Eleven Go-Anywhere Mini Applications for the Mac


Recently, I did a post on tiny, free applications you can keep for stashing on a USB thumb drive, which, if you carry your drive around at all times, can keep your applications with you whether you’re toting a notebook or not. Those were all Windows applications, though. In this post, I’ll round up eleven good go-anywhere applications for the Mac. These are quick-in, quick-out programs that you can keep with you on a keychain.

iStumbler is a very easy-to-use application for finding AirPort, Bluetooth, Bonjour and other wireless signals and services. It’s had a recent overhaul that gives you lots of extra information about the networks available to you.

Bean is a free rich text editor that you can pop up in a snap. In my experience, it’s very compatible with Microsoft Word. However, it uses Apple’s file conversion service to read Word files, so if you have a lot of citations and tables in a Word document it may not behave perfectly. It definitely beats stripped down text editors, though.

If you read a lot of text on the web all day, try Tofu. It arranges text on a page in columns, with columns sized properly for the window you have open. You can often see information you’re looking for quickly, without scrolling around.

Adium is a free, simple multi-protocol instant messaging application. With it you can chat with people on AIM, MSN, Jabber, Yahoo and more.

ViewIt is a very quick-to-open image viewer and it supports nearly all common image formats. Also try ImageWell–a nice application for editing images that has a very small footprint.

If you’ve used a Mac for a while, you know all about Spotlight. Inquisitor is a free application that lets you find information on the web in the same way you find things with Spotlight. Just begin typing and it will start to return sites based on your criteria.

For a very simple, small application that can help you automate backups (including automating daily backups right to your USB thumb drive) try iBackup. You can also use it to backup your settings for the Dock, your firewall, and much more.

Paintbrush is a Cocoa-based image editor for Mac OS X. It’s very easy to get in and out of, for those times when loading Photoshop is overkill.

Maintenance is a solid, free system maintenance and repair utility, with a version specifically for Leopard. You can use it to repair permissions, delete applications, check hard drive status, and more.

DoBeDo is a useful widget for use with Mac OS X that lets you integrate to-do list items with iCal and your e-mail. To add a new task, you just click on a plus icon, type in the task name and accept your entry.

Do you know of any good, free mini applications for the Mac?


Mike K.

Good list, but regarding the maintenance tool and its ability to “Repair Permissions”:

Repair Permissions is a very old function of Disk Utility that was present primarily to correct a problem caused by dual booting between Mac OS X and the earlier permissions-unaware OS 9 (8, 7, etc…)

Repair Permissions almost never needs to be used these days, and is often bandied about in technical discussions as a cure-all to every problem experienced on a Mac.

If you don’t want to take my word for it, please refer to the excellent “Seriously, ‘Repair Permissions is Voodoo'” article over at Daring Fireball: http://daringfireball.net/2006/04/repair_permissions_voodoo

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