My Top 50 Mac Applications: Page 4

Posted August 13, 2007
By

Joe Kissell

Joe Kissell


(Page 4 of 5)

#31: OnyX

URL: http://www.titanium.free.fr/pgs2/english/onyx_tiger.html

Price: Free

There are lots of utilities that provide graphical front-ends to long lists of Unix commands, so that you can clear caches and fiddle with hidden Dock settings without using Terminal. OnyX is one of them. It doesn’t have the most complete feature set, but it’s close—and free.

#32: Delicious Library

URL: http://www.delicious-monster.com/

Price: $40

Cataloging your whole collection of books, CDs, and DVDs could be a nightmare, or it could be fun. With Delicious Library, just wave a barcode for each item in front of your iSight camera and off you go—complete with a synthesized voice reading you each item’s name for confirmation. I particularly enjoyed the audio Easter eggs when scanning movies and books from the Harry Potter and Star Wars series.

#33: Cronnix

URL: http://www.abstracture.de/projects-en/cronnix

Price: Free

Mac OS X should have a built-in way to set programs to run automatically on a schedule. Well, it does—in fact, it has several—but they all require trips to Terminal and some geek mojo. If you want to use cron, the old Unix standby for scheduling, Cronnix gives you a friendly GUI interface. If you want to use the more-capable and more-modern (but, alas, more-confusing) launch services instead, the nearest equivalent is Lingon (http://lingon.sourceforge.net/, also free).

#34: Google Earth

URL: http://www.google.com/earth/

Price: Free

See a frighteningly detailed view of almost any spot on the planet, from any angle, from the comfort of your computer screen. That alone would be ultra cool, but you can also find stores, restaurants, and tourist attractions; get driving directions; see 3D buildings; and share comments on your favorite places. It’s the best way to develop an addiction to cartography.

#35: MenuMeters

URL: http://www.ragingmenace.com/software/menumeters/

Price: Free

So your Mac is feeling a bit sluggish. Is the CPU busy? RAM getting full? Lots of disk access or network activity? Find out exactly what you computer is busy doing behind the scenes with a glance at your menu bar.

#36: Salling Clicker

URL: http://www.salling.com/Clicker/mac/

Price: $24

Turn your Bluetooth-compatible cell phone into a remote control for your Mac. Salling Clicker gives you way more capabilities than an Apple Remote—Bluetooth doesn’t need line-of-sight, and your phone has a lot more buttons! Plus, your computer can send feedback to your phone’s display.

#37: Terminal

URL: http://www.apple.com/macosx/features/unix/

Price: Included with Mac OS X

I know I’ve mentioned a few apps I love because they eliminate the need to visit the command line. But Terminal is still my friend. It lets me do all sorts of fancy things with my Mac that are either impossible or simply very, very awkward with GUI tools. Sure, it requires you to know a bit about Unix, but all that power is worth it.

#38: Nisus Writer Pro

URL: http://www.nisus.com/pro/

Price: $79

Six months ago, Nisus Writer Express would never have even come close to making my Top 50 list. With the release of its successor, Nisus Writer Pro, we’re finally—finally!—getting back to some meaningful percentage of the features that made the original Nisus Writer so great. Best of all: attribute-sensitive grep find-and-replace, even in macros! You have never experienced word processing until you’ve used that feature. Now, if Nisus would just add change tracking and comments, it could start posing a serious challenge to Word.

#39: iChat AV

URL: http://www.apple.com/macosx/features/ichat/

Price: Included with Mac OS X

Honestly, I’m not a big fan of instant messaging. But as IM clients go, iChat AV is my favorite. The support for multi-party video and audio chats, instant file transfer, and Address Book integration are nice. If I could just connect to phone numbers as I can in Skype, well, that would be truly marvelous.

#40: Google Desktop

URL: http://desktop.google.com/mac/

Price: Free

Apple wants us to believe that Spotlight is a super-fast, super-accurate search tool, but really, it falls short more often than not. Google Desktop provides faster, more relevant results, and even pulls up the contents of your Web browsing history and Gmail. Sweet.


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