10 OS X Apps You Might Not Know About But Should

106 Comments

Over the past couple of years of running The Apple Blog, I’ve tried out literally thousands of applications. A lot have been great apps that I still use today, but infinitely more have just been plain bad. I know I’m not the only one who’s experienced this. So to help you weed through the clutter, here are 10 applications that I’ve stumbled across that you really should get your hands on…in alphabetical order.

ChronoSync

Econ Technologies’ ChronoSync has been one of my favorite apps for quite some time. It’s a backup/disk syncing tool that’s much more full-featured than something like SuperDuper. It’ll set you back $30.

Connoisseur

For the little chef in all of us, there’s The Little App Factory’s Connoisseur! It’s packed with super useful features like the Cooking View that gives a huge fullscreen view of the recipe and will even speak out the directions for you! It’s also got a solid number of recipes that are downloadable from their recipe community. It’s well worth the $20 price tag.

Democracy

I know a lot of people who subscribe to hundreds of blogs and podcasts but not many people who subscribe to vidcasts. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of great vidcasts and short films available for free out there. What Democracy does is allow you to aggregate everything into one place. It’s basically an RSS feed reader for videos. The player is fantastic, their directory of videos is growing every day, and best of all…it won’t cost you a penny!

DeskShade

I’m a bit of a neat freak. It bothers me when stuff is all over the place in no real order or if there are an unnecessary number of things in a small space (ie. tons of icons/files on my desktop). MacRabbit has released a super dandy little app called DeskShade that lets you hide/show everything on your desktop with the simple press of a hotkey! It is $12.95 and comes with quote a few other features that are useful.

GarageSale

I’ve been using GarageSale for over a year now and haven’t touched eBay’s listing submission form in just as long. GarageSale is a “slick, full-featured client application for the eBay online auction system.” Not only does it come with countless templates to use, but really makes posting auctions a breeze. You can easily preview your listing, upload photos from iPhoto, message buyers, track listings, and tons more. This has got to be one my favorite apps to come out in a long time. The $29.99 price tag really is a steal.

Minuteur

Whether your boiling an egg or timing your 48 minute intervals, Minuteur really is the perfect timer for the mac. It’s got a smooth and simple interface that makes it incredibly intuitive to use. It’s not equipped with bells and whistles because it shouldn’t be. It does what it should…and does it with excellence. It’s completely free.

Paparazzi!

I frequently need to take full screenshots of an entire website (as opposed to just what is visible on the screen). Paparazzi! gives me that ability. All you do is drop in the URL of the site you’re wanting to take a screenshot of and moments later you have a full screen of the entire length of the page! It’s also free…which is an obvious plus.

SpamSieve

Spam is an unfortunate fact of life…or is it? It hasn’t been for me in almost a year. I’ve abandoned the junk filter in Apple’s Mail app in favor of Michael Tsai’s SpamSieve. It’s incredibly accurate and really is the best spam filter I’ve ever used. No mac should be without this! It’s got a low $30 price tag for so much power.

Wallet

From passwords to serial numbers to credit cards…our lives are full of numbers. And while you could try to store them all in a text file, that’s an extremely risky move that’s just asking to get stolen. What you should be using is Waterfall Software’s Wallet. It offers military-strength 448-bit encryption to store everything from login information to credit cards to serial numbers…and everything in between. Quit trying to memorize so many numbers and start storing them in a safe place. They’re practically giving this away at $14.95.

WebDesktop

WebDesktop does exactly that. It lets you embed websites in your desktop. It ultimately acts like Safari (it uses WebKit) except when the app isn’t in focus it embeds directly into your desktop and won’t interfere with your clicking and what not. It’s useful for things like monitoring servers, staying on top of stocks, tracking sports score, and tons more. It’s free to the masses.

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106 Comments

Scott

Glad you mentioned * Minuteur*. I use it daily for stuff like “turn off stove in 12 minutes!” or “LEave the house in 24minutes for appt!” It’s so perfect.

Craig (mars-hill)

I also prefer 1Passwd as a secure place to keep passwords et al since it keeps everything from FIREFOX and SAFARI. Both in the same place and all accessible.

Duncan Ponting

Just though I should say that after my comments about Wallet above I have had my money refunded and been given the license key I missed out on.

