Helping Creative People Create

12 Programs to Put on Your Brand New Christmas Mac

mac programs new macIt’s Christmas day and you’ve just unwrapped your shiny new piece of Apple goodness from your new favorite family member. You’ve installed the beautiful Leopard operating system, and are ready to conquer the world.

But you soon realize you don’t know which programs to install to perform your everyday functions on your mac. Sure, there are lots of programs you could install, but there are a few that you need to install first. The bread-and-butter, the staples of any mac experience.

Here are 12 must-have applications for your new mac. Trust me, you’ll be glad you installed these first.

1. Quicksilver- The right arm of all that is productive on the mac. You’ll soon learn to have everything center around this awesome program launcher extraordinaire. You can literally do just about anything you can think of with this program. Send emails, browse your iTunes library, capture todo items, launch websites… all with a few keystrokes.

2. Firefox- Safari is a great web browser. Fast, sleek, sexy… but it doesn’t allow you to really customize your browsing experience. Firefox is a swiss-army’d version of Safari on steroids. We’re talking baseball in the late nineties steroids. Firefox allows you to add any array of extensions to add to the experience. Need a bit torrent client? Done. Don’t want to see ads? Done. Want to wrap your web-browsing in a winter wonderland? Done. Firefox can do virtually anything when it comes to surfing the web.

3. Adium- Now, iChat is no slouch of an instant messaging client. But Adium allows you to login and use multiple IM clients simultaneously. You can save chat transcripts, and do many of the other things that you can do with iChat.

4. iGTD- What mac isn’t complete with a kickin’ GTD system? iGTD is a great out-of-the-box organization capture tool that doesn’t require all the incessant fiddling that most GTD software requires. Just add some contexts (and projects if you’d like), and go.

Another cool thing about iGTD is that it integrates with Quicksilver. You can be in the middle of a task and suddenly remember you need to email Roy about carpooling tomorrow. Invoke Quicksilver, type your task, and go right back to what you were working on. It’s insanely useful and allows you to capture everything. (You can read more about iGTD + Quicksilver here and here)

5. Cyberduck- Almost everybody needs an FTP client, right? Cyberduck is a great mac-only FTP client. It may not be as fancy as the likes of Transmit, but it has a simple interface and works quite well.

6. Anti RSI- If you use the computer more than an hour a day, it’s imperative you install Anti-RSI. You know how staring at the monitor can make your eyes feel like somebody switched your contact solution with wood glue? Anti-RSI makes sure that you’re taking proper breaks when using your computer. By looking away from the computer at regular intervals and stretching, you can prevent other fairly severe conditions like Carpal Tunnel. Anti-RSI ensures that you’re getting the proper pauses needed for healthy computer usage.

7. DeskLickr- It may not be an essential item per se, but sometimes a girl just likes to look pretty. This nifty program will launch a high-quality wallpaper (that matches your screen resolution, mind you) every time you start your computer up. You can even set it to display a new wallpaper every X number of minutes. WARNING: This setting is not recommended for those of us with ADD. You’ve been warned.

8. Gimp- Weird name, great photo editing. Gimp is the open source version of Photoshop. Gimp may not sport all the bells and whistles that Photoshop has, but it gets the job does. And to the tune of Free, who can complain?

9. Open Office- The open source alternative to Microsoft Office, Open Office is a full-featured document editor. (If you don’t have x11 installed on your mac, you may want to try NeoOffice. It’s pretty much the same thing as Open Office.)

10. Skype- Skype is everyone’s favorite VOIP client. Essentially, Skype allows you to call other computers and talk (like a telephone conversation), for free. You can also do IM messaging with the client.

11. Mozy- The un-sung hero of your new mac. Mozy backs up all of the files on my computer (in the background) at regular intervals. If my hard drive ever crashes, I’ll just install mozy and hit “restore”, mirroring my drive pre-meltdown. Most times I don’t even know when the little bugger is working. It’s fast, quiet, and it just works. You can make backups up to 2GB before you’ll start needing a paid plan.

12. Text Expander- Text Expander is the only software on the list that requires you to pay for its use. But once you try it out, it’s pretty hard to part with. We’re talking geeky productivity to the max, people.

Text Expander allows you to program in shortcuts that you use when typing all of the time. For example, you could configure a shortcut for your email signature. Instead of typing out my signature every single time I write an email, I could just punch “sigg” and up pops

“Yours Truly,

Glen Stansberry
LifeDev.net”

This is only scratching the surface. If you do a lot of HTML or CSS work, there’s already preset packages with shortcuts of commonly used HTML tags. Very nifty.

