OS X killer apps

Recently I polled my friends and based on their feedback and my experience. I won’t highlight Apple software like iLife in the links below but rather software we use on a daily basis that doesn’t come with our Macs or from Apple.

AdiumX is what multi-protocol chat clients should aspire to be. It’s what Trillian should be. It’s the single application that gets non-mac users to take notice. It supports AOL Instant Messenger (Including ICQ and .Mac), Jabber (Including Google Talk and LiveJournal), MSN Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger (Including Yahoo! Japan), Bonjour (Compatible with iChat), MySpace IM, Gadu-Gadu, Novell Groupwise, QQ and Lotus Sametime.

Firefox is a great web browser. On the Windows platform it’s a good competitor to Internet Explorer, on Mac it offers near IE compatibility with websites. Because it’s not Apple software and less integrated than even Camino, it doesn’t yet support use of the OS X Keychain for saving passwords, for example.

Obviously the Apple platform seems to attract duck software. Command line FTP is fine for a lot of cases but when you want SFTP or you are navigating complicated sites, a GUI is great. I have tried all the major FTP warez for OS X, this is the best.

I found menu meters after I became tired of the weak CPU meter provided by the activity monitor. I was looking for a program that would monitor CPU, memory, disk, and network utilization with a very small footprint. This is it.

P2P is not what it used to be in the hayday of Napster. Limewire and eDonkey networks are a mere shadow of their former selves. Acqlite is not a great program and it hasn’t been maintained in ages. But given any platform Windows, Mac or Unix, I have the most success with this client over all others of just hopping online and finding what I am looking for. On my old G4 this application would leak memory and CPU until it had to be force quit, and I still used it. For some reason the same problems don’t persist on my Intel Mac.

RDC and CoRD
I live and work in hybrid environments and the ability to connect via Remote Desktop or Terminal Services to a Windows machine is paramount. It’s a toss up between Microsoft RDC and CoRD. If you need VNC, Chicken of the VNC.

I spent a while trying to find good backup software. DejaVu was the only one I got working to my satisfaction across a network to an XP share. Though I ended up settling on external firewire drive for my backups.

The following software is recommended but either I don’t have as much experience with them, don’t use them very often or they charge a license fee that I haven’t chosen to pay yet.

Quicken for Mac, but better.

MacFuse and NTFS-3G
Together these two allow you to read and write an NTFS partition on OS X.

To play all possible video files, you may need more tools in your chest than just Quicktime. Apple isn’t know for supporting alternative formats like OGM, MVK or FLAC.

Who doesn’t need a good graphing calculator?

Converts lossless formats to lossy formats, like FLAC to MP3.

This software magically synchronizes iTunes libraries. For other iTunes tricks check out DougScripts.


DVD video ripper, Roxio Popcorn is another alternative.

I can’t stand StuffIt, this is a better alternative for compression software, think WinZip/WinRar meets OS X. Unfortunately it’s not free.

Unfortunately if you burn a DVD using the native OS X software it will not be readable by a PC, therefore I use Toast.

37 Responses to “OS X killer apps”

  1. Cope Says:

    If you’re a fan of the way Windows does alt-tab and deplore Apple’s poorly conceived apple-tab, Which http://www.manytricks.com/witch/ is the program for you.

    It has several configurable options, but the important ones are to switch between windows and not applications and to switch in MRU order.

    The only downsides to this app are that you must use option-tab (apple-tab cannot be overridden) and that if your machine is bogged down, Which will be too — you’ll end up wanting to just change apps manually and then a few seconds later it will catch up and change you back unexpectedly. Even given these annoyances, as a former alt-tab junkie, I can’t live without Which.

  2. reddogg Says:

    I need to add LAME encoder as well. http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/macosx/13048

    iTunes-LAME Encoder – 2.0.9

    convert cd & aac to mp3 with lame

  3. reddogg Says:

    With LAME make sure to your option list includes –multi like so “–alt-preset standard –multi” if you have a multi core or multi processor box.

  4. reddogg Says:


    File Juicer looks interesting.

  5. reddogg Says:


    Site with top mac apps, digg style.

  6. reddogg Says:

    imovieplugins.com turn clip
    this iMovie plug-in rotates your clip exactly 90, 180 or 270 degrees. since DV clips are
    not square, parts of the clip will be lost when rotating 90 or 270 degrees, and the clip will
    show bands of a (user defined) color left and right of the formerly narrow parts.

  7. reddogg Says:

    http://rixstep.com/2/20080922,00.shtml ‘We stood before it and began to freeze inside from the exertion. We questioned the application, berated it, made love to it, prayed to it: we called it mother, called it whore and slut, called it our beloved, called it iTunes.’

  8. reddogg Says:


    Leap. Browse your documents.

  9. reddogg Says:


  10. reddogg Says:

    perian made 1080p mp4 playable

  11. reddogg Says:


    macfuse allows easy and reliable mounting of alternative file systems

  12. reddogg Says:


    glterminal is a cool old school app

  13. reddogg Says:


    secrets for os x is a system preferences plugin that is much like tweakui alternative

  14. reddogg Says:


    EZ 7z 0.65
    Easy way to use p7zip archiver.

  15. reddogg Says:



  16. reddogg Says:

    lame settings



  17. reddogg Says:

    java p2p bit torrent client

  18. reddogg Says:


  19. reddogg Says:

    video podcast, video rss, youtube, torrents

  20. reddogg Says:


  21. reddogg Says:

    best free adobe photoshop alternative on mac os x

  22. reddogg Says:


    allows for some gimp like activity in a cocoa interface at 1/10th the size of gimp which is 1/10th the size of photochop.

  23. reddogg Says:


    paintbrush is a microsoft MSPaint paint equivalent for os x.

  24. reddogg Says:


    plex aka OSXBMC based on or at least inspired by xbmc, the xbox media center which made the xbox in to a great media center. unfortunately the xbox can barely play 720p video streamed. both the ps3 and xbox 360 disappointingly failed to live up to this standard. OSXBMC can turn a mac mini into a full fledged media center.

  25. reddogg Says:


    Visor provides a systemwide terminal window accessible via a hot-key

    Quake style terminal

  26. reddogg Says:


  27. reddogg Says:


  28. reddogg Says:


  29. reddogg Says:


    I was getting the “ZlibHex unkown subencoding 49 encountered” errors as well, but if you edit the profile you’re using to connect, and turn off ZRLE encoding, maybe that will remedy the problem. It did for me anyway.

    I wouldn’t have bothered trying to figure this out, but this does seem like the most responsive and “nice” VNC client out of the 3 or 4 that I tried. The fact that it’s open source gives me confidence in its future as wel

  30. reddogg Says:

    Neo Office is a mac port of Open Office. It works pretty well.

  31. reddogg Says:


  32. reddogg Says:


    flash blocker plugin for safari

  33. reddogg Says:



    mplayer is a hardcore player

  34. reddogg Says:


    Pixen is a general analog to Microsoft Paint

  35. reddogg Says:


    copy paste problems are a bitch, often you just need to restart RDC rdpclip
    taskkill.exe /im rdpclip.exe & rdpclip.exe

  36. reddogg Says:


  37. reddogg Says:


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