My Top 50 Mac Applications: Page 2

Posted August 13, 2007

Joe Kissell

Joe Kissell

(Page 2 of 5)

#11: TypeIt4Me

URL: http://ettoresoftware.com/About TypeIt4Me.html

Price: $27

Life is too short to waste time typing the same strings over and over again. TypeIt4Me is my favorite text-expansion program, automatically turning brief snippets like “mx” into “Mac OS X” and “ar” into “” (even moving the insertion point right where I want it). It can do even spiffier tricks, too, like storing styled text and inserting variables (time, date, and so on) into your text as you type.

#12: PTHPasteboard Pro

URL: http://pth.com/products/pthpasteboard/

Price: $20

This nifty little app is ostensibly a multiple-clipboard tool, but that’s the least of its talents. It can preserve clipboard contents through a restart or even a crash, and (unlike the free, non-Pro version) can filter text as you paste it, performing any number of find-and-replace operations, additions, subtractions, or other transmutations in the process. My current pet example: copy a URL (as HTML) from Flickr and paste it (as XHTML/CSS) into my blog.

#13: Word 2004

URL: http://www.microsoft.com/mac/products/word2004/word2004.aspx?pid=word2004

Price: $239 individually, or $399 as part of Microsoft Office 2004

I hate to say it—really I do—but Word 2004 is currently the most capable word processor for the Mac by a considerable margin. As a writer, I couldn’t avoid using it if I wanted to, and despite its numerous flaws, it really does have a lot of excellent capabilities. Maybe one of these days Pages or Nisus Writer Pro will catch up, but even with their most recent releases, they’re still, sadly, far behind.

#14: Excel 2004

URL: http://www.microsoft.com/mac/products/excel2004/excel2004.aspx?pid=excel2004

Price: $239 individually, or $399 as part of Microsoft Office 2004

Apple’s new Numbers app may be pretty, but it can’t hold a candle to Excel in terms of power. However you may feel about Microsoft as a company, you have to give them credit for a genuinely amazing spreadsheet program. (On the other hand…if you’re looking for the other two components of Office 2004, Entourage and PowerPoint, you won’t find them on this list. They may have their uses, but they’re not even remotely close to my favorites in their respective categories.)

#15: CrashPlan Pro

URL: http://www.crashplan.com/

Price: $60; storage space starts at $5 per month for up to 50 GB

CrashPlan Pro is a totally new way of looking at backups. It lets you back up to another computer you own—or to a friend’s computer, anywhere on the Internet. Instead, or in addition, you can back up to CrashPlan Central for a modest fee. Unlike some online backups, CrashPlan Pro is optimized for speed and efficiency, and all your files are, of course, encrypted as well.

#16: SuperDuper!

URL: http://www.shirt-pocket.com/SuperDuper/SuperDuperDescription.html

Price: $28

If you want to make a bootable duplicate of your hard disk—and you should want to do this!—no application makes it easier, quicker, or more reliable than SuperDuper. It’s a one-trick pony, but that’s a pretty great trick.

#17: Data Backup 3

URL: http://prosofteng.com/products/data_backup_info.php

Price: $59

Rounding out my list of favorite backup programs is Prosoft’s Data Backup 3. Unlike CrashPlan Pro, it can back up to a local hard drive—or to optical media, if that’s your thing. It can do duplicates too, if not as brilliantly as SuperDuper. For breadth of features at a reasonable price, it can’t be beat.

#18: Parallels Desktop and #19: VMware Fusion (tie)

URL: Parallels, http://www.parallels.com/en/products/desktop/; Fusion: http://www.vmware.com/products/fusion/

Price: $80 each

These two virtualization programs let you run Windows on your Intel-based Mac. They’re so similar in features and performance that I can’t pick a clear favorite. With each new release they try to outdo each other, but either one will handily get the job done.

#20: Photoshop Elements 4.0

URL: http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshopelmac/

Price: $80

That’s no typo. Photoshop Elements 4 is on my list, and Photoshop CS3 isn’t. Seriously. I know that Photoshop Elements 4 is a full release behind its Windows counterpart, and that it isn’t even a Universal Binary. But unless you’re a professional photographer or graphic artist, it’s unlikely that either of these things makes a big difference in real life. For a cost savings of $569, you can get almost all the most important photo-retouching and drawing tools of the full Photoshop, with reasonable (if not spectacular) performance. Sure, I’d love to see a light, sub-$100 version of Photoshop CS3, but failing that, Photoshop Elements 4 is a perfectly good image processing application for ordinary mortals.

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