Eric Roller's Development Blog

Essential Mac Applications

- Posted in General by

When installing Snow Leopard, it occurred to me that there are a number of applications that I like and that I (almost) always use. They are, in alphabetical order:

Calico ($59 keskus.com)

An easy to use tool to stitch together multiple photos into panoramas.

Camino (open source, caminobrowser.org)

While I use Safari almost throughout, my bank is the only one that is deliberately refusing to support it. Firefox is good a good browser, but for my purposes it is too big. Camino, being specifically for the Mac, is just what I need for my bank.

Chicken of the VNC (open source, sourceforge.net)

A simple VNC client.

Cyberduck (donateware, cyberduck.ch)

An FTP client will all the bells and whistles to keep you happy (for those cases where "Conntect To Server" in the Finder is not sufficient to your needs).

DrawBerry (donateware, raphaelbost.free.fr)

A simple graphics app.

Fission ($32 rogueamoeba.com)

An easy to use audio editor with a nice waveform viewer (where Garageband is just overkill).

GraphicConverter ($35, lemkesoft.com)

I still use version 5.9.2 since it works fine for my needs.

HexEdit (open source, sourceforge.net)

For those rare cases where you like to dig in and see the guts of a file. Unless you are Japanese, you should stay away from the Japanese "J" version (look under Files for the one without the "J").

iLife ($79 or free with every new Mac, apple.com)

I mainly use iPhoto and iWeb. Most recently, I opted out of installing iMovie and GarageBand since I simply never use them.

iVolume ($30, mani.de)

Analyses and adjusts the loudness of your songs in iTunes.

iWork ($79, apple.com)

I mostly use Pages, but have also discovered that Keynote can be used as a vector-based drawing tool. The only problem is that every new major version cost again $79, which is why I feel inclined to skip one or two versions before upgrading.

Pixelmator ($59, pixelmator.com)

A photo editor. Not quite yet on the same level as Photoshop, but much more affordable and it keeps getting better and better.

TextWrangler (freeware, barebones.com)

Not quite willing to pay for the infamous BBEdit, I find that TextWrangler is an excellent alternative. I particularly like the graphical "diff" tool and that you can launch it from the Terminal (via custom edit and twdiff commands)

Tunnelblick (open source, code.google.com/p/tunnelblick/)

An OpenVPN client for the Mac. Only useful if you use OpenVPN.