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46 Answers

flyawayxxballoon's avatar

I would suggest something other than notepad if you’re going to be typing documents a lot.

swimmindude2496's avatar

Well I already have iWork pre-installed. So I don’t think I should worry about that.

flyawayxxballoon's avatar

Okay, that’s good. =)
Notepad sucks…

jrpowell's avatar

What do you use your computer for?

swimmindude2496's avatar

@jp Really anything. Name some you have and maybe I’ll be interested.

jrpowell's avatar

Ones that I use:

Audio Hijack – It saves any audio played on your Mac to AAIF and then you can use iTunes to make it a MP3.
Burn – Free program to burn CDs and DVDs
Flickr Uploadr – Uploads pictures to Flickr in batches.
iSquint – Two click conversion for video to play on the iPod
Locomotive – Ruby on Rails in a sandbox. It is very easy to use if you need RoR
Mamp – Like Locomotive but for PHP and MySQL
Paparrazi! – Takes screenshots of entire webpages
Phoenix Slides – I good image viewer for slideshows
SiteSucker – Grabs entire websites. A GUI for WGET (kinda)
SuperDuper! – A few clicks and I have a bootable copy of my hard drive on a external one
The Unarchiver – It will open almost any compressed file
TinkerTool – Allows you to change a bunch of hidden system settings
VLC – Duh
xchm – Opens CHM files that are sometimes used for eBooks.

Sorry I didn’t add links.. I am lazy. And those are just utilities. I left out things like CS3 and work related stuff.

loser's avatar

Get Jared! Jared rocks!!!

bwg76's avatar

I like SnapzPro by Ambrosia Software. It let’s you capture video or sound or screen cap from any source: web, desktop, etc. I use it all the time. Have fun with your new Mac!

richardhenry's avatar

@bwg76: Check out ScreenFlow. Pretty new app, very very powerful.

mirza's avatar

dJay – its pretty useless really but it entertains me for hours

btko's avatar

FireFox 3 to start (although Safari is getting there).

Adium ( for all your chatting needs)

BOINCManager (so you can run SETI programs as your screen saver!)

ies4osx (if you do any web development it’s nice to have for debugging)

iRachet (great invoicing program)

VLC Player (great all media player)

Tomato Torrent (for all your bit torrent files plus a great name)

Pixelmator (instead of photoshop, and is coming along nicely)

Handbrake (useful for pulling apart DVD’s)

Flip4Mac (nice utility for changing those pesky Windows Media Player clips on websites into quicktime, works on the fly in websites)

Hope that helps – that’s not even getting into the great games you can play on OS X: Diablo II, StarCraft 1, Warcraft 3 :p

Cheesemold's avatar

The number one app I use on my mac is Quicksilver. I’ve completely gotten rid of the dock because I can run everything in less than 3 keystrokes. Quicksilver is nice on a laptop, especially, since the touch pad can be a little wonky to use, and typing is far more accurate of an input than any mouse input: if you’re pushing buttons on your screen with a mouse, why not cut out the middleman and just push buttons on your keyboard?

Anyway, Quicksilver is actually the app that pushed me into switching from windows. There’s so many things you can do with it, your computer practically becomes an extension of your will. An Example: Need to email several files to a specific person? Select them in finder, hit cntrl+esc (or whatever you wish to configure it to), then type “Mail”, hit tab, then type the name of the person and hit enter. This can be done in less than five seconds, all without needing to even open up your mail program! You can even mail the same files to multiple people by hitting the comma key ( , ) inbetween names to choose multiple people. ALSO you don’t even need to type their entire names, a few letters and quicksilver selects the closest match. From there you can use your arrow keys to select the exact person (awesome when you know seventeen people with the first name “John Smith”).

