May 30, 2006

Software for the Mac

Filed under: — Cory @ 5:26 pm

Now that the Apple MacBook has been released, I anticipate many of my friends making the jump. I am writing this page to list all the software that I recommend for people coming to Mac OS X. Here is a list of software that I use:

Virtual Desktops
I use Desktop Manager, although there is an enhanced version called VirtueDesktops which provides several more features.
SSH Key Management
When you manage a lot of servers, it makes sense to use ssh keys. I really like the SSHKeyChain utility that integrates with the Mac OS X keychain.
Instant Messaging
Although iChat is an excellent IM client that supports AIM, ICQ and Jabber, sometimes you need more and that is where Adium comes in. Adium supports AIM, ICQ, MSN Messenger, Jabber, Yahoo! Messenger, Google Talk and several others. The AdiumXtras site provides lots of add-ons and plugins for Adium. Also, Chax is a nice plugin to add tabs and lots of other features to iChat.
Terminal/Console App
Mac OS X comes with a basic terminal program, but unfortunately it lacks tabs. The iTerm application has tabs, supports apple script, and has several other cool features.
Web Browser
The default web browser on Mac OS X is Safari, which is a reasonably good browser. However, I prefer Camino as it uses the Gecko rendering engine, has an excellent native Mac interface, and integrates with Mac OS X utilities such as the keychain. Camino is also very, very fast. Of course, Firefox is also always available.
There’s a nice tool called MacStumbler that will scan for available wireless networks and list various information about each.
I bought a 120 GB external USB drive, and every few days I use the rsync binary that ships with RSyncX to sync /Users to the USB drive. The rsync binary included with RSyncX has support for HFS+ filesystems. BackityMac looks cool too.
Multiple Computers, Single Input Devices
QuickSynergy is a native GUI wrapper for Synergy, there are clients for Mac OS X and Linux.
Alarm Clock
When I am on the road I like to use my laptop as an alarm, and I use iRooster. iRooster allows you to create alarms from iTunes playlists, and can wake the computer even when it is shut.
Miscellaneous Clients
  • Fugu – a nice GUI frontend for SCP/SFTP.
  • Unison – an Usenet client (recommended by DBo).
  • Colloquy – a GUI IRC client.
  • I use Bloglines as my RSS aggregator, but several people I know prefer NetNewsWire.

Here are some other useful, non-essential tools:

  • FetchArt – This handy little tool will download album art from for any mp3′s in iTunes. Highly recommended.
  • – no, it isn’t quite Photoshop, but its free and does quite a lot.
  • Google Earth – yup, there’s a Mac OS X client.
  • Coconut Battery – this is a nice little app to monitor the current capacity of your battery and track the number of load-cycles.
  • iPhotoToGallery – if you have an online photo gallery this little plugin will make it easy to upload your pictures directly from iPhoto. Very, very handy.

And for those looking for a challenge, there is a way to reduce the base installation from 18GB to 10GB.

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