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TOPIC: OS X App Recommendations

OS X App Recommendations 7 years, 5 months ago #1443

I was just thinking recently that I keep telling people I know who are acquiring Macs what software they should be using and recommending good alternatives etc. I thought I'd start a thread where people could suggest applications for new and old Mac users that they may not use or have even heard of.

Here are a few of my favourites I regularly recommend and have recently discovered:

Synergy KM: This isn't an App exactly but is a nice GUI for Synergy, a tool that lets you share your mouse and keyboard over multiple computers (Mac, Windows and Linux) which I use regularly as a means to prevent having multiple peripherals knocking about or having to invest in a KVM. I can't remember the last time I updated SynergyKM or when it was last updated but it's worked fine for me for a long time and I think it works fine in Snow Leopard too.

Download here: SynergyKM

Gruml: I started using Gruml recently to sync with my Google Reader account, it's a nice Mail/Thunderbird-esque client for RSS feeds. It's still in beta but so far I've had no problems with it and find it very easy and pleasant to use.

Download here: Gruml

VLC: I know VLC is quite a popular media player app across multiple operating systems and I'm a pretty big fan of it myself. It knocks Quicktime Player out of the park and I've recently started using a feature that allows you to offset the audio and video if you're viewing poorly synced files. Useful!

Download here: VLC

Urban Terror: A pretty cool cross-platform freeware FPS. It's based on Quake III Arena but does not require it. It's a pretty fun multiplayer extravaganza, takes a bit of learning but is very addictive. It's one of the few games I play over LAN with friends given that as long as everyone has a computer or laptop with them (like in a student house) everyone can play. Check it out.

Download here: Urban Terror

There're a few more Apps I use regularly that I might recommendations for in the future (including paid for software) in the meantime, feel free to add your favourites or recommend alternatives to mine!

Re:OS X App Recommendations 7 years, 5 months ago #1444

For me it's:

Adium - Chat program

ClamXav - Antivirus scanner (not so much for myself but moving my larger files across my network)

Vidalia/TOR - Keeping that IP hidden while I browse

Comic Book Lover - Is there any better way to read comics on the Mac or your Iphone? Nope.

GamePedia - Helps me keep track of my actual game library

DVDPedia - Keeps track of DVD library

Jing - Screen caps, vids uploads to links for sharing FREE super cool check it out

Handbrake - Ripper and encoder for my other devices

LiquidCD - Toast Sucks and this one is free

Ripit - Rips DVDs best I've ever used

Transmission - Bittorrent client

The Unarchiver - Free unzipper/rar/everything'er and FAST

Transmission - FTP application

Unison - Usenet Client

iStat Pro - Super cool widget tells me everything that's happening in my system to usage to temperatures etc...

Those all the ones I have in my recover disk image. Some I paid for some were freeware. But the ones that were pay so far were worth every penny and not to expensive.
Last Edit: 7 years, 5 months ago by Pixelcade.

Re:OS X App Recommendations 7 years, 5 months ago #1445

VLC: I know VLC is quite a popular media player app across multiple operating systems and I'm a pretty big fan of it myself. It knocks Quicktime Player out of the park and I've recently started using a feature that allows you to offset the audio and video if you're viewing poorly synced files. Useful!


The audio delay feature is also useful for people using something like Samsung's AutoMotionPlus (AMP) 120/240 Hz modes for picture smoothing. AMP and its brethren cause about a 100ms sync delay between audio and video, and being able to delay the audio by the proper amount means the audio and video realign properly after the TV's done processing the video image.

I'm not sure if VLC has a toggle for said audio delay (where you set it, and then can toggle on/off to the setting you chose), but if it does, then it has a HUGE leg up on 95% of the AVRs (receivers) out there today, as most don't have such easily accessible audio delay features (I'm looking at YOU Yamaha!).

Re:OS X App Recommendations 7 years, 5 months ago #1446

EasyFind - Spotlight sucks and this one actually finds things on your machine and also accepts regex queries

Textmate - Best text editor for coding there is on any platform, imho

Transmit - FTP client I've been using for centuries (though I like v3 better than the new v4)

VMWare - I think everyone know this one, I like it better than Parallels personally

VueScan - Great scanning software

Otherwise I really just use all of Apple's software for everything because it really is mostly pretty good. I also use Google Apps for just about everything in the cloud.