Quicksilver is entirely customizable and there are plenty of tutorials out there to help you out. Even if it couldn’t do the advanced stuff I would still really appreciate it.

swimmindude2496's avatar

Thanks for all your GREAT answers but I would prefer that the programs I download are free. But I already downloaded most answers!!!

evanchaney's avatar

Check out the top apps list at I Use This (

Some of my personal favorites are:


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benseven's avatar

Second props for Quicksilver – incredible app, you’d be a fool not to try it.

wilhel1812's avatar

for web development try cssedit and cyberduck
games, xmoto and macswear
and fluid is great for webapps.

wilhel1812's avatar

oh, and growl
and if you like music.
And i forgot about transmission, the best torrent client out there!

aidje's avatar

+1 for Quicksilver

As for, I still prefer iScrobbler. The official client’s iPod support doesn’t seem as good, and it won’t scrobble repeated tracks.

Caffeine is a handy little app that prevents your screen from dimming or turning off. It’s great for watching movies or giving presentations. It puts a little coffee cup icon in the menu bar. When you want your computer to stay awake, click the icon. When you’re done, click it again. Simple as it gets, yet very useful.

wilhel1812's avatar

+1 for Caffeine
-1 for Quicksilver
+2 for Spotlight

benseven's avatar

Spotlight is built in, so it’s more like a ‘Must use’ rather than ‘must have’ ;)

wilhel1812's avatar

yeah, i know. but it was kinda an alternative for quicksilver, but i suck at making people understand what i mean… :(

aidje's avatar

QuickSilver has more of a learning curve, but it can do so much that Spotlight can’t. I use both; QuickSilver for action, Spotlight for search.

wilhel1812's avatar

it can, but i had quicksilver for a while and i found out that spotlight was just as good, but i guess it depends on who you are.

benseven's avatar

It’s a bit difficult to measure something as ‘just as good’ when the thing your comparing it to has so many unique features… I used quicksilver yesterday to track down two files buried in my work system, copy them to a flash drive and eject the flash drive. Took around 10 seconds and I didn’t touch the mouse – simply not achievable with spotlight.

What it depends on is what you need to use it for. Search, calculation, app launching, sure spotlight can do it. But Quicksilver kicks its ass when it comes to power use.

wilhel1812's avatar

yeah, it really depends on who you are talking about. for you, quicksilver is clearly the best solution, but for me it took ay too much time to learn how to use it quicker than spotlight. so for a beginner, i’d recommend spotlight because of it’s simple and easy-to-use user interface

tWrex's avatar

+1 for quicksilver. That program made my life sooooo much easier. I just found delicious library 2 which isn’t free (but you can find it), but looks super sweet. I also like FUGU for my sftp needs. I’ll post more from my mbp when I get a chance. =)

swimmindude2496's avatar

Ok. Thanks so much.

tWrex's avatar

OK. So fluid is super sweet. I also like the Evernote app, for Evernote. Cowboy bitmap is cool for doing VJ stuff. Adium for chatting. Kismac for “security testing”. Macports for getting Linux based software. Twhirl for twitter. Xpad for notes and text docs. CocoaMySql for sql management. ClamXav to help out windows users and not pass along their issues. MacVIM for your VI needs. There’s a way to build it using Git here . Transmission for your bittorrent needs and PeerGuardian because you’re downloading torrents and should be paranoid (at least I am=). Moose because you can have it and it’s funny. Pixen because you need to edit images with something and this one’s free. Aptana Studio for web dev (although there are some alternatives that may be more robust this one’s free). Mac Python for your python needs. Nessus for security testing and Metasploit for security breaking. Download the unix version and follow these instructions to install. Filezilla for ftp although Transmit is nice and does the same thing you gotta pay for the latter. And lastly for your documents, spreadsheets and presentations I’d go with Open Office Aqua which is free and does just as good a job as M$ Office. Hope this helps!

wilhel1812's avatar

Thank’s for kismac. I need that one to “test” my schools network

tWrex's avatar

@wilhel1812 With Kismac, make sure you choose the right driver. Passive mode works on my mbp, but active trashes it.

aidje's avatar

Goshdarnit. I got all excited reading about Fluid, then realized that it won’t run on 10.4. So I went to get Prism instead…and the Mac version isn’t out yet. I was perfectly happy two minutes ago; now I’m terribly disappointed. I shake my fist at you.

tWrex's avatar

@aidje I’m sorry. =( I guess I should have pointed out that it is Leopard only. I’d upgrade to Leopard just for Fluid, though! It helps keep me on task a bit better and it keeps my desktop a bit cleaner (with Spaces enabled of course).