So there you have it. Install these 12 programs on your brand new mac, and you’ll have the ability to be a power user in no time, without breaking the bank.

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  • http://sirjorge.com/blogx sir jorge

    Or just sell it, and get a pc.

  • gleesond

    Nice blog post, the only app I would add is butler. Its an open source app that combines quicksilver and text expander.

  • http://www.taxgirl.com Kelly

    What about Mars Edit? I love it for my Mac.

  • http://mazzako.blogspot.com/2007/12/strangebuttrue.html bhaktapurgirl

    thanks for sharing it .its really nice job

    bhaktapurgirl
    mazzako.blogspot.com

  • Ricky

    Onyx or Tinkertool. For that matter, Onyx and Tinkertool. Unlocking little things like ‘show 3 lines’ instead of 2 (file names on screen) is essential. That example was just one thing Tinkertool can do. I’ve used it for years, and wouldn’t go a day without it. But then, I’m sure I’m just the second of many people to ask ‘what about this one?’…nice list, btw.

  • http://www.internalbleeding.net Aux

    Wow, let me in your family if you’re getting/giving away macs for christmas!

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  • http://www.theappleofmyi.com/blog Jon Moss

    Good list :)

    I would also add:

    Appzapper – to really delete apps and their files
    ecto – blogging client
    skitch – super for doodling
    Transmit – very nice ftp client, but not free like the also excellent Cyberduck
    flickr uploader – send your pics easily to flickr
    Visual Hub – convert those avi files to mpeg or any other file conversions!

  • http://constantreality.org/objected Bryan

    Dang, I want a newer Mac

  • http://www.paranoiaparadise.com Léonie

    hey this is so funny. thanks for sharing;-) hugs, Léonie.

  • Jangles

    sir jorge,

    if we sold it and got a pc, we would need about 12 times as many programs just to make it half-assed functional, and each program would have 14 pages of instructions and they still wouldn’t work properly, and they would force YOU, the user, into doing stuff that you don’t want to do, and you wouldn’t even know where you are saving stuff, like the typical pc user. Nawww.. its ok, I’ll happily stay with my mac… these applications are all FUN, and that’s why they are on the list.

  • Tim

    Good list but I would say Filezilla for ftp. It is free and it is cross platform and it works great. And if you are doing webstuff I would use NVU/Kompozer. Also free and cross platform.

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  • Vramin

    I would not recommend putting iGTD on that new computer unless you install Tiger. iGTD is broken in Leopard, and is not being updated while they work on iGTD2. iGTD users won’t have a useful version of the program until iGTD2 is finished someday (it’s in alpha right now).

  • http://www.bizchicksrule.com Bridget

    Gee…I just wish I had a MAC!

  • http://www.anywired.com Skellie

    Just got my first Mac today so some of these apps will definitely find a home on it :).

  • http://macbit.net MacGuru

    Don’t forget Journler as well as a viable option to iGTD.

  • http://www.jobdud.com tommy

    Why use Mozy over Time Machine?

    Don’t forget azureus for torrents!

    There are other “mac” torrent programs but azureus seems to be the fastest.

  • David from Sydney

    I want the time/date to appear together in the menu bar (at the top right side in the Finder). At the moment you have to click to see the other. This is exhausting. ;o)

    Is there a way to do this?

  • DamionKutaeff

    Hello everybody, my name is Damion, and I’m glad to join your conmunity,
    and wish to assit as far as possible.

  • http://www.mactipper.com/2008/05/put-date-in-menu-bar.html MacTipper

    David from Sydney:

    There are instructions on how to do that at my blog (or, click on my name above):

    http://www.mactipper.com/2008/05/put-date-in-menu-bar.html

    Yeah, this is a plug, but the instructions are a bit to long to post in the comments.

    Enjoy!

  • skiride

    Handbrake anyone?

  • ArseBiscuits

    Christ, If StumbleUpon takes me to one more of these bloody lists, I might just go mental. I wouldn’t mind, but every one has the same f***ing apps.

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  • shawn

    There are many things about several items here but i’ll just give a few

    Dropbox is better then Mozy, free for up to 2gb and just way better in every way.

    OpenOffice is bloatware and Filezilla is a better FTP