Honza

The only thing I miss from Windows is having information on the currently selected file in the status bar. Well actually all I want to see is the size of the file, without having to do CMD-I or using CTRL-CMD-I… It’s not rocket surgery.

Matt J

ChronoSync has one major advantage over SuperDuper, you can retain multiple older versions of files, so that, for example, if I were to accidently delete part of a document I can recover it, or if some database (iPhoto, I’m looking at you) were to become corrupted, it doesn’t overwrite the old backup. However, Chronosync has a horribly ugly interface.

Dan Semaya

The Keychain stores passwords and secure notes, and is 3DES encrypted. No need for third party software.

John

@MacNewb

Cutting and pasting files is bad behavior that OS X doesn’t have for a good reason. It breaks the cutting metaphor, since the file stays where it is until you paste it. What happens if you never “paste” the file? What happens if you “cut” something in the interim?

The Mac way is to drag files from one Finder window to another. I used to crave the Windows way of doing things (maximizing windows, doing everything through menus) when I first switched, but I have found the Mac way of direct manipulation and actually using drag and drop to be much faster.

But PathFinder is a very powerful Finder replacement/shell. It has a shelf metaphor, I believe, which is file “cutting and pasting” done right: You put a file onto the shelf and it stays there until you put it where it needs to go. It can also give you a hierarchal tree view. (The Finder can give you a single paned tree view, kind of: click the arrow next to a folder in list view.)

keith

In Windows, if you cut, and never paste again, it leaves the file where you cut if from. It does NOT just delete the file.

Linux does cut-paste with the mv command. Only mac is persistent with telling you you are doing it wrong. And no surprise, you can use mv in a terminal, but how annoying to not be able to do the equivalent in Finder.

And yes, the single paned tree view is lame compared to the 2 paned Windows Explorer.

Mac, so brilliant, and yet so stubbornly annoying.

Linh

KeePassX is a nice password manager as well. It’s better under windows, but being cross platform helps.. I didn’t have to reenter everything.

Anyone have any alternative to ChronoSync that is free?

Duncan Ponting

I bought wallet and the gits never sent me a license key, even after numerous emails. I asked for a refund and funnily enough they haven’t contacted me about that either. I recommend 1Passwd instead (far superior).

Brutal

If Webdesktop acts like Safari, is it also a memory hog like Safari? If that’s the case I wouldn’t want it constantly running in the background..

zpjet

about cluttering desktoop, i found the best is to make Finder quit-able, either by one of tools like Onyx, Macpilot or TinkerTool, or by simple command in Terminal:

defaults write com.apple.finder QuitMenuItem 1

and then quitting Finder whenever i don’t need it – it even saves few megas of memory.

Wim Leers

ChronoSync does not allow you to make clones, i.e. bootable back-ups, of your current system. So you can’t really compare it with SuperDuper, which is superior by far if you need that functionality!

Max Rubin

It never ceases to amaze that Mac applications are written so functionally and so well written with the actual user in mind.

dan

Features alone doesn’t make a great app. For 90 percent of the public superduper is a better option.

Dylan

@MacNewb

For your first annoyance try dragging the files to the desktop. I find that a more logical solution than cutting. As for the second look in finder’s toolbar for the set of 3 icons one is a set of 4 boxes one is 4 lines and one is 3 columns, the one you want is the one with 4 lines called “list view”. I advise you to try the column view as well.

MacNewb

Are there any programs to make OS X more like Windows?

I can’t stand the fact that you can’t cut files to the clipboard and go paste them somewhere….Also how about a file manager that has a hierarchical tree-view of the folders?

Loudermilk

Great post. Left me hungry for more! Please consider making this a series: lesser known but great mac apps!

Sengan

Others you might not know about:

* Find It! Keep It! (www.ansemond.com) to keep webpages, then browse them as if the internet were on your own computer

* TacoHTML to edit html while seeing the results side-by-side.

* Pzizz to help you doze off if that’s difficult for you

* Color Oracle, to simulate the effects for color blindness

Derek Punsalan

Great list. Although I already use a few of those apps, the WebDesktop is definitely something worth keeping in the Applications folder. Somewhat disappointed with the lack of navigation functions but I can see why those aren’t needed. Maybe the developer can consider adding options for keyboard shortcuts.

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