New Mac - what Apps do I need?

OK, I got my MacBook and I love it so far. Things have come on hugely since I last owned a Mac (a PowerMac G3 running OS 9) and iLife makes the whole thing extremely useable out of the box. Even iPhoto, which I thought would be pretty lame, actually does a very good job of allowing me to adjust RAW photos - I was sure I’d have to buy a copy of Aperture or Lightroom but I may not need to now since iPhoto appears to be doing the job quite nicely (all I really need to do for the moment is make minor adjustments to exposure etc.).

So for the things that iLife doesn’t do, what are the killer apps?

Twitterrific, iWork (screw office), Notebook (from Circus Ponies), Handbrake for ripping DVDs, WoW (of course), TextMate if you do any sort of coding, Omnigraffle is worth a look as well for Visio-type stuff (I’m told it blows Visio out of the water). And VMWare Fusion.

The first app. to install is Quicksilver. I like Journler, because I need to be able to search my documents and notes. I use Transmit for FTP and Transmission for Bit Torrent. And Yojimbo for random data gathering. After that it’s all preference.

I always load up TextWrangler, and DragThing.

Adium for IMs. A lot of people like NetNewsWire for RSS aggregation, though I prefer Google Reader in a browser.

Some of my commonly used apps: TextMate, Voodoo Pad, NeoOffice, Transmission.

Perian and Flip4Mac so I can view all videos, Skype, iStat to put system info in my menu bar, Transmission for Bittorrent, Cyberduck for FTP, Colloquy for IRC, VisualHub for converting video, xGestures for global gestures.

And pro tip #1: Hit command-space to launch and find things.

VLC, Browser of your choice (Camino, Firefox, or just have Safari), Growl notifications (Depending on how many of your apps support it), gmail notifier, get macports or fink if you want unixy stuff.

Smultron > textwrangler

Camino > Firefox > Safari
Warp - makes cursor hitting side of screen trigger spaces is a great place to start hunting for apps.


The best advice, honestly, is to gather up these suggested apps and wait. If you find that you need something, install it. Don’t just install a bunch of stuff in anticipation of maybe needing it one day. It’ll pay off in the long run as you’ll keep your Mac cleaner and running better.

It really depends on what you do on a daily basis.

I regularly use the following apart from built-in apps and the iLife apps

Disc Cover - CD / DVD Templates
DVD Imager - Create DVD’s from encoded VIDEO_TS folders
GraphicConverter - Excellent multi-format graphic file converter
iWork '08 - Your preference vs other office apps will vary. I like the speed over MS Office
OmniGraffle Pro - Nice Visio-like app
OmniOutliner Pro - Nice outlining app
Pixelmator - Good for quick image editing where PhotoShop is overkill
Transmission - Torrent client
Unison - Usenet client
VisualHub - Nice front-end for FFMPEG video transcoder
VMWare Fusion - occasional Windows use for work, etc.

Leopard has destroyed any need for Quicksilver for me. Spotlight now works great which is what Quicksilver did so well (and so undocumented).

If you need to run Windows, VMware is better than Parallels, IMO. I used both and VMware seems to just run better with less tweaking and maintenance.

And another vote for Yojimbo. Although syncing it between machines with .Mac is giving me a headache. Don’t try that if you don’t need it.

For backups, install SuperDuper and don’t look back. Brain-dead simple cloning backups of your hard drive. Time machine does not do that.

Any kind of serious photography? Aperture.
Office 2008 is great. My friends and I swear by the recording ability in notebook mode.
If you need to ftp: Cyberduck. It’s free!
Bit torrent utility: Transmission. Again, free!
iLife 08 has pretty much everything else I need.

Colloquy for IRC.
Adium for messaging.
Cyberduck for FTP.
TextMate or Smultron for text editing.
Transmission for Bit Torrent.
iWork, if only for Pages. I really like Pages.

Those are pretty much my most used programs right now, though I also like Xee for image viewing. Now though I mostly use cover flow and quickview. for unzipping.
Carbon Copy Cloner for backup (or SuperDuper paid, I love SuperDuper)
I bought Cocktail ( and Delicious Library

Yeah, I love Yojimbo, but debugging syncing problems with it is a complete friggin’ nightmare.

Now it’s working for me, but a while ago it wasn’t at all and there was basically nothing Bare Bones could do to help me figure out why.

same here

Uh, first thing I did to my MacBook was finding out how to disable Spotlight. It apparently loved to keep my CPU going bonkers whenever I did anything innocent, like plugging a external HD. So away it went. Perhaps it was just the first days and then it would have settled once it had everything indexed, but I didn’t like seeing the poor little thing struggling so hard.
I love QS… except for the occasional crash. I hate when I hit cmd-space and nothing cool happens.