Re:OS X App Recommendations 7 years, 5 months ago #1447

Pixelcade wrote:

Adium - Chat program

Seconded. If you're using the Microsoft Messenger, get rid of it now.


Pixelcade wrote:

LiquidCD - Toast Sucks and this one is free

I've just quickly downloaded this. I have Toast but only because I couldn't get certain features in freeware apps, or at least not at the time (about 4 years ago). Does it support burning multiple sessions? How is it for creating disk images? Can set background images/colours for when the disc is put into a Mac?


vitaflo wrote:

VMWare - I think everyone know this one, I like it better than Parallels personally

People I know use VMWare, although I've had just as good results from VirtualBox.

Thanks for the all of the recommendations so far, I'll try and check all of them out. I'll start putting together a more comprehensive list of most of the *checks number of apps in folder* 127 apps I use!
Last Edit: 7 years, 5 months ago by dickmedd.

Re:OS X App Recommendations 7 years, 5 months ago #1448

rEFIt- enhanced multi-boot support for doing more than BootCamp alone (triple-booting, Linux, etc.).

Audacity- free audio processing tool now available for Mac

Audion 3- oldie, but still works over Rosetta. Great free audio player with playlists, skinning, and format conversion that doesn't also try to be your copy-protected all-in-one sync/shop point for life, the universe, and everything.

Carbon Copy Cloner- solid backup tool that can do bootable volumes

Combine PDFs- discovered this before I had a full Adobe suite- quick and dirty way to combine multiple images or PDFs into a single multi-page PDF with more control than the print-to-PDF dialog.

DiskWarrior- (payware) solid catalog defragmenting/recovery tool

DriveGenius- (payware) comprehensive maintenance toolkit if you only want to buy one app, although my sense is that independent tools I've tried do certain actions faster/better

FileZilla- robust GUI ftp client

FireStarter_FX- only free CD tool I've found that can properly rip PS1 and TurboCD discs, but it was a bitch to find a copy last time I searched

Fugu- robust GUI sftp client

GiMP- native-esque version of the popular Linux Photoshop substitute

GraphSketcher (Omni GraphSketcher)- (now payware) surprisingly useful little app for doing graphs and charts from data or freehand without shoehorning something big like Excel

HexEdit- the long-standing classic hexadecimal data editor; still available in FAT binary and Universal binary!

Iconographer X- (payware?) for more control than just copy-paste over application icons

iDefrag- (payware) solid and comprehensive defragmenting tool, although after doing the most comprehensive defrag, I find I need to use my system a bit to get it to "relax" back into where it expects to find certain data

iPartition- (payware) Let me split off 2 partitions for Windows and Linux off my active OSX drive, then merge the Linux partition back into my active OSX drive, without losing OSX-side data (although my Windows partition didn't fare so well around the merge, and rEFIt took a while to realize there was no longer a bootable Ubuntu install...)

MacPorts- managed library/application installer for packages from the Unix world

Menu Meters- prefs pane that gives you convenient menu-widget readouts of things like CPU load, memory use, and other system specs

Meteorologist- been a bit flaky recently, but I think it's back to being a reliable dock & menubar weather indicator if you don't like pulling up Dashboard all the time

NeoOffice- Mac version of OpenOffice and all the reason you need to continue to ignore Microsoft

Pixen- compact draw program geared specifically for small/animated sprite/tile bitwork

Steam- It's out for Mac. And you need Portal. Trust me.

USB Overdrive X- (shareware) semi-frequently maligned but still quite capable generic USB controller mapping app. Should do you just fine as long as you tell it not to do anything for apps you don't give it settings for, and then explicitly avoid giving it settings for anything that uses Emulator Enhancer or other controller-setting panes.

WhatSize- (now payware) very useful tool for profiling drives and figuring out where all that space went when you need to do some spring cleaning

WireTap Pro- niche tool, but can be very useful. Manually records anything playing on your regular speaker output.

Re:OS X App Recommendations 7 years, 5 months ago #1449

I'll try not to repeat any of the previously mentioned apps:

Growl - A notification tool that works with many applications. It has become an indispensable component of my day-to-day computing.

