April 29, 2006
I finally made the switch from Microsoft to Apple last month. The never-ending Microsoft patches and updates were causing errors and making my computers ridiculously slow. My biggest worry was that I’d have to buy all of my PC software again in Mac format. Luckily, Apple released Boot Camp (meaning I can run all of my Windows games). I rarely boot into Windows except to play games, though. Here is a list of what I bought, what freeware I use, and what came with the MacBook…
Microsoft Office for Mac. Unfortunately, there isn’t a Universal Binary for the MacTel systems. It boots slow, but runs fine. All of my previous Office files are now accessable and editable.
Moneydance. It’s a personal finance manager, a Universal Binary, and can import Quicken statement files downloaded from your bank. Excellent for keeping your checkbook balanced when using debit cards.
CopyWrite. Another Universal app used for brainstorming and developing creative writing ideas. It’s biggest advantage is fast switching between documents via a tree format without the need to open multiple individual doc files.
PocketMac Lite. I was annoyed to discover that this program has a bug. I could not use it to sync my iPaq Pocket PC to my MacBook via the USB cable. Luckily, the Bluetooth sync works incredibly well, and is easier. I can wirelessly back up my iPaq to iCal and Address Book, as well as browse and delete/add files wirelessly. Who needs USB?
Camino. This is the best browser I have ever used. It is open-source, uses the Mozilla Gecko platform, but is written for Macs only (Universal). Simple, fast, blocks popups and ads, and will display all bookmarks in html in a tab. I rarely use anything else; Safari, Explorer, Firefox, or otherwise.
AdiumX. A chat client that logs into both AIM and MSN chat accounts and sits quietly on your menu bar. It also keeps a record of previous chats and displays the last chat with a contact when initiating a new one.
Quicksilver. Despite the less than perfect download website, this application is an incredible productivity tool allows you to launch any application, bookmark, or subdirectory without using the somewhat cumbersome Finder. While I sill use Spotlight to locate individual files and emails, Quicksilver is faster at locating applications than Spotlight and is adaptive to previous launch choices. Windows Longhorn, aka Vista, was going to include a Spotlight type feature for fast indexed browing of the hard drive, but rumors suggest they could not pull it off.
HandBrake. Rip DVDs to iPod MP4 format. Simple, elegant, and free.
MPlayerOSX. You can place this anywhere (including the Finder sidebar) drag DIVX and XVID files onto the icon, and watch them. The AC3 Codec plugin for Quicktime is now available to play DIVX files in Quicktime itself. I use both interchangeably.
Show Desktop. I missed the Windows launchbar show desktop icon, so I found this for OSX. It is also launchable in Quicksilver. OSX expose moves all windows clear of the desktop, Show Desktop instead mimimizes all windows.
iSquint. Small app that converts XVID files to iPod MP4 format.
Expose. Fast F key/active screen corners mouseover shortcut to show desktop, show all app windows, and switch between apps. Windows has no feature even close to this.
iPhoto (digital image management/slideshow maker)
iChat (online video conferencing via iSight cam. It works extremely well.)
Dictionary (makes both dictionary.com bookmark and MS Word thesaurus unneccesary)
Address Book and iCal (Calendar/taskmanager/Contact programs. The two nearly replace Outlook/Entourage, except for email)