December 8, 2007

Mac Software Jewels

One of the first things I did once I returned home was to buy a new MacBook, a black one. Yippie! And I had that fired up, I went surfing for software to really get the most out of this wonderful piece of hardware. If your new to Macs, or thought of coming over from the 'other side', you're going to love it. I always thought that software, especially free or donationware, would be hard to find for Apple computers. Wrong! Below are a few of the software downloads that I use and thought you might find helpful too.


I was amazed at how many language files are on a new Mac. You just run this little jewel once, but that's enough. Monolingual removes unnecessary language resources from Mac OS X, in order to reclaim several hundred megabytes of disk space (140 Mb of my MacBook). FREE

iTunes Alarm

I don't know about you, but my alarm clock could wake the dead and I'm not sure that's such a good way to come awake in the morning. And waking up to the local morning radio show is just annoying. Found this FREE alarm clock and I set up my own 'wake up alarm' playlist. Works perfectly, even if the computer is asleep. FREE/donation


Here is an iTunes script that will take several audio files, for example from book on CD, and join them together into one large file with chapter bookmarks and will even put it in your audiobook section of iTunes (otherwise your book on CD ends up in your music section). FREE/donation

WireTap Studio

In the old days, I would tape radio shows and re-record on cassette tape. Now, I use iTunes to listen to radio stations from all over the world. And with this program, I can record what is being streamed through iTunes (or any app). I can even set up scheduled recording sessions. It's not free but it's worth it. $68


And while WireTap Studio has an audio editing tool, I've been using Audacity for years and still like how easy it is to use. It will play audio files, give you a visual waveform, making it easy to cut and past, and finally export into other audio formats. FREE/donation


I might be a rare bird but I only have completely legal software, music and video on my computer. And while iTunes makes it easy to upload music from CDs, DVDs are different. With this app I can 'rip' one of my DVDs to my laptop to view later, and with a much smaller amount of disk space taken. Works great. FREE


Back when I was still a Windows user (what was I thinking), I became a big believer in 'open source' software. The big one for me at that time being OpenOffice, a MSOffice alternative, and free. So, once I moved to Macs, I downloaded the Apple version called NeoOffice. Has everything I might need in an office suite: word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, and drawing programs. FREE/donation


I know, Macs come with Preview, but in OS X Tiger it was mainly a file viewer. But, now it has been upgraded to so you can edit images, rearrange and merge PDF files, even rotate pages or apply special filters. It has replace one of my other 'must have' gems, PDFLab (great if you still use Tiger). Using my NeoOffice above, I can create PDF files of my documents. Using Preview I can then manipulate the pages to create other documents, like combining documents, deleting or adding blank pages, rotating a page, and even applying special effects filters. Cool. FREE

Flip4Mac Player

This handy plug-in lets you play Windows Media files in QuickTime. FREE

Mozilla Firefox

Again, another open source program I used back in my Windows days. I know there have been a lot of improvements in Safari, but I still like Firefox. FREE/donation

I'm sure there are many more out there but this should get you started. If you find any other good ones out there, let me know.