On my Mac I have…

My first OSX screenshot

As promised.

In no particular order, and having installed several application “just to try” I have whittled down my must-have OSX apps to the following. I’m pretty sure these, although it’s early days yet, will remain on my Mac for quite a while, particularly as I’m happy with things and the only stuff I’m still mucking about with is stuff like the desktop background and so on.

Update: The wallpaper in the above screenshot can be found here.

  • Adium – FREE – Instant Messaging client which hooks into all the usual protocols.
  • Coda – $79 (~£40) – Homesite is my app of choice on my PC, and this is as close as I’ve seen to that for the Mac. I’ve not bought it yet but haven’t (yet) found an alternative.
  • Cyberduck – FREE – an FTP client.
  • Aurora – FREE – an alarm clock, interacts with iTunes, can wake your Mac from sleep.
  • AppDelete – FREE – hunts down and removes all the files and changes an installed application makes (it’s like install in reverse).
  • Firefox – FREE – Yes, Safari is there and it’s good. But I can’t use Google Browser sync with it so Firefox remains my browser of choice.
  • Growl – FREE – displays notifications of system events. LOADS of scripts available, currently I use it for Google Mail, and iTunes and I’m investigating others.
  • Handbrake – FREE – DVD ripper/converter application.
  • iScrobbler – FREE – iTunes plugin that reports your usage to Last.fm.
  • iStumbler – FREE – Wireless discovery tool, easily find open Wifi connections (and Bluetooth signals too).
  • NeoOffice – FREE – A port of Open Office and means I can work with ‘office’ documents. Apparently the current point releases have solved a lot of speed issues, but that’s before my time.
  • QuickSilver – FREE – THE app/file/action launcher supreme. There is so much to this that I’m still getting to grips with it. At the moment I’m not using it as much more than an application launcher but it’s capable of MUCH more.
  • Seashore – FREE – A basic image editor, and all I really need for minor edits to graphics. Might need PhotoShop Elements in the future.. maybe..
  • Skim – FREE – A PDF Reader, lighter than Adobe bloatware.
  • Smultron – FREE – a smart text editor, still needs some work but looks promising. I’m used to having one application that deals with text-based files, providing auto-complete for file types that require it (in other words, .txt files are just text, whereas .htm files are highlighted and I get auto-complete functionality when typing tags).
  • Transmission – FREE – BitTorrent client. Not used it much but seems pretty sleek.
  • VLC – FREE – Video player that can play just about anything..
  • Hazel – $16 (~£8) – prompted by this series of posts, and my incessant desire to have a clean desktop, Hazel is an automated ‘housekeeper’ that will help automate basic tasks. Very powerful.

In addition to what I’d call the “core applications” above, I’ve also installed a few “minor applications” which are mainly used to tweak the display or provide a small and specific piece of functionality:

  • Slim Battery Monitor – FREE – a smaller battery monitor.
  • TinkerTool – FREE – Lets you tweak some hidden settings, the TweakUI of the Mac world.
  • Witch – FREE – a sort of Alt+Tab replacement, with the ability to activate minimised Windows. Not 100% reliable (doesn’t always ‘activate’ windows properly, but that’s probably the fault of the window not Witch) but I’ll see how it develops.
  • YouTunes – FREE – which places a very nice little menu in your menubar to quickly control iTunes.
  • MagiCal – FREE – a nice little app to give a smaller calendar in your menubar, and a nice dropout month view too.
  • ClearDock – FREE – which removes the background to the Dock… a bit silly, really.
  • InstantShot! – FREE – used to take the screenshot above.

So there you have it, I think that’s all of it but with websites like Cool OSX Apps around I’d warrant that a few more applications may soon find their way onto my MacBook.


  1. bobbins said:

    “mi” is a neat text editor that’s well worth a look if you do much development work. FinkCommander is a handy package manager for grabbing all those other indespensible Unix freebies out there (Wireshark etc)… worth a look?

    June 21, 2007
  2. MacDara said:

    Dude, where did you get the wallpaper??

    June 21, 2007
  3. Gordon said:

    bobbins – Unix stuff? What kind of geek do you think I am? (Yeah I know it’s built on it but I’ve not explored that level yet, might not bother either).

    MacDara – Ummm deviantart probably.. if I can get the source I’ll post the link

    June 21, 2007
  4. Adrian said:

    Look at Textwrangler too for a text editor.

    Although if your using coda, …..

    I prefer Trasmit for FTP, although it’s paid.

    Same with xTorrent. There where some problems with Transmission and torrent sites blocking it.

    You may want to check out text expander

    Menumeters is absolutely indispensable, especially for seeing when something is chowing all your bandwidth/memory/processing.

    I also find Easycrop (paid) really frigging useful.

    And keeping an eye on freemacware.

    On the other hand I never have a clean desktop. Something is wrong with one or both of us.

    June 21, 2007
  5. robram said:

    This is great – I’ve del.icio.us-ed this for reference!

    June 21, 2007
  6. Ian said:

    Looking at that wallpaper I though the answer was going to be ‘a broken graphics card’.

    Since everyone else is recommending, here’s a vote for Nocturne, from the Quicksliver guys (especially good in low light with the red tint).

    June 21, 2007
  7. Andy N said:

    FREE seems to be a common denominator here.

    Scottish to the core.

    I have a reasonable question though. Does this mean an end to posts like the following, which I have bookmarked?


    (Of course it isn’t there any more, so I’ll have to delete it from my list. It was the one about portable apps on a USB key. I used to refer to it a lot.)

    Nice 404 page though.

    June 21, 2007
  8. Dragon said:

    Seriously though – what’s with the wallpaper? Is there 3pt text on it saying “Welcome to Migraine City – population YOU!” or something?

    June 22, 2007
  9. Gordon said:

    It’s a lot better at full size, and hey, how often do YOU spend time just staring at your desktop?

    June 22, 2007
  10. Ian D said:

    Nice list Gordon, I’m loving YouTunes which is new to me. A couple to look at (you probably have already but worth mentioning) – iGTD (http://bargiel.home.pl/iGTD/index.html) which is feature rich and constantly gaining functionality. Yojimbo (http://www.barebones.com/products/yojimbo/) – has helped me get on top of managing ‘stuff’ especially during the last few weeks where time is precious.

    This post disproves the assumption that moving to Mac means an increase in spending money on apps due to a lack of freeware.

    June 22, 2007
  11. Gordon said:

    Good point Ian, and as they gain in popularity so the number of freeware alternatives will grow, I guess it has passed the Tipping Point eh?

    Have heard of iGTD and Yojimbo but not investigated yet. I’m a Remember the Milk user for tasks, which plays well as it’s web-based.

    June 22, 2007
  12. Nico said:

    Thanks Gordon. I’m going to be busy this weekend now!

    June 23, 2007

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