More Great Mac Apps

I recently wrote about some of the Mac Apps I use on a daily basis. Here’s another list, most of these apps are very useful to me, but I don’t use them quite as often.

Delicious Library: This is one of my favorite apps for keeping my personal library organized. I have hundreds of books in my office and I am lending out books quite often. With this application, I am able to inventory my books using an iSight webcam or a Bluetooth barcode scanner (I use the latter). You could also do it manually. Then, I am able to lend out books easily to people by dragging and dropping the book to the individual I lent it to. It even send notifications via email for those that keep my books way too long. :-) It’s one of the few apps I pay for, and it’s worth the money if you need this sort of thing. It also syncs well with LibraryThing.

Handbrake: Handbrake is a free, multi-platform, DVD to MPEG-4 converter. This will rip DVDs to a number of formats. But if you are looking for something just does DVD to iPod specifically, check out Instant Handbrake or iSquint.

Jing: I should have put this in my last list because I use it every single day. Jing is a screencast tool that makes screencasting incredibly easy, it’s fast, simple, uploads the produced videos for you automatically, and even copies the link to your clipboard. I use this daily to send quick “how-to’s” to teachers and students via email, any of my Ning groups or via instant messaging. It’s a new, free app, but it’s quickly become essential for me.

Skitch: Screen capture on the Mac has always been a weak feature. Skitch works very much like Jing, but works with still images. You can edit screen captures and they are kept online for you. This is another great free app.

Chicken of the VNC: To see my office Mac from home, I regularly use VNC (Virtual Network Control). This is a very useful app which is easy to use once set up. It’s free and open source.

SubEthaEdit: I haven’t used this as much lately, but it’s a great “text collaboration engine”, most suited for programming. It runs over the OS X “Bonjour” network. I just noticed that this is now software you have to pay for (it used to be free).

Flip4Mac: This free tool allows you to play Windows Media files via Quicktime.

Scratch: I haven’t played with this much yet, but will be introducing it to my undergraduate students this semester. Scratch is free visual programming environment designed for kids. This has great potential for the classroom.

Senuti: Senuti (“iTunes” in reverse) is a free app that allows you to transfer songs from your iPod to your computer.

Well, that’s all I can think of right now. If there are others you know of that are worth noting, please comment!

Loading Up My New Mac

I’ve recently purchased a new Mac Pro, and now I’m looking to my other two Macs (iMac, Macbook Pro) for the essential software that I need on this new machine. I feel that my other two machines are way too bloated, so I’m looking to install only my most relevant apps. Through this process, I’m realizing that I use many apps on a daily/weekly basis.

Here is my list of my essential Mac apps. This does not include the preloaded apps, such as iLife ’08.

Firefox: I’m not sure what’s up with Safari, but I try it from time to time and it never seems to properly load the pages I need. Does anyone else have this experience? Firefox is my “duh” app … everyone should use Firefox. IE is just awful and it continues to be a source of grief for any of my students still using it.

Journler: This personal journaling tool is terrific. I use it for almost every place I take notes or reflect. In fact, I built this list using Journler.

Skype: I use Skype to communicate all the time, with people at a distance, and even people on campus. It’s the simplest tool, it’s still great quality but I wish I could actually get SkypeIn service in Saskatchewan.

Quicksilver: Yea, it takes a while getting used to, but this tool is something that should just be built in to OS X. It’s described as “A unified, extensible interface for working with applications, contacts, music and other data.” It’s amazing and works so well with everything. You have to experience it to love it. Take some time to do that. I don’t use MS Office anymore. Can anyone give me a reason to? does everything I need.

Jing: I use Jing all the time … everyday. If a student asks me a technical question related to my course via email, Moodle, etc., I am able to quickly send them a quick Jing video as a solution. As part of my course, I use student question (sent via email) that I answer via Jing and post solutions for everyone. It’s just so convenient.

Twitterific: Not sure if there is a better Mac Twitter client out there, but it just works.

iGTD: iGTD or i Get Things Done is my master. It tells me what to do everyday, and it makes my life much more simpler and organized.

Miro: This is great cross-platform, open source video player with built in search capabilities. I’ve written about Miro more here. And it’s great with TVShows, for personal entertainment viewing.

VLC: Although Miro is based on VLC, I like having VLC as my default media player. It plays everything I have come across.

Adium: Adium is my multi-service instant messaging client. I use it with my MSN Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, ICQ, GChat, AOL and iChat contacts. It doesn’t support video conferencing but it does the basics and is so convenient.

Cyberduck: I’ve used all of the free Mac FTP clients, and this seems to work best … it’s got some issues, but it does the job.

So far everything has been free. Here are a couple of apps that I actually pay money to use.

VMWare Fusion: I’ve used both Fusion and Parallels to run Windows XP on my Mac. At this point, VMWare wins out for speed.

XTorrent: This is the best Mac Torrent client by far! It’s worth the money.

That’s all I can think of for now. It’s a pretty basic list but there are some amazing apps here.

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