Tuesday, November 14, 2006

10 Essential Apps for Creative Mac Users (and most are free!)

1. Firefox – this one’s a no-brainer. If you’re still using Internet Explorer, you REALLY need to check out Firefox. I recommend the following extensions to get started: Adblock, Cookie Culler, Sage, Scrapbook, Customize Google, Flashgot, Foxmarks and Tiny URL (does not work with Firefox 2.0 yet). Free.

And if you use del.icio.us (you really should), check out del.icio.us and Foxylicious. Free.

2. Graphic Converter – This is the best free photo utility software I’ve ever used. Convert, import, rename, resize, rotate, etc. The startup screen asking for money is a pain, and I’ll probably pay for it eventually to get rid of it. If you’re a photographer you’ll use it daily. Free.

Note: Importing photos with Graphic Converter is the ONLY way I’ve found to retain the date and time information on the photo. If you import in the finder or via iphoto, you can lose this information.

3. Audacity – This is a very useful program for editing any type of audio file. I use it frequently to rip songs from podcasts. It’s also useful to change the tempo of a song without changing the pitch, which is great for putting together the perfect running mix! Free.

4. Mac the Ripper and Toast – Use Mac the Ripper to rip any DVD to your hard drive, even if it has copy protection on it. Then use Toast to compress and burn the movie to a DVD. Toast is not free but you might be able to find it on Limewire (of course I don't encourage that.... of course not). Mac the Ripper is Free.

5. FLV Viewer and Flip4Mac
– Between these two apps, plus Quicktime, you should be able to watch almost anything. FLV Viewer allows you to watch downloaded YouTube or Google Video movies, and Flip Mac allows you to watch WMV movies in Quicktime. Amazing and Free.

6. Quicksilver
– This will really change how you use your computer forever. I was resistant until I tried it. It’s amazing… allows you to launch or open anything with just a few keystrokes, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Here’s an introduction and here’s a great video demo. Free (but worth $50).

7. Photoshop – OK, this one is not even cheap, let alone free. But it’s essential. It’s easy enough to find for free (not that I encourage you to do so). There’s no other program that gives you the power that this does. If you are an amateur photographer, you need this program. Not free.

8. iScrobbler and Yamipod – For all you music fans out there… I hope you’re using LastFM? It’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. You install iscrobbler (I prefer the old-school plugin version, not the LastFM program) and the Last FM site keeps track of every song you play. This allows you to track your listening habits and find new music similar to the music you actually listen to. Here’s my LastFM page, for example. Yamipod allows you to sync music played on your ipod too (plus lots of other uses). Free.

9. Flickr Uploader – If you’re into photography, you’ve got to check out Flickr. Here’s my photostream, for example, currently at about 3,600 photos, viewed over 26,000 times. Use the Flickr uploader to easily upload copies of ALL your photos. Free.

10. Disk Inventory X – If you’ve got lots of movies, photos, music, etc., you are probably running out of disc space as fast as I am. This program allows you to see what you’ve got and what’s eating up all your hard drive space. Great way to discover those 2 GB files you forgot about. Free.

That's it for now... more to come.

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Ray said...

This is a great list. I got here via a link on Ask Metafilter. Can you tell me how many hits this page has gotten from that link?

Andrea >> Become a Consultant Blog said...

Wow, great clips. I love the weatherman post. I've seen a couple of the others before.

I also came here from Metafilter. When my site has come up on Metafilter, it has not resulted in ads. However, it has resulted in new readers and a higher PageRank for my site. So considering building links from this page to other parts of your site.

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