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Switchers Guide To Mac OS X Software July 5, 2006

Posted by farshadf in G4 & G5 Macs, Intel Inside, Uncategorized.
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As more people begin switching to OS X from Windows, they are going to need some additional software, other than what comes stock with OS X. While this list isn’t totally complete, it’s a good starter list, to enable a somewhat seamless transition. I wanted to keep this list fairly simple, and not overwhelm the new Mac user. That’s why you don’t see my favorite podcast apps, big commercial packages, etc. Most of this software is free or donation ware. If you use it, support the developers.

Applications

Browsers:
Firefox, Camino, and Opera. While Safari is used 90% of the time on my Mac, I keep these on hand – most websites designed to lockout Macs will generally work fine if you use one of these browsers. You shouldn’t have to worry about compatibility, but some web designers still cater to Internet Explorer.Chat:

Ichat-1

Adium X – If you access more IM services than simply AOL, then you will want to use Adium X, since it supports many plug-ins and also can keep you connected to multiple IM services at once.Conversation – This is a very iChat like client for using IRC chats.
Image Editing:
Image Well – Simple, Free, and useful. Edit your images, and even FTP them to a server. Awesome program.

Backup:

BackityMac – If you don’t pay for the .Mac service, this is the program for you. It is an upcoming program, and is quickly becoming one of my favorites. It will backup your Mail, Preference, Keychain, iTunes library, iPhoto library, Documents, Home Folder, and so much more. If you pay $10, you can enable the burning feature, so you can burn it right to a CD or DVD.

Blog:

Ecto – While it’s not free, it certainly is the best blogging tool on the Mac. It supports all of the major content management systems, and it looks great as well. It’s not a Universal Binary yet, but it should be coming fairly soon.

Text Editing:
Text Wrangler – While it’s overkill for most people, it is fully featured, and it’s free.

Archives:
Stuffit Expander – If you download files from the net, odds are you are going to run into some .SIT files. This used to come standard on the Mac, but with 10.4, they have moved away from it. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have it though. So far, it’s not a Universal Binary, but I have my fingers crossed.

iTunes/iPod:

Itunes-1

Senuti – A free and easy way to move the files from your iPod onto your Mac.Sizzling Keys – This enables you to control iTunes with some simple keyboard short-cuts and also shows the album artwork when the song changes. Very cool. It’s free as well.

DVD Backups:
Mac The Ripper – Even with a Mac, you can still backup your precious DVDs. You need to run your DVD through this before you can burn it to a regular DVD.

Video Playback/Conversion:
VLC – Plays most of the video formats on the net that Quicktime won’t play.

mPlayer – Handles what VLC can’t.

Flip4Mac – While I bought this when it was commercial, I had good luck with it. Currently it’s not available in an ‘official’ Universal Binary, it will come in handy for those .WMV files embedded on web pages.

iSquint – Now that you have some videos on your Mac, you may want to put them on your iPod with video. This is a great program to do it, and it’s Free.

Utilities:

Mac Hd

Onyx – While your Mac will generally run problem free, there are times you need to perform some maintenance on it. If you are a geek, you can use the terminal and do it all yourself. However, this list is for switchers, and we want to keep it simple. I usually run the ‘Complete Optimization’.RSS:
Vienna – I like vienna because it is free and open source. While not as full featured as Net Newswire, it’s also free. I use it for my daily RSS feeds, and it’s great.

If you have some additional utilities that you think should be on the list, add your comments below.

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