LittleSnapper - A fantastic program for capturing screen grabs. It's more versatile and powerful than the built-in grab. I use it for all my screenshots.

iStat Menus - Good for keeping track of network/bandwidth, CPU, and memory usage, and well as monitoring the temperature of your hardware components.

Acorn - Image editing and drawing program. It's not as powerful as GIMP or Photoshop, but it is easier to use and typically does the job. The thing I love most about it is that it feels like Mac software is supposed to: stylish, easy, and user-friendly, but with plenty of power under-the-hood.

MacJournal - Journaling and blogging software. It lets you post directly from the app in several of the popular blogging formats. I use it to keep track of what I'm writing for whom -- you can switch between entries with a single click, and everything you've written can be put into instantly accessible categories. Really, it just takes the strain out of file management, which lets me focus on writing stuff.

Mactracker - You can use it to record details about all the Macs you own. But for me its value lies in the database of previous and current Apple products, which is impressively detailed and a great reference.

MacVim - A Mac-native version of Vim. If you don't know what Vim is, you probably won't care, but this is great for some quick coding or for projects that don't need an IDE. It supports tabs, Mac-standard keyboard shortcuts, and full customisation.

OmniDazzle - It lets you draw on the screen or highlight certain areas. 'Nuff said.

OmniDiskSweeper - Helps you get rid of all those nasty cobwebs lurking around in the dark corners of your system.

OmniWeb - Yet another product from The Omni Group -- you should get all their software. I use this as my secondary web browser. It would be my primary, but it has fallen behind on a few web standards, so until it gets an update OmniWeb will be my second choice.

Squeeze - It uses HFS-compression to give you a little bit (or a lot) of extra hard-drive space. There is an imperceptible performance hit to files and programs compressed by Squeeze. It claims to have saved me approximately 34 gigabytes of space.

Twitterific - A lightweight desktop-app for twitter that has integrated Growl support.

Times - To be honest, I only use this because I got it free with a MacHeist bundle. It's an RSS reader with a nice interface, and it's good enough for me to not bother checking out the alternatives.

WindowShade X - If you used a Mac in the 90s, you'll know what this is and why I'm recommending it. The main thing it does is let you collapse a window into just the title bar, rather than always minimising to the dock. It also has a few other handy features. I have it disabled right now, though, because I can't spare the US$15 for a licence.

WriteRoom - Distraction free writing. It's basically TextEdit with a proper full-screen mode and a more customisable view.

EDIT: Missed one. PhoneView - Gives you access to your iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad filesystem, which makes it easy to copy stuff off the device to your desktop or laptop. It's another one that I got in a MacHeist bundle.
Last Edit: 7 years, 5 months ago by mossy_11.

Re:OS X App Recommendations 7 years, 5 months ago #1450

GraphicConverter (shareware) - Basic graphic editor. Ridiculously long list of image formats that it supports (the pre-OS X version has even more). Great for converting pictures between formats and viewing images (thumbnailed browsing or full-screen slide shows). One of the very few shareware programs I've paid for. http://www.lemkesoft.com/

MPlayer OS X Extended - Excellent video player. Forget about VLC. Though it still needs some polish (just like VLC), I can watch 720p video on my trusty G5 without skipping and still have some post-processing. http://mplayerosx.sttz.ch/

0xED - Hex editor. I stopped using Hex Edit when I found it. http://www.suavetech.com/0xed/0xed.html

Re:OS X App Recommendations 7 years, 5 months ago #1453

VisualHub and Handbrake for video conversions.

calibre for converting books for my IPad

FileSalvage for recovering deleted items.

JumpCut for copy and paste history

Oneway so I know if I turned caps on or off

SelfControl to limit web use when I am busy so I dont get distracted.

Spirited Away to hide apps I am not using automatically

TextWrangler for all text editting

Re:OS X App Recommendations 7 years, 5 months ago #1455

Ooh- yeah, definitely recommend GraphicCoverter and FileSalvage myself as well. I'll have to check out iStat menus- sounds like it may be the MenuMeters with the thermal sensors I've been looking for (ThermographX is a versiontracker-advertised shareware app that seems to be freeware and can do temperature sensing on old and new macs, but it's kinda kludgy)

Re:OS X App Recommendations 7 years, 5 months ago #1457

Coda by Panic. It's not free but OH SO awesome!

