
A free solution for your RSS needs.
The end all beat all of FTP clients. Widgets, drop zones, drop dock, server side editing (open stuff from Transmit right in Photoshop or your text editor and get live update on your site as you save). Anything you can think of with FTP this will probably do
Free FTP. A nice app that gets the job done. There is a widget out there for this one as well.
Theres more coming, but I need to take a break from typing for a while.
Last edited by wastern : 10-02-2006 at 03:01 PM.
cool. thanks. Once my mind comes back together I'll get to more of the "fun" apps
yeah, this topic is REALLY useful...i wish something like this was around when i started with Mac like a year ago
Blackmail's such an ugly word. I prefer extortion. The X makes it sound cool.
Other internet Continued
RBrowser Lite -
Yet another FTP client to play with
Feeling like doing some wardriving or cracking your neighbors WEP key (not that would would of course), This is your app. Although not all internal Airport cards are supported at the current time, check the site for more info
Chicken of the VNC -
A nice little open source VNC viewer of the Mac. Easy to use and it supports Bonjour which make VNC on your home network, or even over a VPN a breeze.
To go along with Chicken of the VNC. OSXvnc is a VNC server you can run on your Mac. Yes, yes, I know OS X can do this out of the box, but this makes it a little nicer and easier.
Stuffit Expander -
You'll need this without question. It will allow you to open up just about any archive file (.sitx, .tgs, .zip, .rar, .bin, .sit, .tar, etc). OS X handles Zip files and the standard unix stuff, Stuffit does the rest. You don't want the full version of stuffit, it sucks and breaks things. The Expander version is free and works great though.
This app is made just for Rar files. 99% of your stuff will work with Stuffit, but if you have a stubborn one, give this little guy a try
If you ever archive data on to CDs or DVDs you need this. Burn a disc and CDFinder reads the disk and catalogs all the file names and structure. So you can do a search of all your burnt discs and know exactly which one to grab and where to look on the disc.
Delicious Library -
Catalog all your DVDs, Games, Books, and Music. The best part about this application is the use of the iSight camera as a UPC (barcode) scanner, it makes importing things really fun. The interface is also very appealing. As for function, it makes it easy to see what you have, it links with Amazon for info about the movie/book/etc and you can track media that you loaned out to people which can be handy.
Two turn tables and a microphone. Drag tracks from your iTunes Library onto the turn tables and have a blast with it. This is one you really need to check out.
An alarm for your laptop. Use your Front Row remote to activate the alarm, then any movement or messing about will set off the alarm. They are also working the iSight into the mix to grab a quick picture of the perp. This is both functional and fun.
Remember the old notepad style clipboard of MacOS's past, well, this is it, but with a new look, more function and all around better. If you do a lot of copy and paste, this can help you out a lot.
Still early in development, but showing a lot of potential. For the Linux folks out there, think apt-get for open source mac software.
Save full webpages as since images. I can't tell you how much I use this. Great for archiving, doing website reviews in a blog or such, and much more. Have it around, you'll find a use for it
Template based, zero coding web design that doesn't suck. This is head and shoulders about iWeb, though it does have a very tiny learning curve. I'll tell you the secret though, use the Inspectors.
Face it, BBedit it too much money and you'll never use all the features unless you code for a living, and even then you still might not. Enter TextWrangler, BBedits more then capable little brother. And its free, can't beat that. TextEdit (OS X's text editor is good and all, but if you want raw text its no so good, it likes to save things as rtf files or html)
The king of NES emulators on the Mac
If you need to break up a file to upload somewhere this is good. Its also made for every OS on earth going back to DOS, so anyone can put it back together. In OS X you'll want to get the .jar file
Get a DVD onto your hard drive and strip out the DRM. Does what it says and it does it well
If you rip DIVX or H.264 movies this one app is reason enough to buy a Mac. 1 click rip and encode. It couldn't be easier. My MacBook Pro will encode to h.264 in real time just to give you an idea of the speed
Shrink a movie down to fit on a single layer disk. (if you use MacTheRipper right sometimes you don't even need this)
Encode anything to anything. Need I say more?
Podtube and Tubesock-
Rip movies from youtube
Great post, thanks for this man.
Might I suggest, since there are so many links and so much information, to maybe break it up into separate posts a bit more? Not to give you more work, it's just the amount of information is overwhelming, especially if you're just trying to browse for a cool application.
Holy crap, I use about 90% of those apps. And I've been using 80% since they launched. But great thread for anyone new to the Mac platform.
I was going to do that from the start, but I'd end up doing a full review of each app
plus I thought with people posting in the thread as well it might be easier to see the big posts. I needs more formatting and color. I'll go back through maybe tomorrow and "pretty it up"
Yeah, thats why I said it was for new people to the platform
I've tested about 99% of those sometime in the last 4 years. It makes sense to get the basics out of the way first and lay the foundation, then build off of that to the other stuff
This would be easier with my old system though, I only have 79 apps installed on this machine, I think I used to have up around 160 or so.
feel free to add stuff that you see fit
Here's another two app's to add to the P2P section.
SolarSeek (This is the client I develop with a few others) It is a native mac client for the Soulseek network.
SoulseeX - Another native Soulseek client for Mac.
Last edited by jkant : 10-03-2006 at 07:13 AM.
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