Wednesday, March 19

Useful Mac OS X Software

Mozilla Camino The Camino Project has worked to create a browser that is as functional and elegant as the computers it runs on. The Camino web browser is powerful, secure, and ready to meet the needs of all users while remaining simple and elegant in its design.

Quicksilver is regarded by a ton of people to be the most invaluable utility they've ever installed, although I personally don't use it much. It's hard to describe and does a lot of things, but it basically gives you a universal command line when you press a hotkey (e.g. Cmd-Space) where you can do all sorts of crazy stuff like type in the first few letters of an application name to launch it, type in a person's name to pop up their address book entry, or type in a song name to start playing it in iTunes.

MenuMeters adds a very useful set of network, disk, memory and CPU usage meters to your menu bar. network meter's also useful.

Perian is probably the only extra QuickTime codec you'll need to install. It handles just about everything: DivX, xvid, Matroska, random MPEG-4 codecs, Flash (FLV), and even SSA and SRT subtitles. While VLC can play all those videos, with this codec you can play all those videos in QuickTime--meaning that all your QuickTime-based applications (such as Front Row, and Keynote) can play DivX videos too. (If you'd like to play Ogg Theora or Ogg Vorbis media, you want to install the XiphQT components too.)

Flip4Mac WMV Codec for QuickTime. Windows Media support for QuickTime. This thing is actually even better than the actual real-deal Windows Media Player support on Windows.

PTHVolume is useful if you frequently plug in headphones and USB speakers. It adds a new item to your menu bar where you can quickly switch between what sound thingy is used for recording or playback, and also lets you use assign volume keys if you don't have an Apple keyboard.

VLC is absolutely essential for at least two reasons: (1) playing back DVDs if you have a region-free RPC-1 drive where Apple's DVD Player will still annoy you due to draconian legal reasons, and (2) it'll play back pretty much video file you throw at it, unlike QuickTime.

NeoOffice is a fantastic free program for people who work with Microsoft Office files, but don't want to shell out the $$$ for Microsoft Office. If you work with Microsoft Office all day long, there's still no substitute for the real thing, but NeoOffice is perfect for the many of us who work with Office documents occasionally. For those of you who know, NeoOffice is simply packaged up in an Aqua interface, so it doesn't look like an Ugly Bob on the Mac platform.

YuBurner is a handy free CD/DVD burning program that complements the fairly limited CD/DVD services offered by Finder and Disk Utility. If you can afford to shell out fo

NetNewsWire is the RSS reader of choice for pretty much any platform, and was made free (as in beer) in January 2008 or so.

SynergyKM is a must if you work frequently with other computers next to your Mac and have each of them connected to different monitors. Run Synergy on each machine, and it'll enable you to control all those computers from a single keyboard and mouse. (It's mature enough that it even works well with games running on Windows PCs
There's also other Synergy clients available for Windows and Linux at the main Synergy website.

More Internet is a small System Preference that enables you to change your default email program, Web browser, FTP client etc to the one of your choice. Technically speaking, it changes the URL handlers.

If you're one of those addicted BitTorrent people, grab Azureus or the official BitTorrent client. The official BitTorrent client is just fine, but some Torrent trackers seem to be only accepting Azureus as an acceptable client.

Disctop Normally when you insert a CD in your Mac it disappears, but where does it go? They simply pop up on your desktop! After installing Disctop, your inserted CD or DVD slides in from the side and neatly fades back into your desktop picture. Now you always know if there's a disc inside, and what type it is. Of course there are plenty of things to tweak and make Disctop fit your Mac perfectly. | Download

HexColorPicker adds the #RRGGBB colour format that's so pervasive these days to the standard Mac OS X colour picker.