GrandPerspective > visual representation of your HD usage. Free.

fseventer > excellent for tracking whats actually going on to your file system during installs, etc. love it.
Last Edit: 7 years, 5 months ago by octavius.

Re:OS X App Recommendations 7 years, 5 months ago #1460

I have two great launcher apps recommended:

Quicksilver - Free - An advanced application-launcher that delivers multiple commands to your fingertips. Open applications, append text to files, rename files and display text in large print on your monitor; these are just a few of the benefits of using Quicksilver. Customizable with plug-ins (visual and functional). Once you use one of these launchers, it's tough to get used to operating a Mac without one. I've been using it for years, but recently I switched (perhaps temporarily) my next item:

Alfred - Free, Beta status - Another launcher, more minimalistic than Quicksilver. While it doesn't have all the features of QS, I find it to be perfect for my needs. Minimalistic and comfortable interface, intuitive default commands, such as "Empty Trash", "Play [song]" and "Google [query]". I've only used it for a few days, but I've already grown fond of it.

Pretty much every other app I like has already been covered. This list is a real nice read.

Re:OS X App Recommendations 7 years, 5 months ago #1462

seanstar wrote:
Ooh- yeah, definitely recommend GraphicCoverter and FileSalvage myself as well. I'll have to check out iStat menus- sounds like it may be the MenuMeters with the thermal sensors I've been looking for (ThermographX is a versiontracker-advertised shareware app that seems to be freeware and can do temperature sensing on old and new macs, but it's kinda kludgy)


Something about iStat is ringing alarm bells! I think the latest version (3?) is no longer free, try searching for the older version. I might be wrong though. I've used the dashboard version before and I seem to remember quite a while after looking up the app to put the stats in my menubar but I was let down!

Re:OS X App Recommendations 7 years, 5 months ago #1463

dickmedd wrote:
Something about iStat is ringing alarm bells! I think the latest version (3?) is no longer free, try searching for the older version. I might be wrong though. I've used the dashboard version before and I seem to remember quite a while after looking up the app to put the stats in my menubar but I was let down!

Huh? Webpage says it's free. http://www.islayer.com/apps/istatpro/

I'm using version 1.0 and it's free. There's a PayPal button on the configuration screen, but that's it.

And since I have free time, I'll update to the latest version... no, still free. And does a lot more. And I now have my HD's temperature! Yay.

Re:OS X App Recommendations 7 years, 5 months ago #1464

Well how about that? As soon as I'm home I'm downloading it!

EDIT: just had a quick check over the site! Apologies for the confusion, I was thinking of iStat Menus not iStat Pro!
Last Edit: 7 years, 5 months ago by dickmedd.

Re:OS X App Recommendations 7 years, 5 months ago #1468

yeh... I saw the $16 'buy' option and the 'download' option on the Menus... MenuMeters does everything but temp, and does it free, and I do like the menu-widget convenience

Re:OS X App Recommendations 7 years, 4 months ago #1513

ive found that mplayer osx extended is my favorite for movies, because it is pretty simple to set up, you can adjust aspect ratios and audio delay, and have it on full screen on a second monitor while working on the first
it plays pretty much anything vlc can too

Re:OS X App Recommendations 7 years, 4 months ago #1515

mplayer osx extended is pretty good when you watch movies on your computer and in stereo only.
somehow i never could get get digital audio pass-through working, especially with dts the sound cuts out every second which makes watching movies impossible.
with vlc, digital surround sound works flawlessly, but it has some issues with x264 video sometimes.

Re:OS X App Recommendations 7 years, 4 months ago #1524

how did you get digital surround sound working with VLC? I was only able to get it via QuickTime :/

Re:OS X App Recommendations 7 years, 4 months ago #1525

Preferences->Audio
Check Use S/PDIF when available.
Force detection on.


You MIGHT need to choose the correct Audio Device from the Audio menu.
Last Edit: 7 years, 4 months ago by menace690.

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