My Top 50 Mac Applications: Page 5

Posted August 13, 2007

Joe Kissell

Joe Kissell

(Page 5 of 5)

#41: OmniOutliner

URL: http://www.omnigroup.com/applications/omnioutliner/

Price: $40; Professional version, $70

Not everyone needs an outlining tool, but I’ve found that a competent outliner is amazingly useful for helping me organize my thoughts, to-do lists, and writing projects. When I say “competent,” I’m afraid that excludes Word’s outliner, which is merely—and barely—adequate. Of the numerous stand-alone outliners, OmniOutliner is my current preference.

#42: Xcode

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

Price: Included with Mac OS X

It used to be that you had to spend many hundreds of dollars to buy a full-featured development environment for writing Mac applications. Now Apple gives one away—the very one, in fact, that they use to build Mac OS X and all their other software. That’s huge. Xcode (and its sidekick, Interface Builder) are big and complex, but with some programming know-how you can use them to create almost anything.

#43: GraphicConverter

URL: http://www.lemkesoft.de/

Price: $35

Some people swear by GraphicConverter for all their image editing tasks. Personally, I like the interface of Photoshop Elements better, but GraphicConverter is still great to have around. It can do a few tasks much more easily than Photoshop (converting graphics from just about any format to just about any other format, as its name suggests, is its forte), and is entirely respectable as an all-around image enhancer.

#44: Audio Hijack Pro

URL: http://rogueamoeba.com/audiohijackpro/

Price: $32; non-Pro version, $16

When you want to record sound from a game, DVD, Flash animation, Skype conversation, or any other audio source on your Mac, this spiffy tool can do the job. Yes, WireTap Pro (http://www.ambrosiasw.com/utilities/wiretap/, $19) is cheaper and has a prettier interface, but Audio Hijack Pro gives you per-application recording and much more flexibility.

#45: BatChmod

URL: http://www.macchampion.com/arbysoft/

Price: Free

Mac OS X relies heavily on Unix ownership and permission settings, but provides only a lame, incomplete, and awkward interface for changing them on selected files. That’s where BatChmod comes in—it gives you speedy access to all those little file attributes that would otherwise require you to remember your chmod syntax in Terminal.

#46: Logorrhea

URL: http://spiny.com/logorrhea/

Price: Free

I’ve asked iChat to save all my transcripts, but sometimes finding something said during a chat is mighty awkward. Spotlight can help, if I remember specific words, but Logorrhea makes it easier. It supports text-based searches and a hierarchical interface for browsing old chat sessions, without having to open each one individually in iChat.

#47: Coda

URL: http://www.panic.com/coda/

Price: $69

From the people who brought you Transmit comes Coda, an omnibus FTP client-text editor-CSS Editor-Web browser-documentation-viewer (and a few other things). This application gives Web designers a way to reduce several different applications to a single window. It’s not without its rough edges, but if you think the way Coda does, it can streamline a lot of your work.

#48: Preview

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

Price: Included with Mac OS X

I know that the various versions of Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Reader have much broader feature sets, but I still prefer Preview for quick viewing of most PDFs and graphics. It opens in a flash, displays almost any kind of graphic file, and even supports cool features like PDF forms, cropping, and file conversions.

#49: Path Finder

URL: http://www.cocoatech.com/pf4/

Price: $35

The Finder isn’t necessarily the best or most efficient way to view, organize, and work with your files and folders. Path Finder has all the features the Finder should have had—and in fact, you can even use it to replace the Finder if you’re so inclined. My own work style is still pretty hard-wired to the Finder’s way of doing things, but even so, there are some tasks (like renaming a batch of files) for which Path Finder is a much better tool.

#50: Keynote

URL: http://www.apple.com/iwork/keynote/

Price: $79 for iWork ’08, which also includes Pages and Numbers

iWork ’08 hasn’t knocked my socks off—Pages and Numbers aren’t yet good enough to replace Word and Excel for me. However, Keynote is another story. In almost every respect, it’s far superior to PowerPoint, not to mention more beautiful to look at and more pleasant to use. If you ever need to create slide shows or other presentations, you should be using Keynote.

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