The thing Iove about mac’s is that for $130 bucks I get an entire OS. That’s not even half the cost of M$ office. And Snow Leopard is gonna be awesome especially since they’re taking a developer approach as opposed to a user approach (ie streamlining app dev, exchange support, 64 bit and multicore support).

Since you shake your fist at me, maybe this little gem will help assuage your anger. Ubiquity Not Mac specific, but still… a little piece of heaven.

tWrex's avatar

@aidje Alright. Because I angered you, I decided to find a solution to your problem. While it requires a bit of html/xml knowledge I don’t think it’s beyond being doable. Basically, you can use the Adobe Air framework and Aptana Studio (open source, community edition) to create a site specific browser. There’s an article here help you create a ssb for google reader, but it can be modified easily. Here’s another article that does somewhat the same thing, but it’s less useful. If there’s enough demand for it from 10.4 users maybe I’ll try to throw together an Adobe Air app after I get done working on Ubiquity. =)

tWrex's avatar

@aidje Ok… Last post on this. There is a vesion of prism available for OS X. You can grab the dmg file here . There’s also a firefox extension . HTH Tiger users!

aidje's avatar

Wow. Thanks. :-) (I wasn’t like, actually angry, by the way. Just frustrated, but not with you.)

I’ll try out that Prism dmg first, cause… well, I’ve never been able to get AIR to run. I’ve had some email correspondence with their support people, but they never really responded beyond asking me questions. Ubiquity is way cool, but I’ve had some trouble with it too. Probably some conflict with other extensions that I haven’t figure out yet, or maybe Websense login problems… I don’t know. I haven’t had much time to work on it yet.

But seriously; thanks. (Oh, random comment about relatively cheap OS upgrades: My MPB is fairly old, so I’m somewhat inclined to just wait until the upgrade comes with a new lappy. I know it’s “only” $130, but I’m in college, so I consider myself lucky enough already with Tiger.)

tWrex's avatar

@aidje I knew you weren’t angry, I just figured I’d do it because I like to help. I’ve had some issues with Ubiquity as well, so you’re not the only one. And I see what you’re saying about waiting to upgrade. I just started back at college again (as an old fart) so I understand how cash can be tight. I can try to help you with your AIR issues if you really want to try to figure it out. Just message me. Cheers!

swimmindude2496's avatar

I also found these

and these

and lastly these

wilhel1812's avatar

iTunes 8 and Google Chrome ;)

skord's avatar

Fluid make sure you watch the demos to get the most out of this
OpenOffice 3 Currently on RC4, final soon
Safari + SafariStand + PithHelmet + Inquisitor
Perian Mother of all quicktime plugins.
Skype Works well with the built in webcam and mic of your Macbook
Macfusion Mount FTP/SSH connections as drives
Macports Build open source applications
Textmate Non-free text editor, but I abuse it enough to warrant mention here.

ssteward's avatar

I always add Firefox, Perian and Quicksilver to my Macs, which have been mentioned. Another two free ones are:

Freemind – very cool mind mapping software
Show Desktop – minimise all windows (not just sweep them aside); a bit like Win-D on PC; great if you map a short cut with Quicksilver.

cirrina's avatar

Excellent free combo for manipulating video: Handbrake (very flexible, well-done app for turning DVDs and VOB files into video files in your choice of format) and iSquint (simple conversion of most video filetypes to iPod/iPhone ready versions).

pandamonia's avatar

1Password — Remember everything
Photoshop — For designing things
AppZapper — For uninstalling things
CandyBar — For changing icons
Cyberduck — For uploading things
EverSave — Just in case
Fluid — Save yourself
GimmeSomeTune — Best iTunes adddon
iConquer — Risk-like game
OnyX — Customizeness
Spark — Make shortcuts

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wilhel1812's avatar

Tweetie — twitter
Transmission — torrents

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