My Favorite Mac Apps

I’ve owned a Mac for a few months now and there are a few apps that I really can’t live without on a daily basis. These are in alphabetical order:

Adium (Free)

I love Adium. I can be signed in across multiple protocols seamlessly which is a plus because I have accounts on six different IM networks. Also, it is readily customizable with a plentiful amount of themes. It also integrates with growl so I get little notifications when people IM me.

Handbrake (Free)

Handbrake is an awesome application that takes DVDs and turns them into MPEGs to store on my computer. I have a pile of DVDs at home and I’ve already lost a few to scratches and unfortunate encounters with my cat. There are a plethora of options you can set, but you can also go with the presets if you don’t know what you’re doing. Handbrake will now also convert between other formats as well from your hard drive instead of a DVD.

Little Snitch ($29.95 to buy / 3 hour free trial)

Have you ever had the curiosity to know what apps are doing in the background? Well Little Snitch satisfies that need. It tracks all incoming and outbound traffic on your computer. It works much better than the built-in firewall in OS X and allows you finer grain control over port blocking and what types of packets you let through. It’s a little annoying for the first minute while it learns everything, but after that, the little network monitor pop up is fun to watch.

NetNewsWire (Free)

If you’re like me, you read a lot of news on the web. RSS feeds have simplified the consumption of all that data. I have some main feeds on my iGoogle homepage, but I have a lot more feeds in NetNewsWire. It automatically syncs so I can check them elsewhere and it will sync up when I get back on my main computer.

smcFanControl2 (Free)

The Macbook Pro has this nasty tendency to heat up to burn your lap. smcFanControl solves all of that. I tend to keep the fans running about 4,000rpm which keeps my lap cool and battery life isn’t affected that much. It sits in the taskbar and have your choice of display options, but the default is compact and gives the CPU temp and fan speed. This was the second application I downloaded besides Adium when I first got my computer.

TextMate (30 Free Trial / $51 to buy or $43.35 with EDU discount)

I absolutely love this text editor. Some people prefer BBEdit, but I’m on the TextMate side. It does exactly what I want it to do and the project features are hands down the best. I use it for everything I create from simple HTML templates to advanced PHP scripts.

Transmission (Free)

I use BitTorrent…a lot. I find Transmission to be a great minimalist application on OS X. It gets my torrents down at blazing speed and its integrated support of IP blocks and bandwidth throttling are a plus. uTorrent recently came out with a beta application for OS X, but I’ll wait until it’s out of beta.

Twitteriffic (Free, $14.95 helps support them and remove the ads)

I do the occasional twittering and this app is excellent. I used to use Snitter (which is a great app), but I heard a lot of good reviews of Twitteriffic, so I tried it out and I was sold. It sits in the task bar and it uses growl to show the updates. The text box is a bit small, but I don’t find it much of a nuisance.

UnRarX (Free)

This nifty little utility is a godsend. I’m always getting files to download in lots of different formats and broken up into a million different files. UnRarX handles them nicely and quickly. It can recover corrupted files and it supports password-protected archives.

Versions (~$50 / 30 Day Trial)

As a programmer, I use version control a lot on large projects with multiple people. There is TortoiseSVN for Windows, but I never found something easy to use on the Mac. Versions seemed to come out of nowhere. I downloaded the beta and instantly took a liking to it. There is no crazy menus or slow Java programs to run to update and commit files. It’s all done in a Mac native GUI. It’s a bit pricey, but it works REALLY well.


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