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Author: Ian Beck
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Software I won't live without

Particularly over the past few years I have found that there's a lot of software out for Macs that can really make life a lot easier. I've previously posted about a sweet combo using Butler and xGestures, but here's the full list of software that for whatever reason, I really don't want to live without.

Most of the following software is shareware ranging in price from $5 to $80, and virtually all of it allows you to try before you buy. Free software is marked as such, for your convenience.

-- After you use this, you'll never touch Apple's Finder again; tabbed windows, the amazingly useful drop stack, expanded options for power users, and more

-- Somewhat difficult to start using, but will completely change your computing experience (or, if you don't like Butler, try Quicksilver); free, but accepts and deserves donations

-- Mouse gestures are amazing, so don't ask questions, just go download and buy this software (it's only $5, hard to resist); also, this combined with Butler is ridiculously cool (see earlier post)

-- Somewhat redundant if you use Butler, but offers hotkey access to a huge list of search sites

MenuCalendarClock -- Don't buy it, just use the free features; hovering over the time to get the date and clicking to have instant access to a calendar is really, really useful

-- Best time tracking software available for Mac, if you happen to do any work at home that needs to be kept track of

-- Mostly redundant if you use PathFinder, but amazingly cool if you don't; hides the clutter on your desktop, allows you to set a movie as your desktop, and more

-- Because Aqua is boring, and themes are amazingly fun

Yahoo Widget Engine
-- Forget Dashboard, the son of Konfabulator is where it's at, especially if you grab JC Sticky Deluxe and iTunes Bar (all free)

Nisus Writer Express
-- Don't bother with Word, this is the best word processor you're liable to find (and it imports/exports Word documents extremely well)

-- Cleans up text; hard to describe, but incredibly useful, so check out the website and free trial

-- Even if you don't journal, this is an excellent way to store, search, and organize tidbits of text (free)

-- If you are of the writerly persuasion, then you definitely have to check this piece of software out; makes writing stuff much, much easier (from short stories to novels to scripts to whatever else you need organizational help with)

-- If you are of the blogging persuasion, definitely give ecto a look-see

Color Schemer Studio OS X
-- If you do any web design work or otherwise need to create color schemes, this is the software for you

Graphic Converter
-- The best image editing software for people who like to mess around with images, but don't have the cash for Photoshop; constantly updated with bug fixes and new features, too

-- Amazingly fast photo/image browser, and far better than iPhoto in a number of respects

VLC Media Player
-- Very helpful for those non-Quicktime friendly files (free)

-- Converts Windows Media Audio files to Mac-friendly formats

Sound Studio 3
-- Excellent sound editing software

Web -- end user
-- IM-ing the way it was meant to be (and free to boot)

-- If you use Safari, you pretty much have to use Saft; adds a lot of useful features

-- Better searchbar for Safari; replace the default Google with A9 or whatever else your heart desires, among other things (free, although it has some screwy behavior when combined with Saft)

-- Excellent RSS newsreader for Mac (free)

Web -- editing/design
-- The best text editor for programmers/web designers ever, with tons of amazing plugins, and best of all, it's totally free and works in almost any operating system (Java)

CSS Edit
-- If you use CSS at all, you really need this little program

-- An excellent open source FTP program (free)

Fun, Games, and Miscellany
Comic Life
-- Play with digital photos; lots of fun (bundled with newer Macs)

Delicious Library
-- Catalog everything you own using your iSight (or other webcam)

Kill Monty
-- One of the best shareware games you can download (and quite cheap)

Battle for Wesnoth
-- One of the few open source games that has made it to a full release; lots of fun, free, and nice quirky graphics

-- The best Breakout clone you are liable to find, and for one reason: physics

Posted on May 25, 2006 at 2:41 am
Games Playing:
Star Chamber
Kill Monty
Feeding Frenzy 2/16/2005
Gish 8/26/2004
tranquility 7/15/2004
Creepy Mines 2.5 6/11/2004
iConquer 5/27/2004
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