Mac Software Selections

Posted by Garth on Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I've been using my new Mac for about a little under a week now, and figured I'd regale you with my software choices.  As on Windows, I tend to stick with FOSS if at all possible.

Firefox - No brainer.  Firebug is a major requirement.  Also I really hate not having a status bar at the bottom of my window (a la Safari).

VLC - To be honest, I haven't even loaded up QuickTime yet, but I really have no intentions of doing so.  Actually that's not 100% true... I loaded up FrontRow with the included remote (which, apparently, was replaced by Apple with an aluminum one in October of this year - and which I ordered in September so got the crappy plastic one).  I tried playing an XviD.  It didn't work.  That was the extent of my usage of QuickTime and I quickly jumped on the VLC bandwagon.  I've also experimented with MPlayer OSX Extended and definitely like it, so I may bounce back and forth.  My biggest issue right now is with Thai subtitles... they won't render using the correct encoding, and they appear as garbage in both VLC and MPlayer.  I had similar issues on Windows, though using ffdshow and VobSub I had a lot more in the way of configurable options and managed to make it work.  I'll keep trying I guess.

GIMP - I tried Seashore as per a few people's recommendations, but I couldn't even figure out how to crop an image.  GIMP may run under X11, but it functions just like it did in Windows and it's snappy.  Doubt I'll be changing this up anytime soon.  Definitely had to follow this guide though as the window positions were really pissing me off.

SABnzbd+ - This is an awesome little usenet binaries downloader.  It's free and uses a web interface (highly recommend using the Plush theme as it's ajaxy and the default isn't).  Definitely not as robust as Newsleecher, but does the job and does it nicely.  Even has support for RSS feeds so I can set up a feed for my favorite shows and it automagically downloads them when they become available.  Very nice.  Check out here and here for some very useful tips on using RSS feeds to d/l TV shows.

Komodo Edit - Played around with TextWrangler, but from all the reviews I read online Komodo seems to be superior.  It's got nice autocompletion for CSS and a bunch of other languages, as well as tooltips when you type a keyword explaining its function.  Excellent free app.

Adium - Never really used an IM client on Windows (other than the embedded Gmail one) but since I've started using the native Mac Mail client I never have a browser open with Gmail anymore.  Adium was recommended by a friend, and it seems to do what it's supposed to - i.e. IM.

MAMP - Mac Apache, MySQL and PHP.  Used WAMP on Windows which did pretty much the same thing.  My only issue so far with MAMP is that I seem unable to connect to MySQL to populate DBs unless I use root, even when they're permissioned correctly.  I'm sure it's a problem between the keyboard and the chair, but it's such a minor issue that I haven't really looked into it further.  Oh, and it prompts me for my password when I have it set to use port 80.  Really wish I could get around that one without using port 8888... or maybe I'll just revert to 8888 and not worry about it.

FileZilla - My go-to FTP client on Windows, and they have a Mac version as well.  So it is written, so it shall be done.

Evernote - As above, used the Windows client before, and now using the Mac client.  No brainer.  And I'm happy to say that the Mac client is much nicer than the Windows one.

Folx - Download manager.  If my internet was even somewhat reliable I'm sure I wouldn't need this, but as it is I had to install GetRight on Windows and this is the only free equivalent that I've found on Mac.  My biggest problem with it is that it supposedly supports torrents as well, but it sucks at them.  However when it downloads a .torrent file it doesn't open µTorrent for me, it keeps it and tries using it.  So I have to manually kill its torrent download and open the torrent in µTorrent.  Bit of a PITA.

Update: So it turns out Folx is a piece of crap.  Or, to be politically correct, "it didn't suit my needs".  I was trying to download the iPhone SDK which is 2.4gb and requires being logged in to the Apple site.  Folx just couldn't get it, no matter what I tried.  And it kept intercepting the download link, even after I'd disabled it and the Firefox plugin.  But it couldn't actually get to the file and kept downloading a redirected login page.  So I'm now trying out DownThemAll! which seems to be a much better fit.  Native Firefox extension so I'm not having any problem grabbing the file from the site, even when I haven't actually logged in (i.e. I was logged in when I first started d/ling it, but have restarted Firefox multiple times since then and it keeps resuming nicely).  Hopefully this one works out for me.

Max - for converting audio file formats.  Nothing fancy.

StuffIt - for dealing with rars.

Quicksilver - I have no idea why yet.  But the two largest Mac proponents in my immediate circle of friends/family both told me to install it right from the get-go, so I did.  Apparently I need to watch some tutorials or something before I can figure out what to do with it.  In other words, RTFM.

So far that's about it.  All FOSS.  I'm sure that there are better pay alternatives out there to some of these, but I'm on a budget and really, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.


Anonymous said...

yeah dont bother with folx it is crap. it kept dying and saying 100% after downloading 2GB of a 3GB file - what a waste of time and downloads

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